2:00PM Water Cooler 3/25/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I had to cope with Trump’s latest escape. They really shouldn’t break stories just as I’m starting Water Cooler. More soon. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Red-winged Blackbird, Southards Pond Park, Suffolk, New York, United States. “Many songs and eight or so varieties of call notes in three cuts from the same bird.”

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Book collecting among the youth.

(2) Boeing executives auto-defenestrate. Or so we are told.

(3) History of blotter.

(4) Where Starbucks is.. And where it isn’t.

Look for the Helpers

“Some young people have become Colorado book collectors without realizing it. Here’s their chance to win $1,000.” [Colorado Sun]. “The deadline for the Kirkpatrick Prize for Colorado book collectors under the age of 30 is nearing. Wait. What? Are you serious? There are enough under 30 book collectors in Colorado to warrant a competition and $1,000 prize? Apparently. But here’s the thing, the contestants generally don’t realize they’ve slipped into the world of book collecting. They, like many, tend to mistakenly believe that it’s the province of wealthy older men who wear jackets with patches on the elbows and perhaps berets on their heads — you know, sort of professorial, sort of eccentric. And they’re called antiquarians, clearly a name that does not invoke ‘under 30.’ That group certainly makes up a bit of the world of book collectors, Taylor Kirkpatrick said, but in the last decade he’s noticed a growing interest among young people. He started the contest four years ago to encourage that interest. ‘There’s an annual Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair and I would say 10 years ago when you went the population of attendees was in their 50s to 80s,’ he said. “If you go now, I would tell you the demographic is that it does draw a younger crowd, especially for the ephemera and specialty items.’… He started the Kirkpatrick Prize to keep that interest growing and to encourage young collectors, who likely consider themselves book lovers, but not collectors. While there have been fewer than 15 entrants in each of the first three years, Kirkpatrick, who is 51, said he hopes to have more than 15 this year — and for the number to keep growing.” • So good for Kirkpatrick. There’s a lot to be said for books, besides the fact you can drop them in the tub. They work when the Internet goes down. They don’t cause the same eye-strain that screens can. Plus, you can own them.

* * *

My email address is down by the plant; please send examples of “Helpers” there. In our increasingly desperate and fragile neoliberal society, everyday normal incidents and stories of “the communism of everyday life” are what I am looking for (and not, say, the Red Cross in Hawaii, or even the UNWRA in Gaza).

Politics

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

* * *

2024

Less than a year to go!

I had planned to post this chart every Friday. But this is Monday. In any case, the message is the same as last Friday. (If I were the Trump campaign, I’d be worried about Pennsylvania, called “the Keystone State” for good reason. Fetterman showed how to win it: “Every county, every vote.” Does the Trump campaign think they’re going to win Pennsylvania with the air war?)

* * *

Trump (R): “N.Y. appeals court reduces Trump’s bond in his civil fraud case to $175 million, a victory for the former president” [NBC]. “A state appeals court ruled that Donald Trump and his co-defendants in the New York civil fraud case have 10 days to post a $175 million bond, down from the $464 million judgment that was originally due Monday. The 11th-hour ruling from a panel of state Appellate Division judges, all appointed by Democratic governors, is a major victory and relief for the former president, whose attorneys had said coming up with the larger bond was a “practical impossibility.” The ruling also means state Attorney General Letitia James’ office cannot yet begin collecting on the judgment. ‘I greatly respect the decision of the appellate division and I’ll post the $175 million in cash or bonds or security or whatever is necessary very quickly within the 10 days, and I thank the appellate division for acting quickly,’ Trump said in front of cameras after he left a New York courtroom for a hearing in the hush money case.” And: “The decision Monday also puts a stay on the part of the original judgment that barred Trump from serving as a public officer of a company, as well as the prohibitions placed on Weisselberg, McConney, Donald Trump Jr. And Eric Trump.” • Hmm. What’s up with that?

Trump (R): “New York appeals court cuts Trump’s bond to $175M” [Axios]. “It’s a huge win for the former president, who was staring down the prospect of a devastating financial and personal blow if he was unable to post the nearly half-billion-dollar bond by the Monday deadline…. A spokesperson for James in a statement on Monday said that ‘Trump is still facing accountability for his staggering fraud.’ ‘The $464 million judgment – plus interest – against Donald Trump and the other defendants still stands.'”

Trump (R): “Trump Bond Reduced to $175 Million as He Appeals NY Fine” [Bloomberg]. “The decision means Trump may be able to push ahead with his appeal without the risk of his assets being seized by New York Attorney General Letitia James for lack of payment.”

Trump (R): “People of the State of New York vs. Donald J. Trump et al.” (PDF) [Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, First Judicial Department]. In relevant part: “It is ordered that the motion is granted to the extent of staying enforcement of those portions of the Judgment (1) ordering disgorgement to the Attorney General of $464,576,230.62, conditioned on defendants-appellants posting, within ten (10) days of the date of this order, an undertaking in the amount of $175 million dollars….” • No rationale given.

Trump (R): “Today Is the Day That 50 Years of Grifting Finally Comes to an End” [David Cay Johnston, The New Republic]. • Premature triumphalism, excusable in a writer, not in an editor.

Trump (R): “Eric Trump, in Brutal Self-Own, Says Insurance Companies ‘Were Laughing’ as He Tried to Secure $464M Bond for Donald Trump” [Mediaite]. Eric Trump: “I went after the largest sureties in the world, the largest sureties in the country. They said, ‘Eric, the last time we’ve seen a bond that size is when we did the Big Dig of Boston, which was a $25 billion construction project that lasted almost 25 years!’ They’re trying to put my father out of business, they’re trying to take all his resources that he’s trying to put into his own campaign for the presidency…. Leticia James campaigned on this promise, and now they’re making him do something that’s not physically possible! Putting up half-a-billion-dollar bond — bonds that size don’t exist in this country. A $10 million bond is a large bond. A $15 is million bond is an enormous bond. A half a billion dollar bond? Maria…this is ‘lawfare..'” • The headline seems deceptive to me, when I look at the quote (assuming Trump Fils is telling the truth).

* * *

Trump (R): “Trump to Israel Hayom: Only a fool would have not acted like Israel on Oct. 7” (interview) [Israel Hayom]:

Q: I want to present you with a question I think every world leader has to answer. How would you react if your children or grandchildren were kidnapped by Hamas and underwent the same atrocities many Israelis have experienced since Oct. 7?

[TRUMP:] “I would say I would act very much the same way as you did. You would have to be crazy not to. Only a fool would not do that. That was a horrible attack.”

Q: If you were president again, how would you counter the wave of antisemitism in the wake of the war’s outbreak?

[TRUMP:] “Well, that’s because you fought back. And I think Israel made a very big mistake. I wanted to call [Israel] and say don’t do it. These photos and shots. I mean, moving shots of bombs being dropped into buildings in Gaza. And I said, Oh, that’s a terrible portrait. It’s a very bad picture for the world. The world is seeing this…every night, I would watch buildings pour down on people. It would say it was given by the Defense Ministry, and said whoever’s providing that that’s a bad image.”

I’m too lazy to find the quote, but IIRC that was how Trump framed the pointlessness of the Iraq War, in 2016; the destruction of buildings genuinely seems to get to him. And on (per Mearsheimer) The Lobby:

[TRUMP:] Some 15 years ago, Israel had the strongest lobby. If you were a politician, you couldn’t say anything bad about Israel, that would be like the end of your political career. Today, it’s almost the opposite. I’ve never seen you have AOC plus three, these lunatics, frankly. But you have AOC plus three plus plenty of others. And all they do is talk badly about Israel, and they hate Israel, and they hate the Jewish people. And they are open about it. Take a look at some of these, Rashida Tlaib, what she says the way she talks, and they truly hate the Jewish people. And 15 years ago, that would have been unthinkable to be doing that. So Israel has to get, Israel has to get better with the promotional and with the public relations, because right now they’re in ruin. They’re being hurt very badly. I think in a public relations sense.

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Biden (D): “Biden’s cash advantage over Trump cannot be overlooked” [The Hill]. “Biden’s cash advantage over Trump — currently sitting at roughly $40 million — may prove decisive in a race largely hinging on turnout and whichever campaign can effectively reach and mobilize voters…. On top of that, outside groups have pledged more than $1 billion to support Biden’s reelection bid…. It is easy to understand why donors are hesitant to give to the candidate or his committees. The bulk of Trump’s spending is not going to the campaign but to his legal fees.” In other words, Democrats believe that lawfare works (just like they believe the Pied Piper strategy works, despite 2016). So they will keep doing it. More: “Biden’s deep pockets mean the president can open many more campaign offices in the key swing states, ensuring a robust grassroots outreach and get-out-the-vote operation throughout the states that will decide the contest.” • Maybe. It may also be that, just as in 2016, a Trump dollar stretches farther than a Biden dollar (rather like the Big Mac index).

Biden (D): “How Biden can win in the swing states by learning from New York City’s subways” [James Levine, The Hill]. “Warning that Donald Trump is a ‘threat to democracy’ is too abstract a message to sway many citizens to vote for President Biden. Instead, his campaign needs to show voters how the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will benefit them in the years ahead — especially in the swing states…. In its ‘Here’s what’s coming’ campaign, the New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is showing subway riders the future impact of their city and state tax dollars. Giant billboards along the walkway towards the shuttle train from Grand Central Station to Times Square make the coming improvements and benefits tangible: better lighting for safety, elevators to make access easier for all, and more. Biden is starting to do that with in-person visits, such as his Jan. 25 trip to Wisconsin’s Blatnik Bridge on the shores of a bay near Lake Superior. He told residents that without the infusion of $1 billion from the infrastructure funding the bridge was doomed to fail by 2030. But the Biden campaign needs to deliver its ‘coming attractions’ via every available form of visual media in a sustained, overwhelming manner. In print that means billboards on highways and other roads, at train stations, airports and waterways. On social media, that means short video clips showing every possible area of impact.” • Concrete material benefits. What a concept.

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Kennedy (I): “What the Polls Say Today: RFK Jr. Now Hurting Biden, Helping Trump” [Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine]. “[M]ore recent polling has most often shown him helping Trump more than Biden, both nationally and in the battleground states…. There are three big factors that may well affect the size and shape of Kennedy’s vote in the future. First, his veep reveal on March 26 could possibly better define his candidacy and its appeal. Second, and more importantly, he will almost certainly be the object of unfriendly attention from the camp of the major-party candidate (at the moment, Joe Biden) he seems to be hurting. This could come in the form of attacks on his credibility, his ideology (perhaps to make him more attractive to voters from the other major party), or his effect on the outcome (i.e., for Democrats, the benefit Trump might receive). Third and perhaps most important will be the extent to which RFK Jr. gains ballot access, a laborious and expensive process.”

Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr. seeks major boost with VP announcement” [The Hill]. “Team Kennedy’s search for a No. 2 has gotten attention for the unconventional names it’s produced. While many believe Kennedy is likely to choose Nicole Shanahan, a lawyer and mega-donor, others have been privately mused about, with mixed reactions.” • Shannahan — “a West Coast lawyer, who has deep ties in Silicon Valley and is the ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin” — would be, to say the least, a false note.

Kennedy (I):

First Presidential election I remember…

Kennedy (I): This nine-minute (!) video is getting some play:

Kennedy (I): On BitCoin and CBDCs:

* * *

Newsom (D): “Move to Protect California’s Indoor Workers From Heat Upended by Cost Questions” [KFF Health News]. “Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration unexpectedly yanked its support from a sweeping proposal that would have protected millions of California’s indoor workers from dangerous heat, saying it can’t endorse it without knowing the projected costs to the state. But the board that oversees worker safety immediately defied the administration Thursday by unanimously approving new standards intended to protect people who work in poorly ventilated warehouses, steamy restaurant kitchens, and other indoor job sites. The showdown represents a setback to the state’s climate and labor policy goals, and throws the fate of the rules into unknown territory. They had been expected to take effect by summer. The move by the Democratic administration angered board members, who called it a ‘last-minute stunt’ that undermines their regulatory process. It also sparked a protest by warehouse workers, who temporarily shut down the meeting as they waved signs declaring that ‘Heat Kills!’ and loudly chanted, ‘What do we want? Heat protection! When do we want it? Now!'” • Gavin Newsom, the worker’s friend.

* * *

“Biden and the party of ‘democracy’ are terrified of third-party candidates and voter choice” [Jonathan Turley, New York Post]. “[T]he DNC is seeking to block third-party candidates from ballots — Robert Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, and Jill Stein. All three are liberal and are considered a threat to Joe Biden. This effort will likely include any ticket put forward by the No Labels group, seeking a moderate alternative to the two parties. Mary Beth Cahill, the former interim DNC CEO, and DNC operative Ramsey Reid will lead this effort. According to media reports, former Buttigieg campaign aide Lis Smith will also join. This effort includes not just a public campaign against Kennedy and Stein as spoilers, but ‘legal action’ to solve the problem by denying voters a choice…. The contradiction is spellbinding. On the same sites promising to oppose the third-party candidates, the DNC and other groups push the narrative that only the Democrats are working to protect the right to vote…. The DNC is reportedly to be joined in this effort by a well-financed array of groups including the liberal think tank Third Way (which has filed complaints with secretaries of states); American ridge (a Democratic opposition operation), and Clear Choice (a super PAC composed of ‘allies of President Biden’).” • You can hardly blame them. However, that restricting ballot access and lawfare are the highest and best uses for Democrat campaign dollars, as opposed to making the case for their candidate…. Well, that says something.

Our Famously Free Press

“Led by NBC, U.S. corporate media is learning to live with Trump” [Semafor]. “For weeks before NBC News journalists exploded into open revolt Sunday over the network’s hire of a top Donald Trump supporter, the media company that controls three of the top U.S. news networks had been quietly rebuilding its ties to the former president. Network insiders noticed on March 5, when, during MSNBC’s Super Tuesday broadcast of Trump’s primary wins, host Rachel Maddow indicated to producers off-camera that viewers had heard enough from the former president. MSNBC president Rashida Jones told production staff that she wanted to stay with his speech. Maddow mused live about the challenges of taking Trump’s comments on the fly and ‘allowing somebody to knowingly lie on your air.’ Six days later, CNBC welcomed the former president back to Squawk Box for a phone-in interview primarily conducted by right-leaning host Joe Kernen.” • So presumably the Ronna McDaniel flap will die down, even if McDaniel herself turns out to be a sacrificial victim.

Democrats en Déshabillé

“James Carville, the Cajun Who Can’t Stop Ragin'” (interview) [Maureen Dowd, New York Times]. “‘A suspicion of mine is that there are too many preachy females’ dominating the culture of his party [Carville says]. ‘Don’t drink beer. Don’t watch football. Don’t eat hamburgers. This is not good for you.’ The message is too feminine: ‘Everything you’re doing is destroying the planet. You’ve got to eat your peas.’ ‘If you listen to Democratic elites — NPR is my go-to place for that — the whole talk is about how women, and women of color, are going to decide this election. I’m like: ‘Well, 48 percent of the people that vote are males. Do you mind if they have some consideration?'” • Hmm.

#COVID19

“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!

ake effect by summer. The move by the Democratic administration angered board members, who called it a ‘last-minute stunt’ that undermines their regulatory process. It also sparked a protest by warehouse workers, who temporarily shut down the meeting as they waved signs declaring that ‘Heat Kills!’ and loudly chanted, ‘What do we want? Heat protection! When do we want it? Now!'” • Gavin Newsom, the worker’s friend.

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 (wastewater); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, 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, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Immune Dysregulation

“A prognostic model for SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infection: Analyzing a prospective cellular immunity cohort” [International Immunopharmacology]. “Breakthrough infection of SARS-CoV-2 induces perturbations in cellular immunity. After breakthrough infection with SARS-CoV-2, there was a decrease in effector T cells and an increase in naïve T cells. The assessment of cellular immunity prior to breakthrough infection can serve as a prognostic tool for SARS-CoV-2 infection.” • Hmm.

“As Princess of Wales reveals diagnosis, doctors warn of mysterious cancer ‘epidemic'” [Daily Mail]. “There is significant confusion among researchers as to what might be causing the trend, although most agree it is unlikely to be down to a single factor…. Researchers are also beginning to turn their sights on possible changes to the microbiome to explain the trend…. However, despite growing theoretical enthusiasm, scientists are hindered by the difficulty in conducting the necessary long-term cause-and-effect studies needed to draw a link between what people eat and their risk of the disease…. Models based on global data predict that the number of early-onset cancer cases will increase by around 30 per cent between 2019 and 2030, a markedly faster increase than the previous 30 years.” • Huh. Since 2019. Huh.

Variants

Life is too short to chase variants. But KP.2?

Let’s see if it starts showing up….

Elite Maleficence

This seems odd:

Does CDC remove treatment guidelines routinely?

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

Cases
National[1] Biobot March 22: Regional[2] Biobot March 22:
Variants[3] CDC March 16 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC March 16
Hospitalization
New York[5] New York State, data March 22: National [6] CDC March 16:

Positivity
National[7] Walgreens March 25: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic March 16:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC March 4: Variants[10] CDC March 4:
Deaths
Weekly deaths New York Times March 9: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times March 9:

LEGEND

1) for charts new today; all others are not updated.

2) For a full-size/full-resolution image, Command-click (MacOS) or right-click (Windows) on the chart thumbnail and “open image in new tab.”

NOTES

[1] (Biobot) Our curve has now flattened out at the level of previous Trump peaks. Not a great victory. Note also the area “under the curve,” besides looking at peaks. That area is larger under Biden than under Trump, and it seems to be rising steadily if unevenly.

[2] (Biobot) Backward revisions, I hate them.

[3] (CDC Variants) 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.

[4] (ER) “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.”

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Looks like a very gradual leveling off to a non-zero baseline, to me.

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC) Still down. “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†”.

[7] (Walgreens) Leveling out.

[8] (Cleveland) Flattening.

[9] (Travelers: Posivitity) Now up, albeit in the rear view mirror.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) JN.1 dominates utterly.

Stats Watch

The Economy: “United States Chicago Fed National Activity Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago Fed National Activity Index edged up to a three-month high of 0.05 in February 2024 from a downwardly revised -0.54 in January, signalling a slight increase in economic growth.”

Manufacturing: “United States Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ general business activity index for manufacturing in Texas decreased to -14.4 in March 2024, down 3.1 points from -11.3 in the previous month.”

* * *

Finance: Is there wheel repo?

Manufacturing: “Boeing CEO to Step Down in Overhaul Sparked by Safety Crisis” [Bloomberg]. “CEO Dave Calhoun will leave the company at the end of 2024, while Chairman Larry Kellner will not stand for re-election, Boeing said in a statement. Stan Deal, who leads Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, will also retire immediately. Chief Operating Officer Stephanie Pope [came up through finance] will take on Deal’s role, the company said.” And the airlines haven’t even met with the Board yet! More: “The changes come amid growing customer frustration with Calhoun and Deal as a crisis centering on the planemaker’s manufacturing quality and safety shows no signs of receding nearly three months after a fuselage panel blew out of an airborne 737 Max in January.”

Manufacturing: “Boeing CEO, other executives stepping down amid safety crisis” [NBC]. “How many times can ‘won’t happen again’ happen again?” Bank of America Corp. analyst Ronald Epstein wrote in a report in January. ‘Both Boeing and [Boeing parts supplier] Spirit [AeroSystems] need a drastic cultural overhaul. This cultural change won’t come from FAA mandates, congressional hearings, internal memos, or one-hour all hands meetings. For culture to move from corporate jargon to being embodied in the habits and minds of both workforces, we see it as necessary for Boeing and Spirit to drastically rethink the ways they have operated.'” • So, defenestration.

Manufacturing: “Boeing whistleblower John Barnett was spied on, harassed by managers, lawsuit claims” [FOX]. “The lawsuit, filed to the U.S. Department of Labor, says in January 2017, Barnett was notified that his name was ‘1 of 49’ listed in an e-mail on a supervisor’s desk titled ‘Quality Managers to get rid of.'” • Oh, right. Not that kind of hit list.

Manufacturing: “Blind Items Revealed #4” [Crazy Days and Nights]. “A detective who thinks a very recent whistleblower death is not a suicide says someone tried to recently kill him. John Barnett/Boeing.” • This is a gossip site, so take with a truckload of salts. Nevertheless:

* * *

Manufacturing: Crapification:

My father bought a Bakelite electric coffee grinder in 1964. Still going strong. I thought I’d get something a little more up-date, bought a streamlined Braun coffee grinder at Macy’s, when we had Macy’s. It lasted a year. So it goes!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68 Greed (previous close: 71 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 69 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 25 at 12:55:59 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Food Supply. “Many nations have a shortage of food” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most! •

Healthcare

“Landmark Study Confirms Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is ‘Unambiguously Biological'” [ScienceAlert]. “In 2016, years before long COVID was a thing, the US National Institutes of Health, the largest single public funder of medical research in the world, launched a study into a long-neglected and puzzling condition: chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME/CFS. Eight years later, the results of that study are finally out. In one of the most thorough investigations to date, researchers took a deep dive into a small group of 17 people who developed ME/CFS after an infection and found distinct biological differences compared to 21 healthy controls. ‘Overall, what we show is that ME/CFS is unambiguously biological, with multiple organ systems affected,’ neurologist Avindra Nath, lead researcher of the study and clinical director of NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), said in an interview with JAMA.” • So that should stop the gaslighting [hollow laughter]. Now do Long Covid (and don’t take eight years. Or blow another billion).

The 420

“For Brilliant Color: Packaging the First LSD Blotter” [The MIT Press]. “In contrast to today, when psychedelics are imagined to be medicines, party favors, or indigenous sacraments, many LSD users in the 1960s imagined their favorite substance as a kind of media. Like the increasingly technological media of the postwar world, LSD filters, transforms, and amplifies non-drug phenomena. Ghost played with this association by disguising his acid as film stock promising “brilliant color.” Each sheet was wrapped inside mylar, which not only protected the acid from damaging UV light, but also discouraged suspicious parties from opening the package on a whim, potentially destroying unexposed film. This “medium is the message” idea permeated acid discourse and marketing. Other examples include “Window pane,” “Clearlist,” and some of the first printed LSD blotters, which featured electric light bulbs.” • Like this:

Class Warfare

“Playground bullies do prosper – and go on to earn more in middle age” [Guardian]. “Children who displayed aggressive behaviour at school, such as bullying or temper outbursts, are likely to earn more money in middle age, according to a five-decade study that upends the maxim that bullies do not prosper. They are also more likely to have higher job satisfaction and be in more desirable jobs, say researchers from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex. The paper, published today, used data about almost 7,000 people born in 1970 whose lives have been tracked by the British Cohort Study. The research team examined data from primary school teachers who assessed the children’s social and emotional skills when they were 10 years old in 1980, and matched it to their lives at the age of 46 in 2016.”

News of the Wired

If you’re considering internal exile, here’s a handy map:

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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, lichen, 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 SR:

SR writes: “Shot in Staunton River State Park in remote southern Virginia.” Autumn leaves, but what’s revealed after the snow melts, too.

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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.

121 comments

  1. Wukchumni

    There’s a lot to be said for books, besides the fact you can drop them in the tub.

    I’m looking at the M volume of 1966 World Book Encyclopedia that went in the drink, circa 1970. I think I fell asleep somewhere between Madagascar & Malawi.

    It’s a good thing sets of encyclopedias are worth approx bupkis, because this would damage the overall look of the collection.

    Reply
    1. Mark Gisleson

      After being laid off from my factory job and after burning out on a political campaign, I opened a used science-fiction bookstore in an upstairs space across the hall from a plumbing contractor’s upstairs appliance repair workspace.

      The store lasted for a few months and then a barrel of oily rags across the hall spontaneously combusted. The smoke poured out of my windows so that’s where the firemen directed their hoses.

      A local fan bought the salvageable books for pennies on the dollar. Even at that price they were a terrible bargain, not just waterlogged but reeking of smoke.

      Later, selling collectible books on Amazon (when they still permitted such a thing), I learned that most new books cannot be sold as “new” unless they meet certain condition few new books meet. The world of collecting is cut-throat and not for newbies. Buy cheap and maybe sell for more later but the more you spend on a book, the less it will be worth when you part with it.

      Reply
      1. Mark Gisleson

        No good links for this anymore but credit UK advertising creative Dave Trott for the best wet book story ever:

        When I worked at BMP, the Head of Television commuted in from Brighton every day. He started reading The Exorcist on the train. He said he thought it was the most evil book he’d ever read. In fact, he said it was so evil he couldn’t finish it. So, at the weekend, he went to the end of Brighton pier and threw it as far as he could. So I went to the bookshop. I bought another copy. Then I ran it under the tap. And left it in his desk drawer. For him to find. As Dawn French says, “If it’s funny it’s not bad taste. And if it’s bad taste it’s not funny.”

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          thats a great tale!

          as for the article, which made me skip righ down here to the comments(ill wait patiently for Lambert to finish)….i guess im a book collecter…
          that funky old trailerhouse right there is my Library…with my eldest in the end room, and the rest full of books.
          i estimate 4000 volumes, perhaps.
          most in boxes, until i get around to finishing the remodel/shoring up/building shelves.
          mostly got from library sales.

          Reply
  2. Feral Finster

    “Playground bullies do prosper – and go on to earn more in middle age”

    I didn’t need a study to tell me that.

    Reply
    1. Laughingsong

      Not surprising, our lovely neoliberal capitalist “culture” glorifies the type of “ambition” and “competition” that bullies do best: threatening, taking, standing on the shoulders of others. . . . It’s become a bully’s world.

      Reply
      1. Feral Finster

        Far as I can tell, it predates neoliberalism.

        Look at a lot of the historical figures styled “the Great”.

        Reply
        1. Objective Ace

          There’s selective bias in who history remembers. How many ultra aggressive individuals would up dead or imprisoned rather then becoming know as “the great”?

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Everybody knows the name Alexander the Great but in a travelogue I learned that the people in those regions that he conquered regarded him as a monster.

          Reply
          1. Janie

            Maybe the same travelogue I saw. The people of, what, Afghanistan and such, spoke as if he had just been through week before last.

            Reply
          2. Daniil Adamov

            That’s really variable. There is a major Middle Eastern (both old Persian and Muslim) tradition of Alexander as a hero; Persians sometimes claimed he was one of them and a worthy Persian ruler in his own right; Muslims have legends of Iskander Dhul-Qarnayn, a legendary hero and early monotheist.

            Reply
        3. Lefty Godot

          American culture (movies, TV, and popular literature) has been glorifying the bully on an upward trend since the 1970s. It may have done so before that and then regressed, but I’m not aware of when that might have been. By the 2000s we were all-in on torture and destroying whole cities (Fallujah) as noble, patriotic pursuits. And political rhetoric was becoming ever more violent. And mass shootings became a commonplace, along with unprosecuted murders by cops. All our politicians sound like bullying braggarts, many of the foul-mouthed schoolyard moron type. Business executives are not far behind, maybe less potty-mouthed in public. It’s like our artistic culture caught a slow but fatal illness around 55 years ago and spread it around to the rest of society.

          Reply
      2. Belle

        I was bullied quite a bit in elementary school (public), and bullied more in middle school (private, fundamentalist religious). I wound up starting to have academic problems in high school. (Bullying was less there, as I was at a magnet school.)

        Reply
        1. Janie

          Bullying sounds so sad. I honestly do not recall it happening in the forties and fifties. Yes, we had cliques, but we ignored others and did not insult or humiliate them. I think. I hope.

          Reply
    2. Benny Profane

      Ridiculous. What that study should have done is establish class, or economic standing of said bullies, and correlate that to success. Are most bullies from well off families,? Or, better off, with better networking post graduation?

      Boris Johnson comes to mind. I recently read he was a real little **** in the best schools. Of course.

      Reply
    1. griffen

      I visited South Dakota last September and I’d contend that would be on the list of regions to pin as very remote. Maybe a stretch on the “very remote” but if cell signals dropping are a thing and the buffalo still roam instead of your phone it should be on the list.

      Heck we even did a drive back through Deadwood after a short visit to see the monumental faces carved into their forever state at Mount Rushmore. I doubt they’re making room for a sparkling, new face! Repubs would desire a Reagan, Dems may well desire an FDR…

      Reply
    2. Cat Burglar

      “Remote — from what?” is what I always wonder when I read the term used this way.

      If you just look at the map, southeast Oregon and northwest and central Nevada are so remote, they don’t even get a mention on the list.

      Reply
      1. John

        I nominate eastern Montana. As you leave Baker heading southwest there is a sign: Next gas 96 miles. A few years ago cell phone service was also quickly non-existent. Peaceful drive.

        Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        We could possibly get out of debt for the entire country if enough drivers traipsed through the ultimate speed trap in Searchlight, Nevada in-between Boulder City and a hard place sometimes known as BFE. (Barstow \Family-Blog/ Egypt)

        The speed limit goes from 65 to 55 to 45 to 35 to 25 in a relative blink of the eye, and last time I stopped there for lunch @ Denny’s, I watched 4 cars pulled over to the tune of $500 per in moving violations.

        Reply
    3. Wukchumni

      It wasn’t exactly remote, and I almost became part of the Zion’ist movement on Saturday, but 50 mph winds on Interstate 15 put paid to the idea of going through Hurricane (pronounced ‘hurry-kin’) Utah en route to the National Park, like a double whammy of wind.

      Reply
    1. ChrisFromGA

      He would not have had a House speaker to lecture, so maybe it’s for the better.

      Beat It

      Sung to the tune of “Beat It” by Michael Jackson

      She told Mike dontcha ever come around here
      Don’t wanna see your face you’d better disappear!
      The fire’s in her eyes, and the sellout was clear, so beat it! Just beat it!

      You cannot run, like Kev you’re gonna get canned
      You wanna mess with Marge? You’re selling nachos, man
      You wanted Kevs gig, then your nightmare began
      So beat it, but you wanna keep that gavel

      [Chorus]

      Just beat it, (beat it), beat it, (beat it) she filed the motion, won’t defeat it
      Show ’em how punky, you sell out the right
      It doesn’t matter if there’s no white knight

      Just beat it! (beat it)
      Just beat it! (beat it)
      just beat it! (beat it)
      Just beat it!

      She’s out to get you, better leave while you can
      Don’t wanna mess with Freedom girls, you’re roadkill, man!
      Her privileged motion put your huevos in her hand, so beat it! Just beat it! ooh

      Kev says to show them that you’re really not scared
      You’re prayin’ for your job, but Y*hweh just don’t care
      You sold out, for shekels
      Tell Judas it’s not fair
      So beat it, but you wanna be there!

      [Chorus]

      Beat it, Beat it, Beat it 2x

      [Van Halen guitar solo; Marjorie and Mikey “dance”]

      Just beat it, (beat it) beat it, (beat it), she filed the motion, won’t defeat it
      Show ’em how punky, you sold out the right
      It doesn’t matter if there’s no white knight
      (repeat)

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Alas, my colleague, you do me wrong
        To cast me off discourteously
        For I have loved serving you well so long
        Delighting in your company

        Alas, my colleague, you do me wrong
        To cast me off discourteously
        For I have loved serving you well so long
        Delighting in your company

        Greene sleeves was all my joy
        Greene sleeves was my delight
        Greene sleeves, my heart of gold
        And who but my Lady Greene sleeves

        And I will pray to God on high
        That thou my constancy may see
        And that yet once before my Speakership dies
        Thou wilt vouchsafe to keep me

        Greene sleeves was all my joy
        Greene sleeves was my delight
        Greene sleeves, my heart of gold
        And who but my Lady Greene sleeves

        Come once again and keep me, ooh
        And keep me

        Greensleeves

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSjfkwvOOAM

        Reply
    2. Ranger Rick

      After all of this Gaza news, I wonder if anti-BDS legislation has had a rethink? A quick web search suggests not.

      Reply
      1. Belle

        Shame. It’s basic free speech to boycott.
        (Of course, I would want to boycott companies who have shown support for Banderites as well.)

        Reply
        1. Carol Mackenzie

          One of the easiest things one can do to protest Gaza, Ukraine and the destruction of the middle class, gig workers and the abandonment of veterans, is to boycott discretionary spending until November.
          No business as usual.

          Remember this? It demonstrates the power of the purse.
          “Bush seems to have calculated — cynically but correctly — that prolonging the credit-fueled consumer binge could help keep complaints about his performance as Commander in Chief from becoming more than a nuisance”
          https://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1872229_1872230_1872236,00.html

          Spend a weekend day at home without leaving the house, using fuel or spending anything. It’s cathartic and you will save money. Hold off on as many purchases as possible to give lie to the BS coming out of the White House. If as Biden claims “inflation is coming down”, the longer you wait, the less expensive items will eventually be.

          Reply
    3. Calvin

      Someone here said it best.

      The House and Senate are
      Israeli occupied territories.

      Biden is for genocide.
      Kennedy is for genocide.
      Trump is for genocide.

      So, compare other policies.
      Environment: Kennedy is the king.
      Biden is a hypocrite.
      Trump is a disaster.

      Economy:
      Kennedy an unknown, talks good.
      Biden, a disaster.
      Trump did right by the middle class.

      Nuclear annihilation:
      Kennedy talks good.
      Biden is trying to vaporize you.
      Trump least likely to start WWIII.

      We have to vote for Trump on that alone.

      Reply
  3. Sub-Boreal

    The latest contribution on information hygeine from Cory Doctorow is excellent: Conspiratorialism and the epistemological crisis.

    Excerpts:

    There are dozens – hundreds! – of life-or-death, highly technical questions you have to resolve every day just to survive. Should you trust the antilock braking firmware in your car? How about the food hygiene rules in the factories that produced the food in your shopping cart? Or the kitchen that made the pizza that was just delivered? Is your kid’s school teaching them well, or will they grow up to be ignoramuses and thus economic roadkill?

    This is the epistemological crisis we’re living through today. Epistemology is the process by which we know things. The whole point of a transparent, democratically accountable process for expert technical deliberation is to resolve the epistemological challenge of making good choices about all of these life-or-death questions. Even the smartest person among us can’t learn to evaluate all those questions, but we can all look at the process by which these questions are answered and draw conclusions about its soundness.

    Is the process public? Are the people in charge of it forthright? Do they have conflicts of interest, and, if so, do they sit out any decision that gives even the appearance of impropriety? If new evidence comes to light – like, say, a horrific disaster – is there a way to re-open the process and change the rules?

    But many of my peers had a different take on anti-vaxxers: for these friends and colleagues, anti-vaxxers were being foolish. Surprisingly, these people I’d long felt myself in broad agreement with began to defend the pharmaceutical system and its regulators. Once they saw that anti-vaxx was a wedge issue championed by right-wing culture war shitheads, they became not just pro-vaccine, but pro-pharma.

    There’s a name for this phenomenon: “schismogenesis.” That’s when you decide how you feel about an issue based on who supports it. Think of self-described “progressives” who became cheerleaders for the America’s cruel, ruthless and lawless “intelligence community” when it seemed that US spooks were bent on Trump’s ouster: https://pluralistic.net/2021/12/18/schizmogenesis/

    Maybe people believe in conspiracy theories because they have hundreds of life-or-death decisions to make every day, and the institutions that are supposed to make that possible keep proving that they can’t be trusted. Nevertheless, those decisions have to be made, and so something needs to fill the epistemological void left by the manifest unsoundness of the black box where the decisions get made.

    Long before opportunistic right wing politicians realized they could get mileage out of pointing at the terrifying epistemological crisis of trying to make good choices in an age of institutions that can’t be trusted, the left was sounding the alarm. Conspiratorialism – the fracturing of our shared reality – is a serious problem, weakening our ability to respond effectively to endless disasters of the polycrisis.

    But by blaming the problem of conspiratorialism on the credulity of believers (rather than the deserved disrepute of the institutions they have lost faith in) we adopt the logic of the right: “conspiratorialism is a problem of individuals believing wrong things,” rather than “a system that makes wrong explanations credible – and a schismogenic insistence that these institutions are sound and trustworthy.”

    Reply
    1. JM

      I haven’t read the article yet, but I note that he links to the piece about the Google Censorship posted here, in his “Hey look at this” section. Hopefully the traction continues to grow!

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      For me, faith in vaccines didn’t come from a broad, newfound trust in the pharmaceutical system: rather, I judged that there was so much scrutiny on these new medications that it would overwhelm even pharma’s ability to corruptly continue to sell a medication that they secretly knew to be harmful, as they’d done so many times before:

      Uh, what? In other words he’s saying do your own research but he didn’t do it either but merely inferred that the vaccines were safe because they had become such a dominant topic.

      Doctorow was good on computers. On sociology…..eh….

      He infers quite a lot including about all those Trump voters who he likely never meets. It’s an objective look from a subjective place.

      Reply
  4. ChrisFromGA

    Re: Airlines meeting with Boeing BoD

    These airline CEOs are part of the problem. They need Boeing planes to grow, grow, grow, and keep Wall St. happy. Or else they’ll be defenestrated just like Calhoun. So I’m not sure what they’re going to say to Boeing, other than, “We had a good little racket going until you screwed up. Our lawyers are on retainer and working overtime to sue you for breach of contract.”

    Safety issues are really starting to crop up at United, and it’s not all Boeing’s fault. Panels falling off mid-air on jets that were bought a while ago. I would not fly United, right now. Nor Southwest. Too many MAX planes in their inventory.

    Reply
      1. John

        Are there alternatives to Boeing planes among the Us airlines? I have developed an allergy to trusting my carcass to equipment built by a company headed by cost cutters and stock buyback “financial … people.

        Two 737 Maxes crashed and that did not send a message to the “C-suite” … in Chicago … far away from those engineers and factory floors.

        Written not sarcastically but contemptuously.

        Reply
        1. ChrisFromGA

          Spirit Airlines is all Airbus.

          Delta has some Boeing planes, but they’re all older 737’s or 757s. They ordered 100 Boeing Max 10s, but they won’t be delivered until 2027. And Delta might be able to escape the contract if they have the legal basis.

          Reply
  5. Tom Stone

    I have encountered three very high functioning sadists in my life, Scotty who lived next door growing up, Don who was a co worker for a short time before I realized what he was and moved on, and “X” who went on to a very successful career with the Federal Government as a consultant after 9/11.
    Scottry was President of the secret society at my HS ( A junior “Skull and Bones”), went to Stanford Law on a full scholarship and was recruited by the Melvin Belli Law firm after graduating.
    Don made quite a few Million is Biz after being asked to leave the USMC when one too many recruits became crippled, his pic is still on their recruiting brochure he is one of the three Drill Instructors pictured.
    “X” is a true charismatic with a genius level IQ and a Doctorate in abnormal psychology specializing in rape and molestation.
    They all had “The Right Stuff” to succeed in today’s America.

    Reply
      1. digi_owl

        I suspect Lord of the Flies could happen, but it would perhaps require that the kids are British boarding school students.

        Reply
  6. Lee

    Trump is a political Houdini, a true marvel to behold. But perhaps most of all, he is fortunate to have such tone deaf, inept, wrong-headed, morally compromised opposition. Did I leave anything out?

    Trump on Israel: he’s is not wrong on the optics and their effects.

    Please don’t tell anyone or I’ll get shunned by family and friends, and run out of my true blue town, but I’m starting to warm to the guy, if only for his monkeywrenching capabilities.

    Reply
    1. Feral Finster

      With all due respect, Holmes, “monkeywrenching” is one of The Donald’s selling points and why many of his fans love him so, even if they can’t express why in words. They know full well that the system is rigged, from City Hall all the way up to the President of the United States, Titans Of Finance and Captains Of Industry and all that.

      The whole system is rotten, root and branch, and Trump basically promises to Burn It All Down.

      For their part, Trump is lucky to have such clueless enemies, and those enemies are lucky to have such a clueless Trump. Trump is not the man they need to fear, but they should fear a competent populist, a man who can take the existing system and not trash it but hijack it and turn it to his own ends, a Huey P. Long.

      Reply
    2. lambert strether

      > he is fortunate to have such tone deaf, inept, wrong-headed, morally compromised opposition. Did I leave anything out?

      Arrogant. Preening. Incapable of self-reflection. Predatory. Keynesian Beauty Contest judges.

      Reply
        1. Feral Finster

          Yup. A friend of mine from that part of the country calls political assassination “The Huey Long Retirement Plan”.

          Supposedly, Long’s last words were “But I have so much left to do!”. Still, Huey Long got so much done so soon (as in concrete material benefits, not feel-good BS or cheap slogans, but schools, roads, bridges, bank regulation, etc.) that for generations to come, the Long name alone was enough to get a person elected in Louisiana.

          Reply
      1. Smith, M.J.

        >Trump appeal bond reduced

        A neglected aspect of this brouhaha is that Trump can recover the costs of a supersedeas bond if he ultimately wins on appeal.

        https://newyork.public.law/laws/n.y._civil_practice_law_and_rules_section_8301 (a)(11)

        The fee for an appeal bond can be up to 10% of the bond amount, in addition to the posted collateral. So New York taxpayers may one day be facing a multi-million $ judgment in Trump’s favor!*

        Talk about the whirligig of time bringing in revenges.

        *IANANYL, so no opinion re his chances on appeal, but they sure don’t seem nil.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          My take on the ruling is that this was the result of the judges looking at the trial and recognizing that it was eventually going to be entirely thrown out for numerous reasons including, my IANAL bet, both prosecutorial and judicial misconduct. They were probably limited to the enforcement of the penalty and decided to do their best to save as much of NY’s hide as they could. Because when this is overturned the state is going to be a whole lot poorer, but stopping James from seizing properties left and right and probably selling them at a loss means we probably won’t have to put Trump’s name on everything of value in NY.

          Yeah, I really do believe James and friends were counting on Trump losing so much he couldn’t afford the appeals process long enough to hold them accountable, but the Judges aren’t that deluded.

          Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > if only for his monkeywrenching capabilities

      Kennedy’s abilities/desires in that regard will be greatly clarified by his vice-presidential choice (though one could argue, as Mike Duncan does, that unless you have splits in the ruling class — think Duc D’Orleans — you only get revolts, not revolutions. And it’s disquieting to me — though this may be only the lenses I am looking for — that all the energy I would file under “revolutionary” is from conservatives, not the left (let alone liberals).

      Reply
  7. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “…bought an electric coffee grinder in 1964. Still going strong.“:

    Yesterday, I did a routine cleaning and oiling of my 1952 (~72 years old!) Singer 301 sewing machine, all metal gears and case, solid and straightforward engineering. It runs as smoothly, accurately, and quietly as it did when it left the factory.

    Reply
    1. Feral Finster

      Lena the Corporate Raider was, among other things, a skilled seamstress, and she used a treadle-powered Singer sewing machine made before WWI, back when the fast-growing Russian Empire was one of Singer’s biggest sales markets.

      Axtually, a lot of people there still used antique Singers, not as nostalgia pieces but as tools in daily use. Lena said that the machine worked as well as it did when it was new, although I never asked how she would know.

      For her part, Lena asked me whether “Singer” was Jewish, probably because Lena spent a lot of her time looking for Jews, whether real or imaginary.

      Reply
    2. Goingnowhereslowly

      Our morning coffee is made in a Rowenta drip coffeemaker that bears the tagline “Made in W. Germany.”

      Reply
      1. marieann

        I sew and I buy good Irons and the really good ones are Rowenta irons….of course mine are over 20 years old

        Reply
    3. David B Harrison

      I have a 70+ year old GE refrigerator in my kitchen. It was given to my parents as a wedding gift by my Grandmother Harrison in the fifties. My cousin worked for GE at the appliance park in Louisville, KY and he told them about the refrigerator. They wanted to buy it from us. The supposition was that they wanted to figure out how it ran so long so it would not happen again. And yes they do(or did) have a research facility for that purpose. First learned of that facility from the radio personality Paul Harvey.

      Reply
  8. t

    What the Polls Say Today: RFK Jr. Now Hurting Biden, Helping Trump

    Then his primary donors are getting their money’s worth!

    Reply
  9. Cat Burglar

    If Barnett was murdered, it seems unlikely that it was an upper corporate level hit. It seems more likely that it was a local South Carolina job, for somebody his lawsuit would have held accountable –maybe somebody who would have been called to testify against him, somebody with a lot on the line and no good evidence to support him. Somebody with something to lose, and maybe with a very touchy sense of honor, with very good local connections to the wrong sort of people.

    Reply
    1. Tom Doak

      Why is it unlikely? Boeing has killed lots of people lately. What’s one more in an effort to stop being held accountable for the others?

      Reply
      1. Cat Burglar

        The top corporate level types are more insulated from criminal and financial accountability for the problems Barnett uncovered at the South Carolina plant; there are many managerial layers below them they can blame for the deaths of victims or other crimes. But even if they are as guilty as, say, the PG&E executives that paid for stock buybacks by ordering no pipeline maintenance on the San Bruno pipeline that killed people when it exploded, and then had the documents destroyed — they’ll still walk, and keep all their money. They’ll plead incompetence and walk. To modify an Isaac Asimov saying from the Foundation trilogy, “the last refuge of the criminal is incompetence.”

        Most of Barnett’s specific allegations were about the South Carolina plant management persons. They would undoubtedly be called to testify and be questioned under oath about the documents showing they were trying to get rid of Barnett for enforcing safety procedures. They have jobs to lose, and possibly criminal liability for some of their acts. If they are put under oath, they will either have to lie, or their lawyers may have counseled them to take the Fifth, and they’ll lose their jobs. They don’t have the protection the people at the top have, and people get desperate.

        That’s my case. I am speculating, so this is just considering the possibilities according to previous experience and history, as a way of creating discussion. It is also possible that Barnett did kill himself — you know, like Epstein.

        Reply
    1. Objective Ace

      All these cancers are occurring (with very few exceptions) in patients who have been *forced* to have a Covid booster

      Why would whether the vaccines was forced upon someone, or taken voluntarily have an effect one’s propensity to get cancer?

      There very plausibly could be a link between the vaccines and cancer… I’m certainly no fan of the vaccines. However, the propaganda and obvious bias coming from the anti-vax side makes me hesitant just as the CDC’s propaganda and bias should give one pause

      Reply
    1. Random

      No, but governments already have significant control over money and banking so I’m not sure what the solution is apart from using cash.
      CBDCs can potentially have a lot of very useful applications because they allow things like money that can only be spent on certain things, money that expires, targeting tax avoidance and money laundering, etc.
      But those same technical benefits are also dangerous because they give governments more control and information.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      I like to rub a tincture of CBD-Cash on any issue and problem solved with much relief, and I hear it now comes in gummies.

      Reply
  10. griffen

    Quoting the New York AG on today’s development…Trump and defendants will be held accountable for their staggering fraud. Which was not actually proved in this particular case, since the bank executives and lending officers all testified during trial wasn’t perpetuated on their own books as the AG alleges was done. But nevermind on these details when proving fraud had perhaps occurred. Real estate developer has high opinion of himself and his business. Sound an alarm to the voting masses, as real estate valuation might vary !

    Is there reason to believe or concede, possibly, that this successful appeal reducing the amount mildly rebukes the ruling by Judge Engeron? Not sure on that legal conjecture so it is just that, a projection from here in the cheap seats.

    Reply
    1. albrt

      In states where bonds are set based on common law, likelihood of success may be a legitimate factor. In my state appeal bonds are not supposed to be based on likelihood of success, but in every appeal bond issue I ever litigated, the feelings of the judges about whether the appellant was going to win still seemed to be the main factor.

      Reply
  11. Mo

    “Biden’s deep pockets mean the president can open many more campaign offices in the key swing states, ensuring a robust grassroots outreach and get-out-the-vote operation throughout the states that will decide the contest.”

    Having a lot of money ensures a robust grassroots? Did I read that correctly? I think they’ve forgotten what grassroots means.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      I think it really means that Biden can buy more local advertising and grease more local palms. Voter outreach, and grass root campaigning are mere catch phrases.

      Most of the Democratic consultant class have long since hit their Peter Principle level. I would say see James Carvill above. But the truth is that you can look at pretty much every major political campaign of the last decade. When your best option is to suppress the vote you know that not only is the product iffy, the advertising campaign hasn’t hidden it.

      Reply
  12. Bugs

    Hard to believe that weak tea abstention at the Security Council was enough to cut off relations with Tel Aviv, but if so, tant mieux. I’m happy to see the revelation of a backbone, no matter how weak, at State.

    That RFK Jr. ad is a heck of a thing. Straight to the heartstrings. Still won’t vote for any of these scoundrels. But, I get to vote for La France Insoumise in June, which will be a real pleasure

    Reply
  13. kareninca

    I just had an absolutely insane conversation with a customer service person at a vet medication company. She had to repeat everything that she said about twenty times. She wrote down, and said aloud as she was writing, every single step that she would need to take the next day on the case. She also kept telling me that she was the only person in the world standing in my corner. I’m not complaining (although I think she will fail, since she seemed to have lost her mind); she meant well. I don’t think I’m describing well how weird it was. But it was truly strange. We talked (she talked) for nearly half an hour; she wouldn’t shut up.

    At sharing time in my church, people have lost the ability to tell that they are over talking. They go on and on and on and on and on. They didn’t do that in the past.

    I just called a vet hospital and asked for an appointment for the first week of May. The receptionist started looking at dates beginning on May 8.

    There is real mental deterioration out there.

    Reply
    1. MaryLand

      Yes there is. When my husband makes an appointment with his doctor the receptionist talks to herself while on the phone with him telling herself all the steps to take to make the appointment. She is saying things like look at the top of the page, look for the calendar, click on the calendar, etc. only in excruciating detail. It takes about 20 minutes of this on the phone before she gets to giving him the appointment.

      Reply
      1. kareninca

        Yes, that is it!!! Talking herself through it all. Even though she wasn’t new at it. “Now where is my start key”??? And telling me many times that she and her supervisor might not be able to fix the problem, even though all it was, was to confirm that an order wasn’t a duplicate and that I really wanted it. I had to keep telling her that “trying hard was definitely good enough”, even though I didn’t feel that way since it is an antibiotic my dog needs. I wonder how many surgeons are doing this now, too.

        Reply
        1. MaryLand

          Yep, this person seems to have been employed there for years and is like this all the time now. Possibly family of the doctor? Why she would be kept on otherwise is puzzling. Heaven help us if this is widespread.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            It may be that like with commercial airline pilots, that checklists may become more and more common. It would certainly help.

            Reply
      2. curlydan

        been there. A few weeks ago, I had to shout into my phone, “Please STOP talking!!” to the IT “help desk” person. He simply would not stop talking despite many questions I was trying to pose. I felt bad because I normally do not yell at people at work, but he was refusing to listen or engage in a conversation.

        Reply
        1. kareninca

          Yes. On and on and on and on and on.

          It occurs to me that this is something that I have seen in some elderly people (not that I’m all that young myself). I have a couple of friends in their late 70 to early 80s and if I call I have to devote an hour to it because they won’t stop talking. If I’m lucky I get to insert a sentence or two. I don’t know if that is covid brain or not. But now I’m seeing it in younger people; I am guessing that your IT person was not elderly.

          Reply
    2. Benny Profane

      THC products are now legal in a very large portion of the country. I just learned you can walk in a store and buy mushrooms in the nation’s capitol. Combine that with commonly prescribed stimulants, and, there you are. Babble everywhere.

      I mean, listen to this guy. And he commands billions of dollars of planes that can’t fly. The thousands of cellphones on poles is something you would expect someone to say in a bong party. “Costs 500 dollars”.

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > At sharing time in my church, people have lost the ability to tell that they are over talking. They go on and on and on and on and on. They didn’t do that in the past.

      This is poignant.

      At the same time, in my never-ending quest for proxies for that which we do not admit or measure, it’s the sort of problem that would appear in the advice column of a trade journal for pastors. Pointers, anyone?

      Reply
      1. witters

        Not really, but this is a Lambert Indicator from my field. The Editor of the great Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews in reply to Brian Leiter on why so few reviews recently:

        Many thanks for calling attention to the situation at NDPR. Your diagnosis is at least partly correct: we run on a very tight budget, and since leaving Notre Dame, where I received a one-course reduction for serving as Editor, I edit the journal uncompensated. (Notre Dame does offer material support of a reasonable sort for a Managing Editor and an Editorial Assistant.) It is also true, just as you say, that Gary and Stacie Gutting ran NDPR as a labor of love and dedicated enormous amounts of time and energy to its success.

        The issue of late, however, derives not from any lack of resources: we are ready to publish a good deal more—we are comfortably provisioned to publish +/- 120 reviews per year—but we are simply not receiving commissioned reviews. Oddly, and inexplicably, reviewers have en masse begun to ignore agreed deadlines: over the last months submissions have dwindled to a fistful per month. I am really not sure why. We currently have over 200 reviews outstanding and we are simply not receiving submissions from those who have agreed to review for us. We chase and nudge and prod—really the least edifying part of what we do—but mainly to no avail.

        I wonder: are other journals or publishers experiencing similar issues?

        Many thanks for calling attention to the situation at NDPR. Your diagnosis is at least partly correct: we run on a very tight budget, and since leaving Notre Dame, where I received a one-course reduction for serving as Editor, I edit the journal uncompensated. (Notre Dame does offer material support of a reasonable sort for a Managing Editor and an Editorial Assistant.) It is also true, just as you say, that Gary and Stacie Gutting ran NDPR as a labor of love and dedicated enormous amounts of time and energy to its success.

        The issue of late, however, derives not from any lack of resources: we are ready to publish a good deal more—we are comfortably provisioned to publish +/- 120 reviews per year—but we are simply not receiving commissioned reviews. Oddly, and inexplicably, reviewers have en masse begun to ignore agreed deadlines: over the last months submissions have dwindled to a fistful per month. I am really not sure why. We currently have over 200 reviews outstanding and we are simply not receiving submissions from those who have agreed to review for us. We chase and nudge and prod—really the least edifying part of what we do—but mainly to no avail.

        I wonder: are other journals or publishers experiencing similar issues?
        Philosophical Reviews, on why there have over the last year or so, been so few:

        Many thanks for calling attention to the situation at NDPR. Your diagnosis is at least partly correct: we run on a very tight budget, and since leaving Notre Dame, where I received a one-course reduction for serving as Editor, I edit the journal uncompensated. (Notre Dame does offer material support of a reasonable sort for a Managing Editor and an Editorial Assistant.) It is also true, just as you say, that Gary and Stacie Gutting ran NDPR as a labor of love and dedicated enormous amounts of time and energy to its success.

        The issue of late, however, derives not from any lack of resources: we are ready to publish a good deal more—we are comfortably provisioned to publish +/- 120 reviews per year—but we are simply not receiving commissioned reviews. Oddly, and inexplicably, reviewers have en masse begun to ignore agreed deadlines: over the last months submissions have dwindled to a fistful per month. I am really not sure why. We currently have over 200 reviews outstanding and we are simply not receiving submissions from those who have agreed to review for us. We chase and nudge and prod—really the least edifying part of what we do—but mainly to no avail.

        I wonder: are other journals or publishers experiencing similar issues?

        Reply
  14. JBird4049

    >>>You can hardly blame them. However, that restricting ballot access and lawfare are the highest and best uses for Democrat campaign dollars, as opposed to making the case for their candidate…. Well, that says something.

    Doesn’t matter to me as the Democrats are simply dead to me due to Gaza. I could, if was squinting really hard and being really generous, had accepted an argument for voting against the Orange Menace of Trump, before the Biden Administration’s active support of the Gazan genocide.

    Not anymore. Even if Trump is just as evil as his enemies say, how is that any different from slaughtering children? There isn’t. No support of any kind from me, which is emotionally freeing as the Democratic Party is like that abusive, narcissistic spouse who just cannot accept any criticism or responsibility for his or her actions. It is everyone else who is making them do the bad things that they do, if they can even admit to not being a saint. And the Republican Party is just as bad.

    Reply
    1. albrt

      This is where I am. Lambert’s prediction of volatility is the only thing that keeps me watching American politics at all.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Lambert’s prediction of volatility

        I don’t see how our governing class (very much including the spooks) can permit Trump to win. Or RFK, for that matter. I’m sure that Kennedy knows that in his bones. Not sure about Trump (although I assume he pays his aircraft mechanics very, very well).

        Reply
  15. Michael Fiorillo

    Loved the MIT Press piece about blotter acid.

    I hitchhiked and hopped freights across the US and Canada in 1976 with a more prosaic half-sheet (50 hits) of blotter that had been cooked up by some crazy brilliant hippie Stuyvesant HS grads at City College. I kept it wedged in a paperback edition of Moby Dick, and my travel companion and I traded hits for weed as we made our way back and forth across the continent. Been dining off those stories of a very different time and place for a long time now. Thanks for the historical detail and memory prompt.

    Reply
    1. Tom Doak

      I saw Lambert’s Kodachrome wrapper and thought to myself: is this what Paul Simon’s song was about?

      I had no idea.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > is this what Paul Simon’s song was about?

        For those who came in late, here it is:

        Here is part of the refrain:

        Kodachrome
        They give us those nice bright colors
        They give us the greens of summers
        Makes you think all the world’s
        A sunny day, oh yeah

        The thing is, back in the days of slide film it was Fujifilm that tended green (which is what I liked), and not Kodachrome. So yes, perhaps the lyrics are not about actual film…..

        Reply
  16. Jason Boxman

    Corporate America thinks Americans are dumb. This is great:

    Spectrum wants to help you avoid additional charges when traveling abroad. Starting April 24, 2024, our service will no longer include international data roaming for cruise ships, airplanes and countries with significantly higher data rates. You can still use your service to make calls and texts by connecting to public WiFi for internet access.

    So, we’re gonna take away something we offered before, to save us money, but we’re doing it under the guise to help you. Now, no one gets roaming in places where it might be too expensive, never mind that a user can disable roaming in their phone. But no, now you just can’t roam at all. Period. Without a doubt not done to help customers, but to save Spectrum money.

    Reply
  17. Em

    Perhaps you’re right. Just hard to fathom how they thought sanctions that didn’t work against North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, or Cuba would win against Russia.

    What is their idea of winning anyways? They haven’t *won* anywhere since arguably Yugoslavia and that was a big subsidy sink. So more about letting beltway bandits win dumb contracts than any normal understanding about winning.

    Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    ‘And all they do is talk badly about Israel, and they hate Israel, and they hate the Jewish people. And they are open about it’

    People also hated the German people in the early 40s too. All that did was talk badly about Germany and they hated Germany and they hated the German people and were open about it. No idea why.

    Reply
  19. jsn

    “Concrete material benefits. What a concept.”

    Talking about concrete material benefits.

    This is Obo-noise, its about better messaging, Ds don’t deliver anything real: even Lena Kahn will hit the wall of all the Federalist judges they approved.

    Reply
  20. IM Doc

    Does the CDC routinely remove treatment guidelines?

    As a CDC watcher for decades, the answer is NO.

    They “update” as needed. But remove no.

    For example, I have just done the deep dive on latent TB and gonorrhea in the past week. All still there with guidelines updated to current conditions.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The full verse:

      HIgh on a Throne of Royal State, which far
      Outshon the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
      Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
      Showrs on her Kings Barbaric Pearl and Gold,
      Satan exalted sat, by merit rais’d
      To that bad eminence; and from despair
      Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
      Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
      Vain Warr with Heav’n, and by success untaught
      His proud imaginations thus displaid.

      “Bad eminence” is a keeper. We have rather a lot of it about.

      Reply
  21. Jason Boxman

    On overdispersion

    We may be thinking about Covid the wrong way. It remains true it seems that Covid is an overdispersed virus. It has a low dispersion parameter (k), meaning most spread is superspreading events from a very small number of people. /1

    This has been critical aspect of this. Ending transmission in schools and hospitals would go a long way.

    https://x.com/ragesheen/status/1772028905836417275?s=46

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Ending transmission in schools and hospitals

      A good thread, well thought out, which sadly I couldn’t get to.

      The nice thing about understanding airborne tranmission is that it will apply to the next (airborne) pandemic, not just the current one.

      Reply
      1. Jason Boxman

        What’s galling, as you’re painfully aware, is what this demonstrates is we can mostly eliminate airborne pathogens. Full stop. We ended the flu in 2020 just with mostly universal masking with often poor quality “face covering” things. With the wealth of the United States, we could, but won’t, upgrade ventilation and filtration everywhere. An easier lift than masking as a cultural norm, sadly, in a country that can be described as basically “f**k you, I gots mine”. Unfortunate. This doesn’t even include stuff like Far-UV, if it proves out, or virus detection systems, or sniffing dogs, or any of the other possibilities. Probably the biggest missed opportunity in modern history, and we shall all suffer greatly for it.

        Reply
  22. Pat

    Okay I admit that I am wary of most news these days so I tend to avoid much outside of this here. That said I have encountered two other things that could be considered self congratulatory for Democrats on healthcare. One was a celebration of an ACA anniversary, with a big shot of Obama. The other being an ad for anthem Medicaid, with lots of inferred references to health care for everyone.
    Why now, is it this anniversary? Is it that there has too much negative chatter about healthcare and healthcare availability? Or have they just not realized that the Democratic actions on healthcare have tarnished as the ACAs flaws become greater with time and think it is still a selling point? I just don’t get why now.
    (And I admit it is nails on a blackboard for me as the sellout of people to insurance and for profit healthcare was so blatant.)

    Reply
      1. Pat

        The one most certainly was, the Anthem probably as well althoughO wasn’t mentioned directly. Biden’s is clearly new general finishing what O started.

        I guess I am just gob smacked that they think that people haven’t figured it out. They must be unaware of how bad even most employer provided coverage has become.more expensive with less coverage since the passage.

        Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      A few days ago I wandered into a consensus cluster on the Twitter that Carville would disapprove of, all congratulating each other on how great it was that ObamaCare eliminated coverage denial because of pre-existing conditions. The self-congratulation went on for some time. Which isn’t a bad minor fix, but that was a long, long time ago, and in the meantime, ObamaCare has been a spectacular success in achieving its obvious goal — preventing single payer, let alone a national health service*.

      Given the demographic, I have to assume that this talking point was propagated by the usual suspects to show that Democrats are actually capable of achieving something. No discussion, naturally, of deductibles, cost structure, life expectancy….

      NOTE * Probably best to pay very generous salaries and eliminate fee-for-service entirely. If medical debt gets in the way, cancel it.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I heard a political observer comment that healthcare is not even on the radar this election year. As a topic, it has entirely dropped from sight to which I might add so has a minimum wage. They have been entirely suppressed and eliminated as talking subjects.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          Which is just reverting to form. Neither of those were on the political radar in 2008 either, at least until John Edwards put them out there and got traction on them. In 2016 it was Sanders. Covid couldn’t be ignored in 2020.

          Our uniparty is not sponsored to give credence to these concerns unless they cannot be avoided.

          Reply
    1. griffen

      Happen to have been mildly awake in spite of the efforts at sleep. Flipped on CNN to the coverage which I watched for a few minutes, just prior to once again counting on sheep to put me to sleep.

      Asleep at the wheel? Iceberg dead ahead redoubt circa March 2024…

      Reply

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