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2:00PM Water Cooler 10/13/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente. Bird Song of the Day With the sound of feet tramping through the jungle. * * * #COVID19 Patient readers, I have started to revise this section, partly to reduce my workload, but partly to focus more as an early warning, if that is possible. Re workload: I eliminated charts for positivity, because I think private tests make those numbers useless. I cut back to a single hospitalization chart, because I think state-by-state data is more useful than a national aggregate. I retained vaccination (new administrations per day, plus percentage total), case count, and death rate (plus total). To spot new variants if and when they emerge, I changed the world chart to include countries that have form creating new variants: the UK, Brazil, and India, with Portugal as a

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Lambert Strether writes Links 12/7/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

With the sound of feet tramping through the jungle.

* * *


Patient readers, I have started to revise this section, partly to reduce my workload, but partly to focus more as an early warning, if that is possible. Re workload: I eliminated charts for positivity, because I think private tests make those numbers useless. I cut back to a single hospitalization chart, because I think state-by-state data is more useful than a national aggregate. I retained vaccination (new administrations per day, plus percentage total), case count, and death rate (plus total). To spot new variants if and when they emerge, I changed the world chart to include countries that have form creating new variants: the UK, Brazil, and India, with Portugal as a baseline. I also retained rapid riser counties (though for now, with things so relatively quiet, I am including only this week’s data). Winter is coming! Do feel free to make additional suggestions. (If there were a global map that showed the emergence of new variants dynamically, for example, that would be helpful.)

Today I went looking for a map of United States wastewater data; but no joy, except for Missouri. I also went looking for maps of childhood cases and/or school cases; again no joy. I will keep looking, but I’m guessing our data collection efforts remain as half-assed and pissant as they have been throughout this pandemic, richest nation on earth etc. Thank you, CDC. Hat tip, public health establishment.

Vaccination by region:

2:00PM Water Cooler 10/13/2021

A rebound, after a weekend reporting drop. Coercion works? Or boosters? (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well on vax.)

56.5% of the US is fully vaccinated (CDC data. Mediocre by world standards, being just below Czech Republic, and just above Turkey, as of this Monday). We are back to the stately 0.1% rise per day. I would bet that the stately rise = word of mouth from actual cases. However, as readers point out, every day those vaccinated become less protected, especially the earliest. So we are trying to outrun the virus…

Case count by United States regions:

2:00PM Water Cooler 10/13/2021

I have added an anti-triumphalist black line to show how “new normal” case numbers still are. Even if hospitalizations and the death rate are going down, that says nothing about Long Covid, the effect on children, etc. So the numbers, in my mind, are still “terrifying”, even if that most-favored word is not in the headlines any more, and one may be, at this point, inured.

Simply tape-watching, this descent is as steep as any of the three peaks in November–January. It’s also longer than the descent from any previous peak. We could get lucky, as we did with the steep drop after the second week in January, which nobody knows the reasons for, then or now. Today’s populations are different, though. This population is more vaccinated, and I would bet — I’ve never seen a study — that many small habits developed over the last year (not just masking). Speculating freely: There is the possibility that natural immunity is much, much greater than we have thought, although because this is America, our data is so bad we don’t know. Also, if the dosage from aerosols drops off by something like the inverse square law, not linearly, even an extra foot of social distance could be significant if adopted habitually by a large number of people. And if you believe in fomites, there’s a lot more hand-washing being done. On the other hand, Delta is much more transmissible. And although readers will recall that I have cautioned against cross-country comparisons, I’m still not understanding why we’re not seeing the same aggregates in schools that we’ve see in Canada and especially the UK, although we have plenty of anecdotes. Nothing I’ve read suggests that the schools, nation-wide, have handled Covid restrictions with any consistency at all. So what’s up with that?

From CDC: “Community Profile Report October 12, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties:

2:00PM Water Cooler 10/13/2021

Speculating freely: One thing the consider is where the red is. If air travel hubs like New York City or Los Angeles (or Houston or Miami) go red that could mean (a) international travel and (b) the rest of the country goes red, as in April 2020 and following. But — for example — Minnesota is not a hub. If Minnesota goes red, who else does? Well, Wisconsin. As we see. Remember, however, that this chart is about acceleration, not absolute numbers. This map, too, blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a (Deliverance-style) banjo to be heard. (Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better.)

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

2:00PM Water Cooler 10/13/2021

Death rate (Our World in Data):

2:00PM Water Cooler 10/13/2021

Total: 737,795 734,611. A blip upward, despite a definite downward trend in death rate, mercifully. We approached the same death rate as our first peak last year. Which I found more than a little disturbing. (Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. But according to The Narrative, deaths shouldn’t have been going up at all. Directionally, this is quite concerning. Needless to see, this is a public health debacle. It’s the public health establishment to take care of public health, not the health of certain favored political factions. Also adding: I like a death rate because it gives me a rough indication of my risk should I, heaven forfend, end up in a hospital. I should dig out the absolute numbers, too, now roughly 660,000, which is rather a lot.)

Covid cases in historic variant sources:

2:00PM Water Cooler 10/13/2021

Sorry for the kerfuffle at the left. No matter how I tinker, it doesn’t go away.

* * *


“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

Capitol Seizure

“Capitol Police whistleblower delivers scathing rebuke to 2 of its senior leaders Jan. 6” [Politico]. • Is “rebuke” a word that’s ever used outside the Beltway? If so, where?

UPDATE Several threads on the Capitol rioters in court. The rank and file read like real sad sacks:

Biden Administration

UPDATE “Pelosi enters pivotal stretch on Biden agenda” [The Hill]. “Pelosi this week acknowledged the challenges they face as they trim the cost of the $3.5 trillion social benefits package — a figure initially championed by Biden — in ways that can satisfy centrist deficit hawks without alienating wide-eyed progressives.” • Again, why not give the list to President Manchin and ask him what to cut? Why do Democrats have to do this?

UPDATE “It’s time for bold action to save Republicans’ lives, whether they like it or not” [The Week]. “As I have previously argued, Republicans like DeSantis (who is vaccinated, by the way) are functionally conducting human wave attacks against Joe Biden’s approval rating, sacrificing their own loyal base for cheap political wins. The extent to which this is a conscious calculation may vary, but the practical effect is that the pandemic continues; Biden is blamed for it; and that (probably) does more damage to Democrats’ vote totals than the GOP loses in dead voters…. This ruthlessness must be met with bold, uncompromising action to save life rather than end it. A minority of Republicans insist they absolutely will not choose to get the vaccine? Fine. Force them to do it…. Probably the single most effective move would be to require vaccination to fly. As former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood argues, this is certainly legal given how many other safety requirements are already in place in airports. Biden might be able to pressure the airlines into doing it themselves.” • Why not be hung for a sheep instead of a lamb, indeed! (I don’t accept the theory of the case; I believe that coercion is where the Democrats were going to end up in any case, since they refused to take the measures that would have avoided it. But if you’re going to coerce, don’t be half-assed and pissant about it!)

UPDATE “Biden’s Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate Moves Closer to Approval” [Wall Street Journal]. “Many executives say they have been waiting to see the mandate’s details before making changes to corporate policies. Others have pushed back return-to-office dates to give their companies time to assess the rules. Some smaller businesses have raised concerns over the potential complexity and compliance burden employers would face implementing the standard. A small-business advocacy group said it plans to sue. One state has already done so…. David Michaels, who served as head of OSHA from 2009-2017, also said enforcement of the new standard wouldn’t likely rely primarily on in-person inspections, but instead on company record-keeping and worker reports of potential violations. Workers ‘will be OSHA’s eyes and ears,’ said Mr. Michaels, now a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health.” • Oh. Will there be bounties? This looks like the text of the rule (which gawd forbid the press, even the WSJ, should link to).

“President Biden to meet with port heads ahead of expected Christmas supply crunch” [ABC]. “With global supply chain bottlenecks threatening the Christmas shopping season, President Joe Biden will highlight his administration’s work with ports on Wednesday and try to stave off the potentially politically explosive headaches Americans may face as delays threaten holiday gift-giving. The president plans to meet with the leaders of the two busiest ports in the United States — Los Angeles and Long Beach, both in California — and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, “to discuss the challenges that ports across the country and actions each partner can take to address these delays,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. The port of Los Angeles, a senior Biden administration official said, will announce on Wednesday that it will move to 24/7 operations in order to help alleviate bottlenecks. According to the White House, Walmart will increase its use of nighttime hours; UPS will increasingly use 24/7 operations and enhance data sharing with ports; FedEx will increase its nighttime hours and make changes to trucking and rail use; Samsung will operate 24/7 over the next 90 days to move almost 60% more containers out of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports; The Home Depot will move up to 10% more containers out of these ports in their off-hours each week; and Target will move 10% more containers during these off-peak hours. Several of these companies and other stakeholders will participate in a virtual roundtable hosted by the White House Wednesday, according to the White House.” • Well, they didn’t put Harris in charge. So maybe there’s hope.

UPDATE “Biden’s inaction is poised to hand GOP the majority on this key agency” [Politico]. “Anxiety is rising among Democrats as President Joe Biden marks nearly nine months in office without naming anyone to serve on the Federal Communications Commission — a lapse that could soon put Republicans in the majority at the agency. It also puts Biden’s broadband goals at risk, his party says. Congressional Democrats have been sounding the alarm for months, fearing a squandered year on the president’s progressive priorities, such as reinstating net neutrality rules and demanding greater transparency on internet billing. By comparison, former President Donald Trump named Ajit Pai as his FCC chair just three days after being sworn in, and the commission’s Republicans were rolling back net neutrality by December 2017. Biden’s delay is historic: No previous president has waited this long to name a chair of the five-member body. The closest parallels are Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, who waited until mid-September to name their agency chiefs. But Biden has blown past that deadline, alarming Capitol Hill Democrats who have few legislative days remaining this year for confirming any nominees the president might offer. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment about the delay.” • Molasses for brains…

Democrats en Deshabille

“Here’s when the IRS can check out my bank account” [Yahoo Finance]. The headline is a little alarmist, but: “The original plan was for the IRS to monitor accounts with balances of more than $600, which is meant to filter out inactive accounts or those held by kids. That threshold is way too low. Democrats drafting legislation are considering raising the cutoff to $10,000, but $100,000 or even $1 million might be a better limit. Any proposal to monitor bank accounts, in this climate, would need ironclad assurances that ordinary people won’t end up as collateral damage, even if they do cheat in small ways by paying household workers in cash.” • If, in 2022, the Democrats are remembers for monitoring bank accounts with over $600 in them, they will lose catastrophically. The reporter, who is clearly in “I’m only trying to help you” mode, concludes: “A $1 million minimum income threshold feels about right, for starters. In fact, how about a demonstration targeting only the richest families in America? The IRS knows who they are, and Congress could give the IRS a down payment on that $80 billion to troll around in the bank accounts of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and Peter Thiel and find their hidden money. After a couple of years, the IRS could report back, in the aggregate, and let everybody know how much extra tax revenue they were able to snag by matching billionaire bank records with other data. Then Congress could give them a little more money to go down the chain from billionaires to multimillionaires, and so on.” • That makes too much sense. I’m long stupid on this one. I bet the Democrats will go with $10,000, thereby bringing the joys of FATCA to every American.

“CNN Poll: Most Democrats favor a bigger bill on social safety net and climate” [CNN]. “the Democratic electorate does not agree over which side of the debate is doing more to help the party: 49% say that progressives trying to enact ambitious liberal policies are doing more for the Democrats, while 51% give more credit to moderates trying to contain government spending. Views within the party are divided along ideological lines, but far from universally so: Self-described liberals side, 64% to 36%, with the goal of ambitious liberal policies, while moderates and conservatives line up 61% to 39% behind those focused on containing government spending. There’s also a generational divide, with those younger than age 45 favoring the progressives and those 45 and older siding with the moderates. The poll also finds that there isn’t even universal alignment between what Democrats and Democratic-leaners say they want for the bill and what they feel is most helpful for the party. Among those who favor a broader bill enacting all of the proposed social safety net and climate change policies, 60% say progressives are doing more to help the party and 40% say moderates are. Those Democrats who favor a slimmed-down bill break 74% saying the moderates are doing more to help and 26% saying the progressives are.”

“Top Democrats Own Stock in AT&T, Funder of Far-Right OAN Network” [Brick House]. “The far-right network One America News reaches millions of Americans with its content that includes election conspiracies and pandemic disinformation through the satellite broadcaster DirecTV, owned by the conglomerate AT&T. Recently, an OAN host floated the idea of executions for traitors who they say overthrew Trump’s re-election win. Last week, a bombshell Reuters investigation uncovered that AT&T-owned platforms provide 90% of the revenue for OAN’s parent company Herring Networks, and that without the telco giant’s financial backing, the company’s value would be nil. AT&T reportedly helped design the channel to grow its right-wing audience share from Fox News….. At least two dozen members of Congress or their spouses hold stock in AT&T, including Speaker Pelosi’s spouse, investor Paul Pelosi, and other members of House Democratic leadership, according to a review of House and Senate financial disclosure reports covering 2020. In the Senate, three of the four AT&T stockholders are members of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications Media and Broadband, which has jurisdiction over all sectors of communications, and three are Democrats. Speaker Pelosi’s spouse’s investment in AT&T is worth between $250,000 and $500,000 as of the most recent disclosure, with income last year to their household between $15,000 and $50,000.” • Buys a lot of ice cream!

UPDATE “Jayapal fundraising off Pelosi comments about smaller spending package” [The Hill]. “Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-Wash.) reelection campaign sent out a fundraising email criticizing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) comments about negotiating a lower price tag on the Democrats’ social spending package. ‘Why is Speaker Pelosi suggesting we should allow a couple of conservative Democrats to leave behind popular cornerstone policies of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act? We need to deliver,’ Jayapal’s fundraising email said. Pelosi voiced disappointment at her Tuesday press conference over the need to make cuts to the current proposal in order to get moderate Democrats on board. ‘I’m very disappointed that we’re not going with the original $3.5 trillion, which was very transformative,’ Pelosi said on Tuesday, forecasting ‘some difficult decisions because we have fewer resources.’ ‘But whatever we do, we’ll make decisions that will continue to be transformative,’ Pelosi added.” • Crocodile tears from Pelosi. Stick with the $3.5 trillion, shorten the time-frame. If the Republicans win 2022 even after voters receive concrete material benefits, let them not renew already well-recieved programs. And at the very least, let President Manchin make the cuts. There’s no reason for Pelosi or any of her minions to waste a second on doing them. Pelosi has, if anything, gotten worse over time. At least in 2006 she stared down Bush on privatizing Social Security! Now she’d cut it. This is so not hard:

UPDATE “Progressives Resist Nancy Pelosi’s Plan For ‘Fewer Things’ In Budget Bill” [The Hill]. “At a press conference on Tuesday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) reiterated that message. ‘If we need to cut some of them back to fewer number of years, we’d be willing to do that,’ she told reporters. ‘Why is that? Because we are not going to pit child care against climate change. We’re not going to pit housing against paid leave. We’re not going to pit seniors against young people.’… ‘Reducing the number of years that the benefits are funded and making sure it’s funded as quickly as possible and that the benefits are as universal as possible, we think is critically important,’ Jayapal told HuffPost last week.”


“He re-elected George W. Bush. Now he wants Democrats to elect him” [Anand Giridharadas, The Ink]. Interview with Matthew Dowd, Bush’s speechwriter now running for Governor as a Democrat when he ought to be on trial in the Hague, like Bush himself: “The most fortunate refugees on earth are those defecting from the Republican Party. You see them on the news; you enjoyed their Lincoln Project ads; maybe you bought the book one wrote to cash in on telling the truth now that it was of scant use to us. Politics is, as the saying goes, a game of addition. So, on one level, you want anyone you can get to abandon Team Tyranny and sign up for Team Democracy. But then it gets more complicated. Should these recent converts not only vote with you but also lead? Should they be the ones representing the pro-democratic position on television? Should they now be the ones running as Democrats against their former colleagues? As I put it directly to one of these defectors, Matthew Dowd, in the conversation below, “There is a fine line between giving people space for redemption, having a welcoming movement, on one hand, and, on the other hand, putting those people in leadership roles ahead of other people who saw a certain truth all along.” • Paid, so that’s basically it, but the point is well made.

Clinton Legacy

Please go into seclusion and write a book about it that will be respectfully reviewed and in six weeks hit the remainder bins:

Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States Inflation Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The annual inflation rate in the US edged up to a 13-year high of 5.4% in September of 2021 from 5.3% in August and above market expectations of 5.3%. Main upward pressure came from cost of shelter (3.2% vs 2.8% in August); food (4.6% vs 3.7%, the highest since December of 2011), namely food at home (4.5% vs 3%); new vehicles (8.7% vs 7.6%); and energy (24.8% vs 25%). On the other hand, prices eased for used cars and trucks (24.4% percent vs 31.9%); transportation services (4.4% vs 4.6%); apparel (3.4% vs 4.2%); and medical care services (0.9% vs 1%). On a monthly basis, consumer prices advanced 0.4%, above forecasts of 0.3%, with the indexes for food and shelter contributing more than half of the monthly increase.” • I just love it that the “core index” eliminates food and energy. I mean, who needs them?

* * *

Retail: “Walgreens closing 5 San Francisco stores due to ‘organized retail crime'” [SFGATE]. At the end of the story: “Walgreens has closed at least 10 stores in the city since the beginning of 2019.” • So, hmmm.

Commodities: “It’s almost impossible to find hunting ammunition right now” [Bangor Daily News]. “Nationwide shortages of shotgun shells and rifle cartridges have left shelves bare in gun shops and sporting goods stores, forcing hunters to carefully use their on-hand supply as they search for reinforcements in stores and online during what is typically one of the busiest times of the season….. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year led to shutdowns at munitions factories, resulting in a drastic reduction in the amount of gun ammunition available across the United States. Then in July 2020, Remington Outdoor Company, which owned a sizable share of the ammunition market, went out of business…. While manufacturing is reportedly increasing, the current production isn’t relieving the shortage retailers are experiencing. Byron Dill, owner of Dill’s Outdoors in Bangor, has a hard time accepting the unavailability of ammo. ‘The companies say that they’re manufacturing more ammo and running at full capacity. That’s great, fine and dandy, but shops should have ammo to sell,’ Dill said. ‘I don’t understand where the ammo is going.'” • Presumably ammo is manufactured domestically, like guns?

Commodities: “USDA bets big on World Animal Health Organization to help protect U.S. pork trade amid African Swine Fever fears” [AgWeek]. “ASF has been detected in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and if it reaches the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands — just short boat rides away — major pork importing countries would be within their rights to ban all U.S. pork. That is, unless the U.S. successfully uses a new provision in the World Organization for Animal Health’s chapters called the ‘protection zone.’ … he spokesperson said ‘USDA is transferring $500 million from the Commodity Credit Corporation to APHIS [FDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] to support activities related to African swine fever findings in pigs in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The funding allows APHIS to work with our international partners to conduct monitoring, surveillance, prevention, removal, and other activities to prevent the spread of ASF and protect the health of the nation’s swine herd and U.S. trade,’ the spokesperson said. ‘Additionally, the funding will support enhanced exclusion, surveillance, testing, laboratory, and response preparations on the mainland, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.’ Keeping ASF out of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is key, and that’s why APHIS says it is doing everything it can to help eradicate the disease from the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but the protection zone and the layer of insulation it places between the U.S. territories and the U.S. mainland is even more important, according to U.S. industry officials. That’s why the U.S. banned all pork and live pigs from the territories even though the disease isn’t there. If the disease does spread there, APHIS is counting on the protection zone to make sure that U.S. pork exports are not impacted. But there is no guarantee. The OIE [The World Organisation for Animal Health, formerly the the Office International des Epizooties] is recognized by the World Trade Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations but does not have any regulatory authority over its 182 member nations, which can choose to disregard its standards and procedures.”

Shipping: “Port truckers win $30 million in wage theft settlements” [Los Angeles Times]. “One of the world’s largest trucking companies, XPO Logistics, agreed Tuesday to pay $30 million to settle class-action lawsuits filed by hundreds of drivers who said they earned less than minimum wage delivering goods for major retailers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach…. The settlements amounted to a major victory for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which applauded the lawsuits as part of a decades-long effort to organize the twin ports’ more than 25,000 drivers…. But as the pandemic has driven supply chain snarls, port drivers have voiced growing frustration at a loss of income as they wait in hours-long lines at the ports — time for which they would be compensated if they were employees. The settlements do not require XPO to reclassify its drivers as employees, but labor leaders nonetheless hailed the agreements, which will compensate 784 drivers, as a turning point in the fight over port drayage. The settlements are preliminary, but individual drivers could receive as much as $100,000, depending on how long they worked for the company.” • Curious timing.

The Bezzle: “Amazon copied products and rigged search results to promote its own brands, documents show” [Reuters]. “Thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents examined by Reuters – including emails, strategy papers and business plans – show the company ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results to boost its own product lines in India, one of the company’s largest growth markets. The documents reveal how Amazon’s private-brands team in India secretly exploited internal data from to copy products sold by other companies, and then offered them on its platform. The employees also stoked sales of Amazon private-brand products by rigging Amazon’s search results so that the company’s products would appear, as one 2016 strategy report for India put it, ‘in the first 2 or three … search results’ when customers were shopping on… The internal documents also show that Amazon employees studied proprietary data about other brands on, including detailed information about customer returns. The aim: to identify and target goods – described as ‘reference’ or ‘benchmark’ products – and ‘replicate’ them. As part of that effort, the 2016 internal report laid out Amazon’s strategy for a brand the company originally created for the Indian market called ‘Solimo.’ The Solimo strategy, it said, was simple: ‘use information from to develop products and then leverage the platform to market these products to our customers.’…

The 2016 document further shows that Amazon employees working on the company’s own products, known as private brands or private labels, planned to partner with the manufacturers of the products targeted for copying. That’s because they learned that these manufacturers employ ‘unique processes which impact the end quality of the product.'” • Wow. Who could have seen that coming. Fortunately, this is India. I’m sure they’re not doing anything like that in the United States. And this is all from 2016. So I’m sure they’ve stopped by now. (And what’s gotten into Reuters? They’ve been doing some real reporting lately.)

The Bezzle: “U.S. asks Tesla why it failed to file recall notices of its Autopilot driving system” [Los Angeles Times]. “In a letter post on the agency’s website Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the company that it must recall vehicles if an over-the-internet update addresses a safety defect. ‘Any manufacturer issuing an over-the-air update that mitigates a defect that poses an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety is required to timely file an accompanying recall notice to NHTSA,’ the agency said in a letter Tuesday to Eddie Gates, Tesla’s director of field quality. The agency also ordered the company to provide information about its “Full Self-Driving” software that’s being tested on public roads with some owners. The latest clash is another sign of escalating tensions between Tesla and the government agency that regulates partially automated driving systems. In August the agency opened an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot after receiving multiple reports of vehicles crashing into emergency vehicles with warning lights flashing that were stopped on highways.” • Because they’re crooks, and Elon wants the money?

Tech: Yesterday’s odd little AWS situation was resolved:

The “And so it begins” messaging was premature. But I assume that’s only a matter of time.

Tech: One imagines InDesign giving the same sort of message based on unacceptable text:

(I assume this is the Cloud version of Photoshop; all the more reason never to use The Cloud for anything important.)

Tech: “How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account” [Wired]. • Too complex to summarize, but well worth a read. You can delete your account, or you can delete your account and all its data. Supposedly.

Manufacturing: “Boeing Proposes Fix to Prevent Deadly Engine-Cover Failures” [Bloomberg]. “U.S. aviation regulators are reviewing a request by Boeing Co. to redesign engine covers on the 777 and 737 jet models that have led to multiple dramatic failures, including a passenger death in 2018….. Federal regulations require that engines are encased in a shield to prevent damage to a plane when a fan blade fails, but in multiple incidents on certain 737s and 777s blade fragments bounced forward and damaged less protected areas. The proposal is the first step in getting government approval for strengthening the engine covers. Because current regulations on the so-called cowling at the front of the engines don’t require the fixes, the company is requesting an exemption to the rules to proceed with its redesign.” •

Supply Chain: “‘Desperate for tires.’ Components shortage roils U.S. harvest” [Reuters]. “Manufacturing meltdowns are hitting the U.S. heartland, as the semiconductor shortages that have plagued equipment makers for months expand into other components. Supply chain woes now pose a threat to the U.S. food supply and farmers’ ability to get crops out of fields. Farmers say they are scrambling to find workarounds when their machinery breaks, tracking down local welders and mechanics. Growers looking to buy tractors and combines online are asking for close-up photos of the machine’s tires, because replacements are expensive and difficult to find, said Greg Peterson, founder of the Machinery Pete website which hosts farm equipment auctions. ‘As harvest ends, we will see farmers at equipment auctions not for the machinery – but for parts,” Peterson said. “We’re already hearing from guys talking about buying a second planter or sprayer, just for parts.’… The supply squeeze has put particular pressure on equipment dealerships, who typically see their service business boom during the traditional September through November harvest season. This year, some have resorted to sifting through decade-old inventory for solutions. One pain point for dealerships is an industry-wide shortage of GPS receivers, which are used to run tractor guidance and data systems.” • Well worth a read, considering there’s also a shortage of fertilizer for next year.

Concentration: One for Stoller:

Employment SItuation: “A record 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, led by food and retail industries” [CNBC]. “Workers left their jobs at a record pace in August, with bar and restaurant employees as well as retail staff quitting in droves, the Labor Department reported Tuesday… Quits have been seen historically as a level of confidence from workers who feel they are secure in finding employment elsewhere, though labor dynamics have changed during Covid-19 crisis. Workers have left their jobs because of health concerns and child care issues unique to the pandemic’s circumstances.” • I would bet a large number of them are also tired of enforcing masking requirements on [glass bowls] who won’t wear them.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 31 Fear (previous close: 32 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 27 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 13 at 1:00pm.

The 420

“Many breast cancer patients are using marijuana and not telling their doctors” [NBC]. “Many breast cancer patients use cannabis to ease the symptoms of the disease and its treatments, but few tell their doctors, a new survey finds. In an online anonymous survey of more than 600 adults with a breast cancer diagnosis, 42 percent reported using some form of cannabis for relief of symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, anxiety and stress, according to the report published Tuesday in Cancer.”

The Gallery


These slides will still be readable when the power fails, unlike their digital representations stored in The Cloud, or some such.

Feral Hog Watch

Jackpot metaphor? Wait for the last three seconds:

The Agony Column

“How to Know You’re Lonely” [The Atlantic]. Not exactly on point, but interesting: “There’s a very famous study at the University of Rochester where students were asked about what their goals in life were, and then it followed up a year later to see whether or not they hit their goals after graduation and to see how happy they were. And those who had extrinsic goals, which is money, power and fame—they wanted to get ahead; they wanted to do really well; they wanted to make more money—they got those things. They were doing better than average. But they were a lot less happy than those who had intrinsic goals. And those intrinsic goals were all about love and relationships.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Wow Great Insight” [Eschaton]. • Atrios is so terse I have to quote it all:

I get so enraged by journalists praising an utterly banal insight, something that should have been obvious to them all along and was screamed at them by shitposters they ignored for years. This got lots of praise yesterday!

As I read Grisham’s book, I kept thinking that it felt, in some ways, like the story of the Trump presidency was less about one demagogue than it was about the everyday choices of the smaller people working at the levels below policy-making, and how run-of-the-mill self-centeredness and expediency, when practiced by dozens or hundreds of people in an organization, amounts to the system that allows evil. The Trump administration was not possible because of Trump and his brain trust, as it were. It was possible because of the people like Grisham who let them, in minor and individual ways, function.

[clearing throat]


Now do the Obama administration. And the Bush administration. And the Clinton adminstration….

Class Warfare

“”We’re gathering picket supplies” | John Deere employees brace for a strike, ahead of a looming deadline” [WQAD]. “Negotiators for UAW are back at the table with Deere executives, after an agreed upon contract was voted down by nearly 90% of union employees. A strike deadline is set for 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13. If a new agreement isn’t found by then, union leaders can either extend the deadline again, or authorize a strike. Union members had previously voted for strike authorization by overwhelming margins earlier this fall. This all comes just six years after the previous contract between Deere and UAW passed the approval cutoff by less than 200 votes, out of 10,000 eligible voters. Not much is known about the current state of negotiations. Representatives from both Deere and UAW have not commented on where they are ahead of Wednesday’s deadline. But, union workers tell News 8 they are ready to join the picket line, if it comes to that, on Thursday morning. One member from the Quad Cities said his chapter had already begun gathering strike supplies and sending out plans on Tuesday afternoon, anticipating that no agreement would be reached. ”

“Workers: Deere canceling Iowa employees’ shifts as strike looms; deadline is midnight Wednesday” [Des Moines Register]. “[M]anagers ordered third-shift employees in Waterloo not to report to work at their usual 11 p.m. start time. Employees at the company’s Ankeny and Ottumwa plants said Deere also canceled their second shifts, which start at 3:30 p.m., unless the UAW and the company reach a contract agreement sooner. Employees are working under a contract that expires Friday, but the UAW told Deere that its 10,100 members will go on strike Thursday morning if the two sides cannot reach a tentative agreement. Workers have not gone on strike against Deere since 1986.”

“Over 10,000 Deere workers brace for strike, supplemental employees could be left behind” [The Courier]. “If a strike does take place, each plant covered by the contract is organizing its own strike outside of its respective buildings, most of which will begin striking at 7 a.m. Thursday. Once a strike is started at a plant, it will continue for 24 hours a day, seven days a week until an agreement is reached. Strike pay will be available for Deere employees. According to the UAW, weekly strike pay is $275 per week, or $55 per day, beginning on the eighth day. A bonus check is paid the week prior to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Meanwhile, scores of other workers might be left out of the new contract regardless of the strike. Supplemental employees at Deere plants are full-time workers that receive fewer benefits than full UAW members while still paying union dues, according to David Schmelzer, a Deere inspector at the Milan plant who began his career as a supplemental worker. Schmelzer said language in the union’s master agreement allows supplemental workers to be paid about $5 less than full corps members. In addition to less pay, supplemental employees have three days of paid leave and sometimes work holidays and Sundays. In the most recent tentative agreement, supplemental workers did not qualify for paid family leave that full corps members received, according to Schmelzer. ‘The fact that this company thinks that it’s OK to do that is just disgusting,’ Schmelzer said. ‘They’re people just like everybody else.'” • The fact that the UAW signed a two-tier contract is disgusting, too.

News of the Wired

“The 2021 State of Digital Nomads” [Nomadlist]. On methodology: “This page is build LIVE with data pulled straight from the database every hour. Conclusions you can derive from this are always limited and merely indicative but possibly interesting. Nomad List is a paid membership community, which means there’s a selection bias as people who do not or cannot pay are not in the dataset. On the other hand, free digital nomad communities, like on Facebook, require no commitment to join, therefore it’s not clear if these people are merely aspirational or active nomads or not. On Nomad List we can confirm they are active based on their travel logs.” • Nice work if you can get it.

But perhaps internal expatriation is not for everyone:

A fragile flower indeed!

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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 (JM):

2:00PM Water Cooler 10/13/2021

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If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!2:00PM Water Cooler 6/8/2021

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