2:00PM Water Cooler 10/29/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

No UPDATEs today. This is the lot! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

“L.A. mystery: The mourning doves stopped singing. What happened to them?” [Los Angeles Times]. “The coo was like the voice of my L.A. childhood. Hearing the mourning dove again was a revelation, but with it came a realization: I’d not listened to one in many years…. Coo-OOH, ooh, ooh, ooh.… ‘In any given local area, mourning doves might be less common and heard than they were 10 or 20 or 50 years ago,’ said Kimball Garrett, ornithology collections manager of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County…. But over in Culver City, [author William] Jordan is lucky: He’s heard mourning doves, as recently as a month or so ago. He enjoys their song, which he said ‘doesn’t have any sharp edges to it.’ ‘It’s one of the great sounds of nature — of urban ecology,’ he said. I agree. And I worry that my children will never hear the mourning dove. It will not be a part of their lazy summers, already rendered less so by modern life. There is little time to stare out the window and into the trees, searching for something unseen.”

“Crows Are Doing the Best They Can” [The Atlantic]. “Crows, along with magpies, jays, and ravens, are members of the family Corvidae, a group known for two things: exhibiting complex behaviors, and having massive brains…. The crows he works with aren’t spooky; they’re observant: ‘Basically it feels like you’re constantly being observed and assessed,’ [Alex Taylor, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Auckland] says. ‘You’re dealing with a very smart and watchful animal.'”

“After 30 Years of Breeding Condors, a Secret Comes Out” [The Atlantic]. “When you get to be as endangered as the California condor, your sex life becomes a highly public affair. Since 1983, when the number of California condors in existence was a mere 22, biologists have been carefully breeding the birds in captivity. They kept track of who mated with whom, how many offspring they had, and when those offspring were released into the wild. All of this is logged in the official California-condor ‘studbook.’ So it was quite a shock when, a few years ago, scientists conducting DNA tests as part of routine research found two condors with unexpected paternity. These two birds—known by their studbook numbers as SB260 and SB517—were not related to the fathers recorded in the studbook. Actually, they had no fathers at all. A full 100 percent of their DNA had come from their respective mothers. ‘We were confronted with this inexplicable data set,’ says Oliver Ryder, a conservation geneticist at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. The only possible explanation was a strange one: The eggs that produced these two condors must have essentially fertilized themselves without any sperm. The phenomenon is known as parthenogenesis or, colloquially, ‘virgin birth.'” • Creative!

* * *


Patient readers, I have started to revise this section, partly to reduce my workload, but partly to focus more as an early warning, if that is possible. Hopefully I will have a variant tracker map soon. In the meantime, I added excess deaths.

Vaccination by region:

Bubba doing their part. Coercion works? Or boosters? (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well on vax.)

57.6% of the US is fully vaccinated (CDC data. Mediocre by world standards, being just below Turkey, and just above the Czech Republic in the Financial Times league tables of this Monday). We are back to the stately 0.1% rise per day. I would bet that the stately rise = word of mouth from actual cases. However, as readers point out, every day those vaccinated become less protected, especially the earliest. So we are trying to outrun the virus…

Case count by United States regions:

Uh oh. Looks like the rise is in the West. Here is an 8-week breakdown of the Western States:

Looks like California. Here is a map of California county “hot spots,” so-called:

CDC and the San Jose Mercury News have different definitions of “hot spot” (this is America. Our data is bad). However, Inyo County is the hottest hot spot county on the CDC and Mercury News maps, so matters aren’t completely disjointed. What it looks like to me is that there is a generalized Covid increase in many if not most of inland California; Kern County, but not LA or SF. Informed speculation from readers on why this might be is encouraged; most likely, the increase isn’t due to my hobbyhorse, international travel! Finally, the increase has gotten big enough to give the national, seven-day average a bump. Query: Many California Counties are participating in Covid wastewater tracking, like the MWRA does. Can any readers point me to a map that aggregates this data and keeps it updated?

* * *

Simply tape-watching, this descent is as steep as any of the three peaks in November–January. It’s also longer than the descent from any previous peak. We could get lucky, as we did with the steep drop after the second week in January, which nobody knows the reasons for, then or now. Today’s populations are different, though. This population is more vaccinated, and I would bet — I’ve never seen a study — that many small habits developed over the last year (not just masking). Speculating freely: There is the possibility that natural immunity is much, much greater than we have thought, although because this is America, our data is so bad we don’t know. Also, if the dosage from aerosols drops off by something like the inverse square law, not linearly, even an extra foot of social distance could be significant if adopted habitually by a large number of people. And if you believe in fomites, there’s a lot more hand-washing being done. On the other hand, Delta is much more transmissible. And although readers will recall that I have cautioned against cross-country comparisons, I’m still not understanding why we’re not seeing the same aggregates in schools that we’ve see in Canada and especially the UK, although we have plenty of anecdotes. Nothing I’ve read suggests that the schools, nation-wide, have handled Covid restrictions with any consistency at all. So what’s up with that?

Even if hospitalizations and the death rate are going down, that says nothing about Long Covid, the effect on children, etc. So the numbers, in my mind, are still “terrifying”, even if that most-favored word is not in the headlines any more, and one may be, at this point, inured.

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Seems like a sine-wave pattern on the right. Why?

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) service area includes 43 municipalities in and around Boston, including not only multiple school systems but several large universities. Since Boston is so very education-heavy, then, I think it could be a good leading indicator for Covid spread in schools generally.

From CDC: “Community Profile Report October 25, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties:

Virtually no change. Trouble spots in the West. Upper Midwest improved. Weird flare-ups, like flying coals in a forest fire. They land, catch, but — one hopes — sputter out.

Speculating freely: One thing to consider is where the red is. If air travel hubs like New York City or Los Angeles (or Houston or Miami) go red that could mean (a) international travel and (b) the rest of the country goes red, as in April 2020 and following. But — for example — Minnesota is not a hub. If Minnesota goes red, who else does? Well, Wisconsin. As we see. Remember, however, that this chart is about acceleration, not absolute numbers. This map, too, blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a (Deliverance-style) banjo to be heard. (Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better.)

The previous release:

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Finally some relief for the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, although I don’t understand why they they have the bad luck to be so stubbornly still red.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 763,784 761,949. Going down again, mercifully. We had approached the same death rate as our first peak last year. Which I found more than a little disturbing.

Excess deaths (total, not only from Covid). This seems not to be updating:

So how long does it take before 10% “excess” deaths becomes the new normal?

(Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. Needless to see, this is a public health debacle. It’s the public health establishment to take care of public health, not the health of certain favored political factions. Also adding: I like a death rate because it gives me a rough indication of my risk should I, heaven forfend, end up in a hospital. I should dig out the absolute numbers, too, now roughly 660,000, which is rather a lot.)

Covid cases in historic variant sources, with additions from the Brain Trust:

Look at Chile go! Also Portugal, oddly, which lifted restrictions about a month ago. Remember this is a log scale. Sorry for the kerfuffle at the left. No matter how I tinker, it doesn’t go away.

* * *


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Mice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Capitol Seizure

Biden Administration

“Dems limp out of another stumble-ending month” [Politico]. A festival of moderate whinging. I think “progressives’ (let’s just go ahead and say the left) need a center of power on Capitol Hill, and have for years. If the CPC is that center, then good. More, if the CPC becomes that center — by beating the Democrat leadership and being seen to do so, that’s more important than any one bill. There will be more bills. Hence, I remain in “burn it all down” mode. “‘I think it’s wholly apparent that today was not a success,’ said Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, whose state has a high-stakes gubernatorial showdown Tuesday that Democrats were hoping to boost with the infrastructure vote. ‘Because people choose to be obstructionists, we’re not delivering these things to my state or to the rest of the country,’ the swing-district Democrat added. ‘I guess we’ll just wait because apparently failing roads and bridges can just wait in the minds of some people.'” • Spanberger is a CIA Democrat. If a spook is unhappy, I couldn’t be more pleased.

“Sources: Nancy Pelosi ‘Kicked Out’ Of Meeting With House Progressive Caucus Amid Tense Budget Talks” [The Uprising]. “Multiple sources confirmed to The Uprising that Pelosi was ‘kicked out’ of the meeting by Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal. ‘She got kicked out and said she was leaving anyway,’ a Democratic staffer, who was granted anonymity to discuss the confidential meeting, said of Pelosi. Spokespeople for Pelosi and Jayapal did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Pelosi was observed entering the meeting and leaving just over ten minutes after she walked in…. According to the second staffer, Pelosi ‘probably wanted’ to take progressives’ temperature. However, the staffer said this likely created an awkward situation since progressives typically expect a ‘family discussion’ within their caucus. ‘Having Nancy or [House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer] come into that is like having mom or dad show up at your slumber party,’ the staffer said. ‘It crimps your vibe a bit.'” • Sheesh. Will the infantilization metaphors never end? Why should the CPC have an enemy in their council? What a bizarre notion that they should.

“Progressives “bamboozled” by Biden meeting” [Axios]. The headline is deceptive and misquotes Cori Bush; she’s only one progressive, and I’m sure she didn’t stay bamboozled. More: “The old guard leading the White House and Congress has learned for the second time in a month their pressure tactics no longer work with a new wave of Democrats.” The Old Guard dies. It never surrenders….

“FTC to Ramp up Enforcement against Illegal Dark Patterns that Trick or Trap Consumers into Subscriptions” (press release) [Federal Trade Commission]. “The Federal Trade Commission issued a new enforcement policy statement warning companies against deploying illegal dark patterns that trick or trap consumers into subscription services. The agency is ramping up its enforcement in response to a rising number of complaints about the financial harms caused by deceptive sign up tactics, including unauthorized charges or ongoing billing that is impossible cancel. The FTC’s policy statement puts companies on notice that they will face legal action if their sign-up process fails to provide clear, up-front information, obtain consumers’ informed consent, and make cancellation easy.” • Good, but why not dark patterns generally? See NC on dark patterns here.

Democrats en Deshabille

“Terry McAuliffe Hires Controversial Ex-Clinton Lawyer Marc Elias” [Jonathan Turley]. Elias (formerly of Clinton RussiaGate cut-out Perkins Coie) is a real piece of work. “Elias has not been criminally charged in his actions related to the 2020 election. Yet, bringing Elias into the Virginia race in the midst of the Durham investigation is an astonishing decision by McAuliffe. There are a host of election lawyers but McAuliffe selected an attorney accused of lying to the media, advancing rejected conspiracy theories, and currently involved in a major federal investigation that has already led to the indictment of his former partner.”

“The 2009 financial crisis taught us hard lessons. Have Democrats learned them?” [David Sirota and Alex Gibney, Guardian]. • Obviously they have. The lesson is that the 1% comes out of crisis very, very well (or, to put this another way, capitalism is anti-fragile*), and that Democrats should cater to them. NOTE * “Up to a point, Lord Copper”?

Republican Funhouse

“Burr’s Brother-in-Law Called Stock Broker, One Minute After Getting Off Phone With Senator” [Pro Publica (Re Silc)]. “According to the SEC, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, then chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had material nonpublic information about coronavirus impact. He and his brother-in-law dumped stock before the market dropped in March 2020.” • Re Silc: “I did leave a phone message at Burr’s DC office asking to be put on his investment newsletter. Never heard back.” Since all members of Congress are free to trade, you can bet Burr is not the only one.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Despite Scandals, Alabama Megachurch Invests Millions to “Restore” Pastors” [The Roys Report]. • Sounds like Opus Bono Sacerdotii. Or Servants of the Paraclete.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Chicago PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago Business Barometer rose to 68.4 in October of 2021, picking up after two consecutive months of decline and well above market estimates of 63.5. It was the highest reading since July. New orders advanced 3.1 points, recovering from September’s 6-month low; and employment increased again, up for a fourth straight month, rising 4.2 points to stand at the highest in just over three years. Production was the only component to fall in October, dropping 2.2 points to the lowest since August 2020. Meanwhile, supplier deliveries went up, as firms again reported worsening port congestion and ongoing logistical issues with trucking, rail, and even air cargo.”

Consumer Sentiment: “United States Michigan Consumer Sentiment” [Trading Economics]. “The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment for the US was revised slightly higher to 71.7 in October of 2021 from a preliminary of 71.4. The expectations subindex was revised up to 67.9 from a preliminary of 67.2 while the gauge of current conditions dropped to 77.7 from a preliminary of 77.9. Meanwhile, inflation expectations for the year-ahead were at 4.8% while the 5-year outlook increased to 2.9% from a preliminary of 2.8%. The positive impact of higher income expectations and the receding coronavirus has been offset by higher rates of inflation and falling confidence in government economic policies.”

Income: “United States Personal Income” [Trading Economics]. “Personal income in the United States dropped 1.0 percent from a month earlier in September 2021, following a 0.2 percent advance in August and compared with market expectations of a 0.2 percent fall. It was the first monthly decline in income since May, primarily due to a decrease in government social benefits, both in unemployment benefits and “other” benefits. Meanwhile, wages and salaries increased at a faster pace.”

Spending: “United States Personal Spending” [Trading Economics]. “Personal spending in the US increased 0.6% mom in September of 2021, following an upwardly revised 1% rise in August and above market forecasts of 0.5%. It reflected an increase of $63.6 billion in spending for services, namely health care and food services and accommodations. Spending on goods increased by $29.9 billion increase in spending for goods, mainly due to foods and beverages, pharmaceutical products and gasoline and other energy goods. On the other hand, spending on motor vehicles declined as ship shortages and supply constraints continue to weigh.”

* * *

Housing: “An Assessment of the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2021” (PDF) [Moody’s Analytics]. “Homebuilding collapsed during the housing crash over a decade ago and has been slow to recover. Construction of high-end homes and apartments recovered first, and there is now an oversupply in some urban areas across the country. However, the construction of affordable housing—homes reasonably priced for lower-income households to rent or own—has only recently begun to increase and continues to lag demand. The worsening affordable housing shortage is clear in the low number of vacant housing units, which continues to decline. The percent of the housing stock for rent and sale that is unoccupied has fallen sharply since the housing crash and is now as low as it has been in more than 30 years (see Chart 1). The shortfall in affordable housing is close to an estimated 1.8 million homes, equal to more than a year of new construction at its current pace. And this housing shortage continues to get worse.” • I searched the report; the phrase “private equity” does not appear. Handy chart:

Tech: “Zuckerberg Announces Fantasy World Where Facebook Is Not a Horrible Company” [Vice]. “The future Zuckerberg went on to pitch was a delusional fever dream cribbed most obviously from dystopian science fiction and misleading or outright fabricated virtual reality product pitches from the last decade. In the “metaverse—an “embodied” internet where we are, basically, inside the computer via a headset or other reality-modifying technology of some sort—rather than hang out with people in real life you could meet up with them as Casper-the-friendly-ghost-style holograms to do historically fun and stimulating activities such as attend concerts or play basketball.” • At this point I will remind the reader of my theory that the first genre to bring any new medium to the mass market is pr0nography. The potential of an “embodied” Internet is obvious, and one wonders if “Mark” will have the courage to grasp it. (Avatar pr0n would not only be completely “safe,” at least physically, it would massively scale. If there are jurisdictional issues, “Mark” can just put up a satellite, and beam his, er, content from up there.)

Manufacturing: “Ford to suspend production at Mexican plant due to shortages – union” [Reuters]. “U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co. will suspend production at its Hermosillo factory in northern Mexico from November 1-5 due to material shortages, according to a union statement issued on Thursday.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 72 Greed (previous close: 72 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 29 at 1:02pm. Now that poor people won’t get dental, Mr. Market is in his happy space.

The 420

“Current Marijuana Use and Alcohol Consumption Among Adults Following the Legalization of Nonmedical Retail Marijuana Sales — Colorado, 2015–2019” [Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review, CDC]. “Retail (nonmedical) marijuana sales began in Colorado on January 1, 2014. Adults who binge drink are more likely to use other substances than are nondrinkers. During 2015–2019, one third (34.4%) of Colorado adults who binge drank used marijuana compared with one tenth (9.9%) of nondrinkers.” • Too bad, although in my experience I have heard that getting drunk and getting high may accompany each other, but aren’t substitutes for each other.

“A California county cuts off water to Asian pot growers. Is it racism or crime crackdown?” [Los Angeles Times]. “But, unlike in the rest of the American West, the extreme water scarcity plaguing this tiny corner of far Northern California was not the result of dwindling snowpack or plummeting reservoir levels. Instead, it was due to a concerted government effort to ‘choke out’ a problem that had vexed Siskiyou County officials for years: the illicit, large-scale cultivation of marijuana in a single subdivision that is largely Asian. In the spring of this year, county supervisors effectively outlawed the transportation of water into a rural tract that had become known for its prolific cultivation of pot, squalid living conditions and large population of Hmong farmers. The measure was just the latest attempt by local officials to shut down the pot farms, which authorities blamed for a spike in violent crime and environmental degradation.”

Police State Watch

@greg_doucette tracks bad cop behavior, of which there is a lot, as ruthlessly as @nyttypos tracks typos at the Times, although with less effect:

Many, many examples, in many, many categories. Why don’t all the good cops turn these whackjobs in?

The Conservatory

Creative destruction:

Here is a larger version.

Groves of Academe

“Broward school field trip to a neighborhood bar and grill leads to threats” [Miami Herald]. “What happens when a School Board member takes elementary kids on a field trip to a bar and grill with a gay clientele? A Twitter storm.” • And a moral panic. Never mind that taking the children to a heterosexual Gentleman’s Club would be wrong, too; what I don’t get is why school children are being taken to a bar. Don’t they get to see enough drinking at home? More: “One of the owners of Rosie’s Bar and Grill in Wilton Manors said he’s confused what all the fuss is about — especially since children from the school have been coming to the restaurant for field trips for about 10 years. ‘It’s a great experience for the kids to come in and learn how restaurants operate,’ John Zieba said. He said the educational value is in the children not only learning math skills from the prices on the menu, but also to see what kitchen managers, chefs and servers do for a living. Everything’s just been blown way out of proportion for ridiculous purposes,’ Zieba said. Broward Public County Public Schools, in its statement, confirmed Zieba’s description about what the purpose of the field trip.” • If the kids have to go on a field trip to learn math skills off a menu, the Broward school system is really in trouble.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Harvard reserves performance of ‘Macbeth’ exclusively for ‘Black-identifying audience members’” [The Fire]. • I’ve had my race-affirming surgery. So I suppose I can go?

Guillotine Watch

Another squillionaire with a bright idea:

Apparently, Munger specified the ventilation system as well…

Class Warfare

“After Tractor Collision During Strike, John Deere Declares Accident Reports ‘Confidential'” [The Intercept]. “Following a high-profile accident involving a salaried worker filling in at a factory for a worker on strike, John Deere management is trying to prevent reports of similar incidents from reaching the general public. Company executives, concerned about “reputational risk” on social media, have instructed employees that accident reports are “confidential” and must not be shared with the public, according to a recording of one executive and a slide deck obtained by The Intercept…. ‘Today and going forward, you guys, I won’t be able to share any slides,’ factory manager Rosalind Fox told employees at John Deere’s Des Moines Works in Ankeny, Iowa, in a video meeting on October 19. ‘What we’re going to do, I’m just going to talk to you verbally here because we’ve had situations … where people are screenshotting, and it’s getting out into the media, and we don’t want to do that.’… Limiting distribution of accident reports represents a departure from usual practice. ‘They usually publish them in written form similar to that one about the tractor hitting a post,’ one salaried employee in Ankeny, who asked not to be named to protect his job, said. ‘They would normally bring up specific cases at the start-up meeting so everyone knows what happened and what corrective actions there were, at least if it happened locally.’… The Ankeny employee voiced frustration with the lack of transparency. ‘They aren’t even updating us with ‘near misses’ like they normally would for fear of it leaking out,’ the employee said…. ‘We’re soft desk jockeys getting thrown into hard labor with little training,’ the first worker said. The Waterloo employee, complaining about the lack of training, put it more bluntly: ‘We are gonna get killed.'” • So, Deere throws barely trained white collar workers onto the factory floor, then disables the safety system that would protect them to avoid public relations problems. Pretty dystopian!

“Deere worker on strike hit, killed by car in Illinois near UAW picket line” [Des Moines Register]. “Two weeks before Wednesday’s death of a striker hit by a car as he crossed a street near a picketing location at a Milan, Illinois, Deere & Co. warehouse, city officials had received a complaint that streetlights there were out, making it difficult for drivers to spot crossing pedestrians.” • If this were a third-world country, I’d really wonder about that light.

“Warrior Met Coal says picket line violence has reached ‘dangerous level’” [AL.com]. “The UMWA has released videos of incidents where the union says members were struck by vehicles crossing the picket line. In recent weeks, the company has launched its own website, Warrior Met Coal Facts, to counter what it calls ‘misleading statements’ made in the media by union representatives and striking members.”

News of the Wired

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (TH):

TH writes: “Nodding Pincushion Protea. AKA Leucospermum cordifolium. Say THAT five times fast! (sheltered by a conifer, with some neighboring Aloe Vera and agaves).” I’m generally not much on cactus, but this is a very appealing little nook.

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If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!2:00PM Water Cooler 6/8/2021

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Samuel Conner

    > The Old Guard dies. It never surrenders….

    This language reminds me a bit of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. The comparison may be apposite. The D party is led by veterans of decades of mis-, mal- and a-governance, who presumably have become extremely skilled at what they do.

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    L.A. mystery: The mourning doves stopped singing. What happened to them

    In my particular area of the NJ shore (Monmouth County) we are awash in mourning doves.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Same here in Tucson. My place is like a singles club for mourning doves AND white-winged doves.

      Why do they like it here so much? Because I don’t keep pets. There are no dogs or cats to stress them out.

      1. flora

        Hearing the mourning dove’s call assures me that all’s right with the world.

        The [morning dove’s] on the wing;
        the snail’s on the thorn:
        God’s in his heaven –
        All’s right with the world.

        -not exactly as Robert Browning. wrote his poem. / ;)

          1. flora

            Or, meme history aside, it all keeps rising up. Larks on wings, life, etc. The nihilism of tumbling down nothing-ism vs life itself. My 2 cents. / ;)

            1. flora

              And , speaking of nothing-ism, John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” poem is about that sort of focus on immediate worldly gain only sort of thinking, imo. :

              Book II

              High on a throne of royal state, which far
              Outshone the wealth or Ormus and of Ind,
              Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
              Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
              Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
              To that bad eminence; , from despair
              Thus high uplifted beyond hope,…

    2. Carolinian

      I haven’t seen many this year–may have to bring back my bird feeder and once again war against the squirrels.

      We do have hawks in varying quantities and they love a tasty mourning dove.

      1. Norberg

        Here in central VA I saw a hawk take a dove in my neighbor’s yard. It was weird to see in my small town urban setting.

    3. Helena

      All the mourning doves hang around my neighbor’s house for some reason. Nothing they like up where I am, apparently

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Has some other kind of dove or pigeon been introduced into the area and is displacing the mourning doves?

  3. Samuel Conner

    There’s an old fictional short-story about a powerful person of very small physical stature who shaped the evolution of the stature of humanity by revising building codes to progressively lower permitted ceiling heights — the draw to renters being the reduced cost of the accommodations. IIRC, it took about a century to get people down to height of Hobbits.

    The high-density dormitory reminds me of that story.

    1. Sawdust

      One thing that comes up a lot in How the Other Half Lives is the windowless rooms, mentioned whenever the reader needs to be reminded of how miserable and unwholesome tenement life is.

      Nifty microcosm of life in the 21st century, though. Megalomaniacal billionaire? Check. Total severance from nature? Check. Inevitable catastrophe from infrastructure failure? Check. Am I missing anything?

      1. Carla

        TWO entrances in the whole building? The FIRE DEPT. PASSED ON THAT?

        Well, I never wanted to live in Santa Barbara, but I didn’t know that it is actually hell.

        1. Helena

          “We are delighted to be moving forward with this transformational project.”

          Transformational. Well, I guess that says it all.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I think that the purpose of those students having no windows is so that desperate students can’t through themselves out them like those stressed out workers in Chinese factories. Now that the Coronavirus is endemic, would students not being able to have fresh air come into their rooms via windows be a good idea? Especially if a new variant emerged that blows through our present vaccines? Something, something ventilation.

      And like Carla, I too am concerned about what would happen if there was a major fire. How quickly could those 5,000 students be evacuated from that building? How are firefighters going to be able to get to those fires while facing streams of evacuating students? At 11 stories, I don’t think that present fire trucks can shoot their water that much past the first six floors or so. Will Mungo fund specialized fire fighting equipment? Or will he simply take out Dead Peasants insurance on those students.

      1. Joe Renter

        All major fire departments have ladder trucks. We have only one building over 6 stories and the fire department talked the city council into a ladder truck. Toys for the boys.
        But still only 2 only 2 exits?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I think that the purpose of those students having no windows is so that desperate students can’t through themselves out them like those stressed out workers in Chinese factories.

        I believe there is some sort of flat panel display to simulate a window. My thought, and I don’t think this is all that tin-foily, is that they’d be running some sort of experiment on the students using color, intensity, diplays (Munger had cute cartoon-like fish in mind, IIRC, but why stop there).

        1. The Rev Kev

          What, no ads or subliminal messages in those panel displays? I’d be having a curtain over that panel in case there is an inbuilt camera though.

  4. Glossolalia

    “Why don’t all the good cops turn these whackjobs in?”

    As I heard it said somewhere, cops don’t turn each other in because once you do you just may find that back up is slow to arrive when you really need it.

    1. griffen

      I think about American Gangster, the movie was released in 2007 I believe it was. Russell Crowe’s character turns in a bag of unmarked bills and they count the stash in front of other detectives. Their superior – “what are you, nuts? You can’t count this in front of the others.”

      Maybe it’s code just like in Goodfellas. Tommy gets whacked cause he went after a made guy.

  5. ambrit

    An observation about the Rapid Riser Counties maps. I noticed that there were “red counties” on one side of a state border and no corresponding “red counties” directly adjacent, but over the border. Many large cities have asociated suburbs right next door, but in a different state. Could this be an artifact of states having different standards for reporting Covid cases and or competence in so doing? This looks to be a case where methodology drives outcomes.
    Anyway. Stay safe, wherever you are.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      The large red/yellow/orange blotch in NM and AZ are all Native American-majority counties. I thought most tribes had Government medical care so I don’t understand if the Native Americans are vaccine resistant or if the feds never immunized the tribal populations,

      We deserve to burn in hell for our treatment to these (and many other) people.

      1. megrim

        Those counties are fairly well vaxxed, eg Apache County AZ (the long red county on the NM border) is 74% fully vaxxed, 87% partially vaxxed. I think the reservations actually did a good job on this one. The vaccines themselves, on the other hand? Would be interesting to see the breakdown of cases.

    2. expr

      The legend at the lower right says that the colors give the ratio
      7 day case/30 day cases so
      1. if a county has a very low base rate a small outbreak will generate more
      of a red signal than in a county with a higher base rate this could be part of the explanation for differences across state lines
      2. such an out break shows as red for 7 days then green for example NH
      went to red a week or so ago and is now green (leaf peepers?)

      1. ambrit

        If Kurosawa can do a very good Japanese version, “Throne of Blood,” then Hollywood can do a California version, (but it better be good.)

        1. flora

          Kurosawa’s movie “The Seven Samurai” is translated into the Western Hollywood movie “The Magnificent Seven.” Good movie. (both)

  6. IM Doc

    When I get angry or alarmed, I come here to write it all out – it makes me feel better to just know that I have some kind of outlet. I appreciate that greatly about this site. I think this is important today.

    I have a feeling we are in for far more serious “troubles” in the medical realm than just nurses in the hospital quitting. Pharma issues are happening – and may reach out and touch any one of you or your family. To be warned is to be prepared.

    A very pernicious problem with pharma shortages has begun to set in. For the most part, they seem to be temporary – but they are absolutely devastating to patients financially – and I want all to understand what is going on.

    This mainly seems to be happening in insulin products, immunologic agents ( as in Enbrel and Humira) and chemotherapy ( of which I personally deal very infrequently).

    I am now up to 11 patients where this has happened just this week alone. All of whom are under 30, diabetic and on insulin or with lupus and on immunomodulating drugs. All are taking their health very seriously.

    Most modern pharmaceuticals are distributed with the use of PBMs. big gigantic companies that are middlemen between pharma and consumers. They all have contracts with each product where they get a very good price on 1 particular agent in each class. For example – XYZ PBM has a great price on Lantus Insulin – so they will only distribute Lantus to their patients. If you must have the others – well – you get to pay the 700 dollars a month out of pocket – uncovered by your insurance. It is really quite a racket if some poor soul cannot tolerate the selected drug.

    We are now experiencing fairly severe shortages on insulin products and immunoproducts. Again – they seem to be temporary – but 10 days is life or death to a Type I DM. So when their refill comes up – and their particular PBM contracted insulin type is unavailable – they get to pay full freight on another in the class – often 500-700 dollars a month. The PBMs are absolutely heartless – will not budge an inch – knowing in full that the shortage is beyond the patient’s control – and also that they are completely dependent. So the patients pay the 500 dollars for an alternative – only to find out that 7 days later – their “covered” insulin is available again. But it may not be when it comes time for a refill. And because their “great” insurance (It’s a big f@#ckin’ deal! – remember that?) that Obamacare delivered to the land has often 10 or 15 thousand dollar deductibles – they get to pay the full amount.

    I have no idea why these shortages are happening. It is however constant. Again – not just insulin – the arthritis drugs are a real problem as well. My office staff is spending large chunks of time on this. Nothing like this has happened before in my career. This is new territory.

    500-700 dollars is a lot of cash for these young people – and they are struggling under the load. I have not experienced young fathers crying in my office like I have this week. Again, the “troubles” have just begun.

    We have here a pharmacy from a national corporation and also a local owned and operated pharmacy. The national chain basically tells the kids to pound sand. The local owned outfit, whose owner is in multiple civic organizations is giving them their alternative at his cost – and indeed I think he is giving it to them at his own expense as well. This fact is not going unnoticed in the community at large – and who do you think the goodwill is being bestowed upon? And who is getting the evil eye? I do not find it strange that we are suddenly seeing many prescription requests transferred to the local guy.

    Furthermore, these young under 30s, black white and Hispanic – historically in the Dems back pocket – are now repeatedly discussing their politics with me. Unsolicited. I hear “FJB” all day long now. I am very sad to report that the coddling of Big Pharma, the year of one lie after another from our medical leadership, the disaster that Obamacare actually is on the ground, the promise to “follow the science” and then clearly act more political than anything before, and the raping that our populace is getting from these PBMs is absolutely causing a sea change in where I have normally seen young people politically. Again many minorities as well. They are very angry. Right or wrong, they perceive the Dems and people like Biden and Pelosi as directly responsible. And I live in a mostly blue area. And I do not blame them for a minute. One man explained to me very kindly that he had to be discharged from his federal job because of the vaccine mandate – and reported to me with great contempt that Biden had him fired – but was going to hand out half a million dollars to all kinds of illegal immigrants. “I voted for Obama twice, Clinton and Biden – but they can suck it if they think I am voting for them again.” I simply do not engage politics in my office. If they bring it up, I listen. Clearly, the kids are indeed beginning to realize what is at stake in their future. As a life-long Dem, I am very concerned that we may be seeing another Whig implosion. The thing that bothers me is I do not see any evidence whatsoever that anyone in the Dem leadership even cares. They have anchored themselves to some very troubling things that really affect people in their daily lives – and the bill is coming due. Again – I am seeing enough tragic things being ignored and lied about that for the first time in my life, I will be voting a straight GOP ticket until the bad apples are rooted out. I do not think in my life I have ever seen a group of politicians that need some time in the wilderness more urgently.

    1. Helena

      So sorry you have to be immersed in this constantly.
      I am fortunate in that I can be a recluse. When I go out to shop, I ride one of two buses–on one, the driver is completely with me on ventilation. On the other, the driver keeps her window cracked about 6 inches, and complains when I open the vent windows (invariably closed when I get on) that have signs on them to keep them open because the other riders ‘won’t like it.’ I pointed out to her it was hypocritical of her not to let me open windows for ventilation when she keeps hers open. Another rider told me to “have some respect” and I said, “I have respect for the signs on 5 of the vent windows saying to keep them open.”
      What is it with these people. It’s still 70 degrees on the bus, even with the windows open.

    2. madarka

      I’m in the Caribbean and I’ve been hearing and seeing reports of shortages of some generic drugs (painkillers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, antacids, vitamins) in public pharmacies and price increases in private ones. It may be the worldwide shipping snafu causing these issues…

    3. Cocomaan

      As a life-long Dem, I am very concerned that we may be seeing another Whig implosion.

      With red states now suing to protect workers from vaccine mandates, we already have a party switch where the Conservative party seems interested in workers rights more than the progressive party.

      The younger generations coming up are going to be conservative in a way we have yet to understand

    4. albrt

      Thanks for the warning Doc.

      I am 58. I don’t always vote for the democrats because they have been terrible for a long time, but I have never voted for a republican at the federal level. At this point I am 90% on board with voting a straight republican ticket next year. One of the two current parties has to disappear and be replaced if we are ever going to have a meaningful choice again.

      The republicans probably won’t disappear because the democrats have already shown they will tank an election and do whatever else it takes to rehabilitate the failed republicans like they did in 2009-2010. So I guess we will find out soon whether the republicans will return the favor. Somehow I doubt it.

      1. rowlf

        Same-ish age. Having been a labor union member and organizer for 25 years I want to see the Democratic party extinguished first for thinking unions belong on their plantation, then we can move on to wiping out the Republican party. Neither party represents the voters in real life.

        I have “Our Democracy” hanging on the lower left side.

      2. Abelard Lindsey

        If the Democrats implode and the Republicans become a dominant party (like LDP in Japan), the same thing will happen as previous times in our history. The Republicans will split apart and two new parties will emerge. As a life-long Republican voter, I consider this to be the best scenario of all. I feel jaundiced about the Republicans as you feel about the Democrats (I especially hated them during Bush 43’s war on terrorism). Both parties really need go away because both of them are corrupt.

    5. flora

      re: I come here to write it all out
      I’m thankful that you do come here to do the critical thinking and commenting wrt what the MSM “official narrative” broadcasts. Thank you.

      I have a feeling we are in for far more serious “troubles” in the medical realm than just nurses in the hospital quitting. Pharma issues are happening

      Thank you again for remarking on something I’ve worried about for some time. Good to know I’m not alone in my thinking. When did critical thinking become, I don’t know, considered nonsense by the MSM?

      Thanks again for your comment(s).

    6. Watt4Bob

      This is the sort of situation that needs to be widely exposed to the public.

      You are doing a great service by bringing this problem to our attention.

      I hope that the NC team can write this up and get it some wider attention, and maybe some action.

      Here in Minnesota we had a politician leading bus trips to Canada in order to help seniors get lower cost drugs. Because it made the evening news, that effort helped spread the understanding of the problems faced by low income folks having to choose between paying the rent and having their meds.

      I’ve never heard of the particular problem you describe, it sounds like a gigantic scandal going unnoticed.

      I hope not for long.

    7. Arizona Slim

      IM Doc, would you please write a book?

      Pretty please? With a cherry on top and extra ice cream on the side?

      I’d be up for buying autographed copies for me and my formerly liberal but rapidly turning right wing friends.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Michael Leunig is a famed local cartoonist here in Oz and he was sacked over this cartoon. They would have loved the anti-China bit but the vaccination criticism in that panel was a bridge too far for our PMCs. Resistance is futile!

        1. ambrit

          I keep seeing the “Vaxx True Believer Syndrome” everywhere I look now. Not just that vaxxing helps keep the disease less dangerous to the vaxee, but the outright lie of “sterilizing immunity.”
          This looks like a prime example of “The Big Lie” in action.
          Do the elites really think that they will be able to evade responsibility for the eventual disaster? Or do they not care?

    8. antidlc


      Mark Cuban, Drug Czar: Mavs Owner Is Launching an Online Pharmacy to Help Solve Skyrocketing Prescription Costs

      The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company is building an $11M, 22,000SF drug manufacturing plant in Dallas’ Deep Ellum, aiming to “disrupt and disable big pharma.” The startup plans to launch an online pharmacy selling 100 of the most commonly prescribed generic prescription drugs at a 15 percent markup plus a $3 dispensing fee.

      “Our only goal is to push down the pricing of drugs for every American,” the company pledges.

      It’s every entrepreneur’s dream: You send Mark Cuban an email out of the blue, pitching an idea that could change an industry. Then he not only replies—he says yes, makes you CEO, and a factory is built to make it all happen.

      It’s no dream. It’s actually happening to Alex Oshmyansky, a Dallas radiologist who had grown frustrated by the current system, where companies called pharmacy-benefit managers (PBMs) manage drug benefits for employers, health insurers, Medicare Part D prescription plans, and other payers.

    9. petal

      IM Doc, my friends with the core facility that has multiple freezers heard from the hospital’s procurement folks who had tracked down the airgas manager. “He said there is no shortage of product(LN2) but a shortage of drivers for bulk tank deliveries.”
      The procurement folks thanked my friends for bringing it to their attention and said they will keep an eye on the situation. I hope I don’t look too much like an idiot/boy that cried wolf.

      1. IM Doc

        We still have not received any – and there is no date when it can be delivered. The “tin foil” issue that I brought up was indeed about trucking – apparently, there are very specific training guidelines for these types of products and very specific trucks and there are just no drivers available. There was more “colorful” commentary but again I cannot confirm at this time.

        I am in a remote area – that is certainly part of the problem. But the fact we are having these troubles with vital supplies even here should be an early warning indicator that we have issues as a society. The system has thrown a rod – and what used to be reliable no longer is. Fascinating times.

        Our supplier is trying very hard to get the now very elevated cost of the transport of these gases passed onto the final user – and there is just no way that is economically feasible in our area. And then another wrinkle at least here is the actual company that puts it in the cans is having trouble getting the equipment and other needs transported to their facility. “We have not had the ability in about a month”. So they do not even have product to send. So we have supply chain problems – and we have delivery chain problems. It seems like everything has a screw loose right now. I do also have multiple patients who are now on emergency oxygen compressors – because the cans of oxygen are no longer available reliably in our area – and I have just not had the time to figure out why that is suddenly happening. The compressor approach is much more expensive and I have no idea how long the insurance companies are going to be willing to pay.

        As far as the skin lesions and the liqiud nitrogen, looks like it is back to the old clip them off and put in a stitch. So much more time consuming that it is hardly done anymore.

        I am seriously not understanding what happened – it is like all the truck drivers just POOF disappeared.

        1. petal

          I hear ya and agree with what you’ve said. If I get anymore ska, I’ll let you know. We’re rural, too, but in NE. A coworker said “everything is disintegrating” and I’m exhausted from dealing with supply chain problems and trying to keep the lab going. It’s getting impossible to do end runs. The price of LN2 has gone up by a lot but I’m too afraid to look. My boss is notorious for changing his mind often about experiments, and planning experiments on the fly, and he doesn’t quite understand we can’t operate like that anymore. I can’t get stuff. It’s not like it used to be.

        2. Thistlebreath

          I can only offer a data point that may shed some light on driver “shortages.”

          Port of Los Angeles container truck drivers are now ‘independent contractors’ who are paid on a piecework basis. They are not paid until they have a load hooked on. All their waiting is the drivers’ cost.

          New drivers sign on, work a week or two during which they spend much of their days idling waiting to be loaded, deliver and then return. At the end of week #1, they total up expenses vs. revenue. Many quit soon after.

          Biden is now hinting that he will bring in the California National Guard to “relieve pressure” on the trucking bottleneck. God forbid that unions could prevail.

          The latest press on union involvement: https://www.thetrucker.com/trucking-news/the-nation/fired-truckers-reinstated-after-federal-ruling

          IMHO, the ‘shortage’ of drivers boils down to neoliberal hypocrisy about ‘supporting unions’ and what the FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) lobby wants in return for their ‘campaign contributions.’

          It won’t take long to do an internet search about transpo/unions issues. See what comes up.

      2. ambrit

        Sorry to barge in here, but the Airgas manager’s “explanation” fails on one basic issue.
        The “availability” of anything is measured at the point of use.
        Who cares if a product is sitting idle off in some corner when it is needed somewhere else? To take your lab as an example, will the supercooled samples agree to stay frozen if they are ‘told’ that coolant is available, just not where said samples can avail themselves of the product? I think not.
        That Airgas manager is thinking like an economist; he is ‘assuming’ some truck drivers.
        Indeed, the manager, and, I fear, your in-house procurement cadre, are dabbling in some Magical Reality thinking. Something similar to the Corporate thinking I posited in my reply to your comment of the other day.
        Good luck with it!

        1. petal

          I agree. Nothing I can do about it, and I can’t say anything more than I have. Have even been worried about how much I already said there. Just have to sit back and let the chips fall now. I tried. He “assured” the procurement folks “that if there was any indication of a looming shortage that would affect our supply he’d let them know”. sigh. Nothing to see here, move along, yeah?

    10. Felix_47

      The British NHS has its faults much of which relate to underfunding. On the other hand they have had 70 years to make mistakes and correct them. That would be an easy model to transition to because of the prior experience. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. That we could not step into a national system in an epidemic like this says a lot. If government is going to fund medical care and it is going to be a government funded human right I cannot understand how it can continue with fee for service or private profit pharma.

    11. Objective Ace

      >I have no idea why these shortages are happening

      From an Econ 101 framework, this is exactly what we would expect under monopolies if the government does not intervene. Maybe it is just supply chain issues, or maybe that’s just cover to act like monopolies should be expected to act

      1. The Rev Kev

        Monopolies – or dominant middlemen? What would happen if all these middlemen were put out of business? You would go back to the way that it use to be but this time with much more efficient communications and the like. I would imagine that when those middlemen first appeared, it was a matter of convenience to use them but now they have a strangle hold of the supply bottleneck with a lack of transparency added in. For all we know, there is a driver shortage because those middlemen were demanding that those drivers take a pay cut. Who knows?

    12. flora

      Durst I think these shortages are by design in order to create scarcities that then drive up prices because market “supply and demand”? Think Enron’s deliberately created natural gas shortages/energy shortages and the following CA natural gas “shortage” price spikes. “F’ing grandma Millie”, as one trader is recorded saying. No, no, such thoughts of deliberately creating shortages for price gains would be foily. Right?…

    13. Skip Intro

      It is a good thing PBMs and pharma suppliers would never emulate Enron and the energy traders and collude to create shortages that drive prices, and their cut thereof, up. That would be wrong.

    14. Huey Long

      38 y/o union worker here. I refuse to vote for anybody but a socialist or a communist.

      Who else is going to stand up for workers BUT a stone jawed Stalinist?

      I’m sick of the “haha you have nowhere else to turn non-college deplorable” schtick from the dems and the “vote for us or the dems are gonna make your son wear a dress” culture war crap from the GOP. Why bother trudging to the polls and standing in line to cast a vote that doesn’t matter?

        1. ambrit

          Er, I agree with you about Stalin, but, we now have our own “Uncle Creepy” Joe.
          Man, I really do miss the days of the Menshevik Government.

          1. flora

            Oh, right, the reference to Stalin’s then public nickname “Uncle Joe” isn’t understood by a lot of people today. Thanks.

            1. ambrit

              Sorry if I got a bit out “in the weeds” there. I knew you would catch the reference. That’s good enough for me. I believe I was thinking more about modifying Biden’s nickname from plain “Creepy” Joe, to “Uncle Creepy” Joe. Somehow, the latter monicker feels much more slimy and transgressive.

    15. jonboinAR

      The Dems are anchored to their donors, period. There’s no reason for that to change as long as we, the hoi polloi, continue to vote for them.

    16. VietnamVet

      IM Doc

      Voting Republican is not a choice for me. Because of the crazy 2003 Iraq invasion, I vowed never again to vote for one. A promise I’ve kept. Thanks to the pandemic debacle and the pointless non-scientific vaccine mandates firing workers, I will not vote for the incumbent Democrats ever again. I vote because it is the only power I have. In the Democrat primaries it’s for progressives if I have a chance. The last two Presidential elections I’ve voted Green. But I am leaving more and more unmarked circles.

      Corporate media does not mentioned it but the Democrats are the globalist party. President Barrack Obama went to school in Indonesia and VP Kamala Harris in Canada. This widens one view but it is unavoidable that global caste prejudices become ingrained as they climbed the ladder of success. Both could care less about working Americans. They are private-jet Insiders.

      Nobody is telling them that firing good workers to increase Pharmaceutical profits, is a sure way to get voted out of power, at best. Without truckers logistics fails. If electricity cuts off so does digital currency and surveillance. If natural gas is unaffordable or interrupted, people freeze like Texas last winter. An energy – food supply collapse assures more January 6th insurrections until the 50 states secede. Then perhaps some regions of North America will work better but others will not.

    17. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I do not think in my life I have ever seen a group of politicians that need some time in the wilderness more urgently.

      Their reaction to Trump was not to learn and display adaptability, but to declare a collective “state of exception.” (From that perspective, there’s a straight line from RussiaGate to vaccine mandates for these vaccines.) Which we have been in since 2016 and there’s no sign of it letting up. I keep hearing talk of a “reckoning” from the woke and woke-adjacent for American’s long history of racism — never for wage exploitation, naturally — but I don’t think they have any idea that a reckoning might be coming for them.

    18. jr

      I’ve started to stockpile my anti-psychotics but I don’t have a lot of leeway on my mood stabilizers. There are going to be big problems when people’s psycho meds dry up.

    19. Randall Flagg

      Thanks to whoever created copy and paste IM Doc’s so I can email these comments to myself!!

  7. petal

    Lambert, the Boston Herald reported this morning that MA is up to 406,000 booster shots given. They’ve been keeping tabs on the booster # the last 2 or 3 weeks.

    And for the undersupplied housing map, the Upper Valley of NH and VT should be coloured in red for severely undersupplied. I heard that more than 10,000 new units were needed. Things are really bad up here for housing supply. And I’m not surprised PE wasn’t mentioned. Shhh, it’s a secret.

    Have a good weekend, everyone.

  8. Helena

    “If the kids have to go on a field trip to learn math skills off a menu, the Broward school system is really in trouble.”

    Yes, but. If these chidren are to learn to pilot the inevitable spaceships they will be incarcerated on after Earth’s demise, this is essential.

    Bistromathics is the most powerful computational force known to parascience. A major step up from the Infinite Improbability Drive, Bistromathics is a way of understanding the behavior of numbers. Just as Einstein observed that time was not an absolute, but depended on the observer’s movement through space, so it was realised that numbers are not absolute, but depend on the observer’s movement in restaurants.


    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      We loved doing school visits to the local canning factory. You got a free empty sardine tin at the end! And it was a backbone of the local economy.

      I didn’t read the article because I wanna hope there’s a sensible small business votech going on out there. After visisting the local funky place that’s still around, they should visit a local Olive Garden for contrast. “How do you want to live your life, kid?”

      1. Michael Ismoe

        It’s much more likely that the restaurant owner was just testing these 7 year old kids to find out which of them had the aptitude to work the weekend shift.

        It’s Florida. Child Labor Laws are optional.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > We loved doing school visits to the local canning factory.

        When I was a kid, we toured an ice cream plant at the local ag school. It was great!

        But we didn’t go to a bar, and we didn’t go to an “adult” bar (whether “Gentleman’s Club” or lesbian bar).

        The whole thing sounds in practice pretty innocuous (I like that the bar printed up Bowdlerized menus for the kids) but it’s also a public relations time-bomb for all that, plus a bad idea in principle. What were they thinking?

        1. ambrit

          “They” were thinking that their world view is “the” world view.
          There is the famous ‘Axiom of Advertising’ to the effect of : Two things sell; Sex and Death. Children are the intersection of both of those Terran human psychological bedrock issues. Mess with the children and you awaken truly frightening beasties in the hearts of Mom and Dad alike.

  9. Soredemos

    Re: police puppycide. This one is especially bad: https://www.reddit.com/r/PublicFreakout/comments/pbdihw/loveland_pd_shoots_familys_dog_without_warning/

    I’m getting really tired of cops being a. cowards, and b. clueless about dogs. In so many of these cases, the cop’s excuse is ‘he charged up to me, I didn’t know he wasn’t dangerous’. You mean he was being a dog? 99/100 nothing will happen, but these idiots first reflex is always to shoot. As for the 1/100 time, well, tough luck. You picked a potentially dangerous job. Eat the bite and move on.

    These guys get to walk around in kevlar with Batman utility belts of weapons, yet they act like they’re perpetually vulnerable victims.

    1. Anthony Stegman

      Lots of cops are recruited from the military. The military frequently (perhaps most often) kills unarmed civilians. No surprise at all that cops kill dogs and other living beings. That’s what they do!

      1. Angie Neer

        I heard a radio commentary a while back from a former soldier who had gone into police work after returning from Afghanistan. Just a hazily-remembered anecdote for me, unfortunately, I wish I could cite it, but he made a convincing claim that the rules of engagement were stricter in the military (in the place and time where he served). He made the point that cops (of which he was one) typically have way more autonomy and less oversight than soldiers.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You’re right about that point. There was a police raid once which led to a totally unnecessary death and they had a soldier review the police footage of that raid. He railed about the lack of preparations, sloppy procedures and amateur hour methods of that police raid. He said that in the combat zones that he served in, such behaviour would never be tolerated as it put everybody at risk. He had a point. Saw another police raid reconstructed a year or two ago and you had police blindly shooting off rounds at their “suspect” not realizing that there were other police on the other side of those thin walls.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I remember hearing a public radio program about police affairs and reforms and such. They were interviewing a police chief ( I forget who or from where) who was claimed to have lowered police violence and raised community respect. He said that he prefers some military background people because they are more disciplined and less likely to shoot or panic or be cowardly or etc. than some civilian cop warrior wannabes.

        And I too have heard/read that the military active battlespace rules of engagement are stricter than the nearly-no-rules of engagement that Blue Privilege officers are gifted with.

        I wonder how much ” The military frequently (perhaps most often) kills unarmed civilians. No surprise at all that cops kill dogs and other living beings. That’s what they do!” rhetoric is simply antisoldieritic culture-racist antisoldierite bigotry, derived from the spiritual pollution imported into the left from Quakers, Pacifists, intellectual snobs and such.

        1. Soredemos

          Yeah, okay, different clue.

          Disliking people whose job is to murder for money is an entirely sensible position.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Lots of cops are recruited from the military

        Being from the military should have been a disqualification for police work, not a qualification. Unless you view the local, non-elite population as “hostiles,” of course.

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Boosters

    I had my booster today in Virginia. Ugh. Its not as bad as my second dose, but I have limited energy. There was one person ahead of me getting a booster, but several people in the little area at the CVS with people in line at the check in when I left. Before I checked in, the pharmacy techs said it was going to get busy and that it would be “like Tuesday”.

    I did get a flu shot at the start of the month, and the woman who couldn’t wear a mask waiting at the CVS asked if I had to get a Covid vaccine too.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Got my Moderna booster in Chicago about three hours ago. So far completely uneventful. Of course, the Moderna booster is a half dose. But best of all my old CVS is by far the cleanest, most organized, fully staffed pharmacy I have seen in some time. And my gosh, same gal behind the counter as before I left the state five years ago. She remembered me too. I saw a few empty shelves (no large garbage bags) and snagged some toilet paper and melatonin because of all the talk of shortages, but all in all the place seemed like a beacon of civilization. Of course I was wearing my Gata mask so wasn’t stressing about the indoor air thing.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > my old CVS is by far the cleanest, most organized, fully staffed pharmacy I have seen in some time. And my gosh, same gal behind the counter as before I left the state five years ago.

        It can happen! Flora comments elsewhere today on “the seductive draw to surrender to hopelessness,” and this sort of experience — something that actually works, and works well — is an antidote to that.

        NOTE Gata mask (Amazon reviews; sorry!). Do you find that the “dishwasher safe” claim is true?

  11. Helena

    exclusively for ‘Black-identifying audience members’

    I am having trouble, a lot of trouble, with using Shakespeare in this way. So, can these ‘black-identifying’ people attend any of the other Shakepeare plays, or do you have to be f*cking Danish, or Italian, or…you know, I guess that lets me out because I do not ‘identify’ as any of the ehtnic groups in any of his plays. Jeez, I’m disappointed.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Did some equivalent of the Black Students Union come up with that demand?

      Or did the well-paid Harvard personnel come up with plan? All by themselves without even asking the Black Students Union first?

  12. Jason Boxman

    Remember when Trump wanted to do infrastructure, and Democrats weren’t all that interested?

    Abigail Spanberger, whose state has a high-stakes gubernatorial showdown Tuesday that Democrats were hoping to boost with the infrastructure vote. ‘Because people choose to be obstructionists, we’re not delivering these things to my state or to the rest of the country,’ the swing-district Democrat added. ‘I guess we’ll just wait because apparently failing roads and bridges can just wait in the minds of some people.’

    How short memory can be!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Because people choose to be obstructionists

      Because liberal Democrats can’t lie and d*ck around with “progressives” anymore….

      None of this is hard. All the leadership had to do was pass a single ginormous reconciliation bill. Using the whinging of CIA Democrats like Spanberger and corrupt hacks like Gottheimer as a pretext, the leadership broke the single bill into two parts (BIF and BBB), telling CPC that both bills would pass at the same time. The leadership then tried to renege on that and pass BIF alone, but CPC denied them the votes. Then the leadership, using the whining of Manchin and Sinema as a pretext, gutted BBB from their original top line of $3.5T to $1.75T (a figure Biden had clearly wanted all along). And then they tried to get the CPC to buy into some bullet points (the “framework”) instead of an actual text. Again, the CPC denied them the votes. And here we are.

      All this would have been very simple if the liberal Democrat leadership were agreement-capable, but their own actions say they are not. And now they get all huffy because their bluff got called and they’re shown to be untrustworthy. Boo hoo. Very clarifying.

      As I said, I think that the combination of a strong center of “progressive” (left) power and the defenestration of the current Democrat leadership would net out more positive than the working class over time than all this incremental crap, which is sure to get watered down further in the implementation.

      Hence, I really do think that the CPC should have taken a page from the Freedom Caucus (40+ members) and burned it all down. A system that can’t even deliver dental for working people isn’t worth saving. But now that they’ve agreed to the BBB “in principle,” I don’t see how that’s possible.

      1. Robert Gray

        > … and the defenestration of the current Democrat leadership …

        Defenestration really is such a lovely word. :-)

  13. Cat Burglar

    Just got back from a month in Inyo County, the rapid riser covid hotspot in California.

    Indoor masking at food stores was unusual, maybe around 10% of shoppers. At one of the locally-owned stores, the staff does not wear masks. They didn’t wear masks in the local climbing store either. Compliance last year during the first waves was much better, though there was a very large fraction “nose exposed” maskers — retired people especially. Liberal-appearing outdoor sports types seemed no more likely to mask than any other group. The County Public Health Officer just ordered masking in all public indoor places, effective today.

    Inyo County was under smoke for much of the summer, but that cleared up at the beginning of October. US 395 runs right through Inyo, connecting LA to Reno. The county lives on tourism: travelers going to Reno, skiers heading to Mammoth Mountain, fishing, and outdoor sports. Lots of retirees live there, lots of ex-military. The county votes 60/40 Republican/Democrat (Sanders won the last Democrat presidential primary). Local school board meetings have been quite fractious over masking.

    1. JBird4049

      I have no knowledge of any California specific maps of Covid deaths, but California is divided between the metropolitan Blue inner areas along the coast and the Red outer areas in the peripheral forests, hills, the central valley, and mountains.

      It’s possible that the income disparity is greatest north of San Francisco in the Wine Country between the wine families, then vacation mansions’ owners and the farm workers, the working class, and the homeless or camper owners. The glorious First World days of California dreaming ended decades ago. This is one of the reasons why I have no sympathy for the vineyard owners.

      Any disparity (or causes) in Covid or other deaths in Blue/Red or coastal/fly-over divides is going to be mimic’d by ostensibly Liberal, Blue state California. Also, travelers, particular via plane, would be common in the wealthy families of the Red areas. Driving in from LAX, SFO, or OAK after landing would only be two, maybe three, hours after after landing, which is almost nothing in California. (Trust me. After a Los Angeles or a Bay Area worker’s daily commute, it is almost short.)

    2. Duke of Prunes

      Spent this past week in SoCal – Palm Springs and San Diego mostly – and saw very few masks being worn. Yet, these areas are not rapid risers. I believe there’s much more to it than masking…

      The ordinance seems to be that the unvaccinated need not wear a mask so it seemed to my wife and I that we were getting the stink eye from some when we wore ours (i.e. they assumed we were dirty stinkin’ anti-vaxxers since we wore our masks). Maybe it was in my head, but we both came to this conclusion independently.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>they assumed we were dirty stinkin’ anti-vaxxers since we wore our masks

        Yes, I know, I know, I keep saying variation of this, but wearing a mask and being vaccinated together must be obvious to anyone with a brain. That the vaccine is not sterilizing or 100% protective is also easy to find out. Wearing any kind of a mask is easy and has some positive effect.

        Making people uncomfortable doing the right thing is insane. Do people want the pandemic to continue?

        Are people more concerned with being tribal than being alive (never mind about harming loved ones or strangers)?

      2. Objective Ace

        I find that double masking makes people think you’re simply a loony hypochondriac rather then an anti-vaxxer. I guess they still judge you, but in a more compassionate less vindictive way

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Just got back from a month in Inyo County, the rapid riser covid hotspot in California.

      Once again, the NC commentariat is the best commentariat.

      * * *

      > The county lives on tourism

      Aha! Presumably regional, not international, and arriving by car?

      1. Cat Burglar

        Water leaves Inyo County for Los Angeles (hence no agriculture) via the LA Aqueduct; tourists arrive by car.

      2. Cat Burglar

        Most of the tourism is regional, coming up from LA. Mainly in the summer, a small segment of travelers are international, on their way north to Yosemite. A fraction of the international tourists are climbers, and when the Owens Valley cools off in the autumn, they climb in the Owens Gorge and camp nearby, right outside the largest town, Bishop.

  14. drumlin woodchuckles

    Police puppycide: ” Why don’t all the good cops turn these whackjobs in? ”

    Because any good cop who turns a whackjob in will find hermself denied backup when he/she calls for backup, or be set up for on-the-job death in any one of many other ways. And in the meantime will be harrassed and persecuted, not promoted, demoted if possible, etc. etc.

    The Blue Mafia runs the police departments and enforces its Blue Code of Silence. Good cops are taught this iron law very fast.

    Crushing and abolishing the Blue Mafia Police Unions might be a first step in reducing the amount of Police puppycide.

  15. Lou Anton

    Describing the crows as ‘watchful’ is perfect. My small dog loves to bark and run at every bird he sees…except the crows. He knows not to mess with the crows.

    1. Helena

      My cats learned not to mess with Mockingbirds also, I saw one of my cats get pecked in the head on the fly.

    2. Eustachedesaintpierre

      One clear Autumn evening I was out back working on something & noticed that the crows who lived in a clump of mainly towering beech tress about a 100 yards back of the farm we rented a house on, were kicking up a major fuss while flying around in chaotic circles, before they all settled down up in the top branches. Then the show began as thousands of starlings appeared doing that sky dance thing, sometimes feet away from those same treetops while I & the crows just sat & took that magic in..

  16. Kevin

    First off, there is no such thing as an “amateur architect”. Although Munger has done this before at University of Michigan. I guess if you donate enough you get to play architect.

    Before I got my degree, I spent 3 years in an “Interior Architecture” program back in ‘85. The program focused exclusively on interiors; specifically, how people function in interior spaces and the space required. Architecture had become all about the “look”; the façade of buildings and this program sought to fix that. The Architectural Graphics Standard was our bible then and for many years thereafter. I still have mine.

    There’s so much wrong here. 4,500 students and two entrances? Either there are no building codes in Santa Barbara or they are following “amateur codes”. I guess it doesn’t matter too much, it’s California, they never have fires. No windows? No Couches? Airplanes may be just as cramped as this, but at least they have more creature comforts. This what happens when the people you design for are just “problems to be solved” and as opposed to living breathing human beings.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If prospective students avoid this dormitory, the University will appease Mr. Munger by closing all its other dormitories and then by trying to forbid students from living outside Stalag Munger.

      At which point, the only way prospective students can stay safe is to shun Stalag Munger University altogether so they can’t be forced to live in Stalag Munger.

      1. JBird4049

        California has plenty of fire and earthquake codes, fairly good ones IIRC, but maybe some special favors were done? Or a loophole found? Even if there were only? two entrances, there should be multiple extra emergency exits. Almost all safety codes in the United States were created and upgraded after a(nother) mass casualty event and most of those make excellent nightmare fuel from the reading. But enforcement is always the problem, isn’t?

        Also, if the fire code was mucked up, what about the earthquake code? Santa Barbara is in earthquake country.

      2. Felix_47

        My daughters were in the UCs and I think the limited door access relates to security. That was my impression on a campus visit. The mentally ill, the homeless, the drug addled seem to gravitate to open campuses like Berkeley, UCLA and presumably UCSB. I vote for controlled access until we solve the drug and violence problems.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          You can control access to a decent dormitory with windows for every student. You don’t need to build a big windowless stalag tower to control access. Stalag Munger appears to be an expression of sadistic delight in offering students a pure windowless-prion setting to exist in.

          Will the dogs eat the dogsh*t? Time will tell.

    2. Josef K

      Thanks for the insights.

      These are clean isolation cells. The actual architect who resigned says it all. As if a sociopathic billionaire (the only kind) would design anything suitable for humans.

      Back in the day I’d crash at the infamous Chungking Mansions in Kowloon when passing through Hong Kong. More than once I stayed in a tiny windowless room for a night or two. I recall lying in my single bed at night, imagining my position in the upper middle of this ginormous decaying fire trap of a structure. Fun times.

  17. Baby Gerald

    Re: “Deere worker on strike hit, killed by car in Illinois near UAW picket line” … • If this were a third-world country, I’d really wonder about that light.

    What, exactly, differentiates us from a second- or third-world country, again? Is it based purely on GDP? If so, one might argue that any country that expends the vast proportion of its GDP on health care and ‘defense spending’ like we do with the results we receive, shouldn’t be making any claims on being a ‘first-world’ country.

    And speaking of which, while the terms ‘first-world’ and ‘third-world’ are pretty common in our vernacular, what exactly defines a ‘second-world’ country? Is that just a 3rd-world country with a bigger GDP?

    Perhaps these rankings are based on a country’s exploitative potential on a global scale. In that case, the US is a first-world country par excellence.

    1. albrt

      I think the second world was the communist bloc.

      These days the only way the U.S. is not a third world country is if the U.S. defines the terms.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > What, exactly, differentiates us from a second- or third-world country, again?

      That was my (ironic) point. (In fact, I don’t take the First World/Second World/Third World distinction seriously. We could talk about imperial core and periphery, of course, even if both core and periphery are multi-polar, and as long as we make urban China part of the core).

      1. Paul Beard

        I can’t find a reference just now but in older sources I have seen the expression was based on old world, new world, third world.

    3. BlakeFelix

      No, IIRC oddly first world is US aligned in the cold war, second world is Soviet aligned, and third world is unaligned. But people use third world to mean undeveloped, and I don’t even know how you tell if people are aligned with the USSR now. Maybe they have time machines and talk like Boris and Natasha? The whole framework doesn’t make much sense IMO.

  18. Lou Anton

    Looks like a few flare-ups in Alabama. No really big towns in that area from what I can tell, but does look like Birmingham (right in the middle of the state) is being surrounded.

    1. jo6pac

      we are going to be seeing more of this, homeless are the most hated minority in America.

      Sadly this very true

    2. ambrit

      I’d say that the homeless are the most easily marginalized minority. That comes first. Then comes the Two Minutes Hate, [bought to you by our sponsers.]

  19. Raymond Sim

    Can any readers point me to a map that aggregates this data and keeps it updated?

    I’ve got this:


    I gave up trying to find data for the whole state in one place.

    I’ve been meaning to post something about the weirdness in our local neighborhood wastewater tracking data in relation to the whole-city data that’s part of the SCAN project above. I’m inclined to regard SCA N as more reliable.

  20. Raymond Sim

    … Inyo County is the hottest hot spot county …

    Several low population counties, Inyo, Plumas and Mariposa most strikingly, have seen very sharp increases. In some cases I suspect population dislocation due to the fires as a contributer.

    California’s official statistics have, from very early on in the pandemic exhibited a lot of artifacty-looking events with a ‘things look less bad’ bias. All too often they are followed by rather shocking spikes. At the end of last week (My wife will vouch for me.) I was noticing an every-single-county trend of case numbers lower than I anticipated. I don’t even bother looking to see if there’s an excuse for the latest data glitch anymore.

    1. JBird4049

      There cannot be much extra housing of any kind up there, so I guess more forest living, and I don’t mean in a cabin, and just what does that say about my state? Damn it.

      1. Darthbobber

        The Politico piece chockfulla “moderate” bile is just precious.
        “This time they have a Biden-blessed deal.” They had that at 3.5 trillion. So they know what a Biden-blessed deal is worth. And still no public sign-off from Manchin/Sinema.

        And they had-months ago-“commitments” from Pelosi and Biden that the infrastructure package would NOT be moved through separately.

        Spanberger with the infrastructure whinging is priceless, as the only way the infrastructure package would be in jeopardy is if there’s yet more bad faith goalpost moving in the incredible shrinking package.

        Lamb is equally amusing with the blather about how “we” have to deliver on what the party promised when he, like most of the other “moderates”, has been busily pushing to remove various things the party promised from the legislation. He even chimed in to the effect that the minimum wage proposal was way too high.

        To the extent that this is a public s***tshow, that’s down to the leadership. In addition to clearly exerting no pressure on the reactionaries, they’ve now twice tried to bluff the train out of the station.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I hope the DemProgs reject both bills. I hope the DemParty ejects them from the Party. When they leave the Party, I hope they take all their supporters with them.

          The Democratic Party needs to be systematically exterminated from existence.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I know we don’t like Tucker Carlson or Fox News around here. But I remember a program where he put the finger precisely on Sanders’s exact problem, disability, defficiency, whatever. And of course Tuckie-poo was nasty and mocking about it, but still, he raised the real question and exposed the real weakness. And I don’t think it was a weakness of “selling out”. I think it is a lack of necessary hatred and ruthlessness and heartlessness toward targets which deserve heartlessness which Sanders suffers from.

      The segment is titled:
      Tucker Carlson: Bernie Sanders is losing because he’s weak. He may be the lamest revolutionary ever

      Here is the link.

      ( Now . . . Sanders’s apparent weakness may well be defensible in that he and others learned very well the lessons of the Kennedy/King/X/Kennedy assassins and assassination-arrangers getting away with it and in fact never even being exposed or identified. The Wellstone lesson was even more recent. That could make any reformationary cautious).

      1. Helena

        Yes, that ‘assasination’ thing has crossed my mind more than once. He probably gets little visits in elevators and stairwells. The limo rides are too obvious these days.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Sanders’s apparent weakness

        As I said at the time, when Sanders conceded in the 2020 primary, he should have immediately swung his apparatus, including the fund-raising, to full-throated support for the strikewave then starting to crest, instead of the pissant charity focus they ended up with.* I think his supporters would have been ecstatic. Things would be very different today if he had.

        I think what Flora calls the “seductive draw” of electoralism and agreementism + a conviction that the Senate Budget Committee would have more leverage than it did was the issue for Sanders. Cartoonishly: I would have liked Sanders to be a Bolshevik. He’s a Menshevik.

        NOTE * “That would have been against the law, FEC regulations, etc.” Fine, so let somebody sue. Anyhow, Sanders had enough money to figure out how to get this done. A lot of the careerists would have left. Good riddance!

        1. Late Introvert

          Lambert strikes again with a truth bomb. I still support Bernie in the Senate because what else do we have on the left, but this stings. Bernie, WTF?

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Terry McAuliffe Hires Controversial Ex-Clinton Lawyer Marc Elias”

    When you are a made man, you are always protected and taken care of.

  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is yet another exchange from the anti-work subreddit. This time it is some unhappy small business people expressing their feelings about the behavior of workers in this workers-have-a-choice environment.


    I spotted an interesting couple sentences in the reply to the first posting. ” this, the small business owners who have ones similar to mine ( dog walking and pet sitting) where we can only charge so much, we ARE under attack.”

    From a fisheye-lens point of view, one particular sentence fragment points to a larger problem beyond just the business and the worker. That fragment is . . . ” where we can only charge so much” . If paying any more than this business is paying would bankrupt the business, then this business needs to take in more money than this business is taking in. And that means charging the clients more than the business is currently charging. But would the clients pay more than they are already paying? What if the business owner explained the problem to the clients and showed them the books to show how the higher priceload of more money would go to higher wages to the workers? Would the clients care? Would they care enough to pay more?

    People who believe that small and/or narrow margin businesses should pay more should be willing to pay the businesses more to pay the workers more. Businesses have to charge a fair wage price if they are going to be able to charge a fair price wage. Are clients and customers who support ” good wages” in theory prepared to pay a good wage price in fact?

    1. ambrit

      A lot of those “service” businesses are going to go out of business soon. With the disappearance of the American Middle Class now just about done, there is a growing realization among the aspirational class that they are not able to afford an upper class style of life. They are going to have to walk their own dogs.

          1. Helena

            And those there have realized that friendship with a dog is simply too much work. They hire someone to feed, pet and socialize with their dog. It’s always available for cheezy photo ops. That way they don’t have to really notice that their dog is judging them too.

    2. albrt

      These are businesses that can survive as sole proprietorships run by immigrants or second-income spouses or kids living in their parents’ basements. As soon as they expand enough that they need to hire actual workers who need to make a living wage, they are in trouble.

      But they still have to compete against the people who are OK with not making a living wage, and more so now that the latter are organized by an “uber for dog-walking” app.

      Accelerating that race to the bottom is the whole point of the internet “sharing economy.”

    3. Glen

      These business owners don’t have access to the Federal Reserve trillions like Wall St and the mega corporations. They are going to get wiped out.

  23. a fax machine

    Listened to NPR’s reporting of the WSJ’s reporting of what’s been coined the Facebook Papers. In it, everyone universally agreed that Facebook is now inseparable from society, society is totally dependent on Facebook, all corporations mold their operations based on Facebook’s algorithms, and there is no alternative to Facebook. As a licensed radio operator and (small) website operator, the total, UTTER ignorance of technology made me puke in my mouth. Plenty of alternatives to Facebook exist, but people who grew up with it are literally addicted, see no alternative, and just expect Facebook to “Be” as our parents did with Television, their parents Radio, and their grandparents Newspapers. It makes me sick to my stomach that otherwise educated people can have such godawful opinions – it’s not so much that Facebook is influential (it undeniably is) but the conclusions range from milquetoast watchdog superteam to fact-check every comment to heavy-handed government licensing of Facebook users.

    This is the liberal mind at it’s worst, these people see how utterly broken the system is yet cannot imagine an alternative to it even when millions of alternatives – in the form of private, self-hosted websites- exist. Nakedcapitalism itself is proof that such an operation can work, and work long term.

    And then -hilariously- they briefly mentioned how Zuckerberg wants to target younger users now, as it is an open secret Discord and Tik-Tok are now the hot things kids care about as both platforms allow open posting of porn. Say what you want about the next generation of social media, but it is here and 2021 was Facebook’s apotheosis. It makes the other question -what happens to all the businesses whose operations are now totally dependent on Facebook when Facebook declines- all the more interesting. The end of the liberal system begins now, even if we haven’t realized it yet!


    1. Acacia

      > what happens to all the businesses whose operations are now totally dependent on Facebook when Facebook declines

      They die, and the problem solves itself.

      FB rebranding as “Meta” makes it a little easier to ID the cult members and steer clear.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you for this bracing comment. There’s a ton of good, non-Facebook content out there.* We used to have the blogosphere, which would collectively discover and link to all sorts of interesting sources. Social media decapitated the blogosphere, and replaced its discovery and linking function with algorithmic feeds. (Twitter is far less evil than Facebook, because one can get an old-fashioned chronological feed at user option).

      * I would speculate that one effect of the destruction of the university has been to create a ton of highly trained researchers well-trained to express strong opinions, who have no academic outlet. Hence, podcasts, individual blogs, etc.

  24. NotTimothyGeithner

    He doesn’t need Manchin’s permission for that -AOC

    Ouch. This is quite the tone change. She’s calling Biden whipped.

    1. ambrit

      As far as the optics are concerned, it is better for people to think that “Uncle Creepy” Joe is whipped than plain old evil.
      Now, if AOC started speaking about Pelosi that way, I’d sit up and take notice.

  25. The Rev Kev

    Good news for any family historians here. Next January they are releasing the 1921 Census of England and Wales. This will be important as the 1931 UK Census was destroyed in a fire (like the US 1890 Census) and the 1941 UK Census was cancelled by WW2 so no more until 1951. Did a bit of checking and found that for the United States, the US 1950 Census will be released in April of next year so here will be a chance to see what your parents and grandparents were doing in 1950.

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