2:00PM Water Cooler 12/23/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

The Macaulay Library seems to be have hiccups, so I hope this plays!


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

Case count by United States region:

Now flirting with flattening. Looks like the Midwest did it, from the regional data, with now a little help from the Northeast. Presumably we’ll see a travel- and holiday-driven drop immediately after Christmas. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

California’s neighbors and the West Coast:

California, Arizona, and Nevada all track together until seven to ten days ago. Cascadia follows its own path.

Test positivity by region:

A wild swing in the West. Again.

Nowhere near 3%, anywhere.

Hospitalization by region:

Distinct flattening, thanks to the Midwest and the West. Hospitalization is also discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity; or because hospitals have figured out how to send people home.

Case fatality rate by region:

Resuming the upward climb. I don’t much care for that gradual increase in the fatality rate and wonder what’s behind it.

* * *

Readers asked for a visualization on vaccination. 91-DIVOC does not (yet?) include that data, so sadly I cannot integrate vaccination rates into any of the charts above. This from Bloomberg is the best I can do for now:

As you can see, we are not very far along.


“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

Democrats en Deshabille

Where we were then (1):

Where we were then (2):

Where we are now (1):

Where we are now (2):

Where we are now (3):

Where we are now (4):


“Force The Vote On Direct Aid” [David Sirota, Daily Poster]. “Luckily for Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer — and for millions of people who need help — Trump is giving them one last chance to do the right thing and back a bolder version of the $1,200 direct payment proposal that Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., have been pushing from the beginning of this most recent round of negotiations. … The question now: Will Pelosi, Schumer and Biden do everything in their power to call Trump’s bluff and force a vote to increase the $600 checks to $2,000?” • Dore had the right tactic. And the wrong objective (at least in policy terms).


Totally not a cult:

Remember when liberal Democrats were naming their dogs after Mueller?

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Housing: “November 2020 Headline New Home Sales Slowed Again But Sales Remain Stronger Than Any Year Since 2006” [Econintersect]. “The headlines say new home sales slowed month-over-month. Still, overall sales-to-date in 2020 is now better than any other year since 2006 – and this index does not seem to have been affected by the coronavirus.” • Odd.

Personal Income: “November 2020 Real Income and Expenditures Declined” [Econintersect]. “The note from the BEA says it all: ‘The November estimate for personal income and outlays was impacted by the response to the spread of COVID-19. Federal economic recovery payments slowed as pandemic-related assistance programs continued to wind down. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the personal income and outlays estimate because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified. The decrease in personal income in November primarily reflected decreases in proprietors’ income (both nonfarm and farm) and government social benefits that were partly offset by an increase in compensation.'”

* * *

Tech: “Google Blames Gmail, YouTube Outage on Error in User ID System” [Bloomberg]. “Google diagnosed a widespread outage that knocked out major services earlier this week, such as Gmail and YouTube, as a mistake with its system for identifying people online. Alphabet Inc.’s Google has several tools that enable it to verify and track logged-in users. In October, the company began moving those tools to a new file storage system, and in the process misreported portions of the data, according to a Friday post. That caused several of its services to go down for 47 minutes Monday morning, a rare technical misstep.” • Hmm. I’m sure everything would clean right up if we all used biometrics.


(AMP “has [been] largely seen it as (at best) a Google project and (at worst) an attempt to co-opt the entire web with a Google-controlled format.” Evil, in other words. No doubt at some point Google will just stop supporting it, as Google does with failed projects, breaking pages of a lot of publishers foolish enough to trust them.)

The Bezzle: “Elon Musk says he once considered selling Tesla to Apple, Tim Cook didn’t want to take a meeting” [CNBC]. “Musk wrote in a tweet on December 22: ‘During the darkest days of the Model 3 program, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value). He refused to take the meeting.'”

Mr. Market: “Tesla mania vs. economic reality” [Axios]. Reality check: The overall equity market’s meteoric rise in the face of a U.S. economy that will end 2020 3% smaller than it started the year, is just the latest example of the economic reality decoupling from stocks. The equity market backdrop is a simple case of buyers needing to ‘invest in the market you have, and not the one that you want,’ says Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist for Prudential Financial. ‘It is a market that has been engineered by the liquidity of central banks. … It is surprising how far we’ve come, and that includes Tesla,’ Krosby says.”

Concentration: “U.S. Sues Walmart, Alleging Role in Fueling Opioid Crisis” [Wall Street Journal]. “The Justice Department’s lawsuit claims Walmart sought to boost profits by understaffing its pharmacies and pressuring employees to fill prescriptions quickly. That made it difficult for pharmacists to reject invalid prescriptions, enabling widespread drug abuse nationwide, the suit alleges. Walmart responded in a public filing Tuesday, saying the lawsuit ‘invents a legal theory that unlawfully forces pharmacists to come between patients and their doctors, and is riddled with factual inaccuracies and cherry-picked documents taken out of context.’ ‘Blaming pharmacists for not second-guessing the very doctors [the Drug Enforcement Administration] approved to prescribe opioids is a transparent attempt to shift blame from DEA’s well-documented failures in keeping bad doctors from prescribing opioids in the first place,’ Walmart said, adding that it ‘always empowered our pharmacists to refuse to fill problematic opioids prescriptions, and they refused to fill hundreds of thousands of such prescriptions.'” • I don’t know what’s come over Trump’s Justice Department. Given the givens, there has to be a catch, but what?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Greed (previous close: 59 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 69 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 23 at 12:06pm.

The Biosphere

“Could Seaweed Help Save Us From Climate Catastrophe?” [HuffPo]. “‘Cows are essential to reversing climate change,’ Straus said. The global livestock sector accounts for 14.5% of man-made greenhouse gases, more than all of the world’s automobiles, the United Nations has reported. Of that, nearly 40% is methane gas produced by digestion in cattle. The rumen, the first of four parts of a cow’s stomach, contains bacteria that ferment the high-fiber grass, hay and grains they eat. During this process, a combination of gases forms methane, which the animals emit mostly by burping and exhaling, but also in their flatulence and manure. Perhaps the most promising solution for reducing bovines’ release of this powerful planet-warming gas? Feeding cows seaweed. The red seaweed species formally known as Asparagopsis taxiformis is a ‘complete game changer,’ according to Ermias Kebreab, associate dean for global engagement in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis. In July, preliminary results from the latest study that Kebreab co-authored on the algae found that it reduces intestinal methane production in beef steers by more than 80% when added to their feed. Other research found reductions of up to 98%, without adverse effects on the cows’ weight or the quality of beef produced. ‘A couple of years ago, I would never have believed it,’ said Kebreab, who serves as a scientific adviser for Blue Ocean Barns, which is commercializing a red algae feed supplement. ‘I’ve never seen anything like this.'”

Health Care

UPDATE “The forgotten Covid-19 ‘survivors'” [BMC Series Blog]. “long Covid can affect anyone, even working-age individuals who were previously fit and well. Symptoms are diverse and confusing. Breathlessness, overwhelming fatigue, and muscle pains are common. Many people suffer problems with attention or memory, chest pains, persistent cough, blood clots, gastric reflux, tingling sensations, rashes, and other ‘surprising’ problems. Some or all of these symptoms may be due to underlying organ damage, therefore patients should be properly assessed and receive appropriate tests where needed. However, many individuals have normal basic tests e.g. blood tests and X-rays and the underlying cause for their problems remains unknown. The causes and best treatments for many are still unclear.” • It’s the tentacles! Worth reading in full, especially for having discussion with the “It’s just the flu” crowd.

UPDATE “Microreact – Open data visualization and sharing for genomic epidemiology” [Microreact]. • For the U.K. I can’t make head to tail of the tree, but at the bottom, the bar chart shows clearly that B.1.177 has come to dominate.

UPDATE Here is a thread on B.1.177, what we know and what we don’t:

As a data person who left the field just as visualization as a field was getting underway, I’ve gotta say I’m stunned by what scientists are doing by treating DNA as, well, the data it is, and developing a nomenclature to label its features, and developing data-driven tools like that displaying B.1.177’s lineage. (Does anybody else get the creeps with these seemingly neutral names? “B.1.177” starts out sounding like a random dot-delimited alphanumeric string, but now it is accreting connotations, like something out of one of Alien movies.)

UPDATE Here is a thread on the B.1.177 mutations, and their potential effects:

“VIHELM: A Mobile Air Purifying Helmet” [Vihelm]. More, and the backstory:

I think this is a neat first try, but I have very strong views on the way forward for this line of business, and I feel strongly that we need to move away from the disposable concept. But first, readers, what do you think?

Let’s remember there is plenty of blame to go around:

Guillotine Watch

“Ohio couple saw neighboring golf course being converted to a public park — so they bought it” [Golf]. “An Ohio couple with business ties to a small Columbus suburb has purchased the Westchester Golf Course for $1.7 million. But new owner Bryan Wallake, who, with his wife, Tamie, closed on the deal on Nov. 30, said community support in Canal Winchester — just east of the Columbus airport — will be vital as they move forward with their plans for the property. ‘I’m not like the previous owner who had extra money to throw at it if it doesn’t make money,’ he said. ‘I need it to be successful.’ Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks were in contract to buy the course for $1.8 million earlier this year and planned to turn it into a park. That didn’t sit well with neighbors—including the Wallakes—in the nearby Villages of Westchester, a development of about 900 homes whose owners had paid premium prices to live near the course. [Tamie Wallake] learned of Metro Parks’ plans while browsing through comments on the Canal Winchester Connection Facebook page. ‘I said, ‘Oh, my gosh! They’re turning the golf course into a public park!’ ‘ she said.” • Quelle horreur..

Class Warfare

“At Chipotle, They Ignore the Rats and Punish the Workers” [Jacobin]. “Only when a rat bit one of the managers on November 23 did the store stop having workers come in to clean.” • Sounds like something out of Dickens. Or Zola.

“Who Is the Parasite?—COVID-19 and Structural Narratives of Health Inequity” [JAMA]. “A critical and symbolic scene in Parasite brings the point home when a rainstorm floods the Kims out of their apartment and into a crowded homeless shelter, while the Park mansion remains impervious to the storm and its aftermath (“Today the sky’s so blue, and no pollution!” exclaims Mr Park’s wife after the deluge). The rainstorm is not unlike the way COVID-19 has differentially disrupted living spaces, with some able to “escape” to the comfort of their homes—or their remote second vacation houses—while others can barely afford to pay rent. The Parks are well-insulated, by their wealth and by their unawareness of how the working class struggles—even while the struggling occurs under their feet…. Much like the rainstorm in Parasite, COVID-19 has flooded hospitals with patients from more vulnerable sociodemographic backgrounds, leaving health care professionals to treat the symptoms rather than causes of disparity. Where clinical work spaces are inundated and resources stretched thin, it can feel impossible to disengage from the immediate aspects of patient care and see individual suffering as a larger consequence of deeply embedded social structures—structures that apply not only to society at large but to the heterotopic spaces of health care systems, with their own capitalist influences, discriminatory practices, and privileging powers.” • Worth reading in full.

“50 years of tax cuts for the rich failed to trickle down, economics study says” [CBS]. ” But a new study from the London School of Economics says 50 years of such tax cuts have only helped one group — the rich. The new paper, by David Hope of the London School of Economics and Julian Limberg of King’s College London, examines 18 developed countries — from Australia to the United States — over a 50-year period from 1965 to 2015. The study compared countries that passed tax cuts in a specific year, such as the U.S. in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan slashed taxes on the wealthy, with those that didn’t, and then examined their economic outcomes. Per capita gross domestic product and unemployment rates were nearly identical after five years in countries that slashed taxes on the rich and in those that didn’t, the study found.” • Fifty years is a good run, though. Maybe we just need to come up with something new? Like the Great Reset?

UPDATE “This billionaire warns that America’s massive wealth gap could lead to conflict” [CNN]. “Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, is deeply worried about a divided and profoundly unequal America as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take power. Dalio is warning that leaders must urgently address the toxic brew of worsening inequality, political polarization and mounting debt. ‘There will have to be a resolution of the system working for the majority of the people in which there’s productivity,’ Dalio told CNN’s Poppy Harlow in an interview airing Tuesday. ‘And that could be obtained either in a smart, bipartisan way — or it will come by greater conflict.'” • “In which there’s productivity” is doing more work than a relative clause should have to do. (And “the majority of the people” is a “who,” not a “which.” Although if you buy a lot of labor power it may be hard to remember that.)

When the world is an HR department:

UPDATE Who knew that giving people money would pull them out of poverty?

And pulling the money away from them would make them poor again. We are surrounded by such a great cloud of natural experiments!

UPDATE “Remembering Leo Panitch” [Tribune]. Pulling out this one paragraph: “In [The Making of Global Capitalism], Panitch and Gindin were trying to convey a broader point which they had inherited from Ralph Miliband: although the austerity years seemed to be ones where the dividing line was between the state and the market, the public and the private, these two were in fact intimately related – the class whose wealth shaped the market also ran the state, and they used it to structure the economy in their interests. That was the subject of Leo’s first essay for the relaunched Tribune, an appreciation of Miliband’s The State in Capitalist Society on its fiftieth anniversary.” And: “‘Defeats should not be explained away,’ [Panitch] told me on the phone one day in early 2020, ‘but they should be contextualised.’ In his final, and lasting, contribution to Tribune we discussed not only Corbynism but all of those movements which had produced so much hope on the Western Left since 2010 – from Occupy Wall Street to Syriza and Podemos and back again with Bernie Sanders.” • Here is that contribution.

News of the Wired

“Trump’s Classical Architecture Executive Order” [The American Conservative]. “My final thought is that by wading into something esoteric like this, Trump will end up accelerating the concerning trend of almost every issue becoming part of the culture war.” As Trump does in everything. More: “There are some critics of the executive order who have likely come down against it merely because Trump signed it, and trad Twitter accounts seem to like it. Likewise, people who have no love for or knowledge of classical architectural styles will decide that it’s a useful cudgel against ‘the left.’ This kind of thing doesn’t bode well. We should all want a beautiful public realm, and we should all be free to have different conceptions of what that means. Before we can demand any particular building style, perhaps we must again understand that there is such a thing as the public realm. Beautiful buildings and more broadly urban design enliven our civic and collective lives. But whether we can reverse-engineer civic comity through executive order is a different question.” • See Guillotine Watch, above. It’s also weird that TAC is the only publication in the political sphere that writes consistently about the built environment.


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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 (JU):

JU writes: “Salvador Dali tree on the Ladybug Trail, Sequoia National Park.”

Readers, I could use more photos from readers who have not contributed before! Thank you!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Ned

    Do any of the vaccines, other than preventing the body’s reaction, the symptoms, prevent the recipient from transmitting the virus?

    Is there a federal law that mandates health insurance to pay for vaccines?

    1. Mikel

      Good question.
      Not enough guidance about how and whether a vaccinated person could transmit the disease.
      One would think if it was effective in preventing transmission that would be publicized to the hilt along with the constant “highly effective” mantra.

    2. Cuibono

      no solid evidence yet but hints from oxford trials. My guess will be partially. if you are not coughing you are likely less contagious etc etc
      There is another protein based vaccine that in animal models led tp STERILIZING immunity. animal models sometimes work for humans.

    3. marku52

      I believe Moderna tested for that, and decided that it did prevent transmission. Pfizer didn’t look.

      1. DJG

        Lambert Strether: The graph of Covid that you title West Coast and Cascadia is the big states. So when I tried to click through to it, I ended up at yesterday’s sage grouse call. Something is awry.

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    AMP “has [been] largely seen it as (at best) a Google project and (at worst) an attempt to co-opt the entire web with a Google-controlled format .
    I didnt think there was any other way to view AMP other than a way of co-opting anything produced from their search results.

  3. Phacops

    Has anybody an update on the withold the vote pressure on The Squad? From the bits and pieces of pushback that I’ve heard it seems to me that they will fold like a cheap suit.

    I don’t watch the MSM, but like the good stenographers they are I doubt if it has gotten any mass media attention.

      1. Phacops

        Here is a little bit that started me down that rabbit hole https://www.businessinsider.com.au/aoc-rejects-left-wing-calls-to-force-pelosi-to-hold-medicare-for-all-vote-2020-12
        A complete rejection by AOC who suggests other secret demands that we are not privy to (such as a $15 minimum wage already supported by Biden and Pelosi) are more “realistic.”

        Then there is this
        that seems to sidestep the demand entirely based on mere speculation made possible only if Pelosi wants to commit political suicide.

        At a critical point, where the squad holds the cards for Pelosi’s future they appear to abdica the power they have.

    1. richard

      I think if any of them do agree to withhold a vote from pelosi, it will be Tlaib, because she definitely has the friendliest phone messaging system. not a time waster!! jk, but that is just my hunch anyway, and her vote of no on the joke stimulus shows more independent thinking.
      70% of the people want it, 70,000 people a year dying from lack of health care, and we have maybe 1 person over there who will insist on a vote. and everything is juuuuust fine.

    2. Zagonostra

      Only 26k signed petition on forcethevote last I checked. Seems hate keepers are successful in allowing greater awareness.

    3. Philip

      The vast majority of push back seems to be happening in the twitterverse. It has also been a hot topic for debate on many vlogs and podcasts recently.

      Rising, with Krystal and Saagar, is as close to MSM coverage as I’m aware of.

      I have yet to hear anyone provide rational cogent pushback on the merit of the proposal. What passes for pushback seems to be focused on “personality” and butt hurt – some have tried to claim that they thought of it first, others have tried to co-opt it, partially or completely.

      Love him or hate him, Jimmy Dore has been uncannily accurate on many things in the past. He is also the only real street fighting man the left has, while there are pink pussy hats aplenty.

      The Jimmy Dore Show has provided a platform for many progressives seeking elected office, including AOC on June 7, 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl5mpr7hUwc

      As to whether the Squad + + will fold like a cheap suit, weel C. AOC is certainly giving every appearance that she will.

      Some links to articles in support of #ForceTheVote:

      Briahna Joy Gray weighs in:

      by Leonard C. Goodman h/t to b @MoA An excellent article worth reading in full. The pertinent part can be found in the last 5 paragraphs.

      by Clark T. Scott

      1. Procopius

        I don’t understand why I haven’t seen a point made. If they withhold their votes, Nancy doesn’t become speaker; who does? Kevin McCarthy. Well, not necessarily, since he hasn’t announced his candidacy, but he’s the minority leader so would be the logical Republican. I don’t know much about him, but he doesn’t seem to be a wing nut or an extreme radical. Would Jimmy Dore be happy to have him as Speaker of the House when the Democrats have such a tiny majority? Does that really seem like a good idea? Remember, the Speaker is elected by “a majority of the votes cast.” And the Speaker doesn’t have to be a member of the House. Suppose Trump announced his candidacy. /covers head and runs away

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I believe the point of the excercise is to show visible and successful revenge against Pelosi for not permitting the called-for vote. If ” the Squad” can destroy Pelosi’s beautiful Swan Song, what else might “the Squad” have the power to destroy?

          You get respect in proportion to how much you can hurt and destroy your particular targets. If the “Squad” can make themselves truly feared by Mainstreamers, then more officeholders might want to join the Squad.

        2. paintedjaguar

          @Procopius – Dore has addressed this question repeatedly and according to him the “point” is specious, an attack based on fraudulent information.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0iKmxGBNqQ @ 5:32 to 8:30
          But since you’ve raised it again, how does your understanding of the electoral mechanics of the speakership differ from his?

  4. a different chris

    I would like to give a useful response to the “what do you think” on the helmet… but I can’t get past the “glove box”.

    Why are you putting your hand in there? To pick your nose is all I can come up with. Important, yes but we all usually save that for when we are alone in the car (maybe that’s why Americans are so transit resistant, that just came to me…).

    I guess maybe to eat, too but that isn’t going to work as anything that escapes your mouth would become quite a problem.

    Second comment: Trump is….is… a supporter of “classical architecture”?? WTF?? You can’t post that picture without adding a comparison picture of Trump Tower, and Mar-A-Logo too. IIIRC there was some halfway decent building in NY he pulled down to have that monstrosity built. I have no idea what could possibly be going on in the White House at this point.

    (Update: It was the Bonwit-Teller building)

    1. Darius

      Current Affairs also publishes about architecture, with a delightfully retrograde, classicist point of view. I personally support indulging narcissistic international starchitects and their billionaire patrons and other gullible parties. Just look at the Scottish Parliament Building. In a city full of enchanting, or in some cases eerily haunting, buildings and streets, it’s a disaster, like a wedding cake pulled out of the garbage 3/4 eaten. I guess in the 21st Century that passes for intellectual sophistication, and people don’t want others to think they’re unsophisticated. That would be catastrophic.

  5. DJG

    The Matt Stoller tweet has a subtweet that refers to the Democrats being mesmerized for eight years by a feckless internet-influencer wannabe.

    He is not going to get invitations to the right parties.

    Also, about half the responses to him are along the lines of “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

    It’s back! Already. Toldja so.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > mesmerized for eight years by a feckless internet-influencer wannabe.

      I think Obama thought volume one of this third autobiography would help him. I don’t think it has. And to be fair to Obama, much as that pains me, I don’t think Internet influencers were a thing in 2008. That’s why it was so quiet and calm back then.

      1. DJG

        Imagine those quiet times of 2008, when the most prominent internet influencers were Duncan Black at Eschaton, Kos doing the Kos thing (as Obama has written), and Digby. Digby’s most important prediction was that, because people don’t have enough work, there was going to be an upsurge in violence and misbehavior. Little did she know. …

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          Wow. Nostalgia. All three of those were daily reads in 2008. Now, I don’t visit any of them. Heh.

          For what it’s worth, I felt I had a pretty good idea of what Obama was going to be about back then. I’m not claiming any special insight, I just think those three were a bit more willing to call out the Dems back then.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Digby brought in David Atkins to co-ordinate censorship and ghost-censorship and etc. against commenters on her blog to stop them from criticizing Obama.

            Then she abolished her comments section completely in order to deny the counter-Obama critics that platform.

            1. paintedjaguar

              Yes, just as Hamsher at Firedoglake suppressed single-payer advocates when it mattered and Kos banned Hillary’s critics.

  6. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: “50 years of tax cuts for the rich failed to trickle down, economics study says” [CBS]. ” But a new study from the London School of Economics says 50 years of such tax cuts……

    So, I’m reading these sentences and I fully expected the next words to be:

    …..should begin to “trickle” by 2023. Expert economists and central bankers worldwide agree that while the benefits of the tax cuts have taken slightly longer than expected to materialize, the theory is solid and we are now turning the corner.”

    Imagine my surprise.

    1. jsn

      London School of Economics.

      Not the CBO, CBO’s definitely looking for the effects to start becoming evident, “next year”.

    2. skippy

      A lot of this is like the IMF, which has a reasonable research dept, but at the end of the day its the neoliberal administration that dictates policy, even if its contra to the prior.

      Same same for say the LSE et al providing evidence which is contra to decades of neoliberal dogma, forwarded by Tories and new Labour, currently administrated by the Ultras. The chances of any mob that deployed these ideological memes, past and present, being influenced by the evidence is absurd – see evolution conundrum.

      Just from the aspect that it damages the authority to shape the social narrative, admitting one was wrong on a key cornerstone of said narrative, and if being wrong for so long might mean the unwashed would question other aspects of the narrative being false – can’t have that regardless of short term outcomes E.g. good times are always around the corner.

      Just look at the intransigence on the IS-LM by Krugman and Rogf, Bill Black eviscerated their arguments, was never intended to be used as it was in the first place and compounded by being a oversimplification of what Keynes theorized – completely lacks all the nuances – monolithic totem.

      1. RMO

        Obviously the problem is that the taxes weren’t cut enough! I think the obvious thing to do in order to encourage the job creators and to liberate all that latent creativity and innovation that has been held back by big government over taxing the wealthy is a new progressive tax system: There should be a 10% rate applied starting at the $500,000 per year level which drops as income increases to 0% at the million dollar level. Above the million dollar level the government should give people money at increasing rates as their income increases with perhaps a top marginal “negative tax” rate of 1000% of income for anyone who earns more than five million dollars annually. Just think of how big a rising tide would be lifting all boats then. Why it would be a virtual tsunami of prosperity!

        1. skippy

          You can’t tax away Ideology, furthermore national taxation is currently a fought exercise due to tax haven shenanigans, you end up focusing on the have nots and not those with means to avoid it.

        2. Glen

          To be completely honest, we’ve gone PAST 0% tax rates for many of the largest corporations, they routinely GET money now:

          You paid taxes. These corporations didn’t

          Company Effective Tax Rate
          Amazon.com –1%
          Delta Air Lines –4%
          Chevron –4%
          General Motors –2%
          EOG Resources –7%
          Occidental Petroleum –1%
          Honeywell International –1%
          Deere –12%
          American Electric Power –2%
          Principal Financial –3%
          FirstEnergy –1%
          Prudential Financial –24%
          Xcel Energy –2%
          Devon Energy 1%
          DTE Energy –1%
          Halliburton –2%
          Netflix –3%
          Whirlpool –10%
          Eli Lilly –9%
          IBM –68%
          Goodyear Tire & Rubber –3%
          Penske Automotive Group –4%
          Aramark –15%
          AECOM Technology –51%
          Tech Data –5%
          Performance Food Group –4%
          Arrow Electronics –7%

          Source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

    3. The Rev Kev

      This reminds me of what they said about Trotsky. His supporters said that he was so far-sighted that that was why none of his predictions had ever come true yet.

  7. clarky90

    Re; “Could Seaweed Help Save Us From Climate Catastrophe?”

    I propose mandatory fortifification of all artisan pickles, whole grain breads, dahl, and bean salads…… with red seaweeds.

    Dear neo-liberals, can you please refrain from endlessly blaming “the cows” for “the climate catastrophy”? The Ruminant Family will be grateful.

    : Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye…….

    1. jsn

      Cows eat grass.
      Grass breaks down emitting methane.
      Cow farts methane into the atmosphere.
      Grass draws methane from the atmosphere as a nutrient helping it to grow.
      So that:
      Cows eat grass.

      It’s like the rain, no matter how long it keeps raining we won’t all drown when the world fills with water, it’s a cycle, the same water falling again and again.

      My wife would certainly like me to start eating the red seaweed though.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Here’s the kicker…

        If the cows don’t eat the grass, it still decays and emits methane.

        Seaweed definitely has potential to be used for a variety of things, no doubt. But giving cows something they aren’t accustomed to eating, like has been done with feeding them only grain/corn, often causes bad side effects. A lot of the need for antibiotics in the modern beef industry is driven by use of cheap grain for feed.

        I think it makes a lot more sense to go back to using what nature has already spent millions of years programming into the plants and animals and figure out how best to manage that arrangement.

        1. Yves Smith

          Um, they’ve already looked into the effect on cows, and the conclusion it has no adverse health impact. Cattlemen have reason to be particularly concerned!

          Seaweed is just another plant except it has lots of iodine and minerals. Humans eat it with no adverse and some positive effect. It has gelatine and the amino acids called glutamates.

          Corn is a hell of a lot more remote from the grass that cows are designed to eat than seaweed.

          1. polecat

            Well, how else are they going to be able to ingest their daily recommended dose of micro-plastics, if not from seaweed …. aside from those FDA approved skittles wrappers and such – along with the candy contained within, that many feed lots now provide?

        2. fajensen

          If the cows don’t eat the grass, it still decays and emits methane.

          Nope. To get methane, anaerobic bacteria needs to break down the grass. The aerobic kind, which are dominant in the fields, eats everything, so we only get CO2.

    2. curlydan

      I’m glad the article acknowledged what could go wrong with mass farming of seaweed. I was intrigued by the mention of using inland pools of seawater to grow seaweed. Maybe take the rising seawater, pump it into inland pools, and grow it there.

      Of course, we could just cut our meat and dairy consumption as well. Didn’t really see that mentioned.

    3. Jonathan King

      What’s neolib about classifying methane as a ubiquitous and troublesome gas with a firm link to climate change, and noting that its production might be drastically curtailed through this mechanism? :You’re going to be tough to console when livestock farming is existentially challenged by a combination of climate regulation and sharply dropping meat consumption. Got a verse for that?

      1. clarky90

        Hi JK
        You must know about the vast, vast herds of bison/ruminants that
        once covered the great plains, of all of the continents? Using ruminant fermentation, they converted roughage into fatty acids, for their own nutrition. Their feces and urine composted into the deep, black, rich (and rapidly depleting) soils, used today to grow soy beans, rape seed, corn, wheat, apples, quinoa, almonds, avocados……

        Are you an atheist? I just wondered…

  8. DJG

    Sarah Haider and that dreadful creative team.

    One of the problems of social media is that we now have many people out there with publishing software who don’t even know how to write in English. When Americans attempt writing in English, they then ape U.K. stuff: bespoke, lorry, stand down. The fabled “Oxford comma.”

    It’s as if there were no American idiom.

    The creative team document is an editorial bad dream. First, you publish pronouns first? This pronoun stuff is turning into a kind of puritanism. One asserts one’s being. One never has to do. Then, because the people who created the document don’t know English, you’ll note some weird capitalization: She/ her but He/Him. So one capitalizes Him?

    But now one does capitalize the phony races of the U S of A: Black. White. The Chicago Manual of Style (which has insisted on the serial comma for many editions, long before I ever heard the term “Oxford”) advised keeping these bogus categories in the realm of color: Lowercased. They don’t deserve any more attention than that from your eye.

    All of this capitalization is a sign of categories hardening, not loosening.

    If gender is “socially constructed”–that is, malleable and not all that important–why would it be the first thing to announce? I am reminded of people who published memoirs at age, ohhhh, 32, when the only thing that they had accomplished in life was attending a long series of AA meetings. Commendable, but not publication-worthy.

    Lately, when asked to self-categorize, I have been typing in Mediterranean. (It’s a long story–about a century long.) I’m hoping that people will think that I am a swordfish.

    1. flora

      First, you publish pronouns first?

      This form of a writer’s computer signature card is becoming common at my uni among the young faculty/lecturer/researcher cohort. My thought when seeing this notation is that it doesn’t tell me anything I need to know about the person’s academic qualifications for the position. Virtue signalling in a signature card seems out of place to me when it’s attached to work related writing or correspondence; it’s like seeing a bumper sticker stuck on the title page of a research paper. But then, I’m older than the 20 – 30 somethings who use this form, and I’m not in the HR department.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You have a point there. Before, you would have such a person note their name and a qualification such as B.A. or PhD. Those were qualifications that you had to earn and showed just what you were generally qualified to discuss. If you wanted a sheepskin, you had to get up and go work for it. This other stuff is just stuff that you were born with and says nothing about what is going between their ears except survival instincts enough to go along with the latest fad perhaps.

        1. Jokerstein

          I got a formal reprimand at Amazon for the use of he/him/Hey You!/Stop Thief! on our intranet ‘phonebook site. I also got managed out later that year due to the mandatory 10% culling. Plus being nearly 60, and not shutting the duck up about things I saw that pissed me off. 2005, when I joined, it was a great job (not going to comment on the company). 2019, when I got the dirty kick out, it was a craphole unless you were a favorite.

          Three former members of teams I managed have since joined me at my new place of employment.

          1. The Historian

            I know a guy who worked for Amazon corporate for 4 months before he chose to leave for a better job. What he’s told me about Amazon makes me wonder if it isn’t another Enron in the making, with the culling, the emphasis on stock price above all else – yea, I know Bezos says that isn’t true, but his senior staff sure believes it – even their families, etc.

            More of “The Smartest Guys in the Room”?

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Bezos hopes to exterminate NOmazon business so totally that the NOmazon-seeking customer will have nowhere else to go except to Amazon.

              I don’t smell any whiff of Enron about Amazon. Amazon smells like Standard Oil to me. I am just a layman, though and could be totally wrong.

      2. B flat

        Earlier this year my firm sent an informal, cheer leader-y email encouraging us all to put our pronouns in our signature blocks to express allieship ( hr neologism?). Iron hand/ velvet glove that fooled no one since in nyc law alleged misgendering already can trigger fines of over 100k. Since most employment lawsuits settle filing nuisance claims is just too good to pass up…

  9. richard

    Hey Lambert, I agree that dore has the right tactic! You guys may not know, but the People’s Party is also pushing for #ForceThe Vote. Obviously that’s not where the attention or energy is right now. But we’re going to keep working on until the vote, or i am at least.
    The whole process has really been a sorting and clarifying on the left, twitter and otherwise. I can tell you that debate even on the People’s Party slack has been lively. We are finding out who’s who, and what’s what. Extremely valuable and even hopeful imo.

      1. richard

        it isn’t the green party at all bc for one thing we’re populists by name and the greens aren’t. And we’ll have over 50 ballot lines. give us some time.
        I do often enjoy your insights. This isn’t one of them.

        1. Rod

          And we’ll have over 50 ballot lines. give us some time.

          TPP–Already in Maine–and i look forward to a Populist option in my state for 2022.
          The Time is Now.

          You can ignore it or You can talk about it or You can do something about it.

      2. Massinissa

        I mean in my state of Georgia the Green Party wasn’t even on the ballot this year, despite being on said ballot the last few times. Wondering if the Democrats kept them off the ballot this year here like was done in a few other states this go around. Either way, I had to write the Greens in. Was either that or vote Libertarian.

        Hell, if the Peoples Party gets on the top of the ballot next time I might actually vote for them. The Greens havn’t done a particularly great job staying on the ballot anyway, compared to, say, the aforementioned Libertarians.

  10. Pat

    Didn’t take long for my Pollyanna acquaintance to be proved wrong in expecting better when Biden took office, did it.
    Congress, you just passed a Covid relief bill more concerned with foreign influence and the deficit than relief, what are you going to do next? Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle. Sorry we’ll have to wait for their answer since the hated lame duck President gave them a massive swirly and made them look like a bunch of Leona Helmsleys. Too bad the President Elect was safely out of touch in his basement

    It’s going to be a long few years…

    1. carl

      I’m kind of enjoying the outgoing Pres poke at these self-important do-nothings; they need as much cage-rattling as possible. Watching Klobuchar sputter indignantly on Rachel Maddow was amusing, to say the least.

    2. Procopius

      Congress, you just passed a Covid relief bill more concerned with foreign influence and the deficit than relief, what are you going to do next?

      I have to look on in disbelief as everybody forgets that this is the government funding bill to prevent a shutdown, and the Covid Relief bit was tacked on.

  11. antidlc

    NYC health care worker has city’s first allergic reaction to COVID-19 vaccine


    A New York City health care worker suffered a “significant allergic reaction” to a COVID-19 vaccine — the first “serious adverse event” to the jab in the Big Apple, officials said Wednesday.

    Neither the worker’s identity nor the nature and extent of the reaction were revealed, although officials said the worker was in stable condition following unspecified treatment.

    It’s also unclear which of the two vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use — one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the other by Moderna — caused the reaction.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s also unclear which of the two vaccines…..

      Unclear???? They can’t just look it up? Probably should be keeping records of this stuff. I don’t know where I am in line, but I’m out and nobody needs to hold my place. Something tells me this entire operation is not all it’s cracked up to be.

  12. antidlc

    The Mysterious Link Between COVID-19 and Sleep

    The coronavirus can cause insomnia and long-term changes in our nervous systems. But sleep could also be a key to ending the pandemic.

    The newly discovered coronavirus had killed only a few dozen people when Feixiong Cheng started looking for a treatment. He knew time was of the essence: Cheng, a data analyst at the Cleveland Clinic, had seen similar coronaviruses tear through China and Saudi Arabia before, sickening thousands and shaking the global economy. So, in January, his lab used artificial intelligence to search for hidden clues in the structure of the virus to predict how it invaded human cells, and what might stop it. One observation stood out: The virus could potentially be blocked by melatonin.

    Melatonin, best known as the sleep hormone, wasn’t an obvious factor in halting a pandemic. Its most familiar role is in the regulation of our circadian rhythms. Each night, as darkness falls, it shoots out of our brain’s pineal glands and into our blood, inducing sleep. Cheng took the finding as a curiosity. “It was very preliminary,” he told me recently—a small study in the early days before COVID-19 even had a name, when anything that might help was deemed worth sharing.

    After he published his research, though, Cheng heard from scientists around the world who thought there might be something to it. They noted that, in addition to melatonin’s well-known effects on sleep, it plays a part in calibrating the immune system. Essentially, it acts as a moderator to help keep our self-protective responses from going haywire—which happens to be the basic problem that can quickly turn a mild case of COVID-19 into a life-threatening scenario.

    Melatonin was one of the things given to Trump at Walter Reed.

    1. Yves Smith

      This is old news. In our household, we’ve been taking zinc, Vitamin D, melatonin and a juice of half a lime per person per day (recommended by a NYC doc during an appointment, he and his buds are working on treatments) since July and some of that earlier. I gargle 2X a day with a 1% solution of povidone iodine. f you can get a scrip, progesterone is also beneficial.

  13. timbers

    Where we are now: Biden’s not…ethnic. It’s possible he will not get the kind of good will (or slack) that Obama got when he served up shit sandwiches. If he’s not careful he could trip up badly and noticably under perform the Under-performer. Plus his reduced mental factuality.

    1. Alex

      This is why Joe is offering Trump a pardon on the condition that he keeps talking about running in 2024.


  14. Cuibono

    ‘WHAT IS THE COUNTERMEASURES INJURY COMPENSATION PROGRAM?The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) is a federal program that may help pay for costs of medical care and other specific expenses of certain people who have been seriously injured by certain medicines or vaccines, including this vaccine. Generally, a claim must be submitted to the CICP within one (1) year from the date of receiving the vaccine.To learn more about this program, visit http://www.hrsa.gov/cicp/ or call 1-855-266-2427.”

    Anyone looked into the track record of payouts in this program??

    1. TheCatSaid

      Over years I’ve read the amounts are low and capped. Nothing like would be required for caring for someone disabled by a vaccine. E.g. My memory is poor but something like $120k max even for someone permanently disabled who’d have to be cared for for the rest of their life. Nothing punitive by definition as it’s a gov’t fund. I could be off in the amount but I remember my internal reaction to the amount clearly–completely inadequate in the event of any lasting bad outcome. I wish I had a link but it shouldn’t be too hard to find. The upper limits were pretty etched in stone IIRC.

  15. Louis Fyne

    As long as Brutalism/neo-Brutalism gets banned permanently, I’ll praise anything Trump signs re. architecture.

    though unironically some Trump properties are absolutely visually hideous.

    YMMV especially when it comes to stuff like this

  16. ChiGal in Carolina

    Vaccine map
    How the heck did Illinois get so many vaccinated in such a short time? Other states with similar population are not nearly as saturated with vaccine.

      1. polecat

        So, were disciples required to sign – in plasma – an agreement Not to burn down the Great Mausoleum .. in addition to bowing down and kneeling in supplication to a likeness of the God of Smooth Teleprompter Oration, before receiving the Elixir of Questionable Efficacy??

  17. epynonymous


    Trumps figuring out the powers of the president suddenly. He’s threatening to veto the stimulus bill too, according to cnn video yesterday (from youtube) Claims he wants less money to foreign govts in the bill and 2K as a stimulus check.

    It ain’t over till its over.

    Also, it seems he is pardoning people. Including some Blackwater guys. CBS calls them war criminals in today’s video report. Huh.

    1. Louis Fyne

      gee, it is like media forgot why Americans were in Iraq, who decided to drop the bombs, and who voted to rubber stamp any military action.

      Give candy to Obama and all sins are washed. That’s even better than going to confession or on a medieval pilgrammage!

      1. marym

        It’s like sometimes people get so angry about hypocrites washing the sins of politicians who preside over war crimes that they forget to be angry at one who pardons war criminals.

  18. Mark Gisleson

           Lambert on DOJ suing Walmart: ” I don’t know what’s come over Trump’s Justice Department. Given the givens, there has to be a catch, but what?”

    I hesitate to give Trump credit but this was a classic way to throw a monkeywrench into things on his way out.

    If he pushes FOR any kind of reform, it will be derisively rejected (pushing for $2000 checks was a brilliant exception to the rule).

    But by suing WalMart, he elicited a “don’t blame us — blame these people!” response. I doubt he could have predicted exactly how WalMart would respond but their options were finite and I’m sure they all worked towards the desired result: embarrassing Biden.

    If Biden’s DOJ tries to drop the suit, they’re coddling the folks who handed out the opioids.

    If the suit goes forward, the DEA looks bad for something other than prosecuting the war on drugs while at the same time creating a scenario for going after drug pushers (bad doctors but from there any push to lock up ALL drug dealers is a short one).

    Everything that can result from this suit happens on Biden’s watch.

    No matter what happens, what happens will damage Biden and quite possibly make Trump look good by comparison. Especially if Trump pardons Assange and Snowden before leaving office.

    Conjecture on my part, but I don’t think this DOJ lawsuit just happened, and that it was filed to stir the pot. If I’m right, expect more unexpected actions from the DOJ.

    Or Trump might be getting something from Purdue Pharma to take some of the heat off them by blaming the last link in the legal drug pushing business.

    1. DJG

      Indeed: A fascinating dig through various sources: Jacques Mallet du Pan was a rather reactionary Calvinist, in exile in England, who received a letter from the Chevalier de Panat, who was connected with the court of the Count of Artois in exile in London. Artois became the disastrous Louis XVIII.

      From a source that I’m not completely sure of:
      On prétend que M. de Talleyrand qualifiait ainsi les émigrés : « des gens qui n’ont rien appris ni rien oublié depuis trente ans. » MM. Henri de Latouche et Amédée Pichot ont recueilli ce propos dans l’Album perdu (1829, p. 147).

      Il n’y avait là, comme on l’a souvent fait remarquer, qu’un souvenir de ce passage d’une lettre adressée de Londres, en 1796, par Charles Louis Etienne, le chevalier de Panat, officier de marine français, à Mallet Du Pan :

      « Vous nous parlez souvent, disait-il, de la folie de Vérone. Hélas ! mon cher ami, cette folie est générale et incurable. Combien vous vous trompez en croyant qu’il y a un peu de raison dans la cour du frère ! Nous voyons tout cela de près et nous gémissons : personne n’a su ni rien oublier, ni rien apprendre. »
      (Mémoires et correspondance de Mallet Du Pan 1851, t. II, p. 196.)

      “We see all of it up close and we tremble: None of them had it in them to forget anything or to learn anything.” My translation. It isn’t that they didn’t. They couldn’t. They had no way of knowing how.

      Wikipedia says that Mallet du Pan coined the term universal suffrage. He also wrote the famous sentence, the revolution devours its children. A l’exemple de Saturne, la révolution dévore ses enfants.

  19. Phillip Cross

    “So I tweak URL for non-AMP state & iOS lets me jump to the piece in NYT app where I’m actually logged in to my subscription.”

    You really can’t get much more ‘centrist’ than having a subscription to the NYT app on an ipad?

    Well, unless there is a paid MSNBC app…

  20. Alfred

    Just a guess, but Trump’s executive order on ‘beautiful architecture’ is revenge for the recent placement on the Mall of the Museums of African American History and the American Indian — both of decidedly non-traditionalist architecture. During Trump’s ascendancy in real estate, he preferred Modernism (which still plays well to the very wealthy), and patronized the Late Modernist architect Der Scutt. It is the lower middle class that favors neoclassical (or more correctly, neobaroque) design, now seldom seen in any but a very debased form but which hearkens to the USA’s imperial adventure of the 1890s, when ‘the nation’ achieved the alleged greatness that Trump’s base would now like to see achieved ‘again’.

  21. Pelham

    Has anyone seen reliable figures on what percentage of Covid patients suffer Long Covid? It seems to me that this ought to be a huge concern.

    People who dismiss the virus as a major threat typically cite the 99.5% survival rate for all but the elderly. But if, say, a quarter of ALL sufferers end up half-disabled permanently, it would be catastrophic on a global scale.

    1. IM Doc

      Out of my own anecdotal cohort of COVID patients.

      I have 2378 in my practice – about 33% Medicare – and the rest are insurance and I actually take about 7-10% who have no insurance – and we just work things out. I long for those days again.

      I have had in my practice 287 confirmed positive COVID cases – although I suspect that number is much higher.

      I have had zero deaths.
      I have had over the year 67 of these patients ill enough to be in the hospital. I have had 3 be in the ICU.

      And I have now been having exactly 118 of this 287 total with varying degrees of what is being called Post-COVID syndrome. I have another 53 patients that had classic COVID symptoms before there was appropriate testing but are now having post COVID syndrome symptoms – I am pretty sure it is fair to include them in this group. For a total of 171 patients with post – COVID symptoms and syndrome. Of these 171, 46 are very seriously affected with quite severe damage to their hearts, lungs, brain, or psyche. Many of these are previously very athletic fit patients. I have had an additional 9 patients in this cohort who have had very severe blood clot issues either in their legs,or clots in their livers, spleen, kidney veins, and one pancreas clot. (Unfathomable – if you know anything about medicine. As a resident, I learned about these things but was told I would never see them in real life – just in books. Otherwise known in medicine as a zebra). I can be so exact with numbers because of the electronic medical record. In my opinion, that is about the only thing the electronic medical record is actually good for. I consider the EMR to be a demonic force otherwise.

      I cannot reiterate too many times, this post COVID situation is not a joke. It is real. And it is far more common than media reporting suggests. We do not even remotely have a handle on this. I feel like I did back in the AIDS years – lots of guesswork – and nothing in concrete. Way more people are suffering from this than the hospital issues that are all over the press. The blood clotting issues are straightforward if not scary. The others – we have no clue what to do at this point.

      1. skippy

        Concur and would only add the historical backdrop suggest that the discovery of this outcome will be post facto and will make things like TBI pale in comparison.

      2. skippy

        PS … from a medical stand point something that attacks or diminishes cognitive function proceeds just about any other morbidity issue due to the psychological ramifications and acerbated by the currant socioeconomic paradigm.

        1. Massinissa

          “due to the psychological ramifications and acerbated by the currant socioeconomic paradigm.”

          That’s a good point, actually. Psychological issues may be bad enough in a typical period, but with massive social issues from both this disease and the hemorrhaging employment sector, there’s going to be even more stress and anxiety going around than usual. Might make it even harder for people with psychological disorders from Covid to cope with in the near term. Possibly, at least. It’s too hard to say.

          1. skippy

            I don’t think its distribution is even considering regional or local social effects, brings some closer and others farther apart, per se our 2011 flood and the mud army vs various local or regional social resonances to this currant – natural – event.

            Think the politicization is the key factor between the two on an international level considering the geopol that proceeds it – cough china flu.

          2. Robert E Most, MD

            Re: massive social issues
            Working inpatient psychiatry half my time, I already see a change in psychiatric admissions (Small hospital but admit from northern and Western Wisconsin, and UP Michigan) particularly with young adults who previously would not likely have come into the hospital. They are usually suicidal, and community/friends/family supports are limited. I avoid starting any medications except to help sleep (some will benefit but I can leave that for later). Admissions are typically 2 to 3 days and involve a lot of informal psychotherapy. I also know that suicides are increased in nearby counties – people never seen for their problems.

      3. Louis Fyne

        wow. as i thought post-covid was more an outlier givem the anecdotal treatment by the media and silence from public health officals.

        truly bizarre that the media is hyping everything but the prevalence of post-covid disability.

        but I guess that would require talking to actual frontline physicians versus rehashing public health briefings

        1. Massinissa

          ‘truly bizarre that the media is hyping everything but the prevalence of post-covid disability.’

          It actually makes a sort of sense. The News Media is trying to attract as many eyes as possible, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to exploit peoples anxiety and fear, so they talk primarily about the scary death rates and talk less or not at all about the more persistent but less immediately frightening long term effects. Besides, we’re only 8 months into this so we don’t really have a whole lot of long term data for the news media to even report on this with any surety. Death statistics are much easier for the media to process into infotainment.

      4. fresno dan

        IM Doc
        December 23, 2020 at 5:26 pm
        Thanks for that. Its good to remember that it is NOT just death or survival, but that there is the possibility of very horrible sequelae to infection. It helps me to redouble my efforts to stay as isolated as possible until vaccinated, and even than be very careful.

      5. The Rev Kev

        Been suspecting for months now that we may end up after the Pandemic is over with a ‘Broken Generation’ with survivors suffering a range of medical problems. But will the official medical establishment recognize them or will they be the new Agent Orange victims?

        1. ambrit

          Don’t forget the Irak War veterans with issues related to exposure to depleted uranium. (Not to even think of all the Iraki Army veterans with severe exposure to those depleted uranium rounds.)

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If enough of the long-tail/ life-long post-covid people are middle class or above to add up to a population with real clout and pure-power-political ability to torture and terrorise the Medical Establishment into recognizing their condition, then coronavid may end up getting recognized as the “Lyme Disease of coronaviruses”.

      6. Massinissa

        Maybe this isn’t the best place to ask this but I don’t know where else to:

        Do we know if the vaccines can prevent these symptoms? Or will the vaccines only prevent the worst effects? I’m just sort of worried the vaccines might not prevent some of these post-covid symptoms from occurring even if it prevents most of the rest of the more major symptoms, but I know neither enough about these vaccines nor vaccines in general to know if my anxiety about this specific possibility that I mentioned is warranted or not.

        I’m not planning on taking the vaccine, at least not for at least a few months (I rarely leave the house and take classes online right now), just worried about potential societal effects if the vaccine doesn’t actually prevent some of these symptoms. Again, I don’t know enough about vaccines to know either way.

        1. skippy

          Sadly Massinissa currently there is a plethora of other environmental factors that present the same, but over a longer time line, for most, hence get swept under the rug because its like financial fail rates under 5% and thus an acceptable economic outcome.

          Its the sudden cascades that concerns some, how it effects balance sheet flows and VoM in the ramifications of investor sentiment and not over all social concerns.

        2. IM Doc

          The assumption would be for any vaccine for any pathogen that it would give the patient immunity to the infection for that particular pathogen. The assumption would be that the vaccination would engage their immune system to fight the pathogen from the instant it is encountered. The assumption would be that would protect the patient from anything the virus could do – from hospital illness to post-COVID syndrome.

          I have seen or heard nothing that would make me believe those assumptions are incorrect.

          1. skippy

            Please correct me IM Doc, but I thought it was to stave off the effects of a unchallenged infection and not that one might be still subject to lesser biological ramifications.

          2. Yves Smith

            However, there is a concern with Covid as with other cornaviruses, that immunity would be short lived. It’s only 6 months for the common cold and 34 months for MERS, where immunity last longest. Experts have been arguing the vaccine-conferred immunity would last longer by provoking a stronger immune system response, but I don’t see them providing any evidentiary support for that hope. We’ll have to see.

      7. Phil in KC

        My back-of-the-napkin calculations comes up with 25% of people testing positive for Covid having long-haul complications. If we wind up with, say. 20 million testing positive, then there could be 5 million with the long-haul syndrome. This is a population that will need significant medical resources for–who knows how long? What a sad prospect.

      8. TheCatSaid

        In your experience, are the ones with the most serious long-covid symptoms ones who also had serious symptoms in their original covid experience? I’m wondering if one could get “covid-light” followed by worse aftereffects. Though with different variants (plus unknown confounders) it might be hard to know.

  22. Glen

    I think Trump just vetoed the defense bill, and didn’t sign the relief bill after calling for more money and then flew off to Florida for his Xmas break.

    I’m expecting we’ll get to see a DC elite temper tantrum and a MSM meltdown.

    Man, I might have voted for this guy, where’s he been all this time?

    1. Louis Fyne

      IMO Jared and ivanka were the two voices who pushed the Establishment party line in the White House and prevented Trump from going Full Trump.

      for better or worse.

      and if one is happy Trump is gone, send flowers to Jared as the campaign and early covid response in Jan-Feb was all on him

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I am only going on memory here . . . . but didn’t Jaredie-poo try in all seriousness to see if a covid-relief system could be designed to with-hold all such relief from the “Blue States” and make it “Red State only”? Or am I wrong?

        And if we are to remember Kushner-poo’s “input into early corona planning”, we should have all the details of his ideas and involvement, in all particularized granularity, so we can decide if they were more good than bad, or more bad than good.

  23. Tom Doak

    I understand that 90% of the public would prefer land to be used for a public park instead of a golf course.

    The only problem is that public parks require (a) paying to buy the land and (b) paying to maintain it, and for many communities this is not considered a priority use of tax dollars. Meanwhile, a golf course provides green space to the community, while the golfers pay to keep it maintained.

    There is also such a thing as a public golf course, owned and maintained by the city, for the use of all, with lower fees because the city bought the land.

    1. John A

      Golf courses use an incredible amount of fertiliser and water to keep the greens green and the fairways fair. The game supposedly started in Scotland on untamed, regularly rainswept moorland shared with sheep. Makes far more sense to play golf there, than in places like Spain and presumably the southern US states.

    2. Basil Pesto

      I pointed out in the comments in which this story was first mentioned that this was an affordable community course (and, in response to John below, whose observations are overly general, by a typically environmentally conscientious designer from what I gather). The course doesn’t appear to be exclusive at all. I just don’t really see this as a guillotine-worthy story.

  24. The Rev Kev

    ‘Women of ‘SNL’ Sing ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ to Robert Mueller.’

    I don’t know where Lambert finds stuff like this. What is wrong with those people? They are supposed to be adults. Grown ups. Have they so quickly forgotten that demented, forgetful old man that presented his findings only a few months ago (or lack of actually)? Do they not know when they have been gaslighted? What is the bet that they have already signed up with the Russians-have-just-given-us-a-digital-Pearl-Harbour story.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You’re right. I missed the older date in the original article. Wonder still how they feel now about the whole thing. Probably forgotten who Robert Mueller even was. Mueller? Whodat?

        1. Wukchumni

          I was always so suspicious of Mueller in the evasive manner of pronouncing his first vowel movement. Things just didn’t sit right.

        2. Glen

          Embarrassed I would hope. It’s not like they don’t routinely do skits that flop a bit – I’m fine with that, but they seem to be embracing one side of the political spectrum too much when really all of the “main stream” political parties should be ridiculed for being a complete mess.

          I was watching a Youtube vlog where they were discussing the latest bill for $600 only to have a guy from Australian comment that they had received $24K since the lock downs had started and was astonished at what was happening in America.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Yeah, I’m from Australia too and am looking at what is happening in the US with some disbelief. I think that the US is the only developed country that has not supported its people through the pandemic but have thrown them to the wolves. Trillions to the wealthiest elite in the country and left-over scraps for everybody else – if that. Some of your leaders like Pelosi and McConnell are just sociopaths.

            1. skippy

              Yeah our situation without covid is a concern, but from the wide pool of my Oz contacts regardless of ideological/political affiliation is singular in why Americans are being treated like cattle in a feed lot with some near term profit motive on how they are attended too.

              I have fine Catholic, English Protestant, and a few new divinity neighbors, but at the end of the day would – give – and promote policy to forward social cohesion – good will regardless of said distinctions.

    1. polecat

      I don’t see any votive candles on that screenshot. Did they all melt away into gibberish and obscurity, just like their supposed subject of veneration?

      I mean, C’mon! There’s gotta be a Goodwill somewhere nearby to fetch on the cheap!

      1. Glen

        That’s good to hear. Intel has been such a powerhouse for so long doing what I regard as key – THEY ACTUALLY MAKE THINGS.

    1. BrianC - PDX

      The days of intel being a technology driver have been over for a very long time.

      Like most American companies these days they are finance driven. The MBA/Marketing guys are in charge now and I don’t think we’ll be seeing any big bets from them in the future.

      Just my observations from watching them for the last ~35 years in the PNW.

  25. hermeneut

    Regarding the Sarah Haider/Christopher F. Rufo tweet — I participated in this workshop as one of thousands of Seattle Public School teachers attending start-of-the-year mandated trainings. The slide in question introduced the facilitators of one hour-long portion of that day’s anti-racism trainings. The facilitators are school teachers, not administrators. These teachers, who planned and facilitated this training with only a few hours of paid preparation, chose to self-identify their ethnicity and gender because they felt it was consistent with the themes of their particular training: they were self-identifying for pedagogical, not policy reasons. This was not the HR department; they were not creating a norm of “race-labeling” for Seattle Public Schools or anyone else. In spirit, this self-identification was much closer to say the facilitators of a cooking workshop introducing themselves by their favorite family dishes.

    There’s much that could be honestly discussed about how these facilitators chose to introduce themselves, but that’s not why I wanted to post this comment. I love this blog and yet abhor how much Twitter is cited within the Water Cooler. Naked Capitalism is vital precisely because of its authentic inquiry into the uses and abuses of power. This inquiry requires the intrepid, informed, and critical analysis of contemporary events and trends within their relevant context. Twitter utterly fails to provide context and so is usually detrimental to this blog’s important inquiry. If you think Christopher F. Rufo needs a platform beyond his posts at The Heritage Foundation, Discovery Institute, Manhattan Institute and other anti-democratic institutions, then please show your readers enough respect to identify him as such. By posting tweets of medical scientists sharing cutting-edge research on the same plane as right-wing trolls manipulating fear, you distort what I find invaluable in Naked Capitalism.

    I’ll continue to read and support Naked Capitalism so long as it remains committed to authentic inquiry, but why does Water Cooler lean so heavily on a corporate platform whose product so often runs counter to this blog’s mission and import? I pose this question not as a consumer of your product — I trust you will craft your blog however you please! But I do think you’re providing a vital service to your reader community, and it’s in the spirit of this community and its values that I question your over-use of Twitter.

    Thank you for considering my thoughts, and best wishes to everyone creating and reading this wonderful blog.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Your comment seems to me to have two parts, and I will answer the second one first.

      > why does Water Cooler lean so heavily on a corporate platform whose product so often runs counter to this blog’s mission and import?

      Because TINA. There is no other venue with an equivalent intersection of press, politicians, activists, the sharing sort of professional (Interfluidity and several MMT blogs spring to mind), and… interesting personalities (like Sid and Fern’s staff). And it all happens in near-real time. Nobody would like a return to the blogosphere 2003-2006 than I would, which had all the functionality of Twitter and more, without being dominated by a Silicon Valley behemoth, but that’s not no offer now. I need the content. The readers need the content. And so I use Twitter. I mean, would you prefer Facebook?

      > The slide in question introduced the facilitators of one hour-long portion of that day’s anti-racism trainings. The facilitators are school teachers, not administrators. These teachers, who planned and facilitated this training with only a few hours of paid preparation, chose to self-identify their ethnicity and gender because they felt it was consistent with the themes of their particular training: they were self-identifying for pedagogical, not policy reasons. This was not the HR department; they were not creating a norm of “race-labeling” for Seattle Public Schools or anyone else.

      I’m not sure that “HR’s not doing it” is relevant. See Taibbi’s “The American Press Is Destroying Itself” for the sort of scenario I have in mind. As far as Haider, Haider wrote: “Oh god. Please, please don’t let this become the norm….” I agree. Do you?

  26. anon in so cal

    > Covid early days

    Surprised the Los Angeles Time published this article. ETA: but now the election is over.

    “…Many leading infectious disease specialists here underestimated the fast-moving outbreak in its first weeks and months, assuming that the United States would again emerge largely unscathed. American hubris prevented the country from reacting as quickly and effectively as Asian nations did, Adalja said….

    Back in January, Dr. William Schaffner was one of many who warned that the real danger to Americans was the common flu, which can kill up to 61,000 Americans a year.

    “Coronavirus will be a blip on the horizon in comparison,” said Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “The risk is trivial.”

    Dr. Paul Offit, who led development of a rotavirus vaccine, predicted that the coronavirus, like most respiratory bugs, would fade in the summer. “I can’t imagine, frankly, that it would cause even one-tenth of the damage that influenza causes every year in the United States,” Offit told Christiane Amanpour in a March 2 appearance on PBS….”


    Los Angeles County’s daily totals:

    16,525 new cases and 145 new fatalities

    COVID-19 Daily Update:December 23, 2020New Cases: 16,525 (663,954 to date)New Deaths: 145 (9,153 to date)Current Hospitalizations: 6,155 pic.twitter.com/t0AjQjIA5v— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) December 23, 2020

  27. freedomny

    My sister (who is an MD) just got the Covid vaccine and joyfully texted fam that ‘life will be getting back to normal”…..and yet here I am, so cynical that I feel like the Grinch.

    I wish the NC community peace, grace and serenity in the coming year and am grateful to have found this site.

  28. fwe'theewell

    Hey NC, I wanted to post the lyrics of It Came Upon A Midnight Clear as a holiday song dedication, but I kept getting intoobsive thoughts at “angels touch[ing] their harps of gold.”

    Instead, I dedicate one of my favorite things to read, John Berger’s Into Their Labors Trilogy


    An interesting link I will check out: Sensing Class in [Berger’s Trilogy]

    “Proletarianization, for instance, is extremely important in understanding the logic and substance of working-class identification, yet, curiously, much criticism of working-class culture begins from the perspective that the working class is always already formed, and that the forming somehow ultimately detracts from the identification of working-class existence itself. This is, I believe, a mistake not just in understanding class, but in analyzing the experience of class that is vital in cultural expression. The assumption that the proletariat is, that it has being, is belied by the process of being that attends it, including the ontology of work to which this project has already alluded.”.

  29. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

    But what is government itself…

    I always read those quotes and look for similar.

    Howzabout one of my recent finds from “The Age of Reason” by Harold Nicholson on Joseph Addison (1672-1719)?

    Although he made it evident that he himself that possessed Tory sympathies, he assured his readers that men who allowed party passions to affect their reason were ‘poor narrow souls’ and even ‘despicable wretches’. Party animosity, he contended, ‘destroyed even common sense’.


  30. martell

    Here’s a story about the recent armed occupation of a small part of Portland.

    I myself unexpectedly encountered this bunch while out running errands. I found my route blocked by a group of armed men, masked and dressed in black from head to toe.

    1. kareninca

      Oh my God. That is a must-read.

      From within the account:
      “The side streets were lined with tires and wood that they were soaking in gasoline and lighter fluid in anticipation that, when the police would come, they were going to light it on fire and create a big flaming barricade to prevent them from coming in.

      They had bonfires on and adjacent to our property next to the gasoline-soaked tires. We were asking them to put it out—and they refused to do so and would yell at us.”

      And the conclusion of the (terrified) person who lived in the neighborhood:

      “If you want the city to do things, you either have to get a bunch of guns and take over a neighborhood and threaten violence, or you go find Wheeler in real life or Commissioner Dan Ryan or whoever else and you surround their home and you scream at them and harass them until they give you what you want. Otherwise, they hide from you.”

      This should help with gun sales all around, not that help is presently needed.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The only way I would dare to challenge a violent mob-occupation like this would be as part of a citizens group with more people and more guns and ammo than they had . . . . and a willingness to keep killing them until survivors ( if any) got the point and left. And then we would have to be prepared to kill any that came back for revenge.

        But I certainly wouldn’t challenge them on my own.

        But how can people move out of an area targeted for this kind of violent mob occupation? Who would buy a house in such a targeted zone? It may get to the point where people who feel they have to flee for their own safety will have to flee the Balkan way. Burn their own house down before leaving and plow their own yard/lawn/etc. with a non-removable mixture of salt and maybe oil and atrazine . . . . so that no mob can ever benefit from the property.

  31. drumlin woodchuckles

    I suspect ( though I don’t know) that disposable health and medical gear is a fraction of all the disposable everything in the world. Disposable health and medical gear is inherently more sterilizable or keepable-sterilized-and-aseptic than the glass, brass and steel non-disposable gear it has replaced that it is inherently safer.

    For those two reasons, I would like to see disposablility banished from everything else first, and then only from health and medical gear if Earth cannot even bear the burden of health-and-medical-ONLY-gear being disposable. And society could force much of the material modern paper/plastic/etc. gear made from to be ” re-cyclable”, its recyclement to be supported with taxes and fees as onerous as necessary to pay for recycling the inherently cost-imposing recyclement of health and medical gear waste.

    I say that as a pharmacy technician which is admittedly not Front Line. If any Health and Medical Front Liners have a different view, I will certainly consider it respectfully.

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