By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I hope you enjoyed your Federal Holiday. Also, I got wrapped around the axle reconfiguring the Covid section; more to come. –lambert UPDATE All done!
Bird Song of the Day
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.)
Vaccination by region:
I think we’re looking at a weekend 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.)
56.4% 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:
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:
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):
Death rate (Our World in Data):
730,413. 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:
“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
UPDATE “Risky move: Biden undercuts WH executive privilege shield” [Associated Press]. “Democrat Biden has agreed to a request from Congress seeking sensitive information on the actions of his predecessor Donald Trump and his aides during the Jan. 6 insurrection, though the former president claims the information is guarded by executive privilege…. Biden’s decision not to block the information sought by Congress challenges a tested norm — one in which presidents enjoy the secrecy of records of their own terms in office, both mundane and highly sensitive, for a period of at least five years, and often far longer. That means Biden and future presidents, as well as Trump…. While not spelled out in the Constitution, executive privilege has developed to protect a president’s ability to obtain candid counsel from his advisers without fear of immediate public disclosure and to protect his confidential communications relating to official responsibilities. But that privilege has its limitations in extraordinary situations, as exemplified during the Watergate scandal, when the Supreme Court ruled that it could not be used to shield the release of secret Oval Office tapes sought in a criminal inquiry, and following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Jan. 6 insurrection belongs among those ranks, Biden’s White House counsel wrote to the keeper of records, the Archivist of the United States. The argument that the special circumstances of the attack justify the extraordinary release should guard against the erosion of executive privilege for presidencies going forward, some experts said.” • To me, this is Biden doing the right thing and being given [family blog] for it by our brain-dead press, exactly as with Afghanistan. Could it be that executive privilege and access journalism are mutually reinforcing?
UPDATE “Bannon’s subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ” [The Hill]. “The law allows for Congress to refer a noncompliant witness to the DOJ for criminal prosecution, which could result in jail time, a fine or both. The Trump administration has a long history of defying congressional investigators, and Bannon, through his lawyer, said he would disregard the subpoena until a yet-to-be-filed legal case from Trump resolved whether the former president can rely on executive privilege to bar his ex-employees from testifying before lawmakers. ‘We will comply with the direction of the courts,’ Robert Costello, Bannon’s attorney, wrote in the letter. Legal experts have expressed doubts Trump will make much headway in an executive privilege suit, as the protection largely applies to sitting presidents. Bannon is also being sought for questioning surrounding his role in planning rallies on Jan. 6 — activity that came years after his brief stint as a White House adviser…. Trump hasn’t yet filed his executive privilege suit, but if he does, it’s possible it could complicate a civil suit from the House — a move that could appeal to the former president, who has been accused by many of using lawsuits as a delay tactic. ‘I think their timeline is very firmly pegged to the midterm elections. If they can slow walk this until they get a new Congress, they won’t have to worry about the next Congress pursuing it,’ Osler said.”
McKinsey guys are good at problem admiration, so let’s get granular:
1. Has the task force produced a CONOP, or even a white paper, detailing a plan to address a single domain of supply chain constraints?
2. Are the goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely? https://t.co/ABzYIsh65E
— HUNTSMAN 🇺🇸 (@man_integrated) October 11, 2021
UPDATE “Climate protesters swarm White House, vandalize Jackson statue, warn Biden” [FOX]. “Left-wing climate protesters hit the D.C. streets Monday, vandalizing a statue of former President Andrew Jackson and swarming the White House while warning President Biden to take their demands seriously. The Build Back Fossil Free coalition took to the DC streets Monday with their five-day-long protest’s aim to spur action by the Biden administration against climate change, mainly by declaring a national emergency and ending projects involving fossil fuels… The coalition is a climate change-focused nonprofit aimed at ensuring “Biden becomes the climate president he promised to be” according to its website, and is supported by several businesses and organizations, including Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia.”
Democrats en Deshabille
A-a-a-a-u-g-h!!!! My eyes:
I can’t decide what I want most. pic.twitter.com/Sfwljaqwok
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) October 11, 2021
UPDATE Metaphors for non-governing Democrats (1):
“Would you please.. please.. please open the door?!” 😅 pic.twitter.com/pJ1t1w7oIj
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) October 10, 2021
The door-frame, which is not open, is the filibuster, the Senate Parliamentarian, President Manchin, etc., etc., etc.
UPDATE Metaphors for non-governing Democrats (2):
Some people – idiots, frankly – argue that professional wrestling is not a real sport, fake, scripted, a mere performance.
Anyway here’s Yoshihiko, the blow up doll dominating the pro leagues in Japan. https://t.co/9MUkCKOk43
— Dai Lama (@WelshDalaiLama) October 12, 2021
This is carrying kayfabe very far. Perhaps even too far.
This ad is, indeed, very funny:
This might be the most perfect political ad. pic.twitter.com/vyQf4cmB53
— Anthony Michael Kreis 🎃169 A.D.2d 254 👻 (@AnthonyMKreis) October 11, 2021
But is it a winner? I’m not so sure. Not to bring up the old-time blogosphere too much, but we swore. A lot. It felt liberating, it signified that we weren’t part of the established media, etc. It didn’t do a damn thing. And if I had children, and hoped to postpone the day when they too said [family blog], in my hearing, I don’t think I’d be too happy about them seeing this ad on TV.
Small Business Optimism: “United States Nfib Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the United States fell to 99.1 points in September from 100.1 points in August, the lowest in six months. More than 50% of small businesses said they couldn’t fill open positions last month and the number of companies offering higher pay was also at a 48-year high. “Small-business owners are doing their best to meet the needs of customers, but are unable to hire workers or receive the needed supplies and inventories. The outlook for economic policy is not encouraging to owners, as lawmakers shift to talks about tax increases and additional regulations”, NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said.” •
Employment Situation: “United States Job Openings” [Trading Economics]. “The number of job openings in the US dropped to 10.439 million in August 2021, from an all-time high of 11.098 million in July and below market expectations of 10.925 million. It was the first month of decline in the level of the openings since December 2020 with the largest decreases reported for health care and social assistance (-224,000); accommodation and food services (-178,000); and state and local government education (-124,000). Job openings increased in the federal government (+22,000). Job openings were down in the Northeast and Midwest regions. Meanwhile, the number of hires declined by 439,000 to 6.322 million, while total separations including quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations rose by 211,000 to 6.003 million.”
Inflation: “United States Consumer Inflation Expectations” [Trading Economics]. “Year-ahead inflation expectations in the United States rose further to 5.3 percent in September 2021, the eleventh consecutive monthly increase and a new series high since the inception of the survey in 2013. Three-year-ahead inflation expectations also increased, to 4.2 percent from 4.0 percent, representing the third consecutive monthly increase and a new record. In contrast, year-ahead home price expectations dropped by 0.4 percentage point to 5.5 percent, the fourth consecutive monthly decrease, driven mostly by respondents who live in the “West” and “Northeast” Census regions; while expectations about year-ahead price changes decreased for all the commodities, led by a slowdown in price of gas, college education, and food.”
The Bezzle: “Dirt: Are NFTs status symbols?” [Dirt]. “Do NFTs get people status?… Status symbols require what economists call signaling costs: acquisition alone must be difficult so that possession serves as proof of exceptional assets or privilege…. Acquired status symbols like luxury goods have a fatal flaw, however: The intentional signaling of status is a low-status activity. The highest-status individuals should never need to plead for status; their reputation precedes them. So the most effective status symbols require more than signaling costs: They also need alibis, plausible excuses for ownership other than the intentional acquisition of status symbols. Luxury watches and sports cars are tools. Mansions serve as shelter. The most effective status symbols offer advanced utility as an alibi to justify the expenditure as anything other than an obnoxious act of conspicuous waste. This is why luxury brands talk endlessly about unprecedented craftsmanship, brilliant design, or engineering prowess — to sell a veneer of functionalism that hides raw positional marking. … While signaling costs and alibis are important, the most critical aspect of a status symbol is cachet, clear associations with existing high-status groups…. There is a circular loop, where NFTs are investments posing as status symbols posing as investments. Whatever the case, the fact that people so easily brandish their investment properties to demonstrate taste says a lot about our age. Surely no one in the Seventies sent out receipts for corn futures as their holiday cards.” • Very good!
Tech: “Facebook Banned the Creator of ‘Unfollow Everything’ and Sent Him a Cease and Desist Letter” [Gizmodo]. “A developer who created a browser extension designed to help Facebook users reduce their time spent on the platform says that the company responded by banning him and threatening to take legal action. Louis Barclay says he created Unfollow Everything to help people enjoy Facebook more, not less. His extension, which no longer exists, allowed users to automatically unfollow everybody on their FB account, thus eliminating the newsfeed feature, one of the more odious, addictive parts of the company’s product. The feed, which allows for an endless barrage of targeted advertising, is powered by follows, not friends, so even without it, users can still visit the profiles they want to and navigate the site like normal.” • Enjoying Facebook is hardly the point!
Tech: “Facebook’s oversight board to meet with whistleblower Frances Haugen” [Reuters]. “Facebook Inc’s oversight board, a body set up by the social network to give independent verdicts on a small number of thorny content decisions, said on Monday it would meet with former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen in the coming weeks.” • Weirdest corporate structure ever.
Tech: “AWS Console Unavailable” [Hacker News]. • People seem a little skittish. Nevertheless, this should not be:
Apparently, the “dashboard” took some time to catch up:
I am getting many 504 errors in the AWS console and the first thing I thought to do wasn’t review status pages or official communications but rather come and check Twitter 😂.
Maybe tech companies should have more proactive tweets about status issues? https://t.co/qFMPj50bWF
— Frank Corso (@fpcorso) October 12, 2021
Fortunately, no “resistance is futile” message or anything like that.
Manufacturing: “How did Delta Airlines awaken 570 dormant aircraft?” [FreightWaves]. “Delta Air Lines parked 571 mainline aircraft across the country in 2020 when the COVID-19 wiped out most passenger travel. Airlines still have about 70% of their pre-pandemic international capacity in hibernation, but Delta is returning aircraft to the skies because the U.S. domestic market is recovering faster than in other parts of the world. Parking a plane and bringing it back to life after months of inactivity isn’t as simple as turning the engines off and on. It takes a lot of effort, including maintenance and electrical checks, to keep an aircraft in a ready state for future use. … In some regions of the world, for example, mud dauber wasps clog exterior speed-sensing tubes with mud. Maintenance personnel are instructed to regularly check the probe covers for damage.” • I seem to remember Boeing had a problem with sensors…
Tech: “We need to talk about how Apple is normalising surveillance” [Wired]. Indeed:
Many of Apple’s latest features are about enhancing surveillance – even if Apple would never call them that. The new iPhone operating system, iOS 15, can digitise text in photos, enabling users to copy and paste text from an image, or call a phone number that appears in a picture. Scanning nearby buildings with an iPhone will make Maps recognise them and generate walking directions. Algorithms will identify objects in real-time video, and it will be possible to turn photos into 3D models for augmented reality. And users will now be able to carry their IDs in their phone. All of these features increase the amount of data collected.
Apple is also active in the lucrative business of healthcare. Using their iPhones and Apple Watches, people can track their steps, heart rate, and gait, among other things. A new sharing tab on the Health app even lets users share their health data with family and caregivers. Granted, all that data is supposed to be kept secure – but whenever sensitive information is collected and shared that easily, data disasters are just lurking around the corner.
Indeed, once one starts scratching the surface, Apple’s contribution to the development of invasive technologies and the normalisation of surveillance becomes evident. Apple created the Bluetooth beacons tracking people in shops, gyms, hotels, airports and more by connecting to their phones. Apple’s usage of Face ID as a way to unlock the iPhone has contributed to normalising facial recognition. Its AirTag – a small device that can be stuck to personal items in order to track them – has caused concerns among privacy advocates that they will make it easier to track people. The Apple Watch, as the most advanced wearable on the market, leads us one step closer to under-the-skin surveillance, which can read our bodies and emotions. Most recently, Apple has developed a tool that can scan photos in people’s devices in search of child abuse material. While the objective is noble, the tool could be used for less ethical purposes and, according to security expert Bruce Schneier, it effectively breaks end-to-end encryption – the most powerful way we currently have to protect the privacy of our devices. (Apple later decided to pause its plans to roll out the tool.)
When it comes to privacy, iOS arguably has a better reputation among consumers than Android, as does Siri vs Alexa, and Safari vs Chrome. But that doesn’t give Apple permission to track our lived experience at all times with its microphones, cameras and sensors. Apple’s groundbreaking devices are pushing the limits of what technology companies can track, and that is not good news for privacy.
I wish there were a FrameWork tablet, as well as a FrameWork laptop.
Manufacturing: “Murano glassblowing model shattered by methane price surge” [Associated Press]. “The dozens of furnaces that remain on the lagoon island where Venetian rulers transferred glassblowing 700 years ago must burn around the clock, otherwise the costly crucible inside the ovens will break. But the price for the methane that powers the ovens has skyrocketed fivefold on the global market since Oct. 1, meaning the glass-blowers face certain losses on orders they are working to fill, at least for the foreseeable future. ‘People are desperate,’ said Gianni De Checchi, president of Venice’s association of artisans Confartiginato. ‘If it continues like this, and we don’t find solutions to the sudden and abnormal gas prices, the entire Murano glass sector will be in serious danger.’” • A furnace you have to burn around the clock is not exactly Jackpot-ready….
Manufacturing: Not a chip in it:
My college car was 1967 4 spd VW Bug w/300k miles (for ~3 months, no battery; had to always park on a hill).
An underpowered tin can, it was the most reliable cars I ever owned.
I can ID one by sound alone; its funny to see people collecting them nowhttps://t.co/T25kgreVCq
— Barry Ritholtz (@ritholtz) October 11, 2021
What a great car this was. My family crossed the country several times in our bug, summer and winter (being air-cooled, there was no coolant to freeze, which was a thing that happened, back in olden days).
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 36 Fear (previous close: 32 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 27 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 12 at 1:01pm.
Rapture Index: Closes up one on Oil Supply/Price. “Oil prices have risen in the past few weeks.” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188 (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)
UPDATE “An Empire of Dying Wells” [Bloomberg]. “There are hundreds of thousands of such decrepit oil and gas wells across the U.S., and for a long time few people paid them much mind. That changed over the past decade as scientists discovered the surprisingly large role they play in the climate crisis. Old wells tend to leak, and raw natural gas consists mostly of methane, which has far more planet-warming power than carbon dioxide. That morning in Ohio we pointed our camera at busted pipes, rusted joints, and broken valves, and we saw the otherwise invisible greenhouse gas jetting out. A sour smell lingered in the air. To Rusty Hutson, it smells like money. Hutson is the founder and chief executive officer of one of the strangest companies ever to hit the American oil patch and the reason for our four-day visit to the Appalachian region. While other oilmen focus on drilling the next gusher, Hutson buys used wells that generate just a trickle or nothing at all. Over the past four years his Diversified Energy Co. has amassed about 69,000 wells, eclipsing Exxon Mobil Corp. to become the largest well owner in the country. Investors love him. Since listing shares in 2017, Hutson’s company has outperformed almost every other U.S. oil and gas stock, swelling his personal stake to more than $30 million.” • That’s not very much; perhaps the bottom-feeding Hutson is best filed under American Gentry. But that doesn’t mean the wells he owns aren’t emitting a ton of methane. And his numbers don’t seem to add. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Hutson. This is a mus-read.
UPDATE “The impact of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning design features on the transmission of viruses, including the 2019 novel coronavirus: a systematic review of ventilation and coronavirus” (preprint) [medRxiv (Allan)]. From the Abtract: “A systematic review was conducted using international standards to identify and comprehensively synthesize research examining the effectiveness of ventilation for mitigating transmission of coronaviruses. The results from 32 relevant studies showed that: increased ventilation rate was associated with decreased transmission, transmission probability/risk, infection probability/risk, droplet persistence, virus concentration, and increased virus removal and virus particle removal efficiency; increased ventilation rate decreased risk at longer exposure times; some ventilation was better than no ventilation; airflow patterns affected transmission; ventilation feature (e.g., supply/exhaust, fans) placement influenced particle distribution.” But: “Some studies provided qualitative recommendations; however, few provided specific quantitative ventilation parameters suggesting a significant gap in current research. Adapting HVAC ventilation systems to mitigate virus transmission is not a one-solution-fits-all approach but instead requires consideration of factors such as ventilation rate, airflow patterns, air balancing, occupancy, and feature placement.” • Simpler and cheaper just to jab people, hope for the best, and the heck with preparing for the next pandemic?
Our Famously Free Press
UPDATE “#367- BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG (Part the Fifty-third)” (podcast) [The Civil War Podcast]. • I can’t recommend this podcast enough. It’s inspiring to watch Rich and Tracy work each week to get the history right, while also educating their listeners on sourcing. (Quite a contrast to the 1619 Project, too, I might add, especially given that The Civil War Podcast is steadily and effectively — and for Confederacy supporters, agonizingly — shoving a knife into the heart of Lost Cause mythology.) That aside, Rich is going part-time at his job to devote more time to the podcast (and possibly help their marriage, too). Since Rich works in health care, that would make him part of the post-Covid “Great Resignation”; he’s cutting back on the job to do meaningful work. Good for him, and the best of luck to both of them; they’ve really earned it. #367. Imagine!
UPDATE In defense of Twitter:
I don’t know what we would have done if the aerosol scientists hadn’t taken to Twitter.🙏
They did what Florence Nightingale did. Bypass the crotchety “experts” and take the evidence to the public.
— Denise Dewald, MD 🗽 (@denise_dewald) October 9, 2021
I agree with this, because I saw it play out in real time. And if the CDC weren’t so sclerotic, they would have seen to it that the aerosol scientists were censored. Oh well. Next pandemic!
UPDATE “For-profit newsrooms are adding philanthropy as another way to make money” [Poynter Institute]. “Something strange happened in Philadelphia last year. And in Houston. And Tampa Bay. And Charleston. When for-profit newsrooms asked their communities to support them through donations, those communities did. ‘We definitely learned that local communities are willing to support local news organizations, and it really didn’t seem to matter if they were for-profit or nonprofit,’ said Lindsey Estes, director of member services and journalism funding at the Local Media Association.” • These people have philanthropy confused with community. Still, an interesting trend nonetheless.
A historic first?
OFF THE THROW IN! 💥
You gotta see it to believe it! 👀 pic.twitter.com/T2THYbEvBE
— Wyoming Cowgirl Soccer (@wyosoccer) October 10, 2021
UPDATE Brain worms anticipated:
— Paul Klee (@artistklee) October 12, 2021
The ’30s were a rough time, too.
I don’t think the problem is Halloween:
I submit this article as Exhibit A of the prosecution’s case that Halloween is the worst holiday. https://t.co/9bwSghW8Rk
— T.K. of AAK! (@AskAKorean) October 12, 2021
Even if Halloween is, itself, a problem; I prefer an orgy of tryptophan to an orgy of sugar.
— Dave & Matt Vans (@daveandmattvan) October 8, 2021
… but I also think of the wear and tear on the roads, and the van one hundred yards away playing loud music. Or firing off guns…
If you don’t know about kidney lady, you’re lucky. Here, the New Yorker author who broke the story cancels herself:
That kidney is running through writer twitter like the grim reaper pic.twitter.com/dMFQGzx23x
— #⃣1⃣ socially distant♂feminst pizzapreneur (@damienredicamn1) October 11, 2021
Turns out that workshopping writers are a cesspit of “predatory precarity.”
“Why cremation has overtaken burial in America” [CNN]. • Ugh, it’s a teaser for this guy’s podcast. Nevertheless, even putting aside money and upselling, who wants to be buried when they could be scattered?
“John Deere Workers Overwhelmingly Reject Contract, Could Strike Wednesday Night” [Labor Notes]. “John Deere workers on Sunday overwhelmingly voted down the first tentative agreement negotiated by the Auto Workers (UAW) and the company. Among the over 90 percent of members voting, 90 percent voted no. The UAW has announced a new strike deadline of 11:59pm on Wednesday, October 13. If no new agreement is reached with the company by then, 10,000 Deere workers in Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas, will walk out. Members’ frustrations ranged from what they feel are inadequate wage increases to the decision to end the pension for new hires and switch to a “Choice Plus” plan that many felt was scant on details.” • Oh, man. “Choice Plus.” You can see that one coming a mile off. More: “UAW members at Deere described rowdy scenes from at least some of the nine local meetings. In Waterloo, Iowa, Local 838, several members wrote ‘F*** No’ on their T-shirts (they used the uncensored version). At the microphone, one member said that the only thing the agreement was good for was ‘wiping my a**.’ Members of the negotiating committee told members they started with a 24 percent wage increase that got whittled down to 11 to 12 percent over six years. In years two, four, and six, workers will receive lump-sum payments equivalent to 2 percent of their wages, in lieu of raises.”
“Warehouse jobs — recently thought of as jobs of the future — are suddenly jobs few workers want” [WaPo]. “Thought of” by whom? WaPo’s owner? “he industry is facing an unexpected problem: Far too few people are willing to take on the often-grueling work, according to industry officials and economic data. It is the latest sign that the job market is being buffeted by unexpected trends that are leading workers to reconsider the types of positions they want — and upending industries across the economy. ‘Every year we say, ‘Wow, this is really difficult’ — and every year, it gets more challenging,’ said Sabrina Wnorowski, vice president of human resources at Radial, which operates fulfillment centers for brands such as Cole Haan, Aeropostale and the Children’s Place. The company, she said, is offering daily raffles with prizes like PlayStations and iPads, as well as pizza parties and on-site food trucks in a bid to attract 27,000 warehouse workers this year, up 30 percent from 2019. ‘Given high unemployment, you’d expect that it would be easy to attract labor,’ she said, ‘but it’s been the opposite.’” • That’s a damn shame.
Symbol manipulators gotta symbol manipulate:
This photo was just sent to me of a grounded Southwest plane flying a Gadsden flag out of the cockpit. The Hero Pilots at Southwest and other Airlines deserve our support. True patriots worthy of the American Freedom Fighter tradition.
Don’t Tread On Me.
God Bless Them 🇺🇸✈️🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/tAo9pT4Q60
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) October 11, 2021
Anybody can take a [family blogging] photo of a [family blogging] flag. Holy moley.
Grifters gotta grift:
— Anyα✨ (@an_inthesky) October 11, 2021
Project Veritas really has form….
Imagine having to show this restraint as someone belittles you for trying to survive.
This is what retail / food service workers have had to deal to with for far too long. pic.twitter.com/2tzk4tfC8S
— BERSERK (@srslyberserk) October 10, 2021
What if — hear me out — “the economy” were organized for workers, rather than for consumers?
News of the Wired
Genie: ‘What is your final wish?’
Boy: ‘I wish I were you…’
Genue: ‘Weurd, but alrught!’
— The Dad Joke Man (@DadJokeMan) October 12, 2021
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 (TH):
TH comments: “I should probably clarify that the background of this silhouette is not the sky, but a lake. The predominant mood of this desert lake when we were there was remote isolation and maybe no one needs a reminder of that since there’s been a lot of it going around for the past year, but I love the peace and calm of the scene. I’ve read (Wikipedia) that tule is useful at shorelines in reducing wind and water currents, thereby, reducing erosion and inviting more plant life. So, this is Cooper’s Reed, AKA ‘broadleaf cattail.’ True, there’s no plant detail, but hey, it’s grass—how much detail do you need?” Lovely composition!
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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