2:00PM Water Cooler 3/27/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I am enmeshed in the coils of hospital infection control regulation, and hope to escape at some point today. In the meantime, this sorely truncated Water Cooler is an open thread. –lambert

* * *

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 JL:

JL writes: “More textures – Antherium flowers backed up by a Laua’e Fern.” Paging Robert Mapplethorpe!

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated:

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

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

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


      1. lambert strether

        The, er, pistil made me think of Mapplethorpe. Also, Mapplethorpe is a photographer, unlike O’Keefe, who is a painter.

            1. ambrit

              ‘Flare’ on a G-string? (With apologies to the Bach room boys.)
              “Great Scot Carruthers! The Sun really does shine out of her….”

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            O’Keefe is known primarily as a painter (though I grant these photos resemble today’s plant as well). I have to confess that O’Keefe is not to my taste. Her way with paint reminds of the Group of Seven (Canadian landscape painters). It’s the same for me with American Regionalists like Thomas Hart Benton (but not Edward Hopper); there’s something about the paint handling, the way that texture and shading are smoothed out that sets my teeth on edge. Same with O’Keefe.

            1. c_heale

              Hopper, now there is someone whose paintings seem crude at first glance but are completely amazing. Personally, I’m on the fence about O’Keefe and generally unimpressed by Mapplethorpe’s flowers.

            2. ambrit

              It could be the poster like quality of the works you refer to. Large, almost flat planes of colour. Composition defined by the relationships between the shapes and colours. Almost, I venture to suggest, early examples of minimalism, with an element of Fauvism thrown in just for s—s and giggles.
              I have seen some of Benton’s work close up at the Lauren Rogers Museum in Laurel, Mississippi, just north of where we live. A good, solid little private institution. (There are some really good collections in out of the way places.) He can be considered a psychological ‘regionalist’ due to his evocation of the rural state of mind through his use of colours; primarily browns, greens, yellows, etc, Earth tones. Given the often biblical themes of his works, Benton could be charged with didacticism. Another connection with poster art.
              [Oh, your link to the Group of seven goes to a bare Google search page.]
              Stay safe!

        1. ambrit

          You’re not referring to Maplethorpe’s infamous photograph, “Anther Christ” are you? Which reference hearkens back to an equally infamous Frank Zappa lyric. Something to do with another religious meme theme, “Saint Alfonzo’s.”
          See, hear, gasp!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpNn1nht0_8
          (Ten minutes of Frank Zappa. You know it; Dada meets ‘Big Band’ filtred through a sixties ‘sensibility.’)

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > You’re not referring to Maplethorpe’s infamous photograph

            No. IIRC, toward the end of his life, Mapplethorpe did a gorgeous series of photographs of flowers. The colors were incredibly rich (like the color in today’s plant), I think because many of the flowers were in a state of decay (perhaps like Mapplethorpe himself). For floral anatomy comparable to today’s plant, see the first photo here.

            His supposedly erotic material leaves me cold and distinctly unshocked, but the flowers will, I think, survive. They are what I had in mind.

    1. threeskies

      Made in Vermont & Woman Owned.
      For people who’d like to leave out the carbs (grains), sugars, seed oils and other
      ingredients that many people are trying to avoid.
      The tagline is “Welcome back to bread”.
      Best visit the website which is informative.

    2. cgregory

      Check out the kringle in West Racine, Wisconsin, land of the free and home of the Danes. There are at least two bakeries there that you’ll put on your must-order-from list.

      1. nippersmom

        I second this– I recommend O & H.

        Also, in Kenosha, Oliver’s Bakery was always wonderful. I’m sure there are probably still some good bakeries in Milwaukee as well.

    3. petal

      Lou’s diner in Hanover, NH has good crullers and cookies. King Arthur Flour over in Norwich, VT has good cake. Decent bread is hard to come by, though. Duck Soup Catering out of Canaan, NH had good chocolate chip cookies, too. Switzerland had great bakeries. sigh. And 25 years ago there was a tiny place right next to the Wollongong, NSW Australia train station that had the most delicious, warm, messy croissants. Best I’ve ever had.

      1. Wukchumni

        In the bowels of the Budapest subway was this place that made the most delicious chocolate croissants, with the aroma wafting up onto the street like an ad hoc homing beacon of sorts.

    4. Lee

      Where in America? It’s a big country. We have several depending on your baked goods preferences here in the SF Bay Area. They are small scale operations that cater to locals.

    5. KLG

      Spalding’s Bakery
      Lexington, Kentucky
      A better doughnut is not possible.
      Check their hours. When they are sold out, that’s it for the day.

    6. some guy

      So the lesson seems to be that there is a widely scattered Parallel System of Good Bakeries in America, getting Good Grain from Good Farmers. Those with enough time and/or money and/or interest to search for them can find them.

      Those without the time and/or money and/or interest will make do with Corporate Mainstream bredd fuud produkt. And those who wish to laugh at America will focus on the bredd fuud produkt and ignore the harder-to-find Good Bakeries, and have their fun laughing at the fat stupid Americans.

      1. mrsyk

        Baking you’re own bread is an option. Keeping a sourdough starter is rewarding and not complicated.

  1. Wukchumni

    Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us for having over $250k on deposit, as we forgive the overage coverage. And lead us not into temptation of breaking FDIC rules too much, but deliver us from evil of penury. Amen.

    1. curlydan

      Even one of the best basketball players on the planet, Giannis Antetokounmpo, knows better than to have a bunch of uninsured deposits. Why should we then bailout rich [bleeps] who think they’re above the law or somehow special?

      “Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time MVP who last year led the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA title since 1971, opened bank accounts with 50 different banks — each one of them holding $250,000, his boss, team owner Marc Lasry, told Bloomberg News.”


      1. Wukchumni

        Gives new meaning to the ‘Nigerian Letter’

        ‘I am Giannis Antetokounmpo, I represent the Bucks, a situation has risen and i’d like to put $250,000 of them in your bank.’

        1. ambrit

          It also harkens back to sports betting in general. “I’m from the Bucks. A quarter “rock” and even money. You can take the ‘over.'”

  2. notabanker

    The late, great Neil Peart wrote this in the early 70’s and probably more applicable now…..

    Ten score years ago
    Defeat the kingly foe
    A wondrous dream came into being
    Tame the trackless waste
    No virgin land left chaste
    All shining eyes but never seeing

    Beneath the noble bird
    Between the proudest words
    Behind the beauty, cracks appear
    Once with heads held high
    They sang out to the sky
    Why do their shadows bow in fear

    Watch the cities rise
    Another ship arrives
    Earth’s melting pot, and ever growing
    Fantastic dreams come true
    Inventing something new
    The greatest minds, but never knowing

    The guns replace the plow
    Facades are tarnished now
    The principles have been betrayed
    The dreams’s gone stale
    But still let hope prevail
    Hope that history’s debt won’t be repaid

    Beneath the noble bird
    Between the proudest words
    Behind the beauty, cracks appear
    Once with heads held high
    They sang out to the sky
    Why do their shadows bow in fear

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I was just thinking about another Rush song, from that era: “The Necromancer.”

      Maybe the Fed should be hiring for that job?

      Wanted: Necromancer

      Job description: Communicate with dead banks, foretelling how financial crises will play out.

      Witch doctors also considered. Send resumes to:


      1. Barbara

        I was thinking about Democracy is Coming to America by Leonard Cohen. That and his Everybody Knows – right on the money (the greed, etc.)

      2. notabanker

        I think that would be better borrowed from The Fountain….. I could do this all night.

        Call out for direction
        And there’s no one there to steer
        Shout out for salvation
        But there’s no one there to hear
        Cry out supplication
        For the maelstrom is near
        Scream out desperation
        But no one cares to hear

      3. britzklieg

        made me think of XTC’s “Here Comes President Kill Again”

        Here comes President Kill again,
        Surrounded by all of his killing men.
        Telling us who, why, where and when,
        President Kill wants killing again.

        Hooray, ring out the bells,
        King Conscience is dead.
        Hooray, now back in your cells,
        We’ve President Kill instead.

        Here comes President Kill again.
        Broadcasting from his killing den.
        Dressed in pounds and dollars and yen,
        President Kill wants killing again.

        Hooray, hang out the flags,
        Queen Caring is dead.
        Hooray, we’ll stack body bags,
        For President Kill instead.

        Ain’t democracy wonderful?
        Them Russians can’t win!
        Ain’t democracy wonderful?
        Lets us vote someone like that in.

        Here comes President Kill again,
        From pure White House to Number 10.
        Taking lives with a smoking pen,
        President Kill wants killing again.

        Hooray, everything’s great,
        Now President Kill is dead.
        Hooray, I’ll bet you can’t wait,
        To vote for President Kill instead…


        The warped horn chorus interjections are almost chilling

  3. Samuel Conner

    A seed propagation desperation move that turned to work out very well:

    A tray of milkweed seeds that has been cold-treating since early January and was brought indoors to warm/lit conditions is germinating very poorly — of 100+ seeds, only 4 have germinated after a week indoors. I’ve been having a problem with algae overgrowth in my trays and I’m reluctant to “push” this tray with warmth and extra humidity. What to do?

    Last night I removed ~30 seeds from the tray, rinsed them and set them on damp paper inside a plastic chinese takeout container with a clear lid. The “mini-greenhouse” was set on a heat mat under a heat retention enclosure. The temperature in this is above 80F, ~20F above ambient. This morning, after 12 hrs, half the seeds in the warm mini-enclosure had germinated, and by early afternoon, 2/3 were germinated. Some of the emerging radicles were 1/4″ long. There were no additional germinations evident among the seeds left in the starting tray.

    This is working much better than expected, and it suggests the possibility of starting the cold-treatment in November and germinating the seeds under these conditions in January. With sufficient artificial illumination indoors (or maybe outdoor under cold frames), the plants could be substantial before last frost, and might bloom vigorously by Summer.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Yes, sorry — I’m very overdue for a purple MW update. The hybridization problem persists; I’ll send photos soon.

    1. Lex

      Even with all the tech and all the budgets that cannabis growers can put towards germination, a damp paper towel in ziploc bag placed in a warm spot is still the favored method. That plant is relatively susceptible to damping off so direct seeding can be problematic, but the fact is that the paper towel method works. Happy for you that the last ditch effort paid off.

      1. some guy

        I used to start tomato seedlings from seed. The damping off preventative that I read about was to put a thin layer of fine vermiculite on top of where I planted the seed so that the seedling would grow up through the vermiculite. And I never did have a single tomato seedling damp off when grown through a thin layer of vermiculite.

        Would a thin layer of vermiculite for the cannabis seedlings to grow up through protect the cannabis seedlings from damping off in the same way?

  4. hatuxka

    TikTok has turned into every other outraged post being about last week’s House hearings on the “national security risks” of the platform and the alleged particular risk that TikTok, owned by Byte Dance, a Chinese company, allows for data to be pipelined to the See See Pee for their nefarious uses. The absolute hyperbole over this purported unique risk and (supposedly exceeding that for the personal data already gathered by Meta and other tech platforms) the unanimous choleric and bellicose brow-beating by every committee member over the TikTok CEO’s assumed ties to the government of Red China, and probing of him for admission such charges as a genocide against the Uyghurs. The leading questions demanding yes or no answers appear like each house member had absorbed the methodologies of McCarthy hearings. Watershed for the young user-base’s understanding of how the run-up to an even more hostile confrontation with an enemy country proceeds? That user base nearly matches the unanimity of the House committee in how much it now hates every member of that committee.

    1. lambert strether

      I don’t worry about my data going to the CCP. What would they do with it? However, data going to my own government worries me a lot.

      1. digi_owl

        In particular as the various numbered eyes have proven that hey are happy to pass gathered data to its other members. Thus bypassing laws saying that signal intelligence can only be used against foreigners.

    2. some guy

      Aren’t most of the elected office-holders either lawyers or from a legal background? And isn’t it a habit of lawyers to try and engineer their courtroom-questions to be “yes or no”?

      If it is, then that could be as much a symptom of chronic lawyeritis as anything else.

      1. IMOR

        As has been the case for a few decades now, truckload of U.S. Senators and a bit over a third of the House have law degrees.
        As to your second question, you don’t want surprise answers, but in court or at a deposition, you can’t ask a question manifestly unsusceptible to a yes or no (like the op-ed pieces and catalogs the shrieking losers on the Congressional podia have been bellowing lately) and require / get the court or hearing officer to require “a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Yesor no!” It ain’t like tv. Usually.

  5. Wukchumni

    Wow, a female mass murderer is so rare I can’t remember the last distaff dispatching 6 with a gat in one go.

    We’ve turned a corner America, a few months ago it was 70 something Asian-Americans doing the shootin’…

    1. Mikel

      “The six dead made the Nashville shooting the 128th mass shooting in the US this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as one where at least four people are wounded or killed, not counting the attacker.”

      This year so far, an average of a little over 1 mass shooting a day. Not only the dead, but the injured, traumatized, and grieving.

      Put this up there with supply chain, opiods/opiates/benzos, and Covid issues causing worker shortages and productivity issues.

      1. hunkerdown

        That article is written as if the shooter skipped the classrooms and went directly to the headmistress’ office. It would be irresponsible not to notice that the school targeted here is a religious school. These are not usual tropes in the school shooting script. (The Parkland High shooting veteran just happening to be around (USA Today), however, seems unusually common.) Is ChatGPT writing our election-season passion plays now, a foily one wonders.

        1. hunkerdown

          update: I finished the article, and in fact, she didn’t skip the classrooms entirely, just didn’t seem to have great luck there I guess, perhaps because already evacuated. I still find it unusual that the attacker chose quality over quantity and went for the head of the institution, rather than body count.

          1. Mikel

            There will be another one this week.
            That is the main issue.

            Like with the financial sector.
            People can parse the technical differences all they want. Same over-entitled bezzlers and non-stop frauds are the issue.

          2. Wukchumni

            Gooooooood Mooooorning (it is 11:38 am in Pago Pago) Fiatnam!

            Back in the world it was all about the kill-ratio, and frankly anything under double digits was hardly worthy of coverage unless somebody famous was the shooter or the recipient of said bullets, but a woman avec assault rifles was so far beyond the pale that she warrants inclusion in this exclusive club.

          3. Mikel

            And careful you ali. It was just released that the shooter identified as trans. He/Him.

            I anticipate nothing being done, but alot of argument about the particular state of mind of this shooter.
            It will continue to happen in the same country – every day – by every type of person.

              1. hunkerdown

                Testosterone seems likely. So we’ll have to ban it. (I hope they don’t use pliers and a blow torch like in Pulp Fiction)

                (Oh love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal)

              2. Mikel

                If it comes up, the situation calls for asking about the role of meds in ALL mass shootings.
                This is beyond a few “bad apples”. Not saying you were suggesting that.

    2. barefoot charley

      Wuk, there’ll be an asterisk in the record book. That distaff dispatcher was a transsexual. Half credit, tops.

        1. ambrit

          Sorry, that’s the ‘Ice Cream Sundae Amendment.’ (I would have called it the Ice Cream Cone Amendment, but the secondary “witticisms” would have been, indelicate.)
          “And what topping will you be wanting?”

          1. Wukchumni

            I am remiss at bringing up the banana split, but it happens.

            Probably more important, how does this rev up the hate of anything trans in the evang community?

  6. skippy

    “Mr Obama and his wife Michelle landed in Sydney overnight after travelling via private jet.

    The 61-year-old is hosting speaking events in Sydney and Melbourne on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings respectively.

    He will discuss global challenges with moderator and former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop.

    The Growth Faculty, which organised the tour, has said on its website Mr Obama and Ms Bishop will discuss “strength in leadership” and “explore techniques for navigating an unpredictable future”.

    “In times of great challenge and change, President Obama’s leadership ushered in a stronger economy, a more equal society, a nation more secure at home and more respected around the world,” the event description reads.” – snip


    The guy that facilitated the largest transfer of wealth and power to financial elites, forced the unwashed into crapified medical access[tm], enshrined white collar crime, much more …. and with a Smile[tm] …

    “He will discuss global challenges with moderator and former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop.

    The Growth Faculty, which organised the tour, has said on its website Mr Obama and Ms Bishop will discuss “strength in leadership” and “explore techniques for navigating an unpredictable future”.” – snip

    Jule Bishop and him cut from the same cloth … just wow …

    1. ambrit

      It makes me wonder of perhaps those Demonic Influences CTrs don’t have an idea there.
      One afternoon we here should debate the concept of Evil. (I’m feeling physically debilitated today. The weather is in Roller Coaster Mode here. Plus generic spring infections. [I didn’t suffer from hay fever until up in my fifties. Blast!]) Below freezing several nights a week ago, and now up to near 90F during the day.
      Global Warming??? Hah! More like Global Climate Monkeywrenching!
      Stay safe, and sane.

    2. tevhatch

      He’s handing out the graft from the Submarine sale. His wife use to dish out money for the Chicago Machine, using her law degree to work legal angles to it, so he’s in good company.

    3. skippy

      At above … bite down on the mouth piece hard before viewing …

      MISSION: Growth Faculty brings together the people, the thinking, the tools, and the sharing of ideas to grow teams and businesses.

      VISION: A place to access brilliant ideas for inspired leadership.

      WHAT WE DO: We help organisations build more effective workplaces by connecting established and aspiring business leaders to the world’s brightest minds, business-critical topics, and proven frameworks and tools wherever they are, whenever they want. We equip leaders with the mindset and skillset for now and the future of work.

      WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: Founder Karen Beattie began Growth Faculty in 2003 after organising events for the Certified Practising Accountants Association (CPA) and MYOB to educate thousands of businesses. Karen’s goal became helping business leaders face future changes by gaining access to the world’s brightest business minds.

      NOW: From its headquarters in Sydney, Australia, within one of the city’s first ever sustainable office complexes, Growth Faculty now curates in person and live virtual events in up to 42 countries across the world. The launch of the Growth Faculty Pass in 2020 gives members 12 months access to 40+ live virtual events, an on-demand leadership library, networking opportunities and more. Blending the virtual world, live interaction and social learning, Growth Faculty provide high engagement remote learning – anywhere, any time.


      ***Everything*** is a – just business solution – away from utopia … just need to bring together best minds through social networks thingy … um … a reverse jail sorta situation – ?????

      PS ambrit … snort … I’ll trade you your whack hot/cold and hay fever for this endless humidity and pinched nerve in my left shoulder going down my left arm. Pretty good over the counter tablets these days for that IMO. I occasionally get a nose about it and one tablet and its good too go. Don’t know about looking out for myself but I keep plugging along and as I say I’m not dead yet – smirk …

      1. ambrit

        Ah. Humidity. Any truth to this idea that we weren’t ‘evolved’ here? (Internal time clock problems and metabolism mismatches, etc.)
        “I’m not dead yet.” That’s what Lord Greystoke says as a motto. [At least according to his biographers.]
        I have a weakness for the concept of honour.

        1. skippy

          Naw as you noted climate factors are all over the shop and we have had 90+ humidity for yonks and 30C is still wear and tear plus mold drama for everything.

          I have a weakness for survival and will keep my iron honed ….

  7. petal

    Got my latest electric bill today. It tripled from same time last year-same amount of juice used. I already sit in the dark at night.

    1. lambert strether

      I don’t want to be Pollyanna-ish, but a kerosene lamp might be an alternative. IIRC, they are safe and cheap. The quality of the light is also very warm, and suitable for reading

      1. petal

        I use one of those tiny battery-operated booklights to read, or I sit and listen to music. Anything that doesn’t require a light being turned on. Also am afraid of fires and the smoke detector would pick anything up right away, but thank you.

      2. Jen

        I’ve used oil lamps when my power was out. The quality of light is warm, and was suitable for reading 20 years ago. These days I’d need enough to burn down the house, and I’d be curious to see the reading on my C02 monitor. LED lanterns and headlamps are my go-to.

        1. some guy

          Years ago I remember reading that placing a spherical glass container full of water in front of the kerosene lanters somehow captured some of the light and led it around to a narrower focused area than with a kerosene lantern totally unaided. I can’t remember where I read it, though.

          And I wonder if making a parabolic reflector out of aluminum foil to stand a foot or so behind the lantern to reflect a lot of the light shining away from you and the book out the back of the lantern would also get more light back to you and the book? Don’t know, just wondering.

    2. Nikkikat

      Petal, When I lived in Ca. I cut my bill considerably by taking care to turn things off and not use appliances during peak hours.
      Four PM to eleven PM. I used lamps instead of ceiling light. I do wash, run the dishwasher etc. during early morning hours. In the summer I would get up early and open windows to let cool air into house. Then close up and I could use the ceiling fan only until later in the afternoon. I have moved to another state now, but still do the above and I keep my bill pretty low. Everything in the house is turned off except for the room that I’m sitting in.

      1. petal

        I do not have a dishwasher or washer/dryer, the microwave is only plugged in when used. Lights are never left on anywhere. I don’t even use the overhead lights. If I have to turn on light, I use a small lamp and it is only on for as long as necessary. I’ve done the open windows at night/close in the morning trick for years. I was raised to conserve energy so I know all of the little tricks. But thank you.

        1. ambrit

          It looks like you are headed for back country log cabin living soon. [That’s not necessarily a bad thing.]
          Phyl and I joke that we are crazy. We once upon a time expected American Society to work for the best of all the people. How naive we were!

          1. digi_owl

            I guess you could quip that it does, it just has a very narrow definition of “people”.

      2. Dollar Stretcher

        A heavy duty 100′ power cord saves us a lot. Idea originated for water savings, but works with electricity as we don’t pay tier three prices, since we are using someone else’s hardly used tier one power at a much lower price. Yes, they gave us permission.

        “We ran a hose to the house next door where a single woman lives. With her permission we use her first and second tier priced water. A private secondary meter at her hose bibb measures our use and we split the substantial price savings with her. The same thing can be done with electricity, as long as all safety considerations are followed.”


          1. LawnDart

            He stopped by yesterday for a couple of posts: seems he has a new front-loader and other equipment and is making good use of it.

            Unless you’re dropping off toads, you might want to stay away from his place for a while, or you’ll be drafted into his labor crew.

    3. Mikel

      Try this for some BS. I just ordered checks from the bank. Nearly $50 for 40 checks. And the cheapest shipping (that included tracking) was $15. It’s a bunch of paper that’s not heavy.
      Let that sink in.
      I want to slap every mofo talking about “no inflation” or “lower inflation” based on half crappy and half fraudulent metrics by people trying to win elections and others with a bezzle.

      1. Jason Boxman

        For what it’s worth SoFi offers free checks, has a real savings rate at 4%, and moves money into checking as needed for bills, no fee for that ever.

        1. Mikel

          It’s not the only bank I’m with. I have savings other places.
          Not moving to a smaller bank for that account. SoFi still a little too “new” to the banking biz for my taste.

  8. hk

    In today’s Duran podcast, Mercouris was suggesting that Netanyahu is being color revolutioned, and I suspect he might be right. Netanyahu is simultaneously a corrupt and autocratic wanna-be-strongman and a clever power-politics player (somewhat like Lukashenko in Belarus, actually, I think), who, furthermore, has managed to build ties to everyone and is someone naturally positioned to make some kind of deal that could get the world out of the current crisis situation.

    1. lambert strether

      > Netanyahu is being color revolutioned

      That’s impressively cynical. Since I assume the Biden administration has no principled reason for involvement, I wonder if it’s fallout from the recent China-brokered Saudi-Iran rapprochement.

      1. ambrit

        Good catch. It isn’t an exclusively American skill to “Colour Revolution” a country.
        I wonder what those wily Sino Russkies were talking about last week. Maybe Boris and Natashia were on the job? I do know that Netanyahu looks a lot like a certain moose.

      2. Jen

        Well, I did find it curious that all of a sudden Israel, not Russia might have hacked the 2016 election for Trump.

        1. John

          The US organizations that are strong supporters of Israel are always active on its behalf in elections with money and many other forms of assistance. In like manner they lobby in Israel’s behalf.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            As a wild guess, could it be that “Israel”, or rather certain groups within its elite, are trying to get rid of Netanyahu using American connections? I am sure he has plenty of enemies who would rather have yet another government fall than put up with his shenanigans much longer.

            Besides, he’s bad for the national image and complicates US-Israeli relations in a way no Palestinian matters ever could.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Israel is a messy place with 2 state national religions (the scrappy ocialist farmers and the GOP types from Florida) with a phony tough guy leader who reached prominence before Clinton ruined a dress.

        In a way, Bibi is like Biden (very few are as bad as Bibi). He’s long past his relevance. The society is composed of nuts who moved there after wars to brutalize brown people and an official socialist story.

        Admittedly, I decided Israel was doomed when Sharon stroked out. On a long enough time line….but I think he was the only guy who could keep the national myth going until Israel addressed or was forced to address Palestine. Im not sure it can anymore.

        1. John

          The seemingly permanent deadlock in the Knesset and the increasing influence and role of far right parties does not bode well for Israel’s future.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I decided Israel was doomed when Sharon stroked out.

          I think Israel was doomed when the wingers shot Rabin. It might also be argued that Israel was doomed when they “won” the Six Day War.

      4. tevhatch

        The reason is principled unprincipled. An election is coming up, and guess who might just give Trump a boost.

    2. some guy

      Assuming every upsurge just has to be a color revolution may lead to misclassification as color revolutions of genuine upsurges. I suppose someone could come up with a clever theory about how the French protests are somebody’s color revolution. There may already be people working on the problem of how to dismiss the Myanmarese insurgency as a “color revolution”.

      I suspect the people protesting in Israel are the people who have feared and loathed the right and far-right Israelis for years. ( Actually for decades, ever since Netanyahu worked so hard to set the stage for the Rabin Assassination). They may feel this is their last chance to destroy the Assassinationist Right in Israel which they should have destroyed decades ago.

      And they may also resent having Nationwide policy being written by two crappy little parties representing two crappy little fringe-groups as a reward for putting Netanyahu over the top in forming a multi-party coalition government.

      People who want America to become a Parliamentary Democracy should think again about that wish after seeing where enough Parliamentary Democracy has taken Israel. If we had a Parliamentary System as extreme in its allowing seats in Parliament for every crappy little fringe group, Laurie Bobert and Marjorie Taylor Green would now be writing all of America’s new legislation all by themselves.

      People for Parliamentarianism should think about that the next time they say . . . ” America needs a Parliamentary System.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Assuming every upsurge just has to be a color revolution may lead to misclassification as color revolutions of genuine upsurges.

        I should have qualified my agreement, but I was quite taken with the level of cynicism shown. Normally, I try to restrict the term to Eastern Europe, where our NGOs have form (and American funding). For example, Hong Kong was not a color revolution; the pro-democracy forces had a strong, decade-long tradition of their own plus mad skillz; they didn’t need “outside agitators.”

        1. Daniil Adamov

          I don’t think you can do any revolution without some genuine upsurge. If “colour revolution” has any validity as a term, I suppose it means a genuine upsurge that is being manipulated, encouraged, exploited and perhaps outright hijacked by foreign forces. Not created from scratch. To my knowledge, none of them were.

          1. Polar Socialist

            One of the things I was taught during my years of studying history was that one cannot import/export a revolution, the root causes are always domestic. One can, of course, capture or hijack a revolution as you say.

            The rule of thumb for a successful revolution is to get the middle class involved, and if possible capture the security apparatus as early as possible.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I think you’ve summed up a lot of scholarship in just two succinct sentences.

              Nearly all revolutions are based on local grievances of some type, usually economic. And historically the key moment in deciding whether a revolution succeeds or not is the reaction of the urban middle classes (or occasionally in times past, the minor rural gentry). They don’t have to support it, but they need to at least not actively oppose it. They are almost always the ‘swing’ vote in deciding whether a revolution or insurgency wins or loses. This is why all smart autocrats try to keep the lower professional/upper working class groups happy.

              1. skippy

                Colonialism makes a mockery of that proposition, more so, the way things are working out once the power of its legacy is diminished.

  9. Carla

    On Lambert’s theme of “the helpers” — I am collecting signatures of registered voters to help an incumbent candidate for city council qualify for the Nov. ballot. This quiet and modest lady moved to town less than 10 years ago, making her a relative newcomer, particularly in the eyes of the cohort that pays attention to city council races. She moved here because her adult child teaches at a local elementary school. My candidate immediately began volunteering at that public school, quietly making herself indispensable. She also spent many hours volunteering for local housing and neighborhood organizations. When she applied to fill a vacancy on city council, she was surprised to be chosen. But no one else has been surprised at her excellent performance as a councilor. When I sent out an email to friends and neighbors asking for signatures for her, I filled my first petition in less than three days and am now well embarked on the second. One long-time local mover and shaker pulled out his checkbook as well: “You must take her this donation.”

    Yes. We know who the helpers are.

  10. kareninca

    Yesterday NC posted an interesting article from 2021 abut how covid manipulates the host. One factor is its analgesic effect. That led me to this article; it is from 2020:

    “SARS-CoV-2 relieves pain, report scientists based at the University of Arizona Health Sciences, by acting on the VEGF-A/neuropilin signaling pathway. That is, the spike protein binds to the host cell’s neuropilin-1 receptor, preventing VEGF-A, or vascular endothelial growth factor-A, from doing the same. Thus blocked, VEGF-A cannot initiate a cascade of events that has been implicated in the hyperexcitability of neurons and, consequently, pain.” (https://www.genengnews.com/news/sars-cov-2-may-use-pain-relief-to-stay-under-the-radar/)

    I wonder if the analgesia can be ongoing. If it is, we are really in a zombie film. There are people whom I volunteer with who have had covid who have a good energy level; they are doing a lot of physical labor. But they look terrible; they look like they have aged 20 years. The tendons of their faces are relaxing in a way that is characteristic of much older people. But they keep trotting around vigorously. Do they have reservoirs of the virus, which they aren’t clearing, which are keeping them feeling good as they go about maskless, infecting more victims?

    1. ambrit

      Hmmm…. Doped up “victims” are certainly easier to ‘manipulate.’ Just ask any interrogator.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I wonder if the analgesia can be ongoing. If it is, we are really in a zombie film.

      That’s a very good question. On a parallel note, and speculating freely, I wonder if part of being asymptomatic is if the cough reflex is suppressed during the initial stages of infection. I freely admit I don’t know how the cough reflex works, or what triggers it.

  11. Wukchumni

    And the water wandered in
    From the river of St. John’s
    Without a stop in time
    Wearing liquid that shined
    Both flotsam and jetsam
    Debris from their dam’d island
    From their floats of current
    They looked upon the promised land
    Where surely life was sweet
    On the rising tide
    To Tulare Lake
    Did they ride into the levee
    See the glory
    Of the royal slam

    They are headed down
    To the bottom of a resurrected Aral Sea
    Amid the ruins
    Where they yearn to appear
    An angry brace of fallen farms
    Their watery companion
    While the memory of
    Their southern sky was clouded by
    A savage winter
    Most every almond tree
    Hung out to dry, and shared the room
    With twenty foot high water

    See the glory
    Of the royal slam

    The Royal Scam, by Steely Dan


  12. upstater

    Railroad Derailments… oopsie?

    Runaway UP train ore derails in California desert

    Two locomotives, 55 cars involved in incident near Kelso, Calif.

    Union Pacific spokesman Mike Jaixen has confirmed that there was “uncontrolled train movement” of the southbound train and that “the crew was not in the cab at the time of the derailment.”

    CP derailment in North Dakota spills liquid asphalt.

    Sunday night accident involves 31 cars of 70-car train. But it it is okay, “while the liquid asphalt is flammable, it cools and solidifies in the snow at the derailment scene, decreasing the chance of a fire”. Glad it wasn’t Bakken oil, like Lac Megantic!

    “Accident” implies unforeseeable and unpreventable. NOT!

  13. Paradan

    Ok so I heard there was a derailment in CA, so I searched for the a news item on it and I found this little gem hiding in the article:

    “Train officials say the iron ore is used in the steelmaking process and is not considered a hazardous material.”

    Really? Ya don’t say.

    So my question is this, where in the hell is this ore coming from, and who still makes steel domestically?

  14. Wukchumni

    I’m not much of a drug user, I tend to just say No! and am that rarity in that I take nothing on a regular basis, while everybody seemingly is hooked on pharmaceuticals…

    That said, we had a stand alone independent drug store here of the type you rarely see, this one had displays of old drug bottles and containers, plus the owner is a hiker and we’ve shared the trail.

    Drove by the other day and there was a ‘Going out of business’ banner across the side of the building, what’s up?

    I can’t say as I blame my friend the pharmacist for selling out to Rite-Aid who will call the shots in tiny town from now on, he saw the writing on the wall of a diminished population due to all the short term vacation rentals, we went from 2,000 full time residents, to maybe 1,500, that’s a 25% cut.

  15. The Rev Kev

    The G-20 meeting later this year being hosted by India is going to be fun. Washington has already told the Indians that unless the final communique has a statement in it denouncing the Russians in it and their actions in the Ukraine, that they will not sign it and I imagine that countries like the UK will also be saying the same. Apart from the fact that this will deliberately embarrass the Indians, that perhaps that this is an attempt to try to wreck the G-20 format as it does not conform to the “rules based order” but has its own voice.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      India should just tell the US and Old Blighty that they’re not invited.

      The ‘splodey heads in Foggy Bottom would make it snow brain matter in April.

    2. some guy

      What if the BRICs Group and the SCO were to jointly adopt the slogan . . . ” Writing better rules for a better rules-based order” . . . . would some ‘splodey heads get even more ‘splodeyer?

  16. semper loquitur

    Kim Jones + daughter. Swim Mom, One Year Later.

    This week’s speakers:
    Kim Jones + daughter – USA
    Swim Mom – One Year Later – After last year, I have become a full time advocate for female athlete’s and women’s sex-based rights. I will speak about what the last year has been like and where I think we are headed.
    Bio: I am a lifelong athlete and mother to a young woman who swam against Lia Thomas last year. That experience led me to co-found ICONS, the Independent Council on Women’s Sports. We work to advocate on behalf of female athletes.


  17. Jason Boxman

    At an employer I know, the recent investigative reporting by Pro Publica on Cigna’s evil denial practices predictably set off more Cigna hate. The other stories are similar.

    The Benefits team has said multiple times that you’ll get the best service by opening tickets with them when you have issues.

    Since just about all my providers are out of network, I spend about a working day a month submitting claims and dealing with claims that just disappear into the system. About 15% of my claims I need to submit over three times before they are even addressed.

    So, don’t text or email Cigna, rather CALL Cigna even with the least little thing. If it’s not resolved, open a ticket with [employer] Benefits. Scan and file everything carefully.

    When calling Cigna I’ve had some agents who submit or redirect claims the wrong way. I keep a spreadsheet of every out of network claim I file, and the dates of submissions and the names of all reps I talk to. I track costs, too. It’s supremely annoying, but enlightening as to how this system works.

    It’s almost as if the purpose of health insurance is to deny claims. In a functional society, this would be set right. But sadly this is America.

  18. Jason Boxman

    North Carolina Expands Medicaid After Republicans Abandon Their Opposition

    Barbarism in America. Health care is a right and must be universal.

    The signing ceremony on Monday was at turns poignant and celebratory. Cassandra Brooks, who operates Little Believer’s Academy, a day care center in the Raleigh area, choked back tears as she recalled two of her teachers who had died, she said, because they could not afford health care.

    “They were excellent early childhood teachers who didn’t have health insurance and passed away due to preventable health conditions,” she said. She cast the expansion measure as a boon to small businesses that operate on thin margins and cannot afford to offer their employees coverage.

    “Here’s to Medicaid expansion in North Carolina,” she said. “Here’s to supporting small business in North Carolina. Here’s to continued growth in North Carolina. I believe in North Carolina.”

    (Bold mine)

    Only in America!

Comments are closed.