2:00PM Water Cooler 4/3/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

House Wren (Southern), Hosteria Amazonas Coca, Orellana, Ecuador.

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Moon Standard Time.

(2) Shanahan’s first marriage.

(3) Robert Frost.

(4) Matter and life.

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

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Biden Administration

“White House wants Moon to have its own time zone” [BBC]. “The White House wants US space agency NASA to develop a new time zone for the Moon – Coordinated Lunar Time (LTC). Because of the different gravitational field strength on the Moon, time moves quicker there relative to Earth – 58.7 microseconds every day. This might not seem like much, but it can have a significant impact when trying to synchronise spacecraft. The US government hopes the new time will help keep national and private efforts to reach the moon co-ordinated…. But NASA is not the only one trying to make lunar time a reality. The European Space Agency has also been developing a new time system for a while. There will need to be agreement between countries and a centralised co-ordinating body – currently this is done by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures for time on Earth. At the moment on the International Space Station, Coordinated Universal Time is used because it remains low in orbit. Another element that countries will have to agree on is where the new time frame begins from and to where it extends. The US wants LTC to be ready by 2026 in time for its manned mission to the Moon.” • I’m glad it’s the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, and not the Rules-Based International Order. Also, China, India, and Japan have all recently made moon landings. Do they get any say?

2024

Less than a year to go!

RCP Poll Averages, March 29

I think I’ll leave this up until this coming Friday, so I can at least mumble something about trends. Nationally, Trump is up 2.4% in the Five-Way, same as last week, give or take. Trump is still up in all the Swing States (more here). I’ve highlighted PA, (1) because Trump is actually down there, and (2) it’s an outlier, has been for weeks. Why isn’t Trump doing well there?

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Trump (R): “REVEALED: Billionaire ‘king of subprime car loans’ backed Trump’s $175million bond in New York fraud case and says former president provided his collateral in CASH” [Daily Mail]. Donald Trump paid his $175 million court judgement in his New York fraud case with the assistance of the ‘king of subprime car loans’ after the billionaire investor made the approach himself. ‘I had heard that he was trying to put together the $460 million bond. I reached out at that time. We began to have a conversation. The bond got reduced,’ billionaire Don Hankey told DailyMail.com. ‘So they thanked us for the help trying to put the larger bond together. So we said goodbye. A few days later they called back and said, “Would you come back and do the $175 million bond?”‘ He was referencing a New York appeals court that lowered the amount and gave Trump 10 days to secure a bond, after his lawyers said in a filing it was nearly impossible to obtain underwriting. ‘It was much easier, because he put up all cash,’ he said. Hankey departed from an earlier report that said Trump provided collateral in cash and investment grade bonds. ‘He first gave us a list of bonds and we approved the bonds as collateral along with some cash. When the collateral was finally posted it appears to be all cash. We have a screen shot of it and it was all cash.’ Asked why Trump didn’t simply pay the award himself, he said the transaction allows Trump to collect interest if the $175 million is invested in a money market or other allowable investment vehicle while being held in a trust account pending appeal. He said he said he didn’t have any concerns about lending to Trump, who declared bankruptcy over his Atlantic City casinos decades ago. ‘If the appeal is lost or we have to come up with cash, with a bond you only have about 24 hours to come up with the cash,’ he said. ‘If you have real estate it can take months to liquidate the real asset.’ He said during initial conversations, he spoke with Trump intermediaries about using real estate as collateral – something he said he was willing to do. ‘I thought his credit was pretty good,’ said Hankey, a Trump donor and Trump supporter who says he didn’t know the former president personally.” • As did Deutsche Bank, come to think of it. FWIW.

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Biden (D): “Is a Biden comeback quietly underway?” [The Hill]. “Since Biden addressed the nation in early March, polling shows that Biden is gaining ground, as former President Donald Trump now leads Biden by only one percentage point according to the RealClearPolitics polling average — Trump’s smallest lead since January. In the Quinnipiac poll released last week, Biden led by three points, 48 percent to 45 percent, bringing the total to 12 national polls showing Biden leading Trump since the SOTU, as Jessica Tarlov noted last week. Moreover, Biden’s bounce is being seen not only in national polls but also in the battleground states that will determine the winner. In Wisconsin, Biden now leads Trump (46 percent to 45 percent), a 5-point swing in Biden’s favor since February, per the latest Bloomberg/Morning Consult Swing State Tracking poll. In Pennsylvania Biden erased what was a 6-point lead for Trump in February, and the state is now tied at 45 percent apiece, according to the same poll. And in Michigan — a state that has been at the center of Democratic angst due to Biden’s support for Israel and the state’s large Arab population — Trump’s 2-point lead in February is now a tie (45 percent each) per Bloomberg/Morning Consult. Even Nevada, a state where Trump has dominated the polling — according to RealClearPolitics, Trump has led every poll since October — has slowly but steadily warmed up to Biden. In January, Trump’s lead was as high as 8 points (48 percent to 40 percent), and in February the former president still held a 6-point advantage in Bloomberg/Morning Consult’s poll.” • I’m not sure this is anything other than Trump having the field to himself (besides Kennedy) because the Biden campaign operation hadn’t deployed.

Biden (D): “Former ESPN host says her Biden interview was entirely ‘scripted’ by network execs: ‘Every single question'” [FOX]. “Former ESPN host Sage Steele revealed that her 2021 interview with President Biden was “scripted” by network executives. In an interview with Fox News Digital, Steele recalled the ‘structured’ nature of the pre-taped interview, so much so that her ESPN bosses handed her a ‘script’ to go off of. ‘That was an interesting experience in its own right because it was so structured,’ Steele said. ‘And I was told, ‘You will say every word that we write out, you will not deviate from the script and go.’… Steele said she didn’t know for certain whether ESPN sent the questions to the White House in advance of the interview but seemed confident that is ‘what happened.'” • And three years later, they ran him again. Elder abuse is what it is, at the very least.

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Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr. Says Biden Is ‘Much Worse’ Threat To Democracy Than Trump: Weaponization, Censorship” [RealClearPolitics].

[KENNEDY:]

Listen, I can make the argument that President Biden is a much worse threat to democracy.

And the reason for that is President Biden is the first candidate in history, the first president in history that has used the federal agencies to censor political speech, so to censor his opponent. I can say that because I just won a case in the federal Court of Appeals and now before the Supreme Court that shows that he started censoring not just me — 37 hours after he took the oath of office, he was censoring me.

No president in the country has ever done that. The greatest threat to democracy is not somebody who questions election returns, but a president of the United States who uses the power of his office to force the social media companies, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to open a portal and give access to that portal to the FBI, to the CIA, to the IRS, to CISA, to NIH to censor his political critics.

President Biden, the first president in history, used the Secret — his power over the Secret Service to deny Secret Service protection to one of his political opponents for political reasons. He’s weaponizing the federal agencies.

Those are really critical threats to democracy.

Kennedy (I):If you’re explaining, you’re losing:

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Kennedy (I): “EXCLUSIVERobert F. Kennedy Jr.’s running mate Nicole Shanahan was married for just 27 DAYS to her first husband: Investor Jeremy Kranz filed for separation because of ‘fraud’… two months after she met Google billionaire beau Sergey Brin” [Daily Mail]. “Vice presidential candidate Nicole Shanahan’s first marriage officially lasted just 27 days according to her divorce settlement agreement obtained by DailyMail.com…. Several weeks after meeting Brin in July 2014 at the Wanderlust yoga festival in Lake Tahoe, she tied the knot with fiancé Bay Area investor Jeremy Kranz on August 31, 2014. Kranz filed for separation on September 26, 2014 – just 27 days later.” More:

Shanahan’s first husband initially filed a ‘Petition for Nullity’ – an annulment in California legalese – alleging that ‘fraud’ had occurred in the relationship. While the documents do not disclose what motivated Kranz’s decision to end the relationship in this manner, in California fraud ‘must be very serious and be about something that goes to the heart of your marriage,’ a California courts website explained. The website also defines fraud as, ‘the other person lied to you or kept something from you in order to get you to marry them.’ That December in response, Shanahan filed that she wanted the break-up to be considered a ‘Dissolution’ of the marriage instead, with the divorce settlement stating that Kranz ‘agreed to allow this matter proceed as a Dissolution in order to preserve Wife’s ability to practice law.’ In doing so, Shanahan waived terms laid out in their premarital agreement including that she would receive either a BMW or Honda CRV [(!!)] and receive spousal support and other rights and benefits. She would keep control of the company she started as a law student, ClearAccessIP, her Toyota Prius and a Yorkshire Terrier dog. As part of the divorce agreement – which was dated February 26, 2015 – Shanahan also agreed to scrub pictures of Kranz and his family members from her Facebook account and other social media websites. … The couple ultimately divorced in April 2015. The Kennedy campaign did not dispute the short marriage in a statement to DailyMail.com. ‘The divorce settled in mutual agreement as a dissolution. Ms. Shanahan and her first husband met when she was 23 years old, and they were together for 4 years which included a two year engagement,’ said the Kennedy campaign’s senior adviser Link Lauren. ‘As everyone can understand, some relationships are not meant to be.'”

An old trick in oppo. Somebody *** cough *** the Biden campaign ***cough*** plants a story on famously ethical Fleet Street, and since “it’s out there,” the story then hops the Big Pond back to the United States. (One thing the Daily Mail intro does not make clear, that the Kennedy campaign does, is the 4 year timeline.) I was wondering why Shanahan hadn’t been out on the trail. Maybe the campaign knew this was coming? In any case, Shanahan will now have every opportunity to charm the yipping weasels of the press….

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“James Carville warns of Democratic Party’s ‘horrifying’ numbers among young minority voters: ‘They’re leaving in droves'” [New York Post]. “‘I’ve been very vocal about this,’ the former Bill Clinton campaign strategist said on his ‘Carville’s Classroom’ podcast. ‘It’s horrifying our numbers among younger voters, particularly younger blacks, younger Latinos … younger people of color. Particularly males.’ ‘We’re not shedding them, they’re leaving in droves,’ he added. Last year, 66% of black adults leaned or identified as Democratic while 19% said they leaned or were Republican, according to a Gallup survey released in February. The 47 percentage-point spread is the lowest in at least 25 years — and down 19 percentage points from 2020, when 77% of black adults identified as Democrats and just 11% identified as Republicans. Similarly, the poll found 47% of Hispanics calling themselves Democrats and 35% identifying as Republican, whereas in 2021, 57% of Hispanics identified as Democrats and 26% said they were Republican.”

Republican Funhouse

“A Night Out With Donald Trump’s Favorite ‘Alpha Male’ Influencerer” [Ezra Marcus, Slate]. “His latest book, he promised, would provide a ‘road map for every young man to unlock their full potential.’ That meant a few rules: “An alpha male diet consists of a minimum 80 percent protein, and precisely zero percent soy. Never mask up, never apologize, never pick up the Fortnite controller, always read the Bible.’ Then Adams looked straight at me. ‘Now, boys and beautiful ladies, I do want to make you aware that in the crowd here tonight, we do have a member of the fake news media,’ he said. ‘It’s the gentleman sitting right there with the glasses! Please stand up.’ I stood up. ‘Try and be nice to him, guys. His name is Ezra Marcus. I call him E-Z. And depending on the article that he writes, he’ll either be ‘low-T’ E-Z or ‘high-T’ E-Z. The jury’s out, but we’ll see. Take a pew, Ezra.’ I sat down and said, ‘Thank you, Alpha King!’ ‘No worries, my humble servant,” he replied. Then he launched into a jeremiad against ‘the modern woke feminists destroying every part of our society.'” • I picked one of the milder parts.

Democrats en Déshabillé

“Ro Khanna Wants To Be the Future of the Democratic Party” [The Atlantic]. At the end: “After Khanna finished talking with the students, he and I squeezed into desk chairs inside a small classroom and spoke with Derek Longo, one of Khanna’s history teachers. Longo described how a long-ago visit to the American cemetery in Normandy made him want to teach history. Khanna asked him what he thought about the rise of Trump. Perhaps Khanna was expecting his teacher to talk about the threat Trump poses to democracy. Instead, he revealed something Khanna didn’t know: Longo voted twice for Trump. He praised Trump’s business background and told us that he worries about urban crime. In 2017, his daughter and son were struck by a driver under the influence of heroin as they were standing on a sidewalk in New Jersey. Longo’s son spent months in intensive care, and his daughter, who was seven months pregnant, didn’t survive. Under state law, prosecutors couldn’t charge the driver with a double homicide because Longo’s granddaughter wasn’t born. The driver pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of vehicular homicide. He’s due to be released from prison next year. The tragedy hardened Longo’s views on crime and abortion. ‘I could not vote for President Biden,’ he said. Khanna sat quietly as Longo spoke. ‘One of the challenges we have as a country is we have a wrong stereotypical view of the Trump voter,’ Khanna said to us after the conversation had moved on. ‘The Trump voter includes possibly the teacher you most respect.’ Longo spoke highly of Khanna, praising his slogan of ‘progressive capitalism’ and his push to use technology to create economic opportunity. He even said he might be able to vote for Khanna one day. ‘A Trump-Khanna voter!’ Khanna marveled.

That moment of exhilaration had faded by the time we got back to the car. Khanna conceded that Longo wouldn’t consider voting for him if he hadn’t been a former student. Yet he was exactly the kind of voter, Khanna said, that Democrats need to figure out how to reach—the Trump supporters who might respond to a progressive economic plan. That someone like Longo, so turned off by the Democrats now in power, will listen to his message—and even consider voting for him—seemed like an affirmation of Khanna’s vision. That he still wasn’t sold on his cherished former student, however, might be a sign of its limits.” • Interesting. Though why on earth liberal Democrats would resist a message like “progressive capitalism”…

“Christine Blasey Ford is no hero, if justice is the measure” [Kathleen Parker, WaPo]. “No one who was supposed to have been at the party where Ford was allegedly assaulted remembered it, or her. Ford herself was unable to nail down the year the party took place (but settled on 1982 after several stabs) or where it was held, how she got there, how she got home or any other details, except that she herself had consumed just one beer, according to her testimony. Her claims against Kavanaugh ultimately were unsubstantiated…. In my own research for a book that never came to fruition, I also learned that Ford was a party girl, which means she and I would have been friends. Her real ‘best friend’ at the time, Leland Keyser, was known as her designated driver in those days, according to several of her friends cited in yet another book, ‘The Education of Brett Kavanaugh‘ by New York Times writers Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly. A straight-A student and athlete who became a professional golfer, Keyser had her driver’s license at the time of the alleged assault. Keyser, who felt pressured by Ford’s supporters to confirm Ford’s story, testified to the FBI that she had no recollection of any such party and didn’t know Kavanaugh. When intimidation didn’t work, Ford and her friends implied that Keyser’s testimony couldn’t be trusted because she had ‘significant health challenges,’ as Ford put it during her testimony. It didn’t take long for the meaning here to become public. Keyser had at one point become addicted to painkillers prescribed for golf-related back and neck injuries. She has suffered years of surgeries and pain that continues today, thanks to her commitment to recovery. No meds. She also has had to cope with the psychological effects of her persecution by the anti-Kavanaugh brigade. At least one person from Team Ford tried to persuade her to adjust her story. She refused.” • Lovely people.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Civil War never ended” [Jill Filipovic, The New Statesman]. “The pre-Civil War South was not a democracy, nor did it aspire to be. It was, and wanted to continue being, a harshly authoritarian state…. As Jamelle Bouie wrote in the New York Times Magazine in 2019, one of the men dedicated to upholding this system, John C Calhoun, vice president from 1825 to 1832, ‘was an astute politician, but he made his most important mark as a theoretician of reaction: a man who, realising that democracy could not protect slavery in perpetuity, set out to limit democracy.’ Liberty, said Calhoun, was ‘a reward to be earned, not a blessing to be gratuitously lavished on all alike – a reward reserved for the intelligent, the patriotic, the virtuous and deserving… not a boon to be bestowed on a people too ignorant, degraded and vicious, to be capable… of enjoying it.’” • So the party of the Censorship Industrial Complex agrees with Calhoun, then?

“The Doomscroll Generation” [Washington Monthly]. And the deck: “Social media and smartphones have tipped an entire generation into anxiety and depression. Is there anything to be done?” • The psychologizing is relentless, relentless as the erasure of material conditions. When I was working in the mills of Providence, RI, starting out at $2.25 an hour and working my way up to $3.50, I was never in want; I could always get a full-time job; I could afford my own apartment with no room-mates, books, concerts, my intoxicants and beverages of choice. I had no debt, and I didn’t have to worry about climate. Or any plagues. It wasn’t an easy life, but I think I had it easier than people in their twenties today.

#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

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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 (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!

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The Jackpot

Avian flu, long thread (1):

Avian flu, long thread (2):

(I don’t have time to make screen shots, sorry.) What really worries me is that all my institutional priors are being confirmed: Airborne tranmission is not a thing, droplets are; cases are mild; only the symptomatic will be tested; birds will be culled, but not cattle (at $2500 a pop; business is business); we have the vaccines, but there’s no mention of non-pharmaceutical interventions. And Zeints is involved. It’s like the people who fought the war in Iraq were promoted instead of being thrown out of office. Oh, wait…. (Of course, just because we’re in the stupidest timeline doesn’t mean this virus will leverage our stupidity the way the last one did. So there’s hope.)

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

Cases
National[1] Biobot April 1: Regional[2] Biobot April 1:
Variants[3] CDC March 30 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC March 23
Hospitalization
New York[5] New York State, data April 2: National [6] CDC March 23:
Positivity
National[7] Walgreens April 1: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic March 30:

Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC March 11: Variants[10] CDC March 11:
Deaths
Weekly deaths New York Times March 16: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times March 16:

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) CDC seems to have killed this off, since the link is broken, I think in favor of this thing. I will try to confirm. UPDATE Yes, leave it to CDC to kill a page, and then announce it was archived a day later. And heaven forfend CDC should explain where to go to get equivalent data, if any. I liked the ER data, because it seemed really hard to game…

[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

Employment Situation: “United States ADP Employment Change” [Trading Economics]. “Private businesses in the US hired 184K workers in March 2024, following an upwardly revised 155K in February, and beating forecasts of 148K. It is the biggest increase in hiring in eight months.”

Services: “United States ISM Services PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Services PMI in the US fell to 51.4 in March 2024 from 52.6 in February and below forecasts of 52.7. The reading pointed to the weakest growth in the services sector in three months.”

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Manufacturing: “Further evidence of Boeing’s criminality exposed as near-silence on death of whistleblower John Barnett continues” [WSWS]. “On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal published an article providing further evidence of the criminality and neglect of aerospace giant Boeing during the production stages of its commercial aircraft….. It is absurd, given the sheer volume of Barnett’s allegations against Boeing, a total of 32 pages, and the suspicious nature of his death, that none of this is mentioned in the article by the Wall Street Journal…. The New York Times, the supposed ‘newspaper of record,’ is no better. It has published several articles on Boeing defects in the past few days, including articles titled, ‘How Boeing Favored Speed Over Quality,’ ‘4 Takeaways About Boeing’s Quality Problems’ and an opinion piece, ‘You Don’t Need to Freak Out About Boeing Planes (but Boeing Sure Does),’ to name just some. Yet none of them mentions Barnett’s suit or comment in any way on his ‘suicide,’ despite the fact that Barnett is arguably the most prolific Boeing whistleblower, especially since he was finally forced out of the company in 2017. And the CBS News interview proves that the owners and editors of the newspapers are clearly aware of the significance of Barnett’s allegations, both past and present…. he underlying reason for the silence is the stature of Boeing itself…. There is little doubt that what else Barnett had to say would have thrown Boeing even further into crisis.” • In other words, we need to include investors in the pool of usual suspects, besides Boeing management.

Manufacturing: “The Boeing Nosedive” [Jeff Wise, New York Magazine]. “When Barnett failed to answer the phone, Turkewitz and Knowles called the hotel and asked the staff to look for his orange Dodge Ram pickup. It was sitting in the parking lot with Barnett inside, dead. His finger was still on the trigger of a silver pistol. Conspiracy theories exploded, intensifying further after a relative claimed to a local TV station that Barnett had told her that “if anything happens, it’s not suicide.” There were two ways to interpret the story: Either Boeing’s communications strategy had been expanded to include assassination, or its reputation had become so toxic that the public found it possible to believe the worst. Fantasies aside, Boeing really is in trouble.” • Wise, a putative science writer, seems unaware that Barnett’s finger on the trigger speaks against suicide, not for it.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 63 Greed (previous close: 63 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 3 at 1:20:11 PM ET..

Book Nook

“America’s Great Poet of Darkness” [The Hedgehog Review]. “Despite the stereotype of being the Norman Rockwell of verse, Robert Frost’s standing, even sixty-one years after his death, remains blue-chip, still perhaps the most famous American poet among the general public. Frost’s work remains anthologized and interpreted, and taught in secondary and undergraduate classrooms; his lyrics among the handful that can be expected to be namedropped as a reader’s favorite poem (two roads and all of that). If anything, Frost has suffered from the albatross of presumed accessibility. Among the luminaries of American Modernism, Ezra Pound was experimental, T.S. Eliot cerebral, H.D. hermetic, Langston Hughes revolutionary, Wallace Stevens incandescent, and William Carlos Williams visionary, but Frost is readable.” But: “Orr describes how Frost’s popularity has made him exist on two parallel but separate levels: one, the corncob bard of Yankee wisdom who appears on t-shirts and mugs: the other, the critic’s darling who is ‘bleak, dark, complex, and manipulative.'” Right, a Yankee. More: “The latter, it should be affirmed, is the accurate reading of Frost. As [David] Orr (and probably your college English professor) explains, ‘The Road Not Taken’ has nothing to do with inspiration and stick-to-it-iveness; rather it’s a melancholic exhalation at the futility of choice, a dirge about enduring in the face of meaninglessness. If you read Frost for the snow, but don’t feel the cold, then you’re not really reading Frost. Furthermore, I’d argue that Frost’s vision isn’t just contrary to the popular misconception of him, but that as an American poet he deserves to be categorized as among those with the darkest of visions, not because of those demonic images he played with in his freshman effort, but because he abandoned such ghouls and gremlins in genuflection before the actual hardness of this world.” And: “There is significance in the quotidian, where after the death of God the only grace is in the material estimation of life, in work. With Frost, the Protestant ethic of his ancestors has finally converted faith back into works, where in an inert and dead universe all that can stave off nothingness is that which you can hold in your hands, build with your hands. Everything else is but the most perilous abstraction, while the rest is the most sublime darkness.” • Dang. More to read (again).

Our Famously Free Press

“Tips for Linking Shell Companies to their Secret Owners” [Global Investigative Journalism Network]. “However, in a solo presentation at the recent 2024 NICAR data journalism summit in the US, Karrie Kehoe, deputy head of data and research at ICIJ, shared several tips, tools, and places to start that almost any reporter can try to track the person at the top of a shady empire — and their overseas assets. Kehoe invited attendees to first ask themselves: What words might appear in paperwork that must be filed for these front companies? And to then experiment with possible variations of those words that could be used in corporate registries and databases. For instance, might the name of a director or owner, like Ian, appear as ‘Iain’?” • Indeed, lots of tips. Sounds like a nice hobby!

News of the Wired

“Matter and Life” [RibbonFarm (Feral Finster)]. “The point of this discussion is that where life exists (based on our n=1 case) living matter is a significant phase in the cycles of all matter, perhaps even the dominant phase. We often talk of life as though it’s a fragile bit of material poetry that is alienated from, and in thrall to, the far vaster non-living processes of matter, but it isn’t. We talk as though the processes of life are less powerful than those of non-living matter, such as wind, rain, or earthquakes. They’re not. Life punches in the same weight class as non-life where the two touch. We should think of “life” as a material-energetic-spatial-temporal phenomenon with the same sort of raw, irresistible power as wind or waves. We say earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, but we could say, with equal justice, life to life as the karmic destiny of non-living matter. Under the right conditions, non-living matter can no more resist the irresistible tug of life than living matter can resist death. We lament that there have been half-a-dozen mass extinctions on the planet. We might equally say, there have been half-a-dozen mass vivifications of non-living matter…. We talk of the Anthropocene as though life reshaping non-life is ‘new’ but it is as old as geology; as old as sand and free oxygen. ” • Being animist-adjacent, I find this perspective appealing.

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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 GD:

GD writes: “Fungus found off Sunset Boulevard. It was ready for its close-up. Google Images couldn’t decide what it was. Anybody’s guess….” Readers?

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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.

111 comments

  1. britzklieg

    re: Frost’s “darkness/meaninglessness”

    Design

    I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
    On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
    Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth–
    Assorted characters of death and blight
    Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
    Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth–
    A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
    And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

    What had that flower to do with being white,
    The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
    What brought the kindred spider to that height,
    Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
    What but design of darkness to appall?–
    If design govern in a thing so small.

    Reply
    1. dave -- just dave

      Surrealist poet James Tate parodied Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled” in a poem set in New England-adjacent Nova Scotia:

      I Left My Couch in Tatamagouche

      James Tate

      I desired lemonade– it was hot and I had been walking for hours–
      but after much wrestling, pushing and shoving, I simply could not get my
      couch through the restaurant door. Several customers and the owner and
      the owner’s son were kinder than they should have been, but finally
      it was time to close and I urged them to return to their homes, their
      families needed them (the question of who needs what was hardly my field
      of expertise). That night, while sleeping peacefully outside the train
      station on my little green couch, I met a giantess by the name of Anna
      Swan. She knelt beside my couch and stroked my brow with tenderness. She
      was like a mother to me for a few moments there under the night sky. In
      the morning, I left my couch in Tatamagouche, and that has made a big
      difference.

      Anna Swan was a real person – as the poem states, she represents the archetype of the mother, as Jesus’s mother Mary does for Christians – I was thinking of this poem on Easter. Her affectionate gesture overcomes our narrator’s alienation from his fellow humans – a process that has begun earlier in the poem – and helps him leave behind traumas that have crippled him – “couch” perhaps standing for the psychoanalytic couch – at the end of the poem the narrator no longer conceptualizes himself as a patient or victim.

      The provincial tourism website tells us about the town:

      A not-to-be-missed seaside village with a bustling Main Street, you’ll find a craft brewery, farmers’ market, handmade chocolates, fresh baked goodies, chowder, bike rentals and restored rail cars that are now an inn, all within a one-kilometre stretch.

      Tatamagouche is ideally located less than 30 minutes from three provincial parks offering warm-water beaches.

      To top it off, the Great Trail passes right through town, making Tatamagouche the ideal starting point or pit stop for your Great Trail adventures.

      Reply
    2. Mikel

      “Nature’s first green is gold,
      Her hardest hue to hold.
      Her early leaf’s a flower;
      But only so an hour.
      Then leaf subsides to leaf.
      So Eden sank to grief,
      So dawn goes down to day.
      Nothing gold can stay…”

      Who didn’t learn that in grade school?

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        i always preferred the darker side of all that…Eliot, etc….does Jeffers fit into that cohort?
        perhaps i shall re-read Frost, in light of this.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          meanwhile, in the texas hill country….
          pandemonium!
          i went to fredericksburg, today…on my usual first of the month run to get cheap cigs, cool bread, cool cheese, and cheaper bacon.
          whole town was a madhouse.
          rv’s everywhere…every pasture gate i passed once in gillespie county had a sign saying “primitive camping”…and HEB was full of pallets and extra staff….
          and a million locals trying to stock up on prescriptions and milk and bread.
          only prediction ive seen is for Llano,Tx…pop:3300….expecting an extra 60k people.
          all of these counties within the “zone of totality” have been declared disaster areas preemptively by the various county commisioners corts.
          because we’re all gonna run out of gas, food, beer, etc.
          like a hurricane.
          big trailers full of portopotties in both fred and mason….and all the BnB’s out here have been booked for this weekend for a year.
          austin news says there aint a rental car, one, to be had.

          i got a fresh keg…a months worth of factory rolled cigs…plus ample rollyerown supplies, as always….and enough food to feed a viking raiding party for a month or three.
          …if need be.

          like a bougie woodstock.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Watch out for roving bands of End Timers. Oh, and keep an eye out for the Giant Comet. Here, myriads of disaffected Citizens have appealed to Giant Comet to make known the wrath of the Gods in the Days of the Elect(ion.) Yet Giant Comet comes a half of a year early? Inscrutable are the ways of the Gods.
            Be safe out there in The Zone.

            Reply
        2. John

          Ah… Eliot … Four Quartets … I have taught it to high school freshman. They really take to it. The Quartets all but demand musing and speculation. The young love that. “Teach it” is probably the wrong way to put it. Read it. talk about it. speculate. Explain and let them run with it. I did it because when I first read the poems when in university I was confused, frustrated and fascinated at one and the same time. So I tried it. I like to think I hooked some of them of Eliot in particular and poetry in general.

          Reply
  2. antidlc

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/over-yourself-hillary-clintons-message-111602802.html
    “Get over yourself”: Hillary Clinton’s message for voters upset about Biden and Trump being their choices for president.

    Hillary Clinton on Monday had a stern message for voters upset about Joe Biden and Donald Trump likely being their choices for president in the 2024 election.

    “It’s Biden vs. Trump. We know that,” said “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon. “What do you say to voters who are upset that those are the two choices?”

    “Get over yourself. Those are the two choices,” Clinton said. “It’s kind of like, one is old, and effective, and compassionate, has a heart, and really cares about people. And one is old and has been charged with 91 felonies.”

    Reply
    1. Vicky Cookies

      Infuriating. It strikes me that the most effective way for Democrats to contribute to Trump voter mobilization is to keep letting Clinton out in public, to lecture the electorate.

      Reply
      1. notabanker

        Yup. They just cannot help themselves. It’s like they believe their sheer will is going to get them whatever they want. Wonder how they learned that?

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Hmmm…. From the Nina Totenberg docudrama covering Hillary’s 2016 campaign, “Triumph Out Of Will?” I especially liked the shots of Hillary’s campaign plane coming out of the clouds to land at Madison, the capitol of her closest victory. Oh, wait, that’s in an alternate timeline not available to those not properly accredited to receive major doses of Hopium. Sorry for the error.

          Reply
      1. Pat

        Congratulations, I think you may have found the only thing on an honest description of Biden she regrets not being able to say. Even Hillary recognizes that her favorite thing about Biden isn’t going to win him any votes.

        Reply
    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      The woman who still believes everyone but her cost her the 2016 election is telling me to get over myself?

      Reply
      1. Cassandra

        Well, that’s what she said in 2016 to those of us who were appalled at our choices in that election.

        Reply
      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        “The woman who still believes everyone but her cost her the 2016 election is telling me to get over myself?”

        lol
        i almost spit my beer, John.
        bury them people deep.
        like Nazgul

        Reply
    3. Pat

      Clinton cannot help herself. Forget the fact that she lies through her teeth describing Biden. She makes it abundantly clear that she has no respect for the voters with that response, they are merely unruly children who need to stop whining. And by extension that says everything about the Democratic Party.

      Even better she probably thinks she was effective in selling Biden there. I don’t call her incompetent for nothing.

      Reply
      1. flora

        She really is bucking to be the Harold Stassen of the Dem party.
        Per Wiki:
        “He [Harold Stassen] further sought the Republican nomination for president in 1964, 1968, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992. ”

        I miss Pat Paulson. He had fun with his obviously doomed-to-failure satirical runs for president. Satire in the best sense. See Jonathan Swift. / ;)

        Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      What she is really saying is ‘Look, it’s going to be the same dog food again as last time. Now eat it.’

      Reply
  3. Screwball

    “Former ESPN host says her Biden interview was entirely ‘scripted’ by network execs: ‘Every single question’”

    It says this interview was in 2021. So why does this come out now? If this is true (I don’t know what to believe about anything anymore) it isn’t an interview IMO.

    Reply
    1. griffen

      Steele was excommunicated from the mother ship at ESPN I believe, perhaps due in part to her stance on the COVID-19 vaccine mandates. She’s probably better off for it, quite possible since those who avidly drink the Disney Kool aid all sound alike as it is.

      Plus she got beaned at a PGA championship a few years back, which probably hurt like heck.

      Reply
  4. Blanche

    “In doing so, Shanahan waived terms laid out in their premarital agreement including that she would receive either a BMW or a Honda CRV…”
    A CRV? See she does reflect working class values!

    Don’t forget, Kamala got a new BMW after serving as Willie Brown’s mistress.

    “Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commissions when I was Assembly speaker,” Brown wrote Saturday. Brown was the speaker from 1980 to 1995, prior to his stint as San Francisco mayor.

    Brown appointed Harris to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and then to the Medical Assistance Commission – positions that paid her more than $400,000 over five years, according to SF Weekly. Brown also gave Harris a BMW.

    “And I certainly helped with her first race for district attorney in San Francisco,” he said in his Chronicle letter Saturday..”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2019/01/27/willie-brown-kamala-harris-san-francisco-chronicle-letter/2695143002/

    Reply
  5. Feral Finster

    ” “Is a Biden comeback quietly underway?” [The Hill]. “Since Biden addressed the nation in early March, polling shows that Biden is gaining ground, as former President Donald Trump now leads Biden by only one percentage point according to the RealClearPolitics polling average — Trump’s smallest lead since January.”

    If I were a gambler, I would bet on Biden. He has a huge cash advantage, control of the election machinery, the censorship power (thanks to the “ban TikTok bill”) and the support of all the people and institutions that matter.

    Reply
    1. ChrisFromGA

      The converse to that is that how can an incumbent with a decent economy (on a statistical basis) be losing to the most despicable, hated politician since Dick Cheney? A man who is facing not just one but two criminal trials, and might be thrown into the Hoosegow for contempt of court by the time I stop typing this sentence?

      Biden is the weakest incumbent President we’ve seen since Carter in ’80. I would say he’s weaker than the man from Plains, GA, because Carter at least was relatively young.

      The chaos and disorder in the GOP may be the thing that saves him. I bet a lot of neocon types like Namrata Haley vote for Biden.

      Reply
      1. Feral Finster

        I am not saying that Biden isn’t weak. (So is Trump, for that matter.)

        The question is whether Biden enjoys enough institutional advantages to wheeze one over the line. My bet would be on “yes”, keeping in min d that those institutional advantages ensure that a close race will go to Biden.

        And yes, the neocons will vote Biden, even those still nominally Team R.

        Reply
          1. Anthony Noel

            I think it’s a pretty safe bet that if they didn’t rig the vote in 2020…they sure as hell are going to rig them this time.

            Reply
    2. ChrisFromGA

      Maybe the more interesting thing to speculate on is what can change the dynamic of the race at this point?

      Sure, polls can swing back and forth a few points. I suspect that both sides are so heavily entrenched that they are committed to vote for their incompetent, mentally addled geezer even if they were to be caught committing an act of moral turpitude while rolling around in a pile of cash like Scrooge McDuck.

      So they’re really fighting over maybe a small slice of “swing voters.” My short list of events that could effect the outcome:

      Ukraine goes full Afghanistan; fall of Kiev, Russia triumphantly seizes F16’s at the border: advantage team Orange.

      Trump convicted before Nov. 5: advantage team blue.

      Powell manages to sneak in one rate cut before the election, stonks explode upward: advantage team Blue.

      Israel finally goes too far, gets turned into ash by Iran: Advantage Team Orange.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > My short list of events that could effect the outcome:

        “Events, dear boy. Events.” We might add:

        Some enormous intelligence scandal (I mean really enormous).

        Some damn thing in the South China Sea.

        Bird Flu takes off.

        And, of course, assassination(s). Perhaps RFK?

        Plenty of volatility!

        Reply
        1. ChrisFromGA

          Such a fun game to play.

          Here’s another one, sort of the converse of the Manila Folder keeping the plates spinning in the air:

          Inflation returns with vengeance. Treasury yields go much higher. Ten-year to 6% by August; Ye Olde Manila Folder (former Pirate Powell) has to make a speech at Jackson Hole repudiating his soft pivot back in December. Hikes rates in September. Biden camp screams foul.

          Reply
              1. ChrisPacific

                I called that one already. It’ll be AI deepfake Trump versus AI deepfake Biden, campaigning exclusively via video appearances and TV ads.

                Dead? Nobody’s dead. You’re imagining things. Stop trying to undermine our democracy!

                Reply
    3. nippersdad

      Republicans consistently poll four to six points lower than they turn out. If Biden is a couple of points ahead in the polls, that means that he is still four points behind the electorate. Hillary had largely the same advantages in ’16, but it only took a few swing states to make her life the bitter pill she has forced us to witness for the past eight years.

      Luckily Biden is so far gone that we won’t have to listen to him whine for the rest of our lives.

      Reply
      1. Feral Finster

        Loathsome as HRC is, had she put a little effort in the last weeks of the race, she might well have won.

        Basically Trump pulled off the electoral equivalent of rolling “snake eyes” three times in a row (WI, MI, and PA.)

        Reply
        1. nippersdad

          I always have to wonder how much in-state visits actually matter. It is not like the people who stayed home would have attended her appearances. All those stories about Black barbershops in Milwaukee (the most heavily policed city in the country, IIRC) and how repulsed their patrons were by her. Her actually going there might have made it worse. If even Bernie’s help couldn’t drag her over the finish line then she was always going to be a lost cause.

          Trump people would crawl over broken glass to vote for him, Biden needs to hope it won’t be raining overcast.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            She defunded state parties and pushed everything into paying off Comcast for favorable primary coverage. MSDNC was wall to wall Hillary commercials, just Hillary, not issues or promoting other Democrats. The conceit of the 50 state strategy is non voters are largely going to become Team Blue voters if you get them to vote. Where she did send money, she was clearly paying off primary endorsers in very safe states where she couldn’t even flip seats such as Louisiana while pulling out of Wisconsin.

            Hillary is loathsome, but its not that she did nothing but actually ran an actively detrimental campaign. The Team Clinton incompetence is just staggering.

            My hunch is that dolt Mook operated using a scatter shot graph with limited data (its a junk pseudo science anyway) and failed to recognize why “good data” points for Team Blue were the result of effort and individual election seasons. Hillary’s worst case scenario was well above the winning threshold. People such as Hilldog who can’t be bothered to learn delegate allocation roles were likely just dazzled by all the sigmas Mook was pointing at.

            Reply
            1. Anthony Noel

              I mean she did more then defund the state parties, she quite literally ran an illegal money laundering scheme through the DNC, taking donations for the state candidates and rolling them back into her own campaign in order to get around finance limit rules. Even Bernie, hardly a bastion of bravery had the guts to call her out on it until he realized it didn’t matter, no one was going to hold member of the Aristocracy to account, and rolled over and told everyone to vote blue.

              Reply
        2. steppenwolf fetchit

          A few ( just enough) Democrats in Michigan voted for Trump to try to make Hillary lose, in revenge for NAFTA/WTO/MFN for China and also to prevent Hillary from rolling out even more such Forcey FreeTrade Agreements. I was one of those just-a-few just-enough Democrats.

          Had she visited Michigan louder and harder, would she have won anyone back over? Or would she have alienated and repelled even more Democrats to the Trump side?

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Certainly she would have been all in on the Trans Pacific Partnership which would have been a disaster for American workers.

            Reply
            1. steppenwolf fetchit

              That is part of why I voted for Trump also. Not just revenge for NAFTA, WTO, etc.
              But also protection from yet more NAFTAs to come.

              Reply
      2. Pat

        I think the polls may be even further off this time. We already know that people are lying about their intention to vote Biden.
        This is absolutely going to be about the swing states. And though both have to worry about voters choosing not to vote or vote third party, Biden has the most to lose in that case. On the day, filling up their tank, buying their groceries, heating their home falls on Biden not Trump. It only takes a handful to just not be able to put an X next to his name for him to lose a couple that he carried in 2020, and thus lose the election.

        Voter dissatisfaction with the choices is very real, and if Clinton’s reaction above is any indication the Democrats are not going to handle having to make the argument that Biden is not a loser for them to the voters.

        Reply
  6. Tom Stone

    It strikes me that for Western “Elites” and “Leaders” an enema would have the same effect as a prefrontal lobotomy

    Reply
    1. jsn

      For the lobotomy you’d still need to go in through the bottom.

      Why risk drowning them with the enema?

      (well, that question sort of answers itself…)

      Reply
  7. Henry Moon Pie

    “Moon to have its own time zone”

    Right after they finish selling the last lot in Gaza, “sea”-side parcels will be available on the Moon.

    Does anybody there distinguish between PR and reality anymore? They’re all a bunch of Gnostics.

    Reply
    1. Bugs

      Considering that the “West” can’t even land a small probe upright on the moon these days, plans for lunar hegemony seem wildly optimistic. Even lunatic, one might say.

      Reply
    2. Dessa

      “sea”-side parcels will be available on the Moon.

      You looking at claiming a slice of that moon pie, Henry?

      Reply
    3. Fiery Hunt

      Northrop Grumman just got a contract to design trains on the moon.

      The corruption is foundation deep at this point.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Saw that the other day. So, how is high speed rail going in the US? I’m sure that with all the experience gained there, that building train lines on the moon will be a snap. All it needs is to ship tens of thousands of tons of railway lines to the moon.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          The Chinese are going to do it the old fashioned way. Import hundreds of thousands of American coolies to lay track.

          Reply
    1. flora

      adding: Mr. Bobulinski referencing an ask for digital forensic evaluations of his emails is, to my long IT experience and assessment, quite something.

      Reply
  8. ceco

    “In other words, we need to include investors in the pool of usual suspects, besides Boeing management.”

    This was actually my first thought on considering the news of his ‘suicide’ – it was difficult to imagine Boeing bigwigs really sweating anything enough to bother with assassinating a whistleblower, but maybe I am underestimating the extent to which the PMC has devolved already.

    For those in the C-suite, those on the board, it seemed unlikely this would be anything more than a minor setback on their road to MOAR!!! For a smaller investor, and/or especially one who had a significant local stake (especially) in the SC operation, it seemed more plausible the stakes could seem high enough relative to their position in life to attempt something drastic like that.

    It also seemed plausible to me that the government itself might have decided to try to “quietly” wind this down for some purpose as well.

    But, yes: if we’re looking at those who stood to lose enough from Boeing’s decline to contemplate murdering a whistleblower to stop it, the pool of suspects is probably quite large, and would include many investors and Boeing contractors, as well.

    Regarding the identification of the fungus – I don’t know what it is myself, but I believe that object identification-type software will often “just not go there” when it comes to identifying mushrooms and other plants that might be sought out for, uh, medicinal purposes. It’s too hard to identify based on an image alone and the potential liability for getting it wrong is too great.

    Reply
    1. ceco

      By –

      “It also seemed plausible to me that the government itself might have decided to try to “quietly” wind this down for some purpose as well.”

      – I meant to add that, as others have pointed out, this seems to have been carefully staged to look like a hit and one motivation for that might just be to chill whistleblowing in general by instilling fear in potential whistleblowers that they might end up the same.

      Whether it’s revealing criminality or just rank incompetence on the part of the government or private corporations, it all ultimately ends up undermining the narrative and, since there is no will to take on the underlying systemic causes because “growth” and “messaging”, it is almost certain that more and more people will be moved by their consciences to speak out on abuses and criminality as the system continues to tear itself apart. This could plausibly be someone’s idea of a deterrent.


      Oh cheeky cheeky
      Oh naughty sneaky
      You’re so perceptive and I wonder how you knew.
      But these finks don’t walk too well
      A bad sense of direction
      And so they stumble round in threes
      Such a strange collection.

      Oh you headless chicken
      Can those poor teeth take so much kicking?
      You’re always so charming
      As you peck your way up there.

      And these finks don’t dress too well
      No discrimination
      To be a zombie all the time
      Requires such dedication.

      Oh please, sir will you let it go by
      ‘Cause I failed both tests with my legs both tied
      In my place the stuff is all there
      I’ve been ever so sad for a very long time
      My my they wanted the works can you this and that
      I never got a letter back
      More fool me bless my soul
      More fool me bless my soul.

      Oh perfect masters
      They thrive on disasters
      They all look so harmless
      Till they find there way up there.

      But dead finks don’t talk too well
      They’ve got a shaky sense of diction
      It’s not so much a living hell
      It’s just a dying fiction.

      Dead Finks Don’t Talk by Brian Eno

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        From the appropriately named album; “Here Come the Falling Jets.”
        Lots of good stuff on the album: Baby’s On Fire, Carly Tells Me, Flying Me Backwards, Some Of Them Are Bold, and more.
        Very much a compendium of Boeing’s Greatest S—s.

        Reply
    2. vao

      Why not one of those Boeing subcontractors that are delivering critical components of sub-par quality with alarming frequency? They are probably more sensitive and vulnerable to the risks of a whistleblower’s revelations than Boeing itself.

      Do we know whether the deposition of John Barnett was to be painful for some subcontractors (in cahoot with Boeing management)?

      Reply
      1. ceco

        I haven’t followed it closely enough to get a sense for which, if any, subcontractors might be affected, but it doesn’t seem like any company involved was going to come out of this completely unscathed, so, yes, that is where I was going with that.

        Boeing (and it’s top leadership) are likely too big to fail from a government standpoint and the subcontractors will likely make appealing scapegoats – if they can even afford to weather significant disruption to their revenue stream.

        Reply
    3. Digi_owl

      I’m becoming convinced that shareholders and the board is the true source of evil in this world. They hold sway over management while being protected from consequence by the corporate veil.

      Reply
  9. antidlc

    Private equity strikes again.

    https://washingtonstatestandard.com/2024/04/02/vets-fret-as-private-equity-snaps-up-clinics-pet-care-companies/
    Vets fret as private equity snaps up clinics, pet care companies
    Some veterinarians and advocates worry about higher prices, lower quality.

    About a year ago, veterinarian Melissa Ezell started noticing subtle changes at the midsized animal clinic in Huntsville, Alabama, where she works.

    Private equity’s foray into the human health care industry in recent years has drawn public outrage and legislative scrutiny as firms have been blamed for increasing prices, slashing services and shuttering hospitals to maximize shareholder profits.

    Now, some veterinarians and advocates are sounding the alarm that private equity’s entry into the pet health care industry could lead to similar results.

    Reply
      1. notabanker

        I have to deal with them from time to time as a buyer and loathe doing it. They are absolutely ruthless. I’ve kinda come to my own conclusion that they have one tool, leverage, and they find it and use it like a sledgehammer, whether its wall or a thumbtack.

        I really have to hand it to Yves, she was on this and on it early. When she started writing about it, I was pretty confused because everyone else was still on the next derivatives mess to implode. And she was right. This is far greater a scourge than the syndication junkies, and that is really saying something.

        Reply
  10. Samuel Conner

    > Never mask up, … always read the Bible.’

    The inverted “Golden Rule” — infect your neighbor as you would want to be infected by your neighbor. It’s a motto for a social movement that IMO does not have a bright future (not that the alternatives look to have dramatically better prospects).

    Reply
    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      And its a reminder that the Bidenists are not the only thought-community aggressively seeking to aggressively spread covid.

      Reply
  11. Jason Boxman

    I love how the liberal Democrat plan to save the world is electric cars. But only with a market based solution with nudging. And we’re learning that they destroy tires like no tomorrow, with concomitant destruction of roadways that are often ill-maintained already. Lolz they’re gonna need to offer bigger subsidies

    Reply
    1. Mikel

      Wait a minute…it’s worse.
      The plan is to try to program an algorithm to tell them how to do everything that they could be doing now.

      Reply
    2. nippersdad

      Much, much bigger subsidies.

      We are desultorily looking at getting an old convertible for the summer. We found one for five grand that actually looks pretty good. You can do a lot of work to a used car for the difference between a five grand convertible and a new bottom of the line electric car that spends its’ time spying on you before turning into a fire ball in the driveway.

      They are just about going to have to give them away in boxes of clothes detergent before I will even consider one. If liberal Democrats want to save the world there are much easier ways to do it, starting with not saddling us with pols that have a nuclear death wish.

      Reply
      1. Jason Boxman

        I, too, must admit that I have zero interest in any EV. I hate cars anyway. Wouldn’t have one, but I’m entrenched in the middle of nowhere because COVID, so it’s required. If everyone had an EV tomorrow, we’d still be doomed, so I don’t feel bad about it. Hilariously I still recycle even those stupid plastic bags, even though apparently they’re all just burned, and most harder plastics are simply buried, not recycled.

        Fun times.

        Reply
    3. Digi_owl

      Because it will reduce CO2 without worsening inner city air, and still allow for conspicuous consumption.

      Reply
      1. Martin Oline

        Actually, when I lived in the K.C. metro area, one of the major airborne pollutants was latex which was highest in the inner city where the freeways were built. The news would report the concentration along with pollen. The greater weight of EVs produce more airborne latex. It doesn’t just disappear.
        Speaking of just disappearing into thin air reminds me of a story. I had a friend in California who worked as a security guard at the S.F. State medical complex of some kind. They had a large quantity of radioactive waste they couldn’t get rid of and was expensive to house. Another guard, who I was told worked in law enforcement during the days, volunteered to get rid of it for them. He took it down to the San Jose gun range and blew it up. Problem solved!

        Reply
  12. LY

    According to iSeek app (which is an interface to iNaturalist), the fungus is Ringless Honey Mushroom. If the submitter wants to do some citizen science, upload the photo with the location to iNaturalist. There, the community can confirm the species identification.

    This is my go-to tool for identifying species when I do my invasive species surveys. It was spun out of a project sponsored by the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic.

    Reply
  13. Ranger Rick

    I like the ring of doomscrolling. It rolls off the tongue like the boulder in Indiana Jones. Scroll to your doom! I experienced this phenomenon in 2016, the same year I turned off the media. Everything I was reading was negative: stats, op-eds, actual news reporting. Even the memes I was exposed to were negative, and humor was black as pitch. The less said about the state of political commentary the better. A counterculture attempted to rise at the time to combat the rise of what was termed acute “irony poisoning” — a complete lack of genuine enthusiasm, affection, or earnestness. It failed, obviously.

    The article makes the argument that doomscrolling impacts cultural literacy, or the set of information, customs and metaphors one needs to navigate today’s society. While it seems to suggest this impairs development, I would take the opposite stance: the anxiety and depression are a direct result of being more informed, not less. Millennials may have been raised with the idea that the American Dream of working hard and being rewarded for that labor was still alive, but their kids are having their noses ground into the fact that it isn’t. The 2008 GFC left an indelible scar on the psyche of an entire generation, and its impact is still being felt today. And the climate crisis? Imagine growing up and hearing almost every single day how humanity is doomed and how there’s no hope for improvement in your lifetime.

    Reply
    1. Digi_owl

      Learned helplessness on a national, if not global, level? Compounded by a decade of tech and education that emphasize high flying theory over hands on practice (so much for the digital native etc).

      Reply
  14. steppenwolf fetchit

    . . .” China, India, and Japan have all recently made moon landings. Do they get any say? ” . . .

    They may not be granted any ‘say’ in the American councils of timesetting for the moon. But they can go ahead and take their own ‘do’ without any permission from America at all, or even prior consultations with it.

    The ‘do’ they can just go ahead and take would be to jointly set their own timezone for the moon which each of them will share, and not bother co-ordinating with the “American” time zone for the moon.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      The US will say that it is all part of the Artemis Accords – with are part of the Rules Based Order. That 1967 Outer Space Treaty was just getting too pesky.

      Reply
      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        Well, the US can say that, but ‘Chindiapan’ can still co-set their own time zone for the moon.

        Reply
  15. Neutrino

    The reappearance of Christine Ballsy-Fraud must be some double-secret signal to the next shameless prevaricator(s), or maybe as some perverse reminder to the electorate about the depths to which politicians of many stripes will stoop. Or both.

    Reply
  16. Benny Profane

    Kennedy. I mean, gawd damn him for what he is saying about Gaza. Awful. But, damn, he’s so smart, so quick for a comeback, maybe, at this point, I’ll give him the benefit of severe doubt and say he’s playing the campaign funding and censorship thing by doing that. Severe gamble, but, he knows how to play politics from a certain place. He is not going down without a fight.

    Seriously, he has to do a few more youtubes and Tiktoks with his shirt off. Impressive old man in an old man campaign.

    Reply
    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      Every name-recognition candidate for prez is pro-GazaWar except Cornel West. Now, if disgruntled voters wish to monkeywrench the election, which candidate is the more plausible or at least possible monkeywrench to go with . . . West? Or Kennedy?

      West will get the Peace and Love vote. Kennedy will get the Burn It All Down vote. We will see how comparatively big each vote is in the states which have both West and Kennedy on their ballots.

      Reply
  17. steppenwolf fetchit

    Here is a video from off the TikTok Cringe subreddit by a young American who is not happy with the BidenAdmin supporting this particular ongoing Israeli military policy approach. Biden probably does not have this Young Citizen’s vote at the moment. ( In the wider scope, the candidate who is more deeply feared, loathed and hated by more people in each electoral-college relevant state is the candidate who will lose the election, leaving the other candidate to win by default. Too few votes will be cast “for” any of the candidates to matter. So many of the votes cast will be most-effectively against one or another candidate that the outcome will be very strictly a measure of the “greater hatred” index.)

    Anyway, here is the link.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/TikTokCringe/comments/1buxakk/i_dont_want_to_pay_for_this/

    Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “The Doomscroll Generation”

    ‘Social media and smartphones have tipped an entire generation into anxiety and depression. Is there anything to be done?’

    Why yes, there is. Eliminate student debt, have all jobs pay working wages, encourage unions, introduce medicare for all, invest in jobs and industries in America, de-militarize the police & ban Israeli training, make stock buy-backs illegal again. Those are just a few off the top off my head but I am sure that many more idea like that can be suggested. Do stuff like that and a lot of that anxiety and depression will go away.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        That’s why they created the Department of Homeland Security. It’s purpose is not to protect Americans from threats but to protect the establishment from threatening Americans.

        Reply
  19. Lee

    “Matter and Life” [RibbonFarm (Feral Finster)].

    We say earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, but we could say, with equal justice, life to life as the karmic destiny of non-living matter.

    A commenter sometime ago wrote something to the effect that all realms will experience the human realm and all humans will experience all the non-human realms.

    In spite of any and all evidence or argument to the contrary, I find these notions quite compelling.

    Reply
    1. Joe Renter

      Everything has or will go through the human kingdom. When you take the very long point of Time so long it is hard to compute. Days and nights of Brahma in the Brahmanism concept of creation myths. Theosophy made this more accessible to the western mind.

      Reply
  20. Glen

    Was glad to see the link to the xz software exploit in yesterday’s water cooler, and meant to provide a bit more information, but real life has been busy lately, so didn’t get to it until today. I am using ArchLinux and they have already updated the software to remove the backdoor:

    The xz package has been backdoored
    https://archlinux.org/news/the-xz-package-has-been-backdoored/

    So a fix was rolled out Monday and installed when you updated your system. I noticed that a newer version even came out yesterday – I’m not sure what is up with that since Arch is a “rolling” release, and software will get updated and released as the supporting software is also upgraded

    Whoever did this was trying pretty hard to conceal this bad code:

    Urgent security alert for Fedora Linux 40 and Fedora Rawhide users
    https://www.redhat.com/en/blog/urgent-security-alert-fedora-41-and-rawhide-users

    And details down to the code level here: https://www.openwall.com/lists/oss-security/2024/03/29/4

    Given that much of the “cloud” is Linux VM’s, this was a security hole that coulds have caused more than a bit of havoc on the “cloud”. I don’t even have ssh enables on my system so I wasn’t too worried about it, but it would be interesting to know who was behind this activity.

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      Weird thing is that ssh do not use xz normally. But gets pulled in when running under systemd supervision, as systemd use it for log compression.

      Whoever came up with this did their homework.

      Reply
  21. zach

    The Future of Reserve Currencies IMF. From 2009, still germa… ah, maybe actually this one’s germinated.

    With regard to the “financial stability” talking point raised above.

    The broad brush managed quite a respectable, photorealistic landscape of the situation. Though if I may pick a nit or two, from where I’m viewing, a lot of the questions found their answer within the canvas frame. The fun thing about art is, your perspective of it changes, as you move around it – also, as it moves around you! Also, with time! Golly!

    Makes it damn difficult to make any sense of it tho… prolly why engineers and bankers exist.

    Reply
  22. sbarrkum

    Many issues of inequality were masked by the wealth looted from the colonies.

    70% of the land in Britain is still owned by 1% of the population, largely descended from William the Conqueror’s arm

    Reply
  23. spud

    Lamberts towering statement on why we need to remove limited liability,

    “In other words, we need to include investors in the pool of usual suspects, besides Boeing management.”

    Reply

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