2:00PM Water Cooler 4/15/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Hawaiian Bird Week at Naked Capitalism continues. Ambient sounds include bees and a railroad.

* * *


“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

If these “dyadic relationships” are not typed, this is just a big yarn diagram, and useful for more grants only:

Biden Adminstration

“How the Test-to-Treat Pillar of the US Covid Strategy Is Failing Patients” [Kaiser Health News]. “Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Lagevrio are both designed to be started within five days of someone’s first symptoms. They’re for people who are at high risk of developing severe illness but are not currently hospitalized because of covid-19. Millions of chronically ill, disabled, and older Americans are eligible for the treatments, and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health said April 11 that more people may qualify soon. The program allows people with covid symptoms to get tested, be prescribed antiviral pills, and fill the prescription all in one visit. The federal government and many state and local health departments direct residents to an online national map where people can find test-to-treat sites and other pharmacies where they can fill prescriptions. But large swaths of the country had no test-to-treat pharmacies or health centers listed as of April 14. And the website of the largest participant, CVS, has significant technical issues that make booking an appointment difficult. KHN aimed to find out how easy or hard booking a test-to-treat appointment at a CVS would be. Reporters searched online and in person for covid testing and treatment appointments in April. It took a KHN reporter in the Washington, D.C., area three hours driving between stores to figure out whether testing was available and antivirals in stock across four MinuteClinic locations — time that few people can afford in general, let alone when they’re sick. Each store provided test-to-treat services, which could be booked through a kiosk. But three of the stores either didn’t have same-day appointments available or didn’t have the antiviral pills in stock that day. A KHN reporter also tried to book appointments online at clinics in several states, listing upper respiratory symptoms. After the reporter marked a positive covid test on the screening form, a message appeared — “For the safety of our patients and staff, we can’t allow you into the clinic at this time” — and the patient was then directed to book a telehealth visit.” • We learn nothing. This is just like the ObamaCare launch (except worse, because the consequences are worse).

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.

* * *


* * *

GA: “Does Trump’s endorsement matter in Georgia? It depends, says UGA poll” [Atlanta-Journal Constitution]. “The results of the poll, conducted by UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs, showed Trump’s blessing didn’t significantly influence the race for governor or U.S. Senate. But it could bring a dramatic boost to down-ticket candidates. Let’s start with the premier contests. Gov. Brian Kemp led former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, his Trump-backed challenger, 48-37, among the group of voters not informed of the former president’s pick. Perdue’s numbers only ticked up slightly – to 39% – with the group that knew about Trump’s backing. Former football standout Herschel Walker tallied 64% of the vote among voters not told which candidate Trump endorsed compared with 76% in the group that was informed. While the 12-point gap was noticeable, Walker was already far ahead of GOP rivals who lagged in the single digits. It’s a different tale down the ticket. Support for Burt Jones was nearly 30 percentage points higher among the group told about Trump’s endorsement of his bid for lieutenant governor. Likewise for U.S. Rep. Jody Hice’s campaign for secretary of state. And Patrick Witt, a little-known contender for insurance commissioner, tallied just 8% among the group not told about Trump’s blessing. But his support soared to 52% among the respondents who were made aware of Trump’s support.”

GA: “Stacey Abrams loses bid to use same Georgia fundraising law that benefits Gov. Brian Kemp” [CNN]. “Abrams and One Georgia, the leadership committee she registered in March, filed a lawsuit earlier this year against Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and other state officials arguing that a state law passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp last year afforded the incumbent an exclusive and unconstitutional fundraising advantage. Kemp, who defeated Abrams in the 2018 governor’s race, is seeking a second term this fall The law lets the governor, the lieutenant governor, party nominees for those positions and the majority and minority caucuses in the state House and state Senate to form committees that can raise unlimited cash, including during legislative sessions. Abrams is not yet her party’s nominee for governor.” • What a terrible law. But the judge is right.

OH: “Ohio Supreme Court tosses fourth legislative map in chaotic redistricting process” [NBC]. “The Ohio Supreme Court invalidated a fourth legislative redistricting plan Thursday, saying the commission that drew the maps barely altered the previously rejected version and failed to comply with the state’s new anti-gerrymandering rules. In a 4-3 decision, the court ordered the Ohio Redistricting Commission to produce yet another map by May 6, three days after the state was initially supposed to hold its legislative primaries. Election officials have said approved maps must be in place by Wednesday to hold a state legislative primary by the latest possible date — Aug. 2. But the justices argued that the timeline was ‘speculative’ and said it wouldn’t force their hand to approve new maps. Ohio will still hold a May 3 primary for congressional and statewide races, which aren’t affected by the redistricting debate over seats in the Legislature. The back-and-forth is the latest setback in a protracted battle between Republicans who control the Redistricting Commission and the state’s high court, which has positioned itself as determined to enforce the state’s redistricting reforms. The Supreme Court consists of four Republicans and three Democrats.”

PA: “New Pa. U.S. Senate poll: John Fetterman pulling ahead as Democratic favorite; GOP race still wide open” [Post-Gazette]. “Mr. Fetterman now leads the Democratic primary with 41% of registered Democrats saying they’d support him in the upcoming May 17 election and 26% who are still undecided, according to the poll. Approximately 17% of voters said they’d support Mr. Lamb, while only 4% said they’d support state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. ‘If you are a candidate, you want to be in Fetterman’s position,’ said Berwood Yost, the director of Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Opinion Research, based in Lancaster. “[Fetterman] seemed to solidify his advantage. It doesn’t seem like Lamb is making any inroads in his name recognition.'” • Meanwhile:

Wowsers, that’s vile in every way, isn’t it? Hopefully, they’re going to light the money on fire and throw it up in the air.


“RNC votes to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates” [Y’all Politics]. “On Thursday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted unanimously to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which is responsible for organizing presidential debates. The decision will prevent its presidential nominees from participating in events organized by the CPD.” • I’d shed a tear, if only the Presidential debates hadn’t become so awful.

Clinton Legacy


I’ll say.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Well, er….

I’m sending some contradictions here.


At the risk of further coarsening our discourse MR SUBLIMINAL But what the heck I had too much fun inventing this new feature (suitable for framing):

Congratulations, Tony! The field is very, very crowded, and Leanna Wen is working overtime to get our attention, but the judges felt that the following event might give people the opportunity to destribute a few posters:

“Holy Cross, Fauci’s alma mater, to name building after him” [Eagle-Tribune (Timotheus)]. “The Integrated Science Complex will officially be dedicated as the Anthony S. Fauci Integrated Science Complex on June 11, during Fauci’s 60th Holy Cross class reunion weekend.”

* * *

If you missed it, here last week’s post on my queasiiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.

* * *

Case count by United States regions:

Uh oh. Remember, it’s 100% certain the cases numbers are significantly understated. They’ve always been gamed, but it’s worse than before. One source said they though cases might be undercounted by a factor of six. Yikes. But how do we know? Here are the cases for the last four weeks:

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.

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

As usual, the crisis of the past is the normal of the present.

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.

Cases lag wastewater data.

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

The Northeast isn’t looking too good, now confirmed by hospital data. I wonder how many Gridiron Club attendees took the Acela home the following morning? (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. This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you:

Continuing slow improvement as the map shifts from mostly red to mostly yellow (assuming the numbers aren’t jiggered). However, look at the Northeast, which remains stubbornly and solidly red.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Suddenly, the Northeast isn’t looking good. Of course, absolute levels are still low, so CDC can argue that nothing should be done. Again, I don’t like these sudden effloresences of yellow and orange. I don’t care that the baseline is low. 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.) Oh, and if anybody tells you hospitaliztion is down, tell them “No, it very isn’t.”

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,014,902 1,014,114. We did it. Break out the Victory Gin. have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. The numbers have been level for the past few days, and they’re still democidally high.

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! Obviously, nobody at CDC is checking the excess deaths chart, because otherwise the typo would be fixed. I certainly hope there are no “coding errors” in the algo.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States NY Empire State Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The New York Empire State Manufacturing Index jumped to 24.6 in April of 2022, rebounding from a 22-month low of -11.8 in March, and easily beating market forecasts of 0.5.”

Manufacturing: “United States Industrial Production” [Trading Economics]. “Industrial production in the US increased 5.5% year-on-year in March of 2022, easing from a 7.5% jump in February. Manufacturing increased 4.9%, mining 7% and utilities output 7.5%. Considering the first quarter of the year, industrial output rose at an annual rate of 8.1%.”

Manufacturing: “United States Manufacturing Production MoM” [Trading Economics]. “Production in US factories rose 0.9% from a month earlier in March of 2022, more than forecasts of a 0.6% gain but slowing from February’s 4-month high of 1.2%. The indexes for durable and nondurable manufacturing increased 1.3% and 0.4%, respectively, while the output of other manufacturing (publishing and logging) moved up 0.2%. Excluding the large gain in motor vehicles and parts, the output of durable goods increased 0.4% in March, with most industries posting gains; only nonmetallic mineral products, primary metals, and furniture and related products recorded decreases.”

* * *

Shipping: “How Amazon plans to fix its massive returns problem” [CNBC]. “Amazon wouldn’t share its overall returns numbers, but in 2021, the National Retail Federation estimates 16.6% of all merchandise sold during the holiday season was returned, up more than 56% from the year before. For online purchases, the average rate of return was even higher, at nearly 21%, up from 18% in 2020. With $469 billion of net sales revenue last year, Amazon’s returns numbers are likely staggering. U.S. returns generate 16 million metric tons of carbon emissions during their complicated reverse journey and up to 5.8 billion pounds of landfill waste each year, according to returns solution provider Optoro. ‘We’re talking about billions, billions, and billions of [dollars of] waste that’s a byproduct of consumerism run amok,’ said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia Business School and former CEO of Sears Canada. ‘The reverse logistics are always going to be nasty because the merchandise, in most cases, cannot be resold as it was originally,’ Cohen said. ‘The most expedient pathway is into a dumpster, into a landfill.’ Amazon has told CNBC it sends no items to landfills but relies on ‘energy recovery’ as a last resort.” • “Energy recovery” sounds like a euphemism for a landfill, to me. What happens to the ash?

Shipping: “Cass reports ‘freight slowdown’ in March” [Freight Waves]. “Freight shipments advanced in March but at a slower pace, according to data released Wednesday from Cass Information Systems. Freight expenditures, however, continued upward at a blistering pace…..’The threat of freight recession has risen recently as services reopen, inflation presses up interest rates and — though war-related effects are likely to be modest in the near-term — higher energy prices have an increasingly negative effect over time,’ [ACT Research’s Tim Denoyer] added. ‘We’re certainly seeing a freight slowdown and spot market correction, but in our view, it is too early to call it a freight recession.'”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 42 Fear (previous close: 46 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 48 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 14 at 4:48pm.

Groves of Academe

The successor ideology?


Black Injustice Tipping Point


Class Warfare

I understand there’s some pissing and moating in Brooklyn because Smalls went on Tucker Carlson. Smalls has already done more for the working class than any of the pissers and moaners, so kwitchyerbellyacnin’.

News of the Wired

The checkerboard pattern is very interesting. Read the whole thread:

* * *

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: “Oriole Grove. A 12 foot wide Giant Sequoia in the background with 40 foot high scorch marks, and still green up top. Around 1,000 years old. Most everything around it burned up in the KNP Fire.”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

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

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Samuel Conner

    > Anthony S. Fauci Integrated Science Complex

    My snark circuits, which are always running at a low level in the background, are telling me that there’s something to be said about the name of this facility.

    Something along the lines of ‘complex science’ is useful to the rulers because it provides a veil behind which they can do whatever they want.

    But no right-thinking person would pick an argument with the scientists at a facility that was ‘integrated’.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      On Redstone Arsenal here in Huntsville, there is the sprawling Wernher von Braun Complex (NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is entirely within Redstone Arsenal) complete with giant head out front.

      The joke: “Huh. I thought it was a diagnosis.”

        1. bassmule

          “Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
          That’s not my department,” says Werner von Braun

          1. britzklieg

            “Some have harsh words for this man of renown
            But some say our attitude should be one of gratitude
            like the widows and cripples in old London town
            who owe their large pensions to Werner von Braun.”

            genius wordsmith he

            1. The Rev Kev

              There was a 1960 biographical film called “I Aim at the Stars” which told the story of the life of Wernher von Braun. Some wag said that the sub-title for that film should have been ‘But I Sometimes Hit London.’

              1. ambrit

                I remember that exact joke being presented by Dan Rowan on “Laugh In” as if he was a network news anchor, and it went something like; “Wernher von Braun released a new book titled, “We aimed at the stars, and hit London.”
                My Dad was in one of the London neighborhoods first hit by a V-2. He said it was terrifying because the rocket was supersonic. The next block over would blow up, and thirty seconds later you would hear the rocket coming in. The closest V-2 strike he said he was near hit four city blocks away. According to both parents, who lived through the Blitz while children, you could hear the V-1 “doodlebugs” coming over. As Mom said, “If you could hear it’s motor stop, it could hit you. Take cover quickly!”
                Continental America has never come under sustained heavy bombardment by a foreign foe. [Yes, for completists, the Japanese submarine did shell the refinery at Ellwood, California, in 1942, but that was not a strategic victory.] Now we have nukes to worry about.
                Parenthetically, if it is determined that American and or NATO AWACS planes guided the missiles that sank the cruiser Moscow, the stakes will have been raised significantly. Now watch Russian aerial units start to sneak up on and “paint” those AWACS planes just for “the fun of it.”

        2. britzklieg

          can’t resist an OT encore by T.L. – It Makes a Fellow Proud to be a Soldier

          …one of the many fine things, one has to admit, is the way that the Army has carried the American democratic ideal to its logical conclusion in the sense that, not only do they prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, creed and color but also on the grounds of ability…


          1. JBird4049

            On grounds of ability… Fine things? I suppose that the individual doesn’t mind how able his surgeon is? Or the guys aiming the artillery?

    2. Geo

      “The Holy Cross Anthony S. Fauci Integrated Science Complex”

      I can’t think of a better string of words to describe our current deification of PMC leadership and truthiness.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Sounds a whole lot better than the previous name of the building – the Dr. Josef Mengele School of Investigative Science.

  2. diptherio

    Just pulled up the BLM Foundation 990 (there’s only one available on Guidestar, from 2019) and it’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s just zeroes all the way down. According to their filings, they didn’t take in any money and didn’t spend any. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    1. lambert strether

      I believe there are a couple of BLMd running around. Are you sure you have the right one?

  3. Velma

    Hillary, “some of my favorite Democrats, like Kamala Harris, she’s speaking up and speaking out…”

    Reminds me of Proverbs: “A fool returnith to her folly like a dog to it’s vomit.”

  4. scarnoc

    The spooky right wing yarn diagram via the twitter certified expert is pretty funny. Qanon is the avatar of Trilling’s ‘angry mental gesture’. If ‘anti-abortion’ is an extremist position then there are a lot of radical right wing grandmas filling up parish soup kitchens across the country.

    1. marym

      Maybe forced birthers are a majority among concerned grandmas working in parish soup kitchens, but that wouldn’t preclude their being of the radical right wing, nor would it make them part of a majority of the country. Neither the issue nor the grandmas were likely a key component of the Capitol riot, though,


    2. lyman alpha blob

      Someone really needs to explain the concept of internet trolls to these people who think QAnon is an extremist group. It’s not even really a thing FFS.

  5. Mildred Montana


    Yeah, that caught my eye too. At first I thought it was a typo, then I thought of “decanter”, then I thought of “decenter” as in more decent. I suppose “decenter” could also be a noun for someone who removes pennies.

    It’s telling that the writer of that nonsense was too lazy or ignorant to at least hyphenate the word—de-center—so that it could be readily understood. He or she obviously follows their own advice: ?? ??????’ ?? ??????’ ??? ??!

    1. hunkerdown

      *more decent

      It’s all about correct discourse now, and one’s class identity within the prevailing race cosmology determines what tones one may perform. Substance is secondary. I think we’re turning Japanese. I really think so.

    2. Geo

      I’m a dummy. Can someone explain to me how a program about English Language Arts is to be taught with reading and writing “decentered”? Is it an emoji based curriculum? Rhythmic grunting and stomping? Gastrointestinal trumpeting?

      1. Mildred Montana

        I’m sure whoever wrote that gibberish has an explanation. Just don’t ask for it in writing!

      2. Geo

        From the manifesto:

        “Research evidence amply shows the need to move beyond the exclusive focus on traditional reading and writing competencies. For example, secondary school students lack critical reading comprehension skills that require them to distinguish between journalism and sponsored content, and they routinely ignore the source of a message when judging its accuracy.”

        Problem: Students lack reading comprehension skills.
        Solution: Cut back on reading and focus on memes and TikTok videos.

        This is the movie Idiocracy being made into education policy.

        1. Mildred Montana

          Student: Teacher, I can’t understand what that website is saying.
          Teacher: Oh, that’s okay, it’s a bad one.

      3. bassmule

        Merriam Webster:

        Definition of decenter

        transitive verb
        : to cause to lose or shift from an established center or focus especially : to disconnect from practical or theoretical assumptions of origin, priority, or essence decenter Western conceptions of history — Ernest Larsen


        1. Mildred Montana

          It’s an awful word (which is probably why Lambert highlighted it). It reeks of “academese”. But if one must use it—God forbid!—a hyphen should be required to remove all ambiguity.

          Clarity, clarity, clarity.

      4. David May

        ‘Can someone explain to me how a program about English Language Arts is to be taught with reading and writing “decentered”?’

        That’s not what the tweet says. It mentions one literary medium, leaving numerous others, and one writing form. It looks like a lot of people need to sharpen up their reading comprehension skills. And I also think “decentered” is a perfectly good word.

        1. Quentin

          On first reading I stumbled over it: ‘decanter,’ huh? I like the word too. If you can center something, why can’t you decenter it?

          1. JohnA

            As Wodehouse once wrote:
            ‘I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.’

        2. Mildred Montana

          It’s slipping into evening here on the West Coast and I don’t normally comment this late, but spurred by your comment (and a bit of Good Friday wine) I read the entire tweet. It is rough going, what with all the identity politics, the jargon, and the citations of fellow academics.

          Two sentences stood out to me (and yes, I could be fairly accused of cherry-picking):

          “If it could ever be said that language is the carrier of all meaning, this is certainly no longer the case.”

          Well, if not language, then what? I thought language was what made us human. I thought language was important, paramount to us as a species. Are we now supposed to get our “meaning” from images and videos without transcripts or context? Images and videos that can be interpreted in a million different ways by a million different people—and probably will be. (Boy, that was ??????!) Are we supposed to learn the (sometimes difficult) names of people, places, and things just by hearing or seeing them? And then relate them to—what? Context. That’s why the written word—and reading—are important.

          “Speaking and listening are increasingly valued as forms of expression.”

          Speaking. Again, the same old problem. How do we absorb and retain what the speaker is saying without a transcript? Human memory is weak. That’s why we have come to rely on the written word.

          Listening. I suppose listening can be a form of expression, but how is the speaker to interpret it? Silence is, undeniably, pretty ambiguous.

          Call me old-school but I still believe in the power of the written word, to the subordination but not necessarily exclusion of other forms of communication.

        3. Jeremy Grimm

          This quote from the NCTE position statement makes sense to me:
          “Educators also have the right to be critical of technology firms that push gadgets into school districts in the name of revolutionizing education.”
          But I would expand ‘gadgets’ to include gimmicky new jargon used to dress up perfectly good but old even ancient ideas in flashy new clothes — as exemplified by the NCTE position statement. What is worse, the flashy new clothes — many borrowed from other domains like engineering and computer programming — do not fit well and conjure vague meanings.

        4. Jeremy Grimm

          Something else bothers me about this NCTE position statement. It adopts a plethora of hardware devices, software, and technologies without much consideration of their implications in this time of distance-learning, MOOCs [massive online open courses], and general efforts to cutback on teachers, increase class sizes, and depersonalize learning and teaching. The many terms for ‘right-thinking’ peppered throughout are also disturbing — more than the academically topical jargon dragging in the latest passing fads from the world of education studies. I also dislike the uses of business-speak in such a position statement. They disrupt me.

        5. Basil Pesto

          It looks like a lot of people need to sharpen up their reading comprehension skills.

          Yes, I don’t really agree with/know what to make of the tweet, but that is a rather striking irony.

  6. hemeantwell

    Re the Jensen pincushions, I really feel for anyone who wants to present data attractively. But when you start to look at the node categories, especially Movement/Ideology, you have to wonder about the methodology. In particular, what degree of interest and motivation is necessary to tie people to Qanon, his heavy hitter that gets so many people onto the chart but leaves most of them unlinked to anything else? Why does AntiAbortion, understood as a Movement/Ideology, only have two people linked? What distinguishes between Oath Keepers and Oath Keeper Communication networks? And so on.

    The chart looks like it’s done in Kudzu and so I suppose you can take out nodes to get down to the more solid organizational linkages.

  7. NorD94

    a different “living with Covid” view of the Gridiron Club event

    interview transcript/audio from Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University and was previously Baltimore’s health commissioner.

    Leana Wen talks Covid risk tolerance and her response to critics

    I’m in Santa Clara County CA (silicon valley) and have watched the local county covid19 positivity number fall from omicron-peak 17.0%, to a mid-March low of 1.4%, and now climb back to 2.3% with no signs of slowing.

    I’m fully vaxxed/boosted, still wear a mask when going to stores, most people still wear masks in local stores but there are a growing number of no-masks. If I was invited to the “Gridiron Club event” I would have said “no thanks”, but I guess you also need to look at different points of view.

    1. Mikel

      But will the reporter follow up about any other kind of treatment the sick attendees sought and received?
      I do not for one second believe each and every one of them are sitting at home sick and haven’t had conversations with a doctor (not telehealth BS either).

    2. Josef K

      I don’t have time or inclination to treat Wen’s comments in full, so here’s just one string of three sentences, here’s it in full and then broken down:

      “And then there was another side that just can’t seem to let go of the fact that at some point you do have to move on. We have many more tools that we did back in 2020 and 2021. We can’t tell people in perpetuity that they can’t hold weddings and funerals and gatherings and retirement parties and and events. We have to be able to live with the risk of Covid as we live with the risk of virtually everything else in our lives.”

      “…just can’t seem to let go of the fact…” This means the opposite of what she’s trying to say. That “other side” is not “holding on” to “the fact” that you “have to move on,” but is opposed to “that fact.” Sloppy thinking of the first order.

      “at some point.” She’s decided that point has arrived. Others may not have.

      “You do have to move on.” What exactly does “move on” mean? For her, it seems to mean “give up when we never really tried in the first place.”

      “We have many more tools that we did back in 2020 and 2021.” What “many” tools, pray tell? Does every vaccine count as a separate “tool?” More hand-waving and misdirection.

      “We can’t tell people in perpetuity…” Straw-manning. No-one’s claiming to need forever.

      “We have to be able to live with the risk of Covid as we live with the risk of virtually everything else in our lives.” Massive false equivalence. Maybe she should set an example by driving without a seat belt and having unprotected sex with strangers.

      I expect the rest of her pronouncements and opinions come from the same mentality of sloppy thinking and half truths, but I’m going to demur from finding out. Hard to say if she’s low-empathy or just low intelligence (aside from that narrow band called IQ that helps people “succeed”).

      1. DanB

        Wen has been on news programs since the pandemic began. I recall her claiming that masks are not needed and wondered how she could come to that conclusion. My way of understanding her is to label her a status quo loyalist; she will accept any argument, no matter how bogus, that supports commerce over protecting the health of the public. She should be thought of in contrast to the many public health officials -typically mid level ones- who have either quit, retired, or been repeatedly silenced or threatened for trying to protect the public. We didn’t decide to live with polio or smallpox, Dr Wen.

        1. Basil Pesto

          My way of understanding her is to label her a status quo loyalist

          I prefer “deranged lunatic” myself but maybe it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      At my local Trader Joe’s more shoppers wore masks than did employees. In fact, today no employees wore masks. I found that very interesting.

    4. NorD94

      When I’m out shopping I wear masks for 15 to 30 minutes while I’m in the store so it is a minor nuisance. Wearing masks for a 8+ hour workday would be more than a nuisance. In a number of stores I see many workers without masks.

      On a few occasions I’ve pondered what is my no-mask in the store covid19 positivity threshold. Two weeks of below 1%? below 0.5%? Wait till 2025?

      1. playon

        Juicy — thanks for that. As the old blues song said, I got to laugh to keep from cryin’…

    5. Noone from Nowheresville

      In general, what I personally find so interesting about the mask issue is how both (or more) sides end up at the same place (no masks) with very different PR and pressure points. Merging started at about the 14-15 month official pandemic mark. Well-cultivated techniques in othering and concentrating on hypocrisy critiques started out of the gate. Peer pressure will do the rest. And those who still refuse will be clearly marked and noted.

      It’s an interesting puzzle. If one starts with the premise that they really are trying to kill and replace us, how does the analysis and critique change? How would one start laying the groundwork to counteract all the conscious and subconscious programming that has gone on for the last 4 or 5 decades so that when the upheaval comes, it is directed to those responsible instead of those we’ve been trained to seek out?

  8. jr

    re: CVS sucking

    I recently stopped by CVS for some stuff. The pharmacy was a total $hit-show on wheels. Eight people in line with one lady manning one of the two terminals because the six other staff members were tearing the place apart to find one customer’s drugs. The woman tersely informed the pharmacist that she knew they were there because she had called ahead. He explained that they don’t organize the drugs by name but rather by the number on the bag. I assumed these numbers were somehow random or they would be organized thusly. The customer told the guy she didn’t have time for this and opted to buy some kind of replacement drugs instead. In general, the staff seemed harried; they always look stretched thin every time I have to stop in. Crapification.

    1. curlydan

      totally agree on the pharmacy–they totally frazzled and in “the old days” would have been chain smoking cigarettes to deal with the pressure. Lord only knows what they’re taking/doing now.

      On the other hand, CVS usually sends me $3 or $4 off coupons every week (I have no idea why), so I go in, find out what is good and on sale that costs just that much, then walk out with some free stuff.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      CVS is often out of stock for many common items, so it should be a surprise to no one that they are out of stock for vital medicines. Don’t count on CVS if your life literally depends on it.

  9. jr

    BLM or alternately Buy Large Mansions being triggered

    There is that “harm” routine again. It’s obviously a dodge in this instance but there is more going on. It’s everywhere, yesterday I overheard a young woman claim that because she has “swells” on her chest she is always treated as a woman when she enters a hair salon or barber shop. This was apparently deeply offensive and damaging if her subsequent behavior was any indication. These infants are going to collapse when things get really bad.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Well, in this specific instance, I don’t doubt that she does feel very triggered and unsafe when people start poking around BLM’s finances. From the various accounts about it out there, it sounds like she should.

      1. jr

        She will be feeling well and truly triggered when that cell door slams shut behind her and the other crooks she runs with. I imagine there are plenty of AG’s drooling for the chance to lock them up. I wonder how many of the street level BLM activists they abandoned are still cooling their heels in prison. I wouldn’t want to be locked up with them if I were her. It’ll be payback time for selling them out.

      2. Glen

        Has anybody ever wondered where all the money donated to political candidates goes? Years ago when Stephen Colbert had that joke campaign (for governor? Not sure), he started a PAC and ended up with quite a bit of money. He had the guy that wrote the law for PACs on his show, signed a couple forms, and all that money was his. He donated it to charity, but I’m sure he’s more the exception in that instance.

        So in her defense, she just not get the right legal advice on how to structure the scam.

      3. sd

        She’s got an agent with a major Hollywood agency who handles her speaking gigs. That pretty much says it all right there. 10% of her speaking fees is going to an agent. I’m going to guess she gets $150k to speak at a luncheon.

    2. Geo

      The usage of words like “triggered” and “unsafe” have become so neutered over the years that they have no meaning anymore. It’s become a boy who cried wolf situation. Except, in this case, the boy killed the sheep himself and now claims he feels unsafe because of a wolf.

      Sadly, this will be used to minimize and mock those who really do have wolf problems.

      On the plus side: True equality means any person of any color, gender, and identity, can be a total piece of trash and society can call them out on it.

      1. jr

        Agreed, in addition to distracting the public from the real problems it paints the entire organization as fraudulent. For example, Youtube is filled with commenters decrying the “Left” as being all crooks and phonies. They have no idea of what that term even means. Jordan Peterson is there to explain it to them, fear not.

      2. hunkerdown

        Status claims are extremely meaningful to petty aristocrats.

        Also, you forgot class, which is the entire problem that successor ideology is intended to preserve.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Doesn’t help too when you have a movement whose motto was “Believe Women” but when Tara Reade came out with her testimony on Joe Biden, then turned around and said “Not that one!”

  10. flora

    I’d shed a tear, if only the Presidential debates hadn’t become so awful.

    Hand the presidential debates back to the non-partisan League of Women Voters. What?! So debates would no longer be subject to an “I bought for this microphone!” claimant’s demanding special treatment based on the financial strength of their backers, as if this, a non-partisan and non-financial setting would be a bad thing? / ;)

    1. Acacia

      League of Women Voters back in charge sounds good to me.

      Or perhaps the Demodogs can stick with the Commission on Presidential Debates and just “debate” with themselves?

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Or recognizing that Presidential debates are unnecessary, clown shows regardless of whatever wizened elders hosts them in the age of mass media?

      https://twitter.com/adamjohnsonNYC has tracked the kinds of questions asked. They are always limited to PMC sporting events. Putting the League in charge won’t change it.

  11. Lee

    Major Undercount In COVID Cases Makes Our Tracking Data Less Useful (Science Friday, a 17 minute interview)

    “For many, it’s become routine to pull up a chart of COVID-19 case counts by state or county. Though imperfect, it’s been a pretty good way to assess risk levels: Follow the data.

    But recently, that data has become even more imperfect, and less useful at determining individual risk. Thanks to a variety of factors, case counts are now so inaccurate that a COVID surge could be missed entirely.

    “We are really flying blind,” said epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina, assistant professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health and the author of the newsletter, Your Local Epidemiologist.”

  12. Dr. John Carpenter

    What “isn’t it” is that some on the left still engage in the stupid team politics and would rather have leaders preach to the choir than to take a platform wherever it is given and maybe find common ground with or even win people over who you think are assume are adversaries. We’re not going to get anywhere talking to ourselves or only talking to democrats, especially if we’re talking building a labor movement.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Hear Hear!

      Sure there’s a local DSA here in Nola that recently got the local energy monopoly banned from making political campaign donations to the City Council, BUT WHY NOT RUN CANDIDATES TO TAKE OVER THE CITY COUNCIL! I’ve been harping about this for years, while the DSA larps as a working class org.

      The Right Wingers are radical af down here and it’s time we made in roads with them and tapped that revolutionary fervor!

      1. ambrit

        Many of the “right wingers” I have encountered Down South are politically uneducated. Much of their “self awareness” comes across as “in-group striving.” The thoughtful ones will hear you out and then essay counterarguments. That sort of dialogue can be fruitful. The unconscious class oriented types are generally in it for the “drama.” As long as their dopamine high is sustained, they are good to go.
        As someone or other once remarked, “Go far enough to the Left and you’ll meet folks coming from the Right.”
        Stay safe there in the Big Easy!

  13. petal

    Hanover experiences surge in COVID-19 cases after Dartmouth students return from break

    “HANOVER, N.H. —The town of Hanover has the highest number of active COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire, with 197 people confirmed to have the virus.

    The town is home to Dartmouth College, and Hanover officials said they believe the increase in cases is partially due to of a spike in cases at the college.

    Officials said they also believe the actual number of cases from the college and state dashboards are underreported, thanks to the increasing use of at-home tests and this week’s end of Dartmouth’s mandatory testing.

    Hanover town manager Julia Griffin said the uptick in cases became apparent when graduate students from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business returned from spring break.

    “Which tells us that Tuck students were out traveling around the world, came back, and some were positive,” Griffin said. “And then we saw a significant second uptick in cases among undergraduate students when the undergraduate students returned from spring break two weeks ago now.”

    Griffin said the spike was predictable. She said she would like to see more people wearing masks, but state officials and Dartmouth College do not want to see mask mandates return.”
    According to the College covid dashboard(from now on being updated only once a week), the College has 196 UG cases, 103 GR cases, and 40 faculty/staff cases.

    1. allan

      “updated only once a week”

      This by itself will reduce the apparent R_0 by 15%.
      Sadly for the All We Need Is Better PR crowd, the virus bats last.

  14. LawnDart

    Re: Biden handshake


    I hate the guy, personally, for what he and his legislation has done. And if given the chance, I’d take it.

    But this idea of trying to make a fool of the guy over something he hasn’t done is a load of crap– yeah, you might be the enemy of my enemy, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be my enemy too.

    Biden’s “handshake” was easily a gesture off to his left, and not a “handshake” to an invisible person.

    If you’re gonna burn them, at least make it for something that they have actually done.

  15. jr

    So I came across this genius Democrat Walker running for something in Colorado. I watched an ad of his for laughs. I’m still doubting I saw what I saw:


    Warning: This is a real political ad from someone running for office. It’s literally, viscerally, disgusting. Some may find it triggering; I’m barely exaggerating. It’s truly awful and speaks volumes about the state of play in our political culture.

    1. ambrit

      It’s definitely anti-PC.
      It reminds me of politics from a hundred or more years ago.
      No more Mr. Nice Droid.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Heard about the politician giving a speech at an Indian Reservation? Every time he made a statement, the audience would shout ‘Bula! Bulla!’ which he was pleased about. So he let go with a whole bunch of promises and every time he made one, his audience would shout ‘Bula! Bulla!’ With the meeting over the Tribal Elder helped him through the dark back to his car. The politician said he had never seen such an enthusiastic audience but the Elder cautioned him to be careful where he stepped. The cattle had gotten loose that afternoon and now the whole area was now land-mined with ‘Bula! Bulla.’

    3. Pat

      Alex Walker running in the Democratic primary for Colorado district 3. And yes Lauren Brobert is the Republican incumbent. She’s the one who did a riff on AOC’s Stupid Met Gala dress with Tax The Rich on it. Only Brobert’s was Let’s Go Brandon.

      On one level I agree with the ad. There is a whole lotta feces being thrown around. On another, Walker is contributing a fair amount to it. I think there was one whole sentence about what Coloradans actually should expect. But no promises…except to be a bull, aka male.

  16. Henry Moon Pie

    “checkerboard pattern of land ownership”

    In northern New Mexico, the land of the High Plains is divided in mile-square, 640-acre sections, and the ranches, roamed by antelope, are so huge that they are usually spoken of in terms of “sections” rather than acres. In the mountain valleys whose land ownership dates back to the Spanish land grants affirmed by the U. S. when they grabbed the area, land ownership patterns do follow terrain. Primogeniture did not hold sway in that culture. Each child, male and female, received a share of the land, and the grantor’s parcel was divided, front to back, from the lowest point in the valley to the top of the ridge. That way, every child received access to water for irrigation and livestock and trees for building and fuel.

    Over time, it led to very narrow parcels. We built an adobe in the 80s on a parcel in Mora County that was 90 feet (30 varas) wide and 1.6 miles long. The property description on the deed was “thirty varas wide from the bottom of the valley to the top of the ridge.” Not exactly loanable. LOL. About a third of it was gently rising pasture. The rest was steep and wooded, reaching a ridge the overlooked the Great Plains and all those “sections.”

    It’s an interesting part of the country. For anyone interested in how the New Deal impacted this cultural island, there’s Frank Waters’s People of the Valley.

  17. Nikkicat

    That Walker ad was just unbelievable all right. No telling how much someone on his campaign paid for that piece of crap. I may never be able to un-see that one.

  18. Mikel

    Reporters searched online and in person for covid testing and treatment appointments in April. It took a KHN reporter in the Washington, D.C., area three hours driving between stores to figure out whether testing was available and antivirals in stock across four MinuteClinic locations — time that few people can afford in general, let alone when they’re sick. Each store provided test-to-treat services, which could be booked through a kiosk. But three of the stores either didn’t have same-day appointments available or didn’t have the antiviral pills in stock that day. A KHN reporter also tried to book appointments online at clinics in several states, listing upper respiratory symptoms. After the reporter marked a positive covid test on the screening form, a message appeared — “For the safety of our patients and staff, we can’t allow you into the clinic at this time” — and the patient was then directed to book a telehealth visit.”

    Now the reporters should follow up on the Gridiron attendees that got Covid and report how long it took them to get treatment or meds.
    THAT is why they go maskless and tell the rest of us BS about shots.

    1. jr

      Yeah, it’s way beyond saying “Poop!” on television. It occurs to me as well that it’s exactly the kind of “humor” that would be attributed to the drunken “Q” guy they feature. Without a inkling of irony, no doubt.

  19. roxan

    Not surprised to see a call to ‘decenter’ reading and writing. In 1987, I tried teaching high school science (assigned to Camden, NJ) where I was told there was no curricula or books because ‘these kids can’t learn.’ I put this down to racism, but next, I tried teaching English in a fly-by-night business school, where I was told by my black supervisor that I was ‘racist’ for trying to teach my class to actually write a letter because ‘it’s cruel. Everyone knows these students can’t learn.’ But guess what–there was nothing wrong with my students, and not only did they learn, when the school tried to fire me, they went to management and demanded I teach the second semester, which I did.

  20. Glen

    I should probably comment on the post about Internet ads, but am looking for more general input.

    I would support an Internet Boycott day where if the ad shows up on my internet, i will boycott that business. Now, i guess my real secret is this would be quite easy for me since it’s what i do every day anyways.

    This goes along with my idea to write an app or script that just does random Internet browsing all with the intent to just throw more uncertainty into the tracking machinery. I guess the idea is that if i cannot retain Internet privacy that i may be able to jack up the nose level.

  21. Jason Boxman

    The federal government and many state and local health departments direct residents to an online national map where people can find test-to-treat sites and other pharmacies where they can fill prescriptions.

    Someone here linked to this (or something similar) a few weeks ago. It’s so badly implemented that it lagged my relatively modern Macbook Pro 2015 to death. I literally couldn’t use it to find potentially life saving treatment. It just stared back at me while my laptop fan ran at max speed. What a joke. It’s like the Obamacare debacle in microcosm.

    1. nippersdad

      As I was watching a Youtube video the other day an ad for investments in farmland cropped up. Apparently they are doing derivatives in farmland now so that you can get your cut of the profit, right up until Lake Mead dries up and your investment looks like a dust bowl.

      That is not heartening.

Comments are closed.