By Lambert Strether of Corrente. Patient readers, more soon. Reality — today in the form of Biden’s speech — keeps getting in the way of my production cycle. –lambert #COVID19 At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Today I thought I would look at big states not in the Acela Corridor: California, Texas, Florida: This version puts the same three states in the context of the Top 25 COVID-19 states; the curves are still inception-based. The conclusion is the same: It’s clear that this country cannot be said to have the pandemic under control. 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
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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, more soon. Reality — today in the form of Biden’s speech — keeps getting in the way of my production cycle. –lambert
At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart. The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. Today I thought I would look at big states not in the Acela Corridor: California, Texas, Florida:
This version puts the same three states in the context of the Top 25 COVID-19 states; the curves are still inception-based. The conclusion is the same: It’s clear that this country cannot be said to have the pandemic under control.
“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
Since we’re getting closer to the election, maybe it’s time to start looking at the electoral map:
So, taking the consensus as a given, 270 (total) – 204 (Trump’s) = 66. 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. Trump, then, can lose only 36 votes out of the states in play. He could lose, say, AZ (11) and PA (20), but would have to win FL, MI, NC, PA, and WI. That’s a heavy lift. Readers will naturally correct my math!
Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden Addresses the Nation On the Civil Unrest Facing Communities Across America” [YouTube]. Here is the video:
“Joe Biden Philadelphia Speech Transcript on Protests for George Floyd” [Rev] (if a popup appears, you can click through). Here is the concrete policy proposal part, starting at 10:07:
I call on the Congress to act this month on measures that will be the first step in this direction, starting with real police reform. Congressman Jeffries has a Bill to outlaw choke Kohl’s. Congress should put it on the president’s desk in the next few days. There are other measures, to stop transferring weapons of war to police forces, improve oversight and accountability, to create a model use of force standard, that also should be made law this month.
I am no expert in police reform policy, but here is a thread on that topic for comparison purposes:
For those who are interested in research-based solutions to stop police violence, here’s what you need to know – based on the facts and data. A thread. (1/x)
— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) October 6, 2019
The thread ends with an image of the relatively mild Campaign Zero reforms proposed by among others Deray (on his journal from charter school administrator through Black Lives Matter to podcasting); if I had the bandwidth, I’d compare Biden’s speech to that baseline. What jumps out at me is that Biden — granted, he qualifies with “first step” — doesn’t mention the role that police union contracts can play in shielding police from accountability. Here is a thread on that topic:
In law school, we had to complete a "substantial writing" of 10k words to graduate. Mine was about police union contracts & the use of force. I wrote it in 2016 but never published it. Sharing some of what I learned (not updated for '20 & by no means am I right or authoritative) pic.twitter.com/541xQgjlkV
— Leo Gertner (@lgertnr) May 31, 2020
I don’t see an end to the drug war, either. Or amnesty for those imprisoned by it.
UPDATE Biden (D)(2): “Biden delivers the presidential speech we needed” [Jennifer Rubin, WaPo]. Peroration: “This was a call to our better angels. (‘A country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us, leadership that brings us together, leadership that can recognize pain and deep grief of communities that have had a [whose?] knee on their neck for a long time’). It was a call for empathetic and responsible leadership. (‘I promise you this. I won’t traffic in fear and division. I won’t fan the flames of hate. I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country — not use them for political gain.’)” • I hate that “the ____ we needed” snowclone with the hatred of a million burning suns.
UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Biden blasts Trump’s ‘narcissism’ in new phase of campaign” [Associated Press]. “Biden’s address marked a new phase of a presidential campaign that had been effectively frozen for two-plus months by the spread of the coronavirus. The former vice president is now emerging from his Delaware home to confront Trump every day — and using in-person appearances to offer direct competition with the president, rather than relying on virtual events that often failed to garner a lot of attention. It was the third consecutive day that Biden made a public appearance and the first time he’s been out of the state since March. His remarks were carried live on the three major cable news networks.” • We’ll see how that goes.
UPDATE Biden (D)(4): Biden last week at a Black church (!):
Biden: Shoot unarmed people in the leg instead of the heart 👍
Nothing will fundamentally change.pic.twitter.com/Tc77moP6fC
— cursed-dem 🍽✌️ (@kallllisti) June 1, 2020
Hard to reconcile with today’s speech in Philly.
UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders tries on a new role in 2020: Inside player” [CNN]. “Nearly two months after the primary effectively ended, Biden’s campaign and Sanders’ senior leadership have successfully crafted a ceasefire in the ideological warfare that has dominated the Democratic Party, and its emboldened left wing, for the past five years. Deep and abiding divisions on major issues make the peace a tenuous one, but the personal bond between Sanders and Biden, set against the party’s evolving power dynamics and a country veering from crisis to crisis under President Donald Trump, has set the stage for Democrats to enter the general election this fall with a unity of purpose they lacked in 2016. The détente is being quietly shepherded by Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir and top Biden aides Anita Dunn and Ron Klain. … [I]n an interview last week, Shakir praised [Dunn] for setting a ‘tone and tenor’ in private conversations that encouraged the relationship. ‘They’re operating with the best of intent. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get all the outcomes that you want,’ Shakir said. ‘Obviously we have to see where the outputs are in terms of these task forces (created by the campaigns), but we’re operating with full reality, understanding that we’re not going to get everything we want.'” • Harvey Weinstein’s flak opening with “the best of intent.” Possible, I suppose. More: “‘When Bernie was talking about suspending the campaign, he hadn’t made his decision, he asked me and Jeff at the time to go and start conversations with Biden’s crew to figure out how much progress we could make,’ Shakir said. ‘And I said (to Sanders), ‘OK, what are your chief objectives here?’ He said, ‘.'” • I haven’t seen either.
UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “We’ve Now Entered the Final Phase of the Trump Era” [The Atlantic]. “There is no way back from the Götterdämmerung in the remainder of the Trump era. The question facing responsible senior administration officials (there are several at the principal and deputy level), Republicans in Congress, and allied governments is not how to persuade Trump to do the right thing, but how to limit the damage so the government can be repaired after he is gone. This may mean not urging Trump to take action on crises even if it is merited; circumventing the president wherever possible; Republican governors declaring their independence from their party leader, trying to craft a bipartisan approach in Congress on foreign-policy issues such as competing with China in international institutions and protecting against Russian interference; and using distractions of their own to divert his attention from truly consequential decisions. Call it fortification—of constitutional democracy and America’s international interests. There are 231 long days with nothing but stormy weather left.”
* * *
Big tent party:
Amy McGrath, in tonight’s Senate debate, says she’s the best Democratic candidate because people want someone who can work with Trump if he wins
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) June 2, 2020
“Five things to watch in Tuesday’s primaries” [The Hill]. “Some 479 pledged delegates are up for grabs on Tuesday, and Biden currently has somewhere around 1,550. While he’s the only candidate remaining in the race, winning the delegates he needs to secure the nomination on Tuesday may prove more difficult than it seems. Biden will have to win 89 percent of all delegates up for grabs on Tuesday to get to the 1,991 he needs. But Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who suspended his presidential campaign in April, will still be on the ballots in remaining primaries, and his allies have urged supporters to vote for him in an effort to amass progressive delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Since Sanders exited the race, Biden has won at least 89 percent of delegates in only one state, Nebraska.” • Also, vote by mail. Worth reading in full.
Realignment and Legitimacy
Class traitor? This is the Rahul Dubey of Swann Street in the Northwest, DC:
"I hope that my 13-year-old son grows up to be just as amazing as they are."
Rahul Dubey opened his home to nearly 70 strangers overnight and sheltered them during D.C.'s curfew. He says our country needs people like THEM.
— ABC 7 News – WJLA (@ABC7News) June 2, 2020
Certainly a courageous and moral act. Kudos to Dubey. However, although I cannot reconstruct the sourcing from which I learned that Dubey worked in health care, here is the only LinkedIin resume I can find for a Rahul Dubey in the Washington area:
So that’s pretty unfortunate, considering the
murderousfabulously destructive role America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has played in heatlh care policy.
“In 2003, Donald Rumsfeld gave a perfect explanation for why people riot” [Vox]. From 2015, still germane. “When Iraqis looted hospitals and businesses in Baghdad after the US invasion in 2003, the conservative secretary of defense at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, suggested that looting was a result of legitimate, pent-up anger…. Rumsfeld said, according to Pentagon correspondent Pamela Hess at UPI:
While no one condones looting, on the other hand, one can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression and people who have had members of their family killed by that regime, for them to be taking their feelings out on that regime. And I don’t think there’s anyone in any of those pictures … [who wouldn’t] accept it as part of the price of getting from a repressed regime to freedom.
* * *
“Americans losing faith in elections as Trump discredits voting systems” [Los Angeles Times]. “[A] group of academics, called Bright Line Watch, which since 2017 has surveyed Americans on how much confidence they have in the election system. The surveys show a steep drop during Trump’s presidency. When the project began, about 60% of those surveyed said they believed U.S. elections were free of fraud. Now only 45% say they believe that. A third of Trump supporters surveyed say they would not regard it as undemocratic for a president to attack the legitimacy of election results.” • That’s not good. On the other hand, sometimes one thinks Americans have the memories of goldfish. Does anyone remember election 2000 and Bush v. Gore? Or the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), crafted in response to the hanging chad debacle, that subsidized the introduction of hackable voting machines? Our voting systems have been, to say the least, rickety for some time. See Election Justice USA’s report on the 2016 election, for example.
“Philadelphia Sends Out ‘Voteswagon’ To Collect Mail-in Ballots” [CBS Philly]. “The committee of Seventy and the city commissioners office have joined forces in Philadelphia over to the next few days to make sure anyone with a mail-in vote can get it counted ahead of the Pennsylvania primary. …. The bus will make 10 stops throughout Philadelphia between Sunday and Monday evening- this Saturday mornings outpost was Boys Latin charter. ‘Frequently with the postal service people get their ballots closer to Election Day so we wanted to set up an option to submit their ballots in person,” [city commissioner Al Schmidt] said.’ And in turn, assurance their votes and voices are heard. Over 200,000 people applied to vote by mail for the first time in a Pennsylvania election, according to Schmidt.”
“Here’s what happens in Lancaster County, step-by-step, when your mail-in ballot leaves your mailbox” [Lancaster Online]. “Step 1: Ballots are received…. Step 2: Signatures on the back of the envelope are checked…. Step 3: Ballots remain in the elections office, unopened… Step 4: On Election Day, teams of two elections workers will begin taking the boxes of ballots [to] an envelope slicing machine opens the ballot return envelope…. Step 5: The sliced return envelope is then brought back to the elections office and it is opened, revealing the secrecy envelope inside which contains the actual ballot. The return envelope is retained for record keeping purposes and the secrecy envelopes are then shuffled together so that elections workers cannot associate the name on the return envelope with the actual ballot…. Step 6: The ballots inside the secrecy envelope will be taken to another room on the first floor of the county government building to be run through a ballot scanner…. Step 7: Scanned ballots are then secured so they cannot be rescanned.” • Interesting, but what about central tabulation?
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.
Coincident Indicators: “02 June 2020 New York Fed Weekly Economic Index (WEI): Index Declines and Remains At Recession Levels” [Econintersect]. “This data set should be considered a high-frequency coincident indicator on a par with the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index produced by the Philly Fed – and both show conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic are already worse than the Great Recession. However, the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index is improving whilst the WLI is still declining. Logic would say with the partial reopening of the economy – the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti Business Conditions Index seems to be correct.”
Housing: “April 2020 CoreLogic Home Prices: Home Prices Holding Steady Despite Coronavirus” [Econintersect]. “This is a rear view of home prices. Econintersect believes home prices will deteriorate as the year progresses as the knock-on effect of the coronavirus will grow. The worst-case will be a decline to Great Recession levels but the most likely scenario is a 10% decline roughly equal to the expected unemployment rate. Too much money is being removed from the economy due to the COVID restrictions and elevated unemployment.”
Commodities: “A meat-supply crunch is beginning to ease but grocers and suppliers expect strains across U.S. food sectors to persist for several months. The U.S. food industry heads into the summer months with beef and pork production last week about 7% lower than the same time last year…. while items like rice, flour and pasta remain scarce following heavy consumer stockpiling” [Wall Street Journal]. “That panic-buying has tailed off but disconnects in supply chains are lingering as suppliers and distributors cope with rapid shifts in production and demand. Restaurants that had scaled down to pickup and delivery operations have resumed food purchasing as they begin to reopen, for instance, keeping supplies of meat products and other items tight. Meat processors have reopened plants but many sites are running well below their usual capacity, with some workers out sick and others adjusting to new safety rules.”
Retail: “Retailers reopening their doors as the U.S. eases coronavirus lockdowns face a new challenge coping with a glut of pent-up inventory. Merchants that have navigated the pandemic will be going head-to-head with bankrupt rivals anxious to liquidate stockpiles… potentially providing a bonanza for consumers and headaches for many store owners” [Wall Street Journal]. “Apparel and footwear companies are particularly exposed, with tens of billions of dollars of unsold merchandise in stores and warehouses. . Store owners are working with consumer demand still in question and with conventional forecasting tools challenged by the uncertainty. Selling inventory will also be harder and take longer because of staggered store openings and social-distancing restrictions, cutting into margins.”
Employment Situation: “An Unemployment Crisis after the Onset of COVID-19” [Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco]. “we assess possible paths for unemployment through 2021. Although the initial scale of the crisis is clear, substantial uncertainty surrounds the future path of unemployment. This uncertainty primarily revolves around the success of virus containment measures and how quickly economic activity can recover. Fundamental measurement challenges are also likely to affect the official unemployment rate: some laid-off workers cannot actively search for new jobs because of shelter-in-place restrictions and hence may be counted as out of the labor force, rather than unemployed…. Our analysis suggests that returning to pre-outbreak unemployment levels by sometime in 2021 would require a significantly more rapid pace of hiring than during any past economic recovery.” • I don’t believe the virus is contained; see the chart above. I’d love to be wrong!
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Greed (previous close: 58 Greed;) [CNN]. One week ago: 50 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 29 at 1:18pm. Last updated Jun 2 at 12:59pm. So Mr. Market came back from the Nineteenth Hole on Sunday, and decided to get bullish? Note the flip to Greed (yesterday, I mistakenly only updated the number.
“The Protests Will Spread the Coronavirus” [The Atlantic]. “The wave of mass protests across the United States will almost certainly set off new chains of infection for the novel coronavirus, experts say. The virus seems to spread the most when people yell (such as to chant a slogan), sneeze (to expel pepper spray), or cough (after inhaling tear gas). It is transmitted most efficiently in crowds and large gatherings, and research has found that just a few contagious people can infect hundreds of susceptible people around them. The virus can spread especially easily in small, cramped places, .” • Oy.
“‘Superspreaders’ Could Actually Make Covid-19 Easier to Control” [Bloomberg]. “The most important lessons to be derived here may spring from the fact that the variations in infectiousness are not entirely random. In the future, a team of eight mostly U.S.-based researchers speculated in yet another new paper on the phenomenon, it may be possible to identify those likeliest to be superspreaders by demographics, viral load or other physical characteristics. In the present, it’s already pretty easy to identify specific behaviors and locations that lend themselves to large-scale Covid-19 transmission, with singing, yelling, talking loudly or otherwise engaging in behaviors likely to spread the virus in the crowded indoor spaces implicated in most of the major superspreading events. The key role of such events may help explain why, as my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Elaine He demonstrated with a remarkable set of charts, the strictness of government lockdowns in different European countries did not seem to be correlated with success in slowing the spread of the disease, although their timing did. Once you’ve put a stop to large, indoor gatherings with lots of yelling or singing, there may be diminishing returns to other restrictions. This may also help explain why epidemic models that did not assume great variability in individual infectiousness so wildly overestimated how fast the disease would spread under relatively relaxed restrictions in Sweden.
“Just Stop the Superspreading” [New York Times]. “We recently published a preprint (a preliminary paper, still to be peer-reviewed) about 1,038 cases of SARS-CoV-2 in Hong Kong between Jan. 23 and April 28 that, using contact-tracing data, identified all local clusters of infection. We found that superspreading has overwhelmingly contributed to the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the city overall. Of the 349 local cases we identified — the remaining 689 cases were imported from other territories — 196 were linked to just six superspreading events. One person alone appears to have infected 73 individuals after frequenting several bars in late March. Weddings, temples, hot-pot dinners, work parties and karaoke venues featured in the other clusters. In our study, just 20 percent of cases, all of them involving social gatherings, accounted for an astonishing 80 percent of transmissions.”
“27% unlikely to be vaccinated against the coronavirus; Republicans, conservatives especially: POLL” [ABC]. • Oof:
“U.S. businesses are getting back to work with a set of new supply chains and they’re already facing concerns over distribution and pricing. Manufacturers are racing to crank out hand sanitizer, masks and clear plastic dividers… as the products emerge as integral elements for restarting the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic” [Wall Street Journal]. “That has sent prices for materials like the alcohol used in sanitizer soaring, and suppliers are measuring the wait times for plexiglass-style sheeting in months rather than weeks. The headaches are coming over products that until recently had only limited markets. Now demand for protective gear that was sold mostly to hospitals is coming from a range of sectors, straining producers. Lydall Inc. plans to double production of its filtering material for face masks, for instance, but for now some orders are going unfilled as demand far outweighs supply.”
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“Two-thirds of people put in neck restraints by Minneapolis police were black, department data shows” [CNN]. “n the years leading up to George Floyd’s death with his neck beneath the knee of a Minneapolis policeman, at least 58 people lost consciousness after the city’s officers put them in neck restraints, according to a CNN analysis of use of force data from the police department. Officers used neck restraints on 428 people since 2012, and 14% lost consciousness, the data showed. That means the procedure, which is restricted or banned in many large police departments around the country, was used an average of about once a week in the city over that time period. About two-thirds of the people placed in neck restraints by Minneapolis officers were black — in a city where black residents make up 19% of the population.”
“The President, the Military and Minneapolis: What You Need to Know” [Just Security]. “Under the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, Congress has limited the president’s ability to use the federal (title 10) military in domestic law enforcement operations such as searches, seizures, and arrests. A criminal statute, the Posse Comitatus Act makes it unlawful for the Army or Air Force to “execute the laws . . . except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress.” So, the president cannot simply call in federal military forces or nationalize the Minnesota National Guard to quell the civil disturbance in Minneapolis without pointing to a Posse Comitatus Act exception. The Insurrection Act is, by far, the Posse Comitatus Act’s most important exception. This is the legal key that unlocks the door to use federal military forces—whether through federalizing the National Guard or calling in “title 10 forces” to quell civil unrest. Dating from 1807, there are three key Insurrection Act provisions worth addressing…. But there are two Insurrection Act provisions that can be invoked by the president irrespective of a state’s request or underlying desires. Ironically, presidents have actually relied upon these provisions to uphold civil rights and protect the rights of minorities in the Deep South during the 1950s and 1960s. The Insurrection Act authorizes the President to deploy the military (federal or state) whenever he believes it necessary ‘to suppress an insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy.’ • Worth reading in full for the provisions.
UPDATE The guy with the Chicago PD scanner is on again. Sorry for the language, but interesting data point:
haha they've been loopy and / or complete assholes all day. tired lil piggies.
— McDonald’s Has Fallen (@loggedtheFUCKon) June 2, 2020
Interesting to wonder if the police can keep up the pace for, say, another week. Doubtful, IMNSHO; they aren’t trained or in shape for it. Hence the military?
UPDATE The Border Patrol?
CBP personnel have deployed to the National Capital Region to assist law enforcement partners. These “protests” have devolved into chaos & acts of domestic terrorism by groups of radicals & agitators. @CBP is answering the call and will work to keep DC safe. pic.twitter.com/QLueFkgaPO
— Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan (@CBPMarkMorgan) June 1, 2020
Totally not trained for any aspect of this, a disaster waiting to happen.
UPDATE “Military Helicopters Descend On Washington In Bizarre Very Low-Altitude Show Of Force (Updated)” [The Drive]. “. Army UH-72 Lakota helicopters, as well as UH-60 Black Hawks, one possibly belonging to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have been flying extremely low-level show-of-force maneuvers over areas of Washington, D.C. in obvious attempts to try to disperse groups protesting the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week. Some of the helicopters have held a hover right over groups of people, hitting them with their rotor wash and the deafening sound of their rotors and engines…. It also seems bizarrely dangerous. If something were to have happened to the helicopter, it could have quickly fallen into the crowd, offering them little chance to get out of the way.” • Makes you wonder what would happen with a drone strike into the blades.
Tonight, multiple C-130J and C-17A cargo aircraft from Fort Riley, Fort Drum, and Fort Bragg are arriving into Andrews AFB. (@AP reporting 82nd Airborne Division activated) 10th Mountain Division & 1st Infantry Division which were on standby, also appear to be activated. pic.twitter.com/eTJB7QT8GG
— Aircraft Spots (@AircraftSpots) June 2, 2020
This reminds me of Iranian Foreign Minister who used US letter from Pompeo with changed words😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/sNPtUTyWX9
— Mr. W🇺🇬🇰🇪🇷🇼 (@ronald_eric) June 1, 2020
TODAY IN #StarTrek HISTORY: June 2, 1987
Patrick Stewart films his first scenes as Jean-Luc Picard for "Star Trek: The Next Generation." pic.twitter.com/9sY4WsHTIb
— TrekCore.com 🖖 (@TrekCore) June 2, 2020
“Riots Across America” [Seeking Alpha (Re Silc)]. “The death of George Floyd was both unjust and tragic. However, his death was the catalyst that lit a powder keg of dissension, which has simmered beneath the headlines for over a decade…. Look at the faces of those rioting. They are of every race, religion, and creed. What they all have in common is they are of the demographic most impacted by the current economic recession. Job losses, income destruction, financial pressures, and debt create tension in the system until it explodes…. The lack of economic improvement is clearly evident across all demographic classes. However, it has been the very policies of the Federal Reserve which created a wealth transfer mechanism from the poor to the rich. The ongoing interventions by the Federal Reserve propelled asset prices higher, but left the majority of American families behind…. If the Fed removes any monetary accommodation, the market declines. The Fed is forced to subsequently increase support for the financial markets, which exacerbates the wealth gap. It’s a virtual spiral from which the Fed can not extricate itself. It’s a great system if you are rich and have money invested. Not so much if you are any one else. As we are witnessing, the United States is not immune to social disruptions. The source of these problems is compounding due to the public’s failure to appreciate ‘why’ it is happening. Eventually, as has repeatedly occurred throughout history, the riots will turn their focus toward those in power.” • Worth reading also for information on savings (none) and retirement accounts (being tapped).
“Household income surged in April despite the collapsing labor market” [Matthew Yglesias, Vox]. “Personal income in the United States soared by 10.5 percent in April, according to new data released Friday morning by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, even as consumer spending fell by 13.6 percent. That adds up to a tremendous and unprecedented surge in the household savings rate as Americans, on average, had more cash on hand but fewer things they wanted to spend it on. All this played out against the backdrop of the most rapid set of job losses in American history, underscoring the critical role that the CARES Act has played in keeping people afloat.” • Then again–
“One-Third of America’s Record Unemployment Payout Hasn’t Arrived” [Bloomberg]. “Almost one-third of unemployment benefits estimated to be owed to the millions of Americans who lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus slump haven’t been paid yet, as flagship policies struggle to cope with the unprecedented wave of layoffs. The Treasury disbursed $146 billion in unemployment benefits in the three months through May, according to data published Monday — more than in the whole of 2009, when jobless rates peaked after the financial crisis. But even that historic figure falls short of a total bill that should have reached about $214 billion for the period, according to Bloomberg calculations based on weekly unemployment filings and the average size of those claims. The estimated gap of some $67 billion shows how emergency efforts to boost payments, and deliver them via creaking state-level systems, are lagging the needs of a jobs crisis that’s seen more than 40 million people file for unemployment as the economy shut down.” • So, from the perspective of any given individual, the delivery of relief is or wasrandom. Well done, all.
News of the Wired
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 2, 2020
I saw “The Gates” in Central Park. I felt gates themselves, as pictured, were rather ugly, as was the reddish-orange fabric hanging from them. But then I realized that the fabric was catching tiny, invisible, almost impalpable breezes moving through the parth, and moving and rippling in response. Christo had somehow taught the city to blush.
DL writes: “We had a great display of these in our yard last week. They bloom all summer but usually not all at once in our yard in Gainesville, FL.” (“More properly called the Dietes Iridioies or the Dietes Vegeta White, you may know it as the Cape Iris, Fortnight Lily or just plain Wild Iris.”) I keep saying “This flower is my favorite flower,” but iris is really my favorite flower.
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