2:00PM Water Cooler 7/11/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Horned Lark, route 14 along county road 69, Weld, Colorado, United States. “Horned Larking singing from ground in pre-dawn darkness.”

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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


Time for the Countdown Clock!

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“There’s Good News and Bad News for Trump in a New Survey” [Politico]. “My survey of GOP county chairs is part of an ongoing effort to track the so-called “invisible primary” for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, with a series that is being featured in POLITICO Magazine over the next year. What takes place during the invisible primary is the crucial coordination and jockeying that occurs before anyone starts voting or caucusing, but which will do much to determine the eventual winner. County chairs are figures who will play a key role in shaping the race. They are highly attentive to the party’s internal dynamics and are influential in local GOP circles; they offer the kind of endorsements that candidates are eager to collect. They’re also still close to the rank-and-file grassroots, and their shifts are likely to signal where the rest of the party is going…. The most recent survey, conducted in the first few weeks of June, came amid yet another criminal indictment — this time involving federal charges that he mishandled classified documents, including violations of the Espionage Act. Yet I found Trump’s support continued to increase. Roughly twice as many county party chairs are now committed to Trump as to DeSantis, and no other candidates have really broken through.” • Handy chart:

“Trump in Las Vegas speech attempts to rally voters against DeSantis: ‘He’s highly overrated'” [The Hill]. “‘I’m not a big fan of his and he’s highly overrated. He’s highly overrated,’ Trump told the crowd at a GOP volunteer event in Las Vegas. ‘Remember, he’s the one that wanted to cut Social Security. He’s the one that wanted to raise the minimum age and he voted on this.’ ‘This isn’t just. And the one thing you have to remember when a politician comes out with an initial plan and then they go into a corner because they’re getting killed because he’s getting killed,’ the former president said in his remarks, which were under an hour long. ‘Well, he also has no personality. That helps, right?’ Trump, who lost the support of the state in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, acknowledged the difficulty he’s had with Nevadan voters. ‘We have a big job to do. This has been a hard state,’ he said during Saturday’s event. ‘I really believe it’s a Republican state.'”

“Judge agrees to delay next hearing in Trump classified documents case” [ABC]. “The hearing, originally scheduled for Friday, July 14, will now occur on Tuesday, July 18.”

* * *

“DeSantis’s stumbles have GOP mulling other Trump alternatives” [The Hill]. “John Merrill, who served two terms as Alabama’s secretary of state, said, ‘Gov. DeSantis is in trouble.’ ‘There were high expectations for Gov. DeSantis and his team when they entered the race. I think they were confident they were going to be the Trump-lite alternative,’ he said. ‘What I mean by that is having the same emphasis that President Trump had, having the same following that President Trump [had]. But the problem is he didn’t have a ground game in place that was able to allow him to continuously mature [Trump-inclined supporters] to make them the kind of supporters that he had to have,’ Merrill added. ‘It’s a major problem for him. He waited too long because I think that he anticipated that people were just waiting on him to be the guy to come out and beat Trump and that is obviously not the case,’ added Merrill, who hasn’t endorsed a candidate but plans to support Trump.” But: “[Former New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg (R)] suggested a candidate like Youngkin could enter the race late and still have a chance of beating Trump in New Hampshire for two reasons. ‘New Hampshire is notoriously late deciding. We can be two weeks from a major election, especially the primaries, and we don’t know who’s going to win. Very late-deciding voters,’ he said. ‘The second is there isn’t going to be a serious Democratic [presidential primary] race up here … That means we’re going to have a huge independent vote in the Republican Primary, huge. Independents outnumber both the Democrats and Republicans up here,’ he said. ‘So a late entrant, who’s a legitimate, viable person who comes here and takes the time to meet people, I think they’re still viable.'” • Taking time to meet people implies a ground game, however. The “late entrant” would have to have done some stealthy work beforehand….

“Why Trump’s Republican rivals should focus on New Hampshire, not Iowa” [Harry Enten, CNN]. “owa, it turns out, has not been very good at picking Republican nominees for president. In primary seasons since 1980 that didn’t feature a GOP incumbent, the Iowa winner went on to win the nomination two times. Both times, that candidate had been the national front-runner prior to his Iowa win (Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000). Five other Iowa winners did not become the nominee. One reason Iowa hasn’t done nearly as well at predicting nominees is that socially conservative candidates often appeal to the state’s religious conservative base. Religious conservatives tend to have an outsize influence in the Hawkeye State compared with other states…. New Hampshire has had a significantly better track record. Republican primary voters there have picked the eventual nominee in five out of seven elections since 1980 without an incumbent GOP president. This includes the last three primary seasons without an incumbent, while Iowa, at the same time, has gone 0 for 3… New Hampshire GOP primary voters are usually more moderate than their counterparts in Iowa…. Trump has also been weaker among demographic groups who make up a larger share of the New Hampshire Republican electorate.”

* * *

“Doug Burgum is about to drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on gift cards to qualify for the debate” [Politico]. “The North Dakota governor’s presidential campaign is offering $20 cards to donors who give his campaign as little as $1. It’s a bold and expensive fundraising tactic designed squarely to allow him to hit the donor threshold to qualify for the debate stage — while also raising a new set of legal questions. The effort — billed in a fundraising text as an attempt to “help ease the burden of Bidenflation” — is a sign of just how unafraid Burgum is to dip into his personal wealth as he seeks the Republican Party’s nomination. It also reflects the difficulties of lesser-known candidates in reaching the Republican National Committee’s donor threshold to qualify for upcoming debates. The Burgum campaign’s WinRed page indicated gift cards would be available for up to 50,000 donors — enough to make the August debate stage at a cost of $950,000 to the campaign if all donors only gave $1. A donor can only receive one gift card. His campaign said on Twitter that 50,000 people who donated would receive Visa or Mastercard gift cards at their mailing addresses.” • Admirably simple and direct.

“Ramaswamy offers commission payments to supporters who fundraise for him” [The Hill]. “Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on Monday announced he’s offering a 10 percent commission to supporters who fundraise for his 2024 campaign. ‘A small oligopoly of political fundraisers is already making an ungodly amount of $$ on this election. It’s disgusting. I’m breaking up that cartel,’ Ramaswamy said on Twitter. ‘Today we’re launching the Vivek Kitchen Cabinet: starting today, *anyone* can fundraise for the Vivek 2024 campaign & make a 10% commission. If someone else is getting rich on this, it might as well be you. Let’s go,’ he said… Ramaswamy said people in the program will ‘have a special relationship’ with him and that he’ll be calling participants to let them know how to be ‘most effective.’ Participants will get a unique link to share with donors in order to earn the commission.” • A “special relationship”? Why not, I suppose….

* * *

“Tucker Carlson to host GOP presidential primary forum with 5 candidates” [New York Post]. “Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson will host a Republican presidential primary forum in Iowa on Friday that will include five candidates, according to Blaze Media. The forum will notably not include the 2024 GOP front-runner, former President Donald Trump, who has indicated he is considering skipping debates because of his double-digit lead in the polls… Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and former Vice President Mike Pence will participate in the forum, which will be held at the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 14.”

“Scoop: GOP plan targets foreign dark money for 2024” [Axios]. “Conservative groups are zeroing in on [Hansjörg Wyss, a Swiss billionaire] as a poster child for how wealthy foreign billionaires can influence U.S. elections, alleging that he has pumped $475 million into the U.S. political system. In 2021 alone, his Berger Action Fund gave some $72 million to a dozen different nonprofit organizations, including the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which advocates for progressive causes, according to the Associated Press and tax filings. Those 501(c)(4) nonprofits, like the Sixteen Thirty Fund, can give directly to superPACs that support the Democratic agenda, the New York Times has reported. ‘The problem is that c4’s are a bit of a black box when it comes to campaign finance laws,’ said Saurav Ghosh, the director of the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington-based nonpartisan watchdog group….” • Republican examples from 2018 and 2016. Democrat examples from 2002.

* * *

Keeping the camera on Biden that long is brutal:

My father didn’t walk like that when he was Biden’s age….

* * *

“Opinion: Biden has a Kennedy problem” [CNN]. “Kennedy, an environmental lawyer turned anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist, is polling between 10 and 20% nationally. And he keeps gaining significant media attention, from a lengthy profile in New York Magazine to his appearance on Joe Rogan’s popular podcast… The biggest problem, however, has to do with the primary calendar. At the end of last year, Biden switched the Democratic primary schedule to put South Carolina first. But New Hampshire is refusing to cede its historic spot, pointing to a state law that stipulates the Granite State must hold its primary one week before all the others. As a result, Biden might not even appear on the New Hampshire ballot, effectively ceding the state to Kennedy and author and speaker Marianne Williamson. If Kennedy sails to victory, this could cause a fallout reminiscent to what President Lyndon B. Johnson faced in 1968, when Sen. Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota came in a strong second in New Hampshire. McCarthy’s success partly contributed to Johnson’s shock announcement weeks later that he would not, in fact, run for reelection.”

Cornel West asking for my vote (mrsyk):

W. E. B. Du Bois making a very early call, too….

* * *

Democrats en Déshabillé

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

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Where does the legitimacy of citizen conventions come from?” [Equality by Lot]. “In France we have already had two citizen conventions: the first in 2020, dealing with the climate, the second very recently, dealing with end-of-life issues. But where does legitimacy of such institutions come from? Why should we trust 150 allotted citizens? This question is fundamental: citizen conventions are being established, in France and abroad, as a component of representative democracies. Let’s quickly recall the procedure: draw at random several dozens, or even hundreds of individuals, who then meet regularly, for several months, until they formulate their recommendations on the question with which they are dealing. This is what we would like to clarify. Why should we accept that a handful of citizens, selected by chance, would be vested with the power to influence the decisions on subjects that concern all, without us being able to say a word about it, whereas we already have our elected bodies? As unfamiliar as it may seem, sortition has in fact two essential virtues. The first, it is representative of society: if the participants are allotted in a well fashioned way, and that is far from always being the case, then we will mechanically generate an assembly that resembles France. It would contain as many workers, young people, women, as the general population. The allow introducing into the public discussion the contribution of people whom we rarely hear. That, obviously, is a democratic virtue. But that is not all. The second virtue of sortition is independence. The participants do not owe their place to anything other than chance. They don’t have to worry about being reelected.” • Interesting!


“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; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); 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: anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

* * *


Seattle Children’s lets the cat out of the bag:

Yes, it’s possible to detect a smile on a masked face. Who knew, except all of Asia? Sadly, however–

Since “I want to see your smile” isn’t a factor, some other factor must be in play.

Masks as fashion:


“Association Between the COVID-19 Pandemic and Early Childhood Development” [JAMA]. From the Abstract: “The findings of this study showed an association between exposure to the pandemic and delayed childhood development at age 5 years. Variations in development widened during the pandemic regardless of age. It is important to identify children with developmental delays associated with the pandemic and provide them with support for learning, socialization, physical and mental health, and family support.”

“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.

* * *

* * *

Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data, July 10:

Lambert here: Still a trend upward. Happy July 4! Absent a new variant to race though the dry tinder, I don’t see an oncoming debacle even with July 4 travel. But plenty of people will still get sick (again).

Regional data:

If you look at yesterday’s Biobot regional data, you’ll see that the data for both the West and the South has been retrospectively revised (upwardly).

Regional variant data:

Whatever the cause of the uptick in the Northeast, it’s not EG.5 (the orange pie slice), which seems evenly distributed.



Lambert here: EG.5 moving like a bat out of hell, showing unactionable nature (uselessness) of these CDC two-week-lag charts (here, and in positivity, too). They’re not even performative!

From CDC, June 24:

Lambert here: Not sure what to make of this. I’m used to seeing a new variant take down the previously dominant variant. Here it looks like we have a “tag team,” all working together to cut XBB.1.5 down to size. 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.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, July 1:

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, July 10:

5.7%. Going vertical, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say. Interestingly, these do not correlate with the regional figures for wastewater.

NOT UPDATED From CDC, June 19:

Lambert here: This is the CDC’s “Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance” data. They say “maps,” but I don’t see one….


NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, June 28:

Lambert here: The WHO data is worthless, so I replaced it with the Iowa Covid Data Tracker. Their method: “These data have been sourced, via the API from the CDC: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Conditions-Contributing-to-COVID-19-Deaths-by-Stat/hk9y-quqm. This visualization updates on Wednesday evenings. Data are provisional and are adjusted weekly by the CDC.” I can’t seem to get a pop-up that shows a total of the three causes (top right). Readers?

Total: 1,168,505 – 1,168,5021,168,414 = 3 (3 * 365 = 1,095 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

Excess deaths (The Economist), July 11:

Lambert here: This is now being updated daily. Odd. 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

Small Business Optimism: “United States Nfib Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the United States went up to a seven-month high of 91 in June 2023, beating again market expectations of 89.9. Among the key findings, 24% of owners reported that inflation was the single most important problem in operating their business, down 1 point from last month.”

* * *

“Ack! Twitter Account Hacked!” [Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture]. “Over the 36 hours since the hack took place, Twitter Support has been an exercise in frustration. From the new account, I filed an impersonation report, noting that my account was hacked and the new account (@Ritholtz) is what I am using to access support. They asked for a government ID, so maybe that’s a good sign. If there is a silver lining, its that this led me to change lots of passwords, add two-factor authentication1 (2FA) everywhere, and a separate digital authenticator. I am way too addicted to Twitter as a news/research tool and need to find backups.” • “Automated hellscapes” are not unknown in social media. Nevertheless.

Tech: “Mr. Zuckerberg, release the Facebook Files” [Jonathan Turley, The Hill]. “On the first day of the rollout, millions signed up, thanks in large part to Zuckerberg linking the new platform to Instagram. The censors also got to work right away. When people tried to follow Donald Trump Jr., they were met with a warning label: ‘Are you sure you want to follow donaldjtrumpjr? This account has repeatedly posted false information that was reviewed by independent fact-checkers or went against our Community Guidelines.’ Later, the company backed down after an outcry. But it was a telling moment. Andy Stone, who heads communications for Meta, wrote: ‘This was an error and shouldn’t have happened. It’s been fixed.’ But this was clearly a pre-established warning system, to be used to flag accounts disfavored by the company. It was ‘an error’ that would likely not have been ‘fixed,’ if not for the objections voiced on the first day of the rollout. The controversy itself was a warning that the company has activated its signature censorship system to influence or regulate viewpoints…. Facebook is the largest platform in the world, but so far it has steadfastly refused to offer the transparency of Twitter. If Zuckerberg is truly proud of his ‘sane’ approach to social media, he should not fear the release of information on the past coordination with federal and congressional offices. We assume that Facebook had the same backchannels that were established at Twitter, but the company has left the public entirely in the blind. That approach has made Meta one of the least transparent companies in the world on the scope and standards of censorship.” • Which is why liberal Democrats are signing up…..

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 78 Extreme Greed (previous close: 78 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 79 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 10 at 1:33 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 182. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most!


“87% Missing: The Disappearance Of Classic Video Games” [Video Game History Foundation]. “For accessing nearly 9 in 10 classic games, there are few options: seek out and maintain vintage collectible games and hardware, travel across the country to visit a library, or… piracy. None of those options are desirable, which means that most video games are inaccessible to all but the most diehard and dedicated fans. That’s pretty grim! This is where libraries and archives should come in. Anyone should be able to easily explore, research and play classic video games, in the same way that they can read classic novels, listen to classic albums, and watch classic movies. But outdated copyright laws are preventing institutions like ours from doing our jobs…. The next rulemaking proceeding under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (‘DMCA’), Title 17, section 1201, of the United States Code is scheduled for 2024. We’re hopeful that this study will incite change, and that video game preservation will become stronger — before we lose more.”

The Gallery

Van Gogh art bots re-appear, I suppose because he’s so popular:

“Master Watercolorists” [Harvard Magazine]. “ATERCOLORS, vulnerable to damage from overexposure, rarely leave climate-controlled museum storage vaults. Often, they are so delicately composed that what’s omitted can make the most dramatic visual impact, as in the case of John Singer Sargent’s 1917 Muddy Alligators. The famous portraitist was also a master watercolorist. In this case, Sargent traveled to Miami to render a pair of Rockefellers and became entranced by the tropical plant life and animals, producing, among other works, the primordial image of five reptiles lounging in the sun and shallows, says Nancy Kathryn Burns, Stoddard curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Worcester Art Museum (WAM), where the painting is now on display. “The weightiest thing in the work is the tonnage of these alligators in a swampy, lagoon-like setting. And yet they are almost exclusively composed of just the paper with minimal marks,” she says. “The most realized parts of the alligators are these staccato-like strokes that evoke the ridges of their backs. But you can feel their massive weight, their potential to lash out.” • Just like Peggy Noonan! Adding, I think two Rockefellers would be better re ferred to as “a brace,” rather than as “a pair.” Anyhow, Sargent’s alligators:

“Do painters subconsciously paint themselves into their work?” [Res Obscura]. “Ogni dipintore dipinge sé: ‘every painter paints themselves.’ The earliest attributed source for the quote is Cosimo de Medici (1389-1464), the Florentine powerbroker and arts patron. It seems to have rapidly become a proverbial expression, capturing something of the ambient folk wisdom of Renaissance Italy. Leonardo da Vinci, for one, discussed it at length in his Treatise on Painting. The tendency of painters to mirror themselves in their art was, da Vinci believed, one that revealed much not just about how the painter looked, but how they thought. Art historians have written about this idea, which they call automimesis, for well over a century. They’ve uncovered a surprisingly complex history involving Aristotle’s theory of personality and Neo-Platonic philosophy (here is a good article on the topic, and here’s a new book on “the Involuntary Self-Portrait”).”

Class Warfare

“In The Grip of Necrocapitalism” [George Tsakraklides]. “At the most fundamental level, a life form is defined as an entity which can replicate itself. Our economic system is so efficient, so adaptable and vicious in its search for profit, that it partially fulfils the criteria to be classified not only as a life form all to itself, but also as a semi-sentient one. Nothing can kill it, not even its creators, who have become both servants and dependents within it. This system has proven to be the ultimate predatory life form: able to survive on scraps here and there, and even eat itself if it needs to. Most of all, it can feed on death itself… In order to avoid a pointless, philosophical and narcissistically human-centric debate on the sentience or not of this system, I will resort for now to refer to it as the ‘Thing’, also to avoid direct comparisons to DNA-based biological life forms. Some people, including myself, may at times refer to the Thing as capitalism. Others may refer to it as a form of artificial intelligence. The big problem with the Thing is that it is by definition self-destructive. It is a resource-syphoning system driven by profit and efficiency alone, aimed at maximum utilization of resources to the point of exhaustion. Regardless of how one describes it or names it, the economic system humans have created has taken over and now has a mind of its own.” • A paperclip maximizer.

News of the Wired

I am not feeling wired today. Perhaps tomorrow!

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

wol writes: “Catawba rhododendrons, Occoneechee Mountain, central piedmont, NC. Native to the mountains of western NC.”

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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. Mikel

    “Kennedy, an environmental lawyer turned anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist…”

    I would think “anti-vaccine” means against vaccines.
    But ridiculous propagandizing nitwits are careful to never mention what are very SPECIFIC questions about SPECIFIC pharma products.

      1. Monkey Paws

        He had said over and over again that he’s not against vaccines, but he is for choice in getting vaccines and for more research that’s not crippled by the pharmaceutical industry.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        Everytime I get a chance to look at what he actually has said/written, it’s not anti-vax. Understanding that, however, requires understanding that Big Pharma lies. Blurry on details but the “mercury thiomersal” RFK Jr objected to was removed from vaccines by the manufacturers. That they universally removed it speaks more loudly than their denials.

        We live in a weird world where nothing really happens unless you can prove it, and when you do they ignore you. If you don’t go away, they call you names.

      3. Objective Ace

        Citation?.. making sh*t up? You may well be right, but he hasnt come out and said this. (that I’ve ever seen at least) He has come out with specific concerns and examples that do deserve more attention. If those are ever addressed we can see if he shuts up or if he keeps on going down the rabbit hole

        1. nippersdad

          His views as expressed at his town hall:


          I think his issue is about the long term consequences of vaccines. What he appears to be asking for is peer reviewed, long tern, double blind studies on the vaccine schedule for kids. IIRC, and I cannot put my finger on it at the moment, he has also said that all of his kids have been vaccinated. The whole issue is quite a bit more nuanced than the “t”‘s of the world would have us believe.

          I had the chickenpox vaccine and got chicken pox anyway. Then, sixty years later, I got shingles as well. My MMR at thirty had me raving in bed for a week after I got it. I don’t really have a position on the issue, but it is clear to me that more testing is needed, if only to avoid more of the opiod epidemic type things that should never have been an issue.

          No one doubts that we have a pervasive culture of corporate capture in other arenas, and it should come as no surprise that we may have one in the drug industry as well. I think the whole thing is suspiciously overblown.

      1. chris

        That’s really it, isn’t it? The DNC seems like it’s behind Biden. There’s clearly some other interests, the Pentagon?, who do not want Biden to run again but unless the DNC gives up no one else is going to get the nomination. This is all just one big exercise in frustration and sheep herding.

        I plan on voting for Cornell West regardless. I don’t even agree with him on everything. I just appreciate what he says and his clarity of purpose. His morals. His stance on so many important issues. Since he’s green party I will get to vote for him where I live. Unless the Dems kill that…

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Kennedy problem–

    Two hit pieces have come out on Kennedy in the last 24 hours, and neither of them comes from LibDem source.

    The first is a video coming from Reason magazine, the same folks that hosted that friendly little get together with RFKjr a week or so ago. This new release is a ten-minute hatchet job drawing from that interview and other sources. The piece is a bit strange in that it repeatedly puts Kennedy statements on the screen that are true if off-narrative.

    I was intrigued about why this Randian outfit would be so determined to get RFK. Since when were Ayn’s acolytes big on vaccine mandates? They’re out front about their alarm at the fact that many Libertarians are attracted to Kennedy’s candidacy, but this may also be a factor:

    The Reason Foundation is funded by donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. The foundation does not disclose its donors, but tax filings confirm donations from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation ($1.7 million in 2017), 10 the Searle Freedom Trust ($905,000 in 2018), 11 and the Dunn Foundation ($875,000 in 2013).

    That’s Searle of G. D. Searle, a wholly owned subsidiary of….Pfizer!

    The second hit came from the Murdochs’ New York Post. The NYP posted an article by Jerry Oppenheimer, the author of a 2016 book whose approach is apparent from the title: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Dark Side of the Dream. This time in the NYP, Oppenheimer is focusing on Kennedy’s academic career in the piece titled “RFK Jr., his brilliant Harvard roommate and the mystery of who really wrote his A+ thesis.” The headline claim is based on this short paragraph:

    Back at Harvard, the writing was completed and it was accepted by the university; Kennedy boasted that he was awarded “cum plus,” the equivalent of an A with honors.

    Oppenheimer may have written a book about Kennedy, but he never bothered to research how a Harvard senior thesis is graded, either when he wrote his book or when he submitted this article to the Post. It’s true that Harvard senior theses are not graded using an A-F system, and it’s true that the thesis grading system does allow for pluses and minuses, but Oppenheimer has the ranking upside down. Theses are graded: summa cum laude; magna cum laude; and cum laude, with summa being the highest. A “cum +” thesis would be the rough equivalent of a B not an “A+.” If Kennedy’s “brilliant Harvard roommate,” the late journalist Gabe Kaplan, was really the author of Kennedy’s senior thesis, I doubt he would ever own up to it because of “cum +” is not something to brag about.

    In other words, Oppenheimer is a hack making money off Kennedy hatred and jealousy.

    So why is Rupert’s newspaper attacking Kennedy after Fox News has been quite friendly to him? Maybe again, it’s those Big Pharma ads.

    Kennedy has the right enemies.

  3. griffen

    A shout out for the Occoneechee Mountain plantidote. My initial, instinctive guess was correct; that it’s in the proximity of Hillsborough, NC. Not too far away from an 18 hole public golf (almost municipal like in several ways) course that back when I walked 18 holes, or even 27, on a weekend was quite pleasant and not overly expensive either, during the late 1990s.

    1. nippersdad

      It is a beautiful plantidote, but it looks a lot like a mountain laurel to me. The bracts are smaller, and you can just see the rays inside the petals.

      1. GramSci

        I thought so too, so I pointed my iNaturalist Seek app at the screen, and up popped “Mountain Laurel”. Of course HIllsborough, NC might be just far enough from me here in Outer Pentagonia to have its own common species name.

        1. nippersdad

          It is actually a very common plant up in the higher elevations of the Appalachians in much the same way as are the Rhodies. I planted some next to our catawbas, years ago, and they look so similar that it would be very difficult to tell them apart, especially young ones, were they not in bloom.

          They just hate the heat, though, so down here on the coccyx of the Appalachians we have to baby them just to keep them alive. That one looks very happy.

      2. Carolinian

        I have some Mountain Laurel in my front yard. I have lots of shade though.

        We grow all the same stuff as China latitude Asia and Japan. Just add Pandas (and Bamboo). Our now departed local textile tycoon created an arboretum with lots of Asian trees.

    2. wol

      Catawba rhododendron is from the park website. Some neighbors insist they’re Mountain Laurel.

      The ‘mountain’ is, I think, the highest point in the NC piedmont. The blooms in question line a narrow winding path from toes to overhead for about 200 yards. You can’t see anything else but why would you look? They bloom here around (KY) Derby day, first Saturday in May IIRC.

  4. NotTimothyGeithner

    suggested a candidate like Youngkin could enter the race late a

    If this is where they are, its Trump. Youngkin and the state GOP used a convention instead of an open primary to avoid having him face GOP voters. Youngkin’s win was in a rigged process and against Terry Mac.

  5. nippersdad

    It is interesting to see so many people (Cornell West, Scott Ritter) suddenly saying that Russia has been using cluster munitions when no one has mentioned them except Patrick Lawrence in his reports on Ukraine shelling Donetsk City with petal mines. I have been trying to find the original allegation of Russia using cluster munitions, and the only source that I have heard of, and I have yet to find it myself, was a report from NBC.

    As I have less than zero faith in anything that NBC has to say on the matter, is there something out there that I have missed?

    1. GramSci

      I was also a little disappointed to hear Cornel, in his appeal to mrsyk, categorize Russia’s self-defense as criminality. I know he’s running for President, but I know he’s not going to win, and he should know that too. So why not speak the truth?

      I suppose the Green Party might demand it, just like Howie Hawkins was big into Putin-bashing back in 2020. I’m still disappointed.

      1. nippersdad

        Agreed. I feel like, and this is just speculation, he may have some of the same blind spots that Bernie had. He is spectacular when you are talking about the American justice movements and how they intersect in places like South Africa or Palestine, but if you get him off of his home turf he reverts to the received wisdom.

        He has already moved quite a ways from his initial views of the “unprovoked” nature of the Ukraine war, and that may be a result of the kind of podcasts he has been exposing himself to; the Revolutionary Black Network, in particular, seems to do a lot of pushback on that kind of thing.

        Once he gets into the weeds of Minsk, R2P and Russia having negotiated right up until they found Ukraine was about to invade the Donbass (again), he may change his tune about that.

      2. Acacia

        West is an academic.

        How many academics in the circle of R1 universities have not succumbed to Putin Derangement Syndrome?

    2. mrsyk

      The language around cluster munitions is carefully parsed. Has Russia used cluster munitions? Don’t know. It’s a safe place to start a public opposition to the US sending them to the Ukraine. It can always be amended. The tweet, to me, is impressive as it speaks the unspeakable of NATO and their plans of expansion as a responsible party to the conflict. That is an enormous leap forward to the public discussion.

      1. Paradan

        This is a list of Russian cluster munitions, it may contain errors.

        Air Dropped bombs:
        RBK-250-PTAB (AT cluster)
        RBK-500-PTAB (AT cluster)
        RBK-500-BetAB (Anti-Runway bomblets)
        RBK-500-ZAB (Incendiary cluster)
        PBK-500U-SPBR-K (some kind of guided AT cluster bomb)

        Ballistic Missiles:
        Iskander-M can shoot 9M723 cluster munition of unknown type
        Tochka-U can shoot 9M79F-1 DP cluster (this is what Ukraine fired at Donbass a couple times)

        9A53-G Tornado-G 122mm MLRS has 2 types, 9M217 (AT cluster), and 9M218 (HE cluster)
        and now for the confusing part…
        9A53-S Tornado-S, 9A52-4 Tornado, BM-27MS Smerch, and the BM-30 Smerch can all fire the 300mm 9M55K DPICM

        So the reason I nerded out is so that if you see claims of Russia using cluster bombs at some village or whatever, you can try to check if these weapons are available to the Russian units in the area.

        1. mrsyk

          Thank you. I probably don’t have the tools or chops to perform that sort autopsy, but others here might.

  6. nippersdad

    For anyone who remembers how vicious Basil Smikle was during both of Sanders’ campaigns, he was one of the foremost Clinton attack dogs during the 16′ campaign in particular, this was an interesting piece on how he is finding himself constrained WRT Cornell West’s campaign this time.


    It is kind of fun to see him just nod along with his Republican apparatchik counterpart. Maybe attacking the black guy, in light of their recent sub-optimal performances in WI, will alter their calculations this time.

  7. Mikel

    Meta-Facebook is doing a Twitter remake and Apple is doing a Google Glass remake.

    They must be taking cues from Hollywood with their sequels. “Innovation”

    BTW: what ever happened to the iCar? Guess getting into the finance business was too irresistable foe Apple. Rentierism rules.

    Is it all fintech on some level?

  8. LawnDart

    (Almost) Daily Derailment(s):

    Amtrak train derails in Washington Union Station tunnel entrance

    A derailed Amtrak train halted service on Tuesday morning, obstructing the railways between Union Station in Washington, D.C., and the station in Alexandria, Virginia.

    The Washington Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department confirmed the train derailed in a tunnel at the entrance to Union Station, located at 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE. The incident was “minor in nature,” and no injuries were reported. However, EMS is evaluating one person on board, and an Amtrak employee was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

    Planes, trains, and…

    Montana Rail Link moves Boeing plane parts past derailment site

    Boeing is ensuring its plane parts get through Montana to its plants near Seattle after the train derailment and bridge collapse near Reed Point.

    Truck drivers brought the fuselages about six miles on Interstate 90 to Reed Point beginning on Friday.

    Crane operators lifted fuselages and rail cars off the trucks and lowered them back onto wheels on the tracks.


    737 fuselages, btw.

  9. ThirtyOne

    “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Dark Side of the Dream”
    This title is a nice riff on the political assassinations of the 1960s.
    or a veiled threat, lol.

  10. Boomheist

    This is for Lambert, if he sees it, because he has been doing a hero’s duty documenting and following Covid issues. There seems to be a slightly schizophrenic tilt to the Covid discussion here – one side or point of view, I believe buttressed by data and studies reported by Lambert, that holds that the vaccines overall reduce seriousness of illness and death, and while their ability to prevent infection or reinfection diminishes over time, nevertheless on a population wide basis the benefits of taking the vaccines are clear. However there is another point of view, which has enormous coverage in social media, arguing as a minimum that vaccines often cause bad side effects which are not reported all the way to arguing that excess deaths and everything bad about Covid is not from the Covid but instead the poisons that are the vaccines. There appears to be enormous anecdotal evidence that vaccine impacts are ignored, and the data never entered in the tracking systems, and hence the vaccine dangers are underreported and a huge crisis. So which is it? Are the vaccines helpful or are they a scourge?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Are the vaccines helpful or are they a scourge?

      In my view, both can be true, and in the case of the American mRNA non-sterilizing Covid vaccines, so-called, and very much opposed to China’s killed virus vaccines, or nasal vaccines, or whatever it is they’re doing in Cuba, and especially the MMR childhood vaccines, are true. It’s also not an accident that the discourse focuses mostly only on vax/anti-vax, as opposed to the larger consequences of Covid as an illness, and especially as opposed to non-pharmaceutical (i.e., not rentier-driven) interventions (NPIs).

      I am not a vaccine maven. Aerosol tranmission is my beat. FWIW, I do think that the mRNA vaccines when introduced netted out extremely positive*. Many more lives saved than lost. That said, more lives were lost than should have been. What was unconscionable was the mandates, because the speed with which the mRNA vaccines were (necessarily!) developed precluded more than the minimum of real-world experience required. We mandated what we should not have (the vaccines) and did not mandate what we should have (NPIs). That was a policy debacle, and the damage done to the very concept of public health will take years to undo, if that is even possible. Hope this helps.

      NOTE * Most of my vax views are anchored when the mRNA vaccines were first introduced, so I’m not really up on vaccine escape, the length of time immunity is conferred, etc. “Vax and relax” is, of course, idiocy, and the Biden administration’s policy of mass in fection without mitigation (since Covid vax does not prevent transmission) ought to land Biden, Walensky, Fauci, Zeints, etc. in the Hague.

  11. Jason Boxman

    In Phoenix, Heat Becomes a Brutal Test of Endurance

    Terrifying stuff.

    A relentless heat wave is broiling the Southwest, with some 50 million people across the United States now facing dangerous temperatures. Forecasters say that the current streak of consecutive 110-degree days may end up being the longest Phoenix has ever seen, potentially breaking an 18-day record set in 1974.

    The number of extreme heat days is also growing. In the early 1900s, Phoenix averaged five days a year with temperatures of 110 degrees or higher, according to Erinanne Saffell, the state’s climatologist. In recent years, the city has sweltered through an average of 27 110-degree days a year.

    As the positive feedback cycle accelerates, we’re all in for a world, no pun intended, of hurt.

    1. albrt

      I’m in Phoenix. Just got back from a bike ride. It’s hot here, but the weather spokesmodels are also lying. Today’s forecast on the ABC affiliate, for example, was word for word the same as yesterday’s, even though the monsoon circulation has finally started to kick up and it was cloudy much of the day, so there should have been lots of interesting things to discuss. The past few days it got to about 107 and stayed there in the afternoon (this is normal) but every day we somehow eked out a 110 maximum to keep the streak alive.

      I’m not a climate denier, but record high temperatures in the middle of summer in Phoenix are actually somewhat hard to exceed. The changes are much more noticeable in the winter. I do not regard the record temperature narrative currently on the Teevee as very credible.

      1. Carolinian

        Let us know when they close Sky Harbor because too hot to create enough lift. I’m told Sunday it was 117.

      2. Peerke

        Have to say that I agree. It is hot alright but pretty normal for this time of year. So far this year has been on the cool side. When I was back in the UK last week there was much talk of the heat wave that had just passed and how little rain there has been for a while now – yet I had the impression there’s a lot of conflating weather with climate change, then my father says “You can’t find any large King Edwards in the Shops these days – all you see are one to two inch in diameter as opposed to three or four”. King Eddies being a type of spud peculiar to England. That got me thinking – pick a staple like a spud as a proxy for climate change rather than weather maybe? Tater change denialism is harder to justify.

  12. The Rev Kev

    ‘My father didn’t walk like that when he was Biden’s age…’

    He walks like the little train that could. Even walking Biden causes controversy. He was with King Charles a few days ago inspecting the troops so Biden walked in front of Charles in a breach of protocol. Either Biden was just out of it or else being the bully that he is he was showing the Brits who was really in charge of them.

    1. chris

      Here’s another bit that’s going to be in the media sooner or later. Another instance of Biden just seeming confused, which will either be further evidence that he’s a demented fool or just being careful, depending on your perspective.

    2. petal

      He also pulled the narcissist power move of putting his other hand on KCIII’s arm and holding it there. It’s an intentional breach of personal space in order to show power and control. KCIII looked down at it like “wtf are you doing?” I really regret not sticking my foot out into the aisle back in 2019. Maybe things would be very different today.

      1. c_heale

        Neither Charles or Biden deserve any respect. They are decrepit old men who have a lot of undeserved money and/or power.

    3. Pat

      All of the actions with Charles were awkward with many breeches of protocol. I’ve watched a few videos and ’ actions are most interesting. In less than five minutes of time from introduction, Charles had already figured out and adapted to the notion that Biden didn’t have a clue and was going to need to be led or directed. He was clearly handling Biden most of the time.

      As for Biden’s gait. Yes he has that barely lifting the knees and feet walk which for me comes from balance questions. What I don’t get is the upper body stiffness. He barely moves his arms and the torso and neck have no ease. I don’t know if he has a bad back or neck, but something isn’t right.

  13. Jason Boxman

    This country is a joke.

    He subverted foreign agent registration laws in the United States to seek to promote Chinese policies,” said Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, adding: “He acted as a broker in deals for dangerous weapons and Iranian oil, and he told multiple lies about his crimes to law enforcement.”

    No. Not Joe Biden, the Big Guy.

    In an eight-count indictment, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York accused Gal Luft, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, of violating the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Agents Registration Act in brokering arms deals between Chinese companies, Iran and countries in the Middle East.

    And it just so happens;

    The co-director of a Maryland-based research group who claims to have damaging information about Hunter Biden has been charged with arms trafficking, sanctions violations and acting as an unregistered agent for China, according to a federal indictment unsealed on Monday.


  14. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “In The Grip of Necrocapitalism”
    The idea that the economy has many of the qualities of a lifeform is a peculiar variant of the kinds of speculation William Gibson explored in some of his novels: Sprawl Trilogy contrasts the transhuman nature of multibillionaire Josef Virek, with the Tessier-Ashpool clan and the inhuman nature of large corporations and the motivations of AI. However, I think the link discussion greatly oversimplifies the structure of the inhuman entities moving Humankind toward the brink. I think of the economy as one environment inhabited and controlled by inhuman entities. I believe the government is another environment. The virgin birth of the economy from the invention of money seems to ignore the decadal efforts of the human adherents to the quasi-religious doctrines of the Neoliberal Market, operating through networks of Think Tanks, University Economics departments, co-option of government, and capture of government regulation.

    Instead of the economy, I would identify Corporate Cartels, and Private Enterprises like the Cargill Company, and various Government Agencies, primarily components of the Military Industrial Complex as the primary inhuman entities driving Humankind toward the brink. The Corporate and Business Enterprises appear motivated by monetary profits and market expansion and to a lesser degree control and power, whereas the Government Agencies are motivated by control and power and monetary profits to a lesser extent. There are also a class of variously inhuman human oligarchs with mixes of motivation. To me, the most frightening characteristics of these inhuman entities are their inhuman motivations, power, autonomy, and virtual immortality — at least while members of Humankind remain to rebuild their bodies.

  15. Wukchumni

    A hundred and hell is here for the next week with a 3-day 110 degree skein over the weekend, the torrid type that bakes the native grasses and flowers which died back with their roots on, looking to catch on now as a fire stimulant.

    Was I a bit freaked out by Canada being so combustible in June in places i’d largely never heard of well north of the population?

    I’ve spent the past month weed whacking & pruning off newly expired lower limbs on trees, and having done it previously a few years ago, there is an awful amount of sacrificial limbs that the trees gave up on in the punishing 3 year drought, and add in high dead grasses which are bunched together tighter than i’ve ever seen, and its as if Mother Nature is keen on doing some exterior decorating.

    1. mrsyk

      Yikes. I’ve got work to do in that department as well, but first, here in the southern Green Mountains of VT that I call home, we’ve just been subjected to biblical rain Sunday and Monday causing all sorts of misery. Today hit 90 with full sun causing intense humidity haze as the sun reclaimed what moisture it could lay its greedy little rays on.

    2. Glen

      I have found this to work well for chipping up all the down branches, shrubs, etc:


      All that goes into a compost pile or used as bedding for our critters.

      And if it gets too big for that, it goes through this, and on to the wood pile to heat the house:


      We’re also putting in a roof rain water collection system that can be used to fight fires. I doubt if I could stop a huge fire, but we’ll give it a try if we have to. But yeah, the thought of a big fire scares the willies out of me.

  16. Carolinian

    Latest Construction Physics–the rise and fall of mail order houses

    In some cases, mail-order homes were used to build entire towns of dozens or even hundreds of homes. In 1914, DuPont ordered 61 homes from Aladdin for a town it built near its munitions plant in Virginia. In 1917, Aladdin delivered 252 homes to Birmingham, England, as worker housing for the Austin Motor Company. Sears sold homes for company towns to Standard Oil, Bethlehem steel, and other companies (a check for $1,000,000 from Standard Oil for homes was reportedly the largest check Sears had ever received from a customer to that point), and Montgomery Ward advertised its several dozen corporate customers. Mail-order industrial housing proved so popular that Aladdin created a special industrial catalog, offering to fabricate anything from single homes to complete cities, including schools, stores, churches, banks, and other necessary buildings, along with water and sewer services.


    Buster Keaton did a satire of this. One advantage was you didn’t need power tools–everything pre-sawn.

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