2:00PM Water Cooler 3/21/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I’m sorry this is a few minutes late. I got hung up in the coppices! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Alert reader Judith wrote:

Male American Woodcock are sky dancing and calling “peent” in the dark, hoping to find a mate. Birders are squinting into the darkness, hoping at least to hear the mating calls.

So herewith! From the Notes: “Flight sounds were normalized separately from the peent calls but the recording was a single uninterrupted recording made at 8:30 PM.”

* * *


“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

“United and Still Polarized” [Amy Walter, The Cook Political Report]. “Overall, it’s important to remember that most Americans don’t have fixed opinions on foreign policy. Instead, their opinions are impacted by real-world events. Trump’s isolationism and nationalism were attractive to many voters who had grown weary of the blood and treasure the U.S. was spending in endless wars in middle eastern countries. China, not Russia, was seen by many as our biggest geopolitical threat. As such, there’s a good chance that opinions not just of this current conflict, but of those in the future, will be just as fluid.” • If, as I think we do, by “real-world events” we mean propaganda, Americans opinions may not be “fixed,” but will be fixed for them.

“‘Slava Ukraini’: Zelenskyy becomes Congress’ great unifier” [Associated Press]. • Oh good. From Georgetown Security Studies Review:

The most pronounced [post-2014] development is the official comeback of the call-and-response “Slava Ukraini, heroyam slava!” (in English “Glory to Ukraine, glory to the Heroes!”). The chant dates back almost 100 years and has been used by a variety of groups, each using the same call but creating their own responses. The combination that gained popularity during the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests, however, traces back to the 1930s, when it was employed by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukraine Insurgent Army (UPA). These organizations fought for Ukrainian independence before and during World War II, allying with Nazi Germany to achieve this goal and perpetrating atrocities against tens of thousands of Jews and Poles. Today the call-and-response is widely used by Ukrainians as the soldiers’ battle cry, an end note in Poroshenko’s national addresses, during press conferences with Western counterparts, and as a slogan for the pro-European reform of Ukraine.

These little chlidren on Capitol Hill have no idea what they’re playing with. Or… they do.

A good rant:

Never let it be said that Democrats don’t deliver! It’s only a question of to whom.

“‘Never Anything Solved’: People Who Lost Family To Police Violence Lament Stalled Reform” [HuffPo]. “Biden never supported defunding the police, nor did the vast majority of Democrats in Congress, despite activists’ demands. But Biden did pledge a wide range of policing reforms when he was running for president in 2020, particularly after Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. Many of those reforms were packaged into the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, but that died an ignominious death in the Senate last year. In the face of strong Republican opposition, it couldn’t attract enough support to clear the 60-vote filibuster. Nevertheless, Biden could take a suite of actions through executive orders – he could ban no-knock warrants, qualified immunity, officers shooting into moving vehicles, and chokeholds. It is also unclear how the reforms will differ from the Department of Justice imposing restrictions on chokeholds and no-knock warrants last year. Many people hoped Biden would have announced those actions already: CNBC reported in mid-January that he was planning to sign some executive orders on policing ‘in the run-up to his State of the Union Address on March 1.’ That didn’t happen. And a White House official told HuffPost there is no timeline for any further reform. The official added that the administration believes addressing crime directly creates ‘the political space’ to bring about police reform and prevents any ‘demagoguing by Republicans’ who oppose any police reform efforts.” • And this time the Democrats did it without even standing up a Deray…..

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.

* * *

“Top Cuomo aides seek to get out of lawsuit filed by female trooper” [Albany Times-Union]. “An attorney for former Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and Richard Azzopardi, who remains a spokesman for Cuomo, wrote a letter to U.S. District Court this week indicating he will file a motion to have the federal complaint against them dismissed. DeRosa is accused in the lawsuit of aiding and abetting Cuomo’s alleged misconduct, and both are accused of retaliating against the female trooper…. ‘The discrimination claims against Ms. DeRosa should be dismissed because nowhere is it alleged that she knew Gov. Cuomo was harassing Trooper 1,’ Shechtman wrote to the court. ‘Nor can it plausibly be inferred that Ms. DeRosa knew of Gov. Cuomo’s allegedly harassing conduct. … If Gov. Cuomo was sexually harassing Trooper 1, it is unimaginable that he would have told anyone on his senior staff about his unlawful conduct. Indeed, the amended complaint alleges that he told Trooper 1 not to ‘tell anyone about our conversations.'” • Unimaginable?


“Mass leadership exit hits nation’s state legislatures” [The Hill]. “Nearly a third of the top leaders in the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers will quit their posts this year, signaling a wave of turnover that will hand power to a new generation. At least 30 state House Speakers, Senate presidents and majority leaders have either resigned or said they will retire at the end of their current terms, according to a tracker maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).”


“Unpacking Biden’s Vulnerabilities” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. “While there are a lot of things at work here, one that is not talked about much is that Democratic members of Congress don’t seem to fear Biden, the White House staff, or their own leadership. Perhaps their party is a little too (small “d”) democratic. There seems to be no sanction, no penalty, for Democratic members who held up their own president’s signature pieces of legislation; they feared no repercussions either from the president or the party leadership. The end result was that both Biden and the Democratic leadership looked weak and ineffectual, and the process seemed disorganized and chaotic.”

“‘Do the right thing’: How US, allies united to punish Putin” [Associated Press]. “Just days before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, President Joe Biden quietly dispatched a team to European Union headquarters in Belgium. These were not spy chiefs or generals, but experts in reading fine print and tracking the flow of money, computer chips and other goods around the world…. When there was a deadlock, U.S. negotiators would put Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on the phone. ‘You can say ‘no’ now, but when the body bags are coming out of Ukraine, you’re not going to want to be a holdout,’ Raimondo said she told allied counterparts. ‘Do the right thing.'” • Filing this here, because Raimondo was put in charge of this important task. Not Harris.


Republican Funhouse

“Shakeup of Texas border mission leadership continues as pair of two-star generals departs” [Texas Tribune]. “Less than 72 hours after Gov. Greg Abbott replaced the Texas National Guard’s top general, two more top officials from the agency have suddenly stepped down, signaling a wide-ranging shakeup amid heavy criticism of the governor’s controversial border mission…. Over the past year, Texas officials have deployed thousands of troops and dedicated billions of dollars to stem an increase in migrants crossing the Texas-Mexico border. But the operation has been mired in controversy as National Guard troops have called it a disaster. Several service members tied to the mission have also died by suicide, leading to calls for an investigation from congressional Democrats.” • I was a bit staggered by the concept of Texas having actual generals, until I understood they were from the National Guard.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The ex-Hollywood filmmaker bankrolling a far-right political revolt in rural California” [Los Angeles Times]. “Reverge Anselmo, a former U.S. Marine, former novelist, ex-filmmaker, former vintner and guardian of a vast fortune, abandoned his stunning Shasta County estate in 2014 in a huff. He’d been battling the county over, among other things, his decision to construct a Catholic chapel without full permits on his vineyard, and after a legal setback decided to pack it in…. Then, in 2021, Anselmo learned that far-right activists were making a documentary about efforts to recall Shasta County elected officials. He summoned the film crew to his family home in Greenwich, Conn. — the one he calls ‘Marie Antoinette’s house’ because it is modeled after the Palace of Versailles — and began contributing to their efforts. On Feb. 1, Shasta County voters stunned the state’s political establishment by tossing Republican Supervisor Leonard Moty, a former police chief, on charges that he wasn’t conservative enough. The recall backers — a populist coalition that includes anti-mask parents, business owners, California secessionists and militia members — say they are just getting started. They plan to take control of the county by winning more Shasta posts in the June elections, while exporting their confrontational model to other communities nationwide. Many Democrats and mainstream Republicans are aghast, fearful that far-right activists are preparing to reorder Northern California and other rural parts of the state. ‘You are going to see more recall efforts taking place at the local government level,’ Republican political consultant Mike Madrid warned during a radio interview last month. ‘Militia-style, white nationalist efforts designed to shut down local public agencies as the way to start spreading social disruption. … It is happening already all over the place.'”


From the archives:


* * *

Case count by United States regions:

Here are cases for the last four weeks:

So cases really have leveled out. This is the new normal, I suppose.

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. At a level that, a year ago, was considered a crisis, but we’re “over” Covid now, so I suppose not. I have added a Fauci Line.

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.

The official narrative is “Covid is Over.” In the fall, 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). That narrative was completely exploded. What a surprise! This time, it may be different. But who knows?

This is not good news:

This is not good either: “U.S. Surgeon General Urges Calm in Response to New Covid Wave in Europe” [National Review]. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy: “We should be prepared that Covid hasn’t gone away. There may be rises and falls in the months ahead, but here’s the key: Our goal is to keep people out of the hospital, it’s to save their lives. We have more tools to do that than ever before. If we get people these tools — vaccines, boosters, treatments — then we can actually get through waves that may come and go.” • Erasing non-pharmaceutical interventions, including masks, entirely. These people are not fit for office.

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

The MRWA is divided into two sections, North and South. Both have started rising, and now the rise has visibly affected this chart, which aggregates them. The aggregate of the enormous Omicron spike conceals change, but change there is. Of course, it’s a very small rise. Maybe this time the movie will end differently.

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.

CDC — incredibly — seems to be butchering wastewater data:

I’m obviously not a minimizer, but a 1000% rise unsupported by other data seems sus. Maybe it’s a “coding error” (see below).

From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:

Every so often I think of doing away with this chart. Then something like Nevada happens. 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 from yesterday:

Continuing slow improvement, assuming the numbers aren’t jiggered.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Farewell, sea of green! 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: 997,933 996,072. Heading slowly downward. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Apparently, CDC — and I know this will come as shock to you — has butchered death counts too. They have revised them — this, too, will come as a shock — downward:

Here is the footnote (you have to scroll to the bottom of the page and then open an accordion). I have helpfully highlighted the relevant portion:

A “coding error.” Informative!

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Stats Watch

National Activity: “United States Chicago Fed National Activity Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago Fed National Activity Index edged down to 0.51 in February of 2022 from 0.59 in January, pointing to a slight decrease in economic growth. Production-related indicators contributed 0.22, down slightly from 0.25 in January; and the contribution of the personal consumption and housing category fell to –0.04 from 0.21. On the other hand, the contribution of the sales, orders, and inventories category was unchanged at 0.04; and employment-related indicators contributed 0.28, up from 0.10.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 36 Fear (previous close: 37 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 16 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 21 at 1:30pm. Not sure what’s in Mr. Market’s mind, here. Settling in for the long haul in Ukraine?

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Global Turmoil. “The warfare in Ukraine has pushed this category higher” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)

Sports Desk


The Gallery

Looks like the eye of one of Max Ernst’s birds:

Photo Book

“Have iPhone Cameras Become Too Smart?” [The New Yorker]. “The iPhone camera also analyzes each image semantically, with the help of a graphics-processing unit, which picks out specific elements of a frame—faces, landscapes, skies—and exposes each one differently. On both the 12 Pro and 13 Pro, I’ve found that the image processing makes clouds and contrails stand out with more clarity than the human eye can perceive, creating skies that resemble the supersaturated horizons of an anime film or a video game. Andy Adams, a longtime photo blogger, told me, ‘H.D.R. is a technique that, like salt, should be applied very judiciously.’ Now every photo we take on our iPhones has had the salt applied generously, whether it is needed or not.” • But perhaps anime and video games are now the dominant aesthetic? Especially among those who program the iPhone? (For myself, I’m tired of being hit over the head with “unforgettable” photos, and not just wartime propaganda, though that, too. Please, allow me some space to contemplate and see before grabbing my heartstrings and tugging!)

Screening Room

I read the Foundation series when I was a teenager, and I don’t see why it needs “production values” more than, say, the original Star Trek TV series:

Does make you wonder what horrors Amazon will visit upon The Silmarillion. (I do think The Silmarillion was not published because it was just bad, but that doesn’t mean the suits at Amazon won’t make it worse.)

Groves of Academe

“Sorry, we could not find an online recruitment with that job number. Please browse open recruitments below”:

But it should be true!

Zeitgeist Watch

A parable of fungibility:

Symbol manipulators tend to think that the world can be changed as easily as cells on one of their spreadsheets: Oil is fungible, labor is fungible, weapons are fungible, limbs are fungible. They aren’t. At some point, material reality breaks through.

The Agony Column

“Beauty and wonder of science boosts researchers’ well-being” [Nature]. “Scientists’ ability to experience wonder, awe and beauty in their work is associated with higher levels of job satisfaction and better mental health, finds an international survey of researchers. Brandon Vaidyanathan, a sociologist at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, and his colleagues collected responses from more than 3,000 scientists — mainly biologists and physicists — in India, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. They asked participants about their job satisfaction and workplace culture, their experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of aesthetics in science. The answers revealed that, far from the caricature of scientists as exclusively rational and logical beings, “this beauty stuff is really important”, Vaidyanathan says. “It shapes the practice of science and is associated with all kinds of well-being outcomes.'” • I may sound like Polyanna here, but it seems unlikely to me that a world as beautiful as this one will permit itself to be destroyed. That does not, of course, mean that we as a species will survive, but then nothing ever did. All we can do is try to make sure, within whatever our sphere of action may be — possibly quite small! — what is to come is better rather than worse. To the gardens!

Class Warfare

“Canada’s CP Rail shuts down railroad, workers strike” [Reuters]. “Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) (CP.TO) halted operations and locked out workers over a labor dispute early on Sunday, with each side blaming the other for a halt that will likely disrupt shipment of key commodities at a time of soaring prices. CP had notified the union on Wednesday that it would lock out employees on Sunday, barring a breakthrough in talks on a deal covering pensions, pay and benefits. It said the key bargaining issue is the union’s request for higher pension caps. Chief Financial Officer Nadeem Velani told a New York investor conference on Tuesday that the railway was unwilling to accept that demand. Canada’s Nutrien said this week it may need to reduce potash production at its mines in the province of Saskatchewan if the shutdown lasts longer than a few days.” • Potash, eh? More fertilizer problems….

News of the Wired

“What is a question” [The Philosophers’ Magazine]. “I asked one hundred people to write down the first ten questions that came into their head. With the exception of ‘how are you’, none of the resulting one thousand questions were the same (‘how are you’ was repeated 4 times). The questions range from ‘do you love me’ to ‘do you want cashback’ and include gems such as ‘am I getting uglier’, ‘is a giraffe bigger than an elephant’, and ‘how long does a pack of cheese last’. Add to this all the questions that you have asked today and all the questions in this article. What, if anything, unifies this diverse group. This is in essence the question we have been asking.”

Magnificent thread on gathering sticks for coppices:

The end product:

* * *

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. Via (JJD):

* * *

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

My favorite kind of garden!

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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. jo6pac

    Lambert do you have any thing to say? I’m seeing anything but most likely will when comment is added.

  2. fresno dan

    If Gov. Cuomo was sexually harassing Trooper 1, it is unimaginable inconceivable that he would have told anyone on his senior staff about his unlawful conduct. Indeed, the amended complaint alleges that he told Trooper 1 not to ‘tell anyone about our conversations.’” • Unimaginable? inconceivable…

  3. Carla

    “Never let it be said that Democrats don’t deliver! It’s only a question of to whom.”

    And in the last 50 years, exactly when has the “to whom” been in question?

    1. Geo

      Sadly, so many I know still think the “to whom” is “the people” and it makes me want to self-lobotomize so I can stop feeling like the lone crazy person. Thanks to NC I know there are at least some others out there who suffer the same ailment of political clarity.

  4. Judith

    Lambert, I was going to request that you feature the American Woodcock. I just had my spring sighting of that reclusive bird last Friday evening. Thanks.

    1. Eclair

      Thank you, Lambert! Our neighbor, up the road, in Chautauqua County, NY, just texted me that she had seen bluebirds (we all have bluebird houses in a tenacious effort to lure them into the neighborhood) and heard woodcocks. Not being a ‘native’ and rarely there in March, I made a mental note to check out the call of the woodcock. So, love the ‘peent’ sound. The image of calling around in the dark for a mate is a powerful one.

    2. Charlie Sheldon

      My father was a biologist with US Fish and Wildlife and when I was a kid in the `1950s he was studying woodcock, even wrote a book about them, The Book of the American Woodcock. To do his research he would go out to fields bordered by woods near Quabbin reservoir in Mass, a good 45 minutes drive from Amherst and UMass where we lived, and place Japanese -made nets along the sides of the fields, very light mesh netting mounted on poles, invisible in the dusk, and the woodcock coming in to land in the fields in the spring to engage in mating calls and behavior would be caught by the nets. The birds would be taken and banded and then released. He – my father – did this for years and years, and all my childhood, countless times, I went along with him, usually with a friend, and we’d help set up the nets and then sit beneath the trees slapping mosquitos for hours as night fell. Our payoff fore this suffering was a stop at the Dairy Queen coming back for soft ice cream. Many nights we would set up the nets and poles and not catch a single bird, and my dad would then say we had been “skunked.” Once when we went out there I brought along another friend who was new at all this and my dad said “I hope we aren’t skunked tonight” and my friend spent the whole night slapping mosquitos terrified a skunk was going to rise up ans spray him.

      1. christofay

        The Book of the American Woodcock, William G. Sheldon, 1967. I am so tempted to buy this on Amazon. You mentioned a couple of key phrases for me, UMass, Quabbin Rez.

  5. jr

    I have to agree with Lambert on The Silmarillion. I’ve been listening to the audiobook version and while initially the mythic tones were inspiring, they have worn down and are rather dry at this point. Not enough juicy details, lots of boring dialogue. The Tolkien Reader is waay better, even than The Hobbit and LoTR, which I love.

    The Amazon series is beneath contempt. Woke garbage. I cannot wait for it to fail.

    1. Geo

      Since it’s not out yet it’s too early to judge but it’s “wokeness” appears purely performative considering it’s showrunners and writers are two white guys who have never made anything before (not even a low budget short film). Their only notable qualification for the position is being buddies with JJ Abrams. So, woke politics still isn’t as powerful a force as cronyism where mediocre white guys get handed “the most expensive tv show of all time” simply by being in the right circle of influence. https://www.avclub.com/amazons-new-lord-of-the-rings-showrunners-have-never-ma-1836756699

      Since I don’t have an Amazon account I guess that means it’s not for me as a viewer anyway. But, as a filmmaker – and mediocre white guy – with an extensive film portfolio it does make me question why I spend my time honing my craft and artistry instead of just kissing up to powerful people. It’s clear investors and audiences don’t care about quality, just celebrity and hype.

      “Reach for the stars. They’re the only people who can help you.” – Maria Bamford

      1. jr

        I respectfully submit that it isn’t too early to tell, given the reasons you listed. It is literally impossible for that show to not suck, from a variety of angles. And I don’t know of any Wokeness that isn’t performative. I do agree that crap sells though. And I salute you holding to standards in days as dark as these.

      1. Bugs

        I remember the original hype around it and the actual realistic takes in book reviews of the time. People were happy to have new material for the Middle Earth stories but no one was hailing it as more than a gloss on what came before.

        1. britzklieg

          I agree. Sometimes I wonder if the scuttle at the time of it being not very good influenced my reading, as there was much of it as you suggest. It is serviceable to the mythology.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Eh…I mean I think the people who gripe about every change Peter Jackson made but have too many editions (four is one too many…do bootleg copies count?) of the LOTR movies should read it, but it’s just kind of there.

            “Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow;
            Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.”

            Lets be honest, it wasn’t going to top this. Peter Jackson was a coward for not including this.

              1. Samuel Conner

                It was certainly corny, but it gives a hint that there are still Powers in Middle Earth that are more ancient than Sauron.

                (OTOH, perhaps JRRT was still in The Hobbit mode at this point, with a Deus ex machina rescue in every chapter. How was he going to get the hobbits out of The Willow? Or out of the barrow in the next chapter?)

                I liked The Silmarillion, but in the way that I like Frank Herbert novels. They hold my attention, but by the conclusion of the story, I feel really depressed. The Children of Hurin is like that too, perhaps the most depressing story within the entire Silmarillion.

                And perhaps it can function as a parable of our time. The sons of Feanor wreck their own lives and everything around them in their search for the objects of their lusts. Kind of like the rulers of the West in our day.

                But in our case, there isn’t an army of righteous Valinorians coming to the rescue after our plans fail.

                Gotta go; Goldberry is waiting.

              2. Polar Socialist

                I guess Propp would say Bombadil is a donor, who prepares the hero for the coming* and gives him a magical object**.

                * by showing Frodo that there are forces much bigger than the ring possesses so it can be beaten (which is why Jackson left him out and spoiled Faramir)
                ** Bombadil gives Merry the sword that is elemental in destroying the Lord of the Nazgûl, which then forced Sauron to empty Mordor and clear the way for Frodo

              3. NotTimothyGeithner

                I’ve always felt LOTR was sterile, not that this wasn’t intended, and way less weird compared to “The Hobbit”, largely because the story revolves around the Ring whereas The Hobbit is just the trouble you can get into by going out your front door. Bombadil is a tribute to the writing process and something of a self insert. Tom Bombadil is after all Tolkien’s first fictional creation.

      2. BlakeFelix

        I tried to read it a while ago, I can’t remember if I finished it, but I don’t remember it as a bad book, so much as not a book at all, like if you took a bunch of plot outlines and writers notes from a brainstorming session and just published them. It certainly wasn’t good as a book.

  6. Mikel

    “What is a question” [The Philosophers’ Magazine]. “I asked one hundred people to write down the first ten questions that came into their head…”

    Now really have some fun and ask them to ask the same question 10 different ways.

    1. ambrit

      This actually gets to the definition of a “push poll.” The questions define the desired answers.

  7. jr

    re: the beauty of nature

    I’d like to point out that although the powers that be and their simpering, compliant hordes are hungrily desecrating our Mother in order to drive around their living rooms, jet-set from shopping safari to shopping safari, Tweet on the latest electronic data stealing device flashing and dancing before their empty eyes, and shovel sweet/salty garbage down their throats, this is only because of how we perceive that aspect of extension we have named time. Everything that has ever existed still exists. Nothing is lost to Consciousness. It is only lost to us in the “here and now”. It’s one reason that, while not suicidal, I do look forward to moving beyond said extension, to see what’s on the other side.

    1. Pat

      Bet if it gets shelled, it will go back to being a school for a minimum of 48 hours. And only mentioned as a base in passing after that.

  8. Geo

    One of my favorite writers has a new piece about academia and wokeism that is very nuanced, thoughtful, in thought-provoking. Worth a read if you are interested in such topics.

    “American education’s new dark age”
    Colleges have abandoned real learning for wokeism

    Excerpt: “Everything is done at maximum speed and with the least possible effort. Curiosity and passion must be actively suppressed. Students become experts, not so much in subjects as in working the system. There is simply no time to do anything else.”

    1. Lee

      Speaking of favorite writers, I just started reading Henry Miller’s The Colossus of Maroussi. Although I read a lot of Miller and his buddy Durrell decades ago I missed this one, which is held by many to be his best work. He is writing well aware that Europe is on the eve of another great world war. He leaves France in favor of knocking about and hanging out in Greece. I spent the obligatory 2 hours plus listening to the important viewpoint and information provided by Ritter et al and will now enjoy some time with the wide awake if not woke writings of Henry Miller in the sunny Mediterranean. It is a form of self care in a time of darkness looming.

      1. ambrit

        Curious that, I’m about half way through the same book. Miller and Durrell could make a place come alive in the mind’s eye. Miller pays attention to the people around him, and presents them as being worthy of our attention. Paul Bowles is up there with the m. His “The Sheltering Sky” is literature that we sorely miss today. Then there is Andre Gide, and don’t forget Malraux. Where is anything about the civil war in the Ukraine to compare with Malraux’ “Man’s Fate,” which covered the failed Shanghai Uprising of 1927?
        In the Days of Yore, Giants strode the Earth. I look around today and see a sea of pygmies.

      2. Petter

        Durrell, yeah, I read his Alexandria Quartet way back in the day. For me, in this time of “darkness looming,” it’s been listening to music, specifically classical music, which I’ve listened to off and on through the years but was never a serious interest. I don’t know if it’s a serious interest now either but close listening for hours at a time in the last few weeks seems to have helped to have calmed the nerves a bit. I think.
        Last year my most played song on Spotify was Big Blood’s Sick With Information.

        Sick with information, pleading for a sign
        Bending towards the stars, looking to the sky
        Maybe we’ll become something different next time
        Something gentle, something kind.

        And that was last year! This year, God help me! No wait, four months post Covid I’m starting to get my sense of smell back.Faintly. That’s a positive. And Glen Gould is a really good pianist.

        Time to try make sense of all this shit – again. Maybe a fourth reread of Paul Virilio’s The Administration of Fear. Or maybe listen to more Glen Gould?

        A Virilio interview from 2010:


    2. Acacia

      Thanks much, Geo, for this. Mr. Deresiewicz’s account may sound a bit hyperbolic or Closing of the American Mind-esque, but I’ve been teaching undergrads since the 90s and found myself largely in agreement with what he reports. I’m just one data point, though many of my non-woke colleagues feel the same. The scary thing is that most of them just don’t seem to care much any more. Deresiewicz starts “some years ago” with the juniors and seniors at an elite college in Southern California, but my sense is that his summary is even more true today than it was then:

      What I soon discovered was that none of them had much idea how to make an argument in any context. Nor were they particularly skilled at analysing the arguments of others. They didn’t know how to read; they didn’t know how to write; and they didn’t know how to think.

      Of course, teaching students how to read, how to analyze texts, arguments, how to write, and how to craft persuasive arguments — this is one of the missions of the university. Or, it was, at least. Many of the incoming students won’t know these things, but the general idea has been that colleges would work on this by training students how to read, write, and think critically. At that same time, this is a very tall order, and there are plenty of institutional factors undermining it, all of which have become worse in North America, especially. Deresiewicz’s description of the failures of higher ed in this regard, and how they dovetail with the woke movement are also compelling, e.g.:

      In telling students what to think, wokeism also provides them with something to say. The value of this should not be underestimated, particularly in the age of social media. Having opinions — easily, instantly, on everything — is essential to the contemporary presentation of the self. The process of forming them is aided immensely if you already know where you’re supposed to stand on every subject, including ones you haven’t heard of yet.

      The article is really worth reading in full.

      1. seenopandemichearnopandemic

        I had the opposite reaction : for an article complaining about bad writing, its funny that Deresiewicz’s prose is so bad – bloated and rambling (he could learn from the precision of the writing of Yves). His schtick is the same as that of Bari Weiss etc.: take a few specific anecdotes and spin a yarn devoid of any actual factual data. The problems at the universities lie elsewhere: pressure of tenure-track, too little permanent posts, teachers judged on papers published while quality of teaching is massively undervalued, adjunctification of the profession, …

        1. Acacia

          Well, how many years have you taught college writing? How many students per semester? Which institutions? Please share any actual factual data.

  9. aleph_0

    The Nevada spike is super weird. It looks like LV changed to reporting cases once a week now instead of 5 days a week and additionally fat fingered the first data point. If you look at the chart, it went from 300-700 cases a day to 7 days of 0 cases, broken by one day of 16k. That was close to the top of the omicron spike for LV so proportionally, it doesn’t make sense. So I think it must have been delayed results or a fat finger, but I haven’t been able to find local reporting yet that makes sense of it.

    1. Joe Renter

      Perhaps the numbers are high since it’s a destination both domestically and international?
      I wonder how much work was put into ventilation systems in casinos and hotels?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > So I think it must have been delayed results or a fat finger, but I haven’t been able to find local reporting yet that makes sense of it.

      No note in red from CDC however. (It makes sense to me that the spike is real because = travel + closed, crowded, close-contact casinos.)

      1. aleph_0

        I know this is super late, but I will say that because of the MERV rating of the ventilation in the casinos already have to deal with smoking, they’re already at the level to deal with the virus. For the amount of people LV gets regularly, it’s a testament to good ventilation that we haven’t been the worst hit the entire pandemic. The unions also help.

  10. jr

    re: iPhonies

    I recently opened my photo files to discover what I van only assume to be a new “feature”, unactivated and unwanted by me. Someone somewhere at Crapple had decided that it would be a good idea to randomly pick out a photo and apply a title to it, then present it to me unbidden. The title was something like “Glorious Skies!” and sure enough it was a picture of a beautiful sunset taken years ago. My first thought was that what if that photo was a sad affair? What if that was the day my dog died? No matter, some reptile coder had decided to do the thinking for me. How convenient! Perhaps for some, applying a happier title would in fact change the meaning of that day for them. It works for sexual biology, politics, COVID policies, Nazi’s….

    1. Geo

      Back when I still had a Facebook account that would happen on the rare occasions I logged in. It would show a photo from my archive with a prompt to share it saying something like: “A magical night” and have a photo of me with my abusive ex. One that made me stop FB for good was when it did that with a photo of my cat from the night she died on the one year anniversary. Way to start the day with a kick in the gut. Thanks Facebook. Nothing like ugly crying over my morning coffee to get the day off right.

      Does anyone like this stuff? Are some incapable of holding memories in their brain and need the assistance of our tech overlords to remind them of what they have experienced in their lives?

      1. jr

        I think you are on the right track with that last bit. I think it is both foisted upon people and simultaneously welcomed by them. It’s hard work to think for yourself. When you are being crushed under the weight of a constant barrage of BS, the vast majority don’t bother to resist if they are even aware they are being manipulated at all.

      2. The Rev Kev

        A photo of you with your abusive ex and then one of your cat the night she died? Nobody should have to be put through that emotional wringer just because some Silicon Valley tech head thought that this might be a “cool” feature. Good that you dumped them before they did more stuff like that to you.

    2. Glen

      My android phone has taken to doing this too. End result (for me) is quit taking photos with it.

      1. jr

        My phone literally just did it again, minutes after reading your post. “Golden Hours” came up with the same photo. Perhaps a play on “Golden Showers”? I am left wondering if this device can read my F’ing mind…

    3. eg

      The actually don’t mind that feature (via Google Photos on my android phone) — it mostly brings up photos of my children when they were younger.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Someone somewhere at Crapple had decided that it would be a good idea to randomly pick out a photo and apply a title to it, then present it to me unbidden.

      Why can’t they leave us the hell alone?

  11. Kurtismayfield

    RE: UCLA job post.

    UCLA removed the post after the Twitterati and Reddit anti work police got their hands on it. Its amazing that they couldn’t offer some smattering of a salary, and reeks of the “for exposure” social media bull&$#@ that gets passed around as compensation.

    It also would have become a modern warning sign to the “Just get a STEM degree” BS job advice people give. I wish UCLA was dumb enough to leave it up.

    1. voislav

      And this is for a chemistry/biochemistry PhD, which is a particularly hot job area right now, probably 80+K starting salary for a fresh PhD, 150+K with a few years experience. It’s not like people with those degrees have issues finding jobs right now.

      1. ambrit

        The cynic in me wonders if some upper managers at the University got salary and perk upgrades that had to be “paid for” by cutting somewhere else in the school’s total budget.

      2. Kurtismayfield

        Getting a job vs. getting on a tenure track at a University are completely different. They were looking for a shlub who thought this would be a foot in the door.

      3. Acacia

        As Kurtismayfield says, those PhDs may be able to find jobs, but they will be mostly adjunct positions. Something like 76% of all teaching in higher ed is done by lecturers and adjuncts — basically temp workers on one year or even one semester contracts.

        The simple fact that UCLA posted this announcement (and you can find them elsewhere, too) tells us something about the reality of the job market for PhDs in academia.

    2. griffen

      College athletics is where it’s at, in particular men’s revenue sports Winning is all that matters, said every head coach that ever walked a sideline or a bench in front of a basketball court. Okay a rare few actually did encourage their athletes to learn and eventually graduate to better things.

      Chip Kelly, head coach of the football program, is making a cool $4.6 million in 2022. Good work, and if you fail they pay a handsome bag of loot to get gone.

  12. Swamp Yankee

    We are in woodcock springtime fever here on the western littoral of Cape Cod Bay! They have been peent! peent! peenting something fierce, and lots more acrobatic aerial displays than I seem to remember in years past. The saltmarsh locally is a bird haven — have seen many raptors, including various falcons, hawks, bald eagles, and at long last, the return of the osprey!

    The woodcocks love it too, and I even was able to be still enough that one began to bathe in the maple swamp, at dusk, a week or more ago. Last night I surprised one with a flashlight for a long as I was going to stoke my night-campfire in the woods, my own effort to disrupt the coyote equivalent of the Ho Chi Minh trail, and to make the world safe for felinity!

    It has worked, so far, too, they really don’t like fire, but I hear them yelping and howling out on the marsh and across the cove.

  13. Pat

    I don’t know if the propaganda is as successful as the media, Beltway, large coastal urban areas might wish. Biden’s lack of bounce, the rather anemic polling for something that has been as hard sell as the Ukraine little country that could beat the big bad wolf meme has been indicates otherwise.
    I would also say that the depiction of the “fluid” foreign policy opinions of the public at large haven’t been as fluid as the author or those referenced in the previous paragraph might like. It took the election of Trump to even acknowledge that a significant portion of the population was tired of war, free trade and wary of China. And by significant, I would say majority of the public. Let’s rewrite it this way: “ that most Americans don’t have fixed opinions on healthcare policy. Instead, their opinions are impacted by real-world events. Sanders’ calls for Medicare For All and drug pricing reform were attractive to many voters who had grown weary of the increasing premiums, drug costs and hospital closures.” Without acknowledging that MFA and single payer has had the support of a majority of Americans for years but opining instead that future events might change that.

    Look I think they have pulled out all the stops for their foreign policy debacle, but I truly believe that this will be increasingly unpopular. Most people don’t think we are fighting Russia there so we don’t fight them here, they are NOT up for military intervention, and as soon as food gets scarcer and fuel costs even more there will not be enough airtime in the world to make this really popular. But America has fooled me before.

    1. Geo

      “Look I think they have pulled out all the stops for their foreign policy debacle, but I truly believe that this will be increasingly unpopular.”

      America always loves a war. They just sour on it when it has implications on their own life.

      Years ago I saw an interview with Glenn Greenwald talking about life in Brazil and he had many critiques of their government and society but said something that struck me: he mentioned how refreshing it was to live in a country where the nightly news wasn’t justifying a bombing, invasion, intervention, or sanctions on a different country every single night in an effort to make perpetual war seem normal.

      The propaganda of the news works otherwise our defense department would be defunded, CIA abolished, and state department would be a peace department (as Kucinich had proposed). How we got to a place as Americans where what is being done around the globe with our weapons, intel, dollars, and influence is not horrifying but instead normal and righteous is depressing. I lived abroad for only one year but it was when I was just 19 and seeing how we are perceived by others was eye opening. To bad we, as a nation, are chronically averse to introspection and only capable of projection.

      1. Pat

        I have to disagree, somewhat. I am not saying Americans are interested. For various reasons most are not. But Iraq and Afghanistan changed a lot of our news coverage. As they wore on, they got ignored most of the time. Our military misadventures are sold at the beginning, but what we really get no matter what is this respect for military sacrifice. Ads for wounded warriors, insurance marketed to the military and endless thank you for your service or reminders to do so. Most of which is a very cheap means to pretend military service by the grunts is respected and worthwhile without ponying up for the pay and the benefits. Let’s face it unless you are a colonel (captain in the navy) or above, there isn’t much otherwise. But it isn’t like the top news is letting people know how many places we are bombing, occupying or just messing with most of the time.

        And as we know for so many other things, it isn’t as if we have much say about these things, so perhaps ignorance is a mental health choice.

    2. Carolinian

      For the public these war movies are only good if Americans are in the thick of it and here’s suspecting that isn’t going to happen, despite all the chest beating by Lindsey etc. The real reason the Pentagon is not going to send airplanes to Ukraine is that they would all get shot down. I’d say Putin probably knows his opponent a lot better than we know ours.

      So the real question is: what is Biden’s exit strategy? Putin has been rather clear about his goals.

      1. Carolinian

        What I said. Patrick Lawrence

        It’s simply not easy to find truly good diplomats in the post–1945 annals of the American Foreign Service. I am talking about people who understand that one of the primary responsibilities of a diplomat is to understand how those on the other side of the table think and see things, what the other side wants and why.

        Here’s why they don’t exist anymore: Simply stated, power obviates the need for serious statecraft. The powerful nation has no need of diplomacy. A figure such as George Kennan was the exception proving the rule, and he was an exception because he saw the need to understand how the world looked to the Soviet Union. Henry Kissinger proved the rule: For all his claim to diplomatic skill, Hank K. was a wielder of American power with a calculating mind, nothing more.


        Somehow though one suspects that this time the tantrum tots are not going to get their way. By taking on Russia rather than say Grenada they are asking too much of our creaking war machine.

      2. Late Introvert

        The real reason the Pentagon is not going to send airplanes to Ukraine is that they would all get shot down.

        The Lyin’ Losin’ Generals have actually learned something after all! Good for them.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > what is Biden’s exit strategy?

        I wish I knew. Perhaps there isn’t one. Clinton’s strategy, after all, was to turn Ukraine into Afghanistan.

        One of the things Trump did immediately was abolish TPP (justifiable to my mind because it surrendered our sovereignty to ISDS).

        If we assume that The Blob has had a two-front war with Russia and China in mind since at least 2016, it looks to me like we went ahead with fighting Russia without securing our rear in Asia.

    3. fresno dan

      and as soon as food gets scarcer and fuel costs even more there will not be enough airtime in the world to make this really popular
      I agree. And I think the midterms will prove it. 2 years of congressional investigations of Biden…

  14. Rod

    Picked this up via Apple newsfeed with dateline 3/21/22

    U.S. Sending Soviet Air Defense Systems It Secretly Acquired to Ukraine
    The Pentagon over the years has acquired Soviet equipment as part of a clandestine program, and now such weapons are going to Ukraine

    Not the S-300 System but SAM 8.Who knows how that stuff gets from the C-17 into the Ukraine….
    Also alluded to horse trading with Hungary over their S-300 for divergence to U.

    I’m scrambled eggs and need to plant potatoes so I’m just going to leave it here

    1. Acacia

      Who knows how that stuff gets from the C-17 into the Ukraine….

      Yeah, S-300s are delivered and launched from a giant truck, 9.4 m long. Good luck sneaking those into the Ukraine without getting taken out first by Russian missiles.

      1. Late Introvert

        Good luck sneaking those into the Ukraine without getting taken out first by Russian missiles.

        Looking forward to that, and then it being ignored by our Dear Leaders.

  15. Carolinian

    Re are iphone cameras too smart–soon they will be able to fake those war videos at the push of a button.

    I recently had to replace my cheapie android smartphone with a newer cheapie smartphone due to ATT dropping 3g back in February. The camera’s pic quality isn’t much compared to my Canon DSLR, but I am impressed that Android now includes highly effective post process image stabilization for videos. I assume they do this by tagging each frame with info from the phone’s accelerometer (telling the processor how out of level each frame is). The result is that hand held pans look like they were taken with a tripod. Given that everybody is carrying around one of these things we’ve come a long way from the childhood Kodak Brownie.

    That said, those black and white Brownie pics are far more precious than those via selfie sticks. Rarety creates value.

    1. flora

      From the article:

      “Andy Adams, a longtime photo blogger, told me, “H.D.R. is a technique that, like salt, should be applied very judiciously.” Now every photo we take on our iPhones has had the salt applied generously, whether it is needed or not.”

      AI does not have “judgement”.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > AI does not have “judgement”.

        All those Captchas of mountains, or cars, or traffic lights, or hydrants? That random, vacuous quality is what the world looks like to an AI (the AI we are training).

  16. Judith

    One of my favorite books is “Wildwood A Journey Through Trees” by Roger Deakin. He writes about living within nature, not against it. Apropos to today’s twitter thread, there are chapters on coppicing, pollarding, and laying down natural fences.

    Here is a lovely description:


    From the article:

    The thing that struck me most about this book, however, was not it’s description of trees. It was the descriptions of the people who love trees and have let their lives be shaped by the woods around them.

    1. Skunk

      Yes, it’s spreading in birds, but isn’t a strain (supposedly) that can easily jump to humans. There are bird flu outbreaks in many parts of the world right now. Occasionally, a case jumps to a human, but the cases almost always involve exposure to poultry. Cases that pass from one person to another are extremely rare, so the good news is that these avian influenza viruses haven’t yet learned human-to-human transmission. Let’s hope they never do.

    1. Darthbobber

      Wow. Somebody had the stamina to do 5he whole season of Apple’s take on the Foundation trilogy. I was only able to endure 3 episodes, and the third was a struggle. Just bad.

      1. The Rev Kev

        When you think about it, Foundation is the story of a once great empire that is now in decline with a small group trying to salvage what they can to make the resulting period of chaos and misery as brief as possible. If this series had been made on the seventies, it probably would have been linked with a warning about the American empire but being made now, will never go anywhere near that idea.

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        I made it about 5 or 6 before it just got too boring.

        I enjoyed Jared Harris as always.

      3. Guild Navigator

        I was looking forward to meet Hari Seldon, a friend from my youth. I lasted 5 minutes before turning it off.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Patient zero initiation at 100 km downwind?

      Results of a cursory search for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD):

      “Airborne transmissions have been recorded up to 50 km overland” Journal of the Royal Society\

      “The findings obtained support the hypothesis that under certain conditions the airborne transmission of FMD over a long sea passage is possible” Veterinary Record

      So, yikes!

      NOTE Adding, I wonder if this was known in China from the beginning (FMD in China) and accounts not only for their Zero Covid policy but for their, shall we say, reticence over the origin of Covid. (In other words, the fact that Patient Zero could not be traced to a Wuhan patient could be the result of long-distance transmission [ulp]).

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Shakeup of Texas border mission leadership continues as pair of two-star generals departs”

    If you scroll down to the bottom of that article, you will see another story which shows why those Guardsmen are souring on this mission and I came across it several days ago. It seems that detachments are being sent not to guard the border but to guard famous Texas ranches far from the border and are thus acting as free private security-


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It seems that detachments are being sent not to guard the border but to guard famous Texas ranches far from the border and are thus acting as free private security-

      Feral hogs…..

  18. Michael Ismoe

    There is another possibility with Yankee Candles – that they really do have less fragrance than they used to. I know our corporate overlords would never, ever take advantage of a world crisis to pad their profit margins because they love their customers, but there is that possibility.

    It’s kind of like the miracle of how cream cheese has doubled in price in the last 4 months but milk prices have remained the same. I guess all the cream cheese cows are living in China and can’t get their output across the Pacific. Mayo Pete should do something about that.

    1. Pat

      Your milk prices haven’t gone up? Lucky you. I buy more butter than milk, but both have had significant price increases.

    1. Lee

      Speaking of Covid and Ukraine, given that country’s low vaccination rate, and the low vaccination rates of some of its neighbors currently receiving Ukrainian refugees, I’d wager that when dust and red mist settles that Covid in that region will end up taking considerably more lives than the war itself.

  19. Soredemos

    The adaptation of Foundation is a trainwreck. The writers are either completely oblivious to what the original stories were dealing with, or they do know and just don’t care, or are, I don’t, opposed to it? Either way, they have no business handling this subject matter. They contrive to make the story about exceptional individuals. It’s like some extreme example of a liberal refusal to engage with historical materialism.

    I can’t help but feel it comes from the same place that obsessively focuses on Putin, as if there isn’t a whole Russian national security state and consensus behind him.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Speaking of blowback. The Japanese are learning that they too are being subjected to blowback after their harsh anti-Russia stand. Actions, it seems, still has consequences. Who knew?

      ‘Russia has ended an arrangement dating back to 1991 that allowed Japanese citizens to visit the Kuril Islands without a visa, and has broken off talks with Japan on formally ending the Second World War, citing Tokyo’s “openly unfriendly” conduct in sanctioning Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine.’


  20. britzklieg

    no need to click on the links, the point makes itself.























  21. LawnDart

    Meta (Facebook) is now an extremist organization.

    Buying Meta shares may be qualified in Russia as financing of extremism – expert

    Acquisitions of stock in Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, by Russian citizens after Moscow’s Tverskoi Court designated the company as extremist may be qualified as the financing of extremism…

    Liability for demonstrating the extremist organization’s symbols or for financing it (for instance, placing ads on Facebook or Instagram) may be introduced for citizens following the organization’s inclusion in the Justice Ministry’s register.


    Imagine Facebook and Instagram users barred from entry into Russia– influencers yanked at passport control, packed-up and shipped-off to Siberia! And maybe, taking a page out of Ukraine’s playbook, they could be castrated too!

  22. PressGaneyMustDie

    The rolled up papers handed out at post-graduate commencement ceremonies are not stage prop diplomas, they’re food stamp applications.

  23. Lambert Strether Post author

    I don’t know if anybody noticed this sentence in the Tweet under “From the archives” at the top of #COVID19:

    Hence the usefulness of measures adapted by boards of health, in the shape of ordinances forbidding the practice of spitting on the floor of [enclosed spaces[.

    Why is this grotesque infringement of my personal freedom allowed to continue?

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