2:00PM Water Cooler 7/5/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I’m afraid I haven’t totally caught up with the news over the weekend. More tomorrow, hopefully. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Large Wren-Babbler, Pahang National Park, Malaysia. I’m imagining a Monty Python sketch for the “LNS Catalog Number….” voice-over…

* * *


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

Biden Administration

“Top Democrats are blasting President Joe Biden’s stated intention to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey” [Politico]. • Total focus on the midterms, obviously. Good to see it.


* * *

Something to look forward to!


“Winning: An Interview with Christopher Rufo” (interview) [IM—1776]. The entire piece is well worth a read, especially for any Democrats who want to see how a serious political party functions, before it’s too late. This caught my eye: “Mark Granza: Getting parents to unite in order to achieve political goals is an unusual strategy. Where did you get that idea? Christopher Rufo: It happened, again, by accident. I did a series of reports on [Critical Race Theory (CRT)] in education that sparked a lot of discussion and then I started noticing these incredible clips circulating on social media of parents speaking it at school board meetings. It was totally spontaneous at the beginning. Then I put together a Critical Race Theory Briefing Book and worked on model policies, which gave people the language they needed to succeed and a template for policymaking at state legislatures. The secret to good activism is not mass, but leverage. The narratives about CRT sparked an immense public response and politicians, who are always looking at the intensity of voter sentiment, started to deliver laws that protected their constituents and protected families from indoctrination. The GOP then adopted a smart frame — ‘parental rights,’ ‘the parents’ party’ — that created a set of policies and connotations that is very appealing to families. In the most recent generic ballot polling, parents with children in the home support Republicans by a 28-point margin. This is a political sea change. It drove the success of Glenn Youngkin and school choice initiatives across the country. The impact is undeniable.” • Hoo boy.

“Veer, and Now” [Brian Beutler]. “There’s a trope among highly partisan Democrats that people who complain about the lifelessness of the party’s leaders are always shouting “do something!” at them without ever specifying what. I try pretty hard in this space and elsewhere to be clear about what I think would work better than the status quo, but I also want to stand up here for the concept of just appearing to do stuff. It’s stupid, and it was the source of a lot of clownishness and losing court fights and hooliganism, but Donald Trump was downright hyperactive about pretending to do stuff, and I think it helped him mask the truth of a failed presidency. We would all quite reasonably sniff ‘that isn’t legal’ or ‘he can’t do that.’ And usually we were right. Most of the time nothing came of it; sometimes he managed to mow down the guardrails and get his way on dubious authority. But the point was less about governing than conveying a sense of action and control, and I think it goes a long way toward explaining why he held on to Republican voters so well and managed to increase his vote share despite basically wrecking the country.” • Beutler should veer from his aghastitude. Neither the CARES Act (“money in your pocket”), which was superior in every way to Obama’s reaction to the Great Financial Crisis, nor Operation Warp Speed can go under the heading of “wrecking the country.” Nor can not going to war with Russia. Biden squandered all that, making him a worse President than Trump.

“Democrats facing a Donald Trump conundrum heading into 2024” [AlterNet]. To charge Trump, or not: “‘Through the efforts of the House January 6 committee, strong evidence has emerged of multiple serious crimes, committed by President Trump, as well as his lawyers, other aides, and supporters—all aimed at overturning the result of the 2020 election,’ [Paul Quirk, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia] said. He later added, ‘Although this evidence has not been subjected to cross-examination, challenged by opposing witnesses, or tested in a trial, it amounts to a very compelling evidence of likely criminality. And yet it is not at all clear that Biden’s Justice Department has gotten the memo.'” • Holy Lord. Whose job is it to get the memo to Garland?

“Five under-the-radar Democrats who could run for president in 2024” [The Hill]. Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Stacey Abrams (“She’s going to have to win a race first”), Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Mitch Landrieu. Weak, weak bench. Why not just run Liz Cheney and have done with it?

“Waiting (and Waiting) for an Adams Doctrine” [New York Magazine]. “What we are seeing is something quite different from mayoralties of recent memory — a politics that is mostly public performance with a mayor who makes news more for what he says and how he appears than for what his administration is actually doing…. As an administration official put it, “Sometimes working here can feel like Jurassic Park, and he is the T. rex and is going to keep on testing the fences until he breaks through. He needs somebody who can whisper in his ear, ‘Mr. Mayor, I’m sorry, but you are out of your fucking mind right now.'” • Remind you of anyone? A politician who quite recently achieved unexpected success?

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.

* * *

Auto-kinbaku-bi once more:

Making assumptions on “its agenda,” but let that pass.

Realignment and Legitimacy

The class structure and “doing your own research”:

And each level of abstraction is peopled/represented/managed by (fear of precarity-driven) rent-seekers and gatekeepers. (That is the tendency; you have some classes of authorities who are open and honest. I would urge they are exceptional. Actually, that’s a nice dichotomy: hegemonic v. exceptional. Droplet goons are an example of the former; aerosol community of the latter. So we could say of the PMC as a class: There are exceptional and hegemonic subclasses. (Note than an exceptional subclass would not be a collection of exceptional individuals, but a set whose social relations enable individuals to become exceptional.)


Don’t make me give you another award, Bob!

A layered strategy works (1):

A layered strategy works (2):

The wedding industry is huge, and weddings are up this year. How long before some clever firms start marketing “Covid-free Weddings”?

My Twitter list is not a random sample. But on the pro-mask side, opinion seems to be hardening (which I view as a literally healthy thing):

Maskstravaganza (1):

As I keep saying: “Democidal elites” is a parsimonious explanation.

Maskstravaganza (2):

Maskstravaganza (3):

Maskstravaganza (4):

Maskstravaganza (5):

* * *

Because freedom:

That’s hardly fair. You would drink your feces-enhanced water after conducting a personal risk assessment. People are so cynical these days!

* * *

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 for the United States:

I think we’re seeing data issues from a long weekend, hence the drop. Under the hood the BA.4/BA.5 are making up a greater and greater proportion of cases. There was a weird, plateau-like “fiddling and diddling” stage before the Omicron explosion, too. This conjuncture feels the same. 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 ~108,000. Today, it’s ~102,400, and 108,000 * 6 = a Biden line at 614,400. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes had a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.

• “The BA.5 COVID Surge Is Here” [New York Magazine]. “The newest wave of COVID infections and reinfections, fueled by more transmissible subvariants of the Omicron strain including BA.4 and BA.5, continues to grow across the U.S. As countless Americans gather over the July 4 holiday weekend, it’s entirely possible that there are more new daily infections happening in the country than at any other point in the pandemic other than the Omicron wave.” • Joe, Rochelle, Ashish, good job.

Regional case count:

The South:

So the national drop is mostly from the South, and the South is from Texas. Which is weird, because in the rapid riser chart, Texas is reddening.

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

2.4%. (I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to and check on the goons at CDC.)

NOT UPDATED Wastewater data, regional (Biobot Analytics), June 29:

Wastewater data (CDC), Jun 14, 2022 – Jun 28, 2022:

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.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, regional (Biobot), June 8:

Out of date compared to Walgreens (below) but still showing doubling behavior.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), June 15:

The current Walgreens variant chart is dated June 11, which is before June 15, and BA.4 has gone down. So I will check again tomorrow.

Variant data, national (CDC), July 2:

Hoo boy, with the caveat that those creeps at CDC have now made their “Nowcast” model mandatory (hence the big jump in BA.4/BA.5 from the last time they managed to update this site). Doubling behavior moving along quite briskly.

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].

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

West coast improves, Texas and the South do not, Illinois improves.

The previous release:

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:

Status quo.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Very volatile, but a lot more yellow and orange since the previous update several days ago.

Get ready.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,043,372 1,042,678. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Factory Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for US manufactured goods jumped 1.6% month-over-month in May of 2022, following an upwardly revised 0.7% rise in April and beating market forecasts of a 0.5% gain, in a sign demand for products remained string [sic].”

* * *

The Bezzle: “Celsius Customers Are Losing Hope for Their Locked-Up Crypto” [Wall Street Journal]. “It has been three weeks since crypto lender Celsius Network LLC took the drastic step of halting customers’ withdrawals. Many people are starting to wonder if they will ever see their money again. Alla Driksne says she has six figures worth of bitcoin and ethereum—her life savings—tied up in a Celsius account. On June 12, a Sunday, the company said it had paused customer withdrawals, saying it needed “to stabilize liquidity and operations.” Ms. Driksne couldn’t sleep for two days. ‘Since it is such a huge company and there are so many people that trusted them, somewhere in the back of my head, I’m hoping maybe there’s a small, small chance of not losing everything,’ said Ms. Driksne, who is 34 and creates online cooking courses.” • :-(

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 22 Extreme Fear (previous close: 24 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 26 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 5 at 1:22 PM EDT.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 189. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) I’ve been waiting for the Rapture Index to hit the all time high again. Now it has.

The Conservatory

I’m a little amazed to see a version of Dylan and the Band’s Basement Tapes on YouTube. Here’s one of my favorite up-tempo Grateful dead tunes, which breaks off after 43 seconds because it’s authentic:

Reminds me a bit of the Flatlanders except, well, The Band.

The Gallery



More here.

Groves of Academe

If you are school-adjacent, you could look into this:

Class Warfare

“Ep 5: What’s Ahead for Labor?” (podcast) [Adolph Reed, Class Matters]. “Adolph Reed Jr. talks with Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants/CWA and APWU President Mark Dimondstein about what’s ahead for Labor in this moment that holds out both promise and peril. Worker organizing efforts are underway across the country including at Amazon and Starbucks. Public support for unions is a 57-year high – with polling at 68% in favor.” • I’m very pleased to see that Reed has a podcast/

News of the Wired

Kill it with fire:

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From AG:

AG writes: “Just for fun, I thought I’d dig through my collection for worthy Plantidote, but also featuring sparrows. Here is our beautiful Mountain Heather and a White–crowned Sparrow enjoying the view. Study images taken by Lake Winnemucca, up in the ‘High Country’ in Alpine County, CA, at 9,000 feet elevation. In the background are the short, stunted willows that grow in a narrow band around the lake (frozen and snow covered in winter).”

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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. Glenda

      Did he order them at half mast after
      Darryl Brooks deliberately ran over 63 people at the Christmas parade in Waukesha?

    2. Carolinian

      Half mast with the flag upside down. We are mourning the fact that we need to be rescued.

      Meanwhile my local paper quotes Nikki Haley saying she is ready to run “if there’s a place for me.” This sudden burst of humility coming from NH is a change in tactics.

      1. CheckyChubber

        Did you know: Nikki Hayley is the result of a fiendish Deep State experiment to create a female politician who is even more repulsive then Hillary. They said it was impossible, but i think they managed it!

        1. Mikel


          “….Former Alaska governor and vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin took a step toward a political comeback Saturday, finishing in the top four of a 48-person special primary election and advancing to the August general election to fill the House seat of the late Rep. Don Young, according to a CNN projection.
          Palin will be joined in the special general election on August 16 by Republican Nick Begich III, the grandson of former Democratic Rep. Nick Begich, whose plane went missing in 1972 and has never been found, as well as independent Al Gross, who lost a 2020 Senate race and has said he would caucus with Democrats, CNN projects…”

          It’s in the air.

    3. Wukchumni

      A solo shooter hung out on a roof on the east side of Chicago
      Back in the USA, back in the bad old days

      In the heat of a summer 4th of July parade
      In the land of the dollar bill
      When 6 in the town of Chicago died
      And they talk about it still

      When a man came all alone
      Tried to make that town his zone
      And he aimed his gun towards
      The mass of assembled hordes

      I heard my country cry
      I heard it send thoughts & prayers the day 6 in Chicago died
      Brother, what a sight it really was
      Brother, what a one-sided fight it really was
      Gory be

      I heard my country cry
      I heard it send thoughts & prayers the day 6 in Chicago died
      Brother, what a sight it really was
      Brother, what a one-sided fight it really was
      Yes indeed

      And the sound of the shots did rang
      Through the streets of the old east side
      ‘Til the last of the ammo ran out
      With many wounded and 6 died

      There was shouting in the street
      And the sound of running feet
      And I asked someone who said
      “‘Bout a half a dozen dead!”

      The day 6 in Chicago died
      (Na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na, na-na-na)
      The day 6 in Chicago died
      Brother, what a sight it really was
      Brother, what a one-sided fight it really was
      Gory be


      1. ChiGal

        There were many shootings in Chicago over the holiday weekend but you probably haven’t heard about those. You seem to be referring to the one that happened about as far as you can get from the city, way up there in the affluent (that’s an understatement) stretch of lakeside suburbs called the North Shore–past Evanston, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, and Glencoe in that order all the way to Highland Park.

        Or maybe some historical event has slipped my mind?

        1. ChiGal

          At least 10 people were killed and 62 others were wounded by gunfire over the Fourth of July weekend in Chicago.

          Twelve of the wounded were shot in three attacks on the West and South sides: Four people in West Garfield Park Friday evening, five men in Parkway Gardens on the South Side early Monday, and three people in Woodlawn early Tuesday.

          At least 16 other people were shot, two fatally, in a violent eight-hour span late Saturday into early Sunday in the city, according to Chicago police.

          And a 5-year-old boy was hit in the shoulder Sunday night, apparently by a bullet that had been shot into the air in Humboldt Park. And a 10-year-old boy was wounded when bullets were fired at the side of his Englewood home and struck him in his bedroom Sunday night.

          The holiday toll is lower than last year, when 19 people were killed and more than 100 people were shot over the Fourth of July weekend. In 2020, 79 people were shot, 15 of them fatally; in 2019, 68 people were shot, 5 of them fatally.

          Fatal shootings

          A man was killed and two others were wounded while at a party in Woodlawn early Tuesday. Police said a man pulled out a gun and began firing around 2:50 a.m. in the 6600 block of South Evans Avenue. A 31-year-old man was shot six times and was pronounced dead at the University of Chicago Medical Center. A man in his mid-20s was shot in the thigh and buttocks and was taken in good condition to the same hospital. A 31-year-old woman was also shot in the thigh and taken to the hospital in good condition. No one was in custody.
          A woman was killed and a gunman was among two others wounded in a shootout Friday night in Chinatown, the police said. Two men were shooting at each other about 10:50 p.m. in the 2200 block of South Wentworth Avenue, police said. A 24-year-old woman was struck in the torso and was taken to Stroger Hospital, where she died due to her injuries. A second woman, 42, was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center with a gunshot wound to her hand, police said. She was listed in good condition. One of the gunmen, a 38-year-old man, was shot in the buttocks and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was in critical condition.
          Three people were shot, one fatally, in a backyard early Sunday morning in Grand Crossing on the South Side. The victims were with people in the backyard of a house about 5:30 a.m. in the 7000 block of South Harper Avenue when someone approached and fired into the crowd, police said. A man, 24, was shot several times and pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. Two women, 24 and 30, suffered multiple gunshots and went to Jackson Park Hospital before going to the University of Chicago Medical Center, police said. The younger woman’s condition was stabilized and the older woman was in good condition.
          A man was fatally shot Friday in Englewood on the South Side. The 31-year-old was outside about 5:45 p.m. in the 6500 block of South Wolcott Avenue when someone approached and opened fire, police said. He was struck in the arm and head and was transported to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
          Less than an hour earlier, a man was fatally shot in West Garfield Park. About 5 p.m., Keishone Roberts, 29, was in the 4300 block of West Van Buren Street when someone approached and opened fire, police said. He was shot multiple times and taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
          Just after midnight Saturday, a man was shot to death in South Chicago on the Far South Side. The man, 30, was in the 9000 block of South Escanaba Avenue when he was shot in the head about 12:20 a.m., police said. He was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he died.
          A man was fatally shot while riding in a car early Sunday in Brighton Park on the Southwest Side. The man, 35, was in the passenger seat of a car in the 3800 block of South Kedzie Avenue when he was struck in the neck by gunfire about 3 a.m., police said. The driver continued for two and a half miles, to the 5600 block of South Spaulding Avenue, where she called police, officials said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. His name hasn’t been released yet.
          A man was killed in a shooting around 4 p.m. Saturday in South Shore. He was riding a bike in the 2100 block of East 71st Street when someone fired from a dark-colored sedan, police said. The 26-year-old was struck in the head and arm, and was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
          A man was fatally shot while sitting outside of a residential building Sunday morning in West Humboldt Park on the West Side. The man, 38, was shot in the chest and the head around 10 a.m. in the 700 block of North Springfield Avenue, police said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.
          Hours later, a man was shot to death while walking in Chicago Lawn on the South Side. The man, believed to be 25 to 35 years old, was in the 6500 block of South Kedzie Avenue when a dark-colored car approached and someone inside got out and opened fire around 12:50 p.m. Sunday, police said. He was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and pronounced dead, officials said.

          Chicago is a war zone. Nothing like the North Shore.

          1. ChiGal

            uh huh, well my second comment with links has been held up but there were 10 killed and at least 62 injured in Chicago (city proper, not including suburbs) over the weekend but evidently that’s not news– and I bet some of the smart people in the commentariat can guess why…

            and Wuk, the “left” is west, not east ;-)

            1. Wukchumni

              Highland Park is as far east as one can go before going into the drink, er snappy cocktails please!

              Sadly my ditty is already out of date, as a 7th has succumbed.

              1. howseth

                I worked – and visited in most of those neighborhoods ChiGal lists-north/south/west in my 14 years in Chicago. (1983-1997). No gun shots did I hear… and that was before my tinnitus.
                Though, I do recall, there were a lot of explosions when the Chicago Bulls won basketball championships! Dodgy to be out those nights on the streets.
                Apparently, those were the good ol’ days. (Though one always watched one’s step… then too – I did.
                Highland Park was several leafy suburbs north of my north-side neighborhood (Rogers Park). – Highland Park has a summer music festival – ‘Ravinia’ It’s a big deal – been to it once – certainly never would have worried about getting shot up there.

        2. britzklieg

          I sang several summers at Ravinia and was frequently housed in million dollar lake front mansions owned by some of the most boring people I’ve ever met. Understatement indeed!

          1. ambrit

            For a minute there I read that as ‘Ravenna.’ I immediately wondered, there are lakes in Ravenna? Does the Adriatic qualify as a lake? etc.

        3. Carolinian

          Perhaps “in Carolina” not so bad in retrospect?

          At any rate sorry things are rough up there lately. Last time I was in Chicago I spent my brief visit looking at Frank Lloyd Wright houses.

          1. ChiGal

            No, I love being back. What I don’t love is how readily available guns are in this country and that the dominant narrative is all about mass shootings when so many more are killed daily because in effect the ‘hood is a war zone.

            I live near one of the most famous of those, Robie House, and the six-flat I live was built in 1908 in the Prairie style. I like the texture and color and grit of the city, having been raised on the North Shore with its manicured perfection. Living in Chapel Hill was a little too suburban feeling for my taste, though I sure do miss the Carrboro Farmer’s Market! Also I felt landlocked there–I love Lake Michigan–as they say, no salt, no sharks!

            1. Wukchumni

              You know how we roll, humans see-human doom in big enough numbers and it outweighs the onesy twoseys that really dominate the action.

              Unless it’s a shark attack…

            2. chris

              I hear what you’re saying. I go to the not nice portions of downtown DC and Baltimore regularly for work. I listened to Sublime’s “April 29 1992” on repeat this morning as a meditation on where we are as country. So much bloodshed. The stuff we hear about is awful. The stuff that doesn’t make the news is worse.

    4. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that it would be more in tune with the spirit of the age to have a 21-gun salute fired in their honor — using a single AR-15 with a suitably loaded magazine.

    5. Robert Gray


      > The way things are going, they should just leave the flags at half mast.
      > Every day is a half mast day here in the USA. [emphasis added]

      Too right, Lee. Literally.

      There are various ways of analysing these events but one approach, offered by an outfit called the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), makes as much sense as any other. They define a ‘mass shooting’ as a single incident where four or more people, not including the shooter, are killed or wounded. By their count, there have already been 309 such occurrences in the US in 2022; that’s more than three every two days.

      But ChiGal surely has a point, when she notes that there are regularly plenty of killings in Chicago, in

      > the city proper, not including suburbs … but evidently that’s not news– and I bet
      > some of the smart people in the commentariat can guess why…

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Are all these shootings in Chicago itself because of “everybody shooting everybody else” . . .

        . . . or are they due to a small number of armed people doing all the shooting against eachother and the non-armed majority in Chicago itself?

        1. JBird4049

          I believe that gang violence was the greater cause of homicides in the past, which while not good could be thought of as a limited ongoing war, but as our society has crumbled the violence has spread. Much like police homicides. They always have happened, but there was a reason for them like actual danger. Now, they just have to say that they feared for their life or even safety no matter how safe the situation and start shooting. Most don’t. Just as most people no matter how armed do not, but as it gets worse and the truly sick or evil find an excuse more violence.

          Just think of how we have had to take off our shoes or use the cancer scanner because someone decades ago did something bad with a safety razor. The pressure, the fear, and the ”security” always ratchet up and never down.

      2. JBird4049

        I’m too sad to check the absolute latest figures, but as usual, the police are shooting dead an average of three people a day with this not including injuries( or any deaths and injuries by physical assault.) Even using the generous definition for being armed, which usually means “access” to a weapon (much like all Americans have “access” to healthcare) from a rock or stick to a handgun in the drawer to an actual semi automatic rifle in hand, more than ten percent of the dead are completely unarmed.

        That means in the first six months over five hundred dead with over fifty without even a stick in hand. This does not count those injured by police.

        Three mass shootings every two days and six police homicides in the same time. Over 19,000 homicides by guns. This does not count the more than five thousand homicides by other means. Or the suicides of which thirty thousand are by guns. Or the greater number of injured.

  1. Samuel Conner

    > There are exceptional and hegemonic subclasses. (Note than an exceptional subclass would not be a collection of exceptional individuals, but a set whose social relations enable individuals to become exceptional.)

    I would like to think that the “exceptional” subclass is “enriched” in individuals who are public-spirited by nature (which might make them “exceptional individuals”). It seems to me likely that the “hegemonic” subclass is depleted in this kind of individual

    Are social relations predetermined? Maybe (some) public-spirited people seek out paths that allow them to more fully express their public-spiritedness.

    Maybe I’m completely missing the point of this analysis.

    1. flora

      I thought the non-hegemonic “social relations enable individuals to become exceptional” (in context of the group’s work) idea was a reference to this old adage: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

      Where as the hegemonic whole is equal to the sum of its parts.

      Just a guess. My 2 cents.

    2. lambert strether

      I don’t want to fall into the “If only we had good people in charge” fallacy, which drives so much of Third World policy. Both the aerosol community and the MMT community are “enriched” (like soil, not like a bank) by exceptional individuals, it is true, but there are surely institutional and sociological factors that enabled their growth.

      1. jsn

        Remoteness from power.

        That keeps everyone focused on the subject matter rather than the power relations between participants.

        As success accrues power, the sycophants and psychos accrue too. Once institutionalized, the iron law kicks in. If the underlying goodness is great enough, like the New Deal, it’s better effects may linger a generation or so, but not much more without restorative change from some new, outside kernel of goodness. I see Graebers entire oeuvre as seeking that point where egalitarian social relations can no longer survive the corrupting dynamic of power.

        1. LifelongLib

          I suspect the average Teamster back in the 60s wouldn’t have liked the Mob or what Jimmy Hoffa was doing with the pension fund, but if you drove a truck for a living it went with the territory. Ditto for doctors today who just want to heal the sick, but are part of a system that hounds some of the sick into bankruptcy. The relationship of a specialty to the rest of society may be quite different from what most of its members desire or even actually spend their time doing.

          1. jsn

            Yes, that era was one of millions of petty grafts, it was still USA, but no one was making off with whole sectors of the economy.

            Now, some Oligarch has cornered every sector and paid Congress to let him turn what was some advancing productive business into a static BIG GRIFT to collect rents on one side and buy back stocks on the other, increasing extraction by diminishing supply.

  2. flora

    And each level of abstraction is peopled/represented/managed by (fear of precarity-driven) rent-seekers and gatekeepers. (That is the tendency; you have some classes of authorities who are open and honest. I would urge they are exceptional. Actually, that’s a nice dichotomy: hegemonic v. exceptional. Droplet goons are an example of the former; aerosol community of the latter. So we could say of the PMC as a class. There are exceptional and hegemonic subclasses. (Note than an exceptional subclass would not be a collection of exceptional individuals, but a set whose social relations enable individuals to become exceptional.) – LS

    Very good. It’s worth repeating.

  3. Mikel

    “So actually @delta I don’t “respect the choice about masking” made by my neighbor on DL466 on Sunday, because his maskless coughing and spluttering over 6 hours has had a predictable result. He chose for me and I don’t appreciate that he was able to. pic.twitter.com/1lu6eMBeMg”

    “How annoying. May it be quick and mild. Sadly I’ve heard of quite few travellers catching it – I have 4 other traveller friends with it right now. Planes mustn’t be as relatively safe as people say at all.”

    Yep…I have a niece that just flew to visit family and gave it to my older brother.
    Luckily their symptoms came on quickly. Otherwise, they would’ve been going to visit my parents who have a host of co-morbidities.

    THE ONLY saving grace is that their symptoms came on quickly!!

    To hell with this BS!

    1. chris

      Air travel can be made a lot safer if people who have questionable symptoms or covid status avoid travel AND we all wear masks. Since we’ve decided to do neither, I’m very much not excited about flying anywhere.

  4. albrt

    Very important to distinguish between the Democrat party’s platform and its agenda (or more precisely, its donors’ agenda).

    The Democrat party intentionally recruited people it knew would further the agenda of the party donors by opposing the main elements of the party platform.

    See how simple that is when you use the right words?

    1. digi_owl

      Why i rarely decide on a party based on their platform, and instead look at their history of actions (and praise higher powers for placing me in a nation without a winner takes all system).

    2. britzklieg

      left and right have lost their meaning as political identities but back during Bill’s third way triangulations it was said that the secret “inside” memo from the Dem leadership was: promise left, deliver right

      1. digi_owl

        They have “lost” meaning because the center is mobile, and by now it has (at least in USA and perhaps Europe) shifted quite a bit rightwards. End result is that the present “left” overlap with the old “right”.

    3. anon y'mouse

      i think he was implying that, similar to the statement “i think, therefore i am”, the existence of “I’ is the presumptive part.

      as in, what actual agenda? because there’s no there, there. some vague stuff about voting, some “protecting” choice of women, whom we now can’t even define properly.

      the clearly stated stuff is usually neocon/neolib crap (“we’re a Capitalist country”, N. Pelosi or “ensuring democracy (which one?) worldwide”). everything else is left deliberately vague so they can simply keep the pennies rolling in.

  5. ambrit

    “Official” Zeitgeist Report: ‘As seen on all reputable right thinking info-sources.’
    I got an e-mail this morning from the Medicare.gov website.
    “Talk with your family about getting the little ones vaccinated.”
    Enlisting grandparents to soldier in the trenches of the ‘Big Pharma Nudge Theory Project.’
    At the top of the e-mail:
    “Who should get vaccinated against Covid-19? Everyone ages six months and older.”
    I am now a firm believer in the Former CT that posits that The Jackpot is a consciously engineered process.
    Stay safe. Distrust authority.

    1. Wukchumni

      A tale of 2 parts of Sequoia National Park…

      Mineral King is pretty self-limiting, there’s around 65 car camping spots in 2 campgrounds (tent only-no trailers or RV’s) and 4 trailhead parking lots that can accommodate say 76 jalopies, plus the tyranny of driving up MK road with it’s 698 significant curves in 25 miles of ascending 7,000 feet, oh my my, there’s a blind curve around every corner practically. That scares the bejesus out of most everybody…

      Got off the phone with my buddy who runs sightseeing tours in the main part of Sequoia NP in the Giant Forest, and he has 3 to 4 van drivers who do commentary also, and pre-Covid they used to often have a dozen complete strangers on a tour, but only do private tours now, and he does a fine job with rave reviews…

      Told me he’s up to 28 bear sightings this young season and undoubtedly that includes the same bruin a number of times, and good news as he’s my Baedeker for black bears being on the Generals Highway more than anybody else, as he’s been providing these sightseeing tours for over 20 years now.

      We both noticed the sightings dwindling after the 2012-2016 drought, with the most he’d ever seen in a year being in the low 120’s.

      He told me that it was just a 4th of July disaster in the Giant Forest and environs with every possible parking spot taken from the museum to Wuksachi Lodge (about a 5 mile swath) and cars circling, women and occasional men & children crying because they had to go to the bathroom but were stuck in a metal box going nowhere fast, and forget about doing anything, he related that there was the equivalent of a human conga line threading its way up the narrow confines of Moro Rock, the other been there-done that thing aside from seeing the Sherman tree which was also a mob scene.

      Granted, this was a ‘50% more weekend national holiday’ and it isn’t always this crazy, but something needs to be done and it isn’t making more paved parking lots.

      We went backpacking in Yosemite NP last summer and you need reservations to be able to enter and YNP seems a lot better funded than SEKI as there were at least 4x NPS employees for every one we have here, and as we entered from the east side on Tioga Pass entrance, we had 3 or 4 rangers double check our reservations.

      I hadn’t been to Yosemite since it was a come one-come all NP and geeze oh pete did they come, making the valley floor a mass of humanity along with giant walls and waterfalls, but trending more towards the former, just too many people.

      They now only take 3.3 million visitors, down from a high of 5 million in 2016.

      For once, I found the valley floor to be tolerable as it seemed as if they hit the sweet spot in terms of visitation.

      I hope Sequoia NP does something similar.

    2. Joe Renter

      Distrust authority. It reminds me when in high school many of the University students had a bummer sticker that said “question authority”. I thought they were posers, but now I appreciate the statement. More over I question all narratives including my sometimes, half truths that come out of my mouth serves no one. A Buddhist teacher I respect encourages you to question why you should be talking at all. Meaning what is your intention? I

      1. ambrit

        Ah, I misremembered it. It was “Question Authority,” not “Distrust Authority.” Either way you put it, a very worthy bit of advice.
        A very worthy attitude. The trick seems to be to not allow self contemplation become self criticism.
        I’ll not venture out onto the slippery ice of the question of “What is the Self?”
        I find I’m doing best when I can laugh at myself.

    1. ambrit

      Indeed, it fell flat.
      How about a reboot of an old children’s bedtime book? “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Illustrating the life cycle of an inner city neighborhood. Starring, of course, the Caterpillar Bulldozer.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            When I was working in motown in the mid 80s, I would cruise through those old neighborhoods checking out those really ornate, cool old houses. Probably at great personal peril, they were pretty rough by then.
            But it was just amazing how they just let em rot into the ground.

              1. lambert strether

                I can top that–

                Lady on Bangor talk radio years ago when we were tearing down downtown, including IIRC a lovely brick train station, to build parking lots and banks:

                “Who is this Irving Renewal?”

                1. Wukchumni

                  My all-time favorite locally was about 25 years ago when there was a most excellent bar in the Giant Forest of Sequoia NP that had a jukebox with 50x 45’s and about 93 songs you’d actually want to hear, along with a few pool tables, great place!

                  A touron comes in and asks how to get to the Sherman Williams tree? and an off-duty NPS employee nursing a beer @ the bar without missing a beat, said…

                  ‘…it’s closed for painting

  6. jr

    Here is a discussion of the role of metaphysical assumptions in physics by Bernardo Kastrup:


    He has a great set of analogies to make the topic understandable to lay persons. The slide introducing the talk sets the viewer up with a solid framing of the issues involved.

    1. chris

      I kind of want to see this.

      It will assault the last pillar Neo-Liberal smugness and general Democrat stupidity. I remember listening to David Plotz at Slate on a podcast several years ago. He opined on the state of the country and our politics. His general opinion was that as long as the Democrats held the White House and the culture, they didn’t need to do anything differently… clearly, everyone in the Democrat party agreed with him then. They’re acting offended that anyone would suggest they need to do anything different now. I believe that idea needs the full Rasputin treatment. Poisoned, shot, drowned, beheaded and then thrown back into an icy river when a closet Clintonista tries to resurrect it.

      Right now there is no problem in our country so bad that Democrats won’t propose doing nothing to solve it. Or rather, paying a consultant to tell them doing nothing will solve it.

      Supply chain issues due to a reliance on Chinese industry? Don’t worry about it – there’s a demographic time bomb in China, they’ll all die soon! We don’t need to Near Shore anything.

      Roe v Wade overturned? Do what now?

      Single payer Healthcare reform? Why would giving people Healthcare be an improvement over all the access from Obama care?

      Immigration reform? What do you expect them to do? Kids in cages just needs better PR.

      Student debt? We’ll keep promising to study the studies about studies without changing anything because our friends make a lot of money on the current system.

      Stock Act compliance? Why fix what isn’t broken?

      Inflation? They’ve written so many strongly worded letters, what more can we ask of them?

      Pick any significant issue and you’ll see that the Democrats functional response is to do nothing about it. They may attempt to explain to you why it’s not a problem. But ultimately, that’s just cover for doing nothing.

      If Rufo’s proposal is the match that burns their illusions away we’ll all be better for it.

      1. marym

        The federal civilian workforce is abut 2M people all across the country.

        Purging career civil service workers and installing right wing eliminationist authoritarian ideologues to (further) impose a right wing agenda will leave very few people “all the better for it.”

        1. chris

          You mean they can’t all learn to code?/sarc

          Well, let’s see, our current non-right wing agenda workforce can’t deliver safe products, regulated markets, clean water, tools to help manage the pandemic, efficient air travel, efficient trains, a well run and affordable internet, competitive suppliers, safe food, cheap medicine, safe batteries or airplanes, stable supplies of essential goods, well run elections… the list goes on and on. The only thing I get from the federal government is a tax bill and as much war as I can eat. I’m sure it can get worse. But I’m not sure the status quo, even going back to 2012 or so, is a ringing endorsement of why career bureaucrats are something to protect.

          However, what I meant above is that I hope seeing something from Rufo like that, and seeing it implemented, would cause the Democrats to lose their illusions. That it might finally change them into a group of politicians committed to fighting to win instead of fighting to fundraise. Because right now that nihilist right wing agenda is what I see in the supposed opposition. The Republican point of view is hopelessly flawed but hopeful.

          1. marym

            The right wing agenda doesn’t promote safer products, clean water, etc. and they explicitly want to control, suppress, or eliminate most demographic groups. Deconstructing almost everything and eliminating almost everyone else doesn’t provide a path to something better. If it were “hopeful” toward something better for the people their elites wouldn’t be working on it so diligently. Among the non-elites it’s not just supporters of the Democrats who have illusions.

            1. orlbucfan

              Who needs more FRightwingnut nonsense when we’ve been suffering from it for the last 40-50 years? Sheesh!💩

  7. griffen

    Just thinking out loud (which usually just a danger to myself), but what exactly is holding back the Rapture Index from reaching higher ?

    Maybe for today, at a minimum, the falling price of WTI crude oil in the commodity space. Every bit helps I guess.

    1. ambrit

      Uh, the strikes in the Norway oil and gas fields might help. Watch European natural gas futures explode.

      1. digi_owl

        That was ended by government decree within 24 hours of being announced.

        The Labor Party minister in charge justified the interference with the strike being not suitable given the present European situation…

      2. griffen

        Reports of recession, recession, were cried in the market and therefore the oil futures fell in consequence. Or at least an influential report was issued.

        I dunno, tomorrow is a day ending “y” which just means we’ll rinse and repeat. I know a report that susses out the recession talk and speaks of a coming Biden-Boom era. Yeah, that’ll work on the interwebs. Ha Ha.

  8. Wukchumni

    I heard a rally of wide nationalists were going to meet at an all you can eat buffet and if they weren’t too tired from eating too much (a given) why they’d get on their electric handicap assist scooters that they ‘borrowed’ from Wal*Mart and make sure to have some Twinkies & other snacks on the ride over to the protest against supermarket shelves being raptured.

    1. Sardonia

      Let’s hope the local teenaged pranksters are getting bored and looking for a new gag that’s more fun than just cow-tipping.

          1. ambrit

            [This puts us on the horns of a trifecta dilemmna. A cow themed Third Way triangulation.]

        1. ambrit

          Don’t worry. Such “activities” are pardoned under the “Jackpot Japes Jurisdictional Janissaries Act.”
          “Do your bit for the Environment. Reduce the population today!”

  9. anon y'mouse

    the calculations based upon abstractions, estimates and possible intangibles are meant to make you feel like you have control and soothe those who are OCD about such things, pretending to themselves that this is really reflective of something (“at least i’m being proactive and making some rational choice!”). at this point, the data is so incomplete it’s not even real anymore so why pretend you’re doing more than a mediaeval scholastic with angels on pinheads, or washing your hands for the 5 millionth time (no offense meant to genuine OCD people, as that affliction does sound like experiencing hell).

    more “individualism” brainwashing. “if i know the facts, i can make the right choice. it’s all up to MEEEE!”

    this is the same type of mentality that keeps suggesting high school “financial literacy” courses as a supposed cure for the problems of poor pay, corporations running the government, legalized usury…….as though mere ignorance and falling into sin/error is the problem, and not the ecosystem we all must live in.

    1. John

      If said calculations make you fell as if you are in control, good luck. I prefer something like this, a sign over the sink in a restaurant bathroom. “Employees must wash their hands. You should too but I’m not your mother.” Simple and direct. Ventilate indoor spaces, wear a mask in enclosed places or when among many people outside. Do as you damn please if it affects only you. Otherwise have a care for others as they should for you.

      1. anon y'mouse

        save your ire for others. my comment is that all of this calculation only needs this:

        a) do i want to catch covid?

        b) are you going somewhere where you can not really expect that you will not catch covid?

        all of the abstruse abstractions are unnecessary but help soothe people in this climate that the authorities created of “you’re on your own, so make safer choices”.

        that’s my safer choice calculus, and it doesn’t involve trying to find out whether the CDC whoever is lying to me that day, or decided to lie to themselves for whatever -reason- they may have.

        your implication that i don’t care simply because i poo-poo the idea that making people engage in this risk assessment math stuff is more theatre is misplaced. i actually think it’s evil to divide someone’s attention into thinking they have such control over the outcome by doing false mathematics, and makes them waste their time. we should have had clear guidelines about this already 2 years ago.

        thank you and GOOD DAY, sir.

  10. timotheus

    Re Mayor Adams (NYC) and the politics of doing nothing dramatically: one key element that should not be ignored is that Adams is given a clean pass on crime by the tabloid press and oxygen-starved TV news readers–even when nasty incidents happen. Anyone they don’t like would get personally blamed for the latest subway shover or child-killer. Adams gives the cops and prison guards everything they want while also welcoming the real estate interests to proceed as desired as long as he and his friends get theirs. So the media barons protect him. He rolled into office on crime-fear and will continue to thrive as long as they lay off him.

    Any mayor even hinting of taking a reformist stance on bail, excessive force, or harsh sentencing would immediately be pilloried as an Enemy of all that is right and good.

    1. jsn

      Or rent control, or real estate subsidies, or anything that cuts into any significant cash flow for the 1%.

      Clearly Presidential timber!

      He’ll make the perfect woke figurehead for all the white suprematist police forces and militias putting down the formerly middle class rebels while the Oligarchs confiscate everything they don’t already have.

  11. Janie

    Plantidote: Lake Winnemucca, south of Lake Tahoe has the best alpine wildflower displays. If anyone is visiting in July or August, be sure to go. It’s a 2 or 2.5 mile hike on a well-travelled trail, but it has altitude. Check local sources for bloom period. Lovely view. Those not up to the hike can stop at Frog Lake.

  12. Pelham

    Regardless of government regulations or guidelines, why wouldn’t it be possible for people who’ve contracted Covid on airline flights to file a class action? There’s an enormous weight of evidence that the carriers’ refusal to require masks is causing massive harm.

    1. Objective Ace

      Not a lawyer.. but how would you demonstrate proof? Hard enough proving someone you will never associate with again had covid, let alone that that’s where you got it

    1. pjay

      Thanks for the reference. It’s a review of the book ‘Left Behind: The Democrats’ Failed Attempt to Solve Inequality’ by Lily Geismer. It looks good, and very relevant to the Democrats’ disintegration.

    2. Jeff W

      And, along the same lines, Jen Pan of Jacobin has a conversation on YouTube with historian Gary Gerstle, author of The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era.

      Gerstle makes some surprising connections (surprising to me, at least) between the anti-statism of the (then) fringe right of the early 1960s and that of the New Left and also between the “computer revolution” of the 1980s and 1990s and the neoliberalism of the Clinton Democrats, along with some other insightful observations.

  13. LilD

    I’m going to take a break from NC and news in general.

    Too much bad stuff in the world, on a bad trajectory. As a stoic adjacent… I will just spend time on things that are within my control

    Fortunately I have a house with off grid capability, a well…

    Nursing my wife thru post appendix rupture, writing more songs and finally learning here comes the Sun all the way through at tempo.

    I’ll peek back eventually

    1. Pelham

      I’d join you, but my job depends on keeping up with events and I can’t go off-grid. Ideally, I’d like to skate news-free past the 2024 elections — in the meantime hunkering down extra hard against Covid. That would be sweet.

    2. HotFlash

      Be well, LilD, and, um, prosper, or perhaps Prospero? I’ll be happy to see your fonts again whenever you are happy to present them (curtsey). Good job with the ruptured a’x and a speedy recovery to Mrs LilD.

    3. ambrit

      Ouch on the ruptured appendix! Treat her like a baby bird in the nest.
      We live in an ageing inner ring suburb going through “demographic shift.” So, hunkering down includes “Enhanced Defensive Posture” activities. I’m preparing to take a Concealed Carry class. The Hood is beginning to become “rough.” Some of the characters I’m encountering “on the street” now are past the “troubled youth” stage and full on into the “heartless psychopath” definition.
      While crossing the City Park this past weekend, on my way to the local grocery store for provisions, I had to fight off a German Shepherd dog. (I was frightened. A sudden barking, biting canine will do that to you. Dogs do mindless rage so well.) The dog belonged to a Yuppie couple. By fight off I mean that the dog tried to bite me several times. I almost pulled out my folding knife. (What good a three inch blade would have done, I know not. I actually had reservations about cutting the dog. Misplaced PETAism?)
      The male aspect of the dyad sauntered over, (yes, sauntered,) and called doggie to him. The dog immediately complied and ran to ‘master’ and sat next to his hominid.
      The Yupster was going to say something to me; he had laughter in his eyes.
      I cut in first; “I say old man. Highly uncivilized behaviour, eh, wot?” [I played my Englishness to the hilt.]
      His eyes narrowed, he stopped dead in his tracks, and he visibly began looking at me. Before this point, he had not looked me in the eye. Now he did. He said not a word, called his dog, and strode off to his inamorata at a faster pace than he had utilized approaching me.
      No “sorry,” no “Oh, how unfortunate,” no explanations for doggie’s actions, just a hasty retreat.
      I score that one a three way tie. Doggie 1. Yuppies 1. Deplorable 1.
      A classic example of the adage: Judge not the book by it’s cover. (If you could see me on my treks to the local stores, etc., you would swear that I was one of the growing army of homeless people now making their presence felt in our half-horse town. Boonie hat, frayed cuffs on th shirt collar, worn cammo trousers, ex-american army day pack backpack (courtesy of a former co-worker.) All declare me to one and all as a “Down and Out.” Social labelling has reached near peak malignancy in our day.
      anyway, Phyl is calling me into the kitchen to help with making dinner. (Tomale casserole. Ground turkey, ground pork, fresh tomato, fresh corn, fresh basil, celery, fresh garlic, and lots of corriander, tumeric, and cumin.) This is a “call” I cannot deny.
      Years ago, Phyl once uttered the old chestnut that “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” to which, one of our female friends added, “Throw in a few titties and you’ll have him by his b—s.” No truer words were ever said.
      Stay safe all! Eat well!

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        That sounds fucking delicious, Comrade!

        Off to get something to eat as well!

        1. ambrit

          Man, do I remember eating out in NOLA!
          Phyl would have lunch at Masperos or DH Holmes cafeteria, (when she could afford it.) (Holmes downtown had the best lunch counter according to several people who lived there then. Phyl especially loved their seafood gumbo on Friday. [Catliks, natch!])
          I remember Busters eatery down by Basin Street back in the seventies, (when I first moved to NO.) That’s where I learned how good “simple” food, like ‘Beans and Rice’ could be. (It had the added benefit of being in “my price range.”) Some of those corner Mom and Pop restaurants had really good food, cheap. I could never afford a whole Muffalata, but then, who could eat the whole thing at one sitting?
          Does N’Awlins still have “character” like it used to?
          Be safe and, as Mom would say, “Don’t play with your food!”

      2. kareninca

        That sounds pretty rough. Both the dog encounter, and the need to start carrying weaponry on a regular basis. I’m glad dinner was tasty.

        1. orlbucfan

          Grew up with a female German Shepherd. They are protective, but that one sounds like it was “trained.” Your casserole sounds like my kind of eating. Scrumptious!

          1. ambrit

            Yes to the “trained” suspicion. That kind of dog doesn’t attack unless ordered to. This was a very well trained canine, and a male to boot. That’s why I suspect the ‘downdressed’ twenty-something did not engage with me. Too many awkward questions in the offing.
            As usual, Phyl made enough food for our old family size, (two ‘adults’ and three children.) We will be eating casserole for a week or more. (To which I have no objections whatsoever.) Seeing the quantity problem looming, (after mixing and frying down the meat, plus onions and garlic,) she divided the resulting “product” into three medium sized oven proof bowls, (I forgot to mention the polenta with fresh corn layer,) of crusties layers alternated with meaties layers. One went into the oven right away, (for quality control purposes, of course.) The other two went into the fridge, covered and sealed with parchment paper.
            Who says you cannot have fun in a Pandemic?

        2. ambrit

          Yes. Phyl still contends that, absent true rioting in the streets, if armed, I would be more of a threat to myself than anything else.
          Mississippi is a ‘Constitutional Carry’ state. You see the occasional “Cowboy” carrying his pistol out in the open, but not as much as you would expect. There is a fair bit of unlicensed concealed carry going on. (Just look for the out of place bulge at the small of the back.) Few people employ an old fashioned shoulder holster, (few ‘bulges’ under either armpit.) A big favourite with the younger female crowd is a mini five shot .22 calibre revolver hung around the neck on a chain. Explosive jewelry.
          Stay safe over there in the “Hidden Valley.”

    4. Joe Renter

      I did the same for about 3 weeks or so. Did a lot of meditation and reading of metaphysics/esoteric works. Very good for the body and soul. I came back here cuz it reflects a slice of reality.
      Happy trails!

  14. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update:

    Was it over when the Germans bombed as a loan harbor?… hell no!

    Bitcoin is solidly over $20k again, probably never to plumb lower depths in what had to be a test of mettle and fortitude against the forces of farce allayed against our cause.

    Somebody called me ‘a knob HODLer’ the other day, and I welcome their scorn and perhaps i’ll throw them a few pithy party scraps of my own when they app’ologize for the damage done.

    1. s

      At least if worse comes to worse, you can always plant your flash drive and enjoy the tulips that sprout.

  15. Michaelmas

    Thanks for the Basement Tapes, Lambert. Sadly, I listened to the track you linked to and my strongest reaction was, “Bob, can you please learn to tune that thing?”

    Still, some great songs, of which my favorite is ‘This Wheel’s on Fire.’ The hippest version of which, IMO, is the one by Brian Auger and the Trinity with Julie Driscoll —


    You cannot get a more authentic artifact of 1968 Swinging London than this, with its psychedelically flanged —
    –proto-fusion Hammond organ licks and mellotron from Auger, whose band was the first that Jimi Hendrix sat in with when he got to London. If you skip to the third verse and the out chorus, you’ll get the full effect

    1. Late Introvert

      I don’t have perfect pitch but the ability of the GD to almost always be out of tune, especially vocals, means I can’t enjoy their music at all.

    2. Martin Oline

      I like Julie’s work on This Wheel’s On Fire but my favorite is The Road To Cairo. It is too bad she doesn’t pronounce the city’s name right. It is Cairo like the syrup Karo. Here is a link to the song.

        1. Martin Oline

          Thanks for the link. It looks as if The Road To Cairo could have been partly autobiographical. David Ackles, was born at Rock Island, Illinois, on the Mississippi River and Cairo, Illinois is at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

  16. anonymous

    “Big River” was actually a song written by Johnny Cash, first recorded in 1958. Does it have some genealogical antecedent, lyrically or melodically? Most songs do. But neither Dylan nor the Grateful Dead are implicated as the father here.

  17. Lex

    Big River is a Johnny Cash tune that the Dead did a marvelous job with, one of those that stayed in the set list from the earliest days till the end.

    Why do democrats expect the voters to tell them what needs doing? Do something about income inequality, a broken justice system (that’s a racist slave plantation), education, or a pretty long list of things that need doing. I guess they’re the party of “we’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas!” If nothing else, they might try doing the things they run on …

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      Товарищ Мессинг!

      Yes, yes indeed … :)

      Good to see, although in real terms, I’m pretty sure Comrade Debra isn’t quite ready to say, embrace a certain “Bernard” …

      > … Mother devotees are actively sabotaging Biden

      I see it differently. Biden has sabotaged himself! Those calling for his ouster are going to fall into a couple camps:
      • Camp #HRC: Bring back abeula! It’ll be different this time! (No it won’t)
      • Camp #SomeOneElse (not named Kamala!): I’ve made my feelings clear about Newsom – I think west coast Dem establishment is feeling a little “it’s our turn” at the mo’, and the mo’ stands for “momentum”.

      1. super extra

        Peter Turchin didn’t tell us the intra-elite competition phase was so stupid!

  18. ChrisPacific

    Re: the school story, our child’s teacher just led the class in an experiment where they borrowed a CO2 monitor from the principal and measured CO2 levels during the day, including briefly with windows closed, and plotted them on a graph. They then drew conclusions about ventilation and Covid safety, and why it was important to have the windows open. I could only wish employers and policymakers had half the common sense and commitment to evidence based reasoning that our teachers do.

    1. ChrisPacific

      The bench is only weak after the party has filtered out all the candidates they deem unacceptable.

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      Ah, come on, Biden / Cheney 2024! The first 21st century fully-bipartisan ticket. Cheney could be the first female president with more courage and integrity than any other politician* in the United States.

      BeetleJuice, BeetleJuice, BeetleJuice

      I think Lambert’s just reporting on what Democratic social club thought promoters like Reich are saying.


      Since the attack on the Capitol, Liz Cheney has demonstrated more courage and integrity than any other politician in America. Democratic lawmakers have opposed Trump’s Big Lie, to be sure, but most knew they wouldn’t pay a price for their opposition. Cheney knew she would pay a price — and she has.

      The real battle in 2024 will not be between Democrats and Republicans. It will be between forces supporting democracy in America and those supporting authoritarianism. Trump is the de facto leader of the forces supporting authoritarianism. Liz Cheney has become the de facto leader of the forces supporting democracy.


      Liz Cheney’s courage and integrity are closer to Paul Wellstone’s than to almost any current politician I can think of. All of America needs her to run for president in 2024. Do we need her to win as well?

      Pass the motion sickness pills, the engineers are redesigning the rollercoasters to make them even more thrilling ride. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! I wonder if Wellstone has been rolling in his grave all this time.

      1. orlbucfan

        Talk about short term or no memory. Liz Cheney for Prez? Right on! Her POS criminal daddy would be so proud. Where’s my double barf bag?

  19. Mikel


    Reading this link a gentleman posted here earlier.

    Think about it. The past years the USA has been making its GDP numbers largely from rentierism on the silly citizens of the USA….paying millions for loans for McMansions, healthcare and health insurance overpricing, college loans, rents that leave people on the streets but empty apartment buildings still holding paper value, subscription as service (paying for BS software updates over and over instead of being able to outright purchase software), monopoly pricing, extortionary interest rates for credit even when the 1% are being handed cheap rates….

    Can everybody say: Dumb suckers???

    1. Mikel


      “A confluence of factors, including the higher fuel prices since the war and the tumbling currency, is putting a significant pressure on Japan’s energy security, making this one of the most serious energy crises Japan has had,” said Jane Nakano, a senior fellow at Washington-based think tank the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

      Because of its extreme dependence on imported energy, Japan has had to continue importing Russian oil and gas despite its verbal commitment to sanctions against Moscow…”

      Indeed. Not looking good.

  20. Wukchumni

    Look, he’s denying it all
    Blonde and unkempt, very small
    Now he’s just lost 2 heads
    Hanging by a little thread

    Boris the outsider
    Boris the outsider

    Now he’s dropped on to the Parliament floor
    Heading for #10 Downing door
    Maybe he’s as scared as me
    Where’s he gone now, I can’t see

    Boris the outsider
    Boris the outsider

    Creepy, crawly
    Creepy, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly

    There he is wrapped in a fetal ball
    Doesn’t seem to move at all
    Perhaps he’s dead meat, I’ll just make sure
    Pick up votes of no confidence from the floor

    Boris the outsider
    Boris the outsider

    Creepy, crawly
    Creepy, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
    Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly

    He’s come to a sticky end
    Don’t think he will ever mend
    Never more will he crawl ’round
    The Prime Minister’s hallowed ground

    Boris the outsider
    Boris the outsider


  21. dcblogger

    The post-Trump era has produced a library’s worth of books from people who had access to the rooms where decisions were made but kept quiet about the rotten things they witnessed. The volumes mostly read as after-the-fact justifications for morally debatable behavior spiced up with a few damning anecdotes that feel too-little-too-late.

    Tim Miller’s Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell is not one of those books.

  22. Mikel

    “…The package was initially proposed in April 2021, and Murphy noted that since then there have been roughly two mass shootings a day nationwide and 1,271 shooting incidents in New Jersey. He renewed the call to further this legislation after mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, leaving 31 dead, including 19 children.

    Various places to find these kinds of mind-blowing statistics. But just thought it particularly noteworthy.

    I’m going to offer an apology to the youth who have to live this way while all of us older folks didn’t have to. We actually had places we could go if an area got too bad.

  23. VietnamVet

    This is in response to the Lambert’s comment in the July 4th Links asking the real question “What is to be done with the Ukrainian fascists?” There are only two possibilities; genocide or containment.

    It is quite clear; western neo-cons and war profiteers provoked another Afghanistan like war to bleed Russia dry and get another go at their natural resources. What they got instead is a bloody industrial WWI type artillery-trench proxy war between NATO and Russia in Europe.

    Ukrainians are the other borderland Russians who speak with a rural dialect, have their own religion and are extremely deplorable. Western Ukrainians were only under Russian control from the end of WWII to the breakup of the Soviet Union. It took to 1948 to pacify them when they were without outside help (Russia had occupied Poland). Like the Celts, Kurds or the Vietnamese, Ukrainians will fight to the end. Poland will aid the Resistance. This will be the 25th war between Poland and Russia since 981.

    Whatever country invades the other’s homeland will trigger a nuclear holocaust. An Armistice and DMZ manned by outsiders that contains both the Russians and Ukrainians within viable national borders avoids this.

    1. Yves Smith

      I don’t know where you get these ideas from. Ukrainian fascists are 1% of the population and are overrepresented in Parliament at 2% and in the government at about 15% of the administrative positions, most importantly domestic security. They recruit from soccer hooligans, who BTW now have less opportunity to make trouble at soccer matches because sponsors figured out how to contain them: jack up ticket prices so most can’t come often, and have a very strong police presence (some matches feature mounted police).

      And the Banderites started out by killing Poles, so the idea that the Ukraine fascists and Poland are allies is false.

      They can be dealt with as war criminals and that is Russia’s plan. They have been making this a major exercise, documenting the crimes and the perps.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Sounds like that Carter administration official is a Catfood Clintonite.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      No one should be surprised. The US was busy exporting PPE out when the pandemic got started.

      The US is a business, not a country.

  24. Mikel

    Tue, July 5, 2022 at 12:44 PM·2 min read

    “Norway’s government said Tuesday it was referring a dispute between oil and gas workers and employers to an independent board, after an industry group warned strikes could cut Norway’s gas exports by more than half.

    The move, which effectively ends the stoppage, comes after workers walked out of their jobs on Tuesday, leading to the closure of three fields and the union announced more workers would strike later in the week.

    “The announced escalation is critical in today’s situation, both with regards to the energy crisis and the geopolitical situation we are in with a war in Europe,” Labour Minister Marte Mjos Persen said in a statement….”

    And there it is. Big biz is not allergic to government intervention.

    1. caucus99percenter

      And, “Labo(u)r” parties never seem to back actual labor anymore — working class people with dirty overalls, so uncouth, amirite? Nowadays the capital-L “Labo(u)r” label more likely means bureaucrats, academics, and PMC inside.

    2. caucus99percenter

      Also: that brings to mind the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 in the U.S., which allows the government to break strikes by ordering an eighty-day “cooling-off period.”

      A truly pro-labor, pro-union party could have repealed or replaced Taft-Hartley any time it had control of both Congress and presidency.

  25. Wukchumni

    In an era of runaway inflation, how comforting it is that you can buy 6 months of Frisco wi-fi fishwrap at just 99¢, and yeah even @ around 1/2¢ a day it’s questionable whether its good value or not.

    Now imagine being a reporter for the SF Chronicle, and that’s how high the higher ups value your work…

    1. John Wright


      Biden had good things to say about George W. Bush when he awarded this medal.

      “Biden underscored the importance of democratic values and patriotism in his remarks, praising Bush for his support for service members and their families.”

      Of course, Bush should support the service members who fought in wars Bush started.

      “Biden, the chairman of the National Constitution Center’s board of trustees, also presented the medal to the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) last year.’

      Just Biden being “bi-partisan”.

    2. albrt

      Um, because Joe Biden is president. Joe Biden hates people who worked for a living and lived long enough to retire. Joe Biden wants those people to suffer and die as soon as possible. Alan Simpson is a hero to people who think like Joe Biden.

      Anybody got any alternative explanations?

      I didn’t think so.

      1. Jason Boxman

        It is hard not to conclude that to those in the halls of power, the governed are a terrible burden, to be exploited, and once everything of value has been stripped, discarded.

        But then you have the Pandemic, and those in power are enthusiastically embracing, in their own personages, as many infections as SARS-COV-2 can muster. That is simply lunacy. So it might be that, in reality, those in power simply are not equal to the task of governing, so consumed are they with selfish, hedonistic indulgences, and it isn’t so much that they willfully intend the populace harm, as they simply lack the capacity to care.

        In that respect, I see parallels to the sorcery kings of Melniboné, from the works of Michael Moorcock. If you can get your hands on these books, I highly recommend them if you’re into that kind of genre. It is worlds better than Lord of the Rings.

        Stay safe out there!

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is an article from the antiwork subreddit about Senator McConnell’s opinion as to why there is still a “labor shortage” and what will “solve it”. Basically, all the covid stimulus money paid people not to work, and when they all run totally all the way out of stimulus money, they will go back to work.

    Now . . . . he could be right, in a sense. When people reach the no-money-left-anywhere stage of existence and are told its back to work or starve, freeze and die; they may well go back to work under that sort of duress.

    What could millions of people who currently have work do to help “make” McConnell’s prediction turn out wrong? Well, if each of those millions of people have space in their dwelling units where a single person they know can stay for a while insteading of taking the first sh!t job they are poverty-tortured into taking, the labor shortage could be maintained for quite a while to come.

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