2:00PM Water Cooler 10/8/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this is my promised pantry clearout of Health Care and Biosphere links. Presumably anything important in politics today will take the form of a 5:00 horror, and so I will move on to a pantry clearout on Class Warfare. –lambert UPDATE Not all done, exactly, but enough for today.

Bird Song of the Day

For our Mauritius readers.

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#COVID19

At reader request, I’ve added these daily charts from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching. I think it’s time to do some tinkering with the charts. I want to improve the vaccination area, if I can, to distinguish between first, second, and ideally booster shots, and give a total. The original purpose of the chart was to see if the advent of the “adults in the room” boosted the vaccination rate at all, and it did not. (Hence, kudos to the heroic efforts of people on the ground.)

Vaccination by region:

Coercion works? Or boosters? As exhortation, Biden’s speech had no impact at all.

56.2% of the US is fully vaccinated (mediocre by world standards, being just below Czech Republic, and just above Saudi Arabia). 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… (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well.)

Case count by United States regions:

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. The question is whether we will ascend to a second (or third) peak, as in last December-January, or not, as in last August. Note also that the regions diverge: The South, which drove the peak, is finally dropping. The West was choppy too, and is now falling. Ditto the Midwest. And now the Northeast is falling as well.

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 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, despite anecdotes. Nothing I’ve read suggests that the schools, nation-wide, have handled Covid restrictions with any consistency at all.

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report October 1, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

A burst of green in Maine and the Mountain states. Speculating freely: One thing the 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. Previous release:

(Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better.)

Test positivity:

The South looks like it’s back on track (given its rapid decline pre-data debacle). But what happens when test kits from Walgreens and CVS become dominant, and no reporting is done? We’re already partway there.

Hospitalization (CDC). Everything works today:

From this chart, pediatric hospitalization, in the aggregate, is down.

Mountain states still stubbornly high. Tennessee’s long ordeal seems to be ending.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 730,413 727,826. A definite downward trend, mercifully. We approached the same death rate as our first peak last year. Which I found more than a little disturbing. (Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. But according to The Narrative, deaths shouldn’t have been going up at all. Directionally, this is quite concerning. 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 worldwide:

European exceptionalism?

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Politics

“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 Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Biden Administration

Oh well, nevertheless:

Checking for a 5:00 horror, but at 2:00PM, I saw these headlines in Politico:

‘If He Makes a Successful Return in 2024, Democracy’s Done’ Fiona Hill, of Trump

Democrats likely to throw billions in tax hikes overboard as spending plans shrink

Sanders blames centrist opposition on drug industry donations That’s hardly fair; it’s not only Big Pharma

The Democrats seem to be doing a pretty good job destroying democracy all on their own. I don’t see why they would need Trump’s help, except as a convenient target for the blame cannons.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Antonio Gramsci, Cultural Marxism, Wokeness, and Leninism 4.0” [New Discourse]. • “Antonio Gramsci, Cultural Marxism, Wokeness, and Leninism 4.0” [New Discourse]. • A little child reading the brands and the warning labels aloud while playing with power tools.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Non Farm Payrolls” [Trading Economics]. “The US economy added a meager 194K jobs in September, of 2021, the lowest so far this year and well below forecasts of 500K. Job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (74K), professional and business services (60K), retail trade (56K), and transportation and warehousing (47K). Meanwhile, employment declined sharply in public education (-161K) and in health care (-18K).” • Interesting that “essential workers” in health care and education would leave the workforce. I wonder why? Some angst over this one:’

Weisenthal comments:

The number is out and it’s another big miss. Just 194,000 jobs created in the month, less than the 500,000 consensus estimate.

However, the unemployment rate fell to 4.8%. Combined, these two numbers tell a story of slow hiring and seemingly tight labor markets at the same time.

Despite persistent frustration among employers that the labor market is “tight” (from their perspective), we’re still millions of jobs in the hole relative to where we likely would have been at this point in the absence of the pandemic.

Employment Situation: “United States Unemployment Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The US unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in September 2021, from 5.2 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 5.1 percent. It was the lowest rate since March 2020, as many people left the labor force and the negative effects of Hurricane Ida and the Delta variant’s summer spike started to fade. Still, the jobless rate remained well above the pre-crisis level of about 3.5 percent due to ongoing labor shortages but is seen declining further in the coming months as companies fill widespread vacancies and as more workers are expected to go back into the labor force.” • “Are expected” lacks agency…

Inventories: “United States Wholesale Inventories” [Trading Economics]. “Wholesale inventories in the US rose 1.2 percent month-over-month to $731.1 billion in August of 2021, in line with the preliminary estimate and accelerating from a 0.6 percent increase in July. It was the 13th consecutive month of gains, amid increases in both durable goods (1.2 percent vs 1.2 percent in July) and non-durable goods inventories (1.1 percent vs -0.3 percent). On a yearly basis, wholesale inventories advanced 12.3 percent in August.” • As they should, if Just-In-Time doesn’t work anymore because the supply chain is borked.

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Retail: “Hated Brands by State” [The Big Picture]. • In several states, the most hated brand is Lego. How can that be?

UPDATE Retail: “The Truth About Those Dollar Stores” [Consumer Reports]. “Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree are billion-dollar brands taking over the discount/value retail space, as the category is called, and are sweeping the country. About 75 percent of us live within 5 miles of one of Dollar General’s 17,683 stores, the company says. Only about 60 percent of us live that close to a hospital. Counting just those three brands, dollar stores in this country outnumber Starbucks and McDonald’s combined. And more are coming…. But how good are the savings, really? To investigate, I teamed up with other CR staffers and secret shoppers in eight locations across the country to go to nearby outposts of each of the three leading national dollar store chains, as well as two local supermarkets. We all had the same basic shopping list of common household items…. Even as a third-generation dollar store shopper, I’ve been dubious about these stores being places to save. So I was surprised that all of us CR shoppers found that a dollar store was less expensive, on a unit-cost basis, than supermarkets for our items. At least, that is, for those items we were able to find. And that is a big caveat. While we all live near a branch of each dollar store chain—the Dollar Tree I go to most often is a 13-minute walk from my Brooklyn, N.Y., home—they weren’t exactly convenient. We had more trouble at dollar stores finding what we needed. For example, many of us found that a dollar store might have only one brand of dish soap, or just single-serving containers of popular breakfast cereals.” • I wonder if dollar stores will be more vulnerable to supply chain collapse, or less?

The Bezzle: Justine Haupt should be doing this instead of hacking open-source hardware:

Sure, it’s only a joke but why?

The Bezzle: “Tesla’s move to Texas further mars ESG credentials” [Reuters]. “Texas is a strange place to put an electric-power champion these days, but Tesla (TSLA.O) boss Elon Musk isn’t exactly known for following convention. He just unveiled plans to relocate the company’s headquarters to Austin. The reasons provided don’t add up, and he probably isn’t escaping the government interference that irked him. Musk threatened in May last year to up sticks from the Palo Alto area that has served as Tesla’s base since its founding in 2003. The rationale was California’s Covid-19 lockdowns that forced his factory to close, measures he called ‘fascist’. Remarks at the annual meeting on Thursday avoided reprising the theme. Instead, Musk linked the decision read more to a lack of space and the cost of living in the Bay Area. Both are valid points, but more for factory workers than well-paid executives. And a head office needn’t be in the same place as what might become its biggest production facility…. Moving to Texas further mars Musk’s environmental, social and governance [ESG] credentials, giving investors increasingly focused on such matters even more reasons to think twice.” • Perhaps Texas will allow Musk to treat his workforce even more poorly?

Tech: “Updates on the Twitch Security Incident” [Twitch]. “We have learned that some data was exposed to the internet due to an error in a Twitch server configuration change that was subsequently accessed by a malicious third party. Our teams are working with urgency to investigate the incident.” • That’s two major outages in a week due to server configuration changes. Isn’t managing things like that one reason we have big tech firms, I mean supposedly?

Concentration: “The Iowa Farm Bureau is a small nonprofit. It’s sitting on a huge business empire” [Midwest Center for Investigative Journalism]. “In May, senior executives at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation finalized a little-noticed financial maneuver that could boost their income for years to come. While a nonprofit, the Farm Bureau owned a highly profitable, publicly traded insurance business, FBL Financial Group. For nearly a year, the executives — whose incomes depended on FBL — had wanted to privatize the company. But the move spurred several lawsuits, with a major investor publicly accusing the Farm Bureau of low-balling the remaining shareholders it was attempting to buy out. To settle, the Farm Bureau paid investors more, and the deal closed this spring. If history is any indication, the move was a smart one, at least for Farm Bureau leaders. A review of public filings, depositions and internal memos show Farm Bureau leaders have benefitted for years from the nonprofit’s majority ownership of the insurance company. The story of FBL also highlights the complicated nature of the modern Iowa Farm Bureau, and the potential conflicts of interest at the heart of the nonprofit organization that sits atop multiple for-profit companies.” • If everything is like CalPERS, the Iowa Farm Bureau is a cesspit.

Mr. Market:

Hmm….

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 Fear (previous close: 32 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 27 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 8 at 12:39pm.

The Biosphere

“Climate Change Is the New Dot-Com Bubble” [Wired]. ” I made a list of all the interesting climate startups, around 2,000 of them, and turned it into an ebook so I could read it on my phone at night…. Sometimes, as I scrolled down the list, a big investment would catch my eye—$60 million for a company that promises to take carbon dioxide out of the air, $68 million for one that will turn it into fuel and materials. But the funding thins out quickly. It’s easy for investors to get distracted; there are just so many butter knives we could wield against the dragon of global collapse…. I began to feel a strong sense of déjà vu. I couldn’t place it until, one night, in the glow of the e-reader, I realized: It’s Web 1.0 all over again. We are in the Pets.com-puppet-mascot era of climate. The comedy of the technology industry is playing again as a kind of Ibsenian tragedy: Scientists and academics told everyone about this thing for decades, and almost everyone ignored them. But then enough people got interested, and now there’s a market. And as a result there are a million business models, a million solutions, huge promises of the change to come: We’ll pour everything we have into green-energy infrastructure. We’ll transact in carbon marketplaces. We’ll pull a trillion tons of CO2 out of the air every year. Never mind that today we can do about 0.0005 percent of that, which rounds to nothing…. There are good VCs being venturesome with their capital. There are funds that are investing in green things. But—and God help me for wishing it—there’s no Google, no Apple or Microsoft, no monster in the middle taking its cut. There isn’t one carbon market; there isn’t one set of standards to follow; there are dozens of options, which means there isn’t really anything at all. Whole careers are dedicated, wonderful people, great science, online carbon calculators, but for right now it rounds to nothing. Amazon Web Services hosts open climate data, but I wish there were an AWS for climate. I wish I could tell you what it should do. I assume that the money will come. There are too many hot days for it not to. And obviously I want things to go differently this time. But I don’t know how you bootstrap a globe-spanning bureaucracy yesterday. I can’t even tell you what infrastructure we need, just that in general infrastructure evolves, slowly, in response to tragedy. Worse, if my déjà vu is accurate and history repeats itself—if the internet was the last big thing, and climate is the next big thing (or the last big thing)—then we aren’t at the precipice of a new era. We’re at the beginning of a bubble. The trillions in investment have to go somewhere. By the time all the money is spent, the companies in my ebook will probably be gone, save for a few dozen.” • Unsettling, extremely plausible, and well worth a read.

“Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers: the End is Nigh” [James Fallows, Breaking the News]. “Pound for pound, gallon for gallon, hour-for-hour, the two-stroke gas powered engines in leaf blowers and similar equipment are vastly the dirtiest and most polluting kind of machinery still in legal use….. [T]hese machines persist in American landscaping because they are cheap. And because—to be brutally honest—the people paying the greatest price in much of suburban American are the hired lawn-crew workers.Those workers are convenient to hire, at the moment. But they are not likely to be in the neighborhood 10 or 15 years from now, when they are deafened, or have lung disease, or need other forms of care as the worst long-term health consequences kick in.” • That’s what we call a win-win situation….

“#PeatData” [@PeatlandECR (MA)]. “This is a collection of peatland data initiatives (i.e. databases specifically targeted to peatland data as well as databases that contain some peat data amidst other soil, carbon or vegetation data).” • It would be even more amazing if the various databases were integrated or crosslinked, like on a big map, but I assume there are funding efforts in train… For NC on peat, see here, here, here, and here.

“Vast area of Scottish Highlands to be rewilded in ambitious 30-year project” [Guardian]. “A large swathe of the Scottish Highlands stretching between the west coast and Loch Ness is to be rewilded as part of a 30-year project to restore nature. The Affric Highlands initiative aims to increase connected habitats and species diversity over an area of 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres), incorporating Kintail mountain range, and glens Cannich, Moriston and Shiel. Plans include planting trees, enhancing river corridors, restoring peat bogs and creating nature-friendly farming practices. The project has been launched after two years of conversations and meetings between local communities and conservationists from rewilding charity Trees for Life. Similar to the WildEast project in East Anglia, it is a community-led effort to restore nature over a large area, which organisers hope will be a catalyst for social and economic regeneration. ‘This was once a much more peopled landscape that was rich with wildlife and we think we can find new ways to establish that connection again, today,’ said Alan McDonnell, a conservation manager at Trees for Life, and the project leader. ‘The idea of doing it at scale is that you get a much bigger natural response because you’ve got room for change and dynamism in that landscape.’ The Affric Highlands initiative is located west of the Cairngorms Connect project, which is one of the UK’s largest land restoration projects at 60,000 hectares.” • Colonel Smithers comments:

One stumbling block to rewilding in the Thames valley is farmers selling peripheral land to well to do Londoners who want to make artisan beer, bread, cheese, gin, wine and whisky, something that has accelerated in the pandemic. Hobby farmers do bring in jobs and money in rural communities. The produce is good, too.

IMNSHO, we should do the same thing for the entire Great Plains. Pay the people who live on the prairie to be stewards of it (which many claim to be already, and some actually are).

“11 stats on Washington’s problematic so-called ‘murder hornets’” [High Country News]. “The Asian giant hornet, colloquially known as “the murder hornet,” is the largest of its kind in the world and is notorious for its decimation of honeybee hives. In the Pacific Northwest, the first confirmed sighting of the hornet (scientific name: Vespa Mandarinia) came in December 2019. At the time, the WSDA created a public hotline for reported sightings and received thousands of tips, leading to the extermination of the first nest found in the state in 2020, which contained over 500 hornets. But the species persisted, and the nest found last week was home to approximately 1,500 hornets. The WSDA’s recent effort was successful thanks to a resident who spotted an Asian giant hornet attacking paper wasp nests on their property, snapped a picture and sent it to the department. Once the sighting was confirmed by the WSDA, agents were able to capture live hornets in the area and affix radio tags to three of them with a piece of kevlar thread. One eventually led them back to the nest.” • By “giant,” we mean 1.75 inches. Good thing that’s not 1.75 feet, but still…

“Hundreds of giant sequoias may have burned to death in KNP Complex, Windy fires” [Los Angeles Times]. “Hundreds of giant sequoias may have been killed after high-intensity flames from the KNP Complex fire tore through several groves of the massive trees in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Since igniting Sept. 9, the lightning-sparked blaze has encroached on 15 groves of the colossal trees, with two that appear to have been at least partially subjected to high-severity fire, said Christy Brigham, chief of resources management and science for the parks. The extent of the damage to those groves — Redwood Mountain and Castle Creek — won’t be known until officials can survey the area, either from the air or the ground, she said…. Park officials on Wednesday wrote on Facebook that they suspect some groves were hit by flames severe enough ‘to result in sequoia mortality, possibly for significant numbers of trees (hundreds).’ The post said personnel were prioritizing and treating threatened groves outside the current fire perimeter, as well as ‘mopping up trees that need it,’ extinguishing residual fires and cooling them down.”

“October wildfire potential to remain high in Montana, Northern California, and the Carolinas” [Wildfire Today]. • Handy map:

“Los Angeles shifts water supplies as drought hammers State Water Project” [Los Angeles Times]. • “Don’t worry. We’ll just buy it somewhere else.”

Water, everywhere:

A BBC documentary on the Satoyama system of integrating of landscape, towns, rivers, canals, fields, forest, wildlife…. Part one:

Oy, the swelling, heart-tugging music. But the landscape itself is interesting. Part two.

From a trip to an abandoned sanatorium/medium-security prison/wannabe hydroponic farming company:

Health Care

“Quantifying human and environmental viral load relationships amidst mitigation strategies in a controlled chamber with participants having COVID-19” (preprint) [Research Square]. I grant, n=11. Here is the entire Abtract:

Several studies indicate that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted within indoor spaces. Therefore, environmental characterization of SARS-CoV-2 viral load with respect to human activity, building parameters, and environmental mitigation strategies is critical to combat disease transmission. We recruited 11 participants diagnosed with COVID-19 to individually occupy a controlled chamber and conduct specified physical activities under a range of environmental conditions; we collected human and environmental samples over a period of three days for each participant. Here we show that increased viral load, measured by lower RNA cycle threshold (CT) values, in nasal samples is associated with higher viral loads in environmental aerosols and surfaces captured in both the near field (1.2 m) and far field (3.5 m). At ambient conditions with ~ 0 Air Changes per Hour (ACH), near field measurements showed a higher particulate matter abundance and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration as compared to far field measurements. We also found that aerosol viral load in far field is correlated with the number of particulates within the range of 1 µm -2.5 µm. Furthermore, increased ventilation and filtration are associated with lower environmental viral loads, and higher relative humidity is associated with lower aerosol viral loads and higher surface viral loads, consistent with an increased rate of particle deposition. Data from near field aerosol trials with high expiratory activities suggest that respiratory particles of smaller sizes (0.3 µm -1 µm) best characterize the variance of near field aerosol viral load. Moreover, our findings indicate that building operation practices such as ventilation, filtration, and humidification substantially reduce the environmental aerosol viral load, and therefore inhalation dose, and should be prioritized to improve building health and safety.

B-b-but that would cost money, and besides, individualism.

“The impact of real-time whole genome sequencing in controlling healthcare-associated SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks” [Journal of Infectious Diseases]. “We utilised whole genome sequencing (WGS) to identify outbreaks and focus infection control resources and intervention during the UK’s second pandemic wave in late 2020. Phylogenetic analysis of WGS and epidemiological data pinpointed an initial transmission event to an admission ward, with immediate prior community infection linkage documented. High incidence of asymptomatic staff infection with genetically identical viral sequences was also observed, which may have contributed to the propagation of the outbreak. WGS allowed timely nosocomial transmission intervention measures, including admissions ward point of care testing and introduction of portable HEPA14 filters. Conversely WGS excluded nosocomial transmission in two instances with temporospatial linkage, conserving time and resources. In summary, WGS significantly enhanced understanding of SARS-CoV-2 clusters in a hospital setting, both identifying high risk areas and conversely validating existing control measures in other units, maintaining clinical service overall.” • I understand the necessity for cheap, mass testing, for anyone and everyone. But why stop there? And why not forward samples up the line for WGS?

“America’s pandemic is now an outlier in the rich world” [The Economist]. Handy chart, which I have helpfully annotated:

Enjoy your vacation, America!

“Chinese scientists say wild animals should be screened for coronavirus to cut risk of deadly variants being transmitted back to humans” [South China Morning Post]. “Chinese health experts have called for intensive monitoring of the coronavirus in wild animals, warning that its spread between different species risks further dangerous variants. A number of animals have been found to be susceptible to Covid-19, and the potential for ongoing mutations of the virus in these animals, such as mink, poses ‘a huge threat to public health if they transmitted back to humans’, wrote the report’s lead author Gao Fu, head of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. ‘It is necessary to carry out large-scale Sars-CoV-2 screening for terrestrial and marine wildlife, especially those susceptible ones … so as to formulate further prevention and control strategies,’ said Gao and co-author Wang Liang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a perspective published in the China CDC’s weekly bulletin.” • Unfortunately, I can’t find the original.

UPDATE “NBA star Andrew Wiggins on getting vaccinated: ‘I guess you don’t own your body'” [The Hill]. “‘I guess to do certain stuff, to work and all that, I guess you don’t own your body,’ Wiggins said. ‘That’s what it comes down to. You want to work in society today, I guess they make the rules of what goes into your body and what you do.'”

UPDATE “On Kyrie Irving’s Vaccine Refusal” [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jacobin]. Nice get for Jacobin. “After Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins received criticism for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine for personal reasons, his teammate Draymond Green said the public needs to ‘honor’ that decision: ‘There is something to be said for people’s concerns about something that’s being pressed so hard,’ he stated. ‘Why are you pressing this so hard? You have to honor people’s feelings and their own personal beliefs.’ To which LeBron responded that he ‘couldn’t have said it better myself.’ Actually, it couldn’t have been said worse. On the surface, it appears that Draymond and LeBron are arguing for the American ideal of individual freedom of choice. But they offer no arguments in support of it, nor do they define the limits of when one person’s choice is harmful to the community. They are merely shouting, ‘I’m for freedom.’ We’re all for freedom, but not at the expense of others or if it damages the country. That’s why we mandate seat belts, motorcycle helmets, car insurance, and education for our children…. I think of the situation like those old fire brigades, when people stood in a line, passing buckets of water to save their neighbor’s house from burning to the ground. Maybe some people were afraid to join the line. But when the town leaders joined in, it encouraged others to do their duty. Today’s celebrities and athletes are like those town leaders. You either join the line to save your neighbor’s home, or you stand by and let it burn because you don’t owe them anything.” • Yup.

Our Famously Free Press

Who knew, trust is not an infinitely renewable resource, so the elites can’t just strip mine it:

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Massive takedown of the 1619 Project (hat tip, alert reader jr):

I keep linking to this post from Adolph Reed — The Trouble with Uplift — but it applies perfectly to Hannah-Jones and her project. If you haven’t read it, please do.

Class Warfare

Whoops:

From Google, the only venue covering this? WSWS.

UPDATE On the Kelloggs strike:

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UPDATE So many updates here I’m not going to bother to label them.

“Facing a merger and a pay cut, chicken farmers push back” [Food and Environment Reporting Network]. “Decades of mergers and vertical integration have left the poultry industry dominated by a handful of companies. Those companies have near-total control over the contract farmers, determining everything from the types of birds they raise to what those birds are fed, how they’re medicated and how and when they’re slaughtered. The farmers don’t own the chickens but any losses are the farmer’s responsibility. The typical U.S. grower has over $1 million in loans and the take-home pay is often a far cry from what the company advertises during recruitment. In the years before Rusty died, Trina said, they had negative cash flow for at least part of the time, and were relying on credit cards for groceries and other household expenses. But the McClendons made it work. Their farm is one of the best performing in their region, consistently ranking in the top five in the tournament system, the scheme through which poultry farmers are paid bonuses, or assessed penalties, based on how well they perform compared to other farmers. Their farm produces mainly broilers, large chickens raised for their meat.” • Holy moley, a tournament system for farmers…

“Blue Marriage and The Terror of Divorce” [Culture Study]. “It is a failing of white bourgeois feminism that its adherents have failed to agitate in ways that are un-ignorable for significant changes that make single life — including single life as a mother — possible. Which is why it’s not enough, not nearly, for bourgeois feminists to embrace a Blue understanding of marriage* and the privileges it affords. As Britney Cooper writes in the foreword to Kyla Shuller’s The Trouble with White Women: A Counterhistory of Feminism, “it’s not that white women can’t do good in the world or be useful allies in feminist world-making. The problems, rather, is white feminism and its gravely limited conception of how to address the injustices that all women face.’ Feminist liberation will only arrive when we have the genuine freedom to not just have the option to be alone, and/or without children, but for that option to be stable, and to feel complete, and, as feminists have long promised, and as I personally believe, for that path to be understood as what it is: glorious.” • Funny how “white” is so often as identical with “bourgeois.” It’s not, it’s really not. NOTE * By this, the author means: “You can see the larger ideological consequences of these paradigms: the Blue Model, according to Carbone and Cahn, “places less emphasis on family form (marriage by itself is not the answer) and more on creating an infrastructure (e.g., education, family-friendly jobs, access to contraception and abortion) that encourages the right choices.” The Red Model creates a system “that tries to channel sexuality and childbearing into marriage in an economy that fails to provide a financial basis that can sustain resulting unions.” And so: participants in Blue marriages who theoretically place less value on the institution of marriage have longer lasting marriages, whereas people in Red marriages divorce quicker and at a higher rate.” FWIW, I think the author’s view of “Red Marriages” (assuming the posited binary) is a little schematic. I would venture to guess that “blended families” are far more prevalent in “Red Marriages” than the author suggests, simply because of the carnage that deindustrialization and the opioid epidemic (plus meth) have wrought.

“Where do public lands factor into the homelessness crisis?” [High Country News]. “[There is] a growing contingent of Americans living nomadically in vans, RVs and tents on U.S. public land. Most of those approximately 625 million acres are managed by federal agencies, including the BLM, the Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Many tribal, state and municipal agencies also allow camping on their public lands. Most nomads opt out of established fee-based campgrounds in favor of free dispersed camping — also known as primitive camping, boondocking and dry camping — a time-honored tradition across the West that often involves driving up a forest access road to a pullout without toilets, running water or other amenities. The rules vary across the different land-management agencies, but most allow campers to spend 14 days in one location. For some nomads, camping is a lifestyle choice, popularized by Instagram hashtags and the possibilities of remote work. For others, though, it’s a necessity owing to crises such as lost jobs, mental illness and housing costs.”

“Billionaires Won’t Save the World” [Tribune]. “The billionaire class which profits exorbitantly from the exploitation of workers and the plunder of nature have really taken to throwing breadcrumbs at the environmental movement – no surprise, given how consistently lauded they are for it by the mainstream press…. What ties these billionaire philanthropic initiatives together? As mentioned, they are all modest sums of money relative both to that which nation states are able to mobilise and to the billionaires’ own wealth. Additionally, they are usually constructed as a prize. … The focus also tends to be on sucking carbon out of the atmosphere, rather than developing technologies that would allow us to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Finally, these prizes are heavily PR-driven. As the beneficiaries of global inequality and ecological collapse, it’s not surprising that billionaires may be conscious of their public reputation. What better way to rehabilitate their brand than by whipping up fawning media attention over your efforts to save the world?”

“The Forms of Capital” (PDF) [Pierre Bourdieu (1986)]. “Capital is accumulated labor (in its materialized form or its “incorporated,” embodied form) which, when appropriated on a private, i.e., exclusive, basis by agents or groups of agents, enables them to appropriate social energy in the form of reified or living labor….. Depending on the field in which it functions, and at the cost of the more or less expensive transformations which are the precondition for its efficacy in the field in question, capital can present itself in three fundamental guises: as economic capital, which is immediately and directly convertible into money and may be institutionalized in the form of property rights; as cultural capital, which is convertible, in certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalized in the form of educational qualifications; and as social capital, made up of social obligations (“connections”), which is convertible, in certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalized in the form of a title of nobility.” • I would swear that I read this article — Orthodoxy, illusio, and playing the scientific game: a Bourdieusian analysis of infection control science in the COVID-19 pandemic, by Trisha Greenhalgh (!) et al. — this month, but it turns out we linked to it in May (!!). In any case, the PDF linked to here is a 15-page pager, but there is also a 500-page tome. I think I’ll order it, just for grins.

News of the Wired

“Frugal Radio: Decoding Fire, Ambulance MDT and Hospital Pagers With SDR++ and PDW” [RTL-SDR.COM]. • You’ll like this, if this is the sort of thing you like.

Guess what, nothing about this building is really transparent:

Here’s an article describing One Vanderbilt’s architecture. It reads like an extremely peculiar variety of pr0n.

* * *

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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.

122 comments

  1. Carolinian

    Terrible news about the Sequoias. Hope it isn’t really that bad.

    And re the negotiations, Sinema etc this Michael Tracey worth a look.

    https://mtracey.substack.com/p/media-activists-unite-in-rage-against

    It’s interesting because this dynamic shows that Trump-era trends have persisted, even with Trump mostly absent as the day-to-day accelerating agent. If the Democrats don’t succeed in enacting their spending priorities, the Party could lose political strength, and that’s seen as totally intolerable. Not just because people in the media want new social welfare programs enacted, but because Democrats’ failure could result in the re-empowerment of a Republican Party which they view as a frightfully dangerous vessel for Trump-like fascism. So the existential threat of Trump or vaguely Trump-reminiscent Republicans always lurks as a specter, ginning up passions even in relation to something as routine and un-salacious as negotiations over a spending bill. Because if the spending bill doesn’t become law, perhaps that could give fodder to the insurrectionists, or whatever.

    So it is all about the PR?

    Reply
  2. MonkeyBusiness

    Updates on the Twitch Security Incident. Twitch runs on AWS. The question is how many AWS servers are out there that have the same issue?

    Reply
  3. Adam

    The “Most Hated Brands” was determined by using machine learning to determine the % of negative tweets about a brand in each state and taking the brand with the highest percentage.

    Lego at least is a brand mostly everyone has used. Lancome? Ferrari? Are these major brands? Also, some of the very even percentages make me think the sample sizes on some of these major brands are small. Lancome had a 50% negative rate in New York which could mean 1 of 2.

    Reply
    1. Mark

      The software used is SentiStrength.
      A study found that “For example, when applied in the software engineering domain, SentiStrength and NLTK are respectively reported to have only 29.56% and 52.17% precision in identifying positive sentiments, and even lower precision of 13.18% and 23.45% respectively in the detection of negative sentiments”
      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0164121218301675
      (The link is to the abstract, behind paywall. The quote above is from DuckDuckGo search results of “SentiStrength software”, associated with the link.)

      Reply
          1. Jessica

            Utah is a rectangle, except for the chunk they cut out to make Wyoming a rectangle (and punish the Mormons for being different). The Dakotas are mostly nice, straight, utterly artificial lines. And Montana’s eastern boundaries. But Montana’s western boundary with Idaho is as natural and unstraight as they come.
            And Montana and Wyoming really are different. Much of Montana is beautiful in a way that most folks see.

            Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        We software engineers tend to be salty, sarcastic, and just a little bit obscure, and to use metaphors, puns, and tone extensively in our imprecations. Language models trained on average people and conversation will often fall wide of the mark with us. They’re lucky they made half precision.

        Reply
  4. KLG

    “IMNSHO, we should do the same thing for the entire Great Plains. Pay the people who live on the prairie to be stewards of it (which many claim to be already, and some actually are).”

    Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson have provided the blueprint.

    Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        If your’e talking prairiie, I sure wouldn’t fail to mention Gabe Brown, his 10-section ranch in North Dakota and Dirt to Soil. Following his prescription, the prairie could be one of the most effective carbon sequestration loci in the world. What would we have to do to make it so? Some Frankenstein plants and hydrocarbon-based fertilizers? Nope. Just planting lots of native varieties of grasses and herbs using a no-till drill so you disturb the soil’s natural healing capabilities as little as possible.

        Reply
          1. hunkerdown

            Tom Robbins offered the same as a theory of human origins in his first novel. But in his theory, water drives.

            Reply
  5. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers: the End is Nigh”

    Pitch that on Nextdoor.com – see how far it goes. “Over my dead body….” is a guaranteed response.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Mr. Magoo, do you also live in Tucson? Because our local Nextdoor is that unhinged. I like to check it, just to see what my, ahem, more volatile neighbors are up to.

      Reply
      1. Angie Neer

        Slim, I am sooooo tempted to sign up for NextDoor to do some hate-watching, but I’m not sure I can “handle the truth” as the saying goes. Do you think you’re better off knowing about the unhinged?

        Reply
      2. Mr. Magoo

        I think ‘unhinged’ is also a guaranteed response to anything on Nextdoor.com. It is, kinda fun to sit back and watch the fireworks.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > kinda fun to sit back and watch the fireworks.

          So Amazon is marketing to the unhinged? (Good buried metaphor, since hinge leads to door leads to property leads to my property.)

          That would make them like YouTube, except unfortunately more in the physical world. And they must know what they’re doing (I’m recalling a reader who mentioned that the very first thing they (?) got after signing up was a video of a “porch pirate,” so the gaslighting starts immediately).

          Reply
    2. R

      Hilarious, the article suggests we should give these infernal machines up for… battery versions!

      Whatever happened to a rake? It’s really no slower than drifting around waving a leaf blower.

      These stupid things are mercifully almost unknown in the UK.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        It’s not just the leaf blowers. Giant zero radius turn riding lawn mowers get hauled in by Ford 150s and fire up at 7 in the morning. These at least have four cycle engines.

        Reply
        1. howseth

          I live across the river from a cemetery – with it’s manicured lawns – and I have hatched many plans to annihilate both the fat maintenance man swaying on his riding mower and that machine – bury them both there and give the grateful dead a deserved rest.
          The mower sound is extraordinary boomy What kind of muffler? – easily penetrating our windows and walls. He has said it’s ‘state of the art’ – So if that is ‘state of the art’ I should also annihilate the company that produces that crap machine – (Deere is it you?)

          How about using goats? Picturesque!
          And yeah, the leaf blowers are insanity. One wonders about the (Mexican) guys hired to do all this here in California – what their health will be?
          One also wonders about all the water use to maintain the lawns.

          Reply
        2. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

          At our local hospital a week or so ago, I saw a man on a standing zero radius lawn mower using a leaf blower at the same time.

          Reply
    3. Daryl

      > Pitch that on Nextdoor.com – see how far it goes. “Over my dead body….” is a guaranteed response.

      Well, if they insist.

      Reply
    1. Duke of Prunes

      Once I read this was from an analysis of tweets, this makes perfect sense, and also illustrates how silly this “study” is.

      Stepping on Legos is running joke all over social media. These are jokes that have nothing to do with Lego as a brand. This a case study of the difficulties with sentiment analysis. Good job AI. Go job analyst. I think you missed the point.

      Reply
  6. IM Doc

    About the labor statistics numbers and the big miss from today.

    I am a physician – I am not an accountant nor am I an economist – so I have no special expertise in sussing out these numbers.

    However, I feel that I have enough background to comment on my own little world of health care.

    I wonder how much the ongoing retirement of the boomers is playing a role here?

    The first big picture – if you go back through all these numbers since JAN of 2020 when the pandemic was in utero – this country’s loss of jobs in the health care sector for that whole time is now approaching half a million. Those of us who work in the hospitals and clinics are very acutely aware of this situation, believe me. Let me get this straight, DURING A WORLD WIDE PANDEMIC WHICH HAS NOW KILLED 700K AMERICANS, OUR HEALTH CARE SECTOR HAS LET GO OF HALF A MILLION JOBS? And if one looks at the more granular data – the vast majority of these jobs have been front line nurses, CNAs, and nursing home workers and the like – NOT THE ADMINISTRATORS……

    Is there something I am missing here? I just find that whole situation appalling. And now when the screws are really tight we have just no more capacity to lose more. And that is the time our dear leaders have decided to play the mandate card.

    Which brings me to the apparent 18000 health care jobs that were lost in SEP 2021 alone. Again – looking at the details – these are front line health care workers for the most part. And I know from personal experience and the scuttlebutt from many others that this is absolutely related to the pending vaccine mandates. This is only going to get worse. Many of our facilities across the country are already in dire straits. And this number was actually quite shocking today.

    And yet – you have Nicole Wallace and others during the Biden speech coverage yesterday stating that the mandates are working spectacularly – that all is perfect and going according to plan. Americans are showing the courage not to leave their jobs and keep supporting the family.

    Hmmmmm.

    I feel obligated to put forth a PSA. In my area, there is a large nursing home run by the hospital and led by MDs and RNs. There is another closeby run by a multi-national corporation and run by MBAs. The MBA nursing home got the edict from HQ that all employees must be vaccinated by OCT 1 – and promptly lost 18 front line staff in one week. The hospital nursing home run by MDs told their employees not to worry right now – no one would be fired until this had all played out in the courts. All these fired CNAs et al easily found jobs in the community. They are not suffering. Who is suffering? The little old people in that nursing home and their families – it has quickly turned into a complete disaster.

    LISTEN WELL – IF YOU HAVE FAMILY MEMBERS IN A NURSING HOME SITUATION or PLANNING TO PUT THEM THERE RIGHT NOW – YOU NEED TO BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT HOW THE PLACE IS STAFFED. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. MANY OF THESE PLACES WHICH WERE ALREADY VERY DYSFUNCTIONAL ARE TURNING INTO DISASTER AREAS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. I DO NOT CARE WHAT NICOLE WALLACE HAS TO SAY ABOUT IT – IT IS A PATIENT SAFETY ISSUE AT THIS POINT. YOU NEED TO BE KEEPING AN EAGLE EYE ON YOUR LOVED ONES.

    I am not sure I have ever seen such a bigger own-goal by national politicians as what this one is turning out to be. And that is just the health care aspect of it. All the crap talk by the talking heads exhorting the wondrous decision is not going to change the actual events on the ground. Nursing homes and lots of hospitals are headed for big trouble.

    Reply
    1. griffen

      Since the above includes a very bold and forward looking statement, absolutely and agree on the situation for any elder Care in these settings. I believe that in the nursing home industry, even the more expensive options offer their updated version on MBA managed hellscape.

      I don’t foresee a change in the trends either.

      Reply
    2. Eric377

      Also, think about prominent “success” stories. United just fired just under a thousand. But due to the way the support bills worked, airlines did not reduce headcount anything like their revenue loss. So they are pretty much all looking to get rid of workers. Their employees get this and mostly got vaxxed but this is not generally the case. United’s HR probably disappointed that so many went and got vaxxed. Plenty of firms need to hire and also think they have lots of unvaxxed staff. And their employees also understand this. It sure is curious that this OSHA emergency order has not been announced. When the FAA, for example, has a real emergency, directives to airlines can and do go out in 60 minutes.

      Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    the lightning-sparked blaze has encroached on 15 groves of the colossal trees, with two that appear to have been at least partially subjected to high-severity fire, said Christy Brigham, chief of resources management and science for the parks. The extent of the damage to those groves — Redwood Mountain and Castle Creek
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Redwood Mountain had a backburn done in anticipation of the KNP Fire approaching, and the timing was bad as 50 mph northerly winds whipped through the largest grove of Sequoia trees with what i’m thinking was a disaster we’ll only hear the details of in a month or 2, as bad news travels slowest when you’ve screwed up.

    The Castle grove was formerly one of the most forbidden ones to access as there wasn’t any trail and the off-trail approach was about 5 miles of some of the worst stretches of poison oak and things that scratch, poke and stick you as an added bonus.
    I don’t know of anybody who has ever been there, to give you an idea of how remote the grove is. I’d like to go check it out next year.

    Last year fire raced through the southern groves-decimating them, and this summer picked up where it let off, torching more groves in the south en route to the middle-earth groves here in Sequoia NP. My hometown haunt-the Atwell grove also burned, and who knows to what to extent, although it looks less severe judging from the activity of the fire.

    All we’ve done is react to fires in progress that threaten Sequoias, why couldn’t we be more attentive as we were to the Giant Forest grove-which came out largely unscathed, thanks to decades of prescribed burns and ground fuels management?

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I repeatedly see around the West that agencies will perform a prescribed burn and never bother with the follow-up maintenance. While prescribed burning could be effective if strategically located by communities and repeated continuously, this seldom occurs.

        They’ve been doing prescribed burns since the 1960’s in the Giant Forest which have been repeated continuously.

        It seems to work, this approach.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Until now? I mean, I hope you are right and doom isn’t lurking for the big trees. But I think the article is saying we are now in a new situation.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Damn. All this does make me want to drink.

            More seriously controlled burns can and have worked especially as redwoods have evolved to survive with regular fires; that they need fire to clear away the underbrush and get their pine cones to open and disburse the seeds. However, the no fire at anytime, anywhere for any reason policy especially anywhere near inhabited areas is a problem. It is hard to make up losses and change areas if you can’t reproduce. Doubly so for gigantic trees.

            In the North Bay, people have been preventing the various fire departments from proscribed burns because it’s ugly and it might, perhaps get out of hand like the Oakland Hills Fire of thirty years ago. That there will be fires sooner or later as well as that the roads in the forests are constrained is simply ignored. People refuse to think about the likely future. If the drought continues and there are not at least some more controlled burns, what will happen will make the Paradise Fire look mild. There are still plenty of small groups of homes and communities scattered around the forests with even the very occasional highway being only two lanes. A few places just have one lane. Nice death traps.

            Again, if the state does not get truly serious and the drought continues, two things will happen. First, a large number of people will die in some fire. Again. (Miracles do happen, but I am not counting on it.) Two, the Redwood forests will just collapse.

            Idiots.

            Reply
            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > inhabited areas

              By which we mean areas colonized by real estate developers who shouldn’t be allowed to build there, but California oligarchy.

              “There’s nothing natural about natural disasters.”

              Reply
      2. AC

        George Wuerthner – the author of that article – writes a lot about forests and fires on Counterpunch and is very knowledgeable. However, after I read this piece I wanted to ask him (as a volunteer firefighter) what do you propose we do instead? Nothing? Just blame climate change?

        Controlled burns and forest thinning aren’t the entire solution, but surely they can be part of it.

        Unfortunately his articles don’t contain contact info and discussion on Counterpunch defaults, I think, to facebook.

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        There were huge numbers of Indigenous people in America before the Explorer Germocaust. Enough people that the number of villages would be large over the landscape and numerous local burns would add up to a large area. I wonder how many people Mr. Wuerthner thinks lived here before the Explorer Germocaust of the Native Nations.

        Of course, Indian Burning all took place before the new unfolding age of Global Heatering, and forests are getting more dried out and burnable than they used to be, I suppose. If so, re-Indian re-burning will not be enough to solve the new problem all by itself. But it may pull the problem down to a level of solvability by additional means.

        And Mr. Wuerthner can say that the forest professionals knew about controlled burning, but the Forestry Industrial Complex rigidly persecuted controlled burning and persecutes it and its knowledgeable practitioners to this day.

        Reply
  8. METx

    > Interesting that “essential workers” in health care and education would leave the workforce. I wonder why?

    My wife who is a teacher has had more meetings, and wishes she could quit. Admin has added more to their to-do list in an effort to have “more data” while mentioning that “many teachers aren’t meeting deadlines, so let us know ahead of time if that’s the case.”

    No one has thought to ask why teachers aren’t meeting numerous deadlines. Or that more data isn’t always useful when it cuts into teaching time.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > No one has thought to ask why teachers aren’t meeting numerous deadlines. Or that more data isn’t always useful when it cuts into teaching time.

      “The data-gathering will continue until morale improves.”

      Reply
  9. zagonostra

    >UPDATE “On Kyrie Irving’s Vaccine Refusal” [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jacobin].

    But they offer no arguments in support of it, nor do they define the limits of when one person’s choice is harmful to the community.

    Seriously do you think that if arguments were supplied to Jacobin it would make difference? Very similar to partisan lines in the 2020 elections there is only a slight and imperceptible segment of the general public that is amenable to being persuaded by arguments at this stage.

    That there are arguments for and against mandatory vaccine is indisputable – there are many many Doctors and PHD’s on both side of the fence. The argument for protecting the collectivity against individual freedoms is the archimedean point upon which totalitarianism is wedged into place. The stakes couldn’t be higher which ever side you take.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      jeezus h. christ, enough already. Does numb nuts abdul-jabbar even realize he lives in a country that, in different times, tenaciously defends a “healthcare” system that routinely excludes a significant portion of the population because “we” can’t “afford” to fix their broken arms or treat them for cancer???? So much for exemplary “town leaders” encouraging “others to ‘do their duty.’ ”

      This is an inadequately tested, experimental “vaccine,” not a frickin’ bucket of water.

      For anyone interested in going just a tiny step beyond olde tyme bucket brigades, here’s Whitney Webb on moderna’s “vaccine” development travails and the profit driven need for truncated drug trials and “warp speed” approvals. It’s the lipid nanoparticles, stupid–

      In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission dated November 2018, months after Moderna had claimed to have fixed the issues with its lipid nanoparticle delivery system, the company made several claims that appear to contradict its purported development of a new, safer nanoparticle technology.

      For example, the filing states on page 33:

      Most of our investigational medicines are formulated and administered in an LNP [lipid nanoparticle] which may lead to systemic side effects related to the components of the LNP which may not have ever been tested in humans. While we have continued to optimize our LNPs, there can be no assurance that our LNPs will not have undesired effects. Our LNPs could contribute, in whole or in part, to one or more of the following: immune reactions, infusion reactions, complement reactions, opsonation [sic] reactions, antibody reactions including IgA, IgM, IgE or IgG or some combination thereof, or reactions to the PEG from some lipids or PEG otherwise associated with the LNP.

      And in the spirit of “move fast and break things”:

      Not only did the COVID-19 vaccine quickly become the answer to nearly all Moderna’s woes but it also provided the disruptive scenario necessary to alter the public’s perceptions of what a vaccine is and eliminate existing safeguards and bureaucracy in vaccine approval.

      Yeah, “the situation is serious and we need to take immediate action to protect people.”

      https://unlimitedhangout.com/2021/10/investigative-reports/moderna-a-company-in-need-of-a-hail-mary/

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think in the general case, Abdul-Jabbar — who is no numb-nuts — is unassailably correct. We don’t regard requirements for seatbelts as meaning “we don’t own our bodies” ffs (that also being libertarian claptrap).

        That’s not the same as the specific case of these vaccines, which is exaggerated by our Big Pharma oligopoly; in freedom-hating Russia they have Sputnik (adenovirus), EpiVacCorona (antigen), and CoviVac (killed virus), the later two for emergency use.

        I would speculate that a broader spectrum of technologies, as opposed mRNA that dominates here, would allow doctors to fine-tune side effects to patients more effectively.

        Reply
  10. Dr. John Carpenter

    Samuel Moyn is missing the most important point as to why the Biden as the new FDR thing is vanishing: Biden himself never said he was gong to be the new FDR. In fact, Biden promised “nothing will fundamentally change.” Gridlock and rotating villains are great fodder for the blame canons, but, as someone here cleverly pointed out, as expected, Biden has tried nothing and been frustrated it hasn’t worked.

    On the other hand, Joe Biden still owes me $400. I haven’t forgotten and I doubt I am the only one.

    Reply
    1. Fastball

      +100

      Just because the media including leftie media has moved on doesn’t mean actual living people don’t remember being essentially robbed and brazenly lied to about the stimulus we were owed. The deal was, $2000 in exchange for 2 Georgia Senators. They got their Senators and we got shortchanged.

      Biden owes me $400, too, and, no, he neither is owed my vote in 2024, nor will he or Kamala get it.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Joe Biden indeed owes me six hundred bucks. $2,000 promised, $1400 delivered.

      I was just thinking of this the other day; that sorry episode was a harbinger for the ongoing $3.5T BBB debacle.

      The mentality seems to be “Something is better than nothing” (more pointedly, “you’ll eat it and like it”) but the Democrats seem to forget that a promise, as such, has value, and breaking promises is remembered. Not for nothing does Thomas Frank label the Democrats “the party of betrayal.”

      Reply
    1. jr

      I’m not sure why they are hated, but man have they changed. Time was you had to use your imagination to play with LEGOS. I remember when the first little “men” came out, it was a big deal. Now the sets are so heavily branded, STAR WARS, Batman, etc. and the pieces are often brand specific as well:

      LEGO Star Wars Poe Dameron’s X-Wing Fighter 75273 Building Kit, Cool Construction Toy for Kids, New 2020 (761 Pieces) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y8SR9BZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_22RYXZ6SB5RNF7FHN89N?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

      That’s not a LEGO kit, it’s an X-wing model that snaps together.

      Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    “Where do public lands factor into the homelessness crisis?”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Being homeless in the National Parks would be a toughie as there is that little matter of entrance fee ($35 here) if travelling in a vehicle or $20 if on foot or bicycle. If you attempted to camp out of bounds with your car nearby, NPS is johnny on the spot as far as those sort of malfeasances. And then there is the problem of food procurement, where are you going to get any?

    The only homeless i’ve ever seen in the wilderness was @ Deep Creek hot springs on the PCT 3 years ago, gawd did they make a mess out of it.

    Reply
  12. Cuibono

    “You either join the line to save your neighbor’s home, or you stand by and let it burn because you don’t owe them anything.”
    Except that data from the UK now show the vaccinated have more infections per capita than the unvaccinated. The reason to get vaccinated is to protect your own health. Not to protect those around you.
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1023849/Vaccine_surveillance_report_-_week_40.pdf

    Reply
  13. griffen

    The article about chicken farmers in MS is well written. One can fathom easily how entrenched a farm family becomes once the debt is real and producing all that poultry yields no real wealth. I can’t help but mention, but home-cooked fried chicken is probably the favorite meal of mine growing up.

    The reported tactics once they have you is reprehensible. Here, accept a 9% reduction to your farm’s annual gross income. On what basis, exactly ? Some corporate office mid-life MBA probably drummed up support for that one.

    Winner winner, this consolidation chicken dinner.

    Reply
  14. Lunker Walleye

    Antidote:
    The mushroom: scrolled down photo part way and first thought I was looking at trapunto, then a Georgia O’Keefe painting. How amazing is nature?

    Reply
  15. allan

    Son of Afghanistan’s Former Defense Minister Buys $20.9 Million Beverly Hills Mansion [Yahoo]

    He already owns a $5.2 million Miami Beach condo at the prestigious St. Regis Bal Harbour resort, but Daoud Wardak apparently also wants a West Coast outpost. To that end, he’s heading for Beverly Hills — records reveal the semi-mysterious businessman, who is a son of former Afghan Minister of Defense Abdul Rahim Wardak, has bought a $20.9 million mansion on a prime Trousdale Estates street.

    Built all-new this year and designed by local architecture firm Woods + Dangaran, the nearly 9,000-square-foot house was described in an off-market listing as a fusion of “modern meets midcentury.” …

    Not much is publicly known about the various business interests or wealth origins of Wardak, an ethnic Pashtun refugee who was born in Afghanistan in 1977. But public corporation records show he’s the president of a Miami-based firm called AD Capital Group. Various reports have also noted that his older brother Hamed Wardak, a Georgetown University grad and onetime valedictorian, is a successful businessman who runs military transportation company NCL Holdings. Based in Virginia but operating primarily in Afghanistan, NCL has secured lucrative U.S. government contracts in exchange for protecting American supply routes in Afghanistan; those contracts were reportedly worth north of a whopping $360 million.

    The graveyard of empires was an empire of gravy trains.

    Reply
    1. Raymond Sim

      Empire of Gravy Trains.

      I like that, though ever since I was a kid watching dogfood ads on tv I’ve been puzzled by what a ‘gravy train’ is exactly.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Come and listen to my story about a man named Daoud
      A rich Minister’s son, barely kept his family out of the red,
      And then one day he was shootin at some peasants,
      And up through the ground he saw growing purple poppies.

      Snow that is, black tar, Afghan tea.

      Well the first thing you know ol Daoud’s a millionaire,
      The kinfolk said “Daoud move away from there”
      Said “Californy is the place you ought to be”
      So they loaded up the jumbo jet and they moved to Beverly

      Hills, that is. Swimmin pools, movie stars.’

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwzaxUF0k18 (53 secs)

      Reply
    3. JBird4049

      >>>Built all-new this year and designed by local architecture firm Woods + Dangaran, the nearly 9,000-square-foot house was described in an off-market listing as a fusion of “modern meets midcentury.” …

      From the description and from what I could see of the picture, it’s a sterile fusion of a needlessly oversized McMansion, the coldness of bad Modernism, and the with poorly done simplicity mimicking the style of both it and of Midcentury Modern; it has none of the possible restfulness such simplicity can create from either style can give or the possible warmth of the latter. It is like a gigantic architectural version of a bad Japanese zen or rock garden created with more money than taste. If this is an accurate build of what the firm Woods + Dangaran drew up, they should be sued for bad design, bad taste, and a lack of understanding of the what, why, and how of the styles.

      Reply
  16. polar donkey

    Took my son to pediatrician Wednesday for a stomach bug that was lingering. While waiting, a 17 year old boy had just gotten covid vaccine. Walking back into waiting room he about fell out. Nurses came out and helped kid go back to exam rooms. Not exactly confidence inspiring

    Reply
  17. Wukchumni

    Employment numbers @ 40% of expected, maybe Wall*Street is missing out by not having an unemployment ETF the punters could wager on?

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      No, it’s ridiculous. Wiggins is 100% wrong and Abdul-Jabbar is 100% right. Seat-beat requirements, or requirements to drive sober, don’t make you a slave. It’s libertarian nonsense, as bad or worse than Thatcher’s “There’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families.”

      That this mode of thinking is so pervasive and unquestioned and actually treated with respect is yet one more sign of impending civilizational collapse….

      Reply
      1. Eric377

        This is 5 years into a systemic and comprehensive effort to lie over and over to the people of this country. Maybe longer. Millions don’t do fractional credibility very well. The “need to vax” group is not identical to the “let’s keep lying” crowd, but nearly everyone in the “let’s keep lying” is aligned in the “need to vax”. Would they lie about this? Of course they would, so why not be cautious if you are not old or in poor health otherwise.

        Reply
  18. Soredemos

    Less than two weeks to the US release of the Dune movie.

    But that’s not the only sci-fi epic that grapples with events on a grand historical timeline that’s getting a filmed adaptation this month. The TV version of Asimov’s Foundation books is finally getting aired (well, streamed), courtesy of Apple. Four of presumably ten episodes have been shown so far, and unlike advance word on Dune, it’s a decidedly mixed bag.

    They’ve given it a diversity overhaul, which I’m mostly fine with. Foundation was originally written in the 40s, and is incredibly dated in many respects. Every major character was male, and implicitly white; when a woman finally did show up as a major character it turned out she was basically being mind-controlled by a man. So absolutely, diversify that cast. A space empire in the distant future is an entirely appropriate setting for an ethnically diverse population (though I think they’ve over-egged the pudding by making both Gaal Dornick and Salvor Hardin black women. To Hollywood ‘diversity’ mostly seems to mean ‘make everyone black’ because that’s what BLM has made the enlightened flavor of the year. No one ever seems to do something out of left field like cast an ethnic Kazakh or something).

    But the writers don’t seem to fully grasp the essence of the subject matter they’re adapting. I understand the need to inject characterization and some human level drama into the narrative. The Foundation books mostly jump across centuries from undeveloped POV character to undeveloped POV character, all of them bit players in a grand plan. That was never going to really work for a TV drama. But so far there is a clear disconnect between writing that is pulled straight from the books and the new content. At one point Hari Seldon makes it clear that his equations only work for large populations, then later the show has Dornick voicing criticism that Seldon doesn’t make allowances for relationships. He doesn’t because he *can’t*. The story is trying to deal with abstract subjects that apply at a large scale, collective level, but the TV writers don’t seem willing or able to fully commit to that concept.

    The show seems to be setting up to make a ‘diversity = good, no diversity = stagnation and decline’ argument. The fading Galactic Empire is now lead by the same person generation after generation. The numbered Cleons are now no longer just different guys inheriting a name, instead they’re literally the same guy being cloned over and over. At all times there are a young Emperor in training, a serving Emperor, and an old former Emperor, all three addressed as ‘Empire’, so no distinction is made between state and individual. This I think is very fun and clever, but if the writers are making an argument for diversity as a solution, that wasn’t at all what Asimov was saying. There have been diverse empires before in history. They declined and fell all the same.

    Reply
    1. Thistlebreath

      From what I’ve seen of the Apple series, it’s a schnorer.

      Marshall Crenshaw’s lyrics come to mind re: the series’ writers’ need to update something that didn’t need it.

      “(s)he can’t dance
      (s)he can’t sing
      but (s)he’s got to be part
      of that rock n roll thing”

      Asimov wrote prolifically, right up to his untimely death from a bad transfusion. His practice showed.

      Dune, on the other hand, promises to have a lot of Denis V’s deft touch that he showed us in “Arrival.” Casting doesn’t seem to be too shabby. And Eric Roth wrote the screenplay. He’s a master. Wrote Forrest Gump.

      Reply
      1. Soredemos

        Arrival is well directed, but a key part of the plot drove me crazy and turned me against the main character. She ends up knowing her daughter will die young from some terminal illness, but decides to selfishly have the doomed kid anyway. I supposed this is probably intended to be some ‘it will happen because it’s already happened’, set in stone type thing, but I still found it indefensible.

        Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > At one point Hari Seldon makes it clear that his equations only work for large populations, then later the show has Dornick voicing criticism that Seldon doesn’t make allowances for relationships.

      IIRC, post-Mule (Volume III?) the Second Foundation was manipulating individuals, and quite successfully. Perhaps Seldon was telling a noble lie?

      Reply
  19. Wukchumni

    The increase in value of the world of things is directly proportional to the decrease in value of the human world.

    Karl Marx

    Reply
  20. Eureka Springs

    Going to have to re re reevaluate my country again. Not one State hated Comcast (any isp) or Walmart most of all.

    Reply
  21. Thistlebreath

    I may have posted this outfit before but in terms of re populating the great plains, check out the Land Institute, started by Wes Jackson. It’s grown a lot over the last couple of decades. The late Harris Rayl, of the distinguished Kansas newspaper family, was a tireless supporter. Wendell Berry sometimes drops by, he and Wes are longtime friends.

    For a while, there was a wonderful group known as the Prairie Writers Circle, loosely attached to TLI.

    For anyone who wants a luminous series of stories set in Nebraska, try Harrison’s Dalva books.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The best way that urbanites and suburbanites who care about such things could go about beginning a Great Plains repopulation process within the givens of the current society would be to spend as much “more money” as they could reasonably long-term afford on buying local and hyperlocal food from the “near-rural” ring right around their town and/or city. That would begin moving enough money to farm operators in that shallow-country “near ring” right around the towns and cities in question enough to inspire other young and youngish people to take the risk of moving into the “near ring” and taking up “new small farming” to sell food at a living wage price to suburbanites and urbanites who are prepared to pay a living-wage price for that food.

      That could spread little rings of repopulation around towns and cities in and around the Prairie and Plains areas.

      To allow for repopulation of the further-away prairie and plains areas ( “deep country”), America would have to ban imports of the kind of food that our own deep country plains and prairie areas could produce.
      America might also have to begin large scale land condemnations and takeovers to re-homestead that land all over again to small-farmer wannabes who want to try making a living selling fair price agribulk commodities into a fair price market which is kept fair-price through the rigid banning of imports from less-than-fair-price foreign areas.

      Would our trading enemies respond by banning American food exports into their countries in return? Well, yes . . . hopefully.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Markets, again — the solution to everything. And lots of those near-rings have nice former industrial sites and lots of residual nasty chemicals in the dirt (not soil) that’s not covered with ashphalt and concrete and acres of empty malls and other buildings.

        How are urban gig workers going to support “living wage” small-holding farmers and “artisanal entrepreneurs” looking for a viral score, in those concentric rings? And how do you ensure the necessary re-education of those folks who likely disdain agricultural extensions and are so vastly far behind the necessary understandings of “ecology” that are likely needed to “manage” our way back to some kind of homeostatic sustainable level of human impact?

        GDP doesn’t maybe work on the basis of taking in each others’ laundry.

        Reply
        1. Kfish

          Here in Australia, there are organic small-scale farmers surrounding both Brisbane and Melbourne who are providing high-quality food and improving their local soil quality at the same time. The price of their meat is about 50% above supermarket prices. What they need more than anything is customers willing to pay that extra 50%.

          For example: https://www.echovalley.com.au/ These guys are tracking and raising soil carbon, planting a wide range of grass species (including native) and also planting trees where they can’t graze.

          At a societal level, we have to function by ‘taking in each other’s laundry’ – isn’t the economy just the sum total of everyone’s transactions?

          Reply
    2. Lunker Walleye

      The great plains is a terrible place to live. You wouldn’t want to be here, ummm, there. Just terrible. You would not like the prairie at all.

      Reply
  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    Many many years ago I remember reading an article in Acres USA by Charles Walters Junior about the history of the founding of Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau was a Trojan Horse filled with the various lampreys and tapeworms who made money off of agriculture without actually doing any of the work of farming. It was created as a false-label false-flag group to head off the growing power of farmer-based political uplift organizations.

    And its false-flag disbranding excercise has been so successful that urban and suburban readers who hear or see the word ” Farm Bureau” think that it is a farmer organization, instead of the trojan-horseload of lampreys and tapeworms that it was when Charles Walters wrote his article, and maybe still is today.

    Reply
  23. lyman alpha blob

    RE: ‘If He Makes a Successful Return in 2024, Democracy’s Done’

    Puh-leeze. Does no one remember Bush v Gore? Zero democracy involved there.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      In hindsight, one faces many painful memories of many opportunities the Gore group had for contesting the election as furiously and bitterly as the Bush team contested it. And the Gore group took absolutely zero of those opportunities. The Gore Democrats were too much of a nice guy and just didn’t want it enough.
      I remember Hunter S. Thompson writing that the Bush team didn’t really “steal” the election from Gore. They brute-force mud-wrestled the election from Gore. And Gore did not do any mud-wrestling back.

      That said, the Republican Party in general in many states is working to prevent voting by likely-Democrats as much as possible to pre-engineer election outcomes for monopoly Republican power maintainance and extenion in order to create as much of a Pinochet-Franco type of Cultural Fascist regime as they can achieve under “election” cover. A Trump re-election would provide useful cover for this and call back out the Legions of MAGA-Trumpanon to provide the Street Muscle. But Trump or no Trump, the Republicans will proceed with their movement towards a Pinochet-lite regime to the best of their ability.

      The DLC Clintonite Shitobamacrat contribution to this process will be to continue aborting and preventing the rise of any Democrat or anyone else worth voting for on the part of a hundred million disafffected people.

      A John Edwards/ Tulsi Gabbard ticket, whether Third Party or Independent, would be wonderfully inspiring and clarifying in 2024. I would vote for it even at the risk of a Trump victory in 2024.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I was with you until Edwards/Gabbard showed up as a solution. Then I was in the “C’mon man…” mindset.

        Elections, really?

        But I do believe you’re the first to bring us to mind of Franco and 30s Spain. Bookchin’s history of the CNT leading up to that truly heroic period is worth a read, especially for the account of a union that served the poor rather than catered to the rich. Weak-assed libs, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini and the anarchists. And who did they gang up on? And add in the plutocrats around the globe.

        Bookchin never did volume 2 because it was just too damn depressing, I suspect. Who ends up ruling Spain but some tinpot dictator left in power after the Big Boys really got down to business.

        But move from Bookchin to Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, and it might just prove inspirational. As it did for me. No elections in Catalonia, though. Like the anarchista in Libertarias explained to the soft-hearted rape victim as her rapist monsignor was being executed, “It’s a revolution, not a fiesta.”

        Reply
      2. JTMcPhee

        In FL, the Wasserman-Schultz Dems are pretty much completely supine and as long as the fund raising and looting opportunities continue, do not give a rat’s a$$ about the “populi.” Gonna run a loser retread for governor against DeSantis, gonna do damn little nada in contesting the redistricting once again, since the Special Dems have their nice cozy protected majority ineffectual minority Dem enclaves, and cut the nutz off people like Grayson. So we have a Rep/Chamber of Commerce lock on the state legislature and almost all elected state offices, and a thief and a moon faced geek as US senators.

        Democratic Socialists are showing a little spunk, and there’s a “people’s party” activity of sorts. Not going to see change in the “electoral landscape” in the few years I am likely to be around to see it. Meantime, water is getting scarce here, the quickie-built 4-story wooden apartment “complexes” are growing like black mold and mushrooms in the bathroom of a ramshackle trailer house…

        There ain’t ever been what might honestly be called “democracy” in the US of A, EVAH. A political economy built to protect the concentration of wealth and the sanctity of property over persons.

        Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > one faces many painful memories of many opportunities the Gore group had for contesting the election as furiously and bitterly as the Bush team contested it. And the Gore group took absolutely zero of those opportunities.

        It was actually worse than that. What Gore did — the Democrat lawyer, IIRC, was Boies — was contest the vote only in counties where they thought they could win. It was difficult, very difficult, to cede the moral high ground to George W. Bush, but the Democrats managed it.

        There followed Bush v. Gore and an orgy of Democrat cravenness and press sycophancy, well before 9/11.

        Looking back, I see that Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 came out only in 2004, with the footage of Al Gore, in his capacity of President of the Senate, gaveling the Congressional Black Caucus into silence as they sought to challenge the Florida result. (One can hardly blame the CBC for deciding to cash in after that, since clearly that was the only thing left to do. I think the same thing happened to Howard Dean, though he, like the CBC, is way too comfortable in his current role.)

        I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 in Philly, and the universal reaction outside — I actually talked to other audience members, which I never do — was “Finally!“. That’s how bad the media bubble was. (And then the Democrats ran Kerry, who didn’t challenge Ohio after raising the money to hire the lawyers to do so. Oh well, nevertheless.)

        I really wish liberal Democrats would stop whinging about how horrified and terror-stricken they are by Trump. The Bush Era was far, far worse, and far more damaging. I know Maddow is a fool, but imagine a media environment without her, or anything like her. That’s what the 2004 media landscape was like. Except for the “foul-mouthed bloggers of the left,” as David Broder put it.

        Reply
    2. jr

      Wait, wasn’t the mantra that democracy was done when he was president!? Remember the handmaidens, deprived of their Constitutionally guaranteed right to brunch? John Oliver hiding behind his desk? Is it now overdone?

      Reply
  24. The Rev Kev

    “Vast area of Scottish Highlands to be rewilded in ambitious 30-year project”

    A fascinating project this – along with the sister projects on the continent. I have seen images of Scotland where you have just grass but no trees or anything. I just realized that what I was looking at was actually ‘desert’ but one with grass due to the high rainfall.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      Scotland has a thin layer of soil on top of rock. Of places Ive seen, Lesotho is the same.

      Many deserts have much sand, which with rain and trees can become abundant.

      Reply
  25. Mikel

    “GOP governors who ended unemployment benefits failed to spur job growth: September numbers”
    https://www.alternet.org/2021/10/unemployment/

    Some of it is lingering pandemic fears and lack of incentives, but I’m willing to be the crapified online job search process has a lot to do with it.
    The algos are probably still throwing out resumes with X numbers of weeks of unemployment without any consideration for how the pandemic affected people.

    That’s going to take HUMAN managers with empathy going through applications, resumes, and interviewing people face to face or even over the phone. Something
    ..

    Reply
  26. Jonny Appleseed

    The foundational conceit of The Land Institute is utterly charming in an novel ecosystems paradigm shift sort of way (not annual grains…perennial grains!), but it has failed to deliver much for many a decade, perhaps because the idea was always fatally flawed with the impossible burden of overcoming the relentless nature of ecosystems succession from which it sought to escape. Weeds, man. But Wes and Wendell *do* write wonderful letters to each other.

    Reply
  27. ScienceOverPolitics

    The higher the vaccination rate, the higher the case rates. The vaccines do not stop spread, in fact they correlate with increased spread.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10654-021-00808-7

    They block infections for four weeks, then increasingly less, down to zero or negative efficacy in spread and infection after a few months. They help with severe cases—that affects the elderly, ill, and obese. Their vaccines protect them.

    People continue to lie about these facts. These lies are harmful. They result in letting the vaccinated spread the virus freely. They result in firing thousands and thousands of healthcare workers, many of whom have natural immunity. This will lead to patient deaths both from lack of care and from getting infected from healthcare workers who do not have natural immunity. They result in getting rid of police and firefighters who don’t want to risk known heart issues.

    Anyone who actually follows science and data would understand the lack of logic behind mandates. Anyone who wants to can get vaccinated and that’s great. But it does not stop the spread. Ask the most highly vaccinated countries in the world.

    67% of recent Covid deaths in Vermont where of the fully vaccinated (25/37). 90 countries saw an enormous first-dose spike which spread the virus around, sometimes creating huge outbreaks in places that had little Covid, such as Vietnam and Mongolia.

    The sooner people accept this tough reality, the more actual positive things can get done. Like promoting early treatment.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-08/iceland-joins-nordic-peers-in-halting-moderna-covid-

    Reply
  28. ambrit

    Late night Zeitgeist Report.
    I have been trying to get information about a shooting that happened in our little city on Wednesday night. Both of us heard the shooting, about forty shots in all. On the much maligned Nextdoor e-mail site, about twelve other people from across the town said that they had heard the same event. Being curious, I have been sifting through local news sources. Two local “newspapers,” one ‘local’ television news program, the local Police Department Facebook page, (that’s the only source for “official” news from the coppers,) and possible regional news sources, (the Jackson papers.) Every source perused carried the two “official” Police Department stubs originally published on the Facebook page, verbatim. Those stubs had the event, (shooting,) arrested suspects, day of event, physical location of event, and wanted suspects, (second stub,) that is all. No time of day, no possible motives, no information on extent of damage, in short, no usable information for figuring out the crime.
    This is what passes for journalism today. No wonder we’re living in a collapsing society.
    Stay safe. Hull down.

    Reply
    1. Anon

      Funny how “white” is so often as identical with “bourgeois.” It’s not, it’s really not.

      You’re right… but according to the culture, it is synonymous with > black, as in, “We’re poor, but at least we’re not black!” Note how “black” schools and neighborhoods are universally frowned upon. While “white” schools and neighborhoods have the questionable benefit of class distinction.

      While it is important to focus on class struggle, let’s not forget the “…racist generals within the Union.” This is what the 1619 Project is about… challenging the overwhelming narrative, that black people “received their chance”, that the Union has been reasonable with them, and consequently, their plight is due entirely to their shortcomings, circumstances be damned.

      I’m not fond of the Project’s message; but, it certainly has our attention, doesn’t it? In a way Howard Zinn didn’t quite get across. The Project is genius, in that it is compelling so many to investigate what ACTUALLY happened; and while the abolition of slavery was important, it was but one moment in 400 years. There are massive gaps in the popular knowledge of the time and experiences between these milestone events. Throw in the willful misrepresentation taught by the vocal, yet somehow, meek and hesitant victors (“… but he fought for the Union!”) and it becomes clear that the Project is fighting fire with fire.

      These individual dates that we remember, to clear our national conscience, and wash our hands of today’s grievances cannot begin to testify for the horrors they so half-heartedly righted, so rarely discussed in polite, apolitical company… that so many lower their breath when they say the words “black people”.

      Reply
  29. Anon

    Funny how “white” is so often as identical with “bourgeois.” It’s not, it’s really not.

    You’re right… but according to the culture, it is synonymous with > black, as in, “We’re poor, but at least we’re not black!”

    Note how “black” schools and neighborhoods are universally frowned upon while white ones enjoy class distinctions.

    While it is important to focus on class struggle, let’s not forget the racist generals within the Union. Which is what the 1619 Project is about… challenging the overwhelming narrative that black people “had their chance”, that America has been fair to them, and their plight is wholly due to their own shortcomings.

    I’m not fond of the message myself, but I don’t blame them for countering the kitsch of “nothing to see here” that’s been prevalent since MLK was murdered.

    Reply
    1. lambert strether

      > Sherman

      Sherman disemboweled the Slave Power (while Grant held it down for him). I would urge that material effects > personal characteristics (though the 1619 project, true to its class origins, is busily trying to reverse that. How that does anything but impede the class struggle I have no idea).

      You end slavery with the army you have. It’s no good whinging about counter-factuals, or holding one’s breath until a better Sherman arrives; there wasn’t one). So what is the point?

      The constant refrain of “Oh my goodness!” from presentist identitarians grows rapidly wearisome.

      Reply
      1. Anon

        I see it as a surrender to the status quo… Seems they’ve given up waiting on Marx’s revolution, and are giving whitey what he wants. 😂

        The Neoliberal Black Inter-nationalist Front

        Reply
        1. Anon

          Also, the material effects were tragedies in their own rights, and that’s the problem. When you drop slave labor but maintain a slave society. Alas, change is slow.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            >>>drop slave labor but maintain a slave society

            I don’t think slave labor was dropped. Douglas A. Blackmon ‘s book Slavery by Another Name point was that until the end of the Second World War, the Southern prison system was a system of slavery. Large numbers of blacks with some poor whites were convicted and sentenced to farms, mines, and road construction where they died in large numbers.

            One can also say the system, using the war on some drugs, was reimposed on the whole country, just not as obviously.

            However, that is not the reason for my commenting. What makes me angry is using propaganda like the 1619 Project to erase the past, to make all the politicians, reformers, activists, soldiers struggled for centuries become invisible. To murder their stories, our collective past, merely for some supposed advantage for (I guess) supposedly positive change. To make the history, facts, the truth irrelevant, to make us all believe in lies. Basing change on lies though, is to make such change a lie itself, that will crumble more easily than change base on the truth.

            It will make the four centuries of struggle against slavery go on much longer than otherwise. There were always voices against it from the beginnings of the Atlantic Slave Trade as well as the Spanish and Portuguese enslavement of local natives after 1492 long before the Abolitionist Movement started two centuries ago. It will give more power to the racists and to the alt right movement and weaken both the left as well as those many on the right who are not racists.

            Simply, it will be prolonging the struggle to end racism. And for this evil we will being doing it for what? Temporary advantage? Money? Power? Something else? What?

            Reply
  30. fresno dan

    Weisenthal comments:
    ….
    Despite persistent frustration among employers that the labor market is “tight” (from their perspective), we’re still millions of jobs in the hole relative to where we likely would have been at this point in the absence of the pandemic.
    =================================================
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CIVPART
    The labor participation rate started an inexorable rise in about 1975. I can remember the refrain being that it took two jobs to provide the living standard that one job used to provide. So now we have a labor participation rate akin to 1975, and of course the incessant bitching and whining that employers (HORRORS) might have to pay higher wages, and that will cause the collapse of the US. I think the last 40 years has caused the collapse of the US, and if this is a harbinger of fewer labor participants and a corresponding increase in their bargaining power, I’m all for it…

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  31. Jack Parsons

    About the One Vanderbilt article- an ugly building (V1) lets us get up close to a pretty building (Chrysler), so there’s that.

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  32. ChiGal

    American Exceptionalism

    Very late to the party here but finally got around to looking at the Economist graphic (which I saved to photos on my phone) comparing the US to “all other rich nations combined“ and it is not per capita so I have no idea what it actually shows…“damn statistics”!

    Also, the helpful annotation shows the CDC all-clear on masks coming at the bottom of the wave on June 1, but it was actually May 13 (makes sense there’d be a lag for behavior change and cases to show up).

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