2:00PM Water Cooler 9/8/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 461 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser, what we’ve accomplished in the last year,, and our current goal, strengthening daily news coverage.

Bird Song of the Day

California Thrasher, Solano, California, United States.

* * *


“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

“Elizabeth Warren Proposes Bill To Ban ‘Right-To-Work’ Laws” [HuffPo]. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) plans to reintroduce a bill on Thursday that would ban anti-union “right-to-work” laws that are now on the books in a majority of states. Such laws forbid employers and unions from entering into agreements stipulating that every worker covered by the contract pay fees to the union. In doing so, they allow workers to opt out of paying any dues while still enjoying the benefits of a union contract and representation.” • No doubt Biden will support it.

“Sanders vows to oppose controversial Schumer-Manchin side deal” [The Hill]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday blasted the side deal that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) struck earlier this summer to pass a controversial proposal to make it easier to develop fossil fuel-based energy projects. Schumer told reporters Wednesday that he plans to attach Manchin’s permitting reform bill to the stopgap spending measure that needs to pass by Sept. 30 to prevent a government shutdown. Sanders slammed the agreement as ‘a huge giveaway to the fossil fuel industry’ and angrily warned that it would undermine President Biden’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by the year 2030.” • Several days late, several dollars short.

My copy of Janine Wedel’s Shadow EliteM (2009) came today. Another damn book to read:


“Biden’s MAGA Obsession Won’t Help Democrats” [Black Agenda Report]. “What is a failed president to do? His 2022 midterm stump speech had the odd title , “The Continued Battle for the Soul of a Nation.” No one voted for Biden to be the nation’s religious leader, why the reference to the nation’s soul? That use of language is a sure sign that nonsense is being peddled and Biden didn’t disappoint. His failures are the reason he keeps running against Donald Trump instead of in defense of himself. Because he and the democrats don’t have much in the way of appeals to voters he just shouts Trump’s signature acronym MAGA, Make America Great Again, over and over again. He said MAGA 13 times in his speech. Never before has a losing president or his supporters been elevated to such a level of attention. Of course Trump differs from most former presidents by claiming that he didn’t really lose and encouraging his supporters to riot inside the Capitol two weeks before his successor’s inauguration. He still says he didn’t lose and is also back in the news after refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents to the National Archives where they belong. But Trump’s personal foolishness should be a reason for him to be ignored instead of getting more attention.”

“‘A Dangerous Escalation’: Fifty-Six Percent of Voters Believe President Biden Sought to ‘Incite Conflict'” [Jonathan Turley]. “Now, a Trafalgar poll shows that a majority of Americans believe that Biden was tried to ‘incite conflict’ with his speech. The poll asked respondents, ‘What is your opinion of President Biden’s recent primetime address to the nation in which he accused his political opponents of representing ‘an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic’?’ Fifty-six percent of the voters said that the speech ‘represents a dangerous escalation in rhetoric and is designed to incite conflict amounts Americans.'” • That’s not what Biden said, and Turley should put down his hack pom poms and take a seat. Biden, as I show here. Biden is attempting to split his political opponents, and in particular is seeking to give Catholic Republicans in Pennsylvania suburbs a permission structure that will allow them to vote for him.

“The GOP Respose to Biden’s Democracy Speech Proves His Point” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. “Biden’s main argument was simple: A wing of the Republican Party aligned with Trump refuses to renounce violence, respect the integrity of elections, or accept the rule of law. Biden argued that this faction composes a minority of the party, but has been able to bully the party’s officials into compliance…. [the Republican Party] treated the entire thing, including its critique of Trumpism, as an attack on them.” • Well, they would, wouldn’t they? Note that Obama (“cling to guns and religion”) and Clinton (“deplorables”) were not nearly so careful as Biden, I think because they had different tactical goals. Obama and Clinton wanted to split the electorate. Biden wants to split the Republican Party. As he says explicitly in the speech. (The wisdom of that idea can be questioned, but it’s what he wants to do.)

* * *

GA: “Georgia’s Senate Race Is Much Closer Than The Governor Election. Will That Hold Until November?” [FiveThirtyEight]. “After a history-making 2020 and 2021, Georgia is once again on our minds with two high-profile statewide races on the ballot this November: the U.S. Senate race, a highly competitive contest between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, as well as the gubernatorial contest, a high-octane rematch between Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams. But interestingly, these races have pretty different outlooks in FiveThirtyEight’s 2022 midterm forecast. The Senate race is currently rated as a toss-up, while in the governor’s race Kemp is a clear favorite to win.” • Say what you will about Herschel Walker, at least he doesn’t owe me six hundred bucks.

ID: Good:

PA: Incoming:

PA: Fetterman’s social media team can write their own ticket for 2024 (1):

PA: Fetterman’s social media team can write their own ticket for 2024 (2):

PA: “Fetterman to POLITICO: I will debate Oz” [Politico]. ” John Fetterman said he is committing to attending one debate with his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, in the closely watched battle for the Senate in Pennsylvania, but his campaign is still discussing accommodations for his auditory processing problems…. Fetterman declined to specify which debate he will attend or provide an exact date for it, though he said it will ‘be sometime in the middle to end of October’ on a ‘major television station’ in the state. He also said that the campaign is looking at the possibility of using a closed captioning monitor for the event so that he does not miss any words as he continues to recover from his stroke.” • Fetterman should demand the Pennsylvania branch of the League of Women Voters sponsor the debates, and not the networks (the real story being how the media muscles in as an actor).

PA: “John Fetterman has lingering speech issues after his stroke. What’s the impact on his Senate run?” [Inquirer]. “As Fetterman has returned to the trail, giving candid speeches without notes, he’s been upfront about the lingering speech impacts of his May stroke, insisting his physical and mental health are good, while his opponent, Mehmet Oz, challenges his ability to serve. ‘My health now is robust. I’m able to live a normal life,’ Fetterman said in his first nationally televised interview on MSNBC. ‘Driving, going to the grocery store … it’s just that every now and then, I’m going to miss a word or mush two words together.’ Fetterman and his Senate campaign have said it’s called auditory processing, an effect of his May 13 stroke, along with some word retrieval issues, which they expect to continue to improve. In brief speeches he’s given on the trail, it’s noticeable but not an overwhelming distraction. His crowds, typically supporters, enthusiastically respond to him, and plenty of people have speech problems that don’t indicate cognitive impairment.” • Well, Biden mushes words together, too. But I’m not sure that’s a recommendation.

TX: “Abbott holds 7-point lead over O’Rourke in new poll” [The Hill]. “The University of Houston-Texas Southern University survey found that 49 percent of likely voters supported Abbott, while 42 percent supported O’Rourke. The results of Wednesday’s survey track with other recent polls…. After the deadly shooting at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school brought the gun control debate back to the forefront, O’Rourke appeared to close the gap between himself and Abbott, leading to a sense of cautious optimism among the state’s Democrats. However, O’Rourke has been unable to gain further ground on Abbott in polls.””


“AOC’s Fight for the Future” [GQ]. “With the 2024 presidential election fast approaching and the question of whether or not President Joe Biden will run again looming, progressives are weighing the future of their movement. Sanders has signaled he’d support Biden for reelection but hasn’t ruled out another run in the event of an open race. Still, operatives across the movement have suggested that the 81-year-old Sanders is ready to hand off the reins. The top adviser to another leading progressive official told me that Ocasio-Cortez seems ‘destined to inherit the leadership of the movement.'” What movement? More:” Whatever Ocasio-Cortez decides to do, another top progressive operative added, will be ‘consequential for every single person who cares about the future of the country.’ All of the progressive political operatives that I spoke with said they were heartened by the number of leaders their movement has produced in recent years. Yet they all agree, when granted the ability to speak freely, that there is something special about the congresswoman.” • Well, AOC can organize a puff-piece, at least. So there’s that. Personally, I’ve never been an AOC-hater. I do agree that there is, or was, something “special” about her, which is why my disappointment is so great.

“‘Everyone wants me to run in 2024’: Trump” [Agence France Presse]. “Donald Trump has dropped another hint at a White House campaign in 2024, with the former US president telling Indian television that a run for office would ‘make a lot of people very happy.’ ‘Everyone wants me to run. I am leading in the polls,’ Trump said in an excerpt of an interview with NDTV to be broadcast in full later on Thursday. ‘In every poll, in Republican polls and in Democrat polls, and I will make a decision in the very near future, I suspect. And I think that a lot of people are going to be very happy,’ he added.” • Well, Ron DeSantis doesn’t want Trump to run. But he’s gonna have to make himself a bigger Big Man than Donald Trump. Not an easy task.

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.

* * *

“The Democratic Party Shouldn’t Be a Gerontocracy” [The Nation]. “ianne Feinstein is 89. Steny Hoyer is 83, Nancy Pelosi and Pat Leahy are 82, and Bernie Sanders is 80. Ben Cardin is 78, Richard Blumenthal is 76, Jeanne Shaheen is 75, Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden are 73; Debbie Stabenow is 72 and Chuck Schumer is 71…. In total, 46 percent of Senate Democrats and 40 percent of Democrats in the House are 65 or over…. Is it ageist to point out what the problems are? I’m a year older than Schumer—in fact, we were in college together, although I didn’t know him—so I can say freely: No, it is not. For one thing, not too long from now, many of these fine people will be incapacitated or dead. Who will take charge then, if younger people have not been brought in and prepared?”

My copy of Janine Wedel’s Shadow EliteM (2009) came today. Another damn book to read:

Republican Funhouse

“Steve Bannon, former Trump adviser, charged with money laundering in border wall scheme” [Reuters]. “Steve Bannon, the longtime ally and onetime top strategist to former U.S. President Donald Trump, has been indicted on money laundering and conspiracy for allegedly deceiving donors to an effort to help Trump build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Bannon, 68, was charged in an indictment made public on Thursday with two counts of money laundering, three counts of conspiracy and one count of scheming to defraud. The case arose from what prosecutors have described as a private $25 million fundraising drive, known as “We Build the Wall,” for the former Republican president’s signature wall. According to the indictment, Bannon promised donors that all their money would go toward the wall, but concealed his role in diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars to the drive’s chief executive, who had promised to take no salary. The chief executive has been identified in court papers as Brian Kolfage, an Air Force veteran who pleaded guilty in April to federal wire fraud conspiracy and tax charges, and is awaiting sentencing.” • Everybody’s gotta eat….

“Michigan GOP leaders encourage rule breaking at poll worker training session” [CNN]. “The evening before Michigan’s state primary, Wayne County GOP leaders held a Zoom training session for poll workers and partisan observers — warning them about “bad stuff happening” during the election and encouraging them to ignore local election rules barring cell phones and pens from polling places and vote-counting centers. ‘None of the constraints that they’re putting on this are legal,’ former state senator Patrick Colbeck told trainees on the August 1 call. As far as cell phones, ‘I would say maybe just hide it or something, and maybe hide a small pad and a small pen or something like that because you need to take accurate notes’ Cheryl Costantino, the GOP county chairwoman and host of the call, told participants. Some participants raised concerns about being tossed out if they broke the rules. ‘That’s why you got to do it secretly,’ Costantino replied.” … During the Wayne County training call, obtained by CNN, the presumption that Democrats cheat [*** cough *** Iowa 2020 ***cough***] — thus justifying Republican rule-breaking — permeated the discussion. It offers a snapshot of one of the ways Trump-backing, MAGA-minded conspiracy theorists are intervening in the election process across the country, sometimes encouraging poll workers or volunteer observers to violate election rules in hopes of finding evidence that Democrats might be doing the same.” •

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Michael Flynn: From government insider to holy warrior” [Associated Press]. “Flynn, 63, has used public appearances to energize voters, along with political endorsements to build alliances and a network of nonprofit groups — one of which has projected spending $50 million — to advance the movement, an investigation by The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” has found. He has drawn together election deniers, mask and vaccine opponents, insurrectionists, Proud Boys, and elected officials and leaders in state and local Republican parties. Along the way, the AP and “Frontline” documented, Flynn and his companies have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for his efforts.” And: “He says, over and over, that some of his fellow Americans are ‘evil.’ ‘They dress like us and they talk like us, but they don’t think and act like us,’ he told a podcaster recently. ‘And they definitely do not want what it is that we want.” • Dark Flynn. (I loathe the politics of “Christian” Nationalism (both parts of the phrase, equally). But politics is what it is. Go out there and beat it at the polls.

“Racism is a big deal” [Matt Yglesias, Slow Boring]. “Antiracism has become fashionable in certain circles.” See Wesley Yang on the “successor ideology.” Circles like HR departments everywhere, for starters. So Matty’s lead is a bit limp. Interesting mostly because it cites to Liam Kofi Bright’s paper, White Psychodrama, which concludes: “I have offered as a more attractive character archetype the Non-Aligned person. They seek to eliminate the mis-match between ideological aspiration and material reality. This they do by rendering material circumstances more akin to what one might expect given a racially egalitarian ideology. That is to say, rather than solve the DuBoisian social problem by trying to better manage its fall out, they wish to simply eliminate the circumstances that gave rise to it. Since they have to operate amidst the present society with all its confusions and distractions, I argued that the Non-Aligned person needs to develop a habit of considering issues with Stoical dispassion, while maintaining ironic detachment from the concerns of the other character archetypes. In this way they can focus on achieving their goals, rather than get distracted by the pervasive and highly affectively charged white psychodramas that constitute the mainstay of Repenters and Repressers battling it out in the culture war.”

It’s fractal!


More on Hochul’s mask-sabotaging signs (see Links this morning):

The analogy is exact. The only difference is that you can see the p*ss, but you can’t see the virus. This one is good, too:

* * *

Signing the Great Barrington Declaration:

The pre-filled champagne flutes are a very nice touch.

“The thin line between lobbying and corruption: health advocacy” [BMJ]. “What image comes to mind when you see the word corruption? I was born and raised in Nigeria and I associate corruption with Ghana must go bags, agbada, bullion vans, and animals swallowing money before vanishing. Lobbying never comes to mind. Lobbying conjures images of placards, campaigns for social issues and suited professionals in the corridor of legislative buildings chanting for justice. Quite limited when compared to reality. The World Bank defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain. Nepotism, bribery, embezzlement, extortion and fraud are all forms of corruption. Conversely, lobbying is a tool adopted by stakeholders to influence government policies or decisions regarding a cause or outcome. Award of contracts is one of the likely outcomes…. Clearly, lobbyists engaged in health advocacy have vested interests that are not always in the interest of public health. Often, these interests overshadow public health interests because of the intensity of lobbying activities and robust funding sources unmatched by stakeholders’ lobbying for public health interests…. Lobbying to influence decision making on health deserves extra attention because public health concerns are a matter of life and death….”

* * *

“Note on Covid” [Eschaton]. “I was lucky, my covid experience was fine….. One of the most bizarre developments in The Discourse was the anti-mask wearing bros. You know, the Nates and the Joshes and the Davids. I don’t mean mask policy, I mean just the general derision heaped on mask wearers who are just minding their own damn business. This started the spring after the vaccines came out and never stopped, despite waves of covid since. And, you know, sticking a mask on my gob when I remember is a pretty small price to pay to reduce my chances of getting covid a bit. I know it makes you super UNCOOL to have some concern for others, but the contempt for store workers involved with not just being against mask policies, or against wearing one yourself, but spending months getting enraged at the practice it all is quite amazing! Christ, what assholes.” • Yep.

* * *

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:

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.

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 ~74,000. Today, it’s ~68,700 and 68,700 * 6 = a Biden line at 412,200. (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:

Lambert here: If the Florida data weren’t so screwy, the national case count would be level or up.

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

Doing pretty well!

The West:


SITE DOWN Wastewater data (CDC), September 1:


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, September 8:

-2.6%. The continuing downward trend 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 still improving. More yellow in the Plains states and the Mountain states.

NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), September 6:

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), September 6:

First time in a long time I’ve seen only green. I do wonder if there’s a Labor Day effect, though; not just on the data side, but people thinking “I’m not gonna miss the family barbecue for a little ol’ cough.” So let’s see if this persists.

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].

Lambert here: The last real — i.e., not modeled — data from CDC is August 6. That’s such a ginormous derelection I don’t even know what to say. Basic disrespect for honest, hardworking Americans trying to make their “personal risk assessments.” How on earth are people supposed to do that without variant data? Do the morons at CDC think BA.5 is going to be the last?

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), August 27:

Still 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 13 (Nowcast off):

Still no sign of BA2.75.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Lambert here: We are seeing a drop in the death count. That suggests to me that a drop in the case count is real. (I don’t say “the” case count, because the cases we count are a fraction of the real number. It is interesting, though, that the deaths per 100,000 curve — with its curious recent flattening — has more or less the same shape as the case curve, suggesting that a “Biden Curve” would have more or less the same shape as the case count curve, as opposed to the straight line I am drawing for the current level.)

Total: 1,074,171 – 1,073,295 = 876 (876 * 365 = 319,740, which is 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 Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits decreased by 6,000 to 222,000 in the week that ended September 3rd from a downwardly revised 228,000 in the previous period and well below market expectations of 240,000. The figure marks the lowest amount of weekly jobless claims since the final week of May, highlighting a tight labor market and giving the Fed more space for aggressive interest rate hikes.” • “Giving the Fed more space.” What a euphemism!

* * *

The Economy:

So much for the mittelstand?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 41 Fear (previous close: 45 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 38 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 8 at 1:28 PM EDT.

The Gallery

This is the many-worlds hypothesis, I think:

IMNSHO, all the AI-generated so-called art (“scart”?) has this dorm room poster quality to it….. Whether it pre-exists on some other timeline or not. (I would imagine that AI scart*, if it takes off like, say, Instagram, will take a lot power. On the order of Bitcoin? That I don’t know. In any case, it’s hardly Jackpot-ready.) NOTE * I don’t mean to imply “scat.” Well, maybe I do.

Zeitgeist Watch

“Love might be a second-order phase transition” [arXiv]. “one of the leading hypotheses now is that the brain is operating close to the critical point of a second-order phase transition [7– 11], which explains several groups of its properties: the presence of power-law scalings for many of its characteristics [5]; the links between the corresponding scaling exponents, including those describing behavior [12]; the emergence of large-scale dynamical correlations [13, 14] between neurons (pattern formation) and the sensitivity to the state of individual neurons; the divergence of the susceptibility and the multitude of self-adapting reactions. The operation at the critical point allows the brain (and other biological systems) to achieve maximal efficiency, required for survival [15]. It is ensured by the proper balance of excitation and inhibition [16, 17… Ongoing studies are devoted to the type of the phase transition involved [21–23]. It is understood that the balance between excitation and inhibition should be one of the parameters allowing to cross the transition point. An artificially-induced transition to the subcritical regime and a return to criticality have already been observed in rats [24], but no evidence of such transitions occurring naturally are known for human beings so far. In this work, we suggest that love might be an example of a second-order phase transition occurring in the brain. We show that this hypothesis explains a lot of well-known properties of love. Analyzing several most famous literature examples and a private diary, we show that the intensity of feelings exhibits a universal scaling behavior, distinguishing two cases: love at first sight and love developing from liking or friendship (friends first), both being studied in psychology [25–27].” • Oh.

News of the Wired

The next time WEF suggests you eat bugs:

“Why English gardens don’t work for SoCal” [Los Angeles Times]. “Some people talk about Southern California as desert living, but I’ve learned that, actually, most SoCal residents live in one of the world’s five Mediterranean climates, marked by long, hot, dry summers and wet, cool winters, and I have come to love the diversity and tenacity of the plants that have evolved to grow in these conditions. They adapted to long periods of searing heat by pushing their roots deep into the soil to find water far below. Some even go brown and dormant during the hottest periods to wait for rain…. I am most fond, however, of the plants that grow natively in Southern California. Most are deliciously fragrant with just the slightest touch, and like the coastal live oaks and sycamores that dot our dry hillsides, these flowers, shrubs and trees can provide shade, colorful blooms and, most importantly, food and shelter for our threatened birds, butterflies and wildlife.”

“Of Wandering Angels and Lost Landmarks” [Emergence]. This is the premise: “We’ve come a long way to visit a tree, meet a wandering angel, and find out if the landmarks have any direction left to give…. I have spent years gazing longingly at three stereographic photos, taken in 1873, of a tree called the Thousand Mile Tree, which grows not far from where we park. We walk toward it, downstream, through waist-high clumps of sere bunchgrass and silver-green sage, shoulder-to-shoulder with the galvanized guardrail that separates us from the throaty eighteen-wheelers steaming down the four-lane interstate—Savage, Legend, Amazon—trying not to slide down the steep slope on our right that slips into the Weber, which is now whispering at its November low-flow, green and midnight…. It feels odd to be here, in a landscape that I’ve seen hundreds of times before, but only in a gold-toned albumen photograph that predates my birth by more than a hundred years, as if I’ve fallen into someone else’s memory. ” • Long-form! Well worth a read.

* * *

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

RM writes: “And mean greenies?”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. OIFVet

      Very timely, her passing. Moves energy bills and the NHS crises off the front pages, and the rail strikes have been called off. It will all be pomp, reflections on what it means to be British which will lead to calls for the British to keep a stiff upper lip at this greatest of all blows, and let’s not focus on our hardships but live by the example set by HRH.

      In other words, they will not be allowed to move on.

      Sorry to be so cynical, but if I may paraphrase a mustached man, “The death of the Queen is a tragedy, the plight of her subjects is statistics.”

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        “Live by the example set by HRH”

        Do you mean to wear matching hats and clothing, particularly in pastel colors?

        [As someone with U.S. citizenship by birth, I can assure you that my Royal-Affection-O-Meter remains unmoved, at zero.]

        1. OIFVet

          “Do you mean to wear matching hats and clothing, particularly in pastel colors?”

          I suspect it will be left to the individual plebe which of her examples to follow, so long as they don’t focus on pocketbook issues. After all, HRH never once complained about energy bills and she had what, 20 old and drafty castles to heat up? That right there is a very timely example to follow.

          I am with you, my Royal-Affection-O-Meter is firmly stuck on zero. I apologize to our British members of the commentariat for my cynicism and failure to feel even a tinge of sorrow, however from my emotional remove I can already predict what will happen to y’all: her passing will be used for all it’s worth to try to make y’all forget about the great problems facing you.

            1. mrsyk

              I had the great fortune to see them twice back in high school (’78 and ’80). One of my favorite rock groups for sure. Muswell Hillbillies is an excellent listen.

              1. ambrit

                I saw them in 1976 doing their ‘Schoolboys in Disgrace’ tour. A short tour but much fun.
                Muswell Hillbillies is fun.
                I’ve still got bloody vinyl discs of them for heaven’s sake.

            2. Swamp Yankee

              “He’s bought a hat like Antony Eden,
              Because it makes him feel like a Lord;
              But he can’t afford a Rolls or a Bentley,
              He has to drive a second-hand Ford….”

              One of the greatest social portraits by the Kinks.

            1. OIFVet

              Her subjects would have felt warm and fuzzy knowing Lilibeth and the corgies were warm inside the Buckingham. Trickle down heating, if you will.

    2. LawnDart

      Have her corpse sent to the taxidermist before it becomes too terribly rancid, then send it to the Royal Museum where it can get dusty alongside items of looted treasure, taxes, and plunder.

      Her heirs should be stuck into cages and put on display at a zoo, where children could throw peanuts at them.

    3. Glen

      Looks like some already did a while ago.

      Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

      Funny, I heard the queen had died and this is what I thought of. I guess you can turn into an old fart, but still have a tiny bit of punk left.

      Being an American, she was never my queen, so apologies if I offended anyone. She seemed like a decent queen all things considered, and we can only hope her son is as good a king.

    4. hamstak

      My quandary regarding Elizabeth’s shuttling off this mortal coil is whether to listen to Sex Pistols or The Smiths, in memoriam.

    5. CheckyChubber

      Last time i saw HRH in public, she was meeting the new PM Liz Truss, who was maskless, in a stuffy palace room. I wonder if she gave the queen covid?

    6. Louis Fyne


      given how since 1066, English/UK “revolutions” have been about the left hand of aristocrats fighting the right hand of aristocrats.

      Not holding my breath for Wat Tyler II to show up

      1. Glen

        I would straight up swap any of America’s psychoathic billionaires for any British royal. The royals have ancestors that got their heads chopped off, and most understand they have some modicum of service due to their country. American billionaires sell out to their country every day, and have been doing it openly for decades.

        1. Paradan

          Also when the right hand and left hand were fighting each other they actually went out and fought each other.

    7. CanCyn

      I’ll quote the Pythons “She’s not my Queen, I didn’t vote for her”. I used to think that if Diana had lived then perhaps Charles would be the last monarch and that William would decline to ascend and end the damn monarchy, but he lost her influence too soon and seems to have been fully inculcated into the Firm.
      The Queen seemed a gracious woman in many ways and it is not her fault that she was Queen and was so brainwashed about duty that it is all she could do but be the Queen. I said on a thread in links that for me the Royal family is just another grossly wealthy family, just another symbol of the gross inequality in the world. Not to mention the scourge of colonialism everywhere. I’ve never understood modern Brits’ love for the Royal family. Surely their time is long past. The gov could reap the tourist dollars without actually having the people in place. I fear other commenters here are correct that this death and mourning spectacle will be just another timely distraction from real matters at hand. So sad that the transit strikes are paused – that is worse than Elizabeth’s death for me.

      1. wilroncanada

        But the US has an even better royal tradition. They have two kings/queens, calling themselves political party leaders, who joust with each other for public favour, and then in private conspire with each other to stiff their subjects.
        And both royals still get unquestioned adulation from those subjects.

    8. griffen

      It may be early on yet, but too soon to have a swig of ale and salute the new head of state? King Charles III, sir, your throne awaits. Beg pardon sir, not the porcelain throne.

      Erstwhile, this video clip from a fictional work might summarize how to toast.


      1. Polar Socialist

        To be honest, I used her passing as a good excuse for a wee dram of single malt to nurture while accompanying my spouse while she consumed some or the other TV-program dedicated to her majesty’s life.

    9. Wukchumni

      Our royalty doesn’t grace coins & banknotes, but is just as pampered.

      All you have to do is be a sitting President or an ex-President.

      There’s a mansion in Mineral King and about 5 years ago Laura Bush and friends rented it out and I was told there was a retinue of 15 secret service agents that accompanied her…

          1. QuicksilverMessenger

            I also saw some choice ones-
            One congratulating Ireland on a new National Holiday! And when an English person chimed in with the old “Ah the queen still living rent free in the Irish head” someone retorted back “Just wait until you find out where else she’s been living rent free”!

            1. JohnA

              The Irish Times wrote:
              Having a monarchy next door is a little like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and has daubed their house with clown murals, displays clown dolls in each window and has an insatiable desire to hear about and discuss clown-related news stories. More specifically, for the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown.

    10. pjay

      I watched the NBC evening news earlier. All about the Queen. They could only squeeze in one other 30 second story. Hilariously, it was about Steve Bannon’s indictment (there’s news, and then there’s NEWS).

      The upside was no stories on Ukraine, Trump, semi-fascist insurrectionists, or other topics to raise my blood pressure. As someone pointed out earlier, this could be bad news for Zelensky, since he depends on Western media propaganda. I wouldn’t mind if the US media spent the entire two week mourning period covering the Royals, regardless of how irritating some of their British Royal-watcher correspondents are.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Fixed, thanks. I go through cycles where my touch on the keyboard becomes so quick and light that the Mac doesn’t recognized Command-V for paste. I seem to be at that point in the cycle.

    2. LawnDart

      Cukoo wasps– family Chrysididae.

      Pet one, I dare you.

      (They do have a pretty green color, though. Best kept in a sealed-jar. With ether.)

  1. digi_owl

    Hmm, Stokes.

    He may have posted some oddities since leaving Ars Technica, but his technical insight is still strong it seems.

    The thing about these systems is that they digest a massive collection of images, and how they are tagged/described/whatever, and build statics about the combinations.

    The language prompts then is all about running those statistics in reverse, producing the image that is statistically closest to the prompt based on the original image collection.

    End result are images that look “accurate” from afar, but have details that a human artist would never make (unless going for the absurd by intent). Things like extra fingers on visible hands etc.

    And i think that is what Stokes is getting at here. That the image produced is a collage from the various images in the initial training set.

    1. NN Cassandra

      It seems he just discovered that while the word exist can be used in conjunction with wide array of things from rock to number, the mode of “existing” of all these things is quite different. Especially the trouble with things that seems to “exist” only in human heads is vexing philosophers for millennia.

  2. Amfortas the hippie

    re: gerontocracy.
    i don’t think its “ageist” at all to point out things that happen to people that age….nor the historical and social milieu that produced them.
    it’s not as if such folks are some new species that we know almost nothing about.
    i live right next door to one…and have been in close contact with people of those ages and relative status for as long as i can remember.
    you likely have too,lol.
    they’re the pmc and pmc adjacent who spawned us.
    when i see Herself, or Nancy or any of them, i immediately put my mom, stepmom, aunts, uncles and late father into their position, as a thought experiment, and the way things are(tm) makes perfect sense.
    it couldn’t be any other way, could it?
    all the clinging to power, and kicking down, means there’s no back bench…they’ll extend their meddling beyond the grave if they can.
    i note, with some trepidation, that the “other side” seems quite a bit younger, with a few exceptions….and more idiotic and full-o-beans than their elders.
    as time takes it’s toll, dems will eventually trot out chelsea!…and wonder why nobody shows up.
    and we’ll have the cottonminded and cruel progeny of “movement conservatism” bursting from the ossified corpse of Reaganism, there on the dusty hillside, to run the show by default.

    1. HotFlash

      Speaking of no bench, we now have King Charles III. And Liz Truss. And sanctions.. I feel like I am watching Imperial Walkers fall over.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Can we call him Two Buck Chuck? After all, he is the left over and nearly unpalatable royal.

        1. Omicron

          X10,000!! My Scottish mother-in-law, born in Aberdeen, was wont to refer to George VI as the “wee German lairdie,” and his decedent daughter as “the greedy Queen.” Of course my MIL also wanted to undo the ’45….

    2. Lex

      Concur. I’m not yet 50 and look at the job of POTUS as one that would age me at least 10 years in 4. And I find that problematic in a few ways. I would honestly start worrying about my ability to do the job at all looking forward to being 60. The flip side being that I’m not sure someone under 45-50 is really ready for an office like POTUS. But maybe my problem is that I would take the responsibility of high office seriously. It doesn’t seem that our current leadership (either party) really does.

      I do the same experiment you do with my folks, aunts, uncles etc. They are all very smart people and they impressed upon me thinking for myself and the like; I’ve noticed they’ve all pretty much given up on such behavior themselves and it’s way too easy to see the dem party leadership type reflected in them. They simply don’t want to know anything that contradicts their already held opinion and seem to think it’s still the late 90’s out there in the world.

      1. Wukchumni

        Anybody aged 45 to 50 has had 25 years to have disqualified themselves by something stupid that they wrote or pictures posted on the internet, as opposed to the old guard whose foibles were just as egregious, but remain locked away never to see the light of day.

    3. skippy

      What you don’t know cant hurt you ….

      So my younger ex military service [it never ends] red leg/avionics marine [ETS mid 80s] Texas implant for over a decade from back some time in Austin moved up to Mesa Phoenix area to look after dear old mom. After a year-ish of time and a few bucks spent to fix up some stuff the place sold for a 70K profit. First order of businesses was to purchase a Volvo out of his half with almost 35K of it and the rest financed.

      Currently living now in a hotel in G-town looking for a place to rent and down to 20K post sale of RE.

      Goat, dawg, asteroid, cults, … whoboy … but I’m styling in my ride in Austin and people cut of cloth thingy abide … cracker box whitee – ?????

  3. Bazarov

    That thread about AI mapping all possible art reminds me of this old saying:

    “One thousand monkeys randomly pressing one thousand typewriters working forever will eventually produce all of human literature.”

    Also Borges’ “The Library of Babel”.

    It seems to me that there are infinite combinations of words/works since new words and letters can be created, volumes can be of different lengths and orderings, etc.

    Per the tweet’s question:

    “Then why does it make sense to speak of any of these images or strings of text as “new?”

    …because nobody’s ever seen or read them before? What’s “new” is what becomes known that hasn’t already been known. Every day of your life is new. A virus is “new” once we know of it or experience it, even if its been around for 10,000 years. “New” does not mean “from nothing”–it means “new to somebody” or “new to human culture.”

    So there’s a lot out there in infinity. And it’s all new, baby!

    1. digi_owl

      Another thought is that once music recording became common, sampling became rampant. Meaning that someone take a stack of recordings, cut out bits and pieces from each of them and then assemble that into something “new”.

      Supposedly there are some 80s-90s rap tracks or similar that can’t be done today, because the licensing fees from all the samples would be staggering.

      1. Polar Socialist

        To think that in 1823 Anton Diabelli actually paid Beethoven to write 33 variations of Diabelli’s waltz.

        Beethoven’s variations are now, of course, known as “the greatest of all piano works”.

        1. Questa Nota

          I’ve listened to a lot of Beethoven over the decades and those Diabelli Variations aren’t even in my top 10. Then again, I am an older guy who loves sonatas and symphonies. For Variations, I prefer Bach’s Goldberg.

          1. Polar Socialist

            Not my words, used merely to emphasize what will be lost due to too restrictive interpretation of copyright in arts.

            Personally, I find most classical piano music weirdly noisy and prefer strings way much more. In rock, blues and jazz piano is fine, like it was meant to be there.

  4. DJG, Reality Czar

    “IMNSHO, all the AI-generated so-called art (“scart”?) has this dorm room poster quality to it….. Whether it pre-exists on some other timeline or not.”

    Even at a site like DeviantArt, which is very much pop, there is a strong tendency toward melodrama.

    What you are seeing with “artifart” (instead of your “scart”) is the strong tendency toward melodrama. It takes an effort for an artist as human artist not to devolve into melodrama. What can a machine do? So it’s all melodrama in these senses:
    Overdetermination of story or of causes.
    Easy emotions, and the usual easy emotions.
    Serving the viewer the viewer’s own prejudices and pretending that they are highly original.
    Cheesy religion.
    Lighting for effect, not to tell a story. [Cthulhu above in a halo, indeed.]

    Which is why in my not-so-humble opinion, the artifart side of Joe Biden’s Twilight of Semi-Freddo in Philadelphia speech is melodrama. The lighting was at the same level as seen above, Joe Cthulhu in a halo.

    1. Tom Doak

      Is the melodrama consistent in the output, or is it the bias of what the human controllers choose to show us?

      One would expect just as with the 1000 monkeys on 1000 typewriters, a lot of gibberish to come out between masterpieces. Or is the AI so exacting that it prevents this? If so, it probably also prevents real Art.

    2. semper loquitur

      “IMNSHO, all the AI-generated so-called art (“scart”?) has this dorm room poster quality to it….. Whether it pre-exists on some other timeline or not.”

      Considering the people coding these things skew heavily towards the nerd-in-a-nest type, this comes as no surprise. It’s a wonder all this AI non-art doesn’t look like a hybrid of Swedish bikini models, Dungeons and Dragons themes, and Ramen noodle logos. I’ve worked with many groups of computery tech types in my former career, the geek runs strong…

  5. Jason Boxman

    What passes for wisdom in the Beltway:

    Six months into “a very tough slog of a war,” Ukraine has begun to mount a counteroffensive and Russia’s invasion can only be seen as a failure, the director of the C.I.A., William J. Burns, said Thursday.

    While the final chapter of the war is yet to be written, Mr. Burns said it was “hard to see Putin’s record in the war as anything but a failure.”

    Perhaps the record might ultimately be mixed, but I doubt a failure in total. It’ll be decades before all of the consequences are entirely accounted for, and perhaps not even then. Regardless, the SMO has hardly broken Russia as a country, so the capacity to continue to pursue the operation’s aims is available. How then can it be deemed a failure? Perhaps on the West’s terms, but that’s denialism.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Patrick Cockburn over at Counterpunch said that Putin’s failure in Ukraine will be as “momentous” as Gorbachev’s failure in Russia. Other writers at Counterpunch have expressed similar sentiments. We shall see, as Trump might say.

      1. pjay

        Cockburn and the other Counterpunch regulars have already proven themselves momentous failures at saying anything relevant about US imperialism, pretending to be radical critics while actually covering for it. Their comments on Putin and Ukraine are about as useful as those of the NY Times.

        1. Late Introvert

          Agree, that group was always a bit off, if sometimes interesting. Counterpunch reeks of funding by the 5 i’s now.

    2. Eureka Springs

      When has the CIA ever been right about these things? And if ever they were, why would anyone believe them for they were probably not speaking truth at the time.

      Reading entrails would serve us better.

        1. digi_owl

          As i understand it, their analyst side is pretty solid. but often end up being ignored by Pentagon and the state department because invariably their reports do not fit the agenda.

          It is their operations side that keeps going from blowback to blowback, and are barely on a leash at the best of days.

      1. nippersdad

        Of all the people in the Biden White House who should know better, William Burns would have to top the list of those who know that is complete BS. This was not only predictable, but HE mentions the prediction back in 2008 in his own cable whilst he was the ambassador to Russia:

        “6. ( c )…..Trenin expressed concern that elements within the Russian
        establishment would be encouraged to meddle, stimulating U.S.
        overt encouragement of opposing political forces, and leaving
        the U.S. and Russia in a classic confrontational posture.
        The irony, Trenin professed, was that Ukraine’s membership
        would defang NATO, but neither the Russian public nor elite
        opinion was ready for that argument.”

        “12. ( c ) …..While Russian opposition to the first
        round of NATO enlargement in the mid-1990’s was strong,
        Russia now feels itself able to respond more forcefully to
        what it perceives as actions contrary to its national


        Not only was he aware that there was the possibility of “defang(ing) NATO fourteen years ago, but he was also aware that they were in the process of strengthening their position so that they could overcome any threats NATO expansion might pose. That sounds like a lot of projection from a CIA Director who knew better but could not get respect for his views from State Department neocons. Making shit up post facto is not a sign of strength.

        1. Late Introvert

          Thanks, good comment. Seems obvious Burns does know but his job is to say otherwise. What does Lambert say about “former” CIA?

      2. britzklieg

        Burns is dissembling. He was more honest about Russia before he became Biden’s head spook. I guess the CIA makes liars out of most who occupy the CIA throne.

        From 2019 and in The Atlantic, of all places: https://www.theatlantic.com/membership/archive/2019/03/a-brief-history-of-us-russian-missteps/584542/

        “Burns warned Washington that Ukrainian membership in NATO was a red line for Russia. (WikiLeaks published the memos.) But successive presidents’ desire to consolidate European democracy, among other factors, kept the process going through the 2000s. “I think what happened in later years was we sort of stayed on autopilot with regard to NATO expansion,” Burns said.”

        Given the shade thrown at Putin for being an underling in the KGB, it’s amazing how most Americans forget (or just don’t know) that Bush pere actually headed the CIA before ascending to POTUS.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘I guess the CIA makes liars out of most who occupy the CIA throne.’

          I thought I heard one guy talking about the CIA once say that they give their agents courses in how to lie effectively. It is part of their training. People forget that.

          As for Burns’s reliability, was he going around a year or so ago warning that the Afghanistan project was ready to implode in a matter of weeks? I might have missed his warnings.

          1. albrt

            They literally can’t tell the truth, because the fact that they think something is the truth is a secret.

            There is zero possibility that our government as run for the last 20 years can lead to anything but disaster.

      3. Silent Bob

        I was dumbfounded when Russia said fuggit and started the SMO. Dumbfounded only because Brandon and the no-goodniks at the CIA said Russia was going to move and I took that as an ironclad, almost divinely inspired sign to the contrary. Apparently even their bullshih is bullshih. Shame on me I guess.

        1. eg

          I got wrongfooted for precisely the same reason — when had they ever NOT been lying to me before?

          It’s a recipe for learned helplessness.

      4. Lex

        The soviet backed afghan government would fall in weeks. The US backed afghan government would stand for at least months. Both CIA predictions. Of course what actually gets to us from CIA analysis is always questionable and internally it might be better. But the public track record is pretty much 0 for all-time.

        I’m also hesitant to listen to people who have lying as part of their actual job description. That may cast me as un-American.

        1. Joe Renter

          My ex works at a law school. She told me all lawyers are taught to lie. It never donned on me it was so straight up. Not that I trusted the law or lawyers to begin with.

          1. Jake Dickens

            As a lawyer once in law school (1970s), I am very surprised by this statement. I never heard anything like this when in law school and not in the following 47 years. I am not saying all lawyers are honest (see Rudy G and Sydney Powell) but this is a complete surprise.

            1. albrt

              Yeah, I am a lawyer and I did not hear this in law school, or anywhere since. If you are inclined to lie, you can start figuring out how to do it effectively based on things you learn in law school. But law school and the state regulatory authorities definitely tell you in clear terms that you are not allowed to lie.

              1. albrt

                Additional: The ordinary person’s understanding of lying is very different from the lawyer’s understanding of lying, though. This is one of the ways that people who represent themselves get tripped up. They get frustrated and start accusing everyone of lying, but the judge doesn’t consider slanted arguments to be lies so the judge thinks the unrepresented person is just an idiot who doesn’t understand how the legal system works.

              2. Basil Pesto

                If you are inclined to lie, you can start figuring out how to do it effectively based on things you learn in law school.

                Exactly. Was never explicitly taught or recommended to me either. Moreover it’s a pretty useless thing to teach. If you’re already inclined to lie, you already more or less get how it works in your capacity as a presumably normal human person. But no law school is going to waste time teaching the finer points of lying when there’s so much other shit to learn.

  6. Carolinian

    That’s not what Biden said

    It’s not what Turley said either. He’s quoting a poll.

    And given Biden’s zeal to prosecute Trump and otherwise stretch the traditional boundaries are you saying escalation is something he’s not prepared to do? I think Ukraine alone is all the evidence we need that Biden is dangerous–to us, not Trump in which case frankly who cares. It’s his actions not his rhetoric that we need to worry about.

    1. Tom Stone

      I suspect that Biden and his posse would be happy to find an excuse to pass that longed for Domestic Terrorism bill.
      For the children.
      Biden’s speech was rash and deliberately provocative, as was the Mar A Lago raid.
      Typical behavior the Biden Administration at home as well as abroad.
      Trump was awful , Biden is a Catastrophe.

    2. spud


      “And so, under Joe Biden the country continues to move to the right, as more people grow frustrated with its uselessness and turn to the Republicans. You had to vote for Joe Biden to stop the Republicans, but Joe Biden’s policies–or lack thereof–create new Republicans.”

      Trump for all his faults poses no existential threat to the republic. What’s more Sanders and Robinson are deeply underestimating the damage a Biden presidency will cause.


  7. Wukchumni

    The SoCalist movement looks to get a couple inches of rain as remnants of Kay make their way north, and we’re looking at perhaps 3 inches in the higher climes of the Sierra Nevada, and combined with other monsoonal storms this summer, a funny thing is happening in that we’re getting nearly as much moisture in the summer as in our winter of missed content. Essentially all of the water on the western slopes of the Sierra is destined to be used for Ag and this represents a nice unexpected windfall for farmers.

    The water is largely wasted on SD & LA though as storm drains transport the largess to the Pacific which is hardly in need of more liquid, but there you have it.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Since the soil is so dry it is likely that most of the bonus rain will be absorbed directly into the soil, rather than runoff to ultimately find its way to almond groves.

      1. Wukchumni

        Tip for Tijuana-adjacent:

        Do not be anywhere near the 8 freeway when the deal goes down as there are sections of it under sea level, which will make for a great video in a few days.

    2. Arizona Slim

      We’re already getting gray skies and strong winds here in Tucson. C’mon, Kay, we need the rain!

        1. Wukchumni

          Added similarity:

          The tropical storm was credited with at least one beneficial effect: it ended a vicious heat wave that had lasted for over a week and killed at least 90 people.

          1. Arizona Slim

            Me? I just want a full cistern and a lemon tree that stops looking like a guilt-tripping drama queen. Come on, lemon, I give you plenty of greywater from the washing machine!

            1. Wukchumni


              I’d like a gullywasher of around 6 inches to drench the higher climes and the resultant flow out would do away with harmful algae blooms that kind of resemble underwater green smurfs in the rivers of tiny town.

              The sliver lining to the deal being that hillsides which more closely resemble lunar landscapes on account of the KNP fire and saw slight amounts of precip since they were denuded might let loose and then some.

              3 inches of 2 ¢ plain is preferable, ha ha

    3. Socal Rhino

      Per the NWS in San Diego, there’s a chance that inland areas of Socal get both fire and flooding tomorrow, as extreme heat mixed with high winds produces dry lightning before moisture arrives from Kay.

  8. Tom Stone

    “Right placing the Goal Posts” has a long history.
    And nearly as many synonyms as “Crapper”.

  9. Wukchumni

    We ought to be glad that Biden isn’t filling in positions from Westeros or Westworld, but you go with the ineptotism that got you to the dance.

  10. SD

    I was curious after reading the LA Times excerpt where the world’s other four Mediterranean climates are. Aside from the obvious, they are Southern/Southwestern Australia, the Western Cape area of South Africa, and Central Chile. According to the map I looked at, these are very small swaths of the Earth’s land area, like maybe not even 5% just by eyeballing it. There’s a lot of chatter about where the habitable zones of the Earth will be in 100 years, but it’s not like these kinds of rare climates are just going to migrate inexorably north or south, are they? Is it the case that we could be facing the total loss of specialized climates like the Mediterranean?

  11. Wukchumni

    And: “He says, over and over, that some of his fellow Americans are ‘evil.’ ‘They dress like us and they talk like us, but they don’t think and act like us,’ he told a podcaster recently. ‘And they definitely do not want what it is that we want.”

    The evangs are the only cohesive voting bloc in the country and the faithful strictly do as they are told when it comes to who to vote for. Until we can come up with something to counter them in like numbers, that dogma will hunt.

    1. nippersdad

      One thing that they DO NOT LIKE is being compared to the Taliban. Troll on my Congressmans page that I have been, the one argument they have no prepared defense against is Christian Sharia under a Constitution that explicitly has no religious tests. If anyone wants to run against them, that is their soft underbelly. You don’t get to go all originalist on anyone and then gut the Constitution. They really do freak out when that is brought up.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m surrounded by evangs in Godzone, which had John Birch signs on Hwy 99 as late as a decade ago, with Visalia and environs being very much a KKK stronghold in the Central Valley once upon a time.

        Oh, and this was where the Confederacy held sway somewhat in Cali, with as much as half of the populace on the side of the grey in sympathy, versus say 5% in SF.

        I reckon I can learn more from them by observation rather than rattling their cage, and so far so good.

        They’re history majors specializing in a brief glimpse of time being all that.

        1. nippersdad

          John Birch Society = my Dad. KKK = my Grandfather. Both sides of my family were large landowners right up until the Civil War. We had a regiment named after us in Charleston, and were on the committee that decided to fire on Fort Sumter.

          I was born here in the Deep South; We have been here for three hundred years. I have learned just about everything I need to know. I don’t need to observe them, I was raised by them. If you don’t learn how to rattle their cages they will put you in one.

  12. marym

    Re: AOC and What movement?

    I don’t think someone who chooses to work within the current 2-corrrupt-party electoral system (or the Sanders compromise) can be the leader of a national movement.

    They can represent a movement (if there is one, or some essential level of solidarity among disparate movements) in Congress. They can lead a faction within Congress and be judged on how effectively they negotiate for and win specific policies a movement would support. However, if a movement addressing the scope and depth of the issues is possible (??) it wouldn’t be something primarily Congress-centered or led.

  13. Ranger Rick

    Non-Aligned persons or radical centrists? Either way lies constant harangues over not “picking a side” or “not having political opinions strong enough to defend”. In today’s inaction-is-action world, even Stoic detachment is considered active endorsement of an interlocutor’s political enemies, their ideologies, and their activities. Independents have a tough row to hoe.

  14. Wukchumni

    A towering mushroom cloud formed by the Mosquito Fire to the west of Lake Tahoe is threatening the town of Volcanoville, which is oddly fitting.

        1. Wukchumni

          Fire Fire, burning bright
          In the forest with all its might
          What sort of pyroclastic poetry
          Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

  15. lyman alpha blob

    “No doubt Biden will support it.”

    Well sure, as long as he knows ahead of time which Dems will kill it off so he doesn’t actually have to sign it.

  16. Wukchumni

    The worm has turned in all of the housing bubbles where english is spoken, but which country prevails in a race to the bottom?

  17. Socal Rhino

    Race for 39th Congressional district looks interesting at least based on campaign ads. Young Kim, the Republican incumbent, features an endorsement from a retired Army colonel extolling her support for VA benefits. The opponent’s ad features a woman who says she is Republican because she wants government to stay out of our personal lives, but can’t support Kim because she supported repeal of Dodd and favors federal plans for prohibitions.

  18. Jeff N

    Rumor is the covid is increasing in the schools, here in Chicagoland. Let’s keep an eye on that orange wastewater.

    1. Wukchumni

      I was really anticipating having friends up at the cabin, with the small fry in the ointment being Typhoid Elliot, an otherwise unassuming 7 year old boy who passed it on to mom a couple days ago, which kinda weirds me out being that close so soon and yeah she gets it, so they got dibs on it this weekend.

      Aside from masks of all types imaginable that become a necessity when a dust storm occurs (we had 2 long ones this Burning Man, one about 4 hours and another lasting 7 hours) maybe I saw a dozen burners with an N-95 on when it was nice out, which it was for the most part in the 8 days a week existence there.

      Everything is largely in the outdoors, but when dust storms happen everybody in a tent hits up fellow campers in RV’s or trailers. We had 9 in an RV that sleeps 2 for one of the long playing alkali stanzas, for instance.

      I’ll send out an e-mail to the 33 or so of us from all over the globe who coexisted and see if anybody caught Covid @ Burning Man?

        1. Wukchumni

          Great article, thanks TRK~

          Crisis = Opportunity and similar to a drought unearthing hardly ever seen wonders on the Colorado, the aftermath of our fire from last year in Sequoia NP was fruitful too in ferreting out the past, albeit with only a couple year window to get ‘r done before groundcover takes over.

          There’s something like 10,000 homes for sale in Las Vegas now which is about double the amount from a year ago, in a housing market in impressive downturn, combined with Covid & climate change knock knock knocking on the casino floor.

          We put in on our flatwater kayak trips just past the Pat Tillman memorial bridge over the Colorado River in a photo in the link.

          You’d never know about the dwindling of Lake Mead in our 20 years of doing the overnight trip as the water is kept at a fairly constant level after it passes through Hoover Dam, but oh to watch the drought foment Lake Mead on such a timeline was quite something.

          Mead was as full as it’d ever be when we started doing kayak trips, and I remember going to really out of the way marinas towards the north of the lake where now the water is 500 feet away from the boat launching ramps of way back when.

  19. Michael Ismoe

    “Sanders vows to oppose controversial Schumer-Manchin side deal”

    Of course he does. Because every Republicans in the senate will beg to be the 51st vote for a gift to the oil companies. It will pass 99-1 so Bernie can play Progressive. He’s such a tool.

    OTOH – we have a senatorial candidate whose Twitter team seems to be a hell of a lot more lucid than the candidate himself. Maybe we should vote for them.

  20. The Rev Kev

    Don’t know if you see it where you are but I see the Google name on their search page is all in grey in honour of the Queen’s passing.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Wait until she finds out Jeffrey Epstein really isn’t dead. All that royal purse to bail out her second, thrown away.

  21. Jason Boxman


    What’s most interesting about this, is that once again we see that conservatives are serious about their politics.

    After Trump spoke for a few minutes, Leo invited him to talk about judges. “Why don’t I put out a list publicly of people who could be the sort of people I would put on the Supreme Court?” Trump suggested, as McGahn later recalled. The room reacted with joy. (He and Leo have at times given divergent accounts of the fateful meeting; in Leo’s telling, McGahn had asked him to bring a list of names.) If Trump would publicly commit to selecting Scalia’s successor from an approved list, well, that would do a lot to assuage conservatives’ concerns about a guy who had previously supported abortion rights. The final list of potential Supreme Court picks would take months to come together — a team led by McGahn and Leo scoured the candidates’ court opinions — but it would become a crucial turning point for Trump’s campaign. “The list reassured a whole lot of Republicans,” McConnell explained at a Federalist Society meeting in Kentucky in 2019, appearing alongside McGahn. The creation of the list “became the single biggest issue bringing our side in line behind him.”

    (bold mine)

    Whereas liberal Democrats seem mostly concerned with whether candidates are serious people, and care even less if it’s time for recess and want to go home.

Comments are closed.