2:00PM Water Cooler 3/1/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day


* * *


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

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

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson

Biden Adminstration

“On cusp of Biden speech, a state of disunity, funk and peril” [Associated Press]. “Biden will step up to the House speaker’s rostrum to address a nation in conflict with itself. The country is litigating how to keep kids safe and what to teach them, weary over orders to wear masks, bruised over an ignominious end to one war, in Afghanistan, and suddenly plenty worried about Russian expansionism. A speech designed to discuss the commonwealth will be delivered to a nation that is having increasing difficulty finding much of anything in common.” • Come on. 56% of the country supports mask mandates; it’s the PMC that’s “weary,” because they disproportionately don’t suffer Covid’s harms. Ditto Afghanistan. The press is “bruised” over Afghanistan because every Afghan in their collective Rolodex called them to get out when we finally admitted we lost the war, and they felt bad because they couldn’t do anything. And if the heartland cares about Ukraine, they sure aren’t willing to send their bodies over their to deal with the matter. This story isn’t really about the nation at all. It’s about AP’s right to prescribe the nation’s mood, by describing it (as Bourdieu would urge). There’s plenty of disunity to be had, not always along the lines AP draws, and some disunity is good anyhow. Is it good for their to be “unity” between Starbucks workers and management? How about between health care “consumers” and health insurance company executives? But AP never bleats about that….

“Biden finally ditches Build Back Better to unveil new Made in America economic plan during his State of the Union address as White House declines to say if he’ll wear a face mask” [Daily Mail]. • All I can say is that I hope this time he checked with President Manchin.

“Why Has Biden’s Approval Rating Crashed?” [Peter Daou, Direct Left]. “Biden promised rich donors that ‘nothing would fundamentally change.’ He’s paying the price at the polls. And leftists predicted every bit of this…. Perhaps worst of all, Biden and Democratic leaders have been abject failures on the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for a negligent vaccine-only strategy and presiding over more deaths than Trump.” • Plus., Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks.

From the White House press team:

I suppose, if there are peace talks, this dude will be on the plane and at the podium?

“How a High School Debate Team Shaped Ketanji Brown Jackson” [New York Times]. “Judge Jackson competed in two disciplines that were more speech than debate: oratory, where contestants write and deliver original speeches, and interpretation, where they perform dramatic or humorous parts from existing material. She was a national champion in oratory.” • Feh!

* * *

On CDC guidance:

(If I’d encountered this before I wrote this post, I would have included it….)

“IMPACT COVID Positioning Strategy Memo – Taking The Win Over Covid-19” [Impact Research (antidlc]. Biden’s pollster: “Declare the crisis phase of COVID over and push for feeling and actingmore normal. Thanks to Democrats, we are nowhere near where we were two years, or even one year ago. Democrats have a tremendous opportunity to claim an incredible, historic success – they vaccinated hundreds of millions of people,prevented the economy from going into freefall, kept small businesses from going under, and got people back to work safely. Because of President Biden andDemocrats, we CAN safely return to life feeling much more normal – and theyshould claim that proudly.” • Whether the metric is cases or deaths, “we are nowhere near where we were two years, or even one year ago” is an outright lie. Shocking, I know.

“Biden wants to declare a new chapter in the Covid fight. He’s trigger shy.” [Politico]. “The president on Tuesday is expected to stop well short of the mission accomplished moment on Covid that many members of his own party would like to see, stressing instead the need to remain vigilant against the virus, even as the nation enters what many people hope will be a pandemic endgame. Biden’s remarks will emphasize that the nation has made significant progress toward reining in the pandemic, five people familiar with the planning of the speech said. Yet even as he touts how far the U.S. has come, Biden is likely to warn that it may still be a bumpy path back to normalcy. ‘If you’re waiting to rip off your masks, this is not it,’ said one of the people familiar with the planning.” • Amazing how much the Democrat inner circle hates masks; Walensky was right in the mainstream of the Party apparatchiks with her “Scarlet Letter” remark. Of course, as the party of betrayal, liberal Democrats need to smile a lot. It’s how they move in on their pray.

Democrats en Déshabillé

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

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. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party 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.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

* * *

Remember when liberal Democrats were naming their dogs after Mueller? Have they started naming their dogs after David Frum?

I wish it were “incredible”:

Two Democrats:

With tripolar politics — liberals, conservatives, left — each pole converts tripolarity into a binary. Liberals think conservatives and the left are one thing, conservatives think liberals and the left are one thing, and the left thinks conservatives and liberals are one thing.

Eric, good job:

The worst of it is that Adams will be probably get good press coverage for this nove.


* * *

Please, no:


“Trump wins CPAC straw poll as DeSantis’s support grows” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump emerged as the clear winner in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) highly anticipated presidential straw poll, capturing a solid majority of support in a hypothetical primary match-up and cementing his status as the heavy favorite for the 2024 GOP nomination among the most devoted conservatives. The straw poll, which received responses from more than 2,500 conference attendees, found that 59 percent back Trump for the 2024 Republican nod, a slight increase over last year’s poll, which showed him with 55 percent support. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) finished in a distant second with 28 percent support, making him the only other prospective candidate to notch double-digit support. In last year’s straw poll, DeSantis notched 21 percent support. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo finished in third place, with just 2 percent support.” •

“DeSantis Readies For The National Stage” [The American Conservative]. “Talking fast and hardly looking at his notes (guests I spoke with afterward said his speed made him sound intelligent), DeSantis spent his hour in front of a friendly audience drawing distinctions—between conservatism and libertarianism, between himself and the broader GOP, and, most carefully, between himself and former president Donald Trump. Using phrases like ‘military industrial complex’ and his now-favorite ‘biomedical security state,’ and shifting the conversation from keywords like ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ to courage, justice, and the positive project of government, DeSantis seemed to be using the talk not just to float his presidential prospects, but also to demonstrate his alignment with major goalposts of the new right. ‘Freedom is not enough of a condition to secure a just society,’ DeSantis said. ‘It’s essential, but you need more. You can’t just say private companies can do whatever the hell they want to. They are not the friend of conservatives right now, they are not the friend of freedom. They are using these harmful ideologies and we have a responsibility to stand up and fight against it.’ The elites and Big Tech ‘regime enforcers’ need to be taken down a few notches, he said—whether through Section 230 reform or other means was unclear—because ‘you can’t have a free society if the majority of the discourse is controlled by a half dozen leftists in Silicon Valley.’ These are bold words for an audience of conservative donors, many of whom made their success in business, but a lot has changed in the last few decades. Regardless, the audience was enthusiastic, interrupting frequently with cheers and calls of ‘Freedom!'” • Are any readers familiar with DeSantis? Does he have any charisma or gravitas at all? Or is he like Scott Walker, totally owning the libs at the state level, but all the dynamism of a potato, on the national stage?

2018 Post Mortem

“Volume 24: The 2018 Election, Who Projected It Best?” [Lobby Seven]. • Larry Sabato, and not narrowly. Looks like combining quantitative and qualitative analysis is a good idea. (The article is based on a statistical concept called “log loss,” which is beyond me. Perhaps a reader can explain.

Clinton Legacy

I assume it’s obvious that this is not from Clinton’s MasterClass series:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Election conspiracy theories flutter around Cross Village break-in case” [Traverse City Record-Eagle]. “Township Clerk Diana Keller was in office for two months last year when she said three men — one wearing a gun on his hip and a bulletproof vest over his sweatshirt — walked into the township hall asking for election equipment.” • Then it gets wilder. Traverse City is “a township of fewer than 300 year-round residents and a $100,000 annual budget.” I don’t know why it even needs a “tabulating machine.”


Case count by United States regions:

I have added a Fauci Line that shows how the current, totally non-problematic case count of Covid, achieved under the wise leadership of President Biden And His Team, is identical to a case count considered crisis-level under the former guy. (I could be wrong, but I think that’s when the Times printed the names of the dead on the front page. Nothing like that now, of course.)

NOTE I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it.

Fellow tapewatchers will note that “up like a rocket, down like a stick” phase is done with, and the case count is now leveling out. A chart going back to January shows this clearly:

The decline has flattened. Perhaps the “new normal” will settle in at 65,000 cases a day. Certainly if we wish the United States to be a Covid reservoir for the rest of the world, and make sure that no other country achieves Zero Covid, that is the way to proceed..

The official narrative was “Covid is behind us,” and that the pandemic will be “over by January” (Gottlieb), and “I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful pandemic, but you know what? It’s over” (Bill Maher) was completely exploded. What a surprise! This time, it may be different. But who knows?

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Continues encouraging (and independent from the CDC).

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 Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:

Idaho down, Maine getting caught up with its data. Remember that these are rapid riser counties. A county that moves from red to green is not covid-free; the case count just isnt, well, rising rapidly.)

The previous release:

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission:

Continuing slow improvement.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Sea of green once more, including the Northern Marianas. From the point of view of our hospital-centric health care system, green everywhere means the emergency is over (and to be fair, this is reinforced by case count and wastewater). However, community transmission is still pervasive, which means that long Covid, plus continuing vascular damage, are not over. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 975,150 969,602. An uptick. But it looks like we won’t break a million for Biden’s SOTU. I was hoping for a ribbon cutting ceremony of some kind. Maybe the West Wing staff could have staged a photo op with funny hats and noisemakers. Walensky’s staff could have joined in by Zoom. Ah well, nevertheless.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Stats Watch

Logistics: “United States LMI Logistics Managers Index Current” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index in the US increased to 75.2 in February of 2022, up from January’s reading of 71.9, largely driven by the unseasonal spike in inventories, continued growth in price, and the lack of available capacity. The Inventory Level value is 80.2, the highest value ever for the index as a combination of over-ordering to avoid shortages, late-arriving goods due to supply chain congestion, and a softening of consumer spending has created a logjam. Meanwhile, warehousing capacity is once again down, to 43.4, the lowest level since the start of the Q4 inventory buildup in August 2021. This also marks 18 consecutive months of contraction, incentivizing many firms to aggressively explore alternative.”

Manufacturing: “United States Manufacturing PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The IHS Markit US Manufacturing PMI was revised lower to 57.3 in February of 2022, from a preliminary estimate of 57.5 but above the previous month’s final reading of 55.5. The headline figure was below the peaks seen in 2021, but signalled a stronger upturn in the health of the manufacturing sector, with sharper output and new order expansions contributing to overall growth. Stronger new sales growth spurred manufacturers to increase staffing numbers and boost stocks of purchases. Pressure on capacity softened as backlogs rose at the slowest pace in a year as material shortages eased. Although input costs increased at the slowest pace for nine months, selling prices ticked higher at the sharpest rate since last November. Finally, output expectations for the coming year were the strongest since November 2020, as firms were buoyed by hopes of a reduction in supply-chain disruption and a greater ability to retain employees”

Manufacturing: “United States ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Manufacturing PMI for the US rose for a second straight month to 58.6 in February of 2022 from 57.6 in January and compared to market forecasts of 58. This latest reading showed that the overall economy expanded for the 21st consecutive month. New orders and production continued to increase at a solid pace as COVID-19 infections subsided, though hiring at factories slowed, contributing to keeping supply chains snarled and prices for inputs high.”

* * *

Inflation: “Z Inflation Problem” [Stephanie Kelton, The Lens]. “[W]hen it comes to explaining our current bout of high inflation, there’s no dearth of right answers. There are many forces at work. To bring inflation back down, we need more than a catalogue of everything that matters. As I keep saying, the policy response to fighting inflation should be tailored to the diagnosis. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the inflation problem. There are things we can do to enhance price stability in the short-term—getting past the pandemic, eliminating non-strategic tariffs, unclogging ports, licensing more truck drivers, negotiating prescription drug costs and moving to Medicare for All, to name just a few. Longer term—by which I mean years, not decades—we need to restore domestic manufacturing capacity and move away from fossil fuels. We need to build millions of units of affordable and sustainable housing and invest heavily in mass transit. We must start now.”


I always thought it was bipolar disorder, but what do I know?

The Bezzle: “Gaming has led the metaverse, but NFTs pose new ethical challenges. The DICE Summit discussions” [Los Angeles Times]. “Studio health was a prime topic at D.I.C.E., where a talk centered on what a return to the office looked like with worker habits having been forever altered by the pandemic. Even a conversation on NFTs (or non-fungible tokens) and how the online certificates that allow for the ownership of digital goods and so-called ‘play-to-earn’ models could transform games, fell heavily on why the topic has been met with such resistance among developers at gaming studios. ‘Disdain,’ is how moderator Min Kim of Bonfire Studios summarized the early developer reaction to developing games enabling NFT functionality on the blockchain. The panelists attempted to take a measured approach, noting there hasn’t been a hit game yet that can show a mass audience why player ownership will create a better gaming experience, while also conceding that many of the early adopters have what is perceived as questionable ethics, as initial games in the space are built around money-making or collectible schemes first and foremost. D.I.C.E. speakers compared it to the beginning of free-to-play mobile games, which introduced a number of controversial mechanics, including loot boxes and their gambling-like nature as well as endless microtransactions that can still today occasionally be contentious subjects. ‘We haven’t seen that blockbuster game that changes the perspective of a developer,’ said John Linden, CEO of Mythical Games. Linden used collectible card game ‘Hearthstone’ as an example of a work that showed new possibilities for a specific genre, arguing that NFTs are in need of such a game.'”

Tech: “Here Comes the Full Amazonification of Whole Foods” [New York Times]. “In less than a minute, I scanned both hands on a kiosk and linked them to my Amazon account. Then I hovered my right palm over the turnstile reader to enter the nation’s most technologically sophisticated grocery store.” • So awesome. I assume that when the reporters biometric data is hacked, they can simply purchase a new hand. I smell business model!

Tech: “The Quiet Way Advertisers Are Tracking Your Browsing” [Wired]. “The exact configuration of lines and swirls that make up your fingerprints are thought to be unique to you. Similarly, your browser fingerprint is a set of information that’s collected from your phone or laptop each time you use it that advertisers can eventually link back to you. ‘It takes information about your browser, your network, your device and combines it together to create a set of characteristics that is mostly unique to you,’ says Tanvi Vyas, a principal engineer at Firefox. The data that makes up your fingerprint can include the language you use, keyboard layout, your timezone, whether you have cookies turned on, the version of the operating system your device runs, and much more. By combining all this information into a fingerprint, it’s possible for advertisers to recognize you as you move from one website to the next. Multiple studies looking at fingerprinting have found that around 80 to 90 percent of browser fingerprints are unique. Fingerprinting is often done by advertising technology companies that insert their code onto websites. Fingerprinting code—which comes in the form of a variety of scripts, such as the FingerprintJS library—is deployed by dozens of ad tech firms to collect data about your online activity.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 18 Extreme Fear (previous close: 24 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 35 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 1 at 1:22pm. Looks like Putin still has Mr. Market’s attention.

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

Naked Capitalism Cooking Community™

“How to Defrost Meat Safely” [Good Housekeeping]. “The best and safest way to defrost meat is overnight in the refrigerator, until it is completely thawed. After thawing, ground meat, poultry, and seafood should keep well in the refrigerator for an extra day or two, while red meat (beef, pork, lamb, and steak) stays good for 3 to 5 more days. Plus, if you thaw meat in the refrigerator, you can freeze it again safely.” • Not exactly Jackpot-ready, let alone Jackpot-compliant.


Some readers will be happy to know I bought my very first video game: Night in the Woods, from Scott Benson’s studio, now that it’s on the iPad. Benson is on Sid and Fern’s staff:

I haven’t had time to play more than a few minutes, though.

Class Warfare

“A New Union, At Last? Mexican Auto Parts Workers Get to Vote, Three Years After Strike Wave” [Labor Notes]. “UPDATE, March 1: Workers at Mexico’s Tridonex auto parts plant in the border city of Matamoros overwhelmingly voted for an independent union on February 28. Workers cast 1,126 votes for the National Independent Union of Industry and Service Workers, 20/32 Movement (SNITIS), while 176 voted for the incumbent Industrial Union of Workers in Maquiladora and Assembly Plants (SITPME), which is affiliated with the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM). The election victory in Matamoros comes on the heels of a landmark victory at the beginning of February for another independent union among General Motors workers in Silao, Guanajuato. The vote for SNITIS is another step forward for Mexican workers’ efforts to free themselves from so-called “protection unions,” and provides further evidence that organized workers can defeat unions affiliated with the corrupt CTM.”

“Walmart Supercenters and Monopsony Power: How a Large, Low-Wage Employer Impacts Local Labor Markets” (PDF) [Justin C. Wiltshire]. “Crucially, I construct the pools of synthetic control donor counties from novel observations of counties where Walmart tried to open a Supercenter but was blocked by local efforts. I find Supercenter entry caused significant reductions in local aggregate employment and earnings. Retail employment concentration grew, as retail employment initially jumped up before reverting to pre-entry levels. In counties with a Supercenter, subsequent exogenous minimum wage increases led to significant growth in aggregate and retail employment. These results run counter to predictions for competitive labor markets, and indicate Walmart Supercenters gradually accumulated and exercised monopsony power in their local markets for labor, with negative consequences for workers.” • I can’t speak to the method, but the result is interesting.

“Engaging Federici on Marx, Capitalism, and Social Reproduction” (review) [Monthly Review Online]. In Patriarchy of the Wage, Sylvia “Federici considers two types of explanation for why Marx was not a feminist, one taking stock of his socio-historical positioning, the other of his theoretical concepts and analysis. Regarding the former, Federici informs readers that her thinking has changed over time (38-39). In early essays, she writes, she accepted that Marx was writing at a moment when the patriarchal proletarian family was not yet consolidated. Since working-class women and children were, initially, swept into formal waged labor, his neglect of domestic labor is, if not forgivable, perhaps understandable. Today, however, Federici no longer buys this, and what flows from her skepticism is a thoughtful, if not always fair, appraisal of Marx’s social and political milieu. As early as the 1830s, Federici points out, feminist utopian socialists were debating and experimenting with the socialization of housework, while by mid-nineteenth century, women comprised just 20 to 30 percent of factory workers, as many exited waged work upon childbirth. Those who remained struggled for reduced working hours—allowing them to shift domestic work from evenings onto a Saturday afternoon (38-39). So, domestic work was an issue for women workers in Marx’s time. Moreover, Federici notes, while Marx laments both the harsh conditions of female factory workers and the fact that male heads of households controlled the wages of their wives’ labor, he does not attempt to explain these gendered power imbalances. Had he done so, she writes, he “would have recognized the existence of a fundamental anomaly in capitalist relations,” (85)—namely that juridical “freedom” is not a universal condition of all waged workers. This leads Federici to a series of speculations. She submits that perhaps Marx was a creature of his time, after all, pointing out that increasingly after 1830, in the state and popular imaginary, “worker” meant “laborious, honest wage worker” (82)—an ethical and rights-bearing figure distinct from more precarious, less trustworthy members of the underclasses. From here Federici moves on to another, less tenable, speculation: Marx’s neglect of domestic labor was a matter of “political expedience” (86). As a leader of the First International Workingmen’s Association, Marx, in 1872, supported the ousting of Section 12, led by American feminist Victoria Woodhull. He did so by urging a resolution insisting that two-thirds of the membership of any IWA section be wage earners, thereby precluding any section’s domination by unwaged housewives…. As for Marx’s support for the expulsion of Section 12, one should (but Federici doesn’t) at least take into account his overt justification, which has to do with fears of middle-class reformers swamping IWA sections, fears that, according to Hal Draper, informed Marx’s politics from the 1840s onward.” • The past is not dead……

“Peter Kropotkin” (podcast) [In Our Time]. “Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Russian prince who became a leading anarchist and famous scientist. Kropotkin (1842 – 1921) was born into privilege, very much in the highest circle of Russian society as a pageboy for the Tsar, before he became a republican in childhood and dropped the title ‘Prince’. While working in Siberia, he started reading about anarchism and that radicalised him further, as did his observations of Siberian villagers supporting each other without (or despite) a role for the State. He made a name for himself as a geographer but soon his politics landed him in jail in St Petersburg, from which he escaped to exile in England where he was fêted, with growing fame leading to lecture tours in the USA. His time in Siberia also inspired his ideas on the importance of mutual aid in evolution, a counter to the dominant idea from Darwin and Huxley that life was a gladiatorial combat in which only the fittest survived. Kropotkin became such a towering figure in public life that, returning to Russia, he was able to challenge Lenin without reprisal, and Lenin in turn permitted his enormous public funeral there, attended by 20,000 mourners.”

News of the Wired

Some threads on “Living with Covid” (translation: “We give up, why don’t you?”):

“Living with Covid” (1):

“Living with Covid” (2):

“Living with Covid” (3):

“Living with Covid” (4):

* * *

Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) 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 (EM):

EM writes: “I think this is a really nice tree. I saw it here. A very exposed place.”

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Ranger Rick

    Congrats on your video game purchase. It’s good — but every time I see it mentioned I’m reminded of what happened to its creator.

      1. Anon

        If I remember correctly, he received a barrage of online harassment regarding an allegation of sexual assault and in response to the pressure, he committed suicide (I think the original allegation did have some holes in it and considering the person who did field the allegation and their past, it never should have gotten to that point).

        1. Ian

          The creator of the game is Scott Benson and he’s the person whose tweet is linked; he’s very much alive.

            1. Hepativore

              I think he committed suicide over all of the harassment from the allegations as well as his girlfriend being a really nasty piece of work. Those of us who are familiar with Tumblr know exactly the sort of person the place is known for as she has quite a presence there.

              That was a shame, as Alec Holowka also made Aquaria, a really nice, “metroidvania” type of game that took place in an underwater environment.

              He was working on a sequel, but now it will never see the light of day.

  2. Geo

    “After McCain croaked I was really hopeful neoconservatism would be dying out. How are there new generations of those monsters?“

    It’s not just the new generation either. Was chatting with a family member in their 70s and they were panicked about nuclear war and trying to calm them I joked about how it must make them feel like they’re back in college again. They replied, “It was never this bad back then.” “The Cuban Missile Crisis wasn’t this bad?” I replied. For a few minutes I had to remind them of all the stuff they’ve already lived through and explain MAD and all the stuff you’d think a 70+ year old would know about.

    How do people go through life not learning anything about the world they live in? Also, CNN and tv news hysteria-for-ratings is rotting their brains. This neocon worldview seems to rely on lack of object permanence in Americans regarding foreign policy.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Speaking of the singular they, doesn’t this sound better?

      >It’s not just the new generation either. Was chatting with a family member in er 70s and e was panicked about nuclear war and trying to calm er I joked about how it must make er feel like e is back in college again. E replied, “It was never this bad back then.” “The Cuban Missile Crisis wasn’t this bad?” I replied. For a few minutes I had to remind er of all the stuff e’d already lived through and explain MAD and all the stuff you’d think a 70+ year old would know about.<

      Just drop the "h" like in a cockney accent and use whatever sounds best (similar to the choice between "a" or "an").

      1. John

        How special.
        The Cuban Missile Crisis was scary and people were actually serious about matters of war and peace then. I sometimes think and feel that the neo-cons and the inhabitants of the DC bubble cum echo-chamber have spent too much time with video games and online games in which you can die a thousand times and simply start again.

        We, the USA, insisted on pushing NATO, and the EU, ever eastward never deigning to pay any attention to Russian complaints secure in the arrogant assumption that Russia went down in the 1990s and was never going to come back up again. I do so hope we do not discover why hubris is the pivot on which Greek tragedy turns.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Just drop the “h” like in a cockney accent and use whatever sounds best (similar to the choice between “a” or “an”).

        That’s actually not such a bad idea: ‘e = he or she, and they is left as is (a good thing).

    2. anon y'mouse

      i’ve heard it said that people tend to forget painful experiences or no woman would ever give birth twice.

      your family member has apparently lost touch with the person they were back then. either that, or if they were truly in college at the time perhaps they had other *coughs* concerns that were more immediate to them at the time than whether we would start WWIII over Cuba.

      also, since the “crisis” of that time came to naught, perhaps what they “learned” is that the event itself was a much-ado-about-nothing. hindsight colors our experiences enough to make us remember them differently, according to cognitive psychologists who study memory, anyway.

    3. clarky90



      Peaceful protesters in Wellington Freedom Villiage confronting hundreds of police, some in riot gear. The protesters, of all ages and ethnicities, are standing in a line, with their backs to the police.

      The protest has been asking PM Jacinda Ardern (and anybody in power) to meet and talk about ending the Draconian mandates. She refuses any contact. ALL of the other NZ political parties (National, Labour, Greens, ACT), also, have refused to talk to the citizen protesters. All of our (NZ) representatives are now part of the narrative. Captured..

      For weeks the police/media emote about lack of “hygiene” and the “safety of children”…..

      But, concurrently, they refuse to let rubbish trucks take rubbish, portaloo service trucks to service portaloos. The protest installed a portable shower block, and the police removed it.

      Just now, the police are taking away the flush toilets that the people set up……

      The timing. Like the Human Resourse People who fire employees at Christmas time…..

      1. Greg

        There’s a better feed here. https://www.twitch.tv/nzrdt1

        It’s devolved into a riot, hiffing pavement stones at police, setting fire to the childrens playground. After weeks of defecating in the harbour, these are all really good demonstrations of true freedom.

    4. JBird4049

      I need to talk with Mom as she lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, but as one who lived in the last three decades of the Cold War, you either found some way to put it away or quietly went insane.

      How else does someone live the reality that civilization could end in any twenty minute period? At best(?), it could take an afternoon for the various launches, responses and counter-responses to the thousands of missiles that were in the militaries of at least half a dozen countries with the payloads of each bomb or missile often much larger than today’s warheads, although when it comes to nuclear bombs any size is horrific. That, and with the poorer accuracy of then, size was used to make up for it, especially by the Soviets. We might miss the target by a few miles? No problem, we’ll just make it bigger!

      So, you lived with the knowledge, but you did not usually live with it. For most, it was just in the air, like smog or pollen, maybe the noise of a city’s downtown with the honking, and the arguing, and the partying. Of course, the literature then especially the science fiction often reflected this. Downer this, apocalypse that, and Götterdämmerung how.

      This latest Cold War appeared fast enough that people have not have the time to develop mental and emotional defenses. No, it’s straight to the horror zone guided and supercharged by the mainstream media into our collective amygdala.

      All this does have the feeling of unreality. Our whole society feels like a production of Kabuki. I remember the Cold War. My parents lived through all of it and Vietnam, Korea, the Civil Rights Movement, the massive protests of the 60s. I had relatives who lived through the Second World War in Europe and who saw the camps. Then there was the Great Depression, which almost destroyed the family. Strange fruit was still a thing in my grandparents’, even my parents’ lives. Then there was McCarthyism, which did affect my family. I remember when being gay could get you dead. This is some of why Wokeism to me is unserious. People yapping about how bad things are with no understanding of how bad it was.

      To be honest much of this is secondhand from family and friends, or from books, with only little as an adult. And yet, the past does not have this hollowness with fake fear and mindless wordiness. Our “leaders” be it in politics, business, education, science, society, religion, and medicine have all the gravitas of a six year old. A spoiled six year old. The farther you go back in time, the more it seems that the people of those times would see the people of today as a speed bump. Yes, much of that is caused by distance, but not all of it. Lyndon Baines Johnson would flatten Nancy Peolosi, Chuck Schumer, and even Mitch McConnell. Pretty much every president of the Twentieth Century (not Ronald Reagan or Woodrow Wilson during their second terms) were more serious and capable than anyone in the Twenty-First.

      The schools, the courts, civic buildings, everything are all being endlessly fortified and refortified. Taking a flight is like entering prison. Going to court is dancing around the checkpoints and the guards. Then there is City Hall. Schools look like prisons with no one walking about. And if any parent did what the parents of all the children I knew, as children everywhere, allowed us to disappear for hours outside, well, they would be Bad Parents, wouldn’t they? Subject to arrest. Yet, it’s fear, fear, fear everything! Something bad, somewhere, sometime is going to happen!!!! WTF? This has always been true. What makes today so different from yesterday? Aside from those making bank from this fear?

      Anyone who has lived for seventy years lived in a country that apparently do anything, that was highly industrialized, well educated, with a vast middle class run by people who survived everything the first two-thirds of the Twentieth Century could drop on them. It is probably the reason the Cold War did not become World War Three. A country less afraid than today’s despite the often great threats and challenges. Heck, I am still in my fifties and I lived in that country for while. Living in today’s United States of America is like living in a diseased fun-house version of the past. A past that was much, much worse, but today people seem determined to bring back it back only without the social cohesiveness, general prosperity, overall competence, or the seriousness of then.

      If all this, or even much of it, is true, why would a person not overreact to this Second Cold War? The first one did create some insanity, even nihilism. Today, they have been fed mental meth, put on the crazy train with a drunk conductor, a crazed engineer, and a broken bridge right ahead.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It should be noted that a population that has been conditioned to be fearful is more likely to line up behind their government to ‘do something’ about that fear. Michael Moore wrote a book about the fear of terrorists and he called it “The United States of BOO!” Of course a media that continuously hypes up fear in people in order to get ratings is corrosive over time itself whether they are talking about African bees, ‘unidentified black men’, murder hornets, Russian political influence or whatever.

        1. John

          I remember the announcement of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. I was a young child. I have memories of World War II and Korea, served in the army in the late 1950s. By the time nuclear weapons could be delivered quickly, we had lived with their reality, in the case of Cuba for over 15 years. That was 60 years ago and most of those 60 years were more or less peaceful as far as the psyche of the general public was concerned. I think that the older generations were harder, more accustomed to a harsher world. The Ukraine has seemed to burst upon us even though with NATO’s encroachment on Russia’s borderlands it has been building if one was paying attention. NATO/USA has been poking the Bear for years and now, surprise, the Bear is annoyed. It is time to pay attention, put away childish things, and stop playing games with serious matters.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            To be honest, Biden hasn’t seemed that deranged over the last few days, compared to everyone else, probably because the Pentagon briefed him on where the fighting really is and actual capabilities. When Biden found out where the Ukraine is, he may have stopped caring.

            For other people, the skin color of Ukranians is a factor, but the inability of the US to simply snap fingers and stop this is probably more troubling because its a symbol of blowback to the US.


            Even the low estimates are troubling, and this is just one war. Slave markets in Libya. Arms getting into the hands of groups like the Mujadeen. Trade policies that enriched a totalitarian government in China. And so forth. This has been America on a world stage.

            Any argument about spreading democracy is total bs, but all these actions have been done in our names. I think the Russians not folding indicates other countries wouldn’t fold.

            1. Hepativore

              I am still afraid of conventional news outlets and the MIC whispering in Biden’s ear and convincing him to: “Get in there, and kick Putin’s a$$, what are you, a pansy?!”, and if that does not work, the Deep State will probably start threatening Biden behind close doors, and these institutions are the ones that Biden really listens to. The opinions of our country’s subjects are thought of as unimportant by the nobles such as our political class.

              Plus, the Democratic Party litself might try and push Biden to pull a “wag the dog” as a last ditch effort to win the midterms and the presidency.

              So far, Biden has not caved into the hawkishness of the Washington bubble, but how long will that last? Biden has shown an unwillingness to take much of a stand on anything, especially the oligarchs and establishment running our political institutions. I am afraid the silver-tongued representatives of our usual bellicose interventionist foreign policy will shortly talk him into escalating this into a nuclear exchange, if Biden is even little more than a senile figurehead at this point for the people really in charge.

              As much as the MIC would love to profit from making arms and equipment for this latest conflict, I would hope that even they realise that provoking a nuclear war would be suicidal.

          2. Ancient1!

            I am 85, the last phase of my life. I to remember Pearl Harbor ant the effects of that war on our people. I remember the other conflicts and the people who led us. Today, I do not recognize our people or our country. Those who lead us are idiots. I am ashamed. I worry about my children and grandchildren and their future. My future I know. It is the nature of things.

            1. eg

              You’re my Mom’s age — “the Silents.” I shudder to think what is to become of our world once you’ve all gone …

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Of course a media that continuously hypes up fear in people in order to get ratings is corrosive over time itself

          “Terrifying” is frequently used, since the 2016 election.

      2. Glen

        The Cuban Missile Crisis is the incident that most people know about. There were others. Most are still classified. Here is one:

        Able Archer 83

        The “fall out” from Able Archer so alarmed Ronald Reagan that it ultimately lead to new treaties with the USSR to limit the use and deployment of nuclear arms.

        Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

        It was important to eliminate the use of the short range missiles because there is very little time to determine accurately what is happening so the pressure is to launch everything you have before you get hit. In fact, most war gaming of the use of tactical nukes ends up getting the whole world nuked as the inevitable escalation occurs.

        Most of the leaders from the Cold War had real experience with total war in WW2, and had seen nuclear weapons used. (That’s not to say that they didn’t have their share of war hawks – they had plenty.) The current generation of leaders does not have that experience.

    5. Daryl

      Perhaps it does indeed seem much worse than that event did at the tim. I wasn’t alive for the Cuban Missile Crisis but I imagine it would have been, while propagandized, reported on by fairly sober news people. Now, there’s a 24/7 stream of shrieking hysteria on anything remotely news-related and for that matter, many that are not.

      1. John Steinbach

        The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is at 100 minutes to midnight, closer than the Cuban Missile Crisis. Also reflects climate change. Many were unhappy that BAS didn’t move it even closer.

        1. Daryl

          I don’t think they are wrong. I don’t personally have a great way of assessing the risk of the current situation, I am more pointing out that the stress of the situation for those of us who aren’t close to it in some way is promulgated by the 24-hour media & the internet. It is hard to go very long without hearing about the crisis, even if you want to, in a way I don’t think was true very long ago.

          Though if anything, they seem to be underestimating the consequences of continually escalating the situation.

      2. Tom Stone

        I did live through the Cuban Missile crisis, my first day in first grade started with a duck and cover exercise…

        1. Wukchumni

          I wasn’t quite a year old, so nothing but pleasant lack of memories in regards to the Cuban Missile Crisis-as I wasn’t kept abreast in that fashion, but in inquiring with my mom about what went down, she told me that she and every other abled bodied housewife, systematically stripped the supermarkets of all canned, bottled and dry goods-aisles would be raptured…

          And then after it was all said and done, she and all those hausfraus returned most all of it to the supermarket for a refund.

        2. Joe Renter

          Me too! It is the only thing I remember of that year, other than the teacher trying to me make me write with my right hand, being left-handed.

        3. eg

          I was an infant. My father who was in the RCAF was stationed in Pensacola at the time (don’t ask me why — all I know is that he was an engineer in communications) so that’s where I was. I don’t know what circumstances involve Canadian forces members to be stationed at US bases, but we moved to what they called Hanscom Field shortly thereafter.

          1. ambrit

            “Why a duck?” Well, it’s probably because ‘they’ know that if the Big One drops, we’ll all be-fowl ourselves.

    1. jo6pac

      It has been proven false by many that I can’t post the site here. Lukashenko is an elected president.

      1. Tor User

        What is false?

        That he is a dictator? That he give the briefing to his security council? That he he used a map when he gave the briefing? Was the map altered by someone after the video was released?

        1. ambrit

          Now you are just playing games.
          There is a good case to be made that Lukashenko would fit nicely into either American Legacy Political Party apparat.

    2. dommage

      “…Russian invasion forces are planned to move into the breakaway Transnistria region…”
      The Russian 14th Army has been in Transnistria since 1992. Look at any source you care to, for example try “Russian military presence in Transnistria” on Wikipedia

  3. brook trout

    Factual correction: It is Cross Village that is the tiny unincorporated political entity, not Traverse City, as should be obvious from the context.

    1. Thistlebreath

      Legs Inn, aka “Smolaks” is the tourist attraction. Filmed an interview w/a 103 year old fiddler there back in the ’70’s. George Kruzell. He rode into CV on an oxcart (oxen could exist on forage, horses could not) as a child and spoke English, French, Polish and Ojibwa. He scratched out “The Devil’s Dream” on a fiddle for us. And told stories about fights back before WWI.

      It’s a phenomenal sight, that place. The interior is kitted out in found branches and logs, peeled and varnished w/a lot of fanciful carvings on them.

      Hemingway’s family had a cottage in nearby Harbor Springs. Now, I reckon it’s become an enclave of serious PMC dough, Chicago commodity wonks and all that. Traverse City is catching up fast. When Jim Harrison lived on a worn out farm around TC in his early years, it was a lot less Twee.

      Not many locals, per the count of 300 residents.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        My mom worked her way through nursing school waiting at Legs Inn. The Money along that shore down to Traverse City is incomprehensible. Harbor Springs is at the south end of the trail. Cross Village is microscopic. And totally Midwestern.

  4. Brian Beijer

    Some readers will be happy to know I bought my very first video game: Night in the Woods, from Scott Benson’s studio, now that it’s on the iPad.

    OMG! I LOOOVE Night in The Woods! It’s my favorite video game. And I don’t even play video games; I haven’t even played NITW. I sat and watched my wife play it for several nights in a row. It has great music and just a fantastic “coming-of-age” story line for today’s young adult. I tell every parent of a teen or tween to buy their kids NITW. It’s the 20teens version of Catcher in the Rye.

    By the way, there’s some crazy drama surrounding the three people behind the video game. Mainly involving one of the three. It gets into some serious work place harrassment, mental health issues, “me too” movement and true?/false? accusations about kidnapping. Crazy sh*t. The story is almost as interesting as the game as it touches upon a lot of current social issues. It’s fun going down the rabbit hole on that one.

    1. anon y'mouse

      it’s interesting that you would liken the video game to a work of literature.

      lots of “games” are merely semi-animated visually told stories or novellas. and watching streamers play some of the more involved open-world single player games lately (Cyberpunk 2077, Red Dead Redemption II,Vampyr, or one I have purchased but not yet started–Kingdom Come Deliverance), being inside a compelling narrative is a major selling point. this is why i believe games are about to, if not have already, superseded the movies as “experiences” (room remains for movies as artwork).

      personally, would have recommended Lambert something like Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth, but then again i groove on nearly all things medieval. or even a cute, tiny one-man produced game like Four Last Things to dip toes into “doing” games (you can complete it in a few hours, and it’s not a serious commitment), as it’s a lot like very early video games in its mechanics, with the accompanying humor plus a bonus eye for artworks of the past.

  5. griffen

    DeSantis appears to have the charisma of a decidedly “R” red state governor. I also believe there is more substance when you compare him with say, a Rick Perry. I viewed Perry as an empty suit, he was governor for much of the time that I lived in Dallas, TX.

    Not sure about Walker. My recall is that he just seems a bit stiff. Even less interesting than old Mittens (Romney) in 2012.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Democrats will wish that they running against Trump if DeSanctis somehow gets the nomination.

      DeSanctis doesn’t have the petty emotional flaws of Trump, and DeSanctis actually has a laser focus on political ideology versus Trump’s mish mash of whatever shiny ball is in Trump’s face.

  6. marku52

    Just finished buying $500 worth of vacuum tubes for my little amp repair business. I hadn’t realized until just now that perhaps half of all tubes come from Russia. Many are resold under GrooveTubes, or ElectroHarmonix, but all of those are manufactured in Russia by Sovtek, Reflektor, or Svetlana.

    Many others (JJ) come from Slovakia, which is between Poland and Hungary. China is kind of a distant (and disreputable) third.

    Tube price inflation is a thing too, a JJ 12AX7 was about $10.50 a year ago. Now $15.50. That was fast……And not small.

    1. howseth

      Yeah, As I own a ‘modern’ tube guitar amp (one year old), I could not help but have had a thought about that- while all this horror is going on. Those Russian tubes? (seems petty of me, yeah…but the mind goes where it goes.)

      As I’ve thought before: It’s time for some other entity to start a tube factory closer to home. I’ve heard that’s unrealistic – as the world is moving to digital everything anyhow.

      1. marku52

        Funny thing. I can keep a Blackface Deluxe Reverb going until the sun goes dark. Some DSP thing made 2 years ago is hopeless.

    2. cocomaan

      Interesting to see all the little ways war starts to tighten the supply chains. Thanks for sharing!

    3. John H

      I just bought a Rob Robinette layout AB763 head from a hobbyist earlier today, just one of several tube amps I own (gulp). Didn’t even think about it but yeah, strike another blow for modelling (blech!)

      1. marku52

        RR has a bunch of clever stuff. I put his “turn the ground switch into a FB switch” into my Princeton Reverb.

        I would suspect JJ and the Chinese will ramp up to respond, tho it may take a while, and we may all be obliterated in the mean time.

        1. HotFlash

          My BFF’s step uncle made tubes at home. His first wife did the glassblowing, he did the innards, I think she did a lot of the assembly, too, smaller hands, but the two of them turned out a lot of stuff. When was this? Well, I was 25 and he was 70 in 1975, which makes him born around 1905, so maybe in the 30’s and 40’s. Tubes like that is what Sovtek makes. This old guy had worked with Charles Steinmetz in Schenectady and was tickled pink that I knew who that was. The bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream probably didn’t hurt any, either ;). He told me tons of ‘Steiney’ stories, but I digress. My point is that a lot of stuff we need (for some definition of need) is done or could be by fairly low-tech methods.

          Maker’s creed: Don’t buy it if you can make it, don’t make it if you can find it.

  7. Raymond Sim

    The SCAN Bay Area wastewater monitoring data from over the weekend has my antennae up:


    Of the regularly updated municipal treatment facilities (UC Davis, Codiga, Merced and Modesto are either atypical or not so regularly updated, or both.) only Sunnyvale didn’t register an increase, and for Davis, Sacramento, and Oceanside (San Francisco) there doesn’t appear to have been a corresponding rise in S-gene dropout.

    Except maybe for Davis this all looks to be well within the noise level for the moment, but it’s the sort of broad-based change I’ve been glumly anticipating. I’m a Davis resident, and the graph of our weekend numbers is significantly more concerning than I had anticipated.

    1. Jen

      At this point I think we all know what happens after the numbers level off, right? Especially when our political class once again declares victory and “masks off!”

      NH cases have entered what Lambert might call the “fiddling and diddling” stage. They aren’t dropping, and over the end of last week started picking up a little bit. Our state department of education recently outlawed mask mandates in schools. I’m sure that will help. /s

      Was really hoping for a longer intermission between waves.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Our state department of education recently outlawed mask mandates in schools.

        I guess it really is time for a spike then.

        You know, personally I actually like “Live Free or Die” as a state motto, but it never seems to mean what I wish it did.

  8. Duke of Prunes

    “Traverse City is “a township of fewer than 300 year-round residents and a $100,000 annual budget”.

    Correction: Traverse City is Michigan’s 3rd largest city behind Detroit and Grand Rapids (there may be some Detroit suburbs larger, but this is beside the point). Cross Village is the “township of fewer than 300…”.

    This is a crazy story, or maybe it’s just the writing that is making it difficult. On the one side, 3 people show up and want the tabulator, but, as I read it, the tabulator was already compromised by the time these 3 showed up. Or maybe one of the 3 people compromised it, the story is unclear to me (IIRC, I read this a couple days ago when dcblogger posted it to the comments, they asked to see the tabulator and while the clerk was stalling them, someone found the room with the tabulator had been broken in to. Did one of the 3 do the breaking in? Or was it some unnamed party that is not mentioned in the text? The article doesn’t say.). Left me with more questions than answers.

    I thought this *might* be in the county that “had a tabulation problem” on 2020 election day where the first reported results said blue won, but, since everyone knows this is a red area, the “glitch” was fixed and it turned back red…


    Did my research and Cross Village is in the county directly north of Antrim.

  9. DanB

    Traverse City is “a township of fewer than 300 year-round residents and a $100,000 annual budget.”

    Actually, the population of Traverse City, MI is approx. 15,000. The story is about Cross Village Township, MI, population approx. 300.

  10. LilD

    You comment

    “we are nowhere near where we were two years, or even one year ago” is an outright lie. Shocking, I know.

    Au contraire

    It is true we are nowhere near where we were two years ago… it’s now much much worse systematically

  11. Carolinian

    Frum doesn’t seem like a good name for a dog.

    And I see Biden is at 37 percent according to abc/wapo. Can we have 35? (the man in the back). Going, going…

  12. Dalepues

    To EM and the really nice tree. So I put the little google map man on Murdough road,
    and my what a beautiful place. Green and gray sea and big sky. Thank you.

  13. gc54

    A couple of days ago FlightAware stopped showing the ground tracks of Global Hawks from Sicily as they cruised over the Black Sea near Crimea. Today it no longer shows EC-3 intel flights or tankers circling just outside the Ukraine western border. Did it take this long for USAF to notice its assets were squawking publicly or has it moved them to a heightened state?

    There is however now a USAF Globemaster C17A out of Ramstein heading directly toward the Ukraine border at 13K ft and 358 knts. Will it stop? Yikes!

    1. GC54

      E8-C not EC-3 (whew, not yet doomsday). Globemaster landing at Port Lotniczy Poland where USAF has presence (double whew)

      1. ambrit

        Wonder if they have a shipment of “spare parts” for Mig 29s off of the ‘captured’ Migs in the “Boneyard” out in the desert?
        What’s happening in Kaliningrad?

  14. Adam

    It’s been a while, but log loss is a way to measure model fit in logistic regression (where you are that predicting something with only 2 outcomes such as True/False, Yes/No, 0/1), which makes sense as the outcomes of house elections sadly only has two outcomes of Democrat/Republican.

    In this case, a logistic regression wasn’t run, but the various predictions were converted to probabilities that are similar to what a logistic regression might produce (hence why the article refers to log loss analysis instead of logistic regression).

  15. LawnDart

    Re: Living with Covid, 1-4

    West’s ‘coexistence with virus’ should not be standard for China’s anti-epidemic strategy: top Chinese epidemiologist


    I’d like to see a comparison chart between USA and China for 2020 and 2021– econ stats, death rate, etc., so we at least know what trade-offs we’re making.

  16. Soredemos

    RE: gaming and NFTs, and quite a bit of other stuff, people may find this slice of discussion useful https://youtu.be/u5haiXAHPnw?t=1931

    NFTs have completely failed with video game players. No one likes them, and no one wants them. Announcing anything NFT in your game immediately generates a massive backlash, and could amount to your game becoming defacto blacklisted for many people.

    From the video: “The thing about NFT stuff, really, is that all of the problems they claim that they’re trying to solve with NFTs are things that have already existed. You can do everything without NFTs […] the question is is I don’t understand why they think that this is suddenly the solution to solve this. There’s no real value here.”

    They cover a lot of points in just 8 minutes: unique in game items tied to an outside-the-game economy has already been done before, both successful and unsuccessfully; tying it to the blockchain does nothing. Also the implication that NFTs will transform gaming from a recreation to “profit optimizing fun” is ugly.

    Also they get into Metaverse (“It’s got to a die a horrible death. It must be eliminated. We must rise up and stop the Metaverse!”), and they still don’t even really know what it is, but surmise it just means using VR to do stuff you could already do more efficiently. “This is Microsoft Bob, the 2022 version. It’s a layer to obfuscate a useful user interface with something that resembles what we believe to be reality. […] The whole point of VR is to allow you to experience things you probably couldn’t experience normally. So why would you do things you can do anytime and put them in VR? It doesn’t make sense.”

  17. Tom Stone

    Local inflation report, I looked at a Santa Rosa Press Democrat box while picking up a local free paper today, $3.00 daily,$3.00 Sunday.
    When I moved here in 2005 the price was $.25 Daily, $1.00 for Sunday..

    1. JBird4049

      Three dollars for the Press Democrat? No. Unless they have really improved when last I read it, a quarter sounds right.

      1. John

        Name a newspaper for which a quarter does not sound right. The New York Times at 10 cents was as good as it is today … maybe better.

        1. Wukchumni

          I frequently got offers from online fishwraps to the tune of ‘6 months for $6!’ and yeah I get it, a come-on offer for a year’s subscription and you’ll pay full freight for the other 6 months, but how would you feel if you were a reporter for a newspaper and your work was valued at about bupkis?

          And magazines?

          The few still out there such as The New Yorker have a retail price of $8.99, and yet with a year’s subscription, I can procure a copy for about a buck. Is there any other retail good that sells for as deep of a discount from sticker price?

          1. JBird4049

            It is the price as it is the quality of what is being printed. I understand that with the reduction in advertising that prices would have to be higher, but we have worse combination of dishonest, poor quality news and high prices.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Remember, the Russians invaded Afghanistan back in 1980,” Hillary Clinton says. “It didn’t end well for the Russians…but the fact is, that a very motivated, and then funded, and armed insurgency basically drove the Russians out of Afghanistan.”

    She actually mentioned ‘unintended consequences’? She is literally insane. There was an earlier interview in which she admitted that the US created al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and by implication 9/11. What does she think will happen with all those radical Neo-Nasties who will now have weaponry like ATGMs and manpads im the Ukraine? They are just as likely to use a manpad to shoot down an airliner over Poland so that they can put the blame on Russia-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnLvzV9xAHA (1:23 mins)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Also, the Soviets were invited by their ally, the government of Afghanistan to deal with the muslim extremists.

  19. Soredemos

    Regarding covid deaths, am I missing something? Our World in Data says over 5,500 deaths in the US yesterday, but Worldometer says only 829.

  20. edwin

    Got tired of hearing about how wonderful and democratic Ukraine was. Looked it up in AI.

    Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, particularly of detainees in police custody, were regularly reported.

    No justice, truth or reparation was attained for any of the victims of enforced disappearance, secret detention and torture and other ill-treatment of civilians by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) from 2014 to 2016, and not a single suspected perpetrator was prosecuted.

    Members of groups advocating discrimination (commonly described in Ukraine as far-right groups) continued to target civil society activists, political opponents, journalists and members of marginalized groups with harassment, intimidation and violence – often with total impunity.

    and so on.

    Is Ukraine better than – say – Russia to live in? I would be confident that it is. That said, it is a country I am very glad I don’t live in even excluding the current war.

    This in no way implies that invading Ukraine is morally justifiable.

    1. John

      From what I know from this distance, I would prefer Russia.

      Moral justification for war? This war or any other? Questions of right and wrong rarely enter into those equations except as justifications for actions taken.

  21. Wukchumni

    The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the MLB nines that day:
    The lockout stood at 90 days, with no innings more to play,
    And then when negotiations died at first, and players did the same,
    A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

    A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
    Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
    They thought, “If only MLBPA could but get a whack at that—
    We’d put up if you gave us more money now, with the union at the bat.”

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
    The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
    And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
    But there is no joy in spring training—mighty salaries have struck out.

  22. Tom Stone

    SOTU should be fun tonight,especially when the cameras pan the audience with everyone in N95 masks and sitting 6 feet apart.
    One day after the CDC announces that social distancing isn’t needed and that masking indoors isn’t either.
    The message will be very clear…

  23. XXYY

    Really nice roundup of the various living with COVID threads, Lambert. I think we all really appreciate it, especially those who have given up on seeing this kind of stuff coming out of government and officialdom.

  24. The Rev Kev

    ‘Maine getting caught up with its data.’

    Not only that. The first two cases of the BA.2 variant of the COVID-19 virus have been detected in Maine which is not good but another article was saying that ‘Maine is seeing a higher average rate of daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people than any other state’


  25. NotTimothyGeithner

    Possibly nsfw, but this is a great story.

    Texas Man: married
    had allegedly an affair w/a woman & paid her $5k to delete their texts, but she released them

    Previously, she was nicknamed the “First Lady of Isis” & may have helped the US drone her terrorist hubby

    With the redistricting, maybe, Team Blue has a chance.

    1. griffen

      I dunno, firstly it is Texas and then foremost depending on what portions of Collin County his district includes that is red territory. Red as in, the day is long and the sun is very yellow.

      I found an article preceding today’s election primary; the above named representative is being challenged by a further right candidate.

    1. Wukchumni

      May the farce be with you!

      I’ve pretty much avoided following the war so far, and so has the press~

  26. Wukchumni

    Life in these United States…

    Don’t cut lines in Sin City!

    LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A man was shot inside a Las Vegas convenience store after accusing the woman suspected of taking part in his murder of cutting the line, court documents obtained by the 8 News Now I-Team said.

    Isaiah Levi, 21; and Daijenai Levi, 22, face charges in the murder of Patrick O’Neal, 48, at a convenience store in the east valley. The couple is parents to a child who was six months old at the time, police said.


  27. Wukchumni

    An account of the flooding in Aussie from Reddit:

    I live in the Northern Rivers, NSW, Australia. I don’t know how far the disaster unfolding here is being reported but to describe what’s happening here as “apocalyptic” is no exaggeration. They’re calling it a one in “1000 year flood” and though I’ve seen my share of emergencies here in the last few years, this is beyond anything I could have imagined. Over 700mm of rain fell in the space of 12 hours on Monday. I have no idea at this point how many people have lost everything to the floodwaters, but the number will be huge. The army was sent in I believe late Monday afternoon, to help with rescuing people from their roofs as our very capable emergency service people could not handle the sheer volume of people affected. The sky yesterday was alive with helicopters looking for people stuck on their rooftops.

    I live in an off grid cabin and have miraculously been spared the worst of the devastation. The bulk of my neighbours have had to evacuate or have been trapped and/or cut off. As this is a rural area we’re very spread out. Neighbouring towns have no power, and the water treatment facilities have been affected so it’s “boil your water” time. There are scenes of herds of cows being swept away. This state has no large scale facilities to place people in during a disaster and officials are (I’m told) sending people to motels and the like. I have no idea how that’s working out as so many places are completely submerged, And thousands homeless.

    The worst part of the storm was very strange. The storm cell was almost unmoving for the best part of 24 hours. The rain was so heavy you could not breathe if you walked into it. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

    The storm front is now moving south and will hit Sydney sometime today. Having lived in Sydney, that is not a place I’d want to be in a disaster of this magnitude.

    This area had only just begun to recover from the Black Summer bushfires. I expect a lot of people will be defeated by this. It’s a lot to cope with. But in the face of climate change there’s really nowhere to retreat to if one area becomes too difficult to live in.

    1. skippy

      Wellie the 82y old mother in-law two houses down broke her hip two days ago, here next to the Brisbane river, and the queue for the ambulance was 500 calls. Ex wife called a couple of old work mates that were off duty and they managed to get to the street traversing all the high back streets with help from the young son. Lucky it could be pinned vs replaced so a few months of rehab and back home hopefully.

      There is a good local storm mob call Higgins stormchasers and they did a bang up job unpacking it all in real time. Seems a just offshore low became entangled with eastern moving sheer and then just tracked south, hence the narrow focused rain ban from north east to south west.

      It was on par with some triple canopy rain fall I’ve seen although lasting vastly longer. It could have been much worse than the 2011 flood but thankfully Wivenhoe dam was not as full, at the start, yet we were just about 400/500mm from repeating that event. Only the lowest bits copped it and much of that was storm water related with some areas just being unable to handle the volume of water regardless of dams or being historical flood prone.

      And were not out of cyclone season yet either ….

      1. The Rev Kev

        Supposed to be another severe storm warning for this afternoon. We just got back from the supermarket in town and the place is being stripped as people from nearby towns can get here with the waters finally going down.

      1. Skippy

        This was a localized event between a inland system and the offshore low feeding off the Coral Sea.

        Rivers are much longer and cross a vast region.

  28. hunkerdown

    About that chip shortage, according to WIRED, over half of the world’s neon production, mostly destined for the USA, is based on Russian crude gas feedstock, refined in Ukraine, and now stranded. That threatens the US semiconductor reshoring drive, especially if other sources or suitable substitutes can’t be secured.

    When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, the world’s chipmakers were even more dependent on Ukraine because the country supplied around 70 percent of neon gas. “There were delays in shipments because of border crossing issues,” says Shon-Roy, and the raw materials needed to make neon were also in short supply. “Russia was focusing a lot of their efforts on war and not making steel.”

    Not focused on making steel! How dare they!

    Auto watchers, the Ford employee parking lot I pass on occasion is full of inventory once again, currently king cab pickups with short beds. Imagine if they’re blocking on chips.

    (reposted at the top level this time, I hope)

  29. Late Introvert

    The past is not dead…

    It just smells funny.

    Hat tip to Faulkner and Zappa. If I can’t post that here, where can I? Thanks Lambert.

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