2:00PM Water Cooler 11/10/2021

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, there will be no UPDATEs today. It is what it is. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Energetic!

* * *

#COVID19

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

Vaccination by region:

The numbers bounce back. (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.)

58.5% of the US is fully vaccinated (CDC data. Mediocre by world standards, being just below Estonia, and just above Turkey in the Financial Times league tables 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…

“Health officials say too few boosters behind rising COVID hospitalizations in parts of California” [Becker’s Hospital Review]. “OVID-19 hospitalizations are rising in some regions of California, with areas where there are lower vaccination rates recording hospitalization spikes, and COVID-19 admissions ticking up even in places with relatively high vaccination rates…. Some officials are pointing to a low uptake of booster shots, with statewide demand lower than anticipated. Health officials are warning that seniors who got their shots last winter and haven’t received a booster may see immunity start to wane, increasing exposure risk, especially as outdoor temperatures drop and the holidays approach. Across California, both COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have plateaued after months of decline. Virus admissions have remained flat in some areas with higher vaccination rates, such as San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County. Areas with lower vaccination rates, such as Riverside, San Bernardino and Fresno counties, are experiencing spikes in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Virus hospitalizations have risen by more than 27 percent in San Bernardino and Fresno counties since mid-October. Admissions in Riverside County are up 21 percent over the last two weeks.”

Case count by United States regions:

I think we’re beyond fiddling and diddling to a very modest upward trend. I have drawn an anti-triumphalist black line to show how high the case count is. And a good thing Bubba came through, or we’d really be in the soup! This chart is a seven-day average, so changes in direction only show up when a train is really rolling. That said, I don’t think the past rise is the surge some of us Bears have been waiting for (see the “tape watching” remarks below). It’s driven by cases widely distributed through inland California (see last Friday for maps).

Let’s look at the regional breakdowns again. First, the South:

Now the West:

Now the Midwest:

The Northeast:

First, Bubba’s off the hook. California is at least not skyrocketing. Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana are all on the rise. And New York and Pennsylvania are far above any other Northeastern state, and rising steadily. (Note that counties in states like this don’t necessarily appear in the CDC’s “Rapid Riser” map if their rise isn’t, er, rapid.) Those states that are not rising are flat, that is not approaching zero. I find this “slow and steady” picture very unsettling. Armageddon it’s not, but it suggests Covid is, at the very best, settling in at a very high level.

Here is a chart from the CDC modeling hub, which aggregates the results of eight models in four scenarios, with the last run (“Round 9”) having taken place on 2021-08-30, and plots case data (black dotted line) against the range model results (grey area), as well as the average of the model results (black line). with a I have helpfully highlighted the “fiddling and diddling” of the case data:

Now, it’s fair to say that the fiddling and diddling is within the tolerance of the models; the dotted line does not go outside the grey area. It’s also true that when we see an upward trend in the average model results (black line, lower right quadrant) it’s much later than where we are now. Needless to say, none of this conforms to the official narrative! But maybe we’ll get lucky, and the problem, if indeed it is a problem, will go a away before Thanksgiving travel begins.

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 November 8, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties:

California going green as fast as it went yellow. Arizona not out of the woods. New Mexico worse. Minnesota worryingly worse. Maine better, New Hampshire worse. (That’s concerning, because Southern New Hampshire is in essence a bedroom suburb for Boston.) Weird flare-ups, like flying coals in a forest fire. They land, catch, but — one hopes — sputter out. We just saw that dynamic in California, amazingly enough.

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 an international hub on the scale of LAX or JFK/EWR. If Minnesota goes red, who else does? Well, Wisconsin. As we see. Remember, however, that this chart is about acceleration, not absolute numbers. This map, too, blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a (Deliverance-style) banjo to be heard. (Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better.)

The previous release:

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 778,511 776,389. Ticking upward. But at this rate, I don’t think we’ll hit the million mark by New Year’s.

Excess deaths (total, not only from Covid):

Hard to believe we have no excess deaths now, but very fortunate if so. (CDC explains there are data lags).

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

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

Chile and Portugal accelerate once more. Remember this is a log scale. Sorry for the kerfuffle at the left. No matter how I tinker, it doesn’t go away.

* * *

Politics

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

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

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

Capitol Seizure

“Feds seek tougher sentences for veterans who stormed Capitol” [Associated Press]. “Now, cases like his are presenting a thorny question for federal judges to consider when they sentence veterans who stormed the Capitol: Do they deserve leniency because they served their country or tougher punishment because they swore an oath to defend it? The Justice Department has adopted the latter position. In at least five cases so far, prosecutors have cited a rioter’s military service as a factor weighing in favor of a jail sentence or house arrest. Prosecutors have repeatedly maintained that veterans’ service, while commendable, made their actions on Jan. 6 more egregious. The participation of veterans in the riot was particularly shocking because some of them apparently used training they received in the U.S. military against their own government to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. Several veterans are among the far-right extremists charged with plotting coordinated attacks on the Capitol, including Oath Keepers members who marched up the Capitol steps in a “stack” formation used by military infantrymen.”

Biden Administration

“Setting the Record Straight About what Biden’s Proposed Social Programs Would Do” [CEPR]. “[T]he benefits from even the current, reduced version of the budget reconciliation bill would be life-changing for tens of millions of Americans: A child tax credit of $250-$300 monthly for more than 35 million families, which was recently expanded to include millions of the poorest families. Free preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds (average current cost to parents: $8,600 per year). Child care subsidies that would expand access to millions of children. Medicare would be expanded to include hearing coverage (the prior version of the bill included dental and vision as well). Millions of people who currently do not have access to Medicaid would get healthcare. What’s being proposed here is what most countries with national income comparable to the U.S. already have. Are Americans so different from everyone else? Don’t we want the same security for our health and our children? These questions answer themselves.”

“Inside the Democrats’ Battle to Build Back Better” [The New Yorker]. “The day after Biden’s visit, I put the question to Jayapal directly. She said that many members of the C.P.C. had been moved by the framework, the release of the legislative text, and by Biden’s pledge to pass the bill into law. ‘Just three weeks ago, we did not have a framework or bill text, we did not have the President saying that he was confident he could get fifty votes, and he didn’t have us on board,’ she said. She declined to discuss the substance of her meeting with Sinema, but did allow that it was ‘a very good conversation that was very, very helpful for me.’ (Another C.P.C. member told me that Jayapal had reported privately that Sinema was on board with the White House framework.) Jayapal also suggested that there was not much more progressives could hope to gain by drawing out the process any longer. ‘Everybody understands that this thing has been negotiated to death,” she said. “At some point, we gotta just get this done. And I think we are at that point.'” • And if the moderates screw the pooch, thereby screwing Biden, they’re not going to help themselves at all. Next week should be interesting.

Democrats en Deshabille

Lambert here: Obviously, the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself. Why is that? First, the Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, the Democrat Party has more working parts than Stoller suggests, and they all reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community. Whatever, if anything, that is to replace the Democrat Party needs to demonstrate the operational capability to contend with all that. Sadly, I see nothing of the requisite scale and scope on the horizon, though I would love to be wrong. (If Sanders had leaped nimbly from the electoral train to the strike wave train after losing in 2020, instead of that weak charity sh*t he went with, things might be different today. I am not sure that was in him to do, and I’m not sure he had the staff to do it, although I believe such a pivot to a “war of movement” would have been very popular with his small donors. What a shame the app wasn’t two-way.) Ah well, nevertheless.

“Pharma Front Group Has Spent $1.2 Million Backing Sinema” [Daily Poster]. “A dark money group funded by drugmakers is blanketing the Arizona airwaves to build up support for Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who just helped gut Democrats’ drug pricing plan. Center Forward, which has long been bankrolled by the powerful drug lobby Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), has spent roughly $1.2 million to promote Sinema in Arizona since September, according to data from AdImpact…. The new Sinema ad from Center Forward started running on TV and on Facebook on November 1…. The following day, Democrats announced that Sinema and several pharma-backed House Democrats had reached an agreement on a new, watered-down drug pricing plan that poses little threat to the industry… ‘The impact will be minimal,’ one industry analyst recently said, adding: ‘The compromise seems designed to let legislators claim an achievement while granting pharma protection.'” • Rotating villains get taken care of. Chuck, good job.

“Manchin sees his power grow” [The Hill]. This nugget: “Some progressives, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), warned earlier this year that Biden’s agenda shouldn’t be split up between a bill focused on hard infrastructure, a priority that enjoyed broader political support, and a second focused on social spending programs that are higher priorities for liberals. She foresaw that splitting the agenda up into two bills might make it tougher to unify the party behind the social spending elements of Biden’s agenda.” • Warren should know, since a split into two bills was exactly the problem with her health care plan in 2020.

Polling on school closures:

Republican Funhouse

“Twitter flags GOP lawmaker’s anime video depicting him killing Ocasio-Cortez, attacking Biden as ‘hateful conduct'” [The Hill]. “Gosar shared an altered video Sunday evening in which he and other Republican lawmakers, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, are depicted as heroes from the Japanese anime series ‘Attack on Titan.’ The post-apocalyptic series revolves around a small civilization that lives in a bordered-off city to protect itself from giant human-like creatures called Titans. Ocasio-Cortez’s face is superimposed on one of the Titans, who is killed by Gosar’s character. His character also attacks a Titan with Biden’s face…. ‘This video is truly a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy,” Gosar said. ‘The depiction of Mr. Biden pertains to his administration’s decision to leave the border open while illegal aliens invade from all points.’ Gosar did not apologize. ‘It is a symbolic cartoon. It is not real life. Congressman Gosar cannot fly. The hero of the cartoon goes after the monster, the policy monster of open borders. I will always fight to defend the rule of law, securing our borders, and the America First agenda,’ he added.'” • Well, I agree that personnel is policy, but I think that killing one’s political enemies, even symbolically, leads nowhere good. (Well, I suppose you could consider that the Caning of Sumner led somewhere good, after a few twists and turns. Radio Rwanda, not so much.)

“Reuters unmasks Trump supporters who terrified U.S. election officials” [Reuters]. “In Arizona, a stay-at-home dad and part-time Lyft driver told the state’s chief election officer she would hang for treason. In Utah, a youth treatment center staffer warned Colorado’s election chief that he knew where she lived and watched her as she slept. In Vermont, a man who says he works in construction told workers at the state election office and at Dominion Voting Systems that they were about to die. ‘This might be a good time to put a f‑‑‑‑‑‑ pistol in your f‑‑‑‑‑‑ mouth and pull the trigger,’ the man shouted at Vermont officials in a thick New England accent last December. ‘Your days are f‑‑‑‑‑‑ numbered.’ The three had much in common. All described themselves as patriots fighting a conspiracy that robbed Donald Trump of the 2020 election. They are regular consumers of far-right websites that embrace Trump’s stolen-election falsehoods. And none have been charged with a crime by the law enforcement agencies alerted to their threats.” • This is bad. At the same time, as I keep saying, Republicans are more “serious” about their politics than Democrats. All the Democrats do complain and look for the refs. And there are no refs.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Unity of Oppression and the Turn to Successor Ideology” [Wesley Yang, Year Zero]. “The Successor Ideology posits what I call a ‘unity of all oppression’ narrative and sets itself in opposition to what it calls ‘Eurocentric cisheteronormative patriarchy’, which is a pretentious way of saying ‘the rule of straight white men’. The ideology says that whites are privileged over non-whites, that men are privileged over women, that the able-bodied are privileged over the non-able-bodied, that heterosexuals are privileged over homosexuals, and that every one of us has a unique experience of both privilege and oppression structured by the dimensions along which we are privileged or oppressed that in sum accounts for who we are and where we end up in the world . According to this account of social reality, one of the the goals of legitimate institutions, and part of the basis of their mandate to rule in the age of ideological succession, is that they must work to dismantle those implicit hierarchies in all their myriad guises. Whether or not any of them really understand that they did so, or intend to follow through on all the implications of the act, the countless private and public organizations that declared themselves ‘anti-racist’ organizations all signed on to fulfill the agenda that flows from these principles. If they prove resistant to any specific reform demanded of them by the successor coalition, they will be confronted by their prior commitments and asked — politely at first, and then through the medium of screaming fits and claims of genocide — to live up to them.” • It seems to me that various parts of the Democrat Party as defined above are more captured by the “Successor Ideology” (awful, awful name) than others; NGOs, for example, since that’s the sector that employs “professional activists.”

“Senators Cling to Fossil Fuel Stocks as World Heats Up” [ReadSludge]. “The households of at least 28 U.S. senators own investments in the fossil fuel industry worth as much as a combined $12.6 million, according to Sludge’s analysis of financial disclosures. The investments are valued at a combined minimum of $3.7 million and a maximum of $12.6 million, and many of them have been held by the lawmakers for at least three years. Of the 28 senators, at least 20 hold publicly-traded stocks in companies like oil supermajor Chevron, pipeline giant Enterprise ‘Products, or electric utility NextEra that belong to trade associations that are lobbying Congress against taking up strong legislation to curb polluting emissions. Five senators are invested in energy funds built around oil and gas assets, and three own non-public stock in private fossil fuel companies. The investments, held by the senators, their spouse, jointly, or a dependent, are disclosed to the Senate Office of Public Records in very broad ranges and often buried in hundreds of pages of scanned paper forms, making a more precise count of their total value impossible.” • With charts.

“What it’s Like to See Bernie Sanders in 2021” [Benjamin https://www.facebook.com/ads/library/?id=591318828740476]. “[A]fter Bernie tells us that we need Medicare-for-All and Tuition-Free College, he then tells us we should be excited about a bill that doesn’t do those things. There’s no headliner here, nothing you can put on a shirt or a sticker. It’s a basket of mid-tier reforms. I like many of them. I am all for relieving pressure on the housing market. I’d be happy to see the end of ‘right-to-work’ laws…. What do I see when I look at Bernie Sanders in 2021? I see a kind man, a good man, a man who wants to help young people do what he himself was unable to do. But around him, I see sharks. Millennial careerists, looking to steal valor, appropriating his movement to serve their own venal ends.” • Reads even more sadly today than it did back in August. Even $3.5T wasn’t enough. And here we are, a supposedly civilized country without dental.

Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States Inflation Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The annual inflation rate in the US surged to 6.2% in October of 2021, the highest since November of 1990 and above forecasts of 5.8%. Upward pressure was broad-based, with energy costs recording the biggest gain (30% vs 24.8% in September), namely gasoline (49.6%). Inflation also increased for shelter (3.5% vs 3.2%); food (5.3% vs 4.6%, the highest since January of 2009), namely food at home (5.4% vs 4.5%); new vehicles (9.8% vs 8.7%); used cars and trucks (26.4% percent vs 24.4%); transportation services (4.5% vs 4.4%); apparel (4.3% vs 3.4%); and medical care services (1.7% vs 0.9%). The monthly rate increased to 0.9% from 0.4% in September, also higher than forecasts of 0.6%, boosted by higher cost of energy, shelter, food, used cars and trucks, and new vehicles.”

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits decreased further to 267 thousand in the week ending November 6th, from an upwardly revised 271 thousand in the previous period and just above market expectations of 265 thousand. It was the lowest number of jobless claims since the pandemic hit the US economy back in March 2020 as the labor market improves.”

* * *

Finance: “The Hidden Dangers of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Apps” [Wired]. “Investors love the companies behind the apps. In August, Square agreed to buy Australia-based Afterpay for $29 billion. Affirm went public in February and is valued at $45 billion. Europe-based Klarna was valued at $45.6 billion in a July funding round. But consumer advocates are skeptical. Marisabel Torres, the director of California policy at the Center for Responsible Lending, says ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ is a misnomer. These are short-term loans paid back in installments, with terms that can vary dramatically. Some include late fees but not interest; others charge interest. Some report to credit bureaus and some don’t. Consumer advocates say the variety of offerings can be especially confusing for younger users with little credit history or financial literacy.”

Commodities: “Does a secret desert mine hold the key to Morocco’s electric vehicle ambitions?” [Middle East Eye]. Clickbait headline, but still interesting. “Battery production has sparked a special interest in Morocco, given the country’s deposits of cobalt, the rare metal critical for the production of EVs’ lithium-ion batteries. Nearly all of Morocco’s cobalt is sourced in the southern province of Ouarzazate, at the Bou Azzer mine owned by Managem, a private company listed on the Casablanca stock exchange in which the royal family also maintains a stake…. Unlike in other countries, where the metal is extracted along with copper and nickel, Moroccan cobalt is mined as a standalone product and is known to be one of the purest varieties in the world.” And the Moroccan government wants foreign investment to move up the value chain to battery production.

The Bezzle: “American Politicians Are Infatuated With Crypto” [Bloomberg]. “The 2021 races weren’t quite the Crypto Elections, in the way various tech trends tend to periodically captivate the national media during a voting cycle. See: the 2008 Facebook Elections. But with politicians and their backers increasingly enamored with crypto and its mythical reputation as a source of free money, such a designation might be looming ominously on the horizon.” • The clearest possible indication that Bitcoin is a scam and a fraud.

Tech: “Gatik fully removes the driver from its autonomous trucks” [Freight Waves (dk)]. “Autonomous vehicle company Gatik announced Monday that it is now moving freight for Walmart in its box trucks with no one in the driver’s seat. ‘This is not a one-off thing. This is not a demo. This is us doing commercial deliveries for Walmart,’ Gautam Narang, CEO and co-founder of Gatik, told Modern Shipper. ‘Obviously the team is very excited. The plan is to expand this to different markets.’ According to the company, this is the first known use worldwide of an autonomous middle-mile truck running without a safety driver in the driver’s seat.” Key point, buried in the middle: “Narang said the routes are fixed and repeatable, covering 7.1 miles round trip over both urban and suburban roads. The route includes a mix of vehicle types and pedestrians, and the trucks move at speeds up to 45 mph. Two trucks are making between four and six total runs a day. Covering the same route has allowed Gatik to progress quickly to removal of the driver by removing uncertainty.” • If your algorithm sucks, control your inputs. This is an improvement over a retirement community golf cart, but not by much. (There’s a human occupant to pull the emergency brake.) Level 5 this is not, hence “autonomous” is a clickbait.

Tech: “Twitter brings $3 ‘Twitter Blue’ subscriptions to the US” [Engadget]. “The service is designed to appeal to Twitter’s most dedicated power users, with the kind of specialized features that have sometimes appeared in third-party Twitter clients. For example, Twitter Blue comes with an ‘undo’ feature that’s likely the closest thing to an edit button the company will ever make.” • I do like, in principle, that a portion of the fee goes to publishers (although only 300; that’s not many, and reinforces the power of the “worst of the worst”).

Tech: “Apple backs off of breaking Face ID after DIY iPhone 13 screen replacements” [The Verge]. “Soon after the iPhone 13 launched, repair experts found that swapping out iPhone 13 screens would break Face ID unless you also moved over a tiny control chip from the original screen…. The current transfer procedure looks to be quite challenging, requiring time, special equipment, and the ability to microsolder. For many independent repair shops that may rely on screen repairs as a key line of revenue, the process is likely prohibitively difficult and could be damaging to their business…. Apple tells The Verge it will release a software update that doesn’t require you to transfer the microcontroller to keep Face ID working after a screen swap.” • No release date.

Supply Chain: “Retailers lose love for Asia: Snarled supply chains force manufacturing exodus to Balkans, LatAm” [Reuters]. “Major clothing and shoe companies are moving production to countries closer to their U.S. and European stores, smarting from a resurgence in cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in Vietnam and China that slowed or shut down production for several weeks earlier this year….. The latest example is Spanish fashion retailer Mango, which told Reuters on Friday it has “accelerated” its process of increasing local production in countries such as Turkey, Morocco and Portugal. In 2019, the company largely sourced its products from China and Vietnam. Mango told Reuters that it would “considerably” expand the number of units manufactured locally in Europe in 2022. Similarly, U.S. shoe retailer Steve Madden (SHOO.O) on Wednesday said it had pulled back production in Vietnam and had shifted 50% of its footwear production to Brazil and Mexico from China, while Rubber clogs maker Crocs (CROX.O) said last month it was moving production to countries including Indonesia and Bosnia. Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Czech Republic, Morocco and Turkey were some of the countries drawing new interest from clothing and shoe producers, though China continues to produce a large share of the apparel for U.S. and European clothing chains.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 85 Extreme Greed (previous close: 86 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 82 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 10 at 12:59pm.

Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186 (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.) –>

Police State Watch

“Astroworld deaths spur calls for independent review” [Associated Press]. “The deaths of eight people in a crush of fans at a music festival have led to calls for an independent, outside investigation instead of one by the Houston police, who along with the fire department played a key role in crowd control and other safety measures at the show…. Houston Police Department spokeswoman Jodi Silva declined to comment on whether the department’s close involvement in the event created a conflict or if it was considering handing the probe off to an outside agency. Such decisions are often made in investigations like police shootings…. The police department’s probe would be separate from any independent investigation ordered by County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Harris County’s top elected official, according to Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for the county judge’s office. Hidalgo hasn’t decided who would conduct such an independent review or how it would be done, Lemaitre said Monday….”

Gunz

“Prosecution rests on Day 7 of Kyle Rittenhouse’s homicide trial; defense opens its case” [Journal-Sentinel]. “Through much the first five days of testimony, cellphone video and testimony from various participants did little to undermine the defense’s assertion Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. Even key state witnesses affirmed that one of Rittenhouse’s victims had been acting aggressively and erratically all night, and had threatened at one point to kill, and that another had pointed a gun at Rittenhouse before he shot him in the arm. New drone video and a medical examiner’s explanation of gunshot wounds Tuesday cast a different light on the first homicide just before the prosecution rested at midday…. If [Doug Kelley, an assistant medical examiner from Milwaukee’s] version was correct, Rittenhouse hit Rosenbaum twice before firing the lethal shot to the back.” • And all to protect a car lot, at least according to Rittenhouse.

Our Famously Free Press

“The Labor Beat Is Dead — Long Live the Labor Beat” [Jacobin]. “In the late 1800s, nearly every daily paper in New York City had its own labor reporter, and independent local weekly labor papers proliferated. By 1925, there were seventy-two newspapers and magazines publishing on labor topics in Chicago alone, with many of those outlets published in languages other than English. These publications were often directly connected to the labor movement: the Industrial Workers of the World had a printing press, and unions published their own papers, which were distributed to stewards and local union officers. The Federated Press labor news service launched in 1919, and labor radio programs spread across the country in the 1930s and 1940s. Much of this coverage was produced by workers themselves, with some of them trained in workers’ schools established by trade unions and radicals. As one organizing manual put it, “nothing that happens to the worker is unimportant.” Training workers to tell their own stories, reporting from contract negotiations and picket lines, was key to countering the bias of the capitalist rags. There are few such projects today, because organized labor has not just been in decline but has effectively bottomed out — it is on the floor. I teach a writing workshop for organizers through The Forge, and there is talk in the labor movement of what expansive workers’ schools would look like today, but the infrastructure remains lacking, and it is what’s required if we’re to scale the growing interest in the broadly defined labor movement into a healthy labor press. Smith rightly mentions Labor Notes in his column; that’s the stalwart of such efforts, a media project that is an organizing project too. All media takes a side, but Labor Notes has long been the rare outlet in the United States that not only sides with rank-and-file workers but is largely of and by those workers, publishing dispatches from their workplaces and cohering networks across unions. Jacobin, too, runs a lot of workers’ accounts — for obvious reasons, we have a close relationship with Labor Notes. We can do so, though, because these are political projects; Labor Notes was created by socialists, a milieu of militants within the labor movement. As for corporate media, it has a ways to go before it can proclaim to be anything close to pro-labor.”

Groves of Academe

“Welcome to Rogues’ Gallery University” [Academe]. On the “University [sic] of Austin,” in one sentence, quoting Sarah Jones of New York Magazine: “[W]e’ve got, then, is a Bible college for libertarians.”

Class Warfare

Homeless encampments in Oakland, California. I turn down the audio but the visuals are quite something:

Worse than Third World, not just because we’re The Richest Country in the World™, but objectively worse. Messier, more chaotic, more dispirited, more dispiriting. No knock on the homeless, rather this reflects the conditions under which they labor.

News of the Wired

“Giant, free index to world’s research papers released online” [Nature]. “The catalogue, which was released on 7 October and is free to use, holds tables of more than 355 billion words and sentence fragments listed next to the articles in which they appear. It is an effort to help scientists use software to glean insights from published work even if they have no legal access to the underlying papers, says its creator, Carl Malamud. He released the files under the auspices of Public Resource, a non-profit corporation in Sebastopol, California, that he founded. Malamud says that because his index doesn’t contain the full text of articles, but only sentence snippets up to five words long, releasing it does not breach publishers’ copyright restrictions on the reuse of paywalled articles. However, one legal expert says that publishers might question the legality of how Malamud created the index in the first place. Some researchers who have had early access to the index say it’s a major development in helping them to search the literature with software — a procedure known as text mining.” • Interesting. Of course, there is the replication crisis….

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

Another busy bee!

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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.

92 comments

  1. Samuel Conner

    > And here we are, a supposedly civilized country without dental.

    The itinerant dentist in “Eversmile New Jersey” had a solution for that: just pull ’em all out and replace them with acrylic shields.

    Reply
  2. FDW

    “Attack on Titan” is a series that I feel a lot of the NC crowd would enjoy watch/reading, with there being a lot of aspects that would resonate with the people here. As someone who has read it, I can say that Gosar misinterpreting things is the mother of all understatements.

    Reply
      1. FDW

        Hajime Isayama is the creator of Attack on Titan, and he’s spent 1/3rd of his life on this title Given some aspects of the plot, I’m not certain it be the best idea to take things to court. But his publisher, Kodansha (Whose on par with Marvel/DC), might be up for it. Or might not, as JP publishers are much more thick skinned about this kind of stuff.

        The studios behind the Anime, WIT Studio and Mappa, dont really have station to sue, as those kind of rights lie with Kodansha and Isayama.

        The anime is a godly product in its own right, but some of crowd here would complain about all the CG it has.

        Reply
        1. megrim

          While I do prefer no CG, I do find the use of it in AoT to be quite tasteful compared to so much contemporary fare. I can barely deal with Beastars, for example. And if the writing is mediocre, not a chance.

          Reply
  3. Carolinian

    Re that university or whatever one chooses to call it–

    Our project began with a small gathering of those concerned about the state of higher education—Niall Ferguson, Bari Weiss, Heather Heying, Joe Lonsdale, Arthur Brooks, and I—and we have since been joined by many others, including the brave professors mentioned above, Kathleen Stock, Dorian Abbot and Peter Boghossian.

    We count among our numbers university presidents: Robert Zimmer, Larry Summers, John Nunes, and Gordon Gee, and leading academics, such as Steven Pinker, Deirdre McCloskey, Leon Kass, Jonathan Haidt, Glenn Loury, Joshua Katz, Vickie Sullivan, Geoffrey Stone, Bill McClay, and Tyler Cowen.

    We are also joined by journalists, artists, philanthropists, researchers, and public intellectuals, including Lex Fridman, Andrew Sullivan, Rob Henderson, Caitlin Flanagan, David Mamet, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sohrab Ahmari, Stacy Hock, Jonathan Rauch, and Nadine Strossen.

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/university-of-austin-unwoke/

    Can’t say I’m willing to stand up for any of these people (including Mamet) but maybe not quite a bible college. One can point out that our storied Ivies (some of them founded by slave traders) are themselves slinging a bit of dogma these days.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps ” Bible College” refers to this being a college devoted to the exploration and propagation of one and exclusively only one very specific religion, Libertarianistianity.

      Reply
    2. Acacia

      Are they all really going to move to Austin, TX?

      Methinks it’ll be a Zoominar virtual university, handing out virtual sheepskins, to virtual students.

      Reply
  4. Fiery Hunt

    Yep, that’s Oakland.
    All over…except in Piedmont or Montclair.
    The empty KFC around the corner has been completely repainted at least 10 times this year; usually lasts about 2 days before completely covered in tags. And not good ones.
    And Berkeley looks very similar down by Highway 80.

    California is a mess.

    Reply
    1. DLRichards

      The more services offered, the more addicted travelers travel to the services. Anyone with a cell phone can learn where they are, get a mailbox, claim residency and start the process.

      People’s lack of planning, addiction, inability to focus on worthwhile goals and poor choices in the company they keep, following questionable social behavior, should not constitute an emergency for where ever they choose to alight.

      What would a town that offered zero taxpayer funded homeless services, and placed liability requirements on private charities, and enforced vagrancy laws look like?

      That’s the choice facing many California communities. Homeless services are other words for civic suicide.

      Reply
      1. jo6pac

        we can make homeless a crime or may be end the endless wars and feed and house the homeless. Then make do with some sort of WWP projects that might help Amerika and it’s citizens. Just a thought;-)

        Reply
      2. Tom Stone

        DLR, many of the Homeless in California have one or more jobs and are still unable to find affordable housing.
        And while quite a few of the homeless have mental problems or are addicts it is by no means true of the majority.
        I’ll add that the brutal reality of homelessness pushes quite a few otherwise functional human beings over the edge.
        Victim blaming may make you feel better but does not reflect the reality of the situation, which is caused by a brutally corrupt and callous ruling class.

        Reply
        1. Nikkikat

          Good on you for your statements here. DL Richards is clueless and should probably stop watching the MSM and stop punching down. After many years in social work, the homeless mostly work. Minimum wage will NOT get you a rundown one bedroom in the worst neighborhood in Ca or anywhere else. People that are forced to live on the edge cannot afford one little bad luck incident. No one chooses to live like they do.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Chastising someone that armored in ignorance will not do any good. Every since I became aware of it, I have been watching the homeless population growing for forty year to where there are over a hundred and sixty thousand in California. There are something like fifteen thousand in San Francisco, and over fifty thousand in Los Angeles.

            Forty years and the excuses are always the same. Anyways, HUD (Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development) list one hundred and two thousand dollars ($102,000) is the line for low income housing in the Bay Area. Well, if a one bedroom apartment can easily cost three thousand a month…

            Reply
      3. Tommy s

        WOW is this un fact based. Seriously.Even IF all these useless people (sarcasm) were from other areas, why shouldn’t we help house them and take care of them? Anyway, I live in SF. And at least 1/3 of addicts and homeless USE to have housing here in SF. That is a fact. Massive displacement of my class, makes massive homelessness, despair and addiction. The people, the good people, that are doing the good work for ‘homeless’ services, are mostly of my class too…..amazing people.

        Reply
        1. Objective Ace

          If they’re homeless are they really being taken care of? I agree that blaming the homeless won’t get us anywhere and is probably unfair.. but thats not entirely relevant to the current state of affairs

          I assume your question was rhetorical, but I’ll answer it anyway: Its not feasible for a city to house everyone who needs it without any requirements/restrictions in place because that city will be overrun by people in need (or even without need) from other cities. Now if you want to talk about federal policy and a UBI, I’m totally on board

          Reply
      4. Bazarov

        “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

        “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

        “And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

        “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

        “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

        “Both very busy, sir.”

        “Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

        “Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

        “Nothing!” Scrooge replied.

        “You wish to be anonymous?”

        “I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned–they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”

        “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

        “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides–excuse me–I don’t know that.”

        “But you might know it,” observed the gentleman.

        “It’s not my business,” Scrooge returned. “It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!”

        Reply
        1. Nikkikat

          I think of that scene from a Christmas Carol all the time, as people like Bezos and musk play with their toy space ships while the people that work for them sleep in their cars.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides–excuse me–I don’t know that.”

          There it is. Democide.

          Reply
      5. The Rev Kev

        I can see your point. Maybe what needs to be done is to round up the homeless and put them in a secure area where they can be offered services to help them as they go out each day and night to provide the workforce that actually underpins the Californian economy. Then, when they finish their shift, they can go back out of sight to this encampment provided. And just to help them further, an organization could be set up to teach them how to use these services offered. I know, it could be called the General Homeless Encampment Teach to Train Organization

        Reply
    2. PHLDenizen

      If only they went less “tag” and more “aerosol artist”. To wit: https://youtu.be/YMac6WQwqdE

      If they simply replaced Erlich Bachman with Manchin, Biden, Sinema, Gottheimer, the CIA democrats, the blob pundits, or any of those other sociopathic goblins, such art might stay up longer. Might even improve the property values.

      Too bad there’s no Obama-style “community organizing” around such an endeavor with his Mt. Narcissism in Jackson Park.

      Reply
    3. Kate

      I live just south of Oakland. Let me tell you, it is quite something to contrast yesterday’s photos of Newsome/the Getty wedding with this video. I volunteer at food pantries and elsewhere, but no efforts seem to make any difference, and I mostly check out emotionally in self-protection. The homeless problem in the Bay Area is as vast and disastrous as a war and I think it’s tragic and dangerous that it has been allowed to get to this hopeless pass. I think most everyone has given up and checked out. It’s just too big.

      Reply
  5. DGL

    Thank you for not doing Updates. Even when things are unfolding quickly, I prefer just having what you are prepared to present. it is much more tempered and succinct.

    In this morning’s links you had the Vietnamese Communists enjoying bourgeoisie treats. I was reminded of one of the movies from the excellent movie year 1939 – Garbo Laughs – ‘Ninotchka.’

    Thank for your efforts.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      The most encouraging thing, to me, about this video is the information about the multi-mode-of-action of IVM. That suggests that (assuming that IVM is in fact effective in clinical practice — I hope that it proves to be) mono-therapy with IVM would not lead to rapid emergence of resistant strains.

      It may be that IVM will still be out there after other agents have become ineffective due to escape mutants.

      Assuming that it is effective, when will that be widely recognized? I don’t know. Definitive studies might still be a long way from completion. Maybe epidemiological comparisons of the consequences of public health policies will be decisive.

      Reply
      1. marku52

        Yes, Dr Campbell makes that comment, because of multiple actions, it should be harder for the virus to escape. I hope he is correct.

        Reply
  6. chris

    Re: polling on school closures, what those pollsters are missing with respect to pandemic shutdowns is that both Maryland and Virginia had their schools shut down for a very long time. In Virginia, they didn’t publish any commitments or plans to re-open until almost March 2021. The teachers associations involved wanted the schools shutdown and no plans to return in person until August 2021. Pretty sure the only state that was more closed down was Maryland.

    So it is entirely possible that the people surveyed in Axios poll feel the way the results indicate they feel. However, it is likely from the results last week that many Virginia families do not agree with those same opinions. I know in Maryland most of my peers and neighbors would disagree with those statements in the poll. I personally feel that our schools did a terrible job bancing safety and learning during the pandemic shutdowns. But I was happy to see what they did to permit opening up the schools when that decision was made. I’m also happy to see our leadership dismiss any discussion of further shutdowns unless many different conditions are met.

    Reply
    1. PHLDenizen

      Maryland’s Howard County is in the top 10 wealthiest across the country. Louden County in VA is also stupid rich.

      “Many Virginia families” do not agree. Ok. How many? Which socioeconomic class do they belong to? Are these PMC types who prefer delegating the duties of parenthood to nannies and the school districts? The latter of which are, in many respects, glorified daycare? The more money you have, the more you conflate schooling and education. The former rarely, if ever, achieves the latter.

      Down in the wealthy parts of MD and VA, the school districts are part of the credentialing pipeline. And since many parents don’t seem to particularly enjoy parenting when juxtaposed against their vaunted careers as attorneys or lobbyists or some other useless occupation, it seems fitting that a class of salty professionals — who want their kids out of the house and whose faith in credentialism is almost religious in its fervor — would yap like junkyard b****es about it.

      All that money, all that disingenuous virtue signaling about the importance of school safety and the nobility of teaching and so on. So why aren’t these rich POSes ponying up for better ventilation? Why isn’t the “creative class” more creative about coming up with alternatives to the status quo?

      I don’t blame the teachers for tired of being constantly handed new spoons to eat the same bowl of shit. And, like most of those who don’t live in Louden or Howard or The Hamptons or on Martha’s or the main line suburbs of Philly, teachers have been disproportionately affected by Covid. The least you could do is install new HVAC.

      … personally feel that our schools did a terrible job bancing safety and learning during the pandemic shutdowns

      Quantify terrible. I’m genuinely curious.

      Reply
      1. chris

        There’s a lot in what you wrote that has a bitter edge to it. I’m sorry for whatever put you in that mind. I’ll attempt to answer some of your questions as I think they’re being asked in good faith.

        How many families think things in Virginia aren’t great? At least the 3-5% that pulled their kids from public schools in 2021. Given Youngkin won by about 2%, that trend probably went in his favor.

        It also probably helped that in a Suffolk poll taken in Virginia on late October, 50% of polled respondents thought that parents should have more say than school boards on their kid’s education. So, how many families disagree with the sentiments shown in the Axios poll? Clearly enough. How many is “many”? Seems to be around 5-10%, which can certainly sway a close election.

        And again, Virginia did not have many in person days of instruction at all in the 2020 – 2021. I believe they came in 7th for fewest days. That’s a lot of pent up anger to put against a candidate that didn’t have anything kind to say about Virginia parents. That’s what I’ve heard from my peers and acquaintances in the area too. They were pissed and McAuliffe was not going to be their candidate even if they were democrats and cared about education.

        As for my experience and what our family went through, along with many of our peers, we did pay for upgrades to the school ventilation system. We even recommissioned the buildings with new features and changes to reduce the operating time potentially contaminated air would be in the building. We also increased fresh air intake. And we increased filtration. We provided teaching and non teaching staff with masks. We prioritized teaching staff being vaccinated first. We agreed to have our kids masked 100% of the time they were in class. We also signed agreements that we would make sure in the event of a suspected covid like indication we would have someone pick up a kid within 30 minutes. Since then we’ve also started putting HEPA filters in classrooms.

        And yet, it was a struggle to get anyone back in the classrooms to teach. We heard teachers insulting parents during instructional time. We saw teachers struggle and fail to use the technology they were told to use to teach our kids. Simple things that we had been using for years as professionals were a complete mystery to my children’s teachers. When we offered to help teach them how to use the tools better, we were told to back off. We saw public employees in public forums insult and attack parents for wanting a plan to return to in person education. We were told that working to the pay the taxes for all the things the school had wasn’t enough and that if we really cared we should be teaching ourselves. We saw our kids fail assignments and projects for the first time in multiple classes…and still get A’s and B’s. So a lot of my peer parents and acquaintances left the public school system that our tax money had built. Because we do value education and learning and the schools that had previously been a good way to give that to our kids were failing them.

        We were tempted to follow some of our friends because one of our kids had an IEP and his needs and plan were completely ignored for most of the pandemic shutdown. Almost a year into it we started getting what he needed per his plan. But from March 2020 until March 2021, we paid for the broadband and the computers (no school provided option) and we got to listen to teachers insult us and our kids while failing to use basic tools like Zoom or Google Meet or Teams. Or any of the raft of apps that they assigned homework on but couldn’t tell kids how to use, so we had to teach our kids how to do that too. And for the record, I am considered an essential employee and was out still traveling and even flying during the pandemic because I had no choice. I definitely understand why someone would be angry with the status quo. One of our kids got to go back to in-person school full time in March of 2021 because of the IEP. The other two didn’t see the inside of a school until late April 2021 – but not full time, only half weeks (A/B). That’s a tremendous burden on any family, regardless of class. We paid for tutors and private instructors to keep our kids moving academically because they weren’t learning much of anything in school. That was also an expensive burden for a family regardless of class.

        I’m a product of a good public education. So is my wife. We wanted our kids to go to public school. What the pandemic did is breathe new life into the charter school and school choice movement in Maryland and Virginia. I have no doubt that we’ll see the public schools in our area start to wither as more and more parents take their kids to private schools or other options.

        Reply
        1. PHLDenizen

          Fair enough. I ‘preciate your long and thoughtful reply — nuanced and exactly the type of writing I wish “journalists” did. Thanks!. My tone was probably a little obnoxious and I meant no insult whatsoever. Quarrelsome domestic affairs intersecting with waking on the wrong side of the bed intersecting again with the lack of non-verbal cues leads to challenges in communication.

          My sister and I went to private school decades ago and it was a wonderful change from the factory model that crapified public education is these days. One of the most valuable things I got out of it was the social network being a grad gives you. “You went to X? Class of Y? Awesome! Let me hit up the hiring manager and get you in!”

          I get apoplectic upon each new hideous revelation such as Texas singlehandedly turning textbooks into vessels of political propaganda, the racket that is new textbook edition purchases required each year, zero tolerance, treating students like inmates at a Supermax, school boards devolving into warring fiefdoms like the Loudoun loudmouths, punitive cafeteria policies for kids with the nerve to be broke and hungry. All the money spent on admin, new god damn stadiums, etc.

          Then there’s common core math. The “anti-racist” editions of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, mutilated by identitarians who seek to coddle instead of letting kids confront literature as it was intended.

          My girlfriend’s kids ask me for help with their math and English classes. Common core is an abomination. It makes it impossible to teach your own kids real world math. My degree is STEM and it’s a total mindfsck to sit there trying to piece out the diagrams and sequencing. Basic arithmetic doesn’t need a mathematical proof on each and every occasion. Once you get into calc, diff eq, linear algebra, etc. common core is something you have to unlearn if you want to make progress.

          The middle child just started at community college and has been frustrated with all the remedial classes she’s had to take. She’s angry that her “good” public school failed to teach her how to write well. One of her “assignments” in HS was to “re-imagine” Romeo and Juliet as teenagers with cell phones and to write their interaction as text messages. Wtf?! Really??!! The inability of public school to make reading enjoyable is a crime and to teach things like Chaucer or Beowulf requires a certain talent most teachers just don’t have.

          So I empathize with your plight. In my experience, schools are a jobs project for the otherwise unemployable. For every solid teacher, there are 10 more who are awful. I think a bad teacher is actually worse than no teacher. Charter/magnet schools and public schools should be 100% interchangeable in terms of quality and life preparedness.

          What’s funny is that some of the smartest, most well-read people I know barely graduated HS and live in Deplorable Nation. And some of the kids I went to HS with in my oh-so-blue “elite” locale are some of the stupidest motherfsckers I’ve ever known, yet somehow end up making oodles of loot on Wall Street. Maybe private school selects for ruthlessness. Clearly I snuck in under the radar. And lately the deplorables have just been a lot more fun to hang around with.

          Dude! The teachers actually trashed you and your kids? Seriously uncool. WTF is their problem? Not enough free burrito days at Chipotle?

          My gf’s youngest has an IEP and getting the district to pay for placement at a special needs school was homicide inducing. I footed the bill for the advocate and it was probably about 8 or 9k in all JUST to get her placed. And I need to keep her on retainer because the IEP needs to constantly be re-evaluated. I also pay for her out of network therapist, because virtually none of them are in network.

          Gf and I talk about moving, but until the youngest finishes up her IEP at her current school, it’s not workable. The outlay in terms of money and time and energy and misery just doesn’t make sense at the moment.

          I catch your drift. Agree with you completely. And I apologize for my earlier tone. Hope you figure your situation out. Sounds tough, man.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I have no doubt that we’ll see the public schools in our area start to wither as more and more parents take their kids to private schools or other options.

          Public schools along with public health…. All things work together for good!

          Reply
  7. zagonostra

    >What do I see when I look at Bernie Sanders in 2021?

    It’s not what I see, It’s what I don’t see, and that is the Bernie Sanders that I contributed to in 2016 and 2020. There is nothing there, a name without a body, a vacant suit, a husk of what he represented to millions. A little bitter, just a tad.

    Reply
    1. Tessa

      30 years a registered Democrat, I’ve had enough. Registering GOP before next election.

      1. To scare Democrats into realizing they better do something real to keep at least some of their promises. Like dump Kamala Harris into a shitty law office, not national prominance, where she belongs, for example.

      2. To vote in Republican primaries for the closest thing to Tulsi or Sanders.

      3. To smash the Democratic super majority machine that’s done absolutely nothing for working class people at the local level.

      Reply
      1. jo6pac

        In doing that you will be help the demodog party to increase fund raising so they hire more con-sultants. We just have to hope dies

        Reply
      2. marym

        It’s not enough to smash the Democrats. The smashers need to be working on what’s next – a party, a movement, unions, community mutual aid. Otherwise the vacuum continues to be filled by the other party that’s hostile to working class people.

        Reply
        1. the last D

          I think that what’s next is already here, a climate crisis that will put future generations at a risk unknown in human history. And along with that, a facist insistence on saving this group, or that group, all the time failing to exhibit the collective will to save each other. Bleakness now, and into the future. (Sorry)

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > It’s not enough to smash the Democrats. The smashers need to be working on what’s next – a party, a movement, unions, community mutual aid. Otherwise the vacuum continues to be filled by the other party that’s hostile to working class people.

          [applauds vigorously]

          Reply
      3. Left in Wisconsin

        Just curious, but who in your view is a Repub that is anything like Sanders? That seems a laughable claim.

        Reply
        1. Herkimer

          There are people you never heard of that could run in the GOP. Candidates and voters can switch parties.

          Gabbard could go with the GOP for example.

          Schwarzenegger, Reagan and Trump getting elected was laughable.

          A man I laughed at was DeSantis. Until I watched his speech challenging the presidential vaccine mandate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7Jc1EOb7eE
          Then I read his bio.

          Hawley/DeSantis 2024, A popular senator, lawyer that argued and won before the Surpreme Court and a Yale law graduate and Navy Seal from a working class family.

          How’s that look versus say Harris/Newsom 2024, an unpopular senator that won less than 2% in the primary, basically someone’s appointee and political failure, fronting her skin color and a Lothario who sleeps with other men’s wives, married what became Trump Jr’s girlfriend, then married a billionheiress, lived off her money, as well as being created politically by J.Paul Getty’s oil fortune?

          How would that race play in a presidential election?

          Reply
          1. marym

            Hawley didn’t argue before the Supreme Court. He worked on 2 cases at a time before he was admitted to the bar. He believes people who don’t vote for his preferred candidate for president should not have their votes counted. He’s a member of the elite and no friend to the working class.

            https://themissouritimes.com/questions-raised-over-hawleys-arguing-of-hobby-lobby-case/
            https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/12/josh-hawley-fundraising-480920
            https://theintercept.com/2020/04/29/josh-hawley-republican-trump/

            Reply
      4. Cat Burglar

        If you’re on the left, then I suggest not voting Republican — vote for a party that offers policies you want.

        I voted for the Green candidates whenever possible, especially in presidential elections, and voted for Sanders in the primaries. Living in strong Democrat states, I don’t add to the size of a Republican victory, but my vote signals a loss of Dem strength on the left. That is not much leverage, but it is what we have.

        In general, we need to put as much pressure on the Dem power holders as possible, in whatever venue. And we need to wait for a moment when power groups are in conflict or confusion — their difficulty is our opportunity.

        Reply
        1. Herkimer

          Third party? Maybe way in the future, unless you are satisfied with mayorships of brownfield cities only. Just think, we could have had Ross Perot instead of the deindustrializer of America, Bill Clinton. Wonder what our homeless situation and balance of trade would have been with that third party president?

          Here’s what he pulled off as a businessman: “Just before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the government of Iran imprisoned two EDS employees in a contract dispute. Perot organized and sponsored their rescue. The rescue team was led by retired United States Army Special Forces Colonel Arthur D. “Bull” Simons. When the team was unable to find a way to extract the two prisoners, they decided to wait for a mob of pro-Ayatollah revolutionaries to storm the jail and free all 10,000 inmates, many of whom were political prisoners. The two prisoners then connected with the rescue team, and the team spirited them out of Iran via a risky border crossing into Turkey. ”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Perot

          Kamala Harris’ biggest accomplishment? Choosing the right parents perhaps?

          Reply
          1. Cat Burglars

            It is not clear that third party effort, including the Greens, could succeed. If you look at how the Sanders candidacy was sidelined, and Stein was Russia-smeared, you can bet a real third party threat would be attacked with greater force.

            But voting for Greens at least makes an easy, public, verifiable measure of left voters — a group that could be a significant number of voters waiting for a bid — policies –to be made for their votes. It is a short-term tactic, and it is not a great hand to play, but it seems to be what we have.

            There are other venues to as levers — writing letters, petitions, protest, anything you can find — and it is important to use those to exert maximum pressure on our owners and handlers.

            Reply
            1. Ben S

              Christian Democrats was the term in Europe. Bring together the socialists and the old catholic and evangelical democrats who went republican on abortion etc. Don’t have to go full-on social conservative, just pump brakes on identitarian universalism. Gay civil marriage fine but no straight boys in dresses in girls room at school. And let’s take care of the poor and stop bombing people.

              For a third party to work you have to be purple.

              Reply
              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Perhaps America needs a Social Democrat Party which is not to scared to call itself the Social Democrat Party.

                ” Social Democrats . . . we are the boring ones.” And maybe people who have overdosed on endless drama would look into the “boring ones”.

                Of course such a party would need a powerful intelligence/counter-intelligence function to exclude all the Clintonites and Obamazoids who would try to infiltrate it and subvert it from within.

                Reply
      5. PHLDenizen

        I’ve always been registered as a Republican because a) it lets me poison their primaries by voting for the worst possible candidate and b) the campaign texts, emails, and mailers I get are hilarious. Although Trump and Russiagate have given the Dems a huge advantage there. Unhinged catastrophization has been revealed as a true liberal talent.

        That said, I’m switching back to the D party to screw with their primaries for a change.

        And in regards to Sanders, he’s a chump. He failed to run a ground campaign that was resilient to people like Clyburn, had sufficient inside intel to counter the establishment attacks, got entirely too defensive about character assignation from the identitarian brigade, and so on.

        Even if he failed to win, I’d vociferously defend him for a well-organized brawl. Until and if he can channel Mitch McConnell through a socialist democratic prism, he’s inconsequential and foolish.

        Reply
      6. Lambert Strether Post author

        > To smash the Democratic super majority machine that’s done absolutely nothing for working class people at the local level.

        The Democrat Party is an expression of the class power of the PMC. Therefore, the Democrat party will continue to exist, in whatever form, until the PMC itself is disempowered (or the balance of power changes, at least*). That is the issue. If every Democrat party office were burned and all the mailing lists and K street offices destroyed, the Democrat Party (or a rebranded version thereof) would reconstitute itself, because that would meet a set of requirements, for which good money is paid.

        NOTE * Note that low trust also means low trust in credentials.

        Reply
    2. Joe Well

      Does anyone else feel like they still haven’t processed the trauma of the collapse of Bernie’s campaign?

      Like so many people, I devoted so many hours, and not a little money, and put so much hope into it. I thought that even though we probably wouldn’t win, we were building a movement. If you were on the ground, you saw it, the vast difference between our campaign and all the others, where paid staffers outnumbered volunteers. We didn’t all just go away. Many of us were (not me) helped organize the summer 2020 protests.

      But that army of committed people was just left to scatter.

      Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Just think of Dean’s Fifty State strategy and how quickly it disappeared after the election.

          Dean was genuine in his commitment to the Fifty State strategy, in my judgment. Obama and Rahm were vehemently opposed to it (and dismantled the OFA as well). The dismantling was another aspect of being the party of betrayal; leaving Democrats high and dry in districts that were “unwinnable.” I think that’s one reason Dean went so rancid (“If that’s how the game is played, I might was well win”; “‘Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed”).

          Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Does anyone else feel like they still haven’t processed the trauma of the collapse of Bernie’s campaign?

        Me, for sure.

        > that army of committed people was just left to scatter.

        I agree. That’s why I think Sanders should have pivoted to the strike wave (instead of that weak-ass charity sh*t). The thing that kills me is that old map of where Sanders donations came from — everywhere, very much including flyover.

        To be fair to Sanders, it’s possible — or perhaps I should say was possible — to believe in electoralism, agreementism in good faith. And I bet the “stolen valor” campaign professionals were ready to move on to the next opportunity for billable hours. It’s hard to lead an army when the officer class disappears, no matter the morale and commitment of the troops.

        As I remark above, in a commentary nobody seems willing to respond to: “The Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself.” Where does the gravedigger come from? I don’t know, and I don’t see a candidate (though maybe, from my vantage point, I wouldn’t). That is the hardest thing to bear.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Is the Democratic Party a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself? Or is it a collection of forts, strongpoints, ammunition dumps, etc.?

          If its a rotting corpse, then it will just hang around and keep rotting.

          If it is a collection or system of forts, ammo dumps, weapons depots, etc.; can it be conquered and can its current occupants be expelled from all the places they now occupy, such that the PMC would have to grow itself a new party and the conquerors would retake possession of the Democratic Party facilities and so forth?

          People with different views on that will do their best work based on the views they have. People who think the Party is a rotting corpse should organize to find or create a gravedigger.
          People who think the Party is a system of fortifications, etc. which can be conquered and cleansed of its current occupants should try doing that.

          And whoever has a better understanding of what the Democratic Party is will get more and better results in their work to do whatever they decide based on what they think the Party is.

          Or they can waste all their time and energy trying to convert eachother to eachother’s point of view . . . thereby doing precisely nothing about the Party itself.

          Better to have the two or more different viewpoint-groups doing their separate two or more sets of things about the Democratic Party without getting in eachothers’ way. That way, if one of the groups is right, that group will get something effective done.

          Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > A little bitter, just a tad.

      Feelings aren’t facts…. Well, they are facts, but at one remove. I don’t see the endless and circular recapitulation of bitterness as being important or useful, personally or at large.

      Sanders did what he said he would do (and that’s different from everything that was and is being projected onto him). I think a politician with a larger strategic vision would have torn up the promise (FDR: “Take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly, and try another. But by all means, try something.”)

      The issue is not Sanders the man, a year later, or two years, or three. The answer is What comes next? Sadly, all electoral energy is on the right. Lots of energy on the strike wave front, but that doesn’t seem “political” in any way. A simulaneous strike by the flight attendants, longshoremen, teamsters, and railroad workers would strike at the heard to the supply chain and bring the elite to its knees (see Kim Moody) — even with labor in its attenuated state — but there seems to be nothing like that on the horizon (though, again, I could be looking in the wrong place).

      Reply
      1. Left in Wisconsin

        If that were to come about, it would certainly be a clarifying moment. The only way I can see to prompt the disintegration of the Dem Party is to provoke “the labor question.” Many, many Dems, including most of the big $$ Dems, are very anti-union, even if they try not to say it out loud. If there were to be a massive strike wave that forced Dems to pick a side – which I personally don’t think we yet have the numbers to pull off, but perhaps sooner than later – it could potentially force an unmendable cleavage in the party.

        I was there at the founding of Tony Mazzochi’s Labor Party and the energy was incredible, but we couldn’t crack any of the big unions.

        Reply
  8. Ranger Rick

    It struck me while I was reading the Successor Ideology post that this idea reminded me of those early 2000s quiz websites, where you would get a score along an axis depending on how you responded to various (extremely loaded) multiple choice questions. It’s trying hard to be a one-size-fits-all philosophy, but it’s not clear how well it can fit if it implicitly assigns a score to various already-legally-protected characteristics that values some more than others. It reminds me, and not favorably, of the current way one’s “disability rating” is computed and then used in the healthcare industry.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The Successor Ideologists cannot be reasoned with or even lived-alongside-of. They will demand our utter submission to their will. And they will define what utter submission is.

      Given that, the binary choice they themselves force us into accepting is a choice between functionally exterminating them from every corner of society and driving them back into the sewage lagoons they came from, or else joining them in turning our society into one big sewage lagoon. THEIR sewage lagoon.

      Given that, any better name people can come up with for the Successor Ideology will have to combine reality-exposing descriptive and analytical clarity with an irresistible call to sanctified righteous hatred of that ideology and everyone who shares it . . . . a sanctified righteous hatred which can motivate us to destroy their existence in our society and drive them back into their Vampire’s Castle.

      Understanding them should be done in the spirit of knowing the enemy. Their methods and tricks should be studied and reverse-engineered to use back against them. For example, if someone calls you a cis-heteronormative homophobic patriarchal oppressor, ask him if he is a trans-homonormative heterophobic matriarchal oppressor.

      Reply
  9. zagonostra

    “Pharma Front Group Has Spent $1.2 Million Backing Sinema” [Daily Poster].

    The impact will be minimal,” one industry analyst recently said, adding: “The compromise seems designed to let legislators claim an achievement while granting pharma protection.”

    Comprise? Not sure that’s the right adjective to use. How about corruption, sell-out, debasement, deceit, duplicity, any will do, but compromise, don’t think so.

    Reply
  10. Mantid

    I watched the video about the homeless people in Oakland. I know Oakland fairly well and remember fighting for rent control in Berkeley in the late 70s. Berkeley still has rent control and it’s not cheap to live there, but it’s doable. The caption mentions to watch the video without sound, but the interviews were quite interesting. Many of the people living there lost their jobs due to Covid, and primarily being priced out of their housing. A studio apt. is about 2 – $3,ooo. per month. That is quite expensive. If you have time, and are interested in the difficulties of the homeless, it’s an interesting report. Neo-feudalism is here, right here in River City. Some of the people living there are professionals: doctors; lawyers; trades people, etc. and many have jobs but can’t afford rent.

    Reply
  11. Max

    It looks to me like the Oakland homeless crisis has gotten significantly worse over the last two years, at least from what I have observed while visiting friends. Here in San Jose, I live near a ~400 person encampment that has taken over a large empty area that serves as the approach to the airport. For anyone flying in, this is a fitting welcome committee to Silicon Valley. The FAA is suing the city to clear the encampment, I’m guessing because the area is supposed to serve as a crash zone during accidents and the optics would be bad if we took out a couple hundred indigents. The whole thing is an absolute mess, I regularly see big plumes of black smoke coming from fires and the whole place is littered with burned out cars and RVs. It looks like something out of a video game. That area is also right in the middle of the Guadalupe River Trail which used to be a pretty nice place to walk or bike, now it’s basically unusable. I have no idea what the city is going to do. When we had The Jungle (previously the nation’s biggest homeless encampment) they just kicked everyone out, miraculously that just moved the problem around. All the new housing is incredibly expensive and they seem to only build “luxury” stuff now. All the NIMBYs fight any attempt to build more affordable housing.

    Here is the best link I could find.

    Reply
  12. Jason Boxman

    Bidenflation?

    As industries wait for balance to return, Republicans are pointing fingers at Mr. Biden and Democrats, saying they are to blame for the run-up in prices because they handed checks to households and enacted other pandemic-tied policies. They have labeled the moment “Bidenflation.”

    The White House has tried to emphasize that higher prices are coming at a time when the country is staging a rapid economic rebound from a once-in-a-century disaster. And Mr. Biden has said that his new policies, including an infrastructure bill that cleared Congress last week, will over time expand capacity and help to cool inflation.

    If this doesn’t settle out before the midterms, what will become of Congressional Democrats I wonder?

    Reply
    1. Screwball

      They are going to make Jan 6th their centerpiece to keep their base. Their base wants revenge – and bad. After all, look at what those 4 years of Trump did to them – they deserve something in return – hides of the Trumpers will do just fine. Think of the sound-bytes, the TV appearances on Maddow, and George, and all the friendly networks – the theater of it all. A boon for everyone.

      And it might just work.

      Reply
    2. PHLDenizen

      Well, he DOES owe us 600 bucks. There’s a distant, distant possibility he’s sitting on them until right before the mid terms.

      “Thought I’d forgotten about you? C’mon, man! The only Bidenflation is a fat stack of 6 benjamins inflating your bank account!”

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Wouldn’t it be funny if the 2024 Republican Presidential candidate came out and said that his first action as President would be to pay that $600 that Biden cheated everybody of and obviously will never deliver on.

        Reply
        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          It would be even more amusing if the Republican inaugurated in 2024 followed through on his campaign promise and disbursed all those $600 checks.

          Reply
    3. Big River Bandido

      Between “vaccine” mandates, the Incredible Shrinking Build Back Better Boondoggle, and Joe Biden still owing us all 600 bucks — Democrats already burned the toast for 2022.

      Reply
  13. grayslady

    Just a note on the Covid hotspots:

    In Illinois, Gov. Pritzker has decided not to lift the mask mandate. Although we have a few areas (not properly identified by the graphs) where cases are going up, Pritzker is more concerned that cases are not going down throughout the state. So there’s more than one way to look at areas of concern.

    Reply
  14. Grant

    Is part of the issue regarding school closures, and many other issues, that while a policy may or may not be popular, the general opinion of the populace will likely be reflected in voting patterns if turnout is high? For example, single payer polls really well. But, if the minority opposed to it votes in high numbers and the rest doesn’t those opposed will have a disproportionate say. This in addition to actual, real problems with voting (especially within the Democratic Party’s primaries, which have long been in need of international observers). Poor and working class people don’t have a skin in the game in many elections and the upper middle class and the wealthy always do, and vote in much higher numbers.

    Reply
  15. Greg

    Some researchers who have had early access to the index say it’s a major development in helping them to search the literature with software — a procedure known as text mining

    It just occurred to me that resources like this are going to bump up publishing fraud to the next level and then some. This will be an amazing resource for generating “papers” that seem at first glance to be legit, because they are built from components of legitimate papers with structure for word combinations intact.

    Not only will this be a huge help to the various “journal” scams, but it’s going to be interesting seeing some of the more esoteric fields get bombarded with fake papers that very few people in the world can identify as fake.

    Reply
  16. ProNewerDeal

    Other USAin commenters have expressed how it is difficult to obtain a prescription for IVM.

    FLCCC dot net has a list of internet-order pharmacies, some from Canada, which claim to sell & ship to USA.

    FLCCC has the I-MASK+ protocol, which includes a Prevention Protocol including the twice per week usage of IVM.

    Has anyone successfully tried purchasing IVM from 1 of these Canadian internet pharmacies, & could recommend one?

    My county per the 91-Divoc site Lambert uses is a 7-day average of 18 cases/100K. Mikethemadbiologist notes the German standard is that it should be under 1/100K for risky indoor activities like gym/bar/restaurant/church; above 7/100K is definitely high prevalence. I do not see my county or USA in general “flattening the curve” to consistently under 7/100K, over the near future through end of 2022.

    The I-MASK+ Prevention Protocol seems medically prudent & appropriate, in addition to having already been vaccinated (J&J). I just lack the how-to knowledge on how to practically implement here in Murica.

    Reply
    1. jo6pac

      All drugs from Canada have to have prescription. I end up buying some that came from India without. sadly it’s $4.00 per pill. I later found a site at $1.70 per pill. If you buy get 12mg you can cut them down to 4mg.

      Some at the comments here list Dr. in the US that will write you what you need for our local drug store

      Reply
      1. Skk

        My wife is visiting India for a wedding and instead of the usual food items and clothing that I ask for, now it’s medicines! I-VM of course but also generics for Brilinta And Farziga. Those two at 1100 / month put me in the Medicare PartD donut hole pretty quickly even in plans that are value for money! These aren’t exotics, but pretty standard. I get emails saying there is help if you can’t afford it, now I don’t qualify I’m sure but I really hope that financial aid really is there for people who can’t afford it. Cos imo these stuff is lifesavers/ quality of life for an extended period

        Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “Retailers lose love for Asia: Snarled supply chains force manufacturing exodus to Balkans, LatAm”

    Geographically this makes sense. The west coast transport grid is chocked up due to systematic faults so by going with these manufacturers, they will be able to bring it into America via the east coast transport grid instead. But if manufacturers are making these sorts of investments to move their production facilities, then the logical conclusion is that they do not regard the west coast mess as a temporary “blip” but something that will be going on for a very long time. Otherwise they would simply route their ships through the Panama canal to the east coast until the west coast was sorted.

    Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “Feds seek tougher sentences for veterans who stormed Capitol”

    Maybe they should amend the Miranda warning that says ‘You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future’ to include a bit it where it also says ‘Any military service you have performed for your country may now be used against you in a court of law.’

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The more I think about what’s in court and what’s before Congress the less I like it.

      What, exactly, is the difference between the Capitol Seizure of 1/6 and the Wisconsin Capitol Occupation of 2011? (Note that the Wisconsin Capitol Occupation preceded Occupy proper, and was labor-driven, so naturally the national Democrats did nothing to support it.)

      One could argue that 1/6 was insurrectionary, treason, or whatever, but nobody has been charged with that. Maybe that’s coming, but I would have expected a media campaign to set the table. (Or maybe the WaPo series, which I cannot bear to begin to disentableMR SUBLIMINAL RussiaGate is that. I don’t know.)

      Reply
  19. marym

    “Top Republican Party Committee Comes Out Against UAW Strikers, Attacks Workers

    In a surprising [sic] development today, the Republican Party has come out against the UAW strike and has begun to attack striking workers.

    The committee is using the strike as a way to attack Democratic US Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer, who grew up in a union family, and to boost Grassley.

    Finkenauer has frequently visited the picket lines outside John Deere facilities across the state, and her entire political biography is based around fighting for blue-collar families like the one she grew up in.”
    https://iowastartingline.com/2021/11/10/republicans-come-out-against-uaw-strikers-attacks-workers/

    Reply
  20. dcblogger

    From her privileged family background to her passion for social activism, this conversation touches on a wide range of Eleanor Roosevelt’s memories, concerns, and goals. The former first lady points out that she took no interest in women’s suffrage until after she was married and because FDR favored it, but she also recalls how her husband did not hold her to any set patterns or object to her extended speaking tours. Acknowledging FDR’s unwillingness to support an anti-lynching bill, Roosevelt says her husband’s greatest accomplishments were the actions he took to overcome the Depression, restoring the self-confidence of the American people, and the continuation of atomic research. His biggest mistakes, in her view, were his attempt to reform the judicial system and his involvement in certain elections.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU5K17DfpQI

    Reply
    1. Swamp Yankee

      Yes, I’ve seen this wonderful clip before, dcblogger — Eleanor really was something. Thanks for the link and a pleasant reminder of the possibilities that are still out there.

      Reply
    2. rowlf

      Come visit Warm Springs GA and the Little White House. There is some magic still there. You’ll feel it. Kinda weird it ever existed.

      Reply
  21. Eloined

    Re: Gatik goes driverless

    The testing and validation steps Gatik and other AV companies are taking to get to the point of launching a small number of driverless routes — however isolated — are precedents not only for expansion of their own expanding operations but for potential regulation of AV driving, e.g.: AV Company is authorized to operate without a driver on a route after driving it X many times, perhaps in a defined set of different conditions (no set will account for all possible conditions), perhaps with simulated runs as a substitutes for real-world driving, etc. The inputs are still tightly controlled and tiny amidst the wide world of driving but the process development for loosening those inputs is, to me, more significant.

    This is not contrary to the position that meaningful expansion of AV operations — for example, causing major job losses in trucking, or enabling Uber to make a profit in major markets — is 10+ years away, or indeed may never come unless and until until human drivers are booted from the road or rendered presumptively at fault for crashes with AVs, or something like that.

    Also, there may be some marketing people, like Elon Musk, who talk about reaching level 5 automated driving but to my understanding AV product engineering teams are all focused on expanding L4 coverage — so that their trucks can drive not just one well-mapped route, but 10, 100, 1000….

    Also to my understanding, within the industry those who understand the distinction between automated and autonomous don’t like to use the latter. But it’s a word that customers and journalists like a lot so it may never go away, however wrong it is. Even at L5 an automated driving system still needs marching orders so is not really autonomous. I forget if the trucks in Maximum Overdrive acted autonomously or not.

    Reply
      1. Eloined

        An oblique reference to Uber ex-CEO Travis Kalanick calling AV technology “basically existential for us.” The theory is that if vehicles for hire can perform a service at lower cost without human drivers than with them, then AVs = profit, perhaps until AVs are competing against an abundance of other AVs! (Last I checked, drivers account for about 40% of the operating cost of over-the-road trucking.) In any case my comment was in terms of could not would.

        Reply
  22. eg

    “Armageddon it’s not, but it suggests Covid is, at the very best, settling in at a very high level.”

    Endorsed here by what I am seeing in the Ontario numbers right now. Presumably related, the Provincial government announced today a “pause” on their reopening plan.

    Reply
  23. drumlin woodchuckles

    In the King penguin audio, I hear a songbird through or under the penguins. It is hard to hear it well, but it is there. I could only find referrence to two songbirds living on South Georgia . . . . the South Georgia pippit and the Long-tailed meadowlark. After listening to the two songs on you tube, I think the “un-named singer” is the meadowlark. But I can’t be sure.

    Reply

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