2:00PM Water Cooler 11/16/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Aztec Thrush, Miahuatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico. “Audio recording lifer :( Didn’t notice this in the field, I was distracted with recording, and then with flyover Hooded Grosbeak flock.” The quality rating of this recording is low, presumably because of the road (?) noise in the background, but I don’t mind sounds like that; I like the sense of a real setting.

* * *


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

The Constitutional Order

“Where efforts to disqualify Trump from 2024 ballot stand” [Axios]. Quite a round-up:

By the numbers: Six cases related to the clause have already been dismissed, including in Minnesota, New Hampshire, two in Michigan and another two in Florida, per legal analysis by nonprofit publication Lawfare.

I’m assuming most of these are frivolous suits brought by individuals…

Biden Administration

Al Shifa hospital doesn’t seem to have been a propaganda win:

And maybe was never going to be:

I remain baffled at the concept that capturing a “command center” could have strategic importance. Old-timers will remember “captured enemy documents” from Vietnam. We captured a lot of “command centers” losing that war, too!

Quite a haul:


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Trump’s new Latino strategy casts him as victim of socialists” [Axios]. “Former President Trump’s team is trying to build on the GOP’s recent gains among Latinos with a strategy in Florida that’s aimed at voters of Cuban, Venezuelan and Colombian descent — and that casts Trump as a victim of overzealous socialists. Trump’s efforts to liken his legal woes and his clashes with Democrats to the difficulties many Latin Americans have faced under socialist and authoritarian rule represent a turn in his push to appeal to the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. electorate. This strategy was a big reason why Trump chose Hialeah, Fla., as the site of his counter-programming rally during last week’s Republican presidential debate. Hialeah is more than 95% Hispanic, and the vast majority of those residents are Cuban Americans, a conservative electorate that identifies more with Republicans than many other Latino groups. At the rally, Trump portrayed his ‘persecution’ on felony charges — and what he called his resistance to communism — as similar to what many Cuban Americans and their families experienced during the communist regime of Fidel Castro… It’s unclear whether Trump’s “victim” strategy that plays well in Florida will resonate with Mexican Americans and other Latinos whose families’ backgrounds don’t involve fleeing authoritarian leaders.”

“Trump’s violent talk shows signs of taking over Congress” [The Hill]. “[Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)] observed that Trump recognized before most other politicians the anger brewing in American society and seized on it for political gain, but he warned it’s a dangerous path for the nation’s leaders. ‘I don’t know if he changed [norms] or simply responded to what he saw from other people. I think he sensed that the American people were allowing this to go on, and he’s taken advantage of it, but it’s not the direction that I think our country should go,’ he said. ‘I really do believe that the Founding Fathers wanted us to get together here in Washington, work out our differences, and they do not expect us to be caning one another,’ he added.” • So I’m not the only one with the caning of Sumner in mind…

* * *

“DeSantis targets China, but takes cash from Chinese-backed company” [Orlando Sentinel]. “Gov. Ron DeSantis has gone on the offensive against Chinese influence in recent months, signing a bill restricting what land Chinese companies and citizens can buy in Florida and suspending state scholarships to four Florida schools over alleged links to China. But this August he took a check for more than $11,000 from the CEO of a Tampa refrigerant company with direct backing from China. It was just the latest in years of financial support that the company, iGas USA, has given DeSantis. Last year DeSantis held a rally at the Chinese-backed refrigerant company’s Tampa complex. The rally and contributions are part of a recent wave of political giving by iGas and entities associated with its CEO, Xianbin ‘Ben’ Meng. All told, the companies and employees have made more than $1.1 million in federal and state political contributions in the past five years, with 98% of the money going to Republican candidates and committees. The biggest share of that money, $340,000, went to DeSantis and committees affiliated with him.” • Oh.

* * *

“Biden Is Tearing His Own Coalition Apart” [The Nation]. “Joe Biden hasn’t gotten America into a land war in Asia yet, but in every other way he is repeating LBJ’s mistake of thinking guns and butter go together. Through his infrastructure bill and the Inflation Reduction Act, Biden has admirably returned big-ticket social spending to the White House agenda. But he has been equally concerned to reassert American hegemony, financing the war in Ukraine, promising more money to Israel as it carries out its bombing of Gaza, and pivoting toward a great-power competition with China that could easily become a new cold war. Like the Cold War liberals, Biden has embraced a military Keynesianism that sees guns and butter as mutually self-supporting. In late October, Politico reported, ‘The White House has been quietly urging lawmakers in both parties to sell the war efforts abroad as a potential economic boom at home. Aides have been distributing talking points to Democrats and Republicans who have been supportive of continued efforts to fund Ukraine’s resistance to make the case that doing so is good for American jobs.’ National security adviser Jake Sullivan has been a major advocate of this new military Keynesianism.” But: “like LBJ before him, Biden will find that a guns-and-butter consensus is brittle and satisfies no one. Endless war isn’t popular. Voters are already souring on the idea of sending more aid to Ukraine, and polls show majority support for a cease-fire in Gaza…. By trying to hammer out a guns-and-butter consensus that very few outside the elite support, Biden is tearing apart both his own coalition and American society.”

“Has Biden’s electoral coalition fractured?” [The Hill]. “According to the poll, 22 percent of Black voters in those battleground states say they’d vote for Donald Trump over Joe Biden in next year’s presidential election…. No Democratic presidential candidate since the civil rights era has earned less than 80 percent of the Black vote…. Because of his support for Israel, President Biden could lose Muslim votes, especially in Michigan, one of the key battleground states. He could lose progressive voters in general and young voters in particular — two more key components in the Democratic coalition. He might even lose support of another bloc that historically has voted (overwhelming) for Democratic presidents — Jewish voters, who believe that there are elements in the Democratic Party that are anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and even pro-Hamas…. Finally, there’s another number in the poll that tells us a lot about what Americans are thinking. 56 percent of registered voters in those six battleground states have either a somewhat or very unfavorable view of Joe Biden. As for Donald Trump: He comes in with a 57 percent unfavorable number. So if it’s a Trump vs. Biden rematch, the only thing we know with some certainty is that voters wish they’d both just go away.”

* * *

“Joe Manchin says he ‘absolutely’ would consider running for president in 2024: Senator won’t rule out potential third-party bid that could dent Biden’s chances” [Daily Mail]. “Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said Wednesday he would ‘absolutely’ consider a presidential run, giving himself until around Super Tuesday to decide whether to launch a third-party bid for the White House…. As for Biden, he told [NBC’s Meet the Press host Kristen Welker], ‘I’m afraid that Joe Biden’s been pushed too far to the left.’ ‘Can he come back? We’ll see,’ the senator added. ‘But the bottom line is that’s not the Joe Biden that we thought was being elected, to go that far left.'”

“‘No Labels’ leader says group launching 2024 candidate committee: Manchin deserves ‘serious consideration'” [FOX]. “Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman — who served as both a Democrat and Independent — said Wednesday if 2024 becomes a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, he could see Manchin as a potential candidate for the group to unite around. However, he underlined there is no guarantee ‘No Labels’ will indeed field a candidate. ‘Joe Manchin is a friend of mine. He’s a great centrist. He really has walked the walk and worked on bipartisan problem-solving in Congress,’ said Lieberman, who was also the 2000 presidential running-mate for Al Gore.” • What horrible political judgment Gore had, to be sure. Putting Lieberman on the national stage.

* * *



I like the look!

PMC gatekeeping, as usual:

* * *

“Governor JB Pritzker outlines plans for migrant intake center, funds for shelter” [ABC7]. “Governor JB Pritzker laying out new emergency steps as thousands of migrants await shelter in Chicago…. The governor announcing the policy and the funding Thursday, saying they had to step in an provide this assistance with temperatures expected to plummet next week. ‘To get people off of the streets as we head into winter, the state of Illinois will invest an additional $160 million via the Department of Human Services, specifically to address these bottlenecks,’ Governor Pritzker said. Part of the money, $30 million will be to set up an intake center for when the migrants first arrive in Chicago to either help them find a place to stay, or get them to their next destination in another city.” And: “RELATED: Chicago migrants will have 60-day limit to shelter stays, Mayor Johnson announces.”

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.

* * *

“The Squad Is About to Fight for Its Political Life” [Slate]. “One of the biggest, bitterest, and most expensive political battles of the 2024 election cycle has emerged: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, one of the most powerful, best-funded influence operations in Washington, is planning to go all out to knock the famed “Squad”—the small group of highly visible and popular progressive legislators of color, most of them women—out of office…. Critically, all of them reject big-money backing, surviving on just grassroots support and small-dollar fundraising… In the 2022 midterms, the Israel lobby became the largest single-issue outside spender in Democratic primaries, pouring in nearly $30 million via the super PAC the United Democracy Project, and millions more via the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC. It was an astronomical amount of money, mostly directed at knocking progressives out of the primaries, largely in open and redrawn seats. Despite there being fewer vacancies in 2024, that money figure is expected to at least triple.” It would be handy to have an explanation of why AIPAC’s campaign isn’t election interference by a foreign power. More: “So far, House Democratic leadership has been quiet about all this [lol]. Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries—who took more money from the Israel lobby in 2022 than from any other group and is featured prominently on the lobbying group’s website (alongside House Republican leadership)—hasn’t tried to dissuade the primarying of these progressive Democratic incumbents. He could easily publicly disavow such spending and make it clear to candidates that accepting such support is against caucus policy; in 2019, House Democrats made it an official policy to blacklist any Democratic consultant or political group who aided a progressive challenger against a sitting Democratic incumbent ahead of the 2020 elections. But so far Jeffries has only managed to say: ‘Outside groups are gonna do what outside groups are gonna do. I think House Democrats are going to continue to support each other.'” • Odd. Jeffries seems to think the Democrat Party is some sort of money laundering operation.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The panel charged with recommending changes to Massachusetts’s seal and motto just disbanded. It didn’t offer specific substitutes for either.” [Boston Globe]. • Amusing portrait of a completely dysfunctional committee.


“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!

* * *

Covid is Airborne

Dentists v. doctors:

I think the difference is that dentistry — cleaning, drilling, extracting — as an aerosol-generating procedure, and so dentists are aerosol-conscious. By contrast, doctors are used to thinking of aerosols as being generated in operating theatres, and as simply produced by breathing, talking, shouting, etc. There’s little professional excuse for this, of course, but “one funeral at a time.”

“What are the problems with airtight homes?” [National Post]. “However, there are air-purification systems that neutralize the air using OH radicals. These devices provide air purification and odour elimination around the clock — keeping your indoor air clean and fresh.” • No no no no no:


Since masks look like medical appliances, it’s no surprise people associate them with illness, not safety, let alone collective safety:

“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.

* * *

* * *

Lambert here: Lots of indicators up, starting with wastewater. (The one I worry about the most is ER visits, since I think that data is hard to game, and who wants to go to the ER, anyhow?) I think it’s time to send the relatives those clippings you saved on brain damage (also, of course, the 2022 clippings: here, here. And the 2020 one).

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, November 13:

Lambert here: Cases up, just in time for Thanksgiving (and tinfoil hat time: This is the, er, inflection point CDC was trying to conceal when they gave the contract to Verily and didn’t ensure a seamless transition).

Regional data:



NOT UPDATED From CDC, November 11:

Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: HV.1, EG.5 a strong second, with FL.1.15.1 and XBB. trailing. No BA.2.86 (although that has showed up in CDC’s airport testing). Still a Bouillabaisse…

From CDC, October 28:

Lambert here: 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, November 11:

Lambert here: Slight increases in some age groups, conforming to wastewater data. Only a week’s lag, so this may be our best current nationwide, current indicator until Verily gets its house in order (and working class-centric, since I would doubt the upper crust goes to the ER).

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.


Bellwether New York City, data as of November 15:

Decline flattens. (I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive, although the hospital-centric public health establishment loves it, hospitalization and deaths being the only metrics that matter [snort]).

NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. November 4:

Lambert here: “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”. So where the heck is the update, CDC?


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, November 13:

-1.4%. But bouncing around. (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 Cleveland Clinic, November 11:

Lambert here: Increase (with backward revision; guess they thought it was over). I know this is just Ohio, but the Cleveland Clinic is good*, and we’re starved for data, so…. NOTE * Even if hospital infection control is trying to kill patients by eliminating universal masking with N95s.

From CDC, traveler’s data, October 29:

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, still from October 23:

Sudden big BA.2.86 appearance. This variant chart has not been updated, which makes me wonder if CDC is gaming the data, and BA.2.86 is worse than we think.


Total: 1,182,163 – 1,181,963 = 200 (200 * 365 = 73,000 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, November 16:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose by 13,000 to 231,000 on the week ending November 11th, the highest in nearly three months, and well above market expectations of 220,000. In the meantime, continuing claims rose by 18,000 to 1,865,000 in the previous week, the highest in nearly two years and sharply above market forecasts of 1,847,000, suggesting that jobseekers are having a more difficult time in finding suitable employment.”

Manufacturing: “United States Industrial Production” [Trading Economics]. “US industrial production declined by 0.7% year-on-year in October 2023, following a revised 0.2% contraction in the previous month.”

Manufacturing: “United States Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index in the US increased 3.1 points but remained negative at -5.9 in November 2023, better than market forecasts of -9. This is the index’s 16th negative reading in the past 18 months.”

Manufacturing: “United States Kansas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Production index was at -3 in November of 2023, improving from -8 in the previous month but maintaining the negative territory for the third consecutive period. Both durable goods and nondurable goods manufacturing indices ticked up slightly in the period, although the former remained below zero.”

* * *

Tech: “Mom and pop shops are cutting software spending, creating jitters on Wall Street” [CNBC]. “Analysts are seeing a pullback in software spending by restaurants, retailers, and other local and regional businesses, which are responding to weaker consumer trends…. Over the past two decades, small businesses have accounted for 40% of U.S. gross domestic product, according to the Chamber of Commerce. They also employ 46% of the American workforce…. Investors across the sector are trying to figure out if SMB spending has bottomed or if businesses are still looking for opportunities to slim down their software portfolio should the economic picture dampen further.”

Tech: “Bad Bots Account for 73% of Internet Traffic: Analysis” [Security Week]. “The top five categories of Bad Bot attacks are fake account creation, account takeovers, scraping, account management, and in-product abuse. These haven’t changed from Q2, other than in-product abuse replacing card testing. The biggest increases in attacks from Q2 to Q3 are SMS toll fraud (up 2,141%), account management (up 160%), and fake account creation (up 23%). The top five targeted industries are technology (Bad Bots comprise 76% of its internet traffic); gaming (29% of traffic); social media (46%), e-commerce (65%), and financial services (45%). If a bot fails in its purpose, there is a growing tendency for the criminals to switch to human operated fraud farms. Arkose estimates there were more than 3 billion fraud farm attacks in H1 2023…. The growth in the prevalence of Bad Bots is likely to increase for two reasons: the arrival and general availability of artificial intelligence (primarily gen-AI), and the increasing business professionalism of the criminal underworld with new crime-as-a-service (CaaS) offerings.” Oh. More: “Crime-as-a-service enables wannabe criminals who may have the intent but not the skills to engage in cybercrime. “The massive rise of CaaS has completely changed the economics for adversaries” continued Gosschalk. ‘It’s much cheaper to attack companies and the attacks are just better because it’s a dev shop that is doing the attacks instead of just individual cybercriminals.’ The continuing increase in the volume of Bad Bots suggests they remain profitable for the criminals. The arrival of gen-AI will improve the performance of Bad Bots, while the growth of CaaS will increase the number of Bad Bot operators; so, it will get worse. The only solution is Bad Bot detection and mitigation to limit the access of the bots to their human or system targets.” • Thank you, Silicon Valley. “Crime as a Service” seems like a William Gibson theme, though amazingly he didn’t invent the phrase. Hard to believe the brain geniuses who invented AI didn’t see this coming…. But maybe not!

Tech: “Europe’s hidden security crisis” [Irish Council for Civil Liberties]. “Our investigation highlights a widespread trade in data about sensitive European personnel and leaders that exposes them to blackmail, hacking and compromise, and undermines the security of their organisations and institutions. These data flow from Real-Time Bidding (RTB), an advertising technology that is active on almost all websites and apps. RTB involves the broadcasting of sensitive data about people using those websites and apps to large numbers of other entities, without security measures to protect the data. This occurs billions of times a day. Our examination of tens of thousands of pages of RTB data reveals that EU military personnel and political decision makers are targeted using RTB. This report also reveals that Google and other RTB firms send RTB data about people in the U.S. to Russia and China, where national laws enable security agencies to access the data. RTB data are also broadcast widely within the EU in a free-for-all, which means that foreign and non-state actors can indirectly obtain them, too. RTB data often include location data or time-stamps or other identifiers that make it relatively easy for bad actors to link them to specific individuals. Foreign states and non-state actors can use RTB to spy on target individuals’ financial problems, mental state, and compromising intimate secrets. Even if target individuals use secure devices, data about them will still flow via RTB from personal devices, their friends, family, and compromising personal contacts.” • Thank you, Silicon Valley.

Tech: Love the “make real” button:

For some definition of “real”…..

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 53 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 38 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 16 at 12:28:03 PM ET. Based on what? Arms dealing?

The Gallery

‘Tis the season:

I remember a painting of snow by Pisarro at the Boston MFA that captured the glittery whiteness of fresh snow on crisp, sunny day. Whiteness, at least from a few feet away; close up, the snow was tiny dots of different bright colors: red, blue, yellow…

Class Warfare

“UAW-General Motors contract has enough votes for ratification” [Politico]. “United Auto Workers members at General Motors had enough votes Thursday to ratify their contract with the company, according to a tracker maintained by the union, checking the first of three boxes needed to officially end the strike against the Detroit automakers…. Votes at Ford and Stellantis were still ongoing as ofThursday morning.

“Starbucks workers strike at 200 union stores on Red Cup Day” [Axios]. • Good. Also good:

News of the Wired

“The Truth is Always Made of Details” [Raptitude]. “If you were instructed to draw a leaf, you might draw a green, vaguely eye-shaped thing with a stem. But when you study a real leaf, say an elm leaf, it’s got much more going on than that drawing. It has rounded serrations along its edges, and the tip of each serration is the end of a raised vein, which runs from the stem in the middle. Tiny ripples span the channels between the veins, and small capillaries divide each segment into little “counties” with irregular borders. I could go on for pages….. The Information Age is clearly pushing us towards low-res conclusions on questions that warrant deep, long, high-res consideration. Consider our poor hominid brains, trying to form a coherent worldview out of monetized feeds made of low-resolution takes on the most complex topics imaginable — economic systems, climate, disease, race, sex and gender. Unsurprisingly, amidst the incredible volume of information coming at us, there’s been a surge in low-res, ideologically-driven views: the world is like this, those people are like that, X is good, Y is bad, A causes B. Not complicated, bro…. …. I can’t help but think we’d benefit from a conscious intention to see things in terms of their details again, dialing up the default resolution at which we engage with both our experiences and our ideas. The world exists in infinite resolution, and that’s what we’re built for. The truth is made of details, and they go all the way down. Any ideas about it just rest on the top.” • Obviously a congenial set of ideas for me. Well worth a read!

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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 griffen:

griffen writes: “I dont have a bucket list but in late September visited parks in SD, and here at Devils Tower in Wyoming. Pretty incredible visit, hikes.”

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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. antidlc

    Dentists v. doctors

    I wish our dentist took COVID seriously. When asked to wear an N95, the dentist said, “No, that isn’t necessary.” He and the hygienist both wore surgical masks and the office staff was maskless.

    I can’t find any dentist who takes COVID precautions.

    Needless to say, we are long overdue for checkups.

    1. NYMutza

      Both my dentist and hygienist wear surgical masks + full plastic face shields. The office staff wear surgical masks. Overall, I feel very comfortable visiting my dentist ( as long as the hygienist doesn’t turn the ultrasound cleaning instrument to full power). When I have had appointments at Kaiser the MDs and medical techs wore surgical masks, while the desk staff was a mixed bag.

    2. Daryl

      Was pleasantly surprised on visiting a new dentist to find he was wearing an N95 and some (tho not all) of the staff were masked. I have given up on trying to find any kind of covid precautions and just focus on limiting my indoors contact with people overall.

    3. Carla

      My dentist has been scrupulous. He wears goggles and an N95 covered with a blue surgical mask which I’m guessing he thinks is less off-putting to mask-phobic idiots. He also has HEPA filters running in the waiting room and exam rooms, and patients are asked please NOT to come early, but to only come in to the office at the time of their appointment. I almost never see another person there. His wife makes appts. for him, working over the phone from home.

      The Cleveland Clinic, on the other hand, is a nightmare. After they politely “requested” that patients, visitors and healthcare personnel wear masks (baggy blues only in evidence) this fall, almost no one has paid any attention. If doctors and nurses know that you’re waiting for the results of a Covid test, they will half-heartedly throw on a baggy blue, often worn UNDER the nose. It’s ridiculous, and enraging.

      Of course, I’m a weirdo who has not stopped masking in public places.

  2. Wukchumni

    The photo of the haul from the Shifa hospital that apparently took 9 armed IDF soldiers to quell-and aside from the grenades, could have been the arsenal of many a gun nut in these United States.

    1. Feral Finster

      I was at a friend’s today, living in one of those small towns that, AFAICT survives by buying, selling and trading guns, ammunition and accessories to one another.

      I can confirm that my friend has way more guns than that, as well as ammunition stacked to the ceiling.

      And that’s just the stuff that was in the open.

    2. nippersdad

      That display really looked to me like the kind of thing where guards at the door would have taken weapons off of injured people admitted to the hospital. I saw a video earlier today where they “found” some guns behind a disused MRI machine in what looked like a store room. Hardly the armory that one would have expected to see from the hype.

      I am also reading that the tunnels built by Israel in the 80’s were concreted shut, so they didn’t even have the preexisting set that they thought could be staged. This was not the PR victory that they were looking for.

      1. nippersdad

        As there is no evidence that the hospital was a site in which hostages were kept, that would suggest that she was brought there by her captors. Care on the part of the captors being something explicitly discussed by those who have been released thus far would appear to be proven by such an instance; one in which an elderly woman, overcome by the havoc wreaked around her, was brought in under fire for medical care that was ultimately unavailing in the face of the difficulties that the hospital was under due to the siege condition it had to operate in.

        Is that where you were going with that?

    1. Stubbins

      There are a couple of other more colorful Asian designs that are pretty decent. Ordered some for my wife, I’ll stick with solid-color N95s.

  3. Otto Reply

    During a sweat lodge with members of the local branch of the Native American Church, one of men described the concept of Medicine Wheel to me and noted various natural places around the country that were epicenters. He mentioned this site in what is now Wyoming. When he described it, I said, “Oh, you mean the spot used in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Isn’t it called the Devil’s Tower?” He nodded and said, it’s a sacred site for our people and the white man always renamed our sites “Devil” – Devil’s backbone, Devil’s Tower. The story is born out by a National Park Service article. “Though there are many origin stories about what is now Devil’s Tower, they all demonstrate the importance of the landscape in their tribe’s history. The loccolithic butte has many names. Among them, are Mato Tipila, Grey Horn Butte, He Hota Paha, Bear Rock or Bear Mountain, Tree Rock, and Grizzly Bear Lodge. The name, Devil’s Tower, originates from a 1875 expedition. An interpreter under Colonel Richard Irving Dodge misinterpreted a native name to mean “Bad God’s Tower”. Though tribes have submitted proposals to rename the feature, the name Devil’s Tower has remained.“ A pity.

    1. Wukchumni

      I saw Devil’s Tower or by what other name you’d prefer in the summer of ’67 when memories were starting to take hold & the Wukchumni clan went to Calgary on roundabout fashion in a 1966 Ford station wagon… and it always fascinated me, looking so impregnable.

      1. ambrit

        It’s a shame some want to be Mussorgski doesn’t write a “Night on Devil’s Tower” orchestral piece.

      2. Watt4Bob

        You were lucky.

        On the same sort of family road trip in 1968, I talked loudly about the fact that we would be passing close to Devils Tower for over 800 miles I’m sure, only to watch helplessly as my Dad passed the exit at 75 MPH due to his fixation on making 1000 miles per day.

        From the highway you could make out the distinctive shape of the tower, maybe 4-5 miles from the interstate.

        1. Wukchumni

          From the highway you could make out the distinctive shape of the tower, maybe 4-5 miles from the interstate.

          When I was driving about 4 to 5 miles out from the Kölner Dom, I got an eerie feeling of deja Vu.

        2. NYMutza

          I try to avoid taking road trips with the crazies who want to drive 600-800 miles per day. My daily limit is 450 miles. That allows plenty of time for rest stops, while arriving at the day’s destination before nightfall. Taking road trips with lots of night driving defeats the purpose of the road trip.

          1. Charger

            Visited the Tower today, what a absolute beast for sport climbing. Iconic in every sense of the word.

        3. Ben Joseph

          Know that feeling

          Yorktown exit passed by summer of ’81. Sure it would have been disappointing but c’mon Dad! Bicentennial!

        4. The Rev Kev

          My brother is a bit like that. One time he and his wife drove past the turnoff that would have taken them to where our grandmother was born and raised and it was only a few klicks down that road. A real rural sort of place but nope, had to make those miles for the day for the sake of efficiency or something or other.

      3. griffen

        It is an impressive structure to behold, and maybe the hiking around it is minimal still glad we knocked it out. Lots of interesting tidbits and historical facts surrounding it.

        Devils Tower almost sounds like a subplot to any one of Stephen King’s works of fiction! We tracked Cujo…no we tracked Pennywise…ok maybe it works best within “Pet Sematary”.

        1. notabanker

          If you start uncontrollably building mashed potato replicas of it, please let the rest of us know.

    1. notabanker

      “The transcript published on our website had been widely shared on social media without the full context. Therefore we decided to take it down and direct readers instead to the news article that originally contextualised it.”

      Contextualised. Yeah, sure. Thanks for your service.

  4. none

    Shower thought: GOP is the party of Lord Voldemort. Dems are the party of Dolores Umbridge. No surprise which one is hated more.

  5. Carolinian

    Re “aircraft carrier in the Middle East”–it’s an aircraft carrier that bombs our own ships (the Liberty). Have American planes ever taken off from Israel on military missions? Who makes this stuff up?

    Israel is a client state that ignores our instructions whenever it suits them. If a president threatens to cut off their support (George H.W. Bush) they get their foreign country lobby to try to defeat him. To my knowledge there are no treaties or alliances with Israel in the manner of NATO. Even their 31 million per year campaign support given to Congress is pathetically small given what they get in return. The Rifle Association gives far less but isn’t demanding that the taxpayer buy them guns.

    What we seem to have on the horizon for next year are “lesser evils” who are objectively still evil if you care about what’s best for the country as a whole and its moral status. Enough with playing international bully.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It has been noted that Congress is Israeli-occupied territory. And once Israelis take over your House, they never want to leave.

        1. John

          Stop sending bombs etc. Turn the fleet for home. Say nothing. Ignore the howls and threats. See what happens.

  6. nippersdad

    In a similar article to Slate’s AIPAC vs. Progressives piece, Politico had something that struck me as interesting:

    “Still, it’s unclear how much Jeffries can do to dissuade AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups. The United Democracy Project, a super PAC run by AIPAC, and DMFI PAC, which is run by Democratic Majority for Israel, are already ramping up for the 2024 cycle. UDP is running a negative ad against Lee in her district as well as an ad hitting Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.). Lee faces a credible primary challenge from Bhavini Patel, and Westchester County Executive George Latimer has been floated as a challenger to Bowman.

    “DMFI is also running an ad against Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American member of Congress, that highlights her criticisms of the Israeli government.

    “These anti-Israel members, they’ve already crossed that threshold. So then the real question is, as I said before, is can we have an impact here?” said DMFI president Mark Mellman, describing how the PAC decides where to spend money.

    Last cycle, DMFI PAC spent $7.5 million in independent expenditures, and UDP spent $26 million, according to OpenSecrets.”


    Mellman’s name rang a bell, so…

    “The Mellman Group, a polling and consulting firm whose clients include leading political figures, Fortune 500 companies, and some of the nation’s most important public interest groups. Mellman, who counts among his clients Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and House Whip Steny Hoyer, has helped guide the campaigns of twenty-nine U.S. Senators, ten Governors, over two dozen Members of Congress, and numerous state and local officials.

    In addition to Leader Reid, Senate clients include Dan Akaka, Barbara Boxer, Maria Cantwell, Heidi Heitkamp, Mary Landrieu and Carl Levin. Gubernatorial clients include Jennifer Granholm, Jim Doyle and Pat Quinn. Mayors Dave Bing (Detroit), Jim Gray (Lexington) and Mitch Landrieu (New Orleans) are also clients, as are Members of Congress John Barrow, Tulsi Gabbard, Dan Kildee, Anne Kuster, Jim Langevin and Sander Levin.”


    …we also find that he is a kingmaker in Congress. Albeit that this write up is a little out of date, Reid is dead, it is not really a surprise that Jeffries would be so non-committal about running interference for the squad when yet another portion of his funding, in addition to AIPAC, may require throwing them under the bus.

    What an inbred little group they are.

  7. Swamp Yankee

    Interesting coincidence — I happened to attend the penultimate meeting of the Massachusetts state commission regarding our seal and motto (or rather, I happened to watch the livefeed available via the State Legislature’s website).

    A few notes, with the proviso that I wrote my PhD on the early history of Town Meetings in the Towns of Plymouth and later, Massachusetts Bay, in the 17th -19th centuries, and I didn’t expect to attend this meeting (I thought I might write it up for my newsletter on local public affairs, but have less symbolic fish to fry). I also know at least one person quoted in the article, having worked with that individual on a number of local causes.

    1. The article understates how much the members of this Commission dislike one another. I have been to a _lot_ of public meetings in Massachusetts, and a lot of them are via Zoom. What became clear to an experienced observer of these types of meetings is that many members did not like one another. At all.

    2. The Makeup of the Commission was sort of just an extremely broad panoply of Massachusetts society: you had a significant Native presence, with members of all three Wampanoag tribes and the Massachusett; you had a Colonel or a General in the MA National Guard; you had Pols & Hacks, categories which often, though not always, overlap; you had historians, both academic and of the Pilgrims in particular; it was a group that had very little to unite it, and a lot to divide it.

    3. The article from The Boston Globe makes casual reference to Myles Standish being known for his brutality to natives. Now, my view is probably influenced by the fact that I live in a Town Standish founded, but I’m also a trained historian, and I just don’t think it’s historically accurate to say he was known for brutality to Native people.

    The reality, which Wokeista idpol basically elides and obscures, was that 1620s coastal New England was a complicated geopolitical borderland between multiple small, competing, and armed peoples. In this period, the Plymouth colonists are miniscule in number, though their possession of metal and guns means they hit far above their weight class. The greatest military power, however, are the Narragansett, who occupy the fertile shores of Narragansett Bay. The Wampanoag of Pokanoket are allied with the English, because both fear the Narragansett (where does this leave the Narragansett and the Pokanoket Wampanoag in Wokeista moral calculus?)

    Meanwhile, the drunken and helpless English colony at Wessagusett (Weymouth) basically help drag the Plymouth Colonists into armed conflict with the Massachusett; the Wampanoag of Pokanoket under Massasoit tell their Plymouth Colonists allies a Native alliance of outlying Wampanoag groups and the Massachusett is in formation. This leads to the fight at Wessagusset in which Myles Standish — who wasn’t a Separatist/Saint like the other Pilgrims, but a Stranger, a soldier who had fought in the vicious wars of religion in the Low Countries — killed Massachusett warrior Pecksuot.

    So it’s really considerably more complicated than the Wokeista received account, which is really just Rousseaian Noble Savage thinking dressed in 21st century clothing. They’re kind of like dealing with the liberal and cultural version of the Neocons. “No nuance allowed!”

    This doesn’t mean the dumb received elementary school, 1950s propaganda about Thanksgiving as kumbaya is good, either. Historians like to acknowledge complexity!

    4. In an ironic turn for said Wokeistas, some of the Native members wanted to _keep_ the Native figure, to bring attention to their continuing existence in Massachusetts, which is often erased.

    5. There is a linguistic condition that I call “Hackmouth” — Hackmouth is a dialect that Massachusetts politicians have developed. It comes from two things — having to pronounce the polysyllabic words of legal-political English, but being so astoundingly lazy that they refuse to take the time to actually enunciate each syllable, so that it becomes an inscrutable melange of mumbled syllables, uttered from fat-jowled, thick-tongued mouths; cf. Mayor Thomas “Mumbles” Menino for an extreme version.

    6. There were all kinds of weird alliances on that commission.

    7. The multiple Native tribes present have varied and sometimes conflicting interests and worldviews.

    8. I like “For The Common Good” as a replacement, if they do replace it, for the somewhat complicated Latin phrase from Algernon Sydney. “For The Common Good” encapsulates the 17th-18th c. Commonwealth ideology defended by Sydney and embodied in our 1780 Constitution.

    1. GF

      In order for NCers to more fully comprehend the background and fill in some blanks, a read of the National Book Award winner in non-fiction this year may be useful:

      “The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History” by Ned Blackhawk

      Ned Blackhawk is the Howard R. Lamar Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, where he serves as the faculty coordinator for the Yale Group for the Study of Native America. A graduate of McGill University, he holds graduate degrees in history from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Washington.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Blackhawk is an excellent historian, GF — I haven’t read his most recent book, but he is one of the best historians of the Borderlands writing today.

        I’d also be remiss if I didn’t commend my own Professor Michael Witgen at UMich, who introduced me to Blackhawk’s work and is himself a noted Borderlands historian, of Native power in the Great Lakes (Witgen’s _Abundance of Nations_).

        I’d also recommend _The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes_, by Richard White. White was Witgen’s advisor.

        Finally, the point that gets lost in this neo-“Noble Savage” myth is that we overlook Native power in early America at our peril. We should avoid a teleological history, a presentist history. As Kathleen Du Val points out in _The Native Ground_ on the Arkansas River Valley, the French call the Arkansas Post a part of their empire, but it’s questionable how accurate their claim is: after all, we’re talking 10-30 Frenchmen and at least a thousand Quapaw people who, even accounting for technological differences, simply outnumber the French by an overwhelming margin. That’s why she calls it the Native Ground (she’s responding in part to White’s work).

        This type of history is excellent precisely because it acknowledges complexity, and eschews presentism and teleology (i.e., assuming an end point, viz. “telos”), in order to give us a fuller, more accurate, and more humanistic understanding of the past.

    2. Daniil Adamov

      Very good stuff, thank you. As a historian by training, I can certainly only agree with the complexity argument. All too often one simplistic myth is simply replaced with another. The political landscape of 17th-18th century North America is a fascinating example of actual “multipolarity”. It really does seem like the Europeans’ advantages, though considerable, only fully came into play much later. And certainly the Natives were not aware that they were supposed to be their victims, or indeed that they were one group of victims.

      I recently got around to reading Charles Mann’s 1491, which touches on some of those topics if in a necessarily simplified and cursory way. I’ll be sure to remember the recommendations you make below. One topic I find particularly interesting right now is the political system (or, I suspect, systems) that the Natives had among themselves. One popular recent approach seems to be to dress them up as “nature’s anarchists” free of hierarchy and coercion, but that does not seem quite right either?

    3. Daniil Adamov

      Re: Hackmouth, I am reminded of our late great Viktor Chernomyrdin, although his defect was different. He specialised in amusing sentences like “This has never happened before and here it goes again” and “We wanted what is best, but it turned out as usual”. He likely intended to say something less pithy and more normal for a politician, but could not. It was widely speculated that he normally communicated in good old Russian mat but had to restrain himself from swearing in public, at some cost in intended meaning. (Indeed, that may be the true meaning of another Chernomyrdinism, “I can talk to anyone in any language, but that is a skill that I try not to use.”)

  8. The Rev Kev

    “The Squad Is About to Fight for Its Political Life”

    Oh no. Whatever will Congress do without their Progressive window dressing? I notice too with that photo in that article that all those progressives are of a, ahem, darker hue. So will AIPAC just replace then with a bunch of glasses of milk? Having a before and after photo of those Members will not be a good look for AIPAC in what they did.

      1. John

        Appearance will not matter s long as they salute AIPAC and bend the knee to whatever Israel may be up to.

    1. lambert strether

      I don’t have much time for The Squad. To me, the real story is the state of Israel buying seats in our Congress (granted, for some definition of “our”). Since the dominant faction of the political class in Israel is composed of goat-sacrificing lunatics, I think that’s bad.

      1. Pat

        For me the story is the outright acceptance that it is perfectly acceptable for one foreign country to attempt to blatantly influence American elections. Well as long as it is the right foreign country. I cannot think of any other country, even among our supposed allies, that groups supporting the goals of that country could do this without uproar. Hell I imagine if wealthy supporters of Puerto Rico, which is American, were targeting elected officials this way there would be screams not just from the right but in such august institutions as the New York Times.
        After all the shirt rendering about made up Russian interference, the blatant hypocrisy is stunning.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Under her plan, as everybody would have to positively ID themselves online, the first thing that you says that does not fit the present narrative will allow your boss to fire you, your university to suspend you, your “friends” to cancel you, your social media accounts to shut down on you and anything else they can think off. Maybe have activists picket outside your home.

      “Neocon” Nikki’s next bright idea? No more secret voting and who your vote for will be published online – alongside your name and address. Nearly two centuries ago when people went to vote in England, they would have to exclaim in public who they were voting for in front of the gathered crowd. And god help you if you voted against the landlord for your farm who was running for a position. Nikki would approve of this being brought back again.

      1. Carolinian

        Since Nikki has no skilz she sees sucking up to the MIC as her only real chance of becoming POTUS. And if failure ensues she can go back to her lucrative speeches and board seat. She’ll be like Hillary only with stiletto heels instead of pants suit.

        Speaking of comparisons the LBJ/Biden matchup does have one striking feature: both spent almost their entire careers in Congress. And both recklessly involved the US in wars out of vainglory. Lyndon said he had to go into Vietnam or be the first president to lose a war (?). He also wanted to be like his hero FDR.

        The diff is that Lyndon had enough self awareness to be a broken man after all that he had done whereas Joe just chugs along in his own imaginary world.

  9. SG

    “If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. ”

    I think you might be wrong about this. I think the reason neither major party governs is that it is more profitable for them not to. If one is always “fighting for” things one never achieves and “standing with” those one never actually helps, that’s a never ending funding stream for the consultants who really run the parties. This isn’t too different from Hamas’s business model (and Likud’s, for that matter). Continual struggle with no resolution is a real cash cow.

  10. Jason Boxman

    More on rail: “Do Your Job.” How the Railroad Industry Intimidates Employees Into Putting Speed Before Safety

    If the public thinks of America’s sprawling freight rail network at all, it typically does so when a train derails, unleashing flaming cars and noxious smoke on a community as it did this year in East Palestine, Ohio. The rail industry usually responds by vowing fixes and defending its overall record, which includes a steady decrease in major accidents. But a ProPublica investigation has found that those statistics present a knowingly incomplete picture of rail safety.

    To do what the government hasn’t, ProPublica examined 15 years’ worth of federal lawsuits against rail companies, interviewed hundreds of workers including managers, listened to hours of audio recorded by workers and pored over decades of regulatory, judicial, legislative and industry records. We identified 111 court cases in which workers alleged they had been disciplined or fired after reporting safety concerns; nearly 60% ended in settlements with the companies. Three in recent years resulted in jury verdicts of over $1 million for fired workers.

    (bold mine)

    Paging mayor Pete.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Mom and pop shops are cutting software spending, creating jitters on Wall Street’

    Well this article can’t be right. The Biden economy is going like gang-busters right now so those mom and pop shops should have no end of demand. Good thing that those mom and pop owners can’t vote, especially for the Orange man like they did in such large numbers in 2016. Oh wait…

    1. Pat

      Sign seen on side of NYC bus warning about Tuberculosis. This is so not a good sign in an environment where the hospitals major containment method for airborne disease is to request that sick people stay home.

  12. SG

    Re: RFK, Jr Twit:

    Since the US and Canada have 13.7% of proven petroleum reserves, it’s really ~86% rather than 90, but that seems like quibbling. If push comes to shove, we can always follow Putin’s example and invade Venezuela on the grounds that they’ve annoyed us. We could even cite the historical precedent that the Rockefellers used to pretty much own the place as historical precedent that it’s really ours and that Venezuela isn’t a “real country”.

    Problem solved.

    I mean, it’s not like we haven’t done stuff like that before.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Invading a country is easy. Occupation is extremely hard as seen with Iraq. Venezuela long ago set up preparations for a US invasion and though the US military might be able to establish themselves there, trying to extract oil to send to the US would be damn near impossible, especially when you consider that because of US/EU sanctions, the infrastructure of those oil field would need years of upgrading before they could really ramp up their production. And that would be in peacetime. Under an intense insurgency? Forget it.

      Funny true story here. The Venezuelans decided to set up local forces to resist any invasion forces a few years ago. Of course they needed military rifles for them and they turned to Russia and put in a big order. When the US heard of this, they put their foot down and demanded that the Venezuelans cancel that order saying that American law forbid them doing so. This was in the Obama years mind. The Venezuelans and the Russians paused, had a good laugh, and then carried on.

  13. Amfortas the Hippie

    i’ve mentioned that i see a lot of military aircraft out here….including a B-52 back when cheney lost those nukes.
    a minute ago…something strange.
    far to my east, and descending towards Fort Hood(or whatever they call it now)…a long line of aircraft…spaced out…with some miles between them…but all following the same apparent approach.
    i could just barely discern the running lights(at first, i thought they were bolides…or fragments of one)
    due to the speed(rather, lack thereof)…i suspect the big C-5.
    at least a dozen.
    so somethings afoot, i reckon

    1. ambrit

      So far, quiet here at Camp Shelby.
      Correction, just heard what sounded like a C-17 heading North. A pretty low cloud deck, so, out of my sight, but that sound is distinctive. (No commercial airports near here that usually handle large jets.)
      Given this is a regular training flight route for the military, I’ll keep my ears open.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          this trajectory was NOT normal.
          they keep C-5’s in san antonio…and when yer there, they take off westwards, then usually turn south or east.
          (watched a million of them take off and land during cancertime)
          without understanding how the flight trackers work, i would guess that they were maybe coming from san antone…i can see the light pollution from austin, 100 miles away, and these were slightly closer to me than that…which lines them up for kileen/ft hood.
          the one time i went to ft hood, it looked like a tank parking lot…miles and miles of tanks and tank-like machinery.(ex wife’s dad was a sargent of some kind in the mortar division(sic))
          their descent also pointed right at ft hood.

          also of note, perhaps…the military aircraft have been scarce during the day…but i hear them at night…passing from west to east.
          sounds like c-130 or -160(?)…
          goodfellow is 100 miles to my northwest…but they have reportedly downsized in recent years…nothing there.
          ft Bliss is way the hell out due west, outside of el paso.
          and that fits with these nocturnal overflight trajectories….lots of desert warfare materiel out there.
          idk…i’m not military…and not even military adjacent.
          but i can read a map…and can point in the exact direction of various over the horizon things.


          1. digi_owl

            Usually planes take off facing the prevailing wind, to help with lift. The turn afterwards is a good indication of where they are going.

            And i’d be really surprised if the props were C-160, as the only active user remaining are Turkey.

    2. scott s.

      Well, we’ve had an exercise here in Hawaii. I suspect its timing due to funding between threatened “shutdowns”, so they got it done before this weekend. But they did have a couple of C-17 landings at Wheeler AAF, always interesting to me as I live under the Class D airspace for Wheeler. Normally we just have helos (25th combat aviation brigade) and those don’t typically overfly residential areas. Meanwhile we had a wildfire a couple miles away that burned for a week, but not close enough to the army’s ranges I don’t think for any direct relationship. It was mostly in Oahu Forest NWR land.

      1. Wukchumni

        All quiet on the western front here, haven’t heard the F-18’s or F-35’s out of NAS Lemoore overhead in many days…

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