2:00PM Water Cooler 10/26/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Warbling Vireo. Loney Meadow, Nevada, California, United States. Nevada, California?

* * *


“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

“The logic of the insult and the logic of scientific classification represent the two extreme poles of what a classification may be in the social world.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

Biden Administration

“Immigrant advocates feel abandoned as they stare at Biden’s first-term checklist” [Politico]. • Sure, sure, NGOs gotta NGO. Nevertheless….


* * *

Festival of Fetterman:

I think we would do well to remember a column by Greenwald: “Your Top Priority is The Emotional Comfort of the Most Powerful Elites, Which You Fulfill by Never Criticizing Them.” It’s clear that, party loyalties aside, many of the press resented being put in the position of covering (ick) a recovering stroke victim:

Yes, heaven forfend that reporters — reporters, I’m tellin’ ya — should ever be forced to watch anything painful. For shame!

FWIW — virtually nothing without polling data and in any case the news flow is totally polluted by desperate partisans — (1) the election depends on how much social capital Fetterman built up criss-crossing “every county” in the state. PA is a gritty state; plenty have suffered as Fetterman has, and have recovered. Plenty have gone in to work not feeling their best. But enough? And (2): A very good test of internal Democrat polling will be if Obama gets on the same stage as Fetterman. (I don’t think this is a good idea, but the party establishment does.) Obama never does anything that he thinks will put him in a bad light, and he moves away from trouble like a cat away from an overturned vase. And again–

“Fetterman’s painful debate” [Axios]. Poor babies! Pain: “Multiple sources wondered why Fetterman agreed to debate when he clearly wasn’t ready. Fetterman struggled at times to respond to the moderators’ questions, even with the assistance of a closed captioning device. It’s hard to see how Fetterman’s debate performance alleviated the concerns of the skeptics.” • Probably would have been worse if he hadn’t.

“Top political debate coach says Fetterman’s performance against Oz shows he is ‘not ready to serve” [FOX News]. • This is just dumb. I don’t have the list of Senators who have recovered from strokes while in office to hand, but it’s not short. Heck, Massachusetts Republicans returned Charles Sumner when he couldn’t even serve after slaveowner Preston Brooks caned him. Way too much aghastitude on this. In any case, I’d vote for Fetterman over a puppy-killing charlatan like Oz if Fetterman were still strapped to a gurney.

“‘It was tough’: Fetterman supporters voice concern that debate performance will sway undecided voters” [CNN]. “In conversations with CNN, multiple Fetterman voters said that, while his performance made them anxious about his prospects with swing voters, they still planned to cast a ballot for him. In fact, none of the voters who entered the night planning to vote for the Democrat said they were planning to change their vote. ‘It was tough,” said Karin Tatela, an educator from Chester County who was at the May event Fetterman had to cancel last minute because of his stroke. ‘I told my friend, I said, ‘I don’t really want to watch, it is kind of like looking at a car accident. You want to look, but you don’t want to look.’’ Tatela, however, said she still plans to vote for Fetterman. ‘I cannot vote for that,’ she said, talking a long pause to stop herself from attacking Oz. ‘I would never vote for Oz. I don’t care if they had to wheel Fetterman into the Senate in a hospital bed. But I think we could be in a little bit of trouble here.’ She is not alone.” …. [Ryan Boyer, the first Black leader of the Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council] told CNN that the union’s political arm, in a meeting immediately after the debate, had a ‘brutally honest’ call and discussion about the candidates’ performances. ‘To a person, I mean, listen, it was hard to watch, but they said that they understood him. We asked the question, ‘Did you understand what he was saying?’ And that’s the most important thing. ‘Did you understand his feelings?’And yes, it came off,” Boyer said.” • Interesting.

Greenwald’s commentary:

“Fetterman campaign says it raised $1 million in 3 hours after rough Pennsylvania Senate debate with Oz” [CNBC]. “Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s campaign said Wednesday it raised more than $1 million in just three hours following the Democratic Senate candidate’s debate with his Republican rival, Dr. Mehmet Oz. The ‘sunprecedented’ haul demonstrates “deep grassroots enthusiasm” for Fetterman, his campaign said.” • Depends on whether the money is in-state or not. Amy McGrath raised a boatload of money too, and look what happened to her.

Federalism in action:

Note this clip is from American Bridge. This, like the fundraising totals above, tells me that the liberal Democrat apparatus — no doubt out of desperation — is now backing Fetterman full force. But pushing a string? We’ll see.

* * *

PA: “How Rep. Matt Cartwright, A Progressive Democrat, Survives In Trump Country” [HuffPo]. “Cartwright is even a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in good standing. He is a co-sponsor of ‘Medicare for All’ legislation, and an outspoken critic of Big Pharma and Wall Street’s influence in Washington. To progressive activists like Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, a group pushing to expand Social Security benefits, Cartwright’s success is an example that, contrary to what some special interests and pundits say, economic populism sells in tough districts. ‘Cartwright is the type of member in a tight district who understands that people want very commonsense things like lower drug prices, increased Social Security benefits — things that people agree on,’ Lawson told HuffPost. ‘It’s so basic that it’s hard to understand that it’s rare in D.C.'” • Universal concrete material benefits….

TX: “Lina Hidalg\o, a rising Democratic star, faces a tough reelection race to lead Harris County” [Texas Tribune]. • Being a Democrat “rising star” is a lot like being on the cover of Sports Illustrated; some careers never recover. Stacey Abrams and Beto O’Rourke were both rising stars.

WA: “Democrats scramble to avert shock Senate loss in Washington state” [Politico]. “Democrats are adding millions in television spending to boost Sen. Patty Murray, a sign that the party is employing a take-no-chances approach even in solidly blue Washington state. The 30-year veteran of the Senate is facing a challenge from Republican Tiffany Smiley, a political newcomer whose campaign has seized on quality-of-life issues, from urban crime and homelessness to inflation, to tarnish Murray. In recent public polling, Smiley has closed a sizable gap since this summer, when Murray led by 18 percentage points in an 18-candidate, all-party primary. A Seattle Times poll released last week showed Murray slipping slightly, from 51 percent in a July survey to 49 percent now, with Smiley’s support increasing from 33 percent this summer to 41 percent now. The poll also finds that Smiley has improved with independents in the state, capturing 50 percent of their support to Murray’s 34 percent. The national political environment currently favors Republicans in the midterms, and the fact that Democrats are spending to shore up an incumbent in a solidly blue state is not a good sign for them.

* * *

“Graphic misrepresents House GOP agenda” [Associated Press]. “CLAIM: An image shows the House Republicans’ “Commitment to America” plan, including raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 75 and making retirees with pensions, 401(k)s or disabled veterans’ benefits ineligible for Social Security payments. AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The image shows policies that don’t match the language in House Republicans’ actual plan. While Republicans lawmakers have suggested raising the age for Medicare, the Commitment to America does not give a specific age, and there is no evidence of lawmakers proposing other policies as worded in the graphic. THE FACTS: With the midterm elections just weeks away, social media users are sharing a misleading graphic claiming to outline House Republicans’ policy plan.” • You’d think Democrats would have compiled such an outstanding record that they wouldn’t have to resort to distorting Republican proposals, which are sure to be awful anyhow (at least domestically).

Meanwhile, out in flyover (San Antonio):

Democrats en Déshabillé

Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert

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

Elevator pitch: “Groundhog Day, but 1938”:

Identity politics at home merges with supporting fascists abroad:

“They’re Nazis!” “Yes, but they’re women Nazis!”

“Pro-Trump conspiracy theorists hound election officials out of office” [Reuters]. “Businessman Robert Beadles claimed he had found evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Then he went on the attack, targeting a 48-year-old woman who runs elections in Nevada’s Washoe County. ‘Now, let’s talk about treason. That’s right, treason,’ Beadles told a Feb. 22 county commissioners’ meeting in Washoe, the second-largest county in this election battleground state. The Republican activist falsely accused the registrar of voters, Deanna Spikula, of counting fraudulent votes and told commissioners to ‘either fire her or lock her up.’ After the meeting, Spikula’s office was flooded with hostile and harassing calls from people convinced she was part of a conspiracy to rig the election against former U.S. President Donald Trump. On March 2, a caller threatened to bring 100 people to the county building to ‘put this to bed today.’ Spikula, under severe stress, stopped coming into the office. A post on Beadles’ website said she was ‘rumored to be in rehab.\ That was false, she said; she was at home, working on a state elections manual. By late June, fearing for her family’s safety, she’d had enough and submitted her resignation. Beadles’ campaign in Washoe is part of a wave of efforts by pro-Trump activists to gain control of voting administration by replacing county government leaders with election conspiracy theorists. Some are spending big money. In Nevada, Beadles has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into campaigns targeting opponents of Trump’s false rigged-election claims and backing Republicans who believe them. The goal: to profoundly change how U.S. elections are run. Right-wing activists want to eliminate voting machines and return to hand-counting of paper ballots, which experts say would make elections more prone to fraud, not less. Trump allies have also targeted the ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting that Democrats embraced in the 2020 election.” • What was done to Spikula by Beadles is wrong. At the same time, the demand for hand-counting (and presumably hand-marking) is right. And I would sure like to see the “experts” who say the “gold standard” (sorry) for ballot counting is more prone to fraud than software black boxes (looking at you, Iowa Democrats). The Democrats. of course, could have done the right thing and gotten out front on this long ago, and of course they didn’t.


• ”Biden Covid officials scramble to plan for Omicron subvariant threat” [Politico]. From October 17, still germane: “The emergence of the “BQs,” as health officials have referred to the variants internally, represents a fresh threat to Biden’s broader pandemic strategy, which has increasingly hinged on shielding vulnerable populations while encouraging a return to normalcy for most other Americans.” That is, one notes, the strategy advocated by the Great Barrington cabal; otherwise, it’s “Let ‘er rip!” Query: If you are a member of a “vulnerable population,” do you feel “protected”? Thought not. More: “But for those who are severely immunocompromised, the administration has no contingency plan. ‘We were trying to determine what the doubling time is*. It should start to have an influence on how dominant it is going to be as we get into the late fall and early winter,’ Fauci said, referring specifically to the BQ 1.1 variant. ‘It’s a little bit of a black box, depending upon prior vaccinations, prior exposures and what region of the country you’re in.'” • And by the time you know, it’s too late, you eugenicist freak [bangs head on desk]. And Politico, you too: Even as the treatments fail, nothing, nothing about anything but vax.

* * *

• This thread is a good example of what I mean by exceptional (like IM Doc; as opposed to hegemonic) PMC:


* * *

• A good thread on how even the reasonable well-read and good intentioned don’t know enough to protect themselves and others:


* * *

• Ammo against the RCT goons:

* * *

• ”Correcting misperceptions of exponential coronavirus growth increases support for social distancing” [PNAS]. From 2020, still germane: “ne of the most effective ways to prevent the illness is social distancing. At the same time, a sizeable portion of the public fails to see the necessity of such measures. We identify one root cause for this: People mistakenly perceive the coronavirus to grow in a linear manner, underestimating its actual potential for exponential growth. We show that correcting this perceptual error significantly increases support for social distancing. This research shows the importance of statistical literacy among the general public for increasing support to fight the coronavirus using the most effective method currently available.” • Another (assuming good faith) miserable failure in scientific communication by the public health establishment.

* * *


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 and more yellow and more blue, which continues to please. But is the pandemic “over”? Well….


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, October 24:

0.7%. Faster increase.

Readers, please click through on this, if you have a minute. Since Walgreens did the right thing, let’s give this project some stats.


Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. 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].

Variant data, national (Walgreens), October 7:

Lambert here: BQ.1*, out of nowhere. So awesome.

Variant data, national (CDC), October 1 (Nowcast off):


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,093,338 – 1,093,153 = 185 (185 * 365 = 67,525, which is today’s LivingWith™ number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the LivingWith™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease.

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

There are no official stats of interest today.

* * *

Energy: “Exxon’s Exodus: Employees Have Finally Had Enough of Its Toxic Culture” [Bloomberg]. “Shortly after Exxon Mobil Corp. lost its battle with an activist investor last year, an executive named Bill Keillor decided to give his department a morale boost…. So Keillor, whose title is global IT vice president, and his leadership team organized an awards ceremony to take place at Exxon’s Houston campus. They posted an invite on Yammer, an internal social network, with Keillor’s face cropped onto a tuxedo. With many employees still working remotely, most tuned in via Zoom. Keillor started by thanking everyone for their hard work over the past year, presented awards to three top-performing teams, and then opened the floor to questions. It was at this point things started to unravel, according to four people present who spoke on condition of anonymity. The software developers, data analysts, and technicians who run Exxon’s vast computing network, which helps the company manage everything from drilling wells to pipeline flows, were in no mood to celebrate. Emboldened by the virtual format, they began firing off tough questions. They wanted to know if there would be more layoffs, whether remote working would continue after the pandemic, and whether Exxon was willing to raise pay to the level of major tech companies. To an outside observer, the scene might have appeared like a slightly tense version of your average corporate town hall. But within Exxon, famous for its top-down, buttoned-up, authoritarian culture, where employees rarely challenge their superiors, and certainly not in an open forum, the moment had the strong whiff of rebellion. As Keillor bristled, other managers stepped in to take some questions, deflecting attention from the boss. But eventually, Keillor had had enough and snapped. If you want to be a ‘hotshot’ and triple your pay working for Amazon, then go right ahead, the people recall him saying. ‘Good luck to you.’ Rather than be humbled by the scolding, staffers began circulating memes mocking the event in private chat groups, which rapidly spread across the company.”

Tech: “Scientists rename human genes to stop Microsoft Excel from misreading them as dates” [The Verge]. “Excel is a behemoth in the spreadsheet world and is regularly used by scientists to track their work and even conduct clinical trials. But its default settings were designed with more mundane applications in mind, so when a user inputs a gene’s alphanumeric symbol into a spreadsheet, like MARCH1 — short for ‘Membrane Associated Ring-CH-Type Finger 1’ — Excel converts that into a date: 1-Mar. This is extremely frustrating, even dangerous, corrupting data that scientists have to sort through by hand to restore. It’s also surprisingly widespread and affects even peer-reviewed scientific work. One study from 2016 examined genetic data shared alongside 3,597 published papers and found that roughly one-fifth had been affected by Excel errors.” • Thanks, Bill.

Tech: Binary thinking:

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 56 Greed (previous close: 52 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 34 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 25 at 1:37 PM EDT. A swing to greed? Weird. Honestly, if it means Mr. Market thinks there won’t be a nuclear war, I’m a happy camper. But still…

Groves of Academe

Comp 101:


I’m not sure it’s the pandemic. Anyhow, it’s obvious why our political class would want China to drop Zero Covid. and it’s not just to keep our supply chains unkinked.

Our Famously Free Press


The Gallery

“Remembering Peter Schjeldahl, a Consummate Critic” [The New Yorker]. Schjeldahl: “Critical attention to him may rise and fall. For anyone undertaking to pay it, though, there can be no ups or downs in Mondrian’s importance, relative to other artists past, present, and to come. There is only a steady state of inexhaustible meaning, beggaring comparison and defying definition. Even the critically consummate Janssen, with his magnum opus of a biography, can merely dance around, and not penetrate, the adamantine conundrum of the Dutch magus’s dead stops in lived time.” • Mondrian:

Really? Here’s some real art, also Dutch by origin if not in fortune:

Good to see Alma-Tadema returning from undeserved obscurity!

Zeitgeist Watch

Trace it out:

The Allman Brothers were optimists, too:

Class Warfare

“The MTA Says Immigrant Subway Cleaners are Not Entitled to Prevailing Wages” [Documented]. “When Jose Luis Dominguez describes his time working as a subway cleaner for NV Maintenance Services, it’s difficult for him not to get angry. One incident sticks out in his mind in particular; his supervisors found out he was driving his co-workers to work every morning. After warning him not to do that, the company arbitrarily ruled that co-workers were not allowed to arrive to work together. ‘We weren’t allowed to talk to each other. We weren’t allowed to be friends. We weren’t allowed to use our phones,’ he said. ‘At the end, things started to get even worse when we weren’t allowed to ride together to work.’ To make matters worse, workers were required to arrive a half hour early before their shift and would be sent home if they weren’t early, Dominguez and his co-worker Hemer Perez said. They were not paid for that time. They also claim that paychecks often had hours missing and overtime pay was not calculated. Workers were also not paid the prevailing wage of at least $28 an hour plus benefits, instead only being paid $20. Under New York State Labor Law, all contractors and subcontractors must pay their employees the prevailing rate of wage and benefits to all workers under a public works contract. When Dominguez and Perez began speaking up about their conditions they were fired. NV Maintenance Services is one of nearly two dozen cleaning companies that were contracted by the MTA to disinfect subway cars during the height of the pandemic.”

News of the Wired

“Why men’s trousers so rarely fit” [Financial Times]. I don’t have trousers. I have pants. That said, I can’t disagree with the conclusion: “We should all spend a little more money on our trousers.” • Clothes that fit well and last a long time are worth the extra. Too bad it’s so hard to find them!

Apparently, this was a real product:

Maybe Justine Haupt could add a lighter to her Rotary Unsmartphone™?

* * *

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 Angie Neer:

Angie Neer write: “Cheers Lambert. Your appeal for plant photos motivated me to start filtering through ones I’ve shot in a recent burst of hiking. This one is from the tundra of Mount Rainier National Park just a few days ago, at an altitude around 7000 feet. Up there, all the plants grow very slowly, and tend to stay close to the ground, except for a few evergreen trees here and there. Fall colors tend to be muted, and beautiful in their subtlety, but in this case, backlighting from morning sun accentuated the colors (in real life too, not just in the camera).” Brings back strong memories of the Rockies. Lovely!

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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. Carolinian

    Having no dog in this fight I haven’t been following PA but surely if the Dems have been concealing information or his true condition that’s a bad thing. Voters are entitled to the truth and in general these days Dems have a truth problem. IMO

    Oz certainly seems like a jerk to me but you can’t say he’s not a known quantity.

    1. Louis Fyne

      pick your phrase—you reap what you sow, don’t poop your bed, stupid is as stupid does….

      it all applies to PA Dems. What a train wreck performance by Fetterman!

      Congrats Dr. Oz, you win by following your own health advice

    2. Michael Ismoe

      He went from “the next Bernie Sanders” to “the next Joe Biden” in one night – not that there’s much difference between them anymore.

          1. Basil Pesto

            These are mostly mere comparisons and descriptions of affinity. There’s some distance between that and being broadly heralded and understood in the public imagination as “the next Bernie Sanders”

    3. Pavel

      Remember all the outrage from Dems when The Donald only released a doctor’s letter regarding his health instead of full medical records?

      Where is their outrage when Fetterman only does the same?

      I can’t stand the hypocrisy. It seems worse now on the Democrats’ side but perhaps that’s because they are in power.

      A pox on all their houses (figuratively speaking!).

    4. nippersmom

      Haven’t seen the debate, don’t live in PA, and have some policy issues with Fetterman. All of that having been said, I would vote for a literal corpse before I would vote for the puppy-killing charlatan (which is actually a kinder description than he deserves).

      1. John

        Fetterman wants to be a senator from Pennsylvania. Does Oz want that or to be seen portraying a senator? (You know: I’m not a Senator but I do play one on TV.) I can think of more than one member of the senate past and present who at their best do not measure up to Fetterman?

    5. dcblogger

      Mel Carnahan was dead and buried at the time of his victory over Ashcroft. Oz should be grateful that his coming humiliation won’t be a whole lot worse.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        That seems like an extreme stance to take just to win an election. That being said, Fetterman is no Mel Carnahan. That electoral strategy might help Biden in 2024 though.

    6. lambert strether

      My dog in this fight is Fetterman’s “every county” strategy, which I want very much to work.

      1. Louis Fyne

        If/when Fetterman loses, the DC spin will be “don’t count on rural whitey” when the lesson should be “don’t stand someone with brain trauma into an election”

        1. Eureka Springs

          The citizen spin should be – If we ever establish democracy this wont matter because whoever gets in office will have instructions on how to vote in their platform from us, not lobbyists. For those actually voting to continue legitimization of madness, theft and lies, it’s all just pin the hope on the jackass until then.

        2. chris

          Careful! You’ll alienate all the Diane Feinstein supporters if you make brain activity based ableism a requirement…

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    Scientists rename human genes to stop Microsoft Excel from misreading them as dates

    Select the cells > Right Click > Format Cells > Text ….
    I’m pretty sure you can disable the auto date format function globally for any spreadsheet you open in Excel i just dont feel like googling it right now.
    This isn’t new, this has been in Excel for around 20 years. If their solution is to rename everything rather than spend a few seconds… maybe minutes… googling something IDK, but it does speak volumes.

    1. t

      Excel does all kinds of uncontrollable things to “help” when data is imported or even shared between MS computers. Regardless of how carefully the first worksheet was formatted, there’s risk. Even if you put in a leading ‘. And if you reformat a “date” to “text,” then Excel gives the reference number for the date, not the original text that was typed.

      And don’t get me started on the joys of sharing Internationally…

    2. Jason Boxman

      Worse, there are tons of data analytics platforms available these days. You don’t need to use Excel for this in any capacity.

    3. Bugs

      Excel is doing things it was never meant to do and it’s all on msft for not adapting the program for those use cases. When I came from the beast itself where they use SAP and saw that my new multi billion cap firm was using Excel at the base of their entire ops and finance stack, I couldn’t believe it. And I’m not a programmer.

    4. chris

      I don’t know… the new version of Office exhibits quantum behavior: stupid stuff happening at a unseen distance. Like, if you don’t control it, apps like PowerPoint will insist on adding captions to things for accessibility. The captions can be offensive! They carry over when you convert a document to PDF too. It’s funny when you don’t need that presentation for work related activities.

      Excel has many issues and isn’t a good tool for what most use it for when processing large sets of data. But these same people rarely have other options. So we all just suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous updates from Microsoft.

  3. Toshiro_Mifune

    After reading the full article its even worse. They’re basically admitting they’re sloppy on their data input and double checking said data and blaming Excel for a feature that has existed for an entire generation. To boot the Verge won’t even call them on it.

    1. Synoia

      In the days when data entry was a department, one practice was to have the data entry done by two separate people, then look for and correct differences.

    2. Laura in So Cal

      Yup. I used to get data dumps from casual excel users (mostly Sales people) to use for Revenue projections. Their formatting was all over the place so I learned to check everything and standardize it before I tried to use it or import into anything else. The worst was an extra space which could cause havoc when sorting and was really hard to find.

    3. Greg

      I don’t know why you felt the need to ride in on a white horse for the indefensible Microsoft and their UI choices.

      Scientists are often working with lists of hundreds of thousands of lines and many columns, received from teams on the other side of the world and years in the past, and they have to integrate that with other data from other places entirely. The most careful checking in the world and knowing excels quirks inside out won’t stop the occasional error slipping in, especially given how often those “global” excel settings aren’t. After years of trying to get those controls to be more consistent, yes, the only reasonable course of action now is to recode thousands of genes to not use sequences of letters that cause our AI overlords to spasm.
      The consequences of a scrambled cell text range from nothing to fatal, just like in business contexts.

      On top of that, acting like errors in spreadsheets only happen to those lacking in excel virtues is not only weird, it’s wrong. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/220068767_Errors_in_Operational_Spreadsheets for an example from the literature.
      I am glad to see your support for funding greater research assistance for scientists in need of help with data checking.

      1. curlydan

        As I get older, I become more and more convinced that Duane Allman was/is the greatest rock guitarist.

        Sorry, Jimi.

        1. dougie

          IMNSFHO, you are entirely correct. I have been convinced since I saw him play with ABB in 1970. I have never wavered for a single moment, regardless the flavor of the day. Derek Trucks lives in the same zip code as Duane, for me, anyway.

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          My only glimpse of rock’n’roll myth/legend/greatness was seeing Duane and The Brothers perform on Boston Common in the summer of 1971, a few months before he died. They pretty much played the Live at the Fillmore East set, as I recall, opening with “Statesboro Blues.” What a genius and comet-across-the-sky, and what a musical moment…

          It seems as if the Allman Brothers offered a brief glimpse of where rock and Southern culture and the country might have gone… only to be backlashed by bands like Lynerd Skynerd and Alabama. Between that and the music’s evocation of lost youth, there’s some pathos when I listen to them now, although as further validation they’re one of my younger daughter’s favorite bands.

          As for Duane vs Jimi, I still think Jimi changed the instrument in a way Duane didn’t (though he almost single-handedly created a genre) which puts a lot of points in the musical Godhead box score.

          Far, far different genres, but if you want some reassurance that Gods still walk the earth, check out Brazilian 7-string guitarist Yamandu Costa: beijado por Deus/kissed by God.

        1. pjay

          My first thought too.

          Nevertheless, thanks to Lambert for this clip. I’ve always liked good live albums, and this was perhaps the best of all. Memories of being in my room with earphones on as a kid, listening to this album late at night. I agree with Steve H., though, that Elizabeth Reed is magical.

  4. Mo

    Re Fetterman: does it bother his supporters more to watch him prostrate himself in front of the Israel lobby than to watch him drown in the debate?

      1. lambert strether

        I think it’s important to take a clinical view. I expect little to nothing from Fetterman on policy, but his candidacy and campaign present interesting features.

        1. Carolinian

          To me this election has become a referendum on Biden and one that he very much needs to lose. I find Biden, together with his Congressional and press cheering section, to be quite scary. It looks like the House will almost certainly change parties and that may be enough. But for those of us who scorn both parties a wave election would send an even stronger message. It was always the plan to have a government of contending groups and it used to be said that the public liked to keep the executive and legislature at odds so they would do the least harm. Then Gingrich came along and a new Republican strategy of demonizing the opposition–now adopted by the Dems. Will “extremism in defense of liberty is no vice” be the Dems next line of attack? The rhetoric from Pelosi, Biden, Mrs. Clinton etc is way over the top.

  5. Objective Ace

    From the McNado thread

    So when a cowardly, ill-informed, feckless, egotist like O’Dea says we shouldn’t have shut anything down, I say fuck him. He wasn’t there.

    Its worth pointing out that we never really shut down. There was never a time I couldnt stop by home depot, or whatever other big box store I wanted to. Airports were open–you could sit with hundreds of other passengers on an enclosed tube while your neighbor wore a clothed mask that may not even covered his face. In many jurisdictions restaurants were still open–certainly by the Omicron wave

    Maybe McNado–instead of lambasting O’dea–should try to figure out where his mindset comes from. Could it be the hypocrisy of everything? Shutting down small businesses, but leaving open those that were large enough to hire lobbyists and contribute to a politicians next campaign. Mandating crappy cloth masks or bandanas that do next to nothing. While I imagine your average republican doesnt understand the difference between cloth masks and n95s–if n95s had been mandated you would have eliminated the popular–and not entirely wrong–talking point that masks do nothing.

    The policies McNado is so passionate about are the policies that resulted in all of the terrible outcomes he is so up and arms about. Maybe he should expand his outrage to those who designed those policies. That’s what O’hea is trying to do after all, even if he doesn’t get the full story correct

  6. nippersmom

    This afternoon, I was in an expanded department meeting with about 90 of my colleagues in a lecture hall on campus (lecture hall was about at capacity). I was the only one in the room who was masked.

    1. ambrit

      Get back to us in the spring with the mortality figures for the winter wave. By wearing the mask, you just might have the fun of dancing on their graves.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Maybe half-jokingly you could tell them that if a zombie virus ever ran through the place, that they are not to worry and that you would do the right thing by them – with a .38 between their eyes. Tell them then ‘You’re welcome.’

    1. chris

      W O W
      Can we have more like her? Even if she’s lying she’s singing the kind of music I love to hear.

  7. Angie Neer

    A note on the plant photo: it was “just a few days ago” about a month ago. I expect that scene is now covered in snow!

  8. Widowson

    I just got back from 3 1/2+ days spent at one of the leading MedTech conferences down in Boston, the most well-attend AdvaMed show EVAH. Lots of events and luncheons in the cavernous Boston Convention Center halls, but many, many meetings in overstuffed ballrooms where only a handful of attendees were wearing masks. I fell pray to peer pressure and did NOT wear a mask regularly on Day 1, but the past two days I did wear my N95 anytime I entered a ballroom (maximum capacity of 250 people in rooms that were probably 100 feet x 200 feet). If I avoid getting COVID it will be a miracle. Interestingly, a panel speaker from FDA was the ONLY person I saw NEVER remove his N95 mask. I don’t know if he ever ate or drank! For being full of the world’s “smartest medical device innovators,” I couldn’t believe how unusual it was to see an N95 mask, maybe a fraction of 1% of the thousands in attendance wore one (and I was typically one of only 2-3 mask-wearers in each ballroom I sat in). I’m really disappointed I didn’t wear mine fulltime, but I’ve never figured out how one can even eat indoors in any kind of safe fashion. We’re all doomed, IMO.

  9. John Beech

    I lived the experience of watching as a stroke devastated my mother-in-law. Ditto my brother-in-law. It’s my opinion PA is too important a state for citizens to vote with their emotion for a person incapable of engaging in the give and take of rapid fire politics. Anybody who once thought Fetterman could do the job should watch that ‘debate’ once again.

    I’ll say it again, the state of Pennsylvania – their interests – are at stake. Politics is dog eat dog. this is missing your legs. this is missing the ability to communicate fully. May as well hand Carl Lewis a 100 sack of corn before sending him out to represent the USA in the Olympics back in the day.

    No offense to the Polyanna class wearing rose colored glasses who believe in their hearts it doesn’t matter but seriously, far better for PA if he withdraws and maybe his wife take up the mantle. She’s a feisty one that can probably give as good as she takes.

    Whether she is capable in the dirty game as a professional politician? Sorry, that’s above my pay grade. Too bad but it is what it is.

    1. skippy

      Having watched my ex wife post her ICH event I can say it not only effects the physical, but, cognitive and most definitely the emotional state – Years of crawling back to some sort of baseline.

    2. lambert strether

      Senators have excellent health plans, to which the Senators who have had strokes while remaining in office can testify.

      1. skippy

        It gets complicated because the term stroke is so much a broad generalization. Per se someone like IM Doc could unpack Fetterman’s episode and post diagnosis vs these other sitting Senators. Its very much a case by case situation IMO – lots of veins in the old noggin and where they pop and for how long can drastically change outcomes for individuals. Then again factors like previous fitness, education, psychological status, temperament, and other things are a huge factor in both survival and recovery – never the same though.

        Remember I had a DIA in 08 Lambert – whoboy – and like an old resident NC psychologist, decamped, here at the time said – 6 years to baseline. That was the abject reality which was more than I can say for some of the other medical practitioners I attended here in Oz. The looks on their faces when I pointed it out to them – lmmao …

        Anyway is fairly obvious Fetterman has had a significant event and its way to early to predict his status in the next few years, not to mention he is not at a higher risk to have another one at anytime – lots of increased risk factors now.

  10. nippersdad

    OK, that Vanguard clip appended to the Greenwald tweet is just must see TV! I haven’t watched them for a while, and it looks like that may have been a mistake. I loved every second of Zac’s rant, but the best part had to be around the 1:36 mark, where he asked:

    “CAN YOU NOT FIND two people who have not chased down a black dude or killed puppies?”

    It was like he was channeling Lambert, there. It (the rant) started well with “the Democrats running as Republican lite and thinking that is innovative”, and only got better over time. I am going to have to pick it up from the bloody Mary debate later. Anyway, I very much recommend it.

    I need to look up and find out whether or not they did the Georgia race between Walker and Warnock……

  11. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Hot or Not.

    Eh…this seems like a dressed up way to blame the kids for what was wrought by people like Joe Biden. A kid who would rather talk to his friends on his phone because there are no sidewalks in his neighborhood than listen to an uncle rant about kids these days isn’t terribly surprising.

    1. Basil Pesto

      It’s also not the beginning of the feedback mechanisms he’s describing: phpBB forums of the early 00s, for example, could implement a system of likes or ‘reputation’ (upvotes and downvotes)

  12. Colonel Sanders

    The “Gun Owner For Gun Control” twitter thread actually “concludes” with them cursing the FDA for not allowing them to use the covid vaccine on their babies.

    A very jarring and extreme outlier position that throws their judgement into question.

    1. lambert strether

      Not really. The discourse is so bad I’m very much in “take what you like and leave the rest” mode. If somebody can fight through the tsunami of bullsh*t to get one thing right, then good for them, say I.

  13. Jason Boxman

    Democrats scramble to avert shock Senate loss in Washington state

    I see headlines like this frequently at the NY Times, not necessarily about politics. But it’s interesting that the Establishment always seems to be rushing, racing, scrambling, whatever. Racing is a popular word. Be it about gas prices, or getting Biden’s “agenda” passed, or the Pandemic, or whatever. It’s always a race! Like these people are so hopelessly lost in a morass that no one knew there was a deadline coming up, that any urgency was required.

    Speaks to our times.

    LOL, to my point, I should have finished scanning WC first, here we go!

    Biden Covid officials scramble to plan for Omicron subvariant threat”

    There it is again, scramble! Sigh. These people are lazy, intellectually and vitally.

  14. Dalepues

    One of my afternoon jobs in high school was testing tubes at Guy White Radio and TV on Mulberry St in Macon. The building that housed this family business had a second floor ballroom which was rentedby a disco chain called Hullabaloo. It went out of business and Guy Jr took over the space and called it Guy White’s Disco. Guy Jr. called recording studios Bobby Smith and Capricorn looking for a dance band to play on weekends. The first band to show up was a group from Daytona Beach, the Allman Brothers Band.

    They arrived on a Tuesday or Wednesday, got set up in the ballroom upstairs and started playing straight away. I had never heard music like that. Two lead guitars, two drummers. It changed everything about southern rock and roll. At the TV shop we saw a lot of local musicians; they frequently came by to pick up repaired amps and equipment. Macon was famous in those days for the Soul Reviews at the Macon City Auditorium. Those were all day, most of the night shows where fifteen or twenty acts would perform, artists like Little Richard, Percy Sledge, Clarence Carter, Joe Tex, even Otis Redding and James Brown once in a blue moon.
    The old ballroom: https://www.google.com/maps/@32.8381481,-83.6285846,3a,60y,270h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sEMcnlXj4V2bqMoFvwbF_pA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    1. marku52

      The Allman Brothers played in my home town battle of the bands, at GHS in Gainesville FLA.

      It was a favor for Buster LIpham, of Lipham’s Music, who had sold them a lot of their equipment. Incredible. Whipping Post, long intro, and then this skinny blond white guy starts singing his ass off. It was just before the release of their first album.

      Buster was good about helping bands get started. Sold the drummer in our band (who went on to become famous as the drummer for Tom Petty and the HBs) his first real kit, on time, carrying the note himself.

  15. nippersdad

    Re: Fetterman’s haul and “Depends on whether the money is in-state or not. Amy McGrath raised a boatload of money too, and look what happened to her.”

    “Bloomberg, who ran for president as a Democrat in 2020, has given more than $70 million to candidates and caucuses this election cycle, according to Politico. Two people familiar with his contributions said he has donated money to Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), both of whom are running in competitive races.”


    Because no one knows what is best for the Democratic party more than Republican billionaires. But the good news is that if the Dems lose their majority it may mean curtains for the likes of Pelosi, Clyburn and Hoyer. It is also being touted that the party will seek to pressure Biden to not run again.


    The best path for change just may be to sit this one out. There are silver linings to every cloud.

  16. LawnDart

    Re; Identity politics at home merges with supporting fascists abroad…

    But it’s an inclusive kind of fascism.

  17. marym

    > What was done to Spikula by Beadles is wrong

    Harassing working class people is now a common conservative/Republican go to-tactic on many issues besides election workers, sometimes enabled by state law, sometimes with bounties.

  18. CatmanPNW

    Re: Murray in Washington state
    She’s been there since 1992. She’s the third most senior Senator. She’s chairs a subcommittee on health and families. How are health and families doing? Not great, I’ll tell you that.
    She also doesn’t respond to emails, hasn’t done any events apart from the last six months. We’ve had Elizabeth Warren in Washington last week.
    Clinton-era democrats still think the world is working. They believe things are ok. They believe that tweaking things on the edges to take the edge off of cruelty is the answer. Senator Murray was elected when Washington was a backwater – grunge listening edge of the world.
    Tiffany Smiley has moderated her speech, she smiles, she points out that things are bad and that Warren has been partly to blame.
    Every post from Murray says, “I’m fighting for you” – she never defines who “you” is. She uses standard Dem messaging – “We’re voting for democracy this year” – are they kidding? they say that literally every single year. I remember when Romney was going to be the cause of the world’s end.

      1. playon

        I believe that Patty Murray is the largest recipient of insurance company money in the senate. Her seat is probably safe but who knows. I would prefer to vote for a socialist… but if the race is very close I might have to hold my nose (as I have for decades) and vote Democrat.

        1. CatmanPNW

          I just don’t want to do it. Up til May she had t even updated her website to show anything significant since about 2007. I’ve emailed her so many times using the form fill thing on her website and crickets. No responses.
          6 years of Smiley would be unfathomable, but why is Patty even running?
          Even the article they somehow got published a few months ago was about her “effectiveness” but had things like “Schumer came to her office to ask what she thought.” She wasn’t in the room! She’s the chair of the committee focused on that exact issue.

    1. Art Vandalay

      Living in Seattle, it’s wall to wall TV ads for Murray and Smiley. I’m no particular fan of Murray . . . as you say, I think it’s challenging to identify meaningful material accomplishments from her record, and in a better world there would be a successor who might try to improve people’s lives (though my rep Jayapal just defenestrated herself, so she’s right out). But Smiley is so awful I’ve wondered whether there’s a DNC Pied Piper strategy at work. Or it could just be that WA is pretty much Idaho politically as soon as you cross the Cascades to the East. At best, Smiley comes across as a dimestore imitation of Sarah Palin. Her ads are so incoherent, I cannot wait for them to end. They always point to some real problem over which the federal government in general, and Patty Murray in particular, has little sway, and then blame it on Patty. Homelessness, drug addiction, “rapists running wild in the streets,” bad school performance, venereal disease – it’s all Patty’s fault. So, while holding no brief for Patty, I feel the hand I’m dealt means TINA. Good times.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Abolish the United States Senate entirely. I can’t think of one good reason to vote in any manner for any entity which has such an anti-democratic purpose. Unless perhaps someones sole reason for running is openly and solely going in to abolish it.

        I mean, how long of a “train of abuses” do you need from the Senate? They are all saying nothing or actually bringing forth a third world war and or societal collapse.

      2. pjay

        Yes. Do we vote for terrible Democrat grifters — or worse! The perpetual question.

        I’ve been facing this question for 50 years, and I have voted in every national election. I told my family that this would be the first general election since I was 18 that I would not vote. Yet, the Republican candidate for governor in our state (NY) is so bad that I may do the dance again. We are just puppets. Very depressing.

  19. marku52

    Prasad is a very annoying RCT True Believer. And a Barrington clone too. OTOH, here is is stating some powerful stuff about the mrna vaccines causing myocarditis in pretty much every one who receives them.

    He calls for age stratified risk assessment, which is totally reasonable, and berates the FDA CDC for not providing this data.
    “It’s been 2 years. How come we have to get these studies from Thailand and Switzerland? It should already have been done….”

  20. KD

    Rep. Raskin statement:

    It is fascinating anthropologically the way humans use taboos about sexuality (and anti-taboos which function as taboos) to routinely stir up violence against others. Also very neat the way the “Progressive” statement calls on all the white knights to crusade to protect the oppressed Slavic babes in Banderstan while somehow demonstrating fealty to feminism and gender equality.

  21. Wukchumni

    Saw a family of 3 bears yesterday, all jet black in hue.

    Mama was of decent size and the cubs were so big I thought they must be yearlings, but why are they still hanging out with ma?

    This gets me up to 11 sightings for the year with a few months to go~

      1. The Rev Kev

        That $20,000 he spent to buy MS-Dos and file off the serial numbers was the best investment that he ever made. Personally, I blame his upbringing. Both his parents were lawyers. :)

    1. hunkerdown

      Blame Joel Spolsky and radical extremist pragmatism for Excel. Very few other application development groups maintained their own bespoke C compiler. For example.

    2. digi_owl

      Best i recall, Excel is claimed to be the last piece of MS software he wrote some code for. May have been its support for the Lotus 123 file format.

    3. Durans

      I can fully blame Bill for excel. If it wasn’t for Microsoft’s illegal and anti-competitive practices while he was CEO, Microsoft Office wouldn’t have become the standard because it was clearly the inferior product.

  22. LawnDart

    And for consideration, more New of the Wired type of stuff:

    A while back, we had some debate going in comments about China tech, innovation, and advanced manufacturing abilities. I saw this 2.5 minute video posted earlier today on a business/professional platform from a Chinese company that wants to bring us a “flying car.” The discussion on that site was pretty lively, and I feel that this video does put to question the notion of “our” superiority if nothing else.

    I don’t think that anything like this will enter the US market anytime soon, if anywhere (public might be OK sharing the roads with Tesla’s auto-roasters, but…): this thing is entirely piloted by AI– no human at the controls, but the tech is still very impressive on many levels, and it makes me wonder, “who really needs to catch-up with whom?”

    This might “fly” with the kids who who are raised by tech and who trust it, but personally I might have a few reservations about stepping into one of these things (never will happen, period)… …still cool to look at though and to think about how much the technosphere has evolvolved during our lifetimes:


    1. digi_owl

      Frankly that is a DJI drone scaled to the point where it can carry humans.

      And air traffic is a far more controlled environment than road traffic.

      Thinking about it i am a bit surprised that our typical airplane do not have a datalink to ground that allow ATC to directly feed instruction to the autopilot, rather than relay them verbally and have the pilots input them.

  23. upstater

    Who knew the Democrats were running a spook in NY-22? It’s October 26 and I thought I read most everything in Syracuse.com about this district, but all I knew Francis Conole was in the Naval reserve, and only most recently Commander Conole.

    House candidates Francis Conole, Brandon Williams clash in fiery syracuse.com debate

    “Williams suggested Conole was ill-equipped after a lifelong career in the U.S. Navy and intelligence community to deal with economic issues.”

    I think the Republican Williams has a point…

    1. pjay

      The Democrats in NY-21 are also running a spook – “ex” CIA Matt Castelli. There were three local Dems prepared to challenge Republican star Elise Stefanik. But Castelli came in, immediately received a lot of funding and support of the entire Democratic establishment, and drove two of the candidates out. He beat the third in the primary. Though Stefanik is best known as a Trump supporter, her rapid rise in the House is due to her friendliness to the MIC (she’s on both the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees).

      It’s a win-win for the National Security State. As I’ve said before, yea democracy!

  24. The Rev Kev

    ‘A quick🧵. I remember when COVID hit. My stepmom forwarded me a warning about a new virus in China. Two months later my Wilderness Medicine course wrapped up early as we feared flights would shut down. The markets had tanked. Stories were coming in from overseas.

    Within days of that, it was upon us. Folks with a new cough. Blood oxygen levels horrifyingly low. Blood pressure oddly high. Labs that made no sense. Then the CT scans came in. Ground glass opacities. The telltale gray fluff all across the lungs. Unlike anything we’d seen.’

    Had to bookmark this link. Man, it’s been three years already? I’m not feeling a sense of nostalgia here but something akin to a shared memory. Strange, very strange this.

  25. Jason Boxman

    Texas Goes Permitless on Guns, and Police Face an Armed Public

    Far from an outlier, Texas, with its new law, joined what has been an expanding effort to remove nearly all restrictions on carrying handguns. When Alabama’s “permitless carry” law goes into effect in January, half of the states in the nation, from Maine to Arizona, will not require a license to carry a handgun.

    So how is this not societal collapse? If our militarized police forces can’t protect you, you need to pack your own heat?

    1. LawnDart

      It’s really not the police forces that protect you, it’s the strengths of the society in which we live that offer protection. Cops are usually “after-the-fact.”

    2. hunkerdown

      That’s not how societies work. Police protect property, not people, except as a consequence of the former.

  26. GW

    Raskin’s rhetoric on Ukraine is horrifying. Twisted. Even depraved. Most of it a grotesque distortion of fact, intended to confuse impressionable Americans and whip up anti-Russia war hysteria. This coming from one of America’s best and brightest, the sort of person most of us depend on for leadership.

    Good God. What is the world coming to…

    1. Michael Ismoe

      This coming from one of America’s best and brightest, the sort of person most of us depend on for leadership.

      Are there two Jamie Raskin’s in The House? The one from Maryland is an elitist, self-centered, PMC-loving, Hillary-backing azzhole. Where’s the other one from?

      1. ambrit

        Sorry, but you did describe our “beloved” PMCs correctly, and they do consider themselves the “best and brightest.”
        Also, there might just be two Jamie Raskins in his own head. It’s that Orwell thing, having to keep two mutually contradictory ideas in one’s head at the same time, and believing both. This seems to track back to Carroll’s “hookah smoking caterpillar” and his disquisition upon the nature of words. Add to this the Queen, epitome of aristocracy, an earlier form of PMCdom, practicing belief in multiple objectively falsifiable propositions before breakfast, and we have a long and storied history of elite deceit as professed vocation.
        The Fire Sermon has become a political manifesto: Burning, burning, burning.

  27. Ander

    Updated today, here is the strain dominance from WA’s Department of Health.

    I’m not on their sequencing team so I can’t tell you the details of why they are consistently lagging 21 days for most of their more sophisticated measurements. Might be transferring over there eventually, bioinformatics has always fascinated me ;)

    1. flora

      adding: Krystal and Saagar interview financial times columnist and author Rana Foroohar on her new book about what the post-globalization economy will look like and how to get there.

      Author: “Neoliberals WILL NOT DIE Easily” On Globalization | Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar


  28. wol

    Schjeldahl was my favorite art critic of his generation. Yes, he wrote like a poet. That he had a high school (and demimonde) education and didn’t follow an academic career track furthered my esteem. One of his best quotes concerned a Velasquez painting: ‘One of us did that.’

    The Allmans had several hits but tended to slip when they tried covers. My preference for One Way Out remains Sonny Boy Williamson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R231lAafQcE , runner-up Elmore James https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7qKYPysur8

    1. digi_owl

      His last name got me curious, and sure enough his paternal grandparents were Norwegian immigrants.

  29. cyclist

    Why men’s trousers so rarely fit” [Financial Times]. I don’t have trousers. I have pants….

    In England, pants are your underwear, just saying.

  30. tegnost

    Why would a monopoly raise prices just because they could?


    Some critics think the merger might result in higher consumer prices and job losses as the merged companies seek to raise profits by trimming costs.

    This is not good, but it is the end game

    An aside, I am a tmobile “customer”, but I used to be a sprint “customer” today I spent an hour trying to pay my bill in the old tmobile, but after lots of time and grrrrr I (what they really wanted was all the answers to those “security” questions. This is true.) I got a phone number from a chatbot…the same old sprint payment system I once used. No notice. Just figure it out by yourself.. Major tax on time, and seriously aggravating to boot.
    Hey! I have an idea! Let’s spread this voraciously greedy system globally!

  31. Acacia

    Re: Dr. Literature Lady

    I am sympathetic to her concerns and have spent years wrestling with this issue. She’s trying to do her job, but the students coming in don’t have the basic skills. She says “I am not blaming high school teachers for this knowledge gap. I am not blaming anything other than the pandemic,” though I agree with Lambert that this is not only a consequence of the pandemic. Actually, I think Dr. Literature Lady agrees with this too, because she says the problem goes back to elementary or even pre-school, which implies a pre-pandemic problem.

    Many High School students just learn the standard five-paragraph essay. Often, they are not really taught how to work with secondary sources, or to write arguments, making claims and supporting their claims with evidence. They are not asked to read arguments and evaluate them as such. Instead of learning how to engage with existing knowledge, they are told to write about themselves. Instead of learning rhetoric, they are taught self expression. Education departments focus on ego reinforcement (“you just need to channel your inner genius”) and “process”, not knowledge, not the craft of writing. And here we are.

    She asks: “How am I supposed to make up 2 to 3 years of scientific reasoning instruction so we can do this one core writing assignment for our comp 101 course?

    If she’s talking about a freshman composition course, there are two logical solutions. The first would be to change high school curriculum to include that “2 to 3 years of scientific reasoning instruction” that she asks for, though that would mean that fewer students will pass and complete High School with those skills, unless there is a very dramatic change in curriculum. There are already AP classes in many High Schools. Adding more requirements would, I think, be like adding more tracks.

    The second possibility is that the “2 to 3 years of scientific reasoning instruction” would be done at the college/university level, but then what she’s asking for wouldn’t be a requirement for freshman composition, i.e., “comp 101”, and the teaching of rhetoric and composition at the college level would have to be a two- or three-year affair. However, it sounds like she really doesn’t want to see this solution, i.e., “Profs. will be told to fix this.” She would like students to arrive in comp 101 at the university already possessing these skills.

    In a sense, we could say that the current situation is blowback from years of the emphasis on STEM and denigration of the Humanities. After all, engaging with the existing literature and publishing is an essential part of STEM, and who is teaching those STEM students how to write solid, persuasive arguments? Answer: almost always, the Humanists.

    Historically, we’re talking about the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and logic), which was the lower division of the seven liberal arts taught in universities in the middle ages. Sometimes I wonder if that’s actually not a bad model, i.e., that it’s instruction that happens at the university, not in High School, but obviously this presents a political problem which is the role High Schools should play in cultivating a nation of informed citizens who have critical thinking skills (“should” is of course a value judgment not shared by many members of the elite).

    1. hunkerdown

      So you’re saying that some people should go through life as slaves ignorant of the forces by which they are ruled? I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree, and further propose that any class who would propose such a thing, rather than the abolition of labor exploitation, should itself be abolished and lobotomized.

      1. Acacia

        Nope. See the last sentence of my comment. The question is: how to change the priorities so that young people get more opportunities already in H.S. I don’t think there are easy answers, that’s all.

        1. Acacia

          Adding: to be clear, I believe all young people should receive an education that equips them to think critically, and to understand the forces by which they are ruled, as you put it, and really this education should begin well before they reach college. In this respect, I agree with Dr. Literature Lady, and I agree with you. The difficulty I see is in making this happen, because the reality is what Dr. Literature Lady describes (and what I tried to summarize above), and it has been the case for a very long time: students often don’t learn much of this in H.S. This is a problem for teachers, but really the larger political problem is what you are pointing to, i.e., this is an important part of how the existing social structure never changes.

          In my own teaching, I see the same thing, and in some ways it’s worse, because I’m teaching upper division courses, and many of the students still haven’t learned how to write an argumentative essay. I.e., not only are students arriving in Dr. Literature Lady’s course unable to parse an argument, but many of her (and my) colleagues continue to pass the buck. Many students pass comp 101, but they were not taught how to write a college essay. My position, though, is that I have to take the students at whatever level they’re at and work from there. So, I spend a lot of time working with them on their writing, because I feel this is the best way to cultivate critical thinking. I don’t give tests or quizzes, and I give written evaluations in addition to grades.

          Dr. Literature Lady seems to be expressing a very familiar position, which is that she feels students should arrive in her comp 101 class already equipped to do “scientific reasoning”, which is another way of saying that it’s either not or should not be her job to teach that. She’s “not blaming” H.S. teachers, but where else will it happen? I think what she’s really calling for is that H.S. curriculum be changed. In principle, I would agree, but at the same time I am uncomfortable with this position of saying: “I expect students to enter my class already equipped with two to three years of training in scientific reasoning (because it’s not my job to teach that)”. It sounds a lot like saying “I’m not blaming you, but…”.

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