2:00PM Water Cooler 10/22/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, the Assumption of Neera Tanden happened just as I was preparing the post, so I had to focus on it. More coming shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

It does bark!

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

“Tackling the pandemic with (biased) data” [Science]. “The most up-to-date indicator of the state of the epidemic is typically the number of confirmed cases, as ascertained through testing of both symptomatic individuals and those tested frequently regardless of symptoms. Symptom-based testing is likely to pick up more adults and fewer younger individuals (4). Infections in children are harder to detect: children are more likely to be asymptomatic than adults, are harder to administer tests to (particularly young children), are often exposed to other viruses with similar symptoms, and can present with symptoms that are atypical in adults (e.g., abdominal pain or nausea). Children under 12 are not routinely offered the COVID-19 vaccination, and their mixing in schools provides ongoing opportunities for the virus to circulate, so it will be important for countries to track infections in children as accurately as possible. Other testing biases include accessibility, reporting lags, and the ability to act lawfully upon receiving a positive result. Substantial changes in the number of people seeking tests may further confound case figures (5). Case positivity rates may provide a more accurate reflection of the state of the epidemic (6) but are dependent on the mix of symptomatic and asymptomatic people being tested…. With multiple variants circulating, there are, effectively, multiple epidemics occurring in parallel, and they must be tracked separately. This typically requires the availability of sequencing data, which is unfortunately limited in most countries. Sequencing takes time and so is typically a few weeks out of date…. Hospital admissions or occupancy data do not suffer the same biases associated with testing behaviors and provide unequivocal evidence of widespread transmission, its geography, and demographics. However, hospital admissions lag infections more than reported cases do, rendering these data less useful for proactive decision-making. Hospital data are also biased toward older people, who are more likely to suffer severe COVID-19, and now, unvaccinated populations….. Deaths are the most lagged indicator, typically occurring 3 or more weeks after infection and with an additional lag in registration and reporting. Death data should never be used to inform real-time policy decisions. Instead, death figures can act as an eventual measure of the success of a country’s epidemic strategy and implementation…. It is vital to disaggregate vaccine data by age, gender, and ethnicity as well as location so that it is possible, for example, to understand the impact of deprivation on vaccine coverage or vaccine hesitancy in particular demographics…. Data on reinfection and post-vaccination (breakthrough) infection are also important to determine the relative benefits of infection-mediated and vaccine-mediated immunity and the length of protection offered.” • But this is America! We don’t need no steenkin’ data!

Vaccination by region:

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

57.2% of the US is fully vaccinated (CDC data. Mediocre by world standards, being just below Czech Republic, and just above Turkey, as of this Monday). We are back to the stately 0.1% rise per day. I would bet that the stately rise = word of mouth from actual cases. However, as readers point out, every day those vaccinated become less protected, especially the earliest. So we are trying to outrun the virus…

Case count by United States regions:

Downward trend resumes, although last week’s fiddling and diddling is now clearly evident.

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

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

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

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

From CDC: “Community Profile Report October 21, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties:

Wierd flare-ups, like flying coals in a forest fire. They land, catch, but — one hopes — sputter out. Look at the New Mexico-Arizona border, for example.

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

I guess I have to go back to showing the previous release:

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Finally some relief for the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 753,845 751,834. The upward trend in death rate begins anew. We had approached the same death rate as our first peak last year. Which I found more than a little disturbing.

Excess deaths (total, not only from Covid):

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

(Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. 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 in historic variant sources, with additions from the Brain Trust:

Chile, Peru, and Brazil rising. Chile especially not looking good. Plus the clownishly bad UK. Remember this is a log scale. Sorry for the kerfuffle at the left. No matter how I tinker, it doesn’t go away.

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

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

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

I’m wondering if I should replace the Dune quote above — too obvious? — with this one: “It is said in the desert that possession of water in great amount can inflict a man with fatal carelessness.”

Capitol Seizure

“Capitol Rioters in Jail’s ‘Patriot Wing’ Have Their Own Rituals and a Growing Fan Base” [Vice]. “At 9 p.m. every night, inmates in the so-called Patriot Wing of the D.C. Correctional Treatment Facility reportedly stand at attention and sing The Star-Spangled Banner. You can even listen, if you want, to an alleged recording of it on the website called The Patriot Freedom Project. Inmates had also started their own handwritten newsletter and passed it from cell to cell, one detainee told NBC 4. Part of a letter from one inmate, Guy Reffitt, and signed “The 1/6 -ers,” was published by ProPublica earlier this year and entered into evidence in the court. It reads like a manifesto on behalf of the Capitol rioters. ‘We have been labeled the enemy, yet clearly we see tyranny as the enemy,’ they wrote. ‘While our lawyers do our bidding and the judges do their duties, we remain resolute, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the National Anthem all in unison, loud and proud most every day. All because we are us, we are you, we are all Americans and in here, we have no labels.’ The ‘Patriot Wing’ houses the most hardcore perpetrators of the January 6 riot, roughly 40 men in all.” • Who could have predicted incarceration would have such an effect. I just nope none of ’em are writing a book.

UPDATE I hold no brief for Massie:

But I don’t hold a brief for the ectoplasmic Garland, either, especially when he invokes the Norms Fairy. Massie is asking an important question: Were there FBI agents involved, either as informers or as agent provocateurs, in 1/6? This is an obvious question to ask, because the FBI has form in this regard. Garland could have answered it with a generic statement: “I can assure you that our investigations show no FBI personnel were on-site,” for example, without disclosing anything about cases. Garland didn’t. That, to me, means that there were.

UPDATE “John Eastman vs. the Eastman Memo” [National Review]. “Eastman now tells National Review in an interview that the first of the two strategies Giuliani highlighted on stage — having Pence reject electoral votes — was not ‘viable’ and would have been ‘crazy’ to pursue. What makes that admission remarkable is that Eastman was the author of the now-infamous legal memo making the case that Pence had that very power — that the vice president was the ‘ultimate arbiter’ of deciding whether to count Electoral College votes. The two-page memo written by Eastman proposed that Pence reject certified Electoral College votes and then either declare Trump the winner or invalidate enough votes to send the election to the House of Representatives, where Republicans controlled a majority of delegations. That memo was first published in September in Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s book Peril. The issue here is that Eastman says the Eastman memo does not accurately represent Eastman’s own views or legal advice to Pence or Trump, claiming that the two-page version published in Peril was preliminary and a final version presented various scenarios intended for internal discussion.” • Who would be crazy enough to get up on a stage next to Guiliani?

Biden Administration

“Neera Tanden named staff secretary for President Biden” [WaPo]. She’s b-a-a-a-c-k! “Neera Tanden was named the next White House staff secretary on Friday morning, putting her in the nerve center of the building charged with overseeing the paper flow for President Biden, according to a White House official briefed on the move…. The staff secretary, who reports to the chief of staff, traditionally plays the role of both traffic cop and honest broker in the White House, with control over the documents that make it to the president, whether they be briefing books or decision memos laying out the arguments on major decisions…. The White House staff secretary has often served as a steppingstone for other roles in government. Former White House counsel Harriet Miers, Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and former White House chief of staff John D. Podesta, a mentor for Tanden, have all previously held the job.” • She will report to White House chief of staff Ron Klain (says Politico), and is no doubt already measuring him for the drop. Perhaps Neera will end up on the Supreme Court, like Kavanaugh! For those who’ve forgotten:

The real idiocy is Tanden saying “we live in deficit politics,” which of course she has done nothing to change. Remember this diagram from yesterday?

I would imagine Tanden, from her CAP days, knows the programs in the top box as well as anyone, and is very well-equipped to fit them into the Procrustean bed of the bottom box. Deficit politics!

Oh, and Tanden has the worst sock puppet on Twitter:

I went through some Tanden threads, and they were already a cesspit of Sanders hatred, among other things. Good choice, Joe!

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UPDATE “Biden’s radical Treasury nominee in her own words” [The Hill]. “In an incomprehensible act, President Biden has nominated as comptroller of the currency Saule Omarova — a law school professor who thinks that banks should have their deposit business taken away and transferred to the government, the Federal Reserve should be the monopoly provider of retail and commercial deposits, the Fed should perform national credit allocation, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York should intervene in investment markets whenever it thinks prices are too high or too low (shorting or buying a wide range of investments accordingly), the government should sit on boards of directors of private banks with special powers and disproportionate voting power, new federal bureaucracies should be set up to regulate financial regulators and carry out national investment policy and in general, it seems, has never thought of a vast government bureaucracy or a statist power that she doesn’t like.” • Conservative aghastitude!

Trump Legacy

“Donald Trump’s new social media SPAC, explained” [The Verge (Re Silc)]. “Trump announced Wednesday night that he has a new company called Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) and that he would be merging this new company with a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition Company (DWAC). If completed, the deal would turn Trump’s new media company into one that’s publicly traded on the Nasdaq. And it would give TMTG enough money to get a new Twitter clone off the ground called ‘Truth.’ The surprise deal is already turning DWAC into a meme stock, and it raises a fair number of questions. Briefly, SPACs are shell companies that get listed on exchanges like the Nasdaq and exist for the sole purpose of eventually merging with companies that want to go public. Trump has very big ambitions for TMTG, according to the truly ludicrous 22-page investor presentation that was published on its website.” • Again, if Trump hires somebody good to run the Twitter clone and confines his activity to posting, all will be well (including whatever goals Trump hopes to achieve by posting). Otherwise, Shambolic City.

“Hedge funds score unprecedented gains on Trump’s SPAC deal” [Reuters]. Hedge funds that invested in the blank-check acquisition company that made a $875 million deal to merge with former U.S. President Donald Trump’s new social media venture are set to make five times their investment, regulatory filings show. It is the biggest gain investors in so-called special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have ever recorded on the first day after a deal was announced, according to SPAC Research…. The rally in Digital World shares is also a boon to Trump because most stock market investors who buy the shares for much more than their $10 IPO price will not seek to redeem them at that price, ensuring that Trump Media and Technology Group will receive most if not all of the $293 million it is entitled to under the merger.” • Well, that solves the legal fees problem. Trump really is a Houdini.

UPDATE “Donald Trump Does a SPAC Deal” [Matt Levine, Bloomberg]. “Donald Trump is a very famous person who likes to talk and who has a lot of enthusiastic fans. If he started a television channel that consisted of him talking about whatever for two hours every afternoon, surrounded by 22 hours of other people talking about how great he is, it would probably get a lot of viewers and could carry a lot of ads for pillows or whatever. But this would probably involve a certain amount of work and competence — you’d have to hire people to point the cameras at him and negotiate cable carriage and ad deals — and television is expensive; there would be some real financial risk to it. Or he could start a social media company for his fans, where he could send out his thoughts without being banned. I am not going to pretend to make a business case for that one — there is a long history of hilarious failure in the ‘social media for Trump’ category — but maybe you can. It is not a sure thing, in any case. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn’t. When Twitter Inc. went public it had never been profitable and it was, you know, a real social network that people used. Maybe Twitter But Trump would immediately be profitable but boy I have some doubts.” • This is very funny, but it actually does take competence to run a social media company. So a lot depends on Trump’s hires, as I’ve said.

UPDATE “Hedge funds make millions as shares in Trump media Spac jump” [Financial Times]. “David Puritz of Shaolin Capital Management, a $1.1bn fund that owns just less than 10 per cent of Digital World’s shares, told the Financial Times that “there’s a lot of embedded convexity in the Spac product”, which means that his upside was almost unlimited but the trade held minimal potential for a loss…. A large investor among the Spac’s IPO consortium called it one of the best trades in their career and said they were selling down their position. Hedge funds will typically sell their Spac units if, after a deal is announced, the stock skyrockets. DE Shaw declined to comment, while other hedge funds listed as investors did not respond to messages seeking comment. One hedge fund investor who owned nearly 10 per cent of Digital World said he sold every share he could early Thursday morning, before the stock price really got moving. ‘The idea that I would help [Trump] build out a fake news business called Truth makes me want to throw up,’ he said.” ‘• Better have a bucket by the side of your desk, champ.

UPDATE “Shares in Trump-linked media venture surge again” [Agence France Presse]. “A new investment vehicle linked to former US president Donald Trump’s fledgling social media venture surged early Friday before trading was temporarily halted due to the volatility. Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp, which is set to merge with Trump’s ‘TRUTH Social’ media startup, surged more than 200 percent before being suspended for several minutes on the Nasdaq…. A joint press release from the Trump Media and Technology Group and Digital World described the venture as ‘a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight against the ‘Big Tech’ companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.'” • And they’re not wrong, are they?

Democrats en Deshabille

UPDATE “Indicted Clinton lawyer hired CrowdStrike, firm behind dubious Russian hacking claim” [Aaron Maté]. This excellent article appeared already in Links, and presumably readers are up-to-speed on CrowdStrike (and if not, read the article). However, I want to pull out this one sentence: “As I revealed in 2020, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi have invested up to $1 million in Crowdstrike. As of September, the Pelosis’ stake in the firm had yielded a reported $717,000 profit.” • So what’s wrong with Powell trading, then? He didn’t spend his gains on ice cream and freezers? Anyhow, you can follow Nancy’s moves and cash in:

Democracy in action!

UPDATE Memories:

Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks. Cf. Luke 16:10.

“The New York State Democratic Party Really Is a Joke” [Ross Barkan, Political Currents]. “Unlike a lot of other states, New York does not have a functioning, centralized Democratic Party apparatus that recruits and trains candidates, funding them against Republican opponents. It has its various fiefdoms, along with elected officials who cultivate their own followings; the actual Democratic Party of the state doesn’t really exist at all. This has been mostly by design. For decades, the Democratic Party in New York has been a self-dealing, incompetent mess, often propping up Republicans to damage the progressive left. Cuomo, of course, was the exemplar of this…. New York could’ve used an organized, active, and decent Democratic Party in the last 50 years. Such a machine could’ve sped up the passage of many bills that only made it through the legislature in 2019, when Democrats, with no assistance from Cuomo, rode the blue wave to a clear majority. But the truth is Democrats are dominant enough now in New York that the atrophied infrastructure of the party means relatively little. There are NGO machines like the Working Families Party, the socialist DSA machine, and enough candidates who fundraise to build their own functioning operations. Congressional candidates who are serious can raise millions with no assistance from Jay Jacobs. This is not better or worse; it’s simply the world we live in now. … Yet we should take a moment to contemplate what has been lost. Local organizations used to matter a lot. The old municipal Democratic machines, so faded from their 20th century heyday, were both hotbeds of corruption and genuine organizers of working-class votes. With control of patronage, these machines could deliver the goods for voters. There was a tangible feel to democracy that no longer exists. The consultant class was also a minor feature of the process in this period. Parties themselves did the messaging, the organizing, and strategized around voter contact.” • I think Barkan is a little wide-eyed about Democrat parties in other states, but well worth a read.

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “Oath Keepers in the State House: How a Militia Movement Took Root in the Republican Mainstream” [ProPublica]. “Dozens of Oath Keepers have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, some of them looking like a paramilitary group, wearing camo helmets and flak vests. But a list of more than 35,000 members of the Oath Keepers — obtained by an anonymous hacker and shared with ProPublica by the whistleblower group Distributed Denial of Secrets — underscores how the organization is evolving into a force within the Republican Party. ProPublica [48] state and local government officials on the list, all Republicans: 10 sitting state lawmakers; two former state representatives; one current state assembly candidate; a state legislative aide; a city council assistant; county commissioners in Indiana, Arizona and North Carolina; two town aldermen; sheriffs or constables in Montana, Texas and Kentucky; state investigators in Texas and Louisiana; and a New Jersey town’s public works director. ProPublica’s analysis also found more than 400 people who signed up for membership or newsletters using government, military or political campaign email addresses, including candidates for Congress and sheriff, a retired assistant school superintendent in Alabama, and an award-winning elementary school teacher in California. Three of the state lawmakers on the list had already been publicly identified with the Oath Keepers. Other outlets have also scoured the list, finding police officers and military veterans. People with law enforcement and military backgrounds — like Clampitt, a retired fire captain in Charlotte, North Carolina — have been the focus of the Oath Keepers’ recruiting efforts since the group started in 2009. According to researchers who monitor the group’s activities, Oath Keepers pledge to resist if the federal government imposes martial law, invades a state or takes people’s guns, ideas that show up in a dark swirl of right-wing conspiracy theories. The group is loosely organized and its leaders do not centrally issue commands.”

UPDATE “Far-right Christians think they’re living in a Bible story, and that you are as well” [Flux]. “SHEFFIELD: And I think also that you could say that many moderate or liberal Christians, they’re not aware that this alternative tradition has developed, and really grown as big as it is. And they’re also not aware that that tradition is coming for them. And that it has a power that is very compelling to a lot of people because it’s totalizing. It’s a worldview that encompasses politics, that encompasses religion, that encompasses schooling, that encompasses family. It literally can run your life for you. It can make the decisions. It can make your identity. You can finally be a part of something bigger than yourself. DOUGLAS: They may also lack understanding about what this is because a lot of it is as a kind of craziness that’s outside of their specific church or cultural traditions, but some of it is shame. I think for lots of progressive and thoughtful and intellectual [01:00:00] Christians, to engage with fundamentalist theology and politics is to experience shame. Because it’s not like yours. It’s simplistic and binary and into this sort of Manichean binary of good and evil. It’s not as sophisticated as your own religious tradition. So I think that can oftentimes mean for the moderates and liberal/progressive Christians, there’s an experience of shame. And an attempt to, I think sometimes on the other hand argue that they’re not really Christian at all. Those people are not really Christian, they’re Christian nationalists, who aren’t really in the proper Christian tradition, like we’re practicing it. But that’s a different conversation.”

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of note today.

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The Bezzle: “Why the ‘Big Short’ Guys Think Bitcoin Is a Bubble” [New York Magazine]. (Michael Lewis’s book is wrong in important respects, but the movie, as a movie, is terrific. That said–) “‘What’s the value, what’s the purpose of bitcoin? To take away the Fed?’ asks one outspoken short seller, who wanted to remain anonymous, because ‘I don’t need the bitcoin guys after me.’ ‘I kind of like to have the Fed run by Ph.D.’s who went to work for the government being the people deciding fiscal policy more than a bunch of kids,’ he says, referring to the generation of extremely online young people who have figured prominently among the early adopters of bitcoin. ‘And the U.S. dollar is backed by the full faith of the United States. Does bitcoin have an army?’ ‘It’s just a big scheme,’ he says, ‘and so intellectually wrong.'” • For “Does bitcoin have an army,” see “How to turn litter into money,” by Warren Mosler.

Manufacturing: “Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 26. Maintenance planning” [Leeham News and Analysis]. “An important part of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness, ICA, is how to maintain the aircraft in a continued airworthy state during its operational life. The aircraft is airworthy when it rolls out of the factory but it needs to keep this condition for its 25 years or longer productive life. How this is done is contained in the maintenance documents, but there is more to it than just producing a maintenance manual.” • Calling all tech doc fans and aircraft maintenance nerds!

Labor Market: “Restaurants prep for long-term labor crunch by turning to robots to man the fryer, shuttle food to tables” [CNBC]. “[Flippy] robot can cost up to $3,000 a month.”

The Fed: “Focus of Fed trading furore shifts to Powell’s activities” [Financial Times]. “Jay Powell sought on Thursday to quash the trading scandal that has rippled through the US central bank in recent weeks by adopting a string of new restrictions on investments by the Federal Reserve’s top officials. But Fed watchers said the furore has already hit too close to the central bank’s inner circle — including scrutiny of Powell’s own financial activities — to avoid a substantial blow to the institution’s standing. Worse still, the turmoil comes just weeks ahead a big policy shift and with the chair’s bid for a second term on the line. ‘This was a black mark on the Fed and I’m sure they’ll recover from it, but it doesn’t help Jay,” said David Wessel, director of the Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank.” • Again, if Congress can play the ponies, why not the Fed?

The Fed: “A Heroic Powell Restores Public Faith In The Fed” [Heisenberg Report]. Really? No, not really. “Nothing in the new rules changes the numbers that count. 10% of Americans control nearly all of the stocks.” Yep.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Greed (previous close: 69 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 22 at 1:10pm.

The 420

“Home cultivation rules for medical cannabis move forward” [Times-Union]. “Seven years after New York passed its law permitting medical cannabis, certified patients will soon be allowed to grow plants at home, following regulations announced in the second-ever Cannabis Control Board meeting Thursday afternoon. The state’s 150,695 patients have, up until now, been required to purchase their product from one of ten suppliers that obtained licenses from the state Department of Health in a competitive bidding process. Now, New Yorkers have 60 days to comment on the home-grow regulations before they take effect. Sen. Diane Savino, who sponsored the initial medical cannabis bill and has been a key proponent of its therapeutic uses, said the lack of legal home-grow options has been a ‘long-standing issue for certified patients and their caregivers.’ ‘The draft regulations clearly lay out a program that will allow limited home cultivation in a safe manner, preventing diversion and abuse and allowing patients and caregivers who may be far from existing dispensaries the ability to manage their use,’ Savino said in a statement.” • Seven years, ffs. I wonder if Cuomo, may his name be accursed, was holding this up?

Our Famously Free Press

“Twitter’s own research shows that it’s a megaphone for the right. But it’s complicated.” [Protocol]. “Twitter is publicly sharing research findings today that show that the platform’s algorithms amplify tweets from right-wing politicians and content from right-leaning news outlets more than people and content from the political left…. ‘We can see that it is happening. We are not entirely sure why it is happening. To be clear, some of it could be user-driven, people’s actions on the platform, we are not sure what it is. It’s just important that we share this information,’ [Rumman Chowdhury, the head of Twitter’s machine learning, ethics, transparency and accountability team] said. The META team plans to conduct what she called a ‘root-cause analysis’ to try to discover the ‘why,’ and that analysis will likely include creating testable hypotheses about how people use the platform that could help show whether it’s the way users interact with Twitter or the algorithm itself that is causing this uneven amplification…. Chowdhury emphasized that Twitter doesn’t already know what causes certain content to be amplified. ‘When algorithms get put out into the world, what happens when people interact with it, we can’t model for that. We can’t model for how individuals or groups of people will use Twitter, what will happen in the world in a way that will impact how people use Twitter,’ she said. Twitter algorithms cannot just be opened up and examined for biases, and the home feed isn’t run by just one algorithm. It’s a system that works together, creating ‘system-level complexity.'” • Which is why a Twitter timeline is so, so much better than the Facebook news feed, but also, perhaps, why Facebook does better with advertisers; how Twitter sells attention is not so clear to them (which is not to say that Facebook’s advertising numbers are… anything other than what one might expect from Facebook).

“Breaking Right” [Columbia Journalism Review]. “The Journal holds a peculiar position in the American press. Murdoch, who acquired the paper along with Dow Jones in 2007 for five billion dollars, is perhaps the most hated executive in media, yet the Journal has managed to maintain a serious news operation, providing a training ground for excellent journalists for decades. The Journal has a distinctly conservative, finance-focused sensibility; it also belongs squarely among the New York media elite. It is not where many reporters aspire to land, however, in large part because its reputation is so tainted by incendiary op-eds. For decades, the Journal newsroom has grumbled about leaps of logic and reckless ideology on the opinion side. During Trump’s presidency, the grumbling grew into a roar…. The editorial board’s response to the letters was consistent, and they shared it with readers: ‘We are not the New York Times,’ they wrote, under the headline ‘These pages won’t wilt under cancel-culture pressure.’ The piece declared, ‘Our opinion pages offer an alternative to the uniform progressive views that dominate nearly all of today’s media.'” • Obviously the WSJ should be more like the Times. If they were, they could have Thomas Friedman on the editorial page, and publish (and repackage and sell to school children) historical fiction like the 1619 Project. What I like about the WSJ is that as a venue, it’s stable and I can discount for its bias. With the Times (or the Washington Post), the inconsistency is so bad I have to discount at the reporter or even the story level.

“Opinion: CNN defends Joe Rogan treatment in fiery statement” [WaPo]. “Yet CNN’s statement sounds more like the work of an advocacy group than a journalism outfit. The ‘issue,’ actually, begins and ends with the integrity of CNN’s content. If we take Rogan’s prescription claim at face value — and CNN hasn’t challenged it — then the network’s coverage was slanted in some cases and straight-up incorrect in others.” I’m not sure why “issue” is shrouded in shudder quotes; if CNN is lying, that’s a real issue. That aside, this sentence: “Given that a prominent CNN personality agreed with a strong critique of his own colleagues, we placed the matter before the network’s PR department.” • Oh. Not the editor or the publisher?

“Museums are posting erotic art on OnlyFans to evade social media censors” [The Hill]. “As traditional social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, monitor users and channels to censor obscene or pornographic material, museums are taking an untraditional step to showcase erotic art: creating OnlyFans pages. OnlyFans is an online subscription content service. While it is not explicity surrounding sex work and eroticism, it has become a safe haven for sex workers to produce and monetize content. Though the platform did briefly state in August that it would be banning explicit videos by October, it quickly changed course and walked back the announcement. [In] Vienna, Austria’s board for tourism took the unusual step to highlight some of its museums’ more risque works by creating an account called ‘Vienna Strips on OnlyFans.'” • In a related story, I won’t provide a link, since this is a family blog, but here is some astonishing (homo)erotic art by Duncan Grant, of the Bloomsbury ménage. I have always had Grant filed as second rate. This material (“Hi, sailor!) is first rate. You’ll like this, if this is sort of think you like.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The Many Crimes of Colin Powell” [Black Agenda Report]. “[Colin Powell] said this about his life and work, ‘All I want to do is judge myself as a successful soldier who served his best.’… Simply put, a good soldier follows orders, makes operations run smoothly, and makes his bosses look good. Powell did all of those things and that is why his legacy is so dubious…. When Major Colin Powell was stationed in Vietnam in 1968 he and his superiors received a letter written by a soldier whose tour of duty was ending. Tom Glen stated [before My Lai] that U.S. soldiers were carrying out atrocities against civilians. Major Powell was tasked with investigating, which should have included an interview of the soldier himself. Neither he nor anyone else spoke to Glen and when Powell responded he blamed the whistle blower for not reporting the crimes to people who had chosen to do nothing about them. He then wrote a classic yes-man response which concluded, ‘In direct refutation of this portrayal, is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese are excellent.’… If Powell would run interference for army brass in Vietnam, he would do no less for his boss, president George W. Bush. In early 2001, Powell said of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein , ‘He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.’ Two years later Powell made a great show at the United Nations saying just the opposite. Bush decided to invade Iraq and good soldier Powell was tasked with making the public case for a war of aggression. He famously held up a vial which he said represented the weapons of mass destruction which he knew did not exist. Those who remembered his assurances that Hussein posed no threat were few in number and the corporate media were ready to help the Bush administration get support for the invasion. Powell’s past statements magically disappeared as were any narratives that might contradict the Bush administration. Powell was the public face of the case for a war crime which eventually killed some 1 million people in Iraq.” • If only Condi Rice had been in Colin Powell’s place. Then the war crime would have been committed by a Person of Color and a woman.

Public Enemy on Colin Powell:

Covering up and facilitating war crimes is an odd definition of strength. Ah well, nevertheless:

Welcome to a world where Donald Trump gets Colin Powell right and Public Enemy gets him wrong [pounds head on desk]. Suckers, liars get me a shovel….

Class Warfare

News of the Wired

“This Simple Experiment Could Challenge Standard Quantum Theory” [Scientific American]. “A deceptively simple experiment that involves making precise measurements of the time it takes for a particle to go from point A to point B could spark a breakthrough in quantum physics. The findings could focus attention on an alternative to standard quantum theory called Bohmian mechanics, which posits an underworld of unseen waves that guide particles from place to place. A new study, by a team at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) in Germany, makes precise predictions for such an experiment using Bohmian mechanics, a theory formulated by theoretical physicist David Bohm in the 1950s and augmented by modern-day theorists. Standard quantum theory fails in this regard, and physicists have to resort to assumptions and approximations to calculate particle transit times. ‘If people knew that a theory that they love so much—standard quantum mechanics—cannot make [precise] predictions in such a simple case, that should at least make them wonder,’ says theorist and LMU team member Serj Aristarhov.” • After that, even a layperson’s article like this rises rapidly above my paygrade, but maybe we have some physicists in the readership who can interpret. But I can see that standard quantum theory failing would be a big deal.

“How Memphis Created the Nation’s Most Innovative Public Library” [Smithsonian]. “It’s difficult to summarize the myriad changes taking place in American public libraries, but one thing is certain. Libraries are no longer hushed repositories of books. Here at the Central branch in Memphis, ukulele flash mobs materialize and seniors dance the fox trot in upstairs rooms. The library hosts U.S. naturalization ceremonies, job fairs, financial literacy seminars, jazz concerts, cooking classes, film screenings and many other events—more than 7,000 at last count. You can check out books and movies, to be sure, but also sewing machines, bicycle repair kits and laptop computers. And late fees? A thing of the past. The hip-hop beats and power tool noise are coming from an 8,300-square-foot teenage learning facility called Cloud901 (the numerals are the Memphis area code). Two stories high, it contains a state-of-the-art recording studio staffed by a professional audio engineer, a robotics lab that fields a highly competitive team in regional and national championships, and a video lab where local teens have made award-winning films. Cloud901 also features a fully equipped maker space (a kind of DIY technology innovation workshop), a performance stage, a hang-out area and an art studio.” • This is all good, though I do hope they have a quiet room, like Amtrak has a Quiet Car. Let us not forget, however, that books are Jackpot-complaint. Reading a book does not require electrical power, or anything digital. Please don’t throw books away! Please order more of them! (I believe, just as there are college administrators who hate educators, there are library administrators who hate books. I hope your library does not have one such!

* * *

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

JU writes: “Burn zones of the KNP Fire along Mineral King Road.” I’m including (most of) JU’s portfolio, because the photos are so evocative of the California hills.

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

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

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Ahimsa

    Came across this on Twitter and thought Lambert might appreciate the editorial from

    Indoor Air – International Journal of Indoor Environment and Health

    The COVID-19 pandemic is a global indoor air crisis that should lead to change: A message commemorating 30 years of Indoor Air

    “The infectious disease transmission concepts of airborne, droplet, fomite, and contact routes have remained nearly unchanged since the sixteenth century even though the underlying science developed rapidly starting in the early twentieth century.3 The terminology is confusing for the public and even scientists are challenged to communicate clearly across disciplines. In some relevant academic workshops we have attended, participants spent disproportionate time attempting to reconcile what is understood to be airborne transmission. The airborne route is easily conflated with long-distance transmission, which is inaccurately perceived to be fearful, dangerous, and very difficult to control. Short-range airborne transmission is often confused with the large droplet route.”

    Freely available at Wiley Online Library: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ina.12928

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you. That’s a great link. I think the “impedance mismatch” in terminology is a function of conflicting institutional imperatives, but out of such conflicts paradigm shifts emerge…

  2. Sue inSoCal

    I expect nothing. The US can no longer lecture anyone about anything anymore. The corruption is on every level. Full stop.

          1. JBird4049

            Sometimes when I hear of Kamala Harris, or Joe, her boy toy, I get Boy George of Culture Club belting away in my head with this and I guess it’s good?

            (And wtf does it say that the Democratic Party makes me think of an 80s dance club number?)

            “Karma Chameleon”

            There’s a loving in your eyes all the way
            If I listened to your lies would you say

            I’m a man without conviction
            I’m a man who doesn’t know
            How to sell a contradiction
            You come and go
            You come and go

            Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon
            You come and go
            You come and go
            Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream
            Red, gold and green
            Red, gold and green

            Didn’t hear your wicked words every day
            And you used to be so sweet I heard you say

            That my love was an addiction
            When we cling our love is strong
            When you go you’re gone forever
            You string along
            You string along

            Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon
            You come and go
            You come and go
            Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream
            Red, gold and green
            Red, gold and green

            Every day is like survival
            You’re my lover not my rival
            Every day is like survival
            You’re my lover not my rival

            I’m a man without conviction
            I’m a man who doesn’t know
            How to sell a contradiction
            You come and go
            You come and go

            Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon
            You come and go
            You come and go
            Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream
            Red, gold and green
            Red, gold and green
            Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon
            You come and go
            You come and go
            Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream
            Red, gold and green
            Red, gold and green
            Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon
            You come and go
            You come and go
            Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream
            Red, gold and green
            Red, gold and green
            Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon
            You come and go
            You come and go
            Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream
            Red, gold and green
            Red, gold and green

  3. Helena

    I’m glad I listened to the Barking Owl–at first I wondered if it was ‘barking’ as in ‘barking mad.’

    1. The Rev Kev

      That barking Owl was recorded by Vicki Powys and I know that Cornish name well. She is also a NSW local historian who has written books on the area that my grandmother grew up in and has her own website too at-


      For those interested in birds (hello Jerri), she not only has articles on birds and bird song recorded but also technical articles on recording gear as well. Under ‘Local History’ is those digital books that I was talking about which is real good stuff.

  4. Samuel Conner

    I’m now decades stale, and perhaps these thoughts are flawed, but perhaps they are useful:

    Re: the lack of a time operator in QM, this is certainly true of non-relativistic quantum theory, at least as I learned it decades ago. but one could argue that that is by construction, since as in classical mechanics, time is conventionally, in non-rel QM, treated as an independent parameter.

    It’s not clear to me that it must be treated as an independent parameter.
    Energy and time are conjugate and there is a corresponding uncertainty relation. I would think that a time operator within conventional QM, even non-relativistic conventional QM, is conceivable.

    And it looks like someone demonstrated the possibility, decades ago:


    Annals of Physics is a reputable journal.

    It’s not clear to me, scanning this paper, that this is a relativistic treatment. It may be non-relativistic, though if a non-relativistic time operator is possible, then I would certainly think a relativistic one is possible.

    I’m rooting for the experimentalists, but I’d be very surprised if they find something that disproves QM.

    1. R

      I think you pulled off in fifth gear there!

      There’s lots of juicy detail in formulations of quantum mechanics and the role of time (which is an Achilles heel of the standard model in other places, like charge parity violation) but I think Lambert needs help with the bigger picture.

      Basically, quantum mechanics is a way of describing the world starting from the assumptions that energy states of systems are not continuous but discrete, changing by irreducible quanta, and that elementary particles exhibit particle/wave duality (Example: sometimes electrons are waves and will produce a light/dark pattern of constructive/destructive interference as if passing through all slots of a diffraction grating. Sometimes they are tiny marbles and can be detected passing through one slot and not another of the grating)

      The descriptions have immense predictive power in some domains but fail to give answers in other quite straightforward questions. Some of the limitations were finessed by Feynman who formulated ways of interpreting equations that blew up rather converged, by asserting we should just “renormalise” them.

      But some of the earliest and most fundamental interpretations of quantum mechanics were thrashed out by Nils Bohr in the Copenhagen model of quantum mechanics. One tenet is the particle wave duality. But it is just an assertion plastered on to the maths. Other interpretations suggest that particles have “pilot waves” which ease/guide their passage in space. Some of these heretical interpretations ascribe meaning to mathematical solutions that are currently held to lack physical significance.

      Personally the voodoo of QM is now old hat compared the writings of Stephen Wolfram. He is postulating that the entire structure if the universe and all physical phenomena, from mass to gravity, are all emanations of continuous tiny scale rewriting of a spacetime connectivity graph. The scary thing is that from information theoretic operations he is able to deduce all sorts if core physical theories, e.g. relativity.

      He started publishing this stuff during lockdown and nobody seems to be talking about it. He is clearly a genius from his work as an academic and then a software entrepreneur but he may just be our Newton or Einstein….


  5. geoff

    Thanks so much for linking the Smithsonian article on the Memphis library. I am proud to volunteer there, and would like to add that this year the library received a national medal for library services from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. (Which seems redundant, but we’ll take it!) It’s “the nation’s highest honor given to libraries and museums that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities, making us the first-ever two-time recipient (2007 and 2021).” (from the MPL website)

  6. Lambert Strether Post author

    I have added the UPDATEs, of which there are many, because a lot of complicated stories hit at once.

    Nothing on the reconciliation bill, however! Perhaps at 5:00, this being Friday…

  7. Pat

    Cuomo was a huge impediment to medical marijuana.

    He did become a handmaiden to big marijuana as Forbes puts it but even that he walked back. And as a distraction, It probably wasn’t enough to stop the calls for his scalp.

    Timeline of his positions

    This NPR report on marijuana research blames the lack of information but does show a NY woman having to doctor shop to get a prescription. From friends’ experiences the law was so restrictive it, not research, made doctors hesitate to prescribe even the manipulated versions allowed.

  8. jr

    Re: robots in restaurants

    A lot of people eat out for the satisfaction of bossing others around, in my experience. Will customer satisfaction tank when their robot’s don’t appear deferential? Another reason to extend them human rights, to deny them human rights!

    1. Arizona Slim

      To think that when the Slim family ate out, I was expected to display impeccable table manners and be courteous to all who waited on us.

      1. Jen

        Same here, Slim. My mom would shoot me the look that separated flesh from bone if I so much as fidgeted. The reward for behaving was a lot of excellent food.

          1. The Rev Kev

            NC had an article some time ago about a restaurant that abolished tips and paid their staff a good wage instead so that the staff would not be hustling all the time. The article noted that a lot of customers were upset about this because it removed their power of giving tips to staff in exchange for attention and/or flirtatious behavior. So at heart, it is a power dynamic.

            1. Helena

              There is such a thing as an evaluation on a comment card (meant to be constructive, hopefully) but the ‘financial punishment’ concept gives more pleasure to people who think of servers as their own personal employees. Do people who eat out feel helpless about or pampered by being waited on by strangers?

    2. Nikkikat

      I think the rich will be very unhappy once they realize the robot has zero feelings. It won’t be as much fun to berate them, talk down to them and remind them that had they sought out higher education like themselves they could have been just like them.

    3. The Rev Kev

      To quote a fictional 19th century British soldier: ‘Perliteness don’t cost you bleedin’ nothin’.’

  9. Jason Boxman

    I’ve seen the robot kitchen prototype of the future, and it has workers. In Boston, Spyce – The Future is Fresher, open some years ago perhaps in 2017. The robot cooks are themselves limited to spinning in various directions to essentially stir fry food, which is deposited by workers that also handle garnishing and cutting up the food first.

    The result was rather good, but then it’s hard to screw up a stir fry.

    Looks like they’ve “pivoted”, and there’s no mention of robots anywhere now. Google Maps still has the old description, so I don’t misremember: “Star chef Daniel Boulud backs this inventive spot automating assembly of healthy veggie-heavy bowls.”

    So much for robots I guess.

    1. John

      all this talk, and I guess some action, about robots and artificial intelligence brings thoughts of Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano and sky-net.

  10. Carolinian

    Ectoplasmic Garland–LOL.

    WaPo giving CNN tips on media ethics–also LOL.

    And WSJ–the genuinely “radical” journalist Alexander Cockburn used to have a column on their editorial page. Were he still around I doubt you’d ever find him at the NYT. Righties seem to be less afraid–and afraid is the right word–of disagreement. Is that because things are mostly always going their way? But even back in a somewhat more lefty era Buckley would regularly have J.K. Galbraith on his show as target of his tongue flicking. If the left are going to achieve social reform perhaps they’ll have to ditch the “safe spaces.” Who respects that?

  11. drumlin woodchuckles

    Before reading any of this post or thread, I saw that phrase ” the Assumption of Neera Tanden” and my immediate first thought was . . . her Assumption unto Heaven? Oh please! Oh please!

    . . . . . . . . .

    And then going back and beginning to read I see that she has been made Joemala’s Chief of Staff.
    Oh no! Oh no!

    1. jsn

      The Trump years having been an orgy of oligarch give a ways, with the Democrats soiling themselves in every conceivable way destroying any residual credibility as an opposition, what will Republicans do with substantial majorities next year?

      And with the whole ball game in 2024? They need to be planning for non-governance, they’ll be inheriting cascading collapse having got everything they ever dreamed of.

      1. Michael Ismoe


        Speaker Trump might find President Kamala a better foil for his dastardly plans. The price of popcorn is gonna skyrocket.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        They could do another round of tax cuts so deep as to bankrupt the government for real. And then put the government into liquidation. Sell all the National Parks, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, etc., to the millionaires and the billionaires. After all, they now have Trillions of Federal Reserve-type dollar invented and sent their way somehow . . . . just for this very sort of opportunity.

        Sell all the marble blocks in the Washington Monument. Cut the statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial into pieces and sell pieces of The True Lincoln to all those who want to own a “piece of history”. Sell all the objects d’ art in the National Gallery, all the books in the Library of Congress, all the rocks and minerals in the Smithsonian Museum, etc.

        There’s lots of things the Republicans could still do if the Democrats give them back their Government.

  12. Dr. John Carpenter

    Public Enemy is still one of my favorite groups of all time and I think they’re still making worthwhile music. However, Chuck’s said a lot of stuff in the era of Twitter that makes me wonder where the fire went.

    If I never have to hear “we didn’t agree on everything, but…” used to whitewash another of these ghouls dying at a ripe old age free from any consequences or even inconvenience brought on my their crimes, I will die a happy man.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      There is a Seinfeld where the interchange goes something like this:

      Jerry: you would turn me in for murder
      Kramer: in a heartbeat
      Jerry: But we know each other so well
      Kramer: if you were a murderer, I don’t know you that well.

      These awful characters have stronger moral fibers than so many people in America today.

    2. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      When I saw this on twitter the other day I was terribly disappointed in Chuck. To think this was the man who wrote Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos. Here’s the first verse:

      I got a letter from the government the other day
      I opened and read it, it said they were suckers
      They wanted me for their army or whatever
      Picture me giving a damn, I said never
      Here is a land that never gave a damn
      About a brother like me and myself because they never did
      I wasn’t with it but just that very minute it occurred to me
      The suckers had authority
      Cold sweating as I dwell in my cell, how long has it been?
      They got me sitting in the state pen
      I gotta get out, but that thought was thought before
      I contemplated a plan on the cell floor
      I’m not a fugitive on the run
      But a brother like me begun to be another one
      Public enemy serving time
      They drew the line y’all, to criticize me some crime
      Nevertheless, they could not understand that I’m a Black man
      And I could never be a veteran
      On the strength, the situation’s unreal
      I got a raw deal, so I’m looking for the steel

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        That video was my introduction to PE. I only saw it once but the fact that MTV ever played it at all is mind blowing. I remember the brouhaha a few years ago over Beyoncé “anti-cop” Super Bowl show and thought even someone of her stature could get away with something like the Black Steel video (not that she’d even come close to it anyway.)

  13. flora

    shot: Fed insider trading scandel rocks DC.

    chaser: move Main Street’s bank account money out of local banks and into the Fed.

    1. Helena

      you have voiced my latest nightmare, except it’s not just Main Street money, it’s Treasury and the SSA fund. There’s already an unholy alliance between the Fed and Treasury, could I just wake up one day and be f*cked?

      1. saywhat?

        No, because the US is monetarily sovereign. Just keep your Social Security paperwork as proof of benefits.

      2. Objective Ace

        There is no SSA fund. Its all been spent by congress. The only thing that exists is an IOU that presumably Congress will pay as it comes due

        1. Helena

          T-bills ‘backed by the full faith and credit of the US govt’
          You’d think if they had invested all that money in a secure interest-bearing instrument…

          1. Objective Ace

            Its actually not T-bills. Its “special issue securities”, though they are “backed by the full faith and credit of the U. S. Government.”. How everyone’s faith in the government right now though? For whatever reason the system is setup so we can default on SSA obligations without actually defaulting like we would if treasuries stopped being paid.

            At any rate, back to my initial point, the cash used to purchase these special issue securities ultimately “goes into the general fund of the Treasury and is indistinguishable from other cash in the general fund.”


            1. eg

              As long as the US can credibly enforce the imposition of its tax liability (along with fees and fines) as denominated in the currency over which it exercises a monopoly of issue, that currency will still have value.

              That’s all the “faith” or “confidence” the sovereign requires — the widespread acknowledgment among the populace that the taxman is coming every year.

              1. Objective Ace

                In theory I agree, but all of the issues that come up when we approach the debt ceiling including increased yields in treasuries as Yves has linked to suggest otherwise

            2. Helena

              according to SSA.gov”

              Since the beginning of the Social Security program, all securities held by the trust funds have been issued by the Federal Government. There are two general types of such securities:

              Special issues—available only to the trust funds
              Public issues—marketable Treasury bonds available to the public.

              The trust funds now hold only special issues, but they have held public issues in the past. https://www.ssa.gov/oact/ProgData/specialissues.html

              No mention of the history here. I need to explore further, thanks.

    2. saywhat?

      It’s the ability of the Fed to create fiat for private interests that is inherently corrupt and which is the root cause of corruption among Central Bank officials too.

      That ability should be abolished.

      As for government guarantees of private, including privately created, deposits; that too is inherently corrupt and should be abolished in favor of inherently risk-free debit and checking accounts for all citizens (at least) at the Central Bank or Treasury itself.

      1. flora

        in favor of inherently risk-free debit and checking accounts for all citizens (at least) at the Central Bank or Treasury itself.

        After watching the tbtf banks defraud customers in the 2008-9 GFC, I think the more completely centralized banking control is, the more possibilities there are for grand scale corruption. So, no thanks.

        Keep Main Street banking locally owned, widely dispersed, and continue the state charter system as a good consumer/customer option and bulwark against Fed charters going rogue. Giving the central bank even more power and control is the last thing we need.

      2. Objective Ace

        > the ability of the Fed to create fiat for private interests that is inherently corrupt and which is the root cause of corruption among Central Bank officials too.

        Banks were “creating” fiat well before the Fed. I think your suggestion about checking accounts directly with the Treasury is interesting (although that raises other issues) but I dont think theres anything wrong with government back stopping private institutions as long as the “insurance” paid by these companies is fair market value. If your leverage increases from 5x to 20x the premium paid to the government for backstopping you should skyrocket.

        1. saywhat?

          but I dont think theres anything wrong with government back stopping private institutions as long as the “insurance” paid by these companies is fair market value. Objective Ace

          Only a monetary sovereign can credibly guarantee against (or preclude it via inherently risk-free accounts of its own) systemic risk. Hence, “fair market value” does not even apply since no conceivable premium can honestly cover the risk of system-wide bank failure.

  14. Nikkikat

    Curses! Neera Tanden is one of the most reprehensible humans on the face of the earth. Why didn’t they just bring back the horrific Rahm Emanuel to the White House? Holy smokes to allow this corporate evil monster any where near the Oval Office….reminds of Dick Cheney running the White House for GW Bush. I will never forget how horrible she treated the group of people working on the platform committee for the DNC. Like Cornel West. It was televised on C-span. Anyone that read the Wikileaks Podesta emails saw her complete disrespect for just about anyone or anything. I did not vote for Biden or think that he would have any decent people in his administration but this loathsome creature is beyond the pale. Why didn’t he just find a job for Hillary, same difference to me.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Unlike Cheney, she doesn’t actually bring anything to the table except hippie punching. At best, she’s totally replaceable. Her Hillary goons didn’t actually care about Neera except that she was friends with Mother.

      1. Tvc15

        The ruling class does as they please with immunity and shamelessness, it’s probably always been this way, perhaps the shamelessness is new. I’ve voted in every election since 1984 (ironic) and will never vote again because it doesn’t matter. Caucused for Bernie in ’16 and he won easily in my conservative rural small town in central Maine over the self-appointed chosen one (weird huh). I voted for Jill Stein in ’16 as a protest even though Neera would certainly smear me as a misogynist for not voting for the self-appointed queen. IMO, elections are really ruling class selections, and the DNC stole both ’16 and ’20 from Sanders and we know there were no shenanigans with Bush v Gore /s. Kennedy wasn’t killed by a magic bullet, WTC 7 didn’t implode upon itself, and the Vikings discovered America a thousand years ago, not Columbus as I was incorrectly taught among almost everything else. I’m a firm supporter of paper ballots, hand counted in public that Lambert never misses an opportunity to put into the ether. It’s a huge tell that we live in a lie when this voting process isn’t even considered. My wife and I are older gen x and have seen nothing but the steady decline of this country in every facet since we’ve been alive. My first job at 16 was for a grocery store in 1983 and the store was unionized. The meat department and even checking jobs provided a middle-class lifestyle. Checkers if I recall correctly made ~$20 an hour and could afford to live in the middle to upper class neighborhoods surrounding NASA south of Houston. I’ve read NC daily since ’09 when I stumbled upon it looking for answers to WTF just happened to the economy. Thanks to Yves, Lambert, others and the commentariat, I now have a cursory understanding of MMT and know that taxes do not fund spending and the deficit is a myth. I regret bringing four children into this world because of all the reasons we read about here every day. It won’t get better unless we dismantle the ruling classes system. Everything I grew up believing is a lie and I think it’s just a matter of time before the house of cards comes crashing down…hope I’m wrong. If the brazen corruption, end stage capitalism, surveillance state, 1984/Brave New World dystopia we live in isn’t enough for you, there’s always abrupt climate change to brighten your outlook. Guy McPherson, ecology, and evolutionary biologist says its over once the arctic sea ice is gone in the next few years. He thinks we’re beyond the tipping point and its inevitable now. Enough of my disjointed rant, time for escapism with game six between the Astros and Red Sox.

        1. Even keel

          Great comment. Don’t give up. You being authentically and unreservedly you is what the world needs.

          I’m sure of it. And I don’t even know you.

        2. Michael McK

          I agree with your sentiment except the part about never voting again. There is usually someone (mostly ignored by the media) pestering the machine from the left who could use your encouragement. If not, run yourself for something (smallish) and unload with a whole lot of truth on the campaign trail- it will blow some minds and make many others feel far less alone. And it will make you feel good!

    2. The Rev Kev

      Like Rahm, will she one day be rewarded with an Ambassadorship to some important country? What could possibly go wrong?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Until someone is able to perform actual experiments which would answer actual questions about string theory’s explanatory power for detectable real-world phenomena; “string theory” is really just “string philosophical speculation”.

      1. Helena

        I see physicists as something like anthropologists, and just as territorially nasty.

        Witten takes a more optimistic view of the theory’s chances, pointing out that the mathematics of string theory have turned out to be coincidentally useful in other areas of physics before.

        “In general, this kind of work shows that string theory is useful, and in fact by now it has been useful in many different ways,” Witten said in an email to Wired.com.

        “One might surmise that a physics theory that has proved to be useful in so many different areas of physics and math is probably on the right track,” he added. “But that is another question.” https://www.wired.com/2010/09/stringy-quantum/

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If that is true, then “stringism” should definitely be pursued so that more of its speculative mathematics might provide other accidental uses and accidental value in yet more other areas of physics and math.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Maybe this will help put some vellum on your cerebellum. Can’t say that I grok it myself, but the guy put some serious effort into that video even if string theory turns out to be complete bushwa. I think Freddy Mercury would be proud.

      1. Helena

        Drat, it’s another one of those ‘silenced’ u-tube vids. I know the tune, and enjoyed it immensely anyway with the CC. Thanks!

  15. drumlin woodchuckles

    The fact that the book referrenced when referring to the Patriot Wingers as possibly writing a book after they get de-carcerated is Mein Kampf indicates that it is at least understood who the Patriot Wingers are, what they represent, and what they are fighting for and crime-committing for.

    I believe the War Nerd and others have pointed out that the very first “insurgents” to stand up are the very first to get taken out. Darwinian selection works fast and hard on the nascent insurgency, and future waves of the MAGA Trumpanon Insurgency will become more effectively violent. And if the Republican secretly-fascist Party and also several right wing billionaires back them in secret with money and protection and publicity, then their movement will grow toward conquest, just like the Redeemers in the Reconstruction-Era South did.

    1. JBird4049

      Today’s situation is only similar to the post Civil War South and to Wiemar Germany; most people then, or at least enough, did not believe that violent paramilitaries would successfully do armed coups, understood that the outcomes would be so bad, and finally there is the widespread (and growing) ownership of arms by both the left as well as the right as well as the financial support of both by the wealthy.

      The United States is one very, very large country. It’s freaking vast with over three hundred million people. I have no problem believing that the currently growing American fascist movement would win, but I also believe that this not guaranteed, with the potential resistance to it is much stronger than most people realize.

      1. VietnamVet

        Thanks to propaganda, government is seen as the enemy and identity politics splinters the underclasses apart. But, all it takes is a charismatic parade jumper to imprint on the protestors that it isn’t the government that is screwing them, it is foreign oligarchs. This is close enough to the truth to start a movement to retake the government for the people and taxing the profiteers to get back their plundered wealth to restore public health and good governance. Not that different than the first Civil War.

  16. Stephen

    if Wall Street is shocked and appalled and delighted that Trump’s social media app SPAC blew up and made everyone a bunch of dirty money….wait till they find out about MAGAmail.com. Yes, that’s a real thing. Though I doubt that Team Trump is involved…they would have made an announcement of some sort if they were, one would think.

    Grifters gonna grift.

      1. Objective Ace

        Dont be so sure its “stealing”. Half the country (more?) is looking for alternatives to left wing tech companies. The Fox equivalent to CNN for social media so to speak. It doesnt even matter if they censor just as much as Facebook and youtube do, just so long as they censor other topics and the masses finally have a place to discuss IVM, etc.

        Sure its unlikely to happen, but considering how big Facebook is–it might be worth taking a long shot gamble that this turns into an actual competitor of sorts.

  17. Helena

    Re: “Far-right Christians think that they are living in a Bible story”…I am having Baptist flashbacks


    God Decides When We Die, Not COVID

    For one thing, Christians believe that life and death belong entirely to God. There is nothing we can do to make our days on earth one second longer or shorter: “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be,” says the Psalmist. “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s,” says Saint Paul in Romans 14:8.

    For another thing, for Christians, death is good.

    If you’re ‘saved’, let ‘er rip. There is no talking to them.

    1. saywhat?

      Otoh, (for examples):

      … Why die before your time? Ecclesiastes 7:17

      Long life is in her [Wisdom’s] right hand … Proverb 3:16

      If you wish to convince a Christian, you need to know the Bible better than they do. Careful though, you might discover you’ve unfairly judged it…

    2. Helena

      My fundy Mother had a quintuple bypass in her 60s, and faithfully took her insulin shots for diabetes type II. She fervently wanted to be raptured. My fundy Father was treated successfully for Lyme disease and prostate cancer. He was disappointed to only live to 87. I really hate this propaganda lying crap.

  18. Karma Fubar

    Re: The math problem the Democrats face

    Has anyone yet seriously suggested that the cuts to the Democrat’s spending occur not in the breadth of the programs but in the domain of time? This keeps getting referenced as a 10 year budget plan. There is no magic to the 10 year number (the senate parlimentarian may disagree. whatever). So instead of drastic cuts to some programs and outright elimination of others, turn it into a 5 year plan to stick within the Manchin budget allowance. Timed specifically to expire shortly after the 2026 midterm congress is sworn into office in early 2027. So in 2026, the Democrats can say “Like what those programs have done for you lately? You know that if the Republicans retain/take control in the 2026 elections that they will all disappear. Totally. Permanently.”

    Not looking to do the Democrats any favors, but just trying to explore ways they can deliver on at least some of the promises they made*. Its like they are not even trying.

    * Joe Biden still owes me $600

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is what they did after Manchin blew up the compromise, but Manchin is a terrorist. You have to stop rewarding him. He has to face punishment because he and Sinema will continue to do what they perceive to be in their interest. Sinema is tricky because she’s really stupid and thinks she’s John McCain who when he was a “maverick” usually the picked the popular side.

  19. rowlf

    Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 26. Maintenance planning


    The article is a simplified description of the maintenance planning system. For an airliner it gets a lot more complicated and deeper, and an operator’s engineering department can change a lot of the system if they can substantiate the changes with operating data. Some airlines stay with the manufacturers’ process, and others change the process if they can get manufacturer and regulatory approval. Often the operators will find improvements to process, operation and design and the manufacturer will incorporate the improvements.

    A few years ago I wanted to find the engineering substantiation that went into a process change that occurred thirty years ago, so I could adapt it to another aircraft. I knew it had to exist as you couldn’t have the result without it, but the two paths I ran down both ended up saying the process was only on paper documents, never scanned, sitting in box in warehouses for both the manufacturer and the operator.

    Airliner maintenance planning has been getting safer and more efficient with electronic file keeping and improved databases. Quality escapes are getting rarer and configuration control is improving. Progress in improving human data input is being made. I find it ironic that the mentality has come full circle back to quality (reliability) pays for itself, a cycle that has happened several times since WWII if you follow the trade magazines since then.

    1. jsn

      Enjoyed this comment!

      So there’s an entire culture replete with subcultures for maintaining, improving and communicating technical solutions including a subculture for cultural reproduction of all these social forms.

      We’re seeing how the MBA s hollowed these out at Boeing, seen from the outside to apparently start with degrading cultural reproduction.

      Is something like that happening in operations? Or is the value of safety still too obvious for greed to override?

      1. rowlf

        The MBAs flamed out at several US airlines in the 1990s and 2000s with their bad ideas. There are several reasons:
        -The collection and analysis of reliability data improved, so numbers-polishers couldn’t hide anymore.
        -There are hard time limits on components, inspections and repair that will ground a fleet if not addressed. Most airlines have had a period where they learned that kicking the can down the road is more expensive than grasping the nettle.
        – The FAA doesn’t like to be in the spotlight and having to explain what happened and why they let it happen. Having the FAA closely involved in the operation helps in minimizing safety drift. If the FAA relationship is good, the FAA will nudge people to get back on track or people will suggest that the FAA take a look at something. This works really well when it works in a low key manner, but some people need to be hit with a brick.

        While there is always tension between safety and costs, I think this last decade has been the best as I think it is great that so much sunshine has been shined into so many corners. Less people are tempted or able to cut corners. The EU and US customer protection rules have helped in tuning up safety and reliability too.

        The culture topic has been fascinating as basically everyone flys the same equipment, so then airline culture and region culture starts to stand out. Some operators have problems with an aircraft and work with the manufacturer to find a solution, and other operators never see the same problem due to operational and culture differences.

  20. drumlin woodchuckles

    In a beautiful perfect world, if we were gathering data on different aspects of coronavid, we would also gather data on all the different severity levels of covid infection in the unvaccinated, and all the same kind of data on all the different severity levels of covid infection in the already-vaccinated. Then we could compare percent of severity levels of infection between the un-vaxed and the vaxed patients, so we could see if being vaccinated prevents as much severity among the vaxed-and-infected as the unvaxed-and-infected experience.

  21. Helena

    ” Unvaccinated Americans are more likely to die of non-Covid causes than those who received their shots, CDC report finds”

    Daily Mail, not The Onion. It’s a real report and more convoluted than I have ever seen–the CDC really outdid themselves!

      1. Objective Ace

        So we can conclude then that getting a covid shot not only helps with Covid but will actually help with every other health/mortality aspect of your life that has nothing to do with Covid? Diabetes–get a covid shot! Smoker–get a Covid shot! In a dangerous profession like logging–get a Covid shot!

        It would have been much better if the results showed the two groups were equally likely to die from other causes, instead we quite clearly have variables that are not being controlled for in the 2 populations. This doesnt make me feel any better about what’s coming out of the CDC if they think this data is telling of anything

      2. outside observer

        From the study:
        “To ensure comparable health care–seeking behavior among persons who received a COVID-19 vaccine and those who did not (unvaccinated persons), eligible unvaccinated persons were selected from among those who received ≥1 dose of influenza vaccine in the last 2 years.”
        It does seem an odd control group…

  22. marym

    From Ocasio-Cortez’s twitter:
    News: @AOC is joining the picket line on Saturday afternoon at Catholic Health Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, NY where 2k healthcare workers are on strike over a long-standing staffing crisis

    @AOC visits @NYTWA Hunger Fast to #EndCabbieDebt “We were able to get you the money [for your plan] because of YOUR action, it’s just stuck in city hall. Now we just need to get it out… the conditions are very favorable, we just need to #bringithome.”

    NY Taxi Workers @NYTWA
    @AOC telling the story of our campaign for debt relief, back to when we testified before the
    @FSCDems in 2019. It’s remarkable to hear it back. Justice will prevail. It is long overdue.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If Ocasio-Cortez gets 2 more terms of being this visibly useful to people within and beyond her District in New York State, she might become known and respected enough to run for the Senate, if the Senate itself is not too toxic of a radioactive sewage lagoon by that time.

    1. marym

      This was really interesting. Thank you. He didn’t add it to the thread, but his first suggestion has gotten some response.

      Update: The city of LB just announced it has temporarily suspended container stacking limitations. Thank you everybody who called the governor and the mayor to request. They got the message, you can stop now…

      Robert Garcia @RobertGarcian [Long Beach mayor]
      Effective immediately Long Beach is allowing cargo to be stacked up to 4 containers high at container lots across the city. And up to 5 containers with safety approvals. Previously 2 had been the limit. This is a temporary move to address our national supply chain emergency.

      1. JBird4049

        If the yards are not accepting empties, then in few months time there will be shortage of containers at the *exporters’ yards*

        It has been a struggle to get enough empty containers from the United States to places like China for at least thirty years; I should have remembered/realized that having long lines of cargo ship waiting to offload means and having all those empties just stored, not in use, just means that there will be a shortage on the other side.

        Truly, this efficient, just in time, shipping is a modern wonder.

  23. TroyIA

    John Deere maintains healthcare, incentive pay as UAW talks progress

    As we work constructively with the UAW to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, John Deere will continue providing healthcare for all our UAW-represented production and maintenance employees. In addition, we will provide these employees with the Continuous Improvement Pay Plan (CIPP) incentives they earned before the strike as scheduled.

    John Deere’s healthcare and CIPP incentives are critical aspects of John Deere’s industry-leading wages and benefits. We are taking these steps to demonstrate our commitment to doing what’s right by our employees and focusing on all that we can achieve together.

    In other words United Healthcare told Deere they would have to pay an early termination fee for canceling our policies and the corporate lawyers told Deere that not paying CIPP incentives they were on the verge of committing wage theft. Sarcasm of course.

  24. The Rev Kev

    Lambert was looking for another saying and came up with “It is said in the desert that possession of water in great amount can inflict a man with fatal carelessness.”

    How about one from John Wyndham (from “Day of the Triffids”) where he had a character say-

    ‘Anybody who has had a great treasure has always led a precarious existence.’

    And re Thomas Massie. Yeah, he can act like a rat-bag at times but I have never forgotten his stand against the CARES Act back in early 2020. That deserves respect that as does his questioning here of FBI agent provocateurs.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “How Memphis Created the Nation’s Most Innovative Public Library”

    No. Just no. is there a dire need for community centers? Absolutely. Is it a good idea to cram it into a library just because it is there? No. How many public spaces are there where you can read and think in peace and quiet? Yeah, not that many. You think that Memphis will also say ‘Hey, let’s also use those Tennessee National Guard bases as well for this sort of stuff and disrupt them.’ No, I don’t think so either because the Guard would put their foot down on that idea straight away. So they went after the library instead. This is like people saying how being ‘disruptive’ of things like taxis and hotels and all the rest of it is a good idea. And when the Tennessee Library Board complained about having a political appointment to the library and the mayor replied “A manager is a manager”, that just said it all. That is a PMC attitude that has led to some epic disasters.

    When that appointee said that she went to ‘rock stars of Libraryland with the most progressive ideas’ is she really listening to herself? How come nobody suggest using all those abandoned malls going to rack and ruin for what they want to do? Huge open spaces hooked up to power, water, etc. Plenty of parking and having the ability to have a regular bus line take people out there. Oh, that is commercial that so is sacrosanct. Can’t touch that. And for this library? It is only a matter of time until the number of books is reduced so that there are mostly only digital books or you cannot browse them because they are in storage somewhere waiting for a request to bring them up. The space for those books will be used for something else instead. Like a dance floor or a business entrepreneur facility. And I am willing to be that if there are are future power disruptions, that they will have to shut this ‘library’ down until they get back power again.

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a little video from the ” iamatotalpieceofshit” subreddit. I think the video speaks for itself, though if someone thinks they can reverse its visible meaning by “contextualizing” it, they are free to try.

    This video goes to show the value of social media. Without social media, the officers would have shot this citizen for the pleasure of it. When they know they are being recorded and that the video-record might be seen by thousands or even millions of people, they hesitate to shoot the way they want to.

    Their union should be crushed and broken and their Blue Privilege taken away.

    If black viewers of this video decide to buy weapons and get trained in their use, and join the Black Guns Matter organization . . . http://officialblackgunsmatter.com/ . . . . will Gun Control Liberals get upset?

    Here is the link.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That is like that video of an old, black dude about a year or two ago in a city street who was hassled by a cop because she thought of his walking stick as a weapon. It was in fact used by the old guy to stop himself from falling down through advanced age but she was demanding that he drop it and comply.

  27. The Rev Kev

    As George Takei, would say – ‘Oh, my.’ So many people want to come free Australia like Candace Owens, Tucker Carlson Joe Rogan, Fox news-


    Haven’t they heard? The Pandemic is over here. It is Freedom Day all over the place. And we needed to be freed from our prisons-


    Yeah, a dozen or more people a day are dying daily which will probably mean about 3 to 4 thousand dead a year annually but the government and medical establishment assure us that we have to ‘learn to live with the virus’. It’s for the good of the economy, doncha know?

    1. eg

      Whence comes this bizarre notion that there is a healthy economy absent a healthy populace? Even the Victorians evidently knew better, though I suppose there were plenty of short-sighted tightwads grumbling that investments in public sanitation were going to bankrupt the nation.

  28. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: “Capitol Rioters in Jail’s ‘Patriot Wing’ Have Their Own Rituals and a Growing Fan Base” [Vice]

    Who could have predicted incarceration would have such an effect….

    Supposedly “ISIS” was “born” at Camp Bucca in Iraq.

    According to former prison commanders, analysts and soldiers, Camp Bucca provided a unique setting for both prisoner radicalization and inmate collaboration — and was formative in the development today’s most potent jihadist force.


    Just sayin’.

  29. Late Introvert

    “Garland could have answered it with a generic statement: “I can assure you that our investigations show no FBI personnel were on-site,” for example, without disclosing anything about cases. Garland didn’t. That, to me, means that there were.”

    Thanks Lambert, in a just world this would be the main story from Fox to CNN and you getting full credit.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Museums are posting erotic art on OnlyFans to evade social media censors”

    Been saying for years that American corporations in behaviour end up going all Puritan in order not to offend anyone. Back in 2018, Facebook told the Natural History Museum its photo of the 25,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf figurine was porn and deleted it from the site. This statuette is of world cultural significance but as she was determined to be a BBW, it was deemed porn. And so were painting by Rubens and in fact, any painting or statue showing boobs or bums. Some museums in Flanders made a mocking video where those patrons that had Facebook accounts were escorted away from paintings showing nudes so that they would not be offended-

    https://www.rt.com/news/434064-flemish-artistic-nudity-facebook/ (with funny video)

  31. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is an interestingly depressing subreddit thread which I found on the Ran Prieur blog. It is titled: What are some of the darker effects of covid 19 which we don’t talk about? The first little bit I read ranges across issues like people dying from delayed “elective” conditions which went on to be terminal because covid was pre-empting all the hospital resources and attention, people having social interaction difficulties and cognitive difficulties from the isolation, people getting meaner and nastier, etc.

    Here is the link.

  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a twitter-embedded little split/screen video of Trump and DeSantis giving a speech,showing DeSantis copying Trump nearly word for word and gesture for gesture.


    In 2024 the Republicans will either run Trump or “Son of Trump” for President. It will be the Democrats’ election to win, lose, throw or take a dive on.

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