2:00PM Water Cooler 8/31/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I had some household matters to attend to, so I got a late start. More soon. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

Although this is Venezuela, it sounds like a summer field in the Midwest to me.

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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:

South still fiddling and diddling.

52.4% of the US is fully vaccinated, a big moment, bursting through the psychological 52% barrier. Every day, a tenth of a percentage point upward. However, as readers point out, every day those vaccinated become less protected, especially the earliest. So we are trying to outrun the virus… (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well.)

Case count by United States regions:

Slowing acceleration…

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

Texas and California back in tandem. Both Carolinas rising. Meanwhile, Georgia and Louisiana have diverged.

From CDC: “Community Profile Report August 30, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties, this release:

More and more clearing (including Northern Maine, which is turning pink as rapidly as it turned red). I hate to be optimistic, but it looks like this fever has broken (thought the back to school bump, IMSHO, has yet to really take hold.) Remember, however, that this chart is about acceleration, not absolute numbers, so the case chart still has momentum. This map, too, blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a (Deliverance-style) banjo to be heard. Previous release:

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

Test positivity:

The South drops, and a smaller drop in the West.

Hospitalization (CDC): This is where CDC moved its hospital data (and who the heck at Microsoft decided no header for a chart is a good idea):

Here the CDC’s hospitalization visualization, from the source above:

The Gulf Coast is red, but moderating. Look at Tennessee go! Several states in the West is pink and increasing, except for Wyoming, which is red.

Deaths (Our World in Data):

Deaths on trend rising. (Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. But according to The Narrative, deaths shouldn’t have been going up at all. Directionally, this is quite concerning. Needless to see, this is a public health debacle. It’s the public health establishment to take care of public health, not the health of certain favored political factions.)

MS: “Mississippi Passes NY’s COVID Death Rate As Gov. Reeves Says Mississippians ‘A Little Less Scared’” [Mississippi Free Press]. “Mississippi has now surpassed the state of New York, the nation’s original pandemic hotspot, in total COVID-19 deaths per capita. The only state where the pandemic has proven deadlier than the Magnolia State is New Jersey. Mississippi displaced New York with a report of 65 additional deaths on Friday—a day after Gov. Tate Reeves told a Tennessee audience that southerners are ‘a little less scared‘ of COVID-19 due to their religious faith.”

Covid cases worldwide:

A little dip in the US. Southeast Asia doing better, I presume because little-covered Indonesia is past a peak. US sphere of influence under the Monroe Doctrine not doing so well.

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“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Capitol Seizure

“Defendants in U.S. Capitol attack have no attorney after lawyer contracts COVID-19: prosecutors” [Reuters]. “Federal prosecutors said on Monday that 17 defendants who have been charged in connection with the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump have no attorney as John Pierce, the lawyer who has been representing them, is reportedly on a ventilator and unresponsive after contracting COVID-19. Prosecutors said in a filing in Washington, D.C. federal court that although Ryan Marshall, a Pierce Bainbridge associate and chief financial officer of Pierce’s National Constitutional Law Union, has been acting in Pierce’s stead, he is not a licensed attorney and cannot advise Pierce’s clients. Marshall might not be able to obtain a bar license at all due to the criminal charges he is facing in Pennsylvania, prosecutors noted. Marshall was allegedly involved in a scheme to defraud a widow, according to an August 2020 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report prosecutors cited.” • Charming.

Biden Administration

“Joe Biden’s Critics Lost Afghanistan” [Ross Douthat, New York Times]. “Biden deserves plenty of criticism. But like the Trump administration in its wiser moments, he is trying to disentangle America from a set of failed policies that many of his loudest critics long supported. Our botched withdrawal is the punctuation mark on a general catastrophe, a failure so broad that it should demand purges in the Pentagon, the shamed retirement of innumerable hawkish talking heads, the razing of various NGOs and international-studies programs and the dissolution of countless consultancies and military contractors. Small wonder, then, that making Biden the singular scapegoat seems like a more attractive path. But if the only aspect of this catastrophe that our leaders remember is what went wrong in August 2021, then we’ll have learned nothing except to always double down on failure, and the next disaster will be worse.” • Here I am, nodding sagely along with Ross Douthat. It’s a funny old world.

UPDATE “DOJ antitrust nominee reports $20 mln in Paul, Weiss income” [Reuters]. “Jonathan Kanter, the Biden administration’s nominee to lead the U.S. Justice Department antitrust division, reported receiving $20.3 million from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison since 2020 in partner compensation and as a result of his departure from the law firm, according to an ethics filing released on Monday…. Kanter left Paul, Weiss in September 2020 amid a client conflict to start The Kanter Law Group, which has six lawyers. Paul, Weiss, where Kanter was co-chair of the firm’s antitrust group, employs more than 1,000 lawyers…. His disclosure showed his clients while at Paul, Weiss included Qualcomm Inc, Mastercard Inc, and the special committee of independent directors to the board of Facebook Inc on a matter adverse to the company..,., Kanter’s disclosure showed he continued to work with at least a dozen former Paul, Weiss clients after he left the firm to start his boutique. The clients identified as connected to both firms included Microsoft Corp, Cigna Corp, Yelp Inc, Charter Communications Inc and News Corp. New clients at the Kanter Law Group included the Coalition for App Fairness, Spotify USA Inc, Uber Technologies Inc, Nike Inc and General Motors Co.”

Democrats en Deshabille

UDPATE “Health Care and Hedge Fund Execs Fundraise for Gottheimer as He Leads Moderate Crusade Against Reconciliation Bill” [ReadSludge]. “As he leads a group of moderate House Democrats against the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package being negotiated by Democratic leaders, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) is set to be showered with campaign cash at fundraisers hosted by health care and hedge fund executives. Tomorrow evening in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, one of the state’s wealthiest ZIP codes, Cigna executive Tim Wentworth and his wife, Robin, are hosting an event with Gottheimer for donors who RSVP by making a contributions of between $500 (bronze level) and $11,600 (platinum level) to Gottheimer’s primary and general election campaigns, according to an invitation reviewed by Sludge. Wentworth is the CEO of Evernorth, Cigna’s pharmacy benefit manager division, which encompasses the company formerly known as Express Scripts. Cigna and its trade association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, have been fighting a proposal that is likely to be included in the budget reconciliation package to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing, and vision benefits. ”

UDPATE “Dentists, insurers aim to pare down Dems’ Medicare expansion” [Politico]. “Congressional Democrats’ push to add dental, vision and hearing coverage to Medicare is running into resistance from powerful health industry lobbies — an early sign of the battles facing lawmakers when they return to debate a $3.5 trillion social spending package. Progressives see expanding the popular entitlement as essential to fulfilling their campaign pledges and keeping Democratic control of the House and Senate. But the reforms threaten the bottom line of insurers who administer private Medicare plans and sell supplemental coverage for dental, vision and hearing services. Groups like the American Dental Association, worried their members will be paid less in traditional Medicare than in private Medicare plans, are also pushing to limit the new benefits to the poorest Americans.”

UPDATE “Will They Hold Out?” [David Sirota, Daily Poster]. “America has a feudal economy built on devastating inequality and on a form of climate ecocide that threatens the survival of the planet’s ecosystem. What’s unfolding in Congress is a last-ditch legislative attempt to modify that awful reality, and the fate of that effort will hinge on the answer to three fairly simple questions… Question 1: Will Progressives Hold Out?…. 2. Will Corporate Democrats Convince Republicans To Break With Trump?…. 3. What Does ‘Robust” Actually Mean? • 

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE “Who’s Running in Newsom recall? Politicians, Activists, Californians of All Stripes’ [City Watch LA]. “Just 46 candidates filed all the paperwork necessary by the July 16 deadline to run to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in the Sept. 14 recall — a field that includes GOP politicians, a reality TV personality, a YouTuber, a retired detective, a cannabis advocate, several business owners and even a new-age shaman. What it doesn’t include: Anyone with the star power that actor and body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoyed when he disrupted the political scene in 2003 and ousted then-Gov. Gray Davis. It also doesn’t include any prominent Democrats who might be seen as a viable alternative to Newsom by California’s overwhelmingly blue electorate…. The 46-person field is actually much smaller than it was in 2003, when 135 candidates ran to replace Davis.” • Bios for all 46!

UPDATE “Larry Elder’s new campaign manager faced scrutiny for millions in billings to public agency” [Politico]. • Overbilling by consultants? In California? I’m shocked.

UPDATE “L.A. prosecutors decline to pursue gun, domestic abuse claims against Larry Elder” [Los Angeles Times]. • Boy, these stories all seem to be coming out at the same time. It’s weird.

UPDATE “Juan Williams: Why California’s recall election matters” [The Hill]. The heart of the matter: “Polls show his backing at about 18 percent. But that meager rating is tops among the 40-plus candidates with their names on the ballot to replace Newsom if he is recalled. If Newsom can’t get more than half of voters to oppose his recall, then someone in a field generally filled with attention-getters who have no political experience will be governor. Currently Elder is leading that rag-tag pack.” • I dunno. I’ve heard the argument made that Californians could be in a “throw the bums out” mood. And if they do, the next election is in 2022. Even with the help of the most feral Republican backup team, it’s doubtful that Elder could do much damage in a year, especially with the legislature in Democrat hands. So why not give it a whirl?

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Chicago PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago Business Barometer fell to 66.8 in August of 2021 from 73.4 in July, below market forecasts of 68. Order backlogs rose sharply while production sank. Firms say the available supply of raw materials and workers isn’t sufficient to keep up with new orders.”

Housing: “United States S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index” [Trading Economics]. “The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index in the US increased at a record 19.1 percent yoy in June 2021, following an upwardly revised 17.1% rise in May, and above market forecasts of a 18.5% increase. Phoenix (29.3%), San Diego (27.1%), and Seattle (20.5%) reported the highest year-over-year gains. “We have previously suggested that the strength in the US housing market is being driven in part by reaction to the COVID pandemic, as potential buyers move from urban apartments to suburban homes. June’s data are consistent with this hypothesis. This demand surge may simply represent an acceleration of purchases that would have occurred anyway over the next several years. Alternatively, there may have been a secular change in locational preferences, leading to a permanent shift in the demand curve for housing. More time and data will be required to analyze this question”, said Craig Lazzara, Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy at S&P DJI.”

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The Bezzle: “Episode 180: Untethered” (podcast) [TrueAnon]. “We examine the bizarre criminal history of one of the least stable tokens in the cryptoverse and quite possibly the largest Ponzi scheme ever: Tether. Featuring: Brock Pierce, the Colombian drug cartels, DaCryptoSnake, the Minnesota Vikings, a fake Dutchman, and more.” • Fun stuff. I can’t imagine why CalPERS hasn’t moved into Crypto in a big way. They’d fit right in!

Tech​: “Who’s Really in Charge of OnlyFans?” [Bloomberg]. “OnlyFans’ pitch has always been about intimacy. Not because most of the content is erotic (though it is), but because the interaction between creator and consumer is so direct. People subscribe not to OnlyFans as a whole, but to the feed of particular performers. Those performers often develop relationships of a sort with their fans, exchanging messages and personalizing content for particular quirks and kinks. It was a connection that a socially distanced world proved particularly hungry for. However, the content platform’s decision last week to ban—and then abruptly un-ban—explicit content highlights the other parties that were always lurking in the middle of that relationship…. In the tweet announcing the reversal of the decision last week, the company said it had “secured assurances necessary to support our diverse creator community”—assurances presumably secured from payment processors. It was a victory for content creators in an economy where, in general, they have few points of leverage, but it also made it clear who is still in charge.”

Tech: “New research points to role of social media in stoking division in U.S.” [Tech Policy Press]. A review of the literature. “The role that social media plays in the divisive politics of the United States is a subject of interest not just to researchers but to regulators, politicians and civil society actors who wish to improve the nature of political conflict and achieve more just and equitable outcomes. A constant refrain from researchers studying these issues is the need for access to platform data.” • Politics is divisive. See under Abolition, for starters. The issue, I think, is the type of division. “Divide and conquer,” after all, but who from whom?

Tech: “How to Avoid Spam—Using Disposable Contact Information” [Wired]. From 2020, still germane. “When it comes to email addresses, you’ve got a number of free or freemium options to pick from—email addresses don’t cost much to set up and maintain. With the more high-maintenance cell numbers you’re going to need to pay, but it doesn’t have to be very much, as we’ll explain. Here are some of our favorite options for both.” • News you can use!

Tech: “A Bad Solar Storm Could Cause an ‘Internet Apocalypse'” [Wired]. “Severe solar storms are so rare that there are only three main examples to go off of in recent history. Large events in 1859 and 1921 demonstrated that geomagnetic disturbances can disrupt electrical infrastructure and communication lines like telegraph wires…. Undersea internet cables are potentially susceptible to solar storm damage for a few reasons. To shepherd data across oceans intact, cables are fitted with repeaters at intervals of roughly 50 to 150 kilometers depending on the cable. These devices amplify the optical signal, making sure that nothing gets lost in transit, like a relay throw in baseball. While fiber optic cable isn’t directly vulnerable to disruption by geomagnetically induced currents, the electronic internals of repeaters are—and enough repeater failures will render an entire undersea cable inoperable. Additionally, undersea cables are only grounded at extended intervals hundreds or thousands of kilometers apart, which leaves vulnerable components like repeaters more exposed to geomagnetically induced currents. The composition of the sea floor also varies, possibly making some grounding points more effective than others. On top of all of this, a major solar storm could also knock out any equipment that orbits the Earth that enables services like satellite internet and global positioning. ‘There are no models currently available of how this could play out,’ [Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi of the University of California, Irvine] says.”

Manufacturing: “FAA still reviewing Boeing 777 engine fix after Denver incident” [Reuters]. “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Monday it is continuing to review Boeing 777-200 planes equipped with Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines like the one involved in a United Airlines emergency landing in February in Denver. FAA Administrator Steve Dickson told a U.S. House committee in May that the agency was going to mandate strengthening a key part on those engines. read more Those planes have been grounded for more than six months.”

Manufacturing: “Unfinished Tractors, Pickup Trucks Pile Up as Components Run Short” [Wall Street Journal]. “Manufacturers are stacking up unfinished goods on factory floors and parking incomplete vehicles in airport parking lots while waiting for missing parts, made scarce by supply-chain problems. Shortages of mechanical parts, commodity materials and electronic components containing semiconductor chips have been disrupting manufacturing across multiple industries for months. Companies determined to keep factories open are trying to work around shortages by producing what they can, at the same time rising customer demand has cleaned out store shelves, dealer showrooms and distribution centers. As a result, manufacturers are amassing big inventories of unsold or incomplete products such as truck wheels and farm tractors. Companies that are used to filling orders quickly now have bulging backlogs of orders, waiting for scarce parts or green lights from customers willing to take deliveries. Executives expect the shortages and delivery bottlenecks, exacerbated by overwhelmed transportation networks and a lack of workers, to stretch into the fall.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 57 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 37 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 31 at 12:47pm.

Health Care

“Republicans Bravely Defend Americans’ Rights to Treat COVID With Horse Dewormer” [Vanity Fair] • For the zillionth time, Ivermectin is approved by the FDA for human use (and billions, with a “b”, billions of doses have been given worldwide). Therefore, any doctor can prescribe Ivermection for off-label use, as for example in Covid treatment. The “horse dewormer” (a.k.a. “horse paste”) talking point is, quite literally, a Big Lie, since it implies that all Ivermectin is sold in feed stores* ([snicker] “feed stores”). Ivermectin is not a proven Covid treatment, since most studies are driven by clinicians and we have not yet had a high-powered trial, although these are in the works. “It’s not a proven treatment!” is a perfectly effective talking point, which has the additional merit of not characterizing one’s interlocutors as animals. The “horse paste” propaganda campaign has been wrenching for me, since those who propagate the talking point (a) prefer to use a Big Lie, and (b) prefer to dehumanize disfavored populations. That’s profoundly discouraging to me. For starters, good luck with getting that test and trace program going. NOTE * I do wonder if in areas that really do have feed stores, swapping in animal drugs for human ones has been a well-known practice, if a sub rosa one. If the active ingredients are the same, why not? No real reason for this, after all; pharmaceuticals are cheap…. And please, don’t try this at home, OK?

UPDATE A Canadian perspective:

UPDATE “Anxiety running high as COVID-19 threatens to disrupt schools — again” [The Hill]. “‘I want to strongly appeal to those districts who have not implemented prevention strategies and encourage them to do the right thing to protect the children under their care,’ Walensky said during a Friday briefing. The CDC has urged all schools to reopen to in-person learning this fall, recommending masks for all those aged 2 and older in order to keep schools functioning in-person and from shutting down due to outbreaks.” • Nothing about ventilation. Rachel, on the messaging, good job.

UPDATE Oddly, the message seems to be to get kids back in schools as the first priority; health comes seccond:

And downthread:

UPDATE Heaven forfend anybody should have to run for school board:

What interests me (besides the “cub” trope, which I believe is “Mommy Blogger” language) is the phrase “done with.” Interestingly, the rather petulant “Vaccine Refusers Don’t Get to Dictate Terms Anymore” in the Atlantic uses a similar phrase: “[T]he adults running major institutions in our society want to move forward, and they are done waiting around for vaccine refusers to change their mind.” In each case, the rational adult is “done with” the behaviorally challenged child. Not a good augury. I recall a lot of Clinton supporters being “done with” this or that….

UPDATE The right to infect others shall not be infringed:

Of course, the infected child would have been most infectious before symptoms — yet another reason that “coughing” being singled out by the droplet paradigm is so destructive — but that’s how Covid rolls. We don’t do testing, so who can tell?

UPDATE “Efficacy of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines against the Delta variant infection in Guangzhou: A test-negative case-control real-world study” [Emerging Microbes and Infections]. n = 74 + 292. Sinovac; Coronavac (killed virus). From the Abstract: “A single dose of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine yielded the VE of only 13.8%. After adjusting for age and sex, the overall VE for two-dose vaccination was 59.0% (95% confidence interval: 16.0% to 81.6%) against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 70.2% (95% confidence interval: 29.6% to 89.3%) against moderate COVID-19 and 100% against severe COVID-19 which might overestimate due to the small sample size. The VE of two-dose vaccination against COVID-19 reached 72.5% among participants aged 40-59 years, and was higher in females than in males against COVID-19 and moderate diseases. While single dose vaccination was not sufficiently protective, the two-dose dosing scheme of the inactivated vaccines was effective against the Delta variant infection in real-world settings, with the estimated efficacy exceeding the World Health Organization minimal threshold of 50%.” • Good news for Indonesia, IIRC primarily Sinovac (and apparently through the worst of it, for now).

UPDATE “Dollar General CEO gives glimpse into its healthcare agenda: 8 things to know” [Becker’s Hospital Review]. “[Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos] said the chain would focus on offering services that rural customers don’t have access to, such as eye care, telemedicine or prescription drug delivery, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 26. Customers could order prescriptions and pick them up in the store…. The chain selected Albert Wu, MD, as its first CMO and vice president July 7. The role was created to strengthen relationships with healthcare service providers to build a network for its customers. In his previous position, Dr. Wu worked at McKinsey, where he oversaw the care model for 250,000 rural patients and drove $2 billion to $5 billion in revenue. About 75 percent of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a Dollar General, according to the company.” • McKinsey. Oh, good.

“Corporate wellness programs fall short of COVID vaccine mandates” [Los Angeles Times]. “[M]any employers are still shy about imposing vaccine requirements on their employees. And the alternative could be much worse for workers than a vaccination mandate… The alternative we’re talking about exploits a legal loophole granted to employer ‘wellness’ programs. Under federal law, these can be a vehicle for allowing discrimination in health plan fees. They can also provide a means for employers to invade their workers’ privacy. Delta Air Lines pioneered this approach when it announced a quasi-vaccination mandate for its employees last week. Instead of flatly requiring all workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the airline provided them with an escape clause: Those who refuse the shots without a legitimate excuse will be paying an extra $200 a month in health premiums.” • The Federal law is the ACA, which opened the door to Federal funding for wellness scam operators. Thanks, Obama!

Groves of Academe

“The Targeting of Scholars for Ideological Reasons from 2015 to Present” [The FIRE]. “Scholars have long been targeted for sanction by ideological adversaries. However, some worrying trends are emerging. The current research reveals that since 2015 targeting incidents are on the rise and are increasingly coming from within academia itself — from other scholars and especially from undergraduate students. These targeting incidents take a multitude of forms, including demands for an investigation, demotion, censorship, suspension, and even termination.” • “Scholars” is a bit of a thumb on the scale.

“Harvard elects atheist as new chief chaplain, defying school’s origins” [The Hill]. “Greg Epstein, the 44-year-old author of “Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe,” assumes his new position this week, The New York Times reported. He formerly served as the university’s humanist chaplain since 2005…. A Harvard Crimson survey of the class of 2019 found that more than 16 percent identify as atheists and slightly more than 21 percent as agnostic.” • I dunno. An atheist? Things have gone far enough; perhaps even too far. How about a Unitarian? Or an Episcopalian?

Class Warfare

Thanks for clarifying:

Do remember that former MTA President Andy Byford only discovered what was wrong with the New York Subway system’s signalling by asking the workers. The “smart guys using their minds” weren’t all that smart and didn’t use their minds all that much, did they.

News of the Wired

Data is no more neutral than algorithms are:

“Eliminating fear and unlocking the mysteries in our brains” (podcast) [Conversations]. “[Professor Pankaj Sah] now heads up the Queensland Brain Institute, where he is at the forefront of research into the mysteries of the amygdala, the part of the brain that generates fear. For Pankaj, the amygdala is a gateway and unlocking its secrets could help us understand, among other things, how memories are stored, and how to eliminate fear.”

“Why is walking so good for the brain? Blame it on the ‘spontaneous fluctuations'” [Salon]. “A lot is happening to our bodies and brains on a walk, but one fascinating thing stands out. They are all related to an increase in what neuroscientists call “spontaneous cognitive fluctuations.” Scientists have been telling us that the background noises our brains make are random and unimportant for almost a century; hence, they have filtered and averaged them out of their studies. Yet increasing evidence shows that this “noise” is neither random nor unimportant.” I am here for spontaneous brain fluctuations! More: “One of the most compelling explanations for why healthy cognitive fluctuations have this fractal structure is that they were an evolutionary adaptation to aid humans in identifying, navigating, and remembering the fractal patterns ubiquitous in nature.” • Like trees, for example! I keep saying people should be sure to look up while walking, but now there’s a reason!

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant:

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Laughingsong

    An “anecnote” about rapid riser counties:

    I’m living in one, and I have subscribed to my state health organization’s daily COVID newsletters for the entirety of the pandemic, and saved them. While I haven’t yet done a thorough review of the “new and presumptive COVID-19 cases” sections, I am fairly certain that my memory is good enough for me to say that our numbers in this Delta surge are definitely much higher than during last winter.

    The most recent 2 rapid riser reports show us as pink now, and also a good number of adjacent counties are improved too. However I just want to point out that this doesn’t mean that those higher-than-winter numbers have gone down…..they’ve leveled out, at a high threshold.

    So while I’m happy that we have leveled out, the high rate we’ve leveled out at is still pretty alarming.

    Needless to say, although our governor has reinstated masking, the uptake so far has been poor.

    1. LaRuse

      Another rapid riser county anecdote.
      My county has had all the kids back in school for 1 week. As of end of the day yesterday, we have 140 cases, 117 of which are students, 23 staff members. This afternoon, my daughter’s middle school reported out two new cases.
      The news article says our county’s test positivity rate is 11.6% but that number does not match the 12.5% I saw on the VDH website today for the county and we haven’t been under 12% in a week.
      Last year, the county selected a metric of seven day average of 25 infections per 100,000 would be the number that would send kids back to remote learning after we tried sending them into the classrooms in mid-October last year. We hit that 25 per 100,000 in less than 2 weeks. This year, right now, our seven day average number of new cases is 45.9 cases per 100,000. That is in the range of where the numbers were during the January peak.

    2. marku52

      Are you in SW OR? I am, and it is like the epidemic ignored us, up until about 3 weeks ago. Now all the hospitals are full, they are bringing in refrigerator trailers for morgues, and the cases are still climbing.

      And the public behavior is just as if it was all over. Schools about to open, I doubt this will go well.

      1. Laughingsong

        Not quite but close: I’m in the southern Willamette valley. I don’t have children but all the schools seem to be slated to open for in-person instruction, and although there are mask mandates….well, kids. I don’t have any but sure remember being one and I imagine that these masks will “slip” from time to time. Also I have no idea what the ventilation is like or if any efforts were made to improve.

        Are you near the coast (Brookings) or the Medford/Talent/Ashland area?

        At my workplace they waited until the absolute, ultra last minute to extend working from home, although many departments don’t seem to be going back to it. In my department we’ve had about 5 people get sick (no info about what they got) for multiple days or weeks and instructed to stay home and telework for at least a week (sometimes 2) after they officially resumed working.

        We just had our area of our 1970s-era building remodeled, starting in early 2020; a perfect moment to have upgraded the dismal ventilation system, but they didn’t as it was not budgeted for. This is in a building where, if one person comes in with a cold, everyone catches it.

        So….sigh. I for one hope that we can continue isolating.

        1. marku52

          Medford. Retired so I don’t have to worry about any ventilation but my own.

          Stay safe. Hospitals are overflowing down here. Really strange how that happened all of a sudden.

      2. Rick

        For those in Oregon, I have compiled all the Oregon Health Authority bulletins on the county cases since the beginning of the pandemic and created a number of graphs and visualizations. There is a stark difference between the large counties that have half of the population and the small counties with half the population.

        And yes, this latest wave of cases has been the worst in Oregon.

        Many restrictions were lifted on the July 4th weekend and the graphs tell the tale of how that went.

        Coronavirus in Oregon since 3/2020

        1. Laughingsong

          Nice work! I’m bookmarking that one, and thanks for doing the work for everyone. And my goodness, I have never seen an unemployment graph look like the one for 2020. Holy guacamole….

        2. IM Doc

          If only the CDC or national health agencies could put out as meaningful charts like this.

          Just incredible work – this must have taken you forever to do.

          1. Meg

            Rick, these charts are so informative, so well done. I live in the Santiam Canyon on the border of Marion and Linn. Showing data as a percentage of county population is so useful. It’s infuriating that OHA doesn’t do this. Also infuriating that they no longer publish the numbers for Saturday and Sunday. Thank you!

  2. hunkerdown

    It looks to me like KY is the sporty state in hospital admissions, while TN is merely orange.

    “Scholars” is what conservatives call their elites. Forcible redistribution of leisure!

    re: unfinished pick-ups, another 300-400 inventory arrived at the local Ford employee rideshare lot last week. So much for going back into the office. Now, I was unable to verify whether they could be moved around the lot under their own power. The semiconductor shortage might only be affecting the cell phone misfeatures. In that case I’ll take one exactly as is.

  3. Carolinian

    Re the dewormer thing–Walter Cronkite said he picked all his CBS Evening News stories by looking at the front page of the New York Times and the MSM are still doing it–only it’s the NYT that has changed. The Times said “horse paste” and therefore it is fit to print. However they will be changing their slogan to: “acceptable tropes laundered here.”

    1. Michael McK

      The aggravating thing to me about the Bubba Horse Paste meme is it always seems to attack Iver as a treatment (for which it seems good but not truely exceptional from what I can gather) and many people don’t realize it’s potential as a prophylatic. Prevention seems to me to have the most utility from a personal as well as Public Health perspective and also happens to be the worst thing for the for-profit medical industry.

      1. Objective Ace

        I’m not so sure. The attacks seem to be on the “horse paste” regardless of the reasoning. The WHO–at least– is doing CTs on Iver as a treatment, so presumably they have at least some reason to believe it could be effective, but silence on prophylaxes

  4. Glossolalia

    “Joe Biden’s Critics Lost Afghanistan”

    Our botched withdrawal is the punctuation mark on a general catastrophe, a failure so broad that it should demand purges in the Pentagon, the shamed retirement of innumerable hawkish talking heads, the razing of various NGOs and international-studies programs and the dissolution of countless consultancies and military contractors.

    For good measure add in some purges at the State Department, CIA, and Congress.

      1. Laughingsong

        Hehe…. I love how well the NC Commentariat do with “fixing” the headlines, memes, and slogans of the more propagandistic MSM sluice de crapola. Maybe we should inaugurate a section called Crazy People where the headlines can be “fixed” by the commentariat – with a day’s lag of course.

        Our own little mini-Onion!

  5. Mikel

    “Republicans Bravely Defend Americans’ Rights to Treat COVID With Horse Dewormer” [Vanity Fair]

    The big lie about this (calling all Ivermectin a drug for animals) is so relentless that you know some company is funding it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      We ran a similar paper from Omura et al back on June 5 in Links.

      I don’t find the “wonder drug” framing helpful in the slightest. What we have are a lot of primarily clinician-driven studies (and meta-studies thereof). The issue is not whether Ivermectin is safe; human formulations are safe for humans. The issue is whether it is, besides being safe and cheap, effective. The high-powered studies are in the works, fortunately.

      1. marku52

        I can only hope they won’t be sabotaged, as HCQ was. The study in the UK gave it at a dose 4X the recommended, and then stopped when the predicted side effect (its right there in the dosing recs) showed up (QT elongation).

        The Veterans’ administration one used it for patients on a vent. Any analysis of proposed mechanism of action would have shown this to be futile. Like all antivirals, early is crucial.

        And oh yea, they all ignored zinc, which is part of the MOA.


        Big Pharma no like cheap treatments.

      2. Jackman

        The level of Lie that Horse Paste framing represents is really remarkable in a world where the proportion of another class of drugs, antibiotics, given to livestock on a regular basis far exceeds what humans take, and a large proportion of those antibiotics are the same. Which would be terrifically obvious to everyone if someone described penicillin as ‘pig paste’.
        What one smells here amongst the liberal mob is a gleefully, not-so-subtle attempt to stigmatize those who take ivermectin as barn animals themselves.

        1. Nordberg

          My dog was just prescribed hydrocodone for kennel cough. I will now refer to it as dog paste.

          1. skk

            Yeah, since my cat was prescribed amoxicillin I’m going to call that cat liquid. These a-holes.

          2. ambrit

            Good heavens. I couldn’t imagine any of the medicos ’round here prescribing hydrocodone for any Terran human cough. As amfortas ye hippy mentioned previously, that gets us into “Pain Management” territory. If Phyl’s experience with that lot is any guide, that really is a ‘fate worse than death.’ [Although it can get to look a lot like “walking death.”]

      3. clarky90

        As a young hippy, I lived near the Burning Ghats in Varanasi. A few months ago, our NZ MSM was obsessed, night after night, with giving long “walking tours” of phony funeral pyres, for the Covid dead in India.

        Now, crickets…… Hmmmmmm? Something must have changed?

        “….Impact Of Ivermectin In Home Medicine Kits in India”


        Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India, with 199,581,477 people on 1 March 2011, so many many people! A big trial!

        “TrialSite News chronicled closely the use of ivermectin-based home medicine kits in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, and other states during the second wave of the pandemic starting in March and running through April. TrialSite News shared that by June cases plummeted to what is today’s far more contained situation.”

        The video is full of endless disclaimers, to protect it from Google memory-holing. You will enjoy thinking/talking around/over/under all of that. (our new normal. the Neo-General Directorate for the Protection of State Secrets in the Press, AKA, NeoGlavlit)

        1. Yves Smith

          People would not be trying to use animal meds if MDs had not been cowed into not prescribing. My MD had issued me a couple of weirdly small Rxs, then stopped. We have strongly recommended v. using animal meds (ease of screwing up dose, Lord only know what the effects of other substances to get the critter to take it might be).

      4. urblintz

        I think it’s important to remember that ivm carries the same “neutral” recommendation from the NIH re covid as does remdesivir. It could be argued that the problem is not with the CDC or FDA, that the NIH ultimately rates the effectiveness of a drug. I don’t hear demands for more high-powered studies of remdesivir although clinicians report that it doesn’t work. Yet it’s still being administered regularly… at $3-$5000 a pop.

        1. Ping

          Some compounding pharmacies are now manufacturing Ivermectin as people are turning to them after Walgreens and CVS are resistant or refusing to fill scripts. It is very, very inexpensive to produce.

  6. Wukchumni

    “Why is walking so good for the brain? Blame it on the ‘spontaneous fluctuations’”
    Everything around me is a movable canvas when i’m on a walk, the diorama always in flux depending on my angle of view, and typically I walk back the way I came but in the opposite direction, which means i’m looking at the same view, albeit backwards.

    I tend to daydream on a hike when on trail, occasionally looking down but mostly taking in the scenery. The other day I startled a 4 point buck about 20 feet off the trail and hidden away a little, but I heard his approach and he missed mine.

    1. Kevin


      If it were not for an 800 acre Forest Preserve less than a mile down the road, I’d probably be in a straightjacket. The deeper I look, the more I see. I’ve gotten into mushroom foraging and plant identification as well.

      Milkweeds in particular have been a revelation. Damn near every part is edible. Back in the day, kids collected the pods for the war effort as they were used to stuff lifejackets. When the pods are an inch or two long, the insides are very tasty – just like sweet corn.

      Never a dull walk!

      1. HotFlash

        The young shoots (4-6 inches) are nice, too, like a mild asparagus. And milkweeds are persistent, so go back every few days.

    2. LilD

      I might rename the band “spontaneous cognitive fluctuations” for our next gig…. Currently “the walkabouts” so particularly apt

    3. Carolinian

      Walking is for thinking. Thought everybody knew that.

      Of course if you are some of my neighbors walking is for talking–loudly–to your smartphone. Good thing Einstein didn’t have one.

    4. Socal Rhino

      On round trip hikes – I was fascinated to observe how my dog experienced walks in reverse directions – clearly to him they were entirely different.

    5. Skip Intro

      There is a thing in science known as Stochastic Resonance, IIRC, which is the phenomenon where weak signals can be boosted by adding random noise. Spontaneous fluctuations may have an analogous effect on our perception.

  7. urblintz


    “Media corporations share members of the board of directors with a variety of other large corporations, including banks, investment companies, oil companies, health care and pharmaceutical companies and technology companies. This list shows board interlocks for the following major media interests:”

  8. montanamaven

    Billionaires just contributed 101 million to Montana State U’s Nursing college. Since the pandemic hit, it was clear to me from various stories that we needed more nurses to combat any pandemic. This gift will increase the yearly number of nurse graduates from 256 to 400. MSU Receives 101 M for Nursing college
    This is the largest donation to a nursing program in the US surpassing the 100 million given to UCLA’s nursing school. I hope this triggers a race among squillionaires to fund more nursing programs. We need more nurses not more drama students. (David Geffen gave 150 million to Yale Drama school).
    More on MSU nursing gift

      1. montanamaven

        i posted this in hopes it would be disseminated. no responses which made me a little sad. Wow and then IM DOC replied. I am honored .
        Cheers from a small town in montana. besides nurses, we need small
        town im docs and not specialists.

    1. IMOR

      The two nurses I’ve seen in Montana are great, any state would be happy to have more like them. So this is great news. But maven, we need both more nurses and more drama grads- and we shouldn’t be required to choose, nor should we be dependant on billionaires for either.
      Always the proviso: if you want it named after you a la Zuckerberg and S.F. General, [famblog] off!

  9. John

    “Data is no more neutral than algorithms”
    The map is not the territory.
    The pointing finger is not the moon.
    Among others, Buddhists teachers have been trying to get this point across for 2500 years.
    Good luck!

    1. montanamaven

      Amazing detail although it starts to make my eyes glaze over with all the initialisms to keep track of like KPF, NDA, ISIS this and that, JSOC, CTPT… Hope that these death squads can get rooted out. Not terribly optimistic. Pepe Escobar is always a super good read.

    1. ChrisFromGeorgia

      The empire’s grip is getting weak … can’t even keep the Monroe Doctrine countries in line anymore.

      1. Wukchumni

        We’re closing in on the bicentennial of the Monroe Doctrine…

        In 1923, a commemorative Half Dollar was struck, and they were really commonly seen in LA in the 1970’s and 80’s, for unlike many other commemorative coins, a good many were released into general circulation at the face value @ time of issue.

        I always like the design on the reverse, a couple of contorted lovelies comprise North & South America.


      2. caucus99percenter

        The Monroe Doctrine: the U.S. “Nine-Dash Line” that extends all the way around Cape Horn…

  10. ambrit

    On the “Horse Paste” link, you said “…after all; pharmaceuticals are cheap…” I burst out laughing when I read that. You sly devil you.
    Add up the opportunity costs, the cost of the prescription, and finally the extremely variable costs of the substance itself, and you are heading well beyond “cheap” territory.
    A cynic might think that some institutional elites did not want the “unwashed masses” to utilize ‘inexpensive’ treatments.
    Well past time for a National Health Service.
    Stay out of the clutches of the Medical Industrial Complex!

    1. marku52

      My first exposure to “horse paste” was a hill billy you tube that showed how to use it for scabies. Another use for the human version, that apparently isn’t available to the less privileged.

  11. Wukchumni

    The last time there was a wildfire of any size in Mineral King was in 1875, and John Muir just happened to be here, and it had only been 25 years since the Native Americans were prohibited by latter-day Americans to do their yearly burns in the late fall, so the forest was ready for the onslaught.

    Muir’s account of the event reads so very differently than current wildfires…

    In the forest between the Middle and East Fork of the Kaweah I met a grand fire; and as fire is the master scourge and controller of the distribution of trees, I stopped to watch it and learn what I could of its works and ways with giants. It came racing up the steep chaparral-covered slopes of the East Fork canon with passionate enthusiasm in a broad cataract of flames: now bending down low to feed on the green bushes, devouring acres of them at a breath; now towering high in the air, as if looking abroad to choose a way then stooping to feed again, — the lurid flapping-surges and the smoke and terrible rushing and roaring hiding all that is gentle and orderly in the work. But as soon as the deep forest was reached the ungovernable flood became calm, like a torrent entering a lake; creeping and spreading beneath the trees, where the ground was level or sloped gently, slowly nibbling the cake of compressed needles and scales with flames an inch high, rising here and there to a foot or two on dry twigs and clumps of small bushes and brome grass. Only at considerable intervals were fierce bonfires lighted, where heavy branches broken off by snow had accumulated, or around some venerable giant whose head had been stricken off by lightning.

    I tethered Brownie on the edge of a little meadow beside a stream, a good safe way off, and then cautiously chose a camp for myself in a big stout hollow trunk, not likely to be crushed by the fall of burning trees, and made a bed of ferns and boughs in it. The night, however, and the strange wild fireworks were too beautiful and exciting to allow much sleep. There was no danger of being chased and hemmed in; for in the main forest belt of the Sierra, even when swift winds are blowing, fires seldom or never sweep over the trees in broad all-embracing sheets, as they do in the dense Rocky Mountain woods and in those of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington. Here they creep from tree to tree with tranquil deliberation, allowing close observation, though caution is required, in venturing around the burning giants, to avoid falling limbs and knots and fragments from dead shattered tops. Though the day was best for study, I sauntered about night after night, learning what I could, and admiring the wonderful show vividly displayed in the lonely darkness: the ground fire advancing in long crooked lines, gently grazing and smoking on the close-pressed leaves, springing up in thousands of little jets of pure flame on dry tassels and twigs, and tall spires and flat sheets with jagged flapping edges dancing here and there on grass tufts and bushes; big bonfires blazing in perfect storms of energy, where heavy branches mixed with small ones lay smashed together in hundred-cord piles; big red arches between spreading root swells and trees growing close together; huge fire-mantled trunks on the hill slopes glowing like bars of iron; violet-colored fire running up the tall trees, tracing the furrows of the bark in quick-quivering rills, and lighting magnificent torches on dry shattered tops; and ever and anon, with a tremendous roar and burst of light, young trees clad in low-descending feathery branches vanishing in one flame two or three hundred feet high.


    1. Henry Moon Pie

      ” it had only been 25 years since the Native Americans were prohibited by latter-day Americans to do their yearly burns in the late fall”

      If you haven’t read this, you might enjoy it: “Hands on the land, heart in community: Returning cultural fires


      Fire is a prime example of this ingenuity. While the diverse California Native cultures use fire for different purposes, cultural fire practitioners around the state have used low intensity, controlled fire to reduce pests in acorns (a key traditional food staple), stimulate regeneration of native plants, reduce invasive species, increase water use efficiency, create habitat for wildlife, and improve the quality of basketry material.

      These benefits of cultural fire stewardship have been documented by Native people as well as researchers. In the midst of catastrophic uncontrolled fires, climate change, and traditional food shortages, cultural fire has the potential to increase the health of Native communities by protecting healthy traditional foods such as acorn, salmon, and huckleberries. Access to traditional foods is crucial in communities that are food deserts and where rates of diabetes and heart disease can be three times the national average.

  12. Raymond Sim

    One of my problems dealing with a memory deficit subsequent to a stroke is that I forget where I put the notes I make to record things I know I’m likely going to forget.

    I’m pretty sure that some time ago I made some predictions here, and said I would invite critique of them come Aug 31 – my note on the calendar tells me that much, but I’ve misplaced the predictions themselves. For me the main point of this sort of exercise is to foil my ego’s tendency to filter out recollection of things I get wrong. If anyone can help me dredge up what it was I said and confront me with my errors I’d be very grateful.

    1. Lee

      Some day someone is going to donate to the site enough money so that one can search one’s user name and call up from the archives all the brilliant things one ever posted here. I wonder how much such an upgrade would cost. I will sometimes save some of my own and other’s comments in a Word file but more often than not I’m just too lazy to do so.

      I sympathize with your memory issues, as I am subject to ME/CFS related brain fog. I have intermittent problems with word recall, sentence construction, and reading comprehension particularly as the day goes on and my energies fade. Hang in there.

    2. JustAnotherVolunteer

      Found it:


      Raymond Sim
      June 26, 2021 at 11:44 am
      Great, I’ll mark my calendar for two months from now and you can critique my predictions!

      I predict:

      1) A shambling non-plan (btw look up the etymology of ‘shambles’) consisting largely of propaganda measures followed by

      2) Grudging reversion to some of the measures we apparently cannot live with when mass casualties affect too many of the sort of people the ruling elite can’t ignore.


      1) The B.1.617 lineage has the L452R mutation, making it much more dangerous to persons with the HLA-A24 serotype.

      2) Check out the household attack rate for Delta in Australia.

      3) We’ve all seen this movie before.

      I’ll be here August 31 with bells on.

      Raymond Sim
      June 26, 2021 at 5:24 pm
      Or maybe on ECMO, as the case may be.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Thank you so much!

        They were actually pretty safe calls weren’t they?

        L452R and traits with similar effects still don’t seem to have become at all widely known. Does anybody know if the East Asian or Southeast Asian media discuss the topic?

        As to the question of whether we should accept ‘living with’ the virus rather than engage in an ultimately futile eradication campaign: As the past two months have made increasingly clear, the only way to live with this virus is to wage a constant campaign aimed at eradicating it.

    3. Basil Pesto

      I’m pretty sure that some time ago I made some predictions here, and said I would invite critique of them come Aug 31 – my note on the calendar tells me that much, but I’ve misplaced the predictions themselves. For me the main point of this sort of exercise is to foil my ego’s tendency to filter out recollection of things I get wrong. If anyone can help me dredge up what it was I said and confront me with my errors I’d be very grateful.

      I actually did a similar thing independently in early July in a OneNote doc. I think it’s good practice, albeit with an open-ended date to revisit. Sharpens your analytical skills, keeps you honest.

    1. Lee

      Thanks for the link. I’m a recent fan of Dr. Campbell. Straight talk, good information, and no scolding or smirking air of superiority one so often encounters elsewhere.

      1. Mason

        I listened to him and Peak Prosperity since the beginning. It gave me early warning.

        Dr. Campbell needs to be knighted.

      2. TBellT

        I found him through the NC comments section and while I dont remember who I’m very grateful because I also think theyre quite good.

    2. HotFlash

      Saddest thing I’ve read in years. Word has come down and we have been thrown to the wolves, Big Pharma does a scarper.

      1. Lee

        So, it’s no longer obligatory to get vaccinated to protect others but only to protect oneself. One less stick with which to beat the anti-vax piggies. Also, no vaccines for children? Not sure how I feel about that.

        1. Daniel LaRusso

          I think it’s great not vaccinating children. My opinion will undoubtedly change if children (healthy – no other factors) are dying. Of course if there are children who oneed vaccinating becasue factors make them vulnerable, then I agree.

      1. TBellT

        Merkel (Germany) says free testing is going away, Sajid Javid (UK) saying they should only track hospitalized/symptomatic cases.

        How are those not examples of “Let ‘Er Rip”?

        1. saywhat?

          My understanding is that he’s saying that it is inevitable, given the Delta variant, that EVERYONE will eventually be exposed regardless of what we do.

            1. saywhat?

              My mistake except to say “Let er rip” has an irresponsible connotation that Dr. Cambell’s talk did not have.

              Nonetheless, my bad. Sorry.

          1. Basil Pesto

            no one has proven this

            One way or another, no one has proven it. As it stands, it is a handwave, an assumption, and it has become received wisdom, supported by the transparently fallacious “it can’t be done, because no one has done it”. I never expected man to be so gutless and defeatist in the face of such crisis.

            1. Basil Pesto

              To put it another way, would making a good faith, unified effort to try this be any less disgraceful or dishonourable than what we’ve got so far?

    3. arte

      Really, the question is not whether you or me will get infected. The question is: will the majority of elites (as in, who have the resources to avoid it) get infected, or will most hang back for a while, to see if the vaccine+infection style herd immunity of the proles is sufficient?

    4. Conrad Schumacher

      I guess we in New Zealand are no longer part of the West then. Most of the country moved to level 3 this week but Auckland still remains at level 4 in an attempt to eliminate a delta variant outbreak in mid August. No signs of giving up on elimination just yet.

      I guess we are at 170′-175′ East of Greenwich though so the West label never really made much sense.

  13. Expat2uruguay

    I think the story of the Constitutional Convention in Chile is quite exciting. First off, they’re throwing off neoliberalism, military policing, and their political class


    to create a new constitution in this moment of climate crisis. The group of constituents writing the proposed new constitution is half female, over 10% indigenous and has an average age of 41.


    There isn’t much there yet, but they do have their own website:

    1. ambrit

      I just hope that we don’t have a repeat of the Pinochet Coup. I would not put such maleficense past the neo-cons in Washington.
      In the 1820s, South America had a series of real revolutions to throw off the yoke of the Spanish Empire. I hope and pray that the people of South America are capable of doing the same with the American Empire.
      I can hear the planners at the neo-con “think tanks” hashing this out now:
      “Yass. The grunts have been acclimated to mountainous and upland climes in Afghanistan. The alti-plano should feel like home to them now. Just rotate a few divisions from base to Asuncion and La Paz. Piece of cake!”
      “Yeah, but Bolivia just threw our proxies out.”
      “Perfect! Show them who’s boss in this hemisphere!”
      “So, the plan is to move west from there to Chile and north to Venezuela?”
      “You have it! Simple. What’s to stop us? A few indios with old mausers? Don’t make me laugh!”
      And the Soviets laughed at hill tribesmen with Lee Enfields. The Chilean Mauser is in the same category.
      Chilean Mauser: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauser_Model_1895
      “Reach out and touch someone.”

  14. Stillfeelinthebern

    Latest Sarah Chayes. How the Biden admin treated NATO. Spoiler alert, with friends like the US, you don’t need enemies.


    “In the days after the attacks of September 2001, NATO — the military alliance the United States helped build after World War II to protect Europe from a potentially expansionist Soviet Union — activated its most sacred engagement. “An armed attack against one or more [members] in Europe or in North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” In the end it was not Europe that needed protecting, but the United States. For the first time in NATO’s history the Allies put themselves at a member’s disposal. Ours.”

    “In a final example of contempt shown to NATO Allies, it appears that the Biden Administration did in fact consult with one party about the withdrawal, in the last week before the clock ran out.”

    1. Darthbobber

      The Taliban were the decisive force on the ground.
      Obviously they had to be consulted as they held a veto. That being the case, what was “consultation” with the NATO members going to accomplish?

      And the other nations knew the terms of the 2020 agreement perfectly well.

      1. Darthbobber

        “In April 2021, after several rounds of consultations, Allied foreign and defence ministers decided to start the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan on 1 May 2021 and complete it within a few months. They also decided to continue supporting Afghanistan in other ways. This was confirmed by NATO Heads of State and Government at the NATO Brussels Summit on 14 June 2021.”

        From the NATO website. So they shared what she calls our self-imposed (actually self-extended) deadline, and like us chose not to begin their withdrawals until nearly the date when they were already supposed to be gone.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Wasn’t a good look when America’s allies realized in Kabul that the American Embassy had been evacuated and all the other troops pulled out of the highway to the airport in the middle of the night without telling those Allies what they were planning.They only realized that when they saw no US troops on guard in both places.

  15. antidlc


    From Aug 26, 2021:
    Rapid Increase in Ivermectin Prescriptions and Reports of Severe Illness Associated with Use of Products Containing Ivermectin to Prevent or Treat COVID-19

    Ivermectin is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescription medication used to treat certain infections caused by internal and external parasites. When used as prescribed for approved indications, it is generally safe and well tolerated.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, ivermectin dispensing by retail pharmacies has increased, as has use of veterinary formulations available over the counter but not intended for human use. FDA has cautioned about the potential risks of use for prevention or treatment of COVID-19.

    Look at the title. It looks like the CDC is trying to relate the “reports of severe illness” to the “rapid increase in ivermectin prescriptions.”

    Is this why the sudden barrage of “horse de-wormer” articles are appearing? Is it because the number of prescriptions at retail pharmacies has increased so much? Take a look at the graph and look at the increase in the number of retail prescriptions of ivermectin in the last several weeks.

    1. Brian Beijer

      I apologize for replying to this so late that you may not ever see this reply. The horse paste meme began at least two months ago. I saw it in an American news article at exactly the same time it became referred to as “horse medicine” here in Sweden. Like, literally the same day (or within a day or two) between the two reports. I remarked at the time in the comments here that it was an awfully odd coincidence that such an obscure reference would be used so close in time to one another, in two different languages no less. Someone tracked the reference to a CDC brochure as it’s origin if I recall correctly, but I still remain sceptical. I doubt very seriously that the Swedish press read the CDC brochure. In recent months, if one googled IVM, the most likely result would be it’s use in treating parasitic worms in humans. Now, I’m not sure. Maybe horse medicine is the most likely result. From the number of posts I see on the F-book refering to IVM as horse paste, I wouldn’t be surprised.

      I know that my hunch is going to get a lot of backlash here due to it’s lack of evidence and conspiratorial nature, but I suspect there has been a MASSIVE psyops campaign brought against IVM, and (tin-foil hat time) I strongly suspect that it wasn’t just pharmaceutical companies running the campaign, but that various intelligence agencies were involved. I suspect this because of the timing being almost simultaneous in different countries and the endless repetition of almost identical phrases “horse paste”, “horse medicine”. It definitely doesn’t seem to be an organic trend that can be ascribed to coincidence. It takes a lot of money and power to coordinate an effort like that. I honestly couldn’t say why anyone would put this much effort into destroying the reputation of a Nobel prize winning drug, but I think it’s worth an investigation for someone with contacts (like Taibbi or GG).

      1. outside observer

        I asked my doctor about IVM as a prophylactic earlier this year and she said it was being studied, but she can’t recommend it at this time. I asked again a couple weeks ago and she said it was an animal drug and could be dangerous, and that the data from other countries is not always reliable. Up until this point I thought she was a relatively independent thinking doctor. There must be enormous pressure from above. Note, I am ‘fully vaccinated’, but realize I might need backup in the near future the way things are going.

    2. Objective Ace

      >When used in appropriate doses for approved indications, ivermectin is generally well tolerated.

      I’m having a hard time with this statement. Sounds like they are saying that having a parasite or scabies somehow makes taking Ivermectin more safe? Otherwise–the sentence should just be, “When used in appropriate doses ivermectin is generally well tolerated” like it would be for any other medicine taken for an off label use

      1. JBird4049

        I think there is a deliberate conflating of the potential dangers of using a medicine containing Ivermectin the drug, and made for a horse as a de-wormer, with the possible dangers of using the drug Ivermectin, which was developed to treat parasitical infections in humans including the worm that causes River Blindness in humans. However, no one has yet mentioned what specifically is dangerous in the animal medication that might be dangerous, although since it is not made for humans, there could be something. But nary a mention, aside from being too easy to overdose from the horse size dosages, which is a real concern, just derision. When all I get is derision, I start getting suspicious.

        Any drug can be dangerous, if you overdose on it. This includes aspirin, or the caffeine in my morning cups of coffee. So, if a medicine is generally well tolerated, it generally remains well tolerated even, if it is used off label, yes? And if there is nothing else in the medication, besides the drug, that is likely to affect a person, it is likely to be and remain safe, yes? But it is now being accepted that off label use of Ivermectin is inherently dangerous without any explanation even though it has been safely used for forty years to treat all kinds of human parasites.

        In the Twitterverse, Reddit, in the intertubes generally, as well as mainstream media, the very suggestion that one might take Ivermectin for anything is being treated as the idea of an insane person. Probably one of those Republicans or worse, a Deplorable.

        Edward Bernays would have been proud to take credit for this propaganda.

        1. rowlf

          Watching the media coverage of Ivermectin, like the coverage of the last president, has been interesting to see which dogs bark and who is getting them started. The drug itself sounds neutral at worst and helpful at best, but the reaction to it is fascinating to watch. Maybe the drug only helps patients and is harmful to doctors and hospitals and such.

          The first time I saw a negative Ivermectin story was in the Febuary 2021 Washington Post story: My wife and I got covid-19. Our doctor prescribed a medication used to treat parasites in livestock.

          I keep hoping to run into folks outside the muffled zone of US media that can point me to articles in their language of results in their countries. I have my fingers crossed for when I get to talk with a Czech doctor later this week.

          1. divadab

            Same in Canada. Health Canada no less sent out a press release about the perils of using “horse dewormers”. Repeated in the Globe & Mail. Very concerning.

            One one level, an astoundingly good example of what can be accomplished with a fiendishly well-organized and funded propaganda campaign. A lesson for tucking away for future reference – the vehemence of the comments in the G&M condemning hicks and ignoramuses who take horse dewormer is scary. It creates a demonized class of people – for whatever the identified minority attributes. When will the unvaxxed be made to wear a yellow tag denoting their status?

    1. Lee

      “We’ve definitely hit peak stupid.”

      Perhaps they are taking their cue from the item in Links: “Eliminating fear and unlocking the mysteries in our brains”.

      But then I’m a proponent of the landscape of fear theory for the maintenance of ecological balance.

      Is it stupidity or ignorance? My first impulse is to blame those in power for the crapification of the public education system.

  16. Henry Moon Pie

    Harvard’s atheist chaplain–

    The sixth president of Harvard College would have the guy burned at the stake. Even if he is a man.

    Good old Increase still has a Harvard House named after him. It’s the only high rise House.

  17. Tom Doak

    Doing the math on Dr. Albert Wu, the former McKinsey consultant now working for Dollar General health care: if he drove $5 billion in revenue on taking care of 250,000 rural patients, that would be $20,000 per patient. That’s real money!

    I was hoping they were going to stay on-brand and offer $1 co pays for medications, but it sounds like not.

  18. Wukchumni

    That Tijuana-adjacent MILF (mom i’d least favor) is what we’re up against, she probably went stir crazy with her ‘cubs’ being in the den 24/7 since Covid and is in revolt. I get the feeling there’s a lot of them out there.

    1. Wukchumni

      Asked my buddy in Auckland, what would happen if a mom were to pull that stunt in NZ @ present, and this was his answer:

      “It’d be jail time here I’m afraid. The only real difference here is that the lunatic fringe is smaller and (generally speaking) don’t want
      to die.”

    2. ForFawkesSakes

      I recently read online that MILF actually means ‘mother I’d like to give flowers to.’

      1. Arizona Slim

        I thought it meant Mother I’d Like to [Family Blog]. The actual word rhymes with “truck.”

      2. s.n

        as everyone knows, MILF = Moro Islamic Liberation Front, who were quite active in the Philippines a decade ago, and may still be today (too lazy to look it up)

  19. GroundZeroAndLovinIt

    The CDC now says it’s safe to get the Covid 19 vaccine at the same time as other ones.

    I’m having a little bit of trouble trusting the CDC. “You are protected” implies a sterilizing vaccine that prevents transmission. But that’s not what we have. To go from “you are protected” to “you need a booster of the EUA version but we don’t have any Comirnaty, the new one, even thought it’s the same thing” — a mere 11 weeks later, well, it’s like the CDC is Lucy with the football and I am Charlie Brown. Telling me I can get it along with a suite of other vaccine “products” — it’s coming off as kind of desperate; that marketing is all out of ideas and they are trying to sell off product before it stops moving altogether.

    Or maybe it’s just me. “Out of an abundance of caution.” :)

    1. Shonde

      What bothered me in that announcement was “It is unknown whether reactogenicity of COVID-19 vaccine is increased with coadministration, including with other vaccines known to be more reactogenic, such as adjuvanted vaccines or live vaccines.” In other words, go ahead and do all the vaccinations together even though no research has been done which would show it is okay to do multiple vaccines with the Covid vaccine. Yup, throwing us to the wolves.

      Also, “People should be offered vaccination regardless of their history of symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection; this includes people with prolonged post-COVID-19 symptoms.” This is crazy. What research has been done that would show whether the vaccine might impair natural immunity received from being sick with the virus? We still don’t even know how long natural immunity lasts. Maybe the CDC wants everyone to get the vaccine so we never have a control group to study that might show long lasting natural immunity.

  20. dcblogger

    To Make Children Healthier, A Doctor Prescribes A Trip To The Park

    When Dr. Robert Zarr wanted a young patient to get more exercise, he gave her an unusual prescription: Get off the bus to school earlier. …
    … And that has meant mapping out all of the parks in the District of Columbia — 380 parks so far.

    The parks, mapped and rated based on facilities and in a searchable database by zip code, can be linked to patients’ electronic medical records. Zarr did it with help from the National Park Service and volunteers from George Washington University’s School of Public Health, park rangers and other doctors. Zarr also received some funding for the project from the National Recreation and Park Association, the National Environmental Education Foundation, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.


    Dr, Zarr is also the president of the DC chapter of PNHP, single payer advocates rock.

    1. Carla

      “single payer advocates rock.”

      You got that straight!

      “When Dr. Robert Zarr wanted a young patient to get more exercise, he gave her an unusual prescription: Get off the bus to school earlier. …
      … And that has meant mapping out all of the parks in the District of Columbia — 380 parks so far.

      The parks, mapped and rated based on facilities and in a searchable database by zip code, can be linked to patients’ electronic medical records.”

      BRILLIANT! Wish he were my doctor!

  21. allan

    Purdue Pharma Scrambles To Discourage A Justice Department Appeal of Bankruptcy Deal [NPR]

    Purdue Pharma launched a behind-the-scenes effort in recent days aimed at discouraging the Justice Department from appealing a pending multibillion-dollar bankruptcy settlement for the OxyContin-maker.

    NPR acquired an early draft of a letter distributed by the drug company to groups supportive of the bankruptcy deal.

    The letter is framed as a direct appeal to DOJ officials and purports to be written by those injured by the company and members of the Sackler family.

    “We collectively speak for the overwhelming majority of the state and local governments, organizations, and individuals harmed by Purdue and the Sacklers,” the letter states.

    There is no mention in the document of the company’s role launching the effort or crafting the message. …

    Very much on-brand for the Sacklers, whose initial fortune was built on astroturfing medical journals.

  22. Jason Boxman

    The Silent Partner Cleaning Up Facebook for $500 Million a Year

    I had the great misfortune of working as a contractor on an Accenture project at a tech company. Accenture hired us through a low tier contracting company, of which I was a W2 employee, that was so incompetent they couldn’t figure out how to withhold properly for health insurance premiums, so they just reduced my hourly wage accordingly, or so they claimed.

    The Accenture consultant that ostensibly ran our team, although we really took direction from a manager at the tech company, asked me via a chat program to escort my fellow contractor out of the building one day, because he had been laid off that the Friday before Thanksgiving week. I was instructed to take his badge and laptop as well; And I didn’t work for Accenture or the tech company, mind you!

    Thankfully my coworker had already left for the day.

    Accenture is a horrid company; More specifically, the executives at Accenture are horrid people. I’m not surprised they were eager to destroy mental health in the pursuit of profit and access.

  23. mark bowllan

    I just noticed an entry in last Thursdays Water Cooler about Harry Reid spawning a new generation of progressive leaders back in the 2000s.(Nation) The first annual YearlyKos which later morphed into Netroots Nation was a pivotal moment and was mentioned in the article. Harry Reid was the keynote speaker.
    I shot a documentary about YearlyKos 2006 and Harry Reid leads and ends the piece.
    Check it out… YearlyKos 2006 – Bloggers Woodstock

  24. Carolinian

    All about Tahoe





    The town is evacuated and waiting. These quotes seem significant

    Meanwhile, people continued to move into the Lake Tahoe Basin in droves. After World War II, tens of thousands of homes were built amid the trees, and neighborhoods are now filled with alpine-style houses with wood shake roofing and wooden decks, their yards blanketed in pine needles.


    “It’s an Alpine community with log cabins, and a lot of those structures were built in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s,” she said. “So you’ve got this potential for it to really start jumping from building to building to building, and it’s just a completely different beast and they can’t fight it.”

    Arizona has similar neighborhoods near towns like Prescott but those are often modest cabins. Even if luxury homes parked in the middle of forests survive this emergency how much longer can they hold out?

    1. Wukchumni

      A large percentage of modest cabins burned up @ Mount Lemmon near Tucson in the Aspen Fire in 2003, and judging from the new ‘cabins’ built since, everything tends to be 2x or 3x as large compared to the old ones that survived the inferno. I can’t imagine that happening in South Lake Tahoe as the homes are a real jamb job way too close to one another, and you’ll see odd things such as houses perched sideways on a street instead of pointing forward. It’s a tribute to a complete lack of planning in the 50’s & 60’s when most were built.

      1. Captain Obious

        Wuk, I see a lot about protecting buildings, and I am curious just how well the chemical flame retardants applied to dwellings, and wrapping buildings with what appears to be some kind of foil, work. Also, is this an expensive deal?

    2. Wukchumni


      New evacuation orders include Hwy 50 to the Kingsbury Grade, but don’t include the casinos @ stateline which is odd, since SLT has been mostly evacuated, no punters left.

      1. ambrit

        They left the casino because of a measly old forest fire? And they seriously call themselves gamblers? The State Gaming Commission should take away their Racing Form Licenses.

  25. Geoffrey Dewan

    When even Ross Douthat can see that a clusterfuck is a clusterfuck you know it’s a clusterfuck…

  26. Ra

    The Pfizer Comirnaty drug name…

    Brand Institute, a branding agency, says: “The new brand name “is coined
    from Covid-19 immunity, and then embeds the mRNA in the middle, which is
    the platform technology, and as a whole the name is meant to evoke the
    word community”

    My take:
    Comir- has its roots in, or references, similar sounding Commerce or

    Wiktionary says:
    -naty — Forms adjectives indicating plentiful presence of the referent
    of the base noun.

    so, Comirnaty => stimulating plentiful commerce

    “Your money or your life”

  27. Questa Nota

    Dianne Feinstein is the name not mentioned very much in relation to the Newsom Recall.

    If someone else, say Elder, becomes the new Governator, and DiFi’s mental faculties continue and accelerate their obvious decline, then it is possible to end up fairly soon with a new Senator.

    In that hypothetical, the new Senator would be of the Republican persuasion, disrupting the 50/50 balance and reducing the impact of the Golden State’s other contribution to democracy, Harris.

  28. Wukchumni

    My buddy who is a Sequoia aficionado, had another encounter with a mountain lion last week, his account:

    “I met another kitty cat on my last trip. I apparently startled it and it complained loudly to me a couple times about being surprised. It was after dark and I was reading by flashlight in a very empty Coy Flat campground, and when I stood up it noticed me and rowr’ed at me twice. I couldn’t see it well In the light of my small flash when it first growled at me, just saw its eyes, but then I grabbed my big mag lite and I could see its silhouette clearly, tho not much color. It stood behind a bush for a minute while I played the two lites over it and then finally gave up hiding and did an unhurried exit off to the right. It must have been a bob or something cause it was smaller than the mountain lion from your area. Still it sounded pretty mean, and I bet it figures it’s the alpha predator out there. Don’t think I want to test that…”


    1. flora

      I’m so sorry. It seems like the PREP Act rules updated Covid19 might be involved with the decisions. The PREP Act offers hospitals blanket financial liability protection in treating C19 patients only if the hospitals follow the approved protocol; if hospitals treat only with CDC, FDA approved countermeasures, i.e. NIH approved measures, they keep the liability shield. Any hospital deviating from the protocol loses the PREP Act C19 liability shield, it seems. Again, follow the money.

      I can’t see any other reason hospitals would fight so hard to block dying patients last-chance medical requests for an FDA approved drug used off-label but not EUA’d for C19. It might explain the hospital’s use of the term “human guinea pig”.

      This is from a brief outline of the current PREP Act applied to C19 treatments. Iv and Hq are not “covered countermeasures” by this definition.

      “Fourth, the medical product at issue must be a covered countermeasure. The PREP Act specifies four types of covered countermeasures: (i) a qualified “pandemic or epidemic product”; (ii) a “security countermeasure”; (iii) a drug, biological product,or device that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)has authorized for emergency use; and (iv) a “respiratory protective device” that is approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).”


      Maybe a Doc can weigh in on the PREP Act and C19 for clarification.

    2. TBellT

      I thought whatever evidence there was in support for ivermectin required it to be fairly early in treatment protocol. Would it have mattered if they requested it by the time he was on the ventilator?

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        It saved the lives of these three ( link below ) who were all on ventilators when another judge ruled in favour.

        It got me thinking of something Dr. John Campbell said in relation to dying patients that he as part of an ICU team attended, which involved throwing everything at their disposal to try & save that life, as in a nothing to lose scenario. If they lost the battle they could then at least feel that they had tried their best. Obviously this would still include the Hippocratic ” First do no harm “, but even then out of compassion patients were given when thought necessary a cocktail that would be in effect a poison to help them on their way.

        Ivermectin is about as safe as you can get & is FDA approved for use with scabies, which you might hope would be knowledge available in a place whose job it is to treat people – what had they got to lose ? a patient of course who was gonna go anyway, but of course the bottom ( as in the scraping of ) line is of most importance.

        Flora – thanks for that explanation on one of the aspects of how the medical arm of the cash machine goes about it’s business, within the larger framework of the Neoliberal cancer. I don’t know how staff who see themselves as having a calling & actually give a shit about the patients can cope with being increasingly part of a giant vending machine that doles out financially approved drugs including gateway versions for heroin as long as you possess enough of the filthy lucre. If they could get rid of the silly sentimental human element & replace them with robots, they could then declare job done.


  29. Wukchumni

    If you made me the Cali Fire Czar, this is what i’d do…

    We would set up hundreds, no thousands of carefully thought out fire breaks in the guise of prepping areas for prescribed burns, which is incredibly labor intensive, so we’d want to have veterans doing the work, as they were all recently fit, as this isn’t a job for couch potatoes!

    Ignition all depends on the first storm of the year, the past 3 years we have had 2 potent storms over Thanksgiving that were well advertised, everybody knew they were coming a week out, and we ignite the prescribed burns 2 to 4 days before the storm arrives, and Mother Nature does all the heavy lifting of putting them out.

    If the first storm of the year isn’t up to snuff, we expand the prescribed burn zones in anticipation of the next year being more fruitful for fire chances, and if it takes a few years for the ‘right’ storm to come, so be it, we just keep expanding the clearing.

    1. CanCyn

      This is a great idea. Of late, I have been thinking a lot about what we could have our military personnel doing right here at home. Infrastructure upgrade and repair. Ventilation upgrade in schools and government buildings. Mine site rehabilitation. Manufacturing re-patriation. Re-training as nurses, PSWs and paramedics. So many things we need to do instead of fight wars.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “FAA still reviewing Boeing 777 engine fix after Denver incident”

    In news today, Boeing has announced that they plan in bringing back all those Boeing 777 back into service again. They stated that those planes are needed as large capacity domestic movers and that the economy is suffering due to their being grounded. When asked about the engines blowing up and being on fire, a Boeing spokesperson said that for the good of the economy, that passengers are just going to have to “learn to live” with the exploding engines.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Who’s Really in Charge of OnlyFans?”

    What OnlyFans tried to do was what eBay tried to do several years ago. OnlyFans built themselves up on all those people that subscribed to it and when successful, then tried to turn around and dump those very same people. I assume that they did the same with their own staff.

    Years ago eBay built themselves up on small people selling stuff over their networks. And then one day they more or less told those people that they could buzz off now as their vision was to have only online stores selling stuff over eBay and not small people. That didn’t work out either.

  32. urblintz

    3 links, not necessarily reflecting my inexpert opinion:


    “Without a strong FDA, who else will let providers and patients know if a treatment will work or is even safe? Pharmaceutical companies? Medical device manufacturers?”


    “”All too often, patients and clinicians mistakenly view FDA approval as [an] indication that a product is fully safe and effective,” he says. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn tremendous amounts about a product only once it’s on the market and only after use among a broad population.”


    It was a lie when the FDA trotted out a six-month-old web post recently, warning of “serious harm,” “seizures, coma and even death” from ivermectin. The March post was spurred, it said, by “multiple” reports of people harmed by an animal formulation. In response to my question – how many is “multiple”? – the agency told me four, with some “lost to follow-up.” This is how governments obfuscate, confuse and, yes, lie when discussing a drug that the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology said in 2016 “continues to provide a high margin of safety for a growing number of indications.”

    FDA-sanctioned remdesivir, meanwhile, was associated with more than 500 deaths in its first year of use. Ivermectin was linked to 20 deaths in 19 years of WHO VigiAccess record-keeping. You won’t find that on the FDA web site.

    1. rowlf

      Sweet! “”All too often, patients and clinicians mistakenly view FDA approval as [an] indication that a product is fully safe and effective,” he says. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn tremendous amounts about a product only once it’s on the market and only after use among a broad population.”

      “You are not a lab rat. You are not a test primate. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,”

  33. SlayTheSmaugs

    We shouldn’t eliminate fear, that leads to Darwin Awards.
    We should rationalize fear; scale anxiety to risk size.

    Size in terms of consequences, and in terms of frequency.
    We should mediate fear by being able to underwrite it

    Consistent with our values.

    Dealing with the terror in terrorism means minimizing the chances of a successful attack.
    Consistent with our values means not using genocide or apartheid or drone warfare or torture as risk minimization strategies.

    And really, not killing many people who are not attacking us, not participating in the war we were fighting, is a terrorism minimization strategy.

    (p.s. I didn’t read the article, just riffing on the headline)

    Re Delta’s charging workers who choose not to be vaccinated while working for Delta

    Even though:

    1) I believe in expanded, improved Medicare for All
    2) I do not support charging people more for being in poor health in general–not obese people, not smokers, alcoholics or any other type of drug addict. Poor health can be caused by genes, addiction (smokers could be called nicotine addicts), bad luck, workplace poisons, air and water pollution–all kinds of things besides individual choice. Pricing health risk at the individual level is not just.
    3) I wish Delta would offer free vaccination throughout its workplaces, and mandate that its workers be vaccinated.

    Nonetheless, despite all 3, I admit I’m grateful Delta is pressuring its employees by screwing them financially. I don’t believe in the right to infect others. I believe people have a right to autonomy in dying, but it is subordinate to the collective and individual right to life. People don’t have a right to murder people and then commit suicide.

    I am probably taking my first airplane ride in years in November. I don’t know what airline yet. But if it’s Delta and the people working my plane got vaccinated to avoid the $200 monthly fine, I’m ok with that. I’m vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean I can’t catch and spread covid. It means I’m unlikely to get really sick or die, relative to an unvaccinated person.

    One of my kids isn’t old enough to be vaccinated, and is higher risk in his age group. My mother is so old she’d be particularly vulnerable to covid. She’s vaccinated, but again, vaccinated people can get it, and some of them do get very sick. Mostly old people. So if I catch it, I could spread it to two people I love that are then at higher risk of having bad, even potential fatal, covid.

    So even though I think a $200/month penalty is the wrong way to go about it–free, accessible in the workplace, on company time, shots coupled with a mandate is the right way (if we’re going to force the problem on employers by failing to have a functioning public health system (because we chronically underfunded it))–Delta’s going about it the wrong way, but every worker who gets vaccinated to stop paying is a step toward risk minimization for all of us, including the newly vaccinated.

    And I think I can believe this about Delta and hold true #2, because a large section of unvaccinated people are unvaccinated by choice. I mean, the arguments against masks are based on ‘freedom’, which is all about choice. The arguments against the vaccine are largely false, and the benefits to self and others of being vaccinated are large.

    Btw, I’m rooting for everybody–vaccinated and unvaccinated–to stay healthy, and that for everybody that gets sick, to recover swiftly and fully.

  34. Ben Dalton

    Re “Unfinished Tractors, Pickup Trucks Pile Up as Components Run Short”, a crazy thought. What is going to happen in a few months, when the demand comes down?

    I think the demand will come down because of these reasons: Increase in inflation (mainly gas prices), extra unemployment checks ending, people stuck home with childcare and not able to get back to work because schools aren’t (fully) open. And the fact that the general mood about the economy is not positive.

    I feel the producers are overreading the signals and overproducing. It could lead to a lot of pain later. Same with silicon chips. Everyone and their mother is throwing billions at chipmaking. I read somewhere that the current committed investment will effectively double global chip capacity in just 3 years. What happens when the demand doesn’t show up?

  35. drumlin woodchuckles

    About MAMA T-shirt Woman and where that “cubs” trope came from . . . . I think I remember first hearing it from Sarah Palin during the McCain vs Obama campaign. She introduced the “mama grizzly” or ” grizzly mother” as well as the ” mama pit bull” trope, I think.

    So she and her friends want to run for the school board? Well, everyone has a right to run. I suspect this is more of what I have been seeing and hearing about the Conservanon Militant Movement seeking to penetrate and take over more and more institutions to make them fail from within as part of their longer range goal of making as much of America ungovernable as they can. If they can make America ungovernable enough, perhaps they can take over the wreckage they hope to create.

    If they get elected, they will probably drive enough non-Conservanon parents into removing their children that the school itself will collapse and go into liquidation from lack of students and student-tied revenue. And that will be mission accomplished for MAMA and her Conservanon comrades in this particular battlespace.

  36. urblintz


    “On nearly every front, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) has been a blazing success. It was the first to win U.S. Emergency Use Authorization and full approval. More doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been given to Americans than any other — by far. The vaccine is on track to generate sales of $33.5 billion this year. Pfizer’s revenue growth could just be getting started.”

    1. Pat

      A statement that makes it very clear that a drug’s success has little to do with its effectiveness and everything to do with how much money it makes for its owners.

      1. Basil Pesto

        Not necessarily; look at Ivermectin. It was astonishingly effective, but Merck couldn’t sell it because the countries that most needed it couldn’t afford it, so they gave it away.

        That’s in the first instance, of course.

  37. John Patrick Sweeney

    Covid transmission in schools: Has anyone looked into school buses as a transmission focal point? In the Florida county (Lake) where I live, as of today 54 bus drivers employed by the county’s public school transportation service (for $10.19/hour) are in quarantine county-wide after students on their buses tested positive for Covid. I get almost daily emails and calls from my son’s high school (East Ridge) which, since classes started the first week of August has reported at least 50 students testing positive. Anyone within 10 feet of them supposedly is tracked down and told to quarantine two weeks and not return to class without a negative test. No information is given on numbers in quarantine. Of course, there’s no way of confirming any data because the school is predictably very closemouthed (parents aren’t even allowed into the school’s admin offices because… Covid), but my sons tell me it’s widely believed among students that at least 350 students in their high school which has 2,200 students (over 15%) are currently in quarantine. They also report dozens of new students in their high school whose families moved to Florida during the summer mainly from New York and New Jersey (their pediatricians also have told me they’ve seen a jump in the past 3-4 months of new patients from New York and New Jersey). “We have so many new students this year who moved here from the northeast that during any of the three 20-minute lunch periods a lot of students are forced to sit on the cafeteria floor while they eat,” my oldest relates.

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