2:00PM Water Cooler 11/22/2021

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Patient readers, my review of Gabe Brown’s Dirt to Soil took longer than I expected, as happens when I get interested. So this Water Cooler will be shorter than usual. I’ll make it up to you tomorrow, I swear! –lambert

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

* * *


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.)

59.1% of the US is fully (doubly) vaccinated (CDC data, as of November 21. Mediocre by world standards, being just below Czech Republic, and just above Panama 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:

A dip, fortunately. Let’s see if it was due to the weekend (although California is down and the South steadied), Here are regional breakdowns:

The West:

California way down, Arizona up, Colorado slowing. But Washington, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon, and Nevada, having jumped, settle down.

The South:

The South, after a jump similar to the West’s, settles down.

The Midwest:

Holy moley, Michigan! Ohio and Wisconsin rising. Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri flatten.

The Northeast:

Ulp. New York jumps. Pennsylvania rising. Massachusetts flattens, but we seem to have a day of missing data. Maine up. New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Connecticut flatten.

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.)

* * *

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. The last time CDC updated the data, oddly enough, is 11/6, i.e. before the jump in cases.

(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.

* * *


“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

“Biden nominates Jerome Powell for second term as Federal Reserve chairman” [NBC News]. “President Joe Biden on Monday renominated Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chairman, ending months of speculation over who would run the central bank for the next four years, the White House announced in a statement. Powell had drawn ire from some progressives who have pushed the central bank to expand its dual mandate of keeping people at work and prices in check, and focus more on climate change and racial equity. Some Democrats also had argued that he has been too hands-off as a bank regulator. Fed governor Lael Brainard was nominated to serve as vice chair, the White House also announced.”

About Build Back Better’s childcare and pre-K provisions, which CAP structured a lot like the ObamaCare exchanges:

Obama Legacy


For what? Golf?

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Chicago Fed National Activity Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago Fed National Activity Index jumped to a 3-month high +0.76 in October of 2021 from -0.18 in September, pointing to a pickup in economic growth, led by improvements in production related indicators…, as industrial production surged 1.6%, rebounding from a 1.3% drop in the previous month.”

* * *

Inflation: “43 percent in new poll say Biden spending package will make inflation worse” [The Hill]. • Regardless of any actual inflation, the distinctly non-organic propaganda is having the desired effect.

Inflation: “Jason Furman on Red-Hot Inflation and What To Do About It” (podcast) [Odd Lots]. “Inflation is hot. You can debate why that is, or how long it will last, or who is to blame, or whether elevated inflation is a worthwhile price to pay for a fast recovery. But, regardless, it exists. So what now? Should the Fed pivot into inflation fighting mode? On this Odd Lots, we speak with Jason Furman, an economics professor at Harvard, and the former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama. He thinks inflation will come in hotter than expected next year, and that it’s time for the Fed to ease off the gas pedal somewhat. We talk about the issue, its causes, and his preferred policy path going forward.” • Since Furman is from Harvard, and former Chair of the CEA under Obama, obviously we should trust him as far as we could throw a concert grand piano. Furman also speaks with a smile in his voice, which is all the more reason to scream and run; what the heck does he have to smile about? However, I like Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway, and Weisenthal is an MMTer.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Greed (previous close: 69 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 82 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 22 at 1:08pm. Mere greed now.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Oil Supply/Price. “Oil prices have declined in the past few weeks” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)

The Biosphere

“Slime” [Granta]. “Some forms of matter seem to unite the properties of solids and liquids. For example, cats: which category do they fall into? The answer should be an easy one, physically speaking: solids retain their shape, while liquids fill their container. Cats seem unequivocally to be solids, until they demonstrate their aptitude for easily slipping into the smallest of gaps, almost flowing into them. The French physicist Marc-Antoine Fardin researched, tongue-in-cheek, the physical classification of cats between solid and liquid, touching on his specialist area of rheology, the study of the flow of matter. In 2017 he was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize, a not altogether serious award for suitably original research. Matter which exists somewhere between solid and liquid is not restricted to cats, though, and slime is its most important embodiment in nature. It is protean in its behaviour; it is the material of interfaces and has a unique place in our imaginations. We are all creatures of slime, but some of us are more creative than others: there is a menagerie of oozing organisms to be found in all the world’s habitats, frequently changing these environments to suit their needs – by leaving their glistening marks. It may also be a surprise to discover that microbes were not only the dominant, but also the only form of life on Earth for billions of years, with slime, as the éminence gluante, propping up their power and setting in motion processes across the globe which still shape it today. The long reign of slime concerns the supposedly boring stages of evolution which preceded the emergence of the first animals. Popular portrayals often neglect this seemingly endless span of time, but slime was paving the way for life on Earth then, particularly for higher organisms like us. It may even have facilitated our very existence. It is a legacy we humans prefer to ignore. Here, we benefit from slime’s hidden nature, with its visible manifestations banished inside our bodies. ”

Health Care

“Association of regional Covid-19 mortality with indicators of indoor ventilation, including temperature and wind: insights into the upcoming winter” (preprint) [ResearchGate]. “The local minimum of Covid-19 mortality at room temperature likely relates to window opening and less indoor crowding when it is comfortable outside. Below freezing, all windows are closed, and further cooling increases stack ventilation (secondary to indoor-outdoor temperature differences) and thereby decreases Covid-19 mortality. Opening windows and other tools for improving indoor ventilation may decrease the spread of Covid-19.” • Remember this for Thanksgiving! Here is a diagram of stack ventilation (“your house is a chimney”):

No doubt there are actual ventilation specialists who can correct me, but I think that in figuring out how to ventilate your Thanksgiving table, there are two considerations: (1) Maximize the vertical draft upward toward the ceiling (say, by opening a window on the second floor, or a vent in the roof, and (2) minimize cross-drafts across the table, because that means that one side of the table will be breathing the other side’s air. You can visualize the drafts by using a candle or a smoky incense stick (exactly as when you detect drafts when insulating the house). I also think that a Corsi box would not go amiss.

Thanksgiving Prep

“The extreme consequences of stuffing yourselves during the holidays” [Popular Science]. “Between ‘full’ and reflexive vomiting—the body’s final defensive strategy for overfullness—there is a lot of room for holiday overeating.” • News you can use!

Guillotine Watch

“Billionaire Economy Is Booming With Private Jets in Short Supply” [Bloomberg]. “The hunger for pricey jets is just the latest example of the booming billionaires economy, where demand for mansions, boats and many collectibles has surpassed pre-Covid levels. The number of superyachts sold this year through mid-October increased by about 60% to 523 from the same period last year, according to research from SuperYacht Times. More than a quarter of those purchases were for new vessels.” • Well, I’m sure all the interior appointments are vegan. Leather is so déclassé.

Class Warfare

“How Child Care Became the Most Broken Business in America” [Bloomberg]. And it’s a crowded field. “[C]hild care doesn’t work like a normal business. Looking after young children comes with a litany of regulations to ensure the programs are safe. There are square footage requirements, zoning restrictions, earthquake preparedness plans, fire safety codes, CPR certifications, nutritional guidelines, rules about parking and outdoor space, liability insurance. The priciest regulation is a child-to-staff ratio requiring one caregiver for every three or four infants, depending on the state. That’s a lot of employees, and it explains why quality care for one baby costs more than many families can afford. Cheaper options are often unlicensed and unregulated, and parents have no guarantee their kids are secure. Because babies are so expensive, a lot of businesses simply don’t accept them. Others charge less than it costs to look after them and load up on older children. According to child-care availability studies, almost 80% of spots are reserved for kids 3 years and older, because they’re subject to more lenient staffing requirements, making them cheaper to care for.”

News of the Wired

“An Archaeological Dig Reignites the Debate Over the Old Testament’s Historical Accuracy” [Smithsonian]. On King Solomon’s Mines: “But Ben-Yosef wondered why nomads 3,000 years ago would necessarily have been the same as modern Bedouin. There were other models for nomadic societies, such as the Mongols, who were organized and disciplined enough to conquer much of the known world. Perhaps the Edomites, Ben-Yosef speculated, simply moved around with the seasons, preferring tents to permanent homes and rendering themselves ‘archaeologically invisible.’ Invisible, that is, but for one fluke: Their kingdom happened to be sitting on a copper deposit. If they hadn’t run a mine, leaving traces of debris in the shafts and slag heaps, we’d have no physical evidence that they ever existed. Their mining operation, in Ben-Yosef’s interpretation, reveals the workings of an advanced society, despite the absence of permanent structures. That’s a significant conclusion in itself, but it becomes even more significant in biblical archaeology, because if that’s true of [Israel’s rival] Edom, it can also be true of the united monarchy of Israel.” • If any. Another field undergoing paradigm shifts. Or not! Very interesting!

“Chemical emitted by babies could make men more docile, women more aggressive” [Science]. “Scientists have argued for decades over whether humans have pheromones, chemical compounds that trigger aggression and mating in insects and other animals. Although the notion has great popular appeal—search Amazon for “pheromone” and you’ll get the idea—there’s scant evidence for this kind of signal in our species. A new study could change that. Researchers have identified an odorless compound emitted by people—and in particular babies—called hexadecanal, or HEX, that appears to foster aggressive behavior in women and blunt it in men. “We cannot say that this is a pheromone,” says study author Noam Sobel, a neuroscientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science. “But we can say that it’s a molecule expressed by the human body that influences human behavior, specifically aggressive behavior, in a predicted manner.” Humans emit HEX from their skin, saliva, and feces, and it’s among the most abundant molecules babies emit from their heads. When researchers isolated the odorless compound and piped it into mouse cages, it had a relaxing effect on the animals, says Sobel, who studies the role of scent in human interactions. To test how HEX affects people, Eva Mishor, who earned her Ph.D. in Sobel’s lab, created a series of computer games designed to evoke intense frustration—and a measurable response to it—in 126 human participants…. Sniffing HEX did not calm all the participants down, but had different impacts on men and women, the team reports today in Science Advances. Women exposed to the chemical behaved 19% more aggressively in the noise-blast task, whereas men were 18.5% less aggressive.” • So, is HEX… water-soluble?

* * *

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 (IM):

Looks like there ought to be a gnome sheltering under one of these mushrooms, smoking a pipe.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. diptherio

    Somebody on Mastodon shared this article on misinformation today. I found it interesting as someone who has gotten some minor flack for digging up proof that popular quotes are apocryphal, or at least misattributed.

    In March of 2021, the Center For Countering Digital Hate released a report titled “The Disinformation Dozen” which stated that 12 people, referred to as the disinformation dozen, are responsible for 73% of online vaccine misinformation on Facebook. This report was cited by all sorts of news outlets over the past months, as well as by Biden. A google search of ‘”disinformation dozen” CCDH’ yields 23,300 results.

    On August 18th of 2021, Facebook released a report titled “How We’re Taking Action Against Vaccine Misinformation Superspreaders”, in which they reported that this widely cited figure by the CCDH was from a non-representative sample, and “there isn’t any evidence to support this claim”.

    That the major talking point about “stopping misinformation” was based on a piece of misinformation, which cannot be independently verified due to the opaque nature of Facebook’s platform, seems very telling of the moment to me.

    In an information landscape of clickbait, profit-motivated news outlets, black-box social media platforms and regulatory capture, nuanced truths are hard to come by.


    Of course, as we all know, nuanced truths are not hard to come by here at NC. The tip jar is over there :-)

    1. JTMcPhee

      I’m fixed income but just dropped another pittance in the Tip Jar. It’s the price of civilization.

  2. Lee

    “Looks like there ought to be a gnome sheltering under one of these mushrooms, smoking a pipe.”

    What, you can’t see him?

          1. ambrit

            Which is sacred to shamans, and thus, demonized, literally, by “Organized Religion.”
            Can’t have those “hedge wizards” cutting in on the Religion game now, can we? As for the ‘average’ person “touching the ineffable” without the “intercession” of priests; boy, are you trying to destroy civilization with that?
            Drink some of that brew and you will not only see the Gnome, you’ll have a long and important conversation with him, or her. I never could tell Gnome genders apart.

  3. steve

    Ventilation in the Home.

    If ideal flow patterns of up and out can’t be achieved then do your best to introduce as much outside air as you find tolerable and to circulate this air as much as possible wherever people are congregating. If you have forced air Heat/AC consider putting your thermostat on “FAN” and running bathroom/kitchen exhaust if you have them. If you have attic ventilation fans run those, and yes it’s the attic but most homes leak quite a bit to the attic and you might consider opening your attic access to facilitate this.

    Standalone HEPA filters of any description is a good idea but don’t think putting a HEPA filter in place of your regular Heat/AC filter is a good idea unless the unit was designed for them.

    Be Safe.

    1. jo6pac

      Yes to the HEPA filter in your unit Don’t do it.. You could replace the filter in the unit to pleated cotton filters instead of fiber glass or steel mesh

      1. chris

        Yes, do not change or increase the filter in your unit unless you know the blower motor can handle the additional pressure drop.

        Point source control with portable HEPA is a great option.

        Most home owners have no idea how air flows through their house. But if you have something like a wood burning fireplace, and you know it’s safe to use, it might be a good idea to have it on. Wood burning appliances require a lot of combustion air and that will take a lot of contamination with it up through the chimney.

        It’s probably too late for most people for this holiday season, but if this is an ongoing concern and you have the funds an energy audit with a blower door test to see what kind of ACH your system has might be a good idea.

        1. Matt

          Great comments from Chris and Steve – but to anyone considering using whole house attic ventilations fans – take caution not to use them while a combustion appliance like a furnace or water heater is running. Whole house fans create a lot of depressurization, which could cause the chimney to backdraft.

          1. chris

            Good point Matt! Or any gas fueled appliance. They all need a certain volume of combustion air from inside a space unless provided from an exterior source. If you start to see a kind of carmelization building up on the exterior of the vent hoods on the appliance you have when doing whatever you’re doing, check the CO levels in the area and then consider discontinuing whatever change you made to your house. If you ave a regular service contract with a maintenance company ask them what’s OK to do with the appliances you have in your house before you change something in a bug way.

            The high and mighty people at Fine Homebuilding have declared that all wood burning appliances (and most gas fueled ones too) should be eliminated from homes because you can’t have a tight house and a wood burning appliance. I haven’t run the numbers to see if that’s correct or not, but I imagine a better reason to not have wood burning appliances in a really tight house is the potential for products of combustion to accumulate at dangerous levels if the appliance is not well maintained.

            A good number of people ruin the inside of their houses each year with soot because they use appliances in ways they aren’t meant to be used. Another population ends up killing themselves or family members because they don’t treat maintenance seriously and they get a CO condition coming from a boiler overnight. Please be careful if you’re going to try and do anything with your HVAC system for covid or other purposes.

            1. Basil Pesto

              Thank you all for this great info. As South Australia throws away its Zero Covid status and embraces Let-Er-Rip, I have to think about ventilation strategies for my very vulnerable parents, so any practical advice is much appreciated.

  4. pricklyone

    What is a reasonable temp for your abode? Anyone like to share what temp you maintain indoors?

    I wonder who is keeping windows open in cold weather? (” Below freezing, all windows are closed, and further cooling increases stack ventilation”)
    How cold can you stand your indoor temps?
    How large a fuel bill can you pay? And does tripling your fuel use make sense environmentally?
    Filtration via Corsi box (or better) makes perfect sense to me. Open windows Na Ga Happen…
    If you open to outside even small amount, you may as well just sit on the deck/porch/patio, and call it good.
    I cannot imagine paying for shelter, and the ruining effectiveness of said shelter with open windows in cold weather.

    1. pricklyone

      Adding: It is 37F here today, as I write this. I have Tstat at 60F. Lowers to 55 at night.
      Leaky old 50s ranch gets plenty of air changes daily, according to HVAC guidelines.

    2. Jen

      Unless we have a cold snap where it gets down below 0 for days on end, the furnace is to keep the pipes from freezing; the wood stove is for comfort. Bought a fancy new one last year and a few logs will keep the house in the high sixties/low seventies all day. I let it cool down at night.

      Sometimes it gets a tad too warm in my loft office, so open the windows for a bit.

    3. Glen

      Well for some of us, even when the windows are close – they’re open.

      I have a 120 year old farmhouse with the original double hung windows (heck, some of the frames even have the original glass). With these windows, the estimated leakage for your house is like one of the windows is wide open – all the time. The downside is that it’s a pretty chilly house in the winter so bundle up. The upside is I have never worried about radon gas.

      But then we always leave the window open a crack in the bedroom year round.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      I keep my winter temperature at 64 degrees. In summer, the temperature goes to whatever it goes to.

      The co-op I live in has just recently finished re-siding and up-insulating our exterior walls here in my part of the co-op. So I will spend this winter seeing if I use less gas and electric for warming than what I used over the past few years of failing insulation.

      ( If I get sick, I turn it up to 80 degrees, put on winter clothes and sleep under blankets to overheat myself and burn out the virus. Once I am all better, I turn it back to 64 in stages, to not shock myself too fast).

    5. Mantid

      We let our house get to just below 60f before we make a fire. We have a modern wood stove (so much scrap wood in the Pac. NW) that is very effective in our small house. Keep a couple small oil filled radiator heaters on low in the back rooms to keep them dry. Sitting and reading in the greenhouse when it gets real cold outside makes a nice change of scenery. In there we can nibble on Sungold tomatoes into January. We are fortunate to have a roof. Many people are living under bridges.

  5. Val

    In the ongoing struggle to de-orphan the many thousands of receptors that genomics projects have provided some data for, it was privately mentioned to Dr Impressive from Status University that his data indicated at minimum 3-4 human pheromones. “I’m not going there!” he said and everyone had a laugh.

  6. antidlc

    There has been discussion on Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans on NC.

    Can anyone please explain why a doctor’s office would be pushing Medicare Advantage?

    I can understand why CMS and insurance companies would push MA, but why would a doctor’s office push MA? What’s in it for them?

      1. antidlc

        Aren’t both of those links for payments to the insurance companies? I can understand why the insurance companies push MA. I’m asking about what’s in it for doctor’s offices? Does MA reimburse doctors more than traditional Medicare?

        Here is what I found:
        It’s from 2017.

        Physician Reimbursement in Medicare Advantage Compared With Traditional Medicare and Commercial Health Insurance

        1. antidlc

          From the RESULTS in the link:

          The sample consisted of 144 million claims. Physician reimbursement in MA was more strongly tied to TM rates than commercial prices, although MA plans tended to pay physicians less than TM. For a mid-level office visit with an established patient (Current Procedural Terminology [CPT] code 99213), the mean MA price was 96.9% (95% CI, 96.7%-97.2%) of TM.

          If MA plans are paying physicians less than traditional Medicare, why would a doctor’s office be pushing patients to move to MA?

          That study was from 2017, so I don’t know if reimbursements have changed.

        2. Pat

          Just a thought, who owns the practice? That might determine why this is important to them.
          Since so many equity firms have been purchasing medical practices, their insurance investments might dictate a preference.

    1. jo6pac

      My Dr. and group push one that that’s the cheapest and has the best program for us but still the price has gone up

    1. IM

      We get the apricot ones and the red ones (and some in between) right by our house. They love Vancouver! No filter on that photo, they were just that red

  7. Kurtismayfield

    Why would Bezos give 0.1 Billion dollars to the Obama Foundation? Is Michelle planning on a political future? This is a lot of money for a post bribe.

    1. Glen

      Payment for knocking Bernie out of the running? Or just keeping the Democratic party a neoliberal paradise? Or both?

      A wise investment none-the-less. Obama is the billionaire’s gift that keeps on giving.

      1. The Rev Kev

        For all we know, the CIA gave Bezos that money as part of a government ‘contract’ who then gives it to Obama to use for purposes of patronage i.e. funding people against progressives and foundations which strengthen the present regime. So under this scenario, this would make Bezos sort of like a high-class bag-man.

        1. Tom Stone

          Bezo’s a high class bagman?
          Give me a break, Willie Brown has more class in a toenail than Bezo’s can dream of.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I’d agree with that. Willie Brown could go to an official event with his wife on one arm and his girlfriend on the other – and get away with it. Jeff Bezos was reduced to sending dix pix to his present ‘squeeze’.

    2. cnchal

      Payoff for Obama declaring that great middle class jawbs are to be had in Amazon torture chambers.

      Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist

  8. griffen

    The science of eating and overindulging on the annual turkey feast. I have my own particular listing below, in no real order of importance. In recent years, I’m becoming accustomed to that happy / content medium of feeling full, without another 1/2 plate of food / dessert / cookies.

    1. Because the food supply is there
    2. Because I can, I will
    3. What else can I do? The horrible Lions play each year
    4. Leave room for leftovers

  9. Rainlover

    I am a first-time donor. NC is my major source for news now, not to mention a graduate education each day. The NC community feels like a family — a squabbly one perhaps — but good natured. I try not to comment much as my expertise is small. I learn so much from the articles and the commentariat, especially about critical thinking, which has never been my strong suit. As a newbie to economic thought, I truly appreciate Michael Hudson’s comments and interviews. That’s economics I can understand! I also value IM Doc’s reports from the medical battlefield and GM and the rest of the Covid braintrust who add to our knowledge every day. And then there is the daily antidote and all the great reporting on climate change and the environment. So much to appreciate. Thank you to Yves and Lambert for their fierce advocacy of comity in a world that seems to value insult and denigration. And thank you to all the commentariat for keeping me laughing and educated.

    1. Jason Boxman

      This is the place to be for a reasoned and informed look at the political economy, COVID, and other areas. I’ve been around since at least the bank bailouts, and the content continues to be informative, timely, and thought provoking. I’d also suggested picked up ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism by Yves Smith if you haven’t read it.

      Stay safe!

  10. The Rev Kev

    “An Archaeological Dig Reignites the Debate Over the Old Testament’s Historical Accuracy”

    A really good investigative article this. I wonder what the skeletons of these people would show. Would they have traces of the copper that they worked with or perhaps could they have picked up traces with the food that they consumed in and near those working sites? I saw no mention of skeletons however.

    1. Wukchumni

      You drive around Taft, Ca. (once named Moron, Ca.) and you’d think you’re in Saudi Arabia or Texas with oil wells everywhere and yet nobody really wants to live there despite the surrounding wealth, and the issue with smelting copper is it ain’t no bueno to be anywhere near that operation for your health, thus no permanent structures in the vicinity makes sense.

  11. thoughtful person

    Looking at regional covid19 cases chart for US. Last year in the season when people tend to spend time indoors in crowded poorly ventilated rooms (aka winter), the midwest peaked, for the season at 70k cs/ day about Nov 15. This yseson the Midwest is again leading the regions early. Will be interesting to see how high it goes and can project the others from that.

  12. Jason Boxman

    So there was a post some days ago that delved deeply into studies about IVM, and for those that are into delving into studies or just want to understand RCTs better, this is a related post to the one posted some days ago also that covers control groups.

    Statistical problems found when studying Long Covid in kids

    Summary: Statistical tests need to be paired with proper data and study design to yield valid results. A recent review paper on Long Covid in children provides a useful example of how researchers can get this wrong. We use causal diagrams to decompose the problem and illustrate where errors were made.

  13. Wukchumni

    Get your kicks on Route 66 dept:

    Spent the night in Needles which strikes me as more of a place for meth-odd actors than heroin users, in spite of the name.

    Saw 3 long choo-choo trains of double stacked 40 foot TEU’s parked to the north of Interstate 40 on the tracks going nowhere fast in my 75 mph fleeting glimpse-which was weird. The westbound ones being empties and the eastbound ones chock full of stuff.

  14. Wukchumni

    Tennis pros are often included in Rolex ads as spokespersons, which is queer as nobody keeps time in the sport, that is until quite recently when a 3 minute limit has been laid down in bathroom breaks, for it was being abused as an ad hoc all purpose break racket taking too long.

  15. The Rev Kev

    There was mention of one Bobby Kotick recently and how he gave cover for those at Activision Blizzard who were guilty of constant sexual harassment and discrimination against employees. I just saw mention of his name a little while ago and how he was in Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book and was a passenger on the ‘Lolita Express.’ Imagine my surprise /sarc


  16. ambrit

    Son of Mini Zeitgeist Report.
    Due to automotive insufficiency, (a temporary condition, once I figure the problem out,) I have been walking the half a mile to the local grocery store every few days. Fill the backpack and home I go. Anyway, there was a camper bus sitting in the back yard of one of the local houses that I passed. This was one of the short school busses. It had been converted to a camper by the homeowner for occasional trips. This week, it was gone! So, being an inquisitive geezer, I stopped when I saw the owner in his back yard and asked about the bus.
    His reply: “I sold it to a fellow I know. He was saving up to buy a house. Now, with houses costing so d—-d much, he switched to buying a couple of acres outside of town and buying the bus to live in. The bus has a full kitchen and a shower and toilet. He’s getting some friends to help him dig a septic tank hole and a field bed. He’ll have to buy the septic tank itself, but the rest he can put in himself. He says that he can afford to live like that. Even better, he won’t have a mortgage. I still have five years to go on this place. I’m going to miss that bus. It has seen a lot.”
    Since there was no mention of a water well, I’ll assume that his ‘rural’ area has a water system in place. The two lines of counties up from the coast are, I believe, still under the Federal Consent Decree to have fully integrated water and sewer systems. Luckily for the bus buyer, this place is far enough inland to allow septic systems and water wells.
    That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

  17. DJG, Reality Czar

    Pointless. Don’t even bother:

    Inflation: “43 percent in new poll say Biden spending package will make inflation worse” [The Hill]. • Regardless of any actual inflation, the distinctly non-organic propaganda is having the desired effect.

    Since when are Americans a bunch of crackpot economists?

    From the article itself: “Roughly half of registered voters support the Build Back Better act, according to the poll. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they back the measure, while 38 percent said they oppose it.”

    So we are dealing with partisan temperature-taking.

    Here are the original questions, from the underlying link to the Politico / Morning Consult poll.

    How much have you seen, read, or heard about the following? The U.S. House of Representatives passing Democrats’ Build Back Better climate and social spending package

    As you may know, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Democrats’ roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better climate and social spending package. Do you support or oppose this climate and social spending package?

    Do you think that Democrats’ roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better climate and social spending package will make inflation in the U.S. better or worse, or do you think it will have no impact?

    These are some of the most amateurish and misleading questions I’ve seen in a poll. “And when did you stop beating your wife and start supporting namby-pamby social spending?”

    Garbage in, garbage out. Junk polling from top to bottom.

  18. Richard H Caldwell

    Lambert — interesting term, “non-organic propaganda”. As contrasted with “organic propaganda”? This raises a question: is not propaganda intrinsically non-organic? Is not “non-organic propaganda” redundant; a distinction sans difference? It’s appealing in a stylistic way, I’ll grant that.

  19. bsmith51

    Here’s my conspiracy theory: Bezos is “encouraging” Obama to lobby for federal money to pay for his moon terraforming dream. Bezos vs Musk: Your first or your last.

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