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Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether



Articles by Lambert Strether

2:00PM Water Cooler 4/3/2020

4 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
#COVID-19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I am using a linear, not a logarithmic scale, because the linear scale conveys the alarming quality of the multiplication better (don’t @ me, math nerds). I did not adjust for population, because it seems to me that the epidemics spread through a population in a fractal matter; within reasonable limits, the shape of the curve will be the same. Show me I’m wrong!
Politics
“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

Read More »

Links 4/3/2020

4 days ago

Tiny picnic tables for feeding squirrels in style Boing Boing (JBird4049).
Ocean Creatures Have Been Protecting Us From Millions of Viruses This Entire Time Science Alert
What’s a virus, anyway? Part 1: The bare-bones basics Stanford Medicine
CSU Predicts Busier-Than-Average Atlantic Hurricane Season in 2020 Weather Underground
The hilltop fortress town that cut itself off from the world — and coronavirus CNN. As I write, billionaire concierges checking for a helipad…
#COVID19
The science:
Aerosol emission and superemission during human speech increase with voice loudness Nature (nvl). From 2019, still germane. A possible avenue of research into superspreaders.
Stability of SARS coronavirus in human specimens and environment and its sensitivity to heating and UV irradiation. Biomedical and

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2:00PM Water Cooler 4/2/2020

5 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, this Water Cooler is way too light (though I fancy there are some topics that will provoke discussion). I’ve had some household issues over the past couple of days, and frankly I’m out of gas. Back to the usual tomorrow! –lambert
#COVID-19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I am using a linear, not a logarithmic scale, because the linear scale conveys the alarming quality of the multiplication better (don’t @ me, math nerds). I did not adjust for population, because it seems to me that the epidemics spread through a population in a fractal matter; within reasonable limits, the shape of the curve will be the same. Show me I’m wrong!
Politics
“But what is government

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/31/2020

7 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
#COVID-19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I am using a linear, not a logarithmic scale, because the linear scale conveys the alarming quality of the multiplication better (don’t @ me, math nerds). I did not adjust for population, because it seems to me that the epidemics spread through a population in a fractal matter; within reasonable limits, the shape of the curve will be the same. Show me I’m wrong!
Politics
“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

Read More »

Bills are Due and Payable: Workplace Strikes and Rent Strikes

8 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
In American political folklore, “kitchen table issues” are issues, generally involving — naturally — money, where the family sits down round the kitchen table and hashes out the famliy income statement: What’s coming in, and what’s going out, and are we the slightest bit ahead, or not?[1] It’s a warmly lit, sentimental picture of a vicious system where most of the population, the working class, sell their labor power to survive. Until they can’t. And don’t. So it’s no coincidence that there’s been an upsurge — power and consequences as yet unknown — of workplace strikes (the income side) and rent strikes (the expenses side). Kitchen table issues. In this post, I’ll aggregate some examples of each kind of strike — I’ll make no pretense to be exhaustive,

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2:00PM Water Cooler 3/30/2020

8 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Thank you, readers, for making this year’s Water Cooler fundraiser a great success, and also for the many kind comments, and helpful suggestions. I feel much better about the stresses of the coming year (and will also be able to help some others, as I said). Thank you, thank you, thank you! –lambert P.S. Of course, if you missed the fundraiser, the tip jar is below. There’s still time!
#COVID-19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I am using a linear, not a logarithmic scale, because the linear scale conveys the alarming quality of the multiplication better (don’t @ me, math nerds). I did not adjust for population, because it seems to me that the epidemics spread through a population in

Read More »

Having It Easy in the Beginning, Tough in the End: How My Dad Predicted the Decline of America

8 days ago

By William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), professor of history, and Tom Dispatch regular. His personal blog is Bracing Views. Originally published at Tom Dispatch.
My dad was born in 1917. Somehow, he survived the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919, but an outbreak of whooping cough in 1923 claimed his baby sister, Clementina. One of my dad’s first memories was seeing his sister’s tiny white casket. Another sister was permanently marked by scarlet fever. In 1923, my dad was hit by a car and spent two weeks in a hospital with a fractured skull as well as a lacerated thumb. His immigrant parents had no medical insurance, but the driver of the car gave his father $50 toward the medical bills. The only lasting effect was the scar my father carried for the rest of his life on

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Links 3/30/2020

8 days ago

Patient readers, a comment on comments, supplementing what Yves said here on informational hygiene. Before you press “Post Comment,” please consider the cascading effects your comment can cause, and the effect such cascades can have on moderators, who may end up having to rip out entire threads, a cumbersome, error-prone, and extremely irritating process. Comments that cause cascades tend to be ill-informed, politically motivated without being deft or knowledgeable, or (sometimes) simple shit-stirring, as if NC were Facebook or Reddit. It isn’t.
4-Year-Old Alabama Girl Found Alive In Woods After 2 Days With Her Dog NPR
Coronabonds Are Inevitable. Everybody Knows It Bloomberg
The Climate Crisis Will Be Just as Shockingly Abrupt The New Republic
US crude oil price falls below $20 FT

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The CARES Act: Stimulus and Unemployment Checks

9 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
I am sure the hilariously named CARES (“Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security”) Act is just as horried as the 2008 bailouts, if not moreso — if only because the people in charge are even more greedy and venal than 2008’s crew[1] — but in this post, I’ll focus exclusively concrete material benefits for the working class — sadly, not universal — as opposed to whatever meagre benefits will “trickle down” from however our betters reconfigure “the economy.” this time. (There will, apparently, be more stimulus to come, when our lawmakers return from their vacation[2]. The unemployment provisions should be beefed up as well.)
The key point of the CARES that means-testing and complex eligibility requirements will only be pried from the cold, dead hands of

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Why COVID-19 Will Strain the Safety Net for Homeless Vets to the Breaking Point

9 days ago

By Tom Conway, the international president of the United Steelworkers Union (USW). This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute.
Under normal circumstances, Jerry Porter would be spending his time helping the veterans he finds in tent camps and run-down housing.
But the escalating threat of COVID-19 forces the community activist and retired Steelworker to remain at home for now, even though vulnerable vets need him more than ever.
As the coronavirus spreads across America, the poor bear the brunt of a pandemic that’s exposed the deep class lines in U.S. society.
The rich have big savings accounts and quality health care. They’ll emerge from the crisis just fine.
But Americans at the margins, including homeless vets who rely on a frayed safety net stretched to the breaking

Read More »

Links 3/29/2020

9 days ago

Patient readers, a comment on comments, supplementing what Yves said here on informational hygiene. Before you press “Post Comment,” please consider the cascading effects your comment can cause, and the effect such cascades can have on moderators, who may end up having to rip out entire threads, a cumbersome, error-prone, and extremely irritating process. Comments that cause cascades tend to be ill-informed, politically motivated without being deft or knowledgeable, or (sometimes) simple shit-stirring, as if NC were Facebook or Reddit. It isn’t.
Normally, we prefer to let the commentariat act, as it were, as our immune system for agnotology, but the volume of comments now is such that the cascade from a poor comment is the equivalent of a cytokine storm for our poor moderators.
The best

Read More »

COVID-19 and the Working Class in the United States

11 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
In my last post, I considered how globalization set the stage for the #COVID pandemic in the United States, and how globalizers contributed to its spread among themselves and among the working class. In this post — which will turn out to be shorter than I planned, because I had a brainwave I want to get to — I’ll consider the working class alone. Let’s start by looking at one person, Ceci Dominguez, described by Bloomberg in “Coronavirus Shock Is Destroying Americans’ Retirement Dreams“:

Ceci Dominguez celebrated her 67th birthday alone in her home in the Elysian Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles. The threat of coronavirus kept her from friends and family—and from the part-time jobs and informal gigs that keep her frugal budget balanced.
As her few

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/27/2020

11 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
#COVID-19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I am using a linear, not a logarithmic scale, because the linear scale conveys the alarming quality of the multiplication better (don’t @ me, math nerds). I did not adjust for population, because it seems to me that the epidemics spread through a population in a fractal matter; within reasonable limits, the shape of the curve will be the same. Show me I’m wrong!
Politics
“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

Read More »

Closing Hours of 2020 Mini-Fundraiser for Water Cooler!

11 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Dear Readers,
I have received permission to run the Water Cooler fundraiser into a second day because we have not met our goal of 300 donors: We are 176 178 — thank you! — so I hope there are 300 – 178 = 122 of you who can see your way clear to throwing a tip into the jar foe all last year’s Water Coolers, and encouraging me to keep going for the coming year (which is shaping up to be very, very busy). If I come down with the virus, heaven forfend, I promise to keep blogging right through it!
Here are some of the reasons contributers have for giving*:

“Contribution made, thanks for all the great work over the year.” –PlutoniumKun
“Your work supports and strengthens us all.” — EN
“Water Cooler is one of my must-read web destinations every day!” –MS
“One of

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The Irish Buddhist Monk Who Faced Down the British Empire

11 days ago

Lambert here: Colonialism and identity are more complicated than we might think…
By Laurence Cox, long-time activist, teacher and editor in many different social movements and a practing Buddhist. He is Associate Professor in Sociology at the National University of Ireland Maynooth, where he researches popular struggles and anti-colonial Buddhism. Originally published at Open Democracy.
In early March 1901, a barefoot Buddhist monk challenged an off-duty colonial policeman in Rangoon, ordering him to take his shoes off while on the grounds of the sacred Shwedagon pagoda. Shoes are considered dirty in much of Asia and are normally removed in religious spaces. But a mere 15 years after the final Anglo-Burmese war, the conquerors – whether soldiers, police or tourists – wore them

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Links 3/27/2020

11 days ago

Much as we love links from the commentariat at NC, given the volume of material we are now getting, it would be really, really helpful to the moderators, and would also improve comment quality, if well-intentioned readers didn’t simply dump links, but explained the qualifications of the source, and ideally gave a quote. This goes double for YouTubes and videos generally. Think of it as informational hygiene. Thank you!
* * *
Can Trillion-Dollar Coins Cover the Coronavirus Relief Tab? It’s Not a Bad Idea. Barrons
Coronavirus turmoil delivers shock to the hedge fund industry FT. That’s a damn shame.
Stimulus

House Republicans flock to DC for stimulus vote, but will any object? Roll Call
If you liked TARP, you’ll love the new coronavirus bill NBC
Bonanza for Rich Real Estate Investors,

Read More »

COVID-19 and Class in the United States

12 days ago

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made. — F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
In the United States, #COVID-19 began with globalization and globalizers. One thing we can be of is that grovery workers — to whom the virus will “trickle down” soon enough — didn’t create the conditions for it, or introduce it. Let’s take a look at the grocery workers before dollying back to the global. From the Los Angeles Times, “Column: How coronavirus turned supermarket workers into heroes“:

Today supermarkets are playing a ground-zero role in our struggle to adapt to restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/26/2020

12 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, this will be an abbreviated Water Cooler, partly because I had to launch this year’s Water Cooler fundraiser (there is a tip jar on this page as well), but also because I must finish a post on #COVID19 and class. I will be back at full force tomorrow. –lambert
#COVID-19
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I am using a linear, not a logarithmic scale, because the linear scale conveys the alarming quality of the multiplication better (don’t @ me, math nerds). I did not adjust for population, because it seems to me that the epidemics spread through a population in a fractal matter; within reasonable limits, the shape of the curve will be the same. Show me I’m wrong!

Read More »

Announcing 2020 Mini-Fundraiser for Water Cooler!

12 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Dear Readers,
As you know, I am diffident, and as a good WASP, I hate talking about money — and if you cringe to hear me talking about about I hate to talk about, you can just jump down to the tip jar — and this year I have even more excuses for diffidence. However, this is the time of year for the Water Cooler annual fundraiser, and I hope that you — even in the teeth, or rather the spikes, of the corona virus — will do what it takes to keep Water Cooler going. Our goal is 300 donors. What Yves wrote in 2017 is still true:
Besides providing general business news, Water Cooler files all the scamming and grifting and phishing under the heading of “The Bezzle,” provides a contextual view of official statistics, maintains a watch on important indices, and

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Edible Forest Gardens: A Quick Review of a Very Beautiful and Useful Book

12 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Readers may recall that I’ve written about edible forests in the past (2012; 2013; 2013; 2014; 2015) and it might be thought that the topic would provide a welcome respite from Coronavirus news. Not necessarily:

The Before: I’m social distancing at the moment by turning my partner’s garden into an edible forest garden. Most of what is here was planted by the previous owners, and they covered most of the garden in cheap landscaping fabric and gravel. pic.twitter.com/uu1gure7B0
— Isaac Marsh (@isaac_laurence) March 21, 2020

So if you’re up for keeping your social distance for a few weeks or months, an edible forest — no matter the scale — might be just the project for you. What is an edible forest, you ask? I wrote:

What Is an Edible Forest?
I’m going to

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The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Letter to G20 Leaders (“The G20 must act now”)

12 days ago

Lambert here: “Narrator: They didn’t act.” I hope I’m wrong!
By Erik Berglöf, Director, Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics and CEPR Research Fellow, and Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust. Originally published at VoxEU.
To G20 leaders,
Advanced countries have started now to see the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is worse to come for most countries. But delaying emergency measures in emerging and developing economies will lead to unimaginable health and social impacts which will come back to haunt us for decades. The G20 must act now.
As advanced economies struggle to cope with the spread of COVID-19, emerging and developing countries are facing an unprecedented collective threat to human life, social cohesion and economic devastation. The virus

Read More »

Links 3/26/2020

12 days ago

Much as we love links from the commentariat at NC, given the volume of material we are now getting, it would be really, really helpful to the moderators, and would also improve comment quality, if well-intentioned readers didn’t simply dump links, but explained the qualifications of the source, and ideally gave a quote. This goes double for YouTubes and videos generally. Think of it as informational hygiene. Thank you!
* * *Once again, I apologize for too many links; we are all curating as best we can! I hope that by throwing links into buckets, we’re helping you to skip what you don’t want to read about. –lambert
Mr. Sherman, Little Tokyo’s 23-year-old feline ‘mayor,’ keeps purring along Los Angeles Times. Mr. Sherman:

IT services sector faces armageddon as COVID-19 lockdown forces

Read More »

RJ Eskow: 7 Rules for the Boeing Bailout

12 days ago

By Richard “RJ” Eskow, senior adviser for health and economic justice at Social Security Works. Eskow is also the host of The Zero Hour, a syndicated progressive radio and television program. This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.
Call it the “Boeing bailout.” As the world struggles with the pandemic, Boeing should be seen as the vector for a parallel epidemic. It’s Patient Zero in an epidemic of corporate failure. As we change the way we live our lives, corporations like Boeing should change the way they are run. Corporate mismanagement made this crisis worse and, if it doesn’t change, will make the recovery more difficult.
Unfortunately, it looks like Boeing and its fellow malefactors are going to get a free ride. The corporate bailout

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/25/2020

13 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
#COVID-19
At reader request, I’m adding this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. (If readers can suggest a better visualization, have at it, but this one seems very simple and clean to me.)
Politics
“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
Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

* * *
2020

We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/24/2020

14 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“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
Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

* * *
2020

We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/23/2020

15 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“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
Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

* * *
2020

We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/20/2020

18 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“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
Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

* * *
2020

We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Read More »

Links 3/20/2020

18 days ago

NASA fixes Mars lander by telling it to hit itself with a shovel NY Post. There’s a lesson here for all of us….
Planets set to put on a show for the earliest Spring equinox in 124 years on Friday – with Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and a crescent moon appearing very close together in the night sky Daily Mail
Glut of crude swells across Atlantic basin on coronavirus, OPEC+ hikes Reuters
U.S. Airlines Could Burn $40 Billion in Cash If Demand Vanishes Bloomberg
Open Wide: Dentists Pressured To Drill Healthy Teeth, Ex-employees Say Newsy. Another private equity scam.
This recession is nothing like previous ones and so it has to be managed very differently Tax Research UK
#COVID-19

The science:
Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1 NEJM
* * *
Potential treatment:
A

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/19/2020

19 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“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
Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

* * *
2020

We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Read More »

2:00PM Water Cooler 3/18/2020

20 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“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
Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

* * *
2020

We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Read More »