2:00PM Water Cooler 7/24/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, some orts and scraps on Covid, of which there was a plethora of news over the weekend, will be coming. Also, my “f” key seems not to be repairable without taking it in to an Apple Store, so in the meantime I installed Karabiner, which is a lot more slick than the version I first tried several years ago, and mapped F3 to “f.” So now I can abandon my list of lower- and uppercase “f”‘s, and a whole bunch of “f words,” like “Foreign Affairs” and “Class Warfare” that I was cumbersomely copying and pasting from the list into my posts. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Eurasian Nightjar, Swallow Moss, Staffordshire, England, United Kingdom. “Dawn song; Non-vocal; Song.” Lots going on here, including a cuckoo!

* * *


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

Capitol Seizure

Biden Administration

“Top AI companies agree to work together toward transparency and safety, White House says ” [NBC]. “Seven leading artificial intelligence companies have agreed to a handful of industry best practices, a first step toward more meaningful regulation, the White House announced Thursday. The companies — Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft and OpenAI — have agreed to the principles that include security, transparency with the public and testing of their products internally before debuting them to the public…. The seven companies have each agreed to hire independent experts [ka-ching] to probe their systems for vulnerabilities and to share information they discover with each other, governments and researchers, a White House official said on Wednesday. They also agreed to develop so-called “watermarking” mechanisms to help users identify when content they see or hear is generated by AI. The commitments are voluntary and are not binding.” • Dudes, come on.

Our Famously Free Press

“Tucker Carlson lets Andrew Tate rant about how society wants ‘the woman in charge and the man with no backbone'” [Daily Mail]. “Carlson traveled to Romania to interview Tate, a British-American former MMA fighter turned reality TV star, who has now carved out a career spouting misogynistic commandments and teaching men to be ‘real men’. The former Fox News host – who on June 6 launched his show on Twitter – allowed Tate, 36, to rant unchallenged about a woman’s place in society. Tate, who is currently under arrest in Romania, awaiting trial, said that he had heard the story of a man who allowed his porn star wife to have sex with another man, a male porn star. Tate said: ‘This is what the matrix wants from you as a man. ‘They want the woman in charge, and the man below with no backbone. ‘Because if the woman is in charge, they can emotionally affect her. ‘They can scare her. ‘You can scare a woman easier than you can scare a man. ‘A real man is hard to scare.'” • Gad. Worth a trip to Romania? Really? (I should have linked to this last week, but there was a lot going on….)

“CNN Town Halls Do Democracy No Favors” [FAIR]. “After its embarrassing town hall with Donald Trump, which helped precipitate the downfall of chair and CEO Chris Licht (FAIR.org, 6/8/23), CNN has doubled down on the format—at least for Republican candidates. Since Trump’s May 10 appearance, the network has featured GOP candidates Nikki Haley (6/4/23), Mike Pence (6/7/23) and Chris Christie (6/12/23), with more promised. Curiously, however, no offers to Democratic or third party candidates have been announced, which prompts the question: What purpose do these town halls serve?… But the problem goes beyond Trump. Trump’s challengers have all broken with the former president to some degree, though few will risk alienating his followers by forcefully denouncing his lies. Still, they represent a slightly more reality-based GOP than Trump, such that their town hall appearances might be expected to meet the extremely low bar of not being as filled with disinformation as Trump’s. Yet CNN‘s own factchecks of its subsequent GOP town halls showed Haley, Pence and Christie were permitted numerous falsehoods without real-time challenge by their journalist hosts.” • “[P]ermitted numerous falsehoods.” Ukraine, RussiaGate, the Twitter Files… I fail to be impressed by this pearl-clutching, even from FAIR, which I like.


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Five questions around Trump’s looming indictment” [The Hill]. What will the charges be? If Trump is charged, is it a ‘speaking’ indictment? How does the timing of a trial fit in with the 2024 campaign? Will Biden and the Democrats gloat if Trump is indicted? What will the impact be on the 2024 election?

“Donald Trump Is Running to Stay Out of Prison. Say It, Democrats!” [Michael Tomasky, The New Republic]. “As in a cheap tapestry that unravels if you pull on one thread, everything here is connected. For example: Part of Trump’s plan to destroy democracy is no doubt to figure out a way to make himself president for life. Did you notice Trump’s praise for Xi Jinping last week in his sit-down with Sean Hannity? ‘Think of President Xi. Central casting, brilliant guy. You know, when I say he’s brilliant, everyone says, ‘Oh that’s terrible.’ Well, he runs 1.4 billion people with an iron fist. Smart, brilliant, everything perfect.’ …. What are the advantages of being president for life? Free housing, free travel, endless opportunities to grift your gullible followers, all the Thousand Island dressing you could dream of. But the biggest perk of all? No one can throw your corrupt ass in jail…. In sum: The time to get Trump is now….. The law will do what the law does. But in terms of politics, the Democrats have to keep all this front and center and just repeat over and over again that Trump has four places he might be living two years hence: Mar-a-Lago, the White House, a federal prison, or (a bit of a long shot, but not impossible) a Russian dacha along the Black Sea just south of lovely Gelendzhik. He’s running for president to stay out of the slammer. That’s about as lofty as this gangster’s historical aspirations get.” • I’m so old I remember when Michael Tomasky didn’t froth at the mouth…

“DeSantis camp briefs donors, pledges to ‘Let Ron be Ron'” [Politico]. • See, there’s your problem.

* * *

“Hunter Biden put then-VP dad Joe on the phone with business associates at least 2 dozen times, ex-partner Devon Archer to testify” [New York Post]. “Hunter Biden would dial in his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, on speakerphone into meetings with his overseas business partners, according to testimony expected before Congress this week from Devon Archer, the first son’s former best friend. Archer, 48, who is facing jail for his role in a $60 million bond fraud, is scheduled to testify to the House Oversight Committee about meetings he witnessed that were attended by Joe Biden either in person or via speakerphone when Hunter would call his father and introduce him to foreign business partners or prospective investors. ‘We are looking forward very much to hearing from Devon Archer about all the times he has witnessed Joe Biden meeting with Hunter Biden’s overseas business partners when he was vice president, including on speakerphone,’ said Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the committee chairman. One such meeting was in Dubai late in the evening of Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, after a board meeting of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which was paying Hunter $83,000 a month as a director. Archer, who also was a director, is expected to testify that, after dinner with the Burisma board at the Burj Al Arab Hotel, he and Hunter traveled six miles north to the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach to have a drink with one of Hunter’s friends. While they were sitting outside at the bar, Vadym Pozharskyi, a senior Burisma executive, phoned to ask where they were because Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, needed to speak to Hunter urgently. Soon afterward, the two Ukrainians joined Hunter and Archer at the Four Seasons bar and Pozharskyi asked Hunter: ‘Can you ring your dad?‘ At the time it was early afternoon Friday in Washington, DC. Hunter then called his father, put him on speaker, placed the phone on the table, and introduced the Ukrainians to Joe Biden by name as ‘Nikolai and Vadym.'” • Just a father who loves his son….

* * *

“Vivek Ramaswamy, rising in the polls, talks pardoning Trump, ending the FBI, more” [USA Today]. “Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy is doing all he can to take a bite out of Donald Trump’s base in his pursuit of the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. The Cincinnati-area native, 37, has pledged that, if elected, he would pardon the former president if Trump were found guilty of federal crimes. He has proposed raising the legal voting age to 25 unless you pass a citizenship test or serve in the U.S. armed forces. Just this week he released a Supreme Court nominee list that included conservative lawmakers such as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. Ramaswamy’s pitch that he will be Trump 2.0 appears to be working, according to national polls. An Echelon Insights survey in June found 49% of GOP respondents said they favored Trump, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 16% and Ramaswamy at 10%. That is well ahead of better-known candidates such as former Vice President Mike Pence.”

* * *

“The Left’s Elections ‘Fortification’ in 2024” [The American Conservative]. • I disagree with almost every detail here, but it seems clear to me that both “early voting” and mail-in ballots encourage voting based on party loyalty, as opposed to voting for policies, candidates, or how candidates perform in campaigns, since those all evolve in the course of a campaign, even in the last weeks of a campaign. Party loyalty isn’t something we should be reinforcing.

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.

* * *

I continue to be amazed and appalled by this. Not even Sanders!

The “progressive policy community” can’t even get it together to do something performative!

Perhaps they’re waiting for a cue from Biden. If so, they’ll be waiting a long time:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“How School Board Meetings Became Flashpoints for Anger and Chaos Across the Country” [Pro Publica]. “Time and again over the last two years, parents and protesters have derailed school board meetings across the country. Once considered tame, even boring, the meetings have become polarized battlegrounds over COVID-19 safety measures, LGBTQ+ student rights, ‘obscene’ library books and attempts to teach children about systemic racism in America… ProPublica identified nearly 90 incidents in 30 states going back to the spring of 2021…. Despite those losses, there were seismic political shifts on a number of school boards, aided in part by the passions stirred in the chaotic meetings. Across the country, slates of conservative candidates were able to gain momentum by appealing to some of the parents who’d packed the meetings. Many of the candidates were endorsed by national groups including the 1776 Super PAC, which supports candidates who back a ‘patriotic’ curriculum, and Moms for Liberty, a Florida-based nonprofit that has made book-banning its rallying cry. The candidates often promised parents more control over what topics could be taught in the classroom, what books could be checked out of the library and what rights LGBTQ+ students could be granted. And the candidates’ successes — in places like Berkeley County, South Carolina, Wayne Township, New Jersey, and Sarasota County, Florida — politically and ideologically transformed those school boards.

“Anarchism and Its Misunderstanders” [Margaret Killjoy, Birds Before the Storm]. “Anarchism is capable of presenting answers to questions about supply chains and manufacturing, but those answers are also not, quite, what anarchism is. Anarchism is not a set of answers. It’s a set of tools with which to find answers. The answer to ‘how would anarchist society handle the following,’ is ‘we will organize in such a way that those who are most capable of answering that question will be able to get together and answer it.’ I don’t mean this as a vague platitude, I mean it concretely. When workers control a factory, for example, rather than the stockholders, efficiency is increased, pay is increased, working conditions improve, and hours are shorter. In an anarchist society, the people who know how to make and distribute medicine will be able to meet and discuss how to produce better medicine more efficiently, and there would not be the monetary barrier between a patient and her meds, nor the national barrier between a researcher and her peers. When we say ‘we don’t know what an anarchist society would be like because we are not yet in one,’ we are not being vague or evasive. We are saying that societies ought to be constructed by the people in them. Anarchism is a set of tools and principles with which to construct societies that value freedom and cooperation. We actually do have examples of what those societies can look like, but where we are at now, and where we will be in the future, is not revolutionary Catalonia, Ukraine during the Russian Civil War, or Korean Manchuria. We should not expect to reach the same answers as they did, even if we apply similar problem-solving methods to our problems.”

“Leading Anti-ESG Lobbyists Represent Firearms and Fossil Fuel Industries” [Exposed by CMD]. “Representatives from the firearms industry and free-market think tanks are criss-crossing the country advocating for legislation that severely curtails—and often outright prohibits—state governments from considering environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors when making decisions about investments and contracts. The bills in question tend to be lifted directly from model bills developed by pro-corporate, fossil fuel-backed think tanks and range from setting restrictions on state contracting and pension management to protecting the fossil fuel industry from divestment. A handful of landmark bills passed in 2021—such as an anti-boycott bill in Texas that favors fossil fuel companies—set the precedent for subsequent legislation. The three most active individual lobbyists behind these efforts represent the firearms trade, a climate-denialist think tank, and a right-wing free-market group, according to the Center for Media and Democracy’s analysis of lobbying reports collected by researcher Connor Gibson… Nephi Cole, director of government relations at the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), has proven to be the most active anti-ESG lobbyist in 2023, testifying on six bills in five state houses…. Bette Grande, the state government relations manager at the climate-denialist Heartland Institute, is the lobbyist with the most states and most bills under her belt since 2021, having testified in eight state houses on 11 different anti-ESG bills… Eric Bledsoe, a visiting fellow at the Opportunity Solutions Project (OSP), the advocacy arm of the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), has been another leading anti-ESG lobbyist, appearing in five states to testify in favor of five bills this legislative session.” • Ugh.


“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!

* * *

Look for the Helpers

The end of the beginning?

From an account not known for its sunny optimism. Of course, it would be nice if all this were reported….

Tell me America’s not a great country:


A useful approach?

Let’s hope “tuberculosis” keeps being a joke…

“Readers: Do you agree with businesses that require masks?” [Boston Globe]. • Take that, MGH ghouls:

I encourage readers to vote in this poll. There’s a text box to explain your reasoning, and the Globe says they might publish it (thought they want your contact information, that means it’s like a letter to the editor, which is a good thing).

Covid is Airborne

“Indoor air surveillance and factors associated with respiratory pathogen detection in community settings in Belgium” [Nature]. From March, still gemane. “We tested 341 indoor air samples from 21 community settings in Belgium for 29 respiratory pathogens using qPCR. On average, 3.9 pathogens were positive per sample and 85.3% of samples tested positive for at least one. Pathogen detection and concentration varied significantly by pathogen, month, and age group in generalised linear (mixed) models and generalised estimating equations. High CO2 and low natural ventilation were independent risk factors for detection. ” • So CO2 — breathing shared air — is a good proxy.

Immune System Dysregulation?

“Rise in cancer among younger people worries and puzzles doctors” [Boston Globe]. • ‘Tis a mystery! Another mystery:

Censorship and Propaganda

From the Newspaper of Record:

“Fact Sheet” my sweet Aunt Fanny:

And from the rest of the “Fact Sheet”:

President announced that Major General (ret) Paul Friedrichs will serve as the inaugural Director of [Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy] and Principal Advisor on Pandemic Preparedness and Response as of August 7, 2023. Maj. Gen. (ret) Friedrichs’ unparalleled experience makes him the right person to lead this office. He is currently Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the National Security Council (NSC). Maj. Gen. (ret) Friedrichs previously served as Joint Staff Surgeon at the Pentagon, where he coordinated all issues related to health services, provided medical advice to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and served as medical adviser to the Department of Defense (DoD) Covid-19 Task Force.

Not a word on non-pharmaceutical interventions like ventilation or masks; nor will Friedrichs, being an M.D. and not an engineer or scientist, have any knowledge of those topics nor inclination to seek it.


“Long COVID Persists as a Mass Disabling Event” [MedPage Today]. “The latest CDC data on long COVID in U.S. adults and an alarming World Health Organization (WHO) statementopens in a new tab or window about its long-term impact underscore the pandemic’s lingering and debilitating effects. Like the satirical film “Don’t Look Upopens in a new tab or window,” in which scientists couldn’t focus media or politicians on the climate crisis, most Americans are content to avert their eyes from the long COVID crisis. Meanwhile, the millions now missing from public life because of it have no choice but to stare down the gamut of its sweeping sequelae…. [T]he average person loses 21% of their health while living with long COVID — equivalent to traumatic brain injury…. The proverbial tying of the bow on the pandemic’s end exemplifies our culture’s discomfort with disability — its ubiquity, ordinariness, and unpredictability. It is easier to take the victory lap, and then quietly acknowledge those still trying to exist with the disability.”


“Prevalence and Clinical Correlates of COVID-19 Outbreak Among Health Care Workers in a Tertiary Level Hospital in Delhi” (PDF) [American Journal of Infectious Diseases]. From 2021, still germane. “There was a statistically significant difference between the various groups in terms of distribution of prophylactic hydroxychloroquine intake (X 2 = 17.159, p = <0.001). 18.4% of the participants in the COVID negative group had taken a full course (7 weeks or more) of hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis as opposed to 6.4% in the COVID positive group an analysis of those who had taken full course as compared to those who had taken either incomplete course or had not taken at all." • I'm going through a lot of mask studies for another HICPAC takedown, and ran across this one. I recall discussion of HQ in India, so I'm glad to get this on the record.

“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.

* * *

Elite Maleficence

A letter to HICPAC from National Nurses United:

* * *

Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data, July 20:

Lambert here: As before, a distinct upward trend. Not seeing the upward slope of doubling behavior, but we are now — just scan the chart backward — at a level above every previous valley.

Regional data:

Interestingly, the upswing begins before July 4, which neither accelerates nor retards it.

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.


From CDC, July 22:

Lambert here: EG.5 still on the leaderboard, but getting crowded out (?) by all those XBB’s.

From CDC, July 8:

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 15:

Lambert here: Notice the slight increase.

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 17:

1.1%. Going up, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say. Interestingly, these do not correlate with the regional figures for wastewater. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)

NOT UPDATED From CDC, June 26:

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


Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, July 19:

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: 1,169,351 – 1,169,139 = 212 (212 * 365 = 77,380 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

The Economist, July 23:

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

There are no official statistics of note today.

* * *

The Bezzle: “Some Binance.US Crypto Trading Was a Mirage, the SEC Alleges” [Wall Street Journal]. “When crypto company Binance launched its U.S. exchange in 2019, almost $70,000 of bitcoin changed hands in the first hour. But the demand didn’t come from external traders. ‘That was ourself, I think,’ Binance Chief Executive Changpeng Zhao said in an internal message viewed by The Wall Street Journal. Just how much crypto trading volume is due to actual trades versus exchanges and coin promoters shuffling assets among themselves is an issue for regulators and investors trying to gauge the depth of these markets. The issue revolves around what is known as ‘wash trading.’ This practice involves someone trading an asset with themselves or an affiliate. The result is that there isn’t economic substance to the trades, which can inflate both prices and trading volume. The U.S. outlawed wash trading for stocks and bonds nearly a century ago. Now, concerns about wash trading in crypto markets have mounted, especially since trading volumes have become a crucial marketing point for crypto exchanges to draw customers into an opaque market.” • No doubt the crypto bros thought “wash trading” was “innovative.”

The Bezzle: “Bitcoin falls sharply ahead of Fed meeting and as investors weigh Binance concerns” [CNBC]. “The price of bitcoin fell sharply and suddenly to start the week as investors awaited a major Federal Reserve policy decision and digested concerns around Binance…. Binance is the largest crypto exchange in the world. It was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission last month and is at the center of a Department of Justice investigation that’s likely to end with a consent decree or settlement, CNBC previously reported. Federal prosecutors have been weighing anti-money laundering violations and sanctions evasion charges, allegations that would make it difficult for Binance or founder Zhao to continue to get licenses to operate.”

Tech: “Twitter logo: Elon Musk’s ‘X’ rebrand met with problems for hours after launch” [Washington Examiner]. “Twitter rebranded to x.com on Monday, but the transformation of the social media website was not without its hiccups…. Several users reported x.com redirecting to a GoDaddy landing page for websites instead of Twitter, despite the logo changing to the new black ‘X’ from the blue Twitter bird at midnight…. As of 8 a.m. EDT on Monday, x.com is redirecting to Twitter with the new logo, but the platform remains unchanged other than changes to the brand’s imagery. Twitter owner Elon Musk announced the logo for Twitter would be changing in a tweet on Sunday, with a video of the new logo and a message saying that the platform would ‘bid adieu to the Twitter brand.’ ‘And soon we shall bid adieu to the Twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds,’ Musk tweeted…. In discussing the rebranded ‘X’ on Sunday, Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino said the rebranded social media platform would go further in ‘transforming the global town square.’ ‘It’s an exceptionally rare thing — in life or in business — that you get a second chance to make another big impression. Twitter made one massive impression and changed the way we communicate. Now, X will go further, transforming the global town square,’ Yaccarino tweeted.” • The “X” reminds me of “Axe” deodorant. Commentary:

Certainly true for me. The Instagram types must find that very disconcerting, if indeed Threads expects them to read.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 83 Extreme Greed (previous close: 81 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 80 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 24 at 1:11 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most!

The Conservatory

One for Mark Ames:

The Screening Room

“It’s a ‘Barbie’ World, But Only as a Fantasy. In ‘Real’ Life, Patriarchy Rules” [The Wire]. India: “One of the most disingenuous things about the film is the involvement of Mattel – which, while at one level can be perceived as a company introspecting about its capitalist history – could also be seen as a company trying to leverage its “self-awareness” for image purposes.” Spoilers: “The duo reach Los Angeles, California, which is also which is the headquarters of Mattel, the company manufacturing Barbie and Ken. It’s in this section of the film when it scores its highest. Both Barbie and Ken are coming to realise that the real world might be just a little different from what they’d imagined. Gerwig keeps the tone light even as both Barbie and Ken try to navigate the absolute opposite notions of the genders in the real world. Over here, men run things. Teenage girls hate dolls for setting unachievable standards for appearances. Barbie breaks down on learning that the world treats her with disrespect because of her gender, while Ken seems to be enjoying all the new-found attention he gets for the way he looks (and also his gender). Gosling is a hoot as someone who can’t control his joy after ‘discovering’ patriarchy, realising the real world values him. Gosling is completely believable as he sells his big, doofus smile reaching the conclusion that it’s he who deserves to be at the centre of Barbieland, soon to be renamed ‘Kendom’. Robbie is earnest as the most perfect-looking person to have ever existed, striving to be more than her looks.”

I remember movie theatre carpets!

And yes, they were just as wild as this.

Zeitgeist Watch

“Fans are encouraging others online to have better etiquette at concerts” [NBC]. “Ginger Sherry is familiar with mosh pits. As an avid concertgoer, she knows that sometimes party fouls — like spilling beer on someone — will happen. But at shows these days, Sherry, 25, has noticed what appears to be a vibe shift among fellow concertgoers. She’s seen things like excessive pushing outside of the pit, which can lead to crowd crushes, and people in crowds throwing things. ‘I feel like there’s a lot of new people post-Covid, and I feel like, in general, people just don’t know concert etiquette anymore,’ Sherry said. Across social media, Sherry and others have increasingly been sharing anecdotes about their latest experiences at some of their favorite artists’ shows. Some have said they’ve witnessed rude interactions between fans or been shamed by other concertgoers for behaviors like screaming lyrics or dancing. Others said they feel that the concert environment can feel competitive, with fans forgoing social norms.”

Class Warfare

“Hollywood Is on Strike Against High-Tech Exploitation” [Jacobin]. “While the [AMPTP] called its AI counterproposal ‘unprecedented,’ SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland characterized the studios’ offer as unacceptable. ‘In this ‘groundbreaking’ AI proposal that they gave us yesterday, they proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get one day’s pay, and their companies should own that scan, their image, their likeness, and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity on any project they want, with no consent and no compensation,’ said Crabtree-Ireland at a press conference on Friday, July 15, announcing that the union’s board of directors had voted unanimously to call a strike. ‘If you think that’s a groundbreaking proposal, I suggest you think again.'” • Well, it is groundbreaking, rather in the way that digging a grave is groundbreaking.

News of the Wired

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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. diptherio

    Re: Carlson and Tate
    As I’ve tried pointing out on here from time to time, just because Tucker occasionally has a Taibbi or a Greenwald on, and is opposed to war with Russia, doesn’t mean he is therefore a reputable journalist, nor is he in any sense on the side of Truth. Tucker is a huckster and is playing to his audience – his real audience, not people like us – with the Tate interview. This is 100% on-brand for him.

    1. Carolinian

      And the Dems are not hucksters? Tate versus Russiagate compare and contrast. Where are these reputable journalists?

      I can’t really opine on Tucker although from what little I’ve seen, yes, he is the same old Tucker. But the Dems have gotten a lot worse and given truth bombs an opening.

      1. skippy

        Its all Marketing PR delivered cortex injections these days, feed back loops from T.V. and then the computer becoming the baby sitter = very thin mental gruel sloshing about in the big pot before being served …. and as I have personally heard …. we’ll get it right with the next generation.

      2. jsn

        Tate versus Fukuyama, even.

        Tate’s like rubbernecking past an explosion, Fukuyama’s like planting cluster munitions on the playground (for Tate to blow up for you to rubberneck at).

    2. Greg Taylor

      Tucker may be “on-brand” here. This interview is primarily about the extent to which the state and the media it controls should intervene to squelch unpopular/repugnant views rather than the views themselves.

      The Daily Mail and most other commentaries/news articles claim Tate was charged with rape and trafficking in Romania.

      Tate claims his charges do not include rape and trafficking as most understand the terms. In the interview, he says that he’s charged with improperly influencing two underage girls to monetize TicToc accounts and the charges do not include sexual impropriety of any sort. He also says the girls deny they were influenced.

      If the charges are public, these claims appear to be easily falsifiable to anyone who can read/translate Romanian. If Tate is wrong about the charges, I’ll agree that Tucker is being a huckster here. If not, I’ll listen to Tate’s tale of foreign governments censoring dissent by pressuring Romania to imprison him.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Indeed. He is, as I’ve also tried to point out more than once, an overgrown College Republican s#*<heel. The Tate interview is one of many cases in point. Just because he is occasionally right on an important topic and features the likes of a Taibbi or Greenwald, doesn’t override his generally bad politics and false argumentation. That the Ds are politically degenerate is not an excuse for Carlson.

      1. Carolinian

        Carlson gets plenty of criticism and is now on Twitter because TPTB got him kicked off TV. Meanwhile the arguably far more degenerate pundits at MSNBC get to skate. I’d say if you wamt to get outraged about something then Tucker plying Reagan era cultural shtick is less menacing than WW3 mongers waving their Ukrainian flags. Perhaps what matters is what he is “occasionally right” about rather than the by the numbers conservatism that preaches to the converted.

        Tucker’s show is not something I care to watch myself but the Big Brother attitude of the MSM needs pushback.

      2. britzklieg

        Not an excuse, a reason. Without the scumbag Dems would Carlson have as loud a voice? Would millions flock to his words? No. Carlson (and Fox) arose out of the malign fraud that was/is the Clintons. Check the history, it’s all there for anyone interested in understanding why we’re in the s&#t now.

      3. albrt

        “That the Ds are politically degenerate is not an excuse for Carlson.”

        It’s not just an excuse, it’s the actual reason why Carlson can exist as a media phenomenon. And why Trump can exist as a political phenomenon. The fact that the Dems are too pathetic to capitalize on losers like Carlson and Trump is 100% the reason why we are where we are.

        1. marym

          Tucker and Trump were born into wealth and privilege. They choose to do what they do, and to serve the interests they serve; and powerful people choose support them and powerless people to follow their lead.

          The argument that Dem/PCM/liberals are bad because they’re bad, and Republican/MAGA/conservatives are bad because Dem/PCM/libs are bad doesn’t account for 100% of why we are where we are.

          1. britzklieg

            No one said that… they are both bad because they are both bad. If one of them were not bad, then the difference might make a difference, but since they are both bad we will never know. I’ve known all my life about the GOP, it took scales falling from my eyes in the 90’s, when Reaganomics became Rubinomics, when the Dems stopped pretending to be the good guys, when the prison filling crime bill signed by Clinton and bragged about by Biden increased by 50 the number of crimes subject to the death penalty (remember when the death penalty was opposed by the Dems? remember when Clinton changed that?… at a time when crime stats were actually going down), when the dog whistlin’ good ol’ boy racist Bill gave us his Sister Soulja moment and eliminated the poverty reducing welfare as we knew it through “means testing” and when Bill gave us the first NATO war after bombing aspirin factories and, after Bill, when the Dems tried to give us Joe Lieberman hiding behind the “born into wealth” Al Gore, trashing Ralph Nader in the process and setting the stage for Dubya who is now a Dem darling, when Obama saved wall street over main street, crushed OWS with lethal force, assassinated (extra judicially) 2 US citizens, one of whom was 16 years old and said he should have had a different daddy, who drank water in Flint like the elitist ass he is and gave new life to the brain dead slimy bastard Biden with whom we are now stuck, possibly for another term… need i go on?… it’s a long and devastating list of bad which your comment doesn’t even begin to address.

            1. marym

              I was “addressing” the whether Dem badness is “100% the reason why we are where we are” – not the badness itself, which I don’t dispute.

              1. Pat

                Not really. The comment you responded to did not contain that quote. Yes it stated that Trump and Carlson’s popularity were dependent on the Democrats. But you can’t dispute that Because it’s true. Just because Democrats are actively screwing workers, lying about pandemics, trying to start a two front World War and decimating civil liberties doesn’t mean average Republicans have become the good guys. But it does leave every football field in America open for the rebellious ones like Trump and Carlson who gleefully point out the obvious things that a majority of Americans have been begging Democrats to say. And sometimes do, like Trump killing the TPP.
                Take a look at their opposition – it isn’t just powerful Democrats, they both have powerful Republicans gunning for them because at that power level we have a deeply corrupt, sociopathic Uni Party. There are at least a dozen Democrats and even more Republicans who are far worse than either Trump or Carlson, who are no prizes. Think fourth circle of hell level sinners versus the treacherous ninth level for the political leadership of both parties of the last four or so decades.

    4. Roger Blakely

      From now until the election content creators will be pumping out grist for partisan outrage. For the next year and three months that is what will make money. This idea did not originate with me. I heard someone say it in a video, and it makes sense to me. We, the kind of people who visit Naked Capitalism, should not take seriously the culture war content coming out during this period.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Normally somebody like Andrew Tate would be just another nut job except – Hollywood insists on giving people like him rocket fuel. So Tate said ‘how society wants ‘the woman in charge and the man with no backbone” So lets consider the newly released movie “Barbie” and it’s plot (spoiler alert!). Barbies live in a world that is a matriarchy where the Kens are dismissed as “accessories” as Barbies occupy all the professions. Ken & Barbie go to the real world where they find it is 100% a patriarchy and women have no power. Ken is shocked to be asked the time as nobody has ever asked his opinion on anything. Ken then goes back to Barbieland and in one day turns it into a patriarchy. The Barbies managed to take back control and when Barbie is asked if the Kens should be allowed to share power replies not until women in the real world have equal power. See? Hollywood films like this insist on doing Andrew Tate’s work for him in their own spiteful, mean-spirited way.

      1. digi_owl

        It is really sad how if one go back some decades, even a superhero comic could provide more thoughtful social commentary.

  2. Feral Finster

    “Since Trump’s May 10 appearance, the network has featured GOP candidates Nikki Haley (6/4/23), Mike Pence (6/7/23) and Chris Christie (6/12/23), with more promised.”

    If you think of these town halls as “democracy theater” and just as carefully stage managed, everything makes sense

  3. notabanker

    Concert etiquette…. lolololol. I’d love to take Karen back to 1990 and visit The Rollins Band opening for Jane’s Addiction show. Folks would have quite a different appreciation for “screaming lyrics or dancing”. And that show had no alcohol sales. Only concert I’ve been to where people were eating ice cream instead of drinking beer. Mosh pit was insane, we wouldn’t go anywhere near it.

    1. Boso

      I’m a middle-aged guy and I still go to the occasional show, including the occasional metal show. I don’t go to venues any bigger than, say, 800 people, and as far as I can tell, live shows include just as many obnoxious people and drunks and people who have no interest in the music as they ever did. The only real difference is cell phones and the relentless habit of documenting absolutely everything. People who can’t take uncomfortable interactions should stay at home.

  4. griffen

    Rapture index continues the trend of letting me down, as I keep looking for it to somehow index nearer to the all time high. FWIW, not a good thing if that happens ! Wellie hurricane season is in the offing and the Atlantic coastal waters are mighty warm.

    Seriously the heat wave will be ongoing until further notice. Stay hydrated. Locally speaking, we are looking at high temps in the mid ’90s during this week in the upstate section of South Carolina. Would be okay if the humidity wasn’t matching more or less. Well, it’s not Joshua Tree or Death Valley I suppose. Speaking of mid ’90s now I recall a mid summer fave, “Black Hole Sun” from Soundgarden. Boiling heat, summer stench..

    1. Lee

      “Well, it’s not Joshua Tree or Death Valley I suppose.”

      In the immortal words of the too early mortal Bill Paxton: “Yeah, man, but it’s a dry heat.”

  5. Spec

    Thanks for posting a picture of 1goodtern’s whole twitter thread. I’m not making a twitter account to satisfy elon, and since then haven’t really been able to follow threads since the login wall went up.

      1. britzklieg

        When I look, which isn’t often, I’m still seeing no threads, only original tweets. If Musk doesn’t correct that then the user stats will eventually show that social media is still interesting to but a small minority of the world’s population… thank god! It may be where big media gets its fodder for stoking the us vs. us rage which keeps the unimportant classes in line and in each other’s faces, but most people in the world don’t give a damn.

      2. albrt

        I don’t get anything. When I click on a tweet here I get the same signup page that I get when I navigate to a twitter account on my own. No tweets, no threads, nothing.

        That’s OK with me. If the twits have something important to say they will eventually write it down in paragraphs and publish it someplace for grownups to read.

    1. XXYY

      Second this. Twitter postings have lost most of their value for me. Can’t tell if this is for better or worse.

    2. kareninca

      Just use nitter instead in order to read twitter posts. Google “nitter instances” and use one of the instances to view twitter. It stopped working briefly recently but it is working again. You don’t need any sort of account.

  6. Hepativore

    So, apparently, Biden is saying he “may get involved” in the looming UPS strike.


    Does anybody have any idea what “get involved” might mean in this case? What legal power does Biden have to interfere with a strike by the Teamsters as there is no “Railway Labor Act” permitting him to do so in this case? Is there some hidden law that the president can use to end any strike he wants, or can he just force any union to work by Executive Order?

    1. Random

      Declare it a national security issue.
      After that the government has broad powers to do whatever it wants.
      Don’t remember the exact details, but that’s what’s usually done to circumvent various laws and regulations.
      But I’m not sure that’s even needed, every level of the US govt is likely to pass any law to stop a strike.

    2. The Rev Kev

      “Union” Joe could always make a Presidential Finding and then go in to bust up that strike on that basis. It all depends on how much money he is offered.

    3. notabanker

      The Biden muppet masters will absolutely , 100% have to force them to work and make a strike illegal. His only hope is to have an agreement done before then, and well, we will see. They cannot strike, it will destroy the economy and tank the markets which can set off god only knows what kind of contagion. Can’t wait to see what his teamster buddies think of him after that.

      1. Hepativore

        So basically, Biden would have to outlaw all strikes, then? Could a president do that by Executive Order, or would it have to go through Congress? I suppose he could even reclassify unions as “domestic terrorist groups” and then take advantage of the broad “anti-terrorist” powers given to the presidency from Dubya and onward.

        It would defeat the whole purpose of being in a union, which I suppose is the end goal of both parties.

        Biden and the Democrats would hypothetically be perfectly willing to sacrifice the 2024 presidency, if they could get rid of the power of unions once and for all.

        1. ambrit

          The problem there is that some unions, or fragments thereof, would become real terrorist organizations. They think that a garden variety strike is disruptive? Just wait. Some people learned the lessons of the dismantling of the Occupy movement. Not just inside the governing elites either.
          Then there is the general population that will learn about this from “street sources.” A lot of people work for the shipping company, in every major population centre in America. People “on the street” are fed up already with “the way things are now.”
          We live in interesting times.

    4. Robert Gray


      > Is there some hidden law that the president can use to end any strike he wants,
      > or can he just force any union to work by Executive Order?

      John L. Lewis: All right, then, if that’s the way they want it, let the army mine the coal.

      1. ambrit

        Good point. But, Reagan did use military personnel to run the air traffic control system when he ‘broke’ the PATCO strike. Would Biden be willing to use Army logistics troops to run the UPS?

  7. Screwball

    I’m so old I remember when Michael Tomasky didn’t froth at the mouth…

    Tomasky sounds exactly like my PMC friends. I’m sure he isn’t the only one.

    The PMC need a new “Hitler of the month” (stealing a quote from Taibbi) because the country song they are yapping endlessly about is getting old. Come on people, move along and find the next thing to hate/be outraged about. *bangs head on table*

  8. Carolinian

    Re school boards–was it so many years ago that liberals were up in arms about Creationism in schools? This was denounced–rightly so–for promoting religious instruction over “sound science.” But there is some medical controversy over whether encouraging assertions of sexual identity among children is any sounder science. And surely this trend is a far more profound intrusion on young lives than religious beliefs that most people decide for themselves once they slip the parental yoke.

    One can’t help but suspect that for both sides it’s more about who is calling the shots than the shots themselves. Proxy struggles seem to be the current zeitgeist.

    IMO the notion that school teachers have a “free speech right” to ply their captive audience with opinions cloaked as revealed truth is nonsense. It was true for the creationists and for the left version as well.

    1. ilpalazzo

      Re creationism in schools outrage – this came to my mind when I read a week ago or so that misinformation expertise is now science too.

    2. Tom Doak

      The school boards are a real thing. Where I live in Michigan, even though it’s not something that would make national news, there has been a local uproar, a couple of board members have been forced to resign, and multiple public hearings have been contentious. One board member was ousted during COVID times [when it was all done online] for brandishing a gun in the feed while the board members were talking about all the disruptive citizens!

  9. thump

    Re: Lambert’s comments: “…it seems clear to me that both “early voting” and mail-in ballots encourage voting based on party loyalty, as opposed to voting for policies, candidates, or how candidates perform in campaigns…”

    I thought early voting and mail-in ballots were supposed to assist voting by people who could not take time off work to vote? Although does either party really support that?

  10. Wukchumni

    Was shopping @ Smart & Final in Visalia, a grocery store of sorts, more of a place where a small restaurant would pick up supplies & food in larger quantities, they’ve been around about 150 years now…

    I spied a security guard by the front door and asked the checker what was up as i’d never seen one in the store, and she related they’d been getting killed on shoplifting, and the frankly a little menacing looking wanna-be cop looked to be well placed, but troubling is the idea that fairly recently, our Home Depot & Wal*Marts have been locking up quite a few things for sale-where you have to hunt down an employee to get them to unlock the security barriers, which judging from their computer systems analysis, this is the stuff being shoplifted.

    Like everything, its all a slow burn in our ongoing decline so you get used to the new normal, until one of these days, they’ll put a lock on the front door instead and go out of business.

    1. Glen

      Everybody seems to be catching CEO fever:

      Symptoms are stealing, cheating, ignoring the laws, and stating that the laws do not apply to you.
      Persons of excessive wealth are much more likely to be afflicted, but much less likely to ever get the cure – going to jail.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Rich loot “legally” because they bought the politicians.
        Criminals loot “illegally” because the woke politicians use “social justice” to fund-raise and make criminality inconsequential …

        And moral, law-abiding citizens get screwed by both.

    2. Janie

      I needed a new water flosser a while back, popped into Walmart, looked around toothbrush area and didn’t see any. The clerk said they were locked away – shoplifters. Who steals a water pik? What possible market is there? How out of touch am I?

    3. digi_owl

      Or go back to having everything behind the counter and the employee will collect and package them up before handing it over through a hatch.

  11. Tim

    The article on Anarchism sounds like something Pol Pot would have approved of with vigorous nodding.

    There are valid points made in the article, but they are very shallow in the extent of implementation and effectiveness.

    I may not be a capitalist, but I am still believe in a meritocracy. Tossing out all the smart people in the room because they are part of a system that oppresses isn’t the right answer. A new system, with smart people that are incentivized to listen to the perspective and needs of the masses is the right answer.

      1. upstater

        I seldom find David Leonhardt’s Morning email insightful, but this morning’s screed was about elite college admissions and worthreading. No meritocracy there:

        7 percent of the country’s very best high school students come from the top 1 percent of the income distribution. But what proportion of students at elite colleges comes from the top 1 percent of the income distribution? Much more: 16 percent.

        This combination of facts is a tricky one to grasp. Affluent students are overrepresented among the nation’s best high school students — but the colleges are nonetheless admitting a larger number of affluent students than if the decisions were based on academics alone. The biggest boost goes to the wealthiest students:

        Graph of data. Note the PMC income group has lower admission rates than lower income percentiles and 1%

        1. albrt

          I guess PMC kids are wising up, renouncing the hamster wheel, and taking up trades. Those kids are in a position to know whether taking on massive debt to be a high-stress bootlicker makes you happy.

      2. skippy

        My quick reference to meritocracy is the author of the term coined it with dripping sarcasm. Then it was picked up by the elite propaganda machine and rebranded to mean just the opposite in context.

      1. digi_owl

        There is a reason why old RPG stats separated intelligence from wisdom.

        Some of the most book smart people out here have spent all their life wandering some cloistered campus or other.

    1. hunkerdown

      You “believe in” a “cracy”. Therefore your judgment as to the correctness of any answer or to the desirable qualities of any particular person or class of persons can be dismissed with derisive laughter and a wave of the hand, as the desperate plea of a whipcracker to keep the social station to which he finds himself accustomed.

      “Incentivized” How about your life? Apparently being able to survive a bad outcome saps your performance and we should eliminate all “incentives” for bad performance. No? Then how about two weeks outlawed in the pillory for failure? No? How about public flogging? How about a private right of action to cancel anyone’s degree for misconduct?

      Or are you just kidding about all that “incentive” stuff except as respects your own pay packet and, like all PMC true believers, are a pathological capitalist liar and slaver?

    2. spud


      Ray Williams
      Wired for Success
      The myths of the “self-made man” and meritocracy
      The recession has caused a significant economic adjustment, including a realignment of assets and the demand and supply of talent. Along with these adjustments has been renewed debate over issues such as the distribution of wealth, the disappearing middle class and the belief in meritocracy. Some recent experts have reaffirmed a perception that both the belief in the “self-made man” and the benefits of meritocracy are largely myths and don’t serve society well.

    1. Bsn

      OMG, the voices used. I couldn’t finish it. Good idea though and I’m sure some people like that type of presentation. Thanks Flora for posting and letting us see it.

  12. dave -- just dave

    It’s great that a Corsi Rosenthal box was spotted in the wild, but with regard to the remark “Tell me America’s not a great country” – the box in question is in Toronto.

  13. LawnDart

    (Almost) Daily Derailment(s):

    Indiana man arrested following CN derailment

    Canadian National logoVAPARAISO, Ind. — A 39-year-old Indiana man has been arrested on charges related to the derailment of a Canadian National train in Valparaiso early Saturday, WBBM-TV reports.

    James Rockhill, of Kouts, Ind., was being held at the Porter County Jail on charges of railroad mischief, criminal recklessness, and leaving the scene of a crash. He was arrested following investigation into a collision between the CN train and an unoccupied vehicle at the Franklin Street crossing in Valparaiso that was reported shortly before 5 a.m. on Saturday.

    The Times of Northwest Indiana reports no injuries resulted, but nine empty auto racks derailed. The derailment originally closed six grade crossings. The last, at Froberg Road, was expected to be reopened Sunday.


  14. antidlc

    RE: tern’s twitter thread

    And then there’s this:

    Chris Turnbull


    The NIH sneakily just added to the kid’s Long Covid section that it causes potentially fatal multi-organ damage to them

    ‘Cardiopulmonary injury, neurocognitive impairment, and new-onset diabetes may occur.’

    Strange how there’s no headlines about this huh?

    More at the link.

    1. Utah

      My partner’s kid cousin just got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Perfectly healthy kid, everybody had COVID more than once. No family history of diabetes on either side. They’d look at me like I had two heads if I suggested long COVID as the reason. Her grandpa died from a heart attack three months after getting COVID. He lived in a long term care facility and gave it to the whole family (minus my partner and myself.) She asked me to not bring up long COVID when I told her that’s what I think happened.

      Nobody wants to hear that people are getting sick and dying from COVID after the fact. That’s my takeaway.

    1. digi_owl

      Speaking of carpets, i have read the claim that those in Las Vegas casinos are specifically designed to hide barf stains and similar.

  15. some guy

    To me, ” no more Twitter, its all X now” supports the theory that Musk had a secret agenda all along to liquidate Twitter from existence to stop non-RightWingers from being able to share information on it or organize on it or anything else. He has 200 billion dollars. What’s 40 billion dollars in service to a Higher Goal?

    We accept by now that the Uber investors don’t need to “make money” when their goal is extermination of all forms of organized public or regulated private transport in America. So why is it so hard to accept that Musk’s goal all along was to ” kill Twitter and make it look like an accident” ?

    1. digi_owl

      I don’t think he had a plan to liquidate it as such.

      But when his du diligence dredged up the true size of the bot problem, and he was dragged to court to complete the buyout, finding some way to scuttle the fail whale was perhaps the only option.

  16. jsn

    It’s not easy hiding a Pepsi spill over Twizzlers and Candy Corn, especially after several hundred people have walked on it, sprinkling it with popcorn and smushed peanut M&MS, but that rug’s up to it!

  17. Wukchumni

    I’m commissioning the First Son to render a painting on black velvet of dogs cheating at poker-which happen to be smarter than Hunter who is seated at the table, but how to convey that?

    Its no wonder his masterpieces fetch so much money…

  18. Wukchumni

    “Hunter Biden put then-VP dad Joe on the phone with business associates at least 2 dozen times, ex-partner Devon Archer to testify” [New York Post]. “Hunter Biden would dial in his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, on speakerphone into meetings with his overseas business partners, according to testimony expected before Congress this week from Devon Archer, the first son’s former best friend. Archer, 48, who is facing jail for his role in a $60 million bond fraud, is scheduled to testify to the House Oversight Committee about meetings he witnessed that were attended by Joe Biden either in person or via speakerphone when Hunter would call his father and introduce him to foreign business partners or prospective investors.

    The Donkey Show really has taken on the appearance of an overwrought ostrich with it’s head in the sand, who has an uncanny appearance as an avian Schultz of sorts.

    ‘I know nothing, nothing’

  19. ChrisRUEcon


    > A useful approach?

    Oh hell yes!

    I am going to try this once before the year is over!!!

  20. Glen

    With only 469 days left to go, we must be sure we understand our best Uniparty voting strategy. It has to be for the lesser of two evils!

    And to just save yourself 460 some days of churn on the MSM, let’s go over this strategy in detail:

    The Lesser of Two Weevils

  21. griffen

    Fun stuff video. Now that’s a job for anyone at the age of 5 who played with Hot Wheels or big trucks pretending to be a long hauler of, well, anything. It’s my turn to destroy this Pinto, and the Chevrolet is next !! Or maybe the Ford instead.

    I’d venture there are piles of old seats in a junkyard somewhere, hoping for an afterlife somewhere. I’ve got leather front seats in disrepair. Leather, not ever again, mostly because I’m not a careful owner.

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