2:00PM Water Cooler 5/18/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

This is Evening Grosbeak Week at Naked Capitalism. Apparently, there are four types of Evening Grosbreak; this type 2. Tahoe National Park, California.

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

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

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

Biden Adminstration

“Biden’s controversial disinformation board suspended after wave of criticism” [Washington Examiner]. “The Department of Homeland Security’s much-criticized disinformation governance board is being paused following concerns it would impede free speech and complaints about its executive director. Less than a month after President Joe Biden’s administration touted the initiative, DHS has suspended the board, pending a review from an advisory council, with its leader, Nina Jankowicz, still evaluating her future plans within the department.” • Commentary:


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ID: “What Went Down During The May 17 Primary Elections” [FiveThirtyEight]. “Idaho has been counting very slowly, but we finally have enough votes to say that the state’s many far-right primary challengers are mostly falling flat.”

NC: “Edwards ousts North Carolina Rep. Cawthorn in GOP primary” [Associated Press]. • I don’t understand why we weren’t centering Cawthorne’s disability….

OR: “Ballot counting issues delay results in OR House primary” [Associated Press]. “Issues with counting ballots in Oregon’s third-largest county could delay for days a definitive result in a key U.S. House primary where Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader was facing a strong challenge from a progressive candidate. Schrader was trailing Tuesday in early returns in the 5th District race against Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The race was too close to call in part because of a printing issue with ballots in Clackamas County…. Blurry barcodes made vote-counting machines reject a large number of ballots in Clackamas County and elections workers were transferring the votes by hand to fresh ballots so they could be tallied…. Teams that include both Democrats and Republicans are duplicating every ballot so they can be scanned and extra workers were brought in to help. In a statement late Tuesday, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan called the issues in Clackamas County “unacceptable,” but said she was confident the final results would be accurate.” • Things remain hopeful for McLeod-Skinner:

OR: “Despite $11 million in donations from a crypto billionaire, Carrick Flynn loses big in Oregon primary” [MarketWatch]. • That’s a damn shame. More:

The President of House Majority PAC is — and I know this will shock you — Robbie Mook.

PA: Poor Conor never stood a chance:

Remember when Biden met Fetterman (shorts, Carharts, and all) on that collapsed bridge in Pittsburgh? A thumb in the eye for Pennsylvania Democrats, assuming Biden was conscious. I’m gonna be optimistic and put this in the same category as Christian Smalls meeting Biden in the White House; Smalls won’t be knocked off course. Now, what Fetterman’s course might be, I don’t know. I watch him because: (a) his well-managed charming Jesse Ventura-like affect may open space for other non-blow-dried candidates; (b) his unheard-of concept that “Every one of PA’s 67 counties matters,” which reminds me of Dean’s (successful) 50-state strategy, which Obama and Rahm promptly strangled; (c) the entire Pennsylvania Democrat establishment hates him, a huge positive in my mind; and (d) Conor Lamb was going to be the future of the Party blah blah blah, so I’m glad Fetterman didn’t just beat him, but stomped him. And of course, anybody that the spooks aim their stroke gun at, like they did Bernie, can’t be all bad. Kidding! (None of this is about policy, I grant. We’ll have to see about that.) • Commentary:

PA: “John Fetterman Wins on Vibes” [The Atlantic]. “The campaign has been a study in the power of vibes. Lamb seems like a candidate created in a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee lab: He’s young, Kennedy-handsome, a Marine and former federal prosecutor who looks born to wear suits. By contrast, Fetterman looks like he was hacked together from spare parts in an oil-streaked Pittsburgh chopper garage. He wasn’t. Although Fetterman notes that his parents started out poor, his father became a wealthy businessman. He has a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School, as well as an M.B.A. This isn’t to say that Fetterman’s a phony—he points to a friend’s death in a car accident as setting him on a new path when he was in his 20s—but to the extent that he’s a Yinzer roughneck, he was made and not born to it. Fetterman is clearly more liberal than Lamb. (A third major candidate, state Senator Malcolm Kenyatta, came in behind Lamb.) He backed Bernie Sanders in 2016 and supports a more progressive slate of policies than Lamb, a consummate moderate. He’s been circumspect about how he conveys that, though: He loudly protested when a pro-Lamb ad claimed, falsely, that he had described himself as a Democratic socialist, and a New York Times reporter heard him demur when a voter buzzed that he could be a Squad member. Meanwhile, he has a chance to reach voters who wouldn’t typically vote for a Democrat. He is testing the idea that leftist candidates can win non-leftist voters with the right aesthetics and a platform of ‘workers, wages, weed.'” • I think that’s imputing W.W.W. to Fetterman. Fetterman’s platform will become evident in practice.

PA: AIPAC loses:

PA: “Oz, McCormick Appear to Be Headed to Recount in Nail-Biter Pennsylvania Senate Primary” [National Review]. “The Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary race appears to be headed to a recount as Trump-endorsed celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz led hedge-fund executive Dave McCormick by roughly 2,000 votes early Wednesday morning, well under the half-percentage-point required to trigger a recount in statewide elections. In the final stretch of vote tabulation, McCormick had garnered a small edge over Oz until that flipped late Tuesday night. As of Wednesday morning, each candidate had won around 31 percent of the vote with roughly 95 percent of votes counted. Populist upstart Kathy Barnette came in a distant third with 25 percent of the vote.” •

PA: “Mastriano wins Pennsylvania GOP governor primary despite party concerns” [The Hill]. “Mastriano defeated a crowded field of other gubernatorial candidates, including former Rep. Lou Barletta, his main primary rival, and had a healthy polling lead during the weeks leading into the primary. Mastriano is a staunch hard-liner in the GOP and has centered much of his campaign around the unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud in 2020. He’s also supported outlawing abortion without any exceptions and rolling back privacy protections for people who contract COVID-19. The state senator scored a surprise endorsement from former President Trump over the weekend, helping inject a late jolt into Mastriano’s bid. Still, Republicans had scrambled to try to head off a Mastriano nomination and waged a bungling effort to coalesce around an alternative candidate.”

TX: “In rematch, Jessica Cisneros faces a weakened Henry Cuellar for South Texas congressional seat” [Texas Tribune]. “The May 24 primary runoff election is a rematch from two years ago, when Cisneros fell just short of pushing Cuellar to a runoff in 2020. She is challenging him again, and once more, liberal groups are solidly consolidated behind her. Cuellar is undoubtedly formidable, with the backing of some of the party’s top national leaders. But after an unrelenting slew of bad political news for Cuellar this year, he’s never been more vulnerable…. Cuellar’s record as the last anti-abortion Democrat in the House has reignited ire from members of the party from across the nation, who are still reeling from the reports that abortion could soon be outlawed in half of the country. On that issue and other policies — unions, border security, and oil and gas — he and Cisneros are at odds.” •

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.

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“The Democratic Party’s Leadership Is Trying to Destroy Progressives” [David Sirota, Jacobin]. “In all, more than a dozen consulting firms that have worked directly for either Democratic Party committees or President Joe Biden’s political apparatus have been paid more than $12 million by the allegedly independent super PACs now buying primary elections for corporate candidates, according to federal disclosures reviewed by us…. aken together, the endorsements, the donor overlap, and the party ties of the allegedly independent committees show there is no real separation between the Democratic leadership and the “outside” spending. This is one large party-sanctioned operation aimed at the Left, even when corporatists are undermining the party’s agenda and its own president. Indeed, rather than amping up potential progressive primary pressure on Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Biden’s political machine actually ran ads touting her as she was killing his signature economic legislation and driving down his approval ratings. This lack of pretense, where the leadership isn’t even pretending to be impartial or progressive, represents a significant break from the past. Once upon a time (read: up to the mid 2000s), Democratic leaders typically stayed officially neutral in intraparty battles. These weren’t exactly halcyon days — the power brokers still quietly encouraged donor support for preferred candidates. However, that kind of rigging was hidden in the shadows, so as to not publicly violate the once-sacrosanct idea that Democratic voters should be trusted to choose nominees and — by extension — the party’s ideological complexion. That tradition began to change in 2006 after Rahm Emanuel bought a Chicago-area congressional seat and began handpicking House Democratic nominees through the party’s campaign apparatus. Later, the party’s political machine went all in against Sanders’s 2020 presidential primary campaign and then went in even stronger for corporate candidates in contested Senate primaries in Iowa, Maine, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas and Colorado — and in the latter case, even progressives like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) participated in the scale-thumbing. All of this escalated to the DCCC literally blacklisting political consultants who worked for unapproved Democratic candidates.” • All true (not all the consulting firms won their races, though, fortunately).

“Dems question whether Maloney can run DCCC while battling freshman colleague” [Politico]. “House Democrats could find themselves picking sides in a deeply uncomfortable primary this summer: their campaign chair versus a Black freshman. And a growing swath of the caucus is blaming its midterm chief, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, for the predicament. Maloney’s decision to abandon a newly redrawn version of his current swing district — and instead run for a seat that includes most of Rep. Mondaire Jones’ turf — is raising private concerns from across the party that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief has put himself in an inappropriate scenario: leading the party’s midterm strategy while potentially battling a fellow member. While the map is not final and Jones hasn’t yet said whether he’ll take on Maloney, his other option if New York’s current maps hold is challenging Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), another Black progressive freshman. Many of his colleagues are now bracing for the prospect of a freshman being forced to go up against the member who controls the party’s campaign coffers — a scenario they describe as completely avoidable.” • Whoops:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“BLM doled out millions to Patrisse Cullors’s family and friends, IRS filing shows” [Washington Examiner (Verifyfirst)]. Not a softball like yesterday’s AP piece. “The family and friends of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors reaped millions in lucrative contracts and payments from the charity after it received a windfall of cash amid nationwide protests in the summer of 2020, according to charity tax documents released Tuesday. Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’s only child, raked in $969,459 from the embattled charity through his art firm, Trap Heals, BLM’s Form 990 disclosure shows. An LLC run by Cullors’s brother, Paul Cullors, received $840,993 for ‘professional security services.’ Shalomyah Bowers, a member of the BLM board of directors and a close associate to Cullors, pulled in $2,167,894 to his company for consulting and management services. New Impact Partners, an LLC run by the sister of BLM operations director Raymond Howard, received $107,000 for ‘fundraising counsel activities.’ Cullors ultimately had exclusive control over how BLM spent its funds, as she was the only member of the charity’s board of directors from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, the time frame covered by the Form 990 disclosure.” • On the AP piece, when I wrote ‘I would want more detail on who, exactly, these ‘Black-led grassroots organizations’ are’ this is the sort of thing I had in mind. These people are supposed to be Democrats! Where are the lawyers, and the cutouts, and the indirection? Only the Trumps of this world put their hands right in the cookie jar! Commentary from Maine’s Shay Stewart Bouley, who runs a non-profit and knows whereof she speaks:



“I owe it to the people I’ll be around,” what’s with that? This is America! As I’ve said before, how is it that Trump’s Surgeon General is one of the few rational voices out there on layered protection?

I’ve been treating the charts as topic areas and putting relevant snippets of content under them. But I’m afraid readers miss the snippets. So I decided to put bullets in front of the snippets in the #COVID19 section, as here:

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Lambert here: I am but a humble tape-watcher, but if some trusting, non-realist soul tells you that “Covid is over,” you can tell them that cases are up, transmission is up, test positivity is up, hospitalization is up, rapid riser counties are up, and wastewater is up, too. And this is all from data designed to support the narrative that “Covid is over,” and gamed within an inch of its life. So, if signals like that are flashing red, consider what the real signal must be like. (Note also this is all with BA.2 only, and with what the establishment considers an “immune wall” made from vaccination and prior infection. Since semper aliquid novi Africam adferre, and we’ve let ‘er rip at the airports…. Well, I just hope we get lucky with BA.4 and BA.5. “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.” –Otto von Bismarck.

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If you missed it, here’s a post on my queasiness 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.

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Case count by United States regions:

The train is really rolling, now. Biden has handily beaten Trump’s first two peaks, even accepting the data, which of course nobody does. I have helpfully projected with spurious precision when Biden will beat his own first peak: 46 days, or July 4 (and I swear I didn’t game that). Just in time for a national eruption of superspreader events! (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out. Also 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. Gottlieb thinks we only pick up one in seven or eight. The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises. The blue “Biden Line” shows what the case count would be if it were 94,000 * 6 = 564000, i.e. not gamed.

Here are cases for the last four weeks:

Worth noting that cases have doubled tripled in 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. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal.

• Because New York used a lagging indicator, hospitalization, as their trigger, they are implementing all their mitigations too late:

• Same logic:

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to the goons at CDC.

MWRA wastewater data:

Going vertical?

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 Biobot Analytics:

What’s with the enormous upward revision for the Northeast? The other thing I’m not liking is that big time lag with the variants. April 27? I want to know about BA.4 and BA.5 (dubbed “variants of concern” by The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) last week, but not WHO). This is the CDC’s readable report on variant proportions:

But as you can see, the most recent two weeks are based on CDC’s “Nowcast” model, and I don’t trust CDC models. There is a second report on variant proportions immediately below this one, which does not use the Nowcast model, but it’s incredibly poorly designed, and not readable. So, up your game, Biobot. (It has occurred to me that Biobot, as a very small company, is experiencing growing pains, and data is their last concern. It should not be!)

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

Status quo.

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:

The Northeast remains stubbornly and solidly red. Now California is red as well. The Upper Midwest is moving that way, too.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Orangization everywhere. So now the hospitals are affected, perhaps CDC will wake from slumber. (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: 1,027,285 1,026,899. Still down and way too high. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Broadly down, but what on earth just happened in the UIK? Data issues, hopefully? (Note the quality of these numbers varies wildly. For example, the UK is cutting back on testing data.

Stats Watch

Housing: “United States Housing Starts MoM” [Trading Economics]. “Housing starts in the US declined 0.2% mom to an annualized 1.724 million units in April of 2022, after a revised 2.8% drop in March.”

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The Bezzle: “Crypto Meltdown Exposes Hollowness of its Libertarian Promise” [Wall Street Journal]. “Bubbles are a regular byproduct of our financial system, from dot-com stocks in the late 1990s to subprime mortgages in the mid-2000s to green technology recently. Crypto was different: It sought to replace the financial system altogether with one that was faster, cheaper, less under the thumb of government and more accessible to the poor. It has had 13 years to make that case, and failed. Bitcoin comprises just 0.2% of international remittances, according to Manuel Orozco of the Inter-American Dialogue, a U.S.-based think tank. El Salvador made bitcoin legal tender last September and heavily subsidized its adoption. Usage has since plunged; only 20% of companies in El Salvador accept it and less than 5% of sales are conducted in bitcoin, according to an April study. The poor, it turns out, don’t need a new currency: They need cheaper ways to use the old one. Crypto makes day-to-day transactions more expensive, not less. Bitcoin ATM fees can range from 7% to 20%, and transaction charges from $1.78 to $62. The only businesses to truly embrace crypto are those allergic to oversight, such as ransomware and sanctions busting. Having failed as a medium of exchange, crypto survives as an asset class: Today, crypto is primarily used to trade other crypto.” • Son, those sardines are for trading….

Tech: “Facebook’s hiring crisis: Engineers are turning down offers, internal docs show” [Protocol]. “Facebook cannot find enough candidates to meet engineering demand, especially in the Bay Area, and has struggled and failed to meet early 2021 recruiting goals, according to a detailed internal memo outlining recruitment strategy and hiring pains….. Just under two weeks ago, Facebook announced that it planned to hire 10,000 engineers in Europe to help build, among other tools, its planned ‘metaverse’ (an announcement on those efforts is scheduled for Thursday). In Frances Haugen’s testimony to the United Kingdom Parliament earlier this week, she said that she was ‘shocked’ to hear that news. ‘Do you know what we could have done with safety if we had 10,000 more engineers? It would have been amazing,’ she said.” • I was hoping that the problem was that no self-respecting engineer would want to work at a scummy company like Facebook, but apparently that’s not the problem….

Mr. Market: “US Pries Into Over 100 Trader and Banker Phones in Texting Probe” [Bloomberg]. “The US is forcing Wall Street banks to embark on a systematic search through more than 100 personal mobile phones carried by top traders and dealmakers in the largest-ever probe into clandestine messaging on platforms such as WhatsApp. The Securities and Exchange Commission has been sending firms lists of key positions — in some cases pointing to around 30 people including heads of certain investment banking teams or trading desks — that are subject to the review, according to people with direct knowledge of the requests. Personnel in those roles are being ordered to hand over phones so devices can be examined by lawyers. The aim is to gauge how pervasively Wall Street professionals use unauthorized messaging platforms to chat with each other or clients as regulators decide which firms to punish, and how hard, for failing to preserve business-related messages sent via unapproved platforms. Banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc and Credit Suisse Group AG have said they’re in the midst of fielding US inquiries into messaging apps, though it’s not clear whether all are now accessing phones. The requests to access devices are so sensitive — potentially rooting through years of office banter and even personal texts — that banks are arranging for outside attorneys to help conduct the reviews, acting as intermediaries and preserving some semblance of privacy, the people said.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 12 Extreme Fear (previous close: 15 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 8 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 18 at 1:56 PM EDT. Mr. Bitcoin still sad?

Our Famously Free Press

Minimizers (1):

Minimizers (2):

Plenty of “Sociopath of the Day” candidates here.

Class Warfare

“New York Now Has More Airbnb Listings Than Apartments for Rent” [New York Magazine]. “There are now bidding wars for one in every five Manhattan rental apartments (and one in three luxury units), according to the most recent Douglas Elliman report. Inventory in all of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and northwest Queens has been hovering well below 10,000 units — as of April, the number was just 7,669. Which is several thousand less than the number of entire-apartment and entire-home Airbnb rentals available in New York City right now: 10,572, according to AirDNA, a third-party site that tracks short-term rentals. Inside Airbnb, another site that scrapes Airbnb for listings data, puts the number even higher, at 20,397.”

The culling continues:

One more reason to keep your test results a secret and gut it out at home….

News of the Wired

“This Simple Math Problem Drove Our Entire Staff Insane. Can You Solve It?” [Popular Mechanics]. • Who knew there was an ISO standard for equations? (ISO 31, in one of its parts, 31-1?)

Another “Mom’s” outlier from alert reader SG:

I’ve never eaten in a place called “Mom’s” either, but when I lived in Tokyo (coincidentally enough at the exact same time Yves did), there was a little place around the corner from my apartment named “Obanaya” (literally, “Auntie’s Place”) the food was terrific. Cheap, too. The proprietess would even nag you to “Yasai o tabete!” (“Eat your vegetables!”) if you were from the neighborhood.


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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. From EM:

EM writes: “Hello again, this is the ‘business end’ of a Tulip, hard to beat a Tulip.”

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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. Jen

    Covid update from my neck of the woods: the town to the south of mine has 46 cases according to the parish nurse – official count according to the state site is 10. The elementary school is closed this week – too many teachers and staff out sick.

    Had an appointment with my PT this morning. Her son attends high school in the college town. She said COVID is rampant there.

    Official stats from our small liberal arts college – decrease in undergrad cases, increase in grad student cases, increase in faculty/staff cases. ~ 215 in all, based on testing that is pretty much voluntary.

    Stay safe out there.

    1. Casey Jones

      In AZ. Two thirds of my 13yr old’s class are off sick simultaneously, yet no cases have been reported to us by the school.

      1. ambrit

        Anyone who has ever taken STEM courses would get 16. (Preferrably at a university branch campus.)

        1. LifelongLib

          In a 70s computer programming class I would have been told to wrap 8 ÷ 2 in parentheses as well. I got answer of 1 because i started within the parenthesis and worked outward, which would have been a common computer approach. But result would have depended on who wrote the compiler. I don’t think the left-to-right rule was ironclad.

          1. RobertC

            Congratulations on the correct answer.

            I don’t know of any traditional programming language/compiler that would accept the equation as written because it’s missing the multiplication operator. 2(2+2) is typically a call to the function 2 but I don’t know of any traditional programming languages that allow you to overload a numeric because a constant is an symbol whose name is its value (several programming languages allow you to overload an operator). And the division operator is usually / (an exception is APL but that’s hardly a traditional programming language).

            1. Koldmilk

              There are systems (the earliest I can remember is the Sharp EL-5100 calculator) where the implied multiplication of 2(…) has higher precedence than an explicit multiplication symbol. This was chosen because mathematicians write things like sin 2ab which means sin(2×a×b) — and would have saved space on a device with 80 bytes available to store programs.

              All would agree that (2+2)=4 so that leaves us with

              8÷2(4) = 8÷2×4 = (8÷2)×4 = 4×4 = 16
              using left to right with ÷ and × treated equally, which is the more widely used convention


              8÷2(4) = 8÷(2×4) = 8÷8 = 1
              giving implied multiplication higher precedence

  2. Wukchumni

    “New York Now Has More Airbnb Listings Than Apartments for Rent” [New York Magazine]. “There are now bidding wars for one in every five Manhattan rental apartments (and one in three luxury units), according to the most recent Douglas Elliman report. Inventory in all of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and northwest Queens has been hovering well below 10,000 units — as of April, the number was just 7,669. Which is several thousand less than the number of entire-apartment and entire-home Airbnb rentals available in New York City right now: 10,572, according to AirDNA, a third-party site that tracks short-term rentals. Inside Airbnb, another site that scrapes Airbnb for listings data, puts the number even higher, at 20,397.”

    Start spreading the news
    I’m leaving today
    I want to be a part of it
    AirBnB network, AirBnB network

    These vagabond shoes
    They are longing to stray
    Right away from the very heart of it
    New York, New York

    They want to wake up in a city
    That never sleeps
    And find I’ve left soap & shampoo
    What, did you think I was cheap?

    Those big apple town blues
    They are melting away
    I’ll make a brand new start of it
    In upstate New York

    If I can make it there
    I’ll make it anywhere
    It’s up to you
    New York, New York


    1. Objective Ace

      This is a terrible analysis. They are analyzing “flows”, but making judgments about “stock”. AirBnB listings will have a constant flow of consumers. There are always people coming and going, hence the listing always stays up. An apartment listed for rent can only have one user. When its rented the listing disappears.

      I assume New York city desperately needs more housing stock, but the reality is — even if the housing stock is adequate you’ll still have more airbnb listings then appartments listed for rent because most of the needed apartments already have someone living in them

  3. Jason Boxman

    Family member went to a conference (flew), as a speaker with coworkers last week in Vegas, that Sunday through mid last week. A full 30% now have COVID, 5 or 6 people. Family member did gargle, nasal spray, perpetual masking, hopefully will be okay. Conference size generally in the high single digit thousands.

    Maybe that’s why I’m playing Fallout: New Vegas lately.

    Stay safe out there!

    1. haywood

      New Vegas is a classic. One of the best, imo.

      You should check out Pathologic for a very strange psychological plague game. It’s Russian. More puzzle based than shoot ‘em up. But definitely a unique and memorable experience.

    2. rowlf

      I was asked to attend a large trade show in the end of April and the group I was in ended up with 42% positive a few days afterwards, all vaccinated to EU travel requirements. My symptoms appeared the day after I arrived home and members of my family got sick a few days after me.

      So me (J&J), wife (Moderna and boosted) and teenage son (Pfizer) all tested positive, the other teenage son who is unvaccinated tested negative and never had symptoms. Us sickos had a rough day with symptoms diminishing the following five days, same as unvaccinated friends have experienced when infected over the last five months.

  4. Jason Boxman

    It sought to replace the financial system altogether with one that was faster, cheaper…

    By its own design, these first two were impossible to achieve relative to the current payments system. Full stop.

    Anyone that bought this line from the crypo-kids was either a punter or in on the take.

  5. Samuel Conner

    > Plenty of “Sociopath of the Day” candidates here.

    I continue to think that “Sociopath of the Day” kind of trivializes the recognition that is accorded to the candidates. These are not common hoodlums and wreckers. They are extremely accomplished people and have worked hard to reach their present locations within the PMC. And “of the Day” minimizes the gravitas and enduring consequences of their policy stances. Also, there is no recognition of possibility or likelihood of unarticulated class interests.

    I think a weightier designation of this illustrious community is needed. Perhaps the following, incorporated into a suggested edit, would be suitable:

    “… plenty of candidates here for nomination for induction into the League of Extraordinary Sociopaths.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > League of Extraordinary Sociopaths

      I understand your point, but that’s not sufficiently euphonious, at least to my ear.

      I could say (following Engels) “Social Murderer of the Day.” Or perhaps “Social Murderer’s Row” + the name….

      1. Mel

        “Of the day” is the problem.
        None of these sociopaths is a sociopath of the day. Each one of them is a sociopath every day.
        After today you can’t turn your back on today’s sociopath and re-focus … never turn you back, even though the sociopath is setting you up to turn your back. You have to be like the New York gangster Woody Allen mentioned, who was so suspicious he never turned his back on anybody, and went constantly spinning and pirouetting down the street. (Good idea.. must tell Damon Runyon.)

        1. jsn

          So, “ Sociopathic Achievement Award”?

          Today’s Sociopathic Achievement Award goes to…

  6. super extra

    From the Facebook having troubles hiring piece:

    Facebook struggled particularly to recruit Bay-Area based engineers who are designated IC5 level and above in late 2020 and early 2021, according to data in the memo. Just above 50% of engineers accepted job offers for those roles in the first quarter of 2021 — 171 of 320 offers — compared to a median above 65% in 2020. “We’ve dropped to pre-2020 levels on the offer accept rate for IC5+ Bay Area engineers,” the unnamed leader wrote in the memo. “We’re seeing a bit of downward pressure in (Seattle) as well. Why? We’re still figuring it out.”

    The pay for these roles is nosebleedingly high for a salary – $250k is not unusual to start from – but at that level you are hit with taxes high enough that buying a house and using the SALT deduction will make a significant difference in your net pay. Except even that salary isn’t high enough for a suitable home because the stock available is too expensive, you need dual FB engineer income to make it work. Seattle has the same problem, once you find an appropriate dwelling it is more than a comfortable commute away and these jobs want the engineers in the office daily. So a lot of people decide even the money isn’t enough to take a job there. Of all my computer friends, the majority have been moving to places with cheaper cost of living and higher quality of life over the high salary/high house value. I know exactly one computer friend doing the opposite, and it is purely because they did the dream job for low money the last two decades and now want to make money for a few years.

    1. Jennifer

      FWIW, I’m in Cleveland, OH & their recruiter keeps asking me if I want to find out about being a lead engineer for Metaverse.

      And, yeah, I don’t want to work for a scummy company like Facebook nor do I want to work on a total BS project. It’s hard enough seeing through the BS when a project has genuine aims, but when the project itself is just a blanket of mist, well, it sounds exhausting.

  7. DonCoyote

    If you dig into the daily DIVOC data (instead of smoothing weekly), the UK reported 1,944,429 new cases yesterday 5/17. 5/16 was 23,592. So perhaps some sort of aggregated number was reported–YTD or some such, or maybe a “fat finger” on the 4 (making it 19,429)?

    That said, the UK sometimes drops way down or out in their reporting on weekends, and some EU countries seem to report data on fewer days than they don’t (looking at you, Spain and Portugal).

    However, France and Italy both showed sharp spikes 5/16 to 5/17 (Italy tripled and France sextupled, both going to above 40K new cases for 5/17). So the situation in Europe looks…fluid? fubar? {insert other f descriptors here}

  8. digi_owl

    Auntie’s place makes me think of Naomi Wu and her neighborhood “uncles” in Shenzhen.

    Basically retired men that are always willing to lend a hand with something.

    As for cryptocurrencies crashing and burning as a everyday medium of exchange, not surprised at all. They are set up to emulate gold after all, all the way down to metaphors about mining for it. Bitcoins early proponents, besides cypherpunks, were goldbugs.

  9. Ranger Rick

    That BLM follow-the-money article reads like textbook Democratic movement decapitation procedure. Isn’t this exactly what happened after the Baltimore riots a few years ago?

    Also that mention of countering progressives in the other article is confusing in a taxonomic way. Aren’t several highly-placed Democratic operatives (e.g. Neera Tanden) self-described progressives?

      1. FreeMarketApologist

        I used to do the 990-PF for an organization (the one for private foundations, not the one they filled out). It is triggering — lots of anxiety, worry that I wouldn’t fill it out correctly. And it is *difficult*. But, certainly not triggering in the way she wants to use it. I also read a lot of 990-PF, and 990s, and despite both of them being designed for fairly substantial transparency, there’s a lot of obfuscating one can do.

      2. John Zelnicker

        Patrice Cullors is one whiny woman.

        She should have known that 990’s are public record and you can get them from the IRS. She signed it, I assume, since she is/was the lone Director of the foundation, and the first page of the form says very clearly that it is available to the public.

        If it’s so triggering, perhaps that’s because it reveals corrupt or dubious acts that she would have preferred to keep secret.

        Since she’s so worried about a tax return being “weaponized” maybe she ought to be more careful about what she is doing with all that money and spend it to improve black lives instead of buying real estate. Just my 1.92 cents (inflation, ya know).

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Aren’t “triggering” and “unsafe” two cult-words from the Wokenism vocabulary?

        Though in this case they are extortion-words used for strictly tactical purposes by Wokeness Hustler
        Patrisse Cullors.

        1. Acacia

          Absolutely. Being “triggered” is a way of saying someone thinks they really deserve special treatment for some unspecified trauma, and that they should not be asked to discuss said trauma nor be held responsible to do things that others must do (e.g. do the assigned homework, obey the law, etc).

      4. JBird4049

        Decapitation of potentially competent and effective organizations is not only done by the Democratic Borg, it is also done by the Republican Borg as shown by their capture and destruction of the Tea Party movement. I wonder if there is a Borg Queen somewhere?

  10. Henry Moon Pie

    “The President of House Majority PAC is — and I know this will shock you — Robbie Mook.”

    So I guess we know who will be to blame when the House Dems will be able to caucus in a broom closet come January: VVP.

  11. Rodeo Clownfish

    I got “1” for the math answer, then enjoyed the link. For me, it seemed appropriate to fully resolve the parenthesis , the 2+2 sum and the multiplication by the 2 outside the parenthesis, before proceeding with the division operation.

    1. Larry Carlson

      I got “16” using standard operator precedence: evaluate the sum first due to the parentheses and then perform the remaining multiplications and divisions, which have equal precedence, from left to right. It’s a useful reminder not to write ambiguous expressions, like the iterated divisions that show up in bad spreadsheets (e.g. “=A1/B1/C1”).

    2. skk

      I didn’t hassle myself with that PEMDAS operations order problem, but that real binary tree was a delight.

      1. ambrit

        Yes. Factoring upward, you get 16 there as well. (Must use base 2. Thus, no Democrat Party affiliation. Why? Because the Democrat Party has many more than two “base” persons involved.)

    3. TimH

      xy is “x times y” in shorthand… so the multiplication is implied by invisible parentheses: xy = (x * y). Hence the multiplication with the parenthetical term is implied, and that expression is calc’ed before the division.


      1. Bun

        You beat me to it

        IF the statement said
        8 / 4 * (2+2)
        then the argument for 16 using BEDMAS is valid

        But it is written 8 / 4(2+2) , with the 4 against the brackets, and for me that makes the intent clear, namely it is a shorthand for (4*(2+2)) = 8

  12. clarky90

    Re; “…the class power of the (New Zealand) PMC..”

    “Council cancels ‘wellbeing workshops’ for community living with wastewater stench”

    Two “wellbeing workshops” offered to those living with the big stink from Christchurch’s wastewater plant have been cancelled due to a lack of interest.

    The workshops were part of the council’s plans to support the community that is living with the stench, which many liken to human faeces…

    …They were going to focus on tools to help in stressful times and wellbeing through stressful times and be run by an independent health provider….”


    1. Greg

      Weird definitions of “wellbeing” that include things like “mindfulness” training as a core component seem to be clutch for the NZ PMC at the moment, regardless of never really being an appropriate solution.
      Another example from the wild – during the first long covid lockdowns, our school offered us access to a mindfulness app as a solution to our lack of childcare facilities.

  13. Carolinian

    Can we say Jankowicz was successfully “evacuated” from her position (if that’s what’s happening) rather than given the heave ho? My Orwell is a little hazy but think Big Brother probably avoided Twitter.

    1. britzklieg

      well, she was a load so “evacuated” is more than appropriate, seems to me.

    2. Bart Hansen

      Don’t administrations usually send up some sort of trial balloon ahead of implementing bonehead ideas? Or maybe it was approved by some focus group run by Robby Mook.

      1. Nikkikat

        I’m wondering if that WAS the trial balloon. I remember when the Obama CIA was going thru email and phone calls and claimed they weren’t doing it anymore. They just kept on with the program, just a little more quiet about it. Lol, hiring this hate magnet probably not a good idea. I think they will lay low for a little while and hire someone a little less known. Perhaps have Neera Tanden take it over. Lol

  14. flora

    Lambert’s comment re NC:

    I don’t understand why we weren’t centering Cawthorne’s disability….

    Dry, very dry. / ;)

    1. ambrit

      The poor man had that most deadly of Political Maladies: He would tell the truth without warning.
      I like how the GOP apparatchik that “beat” Cawthorne immediately came out with the most dreary boilerplate drivel. Too, “…leadership for the mountains?” What ever became of the Tidelands? Global warming?

      1. flora

        He would tell the truth without warning.

        I don’t often laugh out loud [lol] from comments but this your comment did it for me. Thanks. A good laugh is much appreciated in these our years of endless public stresses. / ;)

          1. ambrit

            Ah, erm, I’ll have to assssk Orssson. (Blinks nictitating membranes, licks eyebrows with forked tongue.)

  15. Screwball

    For those who read/watch the MSM (I don’t), I’m curious if/how they are covering the Sussmann trial. If they are, I’m guessing it is on page 140 of section X.

    1. lambert strether

      Reuters actually has a reporter on it; sadly I seem not to have sent myself the link.

      I think we have to look to the Washington Examiner on this one.

  16. Glen

    My wife will soon be flying out to take care of her father who has stage 4 cancer and is totally immune compromised. I’m going into work which has become about 60% maskless so I’m going into isolation at home to try and keep her safe for her trip. Work has been very good about trying to balance work/CVfree, but honestly, there seem to be more people sick right now than at any time in the last year or so.

    Any suggestions on how to stay safe on the airplane? She will wear a good fitting KN95 the whole flight, and I will forward any other advice.

      1. Robert Hahl

        Thanks. I must have been thinking that the mask goes without saying. Clearly not how to make public comments.

  17. Mikel

    “Crypto Meltdown Exposes Hollowness of its Libertarian Promise”

    “… Crypto makes day-to-day transactions more expensive, not less. Bitcoin ATM fees can range from 7% to 20%, and transaction charges from $1.78 to $62….”

    Ha! So now we find out the real business they were disrupting or taking lessons from: payday loans.

    I’ve read the madness about people making under $10 withdrawals on Coinbase and getting hit with a fee over $2.

  18. IMOR

    About 12 hrs after the ‘Idaho far right candidates’ post you linked to fr FiveThirtyeight, they posted that Raul Labrador had pulled ahead for Idaho AG with a 20%+ margin. So that’s one exception to the trend noted in the linked post.

  19. IMOR

    OR: “Ballot counting issues delay results in OR House primary” [
    WTF would you add a second category of error to the process by (potentially illegally, sure to be challenged by the loser) creating a whole set of new ballots by hand with the same choices to feed to the almighty scanner rather than simply tallying the rejected ballots? The wording “prepare ballots for counting” in OR: “Ballot counting issues delay results in ORS 254.476 would be doing an awful lot of work if its the basis.[ The stupid, it burns!

  20. antidlc


    Ashley Biden tests positive for Covid-19, drops off trip with first lady

    First daughter Ashley Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 and is no longer joining first lady Jill Biden on a trip to South and Central America, according to the first lady’s press secretary, Michael LaRosa.
    Ashley Biden had been scheduled to depart with the first lady Wednesday afternoon for Ecuador. Jill Biden is scheduled to also travel to Panama and Costa Rica on the trip, before returning to Washington on Monday.
    “Ashley Biden is not considered a close contact to the President and first lady,” LaRosa said.

    Isn’t it amazing how many people aren’t considered a close contact to Biden?

    1. ambrit

      That’s interesting to see. The First Lady having her own itinerary. Is this another way of sidelining Harris? And what is she doing on this trip? Executive oversight of “Black Site” Interrogation Centres?

      1. Acacia

        > And what is she doing on this trip?

        Shopping for offshore custodians where the ill-gotten gains can be parked. She will outlive Joe and wants to make sure the family stash is secure. Hunter can’t handle it, and Joe will in any case forget the password, so Jill has got to take charge.

  21. antidlc

    US health secretary tests positive for COVID on Germany trip

    Another member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet has tested positive for COVID-19

    Another member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet has tested positive for COVID-19.

    U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra tested positive for the virus on Wednesday while visiting Berlin, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said. Becerra is fully vaccinated and was experiencing mild symptoms.

    1. Late Introvert

      U.S. Health Secretary, let that sink in. And a nicer guy could not be found for such a happenstance.

      Go long Covid.

  22. IMOR

    Came through that hotly contested Oregon Congressional district early last week- and “a shortage of school bus drivers” was prompting closures in two school districts. Why would there be a shortage of people willing to work in a tube with untested, unvaccinated, shouting and howling youngsters?
    I’ll stop now… .

  23. Sardonia

    On “Auntie’s Place” in Tokyo –

    My last stop while living all over Asia was Tokyo – too burned out on languages to learn any Japanese, and stayed at a great Ryokan where some very fun US, Brit, Aussie travelers lived, so we all hung out, not meeting as many locals as we did in most other places.

    But we had our regular sushi bar close by, where we’d eat twice a day. It was a cozy and friendly place, and whenever a regular customer would come in, like a scene from Cheers, all of the sushi chefs would call out their name. They’d also call us something when we walked in, but none of us spoke Japanese. All good fun.

    Then one day a new friend in our group, who spoke fluent Japanese, came with us. We entered, to our usual enthusiastic greeting. I asked our new friend, “What are they calling us?”

    He looked very somber and said, “You don’t want to know….”

  24. marym

    President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to speed production of infant formula and has authorized flights to import supply from overseas

    Finally getting around to doing something he should already have done.

    1. marym


      “The House of Representatives passed a pair of bills on Wednesday aimed at addressing a nationwide baby formula shortage, an issue that has sparked outcry across the country and put pressure on lawmakers to act.

      The bills were put forward by House Democrats and their fate is uncertain in the Senate.

      One of the bills passed by the House Wednesday evening — HR 7790 — would provide $28 million in emergency funding for the US Food and Drug Administration in an effort to help alleviate the current shortfall and head off future shortages. The bill was approved by a tally of 231 to 192 [R].

      The House also passed HR 7791 — the Access to Baby Formula Act aimed at ensuring that families in need can continue to buy baby formula with WIC benefits during a public health emergency or supply chain issues such as a product recall…The final tally was 414 to 9 [R].”

      The party that pretends to care about the babies and the party that doesn’t even pretend.


      1. JBird4049

        A shortage of food, never mind baby food, is kinda universally thought outrageous. I do not see any benefit to a politician who refuses to vote for a bill for fixing it. “My opponent voting X for Ukraine and its children, but nothing for our babies.”

        I think that both are parties and the administration are all at fault here. Ignoring the issue and then allowing oligopolistic rules to dictate their actions shows how incompetent, or worse unserious, they are.

        But using history for a comparison, Sir Charles Trevelyan and others like him convinced themselves that mass starvation and deaths by disease and exposure during the Potato Famine was the fault of the dying instead of the landlords and the government; fascinating how all the crops grown to pay the rent by the Irish was still shipped out while the tenants died and how the “relief” actually sent by the government was a sick joke. The government of the time could have dealt with the issues, but decided not to.

        Really, the reasons for the lack of action for either unseriousness or Social Darwin ideology don’t matter. Although the unseriousness or incompetence might partially be camouflage for neoliberalism and libertarianism, which seems to have some roots in Victorian social Darwinism.

  25. Louis Fyne

    I never thought that I would be living in “1984”.

    verbatim from the NYT “LIVE … Russia tried to portray the surrender of Ukrainian soldiers at a steel plant as a victory. Ukraine saluted the soldiers as heroes. Follow updates on the war.”

    Unconditional Surrender by literal Naz-words = Heroism, War = Peace, Freedom = Slavery. Ignorance = Strength!

    1. The Rev Kev

      When I think of these guys, I think of before the siege when Azov soldiers were not allowing civilians to flee the city and one Azov soldier saying this to a girl, who broke down in tears, told her that she was lucky that he did not shoot her. This is who they are.

      1. Polar Socialist

        There are already indicators that the Ukrainians elsewhere are surrendering in their tens instead of a few at a time like before. At least one batch of 28 in northern Donbass (in one of the smaller pockets) and about similar near Zaporozzye.

        There was also a minor news about relatives of members of Lviv territorial battalion (which was transported to the front in the east) being very annoyed to find out the battalion commander was back in Kiev.

        These are all from pro-Russian sources, so naturally may be just propaganda.

  26. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Ballot counting issues delay results in OR House primary

    So the barcodes on the ballots are unreadable for the machines but the votes are still marked on them, however they are going to transfer the votes by hand onto new ballots and let the machine count those rather than simply counting the original ballots by hand?!?

    Sure seems like the political class will do just about anything to ensure that people don’t get the wrongthinking idea that ballots could ever just be counted by hand.

    1. Late Introvert

      NC admins, surely there is a way to strip out all “?fbclid=”* strings? Those are faceborg tracking IDs.

      Expecting regular people to understand that and strip them out is asking too much I think.

  27. dk

    Footnote on Fetterman’s primary win:


    An underreported part of the Fetterman campaign was that this falls when there were strikes across PA and the USA he insisted that we use our massive email list to fundraise directly for strike funds.

    There is no doubt that this solidarity played a part in last nights victory.

    And yes, we’ll learn more of Fetterman’s policy direction when we see it. But one of the lesser-known but nearly immutable rules of grassroots campaigns is that the field program as a whole is informing and enabling voters to pay attention to election opportunities, the sponsoring candidate making an implicit promise to them to deliver when elected on claims and assurances made at the door/on the phone/at events/in media.

    Voters remember. They remember all of it. In 2001 I worked on Jim Hahn’s campaign in the primary and general. The general campaign strategy was a stealth outreach program to 22 immigrant and ethnic constituencies, with translated materials and native-language canvassers. These targets were almost completely off the mainstream polling universe, so we looked like we were down throughout the race, and still ~5 points behind in polls a few days out. Hahn won by 7 points.

    During his term, Hahn completely ignored these previously courted and acknowledged constituencies, catering instead to developers ready to gut and gentrify or otherwise develop many of those ethnic neighborhoods. His office refused appointments to meet with community organizations he’d stood before and asked to vote for him just months ago. For his 2005 reelection campaign, not a single member of the 2001 constituency program team would work for him, and many like myself hired onto other candidates. It’s safe to say that our outreach targets from 2001 turned completely against him. Hahn lost to Villariagosa by 17 points.

    Fetterman’s team brings together some of the top (progressive) grassroots organizers in the country, they wouldn’t neglect to let him know the risk. If Fetterman reaches Senate office and doesn’t deliver or at least show clear commitment to ‘workers, wages, weed,’ (notably distinct from state party and DNC agendas), he’ll have a hard time winning another small town mayoral race.

  28. dk

    A remarkably satisfying read:
    National bank hit by ransomware trolls hackers with d**k pics

    The bank’s response to the threat actors may not be the proper method for all organizations, but they should be lauded for making it clear that they would not give in to the attackers’ demands.

    While ransomware remains a massive problem for enterprise and home users alike, the best way to end this scourge is simply not to pay ransoms and recover from backups.

    Couple non-payment with increased law enforcement action and government sanctions, we will hopefully see ransomware operations slowly fade away.

    Mass storage media for backup (full image takes a while but recovery is a snap) is still cheap (1T SSD = $75+), but it probably won’t be for much longer, given so many supply chain disruptions and raw materials issues for semiconductor production. So this is a further cost (time+media) that hyper-automation places on businesses and individual operators that adopt it in order to participate in the immolating economy that (at least nominally) sustains our leisure to ponder or ignore our various follies.

  29. The Rev Kev

    Considering the fact that your midterms are not until November, you guys seem to have a awful lot of elections.

    1. flora

      Primary party partisan elections for state and national office, local non-partisan elections, elections for township supervisors, ground water management district board members, school board members, etc. Elections for representation on the local governing bodies’ controls. Lots of elections isn’t the problem.

      1. Late Introvert

        And since I de-registered from the Democratic (sic) Party, I don’t even get to vote in their primaries. It was always an exercise in futility. Happy to sit outside the fence and lob rocks in.

  30. SocalJimObjects

    Auntie’s Place in Japan isn’t the actual outlier, it’s the whole restaurant establishment in Japan that’s an outlier when compared to the rest of the world. It’s HARD to find really bad food in Japan, and I’ve been to 13 prefectures there. You might not like the taste of a particular dish, but you can’t for example say that the ingredients are not fresh or it’s not made with care. Also Japanese chain restaurants serve GREAT food. Ichiran Ramen for example is a huge chain in Japan, and it’s pretty much a can’t miss if you want a really good bowl of noodle.

    So basically for people who will be heading to Japan in the future, if you are not sure what to eat, go to their chain restaurants. You will be pleasantly surprised at the quality and taste you’ll get.

    1. Jessica

      When I left Japan after many years, what I missed was the plebian foods. The best noodle places (stand-and-eat buckwheat [tachi-gui soba], ramen late at night) were amazingly good. I could get the same quality sushi in many countries (Japanese chefs using the same fish caught near Alaska), but the plebian Japanese foods are just not the same outside Japan.

    1. Dave in Austin

      Why can’t they just fill up the C-17s that are delivering the Ukrainian weapons to Poland with formula for the empty deadhead trip back to the states? The Berlin Airlift in reverse.

      1. The Rev Kev

        But where is the “exclusives” to be found if that happens? How are corporations supposed to profit if it is the military bringing it back? Unless those corporations can wedge themselves into that “last mile” that is.

      2. rowlf

        Hmm… let me check in my printed and bound copy of Da Rules. Let’s see…page, page, page, um… Little People are never allowed to have positive outcomes or benefits from the system. If this state appears to be forming, reset the game rules to nullify it.

        Ok then.

        (I got to see this in the late 1990s when labor gave the Free Market people a big sad. Outcome was a regulation change to offshore safety sensitive work.)

  31. LawnDart

    Ohh, this is sooo cool!!! I can totally see the potential in this: what if, instead of presidential debates, we could gather the candidates together in a knitting-circle for some q&a and discussion? Place them in rocking-chairs too!

    Exposing liars by distraction:
    A new method of lie detection shows that lie tellers who are made to multi-task while being interviewed are easier to spot

    It is well documented that lying during interviews takes up more cognitive energy than telling the truth. A new study found that investigators who used this finding to their advantage by asking a suspect to carry out an additional, secondary, task while being questioned were more likely to expose lie tellers. The extra brain power needed to concentrate on a secondary task (other than lying) was particularly challenging for lie tellers.


  32. Wukchumni

    Dept. Ombudsman Of Money (in no way related to Dept. Under Duress)

    Ok, we’re going to be approaching that stage where nations duel one another over foodstuffs, that is those still willing to export theirs.

    If things get as bad as the advance notice of things that go boom in cost apocalypse now in the supermarket, price will be no object and maybe it won’t be money the overseas sellers want, but something they need in trade?

    In almond news:

    The expectations of a smaller crop than last year’s 2.9 billion pounds have it pegged @ 2.7 or 2.8 billion pounds this year, relieving the industry which has 900 million pounds of almonds in storage from last year. I say the plan is to make oodles of marzipan, yeah that’s the ticket.

    In this age of inflation almonds are bucking the trend, they were $4.37 a pound in 2015, currently $1.43 on a wholesale basis.

    A market wrecked by overplanting in a race to the bottom of deep wells.

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