2:00PM Water Cooler 3/4/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Strange sounds from Oz!!!

* * *


“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

Capitol Seizure

“‘Doobie Smoker’ sentenced for role in Jan. 6 riot” [NBC]. “A man who stormed the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack and dubbed himself the “Doobie Smoker” on social media after he smoked marijuana in the rotunda was sentenced to two years’ probation Thursday. Federal prosecutors had pushed for Eduardo Nicolas Alvear Gonzalez, whom the government described as a ‘self-employed social media influencer,’ to be sentenced to three months in jail, arguing that his frequent self-promotion and public statements describing the riot as ‘beautiful’ raised serious concerns about his respect for the rule of law.” • And whow among us is not a “self-employed social media influencer”?

“Anger and insults: Documents show DOJ pushed back bluntly at Trump effort” [The Hill]. “[T]he committee provided depositions with top Trump-era DOJ officials who speak candidly about the now-infamous January 2021 meeting where many threatened to resign as Trump mulled installing mid-level DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark, one of his allies, as acting attorney general to forward an investigation. That includes comments that Clark ‘wouldn’t even know how to find his way to [FBI Director] Chris Wray’s office, much less march in there and direct the FBI what to do.’ Then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, had for days been pushing back against a president increasingly fixated on meritless election fraud claims and baffled by his grumblings he should install Clark. But they were still surprised to get an email from Clark shortly thereafter promoting ‘various theories that seemed to be derived from the internet,’ according to Donoghue. They included a theory that the Chinese government may have hacked into Dominion voting machines through a smart thermostat. That was followed with a request for an intelligence community briefing on the matter along with the request to have the Justice Department send a letter to Georgia asking it to stall certification of its election results pending a DOJ investigation. Donoghue said he had to read the letter more than once to digest what Clark was proposing, noting that the email made Rosen — a longtime colleague of Clark’s — ‘a little angry.’ Donoghue called Clark, who during a conversation between the two men said that he had been doing his own investigation.”

“Barr says Trump responsible for Jan. 6 riot ‘in the broad sense of that word'” [The Hilll]. “During an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, which is scheduled to air in full on Sunday, Barr was asked if the former president was responsible for what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. ‘I do think he was responsible in the broad sense of that word, and that it appears that part of the plan was to send this group up to the Hill. I think the whole idea was to intimidate Congress, and I think that that was wrong,’ Barr responded. Holt noted during the interview that Trump provided a three-page response to the network over Barr’s remarks, in which he called his former attorney general a ‘coward,’ ‘a big disappointment’ and ‘lazy.’ He also said Barr’s forthcoming memoir, ‘One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General,’ was ‘fake.’ In an excerpt of that response to NBC News, which was obtained by The Hill, Trump claimed that before the Jan. 6 rally, he had suggested that troops be stationed in Washington, D.C., and at the Capitol building, but that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) were not interested.” • “Suggested.” In writing? On tape?

Biden Adminstration

A few orts and scraps on Ukraine:

“The Biden administration is ‘actively discussing’ sending Kamala to Romania and Poland in the coming days to show ‘solidarity’ with Ukraine as Putin continues his relentless attacks” [Daily Mail] (07:42 GMT) and “White House discussing sending Harris to Poland and Romania” [CNN] (17:11 GMT). • Hard to see why this hasn’t happened. I mean, do they want to solve the problem, or not?

Obama the realist:


“Americans Fear Economic Impact of Ukraine Conflict” [Rassmussen]. “The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 74% of American Adults believe the Russian invasion of Ukraine is likely to hurt the American economy, including 40% who think it’s Very Likely the invasion will be bad for our economy. Only 14% don’t expect the Russia-Ukraine war to hurt the U.S. economy, while another 12% are not sure.” • The question: “How likely is it that the Russian invasion of Ukraine will hurt the American economy?”

Dudes, come on:

They look… fragile to me. Musical interlude:

(Big X fan here. And heck, it’s Friday.)

* * *

“Biden’s State of the Union Did Something New” [James Fallows, The Atlantic]. URL more to the point: “was-bidens-state-union-speech-good.” • This is worth a read, because Fallows goes through it line by line — as I do, when I put on my yellow waders — and annotates it. I skipped right to the Covid part. It’s incredibly weak. Fallows defense isn’t even half-hearted. Fallows thinks the speech is good, however.

“Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, With Long COVID Himself, Introduces Research Bill” [NECN]. “Nearly two years after getting COVID-19, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine says he still has mild symptoms. Kaine joined two fellow Democratic senators, Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, in introducing a bill Wednesday to fund research aimed at better understanding long COVID-19. ‘I tell people it feels like all my nerves have had like five cups of coffee,’ Kaine toldThe Washington Post in describing a ’24/7′ tingling sensation. The Comprehensive Access [***cough***] to Resources and Education (CARE) for Long COV

ID Act would centralize data about patient experiences and fund research into the effectiveness of treatments. It also would expand resources available to help those with lingering symptoms. Kaine’s flu-like symptoms began in March 2020 and went away within weeks, but the nerve tingling never stopped. He tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in May 2020. The little-understood phenomenon in which symptoms linger for weeks or months after a coronavirus infection could affect thousands.” • I wish our elected representatives didn’t have to experience things personally to understand their importance. But here we are. Long Covid, however, affects millions, not “thousands.”

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.

* * *

Republican Funhouse

A nasty piece of work:


* * *

“Hispanic women emerge as big winners in Texas GOP primary” [Politico]. “The GOP saw continued strong turnout in the state’s southernmost border counties in the latest display that Trump’s gains among Hispanic voters were no anomaly. But that was only part of the story. When the dust clears after the May 24 runoffs, as many as eight Latinos — including six women — could ultimately be Republican nominees for congressional seats across Texas. In the Rio Grande Valley alone, at least two Latinas will carry the GOP nod.” • As you can see, Sanders did very well in South Texas in 2020:

You’ve gotta wonder what the brain gemiuses in the Democrat leadership did to turn South Texas Hispanics into Republicans, but here we are.

But their stock trades:

Tom Suozzi (D-NY3). (Oh, wow, Steve Israel‘s seat. Proud heritage.)


“Trump Just Endorsed an Oath Keeper’s Plan to Seize Control of the Republican Party” [ProPublica]. “The plan, known as the ‘precinct strategy,’ has been repeatedly promoted on Steve Bannon’s popular podcast. As ProPublica detailed last year, it has already inspired thousands of people to fill positions at the lowest rung of the party ladder. Though these positions are low-profile and often vacant, they hold critical powers: They help elect higher-ranking party officers, influence which candidates appear on the ballot, turn out voters on Election Day and even staff the polling precincts where people vote and the election boards that certify the results.” • So the scheme is to have activists… join the Republican Party? And exert political influence on it? And it’s inevitable this will work, because nobody else is willing to do the work of the party?

Realignment and Legitimacy


I’ve made the “Axelrove” joke myself. And for the low, low price of $16.05 per month…



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.

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

* * *

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Flattened out, continues encouraging (and independent from the CDC).

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

* * *

I’m just waiting for CDC to find a way to jigger the wastewater statistics:

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

See at “WTF.” I’d call Nebraska a data problem, except re-infections are still real infections, if you’re concerned with real people. (I know, I know; assumes facts not in evidence.) This looks to me like the CDC baseline is way too low, if every state counted like Nebraska is. Readers, can you talk me off the ledge? (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:

“Health update: Vermont’s COVID-19 outlook improves” [Vermont Public Radio]. “COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations and deaths are declining in Vermont, and health officials say they expect the numbers to keep falling. As the state enters into the endemic phase of COVID-19, there are still questions about how to keep older Vermonters and those with compromised immune systems safe.” • Amazing how “the endemic phase” because conventional wisdom without, so far as I can tell, any scientific justification at all. Is it wishful thinking? Is it MBAs thinking their spreadsheets rule the world, instead of the other way round? It’s bizarre. Like so much else.

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

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

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Sea of green once more. 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: 981,729 979,725. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci line.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

The excess deaths chart appears weekly, on Friday.

Look at the qualifications in that drop-down. And the ginormous typo, helpfully highlighted, has been there for weeks. CDC, if you’re reading this, please send a signal by getting this fixed. And then throw some documents over the transom. In complete confidentiality!

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Non Farm Payrolls” [Trading Economics]. “The American economy added 678K jobs in February of 2022, the most in seven months and way above market forecasts of 400K. Job growth was widespread, led by leisure and hospitality (179K), namely food services and drinking places (124K) and accommodation (28K); professional and business services (95K), mainly temporary help services (36K), management of companies and enterprises (12K) and management and technical consulting services (10K); health care (64K); and construction (60K). That leaves employment 2.1 million jobs below its pre-pandemic level and many economists believe the job market could recover all the pandemic losses this year.”

Employment Situation: “United States Unemployment Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The US unemployment rate edged down to 3.8 percent in February of 2022 from 4 percent in the previous month, a new pandemic low and below market expectations of 3.9 percent. The number of unemployed persons edged down by 243 thousand to 6.270 million. In February 2020, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, and the number of unemployed persons was 5.7 million. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate edged up to 62.3 percent in February, the highest level since March 2020.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 18 Extreme Fear (previous close: 22 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 33 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 4 at 1:17pm.

The Gallery

I look at most of Max Ernst dutifully, but I really like this one, perhaps because of the blue texture:

Ernst was big on birds, so I looked but didn’t spot one. I do see a cage….

Feral Hog Watch

Surely these “vital seed distributors” are not feral hogs?

In any case, the National Butterfly Center has more important idiocies to worry about:

Our Famously Free Press


I’m not sure I’d buy the author’s book. But I sure buy the description of what our famously free press did to her.

The Agony Column

I guess I’ll file this here because Fesshole (one of my favorite accounts):

Note that in General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord’s classification scheme for officers, this poster is “qualified for the highest leadership duties.”


“A Brief History of a Doorway in Red Dwarf (1989-96)” [Dirty Feed]. • I read the words, but they don’t mean anything to me. Perhaps somebody familar with television, apparently, can explain. I orginally thought it was a game, but apparently not.

Class Warfare

“‘Foxhole’ logistics union ends 49-day strike after demands met” [NME]. “A union of logistics players in Foxhole have ended their general strike after 49 days, following Siege Camp’s announcement that it will be implementing many of the organisation’s requested changes. Back in January, 1,800 logistics Foxhole players under the banner ‘Logistics Organisation for General Improvements’ launched an in-game general strike to highlight issues with the logistics system within the game. Their actions meant front-line soldiers struggled to be resupplied. In February, Siege Camp held a developer stream to outline what was next for the game, including changes to the logistics. The announced changes included an increased amount of ‘unstuck’ uses per war, quicker pull times, and other changes designed to make playing a logistics role less cumbersome. Several of these changes seem to specifically address the ten point open letter that the L.O.G.I. sent to developers in January.” • Jonah Furman is an excellent lanor reporter:

To me, this is very important: I have been waiting, a bit like a cat at a mousehole, to see when politics and gaming would merge. Here is the first example I am familiar with — and it’s an in-game general strike (!!!).

Obviously, the Times needs to get better at union-busting:

“New York REI Workers Have Voted to Unionize Amid a Growing Wave of Retail Unions” [Footwear News]. “86% of workers at the REI Co-Op in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) in a vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on March 2. The initial results of the vote were 88-14, though official results are expected be tallied in the coming days, REI said…. The new union will represent 116 workers at the store, including all full- and part-time sales specialists, technical specialists, visual presentation specialists, shipping and receiving specialists, certified technicians, operations leads, sales leads, and shipping and receiving leads. The union will represent these workers in contract negotiations set to begin later this year.”

“Mountaire Farms said North Carolina worker complaints about a toxic chemical were ‘bogus.’ The state DOL just fined the company for serious violations.” [The Counter]. • Over/under on the size of the fine?

News of the Wired

Yves and I quote this from Dune often:

“Then, as his planet killed him, it occurred to Kynes that his father and all the other scientists were wrong, that the most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error.”

For example:

I don’t drive either, and the world is a better place for it.

An amazing thread on rebuilding soil:

I wish Biden would stop talking about the “soul” of America, whatever that is, and start talking about the soiil of America. He might do some actual good.

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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. Today’s plant (TH):

TH: “This Orchid was in the Huntington Library / Museum / Botanical Garden’s Conservatory—the rainforest section. I think if I’d waited a few minutes my lens would have de-fogged, but I like the soft-focus effect.”

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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. Carolinian

    Re economic impact–our gas this morning at 3.79, and this is the cheap state. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen gas that high here including during the Colonial Pipeline mini shortage.

    And while the fog of this war seems foggier than most one suspects Patrick Armstrong may have nailed it with this new post up on Pat Lang


    Judo is about deception and using the opponent’s strength against him. Putin, the judoka, has judoed the West into suicide. Put your money in our banks, we can confiscate it; put your assets in our territory, we can steal them; use our money and we can cancel it; put your yacht in our harbour, we can pirate it; put your gold in our vault, we can grab it. That is a lesson that will resound around the world. A naked illustration that the “rules-based international order” is simply that we make the rules and order you to obey them. In 2 or 3 weeks everybody in the world who is on the potential Western hit list will have moved his assets out of the reach of the West. Xi will permit himself a small smile.

    As to Western sanctions against Russia, I think there’s a very simple answer to that: last week 1000 cubic metres of gas cost $1,000; today it’s over twice that. Next week it certainly won’t be cheaper. Ditto for aluminum, potash, titanium, wheat. Russian airlines lease their planes; now what? Russian rocket motors. What the people in the West do not understand is the ruble is the currency the Russians use inside the country but the price of oil and gas is the Russian currency outside the country. I am astounded at the stupidity: they’re cutting their own throats and destroying their own economies.

    Will the American consumer say uncle before Putin does or will a settlement be reached that gives Putin what he wants (peace, so he claims)? The footsoldiers in this conflict, on all sides, are not the TV barking heads.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Gas is 3.38 today
      Diesel rocketed to 4.49 overnight
      This is going to cause real pain, instead of holding his feet to the fire, he is holding our heads underwater.

      1. sd

        I’m perplexed about ‘inflation’ – we have a storage unit that just went up from $253 to $325 a month. For no reason. And without warning. When asked, ‘because we can’

        Storage is a chain so this must be a corporate decision.

        1. Wukchumni

          I think what were seeing now is a mix of anticipatory raises in cost, and erring on the side of cautionary exposure to inflation to come, because everybody else is doing it.

          It’s an odd race to the top, this race to financial ruin.

        2. Randy

          That’s crazy high. How big is your storage unit?

          My wife just rented a 10′ x 15′ storage unit for her dad who went into assisted living for $50/month.

          We are in flyover country and I am not aware of any corporate storage units around here. I thought $50 was excessive.

          1. sd

            10×10 in SoCal. The price hike in the past was just a few dollars a month ($2or 3 more a month), nothing quite like this.

          2. Nax

            At least around here (Bay Area) my experience is that they lure you in with a low teaser rate and then jack it up every year far above inflation. I’m probably now paying triple the original rent after about 9 years.

            It costs a lot of time, effort, and money to move to a new storage unit so I expect most people just suck it up. Or they can’t deal with it and the company gets to auction off their storage unit.

        3. Lost in OR

          I’ve come to see storage unit prices and availability as a measure of pain. As people lose their homes or downsize or encounter whatever hardship, their belongings go into deep freeze. I’m there myself. The real hardship comes when you can’t make that past-due payment. Then you’re really on that downward trajectory.

          During the Obama evictions storage units were as rare as hens teeth. It’s a growth industry (adds to the GDP ;-)

        4. johnherbiehancock

          I’m wondering if corporate/ financialization is hitting this business as well.

          I’ve noticed an uptick in white collar workers I know or am tenuously connected to that now work corporate storage companies in my linkedin feed over the past couple years.

          There are also A LOT of storage places springing up around where I live in suburban Houston lately.

          I didn’t really pay much attention to all this but I wonder if that’s what’s going on here… a business previously dominated by sole proprietors and small franchisees suddenly got colonized by the MBAs, who decided they needed to squeeze more juice out of their customers…?

      2. MissWong

        $5.25 today in Deep Blue San Francisco Bay Area.

        Love to tell people who complain about inflation,
        “you voted for that!”

        “At least you got rid of Trump. Isn’t that worth prices doubling by the end of the Biden interregnum?”

        Their confused looks, “do you want to buy some Scout Cookies to help Ukranian children?”

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          New Orleans gas prices shot up 40 cents to 3.40ish.

          Holy Hell in a Handbasket that’s what I was paying in Oregon.

          What’s the point of destroying ur state for Gas/Oil when we can’t even get a fucking discount!!!!

    2. Samuel Conner

      The most intriguing thing about the Patrick Armstrong post, IMO, is his interpretation of ‘what the Russian commanders are up to.’

      Nearly all the commentary in Western media has observed that ‘the Rs aren’t subjugating Ukraine the way US subjugated Iraq’ and attributes this to bad command decisions, poor logistics, low troop quality and morale.

      Armstrong thinks the sedate operational tempo is intentional, a prerequisite to ‘winning the peace.’

      Maybe a new world order really is aborning.

      1. britzklieg

        I am not an expert, I am not there and I believe there will be many lives lost in any event, but I also believe a “winning the peace” strategy is the plan, at least the hoped for one. I’ve read and heard of “humanitarian corridors” being created for civilians to escape the fighting and can there be any doubt we would be seeing monstrous and lethal bombing videos, as from Baghdad (and displayed so proudly as “Shock and Awe”) if there were anything comparable? Indeed, some news reports from mainstream media have shown Baghdad bombings while locating them as current and from Ukraine. I don’t think that mistake can be made, that’s intentional. Many other examples of deliberate media deception re the truth of what’s happening in Ukraine have been exposed.

        1. Nikkikat

          It is incredible how the propaganda machine is in over drive. Just like the covid vaccine and attacks on anyone to even question anything. Just lost RT from my Dish Network. I’ve watched Rt programming for years. It isn’t Russian TV.

            1. caucus99percenter

              From where I am in Germany, the Powers That Be now seem to have managed to force the domain name “rt.com” to be treated as non-existent. Looks like I’m going to need a VPN or a Tor address just to look at RT webpages, although ironically, Tor has been “data non grata” in Russia.

              Great Firewall of China type tactics. Not a good look for supposed post-war pluralism / diversity / democracy.

        2. The Rev Kev

          ‘I’ve read and heard of “humanitarian corridors” being created for civilians to escape the fighting’

          The Russians employed the same idea in Syria when going after a city. They would open up a corridor where the civilians could leave a city and the government would have centers ready to take care of them and treat the wounded. The US did the same once in Iraq but the corridor that they opened up was to let the Jihadists out so that they could go to Syria to attack the regime there.

      2. Carolinian

        Taibbi has a new post out (mostly paywalled) saying that Putin forgot the lesson of Grozny and will end up flattening Kiev the way they eventually did Grozny. But maybe Putin did learn that lesson and will not raze the big cities. A lot of Ukrainians are fleeing to Europe.

        We mere Carolinians don’t have much expertise on the situation but I will say that the Russians will have to go a long way to be as ruthless as our laughingly titled “Defense Department.” It wasn’t just Vietnam. What we did in Korea was truly genocidal. And more recent history shows that things haven’t changed much.


        1. britzklieg

          I was going to post the Taibbi as well, because it certainly casts doubts on some of my assumptions about how the war is going in the comments above. Taibbi lived in Russia for many years and has never shown much respect, if any, for Putin but I don’t think he’d jump on a propaganda bandwagon in this dire a situation. The part above I did get right, that in any event innocent people will die needlessly, is what should concern me most.

          dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

          1. eg

            Not sure whether or not you are familiar with the Wilfred Owen poem of that name. It is unforgettable.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Two things:

        -Russian junior officers and NCOs. Their quality in general is likely so so. When you get down to the company level and lower, they probably can’t show initiative.

        -The Powell Doctrine revolved around overwhelming force. At least in Powell’s mind once upon a time, the US shouldn’t commit unless it was really important. Special forces and diplomacy would solve most problems. When we went to Iraq in 2003, the modus operandi never really changed. His name escapes me, but the retired general who asked if his “war plans” had been looked at didn’t game plan for a regime change invasion but a civil war between Baath party members and one or both of Hussein’s kids. He wanted 500,000 men to manage the refugees and keep them safe. Rumsfeld kept cutting the number of troops in various plans to keep the war under budget so to speak, but I feel like the US idea of war is to bring a shotgun to tiddly winks which makes some sense. When we see others doing something else, we can’t understand it.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The Powell Doctrine is actually well worth reading-

          Is a vital national security interest threatened?
          Do we have a clear attainable objective?
          Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
          Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
          Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
          Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
          Is the action supported by the American people?
          Do we have genuine broad international support?

          Pity that nobody uses it anymore but maybe Putin is using chunks of it for the Ukraine.

    3. Pate

      According to Simon Johnson at Baseline Scenario the “sanctions” have not impacted Russian energy exports at all – in fact they have risen since the invasion began as payments exceed $1billion US daily.


      Dated March 3(?)

      1. Carolinian

        I used to read that site all the time. Some are making a big thing about the discount needed to sell Russian oil but….

        The discount on Urals crude relative to Brent has widened since the invasion, but the net price to Russian exporters has still increased by $5-10 per barrel.

        IEA reports daily Russian oil export volume is steady at 5 million barrels per day, so oil revenues are up $50-100 million PER DAY since February 24th.


        IEA estimates that oil production around the world can be boosted quickly. Additional world supply can add at least 3 million barrels a day if other producers are persuaded to support the US lead.

        But the Saudis were asked and said no. Seems they are not friends of Biden

    4. Screwball

      $3.75 here in “the sticks” Ohio. Crude is up %7 today to 115 as I type this.

      I am reading they are considering sanctions on Russian oil. Looks like we import about 7 percent (counting distillates) from them (correct me if I have that wrong), but haven’t made that decision yet.

      Just saw a Tweet from a Toledo TV station. A Whirlpool plant in Clyde, Ohio (washing machines) will go on partial shutdown next week due to supply issues. I’m familiar with that plant as I used to deal with them. They use a large percentage of contract labor via hiring services. Between these shutdowns and the price of gas/food, these people are going to feel some real pain as they don’t make a great deal of money to begin with. ~3400 people work there, but they will keep maintenance.

      Another article says body shops can’t get replacement parts and people are waiting over a month to get their cars fixed.

      Summer is coming, things here don’t look good. If our warmongers in DC don’t get us nuked, I suspect all the people hurting for money will be getting more and more desperate, and we know what happens then.

      1. Carolinian

        Biden has been told that if he shuts out Russian oil altogether from the US the price will go to $200.

        The frackers told him it would take months to run up production.

        And yet he is considering it. What madness is this? I don’t have to drive 20 miles every day to work like some of the people I knew in Atlanta. But I doubt they will be pleased. Even if one favors a carbon tax they nevertheless surely don’t favor one imposed all of a sudden and whose revenue will buy bigger Saudi yachts rather than, say, single payer health care as in Europe.

    5. Louis Fyne

      IMO, 75% likely that your local gas price will go up by 33% (3.79 * 1.33 = $5.04) by July 4.

      crude oil + ethanol/corn + capacity constraints + people want a normal summer vacation as much as possible. totally serious.

      get ready. if you thought 2007-2009 was wild, people in DC are not going to fold a losing hand v Putin.

      Russia has been cancelled by the West. No going back unless Russia gives Crimea back to Ukraine.

      1. Clark

        In Nashville, about a week ago approx. 3.39, then jumped in .10 increments, now at 3.69-.79. I expect four dollars by Monday.

    6. chris

      Up to 3.95$/gal in my part of Maryland. But it’s alright! George Takei posted that “we” can put up with this because it will destroy tyranny…

      1. JBird4049

        I wonder what the Red areas of California are thinking about the new $5 plus per gallon. There is no public transportation in the periphery of the state where it can many miles between work and home. For that matter, many Californians in the coastal areas still commute.

        1. Louis Fyne

          Let them eat Teslas (/sarcasm)

          There are “pundits” who honestly think that everything will be alright with oil prices since electric cars are an option now.

          We live in a country where a big chunk of folk have zero idea how a physical economy functions.

  2. jr

    It will be fun to read about the nearly guaranteed basket of screw-ups that Kamala Hapless is going to harvest in Poland and Romania.

    Then I’ll recall she’s one stroke away from the Button…

    1. Lou Anton

      During the George Floyd protests, I remember a well-timed picture or two of the now-VP coming out where she was “protesting” alongside her fellow citizens. Well, got a picture at or next to a protest anyway.

      I suspect we’ll see a picture or two of her handing a water bottle and a sandwich to an incoming refugee as well, with stuffed animals for the kiddos.

      Cynicism aside – I’d be all for it if she went with an agenda! Meet with the political leaders of those countries, talk about how the US can help with the influx of refugees, whatever. Just give some concrete reasons, not just “show solidarity.” If I had any tech chops at all, I’d already be working on my “Hitler Downfall Parody” video meme of this.

      1. MissWong

        Carlson dismembered her last night.

        Thought it was B.S. until they played the video clips of her. We are doomed as long as she is in any kind of position of power.

        1. bidule

          Ouch. “Dismembered” is quite the word. A very good segment from Tucker Carlson, who has some talent, one must admit.

          He methodically destroyed Kamala Harris, each jab hitting the target. Left, right, then around, foot dancing (à la Mohammed Ali) and finally punching hard in the face.

          Kamala Harris gave him all ammunitions he needed, and more, as below. The video clips were devastating.

          So, Ukraine is a country in Europe. It exists next to another country called Russia. Russia is a bigger country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine. So, basically that’s wrong.

          It was like looking some documentary on National Geographic, where a predator is playing cat and mouse with its prey. You know from the very beginning how it will end; nevertheless you wish inside you that the prey could eventually escape its fate, or at least die from a merciful death…

          Regarding Kamala Harris, considered as the evening dinner of Tucker Carlson, I didn’t feel any sorrow.

        2. jr

          Holy Lord, I had to turn away after the first 30 seconds. How has this woman made her way in the world, let alone politics? Literal babbling. Terrifying. I do believe that the reason Kamala was picked was to make Biden look more competent. A drooling wreck wandering across the White House lawn is preferable to her. Mission accomplished.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Harris was in Munich. I’m 100% convinced she went to make a name for herself and talked too much.

    3. Wukchumni

      As loathe as I am to say it, but we deserve Kamala as our President. How she gets there remains to be seen, but she epitomizes all of our bad qualities in one tidy package.

        1. Anonymous

          And the guy before him,
          And the guy before him,
          And the guy before him.

          Well, that’s a lifetime for me

    4. wilroncanada

      Please send her! One way…Please!? Now, is that a nice thing for a nice Canadian to say about a (part) Canadian.

  3. jr

    “Red Dwarf” was a spoofy British sci-fi series about a happy-go-lucky maintenance guy and an unlikely gang of companions. Best paired with some indica…

    1. Janie

      First coupla years were fun. My favorite episode was one in which the characters meet their opposites. The self-absorbed cat can’t wait to meet the female cat, but his opposite turns out to be a slobbering dog.

  4. Toshiro_Mifune

    A Brief History of a Doorway in Red Dwarf
    Red Dwarf is is long (long) running UK Sci-Fi sit com. It used to be on PBS regularly in the early 90s here in the US. The article is just tracking a re-use of a piece of scenery in various different spots for about 8 years on the show.
    Craig Charles from Red Dwarf used to host the BBC Robot Wars in the late 90’s which was awesome 3AM TV.

    1. nn

      I would add that the show, probably because being lowish budget, often changed sets and its styles between series, so even nominally same places look different. And apparently someone noticed one piece of set, the doors, traveling around over the years.

  5. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Tim Kaine

    All we need is for Timmy to get every disease and then he might care about healthcare for other Americans.

    1. Pat

      I would not be surprised if most perhaps even all congressional acts and legislation that actually benefit regular, dare I say working class and lower, people was because a Congressional member or someone close to them had a problem.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its been observed that high profile Republicans who embraced lgb (not t+; they are still the GOP) issues is the result of their kids being born gay, few are born black.

  6. Chris Smith

    Re: Fightin’ Women of Ukraine

    Are these civilians putting on uniforms to join the fight and subject to military discipline? If not, aren’t they illegal combatants not protected by the Geneva Conventions? You know, the way we treated Iraqis and Afghans resisting our invasion?

    1. Rageon

      From TASS:
      Foreign mercenaries in Ukraine will not have POW status — Russian military
      Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov warned that all foreign mercenaries, detained in Ukraine, would be brought to justice on criminal charges.

  7. fresno dan

    “Barr says Trump responsible for Jan. 6 riot ‘in the broad sense of that word’” [The Hilll]. “During an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, which is scheduled to air in full on Sunday, Barr was asked if the former president was responsible for what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. ‘I do think he was responsible in the broad sense of that word, and that it appears that part of the plan was to send this group up to the Hill. I think the whole idea was to intimidate Congress, and I think that that was wrong,’ Barr responded. Holt noted during the interview that Trump provided a three-page response to the network over Barr’s remarks, in which he called his former attorney general a ‘coward,’ ‘a big disappointment’ and ‘lazy.’
    As well as the fact that Barr’s momma dresses him (Barr) funny. Barr’s momma also was in cahoots with Cruz’s father.

  8. ambrit

    I’ll just post this and retire from this field of contention. All you really need to know about James Fallows is that he flys his own private small airplane across America. That places him squarely in the Petit Bourgeois class. H—, he may be even solidly Bourgeois. His interests are not “our” interests.

    1. Carolinian

      He and his wife flew to upstate SC and did a puff piece about us on PBS news hour a few years back.

      Planes aren’t cheap and these days Av Gas is likely outta sight

      1. Robert Hahl

        You know how used cars are going up in price now? Used airplanes have always done that so it is easy to borrow money to buy them. Not quite as expensive as they seem.

        1. juno mas

          …sure, “to buy them”. The real expense is maintaining them. There is no “pull over to the curb” when the engine dies.

    2. Jack Parsons

      Once you:
      1) travel a lot for your job
      2) make an interesting amount of money
      3) decide that airports really really (family you know the drill)
      4) spend a lot of time bored on airplanes
      5) decide that you didn’t really care about your ears that much…

      A small private plane is in your future.

  9. North Star

    Americans fear an economic impact of Ukraine conflict

    It is now evident that the final outcome of the crisis (I call it crisis after the Cuba missile crisis) will be a neutral, non-NATO, non-militarized Ukraine. This will require agreement by the US and its NATO allies, and importantly Ukraine itself. Getting there will likely involve a lot of events, and twists and turns that will boggle our minds. Clearly though Russia now controls the direction towards that end game.

    One vital card Russia has not yet played, and I am convinced it will play when it can be maximized, is the sanction card. Americans, and the West in general should indeed be highly concerned about Russia imposing sanctions on the west because of the potential to cause severe economic impacts, and one would think this should force all the parties into an agreement. It is a dangerous game however, because the US and European countries could remain intransigent in the face of the impacts, leading to an escalation of the crisis, including (dog forbid) a NATO attempt to retake Ukraine and all that entails. Khrushchev backed down, and now things need to go the other way.

    1. bidule

      Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake — Napoleon Bonaparte

      Russia has nothing to do, regarding sanctions.

      Why would Russians launch any counter-sanction when the sanctions already enacted by Europeans and Americans (however empty they can be) will perfectly well harm their own economies (and have already started to do so)? The gasoline price inflation alone will cascade everywhere (while Russia has kept their gas and petrol exports unchanged, if not increased them). Every passing day, one discovers than Russia is not only a “gas station masquerading as a country”: it looks like they are exporting quite a lot of useful stuff (nickel, aluminium, neon, wheat, corn, just on top of my head) in quantities so large that they cannot be easily replaced or cannot even be replaced at all.

      These “Western Democraties” are holding a gun pointed to their own head — and threatening Russia of commiting suicide.

  10. Maylin

    The Biden administration is ‘actively discussing’ sending Kamala to Romania and Poland in the coming days to show ‘solidarity’ with Ukraine.

    Ukraine is doomed in other words.
    Here’s a transcript of her ramblings in Munich:

    “Perhaps this is a moment, as life does present us with those moments that challenge us to ask, what is our reason for being? And I think we all know the history of NATO, and its reason for being, the spirit behind this term, we use, the transatlantic community, the word community, meaning a collection, not a collection of individuals who see themselves as a collection, than as one. And that’s where we are now.”

    OMG, what an awful embarrassment. No wonder Putin sent the troops in if this is the best we have to allegedly represent the United States and our “allies.”

    1. Nikkikat

      I watched today. It is truly fabulous watching the eagles. One eaglet and egg. Enjoy a little nature and take a break from all the bad news.

    2. Rainlover

      Thank you for that. I sent the link to all my friends and bookmarked it too. I’ll be attending this camera often.

  11. Pat

    Beyond amused that Schumer’s offices are either too good to answer the phone or really are still teleworking. Either way one of those brilliant young people needs to remember what the outgoing message says and that it doesn’t reflect well to be citing outdated CDC guidance to justify this.

    That bubble is just getting larger with thicker and thicker skin…

  12. ambrit

    Zeitgeist Report: Shopping Edition.
    I toddled on down to the Bigg Boxx store to garner some supplies. The weather is nice right now. Spring like, temperatures up around the high seventies, F.
    Retail price inflation is now obvious and, at least in the realm of ‘basics,’ steep.
    A package of frozen fish fillets, this is Friday and Phyl is a Catholic, was $3.49 two weeks ago. The same package is now $4.49.
    Soup in a Cup, (one of Dibbler’s ideas, no doubt,) was $.32 a month ago. Now, $.42 a unit.
    The non-gluten bread we use was $5.15 a loaf a month ago. Today, $5.58 a loaf.
    Small bag of non-brand dry cat food was $3.39 a month ago. It costs $3.83 now.
    Sweet onions were $.49 a pound three months ago. Now, you’ll cry for $.67 a pound.
    That’s about all I needed and I am now leery of “outsized” expenses.
    All this leads me to think that the defining issue upon which the Democrat Party’s Ship of State will founder this November will be retail inflation.
    I base this on observing that the Arab Spring of recent memory began as demonstrations against big price hikes in the costs of food and other basics.
    This is also often cited as the underlying reason for the outbreak of the French Revolution of 1789. One can hope, but this might be a simple wish fulfillment fantasy on my part.
    Stay safe. Don’t stay hungry.

    1. Pat

      I truly believe that gas prices get politicians attentions only because it is common wisdom that higher prices annoy the populace AND because they have used it as an excuse for so much over the years. It is a vague but recognizable itch for them. Food and housing don’t mean diddly. They know they are in trouble, but do not feel the need to address anything because we are at war! That and PR will save them.
      Mind you they really don’t want to hold Congress, it will be far less embarrassing if they don’t have to defend on President Manchin to keep things from changing. No one wants to owe Joe anything, not even Chuckie and Brandon.

      1. Wukchumni

        Gasoline is one of the few things that has stubbornly resisted shrinkflation, and if go-juice was priced in liters instead, it would seem like a great deal on account of being cheaper than gallons, and I daresay that Americans don’t catch on until around xmas, after the election when the Donkey Show picks up a bunch of house seats.

        Do I have to think of everything?

    2. Anon

      Interesting. Academically, I wonder, did the revolution succeed in its aims of curbing the inflation? lol

      1. ambrit

        Maybe so since it stimulated a massive transfer of wealth from the Aristocrats and Church to the “commons,” which back then included the petit bourgeois. By the time of Louis Napoleon, barely sixty years later, France had become a solidly Bourgeois society.
        Admittedly, the nation had traded the financial peculations of the landed gentry for the financial schemes of the capitalist commons. But still, the latter was a far wider ranging population than the Ancien Regime.

    3. GC54

      But … you can buy an 85″ LED TV for only $1800!! Step in and shut it off after you go. I wonder when we’ll start seeing beggars in the Metaverse?

      1. ambrit

        I’ll stick with a 55″ 4K model for $338 USD from Bigg Boxx Land.
        Beggars? In the Metaverse? Sorry, that’s all in your head compadre.

      2. anon y'mouse

        there already have been beggars in the metaverse. or at least one of its shards of reflection (MMORPGs).

        “SOW at zone, plz!”

        not to mention the common belief that there are no genuine female players, and if someone has a female avatar it is because they want to attract male players who will give them free game goods and help them level.

    4. Jack Parsons

      An Icelandic volcano belched a lotta junk into the atmosphere in the early 1780s. This caused poor harvests all over Europe for a decade, and I’ve seen it argued that France had an especially fragile governance structure.

  13. anon y'mouse

    if you like Terry Pratchett, Sci Fi sendups, and British humour in general, you’ll probably like Red Dwarf.

    and it has a cat that is somehow turned into a humanoid, but still behaves as a cat, so surely you’ll enjoy that part (the actor was GREAT, and channeled the cat version of Little Richard).

    FYI, it’s an old television show with massive cult following, which it thoroughly deserves.

    1. Chris Smith

      I love Red Dwarf! The Cat was the last of his kind, which were the evolved descendants of Lister’s pregnant cat that he snuck onto the ship. The episode where they explained what happened to the rest of the Cat’s people was both hilarious, a tear-jerker, and utterly absurd all at the same time.

      1. c_heale

        Was a really great series but jumped the shark after the second series imo. Really popular among nerds at the time.

  14. Sutter Cane

    Lambert – I see you post the Boston-area wastewater graph every week, but since you posted the tweet from Biobot today I wanted to call your attention to their website which includes a nationwide chart:


    Since the CDC’s charts aren’t going to be a good resource going forward, maybe this could get added to the regular rotation? Not being in the Boston area, I would find this more helpful than the more specific one and maybe some other readers will, too.

    1. lambert strether

      I am contemplating rotating more wastewater charts in, yes. If hospitals stay green I may swap them out and moar wastewater in.

  15. anon y'mouse

    oh Jonah Furman’s confusion, which i hopefully won’t add to since that’s not a game i’m familiar with—

    MMOs or MMORPGs are always full of players who complain. they meet up on message boards and have extensive and documented lists about why their desired changes are absolutely necessary for the game to be viable and enjoyable into the future.

    sometimes developers listen, but most of the time they shrug and go “you’re still playing, aren’t you?” and “if you stop playing, we’re still making money from all of the people who are, so?”

    it just depends upon the company and how responsive they are to the community. and sometimes depends upon how the game itself is being paid for by the players.

    since this in-game procedure of logistics probably held up the entire game from being a fun and playable experience, “unionification” was somewhat like signing a petition, and showed the amount of money the game company could potentially lose if they didn’t make important alterations to their in-game mechanics.

    granted, my online multiplayer games of choice were nothing like this one appears to be so this could all be fart noises emanating from the wrong end on my part.

  16. Wukchumni

    USPS money orders need to be purchased with cash, and you can also turn them in @ any post office for cash, so Toomey is an advocate of the War on Cash, with 420 stores valiantly holding the line-the last bastion of cash transactions.

  17. marym

    Convoy update:

    WaPo: ‘Freedom Convoy’ spinoff headed to D.C. region arrives this weekend. Here’s what you need to know.

    The U.S. protesters…headed out from Southern California last week for a cross-country trip to the D.C. region…

    By the time the convoy left [IN] and headed toward Ohio on Thursday, [Capt. Ron] Galaviz [a spokesman for the Indiana State Police] estimated there were about 550 vehicles, mostly cars or pickups but also about 160 semi tractors or tractor-trailers. Those estimates are consistent with what Ohio State Highway Patrol authorities are seeing as the convoy heads to Lore City, Ohio, said Sgt. Brice Nihiser.

    Supporters have been joining and leaving throughout the trip…Supporters from other states…have posted their own routes on social media in hopes of meeting up with the group when it arrives in the Washington area.

    NBC: Convoy picks up cars and anti-Ukraine talking points ahead of Washington arrival

    The American offshoot of the “Freedom Convoy” is staging in Hagerstown, Maryland, on Friday and ramping up for its final protest somewhere in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

    According to extremism researchers following the movement, the convoy now consists of several dozen tractor-trailer trucks and hundreds of cars. The group is staging in Hagerstown, Maryland, on Friday and ramping up for its final protest somewhere in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

    Note: This link also has some discussion of conspiracy theories of some of the participants.

    There have been tweets from seemingly random accounts claiming much larger numbers of vehicles (like many thousands), but no sources, photos, or videos, other than maybe a 1-minute video of some vehicles driving by, or a stock-looking photo of big trucks. The 2 links in this comment are figures from cops in 2 states and “extremism researchers” so factor in bias as needed in reviewing estimates.

  18. Thistlebreath

    RE: American Chestnuts.

    A magnificent book. For years we hosted an 1852 Boardman & Gray ‘parlor grand’ piano w/66 keys. Its case was Rosewood stained Chestnut.

    A lot of the barns in PA and eastward are sheathed in Chestnut.

    I planted a blight resistant specimen in Royal Oak, MI back in 1980. It’s 30′ tall now, last I looked.

    1. BobW

      When I was a sapling in the ’50s there was a chestnut tree in our front yard. I just Google mapped and street viewed the address. The house looks tiny, and the tree is gone.

      1. Bart Hansen

        Once upon a time, we sat beneath the willow tree
        Counting all the stars and waiting for the dawn
        But that was once upon a time; now the tree has gone

        A sad song…

  19. Soredemos

    Re: Foxhole. It’s a war sim, basically. Players play individual soldiers, which means cooperating from the squad level on up to get anything done. This includes the logistics. All the ammo, fuel, equipment, vehicles, etc, have to be manually extracted/produced and delivered to the front line.

    So a bunch of the menial laborers refused to fund the war, basically.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I feel like a similar event happened in EVE online but I can’t quite remember ?

      1. Durans

        There have been multiple EVE protests where the players “shut down” Jita, the main trading hub. They do it by having everyone they can enter the system and just hang outside the main trade station 24/7. This causes the server to lag to an extreme degree making it hard to get any trading done.

        They just had one of the biggest and longest ever right at the end of last year but it didn’t accomplish much of anything. The protest was over changes, both recent and upcoming ones. After realizing the devs weren’t going to make major changes, only tweak things around the edges, everyone pretty much gave up. The game has been loosing players, I’ve let my subscription run out, and a number of people I’ve played with have done the same.

  20. Pat

    Not quite the same as a door being reused in a series, but I have a recent personal game in that I try to recognize establishing shots. These are exterior photographs/video meant to establish location, as in the town , the actor’s home, or even type of business where the action will be taking place. Sure there are easy ones like the huge red Christmas Ornament pile for NYC, but one of my current favorites is a generic building with a portico that can either say Emergency or hospital. I have no idea where it actually is but the same building with only a sign change has now been spotted in three television series, one regular movie and two TV movies. Yeah it has gotten weird in the last few years.

  21. Wukchumni

    “‘Doobie Smoker’ sentenced for role in Jan. 6 riot” [NBC]. “A man who stormed the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack and dubbed himself the “Doobie Smoker” on social media after he smoked marijuana in the rotunda was sentenced to two years’ probation Thursday.

    Smoking a doobie on Federal land is against the law and i’d never attempt such folly in Sequoia NP, but if you wanted to indulge in a puff piece, Potwisha campground is tantamount to a stoners whet dream of a name, and i’d take a walk on the trail to Marble Falls that starts behind car campground spot # 14, and lighter rip.

  22. britzklieg

    This will be a confused post…oh the thoughts in my tiny mind:

    that Reagan, in the one enlightened (perhaps by accident) accomplishment of his reign, nuclear detente with Russia, was on to something and that the ease with which those who scorn him scorn him,, including me, for all the hell he unleashed and forgetting the fewer bombs part. matches the ease with which he was raised to almost godlike status by his philosophical fanboys, even though he did more to save rather than defeat the commies from themselves than anyone, in blasphemous disregard for the anti-commie creed which damn near defines them.

    Blindspots galore.

    Maybe we all got something to answer for.

    Stephen Cohen says that Ronnie was on his own with Gorby, that he had no real support for detente from his inner circle and pushed it through almost single handedly. Who knew?

    And that after all the Russia agitprop of Bush 1 & 2, Clinton and Obama, those of us who hated Reagan and forgot the good thing he did now get to watch Biden left holding the bag and not having a clue what to do with it except forget that the word detente ever existed.

    Is there a pill I can take?

  23. Wukchumni

    Saw X a few times @ Madam Wong’s & Madam Wong’s West in LA.

    An unlikely venue for new wave and punk, but there you had it.

    Saw lots of other concerts there, too.

    1. Milton

      I caught ’em at least a dozen times in the Bay Area-none after 1985 when I started my transition from punk to more esoteric music forms. Every so often I’ll get nostalgic and break out my albums and memorabilia and soak in the Era.

  24. Acacia

    Not exactly a pill, but… somehow the image of Reagan that sticks in my mind is his last acting role in Don Siegel’s neo-noir The Killers (1964). It also stars Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, John Cassavetes, and Clu Gulager — what’s not to like? Score by Mancini that seems to have been lifted from A Touch of Evil.

    Reagan plays a nasty gang boss who slaps Angie Dickinson around like a pimp, and masterminds a heist. He seems a natural at both.

    I always imagined Cassavetes and Dickinson (both Democrats) watching the 1980 presidential election on TV, and blurting out: “that guy won??”

    1. britzklieg

      Back when I thought myself clever I used to tell anyone who didn’t know that if Clu Gulager was in a film it was a masterpiece. Yeah, yeah all those other names you mention, but Clu’s is always the star! In truth, The Killers would be a great movie even without him and curiously I had totally forgotten Reagan’s bit. I really don’t like that man.

      1. Alex Cox

        Gulager was stuck for several years in the series The Virginian and resented it. For that reason, perhaps, he did not become a bigger star. But his performance in The Killers is wonderful – keeping pace with Marvin, at his very best. The Killers is a very contemporary film and worth watching. And there’s an interview with Gulager, being very gracious, on the Criterion disk.

        The actor Seymour Cassel (who has a small part in the film) told me that Marvin hated Reagan and used to stick his feet out and trip him every time he passed. Reagan fell on his face, over and over again. Seymour remarked that he was amazed Reagan didn’t have Marvin killed. Perhaps he overestimated Regan’s animus, or the power of the Presidency.

  25. britzklieg

    continuing my public display of psychosis – it occurs to me that MAD, mutually assured destruction, is the most perfect form of democracy ever imagined, literally leveling the playing field by making everyone equally dead, a democracy no one will survive and so, one that will last forever.

    ok – I’ll stop now.

    1. anon y'mouse

      time to take a nap, blitz. or put the cake down.

      if you think killing everyone sounds like the ultimate political solution, you may just be overwrought.

  26. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the Doobie Smoker

    Do note that corporate media outlet NBC has allowed the authors to describe the events of last January as a run of the mill “riot” rather than an “insurrection” or “coup attempt” or “white supremacist racist Confederate-sympathizing worse than 9/11 freedom killing day that shall live in infamy forever and kill us all”. Surely heads will roll for the lack of hysteria.

    Also, how have I never heard of this Doobie Smoker guy before?!? Seems that Chaps and Buffalo Hat guy and the podium pincher got all the attention.

    Lambert, for all you do.

  27. Matthew G. Saroff

    I would note that the Oath Keepers plan would, in normal times, be called old fashioned shoe leather politics.

    The issue is not the tactics, which Goldwater’s acolytes used to take over state parties in the 1970s, but rather that it’s moonbats doing it now.

    OK, bigger moonbats that Goldwater acolytes, but you get my point.

    1. Late Introvert

      That was my thought. One can only hope that Goldman Sachs has THEIR account confiscated.

  28. aleph_0

    In a lighter note, I thought I recognized the name Heather Havrilesky. She wrote a
    really weird and uncomfortable op-ed
    in the NY times a couple of months ago.

    I don’t think the humor in her head is coming across on the page; she seemed mega-unaware. I don’t know if it comes from trying to ape the “Take my wife, please” kind of comedy without some part of the psychological understanding of what makes it work or what, but woof.

    Anyway, it does look like the media is being super brutal, but at the same time, she was obs connected enough to get the nyt op-ed so maybe I’m rooting against both here?

  29. The Rev Kev

    ‘Five years ago the New York Times called Daily Caller content “truly vile.” Today they hired a Daily Caller reporter’

    As somebody once said, why get a subscription for the New York Times when you can download White House briefings for free?

  30. Josef K

    Another X tune for the times might be “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts,” one of my favorites. On the cusp of EC and JD’s pivot to acoustic folk.

  31. Alex Cox

    Thanks for posting the X “White Girl” link. Let me add this to the discourse – the Clash’s “The Call-Up.”

    “Maybe I want to see the wheat fields, from Kiev and down to the sea…
    It’s up to you not to heed the Call-Up…
    You must not act the way you were brought up…
    Who gives you work, and why should you do it?”

  32. NotTimothyGeithner

    Turned on Hulu and saw this:

    Elizabeth Homes, an optimistic and determined young… (my bolding)

  33. Acacia

    Two tidbits… Numero Uno: the round thing in the Max Ernst painting may be the bird’s eye.

    Numero two-oh: regarding Marcuse, I heard that Gretel Adorno did all the driving. I’ve often wondered if she took Theo and Max on a road trip to lighten up their California exile, during which they stopped at the Madonna Inn, in San Luis Obispo, and it was kind of like that hallucinatory sequence in the film Aria (1987), nearly giving the two men an aneurysm each. Upon return to SoCal, they furiously composed the Dialectic of Enlightenment.

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