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On “Carnage: 6.6 Million in Initial Jobless Claims, 10 Million Two Week Total

But in the real world this is the same response we'd be getting under Pres. Obama/Clinton/Biden: an astounding voluntary quarantine of very nearly the entire nation.

What we do with these 30-60 days we've bought? Sure, there I'd expect some variance... but as of now, the only "response" we'd be able to measure is getting people to stay home.

And the disparate impact felt by all those workers who are "essential" *and* can't work from home? That's the exact same group no matter who's President... and those people would have been used exactly the same as we're using them right now.

At the end of 60-days, judge the previous 60-days... I have no problem with that. I'm more than a little weary of the forward certainty of things people are all too willing to retcon after the fact.


"Could be that I’m more cynical than you are."

Sometimes words can hurt.

Now I have to spend three hours on twitter to work on my cynicism.

But, to be clear, I'm not saying this isn't big, its BIG... I just have no firm conviction whether or how it will be transformative.


Sure... if the big takeway is that organizations realize the horrible liability that people are and re-double and double again efforts to automate...

I mean, why offshore to India?... the coronavirus story from India hasn't been written yet.

Why not a sort of Butlerian jihad in favor of solidarity -- finally we all see how important it is to have short-resilient networks?

My initial comment is that we don't know what the Apres la guerre stories will be until we see what paths we take now. I'm mostly objecting to the Pre-spinning of the outcome. An outcome we haven't seen.


That strikes me as a reflection on the response, not the virus itself.

But I'm told this is the best possible response we can have... so.


I don't know yet.

A disease that strikes 1% regardless of race/class? I'm willing to acknowledge our institutions are brittle... but aside from the sorrow and suffering I'm not seeing the virus causing revolution.

The response to the virus? One that shifts the sorrow and suffering disparately to some rather than all? Sure, that could spark some vigorous civil disobedience. Has any government figured out a way to do that yet?


For a month with $2.2T aid, no... no it wouldn't.

Now, the thing none of us know is whether we'll have 32% unemployment for 6-months without another - bigger - bailout... or, after we get a testing regime is it sticky at, say, 22% for a year... those are all unknowns.

So, we don't really know what 32% unemployment means, since even this time we're doing 32% unemployment with $2.2T in aid to workers and businesses.

I'm not saying that *nothing* is happening, I'm saying that 32% unemployment is known and baked into the 1-2 month cake.

I agree - and have said - that the Aid buys us a 30-60 day quarantine... if 60-days from now nothing has changed, then I definitely anticipate a collapse of the quarantine. At that point we'll have another assessment of what before/after might look like.... pending developments in testing, treating and mitigation.


I suppose there's a chance that everything will be different... like before and after the Civil War in the South.

But, I confess I'm not convinced that everything will be different. I'm not convinced this is a Civil War event; it feels like a mash-up of 9/11 and 2008... some unexpected terror and death plus a market shake-up.

But, things are still happening, so I'm not exactly sure what we're living through and whether things like the Virus Aid bill and various emergency measures in research and single minded focus on the problem will do over the next month or two... maybe nothing.

What I am a bit astounded by is the conviction, almost maniacal need for this to be a transformative event... its a bit like this is the most transformative black swan event ever. More so than the last one(s). Less so than the next one.

I suppose we may anticipate a new Dept of Homeland Health Security, maybe a cold-trade-war with China as we re-evaluate logistics... those are not nothing; but 2021 will feel a lot like 2019 plus a requirement to take off our shoes *and* swab our hands as our temp is measured automatically in the phone booth thingy we enter into at the airport.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm not convinced anyone else is right.

On “Saturday Morning Gaming: Returning to Mordor

Playing Path of Exile... they released a new league at the beginning of lock-down, March 13... so I'm on my third character.

It's really and truly free to play... micro transactions are 100% cosmetic (plus a couple QOL items for organizing your stash).

Over the past 10 years or so, they've softened a bit on the whole Diablo II or death motif. Its a lot more fun to play... if you like ARPG Diablo type games.

On “Carnage: 6.6 Million in Initial Jobless Claims, 10 Million Two Week Total


Distribution failure... there are legally no outlets for milk other than the distributors who process the milk to pass on to other distribution/manufacturing businesses.

Once a link in distribution is broken, there's little resiliency in the system to redirect. In this case, a little like toilet paper, large commercial entities are not consuming dairy products, but there's no good way to redirect.

While a lot of farming is indeed maximizing production, the other part of farming is all about distribution networks. Farmers don't sell anything to anybody... they are mostly contract input.

By way of indirect illustration... Wyoming is allowing Farmer direct sales (within Wyoming) - but this is mostly illegal (except for Chickens, upto 6,000 per farm - last I checked).

Milk is (practically) treated as a bio-hazard... and given the way it is produced industrially, that's how you have to treat it.

On “Weekend Plans Post: Holding Steady

We watched the new Emma (2020)... it was cute. The hats and music were quite good. Impressions:

Emma: Played to a type (think Nellie from LHotP) ... not quite how I'd direct it, but plausible. [B]
Mr. Knightly: Underplayed, and not a very impressive figure... even in his great moments. [C-]
Mr. Woodhouse: Grew on me as the movie wore on [C --> B+]
Mr. Elton: Kinda Meh... but his part was written down quite a bit [B-]
Mrs. Elton: Very good, but very brief [A-]
Miss Bates: Quite good, I like her rather more than the last iteration... they capture her benevolence well [A]
Jane Fairfax: Adequate, but Jane needs to be exquisite, not adequate... [C]
Harriet: Too plain (IMO)... but she played the part well [B]
Frank Churchill: Not good... not a well written part, nor well directed [D]

Certainly worth watching if you are an Austen fan... if only to marvel at their choices, good and bad.

On “Carnage: 6.6 Million in Initial Jobless Claims, 10 Million Two Week Total

I completely agree... nothing I wrote is a ringing endorsement of the system. It simply is the system.

I'm 100% in favor of changing the incentives in the system, but recognize that this will have follow-on effects of raising food prices even as it potentially increases broader input from more food producers.

Just recognize that the food policy isn't built for farmers - like its often framed - its built for city dwellers. Its built to reduce food shocks and keep food prices low.

Ideally we redesign the system so that we can manage both shocks and costs... but that's the challenge.

What I think gets lost in the red/blue hubub is that the "red" farmers aren't benefiting on behalf of "farmers" they are agents of this particular system and will fight tooth and nail to prevent the rules from changing. They have to.

But, the ultimate beneficiaries in this system are "blue" its a "blue" system, not a "red" one... and that's confusing.

...and confusing in that the labor violations are mostly systematized to benefit "team blue" in the cities and 'burbs.

So yes, lots of cognitive dissonance. And I'm not even talking about "burning it all down;" I'm fine with AgriBiz for what they do... but we should revisit all the incentives in the system to build in better labor, costs, and resilience - both ecological and economical.

I mean, that's all...


That's not really the dynamic at play.

Agricultural policy is designed to maximize agricultural output at all times - for certain crops that have a shelf life: Corn, Rice, Wheat, Soy, Cotton. These and their byproducts *are* the American diet. Downstream they also power Beef, Chicken and Pork production.

We could manage these crops by maintaining a "Market" price that approximates the cost/value of producing these products... but we don't do that. Instead we set price floors and guaranty these prices which *by design* encourage maximum production, maximum surplus, and, importantly, low end-point prices.

The Agricultural subsidies aren't designed to make AgriBiz rich, they are designed first and foremost to keep food prices LOW ... which in turn are only achievable by certain types of Agribusiness Models... which acts as a giant moat against competition.

Counter-intuitively, you can only make money in Agriculture if you can clear an artificial threshold set to keep food prices below market levels.

Now... to clear various markets and open up food diversity, you'd have to wreck the subsidy regime which would make Food prices climb.

Once we see food prices climb, we'll see disparate impact on classes... and calls to subsidize prices downward will be very loud indeed. Which then shuts out some of the working poor from entering Agriculture to become poorly paid worker in AgriBiz projects... or ski-lift operators.

I'll also point out that like pandemics - in theory - many people have pointed out that our current food production system is very brittle; it's monstrously efficient, but not at all resilient owing to these structural impediments (and moats) we've semi-voluntarily erected to pursue other policy objectives: cheap food.

Don't say we didn't warn you when efficient but brittle doesn't survive the shock to brittle.

On “Joe Biden: Staying Alive

Mayor Pete's team would like a word.

On “The Enneagram Broke Me

I don't know much about Jung and the motivations for developing MB... but understanding "personality types" is ancient.

My contrarian thought for the day is that the recent phenomenon of "Which Awesome Person Are YOU!" personality tests is the opposite of why people traditionally looked to understand personality types... which was to understand what impediments you will encounter cultivating certain "good habits" (or virtues, if you prefer) given certain pre-dispositions of your personality.

So, old-school personality tests were more about warnings for introverts, or things that extroverts ought to be aware of, or while you might find xy and z soothing, your partner will experience them as challenges.

So what's a little weird to me are the MB/Personality tests as *destinations* not starting points.

Of course, where to go? Well, that's the hard part, not the baseline personalities.

On “The Free Market Case for Staying the Eff Home

What's fascinating to me is the blindspot thinking the Democratic party is making the culture more hispanic or african american or anything other than a new Democratic WASP hegemony.

There's nothing ethnic or culturally interesting about the Democratic party.

Or another way to put it, the Democratic party has a cultural hegemony that isn't ethnic or interesting or representative of anything other that Democratic WASP culture.

I keep telling you the MAGA pitchforks aren't for the ethnic folks... they're for you WASPs.

On “Joe Biden: Staying Alive

Beto called and he's a little wounded that you turned your attention to Biden.

We mollified him by reminding him that he's still your favorite GenX.

On “Remote Barista: Cafe Con Leche

In Austria we were "warned" not to order Milchkaffe or Latte, but instead Kleiner Brauner. Not technically a latte at all, since its not frothed milk. But, my sister-in-law didn't want us bigfooting our cultural ignorance all over Vienna.


When we were on the Camino in NW Spain last year, I learned two small things
1. The Spanish preferred English to Italian
2. Cafe con Leche is not a Latte, as I was informed several times forgetting myself repeatedly.
Ok, maybe three small things:
3. Cafe con Leche is inexplicably better than a latte.

Maybe it was all the km's underfoot.

We joked that the Camino was fueled by Cafe con leche and Tortillas (the egg kind) ... and then later by croquetas.

On “Senate Coronavirus Bill Fails, Stalemate Continues

Point of order... while I applaud you clicking past MBD to the source material... that list you provide is from the original article by Taleb (who would be NNT)... and is not specific to MBD or the point of his article.

You could just as well add "Laffer Curve, trickle down economics, neoliberal economics; the beneficial effects of evangelical political action" and I'm not sure MBD would object.

In fact, that's probably what makes him *not* (merely) Conservative pablum.


I think the challenge perhaps is that you're reading MBD through a Trump lens... so everything gets filtered as if its a Trump thing.

If you will, MBD is post-Trump. He was post-Trump pre-Trump.

But regarding the epistemic notion that "Hey, one thing at Vox does not Vox make" - the point isn't that Vox said a thing; I think the interesting line is this:

"Something about that medium [twitter] allows the journalists who occupy mainstream, opinion-setting media outlets to converge quickly on what they deem to be the highest-status opinion about current events."

And being new to twitter and epistemically sensitive... I think this is a sound insight. It has political and social implications.

But that's the main observation... our knowledge class was mostly wrong about the Virus. They were also wrong in a very particular anti-Trump vector. That's not to apologize for Trump, that's to recognize that this clerisy reasons backwards not forwards.

That Trump was (and continues to be) mostly wrong is irrelevant to this particular point... though relevant vis-a-vis his prudential ability to make good decisions in the midst of this pandemic (for which he is simply unfit).

I don't know what to make of the pablum comment... he's a conservative, but he's one of the millenial post-Trump, almost/somewhat post-liberal conservative critics. Might be that all right of center stuff tastes the same to you.

Though I hear losing your sense of taste is a symptom of C-19... so maybe get tested? :-)


No, no, no... the article is that the IYI were *all* telling us that the Corona Virus was no big deal... VOX tells us the current flu was even worse... that there's no pandemic on the way... WHO tells us China was doing a fabulous job... masks are useless... and travel bans useless and racist, and on and on.

The IYI were absolutely certain in all their wrongness, until they shifted (belatedly) and *ironically* at about the same time that Trump did too... +/- a week.

He's not apologizing for Trump... he's apologizing for people not knowing which version of Expert Truth people are supposed to believe... especially since the IYI will simply "claim" belief they *didn't* have after the fact. Which simply moots the question: what are we wrong about right now that we're absolutely certain is the correct interpretation of events?

There's absolutely no epistemic check.

On “Songs! A Song From Your Preteen Years

I was going to post "Free to be you and Me" which I remember playing all the time as a (checks liner notes), hmmn, 5--6 year old(?)

But then I listened to it and am now seeking professional help.

On “The Best Place To See The Ballgame

As a kid, we'd do exactly that and love the adventure of finding new places.

As an adult all I see is ruin to my gutters.

On “Life Under Quarantine

And then eccentric pitchers... the Mad Hungarian, Mark "the Bird" Fidrych, Pedro when he first came up, Rob Dibble... and then just a continuous loop of Nolan Ryan pummeling Robin Ventura.


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