/2:00PM Water Cooler 7/23/2020

2:00PM Water Cooler 7/23/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Our five problem states (Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, and Arizona), with New York for comparison:

Another few days of this and I’ll have to call a peak (though not, I think, without another deep dive into the data-gathering). And then look for a multiplying growth in smaller states…..

Thanks to alert reader JJ, we now have, in addition to case numbers (bold), positivity (dotted), and death rate (scrunched together at the bottom). JJ comments: “You can see how while CA, FL, and TX are close in number of cases, the positivity rate in TX is double of CA and FL is triple.” From “How to Understand COVID-19 Numbers” [Pro Publica]:

When there aren’t enough tests available, as was the case in New York in March, the number of cases reported will be an undercount, perhaps by a lot. That’s where case positivity rates come in: that measures the percentage of total tests conducted that are coming back positive. It helps you get a sense of how much testing is being done overall in a region.

“WHO guidelines say we want that to be below 5%,” [Matthew Fox, professor of epidemiology and global health at Boston University] noted. When a positivity rate is higher, epidemiologists start worrying that means only sicker people have access to tests and a city or region is missing mild or asymptomatic cases. When almost all of the tests come back negative, on the other hand, it’s a good indicator that a locality has enough tests available for everyone who wants one, and public health officials have an accurate picture of all the infections, Fox said.

He gave the example of Massachusetts, where he lives. Currently, daily positive case counts have been steadily falling for the past three months. “The positivity rate is now below 2%, so I feel confident in saying that we know what’s going on, and it’s not that we’re not doing enough testing and we’re missing a lot of positive cases.”

On the flip side, any state where the positivity rate is higher than 10% is “really going to worry me,” Fox said. “That tells me that we’re probably missing a fair number of cases, and you’re not doing enough testing to see what’s going on.”

Fox noted that some states in the Sun Belt, such as Arizona and Florida, have recently had very high positivity rates, even above 20%. “That means we don’t have full visibility.”

So in terms of undercounting as measured by positivity, the order from worst to best would be AZ, FL, TX, GA, CA, except that CA, at 7.42%, is still too high by WHO standards. And AZ, FL, TX, GA would make Dr. Fox “really worried.”

CA: “California got impatient. Now it tops New York for most coronavirus cases” [Los Angeles Times]. “California is No. 1 in part because it is the most populous state but also because millions of residents have been unwilling, or unable, to practice the social distancing and mask-wearing that public health experts say are the best measures to keep SARS-CoV-2 somewhat in check. ‘I think we started to exit shelter-in-place sometime around Memorial Day both emotionally and physically. And we are paying the price for that,’ said Nicholas Jewell, a biostatistics authority at U.C. Berkeley. ‘It’s like we should be tip-toeing out on the ice. What we did, instead, was all run out on the ice, some not too cautiously. And a lot of people fell through the ice.’… Though it passed New York in the total number afflicted, California (at nearly 40 million residents, more than double the population of the Empire State) has tallied just over 8,000 deaths from COVID-19, less than a third the death toll in New York….. ‘In New York, everyone knew someone who had COVID,’ [Dr. Geoffrey Leung, ambulatory medical director of Riverside University Health System in the Inland Empire] added, while many Californians still know of the disease only secondhand and thus lack ‘the emotional driver they had in New York.’” • I’m not sure this is anything more than a narrative. Sure, we’ve all seen the shaming beach pictures, but is the srpead really because of Covid refuseniks? Where’s the data for that? (Not to imply that people shouldn’t wear masks; they should, but the narrative of a populace whose wise leaders are too good for it should always be viewed with a hermeneutic of suspicion.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270.

So, taking the consensus as a given, 270 (total) – 204 (Trump’s) = 66. Trump must win 66 from the states in play: AZ (11), FL (29), MI (16), NC (15), PA (20), and WI (10) plus 1 to win not tie = 102. 102 – 66 = 36. So if Trump wins FL, MI, NC, and PA (29 + 16 + 15 + 20 = 80), he wins. That’s a heavy lift. I think I’ve got the math right this time!


Biden (D)(1): “Biden Just Made A Big Promise To His Wall Street Donors” [David Sirota, Too Much Information]. “Then this past Monday, Biden told his Wall Street donors that actually, he is not proposing any new legislation to rein in corporate power or change corporate behavior — and this was reported exactly nowhere, even as his campaign blasted it out to the national press corps.” • More:

You don’t have to believe me, you can click here to read the full pool report that the Biden campaign distributed to the press after his teleconference fundraiser. That event was headlined by Jon Gray, a top executive at the Blackstone Group, which is a private equity behemoth at the center of the climate, health care, housing and pension crises. Blackstone executives had already donated $130,000 to the Biden campaign and $350,000 to a super PAC supporting him.

Here’s the relevant section, reviewing what Biden said:

Second question, again from Mr. Gray, who noted that there are “a bunch of business leaders” on the line. “What do you think is essential to get this economy rolling again?”

“I come from the corporate state of American, many of you incorporated here,” said Mr. Biden. “It used to be that corporate America had a sense of responsibility beyond just CEO salaries and shareholders.”

“Corporate America has to change its ways. It’s not going to require legislation. I’m not proposing any. We’ve got to think about how we deal people back in.”

“Joe Biden to rich donors: ‘Nothing would fundamentally change’ if he’s elected” [Salon]. Come on, man. Biden can draw a clock, alright. A stopped one.

Biden (D)(2): It’s amazing to me how liberal Democrats are succeeding in making election 2020 almost completely vacuous with respect to policy:

Oy. Empathy. For example:

Or more to the point, given Portland:

Claiming that Biden, who wrote the USA Patriot Act, is “empathetic” is like claiming that Obama was empathetic when he drank that glass of water in Flint.

BIden (D)(3): “Biden calls Trump the first racist US president” [The Hill]. Biden: “We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed. They’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.” • At least twelve Presidents owned slaves, so it’s good to know you can own slaves and not be a racist. So I guess we can leave a lot of statues up. (Honestly, liberal Democrats have the memory of goldfish. On the bright side, saying that Trump was the first racist President exempts all previous Presidents. Including, say, Truman, who would be canceled today, despite his support for anti-lynching legislation and integration of the armed forces.

Biden (D)(4): “Dolores Huerta on Backing Karen Bass over Kamala for VP” [Payday Report]. “A Congresswoman from South Central LA, [Karen] Bass has emerged on Biden’s shortlist for V.P. due in part to her more than 40 years of activism against police brutality…. Even some conservatives like George Will and Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who labeled Bass ‘his favorite Democrat’ because of her ability to get deals done, are fans of her work. Representative Jim Clyburn, a key backer of Biden’s in South Carolina, also has signaled his support for Bass…. Bass has publicly indicated that she has no desire to run for President and would only serve as Vice President….. A selection of Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren, two names on the shortlist, could set off a civil war within the Democratic party.”

Sanders (D)(1): On the Unity Task forces:

I think Sanders thinks he’s fighting the good fight — I disagree; the good fight was with strikers, but that moment has passed — but Obama didn’t stand up Biden so that he could enact the left’s platform, or anything more than the most tepid of reforms. Come on, man.

Sanders (D)(2): “As Bernie Sanders urges party unity, his revolution marches on” [Yahoo News]. “Sanders plans to participate in a formal acclamation releasing the delegates he won in the primary to Biden following the roll call at the convention next month, which is mostly taking place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday evening’s call, he also plans to tell his supporters and delegates that he feels Biden’s team has been ‘pretty respectful and decent’ toward him and the resurgent progressive movement he’s led since 2016.” • Oy. Meanwhile, this quote from Nina Turner is not in the article:

Trump (R)(1): “Is Trump on track for an October vaccine surprise?” [Politico]. “Buoyed by a series of encouraging early trial results, the administration is laying the groundwork for a high-profile rollout of initial coronavirus vaccines in as little as three months. It’s a best-case timetable that also tracks with the final weeks before the Nov. 3 election. The White House’s Operation Warp Speed has poured billions of dollars into developing a vaccine in record time, funding several efforts in parallel and buying up doses of the experimental shots in a wager that one will ultimately pay off…. There is virtually no chance that the U.S. will have a proven vaccine by Election Day, several top vaccine experts told POLITICO. It could also take well into 2021 to produce and distribute the hundreds of millions of shots needed to inoculate the entire country…. Yet at the same time, drugmakers’ sprint through early clinical trials means leading vaccine candidates could begin to show indications of their effectiveness by late October, offering Trump the opportunity to seize on them as a potential game-changer.” • As I said on July 10: “Trump is going to need some luck: The virus needs to peak and decline in the Red States pretty soon. Something colorably like a vaccine in October would help. So would a V-shaped recovery. A master-stroke in debate (and Trump really did take apart Clinton on trade). Something that scares suburban voters back into the Republican fold. But Trump is lucky.”

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “Trump Attacks Liz Cheney After Feud With House Conservatives” [Bloomberg]. Deceptive headline. The news is in the body: “President Donald Trump attacked Representative Liz Cheney, the highest-ranking Republican woman in the U.S. House, saying Thursday she is ‘upset’ because he is trying to end overseas wars.” • I don’t love Trump, but he doesn’t have a Libya on his balance sheet, let alone Iraq and Afghanistan.

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OH: “Ohio speaker’s arrest in bribery probe muddies 2020 election” [Associated Press]. “Federal prosecutors say Republican Speaker Larry Householder and four others — including a former state GOP chairman — perpetrated a $60 million federal bribery scheme connected to a taxpayer-funded bailout of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants. How many others got caught up in the sweeping probe is yet to be known. The scope of the accusations threatens to unfurl the GOP’s tight hold on Ohio’s governing body, which is set to draw new congressional maps in 2021 in one of the country’s most gerrymandered states. The chance to control Ohio’s representation in Washington for the next decade has put flipping at least some legislative seats on Democrats’ national radar. The scandal’s potential political fallout for Republicans was evidenced by the swift rebukes of Householder by politicians and party leaders alike. Practically before he’d left the federal courthouse Tuesday, a who’s who of top Republican brass was calling for Householder’s resignation.” • Bipartisanship: “An angry GOP Chair Jane Timken went further. Emphasizing that Republicans stand for ‘accountability and rule of law’ she distanced the organization from Householder and hinted that Democrats who participated in his bipartisan election to the speakership should share culpability for placing him in power.”

2016 Post Mortem

“Hillary Clinton Alternate History Series ‘Rodham’ in Development at Hulu” [Variety]. • Please stop.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Who is the Most Dangerous Fascist?” [Black Agenda Report]. “Most American leftists are incoherent on the term fascism, and Democrats have utterly destroyed the word’s meaning.” And:

Homeland Security agents are actually behaving much like local cops anywhere in the United States. Chicago police for years ran a not-so-secret torture center into which Black men disappeared until they confessed to crimes they didn’t commit. Cities around the nation routinely deploy “jump-out-squads” of plainclothes officers that leap from unmarked vehicles to snatch people from neighborhood streets. And most local cops assigned to suppress anti-police protests remove their badges and identifying markers. Both local and federal SWAT teams routinely wear masks to hide their identifies. This, too, is “reminiscent” of fascism, but it didn’t arrive with Trump in January, 2017.

Indeed, Trump is a relative amateur in the dark arts of domestic repression, his past experience limited to terrorizing tenants in his apartment buildings and “apprentices” on reality TV shows. The tools of state repression Trump deploys as The Mad White Avenger were already well-used by past presidents. Barack Obama’s FBI coordinated the national police crackdown on Occupy sites , nearly a decade ago – a huge roll-up of dissent involving the synchronized actions of a Black Democratic president and mostly Democratic mayors and their police chiefs. The Black woman mayor of Baltimore called the people that took part in the 2015 Freddie Gray rebellion “thugs ” – dehumanizing her own constituents — as did Obama , whose U.S. attorneys demanded and got draconian sentences for defendants charged with property damage.

Obama made police state history when he got Congress to pass legislation allowing U.S. citizens to be indefinitely detained without benefit of trial or charge – a leap into the abyss that even George W. Bush dared not make.

This is Glen Ford at his coruscating best; go read the whole thing, which keeps getting better. (Though Ford did forget to [genuflect] at the mention of Obama’s name. Bad!)

The Great Assimilation™: “Billionaire Democratic donors give big to anti-Trump Lincoln Project” [Open Secrets]. “Billionaire investor Stephen Mandel — a longtime backer of Democratic groups — gave $1 million to The Lincoln Project last month. Bain Capital executive Joshua Bekenstein chipped in $100,000 to the group. He and his wife Anita have given $6.4 million mostly to Democratic causes during the 2020 cycle, making them the 20th most generous donors. The Bekensteins gave big to two other super PACs supporting presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Unite the Country and Priorities USA Action. DreamWorks founder David Geffen — a million-dollar donor to Democratic super PACs in 2018 — also gave $100,000 to the Republican-led group. So did billionaire cable TV pioneer Amos Hostetter, another major Democratic donor. Retail developer Joseph Kaempfer added $75,000 after giving $500,000 to pro-Biden super PAC American Bridge 21st Century earlier this year.”


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“Tech Thursday” [Election Line]. “Grand Rapids-based mail service provider Kent Communications, Inc. (KCI) announced this week that it has worked with local election officials to create a product called TrackMIBallot. The product used a service from the United States Postal Service, called Informed Visibility, to track each piece of ballot mail as it goes through the postal system. TrackMIBallot will track ballots as they are sent out to voters and also as they are sent back to the election office. So far, the City of Walker, the City of Lansing, Grand Rapids Township and Cannon Township have signed on to use TrackMIBallot for the upcoming election.” • Sounds like a good idea.

More touchscreen madness:

I love it that the election officials call touchscreens the “Express” option when they’re slower, less accurate, and put you in danger of Covid fomites.

UPDATE “NAACP asks judge to ban the kind of voting machines used in Mecklenburg County” [Charlotte Observer]. “The NAACP argues that new, touch screen voting machines risk exposing voters to COVID-19. It also said the ExpressVote machines are ‘insecure, unreliable, and unverifiable’ and threaten “the integrity of North Carolina’s elections.’ Wednesday’s request for an injunction said the machines create ‘unique and substantial risks to the lives and health of voters’ because each screen will be touched frequently. The two dozen or so counties using the machines, it said, ‘are forcing voters to choose between their right to vote, their health and potentially their lives.’” • I’m surprised a similar suit hasn’t been brought in LA against VSAP. The issues are the same.

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Employment Situation: “18 July 2020 Initial Unemployment Claims 1,416,000 This Week” [Econintersect]. “Market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Econoday) were 1,250 K to 1,400 K (consensus 1,350 K), and the Department of Labor reported 1,416,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 1,376,750 (reported last week as 1,375,000) to 1,360,250.”

Employment Situation: “U.S. new jobless benefit claims rise for first time since late March” [MarketWatch]. “The seasonal adjustment factors are playing havoc with the jobless claims data in July. This is the month when auto plants typically shut down for summer holidays but that is not happening this year. On an non-adjusted basis, claims fell 141,816 to 1.37 million this week. Big picture: Claims had been trending down from a peak of 6.9 million in late March. Economists won’t read too much into one report, but the increase will add to worries the spread of COVID-19 in July is slowing down the economy. They don’t expect much improvement in the labor market until the pandemic is contained. In addition, some firms that received Paycheck Protection Program funding could also be reducing payrolls. What are they saying? ‘To put these data in perspective, before the pandemic surge, the highest single weekly tally ever was 695,000 in 1982. Now, more than four months into the crisis, initial claims are still running at an astonishing 1.4 million per week. We continue to believe that after an initial period of sharp, but partial rebound as the economy reopens, the remainder of the process is going to be prolonged, and that the road back to February’s peak employment levels will be a long and bumpy one,’ said Josh Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc.” • The right-hand stroke of the letter V is typically not “long and bumpy,” though with typography these days anything is possible.

Manufacturing: “July 2019 Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Marginally Improves” [Econintersect]. “Of the three regional manufacturing surveys released for July, all are in expansion…. Kansas City Fed manufacturing has been one of the more stable districts. Note that the key internals were mixed. This survey should be considered about the same as last month. Both new orders and backlog improved, with new orders in expansion and backlog remaining in contraction.”

Leading Indicators: “June 2020 Leading Economic Index Somewhat Improves – Business Conditions Still Point To A Weak Economic Outlook” [Econintersect]. “The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 2.0 percent in June to 102.0 (2016=100), following a 3.2 percent increase in May and a 6.3 percent decrease in April.. – and the authors say ‘Together with a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases across much of the nation, the LEI suggests that the US economy will remain in recession territory in the near term.’ Because of the significant backward revisions, the current values of this index cannot be trusted. This index’s value is the lowest since the Great Recession. My opinion is that the economy entered a recession in March but likely left the depression in June when the economy began to improve.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70 Greed (previous close: 65 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 23 at 12:25pm. Now firmly in greed territory.

The Biosphere

“The Great Climate Migration Has Begun” [New York Times]. “Migrants move for many reasons, of course. The model helps us see which migrants are driven primarily by climate, finding that they would make up as much as 5 percent of the total. If governments take modest action to reduce climate emissions, about 680,000 climate migrants might move from Central America and Mexico to the United States between now and 2050. If emissions continue unabated, leading to more extreme warming, that number jumps to more than a million people. (None of these figures include undocumented immigrants, whose numbers could be twice as high.) The model shows that the political responses to both climate change and migration can lead to drastically different futures. As with much modeling work, the point here is not to provide concrete numerical predictions so much as it is to provide glimpses into possible futures. Human movement is notoriously hard to model, and as many climate researchers have noted, it is important not to add a false precision to the political battles that inevitably surround any discussion of migration. But our model offers something far more potentially valuable to policymakers: a detailed look at the staggering human suffering that will be inflicted if countries shut their doors.”

“Climate notes on the Democratic platform” [Heated]. “[S]ome climate language contained in the Democrats’ 2020 draft platform actually appears less aggressive than the climate language contained in the 2016 platform—at least as it pertains to the most important subject in climate policy: fossil fuels. Unlike the 2016 platform, the 2020 draft does not pledge to stop massive government subsidies and tax breaks to fossil fuel companies. Nor does it pledge to start charging them for their pollution via a carbon tax or price on carbon. Additionally, though the draft platform states plainly that ‘As Democrats, we believe the scientists: the window for unprecedented and necessary action is closing, and closing fast,’ it doesn’t mention specifically what it believes that window is. That’s important, as there are multiple scientific ‘windows’ for action, depending on how much climate damage politicians are trying to prevent. Without a specific goal—1.5 degrees Celsius? 2 degrees Celsius? 4 degrees Celsius?—it’s unclear what type of future Democrats are trying to secure.” • It’s really too bad that the propaganda resources devoted to RussiaGate weren’t devoted to climate change instead.

Health Care

“Why COVID-19’s biggest impact on healthcare may not be until 2022” [HealthCare Dive]. “Three significant shifts in healthcare financing are occurring as a result of the pandemic’s economic impact. First, as a result of job losses, there will be a shift in commercial insurance to government-funded insurance programs. Second, revenue for funding Medicare, based on payroll taxes, will be significantly decreased. Finally, states will have less tax revenue to pay for Medicaid, threatening the viability of this program as well. … This will result in millions of people seeking coverage through Medicaid programs, the individual marketplace or simply becoming uninsured. Healthcare providers have relied upon margins from commercial insurance to offset costs from poorer reimbursing government funded programs and uncompensated care. With more than 156 million Americans receiving employer sponsored insurance at the start of this year, and given recent projected job losses, providers may see a 17% shift in payer mix. The reliance on commercial insurance and cost shifting has become a necessary way for providers to financially sustain operations. With a 35% margin with commercial insurance compared to Medicare, a 17% shift in payer mix on a trillion dollar spend would result in a substantial reduction in financial resources available to hospitals…. On average, states are projecting about a 10% reduction in revenues in 2020, rising to almost a 25% reduction in 2021. Even without considering the growth in Medicaid enrollment hitting states, this reduced tax revenue will make sustaining current Medicaid program funding increasingly difficult.” • The author also believes that Medicare can become “insolvent,” but the Federal government, unlike the states, is the currency issuer, so no.

Police State Watch

“Trump says he’ll send federal agents to Chicago and elsewhere” [Seattle Times]. “President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that the Justice Department would send hundreds of additional federal agents into cities to confront a rise in shootings and other violence, escalating his dark rhetoric about urban crime and bashing local elected officials who have been wary of intervention by his administration. Trump, who has sought to make ‘law and order’ a campaign theme and denounced ‘Democrat-run cities’ as he seeks reelection, recounted anecdotes and statistics about a recent spate of gun violence in places like Chicago, while blaming local politicians for crime and criticizing the progressive ‘defund the police’ slogan. ‘We will never defund the police,’ the president said in remarks at the White House. ‘We will hire more great police. We want to make law enforcement stronger, not weaker. What cities are doing is absolute insanity.’ Standing beside Trump, Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department would send roughly 200 additional agents to Chicago and about 35 to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to bolster violent crime task forces that work with local police. The surge will build on previously announced plans to send about as many agents to Kansas City, Missouri, and more cities would be added, he said.” • I don’t want to seem sanguine, but 200 + 35 are not large numbers (though doubtless there are intelligence figures we don’t know about). I would like to know how the scale of this operation compares to Obama’s 17-city DHS orchestrated paramilitary shutdown of Occupy; I would bet this is the same size, or smaller. (Glen Ford says the same but better; see above.) Also, verbiage like “dark rhetoric” is best saved for Opinion, if the distinction between News and Opinion means anything any more.


“AOC Introduces Measure to Stop the Military from Recruiting on Twitch” [Vice]. “U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) plans to file a measure that would prevent the military from using video games and esports as military recruitment tools. A draft amendment filed on July 22 to the House Appropriations bill would prevent the military from using funds appropriated by the bill to ‘maintain a presence on Twitch.com or any video game, e-sports, or live-streaming platform.’ The House Appropriations bill is an early step in setting the Pentagon’s budget and there’s no guarantee Ocasio-Cortez’s amendment will survive the lengthy political process…. The Twitch amendment could falter at any step along the way, but the fact that Ocasio-Cortez introduced the amendment at all speaks to the mounting public pressure against the military using video games and Twitch as a recruitment tool.”

Class Warfare

“Tearing Down Black America” [Boston Review]. “In the wake of Michael Brown’s killing by Ferguson, Missouri, police, the U.S. Department of Justice found that the city’s harsh policing of its Black residents was the result of a systemic effort to raise revenue. The recent allegations that Breonna Taylor’s murder by Louisville police was tied to a special police squad—”Place Based Investigations”—makes the linkage between policing, municipal revenue creation, and redevelopment even clearer. According to attorneys for Taylor’s family, the warrants associated with narcotics investigations were meant to address one of the ‘primary roadblocks’ to a multimillion-dollar redevelopment initiative. As the attorneys put it, ‘When the layers are peeled back, the origin of Breonna’s home being raided by police starts with a political need to clear out a street for a large real estate development project and finishes with a newly formed, rogue police unit violating all levels of policy, protocol and policing standards.’” • It’s like race and class are evil twins.

News of the Wired

I’m with Sid!

Great thread. Sid is a Hero Kitten.

Taibbi’s mute list:

Taibbi’s new contest:

Readers, any entries?

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

Wendys writes: “The tree without flowers is my Magnolia, I am not sure exactly what the other one is, it gets little berries and the birds like them.”

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