2:00PM Water Cooler 11/19/2021

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

This is lovely, and also more than seven minutes long, so you can make a cup of coffee while you wait.

* * *

#COVID19

Since I decided to do regional case counts today, I eliminated some other charts, so Water Cooler wasn’t completely dominated by charts.

Vaccination by region:

Still chugging along. (I have also not said, because it’s too obvious, that if by Bubba we mean The South, then Bubba has done pretty well on vax.)

58.9% of the US is fully (doubly) vaccinated (CDC data, as of November 18. Mediocre by world standards, being just below Estonia, and just above the Czech Republic in the Financial Times league tables as of this Monday). We are back to the stately 0.1% rise per day. I would bet that the stately rise = word of mouth from actual cases. However, as readers point out, every day those vaccinated become less protected, especially the earliest. So we are trying to outrun the virus…

Case count by United States regions:

The case count just went vertical. I have drawn a black “Fauci Line” to avoid anti-triumphalism. And right before Thanksgiving, too. Here are regional breakdowns:

The West:

California bounces back while Arizona and Colorado slow togewther. But Washington, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon, and Nevada all up.

The South:

The South joins the party (so much for “It’s the temperature!”). North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee.

The Midwest:

Holy moley, Michigan! And Missouri! But Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Iowa too.

The Northeast:

New York and Pennsylvania leading in tandem. Massachusetts up too, as predicted by MWRA data. Plus New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.

At a minimum, the official narrative that “Covid is behind us,” or that the pandemic will be “over by January” (Gottlieb), or “I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful pandemic, but you know what? It’s over” (Bill Maher) is clearly problematic. (This chart is a seven-day average, so changes in direction only show up when a train is really rolling.)

* * *

“The U.S. land border is open. Here’s what you need to know” [CBC]. “When the clock struck midnight on Monday, the U.S. land border reopened to fully vaccinated Canadian travellers following a 19-month shutdown. The United States has kept its shared land border with Canada closed to non-essential travel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. But on Monday, the U.S. started welcoming back recreational travellers by land and passenger ferry — as long as those aged 18 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Younger travellers are exempt from the requirement.” • Well, we’ll hope that none of these “fully” vaccinated people are infected and transmitting. We could get lucky! On another note regarding Yves (and GM’s) post on B.1.640 this morning: This variant first showed up in Congo-Brazzaville, which is in the Francophonie. The variant also showed up in France, part of the Francophonie by definition, and in Normandy (site of Calais, where periodically “cleared” refugee camps still exist for migrants who hope to reach England). Quebec is also in the Francophonie. There is a direct flight, naturally, from Montreal to Brazzaville. Montreal is two hours from Burlington, Vermont by car, and five hours from Lewiston, Maine. If I were running the Vermont Department of Health or the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention I would be concerned.

* * *

One of the sources of the idea that Covid is on the way out, I would speculate, is the CDC’s modeling hub (whose projections also seem to have been used to justify school re-opening). “Here is today’s version of the chart from the CDC modeling hub, which aggregates the results of eight models in four scenarios, with the last run (“Round 9”) having taken place on 2021-08-30, and plots current case data (black dotted line) against the aggregated model predictions (grey area), including the average of the aggregated model predictions (black line). I have helpfully highlighted the case data discussed above:

(Note that the highlighted case data is running behind the Johns Hopkins data presented first.) Now, it’s fair to say that the upward trend in case data (black dotted line) is still within the tolerance of the models; it does not conform to the models’ average (black line), but it stays within the grey area (aggregated predictions) It’s also true that where we see an upward trend in the predicted case data (lower right quadrant) it’s much later than where we are now. It’s too early to say “Dammit, CDC, your models were broken”; but it’s not too soon to consider the possibility that they might be. But maybe we’ll get lucky, and the problem, if indeed it is a problem, will go away before Thanksgiving travel begins.

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Yikes. As I wrote: “It would be really bad if the case count jumped just as the students headed home for Thanksgiving.”

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) service area includes 43 municipalities in and around Boston, including not only multiple school systems but several large universities. Since Boston is so very education-heavy, then, I think it could be a good leading indicator for Covid spread in schools generally.

* * *

Politics

“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 Mice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Biden Administration

“House passes Biden’s Build Back Better bill, sending measure with free preschool, climate initiatives to the Senate” [USA Today]. “The House Friday morning passed President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, a wide-ranging package of Democratic social spending priorities that includes free preschool, initiatives to fight climate change and affordable housing programs. The legislation was approved on a 220-213 vote clearing a major hurdle for a plan that is the cornerstone of his sweeping domestic agenda to expand the nation’s social safety net, confront climate change, and help Americans bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure now goes to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future…. After the bill passed, Democrats gathered at the front of the chamber, hugging, dancing and applauding. A cheer of, ‘Nancy! Nancy! Nancy!’ broke out.”

“The Outer Limits Of Corporate Politics” [The Daily Poster]. “Democratic Party leaders on Thursday united around a plan to halve their economic agenda, which had already been nearly halved a few months ago. The full loaf is really a quarter loaf, but at this point, it’s actually less than that, because they also slashed promised regulatory and tax provisions that might have reduced medicine prices, provided workers some paid leave, and made billionaires start paying taxes. In the coming days, we will learn more of the granular details in the 1,600-plus page bill — but the overall agreement amid a flood of industry campaign cash is an illuminating moment: It reveals the outer limits of possibility for corporate politics, and the human costs of those politics. In general, the reason the Democratic Party always sounds so helplessly incoherent is because its lawmakers are trying to simultaneously appease their corporate donors and look like they are fulfilling their public promises to fix problems created by those corporate donors. In most cases, this is impossible. You cannot protect pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industry donors and also reduce the price of medicine and solve the climate crisis. If you try to pretend you can do both, the donors always eventually win out. So you end up talking in circles, complaining accurately about the problems while doing nothing to solve them, and then portraying marginal victories as huge wins to voters who must wonder why their lives aren’t improving.” • Commentary:

So, that $6.5 trillion was there for the taking all the time….

“Truth and Reconciliation” (podcast) [Deconstructed]. “Much of President Biden’s agenda rests on the minutiae of Senate rules and parliamentary procedures; this has led to a renewed interest in the obscure but enormously consequential role of the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough. An unelected official, she nonetheless has an extraordinary amount of influence over the current budget negotiations. Ari Rabin-Havt, former deputy campaign manager to Bernie Sanders, joins Ryan Grim to discuss the parliamentarian’s role in the legislative process.” • Very interesting in the nuts and bolts of the process (and why the current Parliamentarian should be fired).

“Six Theories of Joe Biden’s Crumbling Popularity” [The Atlantic]. “That inversion happened just as the Biden administration was fumbling the withdrawal from Afghanistan. At the time, many tempered observers (including me) guessed that although the withdrawal might be a tactical or moral catastrophe, it would not be a political one—or at least not an enduring political one. Big events like the withdrawal, which drew extensive media coverage, can temporarily depress a president’s standing, but this one seemed unlikely to endure. First, voters don’t really tend to weight foreign policy heavily in their assessments; second, majorities of Americans had supported leaving Afghanistan for years, Trump among them. With nearly three months’ perspective, we appear to have been wrong. Biden’s numbers never recovered, and have continued to slide.” • Far too charitable to the warmongering press; after Biden ended a war, they turned on him, and it was open season.

2024

“Cook Political Report shifts three Senate races toward Republicans” [The HIll]. “The Senate contests in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada once leaned toward Democrats. That changed on Friday, when the nonpartisan election handicapper reclassified them as toss-up races, meaning that they could go in either direction. All three seats are currently held by Democratic incumbents, Sens. Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Raphael Warnock (Ga.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.). Republicans see those seats as their best pickup opportunities in 2022.”

The zeitgeist:

“Off” and “weird.” I don’t think he’s wrong (and let’s see how Thanksgiving goes…).

2024

“The candidate the Kamala-Pete buzz ignores” [Politico]. “Amid the glut of speculation about whether Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg is Joe Biden’s political heir, another important succession story in Democratic circles has gone almost entirely undiscussed: Who will inherit Bernie Sanders’ ideological mantle?… But Sanders, like Biden, is old. No one in his orbit imagines him mounting a third run should Biden call it quits — something, to be clear, the president and his team have explicitly said he isn’t doing…. ‘Bernie is no different than when he was a crazy white-haired congressman,’ said Rocha. ‘What legitimized him was when he could raise tens of millions of dollars. That made him real to every power broker in America. And no one beyond AOC has been able to do that.'” Which contradicts Rocha’s earlier view: “‘You are going to have some massive, massive changes happening in the next two or three years,’ said Rocha. ‘The only way to really be successful has to be rooted in almost a Donald Trump/auto-worker/person of color working-class narrative of economic populism. This is what the Democrats have walked away from at their own peril and one where they are getting their ass handed to them.'” • Hmm.

Democrats en Deshabille

“Dirty Dollars II: West Virginia” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]. The deck: “Accused money launderers secretly moved millions into America to buy steel mills — while elected leaders helped them fend off U.S. regulators and foreign competitors. Left in the wake: hazardous waste and injured workers.” And who might those elected leaders be? You’ll never guess: “Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito joined other lawmakers in firing off a letter to the agency in 2015, saying the plant in their home state and another in Ohio could shut down if they were forced to install expensive equipment and submit to testing under a strict deadline.” • Ugh.

Symbol manipulators gotta symbol manipulate:

RussiaGate

Nothing fundamental will change:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Kyle Rittenhouse is acquitted of all charges in the trial over killing 2 in Kenosha” [NPR]. “Jurors deliberated for roughly 27 hours over the course of four days before pronouncing Rittenhouse not guilty on all five counts: first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree attempted intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. The jury was also asked to consider lesser versions of several counts, but were not swayed…. For the past two weeks, the trial has commanded the nation’s attention — thanks in no small part to the fact that nearly every minute of the proceedings has been broadcast widely on TV and livestream video.”

Yikes! A thread:

Note that this is a management perspective. What do readers think?

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of note today.

* * *

Inflation: “A month of inflation does not a crisis make” [The Week]. “America has a real chance to experience a genuine economic boom over the next couple years, one that might heal some of the lasting economic scars of the lost decade that followed the 2008 crash. Some moderate — and likely temporary — inflation is an acceptable risk to give that boom its best possible chance of happening. First, some quick background. As I’ve previously written, it seems inflation is coming from three sources. One, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a huge shift in spending, with expenditures moving away from services and into goods. Instead of going to gyms, restaurants, and hair stylists like they did in 2019, people are staying home and spending more on TVs, computers, and dishwashers. Two, lots of people are still cash-rich thanks to pandemic rescue bucks, cheap credit, and appreciating home values. And three, because business under-invested in capacity for a decade during the weak post-2008 recovery, the global supply system is brittle and struggling to handle the surge in spending. Now back to growth.”

Banking: “Nonbanks gain upper hand in commercial real estate lending” [American Banker]. “With banks retreating from commercial real estate lending amid concerns about the pandemic’s impact on retail and office occupancy rates, alternative lenders have emerged as the largest source of new loans. In the third quarter, private debt funds and other alternative lenders accounted for 39.1% of all CRE originations, up from 34.9% a year earlier, according to new data from CBRE Group. Conduits for commercial mortgage-backed securities also enjoyed strong growth. Banks had 23.1% market share, down from 38.3% one year prior. ‘Debt funds really started hitting full stride during the second half of 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, when banks were largely on the sidelines,’ said Brian Stoffers, global president of debt and structured finance at CBRE.”

Commodities: “Russia Boosts U.S. Fuel Exports Amid European Energy Crunch” [Bloomberg]. “A fleet of tankers laden with Russian diesel heading to the U.S. East Coast may help to alleviate the most expensive retail prices for the fuel in seven years. Four tankers with 2 million barrels of Russian diesel aboard, the most in data going back to 2018, are set to arrive next week, as natural gas-rich Russia cranks up diesel-producing units that are dependent on a feedstock extracted from costly natural gas, according to Vortexa Ltd. ‘Russia is better positioned to supply diesel than other refiners in Europe because of its access to cheap natural gas,’ says Clay Seigle, a managing director for Vortexa in Houston. ‘It’s very rare we’d see volumes this large coming to the East Coast.’ The price of diesel and other fuels used for heating has soared as a winter energy crunch pinches supplies globally.” • Imagine if this happened with Trump….

Commodities: “The global chip shortage will drag into 2022 — but there are two bright spots, JPMorgan says” [CNBC]. “The global chip shortage is set to drag on till 2022 — but the situation could improve from mid-year onwards as more supplies become available, a top semiconductor analyst at JPMorgan told CNBC. The U.S. investment bank is recommending investors pursue longer-term trends in the semiconductor space — in areas like high-end computing globally as well as less-advanced technologies in China.”

Commodities: “Is That Kosher? Rabbis Debate Plant-Based ‘Pork’” [Wall Street Journal]. “The arrival of fake, plant-based meat expanded the culinary horizon for many observant Jews in recent years. Faux cheeseburgers were suddenly on the menu at kosher restaurants without breaking the ban on mixing dairy with meat. Chili cheese fries became an option. Could Impossible Foods Inc.’s fake pork also get a kosher seal of approval? Just the word ‘pork’ was too much to stomach, said Rabbi Menachem Genack, chief executive of the world’s largest kosher certification group, OU Kosher. Its board voted early this year against the company’s kosher-certification request for Impossible Pork…. Chanie Apfelbaum, a New York kosher food blogger and cookbook author, said she had no problem eating Impossible cheeseburgers, but ‘I have a hard time getting past the idea of eating something that’s called ‘pork’ and is meant to taste like pork.'”

The Bezzle: “Australian Man Just ‘Pirated’ All NFTs on Ethereum and Solana” [Crypto News]. “A 17.96 terabyte archive containing the screenshots of every single non-fungible token (NFT) minted on top of Ethereum and Solana has appeared on torrent site PirateBay….Geoffrey Huntley, the software developer from South Australia behind the prank, says that he had to rent a bare-metal server to pull this off, adding that it was ‘worth it.’… The final boss of “right-clickers” says that the gigantic collection of NFT screenshots is meant for others to study ‘this generation’s tulip mania.’… Expectedly, performing the ultimate rick-click save attracted tons of praise from fellow NFT skeptics. Some even praised the user for actually making NFTs decentralized by means of peer-to-peer torrenting.” • Commentary:

Supply Chain: “‘Big box’ stores weather supply chain snarls better than smaller rivals” [Financial Times]. “America’s largest retailers are weathering the country’s supply chain storm while smaller rivals struggle to secure sufficient supplies, according to earnings announcements and survey data that point to a widening rift between the biggest store owners and the rest. Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Target all reassured investors in recent days that they were starting their peak season with strong inventory levels. Most of the “big box” chains commented that their size, deep vendor relationships and strong balance sheets were helping them gain market share, albeit at a cost to profit margins. But smaller brands painted a more challenging picture of inventories not recovering to pre-pandemic levels…. [T]he deepest-pocketed retailers, such as Walmart and Costco, have been able to charter their own vessels and air freight in-demand products to secure deliveries.”

Tech: “Apple Accelerates Work on Car Project, Aiming for Fully Autonomous Vehicle” [Bloomberg]. “Apple Inc. is pushing to accelerate development of its electric car and is refocusing the project around full self-driving capabilities, according to people familiar with the matter, aiming to solve a technical challenge that has bedeviled the auto industry…. Recently, the company reached a key milestone in developing the car’s underlying self-driving system, people familiar with the situation said. Apple believes it has completed much of the core work on the processor it intends to eventually ship in the first generation of the car. The chip was designed by Apple’s silicon engineering group — which devised the processors for the iPhone, iPad and Mac — rather than within the car team itself. The work has included honing the underlying software that runs on the chip to power the self-driving capabilities.” • There are, naturally, mock-ups of the interior. Worth noting that, regardless of their skill with Silicon, it’s been a long time since Apple was either good or creative with software, especially at the UI/UX level. Apple is a manufacturer, and robot cars are not a manufacturing problem. I remain in my priors, that there is and will be no Level 5 algo, and so any “self-driving” that is done will be dependent on altering the built environment and/or limiting routes, so that the algos can function. This Apple may have the clout to do, especially in the California or San Francisco area.

Manufacturing: “Boeing Dreamliner Defects Bog Down Production” [Wall Street Journal]. “The plane maker is holding off completing the new wide-body jets at its North Charleston, S.C., factory as workers and engineers address problems related to areas surrounding passenger and cargo doors on aircraft already under construction, these people said. The latest production slowdown began in recent days and could last a few weeks as Boeing seeks expertise from other aerospace manufacturers in addressing the door issue, some of these people said. In late October, Boeing disclosed it was producing about two Dreamliners a month, down from a planned monthly rate of five, to resolve production issues. A string of production snafus has hampered Boeing’s ability to deliver new Dreamliners for much of the last year, fueling the manufacturer’s financial losses and making it difficult for airlines to build schedules for jets often used in international travel…. A Boeing spokeswoman said work continues at its Dreamliner factory and production ‘rates will continue to be dynamic’ as the manufacturer focuses on resuming normal assembly, performs inspections and repairs finished aircraft awaiting delivery.” • “Rates will continue to be dynamic.”

Concentration: “What’s Behind Amazon’s Feud With Visa” [Bloomberg]. “Amazon in recent weeks has announced deals with PayPal Holdings Inc.’s Venmo and Affirm Inc. that will give U.S. shoppers another way to avoid Visa. The retailer is also considering shifting its popular co-brand credit card to Mastercard Inc. amid the simmering tensions. In some ways, the fight is nothing new. Retailers have long balked at the fees they’re forced to pay each time a consumer swipes a card at checkout. While it can amount to just pennies per purchase, that adds up: Merchants in the U.S. spent $110 billion in card-processing fees last year alone. Most consumers have little idea that these costs exist or how much they amount to, even though retailers say they’re responsible for higher prices on many everyday goods. They’re also a big part of the credit-card company business model. In the U.S., it’s often these swipe fees that help bankroll popular premium credit-card rewards and fraud protections. With its latest move, Amazon is taking a page from the likes of its rivals Walmart Inc. and Kroger Co., both of which have temporarily instituted similar bans on Visa cards. For now, most analysts believe Visa will be able to reach a truce with Amazon, as it has done with Walmart and Kroger in the past.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 74 Extreme Greed (previous close: 75 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 83 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 19 at 11:50am.

Health Care

“Wait what? FDA wants 55 years to process FOIA request over vaccine data” [Reuters]. “Freedom of Information Act requests are rarely speedy, but when a group of scientists asked the federal government to share the data it relied upon in licensing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the response went beyond typical bureaucratic foot-dragging. As in 55 years beyond.” • 55 years seems a little excessive. And why on earth wasn’t the data public in the first place?

“Vials found in Pennsylvania lab did not contain smallpox as labeled, CDC says” [NBC]. • Phew!

“Boston MedFlight Forced To Take Patients Out Of State Due To Hospital Bed Shortage” [CBS Boston]. “Some critically ill patients onboard Boston MedFlight helicopters — bound for one of the city’s several hospitals — have flown into a harsh reality of late. No available ICU beds…. Experts say Covid-19 is a fraction of the problem — but not the problem itself. For starters, Boston MedFlight is carrying much sicker patients these days — and more of them — because so many people put off getting medical care for their health issues during the pandemic.” • This will shortly be a big problem, given the MWRA and case count data.

Droplets were never clearly defined! Good thread:

More footdragging and pettifoggery from the public health establishment. (And you can bet if leading aerosol scientists held a conference and proposed a standard, they wouldn’t accept it.)

The Biosphere

“The carbon capture plants that COP26 didn’t discuss” [Nation of Change]. A summary of carbon capture options, not completely accurate IMNSHO (BECCS is not “promising”). But this is interesting: “Unfortunately, even this broad look at the problem of carbon capture fails to discuss two other solutions which are relatively inexpensive and which avoid problems that trees involve. These two solutions are cultivating hemp and bamboo. Both of these grow a lot faster than trees, provide better carbon capture, and offer product uses that many of the other solutions do not offer…. Why weren’t these plants discussed at COP26? Probably because hemp has a bad reputation of being related to marijuana, and bamboo is an enemy of wood lumber companies. But those aren’t good reasons. Fast growing plants are better than trees and cheaper than mechanical devices like DAC. The time has come to stop viewing these plants with a blind eye and start to use them in an effective way.” • Intuitively, I am for more complexity. I’m not sure that plantations of hemp and bamboo will have the promised effects. But interesting nonetheless!

“Communities consider ‘managed retreat’ from climate change” [Associated Press]. “The risks to the Gullah Geechee and other communities have intensified enough to raise a startling question: Should some populated places simply be abandoned to nature? One strategy gaining traction is so-called managed retreat, which is the planned relocation of vulnerable people. ‘This is a huge issue. By my reckoning, there will be 30 million people who are displaced by midcentury, and there will be mass migrations in the United States,’ said Stephen F. Eisenman, director of strategy for the Anthropocene Alliance, a climate and environmental justice group. The biggest question is whether the retreats are planned and methodical or unplanned and chaotic.”

“Scientists confirm that nighttime wildfire activity is increasing” [Wildfire Today]. “Heat sensing data from satellites showed significant increasing trends in nighttime wildfire fire activity, with a +54%, +42% and +21% increase in the annual nighttime sum of Fire Radiative Power (FRP), annual nighttime active fire pixel counts, and annual mean nighttime per-pixel values of FRP, respectively, in the latter half of the study period. Activity during the day increased also, with rates of +36%, +31%, and +7% respectively. Analysis of coincident 1000-hour fuel moistures indicated that as fuels dried out, satellites detected increasingly larger and more intense wildfires with higher probabilities of nighttime persistence.”

“Active Energy’s wood pellet operation in Maine has failed; no word on fate of Lumberton plant” [The Pulse]. “‘An irreparable mechanical issue’ has apparently doomed Active Energy Renewable Power’s “CoalSwitch” wood pellet operation in Maine, casting doubt on the company’s original plans to launch a similar plant in Lumberton, in Robeson County [North Carolina]…. Six months ago, Active Energy moved its wood pellet operation to Maine for a trial operation, in hopes of collecting air and water quality data to satisfy changes it had requested for its air permit in North Carolina. … Although unable to get its air permit in North Carolina, Active Energy still had to meet a contractual deadline to deliver 900 to 1,000 tons of pellets to PacifiCorp, which plans to burn them at its Hunter Power Plant in Utah, according to company correspondence with investors. Active Energy piggybacked on an existing permit holder in Maine, Player Holdings, which makes fireplace logs, to produce the wood pellets. Player is also Active Energy’s engineering consultant in North Carolina.” • “Player Holdings.” Really? I have never understood wood pellets. I understand making “fireplace logs” even less. There are a lot of actual trees in Maine. You can cut them down and make logs out of them.

The 420

Games

“Bobby Kotick must resign” [Polygon]. “In July, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, saying the video game publisher had fostered a culture of “constant sexual harassment” and discrimination. The report, filled with horrific and detailed personal allegations of cruelty made predominantly by female staffers, sparked months of rallies, threats of boycotts, and a flurry of departures from the company. But throughout, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick claimed that despite his role atop the company, he had little to no insight into the toxicity that his employees described. He chose denial and aloofness. The Wall Street Journal now reports that Kotick was, at best, withholding key information in his response, and, at worst, lying to protect himself from backlash that had already forced out some of his peers in senior-most positions of the company. The report alleges that Kotick did know about the toxic culture within his company, and that he knew on a granular and graphic level. The alleged heinous actions that Kotick has been described as having committed, not on behalf of the company but on behalf of himself, are as disturbing as they are abundant.”

Groves of Academe

“Corporate money keeps university ag schools ‘relevant,’ and makes them targets of donor criticism” [Investigate Midwest]. “Across the Midwest, corporations have become critical, aggressively pursued sources of money for agricultural colleges as tax dollars become increasingly elusive. But that money can put the same schools in awkward positions, vulnerable to criticism from those private donors entangled in public controversies….. Of the four universities that provided donation data to the media outlets, most of the corporate money for ag schools went to the University of Illinois (about $100 million) and Iowa State (about $50 million). Illinois and Iowa are two of the most productive agricultural states in the country. The largest donors to the four universities make up a who’s who of powerful agricultural corporations. One of them was Monsanto.”

There seems to be a lot of “Great Resignation” going on:

Zeitgeist Watch

“Violence on planes is at an all-time high. Flight attendants’ jobs have never been more dangerous.” [The 19th]. “In a normal year, the FAA investigates fewer than 200 incidents of unruly behavior. This year, even before the holiday travel season, that number is 990…. In all, there have been reports of 5,240 unruly incidents, 72 percent of them related to mask mandates. The FAA has opened 245 enforcement cases among those, and 37 of the most violent events are being investigated by the FBI. Fines have also gone up to as much as $37,000 per incident, while the FAA is also trying to crack down on to-go alcohol sales to help reduce the number of incidents involving inebriated passengers. Several major airlines, including American and Southwest, have suspended in-flight alcohol sales…. Flight attendants, a workforce that is 80 percent women, are often the last line of defense in many of these incidents. Some of the unruly or violent behavior is directed at them, specifically, and flight attendants have been heavily beaten and even hospitalized this year. ”

Class Warfare

“Leaked Audio: Amazon Workers Grill Managers at Anti-Union Meeting” [Vice]. “‘We continue to be a target for third-parties who do not understand our pro-employee philosophy and seek to disrupt the direct relationship between Amazon and our associates,’ [Ronald] Edison, the operations manager, told workers at the outset of the meeting. ‘It would charge its members dues, fees, fines, and assessments in exchange for their representation.’ ‘Hey, you mind if I jump in real quick?’ a worker, who self-identified as a leader of the union, said. ‘Now you said ‘third party.’ So the ALU is a third party? Allow me to correct you because I actually started the ALU. ALU is full of all Amazon associates. You say a ‘third party,’ but they’re all Amazon associates trying to form a union.'” • And the dues are worth it. What a shock to the suits to speak to workers and discover they’re not fools.

“4 Major Plot Holes in the ‘Organized Crime Rings Are Closing Walgreens!’ Narrative” [The Column]. “Regardless of what one thinks Walgreens’ business logic is for the closings, one cannot deny the story—either by design or incident—has become a full blown reactionary meme with a specific political context. As Steven Keehner documented at FAIR in July, a single viral video of shoplifting at Walgreens solicited over 300 articles nationwide, not including write-ups in South Africa, Mexico, UK, and South Korea. If you’re wondering this is, dollar for dollar, 474,183% more coverage than the one (1) mainstream media article about Walgreens admitting it stole $4.5 million from its employees over several years.”

“The Extractive Circuit” [The Baffler]. “The machinery—the actual form and function—of twenty-first-century capitalism is an extractive circuit which quite literally crisscrosses the world. Its global value chains stretch through physical infrastructure and ‘frictionless’ financial flows at the speed allowed by fossil fuels; telecommunications; and geophysical, technological, psychosocial, and bodily limits and ‘optimizations.’ It connects economically and ecologically dispossessed agricultural communities in the Global South with regimes of hyperwork in the Global North; rare earth ‘sacrifice zones’ with refugees; migrant labor with social reproduction; ocean acidification and atmospheric carbon with profitable opportunity. It has required the transformation of states; it has ripped through biomes and through flesh. Capital often appears and is treated as a historical abstraction; this is doubly true of globalized, financialized capital. The extractive circuit is the leaden reality of a global human ecological niche organized for maximal profitability—no matter how difficult or costly to maintain. Its realities underscore the generalization of a colonial social relation in socioecological terms, even as older modes of imperialism and neocolonialism are hardly swept aside. Its speed, frenzy, coercion, and brutality reach into the very heart of the imperial metropole, far beyond where such relations were already present. Feelings of exhaustion—depression, desperation, fatigue, exasperation—course through its wirings, neurons, biochemicals, and sinews. At every ‘node’ along such a circuit, ‘inputs’—ecological, political, social, individual—are extracted and ‘exhausted.’ The circuit, like capital, crosses boundaries without entirely obliterating them, and, similarly, connects a vast potential political subject across disparate lines—Global North and South, gender, class, race, nationality, religion, and sexuality. The extractive circuit is the socioecological portrait of capitalism historically and its transformations to maintain profitability in the face of immanent headwinds, like the long economic downturn and ecological limits themselves.” • M-C-M’, baby!

News of the Wired

“The Strange History of the Worst Sentence in English Literature” [Mental Floss]. “If you want to start a novel, your options for an opening line are just this side of infinite. But if you want to start a novel badly, any cartoon beagle can tell you that there’s only one choice: ‘It was a dark and stormy night.’ The phrase has become so ingrained in our literary culture that we rarely give much thought to its origin—and when he put pen to paper, it’s likely that author and politician Edward Bulwer-Lytton had no idea just how infamous his dark and stormy night would become. Bulwer-Lytton was once as widely read as his friend Charles Dickens, but today he’s remembered almost exclusively for one bad sentence. It’s an ironic legacy for a prolific author who influenced some of the most popular novels in English literature, helped invent sci-fi fandom, laid the groundwork for modern crime fiction.” • And was an abusive husband, too.

Dad.

* * *

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 (Re Silc):

Re Silc writes: “Wonderful old trees, Rock Creek Park.”

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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.

155 comments

  1. Another Scott

    Regarding hospital bed shortage in Massachusetts.
    This is at least partially the result of the deliberate policy of the hospitals and government to close hospitals in the suburbs. Hospitals throughout the state have closed over the past 25 years. Hospitals in Malden, Somerville, Stoneham, and Waltham have closed over that period, all between 128 and the City of Boston and north of the city. And those are just the ones that I remember off the top of my head. Lahey/Beth Israel are also trying to stealthily close another one in Medford. Patients and the communities at large have always been a low priority for the executives running the state’s health systems.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      A close friend is a commercial interior designer. Friend recently told me that one of our big hospitals was down to one third the usual number of ICU beds.

      Was it because of COVID? Nope.

      The real reason was (cue up the drumroll) …

      …remodeling.

      My friend’s employer was heavily involved in this project.

      Reply
    2. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, CHA just recently closed the hospital in the middle of Somerville, where a woman sadly died outside because the entrance the ER wasn’t obviously designated. I used to walk by there on the way to my election polling station.

      Reply
  2. Samuel Conner

    I think the solution to the fake prok problem is to genetically engineer an animal with right flavor to its flesh, but avoiding certain digestive and anatomical/foot features. IIRC the original restrictions had to do with chewing/not chewing the cud and the structure of the hooves. The flavor had nothing to do with it.

    Reply
      1. Lee

        Fascinating. I’d not heard of the allegorical rationale supporting what otherwise seem to be arbitrary and capricious dietary restrictions.

        Reply
        1. Henry Moon Pie

          That was Augustine’s approach as well on the Christian side of things. He applied that to that 1,000 years in the Apocalypse of John too, and that’s what ends up a amillenialism.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I have seen ash trees where the tree part is killed by the borer, but below the death zone, the live roots send up new stems. One wonders if all possible ash-roots should be kept alive to keep sending up new stems to keep the species alive till such time as the borer can be killed off.

            And in the meantime, the living ash root systems will keep alive whatever ash-obligate micro-organisms need living ash roots to survive.

            Reply
        1. Late Introvert

          I have a Green Ash in my front yard, currently half dead from the Emerald Ash Borer, and I immediately thought to myself “some sort of gnarly ash tree”.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If it is half dead, does that mean it is still half alive? If it grows new trunklets up from below the zone of borer damage, does that mean it is a potential super survivor?

            Reply
            1. Late Introvert

              It has not done so, and I doubt it will. This year was the year my wife and I both said wow, that tree is going down fast. Still hoping the city will have funds to help take it down, or at least find some neighbors we can round up to get a better deal. Thousands of dollars, it’s a big tree.

              Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > trumeau

      Trumeau. The supporting pillar in the middle of this doorway:

      (This is the best I can do; all the images I can find are like Christian caryatids; there aren’t any I can find that are decorative.)

      Usage example: “After I defenestrated the Bishop, he stumbled into a trumeau.”

      Reply
  3. Judith

    The birdwatcher in me immediately starting search the old tree bark for a brown creeper.

    https://www.askprofessorbird.com/single-post/2015/11/26/THE-BROWN-CREEPER-A-master-of-camouflage#!

    I was about halfway through scarfing down some beans on toast for my supper on a gorgeous summer evening in North Saanich, British Columbia when my next-door neighbor appeared through the patio door with a tiny brown bird cupped in her hands and a long, sad look on her face. I surmised right away that it was a Brown Creeper and that it had hit her window. Our yards are loaded with humongous Douglas fir trees and we commonly see these little mouse-like birds spiralling upward from the base of a tree. I also knew from experience that a bird smacking into a window probably has about a fifty-fifty chance of making it, depending on the speed of impact. Anyway, I placed the little tyke on some rough bark about five feet up in a nearby tree and kept an eye on it to see if it would shake off the impact and fly off to live again.

    But here is the interesting part. Once I walked just a few feet away from the creeper, it literally melded into the bark. Sitting frigidly still, it was incredibly hard to see! And that got me thinking about — camouflage in birds.

    Reply
  4. zagonostra

    > Six Theories of Joe Biden’s Crumbling Popularity” [The Atlantic].

    The article opens with:

    The biggest mystery in American politics right now—and perhaps the most consequential one—is how Joe Biden became so unpopular.

    The premise I reject. The notion that Biden was popular, is based on polling data that is as reliable as those that showed HRC so far ahead of Trump. If there is a mystery it is in the details and backroom bargains struck to get Biden out in front of Bernie, in the debacle in the 2020 primaries in Iowa, Arizona, California, and other strange occurrences during the primaries, including the “night of the long knives.”

    There is no “mystery,” it’s a false narrative. The Democrats treat those who voted for them (primarily because Trump was a such a hateful person) with impunity. The Party that controls all three branches does the bidding of the donors and S$its on those who it putatively serves.

    Reply
  5. drumlin woodchuckles

    Poultry is not the only food. If enough nutritious food continues to exist to keep everyone safely fed and healthily alive, the food supply has not collapsed. Food supply collapse means ” no food of any kind”, not just ” no poultry”.

    If ” no poultry” now signals ” no food” later, then people who can might want to stockpile all the safely storable food they can within its expiration lifetime in order to be ready for ” no food anywhere”. If they can afford to, they might even want to stockpile extra to feed their unprepared neighbors, if they can afford to. They might also want to get their religious and/or local civic organizations to stockpile food for their congregations or clients, if they belong to any such organizations.

    The more people have pre-stockpiled the more food, the less they will suffer when ” no food anywhere” meets an “unprepared government”.

    Reply
    1. shinola

      “…people who can might want to stockpile all the safely storable food they can within its expiration lifetime in order to be ready for ” no food anywhere”

      The “self-licking ice cream cone” solution.

      Reply
      1. MK

        If you have ever had the ‘experience’ of eating a government provided MRE (meal ready to eat) – you know that the next civil war will hit about 3-4 days after the nation is forced to consume said MREs as the sole source of nutrition should the food chain actually die out.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          We subsisted on a diet of MREs for about three months after Hurricane Katrina. Luckily for us, and the somewhat befuddled national guard contingent, that was originally from Upstate New York no less, these MREs were locally sourced. Items such as Jambalaya and coffee with chickory ‘spiced up’ the compact cuisine. Later, Phyl ‘connected’ with a female National Guard trooper and showed her some ‘Down South,’ and Acadian cooking tricks. We actually ate quite well while that National Guard unit bivouaced next door. [They were there for months.]
          We were the town that the Marine One Presidential helicopter wouldn’t land at. “Uh, sir. those natives don’t look friendly.” Great job Brownie!

          Reply
          1. Lost in OR

            In 1980 I was temporarily attached to Special Forces for their annual training. The training simulated them being dropped behind enemy lines and training us, the locals.

            They were airdropped MRE’s. We were airdropped C-rats. They were very eager traders for our C-rats. Their advice for MRE’s, as I recall, was to bring your own spices. Hot sauce was especially appreciated.

            I kept my C-rats and they weren’t that bad. Stay away from the chocolate though. There was a hyper-regularity based nickname for it.

            And don’t forget your heat source. Those little sterno cubes go just so far.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Oh yes. Those chemical heat packs cooked slow but steady. This being a post disaster scene, we ended up using a bar-b-que grill that literally floated in from somewhere. Someone later managed to scarf up some charcoal briquettes. Before that, we used twigs and small branches as fuel.
              One curious aspect of the disaster were the “disaster pr0n” tourists. Several people posed us on the porch in front of our obviously messed up house for photo shoots. Then there was the day the reporter from the Wall Street Journal stopped by for several hours and interviewed us. We gave the young lady the address and phone number of our former son-in-law’s uncle in Baton Rouge. She quoted from him a bit in the article and made a man who was a cameraman for a local television studio look like a complete hick. He never did forgive us for that.
              There’s nothing worse than being quoted in the national press.
              Incidentally, I am trying to remember all the things we learned about “rough conditions” back then so as to be ready for the coming ‘hard times.’

              Reply
        1. ambrit

          Don’t be so reductionistic drumlin. Establish a ‘spectrum’ and try and settle within the “cone of deviance.”

          Reply
    2. Carla

      Report from NE Ohio — I just purchased a “fresh” “Amish raised” turkey for $1.99 a lb. This doesn’t seem higher to me than in the last 2-3 years… cranberries are pretty expensive though…

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Yeah, well, herding cranberries is labour intensive. The cranberry herders want more money today, and those Cranberryferrets ain’t cheap either!
        Considering the places that cranberrys live and breed, Cranberryferrets are a somewhat difficult working animal to train. I believe that this is where the popular phrase “bog standard” comes from.
        Our local WinnDixie had fifteen to twenty pound turkeys on sale last week for, I kid you not, $.39 a pound. They were so cheap that I broke down and bought a smallish one for our neighbour, a recently graduated young man who is getting by with part time work, (not even in his field,) and doing repairs, painting, etc. on the house he “rents.” We know the owner, and he said that he would rather have this fellow in the house rather than take a chance on renting to some “wreckers,” (his choice of words.) The owner of the house next door is a nice PMC type who has managed to retain his conscience. No mean feat these days.

        Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If Tyson, et al craft a poultry shortage to extort the permanent repeal of all safety laws and rules, and if the artisanal poultry chains stay intact, then people can pay a shinola price and get shinola artisanal poultry. And crow loudly about how “their” favorite shinola poultry chains don’t have any shortage at all.\

      And also quietly inform any interested friends and neighbors they have about where to get artisanal shinola poultry. Perhaps Tyson would lose market share permanently to the shinola poultry sector under this scenario.

      Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          As I said, it’s clearly from management. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing there, when the story is unspun.

          Chicken farming is a horrible, low-margin business. It’s not surprising it would run into difficulties.

          Reply
  6. drumlin woodchuckles

    Maybe the fake-pork makers should call their product “plork”, for ” plant pork”.

    Pulled plork, plork chops, plork sausage, roast plork, plork loin, plam ( plork ham), placon, etc.

    Reply
        1. ambrit

          When it comes to splare rlibs, I use my flinglers! Always ick your flinglers after.
          (Now that I think about it, R-libs looks and sounds too close to reality for my ‘taste.’ Then again, R-libs should be all in for ‘synthetics’ and ‘phaque’ items.)

          Reply
            1. ambrit

              Canadian Baclone? I fear there is no getting a-round this.
              And, the inevitable; Thrasher of baclone. Punk plork if you will.

              Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well! . . . . “plicken”, for “plant chicken.”

        Kentucky fried plicken, plicken and dumplings, plicken noodle soup, plicken pot pie, etc.

        And in case anybody asks, ” pleef” for “plant beef”.

        Reply
  7. saywhat?

    No available ICU beds…. Experts say Covid-19 is a fraction of the problem — but not the problem itself. For starters, Boston MedFlight is carrying much sicker patients these days — and more of them — because so many people put off getting medical care for their health issues during the pandemic. [bold added]

    Undoubtedly, at least SOME of those “much sicker” patients were put in the ICU by the current “vaccines” themselves.

    So let’s not uncritically swallow what may be yet another “noble lie.”

    Reply
    1. Andy

      Undoubtedly, at least SOME of those “much sicker” patients were put in the ICU by the current “vaccines” themselves.

      Undoubtedly? You, no doubt, have some solid evidence to back this up, right? It’s interesting how vaxx skeptics went from “the vaccines are experimental so caution is warranted” to “the vaccines are making people sicker than they’d be if they’d gotten Covid!”

      Reply
      1. IM Doc

        I do not subscribe at all to “vaccines are making people sicker than they’d be if they’d gotten COVID”.

        However – some very hard truths are beginning to emerge – this is an organic from the ground up kind of thing and will take months/years to sort out.

        I was at a medical staff meeting at my own hospital in the past week. We all on the medical staff know that we have been very very busy in the early fall. Usually that time of year is very quiet around here. But we were all horrified to learn that the actual numbers of the patients in the hospital for non-covid non-OB non-peds related issues had literally gone up by double digits – many of the diagnoses had increased by upwards of 50%. These included all the bread and butter medical problems, like CVA, MI, CHF, PE, DVT, pneumonia and most prominently – a huge surge in type I diabetes and other diabetic complications. These numbers on all of these diagnoses were literally off the chart compared to 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017. The abstractor had even done a population based per capita study – and the numbers held. Very strange that all of these diagnoses would be astronomically increasing all at once in OCT 2021. That kind of across the board increase would be unique in my entire career at any hospital.

        The cancer registry is also through the roof – interestingly we are having a major increase in malignant melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. Again – no obvious explanation. Breast cancers were also really elevated compared to their incidence in past Octobers.

        There had been a slow gradual increase in all of these issues during the months of July August and September – but October blew it out of the water.

        The abstractor herself noted that this increase could NOT be attributed to the old line of “people were just holding on to things and not going into the doctor because of the pandemic.” That is just not the case – that may have been true a year ago – but we can tell by office and ER visits that were completely normal since SEP of 2020 that this is no longer the case. People have resumed office and ER visits at a historically normal level more than a year ago. Any effort to blame this on pandemic fright is totally misplaced – and yet I have seen this parroted everywhere in the MSM when they are talking about these hospital surges. The national office visit numbers and Medicare numbers I have seen evaluated in the past 3 months tear this idea to shreds.

        So, what is causing this? And mind you – I am in touch with colleagues all over this country. Similar things are going on everywhere. NPR NBC NYT and now this article have reported on this same phenom as well.

        I have no idea if this is vaccine-related or not. I hope not. But to dismiss that prospect out of hand is not based in the scientific method. We must keep our own eyes open and attuned to data as it comes in. Things may change. Things may get better. But so far in November, if anything this trend at my hospital is getting worse. I have admitted just in the past week 2 young people with acute DKA to the ICU. That is the 4th and 5th DKA/new onset Type I DM I have admitted since July. For comparison – there were zero in the whole year of 2020 – and 1 in 2019.

        I would not use the word undoubtedly to make hypothesis from these data. I would however use the word concerning.

        I would like everyone to realize – it is exactly this same kind of population data that put the nail in the coffin of VIOXX. It became overwhelmingly obvious when looking at broad state or region or nation wide trends that the incidence of CAD and CVA had markedly gone up the years it was on the market and the correlation with VIOXX was tight.

        That of course was back in the day when we had an actually half way functional FDA. The way they have treated myself and many many colleagues I know who have tried to report problems this year unfortunately means we may never know what is going on.

        Way too early to know if this is the case here. I am just telling you it is just as equally unsound to blow it off as it is to hype it. We have no idea what the long-term effects of these vaccines are – and we all should be paying attention. Side effect monitoring used to be a critical thing that primary care docs did. I have noted with concern this year that function somehow seems to have been lost in the “perfectly safe and perfectly effective” mantra we have embraced with these vaccines. We need to wait until much more data is available. I pray that the data is being handled with care.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          Personally, I would like to know, if there are differences, if any between the three vaccines in the United States, and if the other vaccines like Russia’s and China’s are also causing problems.

          Good times.

          Reply
          1. Expat2uruguay

            Yes, I’d like to know that too. It seems like such an obvious question. Someone should be comparing the different types of vaccines that have been administered around the world, by category type at the very least.

            Reply
        2. Randall Flagg

          I would be interested to know if this is the situation in countries such as Isreal. which seemed to be tracking most things Covid better than the US, or so it seems. That nation had been ahead of this country when it came to understanding the waning efficacy of the shots ( I have a problem calling them vaccines), and the need for boosters.

          Reply
        3. albrt

          IM Doc – many of us have been expecting long-term damage from Covid itself, just based on the involvement of multiple organ systems. Diabetes is a particular concern – a nurse practitioner friend suddenly acquired diabetes immediately after a Covid-like illness in very early 2020.

          Are you aware of any data (including anecdotal if it is from front-line doctors rather than the internet) that seems to indicate these unusual illnesses are (or are not) related to either Covid history or vaccine history?

          Reply
          1. IM Doc

            This has become such an obvious problem that even an academic center I frequent had a smaller zoom epidemiological conference about this yesterday.

            Serious discussions about what could be the etiology of what is being seen in so many places.

            You start by looking at the data and hypothesizing what may have gone on to cause it.

            Some very good hypotheses I heard yesterday

            The vaccines
            The actual covid infection
            The overall anxiety and stress going on
            The fact many people have been sitting home eating chips and coke and no exercise

            As I stated above, the concept of pandemic fright was not taken too seriously by the epidemiologists because the data does not support that hypothesis.

            This will require poring over months of fine granular detail and nothing is for certain.

            That is why the idea of either blaming the vaccines or instantly exonerating them is really not appropriate in either case right now.

            Again, I pray the data are being cared for honestly. This is profoundly important given that nothing is known about long term side effects of the vaccines.

            Reply
          2. Skunk

            Hopefully, IM Doc will have better answers than these, but I have come across several articles suggesting that COVID itself can lead to diabetes. According to the article “COVID-19 Is, in the End, an Endothelial Disease,”

            “As with other beneficial properties, the endothelium can also contribute to disease through impaired antioxidant defences or actual generation of reactive oxygen species, as is the case in hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, and diabetes, 32 among other cardiovascular conditions.”

            European Heart Journal (2020) 41, 3038–3044

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7470753/

            I recall seeing articles making more direct links. I’m looking for them now, and will post any I find.

            Reply
            1. Skunk

              Also, from the Nov. 17 ProMed,

              “Diabetes and other long-term consequences were observed in survivors of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which is caused by coronavirus related to SARS-CoV-2. A Canadian study identified 21 healthcare workers from Toronto who had post-viral symptoms for as long as 3 years after catching SARS in 2003 and were unable to return to their usual work. Some people who were
              hospitalized with SARS in Hong Kong still had impaired lung function 2 years later, a study of 55 patients published in 2010 found. Still, it’s not known yet whether the lessons of SARS are applicable to COVID-19.”

              Please do not reproduce this quote outside of the list.

              In addition, this article on post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 may be of interest:

              https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03553-9

              The Nature article shows a significantly higher risk of dying within six months of acute COVID.

              Reply
        4. Louis Fyne

          I hope that the Type 1 anecdote is a local fluke.

          The “system” will fall apart if it comes to light that the FDA EUA process unintentionally/negligently/intentionally ignored warning flags.

          (i’m fully vaccinated, and shake my head when politicians, MBAs, scientists make empiricism-scientific method look stupid)

          From earlier in the year, a letter “thinking aloud” about a hypothetical connection with autoimmune issues….

          Do COVID-19 RNA-based vaccines put at risk of immune-mediated diseases? In reply to “potential antigenic cross-reactivity between SARS-CoV-2 and human tissue with a possible link to an increase in autoimmune diseases”

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7833091/#

          Reply
        5. jimmy cc

          I have an ambulance coming as a client.

          we were just discussing the significant uptick in revenue for October.

          i asked a staff member if it was an surge of the rona and she replied i dont know but i am scared as hell.

          Reply
        6. Ntto

          IM Doc please have a look at this:

          The risk of developing acute coronary syndrome (ACS) significantly increased in patients after receiving mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, according to a report presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2021, held from November 13 to 15, 2021.

          …The study author concluded that “mRNA [vaccines] dramatically increase inflammation on the endothelium and T cell infiltration of cardiac muscle and may account for the observations of increased thrombosis, cardiomyopathy, and other vascular events following vaccination.”
          from the article
          https://www.thecardiologyadvisor.com/home/topics/acs/acute-coronary-syndrome-acs-biomarkers-mrna-covid19-vaccine/
          Reference
          Gundry SR. mRNA COVID vaccines dramatically increase endothelial inflammatory markers and ACS risk as measured by the PULS cardiac test: a warning. Presented at: AHA Scientific Sessions 2021; November 13-15, 2021. Poster VMP41.

          Reply
        7. SB

          I don’t know how relevant this is, but this recent article “Comprehensive investigations revealed consistent pathophysiological alterations after vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines” in Cell Discovery seems to be saying that aside from the neuralizing antibodies the vaccines generate, the rest of the immune system is weakened. I may not be understanding this article correctly so here’s a relevant quote from the discussion:
          “This is a comprehensive investigation of the pathophysiological changes, including detailed immunological alterations in people after COVID-19 vaccination. Results indicated that vaccination, in addition to stimulating the generation of neutralizing antibodies, also influenced various health indicators including those related to diabetes, renal dysfunction, cholesterol metabolism, coagulation problems, electrolyte imbalance, in a way as if the volunteers experienced an infection. scRNA-seq of PBMCs from volunteers before and after vaccination revealed dramatic changes in immune cell gene expression, not only echoing some of the clinical laboratory measures but also suggestive of increased NF-κB-related inflammatory responses, which turned out to be mainly taking place in classical monocytes. Vaccination also increased classical monocyte contents. Moreover, the gene set positively contributing to MVS scores, also known to be associated with severe symptom development, was highly expressed in monocytes. Type I interferon (IFN-α/β) responses, supposedly beneficial against COVID-19, were downregulated after vaccination. In addition, the negative MVS genes were highly expressed in lymphocytes (T, B, and NK cells), yet showed reduced expression after vaccination. Together, these data suggested that after vaccination, at least by day 28, other than generation of neutralizing antibodies, people’s immune systems, including those of lymphocytes and monocytes, were perhaps in a more vulnerable state.”

          Reply
      2. saywhat?

        I only said “at least SOME” and that’s hardly unreasonable given, for example, the VAERS reports of 15,000 or so deaths from the current vaccines. But in any case, my point was to discredit (as IM Doc does so much better below!) the notion “… because so many people put off getting medical care for their health issues during the pandemic.”

        to “the vaccines are making people sicker than they’d be if they’d gotten Covid!” Andy

        That DOES sound absurd but consider that the virus may not get past (or may be slowed down by) the immune system associated with the nose (IgA?) while the current “vaccines” are injected (sometimes, due to poor technique, directly into a blood vessel) – bypassing what the virus itself cannot. (A reason we need a nasal vaccine?)

        So it’s not implausible to me that being infected by the virus might cause less sickness than the current vaccines, at least for some people.

        Reply
        1. Joe Doe

          Can’t be the vaccines and done on purpose… Everything points to a conspiracy so big and monstrous that even what the Nazis did will be seen as a joke. But don’t ever investigate that hypothesis. Trust big pharma all the way. Even when the so called mistake is so big and obvious and when it was called out by the conspiracy analysts. Go for a nasal vaccine.

          Reply
          1. Basil Pesto

            Does anyone really believe that if an intranasal vaccine had preceded the current intramuscular vaccines, the professional conspiracists wouldn’t be carrying on with the exact same bullshit, tweaked accordingly? spare me

            Reply
  8. Laughingsong

    ‘ “Vials found in Pennsylvania lab did not contain smallpox as labeled, CDC says” [NBC]. • Phew!’

    Who was the unlucky sod that had to confirm that? Hopefully not an anti-vax person… That’s some short straw…..

    Reply
    1. Chromex

      Somehow I am not filled with confidence about this news…does this mean that we cannot trust the vial labels? What if this may mean that there is smallpox in a differently labeled vial?

      Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Don’t know if they have to tell us, but I have read that is a fear. That somewhere in an old freezer or perhaps an old scab stuck in a book, a frozen tundra burial, or something, and whoopsie. Mass death. The 1918 Flu, smallpox, etc. can last decades in the right conditions.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Yes. It’s all about “virgin populations.”
              The pox epidemics that decimated the Native American populations time and time again occurred in regular waves, timed to the length of time it took for a population to raise a generation of individuals without prior exposure to the diseases.
              Are school children still being innoculated against these serious diseases any more?

              Reply
            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              If the smallpox genome has been totally accurately mapped down to the last base pair, couldn’t someone just “print” a whole new smallpox virus with one of those DNA replicator base-pair string-togetherizer machines?

              Reply
              1. JBird4049

                Oh, thank you. Isn’t that just a lovely, lovely thought to have in my head. Just what the local democidal elites could use. A very infectious disease with a thirty percent death rate, but is easily preventable with rare or out of production vaccines. IIRC, my generation was the last American generation that received the smallpox vaccine in the 70s. Not it matters much fifty years later as its effectiveness is now gone.

                Reply
    2. Milton

      Must have been the same daring CNN reporter that confirmed the Sarin chemical attack in Syria by sniffing a backpack from the kill zone.

      Reply
  9. jr

    This is a channel called CityPrepping discussing the likelihood of a food shortage in the near future:

    According to the host, last year 98% (!) of the Walla Walla sweet onion crop was lost to excessive heat. The cost of fertilizer is through the roof across the world. This ties directly into the “managed retreat” article above. It’s going to get brutal.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I assume the fertilizer being referred to is Haber-Bosch nitrogen fertilizer of various kinds . . . up because the price of natgas is up.

      This will reduce yields of farmers who depend on Haber-Bosch nitrogen fertilizer.

      Those organic farmers who already have a system in place for growing their own sky-nitrogen bio-fixation cover crops or intercrops . . . . will not be affected by the Haber-Bosch shortage. They will grow the same amount of food they grew before. Now . . . Haber-Bosch fertilized food may run so short that the organic farmers are able to raise their price and sell into the supply vacuum.

      If they do that, maybe their conventional Haber-Bosch neighbors will notice. Some of those neighbors will try to burn the organic farms down, out of hate and spite. Other of those neighbors might try to start learning about organic no-Haber no-Bosch methods of agriculture, so they themselves can be positioned to sell into the vacuum created by the next Haber-Bosch shortage after this one.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Even better is Share->Embed (as I have just done).

      That way, the video (a) can be assessed immediately by readers and (b) readers remain on site, (c) where they can comment. (SInce YT comments, in general, are a notorious cesspit, and the NC commentariat is superb, it’s really (c) that’s important.)

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        I didn’t actually realise that embed worked for ordinary commenters, I thought it was a special privilege for the mods! thanks!

        Reply
  10. outside observer

    So aside from the reuters article I see zero mainstream coverage of the FDA FOIA denial. Nor has their been any mainstream coverage of the BMJ Ventavia whistleblower story. I do see ample coverage of the FDA authorization of boosters for all.

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      just count the number of pharma ads that run during “Meet The Press” or in your local paper.

      tin foil hat off.

      Reply
    2. WobblyTelomeres

      I remember a Niven/Pournelle scifi novel (Oath of Fealty?) where the heroes were ordered to transmit a massive database to the authorities. They noted that there was no data rate specified, so they started the transmission using a 300bps modem (acoustic coupler speed) knowing it would take centuries and rapidly made their escape.

      Reply
  11. Louis Fyne

    Re. airliner violence zeitgeist…. I think basic civility is breaking down, being serious

    my anecdote… I’ve never in my life seen so many people completely blow-off stop signs (not even bother with a rolling stop). something is in the air.

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      Ditto. Here’s a new one I’ve seen over the last few weeks.

      In two-lane traffic, if it is really backed up at a red light, drivers will fly into the left hand turn lane, like they are going to turn left. Then, when the light turns green, they will shoot across the intersection to the right and jump ahead of traffic.

      Reply
      1. Robert Hahl

        There is a variation on that trick – when the light is still yellow and traffic is stopping, a driver might use the left-turn lane to keep going and maybe not even run through the red light. Very dangerous because somebody might be in the middle of the intersection waiting to turn left. I saw the aftermath of such an accident when I was newly licensed. There was auto glass all over an intersection. I heard that there was a flat bed truck waiting to turn left, and the driver trying to beat the light lost her head.

        Reply
      2. albrt

        I just saw that yesterday. When I lived in Massachusetts people would shoot out to make a left turn when the light turned green, but yesterday was the first time I saw a right turn from the center lane when the light turned green.

        It’s probably a Tik Tok thing. Damn kids. Oh well, they’ll get theirs when the planet broils.

        Reply
    2. skippy

      Yet over here people wave at the driver that lets them merge onto the motorway, but as I’ve said, all that spastic Bernays knob fighting and fiddling would end up like some Stephen King novel. I’m seeing it across my entire famialy and friends social media and the holiday psyhcosis [shoping for gratification] season has not even begun.

      All becuase a viris glitched the social [market] narrative …. whoboy …

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        I’ve thought that people in general here have been very good and kind to each other*, particularly in Melbourne with the successful 2020 lockdown which was a real exercise in solidarity. But I feel like that does seem to be changing a bit. This 2021 re-opening does not feel the same as the 2020 re-opening in many respects and fraying temper is one of them.

        *this is not related to the stereotype of Australia as a chilled out and easygoing kinda place, which, if not inaccurate, is an big oversimplification. Australian internet media entity ‘Brown Cardigan’ presents much primary source material suggesting that a certain degree of agro is never too far away in Australia

        Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes, you’re giving a substantive reason to watch, not just dumping the link. For example, if I don’t have time to watch (I don’t) I can search on “Elaine Ingham” and learn more about her.

      Reply
      1. CuriosityConcern

        I lucked out that Drumlin provided an information rich link in a comment a little later than mine: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/11/200pm-water-cooler-11-19-2021.html#comment-3637150
        I watched(actually listened) to the live stream and it ended up running 3.5 hrs, Elaine only was able to be there for the first 2.
        I am of the opinion that this bears tremendous relation to the discussion upstream about chemical fertilizers and our food chain. In past talks I’ve watched by Elaine, she’s mentioned how she lost(left?) her job in ag academia because she is a critic of chemical fertilization farming methods.
        In past talks, she’s also talked about how a soils lab will lead an individual to believe that they have no choice but to apply chemical inputs but she asserts that those soil labs only report on soluable nutrients and that insoluble nutrients are available in abundance in any dirt, ready to be utilized to turn that dirt into soil. She further asserts that availability of insoluble nutrients can be had in 3 days post fungal rich compost application(I think this is modulo dirt/soil where the application of fungicide/pesticide has been ceased).
        The discussion yesterday touched upon remediation of land where pesticides/fungicides are present, the panelists were all very pro-fungal compost in this process, the mechanism of mitigation being fungal exudates.
        Elaine described the idea of succession and how fungal to bacterial ratios in the soil relate(drive?) those successive stages, with the highest fungal to bacterial ratios being the latest stages that support the most biomass.

        Reply
  12. XXYY

    Apple Accelerates Work on Car Project, Aiming for Fully Autonomous Vehicle

    … Recently, the company reached a key milestone in developing the car’s underlying self-driving system, people familiar with the situation said. Apple believes it has completed much of the core work on the processor it intends to eventually ship in the first generation of the car. …

    This all seems quite asinine to me. The obstacles to autonomous vehicles aren’t primarily about what computing hardware it’s going to be used. It’s like someone saying the Golden Gate Bridge is almost done because they learned how to make steel.

    The obstacle to making autonomous vehicles is that we don’t know how to make control systems that mimic what a human does when driving a car, including making creative decisions in novel situations and interacting with other human beings who are driving other cars. Everyone thinks this is somehow a solved problem, or at least the easy part.

    The fact that supposedly knowledgeable people go around assuming this is as discouraging as anything else about the technology, and a sign that the field is laughably immature.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Corporations would love to externalize the costs of these autonomous vehicles by having governments build specialized roads meant for their cars and to train all drivers how to react when dealing with their vehicles but so sorry, not possible. And people are noticing the occasional crashes and deaths as these vehicles fail to deal with real world problems. If you put a 10 year-old behind the wheel of a car, even they would know not to drive into a big, red fire truck but these autonomous vehicles are still earning that lesson.

      Reply
      1. Ted

        What is the insurance arrangement if an autonomous car runs into yours? Can we grab the passenger and make them produce money, insurance or pledge to pay for the damage?

        If such a car hit mine and I was not at fault, the passengers ain’t going anywhere until proof of payment is made. If it is our fault, how do we exchange information?

        If I see an autonomous car driving down my street, without a passenger, it’s brick through the windshield time.

        Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The fact that supposedly knowledgeable people go around assuming this is as discouraging as anything else about the technology, and a sign that the field is laughably immature.

      I looked that the quote again. There’s this:

      much of the core work on the processor it intends to eventually ship

      So the core work isn’t completed and there’s no due date? Some project management, there.

      Reply
  13. farragut

    “U.S. Blacklists Strategic Culture Foundation in Attack on Independent Journalism and Political Dissent”

    “In an audacious attack on free speech, journalists and writers based in the United States have now been banned by the U.S. federal authorities from publishing articles with Strategic Culture Foundation. […] If U.S.-based writers defy the ban, they have been threatened with astronomical financial penalties of over $300,000. The prohibition has only emerged in recent weeks. It follows earlier moves by the U.S. State Department and the Treasury Department accusing SCF of being an agent of Russian foreign intelligence. No evidence has been presented by the U.S. authorities to support their provocative claims. The Editorial Board of SCF categorically dismisses the allegations.”

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/11/18/us-blacklists-strategic-culture-foundation-in-attack-on-independent-journalism-and-political-dissent/

    h/t http://natyliesbaldwin.com

    Reply
    1. Late Introvert

      I read some of that stuff. It never feels fully legit, like who are these people in Canada? But then I look up the history of Lincoln and Russsia and it does make me learn some things. I feel like writing an article for them now.

      Reply
    2. Benny

      I followed Alistaire Crooke to StratCult when the lights went out at his blog. I noticed that SCF were also publishing pieces by a couple of refugees from the great 2016 Counterpunch purge, when Jeff St Claire apparently invited any CP contributors lacking the correct leftist credentials to GTFO (nb: supposition…I actually don’t have a clue what happened there, but I would love to know). SCF kinda burst on the scene very suddenly, and they were obviously throwing decent writer fees around, since they instantly had a very large stable of contributors and added more very quickly.
      This was not organic growth from humble blog-roots IMO. Someone injected both money and urgency.
      In all honesty, I have no doubt that SCF is a Russian infowar dumping ground, or at the very least having some bills paid by Russintel cutouts. It’s editorial/narrative slant is very raw, not subtle in the slightest, and a ton of the stuff they publish is foam-at-the-mouth polemical…and very pro Putin.
      I have no problem with that, per se. The US State Department has absolutely zero standing to whine about a relatively marginal website publishing hair-on-fire Russian propaganda. Puh-leeease.
      I still pull the SCF homepage up around once a week to check for a new Crooke piece. He’s an obvious spook, and I have no idea who he is in bed with, but I value his analyses. So if the above is true, it only deepens my conviction that my day to day web traffic has probably landed me on a few watch lists.
      Hooray.

      Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > If, like me, you haven’t been following the Rittenhouse trial, but had only heard snippets from CNN et al, you were surprised to hear of his acquittal.

      I never did follow it in detail, but I did warn y’all :-)

      Reply
      1. anon y'mouse

        commonly, the way to use that word the way you have done is to say “I did warn all y’all”, pronounced as though there is a partial a or ‘uh’ sound between all and y’all.

        just, ya know, in my experience.

        Reply
  14. mrsyk

    From the Food Supply twitter thread, “Some of the biggest customers of the plant my family works at are public schools and prisons, as well as national chains.”. Public schools and prisons you say.

    Reply
  15. Bart Hansen

    This came out today from my local health department. The third sentence was in bold text.

    “BRHD Update on Vaccines for 5-11 Year Olds

    The roll out of COVID-19 vaccines for 5-11 year olds has been very successful thus far. Since we began vaccinating this age group on November 6th, over 4,674 kids have received their first dose! That means around 24% of children ages 5-11 in our District are one step closer to being protected against COVID-19. We are grateful for the many community partners, schools, and pediatricians who have helped with this vaccine roll out. There are still a number of ways for how everyone can get a COVID-19 vaccine, including school-based clinics this weekend.”

    Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > 5-11 year olds are already protected by the fact that they’re kids for God’s sakes!!

        No, they’re really not. That was the line in early 2020, but no more. Studies available on request, but we’ve linked to several. (Stands to reason, too, for anybody who’s had kids and seen the colds and coughs they routinely bring home from school.)

        Reply
        1. GM

          And, as it needs to be repeated ad nauseum until people finally get it, prior COVID is a risk factor for subsequent COVID even if it passes with no obvious immediate issues

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            I wonder how many people have had mild bouts of the disease and did not figure that out? “Oh, I had a bad cold last spring.”
            Without cheap and easy testing for all, who’s to know?

            Reply
    1. cnchal

      > . . . That means around 24% of children ages 5-11 in our District are one step closer to being protected against COVID-19. . .

      How many moar steps are required?

      Does your local health department not know that just because a shot of goo was administered means less than nothing as far as catching covid or passing it on? There are so many logical fails it is impossible to keep up.

      Reply
      1. Bart Hansen

        The Blue Ridge Health Dept has generally been good about notifications for covid shots, testing, etc., and so this statement was disappointing.

        They could have written “…protected from a severe case of …”, but did not. I wonder if the staff even had a fight over the wording.

        Reply
      1. lance ringquist

        they used to use mostly scrape wood for pellets in my pellet stove days. wonderful machines. saved me a ton of money.

        today i understand virgin wood is used, but i lost my ability to run the stove nine years ago. so only scrape from making plywood and other sources was burned in my stove.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > lost my ability to run the stove nine years ago.

          That’s the other reason I don’t like pellet stoves: Moving parts. Now I would frame that as not being Jackpot-ready.

          I know a normal wood stove isn’t a winner on the air pollution front, but the quality of the heat is fantastic, and surely somebody was done something clever to deal with the particulates by now?

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            For the seriously infrastructure capable, there is the Russian Fireplace.
            Read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_stove
            Then there is the practice of adding a secondary heat exchange chamber after the stove hearth.
            See: https://permies.com/t/72748/Idea-Diverter-Capture-Waste-Heat
            And: https://hackaday.com/2021/01/30/a-heat-reclaimer-for-your-woodstove-the-one-thing-its-not-is-cool/
            And on the particulate front.
            See: https://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/ash-trap-homes-zmaz80ndzraw
            My main suggestion is that you take especial care to insulate the heat unit from the surrounding structure. Wood stoves will also burn wood houses if given half a chance.

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Russian stove looks like a particular form of the broader concept of masonry stove. This website gives good explanation for layfolk like me, with schematic diagrams showing how they work. The basic concept is a very hot fire with hot combustion exhaust gas going through mazeway of baffles of masonry within bigger masonry structure. This heats up masonry. Masonry then radiates infra-red radiation ( ” heat rays ” ) off itself into the room.
              http://www.dirtcheapbuilder.com/Home_Building/Masonry_Fireplaces.htm

              I have seen some concepts for making the fire even hotter and cleaner burning with a rocket stove venting all its very hot exhaust gases through a masonry stove. Aprovecho Research has worked on this concept. Here is a company claiming to install-build this newer concept of rocket stove masonry heaters.
              https://solidrockmasonry.com/services/rocket-stoves/

              Reply
          2. lance ringquist

            you need raw brute strength to bring into your home, a few hundred 40 pound bags of pellets over the winter.
            i used to own a 2008 impala, fold down rear seat, filled the trunk up, and the back seat with 40 pound bags of pellets.
            the car did it, it had the big v-6 with 305 horses.
            then haul them down into my basement, then unload a sack a day into the hopper. then clean the stove at least 3-4 times a month.
            mine was computerized, that is where i ran into trouble. had to take the board out and solder it a few times.
            the other few down times was from leakage. that is gaskets. otherwise a well built stove which mine is, moving parts were not that much of a problem if you keep your stove clean.
            i used to sit back and watch about every 15 seconds or so, about 10-15 pellets drop into the burn box, and give off a tremendous amount of heat compared to the amount of fuel.
            fell asleep many times watching it.
            now that was my stove, i do not know about other brands.
            i had a friend who had a wood stove. i never seen one like it since then. he could load a few pieces of wood into the burn box, and they would last almost most of the day, then toss a few in at night, would last all night.
            that was a good scheme also.

            Reply
            1. lambert strether

              > i never seen one like it since then. he could load a few pieces of wood into the burn box, and they would last almost most of the day, then toss a few in at night, would last all night.

              A big steel box with a door and a chimney. Vents on the door to be screwed open or shut control the draft. Simple and rugged.

              That was my stove and it worked overnight just like you said. Build the fire, leave the vents screwed full open for a half and hour, open the door and redistribute the bed of coals, close the door, close the vents and open back up half a turn, go to sleep. Best heat ever.

              Yes, keep well away from the walls and put on a big steel plate. Clean the creosote in the spring (though I wonder if with ambrit’s heat exchanger there would be a lot less cresote, which is just incomplete combustion, after all).

              Reply
  16. JBird4049

    >>>THREAD – Food Supply Collapse

    So, let’s see. After the hunger and want of the Great Depression, which included a few examples of death by hunger especially in places like NYC, the federal government spent twenty years creating a system where even the poorest American was guaranteed enough affordable calories and protein. It is an impressive achievement. For my entire life the idea that there would be a collapse of the food supply absent something like another greater, countrywide Dust Bowl would have just goofy. After all, the United States was also helping to feed entire countries as well. Still is.

    I think I remember as a toddler being given fresh squeezed lemonade made from real locally grown lemons while living in the Santa Clara Valley just before it was relabeled Silicon Valley. I certainly remember the scent of the few remaining orchards just before they were replaced by houses and shopping centers. The orchards, farms, and ranches of the county that used to feed the state while the fruit was exported. The whole county around the small town of San Jose was just full of agriculture. Agricultural they couldn’t bury fast enough under miles of concrete and asphalt. Houses and chip makers (now gone mostly overseas)

    Neoliberalism in exchange for taken my cheap (or free) lemonade, peaches, and nectarines plus all the other kinds of food away, gave me my shiny iPhone and Mac. And now, the overpriced, over-processed chickens, and who knows what else being grown in another part of the continent, might be going away. Because reasons. I don’t think I got a fair exchange. (Have you every tasted fresh squeezed lemonade from lemons right off the tree? It is like tomatoes from your vines and even the carrots from your ground. No comparison to a store’s)

    I’m still in my fifties, which means in less than one lifetime or three generations, the United States has gone from making and growing everything to have shortages of everything, with real hunger now existing. All those homeless going hungery and now the housed as well? And what those countries that have to import food? It will have a knock-on effect with world food prices increasing and the poorer (or less well armed) countries going hungry. It would lead to civil wars and unrest with in countries as well as wars between countries.

    Of course, the American elites could try to do what the British did to both Ireland and India during their famines of the 19th century; export warehouses of food for greater profit overseas. Why not? The starving did not have weapons and the British had the army. With the fetishization of neoliberalism by our elites, just as with the 19th century’s elites fetishization of libertarianism (same ideology as today’s, just difference name), they just might be stupid enough to do so. They just might truly be that suicidal or is that democidal? But the nation has guns and the Mississippi’s locks, the railroads, and the container ports are massive, but few, I guess due to neoliberalism’s blasted optimization.

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        Just wait for the “march” this weekend. As we saw here a year ago, outside actors are adept at bussing in “true believers” and fellow travellers to stage demonstrations.
        Don’t count out the “Brooks Brothers Riot” method. If there is a political point to be made, someone will do it.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Whatever other lessons there might be, one lesson is don’t attend demonstrations any more now.

          People who want to avoid proximity to gunfights or recreational riots will have to find some other way to register displeasure than attending a demonstration. Demonstration and protest in many cases has been overtaken by events.

          ( I still think that during the height of aggression against the Arab Republic of Syria by the combined forces of the Global Axis of Jihad, that a silent march of a million or so people through the biggest money streets of New York City with all the million people all wearing black Eastern Orthodox clergy-style cassocks, and many carrying Eastern Orthodox style
          20 foot tall Icon Portraits of Putin and Assad side by side would have terrorised the pro-Jihadist Establishment without firing a shot or showing a gun. It would have showed utter rejection of Western Latinate and Secular Aggressionist Culture at every level.

          And another such Million Black Cassock March with Icons through the streets of Governmentville, Washington D C would have increased the effect.)

          Reply
  17. XXYY

    These two [carbon capture] solutions are cultivating hemp and bamboo. Both of these grow a lot faster than trees, provide better carbon capture, and offer product uses that many of the other solutions do not offer…

    Vast monocultures of hemp and bamboo stretching as far as the eye can see, presumably needing irrigation and cultivation, plopped down on every flat surface by voracious corporations seeking carbon offsets, don’t seem like they are going to lead anywhere good, even ithey are only planted in places where these species are native.

    Far better to just stop emitting the frigging carbon!

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If some of those monocultures are put where mono-corn and mono-soybeans are currently grown, that would not be sacrificing any “new” land to the skycarbon-sucker monocultures.

      And even if we stop the carbon emissions, we will still have to suck down the excess skycarbon already up there, hopefully fast enough that the built up heat can work its way through, up and away from the earth surface faster than otherwise.

      That, plus restoring millions of acres of peat bog, plus restoring millions of beavers along waterways.

      Reply
  18. Martin Oline

    The U.S. land border is open. Here’s what you need to know. I knew something was up. The thrift store here in Fort Myers, Florida was packed on Wednesday and usually nearly empty.

    Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Russia Boosts U.S. Fuel Exports Amid European Energy Crunch”

    This might flick a few EU countries on the raw this. Washington is vehement in its opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project but when it suits it, has no problem accepting a whole fleet of fuel-laden Russian tankers traveling to the us itself. Not the first time this has happened either. Then again, the EU has only itself to blame in part for the high prices of fuel they are suffering from. They want Russia to send them more fuel but they are refusing to let the Russian send it down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline because, ummm, they want to punish the Russians or something?

    Reply
    1. John

      The US is furious about Nord Stream II, even though we magnanimously said okay, go ahead, just a few weeks ago, and the EU wants to punish Russia for not supplying the gas it needs while just the other day throwing a bureaucratic roadblock to final approval of Nord Stream. Russia responds by increasing sales of gas to China, and why not do so if Europe does not or will not take it. There must be a parallel to this scenario in either Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass.

      Reply
  20. Tom Stone

    The best opening sentence of a Novel I have run across lately “One day I lived the American Dream, I threw my boss out of a 14th floor Window”.
    If you enjoy pulp you will enjoy the rest of “Monster Hunter International” , written by one of the prior owners of the “Fuzzy Bunny Gun Store”

    Reply
    1. Late Introvert

      Oh, yes. His boss was defenestrated. Sorry, I just love that word. Once I learned what it meant, I now have to use it every chance I get.

      Reply
  21. VietnamVet

    I had to go out this last week for the first time In 20 months to go the Safeway Pharmacy wearing a mask and gloves. Now I’m waiting to see if I caught anything. This is as stressful as being in a combat zone except there are no loud explosions or adrenaline rushes when you realize that you are still alive. The stress is enormous. Even those immersed in denial or true believers that the mRNA vaccines work must be affected. Mental and physical health is suffering. A year ago over a third of all Americans had caught COVID and if a third of them have Long-COVID, this is a huge number of sick people even if the mRNA vaccines themselves only cause blood clotting and heart inflammation in “rare” cases. This whole situation is made much worse by not having functional public health system to treat all of the ill Americans and eradicate the virus. Coronavirus cases are rising again and deaths are plateauing for now. Trust is gone.

    Someone — some-group will arise to save the American people and the current top 10% cargo cult will be swept aside.

    Reply
    1. Bart Hansen

      Man, I hope you have someone who can shop for you. What about getting to the VA hospital?

      You have to take care of yourself.

      Reply
  22. tommy s.

    Thanks so much for that Adam Johnson article on SF., I did a too big link dump I think weeks ago on this subject in comments….. Cuz there was “I’m from SF, so I KNOW.” garbage stuff comments about SF crime..Well I’m from SF., and I can actually do crime research stats over a ten year period pretty easy. Even our chief of police denied there is some huge crime surge….though he wants to the DA to go also…Anyway, will be following Johnson from now on….

    Reply

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