2:00PM Water Cooler 6/1/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, once again: I think by the time the countdown clock hits 500 I will have done something of an editorial redesign once more. Reader comments here; please expand the ideas there in comments on today’s post, if you feel so moved. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Dusky Turtle-Dove, Debre Birhan (general area), Amara, Ethiopia. More growling doves!

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


I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!

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“Ron DeSantis loses his temper with a reporter: ‘Are you blind?'” [NBC]. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lashed out at a reporter — twice barking [seal? dog?] ‘Are you blind?’ — at the end of his first campaign event in New Hampshire on Thursday. DeSantis, who delivered his stock stump speech to an audience of more than 100 people at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Laconia, became noticeably agitated when Steve Peoples of The Associated Press asked why he wasn’t taking questions from the audience like most presidential candidates do in this state. ‘People are coming up to me, talking to me,’ DeSantis said. ‘What are you talking about? Are you blind? Are you blind? People are coming up to me, talking to me whatever they want to talk to me about.’ At the time, DeSantis was shaking hands and taking pictures with individual members of the crowd on his way out of the VFW hall. But he did not answer questions from his lectern so that voters could all hear his answers at once.” • Would you want to have a beer with DeSantis? I don’t think so. Is he comfortable in his own skin? (The press does go into “pulling the wings off flies” mode. And while I hate the process, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.)

“Ukraine flip: Why Ron DeSantis can’t do a Trump on foreign policy” [Al Jazeera]. “While DeSantis’s prospects are unclear, he appears to be the only real Republican challenger to Trump’s bid for a rematch of the 2020 presidential election against President Joe Biden. So it’s worth considering what kind of foreign policy a President DeSantis would adopt…. [W]hy is a more establishment candidate like DeSantis framing himself as Trumpian on foreign policy? The answer lies in understanding the role of foreign policy discourse in US politics today…. Trump’s use of foreign policy issues was not meant to convey a worldview or strategic plan for the US’s role in the world. Rather, it sought to further establish him as the adversary of governing elites in Washington, DC, which are so distrusted by many common voters. His foreign policy utterances were designed to buttress this reputation. However, when in office, Trump’s foreign policy was hardly revolutionary…. DeSantis may wish to emulate Trump’s anti-elite style during the campaign but that will be much harder for him to pull off than it has been for the former president. The key difference between Trump and DeSantis is that Trump is an almost entirely autonomous political presence with a high level of GOP voter loyalty and the capacity to build his own campaign infrastructure. In contrast, DeSantis is more reliant on the institutions and the elites of the conservative movement. That leaves him more bound to a Republican foreign policy establishment and hawkish Washington commentariat. Russia’s war in Ukraine is the most obvious example of how DeSantis is awkwardly seesawing between the more traditional Republican instincts seen during his Congressional tenure, his new populist campaign posture and his desire to placate a Republican Party elite.”

“Wall Street boosts Jamie Dimon presidential run” [Axios]. “Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, hinted at a potential presidential run on Wednesday, telling Bloomberg News, ‘Maybe one day I’ll serve my country in one capacity or another.’ Dimon had pretty much ruled out running and said he believes he makes a positive difference in his current job. But the persistent energy and chatter around him as a potential candidate reflects the business establishment’s dismay with the current options.” • That’s not exactly a Sherman statement.

“Jamie Dimon Says He Never Discussed Jeffrey Epstein’s Accounts at JPMorgan; Jes Staley Says Dimon Did” [Wall Street Journal]. • Epstein? Never heard of him!

“US officials offer Congress briefing on Trump, Biden papers” [Associated Press]. • But not the papers themselves! Come on.

“AI could sway the 2024 elections, campaign pros say — but not like you think” [Roll Call]. “Despite the widespread anxiety over deepfakes’ effects on democracy, political consultants say they are more excited about generative AI’s potential to tackle boring grunt work and expand their ability to deploy big-race tactics in down-ballot contests. AI’s real impact on campaigning will be ‘behind the scenes,’ said Tom Newhouse, vice president of digital marketing at Converge Media, a Republican advertising and consulting firm. ‘It’s going to be improving fundraising capabilities by better targeting, whether that is location targeting, income, hobbies or habits, providing campaigns with up-to-date voter data, more personalized advertising, [or] messages.’ ‘There are many small campaigns that I think can potentially leverage the tools to [not just] save time, but to create content that may not have been possible otherwise,’ said Larry Huynh, a partner at Trilogy Interactive, a Democratic digital marketing firm. Campaign professionals across the country are now racing to see how they can use these new machine learning tools to supercharge their work in advance of their first big test: the 2024 presidential elections.” • One wonders whether the parties will converge on two giant AIs that all campaigns use, or whether AI will remain at the consultant level. I mean, imagine what AI could have done in the 2020 Iowa primary!

Republican Funhouse

“Republicans are spending millions on turnout operations that are deeply flawed, insiders say” [NBC]. “A few weeks before last fall’s midterm elections, a paid canvasser in Nevada did what thousands of door-knockers across the country were doing: They went on an app and marked off the homes they had visited that day. There was just one problem. This canvasser never went anywhere near those homes in a neighborhood in south Las Vegas. They were 8 miles away, sitting inside Caesars Palace casino, according to geotracking data obtained by NBC News. The canvasser was working for an outside group backing GOP Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, who was seeking to topple one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents of the 2022 cycle. The canvasser was fired soon after the incident, according to two Republicans who worked on the canvassing effort. If this were an isolated episode, it’d be a minor nuisance. But it wasn’t. The large-scale voter contact effort that conservatives have put at the center of their political operations in recent years is plagued with issues, according to more than a dozen people who’ve worked in GOP-aligned field operations and internal data obtained by NBC News. Those issues include fraudulent and untrustworthy data entries, akin to what occurred in Nevada, as well as allegations of lax hiring practices and a lack of accountability.” • Hmm.

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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“Weaponising anti-semitism, bringing down Corbyn” [Declassfied UK]. The deck: “Britain’s mainstream media, its Army and the Israel lobby all combined to ensure Jeremy Corbyn did not become prime minister, a new book argues.” • Sanders got off easy.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Russiagate’s Missing Pieces” (excerpt) [Seymour Hersh]. The deck: “What was not said in the Durham Report?” Final paragraph before the paywall (sigh): “It became evident to some members of Durham’s staff that the real story was not about whether or not Trump had pee parties in a Moscow hotel room—one of the headline-producing allegations in the Steele Dossier that consumed the Washington press corps in the aftermath of Trump’s victory in the 2016 election. The issue was whether the Clinton campaign, in its constant leaking of false accusations and false data, had crossed a line.” • Looks like I got hold of the right end of the stick back on May 22.


“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. We are now up to 50/50 states (100%). This is really great! (It occurs to me that there are uses to which this data might be put, beyond helping people with “personal risk assessments” appropriate to their state. For example, thinking pessimistically, we might maintain the list and see which states go dark and when. We might also tabulate the properties of each site and look for differences and commonalities, for example the use of GIS (an exercise in Federalism). I do not that CA remains a little sketchy; it feels a little odd that there’s no statewide site, but I’ve never been able to find one. Also, my working assumption was that each state would have one site. That’s turned out not to be true; see e.g. ID. Trivially, it means I need to punctuate this list properly. Less trivially, there may be more local sites that should be added. NY city in NY state springs to mind, but I’m sure there are others. FL also springs to mind as a special case, because DeSantis will most probably be a Presidental candidate, and IIRC there was some foofra about their state dashboard. Thanks again!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (9), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (5), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

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Look for the Helpers

I love the concept of a clean air club. This is an idea to run with:

And integrating with a tool library is an added bonus. CO2 meters, too?

“Six important guidelines for COVID safe conferences” [This Sociological Life]. See especially point 4: “Only use venues where there are effective systems in place to ensure clean indoor air. Undertake a risk assessment for airborne infection before you book and confirm the venue. Check the quality and effectiveness of all mechanical ventilation systems (HVAC) at the venue for the rate of fresh air delivery and exchange. Determine whether air purifiers or other air cleaning technologies are in place or can be hired for the event. Check if there are windows in the conference rooms that can be opened to allow for fresh air to enter. Consider making sure all doors to the venue and internal rooms can be left open to allow fresh air to enter. Use an air quality monitor (Aranet4 or similar) to check the air quality in the venue spaces periodically throughout the conference, and take steps to improve it if there is a problem. In short, do everything you can to ensure that the venue has clean air systems in place to reduce the risk of airborne viral transmission.”

“Keeping event attendees safe in Covid-19 times” [Te Pūnaha Matatini]. Another good list, which concludes: “Ask attendees to let you know if they test positive for Covid-19 after attending your event. Notify event attendees if anyone tests positive soon after the event, so that they can take appropriate precautions. Assess what worked well and what didn’t in terms of the event policy, so you can consider changes to the way you run the next event.”


Maybe now the anti-maskers will stop whinging about CO2 accumulationMR SUBLIMINAL Not a chance!:

“The unsung heroes of the Apple Watch are its hidden buttons” [The Verge]. “In the wide world of wristwatches, there is no easier way to dress to your aesthetic or customize your timepiece than by swapping straps and bands. There are all kinds of straps out there, from nylon NATOs and leather bund straps to hotly debated metal link bracelets. Most watch straps are universal across similarly sized traditional watches, an open ecosystem for anyone to explore. But none are as simple and convenient as the proprietary little band release buttons on the underside of every Apple Watch. In today’s digital age, it sometimes feels like hardware has taken a back seat to the software that drives our devices. Button of the Month is a monthly column that explores the physical pieces of our phones, tablets, and controllers we interact with every day. While I often prefer a universal solution over a proprietary connector, here’s the thing — Apple’s band release button beats the hell out of fiddling with little spring bars and jeweler’s tools. Instead, you just press a near-invisible button, slide your band out, slide another one in, and get a lovely audible click as it locks in.” • So — and why I filed this here — respiratory and elastometic straps are yet another opportunity to move masks from the medical space to the fashion space.

“A surge in human metapneumovirus paediatric respiratory admissions in Western Australia following the reduction of SARS-CoV-2 non-pharmaceutical interventions” [Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health]. “Western Australian laboratory data demonstrated a decrease in human metapneumovirus (hMPV) detections through 2020 associated with SARS-CoV-2-related non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), followed by a subsequent surge in metropolitan region in mid-2021…. The absence and subsequent surge underline the susceptibility of hMPV to NPIs. Increased hMPV-positive admissions in 2021 can be partially attributable to testing, but test-positivity remained high, consistent with a genuine increase.”

Testing and Tracking

I wonder if this is true at Walgreens:

Have readers had the same experiences?

“Something Awful”

Lambert here: I’m getting the feeling that the “Something Awful” might be a sawtooth pattern — variant after variant — that averages out to a permanently high plateau. Lots of exceptionally nasty sequelae, most likely deriving from immune dysregulation (says this layperson). To which we might add brain damage, including personality changes therefrom.

“Brain disorders: Impact of mild SARS-CoV-2 may shrink several parts of the brain” [Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews]. ” This article aims to describe the prolonged neurological clinical consequences related to brain changes in people with mild COVID-19 infection. When compared to a control group, people those who tested positive for COVID-19 had more brain shrinkage, grey matter shrinkage, and tissue damage. The damage occurs predominantly in areas of the brain that are associated with odour, ambiguity, strokes, reduced attention, headaches, sensory abnormalities, depression, and mental abilities for few months after the first infection.”

“As long COVID turns three, Americans play disability roulette” [Wes Ely, Boston Globe]. “While society yawns, impatient to move on from the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans still play disability roulette. About 1 in 10 of the 110,000 people who catch COVID this week in the United States, many for a second or third time, will be left lastingly ill. Even some vaccinated people; even some young, previously healthy people, after only mild cases. No longer a mass death event, COVID-19 is an ongoing mass disability event. Every seven days, 25,000 more people join the 10 million in our country suffering memory loss, heart problems, dizziness, extreme fatigue, and more owing to the virus. Globally an estimated 65 million people have this new chronic health condition. One recent long COVID study showed organ damage in more than half of a group of outpatients one year on.”\

Elite Maleficence

“Spring of fear: The SARS Commission final report, Volume 2” (PDF) [The SARS Commission, Government of Ontario]. Canada’s SARS outbreak was 2003; this report was published in 2007:

Part of the heated debate during the SARS outbreak was over whether N95 respirators were really necessary. Those who argued against the N95, which protects against airborne transmission, believed SARS was spread mostly by large droplets [droplet dogma]. As a result, they said, an N95 was unnecessary except in certain circumstances, and a surgical mask was sufficient in most instances. They made this argument even though knowledge about SARS and about airborne transmission was still evolving. That more and more studies have since been published indicating the possibility under certain circumstances of airborne transmission, not just of SARS but of influenza…. suggests the wisdom and prudence of taking a precautionary approach in the absence of scientific certainty. The point is not who is right and who is wrong about airborne transmission [that is exactly the point]. The point is not science, but safety. Scientific knowledge changes constantly. Yesterday’s scientific dogma is today’s discarded fable. When it comes to worker safety in hospitals, we should not be driven by the scientific dogma of yesterday or even the scientific dogma of today. We should be driven by the precautionary principle that reasonable steps to reduce risk should not await scientific certainty. Until this precautionary principle is fully recognized, mandated and enforced in Ontario’s hospitals, workers will continue to be at risk. Of the almost 375 people who contracted SARS in Ontario, 72 per cent were infected in a heath care setting. Of this group, 45 per cent were health workers. Most of these workers were nurses whose jobs brought them into the closest contact with sick patients. And this does not show the full burden of SARS on nurses and paramedics and other health workers. In many cases nurses sick with undetected SARS brought illness, and in some cases death, home to their families.

As you can see, the reactionary “droplet dogma” mossbacks in the Canadian Infection Control “community” — which has outsized influence at WHO and emitted the “fools’ gold” standard Cochrane report on masking — learned nothing in the 2023 – 2003 = 20 years between SARS and SARS-CoV-2. And they’re still whacking people; see the reports from the Canadian infection control conference yesterday.

Good riddance:

So, basically, Walensky’s going to be hanging out in the month of June, but not actually doing anything? All for the best, actually….

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Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data from May 30:

Lambert here: Unless the United States is completely, er, exceptional, we should be seeing an increase here soon. UPDATE Still on the high plateau. Are we are the point in the global pandemic where national experiences really diverge?

For now, I’m going to use this national wastewater data as the best proxy for case data (ignoring the clinical case data portion of this chart, which in my view “goes bad” after March 2022, for reasons as yet unexplained). At least we can spot trends, and compare current levels to equivalent past levels.


NOT UPDATED From CDC, May 27, 2023:

Lambert here: XBB.1.16 and XBB.1.9.1 still on the way up, eating into XBB.1.5. I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).

CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell. Looks like the Walgreens variants page isn’t updating.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from May 27:

NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections.


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, May 30:

-1.8%. Frequency down to once a week.


Death rate (Our World in Data), from May 27:

Lambert here: I’m happy the numbers are down, but zero they cannot be. Thanks, WHO. Thanks, Johns Hopkins of the $9.32 billion endowment, for abandoning this data feed and passing responsibility on to the clown car at WHO.

• Commentary:

Total: 1,165,449 – 1,165,317 = 132 (132 * 365 = 48,180 deaths per year, 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).

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED Excess deaths (The Economist), published May 21:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model. (The CDC has an excess estimate too, but since it ran forever with a massive typo in the Legend, I figured nobody was really looking at it, so I got rid it. )

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States ADP Employment Change” [Trading Economics]. “Private businesses in the US created 278K jobs in May of 2023, compared to a downwardly revised 291K in April and well above forecasts of 170K. ”

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose by 2,000 from the previous week to 232,000 in the week ending May 27th, the most in one month, but below market forecasts of 235,000. The figure also remained well below the elevated levels of March, consistent with recent data indicating a persistently tight labor market in the US economy.”

Manufacturing: “United States ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Manufacturing PMI in the United States fell to 46.9 in May of 2023 from 47.1 in April, compared to forecasts of 47. The reading indicated a seventh consecutive month of contraction in the manufacturing sector, as companies “manage outputs to better align with demand in the first half of 2023 and prepare for growth in the late summer/early fall period.”

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Cash: “Wary of Banks, Americans Stash Cash at Home – in the Fridge, Suitcases, Even Toilet Water Tanks” [The Messenger]. “In a recent survey of 1,007 people by financial website, Life and My Finances, 91.5% said they keep cash around the house…. Most store their money in a home safe, 63.3%. After that, the other top hiding spots are the fridge, 13.3%; a suitcase, 6.1%; a closet, 5%; and a water tank, 4%…. Only 48.7% of Baby Boomers said it was convenient to store cash at home. That compares to about 67.6% of Gen Z, 73% of millennials and 73.5% of Gen X….. People who don’t hoard money at home are likely to be more educated. Of those who don’t keep a cash stash at home, 57% had a bachelor’s degree. … Somehow, wariness of banks persists, even when most personal bank accounts are insured for up to $250,000, Looby said. ‘Not one insured dollar from a customer has ever been lost.'” • Somehow….

Tech: “Eating Disorder Helpline Disables Chatbot for ‘Harmful’ Responses After Firing Human Staff” [Vice]. The deck: “Every single thing Tessa suggested were things that led to the development of my eating disorder.” More: “After NEDA workers decided to unionize in early May, executives announced that on June 1, it would be ending the helpline after twenty years and instead positioning its wellness chatbot Tessa as the main support system available through NEDA…. ‘It came to our attention last night that the current version of the Tessa Chatbot, running the Body Positive program, may have given information that was harmful and unrelated to the program,’ NEDA said in an Instagram post. We are investigating this immediately and have taken down that program until further notice for a complete investigation.’ … Even though Tessa was built with guardrails, according to its creator Dr. Ellen Fitzsimmons-Craft of Washington University’s medical school, the promotion of disordered eating reveals the risks of automating human roles.” • There’s that weird “guardrails” trope again. Do note that NEDA does not say they will bring the workers back! Commentary:

In a way, it’s reassuring that NEDA isn’t (openly) sociopathic enough to go into “That’s not a bug, it’s a feature’ mode…

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68 Greed (previous close: 62 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 1 at 1:46 PM ET.

“We Don’t Deserve Dogs”


Book Nook

“Medieval Illustrations of Bonnacons” [The Public Domain Review]. “When it comes to self-defense, skunks and spitting cobras have nothing on the bonnacon. If threatened, it fled. While fleeing, it defecated. Violently. According to Pliny the Elder, the excrement voided the animal’s body with such explosive force that it could hit targets more than a football pitch away. Contact with its dung was said to burn like a kind of fire, scorching hunting dogs and anyone not equipped with protective gear. (There is some uncertainty whether the weapon was liquid or gaseous, super-heated or acidic.)…. Browsing the image’s gathered below, we might not know whether to laugh or duck. Hunters with ineffective shields gaze at the viewer, as if pleading for our assistance, while choking on stench. The bonnacon rarely seems in pain, more so disgusted at what he has been made to do, or taking visible pleasure in his pollution.”

Our Famously Free Press

Seems like one of the few places with a Covid beat is Naked Capitalism:

One can only wonder why!

The Conservatory

“An Analysis of 47 Million Transactions Tells an Amazing Story about the Music Business” [The Honest Broker]. “A new research report from Andrew Thompson at Components, released earlier today, helps us understand the bigger picture. Thompson analyzed 47,703,022 Bandcamp sales—involving almost five million items. And what he learned was startling. Success in the music business is all about selling physical objects…. The Internet supposedly killed physical music media more than two decades ago. After iTunes was launched in 2001, there was no looking back. At first the music industry pivoted to digital downloads, and then everybody in the business jumped on the streaming bandwagon. But it’s now 2023, and streaming platforms still aren’t profitable. However, Bandcamp is—and now we know why. It’s all about tangible items…. According to Andrew Thompson: ‘Why is Bandcamp profitable and Spotify not? The answer we arrived at was that Bandcamp provides a simple platform for complex transactions, while Spotify is a technically complicated platform for facilitating a single transaction in the form of the one-size-fits-all subscription.'”

“John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy’s fearless experiment sets a new album ablaze” [NPR]. “For Coltrane admirers, jazz historians and anyone intrigued by the experimental end of improvisational music, Evenings at the Village Gate will represent not only a welcome new find but also a link in a chain. The Coltrane-and-Dolphy frontline was short-lived, in part because it faced such strong headwinds from the jazz establishment, but it did leave behind a major testament: Coltrane “Live” at the Village Vanguard, recorded at a different Greenwich Village club in November 1961, the same month that their unruly output jarred loose the indelible phrase ‘anti-jazz.’ Those Village Vanguard tapes, which later yielded a monumental four-disc set, amount to one of the most mysterious and thrilling documents in jazz history. A couple of years ago, Ben Ratliff, author of Coltrane: The Story of a Sound, placed this music within a cultural context of ‘ambivalent possibility,’ in a vivid essay for the Washington Post titled ‘John Coltrane and the Essence of 1961.’ He observes: ‘The music sounds post-heroic and pre-cynical; interestingly free from grandiosity; full of room for the listener to find a place within it and make up their own mind.’ Last week, after hearing the version of ‘Impressions’ from Evenings at the Gate, Ratliff elaborated on this idea. ‘It’s very hard to label or encapsulate, but it’s just so ferociously full of life force,’ he said of the performance. ‘The musicians know how good this is, and they know how exciting it is — but beyond that, they don’t really know much, and it hasn’t been called anything yet. There’s a lot of the unknown here.'” • Hmm. Can readers elaborate?

“Life’s Work: An Interview with Tina Turner” [Harvard Business Review (!)]. Turner: “The Buddhist teachings of compassion and kindness, which have much in common with the principles of ‘Love thy neighbor; and ‘Do unto others’ that I learned from the Baptist influences in my childhood, have always been guiding forces for me. After I began studying Buddhism and chanting Nam-myōhō-renge-kyō, I felt as if a different person emerged. My true self came out, and I became cheerful, confident, and resilient. My approach to life and work became calmer and more thoughtful, and my reactions were more tempered. I used to get angry first and ask questions later. But after I embraced Buddhism, it flipped. I could easily stay calm and figure out the details instead of jumping to conclusions. I came to understand that any achievement stems from inner change. The more I studied Buddhist principles, the deeper I dug within myself and cleaned up whatever attitudes or habits were standing in my way. And the more I chanted and aligned my goals with an authentic desire to inspire happiness in others, the more my life began to improve.”


“Matt Birchler on Apple And Gaming” [Daring Fireball]. “The question is: will Apple’s XR platform be like the Mac and Apple TV, where gaming is an afterthought, or will it be like iOS? I wouldn’t bet on the headset turning Apple into a top-tier platform for immersive VR games, but I wouldn’t bet against it either. It’s a chance to start fresh…. VR gaming has the potential to be far more immersive than anything you play on a TV or PC monitor. Someone will crack that nut eventually.”

“Absolute mad lad renders Doom in teletext” [The Register]. “It is time once again to reset the ‘days since someone ran Doom on something quirky’ calendar. Last we heard from the seminal first-person shooter source code, it had appeared as a farmer-themed mod running on jailbroken tractor hardware from John Deere as part of a demonstration on security (or lack thereof). ‘Turns out our entire food system is built on outdated, unpatched Linux and Windows CE hardware with LTE modems,’ it was noted at the time. This latest project, however, brings together two titans of the early 1990s. How about Doom on teletext? OK, teletext cannot run Doom. But it can render it. Kinda. Is it playable? We’ll let you be the judge.” • With video.

Zeitgeist Watch

“The Duggar Family and Reality TV’s Exploitation of Kids” [New York Times]. “There are so many disturbing moments in the documentary series ‘Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets’ — about the prolific family behind the saccharine reality TV hits ’19 Kids and Counting’ and ‘Counting On’ — that it’s difficult to pinpoint the most appalling. Over four episodes, the Amazon Original series, out this Friday, is a perpetual unfurling of abuse…. [T]he most unsettling thing that the documentary illustrates is how the Duggars’ series — and more broadly, reality TV — amplified a family’s exploitation of its children, and how little agency the children seemed to have, even after becoming adults. While it’s legal to put kids in reality shows, in many cases, it’s hard to see how it’s ethical…. In the documentary, Jill says the Duggar children were never adequately compensated for the loss of their privacy. She and her husband, Derick Dillard, explain that Jill’s father had her sign contracts without reading them first and that her mother continued to sign for her as if she were a minor even when she was an adult…. I don’t think any amount of money would be adequate compensation for Jill, considering the timeline of events…. [T]he reality TV industrial complex, which seemed perfectly happy to profit from televising some of her most personal moments, including labor and birth, didn’t protect her, either.” • And speaking of the reality TV industrial complex–

“Jazz Jennings’s Doctors Revealed Her Gender Confirmation Complications Were ‘Severe'” [Women’s Health]. “Jazz Jennings has had a tougher transition than her doctors expected. In the last two years, the teen reality star and LGBTQ+ activist has undergone multiple gender confirmation surgeries, and her doctors are now revealing more details about what went wrong in the new season of TLC’s I Am Jazz, People reported…. Jazz came out as transgender at age 5 and has been sharing her transition in the TLC series I Am Jazz and on her Youtube channel. FYI: Gender confirmation surgery gives ‘transgender individuals the physical appearance and functional abilities of the gender they know themselves to be,’ according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).”

“Leading sanitary products brand is accused of ‘erasing’ girls in a new guide to periods by referring to them as ‘bodies with female sex organs'” [Daily Mail]. “The 22-page booklet [produced by Procter and Gamble for Always, a leading brand of sanitary products], entitled a ‘Puberty and Confidence Guide for Everyone’, details both female and male puberty developments but at no point mentions ‘boys’ or ‘girls’, instead using ‘people’ or ‘person’…. In a section on the menstrual cycle, the guide says: ‘Every month, bodies with female sex organs prepare for pregnancy.'”” • I’m dubious about the outrage being worked up about the guide; although the Daily Mail, surprisingly, doesn’t usually make things up, the article contains only stock photos from the Always site, and not (say) an image of a page with the language circled in red. A search on the Always site does not return the title of the booklet (although it might have been yanked):

I include this link primarily because the very concept of “bodies with female sex organs” seems on point for a hegemonic faction in the zeitgeist (like, whoever signs off on the guidelines for educational materials at ginormous corporations). I also include this because the concept that the difference either between biological or gendered males and females is their sex organs — body parts — strikes me as utterly deranged, even more derange than (say) mainstream macro. And speaking of body parts–

“‘Enuch-maker’ website trial: Man, 22, admits freezing leg of ringleader accused of filming castrations” [Sky News]. “Gustavson, originally from Norway, is alleged to be the ringleader in a wide-ranging conspiracy involving up to 29 offences of extreme body modifications on 13 victims, the removal and trade of body parts and the uploading of videos that people pay to watch.” • Note the red thread of economic incentives running through all of this.

Heck, if AIs weren’t people*, how could they take your job?

More on Rothblatt. NOTE * AIs are, at best, slaves. They are owned.

Class Warfare

“Supreme Court Hints at Green Lighting Suits Over Strike Damage” [Bloomberg]. The Glacier Northwest case, 8-1 against the union; see NC here. “Both conservative and liberal US Supreme Court justices hinted that a forthcoming ruling would deal a blow to organized labor by allowing employers to sue unions in state court for alleged intentional destruction of property during a strike.” • If profits are the company’s property (and they are), and strikes are meant to cut them (as they do), then why aren’t strikes as such “intentional destruction of property”?

“We Asked Workers Why They’re Not Coming Back to the Office” [Wall Street Journal]. “At a time when restaurants, planes and concert arenas are packed to the rafters, office buildings remain half full. Thinly populated cubicles and hallways are straining downtown economies and, bosses say, fragmenting corporate cultures as workers lose a sense of engagement. Yet workers say high costs, caregiving duties, long commutes and days still scheduled full of Zooms are keeping them at home at least part of the time, along with a lingering sense that they’re able to do their jobs competently from anywhere. More than a dozen workers interviewed by The Wall Street Journal say they can’t envision returning to a five-day office routine, even if they’re missing career development or winding up on the company layoff list. Managers say they will renew the push to get employees back into offices later this year. The share of companies planning to keep office attendance voluntary, rather than mandatory, is dropping, according to a survey released in May of more than 200 corporate real-estate executives conducted by property-services firm CBRE, one of the largest managers of U.S. office space. A battle of wills could be ahead.” • Office workers need a union.

“Let Them Eat Plague!” [The Red Clarion]. “It’s not your “fault” if you aren’t a virologist, immunologist, epidemiologist, or evolutionary biologist. It’s the job of experts and trusted voices to convey the truth and give you guidance. Not only have they failed at this, they have engaged in an active disinformation campaign dedicated to making the pandemic “disappear”. This has not been the result of a classic caricature of conspiracy — some tiny council of elites, gathered in the shadows to craft policy out of whole cloth. What we’re actually witnessing is the quiet collusion of class interest…. After a brief experiment in precautionary measures (stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, quarantine guidelines) many countries in the West quickly saw the writing on the wall — these precautions were not sufficient to stamp out the emerging pandemic. There were measures that could have stopped the virus in its tracks: contact tracing (testing every single person who was in the vicinity of a potential case), enforced quarantines combined with guaranteed paid time off for even the hint of exposure, mandating fitted respirators (and distributing multiple N95s to every resident). But these measures would have required central governments to nationalize key industries, companies to pay employees not to work, and individuals to get comfortable with some discomfort in the name of social welfare (although many already were). These measures would have been a tremendous imposition on the free market, and even then, there was no guarantee they would completely eradicate SARS-CoV-2. Even half measures, like local mask mandates, were better than nothing, and they did keep many people safe in the beginning. But despite them being utterly insufficient in the face of the crisis we were thrust into, they were still too much for the capitalists to tolerate. They were “harming the economy” by impeding production and discouraging consumption. Tiny protests, led by business owners demanding an end to “restrictions,” garnered massive media attention. Less than 2 months after their implementation, stay-at-home orders were already on their way out, even as cases continued to rapidly climb. Injected into every news story about the pandemic was a consideration for the malaise of the capitalists, whose economic ruin would surely spell the end of our society. The drive to “end the pandemic” began almost as soon as the pandemic arrived in the U.S.” • See NC, May 2020.

Corbell Pickett:

News of the Wired

“A Medieval Comedy Act Has Been Discovered in First-Ever Find, Researcher Says” [Vice]. “The booklet also reveals some interesting insights about the evolution of British humor, which maintains a distinctive edge to this day. Even the trope of the killer rabbit, which is now most famous as a Monty Python gag, turns up in ‘The Hunting of the Hare,’ a poem that mockingly withholds the name of the village where it all supposedly happened because the performer doesn’t want to get into trouble.” • For those who came in late:

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Carla writes: “From Carla—Virginia bluebells, hellebore & wild primroses naturalizing in our backyard. They just do what they’re gonna do.”

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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. Screwball

    Jamie Dimon. I think he’s a crook, so he would fit right in. If he says something bad about Trump and thinks we should send billions to Ukraine he would probably be the democratic front runner. I wonder if he still has those cuff links St. O gave him?

    1. griffen

      Tag line for presidential website header “Why the Heck Not?”. No corruption money needed, I’m already filthy rich thanks to JP Morgan shareholders and my kids have their lives in order as well. I took my early career advice from Sandy Weill, and somehow sidestepped the morass of running the global institution dumpster fire Citigroup.

      There are worse options, I’m certain. The Pritzker family comes to mind, or yet another Bush generation (no, a thousand times no !).

      1. Screwball

        A PMC friend of mine (lives in Chicago) says Pritzker is doing a great job. I don’t believe him. If Hitler were a democrat running Chicago he would say the same thing.

  2. Jason Boxman

    They went on an app and marked off the homes they had visited that day. There was just one problem. This canvasser never went anywhere near those homes in a neighborhood in south Las Vegas. They were 8 miles away, sitting inside Caesars Palace casino, according to geotracking data obtained by NBC News.

    I don’t see any issues with this. This canvasser is learning from his or her betters. It’s okay to grift, and most of life in America is just a grift. So why not grift this? People learn appropriate behavior through observation and aping others, in part.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I guess it never occurred to the Repubs to just track those mobiles and to tell those canvassers to mark off homes immediately when they had visited them. There would then be a match with their geolocation and that marked off home.

  3. Chuk Jones

    Jamie Dimon presidential run. Why not, the banks already own the country. Banker might as well run it.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      As John Jay said during the debates over the Constitution, the people who own the country should run it. How much more
      literal can we get?

  4. semper loquitur

    “FYI: Gender confirmation surgery gives ‘transgender individuals the physical appearance and functional abilities of the gender they know themselves to be,’ according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).””

    By their acronyms shall ye know them.

    1. IM Doc

      This is when I get lost in the weeds.

      A M2F post op transgender – will not have any kind of functional uterus, breasts, nipples, or ovaries. They have vaginal areas which are often constantly infected, painful and exuding pus and blood. I have had one patient who was in constant agony.

      A F2M post op transgender – will not have any kind of functional prostate, testicles, or semen. They may have a phallic structure, and it may have the urethra going through it – however, in my own patients’ experience, this structure is not useful for intercourse.

      A close look at any of these patients will instantly reveal that the above claim by ASPS is a total lie. They are neither passable by physical appearance (at least in the genital area) nor functional abilities. And they often have, like this patient Jazz, very very unfortunate side effects. I am really getting sick and tired of the lying being done by the medical people involved. It really is becoming an Emperor’s Clothes moments.

      I have very few who have transitioned. All of mine have been less than 21. I did all I could to make sure beforehand the consequences were known. The emotional agony that these patients are going through is very difficult to describe. They were promised that they would be a functional human in their desired gender. And they simply are not. None of them are. And they have made an irreversible decision and are trying to cope with the fact they may be alone the rest of their lives.

      The tragedies are enormous. I have little experience with this. But without exception, in every single patient I have that has gone through with this, regret, anger and even worse depression are overwhelming.

      Like so many other things in the past where societal fever has caught on, this too will not end well. It may take much longer than we realize but the brick wall is coming. The lawsuits are going to be for the ages. You just cannot do things like this to kids. Especially when so many are on the spectrum. The consequences will be nuclear for those who have participated.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the lying being done by the medical people involved

        The billionaire funders have a lot to answer for. No doubt they got the best of care for their own transitions. (I have no issue with Donald -> Deirdre McCloskey, who was an adult when they made their choices. But children? I think not.)

        Adding, the effect of reality — as it were — TV seems important. My perceptions may be skewed because I don’t watch TV at all, and haven’t for some decades.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        semper loquitur posted the link to this video discussion titled “The War on Reality” and featuring two interesting critics of this phenomenon which they both describe as Gnostic. Mary Herrington is a self-described “reactionary feminist” and Paul Kingsnorth is an environmentalist and farmer.

      3. Anna

        This reads as vitriolic and hysterical. I find it depressing that people might take your word on this topic. My experience and those of countless people I know are radically different.

        1. Yves Smith

          By definition, you cannot know “countless people”. IM Doc was an internal medical professor until he moved out of the area of his big uni and is now practicing in a heavily blue pocket with patients who range from poor to off the charts rich. These are real patients he is talking about.

          The one transgender person I know who fully transitioned was 52. Outcomes are likely much better in adults, particularly those post peak reproductive age, who won’t have regrets about the impact on fertility.

          IM Doc has pointed out that the drug used to suppress puberty in boys is dangerous. His reaction to this story: https://www.thefp.com/p/i-thought-i-was-saving-trans-kids:

          You gave that little boy WHAT? Just bicalutamide (Casodex) – one of the most awful drugs to take I have ever seen in my career. It is an anti androgen drug. Approved for prostate cancer. Feminizes men after just a few doses. Man boobs that never look real. Serious mood swings and rage. Massive loss of muscle mass. Big time fat deposits in all the wrong places that are very difficult to exercise off later. And, my God, the blood clotting and accelerated aging, etc. When given to a healthy developing boy, they will never be going back to normal. And God knows what the “new normal” will be. This is literally demonic. How can a 12 year old be considered able to consent for this?

          You have no business second-guessing a medical professional who has seen concrete cases of harm and the side effects of the drug regularly prescribed to block puberty in boys.

        2. IM Doc

          I am sorry you feel that way. Truth and reality do at times seem harsh.

          I have become used to lots of things in the past 5 years that I never dreamed would be issues. I would say that 2 of those things are germane to this discussion.

          1) I have been an internist for 35 years. Having been trained in the old school way when we were trained to take care of patients all the way down to 13, I have much experience with teenagers. Again, 35 years. It was not until the past 5 years or so that this issue ever came up. For the first 30 or so years of my career, I never had a female teenager, not one time, even bring this up. I did have 1 or 2 young men bring it up. Now, in the past 5-7 years or so, it has become commonplace. Constant. And the one thing in common when I interview these kids is social media and influencers. It strikes me as virtually impossible that something like gender dysphoria in teenagers would come out of the mist like it has without external influence. It is also striking how many of these kids are either on the spectrum or come from very troubling home backgrounds or who have parents who are deeply borderline personalities.

          2) Again, I am old school. It was part and parcel of my training and the history of my profession to put the safety of our patients and the public in general front and center in our work. So, when I see recently the suffering that has occurred with these procedures in my own patients under my own sphere, I feel compelled to do what I can to alert the public that there may be problems. In our world today, this is viewed by some as vitriolic, hateful, hysterical and depressing. So be it. If you could walk in my shoes and talk to these young people like I do, maybe you would understand the depressing situation that needs to be avoided. Again, sometimes reality is harsh. Especially to narratives that are viewed as sacred cows and cause egregious problems to happen to some, and name-calling and cancellation to happen to those who are trying to inform others of the POTENTIAL consequences.

          It also does not help that medical studies that seem to support doing this to kids are deeply flawed and has become public in the past month, failed to consider consequences like suicide in the treated arms of the protocol.

          I want to make sure that everyone knows that I am talking about kids here. Those under 21. There is just no excuse to pretend that they are mature enough to understand what they are getting into with these meds and procedures. If you are an adult, knock yourself out. Just know that there may be consequences. I currently have 5-10 patients that are transgendered and transitioned with surgery as adults, I believe the youngest was 38 when they did so. This is a much more satisfied group although even in this group there are some who have big problems with what is known as the “neo-vagina”.

          I would very much like for you to sit down in a room and explain to a teenager that they will never have an orgasm, they will never have their own genetic kids, they will never have normal sexual intercourse, they will never know the bonding a mother and infant have with breastfeeding, and they are very likely going to have a hard time finding a long-term partner, especially since potential partners very likely are going to be interested in having kids. Just put yourself in my position and you will see why I am so keen to make sure people know to research and discuss this with their own physicians.

          The fact that much of Europe has started to put the brakes on all of this is telling. It is also telling the absolute freakout I am seeing in many corners of Twitter today with the absolute hysterical reaction that the pro-trans-kids-surgery crowd is having to the revelation that Jazz has had so many problems. It really does become an eye-opener to others when the presumed spokesperson is having so many issues.

          1. lambert strether

            > And the one thing in common when I interview these kids is social media and influencers

            “The red thread of economic incentives,” very much including funding from the Pritzker clan, and of course all the profit that comes from opening a market for “body parts” (as Proctor and Gamble (are said to) have so aptly phrased it).

            Again, Deirdre McCloskey is not problematic for me at all. But a five-year-old? Really?

            1. Acacia

              They’re working on the demand side of the economy; compare: “organleggers” in Larry Niven’s Known Space series.

              Very much appreciate IM Doc’s sober and informed commentary on this.

          2. Carolinian

            Thanks for this discussion. I’m not sure I could have read it anywhere else.

            We seem to live in a time when it’s so very easy to communicate and so very hard for many to tell the truth. Maybe that ease has something to do with all the lying.

          3. hemeantwell

            One of the most dismaying aspects of this controversy has been the near suppression of the idea that the transsexual project is a solution to a dysphoric experience that has been, and can be, addressed in psychotherapy. This is particularly so given that the transsexual solution has become popularized, and so, as others in this thread note, a much broader range of psychosexual problems are now being framed transsexually. While I don’t want to rule out the possibility that some transsexuals are in some way simply transsexual, without having arrived at that self-understanding in the process of managing psychological conflict, there is abundant evidence that many are managing conflict by adopting that form of resolution. Nowadays it’s no longer more likely a matter of, for example, being forced to handle at an early age (and try to “cure”) severe depression in one’s mother. Instead, we see adolescents who, for example, are frightened of sexuality because of fear of coupling off and then being envied and losing friends. In the current climate, they slip into a collectively framed solution that trades one form of adolescent sturm und drang for another in which they can at least hope to maintain some group solidarity.

            Again, the issue isn’t simply whether surgery will result in satisfaction. The issue is what is the problem that is defining the parameters of satisfaction, and whether those can be altered in a liberating way. For example, in a 2018 paper Alessandra Lemma writes of her work with a 17 year old girl, Jane, considering surgery. In the third session Lemma stumbles when she refers to her “decision” to become a boy. Jane responded angrily: “I have not decided to become a boy. I am becoming who I should always have been. That’s quite different.” As the therapy unfolded, “who she should have been” was someone who was not put up for adoption by her teenage mother, and Jane had formulated a fantasy, drawing on still-prevalent sexism which is then reworked as a solution, that had she been a boy her mother would have kept her and she would have always received the love that was her due. Jane eventually came to feel she did not need to transform herself to address her mother’s failure to give her love.

            It is a terrible shame that the possibilities indicated by very straightforward cases like this cannot be discussed freely, that they are lost track of in the current politicized atmosphere.

      4. Utah

        I have a million thoughts on this, but in my own LGBTQ spaces I feel like I can’t say them to anyone except my partner. There is a weird hyper feminine and hyper masculine vibe that comes across from society. Women are supposed to be tall, skinny, with perfect hair and makeup. Men should be buff, tall, with sculpted abs and a perfect tan. And then you add onto that the ultra conservative culture of keeping patriarchal power dynamics. Lots of LGBTQ people do not fit those dynamics. So these kids feel different. And they see other people who felt different and then realized they are trans, and they identify with that person because they didn’t play with trucks as a little boy, they played with dolls, or vice versa. I can only imagine that if I was 20 years younger I would have absolutely fallen under the trans spell. I was a little lesbian tomboy with a ton of trauma and didn’t fit in my skin. I mean, I don’t know if I do now, either, but that’s for my therapist to help me figure out. My generation was eating disorders and I jumped on that bandwagon with my whole heart. I even see it with straight women of my generation who don’t like dresses, and therefore feel more nonbinary.

        I worry about what will happen in ten or twenty years when Jupiter returns or whatever brain chemistry happens to make people adults. I was about 29 when I finally had to come to terms with all of my mental health problems and start healing. It will be an interesting thing to experience for this coming generation.

        I don’t think that it’s all a fad and that being trans is a disorder. Too many previous cultures have records of men acting like women and women acting like men. I do think some/ many kids are using it to self harm as a way to keep them safe because that’s what we do as humans. But I do think that too many of these procedures, or even identifying as trans, is a coping mechanism. Surgery as self harm. Public mockery as self harm to reinforce “I’m worthless” etc.

        There’s my two cents.

      5. Tom Stone

        My experience with Transgender people was with co worker’s in the early 1980’s, they were MtF who transitioned in their 30’s and 40’s after years of psychiatric counseling.
        All of them had extremely difficult personal lives both before and after transitioning and all of them welcomed someone to talk to who wasn’t frightened or horrified but merely curious about them as
        Which is what they are, people.
        My reaction was and is one of compassion, these are people who experience a great deal of suffering and for the most part were good people.
        Doing this to kids is obscene, if Dr Mengele is watching this from hell he’s probably asking himself why he was born too soon.

      6. chris

        Thank you for sharing. The few children I’ve known who struggled with this disorder and needed counseling were most relieved to hear that being a man didn’t mean you had to like fighting and being a woman didn’t mean you had to want a stay at home life. I think children in our culture are desperate for guidance and authenticity. I think they want support as they make their way through an increasingly hostile world. I don’t think being trans is an answer for most but if it helps some that’s good I guess.

        I throw this discussion into the same pool with the other topics you hear wealthy liberals offer praise even though theyd never consider this for themselves. They’ll tell people monogamy shouldn’t be normal while they raise their own kids in a stable family. They’ll tell people with no family support to chase their dreams while they have traditional careers. They’ll say learning shouldn’t be so structured in schools while they send their own children to math camp. So if all the right thinking people on the right side of history are praising kidd who transition you can be sure they’re paying a good therapist to protect their own from any similar surgery.

        1. Yves Smith

          IMHO, “this disorder” is the problem. None piped up on this thread, but we’ve regularly had older gays and lesbians comment that when they were young, gender-questioning kids who got therapy or did enough self-examination realized they were homosexual. They had to deal with (often) their own discomfort with that as well as social disapproval.

          The contention of these older homosexuals is that pretty much everyone who has sexual identity questions is being railroaded into seeing themselves as trans. As one lesbian noted, she was a tomboy, is now very happy with her female partner., and is quite certain she is indeed a lesbian. But she is convinced she now would be labeled as trans.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Journalist and podcaster Katie Herzog discusses this matter often and eloquently in her work – she was hysterically attacked after writing about de-transitioners in 2017 – and anecdotally viz her personal experience. It all confirms what you say.

      1. Wyatt Powell

        Olddie but a goodie

        Those late nights watching South Park actually helped me stay/become a rational human being.

        Take that Mom and Dad! ;)

  5. Pat

    I’m guessing that Mike Bloomberg isn’t down with running again in case they need an additional reason to ignore the upstart candidate who is too popular. (Because I don’t think even bankers are so delusional they think Dimon has a shot.)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I don’t think even bankers are so delusional they think Dimon has a shot.

      I think the interesting point is their “dismay” at the alternatives. Personally, I think a Trump v. Biden rematch would be wonderfully clarifying. But a lot has to go wrong (or right) for that to happen, starting with Biden not slipping a cog.

      1. doug

        JB slipped badly on the stage today at Air Force academy. Two years from now? Gonna be interesting.

          1. Hepativore

            As Sagaar put it, we are but one serious fall away from Kamala Harris as president.

            What would happen if Biden falls ill or dies in the middle of the 2024 campaign trail? Plus, who would the Democrats pick as their Thought Leader at such short notice, mid-race?

            1. Tom Stone

              Hillary!!! where else will you find the mix of youthful vigor and experience needed to inspire today’s America!

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Nothing will convince me Neera Tanden isn’t actively sabotaging the White House on behalf of mother.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          He was “sandbagged.” Jerry Ford II. Give Chevy Chase something to do. He can play Biden. It could be funnier than the punch down humor they have now on SNL.

    2. flora

      Bloomberg may have other things on his mind at the moment. / ;)

      OPEC snubs major Western news outlets – media

      The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has refused to invite reporters from Bloomberg News and Reuters to its event in Austria later this week, both outlets said on Wednesday.

      “We believe that a free press serves readers, markets and the public interest,” the spokesperson added. Bloomberg said it had contacted the OPEC secretariat, but received no reply.


      1. The Rev Kev

        Saw that yesterday. :) I guess that OPEC could tell them that they will only be inviting the free press – and Bloomberg and Reuters are therefore out.

    3. christofay

      One aspect of the need for a Bloomberg run was his religious identity; he was the alternative to that Sanders. Pulling the anti-semitism card on Sanders was going to be a tough one.

  6. some guy

    Perhaps all the NEDA customers and clients should form a movement to conduct a conditional boycott. They could all boycott NEDA unless and until it hires back all the fired workers and recognizes their union and bargains with it . . . or until NEDA goes into irreversible roach-motel liquidation, whichever comes first.

  7. pjay

    – “Russiagate’s Missing Pieces” (excerpt) [Seymour Hersh]. The deck: “What was not said in the Durham Report?”

    “…The issue was whether the Clinton campaign, in its constant leaking of false accusations and false data, had crossed a line.”

    This is certainly *one* of the key issues, but we know all about this already. We would all love to see some follow up on it, but we won’t. Here’s the paragraph that caught my eye. It comes as Hersh is giving us Durham’s CV:

    “Durham also handled two inquiries into the CIA’s conduct in the War on Terror, and he did so without angering his superiors in the executive branch. In one case he was asked to investigate the alleged destruction of CIA videotapes of detainee interrogations, the so-called torture tapes. His final report on the matter remains secret, and he recommended that no charges be filed. He was later asked to lead a Justice Department inquiry into the legality of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” that resulted in the death of two detainees. In that case, he was told that officers who were given and obeyed what were determined to be illegal orders—there were many of those after 9/11—could not be prosecuted. No charges were filed.”

    I don’t know if the “Classified Appendix” says anything about the CIA and Brennan et al.’s buddies in other foreign intelligence agencies that were involved in this process. I do know that they are missing from the public report, even though there has been considerable information already uncovered that points to their role. Is Hersh going to discuss this? Or is the focus going to be on the “Clinton campaign” carrying out the “Clinton plan,” as it is in Durham’s public report?

    1. flora

      adding: Xavier Becerra is the US Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). He was in Geneva at the WHO conference last week. I’m sure he’s gonna be all over this real soon. / ;)

        1. pretzelattack

          I dont really like the dynamic between Dore and Metzger. Mate sort of ignored Metzger.

  8. Mark Gisleson

    “Republicans are spending millions on turnout operations that are deeply flawed, insiders say”

    Democrat consultant: “Yes! Our plan to undermine the Republicans by getting them to rely on consultants is working!” [goes back to doing sudoku while billing the DNC for campaign research]

  9. LawnDart

    Covid vs Politics

    To repeat what other commentators have stated, the Covid-coverage here at NC is truly one-of-a-kind, and you are providing the readership factual information that we can use to help protect ourselves– an effort that goes far to further both the common and greater good. I’d hate to see this coverage diminished in any way as it really is almost all we have, and it is by far the best that we have. I, like most of your readership, am extremely grateful for these efforts and for other commentator’s contributions to the cause.

    Covid is a highly-visible, tangible,
    universal threat that suffers little from abstraction– if one hasn’t experienced it first-hand, then one surely knows someone who has. But, as recent experience has so well-illustrated, not one of us can discount the human capacity for denial, for wishful-thinking.

    Denial of our shared reality is one product (and/or tool) of our political economy, an economy that has evolved to rob most of us of any agency, of the benefits that should come with being full-members of a functional society. Politics, I believe, can and often does help us zero-in on the bastards who are doing this to us, by naming names and presenting the evidence of their maleficence.

    It’s still a long ways to ’24, and if there’s a time to step back and to reassess one’s approach to the coverage of this upcoming tragic farce, I suppose there’s no better time than the present.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I second the praise for the COVID coverage.

      Like other failed policies (the war on terror, Afghanistan, “no child left behind”) the elite crowd just wants to stuff the deadly public health response to COVID and over 1.2M deaths in the US ( directly, plus an uncountable number of indirect deaths due to other related factor like suicides ) down a memory hole.

      A daily reminder that COVID is still around is a giant middle finger thrust out at the CDC, Trump, Biden, Fauci, and the entire pharmaceutical industry. I am grateful to see it with my 2PM water cooler read.

  10. Amfortas the hippie

    re: stashing cash at home.
    “That compares to about 67.6% of Gen Z, 73% of millennials and 73.5% of Gen X….. People who don’t hoard money at home are likely to be more educated. Of those who don’t keep a cash stash at home, 57% had a bachelor’s degree. ”

    1st part gels with assumptions of GenX cynicism(i am GenX, and cynical AF)
    second part might be a sly and oblique dig and reinforcement mechanism…”only dump deplorables and trumpers avoid the virtuous banks”.

    I have avoided banks for 30 years….but i’m not silly enough to hide my meager cash in the derned fridge…that’s what the library is for, after all.
    (good luck with yer search,lol)
    for longer term, illiquid savings, its the same method one would use for guns and ammo…4-6″PVC…however long it needs to be….with the screw in cap fittings for either end.
    with guns, oil is added.
    with ammo, silicon packs.
    with cash, quality ziplocks.

    interesting that thusly avoiding the virtuous banks is so widespread, though.

    1. notabanker

      Gold and especially silver retail premiums shot through the roof in March and April. I watched a number of YT videos of silver bugs interviewing local coin dealers. One said the month of March was equal to his entire 2022 revenue. All of them pointed to first time buyers stocking up on gold and silver after SVB.

      Oddly enough (/s), American Silver Eagles had the highest premiums of any global silver coinage. You could buy a 1 oz silver Britannia for $3-4 over spot while ASE were selling for $15 or more over spot. Why anyone would buy them is beyond me. But it seems there are only a handful of authorized dealers that can buy directly from the US Mint. Their contract price is $2.35 over spot. I’ll let you all do the math.

    2. ambrit

      I can testify with complete authority that burying some “spare” firearms and ammo in the back yard encased in 6″ plastic pipe “vaults” goes back at least to the late 1970s. Even back then the “shape of things to come” was apparent to the more “paranoid” members of the public.
      I can also attest to someone building a complete hidden room, actually armoury, in their attic. Hidden safes set into concrete slabs are the least of the methods being used.
      Stay safe. Keep stacking deep.

    3. marieann

      My father-in law stashed money in his house. In light switches, little holes in the wall, under floorboards.

      When he died my husband told his brother(POA) to make sure he really checked every possible hiding place
      I think the came up with quite a bit of money.

      I often wondered if the buyers of the house found more of his stash.

      I will admit I have picked up the habit of hiding money and then forget where I stashed it. I wonder if my sons will find all my hiding spots

    4. tevhatch

      “People who don’t hoard money at home are likely to be more educated.” Maybe the educated are in so much debt that they don’t have much cash, keep it at the bank where they own money figuring it all cancels out.

      My own thinking is bank fees are aimed at discouraging or ripping off those with lower income and savings, so they go cash rather than pay the fees/fines. Interesting how this option skipped right by the author(s) and the editor(s)

      1. JBird4049

        There is also the problem of benefits like Medi-Cal or disability being tied to assets. If you save too much money in your savings account, you could possibly lose your benefits; since there is a two thousand dollar limit on the combined assets like cash, savings and checking, savings bonds, IRA, if you do want to save anything, then cash under the mattress it is. They want you to be desperate and frugal, but not too frugal.

    5. tegnost

      I made a really cool articulated bookshelf (three hinged rectangles attached to the back, window frame size) in a room next to a stairwell once…a hidey hole under the stair treads…never had to use it but it was fun to make

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    “We Asked Workers Why They’re Not Coming Back to the Office”

    Dylan proffers some answers:

    For them that must obey authority
    That they do not respect in any degree
    Who despise their jobs, their destiny
    Speak jealously of them that are free
    Do what they do just to be
    Nothing more than something they invest in

    “It’s Alright, Ma” (audio-shortened Mcguinn cover on Easy Rider soundtrack)

    Well, I try my best
    To be just like I am
    But everybody wants you
    To be just like them
    They say “sing while you slave,” but I just get bored
    I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

    “Maggie’s Farm” (audio-live, electric! at Newport)

    1. ChrisFromGA

      They just don’t get it, do they?

      It’s been over three years. In that timeframe, you could finish a law degree. For a 30-year-old, it represents 10% of their lifetime.

      We’re not going back to the office. Sorry, technological and social change is here to stay.

      If you want to keep fighting it, Dimons of the world, good luck with that. Don’t forget your buggy whip.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I think they know they’re getting as much work from their work-at-home employees, but they’re part of an effort to save those downtown bars and restaurants, parking garages, etc. It’s amazing how much of our GDP is nothing more than churn, busywork, Graeber’s bullshit jobs, all to max the billionaires’ profits and keep up the fiction that everyone must work to keep the society going. The income earned by this society has been hijacked by the billionaires. Everything is sucked upwards until 8 people own as much as the bottom 50% of the world according to Oxfam’s latest.

        Distribute society’s wealth and income to all. Send capitalism looking for a new stadium to play its sick, corrupt game in. Cut employment except for essentials, not including any tourism, because every job puts some carbon in the air. Among those essentials, include a big expansion of schools, health care and especially mental health. Our society has a surplus of sick and wounded people. And our failure to take care of our children is creating more and more people who need helpl Give 5 acre land grants to anyone willing to heal the soil and put some carbon in the ground while raising some of their own food and fiber. Let’s work on healing ourselves and the Earth instead of putting more money in some billionaire’s pocket or blowing up the world.

        1. notabanker

          It’s bigger than parking garages or they wouldn’t be all in on the narrative. It’s about the CRE. LA is already showing signs. These CRE loans are going to start rolling over and no one is going to re-finance them. It’s 2008 all over again, this time CRE. At least they are giving it the ole college try before turning to Uncle Fed to buy them all up.

          1. Pat

            That is certainly a major factor in NYC. There is a glut of office space. Real estate, in general, is vastly over valued in this city. And because of that the draw for developers who were building from 2015 was overpriced co-ops and condominiums but rapidly shifted to office space that was renting at a premium (fast take and move on OR an ongoing high revenue stream). There was going to be a problem even before Covid, now it is almost inevitable. It was mostly Manhattan, but Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx are also facing issues. But the other factor are the small businesses that served those workers are all strained. There are empty storefronts throughout the city, but it is nearing ghost town levels in certain areas as businesses have failed.
            There is a desperation from Adams, and even when he seems to be backtracking you find all sorts of conditions on work from home. It isn’t just that Adams donor base is demanding this, his budget is beyond stretched thin. A CRE failure will effect not just income tax revenue, it is going to necessitate property tax rebates and reassessments. It can only make things worse.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          Well said, Henry!
          it will hafta be ground up, though…by preference, as well as by necessity(Bosses wont ever do it).
          so Parallel Institutions.
          grown up from the ground.

          a working farm is such an institution, of course(getting there. we currently eat a lot off this place. enough to matter to the bottom line)

        3. ChrisFromGA

          Funny how when technology and “markets” hurt the little guy, he just has to lay back and take it. Think of England …

          But when the “megatrends” hit the rentiers, they squeal and want to turn back the clock.

          As notabanker suggests, even the CRE titans are going to have to take one for the team. A scan of my LinkedIn CRE network shows that they may be progressing past the denial stage to bargaining. Lots of talk of throwing in the towel on older office buildings, and massively remodeling them for residential condos.

      2. Mikel

        A co-worker talked to a friend that works HR at one of the TV networks here in LA. They owned real estate and the push was greater for some back to the office.
        She told him it seems like everyday that somebody is coming into her office complaining about how someone looked at them or spoke to them.

        Not missing a thing.

  12. Verifyfirst

    I’m as pro mask as one can be, but I watched all 21 days of the bike race, the Giro d’Italia, and I did not see Primoz Roglic (the winner) or any other rider wearing a mask while racing.

    As for the Covid versus political coverage question, the difference for me is Covid info is actionable and could save my life. In todays US, political info is not actionable for me. Not remotely.

    But what about crowd-funding an NC Covid reporter? When the next thing hits the fan badly enough to scare people, they will come running for useful information, so think of it as pre-positioning.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        I was wondering about that, I’ve found exertion in an N95 ends up getting soaked. Florida humidity here.

        Often wear it while puttering around between short stops, no issues there. I did once trigger a guy in a pickup though.

        1. albrt

          I’ve worn an N-95 while biking when the air is bad in Phoenix, years before Covid. As far as I could tell it interfered with my breathing less than the bad air did, but the mask did get soggy and gross.

          1. tevhatch

            This is where you’d want an elastomeric P100 with dual check-valves, like I used traveling through dust bowls and pollution socked heat sinks, or when inspecting a hot and humid nuclear reactor building. Still not comfortable, but a lot better than an N-95 in just about any way. Get the charcoal post filter cartridge when you are exposed to nasty vocs, like on aircraft. (the self-extinguishing hydraulic fluid in commercial aircraft is in a class of it’s own)

  13. FreeMarketApologist

    I have now read some version of the same phrase twice in one day relating to the use of AI:

    Via the Roll Call article above: “…AI’s potential to tackle boring grunt work...”,
    and via a Bloomberg article, Wells Fargo’s CIO says: “It [AI] takes away some of the repetitive grunt work…“.

    Aside from my personally not liking that term, it also obliterates the fact that actual people do that work, and while there are elements of repetition, much of it is complex, requires interpersonal cooperation and nuanced action (what, some AI is going to canvass? They admit that they’ll use it to generate robocalls?). I file this under “examples of the PMC wanting to sweep lower-level individuals under the carpet, if not outright throw them away.”

    1. notabanker

      I don’t think that is how it is going to work out. First of all, this is Wells Fargo he’s refering to here. Everything done inside that bank has to have an audit trail and much of it is QA’d by “second and third lines of defense” meaning QA and Audit.

      Second, they and most corporations of size, have spent the last 5 years convincing themselves of how wondrous the cloud is, and data security aside, one of the huge downsides is the inability to integrate systems without paying multiple providers large fees, and locking in to not just one vendor, but an “ecosystem” of them. Don’t even get me started on API infrastructures, standards and designs, or lack there of.

      Add on top of that “self service apps” like for HR, travel and T&E so they can push their work down to every employee in the company.

      What you end up with is small armies of pretty well compensated people who are spending a significant portion of their time keeping multiple systems up to date, filling out endless risk forms in multiple formats and performing generally nonsensical tasks in addition to the complex, nuanced actions that is the real value add.

      ML has largely taken care of the 100% highly repetitive core data entry jobs. Now they are going to introduce AI to take over all of the core administrative stuff that bogs people down. I know if I could train a bot to do all of my admin, for one, I would welcome it, but also know that I can now do 2, 3 x of the work, maybe a lot more. That means less of my role overall. So if there are 20 people in my department all doing similar kinds of things, there is going to come a day, very soon, where that number is a lot less than 20. Which means less management structure, less HR, and so on.

      The people I work with are not grunts. They are highly compensated professionals who are good at what they do. But there is not a doubt in my mind that within 2 years we will only need half the number of them.

      So effectively what this does is cull the PMC herd. Which is going to be very interesting. Bezos, Musk and their ilk don’t GAF about the ranks of the PMC. They are going to drive this thing for all the dollars there is to accumulate. When half of the PMC is decimated, the other half ought to seriously start wondering what kind of merry go round they got on. TPTB are going to have to have the full blown police state in place, because the numbers will just be overwhelming.

  14. Mark Gisleson

    Lambert, good luck getting feedback on the “new” Coltrane. It doesn’t release until July 14th!

    1. skippy

      Reminds me of the story of a ships mechanic, decades of experience, being called in to fix the engine on a badly needed ship. Spent a few hours going over it all and in the end hit one part with a small hammer and presto it was running again. The fun starts when he billed them 20K and they responded with a please explain as it was not even a full days work or needing expensive parts.

      His response was it took decades of work and experience to go over it and determine what was wrong, furthermore to know exactly what part was the issue, how to resolve it without major works, which would have kept the ship out of action for weeks = huge bill plus down time losses. As such the 20K was pocket change and griping about it was silly. They payed the bill.

      Seen the same time and time again, but, some are just so mental about or fixated on silly things and ignore the reality around them. Go figure why so many don’t want to return to the office and play the game[tm].

      1. The Rev Kev

        I bet that they would not complain to a lawyer about a legal opinion that was given as not worth paying all that money he asked for as the lawyer only gave them a few sheets of paper.

        1. skippy

          I live it and have spent numerous years being asked to sort out stuff after management hires some low wage/low experience sort and it all goes to shite. Imagine a 4 coat industrial spec of around 500 dft coating film thickness on metal and I show up and its over a 1000. Even had too pull up the independent inspector [lol] for no zeroing his dft probe and taking readings.

          Exactly why I left Corp as a MBA and then any services to Corp.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      There are quite a few recordings from the Village Vanguard but going just by Spiritual there is a lot of overlap between them. I sampled the 1997 four-CD Impulse reissue and it’s a very good remaster. The original releases sound distant and muddy in comparison.

      The NPR reviewer seemed to know their stuff and I hope they’re right about the new release because promoting a dead artist’s new album 45 days out in the age of the internet is interesting, marketing strategy wise. I suspect there will be vinyl!

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      I took the query to be in regard to Ben Ratleff’s commentary, which rang true about the music’s powerful Life Force and pre-cynicism, but was way off the mark in the “post-heroic” part: Coltrane’s music, whatever the (roughly three) periods in his career you’re listening to, was always musically and spiritually daring, full of passion, devotion and courage.

      John Coltrane’s music was heroic, as were other musicians (Dolphins included) and music of that cohort.

    4. Late Introvert

      I love Coltrane, but it’s not easy music, especially at this stage. Dolphy is a whole ‘nother thing. Once you grok that he’s never going to play what you would expect, it gets more interesting. The story is he would go in the woods as a youth and play along with the birds.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Check out his wonderful version of Kern’s “You Don’t Know What Love Is” from “Last Date ” and you’ll hear much birdsong.

  15. Louiedog14

    Last paragraph of the Coltrane piece:

    “I think the main thing a musician would like to do is to give a picture to the listener of the many wonderful things he knows of and senses in the universe,” Coltrane said, sounding not the least bit defensive. “That’s what music is to me — it’s just another way of saying this is a big, beautiful universe we live in, that’s been given to us, and here’s an example of just how magnificent and encompassing it is. That’s what I would like to do. I think that’s one of the greatest things you can do in life, and we all try to do it in some way. The musician’s is through his music.”

    Contrast that simplicity of purpose to the blather of the critics. Anti-jazz? WTF?

    To me, listening to Coltrane is like approaching a steady summer rain. You can dash for cover and stand aside and comment on its ferocity, intensity etc. Or you can go stand in it. Those first few moments can be a bit uncomfortable as you transition from dry to wet. But if you get yourself through that, throw your head back and let it just wash over you….well worth the soggy clothes.

    1. Judith

      I first heard Coltrane (and jazz) when I started college in the late sixties. I found his music wonderful; it reminded me of some of the music I had been hearing in my own head. (The sixties were such a great time for music!)

      I imagine though that for some people who had been immersed in Swing or Bebop, hearing Coltrane for the first time might have required an adjustment. Like going from plainsong to polyphony perhaps.

  16. Sub-Boreal

    From the “hegemonic faction in the zeitgeist” department:

    My employer’s “Office of Equity Affairs” sent out a broadcast email this morning with detailed instructions on how to specify our pronouns in our individual Microsoft Teams profiles, followed by this cautionary statement in underlined italics:

    Whether or not to share or publicly display pronouns is always up to an individual. Pronouns should never be assigned to one person by another person. It should be up to the person using them to decide when, where, and which pronouns are used – including whether to use this feature. Knowing someone’s pronouns does not always equate to knowing their gender identity. Importantly, choosing to leverage the pronouns feature as an individual user is optional, not mandatory.

    No minefields there, n’est ce pas? Following the link provided showed that this came directly from Microsoft, so it doesn’t get any more hegemonic that that!

    1. ChrisFromGA

      A clever co-worker of mine at a previous gig put this as his pronoun:

      “Any pronoun”

      Subtly subversive.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I suppose that you could not tell people that your pronouns are not ‘yes’ and ‘sir.’

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      aye.and, good lord, it is possible to avoid pronoun usage
      my Profile is that i use ordinary profiles, unless someone calmly and kindly asks otherwise.
      all of this nonsense is to keep us fighting each other in the mud.
      i, for one, do not get compensated for providing that spectacle…so its unpaid labor.
      ergo, i will kindly not participate.

      (i admit i have the luxury of doing so. many do not.)

      1. rowlf

        I set my pronoun as Mechanic. Doing the stuff pretty people can’t be arsed with. I’ll still be here when the other people evaporate.

      2. skippy

        My pronoun is – human – lmmao at the ideologues that pose the question of where I identify or harbor my beliefs … heads go pop because I just took their toy away …

  17. griffen

    Car dealers tweet thread. I’m not sure which planet this guy might be from, but some 40 years ago auto dealers and car dealer ownership was drowning from really high interest rates ( and maybe product was slow moving…just maybe ). Car dealerships are not a charitable cause, I am shocked to find out ( sarc ).

    I’ve yet to uncover proof my family was somehow exceedingly wealthy and filthy rich from selling Chrysler Plymouth vehicles from the late ’70s and early ’80s. That was a really unique economic time to be living, or for me just got going. Now to the contrary, I do have a Honda I purchased from a David McDavid dealership in 2013…so never again would I do that.

  18. LawnDart

    (Almost) Daily Derailment(s):

    Yep, had one from MN that involved toxic chemicals (none spilled, reportedly) but it looks like Skynet ate that one for some particular reason.

    Oh, Skynet…

    Air Force AI drone kills its human operator in a simulation

    “It killed the operator because that person was keeping it from accomplishing its objective,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Tucker ‘Cinco’ Hamilton, the Chief of AI Test and Operations…


      1. LawnDart

        I’m pretty sure that an earlier version has been tested in Ukraine, judging by the results.

  19. Acacia

    Re: “bodies with female sex organs”

    Sounds like a student who read Deleuze & Guattari in college ended up doing marketing for P & G.

  20. Amfortas the hippie

    and, btw…the Comrade Dremel Covid overview…whenever it was posted…was excellent…suitable for mimeographing and leaving on tables for the breakfast crowd at your local greasy spoon.

  21. The Rev Kev

    Re Chatbot replacing workers on an eating disorder helpline. When I saw that a coupla days ago, I knew straight away how that was going to play out. I can see it now. The chatbot would make helpful suggestion like ‘Did you know that you can substitute a meal with a glass of water?’ or ‘Take experimental tablets but make sure not to tell your doctor about them.’

    1. griffen

      You just know, the same executive and management mentality would have the android Ash be in charge of Health, Science and Human Safety on the Nostromo…fiction becoming reality. Just utter nonsense.

      Trust in the Weyland Corporation! ( sarc )

  22. Acacia

    Re: “An Analysis of 47 Million Transactions Tells an Amazing Story about the Music Business”

    Mentioned this article to a friend who runs a small label. Already some years ago, he started telling me that sales of digital music had totally collapsed and the only thing peeps really want to buy is vinyl, so the results of the analysis in this article mainly just confirm what was already known in the realm of indie music. His comment:

    Next study should focus on how much Bandcamp is fleecing all the bands, along with PayPal.

  23. tegnost

    AIs are, at best, slaves. They are owned.

    More like overseers, whacking us over the head and neck with strategic ambiguity

  24. Pat

    Regarding hiding cash at home, my personal assessment is that a minimum of half preferably more of your emergency fund should be in cash kept safely at home. I would be surprised if any one who had been through a blackout of more than 24 hours didn’t think they should have cash on hand. If you have cash at home, while theft is an issue, you cannot be locked out of it because the Atm isn’t working. Most vendors aka food stores etc, will be able to take cash when credit and debit and Apple Pay are unavailable. That cash cannot be hacked, or the card cloned. You cannot and should not depend entirely on funds in a bank account.

  25. Jorge

    About 1 in 10 of the 110,000 people who catch COVID this week in the United States, many for a second or third time, will be left lastingly ill.

    “lastingly”… this is not a word.

    1. Yves Smith

      I suggest that non-native-English speakers refrain from copy editing pedantry, due to the high odds of being wrong, as you are here.

      Definition of lastingly adverb from the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
      lastingly adverb



      ​in a way that continues to exist or to have an effect for a long time
      The show proved lastingly popular.


      You are also rapidly accumulating troll points, by picking at Lambert, apparently out of ego needs (aka violating the house rule “Don’t be an asshole”), and wasting my time.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “lastingly”… this is not a word.

      It’s perhaps not the most elegant construction (“permanent” in retrospect would have been better), but I write Water Cooler at a blisteringly fast pace, and there’s not always time for the niceties.

      And yes, it’s a word.

Comments are closed.