2:00PM Water Cooler 7/13/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, this is a little underpowered because I finished up a post excoriating the Biden Administration on Covid policy (and another post). So this is an open thread, but temporarily. There’s too much going on for me not to post a Water Cooler, so I am going to break my rule, and do a full post in a couple of hours. So talk amongst yourselves, but refresh your browsers every so often. –lambert UPDATE Finished!

Bird Song of the Day

Canyon Wren, El Paso, Texas, United States. Suggested by MT_Wild (this is indeed Wren Week at Naked Capitalism). From El Paso; I wonder if Amfortas and his family hear(d) this bird. Of course, Texas is a big state….

* * *


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

“Raskin: Jan. 6 panel to highlight voting machine seizure meeting” [The Hill]. “Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2011 attack on the Capitol, said on Sunday that the panel in an upcoming hearing will focus on a White House meeting during which allies of former President Trump reportedly proposed seizing voting machines. ‘One of the things that people are going to learn is the fundamental importance of a meeting that took place in the White House on December the 18th,’ Raskin told CBS ‘Face the Nation’ guest moderator Robert Costa. Attorney Sidney Powell, former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and others reportedly met with Trump on that day to discuss a proposal for the military to seize voting machines as part of the group’s effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Politico in January published a draft executive order that spelled out the proposal, which the outlet reported would have also given the Defense secretary 60 days to write an assessment of the election potentially as part of a scheme to keep Trump in power past Inauguration Day.” • Forgive my cynicism, but Lenin didn’t seize the Winter Place waving a draft. The pattern repeats: Trump tries to do something, somebody stops him, and he drops the idea and goes on to try something else.

“Logs show 10 House Republicans attended White House meeting on pressuring Pence” [Axios]. “Ten Republican members of Congress attended a Dec. 21 White House meeting focused on efforts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to help overturn the 2020 election, according to the Jan. 6 committee. The revelation underscores how deep the involvement of some lawmakers were in former President Trump’s schemes to overturn the election even after the electoral college met to affirm President Biden’s victory.”


“Biden administration says federal law preempts state abortion bans when emergency care is needed” [CNN]. “In new clarifying guidance announced Monday, the Biden administration said that federal law preempts state abortion bans when emergency care is needed and that the federal government can penalize institutions or providers that fail to provide abortions as needed to treat medical emergencies. ‘Under the law, no matter where you live, women have the right to emergency care — including abortion care,’ HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a news release Monday. ‘Today, in no uncertain terms, we are reinforcing that we expect providers to continue offering these services, and that federal law preempts state abortion bans when needed for emergency care.'” • Good.

Biden Administration

“Schumer-Manchin talks on Dem agenda hit a new hurdle: Covid quarantine” [Politico]. “Nearly a year ago, Schumer and Manchin privately inked an agreement on a $1.5 trillion iteration of the bill the voluble New Yorker is now laboring to revive after Manchin pulled the plug in December. That their talks remain on uncertain footing reflects just how critical the party-line bill is to Schumer’s legacy as he balances multiple goals: holding onto Senate control past this fall, confirming as many of Joe Biden’s nominees as he can, passing his dearly sought U.S.-China bill and clinching a deal with Manchin. Schumer conducted two leadership meetings and a full caucus meeting virtually this week while battling Covid and spoke to Manchin Monday about the climate, prescription drug and tax bill that is captivating Senate Democrats. In Tuesday’s caucus meeting, Schumer indicated it’s his goal to put a Manchin-backed bill on the Senate floor before the August recess, using filibuster-evasion powers that expire Sept. 30, according to attendees.”


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“Poll Shows Tight Race for Control of Congress as Class Divide Widens” [New York Times]. “the confluence of economic problems and resurgent cultural issues has helped turn the emerging class divide in the Democratic coalition into a chasm, as Republicans appear to be making new inroads among nonwhite and working-class voters — perhaps especially Hispanic voters — who remain more concerned about the economy and inflation than abortion rights and guns. For the first time in a Times/Siena national survey, Democrats had a larger share of support among white college graduates than among nonwhite voters — a striking indication of the shifting balance of political energy in the Democratic coalition. As recently as the 2016 congressional elections, Democrats won more than 70 percent of nonwhite voters while losing among white college graduates.” • The fundamental problem liberal Democrats have is that the PMC is too narrow a base.

PA: “John Fetterman’s Health Clouds Pennsylvania Senate Race” [Wall Street Journal]. “Since suffering a stroke two months ago, John Fetterman, the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic nominee for the Senate, has walked as far as 4 miles on local trails, taken family trips to area vacation spots and handled errands such as dropping off his children at day camp, his campaign says. What he hasn’t done is appear at public events where voters can get a sense of his stamina, speaking skills and ability to take on his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, the physician famous for his TV program ‘The Dr. Oz Show.'” • RealClearPolitics rates this a toss-up, but USA Today has Fterrman up by 9% — a month ago. More current no-name polls have Fetterman up by 4% and 5%. Not bad for somebody who isn’t on the trail at all.

PA: “So far, nothing has slowed John Fetterman’s ability to raise funds” [PennLive]. “John Fetterman’s cash machine is still rolling — and gaining speed. The lieutenant governor raised $8.3 million for his U.S. Senate campaign between his Democratic primary win and the end of June, according to campaign figures shared first with The Inquirer. That was part of a record-setting $11 million haul over April, May, and June…. Since he won the nomination, more than 139,000 donors have given to Fetterman for the first time, his campaign said, accounting for about two-thirds of his donors in the last quarter. And while it’s likely bigger donors will start giving to Fetterman, given the national stakes of the Senate race, his average donation was $31 during the last three months, his campaign said, signaling enduring support from grassroots donors who chip in smaller amounts.”

PA: “Pennsylvania sues county election boards over refusal to certify primary results” [NBC]. “In a 21-page filing, officials asked the Commonwealth Court in Pennsylvania to order the elections boards in Berks, Fayette and Lancaster counties to certify results to include absentee and mail-in ballots cast by qualified voters without handwritten dates to avoid further ‘delaying resolution of the 2022 primary election.'” • Hmm.


“Biden fires back at 2024 doubts: Democrats ‘want me to run’” [The Hill]. “Biden allies maintain that the president remains the best chance to beat Trump, citing his 2020 election win. Biden’s comments on Tuesday came after a progressive organization RootsAction launched a campaign to oppose another Biden run.”

Republican Funhouse

“Charges: Man lit his camper on fire, defaced own garage to appear targeted due to Trump flag” [CBS]. • Now the Democrats have their own Jussie Smollett. What a hoot!

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.

* * *

The party of war:

The crazy thing is that Patel seems to think his ideas are fresh, and he is some sort of insurgent:

(“The best and the brightest,” for those who, like Patel, don’t know, were the PMC of their day: The Ivy Leaguers who lost the Vietnam war while slaughtering millions, as described by David Halberstam in his book of that name. Irony really is dead, isn’t it?)



Maybe I need to be as realist about non-pharmaceutical interventions as I am about geopolitics. But the stupid. It’s very hard to bear.

“Masks for COVID: Updating the evidence” [fast.ai]. ” I’ve noticed some signs in recent weeks that people might be open to avoiding COVID again.” • Optimism! Good round-up in a neutral tone; well worth a read.

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Progress report:

“They” is most definitely bipartisan.

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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.

* * *

Case Count

Case count for the United States:

Starting to feel like the train is rolling. Let’s see what next week brings. 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 ~119,000. Today, it’s ~126,000 and 126,000 * 6 = a Biden line at 756,000 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 we’ve seen have 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:

Now the South and West.

The South:

Florida and Texas, still trading places.

The West:

Unsurprising, I suppose, that the large states (Texas, Florida; California) would have the largest absolute numbers.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

9.9%, up another point. Yikes. 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.

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?

Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), July 7:

Previous Rapid Riser data:

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].

Variant data, national (Walgreens), June 30:

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), June 25:

BA.5 moving along nicely.


Wastewater data (CDC), Jun 25, 2022 – Jul 09, 2022:

Lots of orange, more 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: It loaded today!


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,046,613 1,046,232. 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

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The Bezzle: “Three Arrows Founders’ Whereabouts Unknown, Liquidators Say” [Bloomberg]. “The founders of bankrupt crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital haven’t been cooperating in the firm’s liquidation process and their whereabouts were unknown as of Friday, according to court papers…. The hedge fund’s liquidators traveled to Three Arrows’ office address in Singapore in late June in an attempt to track down the founders, according to court papers. It appeared dormant: the door was locked, computers were inactive and mail was stuffed under the door. People working in the surrounding offices said they hadn’t seen anyone enter or exit the office recently. The liquidators spoke with lawyers for Davies and Zhu via videoconference last week, according to court papers, but did not speak to the founders directly. ‘While persons identifying themselves as ‘Su Zhu’ and ‘Kyle’ were present on the Zoom call, their video was turned off and they were on mute at all times with neither of them speaking despite questions being posed to them directly,’ Teneo’s Crumpler said in his court declaration.” • Incorporated in the Virgin Islands, located in Singapore… No red flags there! (But shouldn’t a polity that whips people for depositing chewed gum on the streets be a little more pro-active about preventing enormous frauds?

The Bezzle: “Pay Me For My Genius” [Eschaton]. “While I’m revisiting “proved fucking right about Elon,” I do want to remind people that the dream of self-driving cars (in any kind of coming soon timeline) is over and our glorious capital markets allocated billions and billions to the project when they just could’ve handed me a bit of cash. Here’s a recent piece describing the experience of the cutting edge in service self-driving cars. The basic point is that technology is absolutely amazing and impressive, total science fiction rocket surgery, but it just isn’t good enough to be useful or commercially viable…. A car that works great 95% of the time is… not a car that works well enough!” • The social function of capitalists is to allocate capital. Why are they so stupid about it? (Also, Atrios was not the only old school blogger to call bullshit on self-driving cars (here; here).

The Bezzle: A familiar sight:

The paint booth didn’t work in Fremont, either.

The Economy: “WTF Happened In 1971?” [wtfhappenedin1971.com (WhoaMolly)]. • What it says on the tin; in 1971 there was an abrupt, almost revolutionary, discountinuity that affected the entire economy. The key chart is at the top:

I entered the labor market in 1971 full-time, but I don’t think that was it….

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 23 Extreme Fear (previous close: 25 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 24 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 12 at 12:53 PM EDT.

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“Angels and demons: exposing the dark side of Victoria’s Secret” [Guardian]. “[T]he multibillion-dollar lingerie juggernaut was an inescapable cultural phenomenon in the late 1990s and early 2000…. But behind the glitz and glitter touting female empowerment through in-your-face sexuality lay allegations of bullying and harassment of employees and models; executives dismissive of casting more diverse and inclusive models; and former billionaire CEO Les Wexner’s disconcertingly close ties to convicted sex offender and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein…. Many of the more lurid details were still yet to be revealed, including that Wexner, now 84, enabled Epstein’s access to wealth and women by granting the financier broad powers over the corporate titan’s finances, philanthropy, and private life. Epstein even posed as a talent scout for Victoria’s Secret in 1997, luring a model to a Santa Monica hotel room where he groped and manhandled her. As the series lays out in detail, Epstein’s long and close relationship with Wexner facilitated the purchase of his townhouse (where he sexually abused underage girls) and private jet used to traffic his victims, known infamously in the media as the Lolita Express. (Wexner, who stepped down from the company last year, declined the series’ interview requests but denied knowledge of Epstein’s sexual misconduct while under his employ. The former chairman has acknowledged that on one occasion he was informed that Epstein was claiming an association with the company and that he forbade Epstein from doing it again. Wexner maintains that he severed ties with Epstein in 2008.) ‘New York’s a town where you fake it till you make it, and Epstein is the poster child of our time for that,” says [director Matt Tyrnauer], who previously oversaw Vanity Fair’s annual New Establishment list. ‘There was clearly nothing there of valuable substance and yet the New York media world and what passes for society – which is just basically a money culture, which I think at its core is very corrupt – seemed to either embrace him or just turn a blind eye. The more we examine that culture, which is basically a money and power and publicity culture, and the more that that façade is stripped away, the better.'” • Speaking of lists, did we have get Epstein and Maxwell’s client list? What the heck happened to it?

Zeitgeist Watch

Good argument:

Maybe there is a morphic resonance between us and our cars?

“Is There an Equation for Suicidal Lethality?” [MedPage Today]. Not a topic I like to cover, because this is one balance I don’t want to tip. This article is interesting to me, but if you’re at risk, think twice: “The risk in this essay is to go out on a ledge (I have literally been there) and attempt to find a mathematical expression of suicide lethality, irrespective of ideation, in a unique subsample. In so doing, I extrapolate beyond an earlier described and homogenous ideated cross factor product of deadliness, that is death expectation ‘x plan’ with tissue injury. However, this new thesis is not a final, unifying theory of everything suicidal.’ • The clinical stuff, I just dunno. Big if true.

Class Warfare

“Even bosses are joining the Great Resignation” [Vox]. Wowsers. A rising tide of crapification. “Data shows that managers are leaving their jobs at elevated levels, and that even though resignation rates for workers overall have declined from their peak, lots of people are still quitting their jobs. The breadth of quits could exacerbate an already tight labor market as quits in one area precipitate quits in another, and this cycle could ensure that the Great Resignation — also known as the Great Reshuffling or Great Reconsideration — won’t stop anytime soon. Data on management departures comes from a number of sources. People analytics provider Visier found that resignation rates among managers went from 3.8 percent in the first half of 2021 to 5 percent in the first half of 2022, which represents a much bigger jump than for non-managers. Gusto, which provides payroll, benefits, and human resource management software, found quit rates among managers remained at the same peak level in June as they were last year, while those for non-managers have declined. LinkedIn found that the rate of people leaving their jobs at the director level has been growing much faster than at those at the entry level this year. The departure of bosses was also evident on job platform ZipRecruiter, which said job postings for managerial positions are growing at a faster rate than job listings at large, and currently make up 12 percent of job postings, up from 10 percent in June of last year. To be clear, levels of quits remain high across job types and levels.”

News of the Wired

Good advice:

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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. Samuel Conner

    I’m curious what people know about their local official animal control practices.

    This AM I discovered a raccoon (I think an “adolescent”) in a live-trap I had set in hope of capturing a pestilential ground hog that has been tormenting me (my garden is its salad bar). A call to the local SPCA referred me to the animal control unit of the local police force, and a call to that resulted in an order to release the animal, which I did.

    I’m wondering if “leave the raccoons alone” is standard practice, or whether this (it had the feel of) “don’t bother us with this” experience might indicate a stressed-out local system.


    Someone wiser than I counseled that I disarm the trap at night to avoid trapping nocturnal foragers.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Its a raccoon. They live outside. Unless they have troublesome signs, let them be.

    2. Louis Fyne

      once I drove a trapped possum to the park district forest 3 miles down the road.

      just make sure you have something to cover the floor of the car/trunk.

      town animal control wouldn’t even deal with a stray cat that just died in the backyard.

      my local animal control is geared to rabies/deer/stray-dangerous pets control.

    3. MT_Wild

      Depends on where you live and the presence or absence of various state and federal agencies.

      Usually City/County animal control will tell you to call someone else if it is a wild animal, because it’s usually outside their jurisdiction. USDA – Wildlife Services might have come and taken the animal for (lethal) sampling if they have a rabies program in your state. Otherwise just let it go, if you relocate it, it will come back or die trying.

      Best chance for catching a ground hog in a live trap is to get a trap that is approx the diameter of the hole, wrap it in black plastic or something else opaque, stick the open end in the hole, and support the setup so the ground hog can get caught without the whole thing tipping over. Block all other areas around the trap/burrow so the only light coming in is the end of the trap. It will go into the trap trying to reach the “end” of its burrow. Also helps to block other entrances.

      Raccoons mostly fall into some category of unprotected wildlife under state laws. So its the three S’s of shoot, shovel, and shut up. But always better to call the game agency and find out. Generally speaking, you don’t want raccons in your garden either….


    4. LaRuse

      In 2019, I ended up with a whole family in my fireplace (we thought had sealed off the chimney years before…that Mamma Raccoon was smarter than we were). 4 pups/kits/babies and the Mom. I called every resource I could think of to try to have them safely extricated to the outside world and the only solutions offered involved killing the lot of them (or at least the smalls).
      I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The fireplace was sealed off to the inside of the house – they couldn’t get inside or anything. It is glass and we could see them playing and growing and just being cute animals off in the fireplace. So we just let them be. By the middle of May, all of the babies were grown enough climb their way out and follow Mom out into the world each night, so one evening, I waited for them all to vacate at dusk, and then got on the roof and put a hard cap on the chimney. Disinfecting and cleaning the interior of the fireplace is a memory that I wish I didn’t have to keep. It was still better than killing the animals.
      So that was all to say the “leave them alone” policy isn’t a thing in central suburban Virginia – it was all “kill on sight if they can be caught.”

    5. Val

      Conservationists who are into turtles and ground-nesting birds will tell you that raccoons are astonishingly abundant. That may have something to do with the terse orders you received from animal control. Raccoons do not enjoy an abundance of protection under state laws.

      Trapping at night will only inconvenience the graveyard shift, sweet ‘possums, chatty skunkaroos and fastidious stripe tail mama bear-itos, all affably doing the Lord’s work.

      The malevolent whistle pig that torments our salad days is crepuscular at best, and may be grazing quite brazenly at high noon, depending on the buffet.

      To avoid any more grievous mischief, clean your trap really well (Rocky took a fear-dump therein), hose and dry, and try again with cantaloupe. If your g-hog is not trap smart, should take about 20 minutes.

      Steinbeck dedicated a chapter to one in Cannery Row. Really a great character to improve the habitat quality of any grassland. The burrows are used by bees, reptiles, vixens, on and on, but if they are in your food producing areas they gotta go and now.

    6. truly

      In Minnesota land owners always have a right to catch and kill raccoons on THEIR OWN property. However gun laws would prevent you from shooting it within city limits. And there are laws against transporting and releasing in many areas. Despite being an avid raccoon hunter (5 time state champion), if a raccoon is not doing you any material harm I always encourage leaving them alone. If they are causing harm you can do more good by removing whatever is drawing them in than you can by killing them.

    7. sluggo

      We had a raccoon in our house once. We called a rodent service and they caught it and let it loose in the woods.

      You should share some of your bounty with the ground hog, imo.

      1. Grateful Dude

        someone gave me a raccoon once, Summer of ’68, because I had a cabin in the woods. I thought it was a pet, and after a day or two inside still in the cage, I let it out. It commenced to trash the place so I opened the door and it fled.

        A week later, I was hanging out down at the stream below the cabin and raccoon came out of the woods to me and said thanks.

    8. HotFlash

      Here in Toronto the Good (ahem), AKA Raccoon City (hi, Mom!), the Toronto Animal Control people don’t much tend to raccoons unless they are on public property *and* 1.) dead, 2.) acting weird, possibly distemper or rabies, ie, a hazard to humans, or 3.) obviously sick/injured, as in road ‘accidents’. If otherwise, not problematical and on private property, definitely your problem.

      So you call and pay somebody like these guys. A guy from Swat told me they are not allowed to kill the critters outright. Most outfits live-trap and ‘relocate’ the offending animals to ‘wild’ places, where, rural friends tell me, the critters try using their city-skills to poach from farm and exurban gardens, and are promptly shot.

      Me, I have had several generations of Raccoons living in my porch roof. I leave them there. They don’t bother my garden more than the produce can bear, they are not the worst neighbours/tenants I have ever had, and finally, they were here first, just had a lousy immigration policy. One memorable year the reigning MomCoon had four little ones (sorry, but they are *so cute*), one of which was an albino. We called him Marshmallow. He clearly had some health problems, likely blind or pretty close, and we and several other neighbours tried to find *anyone* who could help him. Turns out, actual veterinarians in Ontario are, unless specially licensed, not permitted to treat ‘domestic wild animals’ such as squirrels and raccoons. We finally (took days, over a week, IIRC) found a wild-wildlife sanctuary and centre within driving range, but that night, when 6 of us neighbours were all set to trap young Marshmallow, he never appeared again. There were many tears.

    1. curlydan

      “Well, sir, now you have to go meet Netanyahu.”

      “What? Isn’t he out of power?”

      “Yes, but it’s still good to hear his right-wing B.S.”

    2. HotFlash

      Fascinating article. Ten years ago, I would have said it was not very likely, now, in my 70’s and having lost a dear, dear friend to dementia and just heard from another who has just had a stroke, it seems almost inevitable. And there is an old friend who has become uncharacteristically argumentative and combative … yeah, old people don’t always age gracefully.

  2. Buzzard

    Food, Rent, Commute, Medical, Credit Cards, Student Loans, IRS.

    The less we have with Bidemflation, the shorter the list of who gets the money, moving right to left. A buddy sends the IRS a check for $1. every year at tax time. They cash it. Like the National Debt, his debt will be paid off at a future date.

    Holy shit! Look at this new Wolfstreet chart! https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/US-CPI-2022-07-13-CPI-U-YOY.png
    Note dates.

    Dollar bills have timely messages written on them.
    That’s how I learned what a W-4 form is.
    “File a W-4-stop withholding!”

    1. John Beech

      Respectfully, stopping the W-4 withholding is a reasonably sure fire way of getting into trouble for people so poor at handling their money they spend the ‘windfall’ and then still owe it come tax time but don’t have the means to make good. Just saying.

      1. flora

        Pretty much. Thank you. (Saying this with no big brother-ish or in loco parentis meaning.)

  3. Mildred Montana

    Open thread, so I’ll take quick advantage.

    Does anybody anywhere (except in Canada) know that Rogers Communications (#1 in a market of four), had a MAJOR outage on Friday, that lasted a day? Many Canadians lost everything, internet, cell, and even 911 access. For a whole day. And for some, the outage is still ongoing.

    This is the company, Rogers, that wants to merge with Shaw Communications to increase industry concentration even more.

    1. LY

      Yes. Don’t remember where I read about it. Context, aside from 911 and stuff not working because it can’t call home, is always have cash.

      1. flora

        “Always have cash.”

        Yep. Us in the Midwest, with our various winter storm outages or summer storm outages on the cc reader terminals, know this well. Heck, even the local Post Office can have cc reader outages somewhere up-line in the system. Happened here recently. I was surprised at my local PO when hearing waiting in line “cash only at this time, until the up-line is back on. We don’t know how long this might take.” But, being in the Midwest, of course I had cash. One does carry some cash here, having experienced the current weaknesses in the digital payments systems. / ;)

        1. flora

          adding, lest anyone thinks that carrying a bit of cash is somehow “old fashioned”: what is the difference between carrying $10 or $20 or even $50 dollars in cash and charging the same amount on a cc?

          1. Randall Flagg

            Charging the amount on a credit card gives a bank somewhere processing the transaction a percentage fee. Notice how many stores are offering a discount of 3 to 4.85 percent if you pay cash? At least up here in the Upper Valley region on Vt/NH

            1. Procopius

              It used to be illegal for them to do that. Well, maybe not “illegal” as in “against the law,” but certainly against the Terms of Service. They were required to offer the same price for cash as for the cc credit.

    2. upstater

      Reuters had several articles about it (Thompsons own it). I don’t recall seeing it elsewhere. Wasn’t in print FT on Monday or Tuesday

    3. Glen

      I have been reading about it since I try to stay current on cyber security as part of my job. I saw one report where the experts being cited said that this looked more like an attack rather than a mis-configured router because services which should have been unaffected also stopped.

      Who really knows. It seems as if reliable news on cyber is also being impacted by some form of informal censoring much like anything close to the whole Russia/Ukraine mess:

      Russia Cyber Threat Overview and Advisories

      To be honest, I spent the first half of my career figuring out how to network stuff, and security was not a top consideration (in fact, it was not on the radar at all); so even though it certainly gets top consideration now, I’m sort of dreading what could be coming if a full on cyber war erupts. Our national infrastructure is not ready for anything like that, and Silly Con’s Valley tendency to make everything part of the Internet of Things Stupid [family blog] does not help.

      I would hazard that further monopolization of Canada’s cell phone providers would NOT be a good thing. In fact, I would rather see our governments get much more serious about figuring out how to protect this space rather than figuring out how to blow holes in it.

    4. digi_owl

      Read about it, because i keep tabs on tech news.

      A reminder of how easy it has become to take everything down, as i have seen talk in tech circles as it may have been something as dumb as a misconfigured router.

      And if so, it is oddly similar to an event at Facebook recently that lead to claims that Facebook techs had to force open locks because the key card system was also affected.

    5. HotFlash

      Yes `indeedy! I am with Chatr, formerly Mobilicity but Rogers bought ’em out and I was down, too, starting same time BUT my service was back sooner than most of my Rogers friends’, for instance even the next day I could call them but they couldn’t hear me. My Internet was fine; I am with a local outfit called TekSavvy, comes in on a Brell land line and they resell from Shaw, Rogers, and Cogeco so I guess they just could switch over to whichever one worked. This site shows no outages currently for Rogers: https://outage.report/ca/rogers

      There was a link from here, Sunday maybe, it was this: https://jalopnik.com/a-single-telecom-company-outage-sent-canadian-airports-1849164360 .

      1. flora

        “Land line” did you say? I also still have a land line. My friends think me a techno-Luddite, even when they know my entire career is in IT tech. ha. My stuff always seems to work. (Knock on wood.)
        I won’t bore you with the century long, Century Long, engineering history of change over from wind power to steam power engineering in ship sailing. / ;)

    6. ghiggler

      Allowing more competition is the go-to answer for this, but that misses the point.

      The incumbents have the physical network infrastructure; new entrants typically lease space on it. This may do something for price competition, but nothing if the infrastructure fails, as in this case.

      A new entrant will never have the resources, never be able to make a business case, and should not make a business case – with subsidies – for building new infrastructure. In most places duplicate networks are in place, typically decades of build-out from legacy telephone or cable networks.

      As long as mechanisms are in place, presumably through government mandates or regulations, to share and fail over gracefully from one network to the other, not much more can usefully be done. As far as I can tell, this is being discussed by the Canadian government.

      Of course, if every network provider schedules all-or-nothing updates at the same time this also fails. But at least this minimal level of coordination should be possible.

      That said, the length of the outage is weird. I’ve certainly done remote network updates, made a mistake, and then had to drive across town, or to the next town, to physically access a network device. But Rogers should have had enough technicians to reach devices physically in good time, and they should have been able to plan rolling updates so that any problems would not affect the entire network.

      There is no evidence, but I certainly thought of a cyberattack as plausible.

      The other possibility would be a really bad update by the network equipment provider. I was once in a conference call with a bunch of Cisco technicians. Their purpose was to there-there us, to gently explain what we were doing wrong. When we finished our explanation there was a strangled silence from then other end, finally broken by a “That’s a security hole!”

      So stupidity and error is also plausible.

      And sure, not being able to pay for stuff can be handled by always carrying at least some cash. The big issue is that we are dependent on networks in so many other ways: access security, emergency services, medical services, authorization, news, business administration and continuity, truck, train and sea logistics, wayfinding. Whenever my cortisol levels drop too low I consider cyberwar, stupidity, or huge solar flares.

      And then I garden.

      1. HotFlash

        When the CityTV lady asked the Rogers spokes if it was a hack, he said no, but his body lang was evasive. So, maybe. But your point stands. What if we had city, county, province, or state provided internet? What would Ben Franklin have done?

        1. ghiggler

          Note that I said a hack would be plausible. I’m still very much on the fence about it, though.

          I’ll address the issue of government internet below.

    1. LaRuse

      Funny you mention it because I spent an hour just peeling tomatoes and chopping them up for canning either tomorrow or the next. In my area since the Pandemic, if you didn’t have lids and rings by April, you can just forget it. They aren’t readily available unless you dig deep at Tractor Supply or Southern States.
      I stocked up over the winter at the hardware store.

      PS: I would love to know if anyone has methods of preserving or using up cucumbers that isn’t just pickling. We are a bit overrun this year.

      1. Louis Fyne

        make a cucumber puree, then put the puree into ice cube trays.

        Add to your water. Success depends on drinker’s love-hate of cucumbers

      2. Eoin Mac

        For the cucumbers,

        1. slice them in thin strips length ways
        2 .lay them on baking parchment
        3. sprinkle sugar and salt on them liberally
        4. freeze them
        5. defrost in cold water to wash off the salt & sugar as needed

        They take on a good texture after freezing and defrost almost instantly and retain more flavour and freshness. Also a great addition to a gin and tonic.

      3. super extra

        we make a salad of seeded and peeled cucumber + chopped onion + dressing of 2:1 ratio of whatever acid and oil are handy (I like rice vinegar and sesame seed oil but we do olive and apple cider vinegar or lime juice too) + garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

        I also have a treasured assortment of ‘hot day spices’, think dry spice mixes with punchy chili and flavors like fancy curry mixes, tajin, cajun spice, old bay, stuff like that. I then cut peeled (but not seeded) spears or sticks of the of cucumber and spice them up, usually with a plate of unspiced melon and some slices of cheese and a handful of pecans.

      4. Art_DogCT

        Applicable to both pickled and unpickled cucumbers, you can slice thinly and dehydrate in a dehydrator or under the sun. Then, reduce the dehydrated slices to powder and use as you might be inspired. Store dry in an air-tight container and protect from light. My BF is enthralled with the notion of powdered dill pickle added to mashed and baked potatoes.

      5. Randy

        For using up.

        Peel and thinly slice cucumbers.
        Salt and soak for 1 hour.

        1 Tbsp Miracle Whip
        1 Tbsp sugar
        Milk as necessary to get consistency of most salad dressings. Mix.
        The above three ingredients are for one cucumber.

        Rinse, drain,squeeze water out of salted cucumbers. Salt softens and pulls water from the slices.

        Mix homemade salad dressing and cucs. Cucumbers have a subtle flavor and this dressing doesn’t overpower the natural cucumber flavor like the usual vinegar based dressings do. Serve chilled.

        IMO vinegar on cucumbers is absolute blasphemy, unless you like the taste of vinegar and don’t like cucumbers.

        Another way to use cucs, peel, salt and chow down.

        1. HotFlash

          IMO vinegar on cucumbers is absolute blasphemy, unless you like the taste of vinegar and don’t like cucumbers.

          I basically hear you, but it seems you have not had my peach vinegar — absolutely nothing like that white vinegar, or even store-bought apple cider vinegar, even organic. Vinegar can taste really, really good — ever heard of or tasted shrub? or switchel?.

            1. HotFlash

              Randy-san, alors! Gomen nasai! Here are some other links, not as good, recipe-wise, as the ones that don’t work;

              shrub from TasteOfHome, (I have read elsewhere that shrub was Geo Washington’s fave drink for summer — kind of a local lemonade — and iced pawpaws for dessert); and switchel from Farmers’ Almanac. I have read that the haymakers (or more likely the ladies feeding them — my grandma used to talk about ‘cooking for thrashers’) put rum or similar into the switchel pitchers at the end of the day. Good idea!

              Just checked, both links work.

  4. foghorn longhorn

    Temps still sweltering over 100+, no rain in sight.
    The Emory sale barn usually runs about 600 head of cattle on a typical Saturday sale, last weekend was around 3900.
    Round bales up to $115 now, up 15 since June 7.
    Fuel continues to fall, 3.83 gas, 4.77 diesel.
    Prices at local grocer are down also, which I found somewhat surprising.
    Anyway, that’s the latest from NE Texas.
    Take care ya’ll.

    1. griffen

      July and August can be just brutally hot in Texas. It wasn’t farm country, but Plano and north of Dallas was as darn hot as I ever wanted. More like asphalt asphalt as far the eye can see!

      Lived in the general vicinity of Plano, 2006 to middle 2015.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Yeah, did Dallas in the mid 80s, concrete jungle for sure.
        Migrated out to the Tyler area in the early 90s.
        The last few years have been summerless really, tons of rain, temps barely getting to 90.
        Normally it’s the humidity that kills ya out here, our new Cali refugees are getting a real taste of Texas this year.

    2. curlydan

      I’ve been watching the temps in Texas because my relatives live there, and I used to live there. Just outrageously hot in San Antonio and Austin. Ugh.

      And now look at the rapid riser counties. Texas is getting solid red. There is no patio dining/drinking when the temps are 95-100 from 7pm to 10pm.

      San Antonio already had its hottest May and June ever this year. July 2022 is looking like another all-time hottest as well.

      Good luck, Texans. Totally agree with the “Concrete Jungle” description.

      1. VP

        I wish I can go back in time and reverse my decision to move to Dallas this year. Arrived bang in the middle of the heat wave. The biggest impact has been on my Goldador puppy. Should have stuck to Charlotte.

  5. kareninca

    The Germans are telling people that they will need to turn down their heat this coming winter. What I have read is that the German houses are very, very tightly sealed and insulated. So if you lower the heat very much, less moisture from people’s bodies burns off, and you get mold problems quickly.

    The giant “heating centers” sound like a great way to spread covid. Have they thought about that?

    Last week I brought my FIL’s hearing aid to the VA hospital to be fixed; the little tube had broken. The technician put the loop on backwards so that suddenly he had two left-side hearing aids (I found out when I got home and my FIL couldn’t put it on). I brought it back yesterday. The same technician fixed that, then put the ear insert on backwards (I found that out when I got home and my FIL couldn’t put it in).

    I called their audiology department and the person I talked with told me I must be imagining things (I’m not). And, there is only one technician for this whole region (Silicon Valley); she goes from VA hospital to VA hospital. Thank god for the private market; I have found a regular audiology place that can do this for a fee.

    1. sluggo

      The Germans should prep themselves by playing “Frostpunk”- a computer game where you build a settlement around a giant furnace generator during an endless winter climate change scenario.

    2. converger

      German houses are tight, but include efficient air-to-air heat exchangers for ventilation and humidity control. Unlike the US, fresh air exchanges per hour are sized for optimizing healthy people instead of optimizing building-sized thermos bottles.

      Germany is decades ahead of the US on doing efficient building ventilation right: ironic, since a lot of the underlying research figuring it all out came from a couple of US national labs, about forty years ago.

      This is also a big reason why Germany is doing a *much* better job upgrading public and office building ventilation at scale to mitigate COVID transmission risk. The COVID consequences of decades of US efficiency standards fixating on energy efficiency, instead of energy efficiency optimized for humans in healthy buildings, is large and vastly underappreciated.

    3. ghiggler

      German houses, tightly sealed, yes, but.

      On the one hand most heating is radiant, so no air ducts. Furthermore, inside doors are typically closed, so there is no easy diffusion of moisture out of kitchens and bathrooms. Brick, concrete and historic wattle and daub don’t allow for a lot of air leakage.

      Thus the German practice of Lüften, airing. You open the windows of all rooms, more often those of kitchens and bathrooms, certainly weekly, often daily, and yes, explicitly to avoid mold problems.

    1. ambrit

      I’m guessing that the NRA wouldn’t come up with the money, er, campaign contributions. This is quite funny as Florida has just about the worst consumer protections in the country. Don’t even get into the weeds concerning Florida’s business regulation ethos. I should know, I grew up in Florida and now live in the absolute worst state in America for consumer rights, Mississippi.
      See: https://www.nclc.org/issues/how-well-do-states-protect-consumers.html

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > I grew up in Florida and now live in the absolute worst state in America for consumer rights, Mississippi

        Yours truly went to university for undergrad in Florida. Different place back then … :)

        Keep moving west, perhaps … ? :)

        1. ambrit

          Around here, when one must leave the State one step ahead of the Sheriff, it is known as “Gone to Texas.” There is also an old term for having died; “Gone West.”
          Finally, there is the “moderne” term for ‘destructive testing;’ “Move West fast and break everything.”

    2. Herkermer

      Same logic: Can victims of street crime sue non-profit low income housing agencies for the actions of their tenants?
      They harbor them and allow them to be brought into otherwise safe neighborhoods.

      Pacific States Legal Foundation?

      How about car violence victims suing car manufacturers?

    3. ChrisRUEcon


      > Biden fires back at 2024 doubts: Democrats ‘want me to run’

      From the article:

      “Biden still beats Trump 44 percent to 41 percent in a hypothetical match-up” …

      Learned nothing from 2016, I see …

      1. HotFlash

        Oh sweet Jesus. Joe, Joe, it’s only the Democrats you talk to who think this. But here is a nice Enfalac, oops, Ensure, now go lie down. Jill will handle everything.

        We are so fd.

        1. flora

          It’s so weird that the Dem estab is starting to question Joe’s age when Pelosi is even older than Joe. It ain’t the age, it’s the mental competence that’s the question at issue. My 2 cents.

    4. ChrisRUEcon


      Apparently Mr. Patel is an adherent (via Twitter)

      BTW, from his Twitter profile: “Attorney, Professor, Obama Alum

      #Natch … but still, #EyeRoll

    5. ChrisRUEcon


      Dr. Jason Salemi from Florida has put together his own set of dashboards to further break down the “sea of red” (thread via Twitter). Just a different visualization and to be blunt, it’s probably all purple based on case under reporting.

    6. ChrisRUEcon

      #FromTheDoomScroll (a.k.a. #Twitter)

      Putin: “We need to develop socialist ideas in the sphere of economy in more detail”! (via princip.info, which appears to be a Bosnian political blog)

      The Occasion:
      The President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, held a meeting with the leaders of the State Duma and heads of party factions in the Kremlin, in the Hall of Saint Catherine, last week. On that occasion, numerous policies of national importance were discussed, and we highlight for you the most interesting details of the conversation between Vladimir Putin and the representative of the Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov.

      The Money Quote:
      Vladimir Putin – I have no doubt that the members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation hold exactly this position. As for the socialist idea, there is nothing wrong with it. We need to develop that idea in more detail, especially in the economic sphere. Some countries have given it substance, and it is connected with forms of market regulation, etc. That idea works quite effectively. We have to look into it. As for state involvement, the relevant debate focuses on the extent of such involvement and its forms. We should see how the state should regulate its economic activities. We will certainly address this during our discussions and debates. I assume that we will find solutions, while being aware that the interests of the people and the country are at stake. Thank you very much.


  6. converger

    The canyon wren is the sound of every remote desert canyon in the West, every extraordinary morning in the middle of nowhere.

    A Proustian moment. Thanks so much for this.

  7. ACF

    The difference between food in America and Europe re obesity is summed up in four words: Added Sugar. Bigger portions.

    That is, American food has much more sugar in it than European food, and we consume larger portions of it. Sugar intake drives obesity.

    1. ghiggler

      It seems more complex than that to me.

      My kids are travelling in Europe right now. Something they found noticeable enough to comment on: the portions are huge, and all meat and starch.

      A few years ago, when we were in Italy, we were amazed by the thin women eating two huge pasta dishes after having downed half a loaf of bread, all washed down with a good wine.

      And personally, I lost weight in Japan, despite the occasional all-you-can-eat sushi dinners. The Japanese themselves were almost invariably thin, with tourists, even Chinese tourists, looking heftier.

      I don’t think it’s just the food as such. Hazarding a wild guess, I look to gut microbiome commonality in a country for the differences between countries.

      Certainly the North American gut biome is less diverse than in other parts of the world.


      But there could well be other factors. Lab animals, same strains, fed the same diet and living under the same conditions for decades have been gaining weight generation after generation. Their microbiota? Hormone-like chemicals in the environment? Cell-phone radiation buzz? (I don’t believe this at all, by the way)

      It’s not just the food, but it’s not really clear what it is.

      1. jsn

        Next time you’re at a US grocery store, look at the “bread” ingredients: see if you can find a loaf without sugar, cornstarch, dried cane juice, molasses, honey or some other sweetener.

        It may be apocryphal, but I’m told in France you can’t call it “bread” if it has a sweetener in it: that makes it a pastry.

        Organic in the US is the only way to get meats without growth hormones and even those rules are gamed at scale. Yes, a very sick food industry one must be pretty affluent and attentive to avoid.

        1. Randy

          The yeast requires some sugar to do its thing. I use honey.

          Some (most?) US bread won’t satisfy EU bread/pastry guidelines because of excess sugar but the EU doesn’t ban sugar in bread.

        2. super extra

          wonder if it has something to do with the North American overreliance on antibiotics at all levels and also additional sugar not present in European foodstuffs and also glyposate in everything staple-y. Those specific 3 things seem really suspect to me since as far as I know they’re more strictly regulated or not present or way less common in Europe compared to North America.

        3. Anthony G Stegman

          Let’s not forget the human psychology component. When all your neighbors and friends are overweight it is very easy to become overweight as that is seemed normal.

      2. HotFlash

        A gluten intolerant friend of mine was vacationing in France. He and his wife (not gluten intolerant) walked past a couple of boulangeries and they smelled so good he thought, “I don’t care, I’m gonna eat me some o’ dat!” Which he did. Oddly enough, no symptoms, despite expecting the usual (gut pain, farts, yada). So, he concluded, he had passed over the gluten intolerance. Hurray!

        Back in Canada, he tried bread from an artisanal non-GMO bakery, no luck. Back to old symptoms. So what? Is it the water?

        1. Keith Howard

          Maybe the bromated flour so widely in use in US? I’ve had a commercial baker tell me that this is the cause of ‘gluten intolerance.’ I would be glad to know the truth of this.

          1. super extra

            interesting!! I’ve always wondered if it was calcium propionate or other mold inhibitors

      3. Skippy

        Old saying in South Bay Calif L.A. no F@t people live on the beach … my observations concur …

      4. Irrational

        Agree. We had the in-laws over one year for Christmas and did not hold back – so plenty of butter, cream, sweet stuff. Diabetic FIL had trouble keeping the blood sugar up, yes UP. I vote for weird chemicals in food, since we cook nearly everything from scratch.

  8. bulfinch

    At the risk of coming off glib, I suspect that our resting chemical state is not always best maintained as a static or even mostly static concern. That it is manipulable at all is to our advantage as we most often wield better leverage over our interior than over our environment. Whether you’re tilting the axis a bit for a peak from a wildly different vantage or subduing a few cannons on the frontline of a glandular firefight, I feel there can be immediate and perceptible benefit to playing a bit of molecular Tetris.

    That said — one hopes it’s a hop between two states: a cup of coffee because you couldn’t control something that kept you awake; an aspirin because you couldn’t help being brained by a falling pot; eye drops, because…

    And I’ll never stop thumping this tub — I strongly feel that it is our modern environment and the decidedly, bizarrely unnaturalness of it that has made us all collectively and increasingly unwell — some more than others. Of there’s entire industries devoted to assigning relief – be it devoutly macro-dosing nightly Calvados, or choking back Venlafaxine. It’s always going to be more economical than bulldozing the landscape and starting over.

    1. jsn

      Since industrialization, even more since Bernays invented modern marketing, we’ve been constructing a man made environment for our collective id, centering on our narcissistic desires at the expense of our real collective needs.

      Bathrooms as big as one bedroom apartments for the rapacious, streets as bathrooms, homes, for those not suited to markets.

  9. Pelham

    Re Americans getting fat while Europeans don’t: There also seems to be a chronological dividing line in the US. I’m old enough to remember seeing few fat or obese people roaming the streets in the late ’50s and early ’60s. And on TV, Ward Cleaver stayed fit and trim playing just 18 holes of golf once a week.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Americans smoked way more back then. You could even advertise ciggies on teevee.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      High fructose corn syrup wasn’t a thing in the 1950s and 60s. Fast food wasn’t a thing either. Nor were high calorie gourmet meals available to the masses. These days there is simply too much consumption of everything. Enough is never enough for more and more of the population. Disgusting.

    3. Duke of Prunes

      I lately was surprised when I saw a “Laurel and Hardy” film on the oldies channel. In my youth, Hardy was comically FAT both in reference to Laurel as well as most other people I saw. Now, compared to people I regularly see around town, he’s heavy, but definitely not comically FAT like I recall from 50 years ago. Not sure what to make of this.

    1. johnherbiehancock

      What was it? I assume a lot of factors, but the one thing I know about that year is the end of the gold standard, right?

  10. fresno dan

    “Charges: Man lit his camper on fire, defaced own garage to appear targeted due to Trump flag” [CBS]. • Now the Democrats have their own Jussie Smollett. What a hoot!
    Uh, did you mean republcans have their own Jussie Smollett? (and I assume the guy was wearing a MAGI cap while he was going out to a Waffle House….)

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Too bad this act wasn’t front page news across all known source like Jussie.

    2. britzklieg

      I don’t know about the MAGI hat but apparently there were traces of incense, gold and myrrh found among the ashes…

      or was it tortoise shell combs and a $20 watch fob?

  11. fresno dan

    A Columbus man has been charged with impregnating a 10-year-old Ohio girl, whose travel to Indiana to seek an abortion led to international attention following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade and activation of Ohio’s abortion law.

    Gershon Fuentes, 27, whose last known address was an apartment on Columbus’ Northwest Side, was arrested Tuesday after police say he confessed to raping the child on at least two occasions. He’s since been charged with rape, a felony of the first degree in Ohio.

    Columbus police were made aware of the girl’s pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services that was made by her mother on June 22, Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified Wednesday morning at Fuentes’ arraignment. On June 30, the girl underwent a medical abortion in Indianapolis, Huhn said.
    I have to say I was skeptical of the rape of the 10 year old – even though I am pro abortion, it just seemed so convenient to the arguments of the pro choice side. It just goes to show it isn’t over till its over.

  12. digi_owl

    The 1970s seems to have been a general pivot point for when the post-depression credit controls were effectively removed. That is around the time that Visa cards became common place, mortgages began to be securitized, and the use of leveraged buyouts by corporate raiders grew ever more frequent.

    And on the food side, i keep finding US food to be nauseatingly sweet. Everything seems to have corn syrup mixed in for some reason.

  13. Mikel

    “Pay Me For My Genius” [Eschaton]
    “The social function of capitalists is to allocate capital. Why are they so stupid about it?”

    They are more interested in getting in the middle of transactions and taking a cut or making people pay over and over again for the same service (instead of selling a product) that gets crappier and trapping people into “subscriptions”.


    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Another explanation may simply be that in a world awash in capital the capitalists behave like drunken sailors on shore leave. They throw money at everything and anything these days.

  14. Toshiro_Mifune

    WTF Happened In 1971

    Oh, that one is easy;

    On 15 August 1971, the United States terminated convertibility of the US dollar to gold, effectively bringing the Bretton Woods system to an end and rendering the dollar a fiat currency.[


    I should add that I am not a gold bug/Austrian schooler/etc. I will acknowledge that there is at least a correlation though.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      I’ll also add that the dollar gold peg was either $32 or $35 an ounce then. In Feb 1971 Federal minimum wage was $1.60. So, a 40 hr week would buy you 2 ounces (assuming it was $32). The current Federal minimum wage is $7.25 and gold closed at $1732 an ounce today.
      Long story short; they devalued the crap out of the currency and starting in the 80s with the expansion of revolving debt for everyone replaced the wages with credit cards.

      Once again; I’m not advocating a gold standard, just acknowledging a correlation.

      1. GramSci

        To be sure, ever since the Nixon Shock, labor has been increasingly devalued against gold, and there is that gnomic quote from Freddie Hayek at the end of the 1971 litany of graphs (a gritany?) — something about “good money” being private money, but I think the seminal events occurred in 1967 and 1972.

        1972 saw the publication of The Limits to Growth.  How, you might ask, did the publication of a wonky document that has been studiously ignored for fifty years trigger all those graphs?  Well, absent the oil embargo of 1967, it would have been totally ignored.  In that context, however, the Captains of the Ship of State had a Titanic epiphany:  “To Heck* with the women and children”, they said. “It’s every man for himself!”. 

        * a verbatim quote

        1. HotFlash

          “To Heck* with the women and children”
          * a verbatim quote

          Back in those days, men were better-spoken. /s

        1. HotFlash

          Oh yes. If readers are not familiar with that particular document, I encourage them to check it out (I mean, read the whole thing!!!) at Powell Memorandum (this is wikipedia, but the text is set) and another interesting document is the Project for an New American Century’s (PNAC) manifesto — hard to find these days, as their website seems to have gone dark, but so far the internet archive still has it.

          They organized and we didn’t. That is why they are winning. Ptah.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think the Powell Memo would have been one of several causes acting in concert (remember that it would take some year to implement the memo after reading it).

          I wonder if, in the same that science often follows engineering, ideological would follow other social movement (as ex post facto, hegemonic rationalizations).

    2. Mikel

      Oh, do not forget the Powell Memo – August 1971 – in conjunction with what you mentioned.

      Lots of searches turn up something…just grabbed one:

      “There have been few as important and annonymous documents in American histroy as the Powell Memo. Written by Lewis F. Powell, an attorney from Richmond, Virginia in 1971, the Powell Memo was distributed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a call to action for the wealthy and the business class to counter the revolutionary politics of the 1960’s. The influence of the Powell Memo has been to undermine freeom of thought and to pervet the public’s understanding of politics to oppose anything that questions the supremacy of the elite and the wealthy in America….”

      A reaction to more than the 1960s…but a basic description.

      The memo:

  15. VP

    About American food quality-

    Shouldn’t the test be the following? –
    Europeans eating in Europe, American made food that they would have consumed on a daily basis in the States.

    That being said, from my own personal experience, I put on 5 pounds in my first 6 months in the states!

  16. IMOR

    “Schumer-Manchin talks on Dem agenda hit a new hurdle: Covid quarantine”
    I didn’t think much of Politico BEFORE the sale, but they have such a potent, dry wit now!
    : “his [Schumer’s] legacy”. Schumer’s ‘legacy’!! Stop, stop- you’re kiliing me!
    Will be forgotten ten minutes after retirement from his do-nothing, finance serving, spineless career.

  17. Mikel

    The Economy: “WTF Happened In 1971?” [wtfhappenedin1971.com]

    That’s worthy of staying pinned daily in the Water Cooler like the comments about the Democratic Party.

    It’s been narrowed down to a year…now it needs to narrowed down to the policies and people.

  18. dcblogger

    over a million people have died of covid. add in deaths of despair and homicide it is obvious why there are labor shortages.

    also, I wonder how many Americans are fleeing the US.

    1. GramSci

      It’s not so easy for a US citizen to get residency in a foreign country without a half million bucks in cash. (So apropos my comment on the 1971 gritany, op cit, you need to hire a lifeboat.)

    2. ChrisRUEcon

      > also, I wonder how many Americans are fleeing the US.

      China’s the most sane destination, really …

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Even bosses are joining the Great Resignation”

    Yesterday I saw a coupla stories about how people were really regretting resigning their jobs and another how people should really think about such a move. One of them was a Bloomberg story of course but it smacked of a mini media campaign to get people to stay in their jobs if you know what I mean.

  20. rowlf

    I have a dumb question.

    If Donald Trump’s opponents really want to nail him, why not hit him on war crimes and human rights charges? The January 6 stuff is weak sauce. Is it just US decorum to focus on style?

    1. super extra

      They’re trying to make it so he can’t run again, but they don’t have anything really serious enough to qualify as ‘high crimes and misdemenors’ or even apparent actual criminial charges by the real Department of Justice (who would handle those things, instead of members of Congress doing a presentation with witnesses, which is what is happening). For war crimes, well, he didn’t start any new wars, but probably Soliemani’s assassination would qualify. But that would mean recognizing Iran’s legitimate grievances, so that isn’t going to happen. For human rights charges, there’s the shameful situation at the US-Mexico border; but that would require seriously dealing with the migrant crisis, such as working with AMLO and the central american countries to rebuild their local economies instead of asset-stripping so the locals can have decent wages compared to US wages. That seems slightly more likely but earlier this week the first lady referred to latinos as tacos, so I think it’s sort of low on their list of options.

      Basically, if they had something real (as in criminal) they would have gotten him out while he was still in office, or the DoJ would have brought charges as soon as Biden was in. Neither has happened. The Republicans are more disciplined than the Democrats and the congresspeople leading the Jan 6 trials are weak Republicans (as in their seats are in question for reelection) or Democrats. The Jan 6 trials are to keep Trump off the ballot as the nominee. But it still isn’t clear it is going to work, he still polls higher than the other Republican candidates and has a faction of congresspeople (larger than the much-vanted Progressive wing in the Democrat side but not sure exactly how large) that may make it impossible to keep him off the ballot when it comes time for the convention to choose the candidate.

      1. rowlf

        That’s a good rundown of where we are. Thanks. Blazing Saddles harrumphs and nothing more from our government.

    2. IMOR

      It is U.S. decorum not to put Kissinger, Clinton, W., Obama, et al and all their henchmen in the dock for war crimes. So, yes, only trivia and poor style choices are considered criminal.

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      Every president commits war crimes. It is a basic requirement in the job description. Prosecuting Trump for war crimes would set a very dangerous precedent in that every living president could then be prosecuted. That will never, ever happen. Imagine GW Bush being taken to the gallows as the chant “Muqtada Muqtada Muqtada” rings out.

  21. The Rev Kev

    ‘They failed on airborne transmission.
    They failed on air quality.
    They failed on masking.
    They failed on rapid tests.’

    Not just in the US. Yesterday the ocean liner ‘Coral Princess’ docked in Sydney and it was know that they had about 100 infected people aboard. So using the living-with-Covid strategy, they issued a RAT test to every passenger that wanted to disembark. But it was on an honour system if they reported themselves sick or not. The 800 or so passengers who left that ship to go on bus tours to all points of the compass then went their merry way to spread this virus near and far. And on interviews with some of those passengers, it was like they all worked for that ship’s PR outfit. You could see that they did not care. There was a comedy skit once by a guy suggesting sinking ocean liners to reduce overpopulation as they were the worse sort of people and frankly I now see that he had a point-


    1. ChrisRUEcon

      “When you’ve got towns that rely on tourism it’s been an incredibly difficult couple of years,” McBain told Sydney radio 2GB on Tuesday. “Hopefully this will be the first of many cruise ships to dock this season … There’s been significant investment into the Port of Eden so that cruise ships could dock in town.”

      If only there were some state body that could say, support this tourism industry in the same was as say, the Financial Sector was post GFC – not necessarily to the tune of $650B (via Sydney Morning Herald) – but … #youGetMyDrift

      1. The Rev Kev

        Just came across this update which includes this gem-

        ‘Balasubramaniam predicted coronavirus would continue to linger for years to come, unless the world vaccinated in unison, reducing the ability of COVID-19 to evolve.’


        It also says this-

        ‘It is clear Australians have become more tolerant of a higher death toll, according to a July survey examining attitudes about living alongside the virus.’

        To which I reply ‘What you mean ‘we’, white man?’

    2. Tom Stone

      The Coral Princess is a textbook case of democide.
      Your health and life do not matter to the State because markets do.

  22. thoughtfulperson

    What happened in 1971? I looked it up, I had a hunch the Lewis Powell memo was around then, and what do ya know: 1971

    1. HotFlash

      Yeah. As I’ve been saying for years, they organized and we didn’t. Meanwhile, the D’s signed up to be the Washington Generals. Hey, it’s a good-paying and basically permanent gig!

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Organization generally focuses around leadership by person or people. How are we supposed to organize when the Nazi Paperclipper Deep State keeps assassinating leader after leader . . . after leader . . . after leader . . .

        From Kennedy to X to King to Kennedy plus numerous other less famous leaders . . . Hampton . . . etc.

  23. dk

    Forgive my cynicism, well think it’s an relevant observation.

    but Lenin didn’t seize the Winter Place waving a draft. Yes. Things took longer to do at that time. Communication required hand writing and either traveling to meetings or sending letters or at the top of the hierarchy, having access to telegraphy and other new tech. Initiatives were credible by function of the effort put into them, they incubated in a context that demanded focus and rigor independently of specific intentions. Plans were vetted necessarily within the process, by the process. But today we can circulate drafts and float ideas and resolve them within days or hours. Are we doing more? What’s the quantity/quality ratio? Look at the Uber revelations, half-baked ideas uncritically pursued, driven by the money behind them more than by their close reasoning and overall coherence.

    The pattern repeats: Trump tries to do something, somebody stops him, and he drops the idea and goes on to try something else. It’s easy, startup CEOs do it all the time because they can and it’s easy. Why not multitask the organization, especially when we’re just looking for whatever sticks to the wall and no further. As the moments rush by we seize a handful and then look through what we happened to catch. High tech, vast population, concentrated wealth (extracted from the population). This is what we’re looking at, no matter where we approach it from. Trump is only exceptional in his audacity to step over conventions, but conventions can hide equally murky ethics or hinkey business-as-usual habits of thought or action. Like Palmieri’s statements discussed yesterday.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Why not multitask the organization, especially when we’re just looking for whatever sticks to the wall and no further

      Interesting. (Although Trump’s New York real estate, not Silicon Valley). Seems built for plausible deniability, though. Perhaps that’s why CEOs use it.

  24. Judith

    This year, the marsh wrens were late at the nearby marsh. When they arrived they were fewer in number than usual. They were mostly silent instead of trilling. And they stayed hidden deep within the reeds instead of perching precariously at the edges of the cattails. Spring without the sweet abundance of marsh wrens.

    1. HotFlash

      Oh that is sad, and (pessimistically I say) ominous. We have had excellent luck with our front-yard milkweed, went from three plants last year to 11 this, but so far only three monarch visits, and maybe the same one (TBH they all look alike to me…) Cabbage moths, down, haven’t seen one tiger swallowtail this summer, zero fritillaries. Bumble and other bees, way down in numbers. Too early to tell for sure, but not even many wasps and yellowjackets. One dragonfly, no bats.

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    . . . ” I am very hesitant to assign obesity in the US to lifestyle.

    Something is DEEPLY wrong with their food quality.

    You know this because Europeans immediately gain weight in the US without changing their eating habits and lose the weight just as easily when back in Europe. ” . . .

    This makes it very clear that there is a difference between the mainstream food in America versus the same exact mainstream food in Europe. The effect of that difference is to make mainstream American sh!tfood obesogenic and mainstream European shinola food obesostatic or even obesolytic.

    So what exactly are the differences between the same food in America as against the same food in Europe?

    And is any American food of a seemingly “mainstream” sort and selection shinola enough to be obesostatic or even obesolytic?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      And could there be something else wrong in the general background environment in America? Could we be marinating in obesogenic background chemicals of many kinds which Europeans aren’t forced to marinate in? Could it be something else?

      Or could it indeed be something added on purpose to the mainstream sh!tfood in America, like high fructose corn syrup? Does the exact “same” food in Europe contain as much high fructose corn syrup?
      As much other added sugars? Does mainstream European food contain as much glyphosate as mainstream American food contains? Or could it be something yet else?

        1. Irrational

          HFCS is all over in ice cream in Europe unless you go to the bio shop. Wouldn’t know about other sweet things, but I bet it’s here alright.

  26. Jason Boxman

    The entire Pandemic response is so completely insane; My Envoid arrived finally. In a functional country, we’d be manufacturing and distributing these free to everyone. Defense in depth isn’t really all that hard to achieve, if our elite cared to rise to the challenge. But I don’t think they’re equal to it. Instead we get bumbling Biden, and his coterie of death.

    I fear what tomorrow brings.

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a short video from the nextfuckinglevel subreddit. It is of a thirteen year old student speaking to city leadership people during a sort of ” hear the people” meeting after the police arson killing of Patric Lyoya. ( The title of the subreddit calls it the “murder” of Patric Lyoya, which it oh-so-technically can’t be legally called-as-such just yet, because there have been no arrests, no charges, obviously no trial . . . )

    Here is the link.

  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    And here is a story from a newspaper called The Columbus Post Dispatch about an arrest in the 10-year-old rape-victim case . . . . the ten-year-old who had to go to Indiana to get the rape-fetus aborted. Since some people have been affecting to believe that this was not a real event, here is a story indicating that it is real.


  29. spud

    free trade has destroyed america, i think that understanding is now going main stream.


    “Making more stuff here in America would mean prices wouldn’t spike every time there’s a problem overseas. We don’t need to be outsourcing any more jobs and production to China. And we don’t need to be shouldering the burden when other countries enter into conflicts or declare deranged wars, like Russia’s Putin did in Ukraine, which contributed to prices skyrocketing.

    We can use American energy to drive down prices at the gas pump for American workers. And we can use American workers to drive down the price of everything, for everyone.”

    1. SocalJimObjects

      First of all, I think American capitalists will always find a way to increase prices and repress wages. Also what Fetterman is proposing is only possible if America is truly self sufficient i.e. everything from rare earths to base metals. And last but not least, what about environmental impacts caused by the extraction of rare earths and shale oil?

      What almost no politician should but will never say is the following: “Everything’s possible as long as everyone’s willing to live a simpler life.”

    2. Procopius

      Errr… Putin starting his Special Military Operation (not “war”) in Ukraine did not cause prices in America to rise. The sanctions which the American government wrote did.

      * I don’t really care if you call it a war or not. I usually do, but the government of the Russian Federation doesn’t.

  30. Bruno

    “Forgive my cynicism, but Lenin didn’t seize the Winter Place waving a draft.”
    Excuse me, but Lenin didn’t “seize the Winter Palace”–he was still in Sukhanov’s apartment, sheltering from Kerensky’s police. The Winter Palace was seized by the Petrograd Soviet’s “Military Revolutionary Committee” (chairman-Leon Trotsky) acting under the democratic authority of the All-Russian Congress of the soviets of workers, peasants, and soldiers. The revolutionary overthrow of Kerensky, of course, had inspiration and total support from Lenin.

  31. Adam Eran

    Why the pivot in 1971? [At least partial] Answer: That was [pre-fracking] U.S. peak oil, exactly as predicted by Shell geologist/geophysicist M. King Hubbert literally decades before it occurred. OPEC decided to use the “oil weapon” in 1973, denying roughly 3% of the international petroleum shipments overall. This was the first time the U.S. couldn’t produce its way out of a shortfall. You may remember the U.S. was an oil exporter, and denying Japan oil to punish them for their Manchuria invasion was at least one cause of that Pearl Harbor attack.

    Anyway, as OPEC stopped exporting so much oil, the price quadrupled overnight, peaking at $42/bbl in 1982. Reagan lucked out because Alaska’s North Slope came online shortly thereafter, and oil retreated to ~$10/bbl.

    It’s worth remembering that the oil market has never been “free.” The Rockefeller monopoly (“Standard Oil”), then one of FDR’s subordinates, the Texas Railroad Commission and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission all fixed prices before OPEC came along. Fred Koch rode the boom, using the patented processes he invented, and building refineries all over the world, including for Hitler and Stalin. He liked the Germans well enough to hire a Nazi as his youngsters’ governess. Yep, Charles and David were raised by a Nazi.

    Meanwhile, Koch discovered Rockefellers were using his patented processes to refine their oil without paying patent royalties. He sued…and lost! A couple of years later, he discovered Rockefellers bribed the judge, souring him on government legitimacy forever, and setting the stage for his politically-active sons to steer U.S. politics to the hardest of hard rights.

    So oil is a critical commodity. Michael Pollan reports U.S. agriculture burns 10 calories of petroleum to produce one calorie of food. We don’t even have solar agriculture.

    Fracking has mitigated our shortages somewhat (it’s different extractive technology, invented thanks to government research), but it’s much more expensive to do, as is deep offshore drilling. Greg Palast reports the motivation for the Iraq war was to keep their much-cheaper-to-extract oil in the ground.

    So…1971…a critical year, and oil played a part.

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