2:00PM Water Cooler 8/30/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I have exorcised the demon from my iPad: Settings -> Accessibility -> VoiceOver is now OFF. What a relief! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day


Golden Bowerbird, Queensland, Australia.

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

“Here’s food for thought, had Ahab time to think; but Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels” –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

“You can’t really dust for vomit.” Nigel Tufnel, This is Spinal Tap


Biden Administration

“Sen. Kyrsten Sinema Privately Blew Up Biden Nominee Needed to Enact Regulatory Agenda” [The Intercept]. “Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was the one to scuttle President Joe Biden’s choice to head the obscure but all-important Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, according to sources familiar with the standoff. The office was created to help speed — or, more accurately, make somewhat less torturous — the process of writing regulations, which requires input from the public, legal reviews, and coordination among a variety of agencies. The office will be crucial for implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, particularly its climate provisions, and with the House and Senate not guaranteed a Democratic majority come January, it could play an outsize role in carrying out Biden’s agenda…. The Biden administration began vetting Ganesh Sitaraman, a law professor at Vanderbilt University, in 2021…. Months later, in late spring, Sinema informed the White House that she would oppose Sitaraman. … Sitaraman is a former aide to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and the author of the book ‘The Public Option: How to Expand Freedom, Increase Opportunity, and Promote Equality.’ He’s also a close friend of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.” • Ah, the dreaded public option. I can’t wait to see who 2022’s Sinema is. Because the Democrats always seem to have one.

It’s excellent the way that living a normal life has morphed into a return to debt slavery:


* * *

* * *

“‘The US could lose the right to vote’: top official’s democracy warning” [Guardian]. “Colorado’s secretary of state, Jena Griswold, is warning anyone who will listen that the fate of free and fair elections in the United States hangs in the balance in this November’s midterm contests. In many of the most competitive races for offices with authority over US elections, Republicans nominated candidates who have embraced or echoed Donald Trump’s myth of a stolen election in 2020. Griswold, who chairs the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State (Dass) and is running for re-election, is urging Americans to pay attention to the once-sleepy down-ballot contests for secretary of state – lest they lose their democracy.” • The Democrats are, naturally, pouring money into these crucial races. Oh, wait…

TX: “Beto O’Rourke postpones events after being hospitalized” [Politico]. “Beto O’Rourke, Texas’ Democratic candidate for governor, will ‘postpone events’ after being hospitalized with a bacterial infection, he wrote Sunday on Twitter. ‘While my symptoms have improved, I will be resting at home in El Paso in accordance with the doctors’ recommendations,’ O’Rourke said. He has been discharged from the hospital, campaign communications director Chris Evans said Sunday. The former member of Congress was hospitalized at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio after feeling sick on Friday, he wrote. He was diagnosed with a bacterial infection and received care including IV antibiotics, according to the tweet.”

* * *


“Janet Yellen was skeptical of President Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan and Jill Biden expressed reservations, while Kamala Harris was a huge backer of debt cancellation: NYT” [The Hill]. • If Harris thinks she’s going to ride that $10,00 anywhere, she’s mistaken. (Story hook: An “administration official” says Harris “instructed her staff” to write a memo and hand it to Biden. Strong stuff!)

Republican Funhouse

“The Republican Party Is Having an Identity Crisis” [Bloomberg]. “This is a defining moment for Republicans who were counting on a strong midterm showing to launch themselves back into the White House in 2024. But the party’s identity crisis is evident in the uneven performances of Senate candidates in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Ohio, among others, that jeopardizes its prospects for a congressional majority. ‘You’ve got a lot of factions within the party,’ Robert Blizzard, a Republican strategist, said in an interview. ‘It looks convoluted. Are we the Trump party? Are we at the point where we’re DeSantis’ party?'” • The Republican base has always been willing to have Republican electeds lose.

“Defendants targeted in DeSantis’ voter fraud crackdown were told they could vote” [Politico]. ” Several people who were arrested last week as part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ voter fraud crackdown were notified by official government entities they were eligible to vote, according to court documents and interviews. The defendants told authorities they had no intention of committing voter fraud, according to affidavits, and in some cases were baffled by their arrests because counties had sent them voter registration cards and approved them to vote. The defendants were vilified by the governor during a high profile press conference last week, at which DeSantis announced the arrest of 20 people — convicted murderers and sex offenders — who allegedly cast votes in the 2020 election when they weren’t eligible to. The defendants, because of their convictions, weren’t permitted to vote.”

“Iowa Election Deniers’ New Theory And Plan To Canvass For ‘Phantom Voters’” [Iowa Starting Line]. “The new front in the Donald Trump-led effort to deny the results of the 2020 election has officially come to Iowa. That’s thanks in part to a recent high-profile visit to the state by Dr. Douglas Frank, a former math teacher from Ohio who now travels the country on a crusade to “prove” the election was stolen and rally disillusioned Trump voters to his cause. He spoke to a Trump-inspired Iowa grassroots group called “Iowa Canvassing” late last month at the Heartland Acres Event Center in Independence. During a 3-hour presentation, he galvanized the crowd of close to 100 attendees in their mission to uncover widespread voter fraud in the state. Frank also wanted to teach them how to check the results for themselves—through persuasion to the point of annoyance, and even by suing your county auditor if necessary…. “You need to be able to explain it to your friends,” Frank told the crowd. “I need you to see why and how—and then you’ll be part of it.” Nothing wrong with checking things out for yourself, of course. But through the course of checking out Frank, it appears his broader goal is to undermine faith in America’s elections system through vague accusations and scary-looking graphs that he assigns all-encompassing conspiracy theories to.”

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.

* * *

More like this, please:

In general, liberal Democrats are far too worried about what Republicans might do. They need to worry about what they can do, or rather what they could do but aren’t.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Something to look forward to:

Speculating freely: I can see something akin to Mussolini’s March on Rome, which began with labor unrest. If cops started breaking heads to bust unions, liberal Democrats either wouldn’t know what to do or would support them. And if the cops then decided to organize…


• From Naomi Wu, a measured take on Corsi-Rosenthal boxes:


Of course, Wu is right (although I suppose the real question in the United States is not why Corsi and Rosenthal haven’t gone into the manufacturing business, but why frauds and hucksters are already selling ionizers into school systems). However, I view the relationships forged by making and placing Corsi-Rosenthal boxes as important in and of themselves; many people coming together to provide a solution of benefit to others. We don’t see enough of that. (That is, my interest is not “How you can breathe virus-free air for under a $100!”, because that falls into the personal risk assessment frame. Rather, I like it when groups build several Corsi-Rosenthal boxes as a project, to protect an institution. That’s really an act of collective defiance, since the action implies that (1) Covid has not gone away, (2) Covid is airborne, and (3) we need to protect others as well as ourselves. All controversial propositions in Biden’s America!)

* * *

• Maskstravaganza: Clear masks:

Do any readers have experience with this kind of mask? I see the utility for e.g. lipreading, but frankly it feels like some sort of category error.

• Maskstravaganza: Techniques, explanations, studies to counteract the influence of trolls. Long thread:

• Maskstravaganza: Lousy paradigm and question-begging:

Going maskless with somebody who isn’t masked isn’t like pulling up behind them. It’s like cutting them off and then jamming on the brakes. Has Wachter had multiple bouts of Covid, or what?

* * *

• “Like many”:

Never thought of the PMC conference circuit as a death cult, but here we are….

• More on ISME18, the microbiologist conference that was a superspreading event:


Yes, it would be great if we had contact tracing after conferences. But if we did that, well….

* * *

If you missed it, here’s a post on my queasiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.

* * *

Case Count

Case count for the United States:

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 nominal 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 ~84,200. Today, it’s ~84,200 and 88,700 * 6 = a Biden line at 532,200 per day. (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. If you look at the Fauci line, you will see that despite the bleating and yammering about Covid being “over,” we have only just recently reached the (nominal) case level of November 1, 2021, and we are very far from that of July 1, 2021. And the real level is much worse.

Regional case count for four weeks:

The South:

Florida Man as stable as ever.

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

The West:

I’m still not sure I like the current big drop, with anecdotes about big outbreaks at LAX and Google.


Wastewater data (CDC), August 23:

Very unhappy with the grey dots in California, or virtually no dots in Texas and Florida. We have no check on case numbers in critical states.

For grins, August 20:

What I’m really worried about is an increase in grey dots (“no recent data”). because that would mean the effort is being shut down or defunded.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, August 30:

-1.4%. The curve inside the red circle is actually encouraging.


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.)

This is actually improving. More yellow in the Plains states and the Mountain states.

NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), August 26:

I suppose that if case counts are indeed level, it’s likely there would be few rapid risers.

Previous Rapid Riser data:

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), August 26:

Lots of green, which should make the hospital-centric goons at the Centers for Disease happy.

NOTE: Rapid Riser and Hospitalization data are updated Wednesdays and Fridays.


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), August 13:

No sign of BA2.75 at Walgreens, despite its success in India and presence in Bay Area wastewater.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), August 6 (Nowcast off):

No sign of BA2.75 as yet.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,069,499 – 1,068,111 = 1388 (1388 * 365 = 506620, artificially high because of my three-day weekend; today’s LivingWith™* number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, thought they can talk themselves into anything. Fluctuates quite a bit, but even the low numbers are bad). I have added an anti-triumphalist black Fauci Line. It’s nice that for deaths I have a 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 Job Openings” [Trading Economics]. “The number of job openings in the US rose by 199,000 from a month earlier to 11.2 million in July of 2022, while markets had expected it to drop to 10.45 million. It was the first increase in job openings after three consecutive months of slight declines, reflecting persistent tightness in the labor market amid worker shortages.” • Musical interlude.

Housing: “United States Case Shiller Home Price Index YoY” [Trading Economics]. “The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index in the US increased 18.6% year-on-year in June of 2022, the least in six months and well below forecasts of 19.5%. “The mortgage financing has become more expensive as the Federal Reserve ratchets up interest rates, a process that continued as our June data were gathered. As the macroeconomic environment continues to be challenging, home prices may well continue to decelerate”, according to S&P Dow Jones & CoreLogic.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 50 Neutral (previous close: 53 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 57 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 30 at 1:21 PM EDT.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.). They’re missing Drought and Food Supply. Ya know, I scan the total list, and I’ve got to wonder if this is yet another number that’s being rigged.

The Gallery

Too meta:


Sports Desk

“Why Competitive Chess Is as Vicious as 10 Rounds in a Boxing Ring” [Inside Hook]. “I have competed physically all my life. I’ve hyperextended knees, and had my nose realigned in high-school wrestling. Boxing gloves and a 300-pound hockey defenseman have bruised my ribs. I broke two fingers on one play, in the end zone at a pick-up flag football game (dropped it!). The aggression of chess pales to none of this. Chess is in-close fighting, elbows and knees, pushing and shoving. It’s pulling the guy’s jersey over his head and punching. It’s a knife fight in a phone booth. You can’t hide.”

Book Nook

A successful formula:

Although maybe I should have filed this under “Zeitgeist Watch.”


Well-regulated militia:

Personally, I don’t need to adjust my personal risk assessment about driving in Texas. But others might!

Zeitgeist Watch

And then they grew up:

News of the Wired

I have no idea where this is from, but I wish I could do it:

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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 TH:

TH writes: “This Scabiosa graces the grounds of the Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar (Newport Beach), California. Apparently, it’s a member of the honeysuckle family. (Wikipedia claims, and it sounds likely, that ‘the common name ‘scabious’ comes from the herb’s traditional usage as a folk medicine to treat scabies, an illness that causes a severe itching sensation’).”

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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. lyman alpha blob

      The one above cuts off before Walken really gets going. I wish I could do the stuff in the last minute – in my dreams I guess. Also a Dune reference in the lyrics if you listen close enough – walk without rythm and it won’t attract the worm! And watching it again, is that a nod to Magritte in the final scene with the sailboat painting? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCDIYvFmgW8

      And there was a little Bootsy in the background of the Walken video. That old dude can still bring the funk.

    2. Anthony Noel

      Yeah apparently, according to Mr. Walken, he was quite the dancer in his younger days, and this video was made specifically for him to get some of his moves down on film before he got too old to do them anymore.

    1. Objective Ace

      Is this representative of everyone all the time though? Frankly, going through TSA or even waiting at a DMV looks more tortuous then this. I’d happily wait in line like this on occasion if it meant a healthier longer life where I didnt always have to do a “personal risk assesment” every time I walked into a room

    2. Raymond Sim

      Oh ffs – that’s Shenzhen at the moment. How’ve things been the rest of the past two and a half years? How many dead kids? How many orphans?

      Now do the reality of going to an emergency room in America, a country so free we don’t even bother to control monkeypox, a disease Nigeria was managing to keep a lid on. A country whose main export to China right now may well be Covid virions. (You’re welcome Shenzhen!)

      Do the reality of working in food service or retail here.

      And how about some inside dope on what it’s like to be ‘imprisoned’ in one of those quarantine ‘camps’?

    3. digi_owl

      Too bad Naomi was chased behind a privacy screen by LTT fanatics, because i think she had some choice words to say about that screed…

    4. The Rev Kev

      Of course you have to wonder which is more safer – a medical conference in China or a medical conference in China.

    5. bonks

      That twitter account purposefully take videos out of context, provide wrong translations and use various other tricks to cater to the gullible non-chinese speaking western audience who like to see china fall.

      How do I know this? I speak mandarin and I live in Shanghai.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        So are you saying those videos are not the reality in Shenzhen right now? Or at any point in the last 6 months? Or anywhere in China?

        Not jousting; truly interesting in what is the situation in China and what No-Covid means there.

      2. Mikel

        I’m trying to figure out why someone is calling it a “vaccine passport” when testing is what is being described.

    6. Mikel

      They describe it as taking routine tests.
      Not taking routine shots. They are saying tests have to be up to date…nothing about shots in the tweet.

      What exactly do the Chinese call it?
      Seems like a contradiction to call it a “vaccine passport.”

    7. Beijinger

      I’ve been in Beijing and a small town in Anhui for the past two years. Usually wait 5 minutes in line, once every three days. Life is not like this video.

  1. griffen

    People are going crazy, America 2022. Yes point that gun in the opposing driver’s face while millions will eventually watch what you did. I gotta tell ya, these streets just are not safe anymore.

    Help us Dark Brandon, save us from all harm.

    1. jr

      I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned here but the glowing eyes of Dark Brandon are actually a trait of the character of Homelander in The Boys. It happens when he uses his laser eyes. For Brandon, it happens when he sees a Girl Scout troop walking by.

    2. Mikel

      And he was walking too steadily and holding the gun too steadily for it to be attributed to being high.
      He’s not afraid of jail.
      The person with the camera better be glad he didn’t shoot. He could have then taken the time to take care of one witness…

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        That dude is lucky the person in the Jeep wasn’t cradling a shotgun in their lap. His face would have been blown to pieces for all to see. Two can play the macho game.

      2. Fiery Hunt

        Can we at least nod at, let alone mention his non-White race?

        Big cities are rife with gun violence and it’s not the White Supremacist kind so often touted by Democrats in their quest to disarm Republicans.

        Gun violence is predominately NOT a race issue.
        (Or more accurately, it is but not in the way it’s portrayed in the media.)

        And it sucks that I have to add but I will…I hate White Supremacists.

    3. johnherbiehancock

      Here in Houston, it’s insane. It seems there’s AT LEAST one fatal, unsolved, unobserved road rage shooting each weekend on the area highways each weekend, and often another one or two during the week.

      Like people realized their odds of getting away with it are good enough that they’re ready to blast away over the slightest provocation.

      1. Joe Renter

        My bet it is safer than parts of Chicago. But yes, more guns strapped on more chances of death.

      2. Daryl

        The only part of the video I found shocking was that the gentleman stepped out of a vehicle with an actual license plate and not some expired fake paper tags.

      3. Mikel

        Road rage is an expression of people’s rage about their lives.

        That’s why we sometimes take foolish driving more patiently than at other times. What’s on their minds determines how people handle these situations.

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    I have no idea where this is from, but I wish I could do it

    Its Fatboy Slim Weapon of Choice

    1. madarka

      Lambert might also be tickled to learn that the song lyrics reference Dune: walk without rhythm, and you won’t attract the worm…

  3. jr

    Today in Tech:

    Could BRAIN CHIPS be used to control crime? Offenders’ behaviour could be monitored using futuristic implants – but experts warn criminals could claim their device was HACKED to evade a sentence

    ‘One might imagine, for example, that such a device suppresses anger,’ said Professor Schafer, adding that this would be no different to suppressing anger using drugs.


    Dr McCay wrote: ‘Perhaps even conditions like psychopathy might one day be treated by way of neurotechnology, and the political conditions might emerge for seeing neurotechnology as a broader solution to crime might come into place.’


    and if all that fails:

    Government announces UK’s first net-zero ‘smart prison’ in Yorkshire powered by solar energy where inmates have TABLETS in their cells – but says all devices will be fitted with ‘tough security’ to stop inmates browsing the internet

    The firm’s founder James Tweed told MailOnline that it spends ‘a lot of time with Google’ ensuring the devices are secure. They come preloaded with educational content and other tools such as a CV builder.


    then on to electric car boogaloo:

    How will we charge them all? US needs to spend $35 BILLION to meet demand for 1.2 million public ports by 2030 (And that’s not counting the 28M needed in homes!)

    A report from car insurer Jerry states: ‘With a projected 35 million EVs on the road by 2030, the US will need to install about 478 charging ports every day for the next eight years to build the necessary infrastructure to support them.’



    Waymo offers DRIVERLESS robotaxi service in downtown Phoenix to ‘vetted’ locals who can’t share their experiences on social media and must sign non-disclosure agreements

    This new effort with trusted testers in downtown Phoenix is the next step before a wider public release, but it also comes in the wake of accidents in prior years involving driverless or semi-autonomous technology.

    A June report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that nearly 400 crashes in the US within a ten month period were caused by self-driving or driver assistance technology.


    1. wilroncanada

      Besides, the inmates are too tired to study at night. They’ve spent the hours after sunset peddaling to keep the generators providing power through the night. They have just enough energy to watch the porn some hacker has provided through the high level security.

    1. GoRaiders

      That’s one of our favorite videos of our side of the Bay. Like what you see there?

      Oakland is where Kamala Harris got her first real job as an assistant D.A. after the ‘jobs she gave Willie Brown before that fruiting body went on to infect the head of the Democratic voter ant. Oakland is a 100% Democrat run city. Jerry Brown briefly served as mayor between other stints before moving on to run the state before being termed out. Oakland is run by rich white ladies and staffed by chosen minorities. If you like what you see in Oakland, make sure and don’t vote Republican.

      Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf On Trump Administration Targeting Progressive Cities


  4. herman_sampson

    On a recent “Law and Disorder,” DeSantis’s crusade against voters was featured; released felons could vote if they applied for it AND they had no outstanding court costs (room and board for prison, fines, etc.). I believe these people were approached by election officials and registered – for some reason they later deemed ineligible to vote. It sounds to me like we have victims of entrapment, not people trying to commit voter fraud.
    The one solid case of voter fraud I know of is when the Republican candidate for Indiana Secretary of State did not correct his address before the election, he voted, won, served a few months before being convicted of voter fraud. Governor was able to select another Republican to fill out term; the Democrat candidate was SOL.

    1. marym

      In Florida in 2018 64.5% of voters passed a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to convicted felons who had served their sentences.

      Then the FL legislature passed a law as you described to make it difficult to vote, including paying fines although the state didn’t have records or a process to tell people what they owed. (Link)

      There were efforts by advocates to provide assistance. I don’t know where these efforts stand today. In 2021 DeSantis investigated them. “State police devoted more than 700 man hours, reviewed more than 7,600 records and tried interview more than 100 people. The conclusion: no evidence of fraud.” (Link)

      His celebratory press conference on arresting these 20 people will also likely intimidate other voters who may have navigated the process but will now be more fearful of voting.

  5. LawnDart

    iPad: Settings -> Accessibility -> VoiceOver is now OFF.

    It should have been a clue when your iPad started swearing back at you.

  6. Louis Fyne

    to have a civil war, you need two sides who are willing to die for their country (or make the other dumb bastard die for her country).

    Does anyone honestly think that people around the country are going to sweat, fight, kill, die for Chuck Schumer, Michael Bloomberg, Kamala Harris, or Gavin Newsom?

    1. fresno dan

      I have a tough time believeing any more than 3 people will die for Trump (and fewer for DeSantis or McConnell). As I recall, not ONE gun at Jan 6 by Trump supporters??? Seems for all the shooting in this country, political shootings are pretty rare…
      Two heart attacks: According to an April release from the Washington, D.C., medical examiner’s office, “Stop the Steal” protesters Kevin Greeson, 55, and Benjamin Phillips, 50, both died of cardiovascular disease, and the manner of death was deemed “natural.”

      According to a ProPublica profile, Greeson, of Athens, Alabama, was participating in the protest outside the Capitol when he suffered a heart attack and died minutes before the first rioters breached the Capitol. The article notes that a Metropolitan Police Department incident report at the time states that Greeson “was in the area of the United States Capitol in attendance of first amendment activities” when he had a heart attack.

      Once a supporter of President Barack Obama, Greeson had over the years become an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump and was convinced that the election had been stolen. While Greeson had posted social media messages in the weeks before the rally such as “Let’s take this f—ing Country BACK!! Load your guns and take to the streets!,” his family insisted to the New York Times the day after his death that “he was not there to participate in violence or rioting, nor did he condone such actions.”

      1. Eureka Springs

        As we see all the time people will kill/die for the dumbest reasons. And they can easily be lied into hatred and or fear. It takes very few to initiate provocations (including perhaps especially the cop/spooks) for things to get fubar. Certainly how Ukraine civil war started, and expanded despite majority of its people voting for the exact opposite.

        Our lunatics are certainly systemically in charge here.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          This is very much my view, Eureka Springs. I think the issues here are several. The first is that, obviously, because nothing in history is ever a 1:1 comparison (cf. St. Paul, “We see as through a glass, darkly”), a period of civil disorder and conflict in the 21st century will not look like it did in the 19th. It will not be strictly, or as strictly, sectional, it will not be characterized by the centralized systems that characterize modern states post-Napoleon, and it is unlikely for that reason to involve mass armies.

          But I think we can very easily imagine something in the United States like Italy’s Anni di Piombi, the Years of Lead, that lasted from the late 1960s through the early 1980s, where you have, amid pervasive economic, political, and social turmoil, you have various fascist/far right and far left/communist militant groups, various intelligence agencies, terrorist attacks, kidnappings (including of the Prime Minister, Aldo Moro! Who was murdered, as well, by the Red Brigades). Operation Gladio, of course, is up to its eyeballs in all of this, as laid out in public hearings before the Italian Parliament.

          I do also think, and yes, I am an academic historian by training, that we have to look at this in a much broader context. By my count, excluding the current period, Americans, since the 17th century, have fought in three major civil conflicts: the English (and Irish and Scottish) Civil War/Revolution in the 1640s, when Virginians and New Englanders quite literally went back to Britain and Ireland to fight, respectively, on the side of the King and the side of the Parliament; the American Revolution, which was an often extremely vicious civil conflict in every colony and beyond, one that eventually got caught up in a global war, and that in places like the Southern Backcountry give places like the Balkans in the 1990s a run for their money. And of course, we all know The Big One, 1861-1865.

          I’d also like to offer my personal observations as a local community college professor (until recently), someone heavily involved in local politics and activism, and someone who literally bikes almost everywhere, which gives you occasion to meet people of all different backgrounds. And the observations are this: the spirit is getting feral out there.

          It’s hard to precisely describe it, but here, in the environs of this Southeastern Massachusetts tourist town with its famous rock and a famous (and contentious) harvest festival, there is a lot of what friend of the blog Hunter S. Thompson rightly called “bad craziness.” The vibe is very apocalyptic, and understandably so. The world-system is changing in ways not seen really on this scale since the 16th century (and not even then, with carbon; it’s gonna get primordially weird with all of that stuff in the atmosphere). People are jazzed up in a bad way.

          The social manifestations of this are many. The most glaring of these are the Angry Truck Guys. They are men, I’d say of any age but generally clustering between early 20s and late 50s (very much the demographic of Case-Deaton, n.b.), driving absurdly tricked out and psycho-aggressive vehicles, usually some species of truck – which we read recently now exceed the size of both Shermans and who come roaring down Court Street full of outside diners and verandas full of well-meaning Dutch tourists, gunning their engines at children, tailgating little old ladies in Volvos because they don’t like their political bumper stickers – the model of masculinity has gone from Gary Cooper to Alaric the Visigoth with this crew, and like Reinhold Niebuhr said in a different context, it is synthetic barbarism with these contemporary Visigoths – the imitation of the mores and manners of Visigoths or Huns, in the heart of a long-settled, civilized society.

          These in turn activate a kind of antigenic response in local Wokeistas, who believe if they just scream SO EARNESTLY!!!!! But also mix it with a fine frisson of condescension and group-think, that they will achieve their (?) goals. They are generally tedious recent undergrads, or retirees on an MSNBC info diet, and they serve mostly to alienate the vast and put upon Commoners, who are simply trying to survive.

          Where do I see this all? On our community Facebook Pages, which we ought to municipalize. I am planning a Town Meeting Article (a resolution contra clear-cutting by developer bandits) on one.

          What is interesting is that when you make arguments that avoid the idiotic binary above, and appeal, above all, to what the 18th century called the Commonwealth ideology, civic republicanism, res publicae and the common good vs. private greed and ministerial (government) corruption is something that, irrespective of party difference, almost all Americans share – opposition to corruption, fear of overweening power, belief in the public good over private interest and corruption – these are the arguments that undergird the Revolution, and are in the collective unconscious of the body politic; when you make these arguments, you are very successful. We have achieved majorities of up to 88% on local questions making Commonwealth arguments. People also are thirsty for something meaningful, not simply a world of Netflix and Onlyfans. And they absolutely effing loathe the actual Lords of Capital (developers here) who make all of our lives miserable.

          Thanks to Open Town Meeting government and its direct, Athenian style democracy (even Representative Town Meeting is very democratic), there are many means to guard the rights of the Commons, here and the rapturous response to this defense gives me a great deal of cautious optimism – not phony Obama style hopium, but cautious, FDR-style optimism.

          1. JTMcPhee

            The big issue for a lot of us here in ‘Murka is whether to go for an AK or an AR rifle “platform,” lots of partisan issues right there. And what caliber and magazine capacity for your every-day-carry pistol, your backup gun, your truck/SUV/minivan gun, your bedside gun, and what to load your 12ga shotgun with for home defense. Not to mention knives in all their glorious permutations. Endless discussion, often heated.

            Check out the videos from Baghdad, where the US seems to finally be getting the boot by one or more of the well-armed and fractious factions there. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of spooks, jackals and thugs.

            That could never happen here, of course…

            1. ambrit

              That’s a good example of “Full Auto” snarkicity JT. A lot of us will do Full Meta Jacket snark in Single (targeted take down) shot or Burst (the bubbles) mode. Let us hope that we here in America don’t emulate the “restless natives” of Irak and go for a religious civil war.
              We live in interesting times.

    2. Anthony G Stegman

      In San Francisco thousands are willing to lay their lives on the line for Nancy Pelosi.

    3. The Rev Kev

      ‘Does anyone honestly think that people around the country are going to sweat, fight, kill, die for Chuck Schumer, Michael Bloomberg, Kamala Harris, or Gavin Newsom?’

      No, but I am willing to believe that Chuck Schumer, Michael Bloomberg, Kamala Harris or Gavin Newsom are more than willing to have people die for them. Look at how both parties demanded that their voters go out and vote in elections before even the 2020 election itself.

  7. Carolinian

    The US could lose the right to vote

    Seriously? That’s their pitch? Meanwhile Trump reportedly says on “Truth Social” that new revelations about the FBI suppressing the Hunter story mean the 2020 election should be re-run now. You really wonder whether Trump, an old man, has any genuine interest in being president again other than he’s “bored at Mar a Lago” and to spite his enemies. And the Dems are just as silly and petty if we are talking about Hillary, Biden, Obama, Pelosi etc. Everything for the above named is about self aggrandizement. This movie desperately needs a new cast.

    1. digi_owl

      US Congress desperately need a forced retirement age.

      Most of the people mentioned are in their 70s or older, and from dealing with family of that age i know they can get very cantankerous and set in their ways.

      1. Carolinian

        Maybe it’s just the nature of the period we are living in. The first “Gilded Age” had plenty of political corruption so it’s not a new thing. Then economic reform seemed to make the country a bit more democratic and the politicians too.

        But I agree with Lambert that the Trump raid is boring insofar as we shouldn’t be talking about Trump at all. He did have his shot and one can’t say he made a very good president even if Biden is worse. It’s really the Dems and the press who want Trump back because TDS is all they’ve got. And that’s kind of pathetic.

      2. Louis Fyne

        that. If I was a Roman Republic-style dictator for a week, that is the first thing that I’d change….forced retirement at 70 for all federal elected officials, judges, and bureaucrats.

        Yes, it would take out some worthy people but you need rotating blood at the top tiers of government.

        Maybe if I feel comical, I’ll throw in a “Logan’s Run”-style carousel to boot..

  8. digi_owl

    It is funny how much ink and bits are spent on arguing about the nature of an “assault rifle” when i suspect the vast majority of firearms offenses are from emotional or accidental handgun shots.

    1. albrt

      As the progressive icons known as Lynyrd Skynrd said back in 1975:

      Hand guns are made for killin’
      Ain’t no good for nothin’ else
      And if you like your whiskey
      You might even shoot yourself

      So why don’t we dump ’em people
      To the bottom of the sea
      Before some fool come around here
      Wanna shoot either you or me

      1. Joe Renter

        @albrt. Thanks for that way back moment. Forgot about those lines. Back in the day Lynyrd Sykynrd was on heavy rotation with my crew. As a matter of fact, I do believe I saw them in Oakland CA at what was called, Day on the Green. However, details are foggy as I was also quite high at concerts. Thank you, guardian angel.

    2. JBird4049

      Yes, handguns are the greater cause of death than any kind of rifle, but what gets the emotions all pumped? Just the term assault weapon was created and is used to cover all rifle because it has no definition. If the goal was to deal with assault rifles, which are practically illegal in the United States anyways, would be used. But if your long term goal is banning guns (or removing them from “those” people) and not saving lives right now, the focus might be rifles and not the more dangerous handguns.

      But like with the Pro-Life extremists, the desire to eventually eliminate all guns means evilizing them, not honest discussion with agree on definitions; pro-life people push downward what a “baby” or infant is, oversimplifies everything, demonize everyone, including often desperately vulnerable people, while doing nothing about the conditions that causes the need for abortions.

      Gun control, gun rights, pro-life, and pro-choices advocates all do this; the refusal to be as adults to listen to the others’ views, see all the reasons, and then try to come to an agreement that everyone can live with. Certainly, the margins of everything can be worked on, but often the often unthinking extremist, or the power or money hungry wants extremism. So, the propaganda and the lies.

      We have people using the lives of others to assuage their need for control, power, money, and ego gratification, and not solving problems and improving the lives of others.

  9. Mark Gisleson

    Just read that Danchenko’s trial will start on October 11 and is expected to last a week. Durham is personally prosecuting it.

    I wonder if there’ll be any news coverage.

  10. Tom Stone

    It’s amusing to hear a Vermont resident complaining about lax gun laws when Vermont was IIRC the first “Constitutional Carry” State.
    If you legally possess a gun in Vermont you can carry it concealed, no license or training required.
    Be polite to the blue haired lady in front of you in the checkout line…
    There are, of course, restrictions on where you can carry (Courthouses come to mind).

        1. Milton

          Awesome. So the domestic Cola, Russia is manufacturing is a 2nd generation sanction soda: Pepsi/Coke -> Fanta -> Russia domestic.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Sigh … he will forever elicit mixed feelings. He was a proper statesman, but he sold out the USSR. I still think there is a tome unwritten (a more salacious insider one, that is) as to how a group of men supposedly so steeped in communist philosophy quickly decided to do an about-face. Perhaps they were not so steeped is the short answer … and the siren song of the West, with its glamorous spectacles and (false) promises of better lives was too strong.

      Also, bad Econ … LOL

      Sigh …

      I should read a good Gorby biography. Open to recommendations from the commentariat.

      RIP Gorby.

      1. flora

        I remember him and that time. I remember when Yeltsin won the RU presidency and the US/West globalists thought Yeltsin and RU were suddenly worth “helping” with neoliberal economic “advice”, and western global companies and Wall St. banks saw a great looting opportunity, in the guise of “helping”. Putin came in after Yeltsin and threw out the foreign looters and reined in many of the RU oligarchs who wouldn’t toe his line. Suddenly the west turned to hating Putin and RU. (I don’t ever remember US talk about the USSR in such heavy terms of who was leader until Putin came in. The west media talks about fomenting regime change in RU… in hopes of finding another Yeltsin?)

        1. ambrit

          ‘They’ should read their Russian history.
          There was a revolution in Russia back in 1905. The extant socio-political Establishment enacted some reforms, but tried to stay in power with many of the privileges they had had formerly. The old forms were preserved, even if ‘underground.’
          Then came the 1917 Revolution, which had a “moderate” leadership, at the beginning. Eventually Kerensky became the ‘face’ of the Provisional Government. He was a “moderate” socialist. Then all H— broke out and Lenin and his Bolsheviks took power. A six year civil war resulted before the Soviets managed to secure full control.
          My point being; with any fluid situation such as the potential chaos in Europe and perhaps Russia this winter, the chances of a change of governments will favour the establishment of strong nationalist regimes. Compared to many of the other influential politicos in Russia, Vlad Vladimirovitch is an even tempered statesman.
          Those idiots in Washington had better be very careful about what they wish for.

          1. ChrisRUEcon

            > Those idiots in Washington had better be very careful about what they wish for.

            They’re already down the path, ambrit … they wished for Yeltsin … and Yeltsin gave them Putin.

  11. fresno dan

    The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz sued the Justice Department on Tuesday to try to get secret files the FBI compiled on the pop rock band while they protested the Vietnam War in their 1960s counter-culture heyday.
    Really? REALLY.
    Somebody thought that was a good use of funds…of all the crime, of all the danger, let’s look into the Monkees
    there really is something wrong with the brains of those guys.

    1. Earthling

      This happened to all kinds of people back in the day. What was wrong with the brains of the people of the USA, that they just blew it off? J Edgar sailed into the sunset, unharassed and unconvicted of the massive amounts of unreasonable search and seizure he did. And of course the same ‘citizens’ don’t mind our current surveillance state.

    2. Not the FBI

      I believe the FBI has a policy of not releasing files if the files are still active. Mickey’s files are likely considered active as long as he is alive. He might have better luck if he requests the files of the three band mates who have already passed.

  12. Mikel

    “Colorado’s secretary of state, Jena Griswold, is warning anyone who will listen that the fate of free and fair elections in the United States hangs in the balance…”

    Free and fair elections!! While we’re talking about cost, let’s include the cost of running for elections that go on too long. Free elections – already lost.

    Fair? The Duopoy of Dems and Repubs squeeze out candidates from other parties from debates and just the insistence on the party system. Your choices: the bought and paid for corporate suck up in blue or red? Fair elections – already lost.

  13. The Rev Kev

    Getting the feeling that there are more political stories in Water Cooler lately. Maybe because your midterms are only *checks notes* ten weeks away? The clock is ticking.

  14. ChrisRUEcon

    #COVID19 #Masktravaganza #ClearMasks

    Lambert >Do any readers have experience with this kind of mask? I see the utility for e.g. lipreading, but frankly it feels like some sort of category error.

    I don’t, but I’d gladly be a guinea pig … :)

    With regard to “category error”, I guess it’s not a mistake if you count the (faux) importance of “seeing your smiles”!

  15. LawnDart

    Mods: Ukrainian Assassin Who Bombed Russian Darya Dugina, Found STABBED TO DEATH

    No major news source yet.

    1. LawnDart

      Sorry, possible rumor/false alarm:

      Daria Dugina’s killer found dead — what’s wrong with Novosti Express

      Today, the Austrian newspaper Exexpress wrote that the alleged killer of Dugina is dead. Her body was allegedly found in one of the rented apartments in Europe. Moreover, about 17 stab wounds were found on the girl’s body.

      Exexpress even attached a photo of the girl’s lifeless body, but as it turned out, not the one suspected of murdering Daria Dugina.

      The REN TV channel claimsthat in fact the photo shows a girl who was killed by her lover in 2020. Therefore, the information of the Austrian edition does not correspond to reality.

      Source: am[dot]tsargrad[dot]tv

      All over “conspiracy” sites but only this in Russian mainstream media. Maybe someone is trying to throw-off the hounds? Or maybe she really is on a date with Jimmy Hoffa…

  16. Anthony Noel

    Um I’m not sure if that tweet about the Dems realizing they can ignore the republicans is a good choice of photo. Since it’s literally from a scene where Homelander just burned a mans head off with his heat vision and the crowd cheered him for it and that’s him realizing that he can, (since he is in the show a version of Trump) “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

  17. Anthony K Wikrent

    “Defendants targeted in DeSantis’ voter fraud crackdown were told they could vote” Remember, DeSantis went to Harvard Law, and as a Navy JAG was responsible for ensuring the rights of prisoners at Guantanamo. This crackdown is an obvious publicity stunt — performed by a very intelligent man. This is a frightening level of cunning, ruthless disregard for the rights of the lesser members of our society, and malevolent intent. DeSantis’s political career must be destroyed before he has the chance to become a nominee for President.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The only way to set back DeSantis’s career timeline for now would be to defeat him for Governor of Florida in the upcoming election.

      But that would mean voting for Crist. Will people repelled by Bidens’s speech regard Crist as having not been involved in it and therefor not to be punished for it this time around? Or will they vote against Crist so as to be able to hold firm on voting against every Democrat in every election so as to demonstrate their disapproval of Bidens’ speech?

      And would they regard letting DeSantis win Florida again and then letting DeSantis win the Presidency in 2024 a price worth paying in order to be able to teach the Democrats a lesson?

      If Trump and DeSantis can resolve their differences, perhaps they will co-form a Trump-DeSantis ticket in 2024. They can sell it as VP DeSantis “learning the ropes” under the wise old President Trump in order to be ready to become President after that. I will vote for Biden or Harris or whomever in order to avoid a Trump-DeSantis Administration. Others may do as they like.

      ( Many years ago now I was traveling somewhere by train. I remember listening to a younger co-passenger expressing his extreme distress over the ongoing course of the (bush)-Cheney Administration.
      I asked him who he had voted for. When he said “Nader”, I said . . . ” Well, don’t blame me. I voted for Gore”. All in good fun, of course).

  18. Meg

    Commentators I follow, including Alex and Alexander of The Duran, often remark how stupid the political class is or express astonishment at some deed, misdeed or remark made by Habeck or “Ursula Van der Crazy.” And our leaders here in the US are either incoherent or simply deluded (maybe intentionally) because they cannot see that when a country invades another country and takes over 20 percent of the latter, then the former is winning the war. Still, the media gaslights the entire country, and most actually believe what they read.

    I believe what is happening in the western world, and has been happening in the US for some time, looks like and is a major resource grab. You know, the kind of thing we do in small countries, such as Syria, when we invade and occupy oil fields and farmland. The kind of operation we would like to do in Russia if only Putin would let us. Darn that Putin. But didn’t President G. W. Bush encourage wealth building by investing in houses before he left office? How many lost those homes after Obama and Geitner put their heads together after the 2008 debacle? And what did I spy while driving through a modest, working class neighborhood of small single family homes in the Baltimore area recently? A for sale sign for a listing by Sotheby’s. SOTHEBY’S!! Boy, things have changed when Sotheby’s lists property in Parkville, Maryland. Indebted Pub owners in Britain. Successful farmers in the Netherlands. We are undergoing a major land and asset grab. And if I sound like a conspiracy theorist, so be it.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      In the specific case of Bush, I think he was just trying to trick his audience into identifying with rich people like himself. ” Look! If you enslave yourself to a lifetime mortgage to buy a delightful little hovel, you are just as much an Ownership Society Person as I am when I buy a 250,000 acre landholding in Paraguay directly above the very largest pure fresh water aquifer in the world. We are both building our personal private wealth together!”

      He even thought he could sell people on the concept of personally ownershipping their very own personal privatised not-Social-Security-anymore money.

      And Social Security does represent a major moneymine the privatising rich would like to take over while there are still some real physical assets in the world to be bought with the money. If Trump-DeSantis run on privatising Social Security, I wonder whether the Catfood Democrat ticket will run against it?

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