2:00PM Water Cooler 3/23/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

American Woodcock week at Naked Capitalism. Note: “Tracks 1 and 2 – Wing noises followed by flight song (doodling) of display flight. Low quality due to handling noise and difficulty tracking the high flying bird in fading light. Tracks 3 and 4 – Bomber recordings of the nasal enticements of a male strutting about on his display court! See Track 5 for additional notes on behavior.” Holy moley! “Nasal enticements!”

* * *


“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

“White House officials say U.S. has exhausted funds to buy potential fourth vaccine dose for all Americans” [WaPo]. “[W]ith House lawmakers in their home districts this week and unable to agree with Senate leaders on how to finance any package, there is no sign the stalemate will end soon.” • Idea: Make the vaccine money a line item in a bill sending weapons to Ukraine.

“Kamala Harris viewed White House aides not standing when she walked into a room as ‘a sign of disrespect,’ book says” [Business Insider]. “Vice President Kamala Harris felt slighted by White House aides not standing when she entered into a room, part of a pattern of ‘perceived snubs’ that the former senator was ‘fixated’ on, a forthcoming book by the New York Times correspondents Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns reportedly says.” And then: “Martin and Burns also reportedly detail Harris’ dissatisfaction with her policy agenda, writing that the vice president’s staffers proposed that she oversee relationships with Nordic countries, to no avail. According to Politico, the authors described the proposal as ‘a low-risk diplomatic assignment that might have helped Harris get adjusted to the international stage in welcoming venues like Oslo and Copenhagen.'” • I’m genuinely at a loss here. Is it customary for people to stand when a high official enters the room? Seems more like Versailles than a functioning democracy….

“Graham gets combative with Jackson: ‘What faith are you, by the way?'”[The Hill]. “Graham opened his questioning by asking Jackson abruptly about her faith. ‘What faith are you, by the way?” he asked. When she responded she is a nondenominational protestant, Graham then asked: ‘Could you fairly judge a Catholic?’ When Jackson said she didn’t feel comfortable talking about her personal religious views, Graham then pivoted quickly to how Democrats scrutinized Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic faith in 2017 and 2020. ‘How would you feel if a senator up here said of your faith ‘the dogma lives loudly within you and that’s of concern’?” he said, alluding to what Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) famously told Barrett when she was nominated to a federal appeals court in 2017.” • Musical interlude

“Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson refuses to define the word ‘woman’ because she’s ‘not a biologist’ as she is grilled on day two of her confirmation hearing” [Daily Mail]. “Quoting late Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Blackburn said: ‘Physical differences between men and women are enduring. The two sexes are not fungible. A community made up exclusively of one sex is different from a community composed of both.’ ‘Do you agree with Justice Ginsburg that there are physical differences between men and women that are enduring?’ the senator asked. When Jackson claimed she had never heard the quote, Blackburn asked directly: ‘Can you define the word ‘woman’?’ ‘Can I provide a definition?’ Jackson responded. ‘No, I can’t,’ she declared, before adding: ‘I’m not a biologist’. Jackson’s staunch refusal to offer a definition of a woman came at the end of the second day of questioning which tackled the big issues of race, abortion and judicial philosophy.” • The Ginsberg quote comes from her opinion in United States v. Virginia et al. (94-1941), 518 U.S. 515 (1996). Ginsberg in turn is citing to Ballard v. United States, 329 U.S. 187, 193 (1946), written by William O. Douglas. Here is what Douglas wrote:

It is said, however, that an all male panel drawn from the various groups within a community will be as truly representative as if women were included. The thought is that the factors which tend to influence the action of women are the same as those which influence the action of men—personality, background, economic status—and not sex.9 Yet it is not enough to say that women when sitting as jurors neither act nor tend to act as a class. Men likewise do not act as a class. But if the shoe were on the other foot, who would claim that a jury was truly representative of the community if all men were intentionally and systematically excluded from the panel? The truth is that the two sexes are not fungible; a community made up exclusively of one is different from a community composed of both; the subtle interplay of influence one on the other is among the imponderables.10 To insulate the courtroom from either may not in a given case make an iota of difference. Yet a flavor, a distinct quality is lost if either sex is excluded. The exclusion of one may indeed make the jury less representative of the community than would be true if an economic or racial group were excluded.

Hmm. Adding: I’m not real enthusiastic about “a flavor, a distinct quality.” Seems like hand-waving.

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.

* * *

I’ve been thinking of common characteristics of “the PMC,” because so many are on display in the current Ukraine war fever. I should say immediately that these are characteristics of the class; if Balzac were writing a novel, one of whose characters was an “ideal type” of the PMC, these are the characteristics he should include. The class, like everything else, has internal contradictions, and in any case there individuals different by temperament, character, location, profession, etc. However, if we look for characteristics that dominate, I think this list is a good start:

Beliefs of

• Identity politics
• Micro-aggression
• Personalization
• “Fighting for”

Sociology of

• ”Predatory precarity
• Credentialism
• Schooling behavior

Psychology of

• Moralizing
• Sentimental identification
• Doubling down

Under “Psychology of,” I considered adding displacement, projection, and denial but I wasn’t sure how peculiar to the PMC they were. For “schooling behavior,” here is an image that shows what I mean:

Examples of “schooling behavior” include Ukraine war fever, Black Lives Matter (for the PMC), RussiaGate, etc. Note also I think “predatory precarity” can give an account of a lot of the academic (and party) behaviors we see, as backstabbing, snitching, betrayal, and so forth. Readers, is this a good start?

“The Other Manchin’s Conflicts Of Interest” [The Lever]. “Far less attention has been afforded to the senator’s wife, Gayle Manchin, a former West Virginia secretary of education, who in March 2021 was appointed by President Joe Biden to co-chair a commission that distributes federal infrastructure grants across 13 states, including West Virginia. But now an investigation suggests Manchin might have financial ties to a recipient of funding from that commission, an economic development partnership agency called the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). Late last summer, ARC, awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Appalachian Investors Alliance (AIA), a non-profit foundation that works to deliver investment to small Appalachian businesses. The nonprofit’s director, Mike Green, is a prominent West Virginia venture capital manager who also serves as the officer and organizer of West Virginia Growth Investment LLC — a company in which Gayle Manchin has invested, according to federal financial disclosures.” • Wowsers, an Appalachian NGO? I’m sure the Trillbillies will love this….


“Speaking Of Democratic Moderates” [Eschaton]. On Lamb v. Fetterman: “Spending a bunch of rich people money to send the message that the Democratic party (as this points out, Fetterman *is* the sitting Lieutenant Governor, remember) is filled with a bunch of cophating commies is not particularly helpful to the brand!…. Conflict in primaries is fine to me, but people concerned about Brand Democrat are generally the people who spend their campaign money tearing it down. I’m not a filthy commie cophater like [checks sign on door] the Democratic Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania! Vote Democrat. As caricatures, Fetterman’s the kind of guy political consultants tell you they want and Lamb’s the kind of guy they deliver. Like telling you they want a regular guy, such as a farmer, but what they mean is they want a guy who owns a 160,000 acre farm property.”

“Vulnerable Democrats eye GOP transit mask repeal” [Axios]. “The chair of the House Democrats’ campaign arm and some of the vulnerable members he’s charged with re-electing are voicing support for a Republican-led mask mandate repeal bill….’I’m completely over mask mandates,’ Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told Axios. ‘I don’t think they make any sense anymore. I’m for whatever gets rid of mask mandates as quickly as possible.’ ‘I think you’re safer on an airplane than you are in a restaurant or at the gym, so I don’t know why we’re wearing masks in the air.’ … The White House has threatened to veto the resolution, and there’s nowhere near the level of support in either chamber for a veto override.” • So I guess masks aren’t a “Scarlet Letter” after all? (I wish I knew where this “done with”/”over” locution came from. My impression is that it’s an adult who is “over” or “done with” a child’s behavior, but I’m not sure at all. Can any readers shed light?


“2024 United States presidential election” [Wikipedia]. Yes, there’s already a Wikipedia page. The list of potential candidate is interesting (entertainingly including Joe Manchin). I don’t know if I’d put money on any of ’em.

“Presidential candidates, 2024” [BallotPedia]. Another list (including Stacey Abrams and Hillary Clinton; Wikipedia accepts their denials). Gina Raimondo, interestingly, on both lists. Whatever else one might say about 2016 and 2020, they weren’t mediocre. But that’s how these lists look.

“Jared Polis: The Gaymer Democrats Need?” [The Bulwark]. “Yet despite any, uh, eccentricities, it has been Polis, more than maybe any other Democrat in the country, who has succeeded at delivering for Colorado on the central promise of the Joe Biden presidency—one that has consistently flummoxed the president himself: returning a bit of normalcy to our tumultuous partisan politics. Polis has brought down the temperature, brought politicians from across the aisle into the fold, and governed in a way that appeals to (or at least earns grudging acknowledgement from) many Republican voters. In a midterm year looking ugly for Democrats, Polis is running for re-election—and that normalcy is paying big dividends for him.” • Colorado readers?

Our Famously Free Press

One for the memory hole, just like Iraq:

No opposition parties to the right banned. Naturally.

Clinton Legacy

How about Sunset Boulevard?

All Quiet on the Eastern Front?



Case count by United States regions:

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?

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.

For grins, here is the regional Biobot Analytics data for the last six weeks:

(Linear for the last six weeks with end date of March 16.) Confirms MWRA’s slight rise in the Northeast. Note also the increasing dominance of BA.2, also in the Northeast. I wish Biobot would make this data current and detailed enough to really serve as a check on CDC (which, as I noted yesterday, hasn’t got the kinks in its dashboard worked out, even if we could trust them not to jigger the data).

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 (which, if it is data, is persistent and also not noted by CDC). 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: 999,792 998,840. Big, big milestone almost achieved, and on a bipartisan basis, too. Fortunately, the numbers are headed downward. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Stats Watch

Housing: “United States New Home Sales” [Trading Economics]. “New home sales in the United States fell 2% from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 772 thousand in February of 2022, following a revised 8.4% drop in the previous month and below market expectations of 810 thousand.”

* * *

The Bezzle:

And of course:

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 44 Fear (previous close: 44 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 22 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 23 at 1:27pm. Not sure what’s in Mr. Market’s mind, here. Settling in for the long haul in Ukraine? Weapons stocks?

Sports Desk

Note, however, the remark about Covid:

Small behavioral changes add up. Not spitting on the floor became the new normal (and enforced by law):

The Gallery

Low key (1):

Low key (2):

Whistler, IIRC, collected Japanese prints; he could not have seen Hasui’s, which dates from 1930, but I wonder if he saw a similar one.


My continuing quest:

I wonder if it’s any good as a game?

Our Famously Free Press

“In Defense Of Mass Censorship” [The Onion]. “When The Onion’s editorial board convened to discuss the tumultuous events of the previous month, one conclusion became evident: The world stands at a crossroads. Two visions of our collective future stand before us: On one side is a free and enlightened society, dedicated to the principles of openness, tolerance, and debate; the other is built upon ignorance, fear, and the suppression of dissent. Today, the path forward could not be clearer. Simply put, we need mass censorship now.”

Groves of Academe

“UCLA Pummeled Over Adjunct Job Without Pay” [Insider Higher Ed]. “The job listing for an assistant adjunct professor was very clear: ‘The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA seeks applications for an assistant adjunct professor on a without salary basis. Applicants must understand there will be no compensation for this position.’… Bill Kisliuk, director of media relations at UCLA, said the university’s action was not outside the norm in higher education. ;UCLA is committed to providing fair compensation to faculty across the institution. Some positions may be without salary when individuals are compensated by other sources and a formal affiliation with UCLA is necessary,’ he said. ‘These positions are considered when an individual can realize other benefits from the appointment that advance their scholarship, such as the ability to apply for or maintain grants, mentor students and participate in research that can benefit society. These arrangements are common in academia and, in cases where formal classroom teaching is a component, compensation for these services is provided commensurate to experience and with an eye to equity within the unit.’ Before he knew of UCLA’s response, Timothy Burke, a professor of history at Swarthmore College, posted on Facebook. ‘I’m seeing a lot of people coming up with explanations that attempt to rationalize this: it’s for an internal candidate who has a funding stream elsewhere, it’s an attempt to help a candidate coming over from industry gain the teaching experience that will make them competitive, it’s some other insidery plan, it’s union-busting,’ he wrote. ‘Even the ‘innocent’ explanations are disgusting because no matter what they are, the whole thing is a *lie*. It’s corrupting: it legitimates the concept of asking a Ph.D. to work for free, it mocks the idea that a nationally advertised search is meant to look for nationally qualified candidates. That this is coming from a state that supposedly has liberal politics and respect for public higher education, in a city that is liberal, in a community of allegedly liberal administrators and faculty, should tell roughly how much all those political alignments are worth when it comes to exploiting labor and corrupting rules.” • Oof. On the bright side, if they can hire a professor to work for nothing, they can probably fund another administrator!

“Why Are Scholars Such Snitches?” [Chronicle of Higher Education]. “[Has higher education], on the whole, become a hotbed of craven snitches. From everything I’ve heard and experienced, the answer is yes….. Let us provisionally define snitching as turning someone in anonymously, for either minor or nonexistent offenses, or pretextually. Also: using institutional mechanisms to kneecap rivals, harass enemies, settle scores and grudges, or advantage oneself. Not to mention squealing on someone for social-media posts and joining online mobs to protest exercises of academic and intellectual freedom. This last is a variant of the “social-justice snitch,” a burgeoning category composed of those who want to defund the police and reform the criminal-justice system but are nevertheless happy to feed the maws of a frequently unprocedural and (many say) racist campus-justice system. There are, to be sure, right-wing students and organizations dedicated to harassing professors whose politics they object to, but that’s to be expected. What’s not is the so-called campus left failing to notice the degree to which the “carceral turn” in American higher ed — the prosecutorial ethos, the resources reallocated to regulation and punishment — shares a certain cultural logic with the rise of mass incarceration and over-policing in off-campus America. Or that the zeal for policing intellectual borders has certain resonances with the signature tactics of Trumpian America, for which unpoliced borders are equally intolerable. But what care social-justice types about fostering the carceral university if those with suspect politics can be flattened, even — fingers crossed! — expelled, or left unemployed and penurious?… Is snitching a function of character, the result of a trait you either possess or don’t? Or is it rather that certain institutional contexts, like prisons, incentivize snitching? In higher ed’s overfunded, secretive, and ever-expanding punishment infrastructure (hiring for which now vastly outstrips new faculty lines), glutted with vague regulations about everything from romance to comportment to humor, snitching has become a blood sport.” • See my comments on the PMC above. Perhaps I was too kind.

Class Warfare

“Life expectancy in the US dropped by an astounding 1.8 years during the first year of the pandemic” [WSWS]. You say that like it’s a bad thing. “Despite the grim news on the decline in life expectancy, stocks traded higher on the President’s announcement that there would be little done in the way of impeding the surge of infections. Having recouped all their losses from Monday when Omicron’s dominance was announced, yesterday the Dow closed 261 points up at 35,753. As comparisons between China and the US show, the drop in life expectancy is a purely political phenomenon attributable to the policies the ruling elites have employed that continue to place profits over lives, as evidenced by the financial aristocracy’s trillions amassed.”

News of the Wired

“Early Modern Memes: The Reuse and Recycling of Woodcuts in 17th-Century English Popular Print” [The Public Domain Review]. “In recent years meme culture has exploded the potential of stock imagery. The repetition and reuse of images in internet memes, particularly those that deliberately exploit stock photos that are somehow both generic and oddly specific, has striking parallels to woodcut culture in seventeenth-century England. Just ask ‘distracted boyfriend’, lustfully ogling a passing woman while his indignant girlfriend looks on in disgust. Originally uploaded to the stock photo database iStock under the description ‘Disloyal man with his girlfriend looking at another girl’, this twenty-first-century ‘how-de-do man’ has become common fodder for internet culture. He reappears again and again, each of the characters in the image relabeled to create a new nexus of interpretation. But this time, printers and booksellers are not the gatekeepers of meaning. Anyone can download the image, add their own text, and share their meme with an audience online. Whereas woodcuts could be shared unencumbered by copyright laws that wouldn’t start appearing until the eighteenth century, stock photo imagery and the memes that use them seem to replicate despite their legal ownership. Although stock photos like the disloyal man’s are not intended to be used for free, the internet has made paywalls easily scalable. Once the image sharing and content aggregating websites get ahold of them, there’s no stopping their potential spread. A quicker, easier, and more anonymous process than a woodcut changing hands from one printer to another, but a not dissimilar one.”

AI generated?

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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 JU:

JU writes: “Here’s a photo of Golden Poppies amidst a granite outcrop, giving it the look of gold veins in quartz. I think we are many weeks away from peaking and fields of gold will expand into epic proportions and then disappear all of the sudden.”

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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. Toshiro_Mifune

    I’m genuinely at a loss here. Is it customary for people to stand when a high official enters the room? Seems more like Versailles than a functioning democracy….

    Same here. It’s a democracy; you’re no better than I am. We should not be doing things like this

    1. marym

      Recalling West Wing (shrug) and some press conferences back when I watched cable, it was done for the prez. Also “Hail to the Chief” though maybe that was for ceremonial occasions.

    2. Carla

      Doesn’t a bailiff or somebody intone “All rise!” when the judge enters the courtroom?

      1. Louis Fyne

        IIRC, that is a legacy of when the judge was sent by the English king-queen.

        It may even be from the times of the post-1066 Norman conquest-occupation of the Anglo-Saxons and mott and bailey forts. Bailiff and bailey (jailer, jail) are derived from Norman French terms.

        The Normans ethnically cleansed the north of England and instituted a form of apartheid throughout England.

        The historical stereotype of the Anglo-Saxons is that they were a casual democratic bunch.

        English-UK imperialism started with the Norman elite who went on the invade Wales and Ireland.

        1. c_heale

          Well the Saxons were ruled by kings (I don’t know of any queens) so I’m not sure they were so democratic.

          But the fact that the same surnames are among the elite nearly 1000 years after the Norman conquest, indicates that the UK is not a complete democracy.

          1. Martin Oline

            David Hume, a humanist so he doesn’t take religious sides, wrote a 6 or 7 volume set. I believe it is available online, perhaps on archive.org for free. His early volumes rely on common sources and the last volume, written at a time when he had direct information, has just too damn much information. I think it was published in 1778.
            Summery by Goodreads: Hume’s great History of England the theme of which is liberty, above all English constitutional development from the Anglo-Saxon period to the Revolution of 1688.
            This link should take you to a search at Archive that has various editions available. It is probably public domain.
            Hume’s History of England

      2. Clark

        Yes, a bailiff says “All Rise,” which has been the practice in Tennessee for as long as I’ve been a lawyer. If you’re in the gallery (spectators, press, families) or in “the well” (i.e., past “the bar,” a barrier with a narrow gate beyond which are the tables for the opposing sides, the jury box, the court reporter, etc.), you are expected to stand when the judge enters as announced by the bailiff with an “All Rise.” And, in criminal cases, you stand as the jury enters.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      How about the Commander In Chief (a civilian) saluting Marines while getting off Air Force One? Reagan started it, and there was some (minimal) questioning of its appropriateness at the time, but it has apparently become obligatory.

      1. Opticon

        Yes, that has always offended me. In my Army days (1950s) we were taught that we were not to salute if we were out of uniform, which a President, by definition, is.

      2. Mel

        100 years ago today (liveblogged from the NYT archives):

        “Mayor George Oles of Youngstown, a wacky grocer who ran as a joke promising, among other things, to permit spooning in public parks, rescinds his order that the police salute him, because he spent so much time saluting back that he didn’t have time for anything else.”

    4. Dr. John Carpenter

      I’d love to know what these other “perceived snubs” that she’s “fixated” on are.

    5. hunkerdown

      “That Presidency thing is looking a little close to home (cackle). How about SCOTUS instead?”

    6. Alex Cox

      Isn’t a gentleman expected to stand when a lady enters the room? Ladies may remain seated. Not sure what the rules are for the other genders.

      On a train from London to Liverpool I met a disabled activist on her way back from a meeting with Tony Blair. She said Blair, Brown and the other New Labourites wouldn’t walk through a door unless someone held it open for them.

  2. Mildred Montana

    Hillary Clinton: She would appreciate movie recommendations during Bill’s and her Covid quarantine.

    I’ve got a recommendation, Hillary. Read a good book. Instead of writing bad ones.

    1. Screwball

      That book got me in trouble. My X got one for Christmas (the Hillary Clinton – What Happened book). I told her she didn’t have to waste time reading it. The answer was right on the front.

      1. Pat

        Your response was funny.

        I would have gotten in trouble for suggesting we make sure we had both an early edition hardback and a late edition paperback so we could find all the things she changed between editions to make herself look better as events made her bad judgment obvious.

      2. jsn

        My grandmother used to tell this joke:

        There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who say “What Happened”?

    2. Billsplace

      Hillary: “I’m ready for my closeup…” (Sunset Boulevard) How many times is she going to parlay this?

      The hideous hag who chortled over 500,000 dead Iraqi children “being worth it” died today. No hagiographies please!

  3. Screwball

    Musical Interlude; I cannot watch any congressional hearing because it is not good for my blood pressure. I would suggest another song though – the theme song from Benny Hill. That seems to sum up most of the hearings I had the stomach to watch.

    I am amazed at how all my PMC friends became the worlds biggest war mongers. Yet seem to have no idea what some of these punishments/sanctions will do to fellow Americans and in the EU. Be careful what you wish for.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      F Albright.

      May she rot in hell next to the other War Mongers!

      Regarding Presidential Candidates. Stacey Abrams is the President in the show Star Trek. Can’t remember if it’s Picard or Discovery. I think it’s Picard.

      1. Bugs

        Star Trek: Picard season two is currently taking place in an alternate universe where a fascistic, genocidal Earth regime dominates the galaxy and there is no United Federation of Planets. The Q entity is responsible for the time displacement.

        So yeah, sounds right.

        1. Fritzi

          I would assume/hope that if there is a hell, those half million Iraqui children won’t be there.

          But who knows.

          One reader recently commented that we live in a world controlled by a cruel god, who rewards the wicked and punishes the just (or innocent).

          I can’t deny that this seems pretty plausible to me.

          1. Bakes

            The children are likely in a better place.

            But perhaps the mothers of those half million children will be waiting outside the gates of Hell. Forming a gauntlet that Albright must pass through.

  4. hamstak

    The characteristics of the PMC have been on my mind of late as well as I am developing a thesis regarding their aims/objectives with respect to the Ukraine conflict. Here is what I have come up with:

    1) The elites/powerful/influential within the realm of national governance are dominated by members of the PMC
    2) The PMC broadly subscribes to the rational markets hypothesis, and believe that markets are implicitly democratic
    3) As a consequence of 2), they believe that governance, in general, is best left to markets
    4) The PMC thinks in business terms, not governance terms; it has been said that businesses in general do not plan over periods of more than seven years
    5) Given that this medium-term thinking is prevalent, longer term frames (such as 10-20 years) are given less consideration
    6) The PMC are generally highly educated, insular, and believe themselves to be — not just smarter — but significantly smarter than those outside of their class (excepting the ultra-high wealth set they aspire to join)
    7) Given 6), the propensity is to believe themselves incapable of error — they can only be failed, not fail
    8) Given 7), the propensity is to present either their first impression of a given phenomenon, or what they prefer to believe, as fact; counterfactuals are dismissed as misinformation

    This might be bulleted as:
    – market fundamentalism
    – short-term/tactical as opposed to long-term/strategic thinking
    – group-think (intellectual/social/experiential insularity)
    – hubris/delusions of competence to the extent of infallibility
    – magical thinking

    I might add to that a propensity for abstraction to the point of absurdity, but that idea needs to be developed further.

    With respect to your credentialism characteristic, it should be noted that it is not just a matter of education level but where one was educated (Ph.D., from Harvard Business School).

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I might add to that a propensity for abstraction to the point of absurdity, but that idea needs to be developed further.

      I was trying to work in their love of complexity, but couldn’t quite get my arms around it. (“Oh, goodie. Homework!”)

      1. hamstak

        Nice add! Immediately I can think of two reasons for that (I like numbered lists):

        1) Complexity as a signifier of sophistication (or even class marker)
        2) Complexity as a comparative advantage — make things complex that others can’t understand, but you can

        On point 2), I believe Michael Hudson had an anecdote with regards to that, along the lines of an elder explaining to him he would never be successful because he trying to make things easy for others to understand.

        1. Pat

          Since I am a recovering PMC, I feel the need to add a third

          3. Complexity as a need to see or pretend to see all sides possibly largely as insecurity in picking one.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            I have noticed almost pathological indecisiveness among many PMC friends. I attribute this to a number of factors, including lack of physicality (if you are in a boat that is about to capsize, indecision is not an option) and a relative affluence that allows choices and deliberation as opposed to chances seized out of sheer desperation.

        2. Noone from Nowheresville

          On complexity, make sure others have to jump through hoops and disqualification hurdles just like they did. Only without the benefit of class experience or paid professional services to give the assist.

          I’d also add start looking for your next project / lateral transfer / new job to start 18 months later. Always a new project /adventure; minimal accountability for the previous project unless you stay in that position. Make sure to blow your own horn to the right someones, especially if you’re playing the fake it until you make it game. And, of course, don’t be among the annual percentage which gets weeded out, if the company you’re working for does that.

        3. aj

          I see the same thing in my somewhat liberal pool of work colleagues. While I work in the field, the home office doesn’t hire anyone that isn’t top of their class at only a handful of select universities. At the same time there is a tendency to make things overly complicated and bureaucratic under the pretense of “better” but we often see only fractionally improved results for way more work. I never thought of these two things being related, but now I’m second guessing myself.

      2. praxis

        Complexity is a ritual of the credentialism. To be a master of of the collective mythos allows for a justified separation of dissent. The dissent is bad because it does not ‘understand’ the ritual.

        1. Eustachedesaintpierre

          I believe that Iain McGilchrist has them pretty much sussed.

          ” The left hemisphere specializes in narrow focus. It tries to pin things down, looks for detail, and breaks things down into parts and categories. It likes rules and linear sequences, and goes for a sort of quick-and-dirty, just-the-facts approach, according to McGilchrist. The left side excels in the sort of homing-in attention that lets an animal grab a fruit, peck a seed, or chase a rabbit.

          Significantly, the left side sees things according to their usefulness and figures out how to manipulate the world to its ends. It’s not too interested in relationships and can’t give us a sense of the whole, but it gives us the power to learn and make things. We need it to be human.

          ” The left hemisphere can also lead us to places that begin to look inhuman. It acts as a kind of processing center, tending to get fixated on data, models, and maps, losing touch with the world around us if its findings don’t go back to the right hemisphere for context. In McGilchrist’s view, it has a kind of optimistic overconfidence about what it sees and constantly works to shut out anything that doesn’t agree with its narrow take on reality. It’s reductive, mechanistic, and self-referential, and it has an enormous capacity for denial. It’s also more tuned into anger and aggression than the right side. The left side doesn’t have a sense of humor.


      3. hamstak

        If you ever decide to write a full post in this regard, perhaps you might title it “The Discrete Charm of the PMC”, after Buñuel.

        If only there were a contemporary Buñuel to make the film!

      4. hunkerdown

        Lambert, Graeber’s “Manners” essay invites many comparisons between the Puritans and the PMC, especially in light of this recent standing business with Kamala. I stumbled across this short note inspired by that essay among others and an incident in Croatia, MANNERS AND HIERARCHY IN THE NATURAL SCIENCES. Here are some interesting potatoes:

        The result of this shift in focus to the privileging of direct experience and testimony in developing arguments about the analysis of nature meant that natural philosophers were faced with the task of which travellers’ testimonies to trust. This was also a consequence of the change in scale whereby reports, often from travellers, were now received of environments and ‘objects of fancy’ from different parts of the world rather than just one’s immediate surroundings. Shapin argued that ‘direct testimony was to be preferred to hearsay testimony; multiple testimonies to single; knowledgeable sources to vulgar…’ (ibid. : p.249). Yet standards of vulgarity often depended on conduct and whether it accorded with gentlemanly standards. In fact, gentlemanly conduct, honour and respect came to play a large role in determining whether your account was believable or not. Combined with Graeber’s interpretation that the body in avoidance is property, this suggests that those individuals with large private estates, and corresponding gentlemanly comportment, were viewed as more reliable sources of knowledge. This suggests that the peer review system is historically grounded in the history of capitalism and the spread of manners, or codes of civility, amongst the property owning classes.

        I propose that the PMC believes in manners and in scientific idealism, and rationalizes that their production of unspeakability (information control) allows their superior, coherent, efficient perspective and special vision to lead the collective. That just happens to be the same scarcity-minded perspective that deep operations are designed to induce in their targets.

        Does overconsumption of coming-of-age stories, at the individual or any social or cultural level, encourage main character syndrome? It’s my hare-brained theory, that MCS is a kind of unresolved, permanent liminality.

    2. Opticon

      Uh, I don’t believe Harvard B-School offers a Ph.D. M.B.A. yes, Ph.D. no. In fact I’ve never heard of a Ph.D. in business.

      1. griffen

        I’ve worked on the fixed income side where many of the research model types had earned or would eventually earn their Ph.D. Many of them spent time on the academic side teaching at the graduate level.

        One in particular comes to mind. Holding a PhD in finance, from Stanford. Another comes to mind, holding a PhD in economics from MIT. Both quite admirable individuals.

        1. Opticon

          I read the article, and the guy doesn’t mention any universities that offer a Ph.D. in business, which is kind of surprising. I know about D.B.A.’s, however, and should have mentioned them.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Maybe joining the PMC is a bit like joining a religion. What I mean is that if you decide to become a Catholic for example, you don’t have to really think it all out. There is a set of beliefs, behaviours, rituals, vocabulary, etc. all there and you just have to “plug in” and go with the flow so to say. Same with the PMC though their beliefs are more mobile – depending on what the latest thing is. You have found yourself a home and the good will of your peers and isn’t joining a new religion a bit like that?

      1. Swamp Yankee

        I agree, Rev Kev — there is something of the religious about the PMC, and the Wokiestas are their clergy. Indeed, Mark Fisher, in “Exiting the Vampire Castle,” the 2013 essay that described Wokeismo avant la lettre, describes the attitude as “sacerdotal,” and I really think that is the case. Interestingly, of the chums I graduated from High School with c. 20 years ago, the one who is most attracted to Wokeism, a HS Math teacher, quite brilliant, is a kind of social justice Catholic who could have been a Jesuit Brother in a different decade (just as academics are secularized clergy — I say this as one).

        An article in Jacobin once described them as Neo-Victorians, and I think there is a strong element of that, as well. In fact, the PMC I think have their closest religious analogue in the Second Great Awakening of the first half of the 19th century, with its combination of maudlin and cloying and utterly unselfaware sentimentality, and belief in the infinite perfectibility, and therefore reform and “improvement,” of humankind (this in distinction to the 1730s and 1740s Great Awakening, that was all about how we were damned and there was little we could do but submit to the Awful Grace of God).

        Dickens satirizes these in a proto-PMC character, a Hillary Mom before her time, Mrs. Jellyby in BLEAK HOUSE (which I haven’t read, full disclosure, but know of this character). Mrs. Jellyby performatively cries over the fate of “the poor Africans” served by distant missions that she supports, while her own town and family fall apart around her, to which she is oblivious. A figure for our time!

        Also, I feel like the locution “done with”/”over with” comes somehow out of therapeutic culture, but I see it a lot on social media/Zuckerberg’s Panopticon. I think it may have to do with people being done with time consuming Internet fights, for what it’s worth, though I don’t think this connection is often made consciously.

      2. eg

        The PMC is a religion, and orthodox economists are its high priesthood — all of the other disciplines in the secular monasteries that are the universities are subordinates.

        Cost has replaced any hierarchy of values.

    4. flora

      “…to the point of absurdity.”

      Yes. Voltaire had it right:

      “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire

  5. Kristin brown

    Lambert: “Schooling behavior” of the striped eel catfish…..More than a good start imho….quite perfect.

    1. Carolinian

      Yes….good one!

      And once again I must apologize for our Senator Graham. The boy didn’t have good raising.

      1. John

        I think it fair to describe the “players” inside the DC Bubble & Echo Chamber as members of the PMC. Look around and tell me how they are doing.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Those catfish seem to show a kind of rolling behavior I have read about and sometimes seen film of for other species. It is a way for every member of the school to have a chance to feed on un-picked-over ground for a few seconds before falling back so the next rolling-along individuals can have a chance to feed.
      And so it rolls.

    1. jo6pac

      Sadly not before killing 500,000 children in Iran and I’m sure many more around the world. The good news is she has plenty of replacements in vicky nuland and susan rice and the rest of her tribe.

      1. Brunches with Cats

        > vicky nuland
        The nickname she goes by is “Toria.” I wouldn’t nitpick, except that “Vicky” is altogether too friendly, in a Barbie kind of way; whereas “Toria” has a “Cruella” ring to it and better reflects the viciousness of distributing cookies to protestors while arranging a coup behind the scenes, backstabbing political partners, and fanning the flames of Russophobia. It’s also fitting in that shortening a four-syllable name to three syllables makes no sense — unless the point is trying to sound more important.

        1. John

          I consider the use of the terminal syllable or syllables as a nickname a marker of the elites.

        1. bassmule

          And don’t forget: To Colin Powell: “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”
          You should see the comments section in the NY Times. Sainthood is not sufficient! Sample:

          “Such sad news! Madeline Albright, for all her tremendous accomplishments on behalf of her country and peoples around the world during the Clinton administration and in succeeding decades this reader will particularly remember what an oasis of calm and common sense her presence was on MSNBC during the former guy’s administration.”

          Kill me now.

          1. petal

            Patrick Stewart posted a photo on fb of her with the TNG cast and said of her “Secretary Albright was an extraordinary human being…a brilliant mind, a brilliant wit and a dear, true friend. May her memory be a blessing.” The top comments are pretty harsh towards both of them.

            1. The Rev Kev

              She should have been beamed out to space or stuffed into the nearest open air lock. Expect the main stream media to weep genuine tears for her passing and a huge funeral for an elder statesman. You think that Michelle will pass Donald a coupla lollies there?

    2. Karl

      She was born in Czechoslovakia. According to Wikipedia, her father was a Czech diplomat for the Benes government who fled just before the Nazi’s took over, and found refuge with the family in Britain. Fast forward to 1998: the first round of NATO expansion countries admitted included the Czech Republic (she was Sec. of State at the time). She, Jesse Helms and Joe Biden got that policy disaster through the Senate. On a similar career track is “F the EU” Victoria Nuland, who was raised in Canada by WW II Ukrainian refugees, and got promoted to be Biden’s Deputy Secretary of State (!). There are many others. Brzezinski. Kissinger. Dear God, please deliver us from East European emigres with WWII axes to grind.

  6. IM Doc

    For whatever reason, patients are opening up about political items of concern to them more than they ever have before. I feel at times like I am sitting on the barometer of the nation’s current zeitgeist.

    This morning has been particularly illuminating. It has to do with Lambert’s above link about the Supreme Court nominee not being willing to discuss what is the definition of a woman.

    Please note, these comments are being made to me unsolicited – the last thing I want to do is talk about politics with my patients. But both of these comments were made to me this AM by patients in my bright blue corner of the USA.

    #1 – A 24 year old Latino soy boy man-bun wearing Bernie Bro. – “Who are these people trying to kid? – That woman is either a liar – or she just does not care about the truth – Believe me, I know what a woman is…..”

    #2 – A 74 year old white female – former college professor in the humanities…..”What do you think, doctor, I for one am a bit taken back and confused……they have been forcefeeding me and my colleagues in the University for years that biology has absolutely nothing to do with gender identity – and yet when directly confronted with this issue, she falls back on biology. I think many of these people have no idea what is real and just say things they think are going to make them feel good. It makes me mad. So many excellent faculty resigned or were fired at my institution for trying to argue these facts from a biologic perspective. If they had been kept around to teach, maybe people like this poor woman would not be so confused. I wonder what all the women’s lib leaders of my youth would think about this? What has become of my Democratic party that such nonsense would be front and center in their issues?”

    I just let people talk. I think people need a safe outlet to talk these days for their mental health. But unfortunately, I have no answers myself. I have thought the same things.

    Again, it is absolutely unprecedented in my life how many people want to have small talk in their visit about politics. It used to be kids, vacations, etc – now it is all politics all the time. What have we done to ourselves?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Okay, it’s time for Slim to ‘fess up.

      IM Doc, I have been compiling a collection of your best comments. Or, shall we say, what I believe are your best comments.

      This one’s going into my IM Doc’s Greatest Hits collection.

      1. Louis Fyne

        If you ever want to share the collection, use pastebin dot com. simple, easy, free.

        I too enjoy hearing his anecdotes.

    2. AnnaSteed

      The general discussion about gender, womanhood, trans stuff, and definitions I find extremely tedious and there seems to be (willful?) ignorance on all sides.

      Asking someone to define ‘woman’ is a very clever rhetorical gambit. There’s a very loud dogwhistle answer that many are primed to expect: ‘adult human female’ which is interpreted as a signal to treat trans women socially differently cis women. This question is nod to that debate, and indicates the asker as being on one side in that debate. The nominee’s response is the classic retort from the other side, indicating some PMC, expert-deifying, boilerplate response.

      This stuff is frustrating for a few reasons. Any linguist will tell you that, aside from formal mathematical and logical terms (like ‘prime’ or ‘entailment’ etc.), simple words don’t really have what we understand to be definitions. Take ‘chair’, any attempt at a definition will fail (or at least no one has been able to come up with a satisfactory one yet), but any admission that there is no definition of chair is trivially spun into useful ‘this supposedly esteemed mind doesn’t even know what a chair is!’

      This is why the ‘define woman’ things is so perfect. It’s in effect a coded request to make a claim on a rabid culture war topic, disguised as asking whether the sky is blue or not. That is, the pragmatic function of the question is cleverly not what it appears to be

      an aside: no trans person denies the biological differences (heck, the obvious biological differences are the whole point to the trans thing), trans guys still get pap smears, trans women are still at risk for prostate cancer, no one denies this. The question is to what degree those differences matter in any given realm and to what degree how you function socially matters. I have my own opinions, but that’s the basic territory

      1. bystander

        This isn’t mean to sound retrograde, but judges DO have to make decisions and issue rulings based on what words in statutes and previous rulings mean.

        So as much as the question may have been intended as a “gotcha”, issues about trans rights are being debated now, like young trans women, who all things being equal have an athletic advantage over genetic women by virtue of higher muscle mass, being allowed to compete in female sports, (and being eligible for “women’s” college sports scholarships) are live matters where these definitions will count In other words, you can’t pretend this hot topic isn’t fair game, no matter how clever or inept the line of questioning.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          But her answer is not relevant as indicating some “truth” about the nominee that will provide any insight as to how she will do the job if she gets it. The answer/non-answer has the sole purpose of helping her navigate the confirmation hearing. And I doubt there is a single senator who has not already decided how to vote on the nomination, so the whole thing is theater.

        2. AnnaSteed

          Totally, it’s just that I find the coy, dogwhistle approach to the question (and the subsequent results like those with IM Doc’s patients in the comment above) particularly exasperating. I wish (I know this is a pipedream) we had big important decisions being made like adults with frank, intelligent questioning instead of this ‘gestures around’ stuff

          1. John

            In the past I paid attention to confirmation hearings, but they degenerated into committee members grandstanding and nominees giving non-answer answers or other forms of evasion. This particular hearing will neither reveal anything, influence the vote of any senator, nor provide any useful information about the candidate.

            If a nominee for the Supreme Court has the legal chops, or in the past the political chops, they were confirmed. Worked pretty well. You may recall Nixon’s nominees who were rejected for failing one or both of the ‘criteria’ stated above.

          2. Anonymous

            With you on that. There are a LOT of women who’d very much like to have very frank, very adult conversations about the issue.

            And I do mean frank. I do mean very very adult. Without euphemism, obfuscation or coy phrasing like “top surgery” and “bottom surgery” when we’re talking about elective double mastectomy, castration, and either penile inversion or the creation of a fistula lined with either colon tissue or stomach lining. And when we’re also talking about the sterilization of children and, as Dr. Marci Bowers at UCSF has acknowledged, a drug pathway that renders children incapable of of orgasm at adulthood.

            And that’s just the beginning of the very frank, very adult conversation women would like to have.

            Unfortunately when women try to have this very frank, very adult conversation, even just amongst themselves, they are subject to abuse:

            In the UK — throttling, choking, and kicks to the stomach — Maria Maclachlan at Speaker’s Corner; a fist to the face deflected at the last minute by security detail — Julie Bindel in Edinburgh; males kicking and slamming windows and doors of the room in which women were discussing the issue — Labour Party Conference, Brighton; smoke bombs and threats to throw them down stairs — womens’ meeting in Brighton; urine splashed all over their office doors, smoke bombs set off at their meetings, firings, constructive dismissals, hearings and expulsions for discussing female biology — at several different universities in the UK; expulsion from the Labour Party, the Green Party, and the Scots National Party; arrest and prosecution.

            In Canada, job loss, cancellation of book contracts, the requirement for police escort in order to give talks at libraries in Vancouver and Toronto; the vandalism of Vancouver Rape Crisis Center; vandalism of Vancouver Women’s Library.

            In the US, males marching in the SF Gay Pride Parade wearing t-shirts splashed with red to signify blood along with signs declaring they punch women, all while carrying pink-and-blue baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire. In San Francisco, London, Manchester, and Vancouver, lesbians roughed up by males in the Pride parades of Dyke Marches. In Baltimore, a gay pride party flyer depicting women hanging from a noose. In Vancouver, a guillotine displayed for women.

            In Paris, feminists attacked with lit flares, eggs, and fists. In Spain, a long-time feminist activist hung in effigy and women beaten by males.

            This is all over and above the routine deplatforming and cancelling.

            Truly — any time you’d like to have a frank, fully adult conversation, women are ready, willing, and able. We’d just like to not have to run a gantlet between rape and death threats, job loss, career damage, and physical injury to do so.

            If you know someone willing to enter this conversation with women at an adult and fully frank level, contact Helen Joyce, journalist at The Economist. She has been trying to have this debate for years, and any debates scheduled are then abruptly cancelled, on the grounds that her words make a subset of the male population feel unsafe.

            Regardless, the conversation WILL be had. If it must be promulgated by the right, because the left refuses to engage with feminists — or mothers — then that is how it will be.

            I promise you, amongst women, it is happening via samizdat.

            1. PressGaneyMustDie

              It’s the ultimate mansplaining: “Now that I’m a woman I can define to you what being a woman is. Obey.”

      2. Anon

        What I am more impressed by, was her response! “I’m not a biologist.” actually answers the covert question pretty succinctly (she believes womanhood is a biological characteristic), and is noncommittal about it; has an air of middle finger to it that sits well with me.

    3. Duke of Prunes

      I’ve also noticed a drift toward casual political conversation. I think the “lock down” has a lot to do with it because people have run out of normal things to talk about. People aren’t going on vacation, or, if they are, realize it may be bad form to talk/brag about it. The kids aren’t doing the normal kid stuff – sports are only now starting to get back to normal. When I went into “lock down” over the holidays, I really didn’t miss my friends that much because we have all run out of things to talk about. Nothing changes. Same stories over and over, no one is out making new stories. Hence, let’s jaw about politics.

    4. c_heale

      The candidate chosen because she was a (black) woman cannot define what a woman is.

      Beyond stupid.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        If she knows the question is bullsh1t, why is she obligated to give a genuine answer? I’m confident she can define what a woman is. I’m also confident she knew that it would do no good to try to answer that question genuinely.

      2. marym

        These senators who are supposedly so solicitous for fairness for girls and women in sports are willing to support Supreme Court nominees who don’t care about women who need to terminate a pregnancy, vote, have their vote counted, read a book about slavery, form a union…

        They’re just performing for the cameras. Given the current make-up of the court, they and their followers have little to worry about regardless of how Brown responds to the heckling. The people they want to hurt are very likely to get hurt.

      3. Bakes

        When asked these sorts of “gotcha” questions, why not simply invoke and paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart?

        I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.

    5. Dave in Austin

      I saw her awesome ability to not answer a question as simply proof that neither side has a sense of humor. The follow-up questions should have been:

      “President Biden made a campaign promise to appoint a Black female to the Supreme Court. Did he appoint a female? Did he appoint a Black? And if so, what definitions did you apply when you answered those questions in the affirmative?”

      “Since the Federal Courts are routinely required to rule on Title 9 cases, what definition of “female” will you be using in those cases?”

      I sure hope Saturday Night Live was listening

    6. .human

      Politics pushes buttons. I know that I am always happy to converse with those who have open opinions and can disagree calmly and intelligently, a vanishingly small number these days.

    7. flora

      Thanks very much for your comment. I was shocked she didn’t have an elegant “out” of an answer, but instead used a high school level answer. For people thinking it was a got’cha question (and it was) so it didn’t deserve an answer, I’d say it’s an important question none the less for Title9 issues, womens’ rights issues, and if the Transhuman movement makes progress it’s an important question on what constitutes a human being with rights. Is the transhuman possibility too far in the future, too unlikely to happen to give consideration to? I’d have thought this sort of “woman” would never have come up even 10 years ago. So that’s my serious take on this question/answer.

      My less serious answer – regarding the question “What have we done to ourselves?” – I think we’re living through the great age of cheating in the Western world. See the GFC and big banks cheating customers, and homeowners being cheated out of homes subprime lender and by govt HAMP program and by fraudulent foreclosure. Cheating on new drug safety tests and hiding the data by big pharma causing harm (Vioxx, eg). Cheating by stock rating agencies costing people and pension funds their savings. Congressmen and women able to cash in on prior stock movement knowledge, while that’s illegal for non-Congresspeople. Monopolies can cheat and be given millions in tax breaks; little shops struggle to compete and are hammered by govt rules. Cheating in sports has been around a long time, but this takes it to a new level, cheating young XX women out of winning places, after women have spent 50 years trying to build parity with men in sports programs. This is the great age of cheats, where the rich and connected cheats get away with almost anything. I think a lot of people feel this, recognize it, and are frustrated by the govts refusal to rein in any of it. Yes, the powerful have always been able to cut corners, but not like now, and not at the obvious large expense of the little people. Did someone say falling life expectancies?
      My extended 2 cents. / ;)

      1. flora


        I’d have thought this sort of “woman” question would never have come up even 10 years ago.

      2. The Rev Kev

        And its cute how so many important people think that there will never be any consequences because of it.

    8. PressGaneyMustDie

      IM Doc: does your waiting room have a TV in it with The View or a news channel? I did inpatient endo for a few years and the short stay check-in clerk insisted on having the waiting room TV reflect her ideology. After finishing an after hours case one night I read the online manual for our hospital’s brand of tv and used the parental controls to lock out everything but HGTV and the patient education channels. I made my unit’s phone extension the lock code ;)

    9. drumlin woodchuckles

      Those two people who spoke to IM Doc are not cynical enough about the purpose of the question. The Republican Senators are just trying to plant verbal land-mine traps to try tricking Jackson into stepping on. They were trying to trick an embarrassing quote of some kind out of her to mass-viralize on Foxanon-Trumpanon media. And she understood that very well and was doing her best to avoid giving them their telegenic “Tucker Carlson outrage fodder” quote.

  7. Michael Hudson

    Re the UCLA ad, I was told by some Henry george NGO foundation administrators that they got paid for getting volunteers to work for free. That’s why universities have hired so many more managers than professors. It takes talent to save universities money on teaching staffs.
    The unsaid kicker: If the successful applicant has his or her OWN grant money, does the University take 20% as its “administrative cut”?

    1. Paleobotanist

      I can think of one institution that takes 75-80% overhead on grants killed and brought home by unpaid researchers…(researchers here are paid out of their grants usually). Rumor has it that the NSF is no longer approving of grants coming from this institution….

  8. hemeantwell

    Under “Psychology of,” I considered adding displacement, projection, and denial but I wasn’t sure how peculiar to the PMC they were

    They’re not. I’m inclined to shift the question away from a class-based distribution of defensive functioning to consider what features of a society promote defensive functioning, as opposed to acknowledgement of reality. Capitalist democracies pose their own kinds of trials, starting with the oft-noted tension between democracy at the poll booth and tyranny at the workplace. Throw in the imperial drive of capitalism and you have a bubbling vat of pressures and contradictions. Try to keep the lid on with the idealizations of Opportunity for All and American Exceptionalism and you’re stuck with maintaining an intense ideological effort. Reality-distorting defensive operations are at its core.

    One of the remarkable features of the current mess is that the exit ramp of reality acknowledgement, at least in terms of the immediate foreign policy crisis, is pretty well defined by “realists,” both present and past, who reside across the political spectrum. The War Party faces serious limits on how long it can succeed in fueling defensive functioning by waving a bloody shirt, or diapers. “The Russians” are no longer a system-challenging boogey, but resource merchants. etc.

  9. RockHard

    Regarding Polis: a few things about CO
    * Racially, this state is extremely white / latino. Lower black population than average and asians are almost invisible
    * Libertarianism is a huge part of the political makeup.
    * There are very much 4 constituencies: the urban areas (population dominant), the farm areas in eastern and some high plains locations, the military establishment in CO Springs, and the high mountain people. These overlap in weird ways.
    * There seems to be an established pattern now of taking someone successful in business and making them a politician. Hickenlooper made millions in restaurants and brewing, Mayor of Denver then Governor of CO (even though he’s basically invisible in the US Senate). Polis was very much the same mold and a similar path (US Congress and then Governor).
    The state GOP keeps putting up these marginal candidates with little if any business experience. On the flip side, the true liberals tend to hate this type. Really, at the state level it’s very much a neoliberal model – we’ll talk a lot about social issues but when it gets down to it, they govern for business first.

    1. Señor Dingdong

      I agree about the GOP putting up weak candidates for Gov. Also, doesn’t Tancredo always run? I think there’s usually a libertarian spoiler.
      And Yes, CO is very white/latino. You have to come over to Aurora to get any real diversity.

      Polis is just another billionaire, socially liberal centrist. Surprise, he’s also all in on Ukraine and getting that mean old Putin! Same with Jason Crow, and Michael Bennett. The emails I’ve received in reply to MY calls and emails were filled with such jingoistic nonsense I’m amazed I didn’t break something.

  10. Pat

    Hell has called Madeleine Albright home. May she rot there.
    Unfortunately things have gotten so bad that we won’t be able to tell the difference.

  11. Tom Stone

    The good news about HRC reminded me of one of my favorite jokes from 2016.
    “What’s the difference between being extremely careless and being negligent?
    30 years in Leavenworth.

    1. Brunches with Cats

      By “good news,” do you mean that she’s on the list of candidates who say they’re not running? I sincerely hope you’re right, but isn’t there a political maxim to the effect that denial is a sure sign they’re doing it?

      FWIW, Jay Inslee also is on the “declined” list, which likely means he’s just waiting to see which way the wind blows. What do you think his huffing and puffing about vax mandates was all about? It was pretty clear to me that he intended to run in 2024 on having eradicated COVID from Washington State through his uncompromising strength, commitment to saving lives through science, whateverwhateverblahblah. Another thought: Maybe guys like Inslee and Cuomo are lurking in the wings in service to the party, e.g., the way the troops rallied to reinforce Joe by denying Bernie a majority vote in the primaries? Of note, both Inslee and Cuomo have been solid Hillary supporters.

      1. judy2shoes

        I think the “good news” about HRC that Tom Stone was referring to is that she caught Covid.

        1. Brunches with Cats

          I considered that possibility, but his joke referred to 2016. Besides, I don’t know why anyone would think it was good news that she tested positive for COVID. It won’t make her nearly as sick or for as long as being denied her right to the throne — NOT that I would wish COVID on anyone, however much I disliked them. It’s petty, plus you know what they say about karma.

  12. Mikel

    “Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson refuses to define the word ‘woman’ because she’s ‘not a biologist’ as she is grilled on day two of her confirmation hearing”

    Will it all be remembered as the biggest part of the hill the Democrats chose to die on? Time will tell…

  13. Tom Stone

    Does Biden remind anyone else of a kid waiting at the wrong stop for the short bus on a Saturday morning?

  14. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding your breakdown of the characteristics of the PMC and the article about academics as snitches, I’d posit that Woke-ism (and its symptomatic snitching/backstabbing/piling on) is a fundamental/clinical element of Predatory Precarity, whereby highly credentialed people in increasingly insecure and proletarianized fields – think academia and journalism, in particular – weaponize the political, usually IdPol-related flavor of the moment for professional survival and/or advancement The sudden emergence of the non/anti-word Latinx (pronounced La-Tinks, if you weren’t sure) or preferred pronouns is indicaive. The case of Don McNeil at the Times is instructive: management only sought a reprimand for what were minimal “offenses” totally unrelated to his reporting or interactions with colleagues, but that wasn’t enough: dozens of co-workers demanded his head, and he was forced to resign.

    It’s moral vanity (when sincere) and/or plain old opportunism that, as Adolph Reed and others have pointed out, is the class project of a class that is strictly out for itself.

    1. LawnDart

      Note also I think “predatory precarity” can give an account of a lot of the academic (and party) behaviors we see, as backstabbing, snitching, betrayal, and so forth. Readers, is this a good start?

      Would “ends justify means” be a good addition?

      Can “casual and confident bullshitting” be considered a PMC and aspirational PMC attribute?

      1. dk

        Would “ends justify means” be a good addition?

        Definitely include, but I think there’s a necessary prior rationalization to that one, the one about the “good intentions” of the (PMC) protagonist. And that one (and several others) tail back to this one:

        “I am educated/successful, therefor my thoughts and desires are intrinsically sound and consistent (and physically possible, and inherently ethical and moral, etc. etc.).”

        I call it “the assumption of god-head” but that’s a bit pushy. Not unique to PMC but surely one of their root characteristics.

        “Ends justify the means” is actually doubling down on conclusions from the same single assumption, that I accurately anticipate a (physically possible) future condition, and that the means I apply in the present context will actually produce my stated/desired goal.

        I think we should also examine PMC’s concepts of and relationships to time. Time factors are often overlooked by ideologues when they discuss “means” and end-conditions. A plan can satisfy simple logic and still be impossible in practice. Simple logic often ignores time factors like synchronization (not always automatic) and durations of periods of transition (human bodies die in days without water, in weeks without food/sleep, so we face certain hard constraints on available time). PMC are certainly aware of their own time constraints (deadlines, effort/reward ratios, etc), but seem to neglect them when they interfere with rosy visualization.

        Also while I’m here, if feel that “Exaggeration” deserves a place on the list. Sure, too many of us do way too much of it (no really! that’s accurate!), but it’s a bad ‘un, distorting information, weakening rational assessment, and undermining any good intention in discourse. It’s also a case of “ends justify means”. And sadly, we can exaggerate to ourselves to stimulate our own emotional states and intellectual responses, to simulate an honesty we don’t actually present.

        So yes, “ends justify means” deserves inclusion but let’s try to capture several important components too. If we’re ambitions and have some luck in our initial effort, we might even end up with a map of the dependencies between these conditions/axioms.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      FYI: It’s not “la-tinks,” it’s “la-teen-ex” with a slight emphasis on the second syllable (as with “la-teen-oh” and “la-teen-ah”).

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        But wouldn’t pronouncing it “latinks” whenever one is forced or pressured into pronouncing it at all . . . help kill it faster? And by the way, changing chicano to chicanx, cubano to cubanx, etc., might help kill it even more fasterer.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          That’s exactly my thinking: kill it off by exposing and mocking its linguistic bankruptcy.

          On the other hand, perhaps it’ll die a death when the D’s start losing La-Tinks voters even faster… then again, probably not, since doubling down is a chronic Woke condition.

  15. jr

    “King of the Jerks” Bill Maher dropping a little queer bashing TDS via Kyle Kylinski via Breaking Points:


    The bifurcated thinking of the liberal is stunning to behold. No doubt Maher would be shocked if someone accused him of hating gay men. Kylinski doesn’t share the video because copyright but I’m sure his audience sat up on their haunches and snapped it up

  16. LawnDart

    Bye-bye rules-based order.
    And Yankee dollar.

    From India, #5 in world GDP with a nearly 7% growth rate (almost equal to China (USA is 2%)) and nearly 18% of the world’s population, they may be next to abandon SWIFT and to build their own internet so that they can protect themselves from big-tech gatekeepers:

    Rajeev Chandrasekhar: ‘Big Tech weaponised internet amid conflict, presiding over splinter-net’

    Amid the continued “weaponisation” of the internet by some Big Tech platforms during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict bringing back the focus on the sweeping powers of social media platforms, India is readying a new cybersecurity and data governance framework.


    1. fresno dan

      The actions by Big Tech companies and intermediaries also violate basic principles of net neutrality and basic idea of openness of internet as they have now become “gatekeepers”, he (Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar) said.
      “The platforms are now controlling the access to the internet in many ways, be it through monopolies of search engines, duopolies of app stores, or devices.”
      Monopolies are not good. And it is obvious that the US believes in protecting US rent seekers because, despite all the yammering about the free market, the last thing these monopolies believe in is competition. There is nothing magical that is done by Facebook or Google, and an awful lot that is inimical to consumers. Countries are cathcing on that these companies are not their friends…

    2. Ghost in the Machine

      I wonder if I will be allowed to peruse these new splintered nets here in the land of the free.

          1. ChrisRUEcon

            Ha. We’re gonna have to start using VPN’s just like those “suffering” under the “authoritarian” Chinese.

          2. caucus99percenter

            Blocked in Germany / E.U. too. As you indicate, not a sign of a polity confident about its much-touted pluralism, diversity, and ability to advance actual arguments in an open “marketplace of ideas.”

    3. LawnDart

      Need to elaborate on the “bye-bye dollar” part:

      India-Russia currency swaps bypass US sanctions

      India and Russia will have currency swaps in place to finance trade in rupees and rubles, bypassing the US sanctions regime against Russia…

      Several of India’s state-owned banks will execute the swaps under the supervision of the Reserve Bank of India, starting as early as next week…


  17. ChiGal

    So Done
    According to the Urban Dictionary it is an internet meme frequently accompanied by a GIF

    The use of the phrase “so done” in the context of emotional of physical exhaustion may have originated with the idiom “stick a fork in me. I’m done,” which references the cooking practice of sticking a fork into a piece of food to determine if it has been cooked long enough.
    On July 1st, 2009, Free Dictionary Forums[6] user Kat submitted a thread asking if variations of the phrase “I am so done” were grammatically correct.

    On May 27th, 2010, Urban Dictionary[1] user PresentJ submitted an entry for the phrase “so done,” defining it as being “unable to handle any more of the current situation.”

  18. PlutoniumKun

    Re: The Gallery

    I’m no art expert, but I had this morning off work for a dental appointment and I used the extra time on my way home to wander into the Chester Beatty Museum, with its amazing collection of Central Asian and Japanese art. At the moment, there is a wonderful Persian exhibition, but a few months back there was an even better exhibition of Japanese prints and that print above looked familiar. They are unusual, but prints of rainy night scenes were a thing, including this Hiroshige. Here is another very beautiful mid 19th Century one.

    Japanese prints were very widely available in the mid 19th Century in Europe and were particularly influential on the impressionists. So I would guess its possible Whistler had seen some Edo period prints and was influenced by them.

    1. bwilli123

      This is a must see collection in Dublin. The Japanese fish prints are otherworldly beautiful.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yup, its amazing. Even a lot of Dubliners have no idea how special it is. And only a tiny proportion of the collection is on display. I know scholars who say that while there are bigger collections, none can match it for its sheer quality.

        Its just better of course not to enquire too deeply into the source of its original funding….

  19. KD

    PMC is related to the therapeutic managerial state, in which therapeutic relationships are used to foster social dominance, in contrast to rank/authority or equality. The PMC is the one in the chair, and the other is in the couch, metaphorically.

    What are the problems of the PMC? Take racism–how do we solve racism for the PMC. First, you need to hire more bureaucrats to promote and manage diversity, you need HR bureaucrats in private companies, you need a whole cottage industry of workshops and trainers. You can look at domestic violence, you need prosecutors to prosecute, and grants to fund bigger police departments and more prosecutions. You need to educate judges, you need special counselors. Look at drugs, everything ends with a grant from a foundation or the government, and everything requires hiring more liberal arts grads to push paper, and identifying “problematic” issues that become more white collar jobs programs.

    In contrast, wokeness is definitely a PMC thing, but it chiefly has arisen in the academic market, which is characterized by a gross overproduction of Ph.D.’s. I think wokeness is an strategy to try and create a guild system, and is most prevalent in the Academy, because that is where it is necessary to exclude competitors. It has spread, although I would hazard a guess it does less well the less market competition, and obviously, it contributes to make work liberal arts grad jobs.

    I also think the working class shift is a result of workers increasingly seeing PMC and their agenda as contrary to their interests. Its one thing for an employer to exploit you, its another thing to become the institutional “deplorable” subject to be reconstructed into the new man by your “compassionate” PMC. Further, how much of these PMC jobs could just disappear overnight, without anyone noticing? Supporting the PMC is socially expensive, mostly without benefit, its a deadweight cost born by workers.

  20. JBird4049

    >>>“predatory precarity”

    Let’s look at that more, shall we?

    As the American nation becomes overall poorer, suffering from increasing costs (and often the lack of) housing, food, and medical care, instead of even incompetent, but real, efforts at remediation, we get a increasing beat down on how we, but not the Elect, are all bigoted, despicable, disloyal, uneducated, and possibly Neo-nazi scum. It is all our fault!

    Restated, the worse things get because of what we do, the more beatings we give you because it is all your fault. Rather like the father when there is no food in the house, because he drank or gambled away the paycheck, blaming then beating the wife.

    Funny thing is addiction. The addict creates elaborate, artistic castles made of BS evermore baroque to hide, confuse, or deflect WTF is happening. But it only works for so long, especially if they are not even acknowledging what is happening and eventually the artist has something happen. To them.

    I think the reason we are having actual headaches, or at least I am, is not only the suffering caused by the hunger, but more that the emotional beat down we all are getting by those benefiting, supposedly at least, by laying those heavy castles on our collective heads. We are having one class telling the rest of the classes to believe them and not our lying eyes, just as abusers or addicts do.

    The greatest, at least initially, relief comes from someone, which could even be the abuser, saying I believe my lying eyes. There is nothing surefire, but acknowledging the lipstick, the empty bottle, the missing money (or the car) means something just might be repaired. Eventually. At least, the exhausting effort needed to maintain the fantasy is no longer needed.

    The questions I have are just when will enough of us believe our lying eyes and when that happens, what does happen? The difficult, but relieving conversation that maybe, perhaps, is the start of fixing the problems, or the final argument that causes the breakup or the your are dead to me moment, or someone bringing out the kitchen knife? And the longer it does take, the more… dramatic and sudden the conclusion is likely to be.

    I would hope that it would be a mutual seeing, and there is a chance that enough of the abused ones will accept the lies, as victimes often do. I do not believe either will happen. No, I expect that the abuser class will just keep doubling down. That they will keep demanding that we “believe the science” or accuse dissenters of being “Putin apologists” and that increasing efforts will be made to control the narrative, which controls the nation.

    This makes it almost a certainty that the metaphorical missing car or mystery lipstick will happen, suddenly releasing the pent-up fear or rage, which means a greater chance that the knife, baseball bat, or gun will pop out. It will be interesting to see just what the triggering event will be, and who will bring out the weapon, but I will not be happy when it does.

    The sad thing is that it is all there to be seen by everyone if they were not so scared of seeing it, but fear does make fools of us all, doesn’t it?

  21. Pat

    Regarding wood prints, you might like the Process episode of the PBS series of Craft in America. One section follows Tom Killion which shows him using a traditional hand-cranked press which is how he produces his Japanese-style wood multi-block and lino-cut prints and books.

    Information about Craft in America – Process

    It is a jam packed episode, Killion is near the end.

  22. Chauncey Gardiner

    So appreciated the image of the woodblock print by Kawase Hasui (and the link to other of his woodblocks through Rabih Alameddine’s twitter). Both Hasui-san’s work and Whistler’s ‘Nocturne’ are surely the genesis of the look and feel of film noir. Amazing creative work.

    1. The Rev Kev

      When you look at that ‘Night Rain at Omiya’ long enough, you can almost hear the rain falling. Lookong at modern images of Omiya and it seems to be all city now and built over.

  23. David H.

    I love the reference to Sunset Boulevard regarding Hilllary’s request for movie recommendations. Some folks never realize they have worn out their welcome. Outstanding wit!

    1. Skip Intro

      I believe this was anticipated here. Say the name: Petrorouble

      Not pronounced like petro-trouble or petro-rubble…

  24. Dave in Austin

    Even more remarkable is this in the article:

    “The rouble briefly leapt after the shock announcement to a three-week high past 95 against the dollar. It pared gains but stayed well below 100, closing at 97.7 against the dollar, down more than 22% since Feb. 24.”

    Down more than 22%? The day after Biden’s State of the Union I believe it was down 70+ percent. If so it has trippled in value. Am I wrong on that? Too bad I couldn’t invest in it? Or are there Rouble futures on some obscure, still functioning market. I don’t know anyone at Goldman Sachs to ask.

    1. Yves Smith

      I think that 77% was over a longer period, like a year. My dim recollection is it fell to 130 before central bank intervention and rallied 15% right after. So yes, 97.7 is higher.

  25. Sardonia

    Movie recommendation for Hillary: Harold and Maude, where the Wisdom Figure, Maude, reveals to Harold at her 80th birthday party that she has poisoned herself, because she believes “80 is a good age to die!”

  26. Another Scott

    Lambert bait

    I read this article a few days ago and have been meaning to post it.


    This article confirms my assumptions about a source of confusion: why are so many people in Maine complaining about waste imports (primarily from Massachusetts) when Massachusetts’ report on waste management shows minimal municipal solid waste (MSW) being sent to Maine (far more is sent to New York and Ohio)? The answer is most of the waste coming from Massachusetts is construction & demolition (C&D). This type of waste had considerably less regulation and oversight compared to MSW, which is part of the reason that I got so confused.

    I don’t think anyone comes out of this story looking good. Maine politicians look like naive rubes; Massachusetts environmentalists believe in the recycling fairy, oblivious to how complex systems work; and Casella seems dishonest, profit-seekers without a concern for the environment or locals.

    Juniper Ridge (the landfill in question) sounds like a Superfund site waiting to happen, and where will all the waste go when it closes? My guess is Casella-owned landfills in Upstate New York, and Macquarie owned ones in Ohio and Georgia

  27. Dave in Austin

    May I recommend Patrick Lancaster today at https://twitter.com/PLnewstoday.

    He has his side. His wife is Russian. And he does ask leading questions but he doesn’t push it. Half an hour from women with kids who came to a Russian controlled hospital outside of town. They have thier stories and he lets them tell them. Listen carefully.

    I love the 89 year-old woman who when asked “were the soldiers Russian or Ukrainian?” (he is hoping for Ukrainain) she answers with a shrug and says: “I don’t know, it’s not written on their forehead, Russian or Ukrainian”

  28. Billsplace

    “Kamala Harris viewed White House aides not standing when she walked into a room as ‘a sign of disrespect,’ ?

    She’s always talking about gender equality and women’s abilities and she wants people to stand for her where people cannot stand her?

    Why stand for someone who got her political start on her knees?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I don’t think that Russia got that particular memo. And from my perch, it is we in the west that have lost. We just don’t realize it yet.

      1. Pat

        I think a whole lot of us do. We just don’t anyway of doing anything about it.

        And there are those that suspect it, but think if they big foot or bully people/countries we can put off the reckoning because that has always worked for them before without realizing that they are dealing with people who can and will ignore them stomping their feet. (Yeah I think the recent China stupidity was a tantrum at having heard no for the first time.)

  29. ChrisRUEcon

    Before I lay me down to sleep …


    :: tongue firmly planted in cheek ::

    Lambert! Pray tell! What on earth have the striped eel catfish done to deserve this?!!! … LOL

    How do we get from “the vulnerable protect each other until each is mature and independent” to #UkraineWarmongering and #RussiaRussiaRussia?!


    I know I suffer from #TwitterDoomScrolling trauma, but what the PMC does feels more like a feeding frenzy – a maelstrom of consent manufacturing and tribal virtue signaling. I guess in the minds of those in the PMC, they probably do see themselves acting in concert to do good, like our amazing fish friends. But we here know different … piranhas are not our friends.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        #TIL (Today I Learned)

        (and apologies if it’s been posted it before)

        Walgreens has a COVID-19 Tracker (via walgreens.com) complete with BA.2 variant info.

        Looks like it’s based on data from PCR testing done at Walgreen’s based on what is said here (via news.walgreens.com):

        “Data will be updated frequently and provide a rolling snapshot of the previous 7 days’ data based on analysis of positive tests at more than 5,000 Walgreens testing locations.”

        Have at it …

  30. Eclair

    Re: American Woodcock Week at NC. Maybe a new spring tradition? I realize we have all been pushed a bit off-center by recent events, but I found myself at lunch with friends yesterday (bowls of ramen, after blossoming cherry tree viewing) telling the Woodcock story and giving a valiant imitation of its poignant mating call: the rusty ‘peen …. peen ….. peen.’ Fortunately, my performance was masked by the sounds of noodle-slurping. It is the only bird ‘song’ I can reproduce, sort of, other than that of the barred owl. So, thank you, Lambert.

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