2:00PM Water Cooler 9/27/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Northern Bobwhite, Hog Island WMA, Surry, Virginia, United States. A lovely ensemble.

* * *


“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

“Biden vs. his advisers” [Axios]. “It’s a pattern throughout the Biden administration: The president says something in an interview or makes an unscripted remark in an address, and his staff rushes to correct the record.” But: ” Biden’s instincts are often the popular ones.” • I keep saying Biden is the best politician the Democrats have (at least at the national level). Frightening but true!


* * *

Lucy and the Football:

* * *

“Dems’ big midterm bet pays off — so far” [Politico]. “Tuesday marks exactly six weeks until Election Day, when we’ll finally get resolution on one of the most widely discussed — and consequential — storylines of the 2022 election: the Democratic Party’s practice of meddling in Republican primaries in the hopes of producing unelectable nominees. It was a risky bet, but at the moment, it appears to be paying off. In the six races where Democrats were successful in boosting hard-right candidates to the GOP nomination, many of the Republicans are lagging in the polls, struggling to raise money and forced to explain past controversial statements. In three governors races where Democrats played a role in shaping the primary outcome — Pennsylvania, Maryland and Illinois — cash-poor GOP candidates haven’t aired any TV ads since winning their primaries.” • Pelosi: “Here I am, Nancy Pelosi, saying this country needs a strong Republican Party. Not a cult.” Why?

FL: “Florida Contracts Go To Companies That Flooded Ron Desantis Campaign Fund” [The Intercept]. “Under the leadership of Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron Desantis, a Missouri-based railroad and transport company that contributed generously in support of his campaign saw an astonishing 280-fold increase in its Florida state government contract awards. A construction aggregates firm that contributed $82,500 was awarded $30 million in new contracts. And a highway and civil site contracting firm that gave $22,500 saw its contracts grow 15-fold. They are just a few of the companies — mostly small and mid-sized construction firms — identified by The Intercept that saw a bonanza of lucrative contracts under the Republican governor, who has styled himself as a successor to Donald Trump and a foe to corporate America’s household names.” • America will never elect a President who’s too stupid to launder his money.

PA: Newt, Newt:

And the tag team–

PA: “Fetterman fires back at Tucker Carlson over tattoo insults” [The Hill]. “Fetterman, in an op-ed for NBC News, called [Carlson’s] monologue ‘unhinged” and explained how the nine tattoos on his right forearm indicate the dates when someone died violently in Braddock, Pa., while Fetterman served as mayor. ‘Gun violence and violent crime might be a joke to someone like Carlson, but they are very real to people in towns like Braddock,’ Fetterman wrote. ‘My decision to mark these deaths with tattoos was inspired in part by their permanence — the fact that these people, their stories and my town will be with me forever,’ he added.”


He’s running:

The problem isn’t the fee, apparently; the problem is the surprise. Fine.

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.

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Were Dominion Voting Machines Certified For The 2020 Election in Georgia?” [Emerald Robinson]. • The writer is a NewsMax reporter, so take with a truckload of salts. That said, I’m used to well-documented certification shenanigains a decade or so ago, the last time voting machines were hot as an issue. Maybe the industry has cleaned itself up. Readers?

“Column: The U.S. Constitution is flawed. But a constitutional convention to fix it is downright scary” [Los Angeles Times]. “A convention in the current political climate could devolve into a potentially uncontrollable free-for-all that could lead to all sorts of dangerous unintended consequences. Although no such convention has been held in the U.S. since 1787, there’s a movement underway to establish one now, and some analysts think it’s getting frighteningly close to happening…. But to open the entire document to radical change at this unstable moment in history seems like a risky and potentially dangerous way to make things better.”


• Maskstravaganza: “Community-based N95 Distribution During the COVID-19 Omicron BA.1 Surge: 1-month Utilization and Price Implications” (preprint) [psyArXiv]. From the Deck: “High-quality masks are a key component of multilayered mitigation thatcan reduce the burden of COVID-19 surges. When the investigators provided free 5-packs of N95s during the Omicron BA.1 surge, community members utilized the N95s, felt safer, informed others, and planned to purchase more. Cost was a critical utilization barrier. Federal free N95 distribution programs may help with future surges.”

• Maskstravaganza:

• Maskstravaganza: This would not not happen unless the hospital Infection Control department approved:

• Maskstravaganza:

Well, nobody wants to make a scene. But respect?

* * *

• “Ventilation Assessment by Carbon Dioxide Levels in Dental Treatment Rooms” [Journal of Dental Research (Ignacio)]. From the Abstract: “We conclude that ventilation rates could be conveniently and accurately

assessed by observing the changes in CO2 levels after a simple mixing of household baking soda and vinegar in dental settings.” • And speaking of dentists–

• “New Study Links Periodontitis and COVID‐19 Complications” (press release) [American Society of Periodontology]. n = 568″According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), the nation’s leading organization of periodontists, or gum disease experts, these findings signal the importance of diligent oral care during COVID-19. “It is well-established that systemic inflammation is not only linked with periodontal disease, but to several other respiratory diseases as well,” said Dr. James G. Wilson, President of the AAP. ‘Therefore, maintaining healthy teeth and gums in an effort to avoid developing or worsening periodontal disease is absolutely crucial in the midst of a global pandemic like COVID-19, which is also known to trigger an inflammatory response.’… hose with periodontitis, the most severe form of gum disease, were at least three times more likely to experience COVID‐19 complications including death, ICU admission, and the need for assisted ventilation. Additionally, COVID-19 patients with periodontitis showed increased levels of biomarkers associated with worsened disease outcomes including white blood cell levels, D‐dimer, and c-reactive protein.” • Let me see you smile!

* * *

• Wildfire use case for CR boxes:

What I like about both this anecdotes is the gift relationship. “Next step = finding recipients in community.”

• I just clicked through. Not half-price, but still good:

I guess it’s an end-of-summer sale…

* * *

• ”Evaluation of individual and ensemble probabilistic forecasts of COVID-19 mortality in the United States” [PNAS]. “The performance of 27 individual models that submitted complete forecasts of COVID-19 deaths consistently throughout this year showed high variability in forecast skill across time, geo-spatial units, and forecast horizons. Two-thirds of the models evaluated showed better accuracy than a naïve baseline model. Forecast accuracy degraded as models made predictions further into the future, with probabilistic error at a 20-wk horizon three to five times larger than when predicting at a 1-wk horizon.”” • I linked regularly to the CDC modeling hub until it blew up, as I knew it would.

* * *

“‘Other Places in the Country Didn’t Do This’: How One California Town Survived Covid Better Than the Rest” [Politico]. “Even with its world-class technologies, the university’s labs didn’t have equipment with the kind of capacity to test the whole university, let alone the whole community. The machines that could do that — test up to 40,000 samples of human saliva for Covid each week — cost about $450,000 a pop. And they would need two, for backup. The university administration, desperate for a workable plan, agreed to pay for them. And researchers across UC Davis, from the engineering department to the medical school, began to collaborate, searching for ways to solve the enormous logistical challenges. The plant researchers worked to refine the process, using a papaya enzyme to make human spit less viscous and easier to process. A colleague in the engineering department devised a machine to shake the vials, a necessary and laborious step previously done by hand. These scientific innovations — and an anonymous $40 million donation — allowed this college town to do something that few, if any, other communities were able to do during Covid: Starting in the fall of 2020, the university tested its students and staff every week and made free, walk-in testing available throughout the town.” And: “n the end, Davis and the surrounding area experienced a different kind of pandemic than virtually anywhere else in the country. The university itself escaped a wave of outbreaks that swept other campuses like the University of Georgia, the University of Alabama and Ohio State University after they reopened in 2020. Pollock said the plan made so much sense to him when it came together that he expected other universities to do the same. ‘But it turns out,’ he told county supervisors a few months ago, ‘that the other places in the country didn’t do this.'” • I excoriated college Presidents back in 2020 for failure to mobilize. How right I was! (Of course, with college adminsitrators, the FailBoat always leaves on time!)

* * *

• “SARS-CoV-2 Community Transmission During Shelter-in-Place in San Francisco” (preprint) [medRxiv]. n = 3,953. From the Abstract: ” Risk factors for recent infection were Latinx ethnicity, inability to shelter-in-place and maintain income, frontline service work, unemployment, and household income <$50,000/year." • Maybe I should have filed this under class warfare? 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 ~52,800. Today, it’s ~56,100 and 56,100 * 6 = a Biden line at 336,600. (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 the first surge in New York, in the spring of 2019 (after which the Times printed the images of the 100,000 who died, considering that a large number, as it was at the time).

Lambert here: The fall in case count looks impressive enough. What the Fauci Line shows, however, is that we have at last achieved the level of the initial peak, when New York was storing the bodies in refrigerator trucks. So the endzone celebrations are, to my mind, premature. Not that anyone will throw a flag. Of course, the real story is in the charts for California and the South. See below.

Regional case count for four weeks:

The South:

Florida, what?

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

The West:

California on a high plateau all of its own, with yet another backward revision.


Wastewater data (CDC), September 22:

Lambert here: I added all the dots back in. The number of grey dots really concerns me. How can all the sites for international air travel center New York be grey (“no recent data”). And California’s pretty gappy, too.

For grins, September 19:

NOTE To get the CDC data pages to load, I have to turn off my VPN. Thanks for the security breach, CDC.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, September 21:



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.)

Lambert here: I have to say, I’m seeing more yellow, which is pleasing/

NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), September 23:

I suppose that if case counts are indeed level, it’s likely there would be few rapid risers. Those two red areas in Northern Maine and upstate New York are both on the way to Quebec, Canada.

Previous Rapid Riser data:

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), September 23:

Not a sea of green.

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), September 10:

Still no sign of BA.2.75 at Walgreens, despite its appearance in CDC data below.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), September 3 (Nowcast off):

Two highlights: BA.4.6 has assumed a slightly greater proportion (more in the NowCast model, which I refuse to use). What about BA.2.75?

The above chart shows variants nationally. I have gone through the CDC regions and made a table. As you can see, BA.2.75 is prominent in Region 2 (New York and New Jersey), followed by Region 5 (Midwest), and Region 1 (Northeast). Hmm.

Table 1: CDC Regional BA.2.75 Data, Sorted by % Total

Table 1: CDC Regional BA.2.75 Data, Sorted by % Total (September 23)

CDC Region % Total States in Region
Region 2: 1.3% (0.8%) New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands
Region 8: 1.3% (0.0%) Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming
Region 9: 1.2% (0.0%) Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands….
Region 6: 0.6% (0.0%) Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas
Region 3: 0.5% (0.4%) Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia
Region 4: 0.4% (0.4%) Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee
Region 5: 0.4% (0.7%) Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin
Region 7: 0.3% (0.3%) lowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska
Region 10: 0.3% (0.0%) Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington
Region 1: 0.1% (0.7%) Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont

LEGEND: Previous CDC variant release shown in parentheses, (thus).

Not encouraging. Of course, the absolute numbers are small, but we’ve seen that movie before. I especially don’t like the jump in Region 2, because the New York area is “spready,” based on past history. Region 1, on the other hand, dropped.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,082,030 – 1,080,836 = 1,194 (1,194 * 365 = 435,810, which is today’s LivingWith™* number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though 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

Manufacturing: “United States Durable Goods Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for the US manufactured durable goods declined 0.2% month-over-month in August of 2022, following a revised 0.1% drop in July and compared to market forecasts of a bigger 0.4% fall. Transportation equipment drove the decrease (-1.1%), namely nondefense aircraft and parts (-18.5%).”

Manufacturing: “United States Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Richmond Fed composite manufacturing index was at 0 in September of 2022 from -8 in the previous month. Improvement took place in the shipments subindex… [T]he employment index stagnated… [T]he wage index continued its upward momentum.”

Housing: “United States New Home Sales” [Trading Economics]. “New home sales in the United States soared 28.8% from a month earlier to a 5-month high of 685K in August of 2022, and above market expectations of 500K. It was the biggest increase since June 2020.”

* * *

Shipping: “Signed, Sealed, Snatched” [Bloomberg]. “Mail theft complaints increased by 161% from March 2020 to February 2021, according to the inspector general for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The crime wave is being fueled by a thriving online community of criminals that congregates in such places as the Telegram channel in which “Liam Neeson” posted the stolen checks for sale. It’s a new incarnation of a crime that has worried people for years. And while the mail thefts start the way they always have—with criminals getting access to actual envelopes—the internet has added a twist: Criminals can sell stolen materials such as mailbox keys and checks in online forums, increasing the financial rewards. They also egg each other on by posting photos and videos of their exploits on social media apps and dark web sites.”

The Bezzle: “Welcome to Your Airbnb, the Cleaning Fees Are $143 and You’ll Still Have to Wash the Linens” [Wall Street Journal]. • Ah, the sharing economy. Nobody uses that phrase anymore, do they?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 16 Extreme Fear (previous close: 17 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 36 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 27 at 1:44 PM EDT.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Oil Supply/Price. “Oil has dropped below $80 per barrel” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) • That won’t last….

The Gallery


Groves of Academe

“Let me see you smile”:



Reminds one of segregation….

Class Warfare

“Alabama prison system reports work stoppage after group calls for inmate strike” [AL.com]. “The Alabama Department of Corrections said it has received reports of inmate work stoppages at all the major prisons in the state after a prison reform organization called for a strike. The organization Both Sides of the Wall called for the strike beginning this morning as a protest of conditions in the state’s overcrowded, understaffed prisons, which the Department of Justice says hold men in conditions that violate the constitution…. ‘You’re going to have enough men to fill those new prisons up. So you can give some relief to the ones that are stuffed in these cans right now.'”

The servant class:

I don’t make the rules:

“Neuroscience is vindicating the Marxist determinists” [Carl Beijer]. “This is the temptation I described earlier: to insist that there must be something in the human brain that works very differently than everything else does, something like the Cartesian pineal gland and its magical spirits. This was a perfectly sensible idea back in the seventeenth century; and for those of us who don’t have a doctorate in neuroendocrinology, I think believing something like this is completely understandable today. What Sapolsky shows us is that if you do decide you would like to learn more about the brain and the world it operates in, your intuition changes. You find mechanical descriptions for so much behavior — including behaviors that we never thought we’d be able to explain, like mood — that it starts to feel silly to fantasize that you’ll ever find anything else.” • Hmm.

News of the Wired

“A possible home for a bizarre Carboniferous animal: is Typhloesus a pelagic gastropod?” [Biology Letters, the Royal Society]. I have no particular reason to link to this (although the science is interesting). But I love the language: “Recent years have witnessed a steady thinning in the ranks of ‘weird wonders’, that is taxa with unfamiliar, if not bizarre, body forms that seemingly preclude confident assignment to known groups.” • Stylish!

Next, a round pool table!

Learn to code:

* * *

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 MT:

MT writes: “For the fans of tree ferns.” We look up to them because they’re tall.

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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

    RE: TransportationGov tweet

    “… ensure that airlines and travel companies provide you with more info up front…”

    Because providing all the info would be a bridge too far?

  2. Earl Erland

    Pres. Biden on the upcoming midterm elections: ‘If you give me 2 more Democratic senators in the U.S. Senate, I promise you we’re going to codify Roe’

    One half of Roe is 12 to 14 weeks after conception. Biden’s gonna owe someone about two weeks.

    1. Michelle

      Give him two more senators and with the remaining two years of his Punch and Judy Show, he’ll codify feudalism as a permanent feature in America.

      We can learn to be economically competitive with the hundreds of thousands of eager peons he’s allowing in to hammer down U.S. wages and expectations of privacy, workers’ rights, benefits etc.

    2. JohnnySacks

      He had a VP position, a filibuster proof Senate (10 more seats), and a house majority early 2009 and he didn’t do it then. What kind of fool can possibly begin to believe this utter nonsense?

    3. Glossolalia

      Now would be a good time to post all the various things he promised during the 2020 campaign and didn’t deliver.

      1. Marcelle

        OK, here’s a start:

        Solve Covid.
        Student Debt Relief.
        Free College
        Free Childcare
        Free Healthcare
        Free or discounted Drugs
        Pay off individual’s Debt
        More Sick Days
        “achieve a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions”
        Universal Pre-K
        Close $400 billion to $500 billion worth of tax loopholes that he said have no redeeming social value ― and then “put that money to good use.”
        Doubling the Earned Income Credit
        Eliminate the tax cuts implemented under the Trump administration.
        Family Leave
        Free Abortions
        Mental Health Counseling
        Community Agriculture
        Rebuild Seawalls
        Military Engagements, R2P POC
        Build back better Infrastructure
        Community Art
        Free Housing
        Increases To Current Entitlement Programs

        Say, WHERE’S MY $600!

  3. Anon

    Instead of 2 Senators, he actually means 12. What he doesn’t mention is that 10 of those will become like Manchin and Sinema, giving a voice to the 4-5 additional Senators already there that are largely opposed to serving regular people like us.

  4. RookieEMT

    News cycle getting too scary, time to get some items and do a lil’ bit of prepping. Extra toilet paper, cat litter and some other goods.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I fear when people stop being able to ignore or truly understand the provocations that the news promulgates. As the Chinese say, these are interesting times. I greatly appreciate the grounding you and the entire NakedCapitalism staff provide. Without that grounding, I fear how I might feel and respond to the events as they are reported — echoing Anonymous. [For now I drink too much ……]

        I am making effort to get to know and better understand the Amish community near where I live. I am not sure they have the answer, but I am sure their way is closer to the way I feel might endure to the future.

        1. ambrit

          Get to know them, and then, if they are ‘real’ pacifists, organize a “Protection Commando” for their neighborhood. Then, no more; “You scratch my back, I stab you in yours.” for the farming community. Call it a kinder, gentler, semi-feudal arrangement.

    1. kareninca

      I live in Silicon Valley. The regular gas on the corner has been $5.58 a gallon for a while now. I think people were getting sort of used to that. Traffic is up.

      But, overnight (or maybe it’s been two days since I went past), it has gone up 69 cents a gallon, to $6.27 per gallon!!! Yikes!!!!

      Something is getting real. I will be ordering more prescription dog food soon.

  5. Jason Boxman

    You gotta see this stuff to believe it. All this wonderful ML!! and AI!! and it’s just a scheduling app so PE owned hospital chains can squeeze more money out of less. But it’s innovation!!

    We wrote the book on hospital capacity management – literally. In Better Healthcare through Math, LeanTaaS CEO Mohan Giridharadas and President Sanjeev Agrawal share the secrets to bending the cost and access curves in healthcare. With the power of predictive analytics, lean principles, deep data science, and machine learning, Better Healthcare Through Math solves the problem of equipment sitting unused while patients wait months for appointments and staff still work overtime. With better data, leaders are able to do more with less and maximize hospital capacity. That’s a winning equation.

    So they have their own platform as a service company that offers, yeah, scheduling management! Hooray!

    The American deathcare system is so much carrion feasted upon by scavengers. While I actually earned a masters’ in health informatics, I’m thankful I never did get a job in that industry. All this health tech is dreadful.

    It’s all about the Benjamins:


    (all caps, them)

    1. MaryLand

      Just watched a K-drama series on Netflix about a mega corporation buying out a public hospital and trying every trick in the book to monetize it. It’s set in Seoul but has references to American hospitals as something to avoid. It’s called “Life” and while it’s not Shakespeare it is entertaining in its twists and turns. I especially enjoyed the irony of things done in the US were shocking there. Not every character is what they seem and that makes it more interesting too. Careerism vs devotion to helping others is also a central theme. It prompted me to read more about the Korean drinking culture and the social importance of meal sharing there as well. It has some truly beautiful scenes if you wait for them.

    2. Glen

      We had to use the new hospital in our area. My wife, the retired RN, was the patient. She was so appalled by the complete number of violations she saw that she filed a complaint with the state. I happened to notice that all the receptionists seem to be all replaced by armed private security.

      I have come to the conclusion that i will not end up there. Looks like a good place to get surprised billed into poverty while sick. (And remain sick.)

    3. Betty

      “American death care system..”
      reminds me of when I was in public health school in the 1970s.
      Everybody called it public death school, because all we studied was death, ways to die.

  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Welcome to Your Airbnb

    So now more expensive than a hotel plus you get to do the cleaning while on vacation? Who could have seen that bait and switch coming? I mean the other “sharing economy” companies have all been so ethical…

    I’ve suspected that the Airbnb fad serves as price discovery for the hotel companies who aren’t happy about losing business to short term rentals. They get to see how much the market will bear for overnight stays in residential neighborhoods, and when it peaks and those who bought housing at the high end to turn into Airbnbs can’t afford the mortgage due to lagging rates and have to sell, the hotel companies will be there to buy up the real estate on the cheap. Or the private equity companies – at this point depending on who owns what, PE and hotel companies might be one and the same. Anyway, sounds like we might be getting to that peak.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve suspected that the Airbnb fad serves as price discovery for the hotel companies who aren’t happy about losing business to short term rentals.

      Its shocking the prices of circa 1972 motels in Cali, we paid $160 for one on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. It would have been a $60-75 room not so long ago, but I think it isn’t so much the competition with Air BnB’s et al, but it allows them to raise their prices.

      The only motel rooms in Sequoia NP are at Wuksachi Lodge and pretty standard and not much different than say a Motel 8 in amenities, and that’ll set you back close to $400 in high season, or you can rent an entire house here in tiny town for $200-$300 a day for something basic, so our 300 or so short term rentals are still quite viable sadly.

      This is the time of year for the Dogwoods to change color and they grow cheek by jowl next to Giant Sequoias, not a bad time to be here as the days are pleasant and the nights cool in nature’s realm.

      A visual:


      This is the one i’d rent if I was planning a fall visit to Sequoia NP, it’s a glass house so be careful tossing stones around…


      1. lyman alpha blob

        There seems to be a cottage industry of remaking crappy motels into “boutique” rentals, most likely as an excuse to charge more for rather mundane lodgings. Buddy of mine and a group of friends stayed at one of those older motels for years when they went on vacation in Cali. Imagine the surprise this year when the motel came under new ownership and they arrived to find everything was covered in cheetah print, while the few amenities the place used to have – enough chairs for all the guests and a BBQ grill by the modest pool – had been removed.

        Behold! – https://www.cheetahhotelps.com/

        1. Wukchumni

          Wow, they did that at the speed of blight.

          I’d be ok in the dark falling asleep, but forget about daytime naps in the Feline’y Motel.

  7. Portia

    Re feedback on voting machines:
    I volunteered for the Dem Party during Clinton’s re-election bid. It was the first time voting machines were used in MD and part of our task was to educate voters on them. I had about 12 years of experience with computers, so in the meeting I asked, “Are these machines hackable?”
    I was invited by the committee not to return after the meeting. Since they never told me why, I can only speculate on whether or not I had “the right attitude.”

    1. ambrit

      A cynic would speculate that the Dem Party apparatchiks were worried that, since you had a background in computers, that you would spot how they were ‘hacking’ the units and queer the pitch for them. Nothing personal, just simple self-protection.
      Every time I read of some public person extolling the virtues of our vaunted “election integrity,” I know that something is up behind the scenes.

      1. Portia

        Yes, and that “Why don’t you just do as you are told,” attitude is definitely not exclusive to Repubs. LOL. I have the wrong kind of stupidity.

        1. ambrit

          As Phyllis once said to me after I ‘complained’ about her being, er, steadfast in her attitudes; “What some people call stupidity is actually integrity in the face of insanity.”
          That shut me up.

          1. The Rev Kev

            You could get her that shirt that I have seen on NC that says ‘I’m not arguing, I’m just explaining why I am right’ but doing so would probably involve an extended stay on the lounge at night. :)

      2. hunkerdown

        It keeps the Elect integral. That’s all an elite could ask for: a process that guarantees their own reproduction as a class.

      1. John

        I liked the clanking mechanical machines used in New York for many years. Sure someone could still cheat, but the machines were not going to be too helpful. If it can be programmed it can be hacked. Paper ballots. Pencils are not programmable and you can enlist people to watch the counters and people who watch the people who watch … you get the idea, as if it was necessary to explain to this crowd.

    2. Vandemonian

      I watched a Telegram video this evening of the referendum counting in Donetsk. One by one each paper ballot was removed from the transparent box, held up to display the hand marked vote to the assembled monitors, and added to the correct pile.

      Not much room for fraud there.

      What is it that Lambert says? “Hand marked paper ballots, counted in public.

      1. Paulindurham

        We could use voting machines if the software was “open source”, until that time hand counted paper ballots please.

  8. Jason Boxman

    My experiences with AirBnbs in the past have ranged from acceptable to are the other guests down the hall actually having loud make up adult time at 1 am? (Yes they were; Managed to get a partial refund for that)

    But this:

    “Sometimes guests are asked to do two to three things and they feel like, ‘Oh my God, I’m doing everything,’ ” said Gabby Wallace who runs Airbnbs in Maine, Austin and Kansas City. “There are close to a hundred things I have on the checklist for my cleaners,” like checking couches for lost items and picking hair out of the bathtub drain, she said.

    Runs them? Like are these independently owned, or this personal owns them all? So much for a property owner renting out a spare bedroom, which was the original vibe of AirBnb before it went overtly commercial.

    If there wasn’t a pandemic, I’d just go to a hotel anymore. The days of a getting a sweet deal at an AirBnb are long since gone, at least since most municipalities got wise and started taxing these places as hotels.

  9. Wukchumni

    The problem isn’t the fee, apparently; the problem is the surprise. Fine.
    Flew for the first time domestically in a dozen years in 2015, and as I loaded our 3 bags on the conveyor belt, the nice lady @ the front desk of the airline asked how i’d like to pay for the bags?

    Thinking quick, I told her ideally i’d prefer that to be included in the price of the tickets-like always…

    She gave me the dirtiest look-cloaked in a smile as she informed me there was no free lunch either, demanding 75 clams.

    1. griffen

      Customer service at airlines just seems akin to the experience at most places. Just see this cautionary video clip of best methods to order soup, or the other option and get summarily thrown out.

      Apologies in advance, but this is almost too funny to relive this episode!


    2. FreeMarketApologist

      And I seem to remember an article (can’t find it in my bookmarks) that says the airlines have it backwards: Charge (lots) for any carry on bigger than a designer laptop PC bag, and let checked luggage go free. The cabin loads and clears out faster as fewer people struggle with loading/unloading the overheads and under seat areas. Gate waiting areas and other amenity spaces in post-checkin/security areas less cluttered as well.

    3. notabanker

      The problem is irrelevant. The solution is to hire more lobbying firms to write more regulations and then hire consultants to implement it at all of the (fill in the industry) with the end result being no change whatsoever. But we’ll have a pile of documentation to show everyone how well we are doing. And more experts to explain it all to us.

      It’s good for the economy, you see.

    4. Mel

      “How would you like to pay for that?”

      Cory Doctorow in Pluralistic in the last couple of days. That’s the question McKinsey taught a non-profit hospital chain to ask their charity patients. It tricked charity patients into paying for treatment that they were supposed to get for free. It and other measures cut the expense of charity treatment down from 2% of budget to 1%.

      Here we go.

  10. Greg

    Plantidote today looks something like a rough tree fern, on a regenerating scrub hillside. The ferns come in early so you get entire areas dominated by tree ferns until the trees start pushing through and shading them out.

  11. VT Digger

    Re: Carl B / Marx / Determinism

    “Sapolsky, fortunately, avoids the trap so many determinists fall into of insisting on a mechanical explanation for components of human behavior that we all know are mechanical.”

    Vulgar positivists at it again!

    1. semper loquitur

      Agreed. I found two problems with this quote. For one, if Sapolsky holds with materialism, he is taking a “mechanical” view of free will and consciousness in general. Secondly, the quote seems to have a logical flaw. If Sapolsky successfully avoids the “trap” but everyone knows behavior is “mechanical”, hasn’t he fallen for the trap? Or am I misreading Beijer?

      Here is a paper on the limitations of Libet’s experiment:


      1. YPG

        I think he might mean that Sapolsky is making an argument for a mechanistic interpretation without feeling compelled to explicate or hypothesize the exact mechanistic structure of various and sundry human behaviors. In this view, Sapolsky has seen enough to be convinced of a mechanistic interpretation without feeling the need to show the mechanism that explains why you ordered a turkey sandwich for lunch rather a cheeseburger.

        The paragraph which follows seems to say that, when we look at those behaviors for which we have a strong or perhaps conclusive mechanistic interpretation, the scales tip- for Sopolsky and Beijer, at least- irresistibly toward a determinist viewpoint.

  12. Tom Stone

    It appears that a lot of medical procedures that were put off are now being scheduled/performed based on the 8 week wait for an MRI I was informed of last week.
    The longest I have had to wait for one in the past was 10 days…

      1. kareninca

        Yes, I think it is short staffing, rather than put-off procedures being made up for. My husband’s doctor cancelled on him at the last minute two weeks ago (it had taken my husband 4 months to get the appointment). My mother was just told that her sleep apnea test appointment will be delayed a month since the tech is suddenly “not available.”

  13. Louiedog14

    Tweet: My wife made a point the other day that all of these devices with assistants (Alexa, Siri, etc.) all come as women by default so we’re training a whole new generation to see women as “staff” and I can’t stop thinking about that.

    I feel like they’re missing the point here. My wife’s voice is soothing and melodious with sexy undertones. If you are trying to infiltrate my home, learn all my personal information and desires, and find out where I hid the plans to blow up the Death Star, using my wife’s voice to ask is your best bet. Siri and Alexa’s voice are a far cry from my wife’s, but they’re a helluva lot more pleasing than say, Gilbert Gottfried.

    1. LifelongLib

      I read someplace that in the original Star Trek TV series (c. 1966) the computer voice was female because there were actual studies showing that people respond better to female voices. So I guess Alexa etc. are just continuing older technology.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I believe that in the 1950s at least that the USAF used female voices to talk to pilots in their jets as female voices were found to penetrate the noises of the jet engines best.

        1. Alex Cox

          Kubrick and Clarke considered a female voice for Hal 9000… also a New York actor and an English one… before choosing the Canadian tones of Douglas Rain.

    2. Jorge

      There is a more complex hierarchy for video games. Many games have a “helper” character who follows you around and makes comments about what you’re doing, explains things, etc. These characters always have a “lower” social standing: a white woman, a black man, a white man with a big Southern drawl…

      In Disco Elysium, a game with complex comments about class, race, and political organization, the helper is a Japanese man.

  14. AndrewJ

    On a constitutional convention: yes please. This country is done. Stick a fork in it. Over. The federal government is unreformable. The behemoth three-letter agencies will never give up their power. The only way to curb them is to break up the country into fifty independent states – which will likely then band together into regional compacts. The only way to do that, legally, is via convention.
    The only alternative I see is low-level civil war and increasing authoritarianism to combat it, whether by team red or team blue.
    So the convention might lead to an even more corporate friendly federal government? So what? From where I’m sitting, I – and most of us – will never own a home, never receive adequate healthcare, can’t trust our drinking water, will get thrown on to the street if we go bankrupt and can’t work, and will be lucky to not live long enough to become too old and feeble to pay the rent. How, pray, does it get substantially worse?
    Maybe it’s time to embrace some Rasputinian thinking and say that ripping the mask off America and codifying the ways of the shark people into law will be enough to get the lay people moving in the direction of governance by the people for the people.

    1. Joe Renter

      I hear ya, Andrew. It’s getting to where, “I can’t handle the truth”. Decisions must be made. I may have to pull the plug on all internet activity other that watching webinars on my “spiritual practice”. With my mom just having spent 2 weeks in the hospital and coming home today, and other drama flare ups with personal challenges, I spend more time than I should on when, or if I should, meet my maker ahead of a natural event. Tough times for those who are sensitive (3 water signs in my horoscope).
      Stay strong.

    2. albrt

      Agreed. Breaking up the U.S. would be best for us, and also for the rest of the world. There really is no argument against it except “if the U.S. breaks up then who will make all the bad people accept my view of politics and morality?”

      1. Portia

        We now have the means to satisfy–put them all in Bezos/Musk rockets and send them to an ISS and tell them they will only be there until the luxury Mars community is completed. They seem to be happiest with virtual reality. I would be happy to accommodate that.

    3. katiebird

      I wonder if we’d still keep our social security benefits. Or property rights? Who gets to participate in the Constitutional Convention? Who gets to decide how the country is divided? I’d like to be all for it but I don’t have any confidence that things would be better.

    4. David B Harrison

      Great idea. Instead of one deep state we get fifty. And I know there no such thing as a deep state (just piss this non existent deep state off and see if it exist. Examples: the Kennedys, Reverend King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Allende, Europe, etc.). Reply to AndrewJ

  15. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding that red Rapid Riser county in upstate NY, that is Franklin County, at the northern reaches of the Adirondack Park and the lowland areas adjacent to Canada: while there is a border crossing on Route 30 a little north of Malone, it’s not heavily used, and there’s mostly a whole lot of (gorgeous) nothing up there. A more likely culprit is Paul Smith’s College, a forestry and hospitality school in the tiny hamlet of the same name. The kids would be back in school and celebrating their re-acquaintance, with predictable results.

    1. petal

      Michael, there’s also the St. Regis Mohawk reservation. They have been recording new cases during the month of Sept. I was just looking at a page for it-14 new cases in the past week or so.

  16. Max

    I’ve been running a CR box in my living room partly just for the airflow during the hot summer. In just two months the filters have noticeably darkened which I think means its doing its job. We have a lot of pets and dust so even without the threat of Covid, they seem like they are a great addition.

    1. curlydan

      I just ordered the box fan from Target! Still 50% off. Now to find 4 air filters with the right ratings, so I can make my own Corsi-Rosenthal box. Any tips on inexpensive filters are welcome. Cheap is my middle name :)

      1. Bsn

        I use just one filter taped to the face of one fan. I put it on low and it seems to work fine. When fire smoke is in the air, it clearly shows it’s effective.

        1. Jorge

          I feel nervous running mine above the “Low” power setting, like I’m going to overheat the motor and start a fire.

  17. semper loquitur

    Thanks for the article on free will. It’s a pretty concise discussion of the materialist point of view. It conveniently ignores a few things, as materialist ideologues always do.

    The notion that the brain’s molecular chains of causality have been or can be mapped out is patently false. For one thing, we know there is another level of activity, that of the quantum realm, and one that cannot ever be fully understood as to observe it is to alter it’s behavior. We can never claim an objective model of neural activity as we don’t know and cannot know what it is we are missing. Let me know when someone has mapped out the quantum states of the brain and how they “arise” to behavior.

    Secondly, materialist discussions of the absence or presence of freedom of the will rely upon a notion of reality that cannot ever be proven to exist by the dictates of materialism itself. The materialist proposes that the reality we experience isn’t the actual reality. Actual reality is a world of particles or fields or both. We only know representations of it, so goes the reasoning.

    But then how can we know this world is there? The world of experience, of consciousness, is all we have. Observations of the “physical” world are exactly that, observations, conscious states. Looking through a microscope implies a conscious state, looking at the products of a particle accelerator implies a conscious state. This fantasy land of the materialist is forever beyond our reach. To claim a world outside of consciousness is to literally double reality. Materialism puts the proverbial cart before the horse.

    Idealism, on the other hand, proposes a more concise and accurate understanding of the world, the one we actually know , the one that presents itself first hand and singulary. It seats consciousness as the fundamental stuff of the universe. Could it be incorrect? Absolutely, as we cannot know a complete picture of reality given we have limitations to our senses as well as cognitive abilities. But it provides is a sharper picture than the meanderings of materialism.

    As to Hossenfelder, who I have a lot of respect for as a popularizer of physics, she stumbles when she wanders in the realms of philosophy. Here she is debating Bernardo Kastrup regarding the role of metaphysics of science, in which she acknowledges the necessary role of philosophy:


    Kastrup accuses her of making metaphysical claims, embedded within her scientific claims. She doesn’t seem to understand this charge. One note: the narrator is a bit sloppy.

    1. Portia

      I am still waiting for all them smarty navel gazers to get to the heart of the matter which is: We are all just visiting. This is not our house. It still kills me when some wonder says, “The Native Americans had this place for centuries, and they never did anything with it! I guess mental masturbation could be considered harmless if it’s not used to support some atrocity.

  18. Duke of Prunes

    Re: Signed, sealed, snatched…

    Slightly different story, but same concept: There’s a bunch of people on the Samsung reddit forum complaining about their trade-in devices disappearing. The theory is that the bad guys are cutting open the bottom of the box and stealing the contents (a relatively good condition phone). Most feel FedEx is to blame, but I haven’t seen any real evidence that excludes bad actors at Samsung. Suggested solutions are tamper evident tape.

    We really are turning into a 3rd world country…

  19. flora

    Ada Lovelace, for whom the computer language ADA was named. She was a genius in her field.

    I wonder if these days she’d be dismissed as a merely a rich, white woman “dabbling” in science due to her privileges, instead of being seen as the genius she was. (If you detect a critique of wokeness in my comment you’re very astute.)


      1. flora

        Thanks. I’m not comfortable in crowded live theatre anymore either. Although I miss the crowds and live theatre.

    1. Basil Pesto

      huh? unless she has a secret cache of like, virulently anti-semitic writing or something, when is someone like Ada Lovelace anything but celebrated by the “woke”?

      1. flora

        Say what? I’m an old girl computer scientist. Ada Lovelace and Adm. Grace Hopper (look her up) are my two field of expertise heroines. I also have heroes in the field.

    2. ambrit

      Hmmm…. wokeipedia? That would satisfy the PMCs, if anything can. Then, there is the possibility that ‘Woke’ is based upon a perpetual low level dissatisfaction. The “Best and Brightest” are, after all, defined by the “problems” they are facing.
      Stay safe, which is a very non-PMC thing to say, but, my comment on the nature of the “reality” we are faced with today.

    3. hk

      A lot of male scientists, especially innovative ones, were “dabblers” of various kinds rather than “professional scholars,” though, “professionals” being too bound by “conventions,” both social and intellectual. I don’t think the Lovelace story is too different.

  20. Bart Hansen

    Today in Private Equity

    From KHN:

    “Britain’s Hard Lessons From Handing Elder Care Over to Private Equity

    Four Seasons Health Care collapsed after years of private equity investors rolling in one after another to buy its business, sell its real estate, and at times wrest multimillion-dollar profits from it through complex debt schemes. The deal-making failed to account for the true cost of senior care”

    Did they mention lowering salaries?

    1. John

      Rent seekers will seek rent. After all, the money is the only thing that matters. They are all like Tom and Daisy: smash things up and move on leaving the cleanup to someone else.

  21. KD

    Free will nonsense and biology:

    Ordinary concepts in language are indeterminate. Language is analogical (as Aquinas might say). What starts as a metaphor becomes a conventional meaning through usage (hood of a car). Corporations are “discovered” to have constitutional rights.

    Because of this, what is justice is an open question. What is truth is open. What words mean is not “determined” by a biological process–this relates to the whole problem of intentionality. Because language is open, human societies are open, and human possibilities are open. There are always novel possibilities emerging (while other doors are shut). The limits are ultimately the limits of the creative imagination, even if it is undergirded by a biological substrate.

    It has nothing to do with what happens biologically when you “choose” vanilla ice cream over chocolate.

    My 2 cents.

    1. KD

      Tying it back, my concept of my “self” is open, indeterminant, and subject to revision. I might read a bunch of determinists and begin to view myself as determined and then I might read someone else and change my view of myself. As we think, so we become, this is your whole basis for cognitive behavioral therapy. Whether this is libertarian freedom in the philosophical sense, it is certainly not predictable, reducible to physical laws, or bears any resembles to the trajectory of a Newtonian particle through space, because the “space” of the imagination is potentially infinite.

      Japan in the Tokugawa period (I believe) would collectively punish the entire community for the crimes of one. Perhaps, people in Tokugawa Japan lacked free will.

    2. flora

      It has nothing to do with what happens biologically when you “choose” vanilla ice cream over chocolate.

      Or, when people choose to be warm in the winter and not be impoverished by heat/electrical bills.
      Shorter: determinism is a fine argument for the neolibs pushing their theories …until reality sets in and makes their argument go against their desired narative, and which are based on nothing more than “assume a can opener.” / ;)

  22. ddt

    Good for the old alma mater UCDavis and the city of Davis for keeping rates low.

    Wonder if the bloated admin helped? Maybe one of the provosts?

    1. Raymond Sim

      Wonder if the bloated admin helped? Maybe one of the provosts?

      I think there was a lot of PMC vs PMC conflict more or less along the lines of Lambert’s two categories, his terms for which which I can’t for the life of me recall at the moment. Bloated bureaucracies do send forth a hero or two every now and then.

      I suspect the article paints an overly rosy picture, I’m under the weather, and didn’t read it, but The Pandemic is Over here too, and a recent spike of monkeypox signal in UCD’s wastewater got replaced on SCAN with three days of no data, so I think the bad guys have the upper hand.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Lambert’s two categories

        Hegemonic v. exceptional

        We should also not forget that all institutions are not irretrievably corrupt, or if corrupt in the whole, not necessarily in some parts. Administrative bloat at universities is a well-documented problem nationally. Perhaps UC Davis escaped it somehow, or manages to function regardless. Note the link I gave that shows all universities did not follow their lead.

  23. Wukchumni

    Stopped @ a Home Depot in Tehachapi, and the older couple in front of me @ the checkout bought about $700 worth of wood and whatnot, with his better half telling me it was to bear-proof their house-which after 35 years of living there, this was the first time their home had been broken into by a hungry bruin who helped itself to half of their fridge while they slept 40 feet away, and then came back 3 days later to get the other half and they caught it late in the act and it beat a path.

    They mentioned that in all their time living there, maybe they’d seen 3 or 4 bears in total previously.

    I noticed 4 overturned trash bins on the drive home yesterday here in tiny town with the contents sprawled out, no doubt on account of AirBnB renters not hep to what’s up with dumpster diverse bears livin’ la vida cold burrito.

    Boo-Boo ain’t going back to grubs and whatnot after bin there-done that leftovers.

    1. ambrit

      Put a sign up at the entrance to your “All Cat and No Hattle” rancho: “Ye Pikinik Basket.”
      I would worry about a B-n-B renter becoming the breakfast in Bed and Breakfast for some hungry bruin. Do the rentals come with bearproofing instructions?
      Stay safe Ranger Wuk.

  24. marym

    > Were Dominion Voting Machines Certified For The 2020 Election in Georgia?

    Pro V&V is one of two “voting system test laboratories” accredited by the EAC so if vendor acreditation was a problem in 2020 it wouldn’t have been just about GA or Dominion.

    For whatever any of this is worth:

    Pro V&V was accredited by the EAC on February 24, 2015. Federal law provides that EAC accreditation of a voting system test laboratory cannot be revoked unless the EAC Commissioners vote to revoke the accreditation: “The accreditation of a laboratory for purposes of this section may not be revoked unless the revocation is approved by a vote of the Commission.” 52 U.S. Code § 20971(c)(2). The EAC has never voted to revoke the accreditation of Pro V&V. Pro V&V has undergone continuing accreditation assessments and had new accreditation certificate issued on February 1, 2021.

    Found in random searching:
    The website doesn’t have an about page and the twitter account is new. The post says the loss of accreditation was due to “[c]lerical errors mixed with staffing cuts during a pandemic” and Pro V&V was never out of compliance.

    I didn’t find anything about pre-election certification in GA but they did certify after.

    There was a study of Dominion BMD’s in Georgia started in 09/2022 as part of a court case. The study resulted in a CISA alert. Links to the alert and threads by the authors of the study. Lambert, you once provided a link to a study showing people don’t always look at their “voter verifiable paper audit trail.” The twitter accounts are those of 2 of the authors.

  25. Wukchumni

    Joey, baby – don’t get crazy
    Tens of billions in expenses, I get defensive

    I know you’ve heard it all before
    So I don’t say it anymore
    I just stand by and let you
    Fight your secret war
    And though I used to wonder why
    I used to cry till I was dry
    Still sometimes I get a strange pain inside
    Oh, Joey, if you’re hurting the country with your Covid lies

    Joey, honey, if the MIC got some money
    All is forgiven. Listen, listen

    But if I seem to be confused
    I didn’t even vote for you
    And when you said I counted too
    Well I guess Trump scared me too
    But we got lucky once before with FDR
    And I want to keep the door ajar
    And if you’re somewhere out there
    Locking down the door
    Oh Joey, I’m not hoping anymore

    And if I seem to be confused
    I didn’t even vote for you
    And when you said I counted too
    Well I guess Trump scared me too
    But we got lucky once before with FDR
    And I want to keep the door ajar
    But if it’s adoration you’re looking for
    Then I can write you into this score
    And if you’re somewhere out there
    The best ex-VP since Al Gore
    Oh Joey, I’m not paying attention anymore
    Attention anymore, attention anymore

    Concrete Blonde Joey Lyrics


  26. Keith in Modesto

    That “corner piano” photo in the imbedded tweet looks fascinating, but I have a very hard time believing it’s anything more than a non-functioning art object. For one thing, I don’t see how it would be possible to close the fallboard. And the music rack is useless.

  27. ChrisRUEcon

    Moon Of Alabama “The War On Germany Just Entered Its Hot Phase” Thread

    This is a family blog, people … just start a thread and discuss … :)

    This (via Twitter) from Condoleeza Rice in 204 lays it out clearly for all to see …

    ::Vin Diesel Riddick Voice::

    “It was always the plan … “

  28. ChrisRUEcon


    Look, Jack …

    He should really stop making promises – or proposals, or whatever malarkey he want to use to mask his mendacity.

    It’s just gonna end up getting added to this thread (via Twitter) on all his broken promises.

  29. Lambert Strether Post author

    Patient readers, we had to remove two cross posts that we were not authorized to use. Please do not compound the error by reposting archived versions. I removed two threads that did so, besides speculating on the causes of the removal. Apologies, and thank you!

    1. djrichard

      We were beginning to wonder if you guys got co-opted. Oh us of little faith ;-p

      Anyways, thanks for the explanation. Too bad; that was a great article. Imagine this won’t be the last window of opportunity for the topic. ;-p

  30. DJG, Reality Czar

    From the excellent Tweet above by Rhett Allain:

    Why is it that no one ever makes me justify my choice to wear shoes outside?

    Why are you still wearing shoes? You know there’s no nails on the ground, right?

    [Think of it this way, groundlings: “Why aren’t you showing your purdy toenails?”]

  31. KD

    The metaphysics of freewill:

    The concept of freewill exists in opposition to coercion. Its primary usage is in law, secondarily in theology.

    Normal people are perfectly capable of determining if someone did something of their own “free will” or if they were coerced all the time in jury trials. They never need to consult a biologist to do so. While there is something called “legal insanity,” and that does require a scientific expert (but a psychologist, not a neurologist or a biologist), and the question is not whether a person did something as a voluntary act, but whether they did so completely irrationally.

    The point is, when someone says “there is no free will”, whatever they mean has nothing to do with ordinary meaning of the concept of “free will” as it exists in human societies. Further, because “free will” has nothing to do with biology or physics, no scientific finding will negate “free will” as ordinarily understood. Usually, they are negating the metaphysical “libertarian” notion of free will, which is not coherent anyways. That common usage is that “its my choice and I could have chosen otherwise” but it is basically like an ornamental flourish on a building–if common usage became “its my choice, and that’s the kind of person I am, and I would never chose otherwise”–it obviously wouldn’t matter.

    That being said, scientific reductionism is never going to work, because language is independent of physics and biology. If you find an ancient gravesite with a dead person and a clay tablet with an unknown language, you can scientifically describe the dead person and the clay tablet down to the molecule, but that will not decipher what the message on the tablet is. Further, if you had a full scientific description of the entire world, every molecule at that instance, it wouldn’t tell you what the message on the tablet meant, nor would it tell you what the supreme court will do in their next decision. Meaning is distinct, independent, and separate from natural sciences, and the naturalist philosophers have never come up with a good reductionist account, because their trying to draw a triangle in 1 dimension. The letter kills but the spirit gives life.

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