2:00PM Water Cooler 7/19/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Hume’s Lark, Ladakh, India. Tomorrow, Locke’s Lark!

* * *


“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

“‘Sprint through the finish’: Why the Jan. 6 committee isn’t nearly done” [Politico]. “As its summer hearings show some signs of chipping at Donald Trump’s electoral appeal, select panel members describe Thursday’s hearing as only the last in a series. Committee members, aides and allies are emboldened by the public reaction to the information they’re unearthing about the former president’s actions and say their full sprint will continue, even past November. The only hard deadline, they say, is Jan. 3, 2023, when Republicans likely take over the House.” • Oh.

“Jan. 6 Panel Faces Not Just Partisanship, but Cynicism” [Charlie Cook, Cook Political Report]. “I know plenty of people who are addicted to watching every witness, every twist and turn, a form of scandal porn not dissimilar to the fixation by the other side on the Benghazi hearings and stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails. But those so hooked on these stories usually believe that there is no level to which the other party would not stoop. Those on the other side can do nothing right while those on their own can do nothing wrong….. To be sure, the Jan. 6 hearings have been meticulously produced and executed, but many on the Left nonetheless remain stunned that they aren’t getting even more attention. If the purpose of the hearings were to draw blockbuster TV ratings and provide an ‘OJ moment,’ where the country just comes to a stop as it focuses on only one thing, obviously the investigation and hearings have been a failure. But to the extent that the hearings were intended to maximize the chances that Donald Trump would never be president again, it may well be a success. As unpopular as President Biden is today and as misguided as many of his economic and legislative decisions have been, he’s still nominally ahead of Trump in a hypothetical 2024 matchup run by the New York Times/Siena College poll.” • I’m so old I remember when hearing weren’t “produced.”

Biden Administration

“Kamala Harris’ chief speechwriter is departing” [Politico]. “Vice President Kamala Harris’ director of speechwriting, Meghan Groob, is leaving the office less than four months into the job…/ Groob was hired in April after Harris’ first chief speechwriter, Kate Childs Graham, left at the end of February. She had previously worked as a speechwriter for Bill Gates and as an editorial director at Gates Ventures.” • Oh. Anyhow, Groob is not Rohini Kosoglu, who left to spend more time her family the other day. Rats leaving a sinking ship, I would say.


* * *

“The Republican Ticket Is Being Helped by the Last People You’d Expect” [Brian Beutler, New York Times]. “In Arizona, Democrats have intervened on behalf of Kari Lake, a candidate for governor who has fanned lies about the 2020 election and demanded the imprisonment of the Democratic front-runner. In Pennsylvania, Democrats ran ads boosting Doug Mastriano, a Christian theocrat who participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection before running for governor…. To say that the Democratic strategy of putting a thumb on the scale for these charlatans and conspiracy theorists, in this political climate, has alarmed prominent liberals would be an understatement…. It’s beyond dispute that playing games in the other party’s primaries can sometimes turn losing races into winnable ones. Democrats maintained a brittle grip on the Senate in the first half of the past decade largely by egging along the G.O.P. in its penchant for nominating extremists. In the canonical case, Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, ran ads in 2012 that amplified the many wacky things a far-right underdog in the G.O.P. primary named Todd Akin had said, and declared him “too conservative” for office. The reverse psychology worked.” • Until it didn’t.

KY: “A “Defund-the-CIA” Democratic Candidate for Congress is Calling Biden a “War Criminal” and Demanding His Immediate Impeachment” [Covert Action Magazine (jo6pacP]. “Geoff Young won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District on May 17, 2022. He will face the incumbent, Republican Andy Barr, in the general election on November 8, 2022. His platform calls for abolishing the CIA, cutting the military budget, ending U.S. support for AFRICOM and taxing the rich more. Unsurprisingly, Kentucky’s Democratic Party establishment says it won’t support Young in the general election against his Republican opponent.” • Holy moley! Alert reader 430 MLK comments: “I’ll be voting for Young, a longtime thorn in the side of the KY Dem establishment. In his primary, he won all the rural counties and lost only in Fayette County (home of the University of Kentucky).”

KY: “Democrats Don’t Want to Support Congressional Candidate They Say Sued and Harassed Them” [Leo Weekly]. “Geoff Young, who has attempted to sue numerous Kentucky politicians and has continuously repeated debunked pro-Russian war propaganda, won the Democratic primary for U.S. House District 6 and will face off against Republican incumbent Andy Barr. On his website, Young, who has ran for office several times since 2012, has accused Barr of “supporting the Ukrainian nazis” after the sitting congressman voted for the assistance package to supplement Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion earlier this month. Young is referencing the disproven conspiracy theory that the Ukrainian government is ran by Nazis, propaganda that Russian officials have pushed during their invasion.” • I’m aghast!

MD: “Profile of a GOP voter: Meddling Dems target hunters, country music lovers” [Axios]. “Democrats boosting a hard-right Republican gubernatorial candidate in Maryland are targeting a particular brand of voter: she loves hunting and country music, has no interest in yoga or public libraries and lives in one of America’s wealthiest ZIP codes…. If those apparent efforts to elevate spoiler candidates backfire, the result would be powerful elected officials with fringe views on issues ranging from abortion to “election integrity.'” • The Pied Piper strategy again? What could go wrong?


“Frustrated Democrats mull drastic step: Challenging Biden in 2024” [The Hill]. “[Biden’s] loyalists have defended him against the increasingly negative headlines. They say he stepped into a mess made by former President Trump and that some of the lawmakers in Congress who were supposed to help him turn things around have been difficult and disappointing. But that willingness to prop up the sinking president has been wearing thin. Day by day, Democrats are considering a possible new scenario: challenging the sitting president for the 2024 nomination…. A pair of governors have recently taken steps that have elevated their national profile. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) traveled to the White House this week and met with Ron Klain, the president’s chief of staff, while Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) also went to the Oval Office and on a separate occasion to New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state. On Saturday, he’ll be in Florida, a crucial swing state where Trump resides.” Ugh. More: “Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who skyrocketed to prominence after winning the Iowa caucuses in 2020, officially changed his home state registration to Michigan, one of the top general election battlegrounds. Ugh. More: “Others, including Sanders’s two presidential campaign co-chairs, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and former Ohio House candidate and activist Nina Turner, have been talked about as possible challengers.” • Weak.

Republican Funhouse

“It’s not just Hunter Biden: Prepare for a 2023 packed with House GOP investigations” [Politico]. “As the GOP prepares for a likely takeover of the chamber next year, committee chairs-in-waiting have laid out a lengthy list of oversight goals that goes beyond Biden’s White House — including Democrats’ formation of the Jan. 6 select committee. But the party’s highest-profile targets are those with the potential to politically bruise the president ahead of 2024: his son’s business dealings, Afghanistan, the origins of the coronavirus, inflation causes and the U.S.-Mexico border.” • I wonder if these hearings will have the same buff production values as the Democrat hearings on the Capitol Seizure.

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.

* * *

“Opinion ‘The Art of Losing the Abortion War,’ for our dear American leaders” [WaPo]. It’s not just the abortion war. “The art of war is of vital importance, Sun Tzu once said, ‘a matter of life and death,’ a ‘subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.’ His goal was to teach leaders how to secure victory in battle. But securing defeat is also an art. Here is how American leaders can elegantly lose to their opponents and confidently expose our nation to danger.” A few of the items: “2. All losing in warfare is based on falling for deception,” “3. Self-deception is also key to defeat,” “16. Above all, do not react quickly,” “20. In war, always practice disorder. Drain the motivation of your supporters and give confidence to your opponent, and the fruits of political defeat will be yours.” • Terrific format, and very funny.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Yes, Things Are Really As Bad As You’ve Heard” [Wesley Yang, Year Zero]. Yang quoting a teacher source: “In my short career as an educator, I’ve had countless experiences like this – encounters with colleagues and administrators so surreal that even close friends chided me for exaggerating or “playing into right-wing tropes” when I repeat them. And there’s a sense in which I don’t blame them, because things really are that crazy out here…. [For example, I once attended another meeting – lots of meetings when you’re a teacher! – where we were working to approve a new weekly schedule for students. When I said I was concerned that it would require leaving some sections of the curriculum untaught, a colleague said that might actually be a good thing, because most of our students are white and their test scores dropping slightly would help shrink the racial achievement gap in our state. Again, to clarify: I don’t mean my colleague had a more nuanced approach to testing that a dishonest interlocutor could twist to sound like that. I mean my colleague literally spoke those words. (To be fair, one other teacher did speak up and challenge them this time, albeit very politely.) Now, [does this[ anecdotes, no matter how explicitly I describe [it], sound like something out of James Lindsay’s fever dreams? Yes! Are these things that did, in fact, happen? Also yes!”


• ”With a sniff or a swallow, new vaccines aim to put the brakes on Covid-19 spread” [CNN]. This is actually pretty good. “As the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads, it changes. That’s helped it get past our firewalls, the immunity created by vaccines or left behind after we recover from an infection. Which is why, well into the third year of the pandemic, we’re in the midst of another wave of Covid-19 caused by the most immune-evasive variant yet, BA.5. And more variants are coming. Even as vaccine manufacturers race to update the first-generation shots in the hopes of patching up our protection for the fall, other scientists are taking a different approach, making vaccines delivered via nasal sprays or tablets that would deploy more immune defenders to the body’s front lines: the lining of the mouth, nose and throat. ‘The hope is to shore up the defenses right there in the nose so that the virus can’t even replicate in the nose,’ said Dr. Ellen Foxman, an immunobiologist at the Yale School of Medicine. ‘And then someone who has a really effective mucosal vaccination can’t even really support viral replication or make viruses that can infect other people.’ …. many scientists say the approach needs an injection of funding to accelerate the pace of development, much in the same way the billions of dollars doled out by Operation Warp Speed delivered the first generation of Covid-19 vaccines in record time.” • Absolute, mind-boggling dereliction of duty by the Biden Administration, here. They had a successful business model in front of them, and they didn’t replicate it! (And this is the charitable explanation, the uncharitable one being that democidal elites is a parsomonious explanation (and if you want another data point on that, consider the Biden Administration’s destruction of the domestic mask industry)).

• ”School Ventilation: A Vital Tool to Reduce COVID-19 Spread” (PDF) [Center for Health Security, Johns Hopkins]. “Flexible funds are now available under the American Rescue Plan to invest in K-12 schools to reduce risks related to COVID-19. As administrators consider how they may use these funds to address their schools’ needs, we maintain that healthy air should be a priority in schools to (1) increase safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and potential future respiratory disease outbreaks and (2) improve student learning. Investments in healthy indoor air for K-12 schools are crucial for the health of the nation.” Two key points about what not to do, which readers know, of course:

3. School systems should use only proven technologies for improving indoor air quality: appropriate ventilation, HEPA filtration, or ultraviolet germicidal irradiation. They should not use chemical foggers or any “air cleaner” other than filtration and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation. School systems should not use unproven technologies such as ozone generators, ionization, plasma, and air disinfection with chemical foggers and sprays. The effect of these cleaning methods on children has not been tested and may be detrimental to their health. The primary aim for improving air quality should be to remove contaminants and impurities from the air and not to introduce new substances into the air.

4. School administrators and decision makers should stop enhanced cleaning, disinfecting, “deep clean” days, and any other expensive and disruptive cleaning.

Readers, any of you can get this in front of your local school administrators or school boards, so that they don’t spend their money foolishly over the summer, that would be great. Thank you!

• ”Toronto Public Library begins CO2 monitor lending program to measure indoor air quality” [CBC (Will)]. “Toronto library card holders can now borrow carbon dioxide monitors for a week to check indoor air quality in their homes. The Toronto Public Library (TPL) launched the program on Monday. The library system has 50 carbon dioxide monitors that members can borrow from its digital innovation hubs located in eight branches across the city. Each Aranet4 monitor comes with a “quick start” guide and a fact sheet on how to interpret the levels. Nearly half of the devices have been loaned out already.” • What a great idea! Librarians are the best (and maybe, readers, you can suggest that your own public library set up such a program).

• ”With monkeypox spreading globally, many experts believe the virus can’t be contained” [Helen Branswell, STAT]. “It has been a mere nine weeks since the United Kingdom announced it had detected four cases of monkeypox, a virus endemic only in West and Central Africa. In that time, the number of cases has mushroomed to nearly 13,000 in over 60 countries throughout Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, new parts of Africa, South Asia, and Australia. The growth in cases and the geographic spread has been rapid and relentless. Now, even as global health officials race to curb spread of the virus, most experts polled by STAT said they don’t believe it will be possible to contain it. ‘I think we missed that train at this point,’ said Gary Kobinger, director of the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch and a member of an expert committee that advises the World Health Organization’s Emergencies Program.” • It’s odd that the Norms Fairy isn’t aghast at this. But then I was surprised that a liberal Democrat Administration would preside over the demolition of public health, even as a concept.

* * *

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:

The train is still rolling. 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 ~135,400. Today, it’s ~125,900 and 135,400 * 6 = a Biden line at 755,400 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 neck and neck.

The West:

So, the national drop resolves to California.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

0.1%. Down! (I 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 July 17, 2020:

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.” 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 14:

Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Alabama, Illinois all worse. California better, oddlly. I don’t like those little pink speckles in New York, because the Northeast has been quiet for some time (note slight rise in case data). What’s that all about

Previous Rapid Riser data:

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), July 14:

Very volatile. Haven’t seen so little green (good) in quite some time.

• “With Tulsa’s COVID risk upgraded and cases rising, local ER leaders push precautions, vaccination” [Tulsa World]. “Tulsa County’s COVID-19 risk has been upgraded from the lowest to the highest level in recent weeks as cases have continued to rise across the state since the summer holidays began. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks community-level risk to help get public health recommendations to residents based on the most recently available local data. According to data from spokeswoman Lauren Landwerlin, the number of COVID-19 patients has nearly doubled each month since May across all of Saint Francis Health System. She confirmed that those are patients for whom COVID-19 is the chief complaint. Most of those who spoke Friday offered similar guidance for anyone concerned about becoming infected: Go back to early-pandemic precautions, including social distance, masking, hand-washing and monitoring symptoms.” • Here’s CDC’s “community levels” metric again, causing non-pharmaceutical intervention to kick in too late.


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 30:

Variant data, national (CDC), July 2:

BA.5 moving along nicely.


Wastewater data (CDC), Jul 13, 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: This page was loading so slowly that I began to wonder if this is how CDC had chosen to sabotage wastewater efforts. However, after some experimentation, I find I must turn off my VPN to get this page to load. Good job, CDC.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,049,274 1,048,843. 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

Housing: “United States Housing Starts” [Trading Economics]. “Housing starts in the US dropped 2% month-over-month to an annualized rate of 1.559 million units in June of 2022, the lowest since September last year. Figures were also lower than forecasts of 1.58 million but follow an upwardly revised 1.591 million rate in May. The housing sector has been cooling amid soaring prices and mortgage rates.”

Housing: “United States Building Permits” [Trading Economics]. “Building permits in the US, a proxy for future construction, decreased 0.6% to an annualized rate of 1.685 million in June of 2022, the lowest level since September last year and compared to forecasts of 1.65 million. It was the third consecutive month of declines in permits.”

* * *

Commodities: “Ships wait up to three weeks to load grain at Albany port after bumper WA crop” [Hellenic Shipping News]. Albany in Western Australia. “Ships are waiting at anchor for up to three weeks to load grain at Albany port as supply chain issues cause delays…. The delays come after many crews faced lengthy times at sea in isolation due to COVID outbreaks on ships during the pandemic…. Grain co-operative CBH’s head of operations Duncan Gray said delays were expected after a record grain harvest in Western Australia in 2021. ‘We’re looking at 23 million tonnes in the supply chain and we won’t be able to get that out [of the ports] this year,’ Mr Gray said. He acknowledged the bottleneck stemmed from delays in rail transport but said the state’s grain trucks were working at record levels.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 Fear (previous close: 27 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 25 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 19 at 1:29 PM EDT.

Groves of Academe

“$100K got Uber research published in prestigious outlet” [Felix Salmon, Axios]. “A major NBER research paper c0-authored by Alan Krueger, the former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, was revealed last week to have been paid for by Uber as ‘part of a production line of political ammunition that could be fed to politicians and the media,’ in the words of Guardian investigative reporter Felicity Lawrence…. Uber paid Krueger $100,000 for the controversial 2016 study, which has been cited by 981 scholarly articles to date. A payment of that magnitude “is not trivial and is relevant,” one high-profile economist tells Axios.” • Commentary:

More Stoller:

(I used a screen dump here because Wolfers has, perhaps wisely, deleted the tweet Stoller quoted.)

Class Warfare

“Is it any surprise that tensions in labour markets are rising?” [Tax Research UK]. “Real wages are falling fast. That is the message from the [Office for National Statistics] today. The message from Tory leadership rivals a couple of days ago was ‘accept it, because we’re not going to do anything about it’. And the message from the bank of England is ‘you’re not having it tough enough, have another interest rate rise’.”

News of the Wired
I am not feeling wired today. Perhaps tomorrow!

* * *

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 RM:

RM writes: “While out on a hike with the range specialist from the USGS we came across a patch of echinacea (echinacea angustifolia, also known as a narrow leaf purple coneflower). He pulled out a knife and dug out about four inches off the root and skinned it. He handed me this little white root and said chew it!! I did and after about five minutes I was foaming at the mouth like I had rabies… It made my mouth totally numb and my tongue felt like a piece of wood. Evidently the Indians and settlers used it if they had to pull a tooth, or at least that’s the story and I’m sticking to it.” Don’t try this at home!

* * *

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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. Darius

    Harris has a decent chance of being president. Have you seen how fragile Biden is? He’s one COVID infection or fall away from glory. Maybe people can’t stomach the idea of working for President Harris anymore than for Vice President Harris. Maybe the prospect is a nightmare.

    1. Wukchumni

      Harris pols show her down in heavy numbers, in theory its a dream job… being one of the veep’s higher ups with a President who doesn’t look long for the term, and you slide right on in with the same capacity when she’s the Chief Executive, but you get the feeling Kamala is toxic, or at least she’s talks it.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        but you get the feeling Kamala is toxic

        Her staff has to already know she wont get the nod to run, that’s why they’re leaving.

          1. super extra

            It is fascinating to see it pick up speed, I wonder about the specific why they all know/believe that.

            On the other hand, I’ve long thought that this was going to be the most insane ‘October Surprise’ season in the history books so who knows what capers people have heard in the halls of power.

            1. jr

              Caught a short excerpt of The View relatively recently. The one host Sunny (?) opined that it’s normal for people to come and go from politicians staff. It had nothing to do with the fact that Harris is obviously of sub-par intelligence and competence. That was, of course, racism at work.

            2. Mark Gisleson

              I don’t think it’s anything specific from Harris that’s sparking the departures. I believe it’s the absence of purposeful activity that’s driving staff away. It takes time to figure out what you’re not seeing, then one day you realize the Veep spent more time on Wordle than prepping to meet with a foreign leader and you wonder why bother?

              Harris and Buttigieg are my current personifications of the “empty suit” phenomenon in politics. People who look good so you take a harder look but the harder you look the less there is to see. I expect her to head up an NGO or a taskforce (if Biden’s replacement wins in 2024). Electorally I think she’s kaput.

            3. mrsyk

              Perhaps this year will feature a November surprise. I seriously doubt we would still have them (elections) if not for the fund raising/entertainment value. But I’m not sure even the insane amounts of money sloshing about will prevent our penchant for blind (party, in this case) loyalty and alarming tolerance for violence from finishing off our already broken democracy.

          2. Tom Stone


            I don’t think loyalty has much to do with why people work for K. Harris.

        1. ambrit

          The ‘top’ aides leaving also suggests that there is no evidence that Biden will be “encouraged” to vacate the office before 2025.

            1. Jen

              I think it might have been Larry Johnson when he was on the Duran who speculated that if there were a move to replace Biden, Harris would have to go first.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Serious question – if Biden has a sudden health crisis a between now and the election, and Harris is catapulted to the White House (even in a token role, you have to assume they won’t let her make any real decisions), how can they stop her if she digs in and insists that she runs? Surely this must be a realistic possibility.

          1. jsn

            I get the sense that Kamala is the kind of person who got where she got in a way that left lots of power brokers with little, and maybe not so little, hooks in her.

            I can’t wait to see the “narrative” that extracts her!

            Maybe that’s what got Gavin to the White House the other day.

            1. deedee

              I agree with the spirit of this but when you’re talking about the Democrats you have to make a few notations.

              “I get the sense that Kamala is the kind of person who got where she got in a way that left lots of power brokers (sic) with little, and maybe not so little, hooks in her.”


            2. Acacia

              Huh… Harris had a speechwriter. Who knew?

              I threw this out the other day but… Harris could resign. In her place, Newsom gets appointed VP. Then Biden bows out due to obvious cognitive decline. And then the media goes gaga over new President Newsom as all the questions about how it happened get jammed under the rug.

              1. Robert Gray

                > Harris could resign. In her place, Newsom gets appointed VP.
                > Then Biden bows out due to obvious cognitive decline …

                I’ve been saying this for almost two years — except it’s not Newsom who gets appointed … it’s Hillary. They’ll have to move fast, though, while they still have enough votes for Senate confirmation. :-(

                And then they can put Buttitch into the again-vacant VP slot.

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        I’ve thought this was the plan all along. Harris doesn’t have the mojo to win, or even come close enough to put a hand on the scales. The only way she ever assumes the office is if something happens to Biden.

    2. notabanker

      Seems to be a clear indication insiders think Biden lasts long enough to get to 2024, but will not run again. Kamala needs one or the other to not happen, it is the only way she gets in.

    3. Louis Fyne

      to be Machiavellian…if Kamala had a say 1/6 chance of being POTUS pre-2024 election, there would be zero turnover in her staff, even given VP’s alleged shambolic management style

      just saying

    4. digi_owl

      Frankly it smelled like a setup from the day she was announced. The PMCs cling to the notion that Russiagate was what cost them Clinton as madam president, so they would circle their wagons around any chance of Harris replacing Biden. That she is colored would mean they get a twofer no less. Her being suited for the job is to them immaterial.

    5. HotFlash

      Speechwriters, plural? The woman had speechwriters? I am stunned. Perhaps they left when they realized that speech-writing for VP Harris was futile? Perhaps she should be looking for a garde manger instead to prepare her word salads.

      1. John

        Take a close look at the experience of the people who have the idea that they ought to be the president. Are you impressed? Take a look at the pre-presidential experience of the current president and his four immediate predecessors. Are you impressed? Take a look at what the record in office of each? Are you impressed? Is the United states better for their time in office? I am especially interested in our relationships with other nations. I am not impressed by the record Clinton through Biden? Are you? How have any of these gentlemen “promoted the general welfare” as opposed to the welfare of the few? we have an expanding string of mediocrities.

        1. Acacia

          Mediocre for you and me… but doing a bang-up job for the oligarch class.

          They’re now just front-men anyway. Kinda like managers of the sales division.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I suppose that Harris could let herself be trained how to give good speeches but since we are going towards her being the Veep for two years now, I guess that she never did – or wanted to – going by her continual word salad speeches. Suppose Biden turns his toes up soon and Harris now becomes Madam President, can you imagine her giving the State of the Union speech on several months time? It would be as hilarious as the Jerusalem address-

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlADJpNtS_s (3:46 mins)

        1. chris

          She’s not anyone’s idea of a good politician or public speaker. Still… I feel compelled to say that she is in a very difficult position. She can’t say anything of substance. She has to support Biden’s policies. And given that she’s not allowed to follow what Biden says, only what his courtiers tell her that he says, she has to interpret things on the fly. Even when faced with powder puff questions from friendly reporters that’s a difficult set of instructions to balance. And then you have all the challenging topics that she is allegedly responsible for addressing. She’s not smart or capable. This is a tough task for even seasoned professionals.

      3. ALM

        Given the VP’s signature incoherent word salad responses to predictable questions in scheduled interviews and word salad speeches, it’s extremely difficult to believe that she has any speechwriters at all. Harris’s public incoherence was not evident when she served as SF D.A. or California Attorney General or Senator so something has changed. I suspect that her previous life in law enforcement only required her to master a tough-on-crime stance. That was still enough for a junior Senator. But it’s not nearly enough anymore, and Harris has proved to be too lazy and incurious to apply herself to expand her narrow repertoire of canned responses. Harris’s singular outstanding break was her “relationship” with Willie Brown, then one of California’s most powerful politicians who foamed the runway for her. And her singular outstanding skill is her ability to ingratiate herself with the wealthy and powerful. Otherwise, she’s a mediocrity through and through.

      4. Dr. John Carpenter

        My favorite meme of the moment goes like “Dan Quayle walked so Kamala Harris could run” with some choice excerpts from each attached.

  2. notabanker

    Hubert Horan found a lot of data pretty interesting. I wonder how big of a check Uber wants to write him?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Can you write a check for a negative amount?

      I’m sure your comment is meant to be a joke, but Horan broke the story, did a ton of work, wrote many, many posts, and didn’t take a dime for it. So I’n not laughing.

    1. Sean


      How is it that you are so dismissive of the J6 hearings as if they were just political theater and not creating a record of the very serious crimes committed before, during & after that day, yet you flutter on incessantly worried & concerned about a Covid pandemic that has petered out & left public consciousness?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Because — and follow me closely here — the Covid pandemic is a real thing that is killing people, regardless of wishful thinking from the “public consciousness.” If the House hearings on the capitol seizure are indeed “putting together a record” (as opposed to polluting it), nobody, despite wishful thinking, has yet presented the timeline + evidence that shows Trump was guilty of a coup, which is the point of the hearings. There is no theory of the case other than Trump = bad + Trump followers = bad. In other words, the thing that needs to be real for the hearings to make a difference to other than the already persuaded is not yet real. It’s not my job to win the midterms for the Democrats. Please don’t pretend to be stupider than you really are.

      2. Lex

        Dude, they are political theater. Yes, we attempted to color revolution ourself and yes, it almost succeeded. But let’s not pretend that the Democratic Party cares at all about “democracy” and certainly not addressing systemic issues that threaten it. This is the “let’s look forward not back” on torture and banks pillaging the American people party. Trump sucked and continues to suck but these hearings – which won’t amount to anything except putting the events on Trump’s “permanent record” – are a distraction because the Democratic Party has no intention of addressing far more pressing issues. If the democrats want to defeat trump, then they should focus on making the lives of the American people better. Biden gave us a long list of promises to get elected and has ignored them all. (Don’t blame Manchin, that just shows that Biden and Dem leadership are piss poor politicians.)

  3. jr

    So I had to go to a Lowes in NJ this week with an friend to pick out a new washer/dryer. New machines are running 900 to a 1000$’s for higher end models, he chose a stack that ran 1700$ for the whole shebang. Everything is digital and therefore microchipped.

    There was a nine day wait for delivery. When my friend expressed surprise, the clerk noted that the days of on-site inventory were over. Everything is shipped upon ordering and some other appliances will take two to three months to arrive. He sighed and blamed the problems with trucking and supply shortages.

    The Lowes staff were tired looking. One guy handled us and then about six other customers. I would say four fifths of the staff were obese to some degree. At the customer service desk, there was near ubiquitous consumption of soda and (rappy snacks from the racks at the registers. At least there weren’t any self-serve registers but a minor mistake on our receipt generated a 15 minute wait while the cashier tried to navigate the computer to fix it. He finally gave up and called over a manager who took at least 10 minutes of the 15 to inform us that we couldn’t get the discount that the cashier said the computer had offered us. Apparently one system doesn’t talk to another there.

    In perhaps related news, a coworker ordered a small appliance from Amazon recently. He then discovered he didn’t really need it and began the online process to return it. Amazon told him to keep it and refunded his money to boot.

    I would say one in twenty people were masked at the Lowes, grocery store, and gas stations. Those that were were sporting the useless surgical masks, no doubt because they are more comfortable. My N-95 garnered some sullen looks.

    Nothing is accessible except by driving. New cars and no doubt hefty monthly payments are everywhere. Every fourth vehicle is a massive Tundra size or bigger pickup that obviously hasn’t seen a day of the work it’s capable of doing.

    I asked a clerk about housing prices and he said they are through the roof. But not to worry, Ft. Monmouth is selling off some of it’s land to developers and he said it might be cheaper. He seemed hopeful, perhaps this is a problem affecting him personally. Also, Netflix is buying some property from the Army, watch for new military flavored shows featuring authentic barracks.

    1. digi_owl

      Netflix will be making a live action recreation of Beetle Bailey perhaps?

      Only with the title character played by a queer latinx?

      1. hamstak

        Maybe more like Gomer Pyle, but featuring Vlad Zelensky in his (fast approaching) post-presidential career. Shazam!

    2. Tom Doak

      I’m not sure if that supply chain delay is really common to America, or just to big box stores like Lowe’s. We bought a washer & dryer a month ago from our local appliance dealer who’s been here forever, and they had plenty of models in stock.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > our local appliance dealer who’s been here forever

        If you have such a dealer, definitely do this. Dealers like this also tend to do things like delivery, and installation (competently).

      1. ambrit

        Me too. I will joke to the bus driver whenever we pass the closed Sears store in our half horse town that; “I don’t see the FEMA logo up yet.” The bus drivers have to have the joke spelled out for them, but I discovered that several of the ‘regular’ bus riders figured it out right away. Such is the siloing of America’s citizenry today.
        The “joke” is that the old Bigg Boxx Store building will be perfect for a FEMA Re-education Centre. The Tire department will be perfect for “enhanced” interrogation techniques since it already has floor drains installed with which to hose away the blood stains. The store sits at the edge of the local Upscale Mall, but structurally separate. Just across the old Sears parking lot is about fifty or sixty acres of undeveloped wasteland, treed in spots. It will be perfect for the mass graves.
        If anyone “official” asks me, I don’t know nothing.

    3. flora

      Yep. Oncst upon a time, if I needed a presentable dark blue or grey or black dress overcoat I could count on Sears or JCPenney to have something reasonably priced in stock. If I needed presentable dress clothes at a reasonable price I could count on JCPenney. If I needed a forged steel tool at a reasonable price I could count on Sears to have one in stock. That was back when the broad middle class was the focus of the CEOs of those middle class focused emporiums. The middle class was regarded as respectable and important. No more. A sad loss for us all.

    4. Jason Boxman

      I ordered a new dehumidifier from Lowes for in-store pick, and it wasn’t available for about 7-10 days at which point I went and got it. So clearly they didn’t keep it in-stock physically. I guess this wasn’t unusual after all.

    5. Bart Hansen

      The new washers without an agitator are to be avoided. Their sloshing to and fro action do not clean clothes. And, they don’t let you interrupt the cycle to soak over a longer period and ours, at least, don’t do hot water only. The only good point is that the spin cycle removes a lot of water.

  4. Wukchumni

    Fighting solders from AI
    Fearless machines who can’t die
    Machines who do just what you say
    The brave machines of the MIC array

    Set a command within their chest
    These are machines, America’s best
    One hundred men meet a machine’s abilities today
    But would die when pitted against an MIC array

    Trained to live off man’s grid
    Trained in combat, won’t flip it’s lid
    Machines who fight by night and day
    Courage is a given with the MIC array

    Set a command within their chest
    These are machines, America’s best
    One hundred men meet one machine’s abilities today
    But would die when pitted against an MIC array

    Back at home, a young wife waits
    Another human has met his fate
    He has died for those AI possessed
    Who didn’t honor his last request


  5. ambrit

    Good heavens. This sounds like an oldie but goodie Filk Song; “Gory Gory Hallelujah.”

  6. Mikel

    ”With monkeypox spreading globally, many experts believe the virus can’t be contained” [Helen Branswell, STAT].

    It has been made clear that the establishment doesn’t plan on containing any virus.
    They have shots to sell.

    People are going to have to stop many things to express they are serious about not being made sick by psychotic policies.

    1. jsn

      So far, disease cropping has been a net positive for GDP.

      It’s not yet killing us fast enough to get enough of us to pay attention enough to pay the cost in time and lost income to get organized. There will be a time when the population is shrinking fast enough GDP contracts along with the care denial industry, but one hopes opposition can achieve an audible voice before such a massive die off.

      I’m afraid organization will only be achieved as a result some kind of economic collapse because that’s the only way I see synchronization among the affected: as it stands people are only free to act at particular moments that don’t cause costs they can’t see bearing so opposition is unable to coordinate and effectively atomized.

  7. Festoonic

    Sent the Johns Hopkins ventilation report as well as directions on how to build a Corsi box to members of our local school board. Thanks, Lambert, for the suggestion.

    1. curlydan

      For a second there, I thought, “Why couldn’t a wiser Biden use the Defense Production Act to force box fan manufacturers to make Corsi boxes, bought the govt, then distributed to schools?” Then I remembered, duh, there probably are no U.S. box fan manufacturers. And of course, there is no wiser Biden either.

        1. Late Introvert

          Lasko fans are made in the USA.

          That’s the one I’m using, available at your local Ace Hardware. It’s a little loud/fast even at the lowest setting, but works for us very nicely.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Lasko fans are made in the USA

            Search on “Lasko fan” in Amazon, and you get a page of hits — with an ad for a competing, Amazon-store fan top center. Just amazing.

    2. ChiGal

      note that that report, though the recommendations are still good, is more than a year old. hopefully it was circulated last summer to the school boards likely to heed it…

      1. Lex

        It wasn’t. This is exactly the sort of thing every school district in 200 miles of me would have called my office about, especially the nearest one (and largest in that circle) where my firm and its people are very well known, or the nearby district where the person in charge of financially running the district used to be a coworker. Not even an “aside” call for an opinion.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Sent the Johns Hopkins ventilation report as well as directions on how to build a Corsi box to members of our local school board

      Thank you. That’s at least one school with an opportunity to do better.

  8. fresno dan

    “Jan. 6 Panel Faces Not Just Partisanship, but Cynicism” [Charlie Cook, Cook Political Report].
    Well, there may be some real illegality to what happened on Jan 6. But the problem for the dems is probably people like me. I go back and forth between the parties (generally never vote for a dem or repub for president – my small way of registering my disapproval of both parties). I was interested in Russiagate, but the more I informed myself, the more it was obvious that people at the highest levels of the DoJ, FBI, FISA court were incompetent at best, and at worst were engaged in a coup attempt. A coup attempt that racheted up tensions with a nuclear power. Any means necessary to negate a valid election. As bad as the repubs are, the only question is: are the dems even worse?
    I think this country has now reached a point where it is not possible to be too cynical…

  9. Lee

    Covid news from my neck of the woods:

    This chart shows San Francisco COVID cases are wildly undercounted SFGATE

    “…Wolfe’s graph, which compares official case counts in San Francisco with the volume of viral COVID-19 RNA in samples of county wastewater, clearly shows that the number of people with COVID in San Francisco is far higher than official case counts would suggest. In fact, judging by the volume of poop containing the virus now flowing through the county sewers, there are as many or even more people with COVID-19 now than there were at the peak of last winter’s omicron surge.

    Last week, the city recorded an average of 406 cases a day. But wastewater data suggests the real number could be much closer to the number of people infected during that January surge, when more than 2,300 people were testing positive for the virus every day on average…”

  10. socal Rhino

    I think Newsom would have more luck pulling together the HRC coalition than would Harris. And he’s taller than Desantis. Not sure how much love he’d get in places like Iowa, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (heck, not even Californians entirely like people from California).

    1. flora

      Forget Iowa. O won the Iowa primary in 2008 so Iowa was great, great! Then Bernie won the Iowa primary in 2016 and 2020, (that’s twice, if you discount the 2020 Biden run and the 2020 Dem estab fiddling the caucus results) and suddenly Iowa is nothing. Nothing! Now it’s Wisconsin! or Michigan! that matter. I forget which. / heh

      1. Late Introvert

        The Iowa Cockups are finished. The DNC’s app made sure of that. And yes Bernie won for sure, but Mayo Pete “won”.

    2. John

      Is there actually a reason to vote for Newsom other than his being taller than Desantis and able to rally the HRC gang which by the way I see as a reason not to consider him?

      1. Tom Stone

        Newsome has nice hair and good teeth and he is taller than DeSantis.
        Three reasons to vote for him!

      1. ChrisRUEcon


        The House Of Tupac will not be denied!


        If he’s smart, he’d do it … remains to be seen.

    3. Sardonia

      If Jerry Brown hadn’t decided to be Governor again in 2010, Newsom would have easily won that – and could then have run for Prez in 2020 as a 2 term California Governor – and would have mopped that weak line up of Dems – but he couldn’t start running right after taking the Guv office – had to wait at least one term. And he would have cleaned Trump’s clock.

      He’s definitely going for it in 2024, and I’d handicap him as the Dem front-runner over what will be another weak field. But 2024 might be a tougher election for a Dem than 2020 was. If the Bad Times continue, voters will want Change again – Biden/Harris will have soured them from the Dems. But Gav has that handsome JFK thing going – and since Americans vote for Presidents the same way they vote for Junior High School Class President, that counts.

      1. ChrisRUecon

        > But Gav has that handsome JFK thing going – and since Americans vote for Presidents the same way they vote for Junior High School Class President, that counts.

        Salient analysis. Concur.

        1. Sardonia

          If “pirate equity” isn’t an autocorrect for private equity, that’s pretty funny. :)

          Youngkin has shown he can win a tough swing state, but wouldn’t he have a problem, starting a Presidential campaign less than a year after being a Governor? Virginians might say “Already you’re abandoning the job we elected you for?” And opponents would criticize the fact that he doesn’t have much of a record yet. Newsom could’ve run for 2020, but my sense is that he knew it was too early – he won his election in 2018. Even with such a weak field, I suspect he wanted to avoid that exact criticism, and establish a record of executive experience, even though he was Lieutenant Governor for 8 years while Jerry Brown was Governor. I can see Youngkin as having a headwind there.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I can see Youngkin as having a headwind there.

            I think if Youngkin has the stomach for nationalizing “educational” issues, Willie Horton*-style, he could do very well.

            NOTE * George H.W. Bush, the epitome of tongue-tied WASP politesse, eviscerated Michael Dukakis with a series of ads on furloughed prisoners who later committed crimes. (Bush’s campaign manager, Lee Atwater, was a piece of work. So Youngkin doesn’t need to feel shy.) See Taibbi here on Loudon County, Virginia.

            1. Sardonia

              I’m too computer-illiterate to get past the paywall on the Taibbi article, and didn’t follow the race closely, buy if the education issue was demagogued, I wouldn’t be surprised. Who knows if it will still be a hot-button issue in 2024? It sure was in 2021.

              Yeah, Atwater was quite the groundbreaker – figuring out how low one could sink in a campaign and then drilling down from there. That Horton ad was devastating.

              But…at least it was factual – he WAS released. Fast forward to now – the campaigns against Trump were flat-out lies. Willie Horton did kill someone – but I don’t think Trump was, in fact, a Russian agent who enjoyed bareback horse riding with Putin.

              Atwater got the ball rolling. Now it’s a runaway boulder down a mountainside.

            2. Socal Rhino

              Youngkin might be the stronger candidate for the general election. Not clear to me he gets by Desantis in the primaries.

  11. flora

    To say that the Democratic strategy of putting a thumb on the scale for these charlatans and conspiracy theorists, in this political climate, has alarmed prominent liberals would be an understatement.

    Gosh. It’s almost like Dems think they have no concrete material benefits they’ve won for their voters, important benefits that they can be proud of and run on. Who’d a thunk?

  12. Carolinian

    Re Biden vs Trump–howabout nobody for president and we’ll get Disney to construct a animatronic version that can read off the teleprompter without repeating the stage directions. Critical decisions can be made by Ouija board.

    Or we’ll get that Geoff Young guy. Could he be any worse?

    1. Lex

      My fondest dream is a presidential ballot with “none of the above” as a choice. I want to know what it feels like to vote for something, and I’m sure “none of the above” would win in a landslide.

      1. chris

        None of the above with an option to force the parties to develop a new slate of candidates would be wonderful. I’d take ranked choice voting too.

  13. Reify99

    I sent info, instructions and offered to donate corsi box components to a local community center. Fingers crossed.

    The archives are also invaluable for this kind of thing.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > They should protest at the Senate.

        They shouldn’t be “protesting” at all. They’re elected representatives; they don’t need to adopt the tactics of the powerless. It’s pathtic.

        1. Pat

          I have appreciated things that each of them have done, but when they meekly allowed Nan,Chuck and Joe to decouple the Build Better Back and the transportation bill and then allowed the transportation bill to go first I knew we were being scammed.

          They may not be in a position to actually legislate big bills but these stunts aren’t remotely useful. Perhaps it is time to start inserting small things in other bills for instance. Or if you can’t get them to legislate, even see if they can use their media status to make it more and more difficult for the Democratic apparatus to nominate anti abortion candidates, and pass anti abortion judges (not to mention nominate them).

  14. chris

    Sharing the rumbling in my professional network…a friend of a friend just got laid off from a company that was a market and media darling a year ago. Olive, Healthcare IT – the kind of stuff that most on here would want to kill with fire – just laid off 450 people at all levels. They’re in good company in Columbus, OH. A lot of bigger companies in insurance and Healthcare are laying off people now.

    Most firms that I’m aware of in engineering space are still dying for talent. Many have multiple job postings and are actively trying to poach employees. So seeing a company like this collapse quickly is a worrying sign. I think we’re going to see a lot of people have the job offers rescinded again :/

  15. super extra

    Mrs. Zelensky in DC feels like the beginning of the exile period. Can’t wait to see her on MSNBC talking about how her country yearns for freedom /s

    1. SocalJimObjects

      She’s scouting for good real estate. Also presumably Zelensky is interviewing around for a lobbying position.

  16. Wukchumni

    Been a wonderful hiking summer so far so good in Mineral King with a few days between walks to recover until the next Sisyphusian sojourn up the mountain and right back down again.

    It really is a treasure, and i’m often looking at the terra firma in a what if? gig, for if Disney had built the ski resort they were awarded the contract in 1965, how utterly different it would have appeared, but in probably the only setback ever for Disney.

    I think of how rapt I was when Wonderful World of Disney came on @ 7 pm on Sunday (preceded by Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Marlon Perkins who hardly did anything, it was all about Jim running from the wildebeasts or making good with hyenas) when I was a little kid, they had their mitts on us, oh yes. And then those mock-Tyrolian climbers on that wanna be Matterhorn in Anaheim?

    Anyhow, a book on the ski resort that wasn’t saga just came out, here’s a review:

    The story of Disney’s attempts to build a ski resort in what is currently Sequoia National Park is so interesting, with so much historical significance on the environmental battles of today, it’s surprising that no one has attempted to put it into a book until now.

    There have been a few books that come close (Sam Gennaeye’s “Walt Disney and the Promise of Progress City” is one) but until now, no author has compiled the entire effort into one comprehensive (available for purchase) work which focuses on the legal aspects of the effort.

    Published on July 6, Daniel P. Selmi’s “Dawn at Mineral King Valley” tells the whole story of Disney’s efforts to develop a ski resort in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the Sierra Club’s efforts to oppose it.

    And while the story itself is an exciting one, Selmi presents it in a way which turns a good story into an absolute page turner.

    By starting with a scene from the halls of the Supreme Court before presenting its lead-up, Selmi builds up to a moment which has a surprising conclusion, even though you already know what happens (Disney does not build the resort.) As Selmi builds up to his Supreme Court scene, those who are enjoying his book will find themselves reading faster and faster to get to the moment they’ve been waiting for.


    1. Carolinian

      Haven’t thought about Marlon Perkins in years.

      And lucky you for having dodged all those Disney cast members with their Davy Crockett coonskin caps. They decided to colonize Times Square instead which is appropriate given that all the trees at Disney World are allegedly made out of fiberglass and the place sits over a huge underground complex like some James Bond villain’s lair. Real nature doesn’t seem like their thing.

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      She’s done … LOL

      Just like her boss, #JoeyNotABada$$ … the only question is: how will she manage to “fail upward” as the kleptocrat class is known to do, or at least save face?

      I had a thought the other day – I wouldn’t be surprised if she somehow tried to position herself for the governorship of California after her unremarkable WH stint – her and Gav’ effectively “switching offices” when if Gav’ decides to run for the presidency. She did do Gav’ a solid (via CNN) by campaigning for him before the recall election in ’21 … so perhaps, there’s a backscratch owed there.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          Sorry … Twitter Hellverse denizen here …

          #KJive : a corruption of #Khive, which was a hashtag used by Kamala Harris’ online troll army. Here’s a funny tweet (via #Twitter) from one of my follows where someone who tries to claim that #Khive is a slur used by the left against “people of color” is made to look the fool they are.

          #JoeyNotABada$$ : A corruption of Joey Bada$$, a young rapper, who had a marvelous run in Sam Esmail’s “Mr. Robot” miniseries, where he played the part of the assassin “Leon”. “Biden is a badass” was a #Twitter trope inspired by a photograph (via #Twitter) of Biden deplaning Air Force One during a blizzard in January 2022. Online libs tweeted flattering comparisons to Trump (a.k.a. #OrangeManBad), who notoriously refused to do something once during inclement weather because he ostensibly did not want to “mess up his hair”.

          Apologies again. I’ll try to be more circumspect about the hashtags.


        2. square coats

          My apologies if I totally missed the tone of your comment. If I interpreted it correctly, I just want to ask what exempts hashtags from poetic license and also want to point out there’s a link in the comment you responded to (not that there needs to be).

      1. David J.

        I’ve been in the same room with Young on many occasions. There are reasons why he is treated as a pariah by most of the politically active Democrats (and I include the lefty-Sanders-like activist groups) in the Lexington area. He’s a perennial candidate; see his various candidacies on his Ballotpedia page to get a more true version of his popularity. Although most of his history is on the Democratic party side of the ledger, note that as recently as 2020 he ran as a Republican candidate.

  17. VietnamVet

    Major fires are sweeping London due to a historic, climate change caused, heat dome with temperatures over 104°F that has clamped down over Europe.

    The world is facing a series of existential crises; 1) The proxy world war with Russia, 2) the re-surging coronavirus pandemic, 3) climate change, and 4) a political/economic system in the West that dismantled functional government. Joe Biden is too old, Boris Johnson is going, Emmanuel Macron’s party is in the minority, and Olaf Scholz acts unaware of the looming German economic collapse without cheap Russian natural gas.

    Corporate oligarchs have bought and neutered every western politician. They are even worse than evil, they are stupid; i.e. VP Kamala Harris or Transportation Secretary Mayo Pete.

    Today is infinitely more dangerous than 1914 in WWI which destroyed the German, Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Unless there is the restoration of democratic republican governments that serve and protect the common people, the end of western civilization is certain and the survival of human beings is questionable.

    1. skippy

      Dude relax … well all be better off underground in TXH1138 … ideology at that time will only suffer a few rejects … and where will one run …

        1. Skippy

          I don’t need meds and can look right in the barrel as I’ve done before without your life being involved.

          You sound a bit PMC or some quasi ideological variant with out a good street address, whom knows.

          VietnamVet and I are old NC commenters and why I threw him the sarcastic thx1138 ball, you might want to check your 6 before having a go at me, works the opposite most times.

    2. SocalJimObjects

      “Survival of human beings is questionable”. China and many other places have never had democracy (real and otherwise) and yet they’ve managed to do all right. Ah, I see your point, people living in those countries aren’t human beings. ROFL.

      1. VietnamVet

        I never quite believed that an Indian and Pakistan nuclear war would eject enough soot and dirt into the atmosphere to cause a global nuclear winter but the use of their 325 nuclear weapons would destroy South Asia. Over 2,000 nuclear explosions were detonated worldwide between 1945 and 1996 without darkening of the skies. But Iceland volcano eruptions did cause the loss of food supply that led the French Revolution. This is a possibility that it is best to avoid.

        Moreover, the USA and Russia have enough deployed nuclear weapons (3232) to destroy all of each other’s military bases and cities. Once tactical nuclear weapons are used to halt the invasion of either Poland or Crimea, the opponents’ ICBMs will be fired to avoid their loss in a first strike.

        Peace is a lot less risky than the current proxy world war in Ukraine. China, North Korea and Israel cannot help to be affected by a global nuclear war even if they don’t fire their own missiles, which would take nerves of steel. Civilization in Europe and North America would cease.

        Climate Change is an even more difficult problem. Every nation in the world has to contribute to the decrease of green-house gases in a time of depleting resources. We are all on the same finite earth. But the West is simply incapable of joining in the quest to live together when the current corporate ruling oligarchy’s sole purpose in life is to make more money and who have dismantled democratic government and have terminated public health and public safety. Humans cannot survive if the earth gets too hot even if living underground or in caves.

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