2:00PM Water Cooler 7/12/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, today it was ProtonVPN. More soon! –lambert UPDATE All done.

Flutist Wren, La Escalera, Venezuela. Earning its name!

* * *


Lambert here: One reader suggested changing these quotes; I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I need to think about it. I don’t want to be too doomy — we are not short of inventory in that department — but I don’t want to go all chipped and Pollyanna-esque, either.

“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

UPDATE “Jan. 6 committee to connect Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and QAnon to Trump allies” [Los Angeles Times]. “Connect.” With more yarn? ” The committee investigating the Capitol insurrection will focus for the first time this week on the relationship between people in former President Trump’s orbit and the extremist groups that planned and orchestrated the violence on Jan. 6, 2021.” Who doesn’t love an illegal parade? More: “Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who will lead the hearing with Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), has made clear the committee won’t present smoking-gun evidence.” • Well, I’m glad that’s settled.

UPDATE “The January 6 Committee Moves the Needle” [Political Wire].

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll suggests the January 6 Committee could be changing the public’s understanding of that day’s events:

• 66% of voters say Donald Trump attempted to overturn the 2020 election.

• 66% say he claimed the election was fraudulent without evidence.

• 59% say he misled the public about the outcome of the election.

Also interesting: 44% of Republicans say Trump lied about the election results. That’s up seven points since the end of June.


UPDATE “Two long weeks: Inside Biden’s struggle to respond to abortion ruling” (not paywalled) [WaPo]. “For Jennifer Palmieri, a White House communications director under Obama, the criticism [of Biden’s initial response] was never fair to begin with. ‘Republicans gamed the system, and they got two Supreme Court justices they shouldn’t have, and those people had a 40-year plan to overturn Roe and they did it. And to continue to blame Biden for the fact that more Americans didn’t vote for Democrats is an epic example of missing the forest,’ she said. ‘We are in such a bigger fight than what the president of the United States can deliver, and if you’re thinking that it can be solved by a president taking any action in the course of the two weeks after the decision, then you’re not appreciating what a big fight it is and what a precarious moment it is,’ Palmieri added.” • So, just to be clear, Democrats let Republicans game the system (Obama, for example, did not put Garland on the Supreme Court as a recess appointment, because that would have been playing hardball, or sumpin’. And whatever planning horizon Democrats have, it’s not — I’m being kind here — forty years out. Finally, when Democrats lose elections, they blame voters (being entirely without a capacity for self-reflection). I’d say Palmieri’s statement is stunning, but it’s only stunning because she’s so open about it.

UPDATE “White House Privately Signaling It’s Moving Forward With Anti-Abortion Court Pick” [HuffPo]. “It might have seemed like the White House has been backing off Meredith’s potential nomination given its silence in response to the Democratic outcry. But behind the scenes, the White House is apparently signaling that it still plans to move forward with his nomination. ‘They’re defending it,’ the source briefed last week on the White House’s plan told HuffPost, after requesting anonymity in order to speak freely about private conversations. This source also believes that Meredith would likely be announced as part of a large package of judicial nominees that would include many picks that Democrats do like.””

UPDATE “Minnesota judge strikes down numerous state abortion restrictions” [NBC]. “A judge in Minnesota struck down several state laws restricting access to abortions Monday, finding they violated the state’s constitution. In a 140-page ruling, state District Judge Thomas Gilligan of Ramsey County issued a permanent injunction blocking a variety of restrictions, including a 24-hour waiting period and a requirement that only doctors perform the procedure. He said they run afoul of a 1995 state Supreme Court ruling that abortion is protected under the Minnesota Constitution. Gilligan, who has presided over the case for three years, wrote that “this court concludes that Minnesota abortion laws relating to mandated physician care, hospitalization, criminalization, parental notification, and informed consent are unconstitutional.” • So, states’ rights, mkay?

Biden Administration

“‘We are not tacos’: Latin community slams Jill Biden for saying they are as unique as ‘breakfast tacos’ as she refers to bodegas as ‘bogedas’ at ‘Latinx Luncheon’ in San Antonio” [Daily Mail]. • Well, at least she didn’t try to speak Spanish.


* * *

“House Math and History” [The Cook Political Report]. “Just about every election analyst and handicapper agrees that the House is all-but-certain to flip. The only disagreement these days is how many seats Republicans will gain. On paper, the grim political environment suggests the kind of wave election that rivals the wipeouts of 1994 and 2010, when the party in power lost more than 50 seats. However, our current forecast, as analyzed by House editor David Wasserman, is for GOP gains in the 20-35 seat range. Why don’t we foresee 50-60 seat sweep?” • Handy chart:

More: “Under the high-end scenario, the GOP would gain 41 seats. The lower-end scenario shows Republicans picking up 19 seats. Remember, this is not the net, as we haven’t factored in GOP seats that may flip to Democrats. Right now, we list 10 GOP-held seats as vulnerable. Bottom line: if Republicans are going to pick up the 50-60 seats they did in 1994 or 2010, they are going to need to win a significantly higher percentage of districts that Biden carried by more than 10 points. In the ‘old days’, many of the incumbents in those ‘safe seats’ would scoff at any suggestion that they could be in danger. But, after four straight wave elections, most of those members have (or at least should have) learned to take these warnings seriously.”

UPDATE “Doomsday political scenario takes shape for Democrats” [The Hill]. “‘They’re not just losing Independents or you know, Never-Trump Republicans,’ said [Reinish, managing director at the political strategy firm Mercury], referencing two blocs that helped Biden establish a diverse coalition in 2020. ‘They’re losing their own voters. Democrats’ own voters don’t feel as if their leaders hear their concerns.'” And: “[S]ome prominent centrists have appeared to be moving away from Biden in recent weeks. The latest came from [CIA Democrat] Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who is typically outspoken about the dangers of moving too far to the left ahead of election time. She recently gave a speech in Woodbridge where she failed to offer even a tacit nod to the commander-in-chief. And Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), one of Biden’s close personal friends who is running for the Senate, also decided not to show up for an event the president held in Cleveland.” • I wonder who the centrists want to run…..


“Education divide”:

UPDATE “Joe Biden Is Too Old to Be President Again” [Michelle Goldberg, New York Times]. “As a recent New York Times/Siena College poll found, 64 percent of Democrats want a different presidential nominee in 2024. Those Democrats cite Biden’s age more than any other factor, though job performance is close behind.” • But remember: That poll shows — and Goldberg erases — that it’s the old who think Biden’s too old. The young think his performance is lousy, and so it is.

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.

* * *

Democrat psychology:

UPDATE “The Never-Ending War on the Woke” [Alex Pareene, Forum]. “For my entire life, white moderates have been complaining about how difficult the people on the side of multiracial democracy are making it for them to win their idealized suburban voters. I would ask Marshall and From—and Carville and Teixera and the heavy-breathing authors of Politico’s Playbook—only to acknowledge that they won. They got what they wanted. Barack Hussein Obama may have temporarily disrupted the natural order [for about thirty seconds, probably by accident], but the ‘special interests’ were routed, and the white suburban voter granted pride of place in the scrum for electoral power. Union membership is down to single-digits in the private-sector workforce. The communities of color that Clinton-era Democrats made such a performative point of rebuffing on the principle that they were securely captive constituencies have grown disenchanted, and in some cases started to edge rightward. The president’s approval among young people in particular is shockingly dismal. Joe Biden is the president of the United States. Bill Clinton’s “PC” cabinet lost the 1994 midterms. Congratulations to the anti-PC brigade. You have gotten what you’ve wanted, over and over again, for many years. How’s it going?” • Indeed….


* * *

Lambert here: I am but a humble tape-watcher, but I never thought it would come to this: The most timely and reliable tools for making personal risk assessments turn out to be the Walgreens positivity chart, anecdotes on the Twitter, and the “Community Transmission” chart that CDC deprecates. All of these signals have been flashing red for weeks. Meanwhile, case counts are at best helpful to intuit the regional situations, “Community Profile” data (rapid riser counties and hospitalization) has been cut to twice a week, variant data is absurdly slow and dated, and I can’t get CDC’s spandy new wastewater page to load [bangs head on desk]. This is the situation “the adults in the room” have created. As it turns out, Ron Klain, Pandemic Czar, shouldn’t be put in charge of a lemonade stand. Nor any of ’em. Another anecdote:

Propaganda works (and this “conscientious, educated adult hasn’t been reading NC).

UPDATE “Is BA.5 the ‘Reinfection Wave’?” [Ed Yong, The Atlantic]. The final paragraph: “The stakes of that game depend on a very simple question: Should we still care about preventing infections? If the answer is ‘not so much,’ which is the implicit and sometimes explicit posture that America’s leaders have adopted, then BA.5 changes little. But if the answer is ‘yes,’ as I and most of the experts I talk to still believe, then BA.5 is a problem.” • This is about as close to “‘Democidal elites’ is a parsimonious explanation” as the very measured Ed Yong is likely to come….

“Fact Sheet: Biden Administration Outlines Strategy to Manage BA.5” [The White House]. I could be too jaded and cynical, but I’m not seeing much new here. On masks:

Making free high-quality masks widely available and communicate clear recommendations about when people should consider masking: Experts agree that masking in indoor, public spaces is an important tool to control the spread of COVID-19. The CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels provide individuals with clear recommendations on when to consider masking in indoor, public spaces. As BA.5 drives an increase in cases, the Administration continues to encourage Americans to visit COVID.gov to find the level of COVID-19 in their community and follow CDC’s recommendations on wearing masks in public, indoor settings.

First, “people should consider masking” is weak tea; what’s wrong with “people should”? Second, I’m not at all amazed or stunned that the White House continues to recommend CDC’s discredited “Community Levels” metric (see NOTE below in the Transmission section). This recommendation is not only wrong, but potentially lethal, since it will cause people to mask up too late. Third, what about indoor, private spaces? I’ve seen anecdote after anecdote about households with a single member infected with Covid, where isolation, masking, and Corsi boxes protected the rest of the family.

And so the propaganda line shifts on a dime. CNN:

Yes, there’s no such thing as a mandate, or even collective action; what needs to happen is that a mass of atomized individuals need to “personally implement mitigation strategies” because some CNN talking heads decided they should. Not that the advice is all that bad, although 3Cs (closed spaces, crowded places, close-contact settings) is better; CNN left out “close-contact settings.”


So, after a year-and-a-half trashing non-pharmaceutical interventions, the party line has changed to support them.

“Omicron-Specific COVID Boosters Are Coming” [Scientific American]. A little late, it would seem. “Existing vaccines target the ancestral form of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, which first surfaced in Wuhan, China. But although these shots still broadly protect against severe disease, “their effectiveness does appear to wane with time,” said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, during the late June VRBPAC meeting. Each new variant has been successively more contagious than its predecessor. And throughout the world, Omicron subvariants have been fueling increased infections and hospitalizations—the latter especially among older people. The planned updates are currently limited to mRNA vaccine boosters developed by Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech collaboration.” • Oh, swell. mRNA only.

“Newest Omicron subvariants can evade boosters, antibody therapies” [Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy]. “The latest Omicron subvariants behind new COVID-19 surges in the United States and abroad have an enhanced ability to escape immunity conferred by three vaccine doses and all but one antibody therapy tested, finds a laboratory study published yesterday in Nature. Omicron BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5, the latter two of which now make up more than 70% of US COVID-19 infections, are highly transmissible and evasive owing to new mutations in the virus’s spike proteins…. Relative to BA.2, the BA.2.12.1 subvariant was about 80% more resistant (1.8-fold) after three vaccine doses, but BA.4 and BA.5 were at least 4.2 times more resistant, increasing the likelihood of breakthrough infections. When the researchers also evaluated the ability of 19 monoclonal antibody therapies to neutralize the subvariants, they found that only one—Eli Lilly’s intravenous bebtelovimab—retained its full efficacy against these strains.”

* * *

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.

* * *

Case Count

Case count for the United States:

Continuing rise. There was a weird, plateau-like “fiddling and diddling” stage before the Omicron explosion, too. This conjuncture feels the same. Under the hood the BA.4/BA.5 are making up a greater and greater proportion of cases. Remember that cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. The previous count was ~107,200. Today, it’s ~119,000 and 107,200 * 6 = a Biden line at 714,000 per day. That’s rather a lot of cases per day, when you think about it. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes had a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.

Regional case count for four weeks:

Mostly the South.

The South:

Florida and Texas. Dudes!


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

8.9%. Hoo boy. Looks like a lot of people came back from the Fourth of July barbecue hacking and wheezing. The Covid train always leaves on time! (I also wonder if there’s a Keynesian Beauty Contest effect, here; that is, if people encounter a sympotomatic person, whether in their social circle or in normal activity, they are more likely to get a test, because they believe (correctly) that it’s more likely they will be infected. What we are seeing here is the steepest and largest acceleration of positivity on Walgreen’s chart.


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. Use the community transmission immediately below.

• For grins, here is “Community Levels,” the CDC map I only track after I’m put on my rubber gloves:

Even CDC’s obfuscatory map shows we’re in trouble. Hold onto your hats.

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. For June 30 – July 6:

Status quo, i.e. it’s a not-over pandemic.

Lambert here: After the move from the CDC to the laughingly named ‘https://healthdata.gov,” this notice appeared: “Effective June 22, 2022, the Community Profile Report will only be updated twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays.” Hence, the “NOT UPDATED”s; my bad. So now the administration has belatedly come to the realization that we’re in a BA.5 surge, and yet essential data for making our personal risk assessment is only available twice a week. What’s the over/under on whether they actually deliver tomorrow?

NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), July 7:

Good job. Since the report moved over to healthdata.gov, everything has gone swimmingly. Just get the effing reports out on time. How hard is this?

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), July 7:

Very volatile.


Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. I looked for more charts: California doesn’t to a BA.4/BA.5 breakdown. New York does but it, too, is on a molasses-like two-week cycle. Does nobody in the public health establishment get a promotion for tracking variants? Are there no grants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everybody gets the results from them? Additional sources from readers welcome [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk].

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), June 18:

Variant data, national (CDC), June 25:

BA.5 moving along nicely.

• “Omicron subvariants threaten COVID-19 resurgence across US” [ABC]. “Health officials are once again raising the alarm about the threat of a resurgence of COVID-19 infections across the country, as concerns grow about the new omicron subvariant, BA.5, which is now the dominant viral strain in the U.S… As BA.5 spreads, a growing proportion of U.S. counties are seeing increases in infections and related hospital admissions.” • Wait. You’re telling me Covid is not over?


Wastewater data (CDC), Jun 19, 2022 – Jul 03, 2022:

Lots of orange, some red. Not good. This chart works a bit like rapid riser counties: “This metric shows whether SARS-CoV-2 levels at a site are currently higher or lower than past historical levels at the same site. 0% means levels are the lowest they have been at the site; 100% means levels are the highest they have been at the site.” So, there’s a bunch of red dots on the West Coast. That’s 100%, so that means “levels are the highest they’ve ever been.” Not broken down by variant, CDC, good job.

Lambert here: I waited five minutes for this page to load. That’s enough. Maybe I’ll have better luck at the world’s premier public health agency tomorrow!


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,046,232 1,045,792. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. It’s nice that for deaths I have a nice, simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.

Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States Consumer Inflation Expectations” [Trading Economics]. “US consumer inflation expectations for the year ahead jumped to a new record of 6.8 percent in June 2022 from 6.6 percent in May. Expectations about year-ahead price changes increased for gas (5.6 percent), rent (10.3 percent), medical care (9.5 percent), and college education (8.7 percent), while households’ assessments of their current financial situation deteriorated. On the other hand, the median expected one-year-ahead change in home prices dropped sharply to 4.4 percent, from 5.8 percent in May, the lowest level since February 2021.

Optimism: “United States NFIB Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the United States decreased to 89.5 in June of 2022, the lowest since January 2013, and compared to 93.1 in May. A net negative 61% of small business owners expect better business conditions over the next six month, the lowest level recorded in the 48-year survey.” • That’s small business–

Optimism: “United States IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index in the US increased to 38.5 in July of 2022 but still remained close to an 11-year low of 38.1 hit in June. The household’s financial outlook for the next six months deteriorated further to a record low of 45.3. Meanwhile, a measure of how consumers feel about the economy’s prospects in the next six months rose to 32.2 from June’s mark of 30.6. At the same time, confidence in federal economic policies improved to 38.0 in July from 37.4 in the previous month.” • IBD = Investors Business Daily. TIPP = TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics.

* * *

UPDATE Tech: Big if true:

Unfortunately, you have to click to expand the full table, but when you do, you’ll se that there are 70,198 verified profiles (“Blue Checks”) in the United States. That, then, is a pretty good approximation of the size of the political class, within which I include the press. There are not very many of the Shing.

Intellectual Property: “Lawsuit over online book lending could bankrupt Internet Archive” [Ars Technica]. “Four of the nation’s leading book publishers have sued the Internet Archive, the online library best known for maintaining the Internet Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive makes scanned copies of books—both public domain and under copyright—available to the public on a site called the Open Library. ‘Despite the Open Library moniker, IA’s actions grossly exceed legitimate library services, do violence to the Copyright Act, and constitute willful digital piracy on an industrial scale,’ write publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley, and Penguin Random House in their complaint. The lawsuit was filed in New York federal court on Monday. For almost a decade, the Open Library has offered users the ability to ‘borrow’ scans of in-copyright books via the Internet. Until recently, the service was based on a concept called ‘controlled digital lending’ that mimicked the constraints of a conventional library. The library would only ‘lend’ as many digital copies of a book as it had physical copies in its warehouse. If all copies of a book were ‘checked out’ by other patrons, you’d have to join a waiting list. In March, as the coronavirus pandemic was gaining steam, the Internet Archive announced it was dispensing with this waiting-list system. Under a program it called the National Emergency Library, IA began allowing an unlimited number of people to check out the same book at the same time—even if IA only owned one physical copy. Before this change, publishers largely looked the other way as IA and a few other libraries experimented with the digital lending concept. Some publishers’ groups condemned the practice, but no one filed a lawsuit over it. Perhaps the publishers feared setting an adverse precedent if the courts ruled that CDL was legal. But the IA’s emergency lending program was harder for publishers to ignore. So this week, as a number of states have been lifting quarantine restrictions, the publishers sued the Internet Archive.” • Hmm.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 27 Fear (previous close: 27 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 23 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 12 at 12:53 PM EDT.

Book Nook

An extremely neat book, Frank Adams’s Writing Tables. The whole thread is worth a read:

So, when Hamlet says (Act I, scene 5): “My tables,–meet it is I set it down, That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain,” perhaps he had in his pocket a copy of Frank Adams’s Writing Tables, or something similar, and was using its “erasable pages” feature to make a note. (Using the word “feature” deliberately here; see the thread.)

The Gallery

Greek statuary was gaudy:

It always astonishes me what the human hand and eye can do:

Zeitgeist Watch

“A Theory of Vibe” [Glass-Bead]. “What gives a vibe ‘authenticity’ is its ability to evoke—using a small number of disparate elements—a certain time, place and milieu; a certain nexus of historic, geographic and cultural forces.’ … we might speculate that a dense vibe in the imaginative landscape associated with a work of art potentially acts as a structural representation of a loose vibe of the collective objects and phenomena of a real-world domain. I would offer, similarly, that the ‘dense aesthetic structure’ in question thus potentially provides a schema for interpreting the objects and phenomena of a real-world domain in accordance with a ‘systemic gestalt’ given through the imaginative landscape of the literary work.” • I don’t think this is bullshit. In fact, “vibe authenticity” thus described is a lot like the cultural markers that evoke class.

Guillotine Watch

I’d put this under “Sports Watch,” but no:


And Rutgers isn’t even a top-rank school. One wonders what’s going with other Division 1 “schools.”

Class Warfare


News of the Wired

“Primatologist Jane Goodall gets Barbie doll in her likeness” [Channel News Asia]. “Dressed in a khaki shirt and shorts and holding a notebook, Goodall’s doll has a pair of binoculars around her neck and David Greybeard by her side, a replica of the first chimpanzee to trust the primatologist as she conducted her research at Gombe National Park, in what is now Tanzania in east Africa. ‘I wanted a doll to be me even before this idea came up. I’ve seen…little girls playing with Barbie dolls and certainly at the beginning, they were all very girly girly and I thought little girls need…some choice,’ Goodall told Reuters.” • Good, I think.

* * *

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 MG:

MG writes: “Today was one of those afternoons where the sky is a blue dome, the temperature is lovely, gentle breeze . .. not enough to completely blow away the smell of the blooms. This is a part the Owen Rose Garden in Eugene, Oregon. I like to come to this part to calm and center, or as best I can do that.” MG sent me several very nice photos, but I picked this one, even though the roses are in the background, because I like what I think are called “Peace Plants” in the foreground.

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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. Mikel

    Intellectual Property: “Lawsuit over online book lending could bankrupt Internet Archive”

    At this point, my take is that there must be other ways other than digital platforms for creators to use for distribution. It’s imperative to have alternatives.

    1. LifelongLib

      I’ve downloaded some out-of-copyright stuff from Internet Archive. It has lots of obscure 19th and early 20th century books that are hard to find anywhere else, or only as collectors’ items.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Same here. I have downloaded obscure books that you could never get anywhere else.

    1. Rod

      Our State bird, the Carolina Wren is worth a listen-imo. Volume and Range, particularly during the Spring.

  2. Jen

    “Propaganda works (and this “conscientious, educated adult hasn’t been reading NC).”

    Indeed. I volunteered to do some post event schlepping after the big fundraiser for our medical center this weekend. Had to meet up with a friend and take a 10 minute car ride. I was fully masked (N95). She offered to put on a mask when she saw mine. I mentioned that we still have lots of people getting sick with COVID at work and her response was “you mean it’s still around?”

    Both she and her husband had covid in April.

    1. petal

      A coworker’s wife has covid(she got it from an MD at a neighbouring hospital across the river), and coworker is taking zero precautions at home, coming into work like normal, not distancing at all, surgical mask only, and proclaiming to me “I just tested negative!”-when the infection window for him is really just opening up. The wife was put on paxlovid.

      I am predicting we are going to be forced by the hospital and college to get the mrna vaccine in the Fall. I feel sick just thinking about it and wish I could get out of here. If I could find other housing, I’d quit and get a new job with a different employer. I want off this crazy train. CBS news came on the radio on my way home today and they had Fauci on pushing vaccines as the only thing you can do to protect yourself against this current wave. He was pushing vaccines hard. Again.

        1. petal

          My life has not been one of good luck, so I would likely get busted and find myself in an even worse position.

          1. ambrit

            Could you find a vaccine trial and get signed in as a control? Then you would be legally required not to get a vaccine assault.

      1. Jen

        That is awful. For your sake I hope the co-worker remains miraculously uninfected. I will say that one of my co-worker’s recent go-round with it has, shall we say, clarified his thinking on getting infected, having learned the hard way that it is neither “mild” nor “over.”

        @Big River Bandido – not that I would ever do such a thing, but given that the “vaccine record” is hand written and submitted to our offsite occupational health service via a photograph of the card, I think there are flaws in the system to exploit were so inclined.

  3. Samuel Conner

    > First, “people should consider masking” is weak tea; what’s wrong with “people should”?

    Perhaps “people who don’t want to contract the disease, or transmit it to others should…”


    I am reminded of Gandalf’s rebuke of Pippin after his (the book; revised in the movie) hazardous entertainment: “throw yourself in next time, and rid us of your stupidity”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Here in Oz the virus has come roaring back and thousands of medical staff are out sick, especially Victoria, where a coupla times if you rang for an ambulance, none could be sent. So yesterday they had some Victorian medico bigwig being interviewed and when asked about maybe making masks mandatory again for the moment nixed the idea. No wait, what they actually said was that they wanted to empower people to wear masks if they wanted to do so. And people wonder why I have come to despise our medical establishment.

  4. Screwball

    There is another Jan 6th hearing today. My PMC friends are riveted and Liz Cheney is a national treasure. They are convinced they have Trump this time with today’s testimony, as all the rats are jumping ship, and something is finally going to be done, and something must be done for the safety of all the democrats.

    An example from my FB feed;

    Today’s hearing revealed the first overt indication that your typical violent red hat insurrectionist is down with the idea of killing “every man, woman and child” who they suspect is a Democrat, and that “your average Democrat is a traitor” and must be killed.

    For anyone watching, is the above what you are getting out of today’s hearings? I can’t watch. I’ve watched enough congressional hearings to know what they are like, and besides, I’m out of barf bags. I certainly hope not as the above is scary enough if some actually believe this.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      ive only caught glimpses as i wandered through moms house on the way to the sheep area.
      she is, of course, enraptured…and full o’ beans.
      i refuse to engage, as it sure looks like theater from what i can glean from print media.
      the facial expressions and tone of voice of the msdnc talking head types are also indicative of theater.
      that’s enough for me,lol.
      it’s the OJ Trial all over again.
      blame whomever came up with Dallas(the tv show–i noted the same sorts of behaviours way back then, as a teenager who couldn’t grasp the allure)

      1. hunkerdown

        Parents used to break up such flights of fanciful foolishness when they went on too long, and here the local girl gang are holding a meeting to ensure they can live in fiction forever.

      1. Wukchumni

        Hello walls, (hello) (hello)
        How’d things go for you today?
        Don’t you miss the chance to cash out
        Since liquidity up and walked away?
        And I’ll bet you dread to spend
        Another loanly night with me
        But lonely walls, I’ll keep you company

        Hello window of opportunity(hello) (hello)
        Well I see that you’re still here
        Aren’t you lonely
        Since defenestration demand disappeared?
        Well, look here, is that another price drop
        In the corner of your imminent domain?
        Now don’t you try to tell me that it isn’t causing pain

        Liquidity went away and left us with a large loan
        Things didn’t go as planned
        Guess we’ll have to learn to get along
        Without AirBnB income if we can
        Hello ceiling, (hello) (hello)
        I’m gonna stare at you awhile
        You know I can’t sleep
        So won’t you bear with me awhile?
        We must all stick together or else
        I’ll lose my mind
        I’ve got a feelin’, the housing bubble will be gone a long, long time
        (Hello, hello)

        Hello Walls, by Faron Young


        1. drsteve0

          I think you meant with apologies to Faron Young, a great guy who was responsible for Willie going from starving artist to successful schmuck.

    2. Tom Stone

      Of course some people believe it, it’s an excuse for justifiable anger.
      Which feels so good!

      “We have met the enemy, and he is us” is not a lesson most humans want to learn.

    3. Axle

      If I had a dollar for every time PBS and the Wokels bleated about
      “They got Trump now!” I could buy a decent used car.

    4. JBird4049

      >>>typical violent red hat insurrectionist is down with the idea of killing “every man, woman and child” who they suspect is a Democrat

      What? That’s insanity talking. Eighty to a hundred million Americans? Aside from the sheer evil and scale of trying to kill a quarter to a third of the population and surpassing the death totals of either the Pacific or European theaters, if not the entire world, of the Second World War, only the insane or truly evil few are talking like that. Although talk like this it would give cover to the PMC and the Security State to impose martial law, not that we are not already tending to it in some form.

    5. Louis Fyne

      FWIW…I never bring up politics first, literally no one around is talking about the Jan 6 hearings–not directly to me, not in line somewhere, not within eavesdropping range.

      take with salt.

    1. griffen

      Outrageous, and not too surprising (unfortunately for the undergrad population). Teams that win big in D1 revenue sports, football and men’s basketball, set the table for all the rest. I do find it implausible that so little accounting for expenses is actually enforced.

  5. digi_owl

    And here i thought Barbie doll was a bad influence, because they present a negative body image. /s

  6. Wukchumni

    I’m a crypto watcher, I’m a crypto watcher
    Watchin’ coins go by, hey, my my
    I’m a coin watcher, I’m a coin watcher
    Here comes one now

    A man was just a boy when Bitcoin launched other ploys
    And found a new online pastime to dwell on
    Whenever I detects them there of the younger sects
    I watch them play the game and I egg them on

    I’m a crypto watcher, I’m a crypto watcher
    Watchin’ coins go by, hey, my my
    I’m a coin watcher, I’m a coin watcher
    Here comes one now

    Mumble something tell my my, but you do look swell
    Could you please sink a little slower
    Wonder if you know that you’re putting on a show
    Could you please sink a little slower

    Girl Watcher | Improved Stereo | The O’Kaysions


  7. Carolinian

    it’s the old who think Biden’s too old.

    My not particularly partisan dad hated Reagan with a passion. It was all about his age.

    Meanwhile young people back then liked Reagan (?????). One can make a case that age confers wisdom, but perhaps not on politicians where it’s simply more years for them to be bought.

    1. Tom Stone

      I was in my early 30’s when Reagan won the Presidency,I considered him a transparent liar and a repulsive human being at the time and my opinion of him has only become worse since.

    2. digi_owl

      The young ones always love the charismatic ones that promises to get the law out of their hair.

      It is only with age, and experience, that one see the reason, and wisdom, of the laws thus removed…

      1. hunkerdown

        No, not everyone gets to have property, but that is part of the myth of European society that apprentices “will” internalize the values and interests of their masters. Meanwhile, in the real world, interests legitimately diverge and traditions have to pay their own way.

        If young people love charismatic drama, it is because old people trained them to respond to it.

    3. ChiGal

      I was in my twenties. No one I knew my age liked him and we all thought he was a joke–when he won it was obvious the joke was (and is) on us.

      1. Carolinian

        Obviously not all young people but I can testify that at least some did and thought his advanced age was “cool.”

  8. Sub-Boreal

    Watching the long tail of the COVID slog play out in Canadian higher education is a rather dispiriting spectacle for this geezer prof within months of retirement.

    British Columbia’s largest school, UBC, eventually fell into line with the province’s March retreat on masking, and lifted its requirement at the end of June. It had been the one holdout in BC. I checked their Faculty Association’s web site to see if there were any official responses, but couldn’t see anything. At my own much smaller institution, I think it would take something close to blockage of the campus access road by a pile of corpses to change anything. The admin followed provincial direction in March, and there was no public pushback from any campus unions or student organizations.

    Some scattered bright spots elsewhere, though: U of Manitoba is maintaining masking, as is Seneca College in Ontario. When U of Toronto, the country’s largest, cancelled masking requirements, at least their Faculty Association publicly dissented. (My apologies for no links. I haven’t mastered the trick of consistently getting them to embed properly here; coaching is welcome!)

    I certainly notice the shift in individual behaviours. In my own department, a couple of the most reliably masked colleagues now don’t seem to be bothering, and I see them meeting little groups of students in their small offices, with everyone unmasked.

    I’m sure that it’s not a total explanation, but most of my colleagues have school-age kids, and since public health protections (what the media of course call “restrictions”) have been absent from the public school system for a while now, perhaps they’re just fatalistic – why mask at work if the kids are just going to bring it home from school?

    Which puts me in the position of having to be “that guy” who always nags about masking in shared spaces. It’s tiring and demoralizing. This is not how I wanted to be ending my career.

    1. Samuel Conner

      > why mask at work if the kids are just going to bring it home from school?

      this way of thinking is understandable if the only thing that masking does is protect oneself from others. But, of course, it also protects others from oneself.

      it would seem to be equivalent to “why protect my colleagues and students from the infection I’m sure to catch at home?”

      But maybe it’s, “my colleagues are sure to catch it at their homes, so why should I bother trying to protect them from the infection that I’m sure to catch at my home?”

      1. Sub-Boreal

        You’re certainly correct on masking protecting others. As to what they might really be thinking, your explanation makes as much sense as my suggestion. I doubt that any attempt to drill down into their exact reasoning would end well.

    2. GramSci

      re: coaching is welcome

      When, while making an NC comment, you click the link button, the pop-up prompt for a URL contains http:. You must erase this before inserting your link. Almost all URLs now use the secure https: protocol and modern browsers will supply the https: prefix when you cut-and-paste a link.

  9. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update.

    Ok, despite recent assurances from yours truly that the Bitcoin sub $20k barrier would nevermore be broken, well, so much for that.

    But everybody knows cryptocurrencies are stronger when consolidation happens, hang tough is the look from our emoji chagrin online, but not our nervous fingers, longing to press the sell button, but afraid of what anonymous peers you’ve never actually met, would feel about that-a traitor in our midst.

  10. JAC

    Honestly let me tell you how I feel about COVID and masking and vaccines. I do not give a fck anymore. Why? Because I do not care if I die anymore and since people do not care if I die, so COVID? So what? Homeless, spinal arthritis, Schizoaffective Bipolar…just add COVID to my list. So again, so what? And people I talk to, in my circles, the slumericans, they all feel the same.

    Tell me why I should care about anyone here?

    1. ChiGal

      I can’t argue with how you feel but there might be someone who cares about you somewhere. And maybe some of your fellow slumericans care whether they live or die.

      It’s the difference between taking yourself out by driving into a tree and taking yourself out by driving the wrong way down the highway.

      The fact that you are reading and commenting at NC gives me reason to believe you might not be the type who wants to inflict maximum damage on others, however bad your situation is.

      I’m sorry you’re in such a bad place. Pain is a bitch.

  11. notabanker

    Gee, it’s almost like twitter is designed to amplify the voices of an extremely tiny minority of society. whocoodanode?

  12. Lex

    This goes back to yesterday’s post about CO2 sensors. Miniaturization into a phone would require wholly different technology than is currently used, and it’s hard to see the price coming down without new tech as well. Basically, you need two little chambers. One has a reference gas and the other ambient air, a light shines through the ambient air chamber and the absorption of that light in specific wavelength bands indicates the presence/concentration of the target (CO2 in this case). You can also do it via photoionization but that’s generally reserved for more complex measurements than CO2.

    There are simply physical size limits based on the necessary air chamber(s), light source and chip set. What we could see is a unit not much larger than the sensor set that could interface with a phone. There are several Infrared cameras on the market that do this, though they’re not as good as purpose built IR cameras. I’m not sure if you could move all the computing power into a phone.

    Wiki on the most common tech:

    The smallest unit I know of is the ToxiRAE which can be fitted with a variety of sensors (the CO2 version uses the nondispersive sensor tech). These fit in your hand and are actually designed to be clipped on your collar/lapel. The round lump on the top is the actual sensor. PID sensors are the same size.


    1. chris

      What some friends of mine and I spitballed together over some whiskey was a sensor for multiple purposes that fit into a cell phone case with a battery for powering sensor or charging the phone. Only thing we couldn’t get to work in the selected form factor was the heat issues and possible safety issues from the battery protruding from the phone. Perhaps we just need more whiskey :)

      1. Lex

        It would make a rather large cell phone case. With current tech, most of the sensors are separate units. That’s the case for even straightforward measurements like temp, humidity and CO2. None of the sensors use a great deal of power. Battery life on all the equipment I use is quite good, even with AAs. It’s the bulk of the physics sensors because they need a chamber of a known quantity of air to either do the light absorption or the ionization.

      1. hunkerdown

        “Third, there are the hard-working, stupid ones. These people are a menace and must be fired at once. They create irrelevant work for everybody.” -General Erich Von Manstein

    1. The Rev Kev

      There is work for John Bolton in the South Pacific islands. The US is setting up two more CIA headquarters, errr, two more Embassies.

      1. ambrit

        The thing to watch for is when State sends over extra “Commercial Attaches.” Then it’s time to short the local government.

    2. griffen

      It’s the details and the ugly grunt work, I tell ya. Overthrowing duly-elected governments to supplant with our chosen elite thought leader is a grind. \sarc

      There is a pace in our world for vulnerable fools and for absolute tools alike.

    1. nippersmom

      That should be “thrown” into a bottomless pit. Edit did not take for some reason.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      Slava Ukraina!

      A whopping 21% of rural hospitals in the US are on the verge of closing, according to a 2019 report by Navigant. That’s 430 rural hospitals across the country that are on the brink of closure.

    3. Pat

      Since I know the odd fact or two someone who got dinged for a copay for a Covid test asked me about it. Yo know since they are supposed to be free and all. I asked if they noticed how much money was being thrown into the bottomless pit known as Ukraine. We had a group discussion last week talking about how much of it was probably being filtered into pockets on both ends of the transaction so it was a rhetorical question. I told them that pretty much the only thing that was being approved for funding in Washington, congressionally and by presidential acclimation, for months has been money going there. And that everything else had languished including the renewal of various types of Covid funding. (I didn’t tell them they were lucky, their insurance coverage was pretty decent, that they could have been hit with most or the entire cost otherwise.) suffice it to say disgust doesn’t quite capture the reaction. Drip…drip..drip

      As it becomes more and more obvious how little regard or concern Washington, regardless of party, has with the conditions and concerns of Americans the anger is going to grow exponentially.

  13. Lex

    I’m a reasonably competent woodworker and it amazes me what I can do. When I think back to my grandmother or my uncle who sculpts and then casts full-sized nudes I start to lose my bearings. Yes, much of it is practice but there’s something else. There’s an ability to see what isn’t there … yet … and then realize it. I get this in some ways; I can see a piece of furniture in my mind’s eye, how it has to fit all the individual pieces together and such. But I’ve never managed the trick of seeing the vitality of life and being able to create that. I don’t know, maybe art is next to godliness as the act of pure creation.

    1. hunkerdown

      I’ve found music and photography help develop that sense of nature. Luthiery might call to you.

    2. Art_DogCT

      My late husband-in-fact was a brilliant cabinet maker. He could build a piece of complicated furniture with a handful of calculations on a piece of scrap board. I have a vivid memory of him working out how to arrange hinges on a project using his hands and forearms. Where I would have to draw out plans to build anything, he could visualize in his mind and feel in his body what a piece of wood wanted to become and make it happen. These many years later I remain in awe of such alchemy.

      What is remembered, lives.

    1. Judith

      Which will only happen in healthy soil, not dead soil permeated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. And healthy soil yields more nutritious food. So simple, but somehow, not.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Which will be an incentive for more people to make more healthy the soil under their immediate control.

        Also, the more people who learn about these things at an informed layperson level, the more people
        will understand the Higher Selfishness Based Need to buy shinola food, at a shinola price if necessary, from shinola growers who increase the pro-microbial health of the soil they make their living from.

    2. Lex

      Thanks for those links! My veg beds have all been converted to full no-till for three years, but I’m going to buy some of the BEAM innoculant. I started it as a means of coping with humus loss due to the sandiness of my native soil, which has worked beautifully. I’m also down to near zero “work” in the garden and have better production and plant health than ever before. (It wasn’t bad before, it’s just really great now.) Full chop and drop and chopped plant matter is gone in days.

      I also do field research for an led lighting company related to weed, so I have a true A/B grow lab. That’s not no-till but it is all organic and biological soil. I’m super excited about the BEAM and field testing it that way. Lots of microbial products out there but the consortiums are generally narrow.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If I remember from past comments, are you a professional grower and professional seller of what you grow?

        If so, one wonders whether it makes sense to spread this sort of information to those among your customers who seem interested to receive it.

        To paraphrase George Bush the Elder, we upgrade and improve the culture spreading outward from ” A Thousand Points of Green”.

  14. drumlin woodchuckles

    I haven’t read Alex Parene’s article about the wages of anti-Wokeness. I may if I have more time at another time.

    But in the meantime, I suspect this whole article will be a piece of disinformation and misdirection, putting the spotlight on anti-Wokeness and anti-PCness in order to keep the cameras off the DLC Fromite-Clintonites’ anti-New Dealness and pro-Free Trade-ness; which I suspect Alex Parene fully shares and supports.

    A pro New Deal and pro tectionist party could probably also be pro multi-racialness and get support after a few decades of proving its sincerity to a base rendered suspicious by decades of Democratic deceit and betrayal. But it would have to be a new party without any Democratic personnel allowed to infiltrate and contaminate the new party with their vile and filthy cock-roachiform presence.

    I have suggested a possible name for such a party . . . . the Legal Abortion New Deal Party . . . . because LAND is such a memorable name. “This LAND is MY LAND.”

    ” This LAND is “us” LAND. It is not “them” LAND “. that shows no compromise, no mercy, no forgiveness and no prisoners.

  15. Art_DogCT

    Thank you, Brother Lambert, for the wide, tasty, and satisfying selections in today’s Water Cooler buffet! The Rembrandt lion is truly stunning and worth the checking-in, even if there weren’t anything else worthy and rewarding of attention (as if).

    Regarding the state of the pandemic, I write from the northwest corner of Connecticut in a small town considered rural (for the purposes of USDA Rural Economic Development programs – many would classify us as suburban/exurban). I am the current Board President of Mad River Market, a startup food co-op building toward opening a brick-and-mortar co-op grocery. We had been growing the number of member-owners quite well for the first three years. The arrival of the pandemic put our outreach work in hiatus. Our core volunteers are almost all elderly, and of the three current board members under 45, two have significant health issues, one unfortunately now including COVID infection and Long COVID. We have been extremely reluctant to hold or participate in anything in-person. At the end of May we had to leave the space we’d been using for an office. We were offered a high-visibility storefront space on very generous terms, and last Saturday held a Town-sponsored ribbon cutting to launch our new ‘organizing office’. (We hope that having ‘organizing office’ in very large letters on our façade sign will limit the disappointment of those who would otherwise walk in thinking we were already selling groceries.)

    In the few days before the Saturday event (7/9), there were work sessions getting things ready, a Town Fire Marshal inspection, landlord personnel in and out for various reasons, etc. I was KN95-masked at all times, and we managed, I think, very good air flow throughout those days. On Monday I learned that one of the landlord’s staff had called out with COVID. He was someone I dealt with on Thursday (7/7) and Friday (7/8). My recollection is that in all our conversations indoors and out we maintained good distancing (though he was unmasked). Everything I understand about transmission risk suggests a pretty low probability of infection. This is, amazingly, the first time I have had a known exposure to someone in the window of viral shedding. I confess I am maintaining a symptom watch, just in case. A focused dread, which makes a change from normal, free-floating dread.

    On Wednesday, 7/6, the Town Fire Marshal told me that ‘virtually everyone’ in Town Hall has had COVID at least once, making it a superspreader location. In the course of visiting three restaurants on Friday evening collecting copies of menus, I was the only masked person in two, and the only one in a very busy third until another elder showed up. Consulting the Litchfield County, CT page in the CDC COVID Data Tracker: County View, I find that it contradicts itself with the Community Level rating a yellow ‘moderate’ and the Community Transmission rating an orange ‘substantial’. My personal collection of anecdata suggests that ‘substantial’ is too weak a term. It is to weep.

    We (the co-op) are developing plans for a community ‘Build a Corsi-Rosenthal Box’ project. We are reaching out to local partners for bulk purchases of fans and filters, hopefully making a total kit price under $100, the underer the better. We’ll promote the project by stressing how a C-R Box can protect an entire household when one member is quarantined, and for those who don’t feel the need personally, we’ll encourage them to make or fund one (or more) for donation to our local schools, childcare programs, communal spaces used by seniors, etc. I’d hoped to have at least one built for the event on Saturday, but could not find enough filters. We plan on building at least two for use in our new space, and 1) lead by example, 2) feel some comfort in being in the space other than alone, and 3) comfortable in it being used by small numbers of people at a time. I will report back on the project’s progress.

    1. Tom Stone

      Tex-Air filters sells a Corsi Box kit with everything except the fan and tape for about $70, they also sell the filters and you could probably get a pretty good bulk price on those.

      1. Art_DogCT

        Thank you! I’ll check that out. We have reasons for wanting to involve a local vendor if we can. Our local True Value and Ace Hardware stores are the successors of what began, in the 1800s, as fully independent hardware retailers. They are both members of their respective purchasing co-ops and have been able to survive, so far, the encroachment of Home Depot and Lowe’s. Working with either/both business/es comports with cooperative principle #6 – cooperation among cooperatives, as it does with cooperative principle #7 – concern for community. Doing so is also in line with two of our three values as expressed in “Eat Healthy – Buy Local – Build Community”. (Think [Values – Mission – Vision] for context.) Both businesses are long-standing, but for all they are well-loved and respected in the community, both are struggling to stay afloat. I will explore whether either business can purchase goods independently of their co-op.

        Quoting the film Starship Troopers, do you want to know more? https://www.ica.coop/en/cooperatives/cooperative-identity

  16. Tom Stone

    Here in Sonoma County Covid is ON!
    So are parades, festivals,concerts,farmer’s markets, Karaoke….
    Masks are not on, for the most part.
    Perhaps 10% are masked with a skew toward white hair.
    It’s going to get ugly soon,
    and then even uglier if we have mass evacuations due to wildfires.
    Something that is very likely to happen given drought and fuel conditions throughout California and the Southwest.
    It’s going to be an interesting summer.

    1. JBird4049

      The state government, and I presume the county’s because they follow the state, will not be requiring masks for this year’s classes except to recommend their use. I want to actually complete my degree before I die of old age, but I rather not die, nor get Long Covid, twenty or thirty years before then. The stupid really burns. Actually, taking the (in the short term) easy path is what makes me angry.

  17. The Rev Kev

    ‘If ever a person from antiquity would enter a modern museum, he would feel like entering a world of ghosts.’

    More likely they would be asking what the hell did we strip all the paint off their statues for. Maybe they would ask if we also lived in houses that did not have the walls painted either. Or maybe they would ask if we just had a weird fetish for all things white.

  18. Mikel

    Under the RutgersU thread…

    Joe Pompliano

    This is wild — BMW is now selling a monthly subscription service for heated seats in your car.
    • Monthly fee: $18
    • Annual fee: $180
    The car will come with all the necessary components, but payment is needed to remove a software block.
    Welcome to microtransaction hell.”

    Welcome to the World of Rentierism.

  19. John Beech

    I’m late to the Water Cooler today (little thing called working for a living).

    I was looking at a 3-series BMW for my daughter on Monday. Just heard from the salesman (2nd time today, and here I was thinking there was a car shortage). So I mentioned news of this subscription and having second thoughts. He claimed it was news to him. Whatever.

    Note, even though we live in FL (with basically zero need of heated seats), the whole concept turns me off. Ticks me off the more I think about it . . . idiots!

    1. griffen

      You know what the apt line about being that salesman really is. I am almost certain of it. Saying that below, but happy car searching.

      Glengarry Glen Ross:
      ABC. Always Be Closing.

  20. Pat

    I realize that a reporter doing their job and asking Palmieri doesn’t the importance of women’s rights and reproductive freedom in the Democratic Party obviously being only a fund raising tool for forty years as witnessed by their embrace of anti abortion candidates and willingness to campaign on it but then drop it like a hot potato when in office with super majorities in both Houses as Obama did, making Biden’s dithering and negotiating to nominate an anti abortion judge with a lifetime appointment as Roe was being thrown out make all excuses of how little time or authority less then compelling. Oh and why hasn’t Biden done one thing that requires NO input – announcing the removal of Meredith and any other anti abortion judge from consideration. Stating that recent Judge nominees having misled Congress regarding Roe and overturning it means that only those with a record of recognizing women’s autonomy over their own bodies shall be even considered as judges henceforth.

    Oh wait… besides not having journalists anymore, we know why, they can’t really put not Orange man bad on the spot…I’m so tired of both the excuses and the enabling dances done by the media.

  21. spud


    The Neoliberal Order Is Crumbling. It’s Up to Us What Comes Next.

    An interview with
    Gary Gerstle

    “The neoliberal order arose with the Republican Party in the 1970s and ’80s. It became an order, I argue, when Bill Clinton, in the 1990s, brought the Democratic Party on board. Clinton arguably did more than [Ronald] Reagan himself to facilitate the tenets of the neoliberal order: the commitment to deregulation, the celebration of globalization, and the idea that there should be free markets everywhere. That indicates the political movement of neoliberalism had established itself as an order, with the ability to define the terrain of American politics.”

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