2:00PM Water Cooler 7/16/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Another bird species spotted in Russia — [waves!] — but this audio is from the Portugal. It’s hard to believe there’s a species called the “Thick Knee.” With barking dog.

* * *


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching….

Vaccination by region:

Flattened, interestingly. This after only 48% of the US population is fully vaccinated. And our public health establishment has discredited non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking, and has been fighting treatment tooth and nail, as hard as they fought aerosols, good job.

Case count by United States regions:

Every day, the non-triumphalist black line goes a little higher. We should know the impact of travel and all the family gatherings by July 4 + 14 call it July 21 or so. And of course summer camp, Bible School, etc. (Note that these numbers are if anything understated, since the CDC does not collect breakthrough infections unless they involve hospitalization, and encourages states and localities not to collect the data either.)

MN: “A St. Paul postal worker begged for stronger COVID protections. She ended up spending 6 weeks in the hospital” [Minnesota Public Radio]. The headline is deceptive. This is the story: “According to the USPS’ official count, about 200 of the St. Paul facility’s 1,500 employees have fallen sick with COVID-19. But state Health Department records obtained by ProPublica show that the Postal Service often missed or didn’t disclose cases. The state tracked clusters of cases linked to the St. Paul building, many of which do not show up in the USPS’ count…. As ProPublica and the USPS inspector general later detailed, the USPS doesn’t have enough health care staff to identify and quarantine every exposed worker. The inspector general also reported that the agency had no strategy to fill those roles. At the time, 21 percent of the USPS’ nurse positions were vacant. The nurses are responsible for interviewing sick workers, doing contact tracing to identify exposed workers and clearing people to come back to work.”

Covid cases top ten states: for the last four weeks (hat tip, alert reader Lou Anton):

Missouri coming up on the outside.

NEW From CDC: “Community Profile Report July 15 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

Last release:

(Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better. This chart updates Tuesdays and Fridays, presumbly by end-of-day.)

Test positivity:

South running away with the field.

Hospitalization (CDC):

No bad news yet.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

Bad news.

Covid cases worldwide:

Every region is trending up.

* * *


“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

Biden Administration

“GOP messaging guru Luntz advised Biden’s Covid task force” [Politico]. “‘The cable networks in particular were using language that was not helping the cause,’ Slavitt said in an interview. ‘[Luntz’s] whole point is that, you hear CNN say ‘Republicans, conservatives aren’t getting vaccinated, they’re vaccine hesitant.’ It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and it creates a wedge, it talks down to people. And that was not helpful.’ … While Slavitt said Luntz’s research was useful, he also said that the framework he provided was one the White House had already been adopting. In the end, it solidified their belief that a hyper-local strategy to encourage vaccinations — which included having doctors reach out to their patients about the vaccine — was the right one…. ‘I don’t know why they came up with this strategy, I don’t know why they recommended it. The likelihood of success is extremely low,’ said Luntz. ‘You have to either know the person or trust a person. Someone who shows up at your door isn’t someone you know or trust.'” • Anyhow, cable and the cable-adjacent are still doing exactly the same thing, which is not likely to be forgotten, and it doesn’t seem that Luntz and the White House meshed all that well. I do give points for effort, however!

“Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, July 15, 2021” [The White House]. Psaki: “We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation. We’re working with doctors and medical professionals to connect — to connect medical experts with popular — with popular — who are popular with their audiences with — with accurate information and boost trusted content. So we’re helping get trusted content out there…. [W]e have empowered, engaged, funded local voices, because they are often the most trusted voices — doctors, medical experts, clergy — you know, people who are members of — civic leaders in communities.” Oh, so the “trusted voices” are funded. Good to know.

Lambert here: If what the White House is doing now had been in place in early 2020, anything other than the following conventional wisdom from “trusted sources” would have been censored: Travel bans don’t work (they do), masks are not needed (they are), and covid is transmitted by touch (it’s airborne). For example, here is what the “trusted voices” were saying when Covid in the United States was just getting rolling:

Anything else would be “disinformation,” and censored. IMNSHO, the aerosol thought collective never would have caused the paradigm shift to airborne transmission under Psaki’s regimen, because a lot of that war was conducted on Twitter. The pushback on aerosols from WHO, CDC, the infection control and public health communities was extraordinary, but if they had managed to get the Federal government to declare that aerosol transmission advocacy was misinformation, that would have stopped the shift cold. And a lot of lives would have been lost.

“Child tax credit payments started hitting bank accounts today. Here’s what you need to know.” [NBC]. “Most of the roughly 39 million families who are eligible have filed taxes recently or received stimulus checks and do not need to take any additional steps to receive the monthly benefit. But an estimated 4 million to 8 million eligible children are at risk of missing out because their families are not required to file taxes or they have not done so. Non-filing households tend to be more vulnerable and the most in need of assistance. And although the Biden administration has rolled out a number of online portals where families can update their information, cumbersome government websites, language and technology barriers, and a general lack of public awareness threaten the impact of the program.” • Using the Internal Revenue Service for this purpose is a kludge. Though I grant building a new system is something we probably cannot do. So here we are.

“Senate nears pivotal vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal that’s still unwritten” [Politico]. “The Senate left town Thursday with the fate of a bipartisan infrastructure package uncertain, despite Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s attempt to force it forward by advancing a floor vote next week. Schumer has scheduled the vote for next Wednesday, a hardball tactic Democrats hope will allow them to pass President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda before the August recess. But negotiators face several outstanding issues, both on funding mechanisms and spending priorities…. Several Senate Republicans read Schumer’s Wednesday vote as an effort to sink the bipartisan talks, given the absence of legislative text and the likelihood that members will not yet have a score from the Congressional Budget Office by Wednesday. ‘Why in the world would you vote for something that hasn’t been written yet,’ asked Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a McConnell confidante. ‘I don’t know whether Sen. Schumer is just setting this all up to fail so he can then move to the budget. That may part of his Machiavellian scheme.'”

“Student loan forgiveness: Biden promise to forgive $10,000 in debt remains unfulfilled” [Yahoo Finance]. “Joe Biden’s campaign website for the 2020 presidential election stated that a President Biden would “forgive a minimum of $10,000/person of federal student loans,” which would erase all of the student debt for 15 million of the nearly 45 million American borrowers. Nearly six months into his presidency, that promise remains unfulfilled.” • Pissant to begin with, and now less than that. Idea: I could put the six hundred bucks Joe Biden owes me toward my student loan!

Democrats en Deshabille

UPDATE “A Massachusetts Democrat Flush With Pharma Cash Echoes Industry Talking Points” [HuffPost]. “The group of centrist Democratic lawmakers who announced their concerns in May about H.R. 3, House Democrats’ prescription drug affordability bill, featured plenty of the usual suspects, including Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), who received the seventh-most contributions from pharmaceutical industry PACs and led an unsuccessful pressure campaign to stop the Biden administration from supporting a waiver of international patent rules for the COVID-19 vaccine. But politics watchers were more surprised to see Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.), a freshman from a liberal district, as the lead co-author, along with Peters, of the group’s letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The Auchincloss-Peters letter echoed the pharmaceutical industry’s familiar concerns that H.R. 3, a bill that would empower Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, would discourage research and development. Auchincloss, Peters and eight of their colleagues instead called for a bipartisan bill that would “preserve our invaluable innovation ecosystem.”…. Federal campaign finance data provides a potential explanation for Auchincloss’ prominent role in the effort to make H.R. 3 friendlier to prescription drug makers. During his 2020 run, Auchincloss benefited from the support of a super PAC ― a rarity for a first-time candidate competing for an open seat ― that was funded in significant part by figures with close ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The single-largest donor to the pro-Auchincloss super PAC, Experienced Leadership Matters, was Dr. Laurie Glimcher, Auchincloss’ mother, who gave $105,000 of the group’s $575,000 haul. Glimcher, president of Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, holds a seat on the board of directors of GlaxoSmithKline, a British pharmaceutical giant. Patrick Ronan, CEO of Greenleaf Health, which consults pharmaceutical companies seeking FDA approval for drugs, contributed $5,000 as well. (Auchincloss’ sister Kalah is an executive vice president at the company.)” • Ka-ching.

UPDATE “The Left’s Curious Silence About the Medicare For All Demonstrations” [Counterpoint]. “On July 24th there will be a long overdue national mobilization for Medicare For All, with a big event planned in Washington D.C. while 40+ other cities across the nation have marches and/or rallies planned by local coalitions of progressive groups. Such an event would normally be enthusiastically supported by all sections of the Left. Interestingly, however, the lead-up to the mobilization has exposed deep divides, proving that universal health care isn’t actually a point of unity — but one of real controversy among Leftists. Some of the biggest names on the Left have been noticeably absent in their promotion — or even mention — of the demonstrations, while some of the biggest politicians and organizations linked to the Medicare For All movement have seemingly united to shun the national day of action.”

UPDATE “Neal Paid Leave Plan Excludes 42% of New Mothers” [People’s Policy Project]. “To be eligible for paid leave under the old FAMILY Act proposal, you need to have worked at least 6 quarters, worked for the lesser of 20 quarters or half the quarters since your 21st birthday, and worked in the last 12 months. According to the CBO, this work history requirement would render 30 percent of new parents ineligible for the FAMILY Act’s paid leave benefit. More recently, an alternative to the FAMILY Act, which was proposed by Representative Richard Neal, has been gaining traction in the House. Under this alternative, individuals are eligible for paid leave if they ‘have had earnings in the 30 days prior to the first caregiving day as well as during the 8-calendar-quarter period preceding their caregiving leave.’” After calculations: “Using this rough method, 42 percent of women who give birth in a given year will not be eligible for paid leave under Neal’s plan because they do not satisfy the 30-day work requirement rule. For various technical reasons, I have not tried to do the same analysis for fathers, but I would suspect the percentage is lower for them. Needless to say, this is a really bad way to design a program and also comically inattentive to the realities of pregnancy. For many women who are employed in physical or hazardous jobs, working in the last 30 days of pregnancy is extremely difficult if not impossible.” • Smearing Alex Morse to re-elect Richard Neal is already paying dividends!

Republican Funhouse

UPDATE “Top House antitrust Republican forms ‘Freedom from Big Tech Caucus'” [The Hill]. “Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, is forming a new ‘Freedom From Big Tech Caucus’ along with a handful of other GOP lawmakers who supported antitrust bills advanced by the committee last month, the congressman announced Friday. Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) will serve as co-chairman of the caucus. Other founding members of the caucus include Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Burgess Owens (R-Utah) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). The caucus will aim to unite Republicans in Congress to ‘rein in Big Tech’ through ‘legislation, education, and awareness.’ The announcement outlines a focus on antitrust reform, including restoring ‘the free and dynamic digital economy,’ promoting ‘competition and innovation,’ and supporting small businesses. Additionally, the caucus said it will aim to protect privacy and data rights, protect children from harmful content online and ‘end political censorship.'” • I wish there were some sort of metric for Google’s crapification….

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE 1.4 million 501(c)(3)’s seems like rather a lot:

If we want to euthanize the NGOs, this might be a good start.

Stats Watch

Retail: “Headline Retail Sales Marginally Improved in June 2021” [Econintersect]. “Retail sales marginally improved according to US Census headline data. The three-month rolling average declined. Year-over-Year growth also declined due to the comparison to reopening after the lockdown period one year ago…. Retail sales have fully recovered their pre-virus levels overall. The real test of strength is the rolling averages which slowed. Overall, this report is considered about the same as last month.”

* * *

UPDATE Apparel: “100-Teen Poll: What Is Actually Cool to Buy in 2021? We surveyed high schoolers around the country. Here,19 takeaways about how teens shop.” [New York Magazine]. I confess that reading The Strategist is one of my guilty pleasures. However, this is interesting: “A substantial difference between this year’s poll and the one we did two years ago is that teens, when asked to name the people who most inspire their shopping habits, seemed far less interested in big celebrities and influencers with millions of followers (like, say, Devon Lee Carlson). Instead, they tended to bring up smaller social-media presences with follower counts in the 10,000 to 200,000 range. We talked to a handful of these so-called micro-influencers….”

UPDATE The Bezzle: From the “founder” of Dogecoin:

UPDATE The Bezzle: “Facebook’s alternative facts” [Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic]. “Early in the company’s history, Zuckerberg defended his “real names” policy by saying that anyone who objected was ‘two-faced.’ It’s hard to overstate how deranged this is: surely Zuckerberg presents a different facet of his identity to his spouse, his kids, his shareholders, his co-workers and the press. It’s not ‘two faced’ to talk to your boss differently from how you talk to your lover. However, by forcing billions of Facebook users to confine themselves to a single identity, Zuckerberg does make it easier to target them with ads. This “two-faced” business is just an attempt to will a radical, sociopathic norm into existence. This attitude permeates Facebook’s corporate conduct: remember the ‘pivot to video?’ Facebook wanted to compete with Youtube – the number two supplier of display advertising, after FB itself – so it declared that videos were very popular on Facebook. Not that videos would be popular – they were already popular. The company told its media and ad partners that they were missing out on a gold-rush because FB users loved watching FB videos. Media companies literally laid off their newsrooms in order to hire video production teams based on this intelligence. The entire media- and ad-ecosystem reoriented itself around Facebook’s market intelligence. There was just one problem. Facebook was lying. FB users weren’t watching its videos, and Facebook knew it. The company was just betting that if it convinced media companies to spend billions making videos, its users would watch them. This fraud devastated the media world, first by triggering waves of layoffs of experienced journalists to make way for young video producers, then by killing or hobbling their employers and triggering another wave of mass layoffs. Zuckerberg knows it’s not ‘two-faced’ to show different parts of yourself to different people. Facebook knew that no one was watching FB videos. They were just betting that they could fake it until they made it – the core tenet of gaslightism.” • Even more amazing: Media executives actually believed Zuckerberg. Or perhaps they already wanted to gut the newsrooms, and Zuckerberg just handed them the excuse. After all, they didn’t pivot back to reporting, did they?

Manufacturing: “FAA orders inspections of Boeing 737 cabin air sensors” [Seattle Times (Allan)]. “More than 2,500 Boeing Co. 737 jets in the U.S. will have to be inspected after the company and regulators discovered a potential flaw in a pressure switch that could lead to pilots becoming incapacitated. The Federal Aviation Administration said airlines and operators should inspect cabin pressure switches, which help ensure there’s sufficient air to breathe as planes climb to higher altitudes. The failure rate of the switches is ‘much higher than initially estimated’ and poses a safety risk, the FAA said in a directive posted to the Federal Register website Thursday.” • Not sure if this second story is connected–

Manufacturing: “Valve troubleshooting led to crew incapacitation aboard Qantas 737-300F” [Flight Global]. “After the aircraft landed, it was discovered that the original fault was related to a sensor in the overheat detection system. It was also discovered that the aircraft had significant air leaks in various systems. These, added to the crew’s troubleshooting efforts, caused the cabin’s air supply to fall.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 25 Fear (previous close: 29 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 37 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 16 at 1:55pm.

The Biosphere

“The Truth Behind the Amazon Mystery Seeds” [The Atlantic] (NC, August 2020). Yes, it was a brushing scam. As almost every story at the time pointed out! But: “If true, this raises a different question, one that may be more about contemporary media storytelling than agronomic perils: How and why was the great Chinese-seed mystery of the summer of 2020 ever allowed to seem like a mystery at all? As I tried to figure out what happened last summer, I came across one place where two opposing forces—the imperative of telling the simple, apparent truth, and the impulse toward the rich gratifications of fever and froth—ran up against each other in a way that I found unexpectedly delightful: the Facebook page of the Washington State Department of Agriculture. This page had somehow become the clearinghouse for reports of seeds from all over the country; a single matter-of-fact post on July 24 received more than 22,000 comments. People shared photos; people shared jokes (“who had magic seeds on their 2020 apocalypse bingo card?”); people freaked out. And, with calmness and fortitude, the page’s moderator strove to moderate…” • Entertaining!

Health Care

“SARS-CoV-2 test positivity rate in Reno, Nevada: association with PM2.5 during the 2020 wildfire smoke events in the western United States” [Nature]. Results: “We found that a 10 µg/m3 increase in the 7-day average PM2.5 concentration was associated with a 6.3% relative increase in the SARS-CoV-2 test positivity rate, with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 2.5 to 10.3%. This corresponded to an estimated 17.7% (CI: 14.4–20.1%) increase in the number of cases during the time period most affected by wildfire smoke, from 16 Aug to 10 Oct.” Significance: “Wildfire smoke may have greatly increased the number of COVID-19 cases in Reno.” From the Discussion: “In addition to the mechanisms mentioned previously, where PM2.5 enhances the pathogenicity of viruses by modifying immune responses and facilitating the transport of the virus into the lungs, a third possible mechanism specific to SARS-CoV-2 may involve the ACE2 receptor, the molecular target for the virus. Elevated concentrations of ambient nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM2.5 result in over-expression of the ACE2 receptor in respiratory epithelial cells, possibly increasing the pathogenicity of the virus. It is unclear whether this mechanism requires long- or short-term exposure to air pollution, or whether in vivo effects might differ from in vitro effects. However, in vitro studies suggest that relatively short exposure to PM2.5 may induce cellular changes and inflammations.” • Sounds like the measures to resist PM2.5 are similar to the only ones I can think of for Delta: Double mask, Badger seal, box fans. Additional suggestions welcome (since I have no specific knowledge of wildfire smoke).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

UPDATE “Sharpton, Crump shifting focus to white teen killed by police in Arkansas” [The Hill]. “The Rev. Al Sharpton and civil rights attorney Ben Crump are shifting their focus to a white teenager who was killed by police in Arkansas, after advocacy efforts that largely focused on Black individuals who have died during police encounters…. Crump, who represented Floyd’s family after the incident, has also represented the families of Breonna Taylor and Michael Brown, both of whom were fatally shot by police. Sharpton and Crump are now drawing attention to the death of 17-year-old Hunter Brittain, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop on June 23. An officer was relieved of his duties earlier this month after failing to turn on his body camera during his alleged involvement in Brittain’s death. Crump told The Washington Post in an interview that Brittain’s death will help muster ‘greater interracial support’ amid a push to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in Congress because ‘his blood is now on this legislation, just as Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s blood is.'”

“Young Black Activists Helped Change The State Flag. They Intend To Change The State.” [Mississippi Free Press]. “BLM Sip organizer Timothy Young, 22, said he wants people to know that their work did not stop after the crowd dispersed on June 6, 2020, or after the state flag came down several weeks later….Moments after stepping off the stage, Young received an offer to interview for a position at Mississippi Votes—a youth-led voting-rights organization that works to empower young voters and increase access to democracy in the Magnolia State. He now works there as a digital content creator.” • A-a-a-n-d right into an NGO.

Class Warfare

“”Fat Back & Biscuits”: On Clyburn, CRT, & Capitalist Realism (Part 1) (podcast) [Briahna Joy Gray and Virgil Texas, Bad Faith]. • This is absolutely terrific, and it’s also great to hear sharp Marxist thinkers who are not Adolph Reed (much as I love Adolph Reed). This podcast with Boots Riley is very good too. Riley has interesting things to say about Occupy Oakland (before black bloc poisoned the well). From Grey:

“Interview With Professor Adolph Reed” (interview) [Matt Taibbi, TK News]. • I know this is in Links, but I wanted to pair it with the above too. I also do think that Reed, despite or perhaps because of the fact that he’s very funny (“I’m prepared to grant that the DiAngelo’s heart is in the right place — at least, on the left side of her chest”) is also just a little bit of a trickster. I don’t think he really answers Halper’s first question, for example. Interesting nonetheless!

“In the Image of Jonestown” [The Nation]. “The images of good dissent are frequently segregated: Good oppressed people make a good peaceful protest, and good white people make some good difficult decisions. After a hard night of deliberation, Lincoln frees the slaves. The utopian visions that fall under the most scrutiny are always the ones where people from different backgrounds rise up together in the name of a radical reimagining of the world. The paradox is that while the scrubbed-history utopians call for ‘unity’ or ‘togetherness,’ they also quietly disqualify every example of solidarity, whether Harper’s Ferry, the Rainbow Coalition, or the foot washers of Cary…. Today, history itself has become a front in the culture war. Several state legislatures have passed vaguely written laws that effectively ban the teaching of this country’s racist past. Videos of concerned parents screaming at school boards about critical race theory go viral every day. These efforts should be called what they are: an attempt to turn the narrative of last summer from an organic uprising of millions of Americans from all racial and class backgrounds into a conspiracy run by intellectuals, Marxists, and the progressive elite. It’s incumbent on anyone who cares about emancipatory politics to resist these laws and the chaos they will unleash, but if we are ever to get out of these endless culture wars, we must also rethink the space these linear histories take up and ensure that we’re not just replacing one fully determinative, alluringly symmetrical narrative with another. We must stop thinking that the problems of the present can only be understood by finding corollaries in the past. Not everything is Jonestown, including Jonestown.”

News of the Wired

“An AI Bourdain Speaks From the Grave” [Kottke.org]. “I have been trying not to read too much about Morgan Neville’s documentary Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain before I have had a chance to watch it, but the few things I have read about it have given me some pause. From Helen Rosner’s piece about the film drawn from an interview with Neville: ‘there were three quotes there I wanted his voice for that there were no recordings of,’ Neville explained. So he got in touch with a software company, gave it about a dozen hours of recordings, and, he said, ‘I created an A.I. model of his voice.’ In a world of computer simulations and deepfakes, a dead man’s voice speaking his own words of despair is hardly the most dystopian application of the technology. But the seamlessness of the effect is eerie.'” • Kill it with fire.

So how many stories in Inc. are written by an AI:

I know my emotional intelligence is hardly pure, like (I would imagine) most humans. Sheesh.

“7 Reasons We Love Rembrandt on His Birthday” [artnet]. “6. He liked dogs.” • 1642:

* * *

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: “The Giant Juniper in Mineral King-Sequoia NP, 8 feet wide at eye level (25 feet around in circumference). It’s probably 1,500 years old i’d guess, and has quite the perch on a small island of dirt in an ocean of granite.”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Howard

    I wonder if an A.I. could tell the difference between “pure emotional intelligence” and extremely skillful sociopathy.

    1. GramSci

      To my way of thinking, “emotional intelligence” means “let your hormones do the talking”.

    1. Procopius

      From 2015, but still relevant, a detailed explanation of the Defense Death Spiral. In fact this is a classic positive feedback cycle, as described by Norbert Weiner, and I don’t believe it can be stopped any more. The place you would have to start is imposing an accounting system on the Defense Department, and that would encounter an immovable resistance.

  2. diptherio

    Re: Bad Faith podcast

    If you enjoy this, you’ll also like the This Is Revolution podcast, hosted by (among others) Pascal Robert, who’s in this Bad Faith episode. Highly recommended.

  3. antidlc


    ‘Pfizer COVID vaccine significantly less effective against Delta variant’

    The effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against the Delta variant is “weaker” than health officials hoped, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Friday, as 855 people tested positive for coronavirus and more countries were listed as places of high infection.
    “We do not know exactly to what degree the vaccine helps, but it is significantly less,” Bennett said.
    The prime minister held a meeting of top health officials and ministers to discuss the next steps for managing the virus in light of the numbers in Israel and what Bennett described as “the Delta mutation leaping forward around the world, including in vaccinated countries such as Britain, Israel and the US.”
    He said that in “Britain, in recent days, we have seen a jump in the number of children who are being hospitalized on a daily basis. This is a development that we are aware of; we are dealing with it rationally and responsibly.”

    1. chris

      Related paper from Science.

      Apparently getting the vaccine after being infected gives you quite the boost in antibodies! There may be a silver lining for people like me who got COVID and recovered from it and then proceeded to receive the full course of the mRNA vaccines.

      For what it’s worth, I’m at 7 months post isolation for COVID. The only remaining effect I have from my infection was apparent roughly 2 months post isolation period – my lung capacity went to nothing and running became terribly difficult. I’ve built up a good bit of my endurance and lung capacity since then but it’s still not what it was pre-covid. I’m going to buy one of those breathing trainers my cyclist friends use and see if that will help me.

    2. antidlc

      Poorly written, imo.

      ‘The effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against the Delta variant is “weaker” than health officials hoped, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Friday, as 855 people tested positive for coronavirus and more countries were listed as places of high infection.”

      What were they hoping for?

      1. Glossolalia

        There’s covid news for everyone whether you’re a panicky idiot or complacent idiot.

    3. Glossolalia

      Phew. For a minute there I thought the media had run out of clickbait headlines about covid. But it looks like they’ll get a lot of mileage out of headlines about the efficacy of vaccines against the delta variant and by the time those have run its course it’ll be back-to-school and they can write stories about whether its safe to go back to school or not. Then they can cover how experts are concerned about holiday travel.

  4. Carolinian

    The Democratic Majority for Israel are now running ads against Nina Turner but they don’t mention Israel.


    In addition to the DMFI endorsement Brown’s position has also earned her backing from notable pro-Israel Democrats like Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)and Brad Schneider (D-IL). This is on top of endorsements from notable centrists like Hillary Clinton and Rep. Jim Clyburn.

    DMFI recently bankrolled two ads attacking Turner and, as Pocan points out, neither mention Israel or foreign policy at all. […]

    Recent polling clearly shows why DMFI might be hesitant to address the issue of Israel while attacking candidates: support for the country is dropping among Democratic voters.

    Just this year Gallup found that a majority of Democrats now say the United States should focus its political pressure on Israel, while Data for Progress found that 72% of Democratic voters support Rep. Betty McCollum’s historic Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act. Polling released this year even indicates that support for Israel is dropping among evangelicals, long thought to be a cornerstone of the Zionist movement. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) found that only 33.6% of young evangelicals support Israel. 24.3% said they support Palestine. 42.2% said they support neither side.

    Clearly Nina is getting the Cynthia McKinney bum rush.

      1. Pavel

        I saw earlier today a Russiagate proponent saying Trump was a Putin puppet because he “kneeled repeatedly” before the Russian leader.

        Then we see a photo of Biden kneeling before the Israeli leader.


    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Truly, Brad Schneider must be in the pay of the Israeli government. In the gubernatorial election in Illinois, he hounded Daniel Biss (who is partially of Israeli descent) about picking Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as his running mate. Note that Schneider handily used Israel as a club to beat the left in the form of “DSA” Ramirez-Rosa and Biss as part of the oooshy left. >>


      And it’s all about the benjamins. From the end of the article.
      “In Schneider’s 2016 race, pro-Israel money formed a major funding stream. OpenSecrets ranks pro-Israel donors as his third-largest pile of money — bringing in $318,749 — behind lawyers and law firms, and Democratic Party and liberal interest groups.”

      Having learned his lesson, Biss ran for mayor of Evanston this year (national capital of the idea of pseudo-progress) and received official Democratic endorsements by the handful.

      Schneider and Biss: This is what U.S. liberalism amounts to?

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      How much of it is because of Israel? And how much is it because of ” Single Payer? Never! Ever!” ?

      I thought the sequence of events was this . . . . that Big Pharma’s little lawn jockey Jimmie-poo Clyburne opposed Turner very firstest of allest. And didn’t Obama come out second of all against her . . . . part of earning his big post-presidential reward from his owners and patrons . . . ? Or am I mis-remembering that second part?

      Anyway, I know that Clyburne was the very first Big Pharma Democrat to put the laser gunsight-dot on Nina’s campaign.

      So as we pursue “Israel”, let’s don’t let Big Pharma get away in all the excitement.

      1. Carolinian

        Clyburn and Pelosi may be concerned about M4A but sounds like the money for attack ads is coming from their donor allies. The article says Turner hasn’t made Israel a particular issue or endorsed BDS. But just as Pelosi has Israel’s back could be that some of that country’s supporters have hers–mutual back scratching.

        Money talks. Whereas it’s unclear how much pull Clyburn or even Hillary have in Ohio.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          But if Clyburn was first to “place the glowing red dot” and the others follow their training to fire lots of money where Clyburn places the dot, then Clyburn still gets major credit. And who was Clyburn doing it for? Israel? Or his patrons in Big Pharma?

  5. fresno dan

    UPDATE “Sharpton, Crump shifting focus to white teen killed by police in Arkansas” [The Hill]. “The Rev. Al Sharpton and civil rights attorney Ben Crump are shifting their focus to a white teenager who was killed by police in Arkansas, after advocacy efforts that largely focused on Black individuals who have died during police encounters…. Crump, who represented Floyd’s family after the incident, has also represented the families of Breonna Taylor and Michael Brown, both of whom were fatally shot by police. Sharpton and Crump are now drawing attention to the death of 17-year-old Hunter Brittain, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop on June 23. An officer was relieved of his duties earlier this month after failing to turn on his body camera during his alleged involvement in Brittain’s death. Crump told The Washington Post in an interview that Brittain’s death will help muster ‘greater interracial support’ amid a push to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in Congress because ‘his blood is now on this legislation, just as Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s blood is.’”
    Long overdue. I would make the point that identitarian politics is singularly ineffective at actually getting legislation passed. Of course, maybe that is why there is so much of it….
    Here is a link that explains what actually happened
    King said Brittain’s truck wouldn’t go into park, so Brittain got out to grab a blue oil jug to put behind his truck’s tires and stop it from hitting Davis’ (police) car. According to King, Davis then fired without telling Brittain to stop or get on the ground.
    being cynical, I pretty much believe the kid would have also been shot if the truck had hit* the police care…
    *truck rolling backwards into cop care – police in fear of his life – no palace guard can ever be put into any danger…

    1. Nikkikat

      What? You mean the cop didn’t even say he saw the kid had a gun, or his cell phone looked like a gun or last but not least……he went for MY gun?

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      as a, i’m repeatedly told, privileged white male…i’m glad they’re doing this.
      black and brown folks have it much worse with the cops, but white folks can be targeted, beaten, chased, harassed and killed by cops, too.
      i was an outspoken long haired genius kid…with a strong sense of chivalry.
      helped a female buddy in a jam, and spent the next 10 years on the run and as a target for leo’s with nothing better to do.
      cops are, as a species, equal opportunity thugs.

  6. IM Doc

    About the US County Case count map – Area of Concern Continuum. The numbers are assuredly very unreliable because the CDC is not counting the vaccinated positives – but it is what it is.

    Is it just me – or is there a rather obvious contingent of Blue State America represented there in red or orange? All the places we have been hearing from our media that are so much further along because they have so many more vaccinated….

    I see LA and all of Southern California, The Bay Area, Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Austin, St Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, DC and Atlanta all in red or orange. Blue areas all. Even blue counties in red states like Dallas and Harris ( Houston) in Texas are red. And yes – there are plenty of red areas that are red on these maps too. But it is certalnly not lopsided like the media would suggest.

    I have been a physician for 30 years. I have never seen a campaign in public health pitting one political faction against the other – like our media and politicos and health officials are doing now. And now the White House has admitted they are doing things with Facebook that would make Joseph Goebbels green with envy. This is simply unprecedented. I think we can all face reality and allow that the strategy is clearly not working and is indeed making things worse.

    This is a test for this nation. I can assure you that the vaccine balkers in Seattle are a much different crowd than the vaccine balkers in LA or Dallas or Kansas City or Miami. We must begin to realize that a one size fits all approach is just not going to work. And coercion and threats are certainly not the answer. From a physician of 30 years, threatening people in any way about health decisions is just a complete imbecile move. You will completely alienate the patient, you will illicit extreme anger or other bad emotions – and you will almost assuredly make things worse.

    We have limited time to get this right – but from the tone of the past few days it is clear to me that we are headed right to the brick wall.

    I am hoping that the days ahead are not fraught. This may all very well blow over. But it may not. And if this does get ugly – we are going to need one another and not to be at each other’s throats blasting off blame cannons. I simply cannot believe that our health officials and media and politicos cannot see this – and by their actions over the past year allowed it to happen in the first place.

    1. chris

      Sarc/For shame sir! Are you not aware that the political angles discussing the corona virus response and the effectiveness of vaccination against SARS-COV-2 are work of Russian and Chinese actors!/Sarc

      I appreciate being able to read your posts on the topic but it appears we have already failed this test. The official line will be what it has been and the results will be tragically underwhelming. But all right thinking people will rejoice because only those dirty deplorables who aren’t vaccinated will get sick and die. This fall will just be a bad flu season is all the media will admit to in regions where vaccination rates are high. And so it goes… :(

    2. Lou Anton

      I think big metropolitan areas are going to always be ‘in the orange’ at a minimum. When I look at those two images of week over week, it looks like we have a “Mississippi Delta” problem. Trouble on both sides of the Mississippi River, up to Iowa and down to the gulf.

      1. polar donkey

        Covid is blowing up here in Memphis. 10 days ago we got down to 30 cases a day. We had 176 today and been over 100 for 6 days now. People are having a hard time wrapping their heads around covid not being over. Little social distancing or mask wearing. Basically, if you haven’t had covid already in past year and you are in 35% vaccine isn’t working for, you are getting covid in the near future.
        The local school systems have done zero planning for if another wave of covid hits. Testing locations closed. We are in for a rough few weeks.

        1. Lou Anton

          Appreciate the on-the-ground view, polar donkey! I’d been seeing the state-level TN results go up a lot in terms of weekly change. I suppose I’m hopeful that the ‘muscle memory’ of testing is able to be built back up quickly for testing. Nonetheless, it seems true that everyone will feel shell-shocked that that we all have to go back to constant testing all over again. I think the vaccines were akin to final college exams: “I thought I was done? What do you mean I have to come back for more?”

    3. Jen

      I do wonder what is going through peoples’ heads in Biden land. Looking at all of the data coming in, I would not be at all surprised if it was “what the [family blog] do we do now?”

      Team Biden and its media stenographers promised competence, and a return to “normal.” They promised the vaccines were our ticket out. And, well, what the [family blog] do they do now? Blaming the deplorables and iredeemables in the places that don’t matter only works, for some definition of “working,” if they are the only ones getting sick, and if no one in real life knows of anyone fully vaccinated who’s gotten infected.

      This morning I was reading a post on FB (yeah, I know) to a group I belong to for masters (read: old) rowers informing us all that he and his wife had both come down with symptomatic covid after being fully vaccinated. He’s in CA. Lots of replies coming back with similar stories. Not a whiff of blame for the deplorables and iredeemables. Rowing is an expensive sport, so this is the PMC crowd we’re talking about here. None of them are buying that this is over.

      Whether they are saying it out loud or not, neither are a lot of my co-workers. Neither are my neighbors who are not, in the main, members of the PMC, nor part of team Blue.

      I don’t know where this leads, but I do feel like the erosion of public trust is about to reach epic proportions.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Yep, hearing the same. Guy I know got covid (with J & J shot) at work after after contact with both his boss (sick but vaccinated!) and then later a couple (both sick but vaccinated!) got on the elevator with him. Spliting headache and cough symptoms.

        This is in Oakland. LOTS of people have “colds”. Gonna get far worse.

        1. enoughisenough

          I’m hearing a lot of coughing around. It’s scary. After reading that post office worker article, it gave me pause:

          I rode my bike past a USPS truck this afternoon, and the driver in there was coughing.


          We’re not protecting our essential workers. Or anyone else.

      2. tegnost

        I do wonder what is going through peoples’ heads in Biden land

        I think it’s “la la la la la” while while firmly covering their ears

    4. cocomaan

      I’m a broken record saying this, but who let Delta variant into the United States? How did it get here, exactly?

      If this is the #1 variant of concern, was everyone asleep at the border?

      1. Jason Boxman

        This! As Lambert points out frequently, and as frequently I see a lack of agency described in how variants seem magically to spread in the Establishment media, but it’s astounding we don’t have sane travel restrictions and a quarantine policy. This stuff is just nuts. Sure, it is difficult to stop new variants from eventually entering, but why not at least try to slow transmissions and save lives?

      2. Anthony Stegman

        The US has not restricted air travel between the US and India. Big (and small) Tech insist that their H1B hires MUST get through.

      3. Larry Y

        You’re assuming a screening process and enforcement (both carrots and sticks) that never existed.

    5. Nikkikat

      Thank you for your post IM DOC. I believe you are so right about this brow beating of vaccinated and unvaccinated. I live in S.California just south of LA. No one is wearing a mask here. We have fancy Health Agency signs on all entrances to stores etc that quotes the CDC that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask. It is so frighting to see people in their Late sixties and seventies with no mask on in crowded stores. I am vaccinated but I avoid crowds, I wear a KN95 mask and goggles and try to get out by 10 minutes. Things are really going to go bad here in the next days or weeks.

    6. Cuibono

      “You will completely alienate the patient, you will illicit extreme anger or other bad emotions – and you will almost assuredly make things worse. ”
      Mission accomplished?

    7. The Rev Kev

      It may be that Washington was doing what all politicians do – doing the politically expedient thing. Not the right thing but the expedient thing. And now only 6 months into the Biden admin, they are already running out of runway.

      1. ambrit

        If they run true to form, as in the Obama Administration response to the 2008 financial debacle, we are going to see a lot of “foaming the runway,” with a big mass of suspiciously ‘pink’ mist obscuring the horizon.
        I would not put it past this bunch of idiots to mandate vaccinations with the mRNA vaccines nationally. Then watch the fireworks start.

        1. rowlf

          Is there an interest in mandating vaccinations so everyone is in the same group when long term effects start to appear? Usually vaccines take a long time to develop and test for safety, unlike the current three US products rolled out in less time than the Boeing 737 MAX program.

          I used to train people to make operational choices between bad and worse. One topic I stressed was to be wary of being pressured to make a rushed decision or if a solution seemed too perfect/cute. I tried to get the students to be able to recognize that being pressured was a red flag and they should step back and reassess the situation.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Forcible mandated vaccinations? With the novel mRNA neo-vaccinoids? At this point, that would be a good way to set off the civil strife leading to Civil War which the BlueAnons claim that only the RedAnons want.

          Since the RedAnons have most of the guns and ammo, the BlueAnons would lose such a Civil War.

            1. Objective Ace

              If I had to guess I would expect this black militia to sympathize with RedAnons more then BlueAnons. I would not count on them to back up bureaucratic white collar liberals forcing novel/experimental vaccines on them

  7. chris

    Random musing given the coverage on NC about the pettiness between the Biden administration and China lately: what are the odds we’ll see that play out in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing? I guess at this point we might postpone the coming winter games but it seems like the kind of thing our government will press on since they don’t want to actually bring manufacturing home or stop buying rare earths.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Pelosi is calling for a “diplomatic boycott” of the 2022 Olympics, so who know what will happen if Team Blue is going for that kind of xenophobic behavior this far out.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        One wonders if there is something in it for Nancy’s stock portfolio.

        If falling domino pushed over falling domino to the point where Chinese telephone-tech companies did worse, would AT&T be in a position to do better by default? If so, how would that affect Nancy’s AT&T shares? All several million of them?

      2. wilroncanada

        One has to assume she means the 2022 Winter Olympics? Or maybe she wants to boycott Olympia Washington, her own version of capital punishment.
        Since her husband may have already made a bunch of investments in artificial snow to be used on the hills overlooking Los Angeles, now that they are cleared of all those useless trees and brush., she may be angling to move the 2022 games from Beijing to southern California. She will of course insist that taxpayers will not have to pay, since she and her husband have already made their millions so they can invest in any more needed infrastructure. She has a whole list of celebrities who can donate corners of their estates to skating ovals or slalom courses, or ski jumps. Besides LA needs a new olympics every few years so the point-one percent don’t get bored. It’s also a good way to drive a lot more poor people out of the area into deplorable country. Montana isn’t far if your shopping cart has good wheels./sarc.

  8. Nce

    My county has a webpage devoted to info on wildfire smoke, but ultimately they suggest moving someplace else:
    Moving around was necessary last summer/fall, when the air quality was consistently bad for months. (Smoke from the W Sierras is blown across Mammoth Pass, so sometimes the town was socked in with smoke so bad it looked like brown fog. I could move, but I often thought of the animals that had to live with it.) I live out my vehicle, so trying to sleep while getting no relief from bad air was intolerable. I spent far too much on gas trying to guess which way the winds would shift overnight.
    This year we already have the Dexter Fire, but the winds have consistently blown the smoke east into NV. If it gets bad like last year I’m moving permanently.

  9. petal

    That $600 Joe owes me would pay off my last student loan. sigh.

    Hey Isotope, I tried ordering 50mL Falcon tubes today and they’re backordered until Thanksgiving. Some other brands are also backordered but with no date. Might want to stock up on 15s, 50s, and other polypropylene stuff if you guys use it.

    Dumb question, but does anyone know if the government is assisting the non-mRNA/other platform vaccine makers at all? Like to help them get theirs into the clinic faster? Keep thinking that if there were other platform options available than the mRNA vaccines,…

    1. Larry Y

      J&J vaccine isn’t mRNA. Neither is the AstraZenica/Oxford. The US federal government has pre-ordered/pre-funded 8 vaccines, including the two aforementioned ones, IIRC. The next one receiving the most hype is Novavax, which is in the end stages of testing – it’s not mRNA either.

      mRNA vaccines were the first out the door because they only need the genetic sequence to start producing a vaccine.

      As for other various early vaccines, I would characterize them as brute-forced by entities with a lot of resources at their disposal: Russia, China, India, and massive multinational corporations.

        1. Jason

          None of the coronavirus vaccines available in the United States are inactivated (dead)* or live-attenuated. Nor is the upcoming Novavax, which is a subunit vaccine which will require at least two doses. Even inactivated vaccines sometimes require boosters because the protection isn’t as strong as live vaccines.

          Codagenix is the most promising live-attenuated vaccine (being developed with – surprise! – their own proprietary deoptimization technology(!!!) It’s a nasal delivery system. Currently in phase 1 trials:


          I’m not aware of any classic inactivated coronavirus vaccines being developed for United States citizens.

          Here are a couple good refreshers on vaccine types and terminology:



          *The term “inactivated” is used because apparently some in the science community don’t actually believe that viruses are “alive” to begin with. This according to the Forbes article I linked to above.

  10. LarryB

    It seems to me that the statements “masks work” and “covid is airborne” are contradictory. If aerosol transmission is the primary, ore even a primary, means of transmission, I really don’t see what good masks will do. To borrow Lambert’s comparison, I don’t think masks would block more aerosols that they would cigarette smoke.

    1. chris

      Short answer is masks are not a panacea but they do work for a period of time. No mask means you don’t have very long before you could receive a sufficient exposure. But if you’re going to hang out in a place for long periods of time that is filled with viral particles in the air, your typical n95 alone isn’t going to prevent you from getting exposed to the virus. The recommended mitigation for people indoors baswd on evidence from the last year is modifying the HVAC system and using masks. That approach had the best outcomes.

      The long answer can be found in many of the articles posted on this site for the past year. It ranges from discussion of viral particle size (e.g., smaller means they easily penetrate masks but do not stay in a person’s airways as well) to how viral particles move around a room given various airflow patterns. It gets complicated but Lambert and Yves have done a great job curating the state of things for people to learn if they choose to do so.

      Be well.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I have a thought as to why “else” masks might work some or a little bit. I notice that the mask I wear traps some moisture with each exhale and re-releases some of that moisture back into each next inhale. So the mask is functioning a little bit like a face-mounted air humidifier.

      Keeping respiratory mucus membranes moist helps keep them healthy and more functional as a first line of defense and barrier through which viruses have to fight their way to get into the system. If one is always humidifying one’s own inbreath through the face-mounted mini-humidifier ( face mask) , one is keeping one’s respiratory mucus membranes a little moister that otherwise, especially in the hyper-arid indoor air of winter time.

      If that is indeed a mechanism, perhaps masks should be design-upgraded to retain even more of the exhale-moisture, so as to release even more moisture back into every next inhale breath.

      1. GERMO

        Masks work when other people wear them so that their breath isn’t whooshing freely all over the place. Masks work but not as a personal covid-denying space-suit.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If a personal mask up-moisturizes the inhaled air of the personal mask wearer, and breathing in up-moisturised air helps keep personal respiratory mucus membranes more moist, less dry, less “insulted’ and hence more virus-infection-resistant; then masks would indeed make the personal wearer just that much safer for just that reason.

          I offer that as a speculative hypothesis, because precisely zero work has been done on any aspect of that question. Maybe someone will get the science started.

        2. saywhat?

          Masks work but not as a personal covid-denying space-suit. GERMO

          That depends: An n95 with an UNFILTERED, one-way exhaust valve optimizes protection for the wearer by sacrificing any pretense of protecting others.

          The problem is that masks without an unfiltered exhaust valve are less likely to maintain a mask-to-face seal because of (unvented) exhaust pressure under the mask.

    3. Larry Y

      The cigarette smoke comparison applies to those plexiglass screens. Cigarette smoke is many things, dealing with carbon monoxide or VOCs is harder than dealing with PM2.5 and PM10.

      Aerosols are of various sizes, and the early scientific mask doubters were hung up on the spurious 5 micron number. Naked Capitalism had a series of links about this, where the actual aerosol scientists fought to get their expertise heard.

      Anyway, I’m with the proper fitting N95 or equivalents.

  11. doug

    Thanks for posting Reed link again. I missed it first time, and was inspired to pass it along to others after reading it. I hope Ben Crump is very careful, and suspect he is.

  12. cocomaan

    Anyone else getting a whiff of desperation off the Biden administration?

    Touting social media bans, the trotting out of some pop star who I guess is a pop star, the door to door vaccine salespeople. It’s not a good look and I think they know it. Psaki’s voice was cracking when she was talking about banning misinformation online.

    Very interesting to watch it all come undone AGAIN.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Reopening was certainly fun, and I think the perception the country was getting better existed to a certain extent and it helped Biden. the low hanging foreign policy fruit is off the board, and no population is rolling over for a US excursion after Iraq and then Libya. His plan of saying, “c’mon”, isn’t going to work.

      Obama usually doesn’t say very much in his word salad, but he’s always brought up the GOP “fever” and promised it would break and been relatively clear spoken on this. I think Biden expected to usher in an era of good feelings and be met with applause by his GOP friends when that fever broke. Maybe they are realizing its not happening or that the GOP was always awful.

      The child tax credit is going out, so that is kind of a win. But it will come on the heels of unemployment being pulled out. Prices not coming down. And of course Delta.

    2. antidlc

      “…the trotting out of some pop star who I guess is a pop star,…”


      I had to look up Olivia Rodrigo. I had never heard of her.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Same here. I saw her on the news last night being brought in to help Biden and had never seen her name before.

        1. ambrit

          I got the distinct impression that the woman was used because she “checked all the right boxes” in the idpol list.

    3. TalkingCargo

      A question I’m asking myself more and more these days:

      What would the reaction be if Trump had taken these actions?

      I suspect it would be quite different.

  13. Jason Boxman

    Gods, these people:

    “We have come a long way in our fight against this virus,” Jeffrey D. Zients, the administration’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said at the briefing. “Because we have fully vaccinated more than 160 million Americans, we’ve fundamentally changed the course of this pandemic, from one that puts the lives and livelihoods of all Americans at risk, to one that predominantly threatens unvaccinated people.”

    So I can think of no bigger moral failing here, than leaving unvaccinated people to die, as this administration is content to do through the CDC and OHSA; Federalism aside, there is still much that could be done/undone at the federal level, from proper mask guidance, to workplace safety requirements, to funding for recovery from side effects for workers, to universal health care (ha). Not to mention study of treatments.

    As the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus fuels outbreaks in the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Friday that “this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

    And just who exactly gave that outcome a huge assist, with nonsensical masking policy?

    These people are just nuts. And I’m sure they’re saddened, just saddened, by all this needless suffering. Whatever could have been done?!

    Covid News: C.D.C. Director Warns ‘This Is Becoming a Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’ as Delta Fuels U.S. Outbreaks

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I thought the mRNA neo-vaccinoids were only ever supposed to make your covid infection a whole lot less severe anyway. I thought they were never even supposed to be able to prevent the virus from actually infecting you.

        So I got it because based on my co-morbidities I decided my risks from coviditis were worse than my risks from vaccinitis, whether I escaped covid or whether the mRNA neo-vaccinoidation made my infection not as bad if I were to get one.

        So here’s hoping Gabriel Iglesias’s covid will be not as bad as it otherwise would have been.

        I just watched his video explanation. If he can’t taste or smell, that means that at least he has Old Covid 1.0, not the Delta New form. So that’s good at least.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, as long as it remains confined to the freely-self-chosen voluntary unvaccinated, and does not affect any of the involuntary-for-whatever-the-reason unvaccinated, then it is not a problem for the vaccinated and for the intelligent among us.

      Perhaps the RepublicaNazi Trumpanons can hurry themselves and eachother along to their Darwin Reward.

      1. kareninca

        You don’t seem to get it. I’m neither a Republican nor a Trump supporter. I am an overeducated member of the PMC. I have no interest in being vaccinated. You are dealing in stereotypes. I just chatted with an acquaintance who is of my demographic who also has no plan to be vaccinated.

        I don’t think the vaccines are going to work in the medium term, and I don’t think it is clear that they will be safe in the long term.

        I hope that I am wrong.

        Unlike you, I wish well to those whose views I don’t share. I’ll be thrilled if the vaccines are of benefit.

    2. IM Doc

      Thank you kind Sir –
      I could not have said this better myself.

      “Leaving the unvaccinated to die.”

      Here is the thing – I have been to this rodeo before with two different viruses – and this is not going to be pretty.

      As a young intern, I was on the AIDS wards in a big urban American hospital. I would often sign 8-9 death certificates a day. COVID has nothing on that. Yes – it was that bad. To make things much worse – they were all young 20 somethings. They were for the most part completely abandoned by their families, left blowing in the wind. I have seen the evil that happens to people when we decide as a culture that x-group has it coming and just needs to die. I had believed that we had gotten past that as a culture. I was clearly wrong. It is more disturbing that the side that I thought I was on is now the one perpretating the shame on the country.

      There have been two rather large flu epidemic years that have happened in America in just the past 15 years. Many hundreds of thousands died both times, hospitals and ICUs packed, millions sickened. I need to refresh my mind on the numbers but I believe in general the 2009 epidemic was a bit worse than COVID has been as far as deaths (not certain about that). Believe it or not, the amount of patients that just flat out refuse flu shots is staggering even in those horrible flu years. And even when weeks or months later the unvaccinated came into the hospitals sick as a dog, neither myself, the nurses, nor their culture at large treated them with disdain or as deplorables. The unvaccinated issue never was even mentioned. They certainly were not being maligned on TV by Rachel Maddow et al every night.

      I often look in the mirror every day in the AM , and think to myself – What has happened to us? What has happened to my profession? How is this all going to end?

      1. Skip Intro

        Doesn’t the leakiness of the vaccine, the apparent ease by which the vaccinated can become carriers/spreaders even if not ‘symptomatic’, the huge reservoir of unvaccinated children, and the CDCs renewed anti-mask gibberings really mean we’re leaving everyone to die? The unvaccinated merely serve as political scapegoats and variant factories. The CDC is so stunningly reckless, that we might well await Fauci’s appearance in The Hague. (not holding my breath , just having trouble catching it).

    3. Jen

      Problem is, as Arizona Slim, myself and others have noted, this is openly, publicly not devolving into a pandemic that is just of the unvaccinated. And, I’m betting those among the PMC who’ve gotten COVID after being vaccinated can’t readily point to an unvaccinated deplorable who gave them the bug.

      So if this all blows up and goes to hell, I’m not sure anyone is going to listen to the stories that the CDC has to tell.

      1. Arizona Slim

        As mentioned before, I have a friend who has built an entire nonprofit organization around data that the CDC stopped collecting in the late 1990s. The CDC has shown no signs of resuming the collection of the data, and my friend founded this nonprofit in 2007.

        1. Skip Intro

          The CDC is staffed by top people in the field of agnotology. I’ve been trying to come up with a fitting replacement for the words behind C.D.C. Corporate Defense Cabal is a bit to generic, as it applies to the entire governments of the US and many other nations.

  14. Josef K

    A big hat tip to Lambert for the tenacious COVID coverage. If only more government officials paid the same amount of attention and showed the same concern.

    Here in wonderful Washington, Gov. Inslee dropped the mask mandate. Disappointing. He’s been pretty progressive for a centrist Democrat, but he’s no Pramila Jayapal. Would they could swap jobs.

    My last foray into the grocery stores showed a preponderance of unmasked shoppers. It definitely varies by store IOW which demographics are more represented; Lowes, Ace hardware etc much lower masking rate than the local healthfood store.

    In a society where cheaters win and play-by-the-rules types finish last, who’s actually surprised it’s playing out like this?

    COVID-free in ’23?….’33?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      But in this case, what if the mask-wearing semi-shut-ins win, as in ” not getting as much covid as often” as the maskless freedom rebels who I gather are being called “cheaters” in this case? If they are the ones who win more covid, let them revel and roll in their victory.

      And anyway, coronavid is going to be a permanent endemic disease. The CDC/WHO, etc are conspiring to make sure of that.

    2. HotFlash

      I see the opposite here. Ontario still has a mask mandate indoors and restaurants have been provided with patio space, even if they don’t have a patio. The city has set off the parking lane for makeshift patios (patii?) at the behest of the local BIA’s for open-air dining. Most people on the street wear masks, even some cyclists and runners, as do I. Everybody carries one since you need it to go in anywhere. The chain grocery stores have high ceilings, lots of AC/ventilation (really for the veggies, not people except incidentally — sigh), masks all around, required for staff and customers alike. The 2m/6ft rule and one-way aisles are strongly suggested but not enforced; staff ignores both when stocking shelves, and SO MANY PEOPLE go the wrong way… I mean, we have a lot of English Second Lang people here, but it’s not like you have to actually read anything, it’s a bloody arrow on the floor, FFS! And many, many of them don’t look like that is the case … I once asked my neighbour, an elementary school teacher, if they were not teaching kids to read? Actually, I think it is more that an observant person is very, very rare. Maybe we should teach observation skills, along with critical thinking. But I digress, and the aisles are wide enough that you can pass in a hurry.

      So. My local and favourite health food store has everything except space. The shop is old, long and narrow with no visible means of ventilation. There are two skinny aisles, a single person wide, one marked up (arrows on floor), the other marked down. However, if there is not a staffer stocking in one aisle, there is one in the other — cannot pass and maintain 6 feet. The shelves are densely packed, if you are looking for something you may have to stop and scan a whole lot of bins or bottles to find the thing you want. Often the person in front of you is doing so — cannot pass and maintain 6 feet. And of course, many people do not pay the slightest attention to the arrows and the staff does not politely enforce. So after 40 years, I stopped shopping there since I just didn’t feel safe there. At a health food store.

      1. Josef K

        DW and HF, good points. It’s a complex situation, it’s life–but the mask/no-mask dichotomy so to speak is fundamental IMO. My friends in Asia, Asian folks and expats, just don’t get what’s going on here with the anti-mask sentiment. So it really is a cultural or acculturated thing.

        One thing I notice in the US is a pretty low level of conscientiousness, and I may be wrong, but it seems even lower than in the past. That’s a factor, I think, not so much “I want to cause others a problem” as “what, who?”

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          One wonders if this is uniform across the US . . . . all regions, cities of all sizes, University towns and non-college towns alike, etc.

          Or if there are regions or sectors with different levels of conscientousness.

          There are certainly a lot of proud militant backwardite stupidites. They watch Tucker Carlson. They broadcast to Tucker Carlson’s audience. They are prominent on Pat Lang’s blog, sad to say. That is surely a case of people smart enough, often PhD smart enough, to know better. But they are taking a politicultural stance and making a politicultural statement.

        2. Phillip Cross

          I suspect the antimask movement has been coaxed out of us by way of a devious astroturf PR campaign.

          If we accept that we can endure a small inconvenience for the benefit of others, what else could we do together?

          If “every man for himself” is proven to be a horrible way to organize a society, that could be the start of a slippery slope to social democracy.

          That’s why it has been demonized by forces that don’t want that kind of thinking to become the norm in USA.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Those of us who visibly endure the small inconvenience for the benefit of whomever it is a benefit for . . . can find those others of us who also visibly endure the small inconvenience for the benefit of whomever it is a benefit for.

            If all such people find eachother, they can work for eachothers’ own greater good and try to find a way to prevent any of that greater good from reaching any of the ” every man for himself” mask freedom rebels and their Shit Headistani places and regions.

  15. Glen

    I’m being bombarded with calls to sell my property at “caller provides address I have never heard of and don’t own.”

    Assuming I every actually hear a real human, I think I’m going to ask for the nice round figure of one billion dollars and throw in a bridge for free.

    1. Josef K

      Hey, if it comes to that maybe you could toss the bridge my way. I could use a bridge.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Me too. Calls and texts, several of both a week. I think I figured out where mine are coming from anyway. My ex seems to be selling her condo and, at one time, we shared a phone bill. The address sounds like where I think she is so I’m guessing my phone number and her address are out there somewhere.

  16. rowlf

    After my second week back in the open office workplace I’m thinking things aren’t going to work out as advertised. The managers are giddy having meetings again since nearly everyone admits to being vaccinated. I try to get to the meeting rooms early to turn on the air conditioning and get a seat under a vent in preparation for each potential superspreader event. A lot of my coworkers are thrilled to fly again too.

    I’m thinking Marvin The Robot may have been an optimist.

  17. PKMKII

    Worth noting that back when the pandemic first hit and TPTB were still peddling the “masks not needed” line, the NYCTA (NYC subways bit of the MTA) said, forget that, we’re making our conductors and other frontline staff wear masks. Wonder how many more lives would have been lost if they continued to listen to the trusted, funded voices.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, our city buses still have “No Mask No Ride” signs a-flashing. And don’t even THINK of trying to get on board with your mouth and snoot uncovered.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Are the bus drivers all big burly former bouncers ready and willing to throw Mask Freedom Rebels the f-ck off the bus?

  18. square coats

    Hi everyone, it may be that this is totally irrelevant (I admit it mostly goes over my head) or previously discussed (I know allergies to iodine were discussed at least once), but I came across a warning of very rare allergic reaction in humans to povidone iodine (by way of a website I was looking at for instructions on how to put together a first aid kit for my pet cat, incidentally) so I wanted to share it, not to make any claims about it, but just in case it turns out to be helpful somehow.

    original site with cat first aid instructions and warning + link

    site the warning links to

    1. R

      Any allergic reaction will be to the povidone element, not the iodine. Iodine is an essential trace element. Other sources or iodine are available.

      NB: a non-allergic reaction (not IgE mediated) might be possible. Cf nickel rash.

  19. drumlin woodchuckles

    “Anything else would be “disinformation,” and censored. IMNSHO, the aerosol thought collective never would have caused the paradigm shift to airborne transmission under Psaki’s regimen, because a lot of that war was conducted on Twitter. The pushback on aerosols from WHO, CDC, the infection control and public health communities was extraordinary, but if they had managed to get the Federal government to declare that aerosol transmission advocacy was misinformation, that would have stopped the shift cold. And a lot of lives would have been lost.”

    And if they could have gotten a lot of lives lost, they would have succeeded in their secret agenda of killing as many people as possible while making it look like an accident. As per their commanders in the Global OverClass.

    Even though they lost the aerosol transmission battle, they have succeeded in making Coronavid a permanent endemic disease, which will help raise the death rates in decades to come from various plausibly deniable-connection deaths from heart disease, kidney failure, lung failure, etc.

    1. HotFlash

      “No matter how cynical I get, I just can’t keep up.” Child’s rule for understanding adults: “Don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.” My dear Ms/Mr woodchuckles, I can only agree with you and be happy that I am So Old that I may check out before the worst.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Thank you for the kind words. I can’t say I’m happy about it. I am just into the gray zone between middle age and age. I may or may not live long enough to “laugh last” for at least a little while.

        We shall see.

    2. Josef K

      DW I’m not so sure the intent is that well-constructed, more like “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Intentional or not, however, I fear your prediction is very likely accurate. Fun times ahead. Non-pharma measures will probably catch on more when “COVID-23” or whichever next hits, purely out of utter necessity; seems to be the only impetus that works. We’ll regret not having masked up more when average temps were lower.

  20. Tom Stone

    It’s interesting to see Al Sharpton pick up the Hunter Brittain case ( And ignore the Duncan Lemp shooting),
    Either Reverend Sharpton thinks things have changed enough since the assassination of Dr King that it is safe to step over the color line ( The Black Misleadership learned their lesson in ’68) or there is something about this particular case that has attracted the super star reverend.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I gather from the text and context of this comment that Hunter Brittain is White and Duncan Lemp is Black.
      If that is so, then Sharpton’s interest in the Hunter Brittain case could be a good thing, even if self-serving and publicity-seeking, because it means that Sharpton may help his followers in pivoting from Blue-on-Black violence in particular to Blue-on-citizen violence in general. That may allow for a linkup with White groups who are also concerned about Blue-on-citizen violence, and both groups, Black and White together, can begin to address the problem of Blue-on-citizen violence.

      Citizen Lives Matter. right?

      1. vegasmike

        Duncan Lemp is white. He’s also was very conservative. He was a member of the 3% group. He was killed during a no knock police raid. The case has been reported, but not much so in the conservative media. The incident seems worth investigating, even though the victim is a weird right wing guy.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Really? So Duncan Lemp is/was White? And very conservative? That seems like the kind of person whose bad luck would be very very reported in the conservative media.

          So why isn’t it then? Would it be irresponsible to speculate? I think it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

          So here is my speculation. The so-called “conservative media” is really the RepublicaNazi FascisTrumpanon media. And they are counting on their “Boys in Blue” to fight with them in the coming civil war just as soon as they can get it started. So they are not going to say anything bad about their Boys in Blue. That means if the conservative-killer is a policeman, then that policeman gets a free conservative-murder, on the conservative house.

  21. Tom


    Solid reporting from the AZ Republic. Story about a big firm that specializes in clawing back already paid taxes whose owner is also a big GOP donor. The firm squeezes Gov Ducey, who wants to be POTUS one day, to get state revenue agency to refund $12,000 dollars of diesel taxes paid by a mining company to power their equipment. (The tax grifters have a novel rationale as to why the company should have been exempt from paying the tax.) If the agency relents, it will open the door to more clawbacks for other mining interests to the tune of $100 million, 30% of which goes to the tax firm. Ducey is happy to help, even though it will put a big hole in the state budget. High level Ducey aids quit their jobs and go to work as consultants working for the tax grifter, even though it’s clearly an ethics violation. Simple, elegant corruption.

    The firm, Ryan, LLC, is run by G. Brint Ryan. Apparently Ryan, LLC operates in every state and all over the world. Anyone else ever heard of this bs?

  22. Carolinian

    Thanks for the Adolph Reed. Sounds like he is saying is the issue is not white privilege as much as privilege in general. And by this our upper middle class and media types are attracted to the theory because it lets them off the hook. If they can blame everything on racism then Nancy can have her fancy ice cream and a sense of moral superiority too–a real win win.

    Human psychology is at the bottom of all of this and our elites badly need a shrink (many have one). Working people have other things to do than spend all their time on mental gymnastics and rationalizations.

    1. Acacia

      Human psychology is at the bottom of all of this and our elites badly need a shrink (many have one).

      Very true, and it’s possible their shrink is only giving them SSRIs and then fiddling with the dosage to get “results”.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Maybe Mr. Reed is thinking about Rich Privilege as much as any other privileges? The Rich Privilege which Mitt Romney has and which Barack Obama means to obtain?

      And maybe also Blue Privilege? ( In the service of Rich Privilege, of course).

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Valve troubleshooting led to crew incapacitation aboard Qantas 737-300F”

    I couldn’t help but think of how Boeing no longer includes stuff like pilot oxygen masks anymore as part of the standard equipment for their aircraft but that airlines have to pay for them as “extra.”

    1. JBird4049

      The pilots’ oxygen masks are extra? Can I still assume that their seats as well as the tires and engines are still standard?

    2. rowlf

      Are there several vendors for the masks and the airline/operator selects what is standard in their fleet or operation for commonality between airplanes they fly?

      1. RMO

        According to my AME friend the answer is yes. The aircrew emergency O2 is required but there are several different manufacturers and types of masks available that the operators choose themselves. Full face or nose/mouth coverage only, different styles that make donning faster, etc. The majority of his airliner work has been on 737s (but that is a small proportion of his total work experience).

  24. Acacia

    Speaking of Boots Riley, if you haven’t seen his film Sorry to Bother You (2018), it’s very much worth checking out.

  25. VietnamVet

    Identity Politics is so ingrained with the rise of inequality that America’s ruling class has no qualms about letting the deplorable underclass die off. They always blame the victim. But if history teaches anything it is that reality bites back.

    Union Pacific suspended inbound international container shipments to Chicago for a week to address a backlog at its Chicago intermodal facility. Also three of its main lines are now being blocked by floods and wildfires caused by climate change in Western North America.

    If lockdowns are reimposed, if the predicted drought losses in wheat growing areas raise food prices, and together with the shortage of goods and jobs, this will be a perfect storm. A replay of 1789. Imposing censorship is a final desperate measure to hold off the inevitable collapse of a grossly unequal incompetent political economic system.

    Denial and believing that the good times are back avoids contemplating the future.

    1. Skip Intro

      Can we get them to buy eco-‘friendly’ battery-powered Tesla Tumbrels™ first? I think if Elon wanted to, he could make that sale… from orbit, naturally.

  26. Wukchumni

    If we keep on with business as usual, the Earth will be warmed more every year; drought and floods both will be endemic; many more cities, provinces, and whole nations will be submerged beneath the waves—unless heroic worldwide engineering countermeasures are taken. In the longer run, still more dire consequences may follow, including the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, its surge into the sea, a major global rise in sea level, and the inundation of almost all the coastal cities on the planet.

    Carl Sagan in 1995

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      It is imperative that we get all the global warming deniers to move to the great coastal cities and help those global warming accepters who want to move away from them . . . away from them.

  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    The only solution for the problem of Google crapification is the Stalin solution.

    If a platform is giving you crapification, kill the platform to stop it from crapifying.
    No platform, no crapification.

  28. The Rev Kev

    ‘Another bird species spotted in Russia — [waves!]’

    I hope that this does not mean that Lambert has moved next door to Sarah “I can see Russia from my House” Palin now.

  29. drumlin woodchuckles

    Coronavid spreads and becomes permanent due to the differently motivated but force-mutliplyingly joint action of two malign groups . . . the WHO/CDC conspiracy to make coronavid into a permanent endemic disease . . . . and the RepublicaNazi FascisTrumpAnon scum who are working as hard as they can to spread coronavid everywhere within their regional and local reach.

    Here is a link to a twitter pointing up the sub-human vileness and utter filth evil of some of the blackest hat black hat actors among the RepublicaNazi FascisTrumpAnon sector of the population.

    There is no point in pretending these people don’t exist. Health minded regions of the country will have to figure out a way to quarantine themselves from contact with the Militant Backwardite Stupidites.
    Breathe their air at your own risk.

    1. kareninca

      The people I know who are spreading covid are suburbanite Democrats. They are all around me here in Silicon Valley. They are vaccinated, and because they are idiots they think they are consequently utterly safe themselves and that they cannot catch and transmit covid. So they will rush up to another person, without a mask on, and say, “oh, it’s okay, I’m vaccinated!”

      The suburbanite Democrats that I volunteer with are going to be holding a ginormous fundraising event a month from now. They are having loads of happy meetings with one another, inside, without masks. Yes, the event itself will require masks, but so what? The Delta variant is extremely contagious. Masks are better than no masks, but giant group events are still terrible. I’ve told them so but they won’t listen.

      Today I had to do an errand in Los Altos, CA; a wealthy PMC area. The vaccination rate there is extremely high. The main street was utterly mobbed with people eating in cafes. Guess what, if (per in Israel) the Pfizer shot is only 64 percent effective, there was a lot of transmission going on. Per the Texas case being outside is not adequate protection anymore. These people were oblivious.

      There are no Republicans around here. There was not a single “RepublicaNazi FascisTrumpAnon” in sight.

  30. a fax machine

    re: Apparel and mega-influencers

    The trend towards smaller ones is a direct reaction to the total, complete domination of top influencers by AI-generated algorithmic-determined content. The same sort of algorithmic-determined content that creates those creepy Elsagate Youtube videos. Most people cannot stand to watch any of this longer than 10 minutes, which by design. The whole operation goes sideways around the point every aspect of the video adheres to a marketing/YT ad script and not any sort of normal sensibility. It’s easy for a human to pick up on this, even relatively naive humans like tweens and teens.

    Smaller channels benefit when this occurs, although for how long one wonders. Personally, I beilive it will be inevitable that Google/Youtube and the YT/Twitter producer/influencer cartel will eventually join to force all uploaders into corperate agreements with Google. This protects the latters’ power from newcomer producers while protecting the former from newcomer video sites. Disney did as much in their buyout of Blip, years back. IBM did as well vis-a-vis ustream (although in fairness ustream was 99% PS4 users smoking blunts and giving out free vapes, until the FDA banned the practice).

  31. drumlin woodchuckles

    ( Is no one else awake and commenting?)

    Here is a little video-talk from Beau of the Fifth Column, detailing his reasons for thinking that dismissing the coup-conditions-engineering attempt at the capitol as ” just a joke” is probably a risky mistake, and explaining why he thinks General Milley would be the armed forces person most knowledgeable about how to do a coup, and therefor the most trained in spotting coup-conditions-engineering taking place and under way. Anyway, here is the video.


    And here is another in similar vein on same topic.
    ( Its just 4.8 or so minutes long)


  32. Taurus

    I am going to take the other side of the argument here.

    There have been plenty of comments on why the vaccines suck, rich people suck, Democrats suck, Republicans suck etc.

    Let’s consider where we are:

    The virus is endemic. There is no getting rid of it in the foreseeable future.
    The vaccines do not stop transmission.
    The vaccines moderate the illness caused by the virus – i.e. you very rarely die from it if you are vaccinated. (Before you start arguing this point, go look at Lambert’s daily charts)

    We are all going to get it. (It is endemic and highly contagious). The vaccinated are going to die in much smaller numbers.

    So, how do you choose to live your life in this circumstance? For how long do you choose not to hug your grandchildren?

    1. CanCyn

      Difficult as it is to wade through the info and decide for ourselves, if we’re paying attention, we can do our own risk assessment. I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a while. We were both masked and have each had our first vaccine. We decided that a quick hug was OK. We hugged, then separated 2 metres and got caught up. Masking does not impede hugs.
      It is unfortunate that we don’t have some simple, straightforward, trustworthy and reliable guidelines from our public health authorities but we don’t. Any regular readers of NC have enough info to weigh some risks and proceed accordingly. I know many people spending time with their grandchildren relatively safely – mostly outdoors. Whether you’re lucky enough to be retired or working from home or are a frontline worker – I think that by now you should have figured out how to do some safe interaction with friends and family.

Comments are closed.