2:00PM Water Cooler 7/8/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I had a household debacle. More shortly. Also, the rogue tweets were found and dealt with summarily. Safari users rejoice! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Falcated Wren-Babbler, Palawan, Philippines.

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

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

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

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

Capitol Seizure

“The Right’s Big Score” [John Ganz]. “Trump never represented any kind of coherent set of policy preferences, but was rather leading a reactionary mass movement directed against a conservative elite that had lost legitimacy with their constituency because of what were seen as say-measures and betrayals. The goal was bringing the ‘strong’ leader to power over the ‘cucked’ old G.O.P. leadership. He represented a mythical return to a previous America and a wholesale attack on immigrants and ungrateful minorities that had been lurking in the wings of Republican performances but had not yet fully asserted itself. From the start, he attracted and unified all the splintered groups of the extreme right. Finally, here was their man. He was an interloper and, at least initially, a vehicle for plebiscitary rage against the Republicans and the whole establishment. All of this this is why I thought it was fair to bring historical fascism into the analysis of the Trump phenomenon, a view I think has been somewhat vindicated with the revelations about January 6 as some kind of shambolic version of the March on Rome.”

“Will No One Defend the American Republic?” [Ryan Cooper]. “Any student of history considering the abstract chances of an opposition party attempting a coup d’etat against a sitting president without first obtaining firm control of the military would surely rate them low. But the awesome feebleness of Democrats raises doubts. Surely one reason it would be unwise to attempt to seize power against an established incumbent would be the high probability of getting arrested or shot. But not only are Democrats not locking up the insurrectionist criminals, this same party had the presidency stolen from them by a popular vote loser in 2000 (admittedly in a much less blatant fashion, but still at bottom the same behavior) and back then they just rolled over and took it as well….” • How well I remember Al Gore, as President of the Senate, in Fahrenheit 911, gaveling the Black Caucus into silence when they sought to get their claims of election theft heard. No wonder they turned corrupt so badly; corruption is a politician’s nihilism.


“Impassioned Biden signs order on abortion access” [Associated Press]. “President Joe Biden delivered impassioned remarks Friday condemning the “extreme” Supreme Court majority that ended a constitutional right to abortion and pleading with Americans upset by the decision to “vote, vote, vote vote” in November. He signed an executive order to try to protect access to the procedure under mounting pressure from fellow Democrats to be more forceful in response to the ruling. The actions Biden outlined are intended to mitigate some potential penalties that women seeking abortion may face after the ruling, but his order cannot restore access to abortion in the more than a dozen states where strict limits or total bans have gone into effect. About a dozen more states are set to impose additional restrictions. Biden acknowledged the limitations facing his office, saying it would require an act of Congress to restore nationwide access to the way it was before the June 24 decision. ‘The fastest way to restore Roe is to pass a national law,’ Biden said. ‘The challenge is go out and vote. For God’s sake there is an election in November!'” • Vote, vote, vote, because I’m helpless against President Manchin and his Girl Sidekick, Sinema!

“Biden’s planned anti-abortion judicial nominee ‘strong’ conservative, ex-boss wrote” [Reuters]. “A Republican lawyer considered by President Joe Biden for a Kentucky federal judgeship despite his opposition to abortion would be a “strong and dependable conservative” voice on the bench for decades, his ex-boss said in a letter released Thursday…. The office of [Republican Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s] Democratic successor, Andy Beshear, released the letter from M. Stephen Pitt in response to a public records request a day after releasing emails showing Biden had planned to nominate Meredith to the federal bench.” Oops. And: “Beshear during a press conference Thursday said he has received no further update from the White House on whether Biden still plans to nominate Meredith. It’s been plenty of time, and by now they should be telling us that it’s been rescinded,’ he said. The White House has declined to say whether Biden will still nominate Meredith.” •¨See blow on White House trade-offs with McConnnell. I remember when Amy McGrath — remember her? — was running against “Moscow Mitch,” the Trillbillies scoffed and remarked that McConnnell has “a rock-hard d*ck.” They are correct.

Biden Administration

“Dems weigh jamming McConnell on China bill” [Axios]. ” McConnell is trying to force Democrats to choose between bipartisan legislation on the stalled China competition bill and a Democrat-only reconciliation package they might reach with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)…. After issuing his ultimatum last week, McConnell has followed up with a clear “pencils down” directive to Senate Republican negotiators, freezing the talks between the House and Senate on ironing out differences between their two bills…. Those formal negotiations were making slow — but tangible — progress, until McConnell decided to take the China competition bill hostage by vowing to kill it if Democrats kept chasing a climate, energy and prescription drug reform bill with Manchin.”

UPDATE “Biden’s White House fears canceling student debt will drive inflation even higher — and that restarting loan payments might help avoid that” [Yahoo News]. “On the campaign trail, President Joe Biden pledged to voters with federal student debt that they would see a $10,000 reduction of their balances — but it’s been over two years, and millions of borrowers are still waiting for that relief.” That’s $10,600. More: “But with the US facing 40-year-high inflation, that burst of new spending power from consumers who’d instantly see their net worths jump by thousands of dollars could send the cost of common goods and services even higher. Prices soared 8.6% in the year through May, powered by an abundance of consumer demand and woefully insufficient supply.” • Heaven forfend that we should see an increase in “consumer” net worth. If not now, when?


* * *


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.

* * *

“A New Conservative Majority on New York’s Top Court is Upending State Law” [New York Focus]. “The Court of Appeals ruled on 98 cases in its most recent term, which ended last month. DiFiore, Cannataro, Garcia and Singas voted in tandem in 96 of those cases. On the seven-member court, a bloc of four that sticks together can dictate the outcome of every case. In the past year, these four judges have used their power to prevent criminal defendants from presenting expert testimony supporting their innocence, bar workers from suing employers for workplace injuries, and make it harder for victims of police misconduct to sue for damages, among other rulings. All of them were nominated by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and confirmed by the state Senate. Echoing recent rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court’s new conservative supermajority, Chief Judge DiFiore and her new bloc of associates are making New York law more friendly to law enforcement and powerful economic actors.” • I was going to file this under “Republican Funhouse,” but given that Democrats nominated these judges and voted them in, I’m filing this here. Exactly as on the Supreme Court.

UPDATE “The city family is a Machiavellian tragedy” [Marina Times (NorthBeacher)]. From 2020, still germane: “Willie Brown has aided in the ascension of many politicians, including every mayor since him. Take for example current California governor Gavin Newsom. A handsome businessman and friend of the powerful Getty family, Brown plucked Newsom from obscurity, appointing him to San Francisco’s Parking and Traffic Commission and later to District 2 supervisor. It was all part of Brown’s master plan to sculpt a compliant mayoral successor (more on that later)…. As the FBI picks off the city family one by one, the silence from Mayor London Breed — another Brown protégé — is deafening…. As for city family patriarch Willie Brown, he has the Chronicle to set the record straight on everything from escaping prosecution despite years of corruption allegations to his relationship with now-Senator Kamala Harris. When Harris was briefly the frontrunner in the race to become the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, Brown wrote a Chronicle op-ed declaring for the record that he and Harris had dated 20 years ago, and he was pretty much responsible for every job she’s had since. There’s nothing honorable about a man who demeans a strong woman by publicizing their history in the bedroom and taking credit for her successes, whether it’s true or not.” • Who said Harris was a “strong woman”? And if Harris had been weak, would Brown’s op-ed have been ok? Sheesh! This is a fascinating article — the word for it, and Brown, is, I think, ‘redolent” — that’s dense with detail, including Democrat election theft, shocked shocked.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Right’s Big Score” [John Ganz]. Yes, I split this in two: “[T]he conservative elite made essentially the same bet as those did in Europe when faced with Hitler and Mussolini, except for our conservatives its paying off. This is in so small part because Trump was not Hitler or Mussolini: he lacked the tightly-organized party structure that was ready to step in and replace key sections of the state, organs of effective propaganda, and direct control over paramilitaries to constantly terrorize their opponents, etc. All in all, he was a pretty weak and ineffective fascist, more akin to the failed fascisms that dotted Europe in the interwar period, and were smothered by more conventional authoritarian conservatives, episodes we been forgotten at our peril. The conservatives were able to use this premature and disorganized version of fascism as a battering ram—they got their Court, their most coveted goal—and now may be in the process of deftly leaving it to the side. They prefer to stifle democracy the old fashioned way: not through dramatic coups, but in the courts and on the state level. We often note the cowardliness of Republicans in the face of Trump, but we should also note their political daring and flexibility: they have been really willing to play with fire.” • 

“Will No One Defend the American Republic?” [Ryan Cooper]. Yes, I split this in two, also: “Lincoln always had an acute sense for the grubby realities of power, but this wasn’t mere political cynicism; it was part of an act of political will. His strained (though not wholly dishonest) arguments about the founders and the Constitution were part of an effort that hugely changed the actual character of the country. He seized on the parts of American institutions and history that were useful to his purpose of destroying slavery, and downplayed the parts that were not. Lincoln was thus able to convincingly claim political legitimacy (backed up by a massive national organization) as leader of the country and defender of freedom, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence, and lead the country through a horrendously bloody war that actually did destroy slavery. It was, in a sense, a successful political prophecy. Then he used his unparalleled rhetorical gifts to cement the meaning of that sacrifice, and he and his party heavily revised the text of the Constitution and laws—with sweeping reforms to the currency, banking system, higher education, land, and more—to cement that new reality. The histories of all nations have many threads, and many of America’s are dark indeed. But it is simply inaccurate to say that there is nothing worth defending or being proud of in there. Eradicating slavery was a great achievement. Enfranchising four million former slaves was one of the most radical expansions of democracy in world history. The New Deal was, on balance, a massive improvement on the status quo, even for Black Americans. The Civil Rights Movement was a splendid achievement.” • Not untrue. And all a long, long time ago, even the Civil Rights Movement.

Recalling the playful distinction I made the other day:

Leaving aside the insanity of the proportion of administrators to physicians, actual care-givers — see also colleges and universities — both physicians and administrators are subclasses of PMC. I wonder, however, what the proportion of hegemonic (support current social relations) to exceptional (oppose them) is within each subclass. My guess is that the Hippocratic oath would tend to make for a larger exceptional subclass within physicians, but perhaps not. Of course, I bet that the material realities of being sent out to the pandemic front lines without proper weaponry would have its effect, as well. (This chart, tweeted here, was hard to run down; I think the original is paywalled. It is attested to here, by the Milken Institute, of all places.


“• Multimodal surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 at a university enables development of a robust outbreak response framework” (PDF) [medRxiv]. From the Abstract:

Universities are particularly vulnerable to infectious disease outbreaks and are also ideal environments to study transmission dynamics and evaluate mitigation and surveillance measures when outbreaks occur. Here, we introduce a SARS-CoV-2 surveillance and response framework based on high-resolution, multimodal data collected during the 2020-2021 academic year at Colorado Mesa University. We analyzed epidemiological and sociobehavioral data (demographics, contact tracing, and wifi-based co-location data) alongside pathogen surveillance data (wastewater, random, and reflexive diagnostic testing; and viral genomic sequencing of wastewater and clinical specimens) to characterize outbreak dynamics and inform policy decisions. We quantified group attributes that increased disease risk, and highlighted parallels between traditional and wifi-based contact tracing. We additionally used clinical and environmental viral sequencing to identify cryptic transmission, cluster overdispersion, and novel lineages or mutations. Ultimately, we used distinct data types to identify information that may help shape institutional policy and to develop a model of pathogen surveillance suitable for the future of outbreak preparedness.


To assess the overall efficacy of CMU’s surveillance program, we compared CMU’s incidence rate to that of Mesa County, which had limited testing available at the time. CMU’s weekly incidence exceeded county incidence rates and predicted them with a lag time of 3 days (correlation = 0.73; Appendix Figure 1AB). This is consistent with reports that adequate university testing can foreshadow community outcomes12 130 and highlights the ability of well131 designed university testing programs to serve as bellwethers. As the pandemic’s impact on the surrounding community became clearer, the university sponsored testing for external community members, both as a public benefit and to limit spread of SARS-CoV-2 into the campus

The funders give me pause; they include MacKenzie Scott (née Bezos) and the Chan/Zuckerberg Initiative. I don’t quarrel with the results or the approach, both of which confirm my priors, but their involvment means they see what they call “opportunity,” which means rents and abuse for the rest of us.

• We wrote of Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre back in June; it seems to have become a sort of Mecca for ventilation/aerosol nerds:

Well worth reading in full. To the accounts great credit, a contrarian thread is included, from a second ventilation/aerosol geek:

Nevertheless, geeks going round gathering and publicizing CO2 levels (a proxy for “shared air”). It’s an excellent sign.

* * *

• Maskstravaganza: Hospitals forcing you to take off a functional mask and replace it with a surgical mask:

This is not the only such anecdote I have heard. Has the hospital infection control community lost its collective mind? Are they all still droplet goons? WTF?

• Maskstavaganza: This is a scorching hot take!

I really wish anti-maskers would stop lying. Masks don’t “cover the face.” They cover the mouth and nose to avoid infection through respiration. They do not cover the eyes, and last I checked, the eyes were not only part of the face, but an important one. The stupid! (“Face covering” is even worse.)

* * *

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.

* * *

Lambert here: I stopped doing the Biobot site. We now have other wastewater sites, they don’t update very often, and I never liked their weird backwater revisions. I’m also eliminating the CDC excess deaths chart. The legend has enormous typos which have gone unfixed forever. I don’t think anybody at CDC checks it or cares about it.

Case Count

Case count for the United States:

More or less flat. 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 ~110,400. Today, it’s ~102,300, and 110,400 * 6 = a Biden line at 613,800. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes had a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.

Regional case count for four weeks:

The South:


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

4.5%. Oof. (I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to and check on the psychos at CDC.)


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


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

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

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

CDC has restored the button that lets me turn their NowCast button off. Doubling behavior moving along quite briskly, but I would rather calculate slash intuit the rise myself, and compare that to Walgreens, than use CDC’s model, which is probably broken anyhow.


Lambert here: I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal. Use the community transmission immediately below.

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission. This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you. For June 30 – July 6:

Status quo.

Lambert here: Thanks to alert reader CR, who found where CDC had interred the “Community Profile Report.” NOTE: The file name is “Community Profile Report 20220707 (1).pdf.” That’s how a filename looks when it’s uploaded twice, the second time generally by accident, so it does indeed look like there was a kerfuffle of some kind yesterday when I went to my usual CDC link and discovered an abomination. (I’m not taking back “sociopathic, democidal shitheads,” though. Too much else speaks in its favor.)

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

Note Texas and Florida.

Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), July 7:

Very volatile.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,044,557 1,043,879. 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

Employment Situation: “United States Unemployment Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The US unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent in June of 2022, the same as in the previous three months, remaining the lowest since February 2020 and in line with market expectations. The number of unemployed people decreased by 38 thousand to 5.912 million, while employment levels fell by 315 thousand to 158.111 million. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate edged down to 62.2 percent in June fom 62.3 percent in May.”

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* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 28 Fear (previous close: 24 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 22 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 7 at 12:45 PM EDT.

Police State Watch

“Timothy Loehmann withdraws application for Tioga, PA police officer” [ABC Cleveland (Scylla)]. “Former Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann has withdrawn his application as the sole officer of Tioga, a small borough in Pennsylvania, after being sworn in earlier this week. Loehmann is the officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice in 2014…. Council unanimously approved Loehmann’s hiring at $18 per hour. He was hired on a 90-day probationary period, and according to the mayor, the intention was to promote him to chief after a successful period. The hiring prompted dozens of protesters to express their displeasure with council’s decision…. This isn’t the first time Loehmann was hired as a police officer and then resigned following his departure from Cleveland.” • Not much sympathy for Loehmann, who seems to enjoy his trade. Tioga County is interesting. In 2020, they voted for Trump over Biden five to one. Then, in 2021, they declined to get involved in an Arizona-style “forensic investigation.” Fetterman was there in May:

News of the Wired

Programmers may find this fun:

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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:

Here near Grass Valley, CA, elevation 2700 feet, our native lilies have started blooming.

This is a single bloom of the rather rare Pitkin’s Marsh Lily, about three inches across. We have twenty–seven open blooms at this moment, from eleven plants, set out in very small areas that get extra water here and there in our garden, and at least another ten buds to come. Aren’t they spectacular?

Before these Marsh lilies are past their prime, the native dryland Humboldt’s lilies will be opening; the buds are turning from green to bright orange right now.

We are hoping for more pollinators, this has been a terrible year for native bees and butterflies. Maybe ten percent of usual, all at least a month late, and some species entirely missing. The only exceptions were the early Dusky Wing butterflies, which came and went before the late snow. However, we have seen one Monarch flitting by, the first in five years, and a neighbor has seen two. We have tons of our local four species of Milkweeds, ready and waiting!

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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. Etrigan

    Upon visiting the cdc website yesterday I was invited to fill out a survey, and in no imprecise terms spelled out what a disaster removing the pdf information amounted to. Presumably that survey was sent right to the digital shredder but I like to fancy that it helped the link get un-screwed in some small way.

  2. jo6pac

    Amy McGrath I remember her as the clhiton pick because Ashley Judd was thinking running against mm. Sadly Ashley was to much of real progressive so they ran amy so they wouldn’t lose mm to use as enemy. It’s just business

  3. Angie Neer

    On the Physicians/Administrators growth chart, “percentage growth” is a very easily (and widely) abused method of obfuscation. I don’t doubt the underlying point, but this is a poor choice of evidence, especially from an unknown source and not accompanied by actual numbers.

  4. NotTimothyGeithner

    Thinking about this anti-choice type Biden wanted to appoint, I’m reminded of The West Wing. In it, the image of DC working together was the Democratic President would have two Supreme Court vacancies and get to pick the equivalents of Merrick Garland and Robert Bork to show Washington still worked. “Liberals” swooned over the wonderful debates they would have.

    1. flora

      ‘ “Liberals” swooned over the wonderful debates they would have.’

      Yep. Did Bartlet & crew ever get anything done? (Besides impressing themselves and running for re-election?) / ;)

    2. super extra

      I was trapped in a room with a loved one watching 1995 film (and West Wing pilot?) The American President for ~40 minutes last week and thought I was going to start crying from rage from how stupid it was. I was too young for the original West Wing so the penetrating insights into “West Wing Brain” seemed unduly harsh to me before. But now I know. It was completely accurate

      1. Pat

        I had a soft spot for that movie, and I will always love Annette Benning’s hair cut.

        I still buy the free speech bit, it is just everything around that line in that speech is so patronizing and judgmental and the premise of the film is so unrealistic I feel ashamed to admit it.

        (Although It does amuse me that Bradley Whitford owes much of his success to being a Michael J Fox replacement.)

        1. super extra

          She did have a great haircut!

          At the height of my silent fuming over how stupid the drama was, I remember thinking “This is going to end with the president walking into the senate to a standing ovation or something and that will be it!” and I had to pretend to clear dishes away to hide my disgust when that really was the ending. The relative (early 70s) thought it was wonderful but I suspect they saw it as an echo of a better time, but said “Isn’t it wild how they were making jokes about republicans and gun reform law in 1995?” I just nodded and said nothing. It is true and still misses the point, like all of it.

  5. Samuel Conner

    Re: the title “Impassioned Biden signs order on abortion access”

    I have the impression that this adjective takes only non-personal objects, and these are generally “speech acts.” Is this a failure of editing? Me thinks it should have been “Passionate”. Or maybe it’s deliberate, a subtle commentary on JRB’s status as an embodied entity.

    1. super extra

      I was a captive audience for some time today (helping relative with appointments) and so I spent more time than normal (zero) skimming normal american news via the news app on my phone and CNN on the screen in the office. I was really, really annoyed with the absolute fearmongering going on from the dems to women about period tracking apps and generally making it clear that terrible things could happen to us if we make interstate travel for abortion! so we must vote! I guess this means they’re not going to legislate any changes? clarification? anything? that might make bounty hunting women across interstate lines a clear violation of interstate commerce clauses? no no, that would require bipartisanship or buy-in from Manchin, better vote in November if we want that!

      Every day I think my disgust knows no bounds, but no. They keep meeting and exceeding my expectations.

  6. dcblogger

    [T]he conservative elite made essentially the same bet as those did in Europe when faced with Hitler and Mussolini, except for our conservatives its paying off.

    so far, once the rule of law is gone, our elite may find that they miss it.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      gop is an anarchist organisation.*
      returning the world to 1100 AD but with smart fones.
      they reckon they are smart enough to remain in charge in such a situation.

      no brioche for you!

      * dems, oth, are the carpet on the floors of the respective chambers in the big white cathouse in the middle of DC.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          bad government, not accountable to the People, is the problem.

          They do not Fear…US.

          so eat them.

          i have recipes.

          as FDR intuited, fear of Being Food focuses the minds of our aristocracy.

          i’ve seen nothing whatever to disabuse me of the notion that “THEY” fear “US” above all other things.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            more from Ganz:

            GOP, and teh carpets in DNC, have brought us back to a Hobbseian State of Nature.
            it’s done…it is accomplished….
            but merely go among the Mundane, these days….and have that sour assessment confirmed.

            we are no longer a WE.
            Mindfuck and Precarity, creeping ever upward, have done their jobs.

            we’re left with evangelism, door to door..starting with next door…and overcoming that same mindfuck in every, single person we meet and try to evangelise.

            That’s what i’ve been doing, all this time.

            \along with corrupting the Youth, in the finest tradition of Socrates.

            what other methods are there?

    2. flora

      It paid off for the 1930’s elite factory owners, employers and financiers, too. They backed Herr Mustache financially and politically because he swore he would crack down on trade unions (and he did) and said he hated RU Commies (and he did).

      From Wm Shirer’s book The Rise and Fall of N. Germany

      1933. “On May 2 the trade-union headquarters throughout the country were occupied, union funds were confiscated, the unions dissolved and the leaders arrested…..Within three weeks [he] decreed a law bringing an end to collective bargaining and provide that henceforth [his appointed committees] would “regulate labor contracts” and maintain “labor peace.” ….
      For the time being, business management was pleased. The generous contributions which so many employers had made to the [N party] were paying off.”

      and then, a few weeks later…

      “The businessmen, who had been so enthusiastic over the smashing of the troublesome labor unions, now found that left-wing N’s, who really believed in the party’s socialism, were trying to take over the employers’ associations, destroy big department stores and nationalize industry…..
      Papen, for all his cunning…and calculations that he and Hugenberg and the other defenders of the Old Order, with their 8-to-3 majority in the cabinet against the Ns, could control [Herr Mustache] and indeed use him for their own conservative ends, had exploded in [Papen’s] face.”

      He lied so convincingly to the trade unionists to get their votes, to the employers and bankers to get their financial and political backing, and in the end betrayed all of them. 15 years later Germany, those factories and much of that private wealth was gone.

          1. LifelongLib

            Thanks for the link. He drops out of most histories after Hitler comes to power. I had no idea about his career afterward or that he’d lived so long.

          2. Mikel

            Indeed. It was the first time I ever learned the little man was sent in by the military to spy on the party in its infancy before he took it over.

      1. tempestteacup

        By coincidence I just read this quote, from German industrial magnate Alfred Krupp of the Krupp dynasty, from 1947 – the period when he was on trial for profiting from slave labour:

        The economy needed a steady or growing development. Because of the rivalries between the many political parties in Germany and the general disorder there was no opportunity for prosperity. … We thought that Hitler would give us such a healthy environment. Indeed he did do that. … We Krupps never cared much about [political] ideas. We only wanted a system that worked well and allowed us to work unhindered. Politics is not our business.

        As relevant now as then to the thinking of the ruling class. Of course it is easy to claim to exist above and beyond politics when your material interests are the foundation for all of the politics allowed within the system from which you profit. But he was war profiteer and Olympic yachtsman not an intellectual!

  7. Watt4Bob

    Re “The Right’s Big Score”

    “The conservative elite made essentially the same bet as those did in Europe when faced with Hitler and Mussolini, except for our conservatives its paying off. This is in so small part because Trump was not Hitler or Mussolini: he lacked the tightly-organized party structure that was ready to step in and replace key sections of the state, organs of effective propaganda, and direct control over paramilitaries to constantly terrorize their opponents, etc. All in all, he was a pretty weak and ineffective fascist, more akin to the failed fascisms that dotted Europe in the interwar period, and were smothered by more conventional authoritarian conservatives, episodes we been forgotten at our peril.”

    Trump does not represent the failure of a fascistic surge, Trump represents a failed attempt to take over the leadership of fascist Amerika from the GOP.

    It is the GOP that possessed “the tightly-organized party structure that was ready to step in and replace key sections of the state, organs of effective propaganda, and direct control over paramilitaries to constantly terrorize their opponents…” and he failed to take control of that organized power structure away from the GOP.

    Trump’s failure doesn’t represent a failure of nascent American fascism, it hasn’t failed, it has prevailed, in large part by reclaiming it’s carefully planned invisibility, despite all Trumps blundering that threatened to blow its cover.

    1. marym

      Whatever Trump’s place in all this, I agree that the right is prevailing. I don’t understand your point about invisibility. It seems more like the organized power structure on the right no longer sees a need for invisibility. They’re still riling up the base on the ground. In the corridors of power they’re openly proposing and passing laws and making court decisions to increase and strengthen control over people and institutions. They have think tanks, religious leaders, and media promoting their agenda.

      1. flora

        What sort of resistance is the right facing from the Dem estab? B.’s two Fed judge picks in KY tells me, “not much.”

        1. marym

          I only questioned whether the right wing establishment saw any need to return to invisibility.

          If we’re discussing how we got here, I agree the Dems have been failures and collaborators. I would disagree that their failure and complicity are the full explanation.

          Those on the right who advocate for, protest in favor of, fund, vote for, and implement terrible policies are responsible for what they’re doing and who they’re hurting too.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Aye, but that’s the question, isn’t it? Who actually does what they say they’ll do?

            The Republicans are very, very clear on their vision for these semi-United States. I agree with them on a number of issues: anti-“wokeness”, anti-illegal immigration, anti-Big Tech control/censorship, anti-gun control (gun control/banning as envisioned by the most anti-gun advocates).

            I could list a longer list of issues where I agree with the Democrats’ “stated position”

            But the Democrats say one thing and do another.

            Democrats stand for the PMC and their donors. I don’t believe them at all, regardless of what they say they’re “fighting” for because sure as sh*t, they’ll do the opposite when it comes to actually voting on something.

            See Universal Heath Care Coverage in CA where they have an absolute supermajority but still won’t pass it..

            So, do I vote for the ones who do what they say they’re gonna do or do I vote for the ones who lie and generally make things worse ( taxes that don’t “fix” the issues they were enacted for, crime, homelessness, drug epidemic, housing costs, health costs) for me?

            Choice is pretty clear.
            They both suck.
            But at least I know what I’m getting with Republicans.

            Life long Democrat.

            1. converger

              See endless whining about how there’s no public money because of Proposition 13 tax limits and corporate loopholes. That same California Democratic supermajority could have stripped out the mega-corporate and insanely rich people perks, kept the nice parts for the 98%, and clawed back most of the money any time they felt like it over the past decade.

      2. Pat

        And the Democrats have think tanks, and media both promoting their agenda and obscuring it.
        Let’s take one: Social Security is in trouble we have to reform it! The reforms make less people eligible and pays those eligible less than it would if they left it alone, but…

        flora is pointing out something that became obvious to a whole lot of people who had missed it for at least the three decades I have been watching it. Women’s Rights are a fund raising tool and NOTHING more.

        The Right is prevailing because the main Democratic Party regulars sold out to it after realizing how well it paid off for Bill and Hill. They have been on the front lines fighting for them for decades. Kneecapping candidates and ideas over and over, nominating judges that go right along with eliminating our rights. Hell our current President would have been considered deeply Conservative and far to the right in the Sixties.

        The Democrats have been collaborating then and now.

        1. LifelongLib

          “Bill and Hill”

          I’d say the Dems problems go back at least to the 60s, when they lost the Left while the Repubs continued to attract the Right. After McGovern and especially Reagan the Dems decided that the path to victory was co-opting issues that Repubs created. And paraphrasing Truman, when you’ve got two Republican parties the official one always wins.

      3. Watt4Bob

        I think you’re right in the sense that Trump has given permission to exhibit nasty behavior, and that excites a lot of the GOP base.

        And you’re right that all of a sudden it seems like a dam burst of really bad SCOTUS decisions and related legislation.

        This could be dangerous to GOP because of the possible perception by the electorate that it is going too far.

        I think that scares some of the GOP leadership who think it endangers their successes which they seem to believe is based on their ‘invisibility‘ which is actually a sort of ‘plausible deniability‘.

        No body here at NC is fooled, but we don’t count of course.

        And then there is the war-making which is owned by dims and could also be seen as going too far.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Thanks 4Bob…in my rant above I never even got to foreign policy evils.
          And yes, Dems seem to have fully embraced the Cheneys.

          1. converger

            When the daughter of a straight-up war criminal representing the neo-fascist party looks better than the Ancient One you’ve got on your side, *plus* everyone warming your bench…

  8. hamstak

    Regarding the Growth in Physicians and Administrators, at first glance it appeared the major jump occurred around the time of the commencement of the Clinton admin, but that didn’t being until 1993. So my second guess was that it coincided with the dissolution of the USSR — which perhaps sounds tenuous, but might be a second-order effect of early privatization as the federal government no longer had to be as generous with public health care with the competing economic system having been eliminated. That of course could be a stretch, or wholly inaccurate.

    Perhaps there is some specific legislation from late in the Bush Administration (I don’t recall the congressional disposition then, I was too busy with “college”) which might account for it?

    Another tenuous notion — the graph resembles another which I have seen (likely presented here at NC!) showing paltry wage growth vs. productivity growth over the past 40 years or so. But adding administrators out the ying-yang cannot possibly improve productivity, at least on a per unit basis.

    1. vao

      the graph resembles another which I have seen showing paltry wage growth vs. productivity growth over the past 40 years or so. But adding administrators out the ying-yang cannot possibly improve productivity, at least on a per unit basis.

      The difference between administrators and physicians shows who has captured the productivity growth. In the same way, a graph showing wages against earnings from corporate profits would show a similar evolution about who captured the gains in productivity.

    2. Greg

      I think it’s unlikely to be an immediate effect of legislative change, it’s more likely to be a lagged effect. That would put the changes that underlie the growth surge back in the 80s, which fits with financialisation and privatisation as causes.

    3. Michael Sharkey

      A quick search came up with this:

      “Between 1990 and 1995, the number of public and privately insured enrolled in a health maintenance organization (HMO) grew from 36.5 million to 58.2 million, and by 1995, the majority of Americans with employer-based health insurance were enrolled in some form of managed care plan” (Gabel 1997).



      The same forces that encouraged the expansion of managed care also brought about change in health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Using data from annual surveys of the Association of American Health Plans and other sources, this paper examines ten major changes in the HMO industry during the 1990s, including the growth of for-profit plans and the relative decline of nonprofits; the shift from vertically integrated group/staff models to virtually integrated individual practice associations/network models; industry consolidation through mergers and acquisitions; increased patient cost sharing; and the shift to capitation payment of primary care physicians. Current research is unable to show whether these changes have led to improved quality of care or patient satisfaction.

  9. haywood

    Can someone help me find an article posted this week about how domestic manufacturing capacity bottlenecks mean that the US would run out of munitions within a few months during a serious ground war? It was published by a think-tank maybe?

    I’m sorry to ask this but I’m 90% sure it came from links/WC/comments here and I haven’t been able to find it for the life of me. Many thanks in advance.

    1. Louis Fyne

      the US shouldn’t be worried merely about ammo.

      theoretically (per the marketing materials) a group of S-400 launchers can render an entire squadron operationally ineffective.

      What happens if/when the US loses 20 planes in a week? at its height of production in 2023, only ~13 F-35s will be made every month.

      In Vietnam, the US lost 3,000+ planes, 5,000+ helicopters—-exactly the same types of aircraft the US planned to use to fight WW3 in Germany v. the Soviets.


      If you’re interested in this topic, you should also learn about the chip architecture used in US hi-tech weapons….presumably it’s all of the older PowerPC, x86 type.

      In any new production run, those out-of-production chips would have to be redsigned-replaced with w/presumably off-the-shelf, hardened, modern chips.

      That all takes time.

      1. Polar Socialist

        When talking about aircraft losses, one has to factor the in the pilots, too. Them planes aren’t flying themselves yet.

        The experience from Ukraine seems to be that Ukrainians have to fly so low to avoid Russian anti-aircraft fire that when they do (eventually) get hit, the pilot has no time to bail out before the plane hits the ground. So when you loose a plane, you usually loose the pilot, too.

        It takes two to four year to train a pilot, and USAF is already 1650 pilots short without having lost any.

      2. hk

        It’s more than just weapons and materiel, but also personnel. US military casualties during the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts were not huge in absolute terms, but were enough to seriously undermine fighting capability of US military. The reason, I figure, was that well-trained, well-motivated and highly professional troops are very expensive to train and equip properly and, at least as important, there are too many troops needed for support operations so that the “fighting” component of the military is fairly tiny and effectively irreplaceable in at least medium term. Even fairly small losses are going to be bite hard. (This is why I think Russians have been smarting from open combat in Ukraine, too–Russia has very painfully and expensively raised its professional military cadre and losing even a few thousand of them as irreplaceable losses would have been very damaging,, and this seems pretty much undisputed, even if one were to laugh at the Russian casualty estimates from Western sources as absurd.). The casualty rate that would be inflicted by a nearly equal foe (and I don’t think Ukraine was anywhere near “near-peer” to Russia, although this may have been closer to an even fight involving modern armies than anything in a long time–possibly since WW2) would be staggering. I don’t think an army would be able to function “normally” in a week or two at most: they would have to find some way of fighting relatively costlessly (Russia’s increasing reliance on artillery is an example, even if it draws heavily from old Russian military traditions and is a logical extension of their evolving military doctrines, or US’s heavy reliance on airstrikes as the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan wore on.) But these, in turn, depend on the adversary being weak enough that your artillery and airpower can operate without too much fear of air attacks, interceptions/air defense, and significant counterbattery fire, etc. Can NATO (that is US) reduce Russian military capability that much in any reasonably short duration of time? (I actually think that Russians might be able to pull it off for a while against NATO forces in Eastern Europe for a while–but not sure how long it would last, given all other factors in play, obviously.). So after 2-4 weeks of heavy fighting in such a setting and good deal of casualties among your professional soldiers, I don’t think a “modern” army could continue to exist.

        1. Tom Stone

          Where would NATO stage the troops and supplies needed for an offensive and how could they move them into position to strike secretly?
          Assuming NATO had the needed troops, supplies and the means to move them…
          Those Sanctions destabilized a lot of NATO countries, their populations aren’t happy and the USA just pissed off their militaries by adopting a new small arms cartridge without discussing it with the other members of NATO.
          For no good reason, the current 5.56×45 is perfectly adequate for infantry use as is the current M4 carbine.

          1. LifelongLib

            I’m reading through an account of the struggle within the U.S. military over adopting the .223 caliber cartridge and the AR-15/M-16 rifles. Army Ordnance fought them tooth and nail, and sabotaged them even after the decision was made. I wonder if this is another round (npi) in the same fight…

            1. MT_Wild

              The U.S. military adopted the 5.56×45 cartridge, not the .223 Remington. Very similar cartridges, but not necessarily the same. The 5.56 is loaded to higher pressures, and not considered safe to fire from a rifle chambered in .223, but the reverse is generally fine.

              Minor technical detail, but the more you know….

          2. MT_Wild

            My understanding is there were many who thought the 5.56 was not performing well enough at longer ranges in Afghanistan. There’s no money in just returning to the 7.62×51 round and already existing firearms, and so the 6.8×51 was born.

            Granted it is probably a more efficient cartridge than the 7.62, but how many rounds would you have to use to recover the investment?

      3. GC54

        This just underscores that the US will false flag a tactical nuke and escalate to ICBM blackmail.

  10. dk

    Recalling the playful distinction I made the other day: [illustration]

    This is a point Ive been trying to make for years, referring to it as “loyalty vs skill,” a construction more amenable to less higher-education skilled workers (whom I identify with, having sought their special knowledge to great advantage in the PMC world where nobody really knows production is practiced, and may consider it magical).

    It has roots in the Biblical conflict between Cain and Able, the respective farmer and forager. These are two important survival strategies, operating at both individual and community levels. The farmers bind themselves to a particular piece of land, invest their efforts and hopes in it, and come to see it as the center of the(ir) world. They then see any threat or benefit to their land (or later, to their hegemonic in-group) as existential and respond with augmented fervor. Farmers also tend to ignore or de-prioritize factors and events external to their domains.

    The forager makes little or no such commitment to specific external/physical items, and when they do it is in the context of genericity: a stone ax is a stone ax, if you know how to make one you can almost always have one, given time and materials. Instead of planning and investing effort and materials, foragers look around them in the world as a whole, and then pursue a selection from what they see *in that place at that moment*. And importantly, moving on to another location is a much readier option. This is a completely different skill set, product of a significantly different world view and a hierarchy of importance that’s typically much flatter and more sparse than that of the farmers. I leave further examination and distinctions to the reader (reserving right to dispute/clarify).

    As civilizations and their technologies develop to more complex capability, these two strategies remain distinct in their patterns, but the forager patterns become more useful to farmers, whose concepts of individual independence necessarily diminish, since fealty to neighbors and transfer of tools (with our without developed skills) becomes necessary through the increased population that drives inter-species competition. Able is reborn amid Cain’s over-production (see concepts of surplus populations).

    An interesting distinction is the amount of information that older generations need to pass along to the younger to insure the culture’s survival. Necessary for both groups but the forager’s tends to be richer in proportion to the media available to them. In my study and practice of physical philosophies (derisively known as martial arts) I’ve discovered how seemingly simple but actually very precise gestures can convey distinct ideas about, for example, social dominance. Some movements and strategies are demonstrative and/or destructive (eliminate opponents), some construct trust and dependence (offer beneficial;/benevolent alternatives to opponents).

    IN either and every case, a motile species must find ways to pass information about applications of tools (like hands) and shifts in contexts (like tide prediction) without which genetic legacies are incomplete. For example our throats (and even our erect posture) are adapted from/to the generation of spoken languages, but languages themselves must still be passed along.

    1. dk

      I hadn’t see the video on fast inverse square root yet, but it’s a great example of hegemonic teaching (a brief and clear but arduous formula) and Forager teaching/methodology (a more performant optimization – hence cryptic to the inexperienced/”uninitiated” – for an *approximation* of sufficient precision). Successful over-producing Farmers can collect libraries too big to carry around, and and other super-supplies of time and materials produce the leisure needed to seek ever greater precision (even beyond physical limitations and into theory and fantasy) with less regard to immediate time costs. Successful Foragers succeed through speed and genericity-seeking practice, and their tools can seem, at least at first, counterintuitive to Farmers.

    2. dk

      What I didn’t point out is that hegemonic hierarchies operate through the support of the hierarchy. The top-of-hierarchy leader’s choices must be supported for the perpetuation of the hegemony. But this method at least occasionally sacrifices precision (aka “truth”) when the leader is inaccurate/wrong/etc.

      The exceptions that invest their time and practice towards refined skills tend to offer little loyalty to an imprecise leader or their hegemony. But the precision of their answers (which in practice can be a sufficient approximation) has value when the leader’s instructions must be realized in physical contexts. The exceptional is loyal to information, empirical or calculated. This undermines the loyalty game, potentially threatening a hegemony’s identity by supplying answers needed to avoid catastrophic failure.

      On the other hand, when exceptions achieve success within the hegemony on the basis of performance rather than abject loyalty, the value of loyalty seems damaged (a moment of clarity). It really irks the loyalists, and they complain bitterly, and plot to undermine the exceptionals.

  11. CanCyn

    Local zeitgeist report
    Ontario officials are calling present condition the ‘start’ of our 7th wave (no idea how we count these things. Wouldn’t it make more sense for original to be first wave, Delta 2nd and Omicron original 3 now new variants #4?). We do very little testing these days (haven’t been able to calculate positivity rate for months, one official said likely 10 times cases being reported at some point last year).
    Only two things I can use are hospitalizations and wastewater test results (the latter only published weekly) to decide ‘how to take care of myself’. The trend pretty much across the province re wastewater has been going up since early June. Apparently over half the cases are Omicron 5.1.
    IDK why anyone would be surprised that we’re in another wave. Masks have mostly disappeared, Of late, I am often the only one with a mask on in the grocery store. Will be interesting to see if that changes now that 7th wave is making headlines. Am assuming next week, 2 weeks after grad and Canada Day celebrations, will be when things will really get going.
    Re hospitals and mask changes. I recently had a mammogram as part of my physical and was asked to switch my KN95 for one of their surgical masks. When I objected, I was told that I could put it on over top of my ask. Apparently they use the mask colour to easily distinguish patients! Hmm, staff are already in uniform, why don’t they have a colour for their masks? Sigh

    PS Many thanks for fixing the Twitter/Safari glitch 😀

    1. wilroncanada

      We’re embroiled in another wave here on the we(s)t coast as well. Wife and I caught covid a month ago (not the latest variant), not sure where we got it. Fortunately I was only miserable for one day, but my wife had more severe reactions. The infections happened just as we were notified about being eligible for our 2nd booster. Since then, many of our neighbours and friends have had it as well, some for the second or third time. The local volunteer museum closed today–no volunteers available. Both local coffee shops have shortened hours of operation–staff.
      A few customers at the local (20 mins) supermarket wear masks, like me, but most don’t, even obviously frail elderly shoppers. To avoid most crowds I shop on the last day of the store’s weekly flyer. seems to work. The other stop is a nearly open air market where we buy most of our produce.
      Our next public appearance will be in two weeks, the Islands Folk Fest, one day only this year, five stages on the grounds of a former convent. All but one are outdoors. We will take our own chairs and set up to be away from any crowd density. Our tickets are from the cancelled festival 2 years ago. Looking forward to the music.

    2. Basil Pesto

      fwiw in Melbourne masks are few and far between but not as few and far between as they seem to be in the US and UK. Of those that do bother, more and more seem to be using KN95s at a minimum rather than cloth or surgical. Frequency varies depending on where you are – in the Melbourne CBD for example they are far more commonplace. Mostly, I think, because a large east Asian diaspora lives there.
      Elastomerics such as my Flo Mask Pro are vanishingly rare still, although I did have someone ask me a couple of weeks ago “is that a Flo Mask Pro?” and ask me quite a lot of questions about it, which I was only too happy to answer.

      Outside at a cafe the other day I overheard a couple of older tradies (HVAC workers I think) talking about Covid after discussing a job they had to do the next day. Masking/prevention came up and while there was a sense they’d much rather be shrugging it off, one said something in an earnest tone about “nah, look, it’s no joke” referring to its seriousness, suggesting that he obviously knew many who had had it and that he was now able to see through claims about its “mildness”. I gave them a couple of spare Auras I had in my bag and spluttered something about them being more protective and comfortable than, say, surgical masks, and they gratefully accepted. But at the same time, in that short interaction I wasn’t able to explain how best to fit them, where to buy more when they need to be replaced, etc., when supplying the masks and explaining their utility should really be public health’s job.

    3. CanCyn

      Ran into a neighbour late yesterday while out for a walk (after posting the above). He and his wife had COVID in January. He was away on a fishing trip (northern Ontario, they drove) in early June and while camping came down with a weird skin rash on his chest fever, chills. Rode it out but was very ill and went to ER when they got home. Said they loaded him up with antibiotics, was there overnight but not admitted and sent home. A month later still easily fatigued, no cause or diagnosis. Hmm. Googled when I got home and found that skin rash is not an uncommon symptom of, you guessed it, COVID! I knew about COVID toes but for whatever reason didn’t realize that many people get rashes. He said not a word about COVID and I didn’t know to ask.
      As for boosters, I am vaccinated and twice boosted and will not be getting another one, even if there is an Omicron version available in the fall. I am still more than willing to mask and limit my outings and socializing. I worry about immunize system fatigue and really don’t feel like participating in the vaccine profiteering experiment anymore.

  12. John

    The proliferation of administrators in health care and education both signals and parallels their declining excellence and rising cost.

    1. CanCyn

      This is so true. I worked in the community college system in Ontario from 2005 to 2019. When I started, the library director was one administrator away fro the college president, they knew each other on a first names basis. Now there are several ranks of administration between the library director and the president and they do not see much of each other. What started out in ’05 as my dream job became a slog of beaurocracy, report writing to justify pretty much anything and work that often seemed to have very little to do with educating anyone. I retired early and have not regretted it for one moment. Keeping in touch with unhappy former colleagues tells me it is only getting worse.

  13. antidlc


    President Biden
    United States government official
    It was my honor to welcome some extraordinary Americans to the White House today and honor each of them with our nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Another superspreader event? I see one mask.

    There are a lot of elderly people there.

  14. flora

    re: Not untrue. And all a long, long time ago, even the Civil Rights Movement.

    And both were challenges to then existing property laws (slaves as private property, monopoly control of industries and wages as private property, bank speculation as private property).

    I can’t imagine the modern Dem estab doing any of these things.

  15. Amfortas the hippie

    re: Ganz
    linked there, from a week or two ago:

    i used to be a Libertarian…until i studied economics….and realised that i knew a whole lot of poor people.
    when i got the internet, years later, i went looking for philosophical underpinnings…and stumbled on Strike the Root.com.
    full to the brim with Rothbardians.
    arguing with them people taught me that i really wasn’t a capital L libertarian…and closer to the Other Murray(Bookchin).

    regardless…this connection Ganz identifies needs to be studied…because here we are.
    the amurkin right has won…even while losing.
    prepare for the fallout that will come from that win.

    in my case, i accept the feudalist, warlordist future that’s abornin’…but i’ll be the anarchosocialist warlord out here, and compete directly with those i’ve already identified as potential/nascent warlords.

    i never cared for David Brin…smug,smirking….but i watched Costener’s Postman recently anyway…i’ll be the Tom Petty character, if i have any say at all.

    1. Screwball

      Tom Petty… since you brought him up, unrelated here but I can’t help it.

      I had a song earworm going on for about a week. Finally figured it out. I knew it was a Petty song, but didn’t know the title. “Into the great wide open.” I spun it up and read the lyrics. I don’t think his intent was what I got out of it, but it kind of sums up what I see today.

      Into the great wide open
      Under them skies of blue
      Out in the great wide open
      A rebel without a clue

      I’m old, retired, but teach. Our kids are our/their future. Many are lost, need help, guidance, discipline, and love. They will have to fix this world they must live in because we won’t be here. Many are pissed off and should be, but they don’t know what to do. It worries me to pieces. Or maybe I’m a Debbie Downer. It’s good to be rebellious, but you better have a clue.

      Great wisdom from a legend, even if perhaps out of context. Thank you Tom Petty for all you gave us, and RIP my man.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        And to you, Screwball.

        I’ve grown so cynical and cold, I’m hard pressed to care about the future…no kids and nothing but a hard-scrabble old age ahead of me

        Hats off to you for staying in the fight.

        And hats held high in honor of the buck-toothed Rebel.

        1. Screwball

          Thank you, and I understand. Don’t blame you one bit either.

          I have 4 kids of my own. 34-44. 4 grand kids between them. I still tell them the best thing they can teach their kids is how to take care of themselves – because nobody else is going to.

          I think Tom would agree. Cheers FH.

  16. JBird4049

    >>>He was hired on a 90-day probationary period, and according to the mayor, the intention was to promote him to chief after a successful period.

    This for Timothy Loehmann, a person who shot dead a child with a toy gun after jumping from a still moving car and simultaneous shooting. Seriously, WTF?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe next they could try hiring former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor as he has just been recently released.

  17. Glossolalia

    Loehmann is the officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice in 2014…. Council unanimously approved Loehmann’s hiring at $18 per hour.

    So we’re paying cops about the same as we pay fast food workers?

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Down here in the South, Fast Food Workers make AT MOST 14$ hr for Managers….

      1. JBird4049

        And they actually expect people to live on such wages? I know that most of the country is cheaper to live than the Bay Area, but really, that is crazy greed right there.

        1. Objective Ace

          Ehh.. if you go back to early 20th century standards of living its no problem to live on. You cant afford your own place — but you can rent a room somewhere (boarding houses used to be common). Cant afford healthcare, but healthcare really didnt exist back then either.. so affordability was moot.

          Dont get me wrong, I dont think people should have to live on those wages — I’m just trying to look at it as Jeff Bezos does

          1. LifelongLib

            IIRC in 1975 I was able to rent a room for $10/week, which was 5 or 6 hours of work at minimum wage. Bet there’s nothing equivalent to that now. Back then housing was cheap and TVs were expensive. Today a minimum wage job will get you a big screen TV in your parents’ basement.

    2. Fiery Hunt


      Might be part of the problem, no?
      But let’s Defund The Police…

      Bernie was right.

  18. Glen

    I’d be really interested in seeing an analysis of the economic policies used by China and Russia to boost their countries, and a comparison to America’s policies (or lack there of).

    Right now it seems our elites are stuck in the denial phase of grief when it comes to the fate of our disappearing unipolar world, but maybe at some point, basic sanity would allow a more rigourous examination of what lead to this particular outcome.

  19. Pat

    The word is going out in NYC:

    Mask Up Brooklyn

    Figured I would go with a not the usual suspect source since everyone will probably be using the city’s health department statements and tweets.

    Also nice of them to wait for Friday afternoon…

    1. jr

      That’s great news but the image they provide shows a mostly worthless cloth mask. In my neck of Brooklyn, masks are few and I’ve started to get more odd looks from people when I go out. No one has said anything yet.

      1. Pat

        It is amazing how the new high alert status for every borough is not leading the news.

        People just keep thinking all those people they know getting sick are the exceptions.

  20. Mikel

    Win some, Newsome…
    Of all his proclamations, I’ll give him credit for this:

    With a budget of $100 million, California plans to “contract and make our own insulin at a cheaper price, close to at cost, and to make it available to all,” Newsom said. It’s unclear exactly how inexpensive California’s insulin will be or when the low-cost drugs will be available.

    Insulin in the U.S. costs almost $100 per unit, on average. That’s nearly four times the price in Chile, which has the second-highest prices among the 34 countries analyzed by the nonprofit Rand Corporation, at less than $25 per unit.

    Currently, four in five Americans in need of insulin have incurred thousands of dollars in credit card debt to pay for the medication, according to a recent survey commissioned by health care organization CharityRx. The average debt among all survey participants was $9,000….”

    1. Michael Sharkey

      I assume Newsome’s low cost endeavor will still need to receive FDA approval, prior to distribution?

        1. converger

          No need. Newsom will move on to the next shiny object, soon enough.

          Fabulous idea, though.

    2. ChrisRUEcon

      > I’ll give him credit for this …

      Yep. Saw that, and concur … it’s a good move.

      California (unlike say, Illinois) has a state budget surplus, and I like that there seems to be a desire to use it to help at least some people. I also concur with others who pointed out that the Golden State stimmy program was means tested and still left a lot of people vulnerable. So we can only home they won’t means test the bejeezus out of this to the same degree.

  21. jr


    The evolutionary advantage of spatiality and temporality is not that they are windows onto aspects of reality but rather that they delineate and narrow our windows on superpositional
    reality. They allow us to avoid information overload. Any organism that saw the world-in-itself would be easy pickings for one that didn’t; it seems unlikely such an organism could even arise.

    1. witters

      “Any organism that saw the world-in-itself would be easy pickings for one that didn’t; it seems unlikely such an organism could even arise.”

      Indeed, so perhaps one only thinks “the world-in-itself” makes sense.

  22. Milton

    Extreme weather alert!
    Temperatures in the UK have never reached 40ºC. But for the first time ever, weather forecast models started to show it as a possibility late next week.
    I’ve been following this story the past few weeks. Instead of moderating as the heat event nears, it appears to be getting more intense. Some areas in France may even exceed 45º.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I heard about the heat wave in places like Italy in Japan but not so much France in the UK. Maybe part of the new norm? The fossil fuel advocates will just exclaim that the British will no longer have to travel to Spain for the warm weather so win-win.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m about 150 pages into KSR’s Ministry of the Future and it’s quite prescient with a heat wave killing 20 million in India in the first chapter.

        The key to coping without a/c if the grid goes down is getting into a cave or mine (not what i’d do-but it’ll work) and you only need be around 20 feet inside the mouth of it to experience around 50 degrees instead of over double that.

        The other way is to get high, it’s almost 4 degrees cooler for every 1,000 feet in altitude you ascend.

        1. Daryl

          > The other way is to get high, it’s almost 4 degrees cooler for every 1,000 feet in altitude you ascend.

          How many milligrams of THC does that translate to?

          Here in TX, I’m getting regular emails from my electricity provider asking me not to use electricity during the day. I wouldn’t be surprised if Texas and its snowflake grid causes a mass fatality event soon.

          1. RockHard

            In CO, Xcel implemented time of day pricing. 11AM-1PM I think is about double base price. 1PM-7PM is 3x base price.

        2. Paradan

          I figure if you can keep your legs immersed in water that’s under 95 or so, that that should be enough to keep you from cooking yourself. Looks like public baths are coming back in style, and unlike the Romans, we got chlorine, woot!

    2. super extra

      France is one of those places I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a heatwave. SO much stone, everywhere. Those bastide towns probably turn to ovens

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe they can take all those almonds and turn them into Marzipan for distribution to the homeless. But based from what I have seen here in Oz, they will just bulldoze them into the ground.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>California Is Stuck With 1 Billion Pounds of Almonds. (actually 1.3 billion pounds)

        This could be like government cheese, aka the processed cheese like product of my youth. But unless the producers of those 650 thousand tons can make a profit, they will just dump it. Cool, drain the water supplies of who knows how many small communities and towns dependent on ground water and then destroy the excess. Capitalism at its finest right there.

        >>> “Biden’s White House fears canceling student debt will drive inflation even higher — and that restarting loan payments might help avoid that”

        The Beatings will continue until morale improves or enough have died. What useless and feckless fools. Most people who have trouble paying off their student debt have trouble paying rent or in cases for food.

  23. Amfortas the hippie

    and now i hafta add https://mereorthodoxy.com/fascism-christianity/#

    that chick

    to my regulars.
    as an Anarch, with socialist tendencies, i reckon we’d get along(i’ve read Russel Kirk, after all—love that guy…see: Ten Points)
    i’d have her in the new new dealer coalition right quick.
    Team Blue isn’t even trying.
    in fact, actively preventing such a Red/Brown from ever happening.
    it would piss off the Doners(holy)
    and upset the GOP.
    can’t have that.

    1. JBird4049

      The entire political establishment has been decades breaking up those organizations like unions, co-opting charities and NGOs, and ejecting those who refused to change from their now heretical leftist, liberal, or conservative ways especially those who refused to be bought.

      The only good thing from shoving the Overton Window so far right that a true moderate or liberal is now considered a leftist or communist, and shrinking the acceptable beliefs and positions into two very narrow palettes is that it leaves out 80% > of the American population. This gives a chance to those who wish to isolate, weaken, and then either destroy or reform the whole gigantic vampiric octopus: The Donor Class, the established parties, the nomenklatura, apparatchiks, glitterati, and even the literati or intelligentsia.

    1. nippersdad

      I think I see a problem here:

      “What is most notable is that a third cargo headed to US arch-enemy, China, which is now directly benefiting at the expense of US consumers as a result of Biden’s escalating panic to undo the consequences of his catastrophic green policies by selling the most valuable US assets directly to Beijing!”

      When did Zerohedge start to provide the editors for Oilprice.com? And what “Green policies” has Biden been guilty of practicing?

  24. Jason Boxman

    The latest report notes, “Almost 13.8 million children are reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic according to available state reports; nearly 315,000 of these cases have been added in the past 4 weeks. Approximately 5.9 million reported cases have been added in 2022.”

    So imagine liberal Democrats have enabled SARS-COV-2 to cripple almost 1.4 million children, so far, if the low estimate of 10% of cases developing long-COVID is accurate.

    Fun times.


  25. Pat

    So Gothamist has linked the news that there are so many Covid cases in every borough that they are all on high alert level now (not that most people know) with the word that the Adams administration is shutting down most of the free Covid testing sites. He is denying it.

    High Covid Levels and Test Site Closures

    1. Jason Boxman

      Walgreens has a huge increase in positivity in the NE, which is what I expected we’d see. What began with the earlier BA1 and BA2 variants in NE and later spread throughout the country is repeating again, with NE lighting up like an angry Christmas tree, and I fully expect this will proliferate throughout the country again, as it does.

      This is the next wave that I thought I’d call early a few days ago. It’s a shame it looks like I’m possibly correct. But with BA4/BA5 now dominant, there is really no place to go but up. And we know that prior infection with BA1 or BA2 isn’t helpful here.

      My Enovid order is being processed; I hope it ships soon!

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    I don’t know how many people here have heard of the Georgia Guidestones . . . . but I just learned they have been recently blown up. Here is a link to some stories about that.


    And here is Beau of the Fifth Column giving a video talk about what and why the Georgia Guidestones were and who maybe blew them up and why maybe. . .

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    The New Republic ran an article about its legal analysis of Morton’s Steakhouse’s claims that the appearance of protestors outside the restaurant while Kavanaugh was eating dinner inside violated Kavanaugh’s rights to eat dinner in peace and undisturbed.

    The article is called . . . ” There Is No Constitutional Right to Eat Dinner
    Claims that Justice Brett Kavanaugh had his rights violated by protesters outside a D.C. restaurant fail on originalist grounds.”

    Here is the link.


  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is a legacy ad for a 1956 Fridgidaire refrigerator from the damnthatsinteresting subreddit. It is captioned ( or titled or whatever) ” This 1956 Fridgidaire refrigerator has more features than my new one”.
    And watching the ad, I think that some of the features are pretty good and show intelligence of design. If they worked as good as they looked, they showed intelligence of engineering too. And with proper care this Fridgidaire could probably have lasted for decades.

    All analog, not a chip or a blue tooth anywhere.


    1. JBird4049

      As far as I know, the only necessary change since 1956 is in the coolant used the ones used in the mid 20th century were destroying the Ozone Layer, which protects from the Sun’s UV light.

      We have gone from a beautifully designed, very functional refrigerator to crap that falls apart in a few years. All Hail the Beauty and Awesomeness That Are The Gods of Free Market Capitalism! Hail Hydra!

      Yeah, I know that I am going slightly crazed comparing Free Market Capitalism to a fictional evil, cult like, neo-nazi criminal organization, controlled by a man with a red skull like face, determined to rule the world. It just seems appropriate.

  29. IMOR

    Re: conservative bloc of justices on New York Court of Appeals.
    But…but…two of them arecwomen! And there’s three women of seven total!

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