2:00PM Water Cooler 11/14/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Sector La Esperanza, Cartago, Costa Rica

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

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

“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

Biden Administration

“Maybe the lunatics are right about Ukraine: Defeating Putin isn’t worth nuclear war” [Salon]. “As one of those ‘woke leftists’ the Trumpists like to complain about, I am generally not in the habit of agreeing with folks like Carlson or McCarthy on quite literally anything. However, as an academic whose research specializes in human extinction — and who is very concerned that the prospect of nuclear war over Ukraine is not being taken nearly seriously enough — I am forced to admit that the conservative lunatics are right. The current administration and popular media outlets have endorsed a course of action in Ukraine that is pushing the world inexorably toward a catastrophe that could not only spell the demise of modern civilization, but could quite possibly put us on the road toward human extinction. The administration is able to pursue this reckless foreign policy, in no small part, because the mainstream media has orchestrated a near-flawless PR campaign on Ukraine’s behalf, casting the conflict as a tale of noble David versus monstrous Goliath. I myself am guilty of contributing to this perception, framing Ukraine as a tragic protagonist in a Slate column earlier this year. The problem is, while all that makes for a good story, it plays fast and loose with the truth — a truth that seemingly only right-wing weirdos, who are always more than willing to be impolite or politically incorrect, seemed to have grasped. In response to the recognition that the U.S. is stumbling toward the nuclear cataclysm, Tucker Carlson has been characteristically blunt: ‘Why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?’ he asks. Carlson is both a jerk and a conspiratorial loon, and his phrasing of the question betrays a total lack of basic human sympathy for the people of Ukraine. Yet, however [glassbowl]-ish his wording might be, he identifies an uncomfortable line of inquiry we all need to face: Is saving Ukraine, even in the ghastly event that Russia uses nuclear weapons against its people, worth risking the future of our planet? In my view, the answer is clearly and overwhelmingly no.”


The Senate:

The House:

“What would it take for Democrats to keep the House?” [The Hill]. “[O]f the remaining 20 contests, Republicans need just seven more seats to clinch the majority, while Democrats need to notch 14. For Democrats to hit that target, they need to win all of the races they currently lead and a few others where Republicans hold a slight edge. A little more than half of the undecided races are in California, where all active voters are sent mail ballots, creating a more sluggish tabulation process. Arizona, Colorado, Oregon each have two uncalled races, while Alaska, Maine and New York each have one.”

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“As I Have Been Saying All Along” [Atrios, Eschaton]. “One thing I try to point out is complicated outcomes usually don’t have a single cause. There isn’t precisely one reason Dems did better than all the highly paid politics knowers thought. I am not going to claim it is because they finally took my advice and embraced full communism. I don’t even have strong opinions on what they did right. My take is more that maybe people don’t love it all that much when Republicans are assholes, and they haven’t tried much else lately.” • Another way of saying this is that single causes are service offerings from consultants and strategists.

“How a surprising Democratic strategy may have staved off the midterm red wave” [Vox]. “A high-risk Democratic strategy — financially backing far-right, Trump-endorsed Republicans in their primaries — appears to have paid off in the midterms. As NPR reported Friday, six Democratic challengers in races where Democratic organizations donated to extremist Republican candidates have so far won their contests. The question that looms over this tactic has yet to be answered: at what cost?” • Hopefully, at the cost of Democrats never again yammering about fascism. After all, the great and the good of Germany thought they could control Hitler, too. How’d that work out?

The money:

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“There’s never time to do it right, but there’s always time to do it over.” Why not just start with the hand count?

NY: “AOC: The New York State Democratic Party’s Corruption May Have Cost Democrats the House” [The Intercept]. AOC: “[A]nother prime mistake is that in New York State, I think that — Cuomo may be gone, but his entire infrastructure, much of his infrastructure and much of the political machinery that he put in place is still there. And this is a machinery that is disorganized, it is sycophantic. It relies on lobbyists and big money. And it really undercuts the ability for there to be affirming grassroots and state-level organizing across the state. And so when that languishes and there’s very little organizing happening, yeah, I mean, basically, you’re leaving a void for Republicans to walk into. And so I actually think a lot of these Republican games aren’t necessarily as strong as they may seem, I think it’s really from an absence. And it’s a testament to the corruption that has been allowed to continue in the New York State Democratic Party. ‘Cuomo may be gone, but his entire infrastructure, much of his infrastructure and much of the political machinery that he put in place is still there.’ We saw that with India Walton.” • Handy map:

Not a good look.

TX: “Beto’s Lost Year” [Texas Observer]. “O’Rourke’s personal charm, which helped propel him to premature political stardom, was evident even in defeat. The crowd evinced its passion for him as an individual. Yet the showing was a shadow of 2018, when his concession speech was at a packed minor league baseball stadium. Back then—after falling just 2.6 points shy of unseating U.S. Senator Ted Cruz—O’Rourke said: “I’m as hopeful as I’ve ever been in my life,” and it was believable. We all knew then he would run again for something; it was just the beginning. But now, he says he doesn’t know what’s next, he implies he’s done running, and it’s believable.”


“A Biden coalition is (barely) saving democracy. POTUS 46 must run again in ‘24.” [Will Bunch, The Inquirer]. “[Biden’s announcement of his Presidential run on May 18, 2019 in Philadelphia] was the birthdate of what we needed to start calling ‘the Biden coalition.’ They are the less-noisy majority of Americans who believe in counting the votes, in decency, in expanding civil rights instead of curtailing them, and — corny as it sounds to some of the Beltway pundits — in democracy. From college campus to leaf-blown suburbs, from predominantly Black city neighborhoods to Indigenous reservations, these voters proved just enough to rescue America from a disastrous Trump second term in 2020 — and they did it again in Tuesday’s midterms…. This is all very much in keeping with the groundbreaking research by the Harvard political scientists Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky, the authors of 2018′s How Democracies Die, who showed that the countries that successfully thwarted dictatorships were the ones in which rival factions dropped their ideological differences to instead rally behind a defense of democracy. It wasn’t 100% clear before Tuesday’s midterms, but the Biden coalition — the Democratic base, joined by Gen Z voters who might normally prefer the democratic socialism of a Sen. Bernie Sanders, and white suburban “Never Trumper” ex-Republicans — is beginning to look exactly like what the authors described. This alliance must be preserved at all costs.” • All costs? Because I can think of some costs that Bunch doesn’t mention….

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.

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First move against the gerontocracy:

Or not–

“Pelosi says Democrats asking her to stay in leadership” [The Hill]. “Pelosi on Sunday said she has not made up her mind on whether she would seek a House leadership position, adding she would make a decision by the end of the month. She added that her focus now is seeing the party through the end of the midterm elections as several House races have yet to be called and neither Democrats nor Republicans have captured a majority in the lower chamber. Democrats have retained their control of the Senate after the midterms. ‘I have a day job,’ Pelosi said. ‘Part of it is to be the political leader and to get us the best possible victory, and then not worrying about my future, but for the future for the American people.'”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“‘Fascism has a Future’: Carlo Ginzburg interviewed by Joseph Confavreux” [Verso (NL)]. Ginzburg: “I think it is necessary to distinguish between the anachronism of questions and the anachronism of answers. Doing history means starting with questions that are related to the present, but which the dialogue with documents and a different society allows us to reformulate. The idea that history teaches us to live cannot be taken literally. Rather, historical knowledge functions as an antidote to poison. I devote a chapter of the book to the analogy proposed by Machiavelli, based on Michelangelo’s David, between founding a republic and modelling a statue. Already, in The Art of War, he had compared the imposition of a form, i.e. of a behaviour, on ‘coarse men’ to the act of creating a beautiful statue from a block of rough marble. For me, this is a problem that has impressive resonances with the present because it touches on the manipulation of the masses. The Mussolini regime has disappeared, but it leaves a legacy that can be reworked by different technologies.” • Well worth a read.

“Showdown Slow Down” [James Howard Kunstler, Clusterf*ck Nation]. “What’s up with dragging out the vote count in Arizona and Nevada, promising to deliver the last 20-percent of the count by a certain hour and then missing their deadline more than once, while dribbling out a few packets of, shall we say, choice cuts, here and there? I’ll tell you what: an organized mind-fuck. The Democrats are aiming to demoralize their adversaries and exhaust them psychologically so that when victory finally comes, the winners will be too emotionally depleted to do their end-zone dances — and the voters will be too dispirited to cheer…. The basic Democratic Party election strategy in recent decades has been to turn the voting public into so many millions of proverbial froggies in the pot of water set to slowly rise to boiling so that the froggies don’t notice they’re getting cooked until it’s too late to jump out of the pot. The Democrat’s Lawfare soldiers have slowly and systematically changed the methods of voting and counting the votes, especially to eliminate accountability for the massive scams and screw-ups that have occurred recently. The changes have been accepted as normal. One insidious change was shutting down the small local precinct polling places in churches and schools, where it was easy to get in, get your signature checked, and vote on-site, and where the precinct captains and workers were known and accountable to voters in the neighborhood. Instead, Lawfare got states to consolidate all the action in huge impersonal voting centers — often sports arenas — where hundreds of election workers churned, and all sorts of frauds went unnoticed in the enormous shuffle of activity.” • In other words, the Democrats are getting rid of the church ladies (as Obama, I have heard, did with many, primarily female, volunteer party workers after 2008). This is plausible, but I see no data. Can readers confirm or deny?

“They Can’t Count Even in Vegas Now? Transcript from “America This Week” [Matt Taibbi, TK News]. Fun stuff:

We can argue about why this is happening — the conventional explanation is a new influx of mail-in ballots, which take longer to count, with both parties blaming each other for why — but editorializing on the subject has been bizarre for another reason. Commercial media both before (see here, here, here, and here) and after (see here, here, here, and here) the midterms has been packed with stories about how it’s totally fine that it now takes forever to count votes in America. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre even declared, ‘That’s how this is supposed to work.’

On the other hand, if counting votes quickly is so essential to instilling confidence in democracy, and ‘democracy itself’ is famously in trouble, why aren’t we trying harder to fix this? Especially in Nevada, a state famous for its counting, the new tolerance for sloth hits the ear like an oar.

Here’s Walter Kirn, broadcasting from Clark County Friday, on the seeming inability of Americans to count things, even in a state where reaching an accurate count every night is a matter of life or death:

Walter Kirn: This is a town in which umpteen-million quarters are dumped into slot machines every night and counted within hours. This is a town that counts for a living. If you’ve seen Casino, you know how it works. A few of those dollars may go into some people’s pockets, or they used to, at least before MGM…

Matt Taibbi: But if you’re off by a couple bucks, you end up in a hole a couple of miles north of the city, don’t you?

Walter Kirn: Exactly. If they counted money the way they’re counting ballots, those people would be in Lake Mead tied to a cinder block. So it’s increasingly hard for me, as at a certain level I’m just the average person, and the average person should not need to have a Jesuitical, theologically precise insight into all the different types of ballots, and all the ways in which they’re delivered, and all the stages at which they’re tabulated. The outsider, the American citizen, has every right to feel that these processes are simple, objective and rapid, and that they can’t have that confidence in that suggests to me that there is a lot to be a dissident about in this country.

The inability to get buy-in from voters, and especially from the losers of these elections, who must have the confidence that they lost fairly, is a systemic and spiritual failure. It can’t be addressed simply by criminalizing complaints or calling people names. It has to be addressed at the root. And there seems to be little prospect that it will be. So who wins and who loses now has become, to me, a secondary consideration. The real consideration is how do they maintain faith in a system that really would not suffice in a grocery store at the end of the day, when they open the till.

And speaking of “election integrity”:

See: “These Are the Ads Russia Bought on Facebook in 2016” [New York Times]. • From 2017, still germane. It’s laughable to imagine that these ads, and the tiny budget so evidently used to create them, had any impact on the 2016 election at all.

“Election Administration at State and Local Levels” [National Conference of State Legislatures]. “The U.S. is characterized by a highly decentralized election administration system. County or municipal officials typically do the rubber-meets-the-road functions of running an election, but the state and federal government each have roles, too. The result is that no two states administer elections in exactly the same way, and quite a bit of variation exists in election administration even within states. Each state’s election administration structure and procedures grew organically over many decades as times changed and administering an election became an increasingly complex task. The diversity of election administration structures between and within states can be seen as a positive or a negative quality, depending on who is looking, and when. Critics say the level of local control can lead to mismanagement and inconsistent application of the law. This often comes into focus in large federal elections especially, when the media and the public focus on how different the voting experience can be depending on where a voter lives. On the other hand, decentralization allows individual jurisdictions to experiment and innovate—to see how elections might best be run for the state and the locality’s particular circumstances. The dispersed responsibility for running elections also makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to rig U.S. elections at the national level.” • A useful link with many resources.


Lambert here: I can’t call a winter surge, though we’ll really have to wait for Thanksgiving travel. However, high transmission (CDC), the elevation and continued increase in positivity (Walgreens), and the steady takeover of BQ.1* (CDC; Walgreens) are all a little unsettling (as is the apparent proliferation of variants). Stay safe out there!

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• Query from alert reader RK:

Friends have asked me to bring them home from an airport that is about two hours distant. They will have returned from a two-week stay in Austin, TX. Who knows where and with whom they’ve been during their time away!

To address my discomfort at being cooped up in a car with them for that long, I started looking into small, portable HEPA air filtration devices that would run using an inverter in my car’s cigarette lighter. This, plus masking and outside airflow via my car’s heating/cooling system seems like a decent preventative measure. I’ve seen advertised units on the order of 4″×4″×8″ for use in small rooms that could be accommodated in my car. The device plus inverter would run, say, $125-150.

Mayhaps, commuters in larger cities have already tumbled onto similar measures. Doubtless I have missed any report on such use of an air filtration system in NC. I hope you might direct me to such so that I might benefit from others’ experiences in making my evaluation. Any advice will be gratefully received.

Not only do I not own a car, I don’t recall a relevant study or product review. (I do remember, linked to, and cannot now find, a study that showed the more windows you open in your car the better, but that’s not an option here.) Readers? Especially those with personal experience?

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• “The Latest COVID-19 Variants Can Evade Vaccine Protection, According to New Data” [Time]. n = 88. “Dr. David Ho, director of Columbia University’s Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC), and his team reported the results from a set of studies at an ADARC symposium. They showed how well some of the latest variants—BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, and XBB.1, which were all derived from Omicron—are evading both vaccine-derived and infection-derived immunity…. Ho’s group conducted what is likely the most comprehensive look to date at BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, and XBB.1, and how existing immunity—from the original mRNA vaccines, the new Omicron boosters, and natural infections—stands up to them. Scientists took blood sera from 88 people in five groups (below) and exposed it to the four variants in the lab…. The results show that people who had been infected with BA.2, BA.4, or BA.5 generally experienced the smallest drop in neutralizing antibody levels against against BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. But people who had three doses of the original vaccine and one Omicron booster produced only slightly better neutralizing antibody protection against XBB and XBB.1 than those who received three doses of the original vaccine. Public-health experts say that while vaccines may wane in efficacy against newer variants, they continue to protect people from severe COVID-19.” But “severe” does not include neurological or vascular damage from “mild cases,” let along Long Covid, of course, because the public health establishment has been captured by hospitals, and for quite some time, too. More: “‘These new variants are extremely good at evading our antibodies and are very likely to compromise the efficacy of our vaccines,’ says Ho. They may also dodge the available antibody-based treatments for COVID-19, he says.” • Oh.

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• About “living in fear”:

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• Maskstravaganza: “Ontario will urge indoor masking as ‘three-headed monster’ strains hospital resources” [Toronto Star]. “Calls for a return to mandatory masking have been increasing in some medical circles, but a recent poll suggested the population is evenly split for and against — raising questions about how well a return to difficult-to-enforce mask mandates would work. A Forum survey conducted Tuesday for the Star found 53 per cent of respondents strongly or somewhat agree that the province should bring back a mask mandate, and 47 per cent said they disagreed somewhat or strongly. Fully 28 per cent said they would not follow a masking rule and only 16 per cent said they wear masks, according to the interactive voice response poll of 1,007 randomly selected Ontarians over 18. It is considered accurate within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Rates of masking in indoor public places remain low despite encouragement from health officials for people to wear masks when they feel at risk, particularly in crowded situations. On TTC subway cars, for example, the proportion of passengers wearing masks is typically tiny.” • Propaganda worked against masks. Presumably, propaganda would work for them as well (“We have always been at war with Eastasia”).

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• “Covid Depression Is Real. Here’s What You Need to Know” [New York Times]. ” In a 2021 study, more than half of American adults reported symptoms of major depressive disorder after a coronavirus infection. The risk of developing these symptoms — as well as other mental health disorders — remains high up to a year after you’ve recovered…. Health concerns, grief from losing loved ones, social isolation and the disruption of everyday activities were a recipe for distress, especially early on in the pandemic. But compared with those who managed to avoid infection (but also dealt with the difficult impacts of living through a pandemic), people who got sick with Covid-19 seem to be much more vulnerable to a variety of mental health problems. ‘There’s something about the coronavirus that really affects the brain,’ [Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis and the chief of research and development at the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System] said. ‘Some people get depression, while other people can have strokes, anxiety, memory disorders and sensory disorders.’ Still others have no neurological or psychiatric conditions at all, he said.” • This article is a bit anodyne. A million dead, and no public recognition or mourning whatever — where’s the Covid quilt on the National Mall? — surely has a greater impact on on the public mind than “social isolation” and “the disruption of everyday activities” (another way of saying “vax only”). To this I would add grief that this country is…. simply not what I thought it was, at the most basic level of interpersonal relations; my revulsion at demands to “smile!” is my way to process this. (Also, I don’t believe for a minute that depression is a function of the brain alone; it is a “whole of body” disease.)

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• ”Long COVID and Me: A True Story” [Leonard H. Calabrese, Healio]. This ran in Links, and it’s worth reading full, but I want to highlight this passage: “Ironically, just as I failed to self-diagnose my acute COVID-19 breakthrough by attributing it to just a bad cold, I was also in denial regarding my long COVID diagnosis.” • These two episodes of denial seem very important to the spread of Covid, both in Calabrese’s case and society-wide. And yet Calabrese merely mentions them, and does not reflect on them (which could be, I suppose, interpreted as a third episode of denial). But what is the mechanism? Are there, as one might say, “social determinants”?

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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.)


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published November 12:

-0.1%. Down.


NOT UPDATED Wastewater data (CDC), November 7:

Lambert here: Each dot is a sewershed that you can click for data. Since yesterday we found elevated levels in JFK/LGA’s county, Queens, I looked today at ORD’s county, Cook (one of two counties, actually). Not elevated, which is good news, all the more because Illinois ‘runs hot” compared to most other states. UPDATE Holy Lord, the only thing close to real-time information we’ve got on airports, and CDC can’t update the data on a timely basis. How am I supposed to be doing my personal risk assessment?

November 6:


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? [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk]. UPDATE Yes. See NC here on Pango. Every Friday, a stately, academic pace utterly incompatible with protecting yourself against a variant exhibiting doubling behavior.

Variant data, national (Walgreens), published November 11 October 25:

Lambert here: BQ.1* moving along quite briskly.

Lambert here: Moving to the date at bottom left; the date in the notes section is off, just as the date in the positivity chart was off. The date at bottom left only applies to the box that encloses it, not the entire chart.

Variant data, national (CDC), October 22 (Nowcast off):

BQ.1* moving along quite briskly. New York/New Jersey (Region 2) numbers are higher:

NOT UPDATED And as a check, since New York is a BQ.1* hotbed, New York hospitalization continues to increase, updated November 10:

Lambert here: Continued rise.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,100,127 – 1,099,856 = 271 (271 * 365 = 98,915, which is today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ 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

Inflation: “United States Consumer Inflation Expectations” [Trading Economics]. “US consumer inflation expectations for the year ahead increased to 5.9 percent in October of 2022 from 5.4 percent in September, after three consecutive months of a slowdown. The median expected change in gas prices rose by 4.3 percentage points to 4.8%, the largest one-month increase on record. Expectations about year-ahead price changes rose by 0.7 percentage point for food (to 7.6%) and 0.1 percentage point for rent (to 9.8%).” • What do readers think? What’s happening on the grocery shelves and at the gas pump?

* * *

Tech: “America’s Ring doorbell camera obsession highlights the scourge of mass surveillance [NBC]. “Blanketing our neighborhoods in surveillance devices that promote a culture of suspicion makes all of us less safe. Devices like Ring and the apps associated with them are made to keep us on constant alert. They ping us with notifications, demanding our attention, and offer “infinite scroll” like Facebook and Instagram, but for neighborhood crime. These devices make watching one another constantly feel acceptable, expected and even addicting. They present surveillance as the new normal, and fear along with it. The Neighbors App, associated with Amazon Ring, boasted more than 10 million users in 2020. Front doors across the U.S. are smothered in millions of similar devices, like Google Nest and Wyze. And tens of millions of people post videos and images from these cameras to neighborhood watch forums like Citizen App (which literally rebranded itself from ‘Vigilante’) and NextDoor. A recent report from nonprofit research organization Data & Society found that homeowners are increasingly using Ring and other networked doorbell cameras to surveil and punish delivery drivers, turning doorsteps into humiliating performance reviews for underpaid gig workers. And, this July, we learned that Amazon infringes on our civil liberties by handing over Ring video to the police without notification or warrants.” • Jeff, good job.

Tech: “Twitter’s potential collapse could wipe out vast records of recent human history” [MIT Technology Review]. I know liberal Democrats, along with their [glassbowl] buddies in the intelligence community, have their knickers in a twist because they’ve lost their power to censor a major platform. Whether their dogpiling translates into, or will produce, a “collapse” is unclear to me. So far as I can tell, exits to competitors number in the tens of thousands. So let’s wait and see. “Part of what makes Twitter’s potential collapse uniquely challenging is that the ‘digital public square’ has been built on the servers of a private company, says O’Connor’s colleague Elise Thomas, senior OSINT analyst with the ISD. It’s a problem we’ll have to deal with many times over the coming decades, she says: ‘This is perhaps the first really big test of that.’ Twitter’s ubiquity, its adoption by nearly a quarter of a billion users in the last 16 years, and its status as a de facto public archive, has made it a gold mine of information, says Thomas. ‘In one sense, this actually represents an enormous opportunity for future historians—we’ve never had the capacity to capture this much data about any previous era in history,’ she explains. But that enormous scale presents a huge storage problem for organizations. For eight years, the US Library of Congress took it upon itself to maintain a public record of all tweets, but it stopped in 2018, instead selecting only a small number of accounts’ posts to capture. ‘It never, ever worked,” says William Kilbride, executive director of the Digital Preservation Coalition. The data the library was expected to store was too vast, the volume coming out of the firehose too great. ‘Let me put that in context: it’s the Library of Congress. They had some of the best expertise on this topic. If the Library of Congress can’t do it, that tells you something quite important,’ he says. That’s problematic, because Twitter is teeming with significant content from the past 16 years that could help tomorrow’s historians understand the world of today.” • I’m not sure I believe this story (which, after all, treats Eliot as a serious source and not a spook). Surely the Twitter “firehose” is a fraction of what NSA has on its servers in Utah? So, two birds, one stone: Requistion Twitter from Musk and make it a public utility. Then wipe the NSA data center — surely mostly domestic surveillance they’ve got no right to have — and put Twitter on it. Problem solved!


I don’t wish to seem unsympathetic to Playbill’s dilemma, but “legitimately decipher[ing] actual news from insidious rhetoric” is, well, a generic problem. It’s not limited to Twitter.

Tech: “The Age of Social Media Is Ending” [The Atlantic]. “A global broadcast network where anyone can say anything to anyone else as often as possible, and where such people have come to think they deserve such a capacity, or even that withholding it amounts to censorship or suppression—that’s just a terrible idea from the outset.” • Commentary:

Tech: “The Atlantic Is A Shitty Propaganda Rag Run By Elitist Wankers” [Caitlin Johnstone]. “Nothing enrages the official authorized commentariat like the common riff raff having access to platforms and audiences. That’s why the official authorized commentariat have been the most vocal voices calling for internet censorship and complaining about the rise of a more democratized information environment. These elitist wankers have been fuming for years about the way the uninitiated rabble have been granted the ability to not just talk, but to talk back…. Of course the imperial narrative managers at The Atlantic would be opposed to normal people getting a voice in public discourse. When your job is to control the narrative, the bigger a monopoly you hold over it the better.”

Tech: Whose social capital is valued, and whose is not:

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 66 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 61 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 14 at 12:15 PM EST.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Wild Weather. “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) It seems that 190 is an important psychological barrier.

Guillotine Watch

Class Warfare

“Appendix 1- Coming Full Circle” (podcast) [Mike Duncan, Revolutions]. • In a series of eight Appendices, Duncan sums up his historiography of revolutions. I highly recommend them — as indeed I recommend the entire series, which started in 2013 (!!) with Charles Stuart and ended this year with Nicholas Romanov.

News of the Wired

For subway fans:

But what on earth is a “pad”?

“Keith Levene, guitarist and founding member of the Clash, dies at 65” [Entertainment Weekly]. “Born in London in 1957, Julian Keith Levene got his start in the music industry at age 15 working as a roadie for the prog-rock band Yes during their Close to the Edge tour. At age 16, Levene befriended Mick Jones and the musical duo would go on to create the Clash alongside vocalist Joe Strummer, bassist Paul Simonon, and drummer Terry Chimes in 1976….. While Levene departed from the rock group before they had a chance to record any music, he is still credited with co-writing one of their songs: the scorching single “What’s My Name,” which appeared on their eponymous debut record in 1977. In 1978, Levene teamed up with John Lydon — a.k.a the Sex Pistols’ infamous lead singer Johnny Rotten — to form the post-punk group Public Image Ltd. The band, which also included bassist Jah Wobble and drummer Jim Walker, released their debut album, Public Image: First Issue, that same year.” • I bought Metal Box as soon as it came out. It was great.

* * *

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 SV:

SV writes: “‘Moth on Obedient Plant,’ via our Friend in the Woods.”

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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. Lambert Strether Post author

            I think Henry could be a paradigmatic example of the eugenicist public health administrator. As such, her story (if that is her story) could be used (best case scenario) as a cautionary tale for the rest of the public health establishment or (worse case) as a cudgel to beat them out of office with.

  1. Roger Blakely

    RE: “Ironically, just as I failed to self-diagnose my acute COVID-19 breakthrough by attributing it to just a bad cold, I was also in denial regarding my long COVID diagnosis.” • These two episodes of denial seem very important to the spread of Covid, both in Calabrese’s case and society-wide.

    Dr. John Campbell has a YouTube video out this weekend talking about a huge increase in excess deaths not attributable to COVID-19. It is a mystery. No one understands it. No one seems to care.

    My opinion is that the testing is leading to denial. Are these people really dying of something other than COVID-19? How do we know? Someone stuck a swab up their nose and it came back negative? How many people are suffering from COVID-19 but were told that it wasn’t COVID-19 because the nose swab came back negative?

    I’m on my way to get my nose swabbed right now. I’ve never tested positive, and I’ve gone through fifteen fourteen-day cycles of COVID-19. That’s not strange. How many different variants have come down the pike? Something like fifteen of them.

    We know that SARS-CoV-2 is coming out of people’s butts. That’s why we test sewage. Before we conclude that it’s not COVID-19, why don’t we stick swabs up their butts? That’s what the Chinese were doing. Do you know what they found? They found COVID-19.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Campbell is being dense. You’d like to think that unlike some of the more egregious charlatans, he’s just doing it because he’s genuinely ignorant, but frankly who knows at this point. In the UK, the problem is with how they count Covid deaths (within 30 days of positive test, iirc). As has been discussed here for a while, these excess deaths are most likely the consequences of heart damage and clotting caused by the disease (leading to heart attack and stroke), and these effects can make themselves felt long after the virus is cleared from the URT.

      I’ve never tested positive, and I’ve gone through fifteen fourteen-day cycles of COVID-19.

      With the best will in the world, while PCR tests are by no means perfect, the chances that it would miss 15 positive instances in a single person are slim-to-none. Also, being infected 15 times with Covid (and I know you take serious precautions) would be extremely unusual. It goes against what we know about how the virus works.

      That’s what the Chinese were doing.

      Needs a source. I’m not sure this was done at all, or at least at any meaningful scale.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Dr. John Campbell has a YouTube video

      Hard for me to imagine taking Campbell seriously about anything. I grant he’s a good presenter. Better vague handwave-y link-free allusions please.

      Also, readers need the link on Chinese swabbing technique. Just throwing the factoid out there is worse than useless at this point.

  2. Steve H.

    > These two episodes of denial seem very important to the spread of Covid

    >> The awareness of our own mortality could have caused anxieties that resulted in our avoiding the risks of competing to procreate-an evolutionary dead-end. Humans therefore needed to evolve a mechanism for overcoming this hurdle: the denial of reality.

    1. semper loquitur

      I wonder if the author has located this “mechanism” of denial or if he, as is so often the case, simply relies on reductionist materialist theories of consciousness and assumes the specific details will sort themselves:


      “The overwhelming fear that such knowledge produced would have presented an evolutionary barrier had our species not simultaneously developed a neural mechanism for denying reality.”

      Ah, I assume from this they have located this reality denying “neural mechanism” in the head-cheese. Perhaps there is a fold-out map. Is it right next to the “consciousness creating neural mechanism”? The two seem intimately, nay, intrinsically related. Hopefully the book about that will be coming out shortly….

      1. LifelongLib

        Whether the brain generates consciousness (as I believe) or acts as a receiver of a universal consciousness (as I take it you believe) makes little difference in this issue, and I suspect most issues. Do humans actually deny reality? Is this denial of reality the source of religiosity and belief in an afterlife? Questions that can be discussed irrespective of our differing philosophies of mind…

        1. semper loquitur

          To claim that there is a “neural mechanism” implies that there is some locus of activity that has been identified that governs the denial of reality. It’s the same claim that the materialist makes when they propose that the brain generates consciousness, that there is some part of the brain that “makes” consciousness. The eternal question, of course, is where. Eternal indeed, considering the vast numbers of neurons and synaptic connections in a brain, more than the stars in the sky if I recall correctly. It makes a big difference regarding this claim because if they cannot pinpoint where consciousness arises, how can they pinpoint where denial arises? What throws the switch of the “mechanism”?

          From my reading of the definition of “deny”, it seems there is a choice involved. One has to refuse reality. Whether humans can utterly deny reality, in that there is no rejection but rather they simply don’t see what is in front of them, so to speak, is an interesting question.

          I don’t think such a denial is the source of religiosity or an afterlife, that’s just clumsy materialist reductionism. In essence, the author is saying “We know there are no such things therefore to think there are is to deny reality.” Of course, he knows no such thing.

  3. Yasha

    > But what on earth is a “pad”?

    In electronic music production, pads are long, sustained sounds, analogous to the string section in the background of a song.

  4. Geo

    “What on earth is a pad?”

    It’s a sustained synthesized sound often referring to string/orchestral type instruments on synthesizers and digital instruments.

    Fun story: When doing the score for my last film the composer recorded my cat’s yowl because when she got scared (which was often, she had anxiety issues) she made the most haunted sound ever. He turned it into a “pad” (after some tuning and retiming of the sound files) and used it in the film. Even though she passed away her voice lives on in that pad and has been in four film scores to date.

  5. Geo

    “Twitter’s potential collapse could wipe out vast records of recent human history”

    As someone who has waded through the cesspool of Twitter over the years I can confidently say that future historians and societies will not be missing much if that whole database is flushed down the toilet. Finding anything of value there is like a needle in a haystack – and most of those “needles” are links to articles and pages on other sites.

    At best it would be like us having recordings of what the Roman Colosseum spectators were yelling as lions devoured prisoners.

    1. hunkerdown

      I think the sheer volume of people telling their class superiors to go to hell in lurid, loud detail is an important skill to pass on to future generations, who will probably spend most of their days thwarting their ambitions of their soi-disant class superiors.

      But flushing the whole thing down the hopper would doubtless evoke a beautiful hue and cry from the chattering classes, which (after processing) could yield a very interesting pad.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the sheer volume of people telling their class superiors

        This is one of the things the blogosphere was really good at, and it was destroyed by social media, its functions dismembered and distributed to Facebook and Twitter.

        Then unsurprisingly the same repressed function returned on social media, to be destroyed in its turn.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      The dive bar I’m a regular at recently repainted the men’s room. I think more important records of recent human history were wiped out because of that than if the entirety of Twitter was to be zeroed out.

      1. mrsyk

        That’s a fun analogy. I was always sad when the toilet walls got repainted at my favorite haunts. On the other hand, it was a fresh canvas.

        1. wilroncanada

          …and you didn’t get the phone numbers, Dr. John? In the immortal words of S & G, in silence, a wasted night trip, not to mention a mixed metaphor.

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Heck we lost most of the 90’s when GeoCities was abruptly turned off. Archive.org couldn’t deal with Graphics larger than an icon back then. So most of the innovative sites from then that really leaned into graphics are incomprehensible.

    4. farmboy

      1st, no push notifications, 2nd pick your follows carefully, 3rd watch the replies for the gems, 4th retweets and quote tweets sharpen your perceptions, 5th the quick short format indulges and strengthens intuition. Big week on twitter with Musk going all in, SBF going spectacularly bust, elections surprises

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Put tweets from followed accounts only on your timeline, which should be in reverse chronological order (not Twitter’s horrid algo).

        find some nice quiet verticals.

        All good suggestions. Thing is, it takes work to handle proper curation. It also takes self-discipline not to get sucked into the moral panics and the Tweet storms.

        I’ve got to say, the Musk and SBF stories were a great example of what Twitter can do as a platform.

  6. Carolinian

    Will Bunch–is it even worth the trouble of tossing bricbats? Hate it when they get all gooey about Biden.

    And re small church precincts–there’s one two blocks from my house and it’s very cozy indeed. But then this is a red state–not part of the conspiracy?

    Truth to tell I’ve never voted in a stadium but maybe in some big cities? Our precinct used to be in the church’s log cabin Boy Scout hut–even cozier.. They had the mechanical machines with the big lever that opened the curtain. Maybe we should go back to that. It was like the ’57 Chevy of voting machines.

    1. Janie

      When we lived in a more rural area, our voting location was the walking-distance volunteer fire department. It was spacious, and volunteers made coffee. Process took an hour or two, of which five minutes was actual voting.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > never voted in a stadium but maybe in some big cities

      Neither have I. I really want to know whether Kunstler’s claim, as good as it sounds, is backed up with evidence.

  7. Realist

    “How a surprising Democratic strategy may have staved off the midterm red wave”

    Isn’t it obvious? Democrats did so well with “Gen Z” because they dangled the carrot of student loan relief in front of them, and those votes were what tipped the balance.

    In an election where they all suck bigly, one might be inclined to cast a vote for the team who were promising $10,000 for their support. Especially in this economy.

    In an election where democracy was on the ballot, it seems like bribery beat it after the votes were counted!

    1. Lou Anton

      Like Atrios said, it’s probably a lot of things:
      1. Opportunity for some student debt relief, yes (still not resolved though!)
      2. Abortion – surely in the top half of issues among someone under 30
      3. They have jobs, and they’re getting paid better. See this link from the Atlanta Fed. You have to scroll to the chart and click “Age” (can’t export that view directly, unfortunately), but ages 16-24 have seen consistent, double-digit wage growth.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      Not yet a bribe, but, even better, a promise of a bribe. My bet is that promise never comes to fruition. Lucy has another football.

  8. Hank Linderman

    “But what on earth is a “pad”?”

    A pad is a sound with a slow attack & a long release. The sound fades in slowly after you play the appropriate note on your keyboard (or other midi trigger) and takes a long time to fade out after you stop playing the note.

    So, a string pad is a string sound that fades in when you play it and fades out after you stop. Pads can be used in a tempo based song or just as an “atmosphere” with no tempo.


  9. marym

    Polling places and voting centers

    Polling places – 10/18/2022
    “State laws govern where polling places can be located, and some states are more directive than others. In Arizona’s presidential preference primaries, for example, the number of polling places is based on the number of active registered voters in a county. In contrast, some states, such as Florida and Minnesota, simply require one polling place per precinct. Forty-eight states and one territory require local officials to designate polling locations. American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island and South Carolina require state-level involvement.”

    Voting centers – 11/02/2021
    “Eighteen states allow jurisdictions to use vote centers on Election Day: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa (for some elections), Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

    Additional states may permit the use of vote centers during the early voting period.”

    Table by state with year enacted (2004-2021) and link to legislation

      1. Carla

        Mine, too. I finally banished them. Of course, there’s always something. Now it’s tradescantia (also called spider-wort). Very pretty in some sort of moderation, but not a polite plant!

      2. CanCyn

        I have a friend who called them disobedient plants. At least they are fairly easy to remove from places you don’t want them. Unlike spider-wort, oh Carla, I curse the day I ever admired one in a garden and then added some to my own. Insidious spreader, often secreted itself into the day lilies where it was practically undetectable until it went into bud. I dug them up but they were a persistent pest in my last garden. If you love them and plant then you absolutely have to dead head them before they go to seed or you’ll never be rid of them.

  10. Jason Boxman

    ‘I have a day job,’ Pelosi said. ‘Part of it is to be the political leader and to get us the best possible victory, and then not worrying about my future, but for the future for the American people.’”

    With a straight face, I’m sure. Like when she tried to get us into a war with China over Taiwan? When will these people just go away? Like ghouls they seem to live forever.

    1. griffen

      Well, it bears into question exactly what is meant by a straight face. After all, she does appear to have a number of a guy in SF or maybe in Beverly Hills to make sure she keeps that face. And also she will never go away. Just the opposite of the Neil Young lyric.

      Merely an observation. Nothing intended other than that, unless one so chooses to find a little satire as I kick some dirt uphill at our elites and leadership class.

    2. Screwball

      I don’t know how they could pull it off, but my PMC friends think the House should elect Liz Cheney as Speaker. Why? Because they love her. But here’s the best part; she could then convene another Jan 6th committee. Oh, brother! Maybe a couple more war too, since they have become the war party now.

      This country has lost it’s mind.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Liberals certainly lost their minds, after Trump was elected. And they’ve never recovered from that. He’s hiding behind every curtain now, under every bed, now and forever. Along with Putin.

        It’s unhinged. An enormous number of people, influential, powerful people, are insane.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Hillary never made sense if you wanted Team Blue to win. Her “resume” even if you bought it never justified the risk. It’s why they clung to “omg russia”. They need an excuse for letting such a dolt be the nominee.

          I actually think the GOP had the best night it could have given the map (the part of me that loves having been a field organizer is still crazy about north Carolina results, we could have had it), but Clintons are such trash. They could always blow it.

  11. Milton

    Pfff, Playbill… what do they know… readers of that publication don’t even stand for the national anthem. Heck, they don’t even play the national anthem before their events. (but they do love to stand during every encore even when productions don’t quite measure up to receiving one)

    1. semper loquitur

      All kinds of issues on Broadway these days:

      White ‘Lion King’ sign-language interpreter says he was ousted over skin color

      Keith Wann, 53, was one of at least two people forced off the production by the non-profit Theatre Development Fund – which staffs Broadway shows with American Sign Language interpreters – after the group decided it was “no longer appropriate to have white interpreters represent black characters for ASL Broadway shows.”


      Carling’s decision came at the behest of Shelly Guy, the director of ASL for “The Lion King,” and called for Carling to get rid of all non-black interpreters, according to another email obtained by The Post and cited in the suit.


      How frikkin’ stupid do you have to be to come right out and demand that all individuals of a particular race be removed from anything? Another Wokel pushing the pendulum too far. I know theatre people live in their own world but sheesh…..

      1. Milton

        Then there’s wokelahoma! (moniker embraced by the production company) Have to say I enjoyed it greatly but gosh, do they really have to go so overboard as to make sure all were represented even though that isn’t how life works?

      2. Pat

        I would love to be the fly on the wall when the lawyers explain to the main players in this that they are not only going to look racist, their non profit will be paying damages.

        And it probably could have been avoided if anyone had been remotely self aware of the fact that this was also racist. This is when you get the first black interpreters to come back, play up the anniversary aspect and offer to pay the white interpreters for their inconvenience fudging about it being a Hail Mary. The entertainment community is nuts for that kind of sentiment especially when they lose nothing by doing it. Or have guts to say to the person who had the bright idea that they should have thought about that before hiring the interpreters that performance.

      3. lyman alpha blob

        Correct me if I’m wrong here since it’s been a couple decades since I’ve seen the Lion King, but if memory serves the characters were not drawn from any particular human ethnic group, but were in fact lions.

    2. Pat

      Admittedly I didn’t go check how many people followed Playbill on Twitter, but the pointless posturing of this got me. So politically correct but with little awareness of their core customers. I know that Broadway is all too diverse for me these days, but a lot of the people following Playbill on Twitter are probably enjoying the Wild West Twitter has become as much of the snark has been directed to subjects they aren’t fond of to start with.

  12. curlydan

    I agree that Kunstler needs to show some more data. I was an election worker for one day of early voting and the general election day. On election day, there were 3 people (including me) from my small street alone working at the voting location 3 blocks from my house. I’m in my early fifties and was the youngest person there. So the church ladies are still out there where I am. There may be a lot of variation county by county.

    Early voting in my county does happen generally in larger locations like the DMV office. There lines can get big whereas there was almost never a line where I worked. At my site, early voting lasted a week, and we got 900 votes at my location in a week of early voting (when any county voter could cast a ballot at my location). On election day, we got about 800 votes from the just the smaller subset of precinct voters.

    I highly recommend being an election worker–especially for the deniers. This year was my first year to try it. I got paid $110 for working each day, so not great, but not awful either.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Deep down I too partisan and will tell Republicans what I really think, but election work is so important. It takes a time commitment, but it’s actually kind of fun or qt least the partisan adjacent activity is fun. The election workers at the registrars office in Charlottesville knew me and one of the regulars in links during election as we had excuses to vote absentee.

      If you can, please help out.

    2. ASR

      My experience was similar. I was one of the youngest judges at my election location and I’m 47. My precinct was at a local elementary school.

    1. Bugs

      Keith Levine had left the band before this song was recorded. His last record with PiL was The Flowers of Romance.

      Saw them play live in Chicago at the Grenada Theatre in maybe ’83?

      Levine was starting to get into synthesizers at that point but what a great guitarist. They had Martin Atkins on drums who changed their sound to more of a tribal, marching beat.

      Swan Lake has always been my favorite from Metal Box. Great record.

      There’s a famously aggressive interview that John and Keith did with Tom Snyder on the Tomorrow Show and they also did a chaotic performance on American Bandstand. YouTube probably has those.

  13. Wukchumni

    So you’re on the floor at an Asian tour
    Think you can last till the next repast
    Does your body go to the to and fro?
    But tonight’s the night or didn’t you know
    That Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe

    He tried his tricks on that Ruskie bear
    The United Nations said it’s all fair
    He did the inflation he did the sanctions plague
    But he could not win with a Ukraine spin

    The proxy war, the Himars strike
    He tried every move he put his fingers in the dike
    He blew a hole in available weaponry armoire
    He made every move in his repertoire

    When Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe

    Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe

    Now it was Delaware Joe’s turn to blow
    He turned it on cool and slow
    He tried a smartphone call to the Pentagon
    A radar scan a leviathan

    He wiped the Earth clean as a plate
    What does it take to make a Ruskie break?
    But the crowd are bored and off they go
    Over the road to watch China blow

    Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe
    Ivan meets Delaware Joe

    When Ivan Meets G.I. Joe, by The Clash


  14. Sue inSoCal

    Had to comment on Canadian euthanasia law. I note mental illness is added to the list of ailments. Slippery slope imo. However, I had read months ago an anecdote re a Toronto woman who was pulled off her pain medications for chronic disabling pain. Those medications would solve her problem to live her life, but were rendered unavailable to her. Suicide, however, is offered instead? I find this shocking. I don’t know how common this is. Perhaps someone in Canada does. A quick search found this may be more than a case or two? Dunno..


    1. mrsyk

      How about offering them a toke? Seriously. (This snark is aimed at the headline, not you Sue. Thanks for posting.)

      1. Sue inSoCal

        No offense taken! Offer them something, fer god’s sake! (I love Yves’s “fer”) But I don’t think the choice should be to suffer with a condition that can be alleviated or die. It’s not even a Hobson’s choice, or a Catch-22. It’s a draconian no-win unless ridding yourself of these people is the goal!

        1. CanCyn

          The goal is privatization of our health care system. Crapify it, get people scared that they have to chose death because they can’t be treated and then let the profiteering ‘fixers’ roll in.

      1. Realist

        His body, his choice.

        I always thought of they ever made a truly painless/pleasurable euthanasia pill, it would be a best seller in USA.

        The powers that be would rather grind those people into the dirt, in a life of miserable penury, than let them opt out. After all, who’s going to deliver their uber eats if the lost causes can just “drop out”? Prices might go up *gasp!*, and we can’t have that!

        1. Randy

          Suggest alternatives. Take a cab or bus. Walk. Rent a car.

          They may be friends but if they want to play Russian roulette with a virus there is no reason to conscript a friend to the game.

          LOL. I am a sweetheart. My wife says so but she is the only one with that viewpoint, besides you.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        >. Lash the possibly sick


        Adding… If you want to be genuinely helpful, answer the question asked first. If you wish to add further valuable commentary afterwards, feel free.

        Here, you know nothing of the context (or why RK would go to the trouble of researching a product and emailing me). Perhaps RK’s “friends” once saved him from falling off a mountainside. Or used to be his sponsors in AA. Or he just wished to be kind. It’s really unhelpful, both to RK and the readers generally, to argue that his friends should be stuffed in a trunk (witty though your comment may have been).

    1. Mark

      I’m guessing you could crack the rear windows and have fresh air blowing in through all vents. Driver will have fresh air delivered to their face.
      I think it was Nov 7 that either Links or Watercooler (my bet) featured a Twitter thread about making a small CR box from IKEA filters and desktop computer fans. If you’re handy it shouldn’t be too difficult to make and add some additional protection to your car drive. I took screenshots of the feed: search Twitter for CRBoxkits. Also for Rob Wissmann.

    2. curlydan

      I run this in my car on long trips. It plugs into a USB port if you have one. I’d say it’s likely to feel a little under-powered, or at least that’s how it feels to me. But it is a HEPA filter and will keep running (p.s. it doesn’t run well in cold temps in my experience, so warm up the car a bit for it). I’d definitely be interested in other links for car air purifiers. I’m going on a lot of car trips coming up, and I trust no one–not even the family, so I’m going to keep using what I’ve got.


      1. Pat

        I also have it and need to pull it out for my bus ride.
        The battery will run for several hours if fully charged, and you can try to aim the out put at the driver. (Or in my case the rider since it really isn’t big enough for the bus)

      2. MaryLand

        That one has some poor reviews on Amazon, so I’m glad to hear your experience with it. It is $40 on Amazon.

    3. MaryLand

      Not trying to promote Amazon, but this is a portable battery operated air purifier with a HEPA filter. I doesn’t say if the battery comes with it so probably not, but it comes with a charger. Supposed to keep clean about 40 square feet of air. Small enough to keep in your lap or maybe the cup holder in your car. $50, but at least you wouldn’t have to buy an adapter. Read the reviews there and note that there are some for 3 stars but they don’t show them. It is still cheaper than the DIY mini CorsiRosenthal boxes that I think was linked here.

    4. Verifyfirst

      Here is a nice Twitter thread on the topic of cars and window opening etc with a couple of articles/studies linked to in the thread.


      Personally I have not hesitated to enforce all well masked, all windows fully open (winter or summer, regardless of distance, and yes 2 hours on freeway happened more than once in January in Michigan). I bring them blankets. They complain. My car my rules.

  15. mrsyk

    The Tyler Austin Harper piece for Salon is truly awful. Is he afraid to go on Twitter to bash Tucker and Tulsi now that the gloves seem to have come off? Dude’s apology (for promoting war in Ukraine in an earlier piece) is lamer than Kyrie’s. Don’t worry Tyler. I will never mistake you for JD Vance.

    1. Carolinian

      Then there’s the three barreled name. Not that there ‘s anything wrong with that. I stopped reading Salon years ago.

      His cringing at Carlson’s “callousness” toward Ukraine is typical. It’s ok however to be sensitive yet disastrously wrong with thousands dead.

      1. pjay

        For the Tyler Austin Harpers of the world, those voicing some measure of sanity on Ukraine were, and apparently still are, “weirdos,” “lunatics,” “jerks,” “loons,” and “conspiracy theorists,” BUT… hey, maybe nuclear war isn’t cool. Who knew?

        God these people are despicable s**theads. (I hope this isn’t interpreted as an ad hominem attack; I believe I could provide evidence and a convincing argument as to why this characterization is a statement of fact, but it’s probably not necessary here.)

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Then there’s the three barreled name.

        The poor devil fought his way through to the right answer the only way he could, which is better than many of his fellows did.

  16. Screwball

    NW Ohio here; Pump gas has been moving between $3.49 & $3.89 for the last few weeks. I don’t think this is good for most around here. The daily log in the paper is full of thefts, petty crime, and one armed robbery (rare here). Much more than in the past. I think people are getting pinched and it shows. Not only at the pump.

    I went to the grocery store today. I live alone, so I buy pretty much the same stuff every couple of weeks. I shop at Kroger. Today my bill was about $110.00, which is almost double what it was a year ago, maybe even 6 months. Everything (if you can find it) is gone way up. $4.59 for a dozen jumbo eggs. I paid $2.69 for large (no medium). They used to be about a buck. $8.99 for a lb of bacon, to name a few. The really bad news, beer (12 pack) went up .50 to $12.99. OUCH! If it wasn’t for the case of beer, I could have carried it all in with one trip.

    Pelosi on Speakership;

    ‘I have a day job,’ Pelosi said. ‘Part of it is to be the political leader and to get us the best possible victory, and then not worrying about my future, but for the future for the American people.‘”

    You want to do right for the future of the American people???? Resign. Please.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          the kegerator i got for the wilderness bar is saving us a lot of money, versus buying beer in cans or bottles.

          and i was in heb today…brown ‘cage free’ store brand:$4.50
          store brand bacon:$5
          we do a lot of juice, and boys have been doing a lot of the shopping…getting jug juice.
          so today, i loaded up on the frozen stuff…$6-8 per gallon vs $2.but the 40 new hens are in with the genpop finally…should be covered up in eggs, soon…and little greenhouse is chock full of stuff…from spinach to bush beans.

          1. Noone from Nowheresville

            Local grocery store prices from beginning/mid-Summer to current. Non-sales specials
            Name brand milk 4.49 to 5.79
            Generic milk 3.45 to 4.54
            gas station milk 3.29 to 4.09 (up from 2 weeks ago 3.89)
            Kefir 3.89 to 4.49
            Bagels 1.89 to 2.29
            Mushrooms 1.99 to 2.99
            National brand Mayo 3.49 to 6.99 (okay, they run specials here)
            Wild rice 3.49 to 5.99 16 oz
            mid-range bread 3.79 to 5.19 (specials here too but list price has risen)
            name brand butter specials are currently at 4.44 per pound. cheaper at gas station.
            Meat: can’t say because we always hit the discount bin where most of it’s 2.99 a pound for use immediately stuff
            flour is on sale due to the holidays 2.49 per 5 lb white or bread
            eggs are 2.99 for mediums.
            Brand name tuna fish 1.89 per 4.5 oz can now 2.49 per can

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > On the price of beer. Switch to vodka, more bang for the buck.

        I would switch to wine with food. It’s more healthy, and getting drunk is bad for you.* Nothing glamorous or fun about it.

        [ducks] Sorry, but my experience tells me this!

        NOTE * We will increasingly need to have all our wits about us!

    1. Carla

      The inflation in food prices is relentless. I go from store to store, trying to buy loss-leaders only, and even then, my grocery bill is much higher. It’s crazy.

    2. Pat

      I honestly cannot remember the last time Pelosi clearly was working for the American people. Working for the major donors, sure. Making political statements that were all about a show for the mythological Independent voter along with Democrats, absolutely. Posturing as righteous and ethical, constantly. Actually getting down in the weeds and putting average Americans needs first, I’m at a loss.

      For me it is a toss up between her ice cream filled freezer and taking a knee in a kente cloth mask as to the most accurately out of touch image That should be the lead photo every time Nancy ends up pontificating in the news.

      1. John Wright

        I remember reading that Pelosi was lining up enough votes to pass the Obama TPP so she could safely vote against it.

        She knew her constituents were, on balance, opposed to the TPP.

        And yet I listen to people who believe Nancy cares for the “little guy.”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I honestly cannot remember the last time Pelosi clearly was working for the American people.

        If Pelosi had been working for the America people in 2006, she would have impeached Bush over Iraq WMDs and warrantless surveillance, but she took that off the table, IIRC the day the election was decided. (Contrast to the relative triviality of the charges against Trump, who she did impeach.)

        History would have been very different if Pelosi had done her duty in 2006.

  17. Ranger Rick

    The digital preservation concern about Twitter’s decline is just the latest in a long line: records of digital correspondence in the 80s and 90s are practically nonexistent unless you were an avid Usenet poster (although I am probably overlooking some linguistic corpuses, as I recall reading a few papers about email habits back in the day), and what survives of the 00s depends on which service is still around. Web 2.0 is a double-edged sword: sure you can share anything, but you depend on someone else’s server to host it.

  18. Rob Urie

    RIP Keith Levene.

    His playing on the first three PIL albums was innovative and outstanding.

    In terms of ‘mysterious ways,’ the Clash sounded like a bar band when he was with them.

    But it all worked out. the Clash became The Clash and PIL took post-punk in a new direction.

    You will be missed Keith.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > His playing on the first three PIL albums was innovative and outstanding.

      It was a great pleasure to play Metal Box extremely loud.

      For those who came in late, the LP — “an analog sound storage medium, a phonograph record format characterized by: a speed of 33+1⁄3 rpm; a 12- or 10-inch (30- or 25-cm) diameter; use of the ‘microgroove’ groove specification; and a vinyl (a copolymer of vinyl chloride acetate) composition disk” — came in an actual metal box:

      Though now that I think of it, the notion of a circular box seems a little paradoxical.

      1. Bugs

        Worth noting that the 3 disks in Metal Box were cut at 45 rpm for higher sound quality.

        Everyone I know who has it lost the little paper insert with the track list.

  19. Rick

    The Atlantic seems just weird to me. Around 2015 I subscribed for a year but their total adoration of Clinton put me off and I didn’t renew.

    On the other hand, Ed Yong and Katherine Wu have had excellent articles on covid-19 while the magazine also ran many denial and minimizing pieces.

    I don’t understand, but am grateful for Yong and Wu.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I don’t understand, but am grateful for Yong and Wu.

      It’s horrible to admit, but perhaps Jeffrey Goldberg is a good editor. Frankly, I find the Atlantic a lot more interesting than the claustrophobic and self-regarding New Yorker, the other flagship middlebrow magazine….)

  20. flora

    re: the delay in counting the votes. As one wag quipped,” How can we count the all the votes before we know how many votes we’ll need to win? ” / heh

  21. Sue inSoCal

    No offense taken! Offer them something, fer god’s sake! (I love Yves’s “fer”) But I don’t think the choice should be to suffer with a condition that can be alleviated or die. It’s not even a Hobson’s choice, or a Catch-22. It’s a draconian no-win unless ridding yourself of these people is the goal!

  22. Samuel Conner

    re: Lambert’s neologism “YouGenicist”,

    I’ve been wondering if there is a compact term for unexplained simultaneous worldwide governance failures, what one might call “serendipitous stupidity.” The term “serenstupidy” is out there but is not yet in wide use and perhaps could be employed for this meaning.

    It also has the advantage of double entendre — it could be taken to mean serene stupidity, which does seem to characterize elite attitudes toward the misery the pandemic has been and is causing.

    OTOH, maybe it’s the wrong term for the situation. The maxim “don’t attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity” may not apply in the present case.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > simultaneous worldwide governance failures

      It really does seem that China has combined Zero Covid with a failure to accept that #CovidIsAirborne. I don’t think that matches the Biden Administration, which combined the same institutional failure with “Let ‘er rip,” encouraging The West to become a worldwide sink of infection, but it’s still pretty bad.

      I don’t see why malice and stupidity can’t be combined. However, I am at this point extremely unwilling to think that public health outcomes across two administrations (i.e., across two different governing factions) are not the result of people who know what they’re doing (not in detail, of course). The constants, then, are not the parties, since they changed. The constants are the oligarchs and the public health establishment (hegemomic PMC, Fauci being Exhibit A). I would urge that eugenics is the ideology common to both.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Or California.

      I think I might revisit that post I did on balloting. I think a rapid count has lots of healthy aspects, including both a real reduction in opportunities for chicanery, and another reduction in narratives of same. Normalizing a count that takes days or weeks; as two links in today’s Water Cooler point out, that’s ridiculous! And no good reasons for it, so far a I can tell. Only bad reasons.

      Plenty of countries, including other Third World countries, do the count in one night. It’s absurd that we can’t. (Makes me wonder if the process is being driven by the administrators, and so being screwed up, like every other process where administrators are the drivers.)

      1. caucus99percenter

        I wish more people would apply the “phishing equilibrium” principle to their thinking about elections, mail-in ballots, absurdly long counting processes, and so on.

        The “phishing equilibrium” principle can be expressed as a recognition that “If there exist opportunities for chicanery, that sort of chicanery almost certainly is already happening / has already happened.”

        Doesn’t the logic lead to the inescapable conclusion that opportunities for chicanery are the reason the balloting in recent U.S. elections is being run the way it is?

        1. digi_owl

          Frankly the US system seems rigged from day one for chicanery.

          After all the whole electoral college bit is about a deep distrust of the masses. And that was installed back when only male landowners could vote.

          I think during the last presidential it came up that NGOs refused to send observers to US elections because of how much of a mess the system is, while they will happily send observers to say Russia.

        2. marym

          It’s not just an issue of whether chicanery isn’t possible, or even likely. It’s also lack of evidence of systematic, or even much in the way of isolated instances, not only for extensive claims of fraud in 2020 in multiple states, but for decades long claims of fraud, primarily by Republicans, with all their resources. They’ve done no better at this than the Russiagate proclaimers.

          There’s been very little analysis by fraud proclaimers of the processes, risk mitigation procedures, potential points of failure, and whether a particular risk would exist even with hand-marked paper ballots or public hand-counts. Here’s a case where that type of analysis was done, which is a good approach.

          Much fraud proclamation – despite sometimes being presented as criticism of establishment Democrats – also assumes incompetence or corruption among rank and file voters and/or election workers and volunteers – an elitist, anti-working class assumption.

    1. Jeff W

      It’s here at roughly 55:01. The Canadian engineer is Matthieu Vanasse who works for Bombardier Transportation in Montreal. (I have to agree with his views of West Side Story.)

      If we’re talking about subway tunes, I happen to like “The Ebisu Beer Theme,” departure melody at Tokyo’s Ebisu station, which some might know as “The Third Man Theme.”

  23. John Beech

    RK, are you fucking crazy? Is your life only worth 100 bucks? Be honest with your pal and tell him to hire an uber instead of putting you and yours at risk of COVID.

    Good grief, pal, think! You’re going to breath the air with him and his partner, after a flight where he was enclosed with a couple hundred of his closest acquaintances, following who knows who and where for their vacation (and another flight), just so he can save a little bit of money. Three people enclosed in a car breathing each other’s air for a couple hours. Seriously? Good grief!

    Look, it’s one thing if he knows for sure he’s not contagious, but a horse of another color if there’s the slightest chance he (they) are. Remember, life is for living and favors amongst friends is one thing – but – in the time of COVID, and especially long COVID? Sheesh, it’s my opinion his ask is simply unreasonable!

    My 2¢

    1. MaryLand

      That’s the best solution IMNSHO. The worst is when friends/family fly in for a visit and want to stay at your house during the colder months: you can’t open windows much. Think of all the germs to be shared over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    2. tegnost

      Also, I’ve just had another acquaintance be positive, not locally but nearabouts, it seems there’s alot of it showing up, and in people who had avoided infection until now…
      Be careful!

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      100% agree. Im kind of with my parents. Their kiss can expose them, even the grandkids, but other people…no way in hell. They hate other people.

  24. Chet G

    “Pelosi says Democrats asking her to stay in leadership”

    The real question is, Can the Democrats find a less effective leader than Pelosi?

    1. Jason Boxman

      She’s the best fundraiser and liberal Democrats love them some fundraising from wealthy interests.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Nostalgia is at play. Not that she isn’t awful, but she came up when it was harder to determine this. Now you have Hakeem Jeffries. He might have slid through in 2002, but today, we want to see as WE have no preconceived notions about him. Why should a rando be 3rd in line with Harris as VP? I never saw him on a ballot.

        It’s like Hillary’s youth vote. She had no votes from people who saw her in a 24/7 environment. Team Blue elites have a similar problem in that younger Bidens are seen as younger Bidens, not tough guys. It’s easier to hide in nostalgia.

        The older I get I think the US may be too big for humans.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Wouldn’t it be Dianne Feinstein’s turn first? At 89 years of age, she certainly has seniority.

      2. Pat

        Michelle is selling her book right now. It could set her right up for that Presidential run so many seem to want. Of course, it won’t be possible if the job is minority leader, which is looking increasingly likely.

  25. Pat

    Just a thought on a problem that casting diversity is insuring but people discount or don’t realize.

    First my realization that historical context is often lost for those viewing entertainment offerings. There was a small movie of House of Mirth a couple of decades ago. My friend, a devoted feminist with a decent education, honestly could not understand why Lily Bart would consider much less commit suicide.

    Now my viewing in the last week or so has not been remotely high brow or deeply interested in history, but they were period pieces. Mrs Harris Goes to Paris was the least egregious. I may have my doubts whether her best friend would be a person of color, I’m not that familiar with 50’s Great Britain. I do know, however, there is no chance that a black model would have been employed by Christian Dior. Enola Holmes 2 was worse, several major characters, actually from the Holmes stories, were persons of color – one black and one Indian.

    I am worried that the more diverse but unrealistic historically our entertainment becomes, the more that history becomes white washed for people who will digest things with little or no recognition that it has no basis in fact. This will lessen understanding of the obstacles people faced.

    But for many I am sure this is just a sign that I am a racist and anti Everything diverse.

    1. Angie Neer

      Pat, I’ve had similar reactions to recent period dramas. It used to get on my nerves. But then I considered: what is the function of these productions? Entertainment, not history. Sure, we like to pretend that our history was nicer than it was, and that’s a bit obnoxious, but a lot of “based on a true story” or seemingly historical entertainments we get have much bigger distortions than a bit of ahistorical racial diversity. And it really doesn’t fly to say that, since people of color would have been excluded from certain situations depicted in an entertainment, we must continue to exclude their descendants from numerous good acting jobs for the sake of historical accuracy. I don’t want to erase history, but I also don’t expect it from popular entertainment.

  26. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the money

    Not only was Bankman-Fried the #2 Democrat donor, but it was not long after he and his brother met with White House officials regarding how to regulate his company that he pledged a billion bucks to Democrat candidates (although he came up a bit short on that). Talk about not a good look…


    Can’t vouch for the source, but reporting is based on White house logs, public campaign donation records, and Bankman-Fried’s own big mouth.

  27. VietnamVet

    The so-called end of the pandemic has finally caught up with me isolating, and still alive, in suburbia. Due to the colossal failure of the public health response to mitigate coronavirus in the USA; an individual’s determination of the risk of a COVID infection is a known unknown. On top of that the system simply doesn’t care if you are a loser.

    So, to get my medicines for high blood pressure etc. that have known risks if cut off, I have to reconnoiter the VA Medical Center to get a blood test. I can’t think of any way to avoid it.

    The VA has 791,604 cumulative cases, 6,924 active cases, 761,325 convalescent cases, and 23,354 known deaths. There are 171 medical centers. If transmission across the US was identical (which it isn’t), the average number of cases being treated by each center would be 40.4 currently.

    After a not very enlightened conversation with my primary physician, my only conclusion is that we are living in an era of denial.

  28. digi_owl

    The digital dark ages have been a long talked about issue.

    While it initially involved failing and obsoleted storage media, like floppies, that modern systems would no longer read, i guess it can now be extended to having private companies go belly up and the servers wiped of years of accumulated correspondence.

    1. Acacia

      Tape robots to the rescue! The Spectra TFinity ExaScale tape library has a capacity of 1 million TB.

      StorageTek PowderHorn 9310 Tape Silo Library (a mere 1 million GB) looks more cool, tho.

      1. digi_owl

        Even tape drives have limited backwards compatibility.

        LTO drives for example only support the previous two generations of tape cartridges. So good luck trying to restore a LTO-1 tape on a LTO-9 drive.

        Never mind the various tape formats that have not been in use for decades by now.

        1. Polar Socialist

          That’s why you channel your inner computer geek and retain at least one old drive and it’s power unit in the server room’s back storage. “Just in case”.

          Even if you moved all the stuff to the new tapes and shredded (what else?) the old tapes. Long time ago.

        2. Acacia

          That’s true. Tape drives can help but the way tech goes obsolete the only solution is to keep copying data from old to newer tech — which costs a lot —, and still there can be failures.

          Some years back, I worked at a university that had tape backups for everything, but then one day somebody wanted to recover some files from old tape and it was discovered that many of them were unreadable. Last I saw, the technicians were fiddling around with the alignment of the tape heads, trying to salvage data.

          A lot of these digital media aren’t archival — they suffer from “bit rot”. DVDRs, for example, use a dye which deteriorates over time. I think they’re only expected to last 15 years so.

          Upshot: in the future, there will likely be many gaps in our records.

          1. hunkerdown

            Complete HDD assemblies, packed in hermetically sealed anti-static containers, offer the very best chance of successfully extracting machine-readable data at an arbitrary future time. It’s generally easier to build a bridge controller between two disparate electrical interfaces, which have been well-defined and highly interoperable in heterogeneous practice, than to build a precision machine to read some medium whose specifications may or may not be available, complete, unambiguous, or correctly practiced. If for no other reason, most of the necessary high precision has already been encapsulated in mass-produced electronic components, and programmable logic devices are well suited for translating one high-speed protocol to another.

            Assuming the survival of the Github Arctic Code Vault (not far from the Svalbard Seed Vault), future historians will have at least some impression of what kinds of people do what kinds of things today with computers. Among grand projects like office applications, programming languages or rapid application frameworks, there will also live thousands of little Arduino improvisations that automate some minor personal or domestic process like a cat flap or microgarden. It would be interesting, but likely dyspeptic, to see what kinds of narratives future historians rub into what facts they do receive.

  29. Ch

    Thanks for mentioning Mike Duncan’s “Revolutions Podcast” back around the time of the Jan. 6 riot. Wanting to learn what real insurrections looked like we started listening to an episode nearly every evening since, and are nearly to the end.

  30. Chuck Harris

    Thanks for mentioning Mike Duncan’s “Revolutions Podcast” back around the time of the Jan. 6 riot. Wanting to learn what real insurrections looked like we started listening to an episode nearly every evening since, and are nearly to the end.

  31. JBird4049

    >>>Hopefully, at the cost of Democrats never again yammering about fascism. After all, the great and the good of Germany thought they could control Hitler, too. How’d that work out?

    Funny, how after massive street battles sometimes involving hundreds of thousands of men, the suppression of first the socialists, then the communists, opposition papers, all of which included sending members to concentration camps, assaults, and assassinations, the virtual extermination of the SA’s leadership (the Brownshirts), and the fatal disruption of the Wiemar’s Reichstag, the military, industrial, and financial elites all thought they control control Hitler and his Nazis.

    Everyone was using some form of civil unrest, thinking that the rules, such as they were, would remain the same or only slowly change; the possibility that someone would see just how weakened the whole system had become, knock the political chessboard off the table using the power of the gun, not of the vote, on them apparently didn’t occur to them.

    The law or rules exist to protect everyone and the most important ones are not written. It does not protect equally true, but without them there is nothing but violence, which people forget or maybe they are too confident of their ability to control others. But it only takes one gun, bomb, or knife to control anyone. The Masters of the Universe seem to be ignorant of this fact.

    Our growing kleptocratic meritocracy and security state (Yes, the security state is kleptocratic. Just read about asset forfeitures. Or the various wars for the resources such of other nations.) increasingly ignores its own laws and the various customs, mores, and traditions, often unwritten, that kept the government including Congress, functional. That jackass and figurative bomb thower Newt Gingrich and the extremely corrupt and self centered Clintons, among many others, might have been the ones who started the landslide.

    Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and Chuck Schumer all remind of past leaders who helped to create a dysfunctional, often corrupt system to increase their own power and wealth. In those cases, they all seem to be clueless as to what would be the end often personally for them and their families. As bad as it was, I would almost prefer the rule by assassination of the pre World War Two Japanese government because the assassins were willing to take some personal risks although it was often a slap of the wrist.

    So, here we are with rule by kakistocracy becoming the norm with even our military and police becoming increasingly incompetent. (Just check the nationwide decades’ decline of the clearance rate, not conviction, clearance rate for crimes, which is less important than the money harvesting and population control being done.) When, and probably if, a real and effective militarized resistance movement starts, these clowns will probably find it harder than they think to destroy it.

    So, who will become our Marius, Caesar, Augustus, or an Alcibiades, or Mussolini and Papen? I wish I could believe that a Lincoln, TR, FDR, or even a JFK, RFK, LBJ or Nixon, but our elites have buried the system in putrid slime to block anyone of ability, decency, and sense from rising to influence, forget real power. Not to mention that the American political system loves using assassinations on American politicians. At best, we might have a surviving Francisco Franco, I think.

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