2:00PM Water Cooler 11/4/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, there will be no UPDATEs today. It is what it is. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

“Two birds singing, responding each other.”

* * *


Patient readers, I have started to revise this section, partly to reduce my workload, but partly to focus more as an early warning, if that is possible. Hopefully I will have a variant tracker map soon. In the meantime, I added excess deaths.

Case count by United States regions:

A blip downward, This chart is a seven-day average, so changes in direction only show up when a train is really rolling. That said, I don’t think the past rise is the surge some of us Bears have been waiting for (see the “tape watching” remarks below). It’s driven by cases widely distributed through inland California (see last Friday for maps). The local economy is heavily driven by outdoors-y tourism, but there are no major airports, so possibly cases are being spread by drivers. Beyond these speculations I cannot go.

Simply tape-watching, this descent is as steep as any of the three peaks in November–January. It’s also longer than the descent from any previous peak. We could get lucky, as we did with the steep drop after the second week in January, which nobody knows the reasons for, then or now. Today’s populations are different, though. This population is more vaccinated, and I would bet — I’ve never seen a study — that many small habits developed over the last year (not just masking). Also, if the dosage from aerosols drops off by something like the inverse square law, not linearly, even an extra foot of social distance could be significant if adopted habitually by a large number of people. And if you believe in fomites, there’s a lot more hand-washing being done. Speculating freely: There is the possibility that acquired immunity is much, much greater than we have thought, although because this is America, our data is so bad we don’t know. On the other hand, Delta is much more transmissible. And although readers will recall that I have cautioned against cross-country comparisons, I’m still not understanding why we’re not seeing the same aggregates in schools that we’ve see in Canada and especially the UK, although we have plenty of anecdotes. Nothing I’ve read suggests that the schools, nation-wide, have handled Covid restrictions with any consistency at all. So what’s up with that?

Even if hospitalizations and the death rate are going down, that says nothing about Long Covid, the effect on children, etc. So the numbers, in my mind, are still “terrifying”, even if that most-favored word is not in the headlines any more, and one may be, at this point, inured.

A good take:

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Seems like a sine-wave pattern on the right. Why? And nothing like California yet.

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.

From CDC: “Community Profile Report October 25, 2021” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties:

Here we see Covid spreading in California (newly yellow), which I flagged last Friday [lambert blushes modestly] as the cause of the rise in the national case count. This week, however, we have not only inland, but coastal spread (orange). Still lots of red in Alabama, sadly.

Speculating freely: One thing to consider is where the red is. If air travel hubs like New York City or Los Angeles (or Houston or Miami) go red that could mean (a) international travel and (b) the rest of the country goes red, as in April 2020 and following. But — for example — Minnesota is not an international hub. If Minnesota goes red, who else does? Well, Wisconsin. As we see. Remember, however, that this chart is about acceleration, not absolute numbers. This map, too, blows the “Blame Bubba” narrative out of the water. Not a (Deliverance-style) banjo to be heard. (Red means getting worse, green means bad but getting better.)

The previous release:

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Finally some relief for the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, although I don’t understand why they they have the bad luck to be so stubbornly still red.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 770,868 767,442. Going down again, mercifully. We had approached the same death rate as our first peak last year. Which I found more than a little disturbing.

Excess deaths (total, not only from Covid):

My interpretation of a 0.0 – 0.0 excess death rate meant that the real numbers had not actually been calculated (CDC explains there are data lags). Hard to believe we have no excess deaths now, but very fortunate if so.

(Adding: I know the data is bad. This is the United States. Needless to see, this is a public health debacle. It’s the public health establishment to take care of public health, not the health of certain favored political factions. Also adding: I like a death rate because it gives me a rough indication of my risk should I, heaven forfend, end up in a hospital. I should dig out the absolute numbers, too, now roughly 660,000, which is rather a lot.)

Covid cases in historic variant sources, with additions from the Brain Trust:

Chile slows down a bit. Also Portugal, which lifted restrictions about a month ago. Remember this is a log scale. Sorry for the kerfuffle at the left. No matter how I tinker, it doesn’t go away.

* * *


“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 hits the gas” [Axios]. “President Biden’s hitting the gas — not pumping the brakes — to pass his two massive spending bills ASAP, and doesn’t read his party’s poor electoral showing in Virginia as a rebuke of the massive costs, lawmakers and White House advisers tell Axios. What Biden’s critics see as a stubborn streak his allies call resolve. The president’s confidants love to point out that during the 2020 primaries, the press corps doubted his strategy and ability to capture the Democratic nomination. Biden’s core team never wavered and rode their plan to the White House.” • We’ll see!

“U.S. Treasury official sees hope for restoring bank reporting to spending plan” [Reuters]. “The proposal initially would have required reporting on aggregate account inflows and outflows of as little as $600 per year. The threshold was raised to $10,000 but it was dropped from the ‘reconciliation’ bill last week after a strong lobbying effort against it from the financial services industry.” • Running $10,000 through your bank account applies to basically everyone. Anybody who believes this will only be applied to the rich is a fool. Make the limit $100,000, or better, a million. “Hope” my sweet Aunt Fanny.

Democrats en Deshabille

Certainly parsimonious:

When they tell you who they are….

* * *

Recall from yesterday that “education was the top issue in the contest, according to the latest Washington Post/SCHAR poll, narrowly edging out the economy, 24 to 23.” On the economy,Thomas Ferguson suggested looking at personal income:

Not a good plan to have personal income fall before an election. But in some bizarre version of “first past the post,” all the hot takes are on “education” (#1 at 24%) not “the economy” (#2 at 23%). Perhaps it’s as simple as Beltway pundits being in good shape financially, but having kids in school.

“Terry McAuliffe Bet on Voters Hating Trump. Turns Out They Dislike Democrats More.” [Politico]. “Why can’t they beat these guys, even in a state as blue as Virginia?” • Italics in original. Commentary:

More commentary:

A corpse-like Clintonite bagman? Who could be more appealing?

“Lincoln Project Posed as Charlottesville White Supremacists at GOP Event” [Vice]. “Five people dressed like the white supremacists who caused the violent ‘Unite the Right’ riots in Charlottesville four years ago showed up outside of Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin’s event in the town on Friday. But instead of actual ‘Unite the Right’ supporters, it turns out it was a half-baked stunt from the Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans who oppose ex-President Trump—and Youngkin…. Five people dressed like the white supremacists who caused the violent “Unite the Right” riots in Charlottesville four years ago showed up outside of Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin’s event in the town on Friday. But instead of actual “Unite the Right” supporters, it turns out it was a half-baked stunt from the Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans who oppose ex-President Trump—and Youngkin.” • From gaslighting to torchlighting, good job. Just what Democrats need, their own Project Veritas. When you’ve got nothing else, I suppose….

“Virginia’s ominous warning to Joe Biden and the Democrats” [FInancial Times]. Mostly conventional wisdom, but since I want to remark on this: “If central casting were to confect a hologram of a moderate suburban Dad, Youngkin would fit the bill…. Youngkin showed great skill in securing Donald Trump’s endorsement while ensuring the former president stayed far away from the state.” • Nobody seems to have commented that Youngkin was an exceptionally disciplined and effective candidate, especially for a novice.

The nice thing about identity politics is that any number can play:

Listen to Black women, especially if they’re armed.

“Republican Jason Miyares makes history as Virginia’s first Latino attorney general” [NBC News]. • Hey, that’s Latinx!

“Glenn Youngkin’s victory proves white ignorance is a powerful weapon” [MSNBC]. • These voters need to be workshopped. Say, is the Venn Diagram for MSNBC listeners and diversity consultants a circle?

Eric Adams will, I think, go far. This is great:

I’m not sure where — for all I know, he’s a Clyburn or worse — but far.

* * *

“India Walton’s Mayoral Defeat in Buffalo Sets Dangerous Precedents for the Left” [Truthout]. “Now that Walton’s upset has itself been upset, the tactic of a do-over write-in campaign to thwart a leftist challenge has been proven viable. The precedent set in this race is a worrisome one for socialists: The establishment has just been handed another weapon in their perpetual war against candidates who even hint at pursuing anything other than the uninterrupted flow of profit.” • A list of tactical errors by Walton, including sending out campaign literature without a union bug, all in my view correctible. Commentary:

Walton’s post-mortem, a thread:

Under the radar, and happy to keep it that way:

Newcomer to the Des Moines City Council from Ward 1, pinned tweet:

All power to the Soviets!

Realignment and Legitimacy

The view from Kenya:

“Kyle Rittenhouse Claims Self-Defense After Shooting 3 Jurors” [The Onion].

“Your teeth are not luxury bones” [Sick Note]. “I’m staring down the barrel of two years of braces, a painful surgery, and God knows how many thousands of dollars to correct these issues. This is awful, but it will be a version of affordable for me; I have savings, subsidized and good health insurance (currently, at least) that might cover the surgery if my doctors can prove it’s necessary, and the sort of job where recovery time off isn’t an issue. For patients who are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, it’s a completely different and more unattainable proposition—one that’s even more galling for parents who just cannot afford to make the best medical decisions for their kid.” • Well worth a read. It’s an abomination that Build Back Better doesn’t cover dental.

“Is It Finally Time for a Medicare Dental Benefit?” [NEJM]. Finally? Finally? Anyhow: “The American Dental Association has offered support for a Medicare dental benefit only if it includes so-called means testing to restrict coverage to people with incomes (from assets, pensions, and earnings) below 300% of the FPL and only if dental coverage would be separate from Medicare Parts A, B, and D (i.e., if Congress established a Medicare “Part T”). Beyond excluding many middle- and higher-income older adults who currently lack dental coverage, we believe a means-tested policy that is distinct from other Medicare benefits would restrict advances in oral health for two reasons. First, limiting a Medicare dental benefit to low-income beneficiaries would make it financially straightforward for most dentists to refuse to accept Medicare. Lack of acceptance by dentists has plagued Medicaid dental programs throughout the country. Nationally, only 43% of dentists accept Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) insurance,4 which has resulted in low access rates and poor oral health outcomes even in states whose Medicaid programs offer comprehensive adult dental benefits. Federally qualified health centers and other safety-net providers that accept public insurance are already at capacity and, without substantial private-sector participation, would struggle to accommodate increased demand among newly covered Medicare beneficiaries. Second, a means-tested, stand-alone Part T benefit would perpetuate dentistry’s separation from the rest of the health care system.” • So, obviously we’ll means test dental, right?

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Challenger Job Cuts” [Trading Economics]. “US-based employers announced 22,822 job cuts in October of 2021, the highest reading in 5 months, with the majority of cuts (5,796) attributed to plant, store, and unit closing. For the third month in a row, companies in the Health Care/Products sector announced the most cuts with 6,694 and workers’ refusing to comply with vaccine mandates accounted for 5,071 cuts in October.”

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to 269 thousand in the week ending October 30th, from a revised 283 thousand in the previous period and below market expectations of 275 thousand. It was the lowest number of jobless claims since the pandemic hit the US economy back in March 2020, as the job market continued to recover amid a surge in demand for labor and a sustained decline in new coronavirus infections. Still, persistent worker shortages remained a challenge that could weigh on further employment gains.”

* * *

The Bezzle: “Tesla’s handling of braking bug in public self-driving test raises alarms” [Los Angeles Times]. “Tesla pushed out a new version of the experimental software suite it calls Full Self-Driving to approved drivers Oct. 23 through an “over the air” update. The next morning, Tesla learned the update had altered cars’ behavior in a way the company’s engineers hadn’t intended…. In everyday English, Tesla’s automatic braking system was engaging for no apparent reason, causing cars to rapidly decelerate as they traveled down the highway, putting them at risk of being rear-ended. Forward collision warning chimes were ringing too, even though there was no impending collision to warn about… The incident raises the question of whether there is a safe way to test self-driving vehicles at mass scale on public roads, as Tesla has been doing.” • There’s a typo. “[A]s Tesla has been doing” should read “as the psychos at Tesla have been doing.” You’re welcome.

The Bezzle: “Facebook’s metaverse will still track your every move” [Yahoo Finance]. “According to two experts I spoke with, Meta will find even more ways to follow you than Facebook did. Imagine a headset that can track your eyes, determining how long your gaze dwells on a digital billboard while you stroll down the virtual street in the metaverse. Meta may also know how often you visit a virtual location and who you’re grabbing a virtual beer with. The metaverse might open up new possibilities for you, the user, but it will also open up a new world of advertising possibilities for Facebook, er, Meta.” • Of course it will.

The Bezzle: “Facebook’s metaverse shift smacks of desperation” [Columbia Journalism Review]. The headline is deceptive, since the article is a round-up that does prove the headline’s thesis. This is an interesting nugget: “Ethan Zuckerman, cofounder of the Initiative for Digital Infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts, wrote that the current version of the metaverse isn’t much better than those created 30 years ago by early experimenters (including Zuckerman himself).” • My priors are that Facebook, from the UI/UX perspective of both writer and reader, sucks, and there’s no reason to think Facebook engineers will be able to do any better with more dimensions to work with. Can any readers who work or play in virtual worlds comment on my intuition?

Tech: “Avoiding Data Disasters” [fast.ai]. “A data infrastructure engineer and contributor for the [the Covid Tracking Project] recounted, ‘It quickly became apparent that daily, close contact with the data was necessary to understand what states were reporting. States frequently changed how, what, and where they reported data. Had we set up a fully automated data capture system in March 2020, it would have failed within days.’ The project used automation as a way to support and supplement manual work, not to replace it. At numerous points, errors in state reporting mechanisms were caught by eagle-eyed data scientists notifying discrepancies. This vision of using automation to support human work resonates with our interest at fast.ai in ‘augmentedML’, not ‘autoML.’ I have written previously and gave an AutoML workshop keynote on how too often automation ignores the important role of human input. Rather than try to automate everything (which often fails), we should focus on how humans and machines can best work together to take advantage of their different strengths.” • But with augmentedML, will management be able to fire enough workers?

The Fed: “Powell Dodged a Taper Tantrum With Ease. That’s Suspicious” [John Authers, Bloomberg]. “Wednesday, as expected, brought the announcement that the U.S. central bank was indeed beginning to taper the bond purchases with which it has been supporting the market. It is also tapering at exactly the speed expected, and on course to finish the process in June next year…. In 2013, the bond market threw a tantrum at the mere mention of a taper. Real financial conditions had sharply tightened before the Fed could eventually start withdrawing stimulus. This time, real yields are no higher than they were on New Year’s Day. … As a parent, there are few worse things from a toddler. But there is also something alarming when your child goes along with what they’re being asked with no fight at all. Passivity can be a concern. Is this a sign that they are in bad spirits? Are they ill? or could it be that they’re up to something and their suspiciously calm behavior is because they have something to hide?… Real yields are arguably the key indicator to monitor over the weeks and months ahead. Like a suspiciously quiet toddler, it might be ailing, or it might be up to something. And if it really is time to start reducing stimulus to avoid the risks of inflation and overheating (and it is), it isn’t helpful for long-term money still to be available on such generous terms. The other key indicator of the bond market, the yield curve (shorthand for the spread between the yields on two- and 10-year Treasury yields), sent a more optimistic signal.” • Readers who understand the bond market may wish to comment.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 82 Extreme Greed (previous close: 82 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 72 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 4 at 12:31pm.

The Biosphere

“Airlines face long haul to reach sustainable fuel goals” [Financial Times]. “Commercial aviation accounts up to 5 per cent of global warming and its travel growth is “unparalleled” by any other mode of transport, led by middle-class and white-collar flyers in developing and emerging economies, according to the International Energy Agency…. The International Air Transport Association’s (Iata) 2050 target relies heavily on changing fuel mixes to achieve nearly two-thirds of its planned reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The trade group estimates about 450bn litres a year of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will be needed in 2050, or about two-thirds of total fuel consumption. Current annual SAF production is only 100m litres, the Iata estimates. United Airlines has laid out plans to buy nearly 7bn litres of SAF over the next 20 years, which it says is the biggest commitment in the industry. One of its jetliners took a test flight from Houston this month with an engine that burnt fuel derived from sugars found in corn. But sustainable fuel still represents less than 1 per cent of the fuel United currently burns in a normal year.” • Biofuels? Have they lost their minds?

Health Care

“COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard” (PDF) [Occupational Safety and Health Administration]. This is the long-awaited OSHA emergency temporary standard on vaccination and testing. I’ve only skimmed it; there seems a lot of clumsy bureaucratic compromising on droplets and aerosols, but at least aerosols are in there. The scope:

This ETS requires employees to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly and wear face coverings, based on the type of policy their employer adopts. It stops short of requiring the full suite of workplace controls against SARS-CoV-2 transmission recommended by OSHA and the CDC, including distancing, barriers, ventilation, and sanitation. As OSHA explained in Need for the ETS (Section III.B. of this preamble), OSHA has determined that it needs more information before imposing these requirements on the entire scope of industries and employers covered by the standard. OSHA is interested in hearing from employers about their experience in implementing a full suite of workplace controls against COVID-19.

It’s disappointing that “barriers” are still even an option. It’s also disappointing that OSHA did not adopted the layered strategy that CDC (on its good days) recommends. It’s ridiculous that OSHA punts on this, and even more ridiculous that “OSHA is interested in hearing from employers about their experience.” I mean, it’s almost as if profit comes before health and safety at the so-called Department of Labor.

“Plant in traditional Samoa medicine could be as effective as ibuprofen, study shows” [Guardian] (r. “Leaves from a plant which can be found “in back yards across Samoa” could be as effective as ibuprofen in lowering inflammation and could even be used to treat illnesses such as Parkinson’s and cancer, a new study has found. For centuries, the leaves of the psychotria insularum plant, known locally in Samoa as matalafi, have been used in traditional medicine to treat inflammation associated with fever, body aches, swellings, elephantiasis, and respiratory infections. ‘I was sceptical at first, when researching’ said Seeseei Molimau-Samasoni, the study’s author and the manager of the plants and postharvest technologies division at the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa. ‘There was a lot of superstition around this plant particularly, even in traditional medicine, but I was keen to find out if I could provide scientific merit to the traditional medicines of the Samoan people,’ she said. ‘We can now highlight not only its potential as an anti-inflammatory agent but also its potential as a treatment for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases as well as Covid-19.” • See Michael Pollan’s wonderful The Botany of Desire. It is absolutely to be expected that plants will reach out to us in these ways.

Our Famously Free Press

“How the Internet of Things poses a threat to journalists” [The Journalist’s Resource]. “[T]here is limited awareness of the implications of [devices other than cellphones], specifically for journalists and their sources, with mentions of the dangers of the IoT notably absent from safety guides for journalists. That this makes the IoT effectively an ‘unknown unknown’ is particularly concerning, given the ubiquity of such technologies, which can be found in homes, offices, shops — even on the street. Furthermore, they are often designed to blend into their environments, subtly replacing older versions with less intrusive functionalities — an example being the rise of the smart doorbell. Like spyware, these devices can be coopted to monitor messages, location information and daily actions. Unlike spyware, the IoT can also facilitate cyber-physical threats. This article outlines how journalists can begin to think about the various environments they pass through, which IoT devices they might encounter on their travels in each place, and how these devices may pose a risk to their work and wellbeing.” • Yikes, but of course. Reminds me of when the AI in Gibson’s Neuromancer takes control of a gardening bot and decapitates a bad guy with it.

“This Is Just The Same Old Shit” [Defector]. A takedown of Punchbowl, started by Politico staffers and handed $1 million of stupid money. The conclusion: “[T]he media industry is, broadly speaking, still standing where it always has been: in a place where the old structures persist and survival is still dependent on the whims of various billionaires and tech firms.” • Well, except for various pockets of independence and resistance — possibly more and more of them — of which Defector may fairly consider itself one.

Class Warfare

“Highly Paid Union Workers Give UPS a Surprise Win in Delivery Wars” [Bloomberg]. “The massive labor shortage that’s rocked the U.S. since the pandemic and disrupted long-established employment relationships hasn’t had much impact on UPS, which pays its unionized drivers the highest wages in the industry. That’s helped it maintain a stable workforce and rising profits throughout the current disruptions. Meanwhile, lower-paying, nonunionized FedEx racked up $450 million in extra costs because of labor shortages. And while UPS easily beat earnings expectations and predicted a rising profit margin in the U.S. for the fourth quarter, FedEx signaled that its profit margin will fall further. The lack of workers is taking a toll on its reliability, too. FedEx’s recent on-time performance for express and ground packages has sunk to 85%, while UPS has met deadlines on 95% of those packages, according to data collected by ShipMatrix Inc.” • A unionized workface as a competitive advantage. Who knew? Terrific gif:

(Hat tip Jordan Speer for Bloomberg Businessweek. Now do one for Deere.)

“Signs You Will Never Actually Be Able To Retire” [The Onion]. • As usual with the Onion, it’s all true.

News of the Wired

Remind me what’s so great about Modernist glass boxes:

* * *

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 (EMM):

EMM writes: “It is mushroom season, fascinating creatures.”

* * *

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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. Fiery Hunt

        I personally don’t care how slow-walked it is….as long as eventually he gets them all, and I mean ALL, for conspiracy.

        Even if Hellary and St O. only get subpoenas, I’ll be happy.

        Low bar, I know…

    1. fresno dan

      November 4, 2021 at 2:07 pm
      I saw this – thanks for bringing it up.
      FROM THE ARTICLE: The defendant is now the third person to be charged in the controversial investigation into the origins of the Russiagate inquiry that dogged most of the administration of then-President Donald Trump. According to a Times report from October 2020, Danchenko described his role as that of gathering “raw intelligence” for Steele, who hired him, and to pass along any claims that raised a potential “red flag.”
      Fusion GPS, the firm that put together former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s dossier, was originally funded by a conservative website. The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee went on to fund Fusion GPS for the research that led to the Steele dossier, a largely discredited opposition research report. It contains severally unverified and salacious claims about the 45th president, some of which have been outright refuted, including the so-called “pee tape.”
      First of all, “intelligence” is useless to begin with (finds things that are not there: WMD while missing things that are – the collapse of Afghanistan) Second, it gets combined with campaign agendas, and you have despicable lying that can be obfuscated by the last refuge of a scondrel (generally, former FBI and intelligence officials empolyed by CNN or MSNBC) – national security, aka patriotism.

    2. marku52

      I was surprised the NYT actually printed some true things about the Steele Dossier case, that it was ginned up by Perkins Coie, that almost none of it was verified and that the whole thing was paid for by the Dem party.

      That would have been really useful to know, back in the day. Apparently Maddow is still bloviating about the Russkies. What a dupe. Or more I guess, duper.

    3. Regulus regulus

      The 39-page indictment against Igor Danchenko is rather circuitous, but essentially Danchenko is accused of protecting a single source whose info he falsely attributed to a RusAm Chamber of Commerce President. If this piece of info were defamatory in nature, the indictment would have added another false statement count. But it didn’t. Investigators know Danchenko has reason to believe the info is true and can be at least superficially corroborated.

      The reason defamatory judgments are rare is the only people who pursue them are individuals who file the complaints interested in pursuing Discovery to reveal the source because the alleged defamatory statement is actually true and a leak needs to be plugged. Defamatory statements have no source to protect and are not material in further investigations. Insufficient disbelief in a false statement one is told is not a fact which can be proved in court. However, covering for an unauthorized criminal leak of info is provable. This indictment adds to the veracity of the dossier, otherwise the complaint would have been much shorter in length. Steele recently defending his work in the press is Steele cooperating with the DOJ to get cooperation from Danchenko on this. Otherwise Danchenko clams up, gets probation, and deports.

      My guess Steele had access to material collected by American contractors and created a parallel chain of evidence. The fact that it was unreliable completely tracks.

  1. IM Doc

    Regarding the above link – Lincoln Project –

    When will the Democrat party and especially the Morning Joe bloviators figure out that the Lincoln Project folks are not really their friends. It has been a fun ride watching the Morning Joe couple give them hugs and kisses for a year – but wow – what a wretched bunch of scum.

    The Lincoln Project leadership is composed of a literal pedophile and the most sociopathic that the GOP has to offer.

    And yet they are friends and allies – and on the MSNBC shows all the time.

    With friends like that – who needs enemies?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      When will the Democrat party and especially the Morning Joe bloviators figure out that the Lincoln Project folks

      Joe Scarborough and the daughter of the worst person in the Carter Administration? They love the Lincoln Project. Scarborough only hates Trump, and that is only because Scarborough resigned when his mistress wound up murdered instead of fighting it like Trump might have. Scarborough is a disgraced GOP Congressman who among other things was a voice of family values in the 90’s.

      I figure its a fifth column going after Team Blue types with serious self esteem issues.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I missed the edit, but MSNBC is not the friend of Democratic voters or anyone outside of arch Republicans. Pat Buchannan had a show. Alan Greenspan’s wife headlines the afternoons, and of course, after Jon Stewart destroyed Tucker Carlson and CNN’s crossfire, who brought Tucker back to the media forefront? Tucker Carlson.

          Tucker’s current show isn’t even the worse thing he has done. This happened thanks to MSNBC!

          For those with soft stomachs heart conditions, or late stage pregnancies, don’t watch.

          According to MSNBC, Democratic political consultant James Carville was also among those who supported Carlson.

          In retrospect, Olbermann’s “OMG Russia” is nothing compared to the damage he caused by convincing people then GE and now Comcast would ever host a network that wasn’t friendly to anything but the worst people in the world.

  2. zagonostra

    >The Pandemic is a politically constructed determination. – Matt Stoller

    No worries we can always go to the authoritative bodies like the WHO and get politics out of the way…oh wait, the WHO changed their definition of what constitutes a pandemic just before CV19 hit.

    Well there is always the trusted dictionary right. Unfortunately it looks like Webster changed the definition of what a vaccine is just before they started rolling out mRNA vaccines….maybe Stoller is on to something.

    I was just listening to Senator Paul Rand spare with Fauci over “Gain of function” where the former pointed out that the NIH conveniently changed the definition of what that phrase means. This is the third time I think that Rand and Fauci have crossed swords you’d think after the Beagles Fauci would have slunk off into retirement, I think he is in his 80’s, a well preserved 80, don’t these people ever retire or die.


    1. TheMog

      My wife used to work for a government funded technology research place for a while. Basically retirement for a lot of the scientists there seemed to be getting a different coloured badge on the way out on their day of “retirement” and maybe show up at their desks a little bit later the following day.
      Fauci kinda reminds me of that particular type of researcher.

    2. Carolinian

      C’mon he’s on the cover of Humanist. That’s like getting an honorary diploma from the Wizard of Oz.

      If the Wizard was a dog hater…..

    3. clarky90

      “Hi, i’m Doctor X (women actors, wearing white lab coats). I have been a practicing OB-GYN for 26 years. When my patients ask me if they should get vaccinated for covid 19, I tell them YES!……….”


      “We know that they are lying. They know that they are lying. They know that we know, that they are lying. We know that they know, that we know, that they are lying…….. but they are still lying.
      Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

      1. rowlf

        “Everybody Knows” – Leonard Cohen ?

        Good Soviet reference above in the Solzhenitsyn quote, btw. A friend who grew up behind the Iron Curtain thinks this is all an information operation with the constantly changing news to disorient everyone and make them seek a savior.

    4. Nikkikat

      No retirement as long as there is a buck to be made. Hence when he does kick the bucket, all of his children and grandchildren can inherit a bundle and QUIT their jobs. Never to work again. They will no doubt sit on the boards of big Pharma.

  3. allan

    Re: Eric Adams.

    Good luck, NYC, you’re going to need it:

    Eric Adams @ericadamsfornyc
    Replying to @FrancisSuarez and @Sarasti
    In New York we always go big, so I’m going to take my first THREE paychecks in Bitcoin when I become mayor. NYC is going to be the center of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries! Just wait!
    1:26 PM · Nov 4, 2021

  4. Hepativore

    It is also amazing that despite removing everything useful to the serfs and the peasantry in the BBB bill, the Democrats have come up with the brilliant idea to remove the SALT cap.


    No wonder why Biden is going full-steam ahead to get the bill passed now. The Democrats have a short window of opportunity to do this before being destroyed in the midterms so it looks like they plan on falling on their collective swords for the midterms to appease their donors in the meantime.

    By bravely sacrificing their political careers now for their wealthy overlords, a Democrat can be reborn as corporate lobbyist later even if they lose in future elections. Their political martyrdom against the whims of the commoners will not be in vain!

  5. fresno dan

    So somebody just rang the doorbell, obviously some kind of government functionary, asking me if I needed any help finding a covid vaccination location (already vaccinated). I saw a young woman leaving my neighbor’s house, and obviously she was also involved in the effort.
    I asked about the booster but he didn’t know anything about that. I have to go to the drugstore this afternoon, and I can inquire there. I need to get me a new facemask – I have absolutey had it with these masks fogging up. No fogging up of glasses in Fresno in the summer, but now that it is cooling off…
    I was talking to the driver (actually, he was talking more to me then me to him) who trasported me home after my cardica procedure and he just said what almost everone who expresses an opionion has said to me, “I got vaccinated, but I don’t think people should be forced to be vaccinated.”

    1. allan

      Re: fogged glasses. Pro-tip that I picked up from one of the it’s-the-air-quality-stupid Twitter accounts
      is two-sided tape. Depending on the type of mask you use, cut off 2 or more short strips of the tape,
      apply 2 of them to the inside of the sides of the nose, and the others to the sides or bottom of the mask.
      Peeling off the backing from the tape and then not getting the mask straps stuck to it
      before you get it over your head takes some practice.
      Once in place, press all the taped regions down firmly.

      Upside: prevents fogging and makes for a safer trip to the outside world.
      Downside: takes getting used to, and even then a major pain.

      Two sided-tape, also known as toupe tape, can be found online and possibly at brick and mortars.

    2. flora

      FD, glad you’re home again and posting. Bet your bunny slippers are glad you’re back.

      About masks fogging up glasses: several companies make glasses anti-fog wipes. (Zeiss, Bausch&Lomb, sport companies, etc). I used to use the glasses wipes only in the colder winter months (they work) before C19, now I use them all the time. /cheers

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Also, if there is a Cycle Gear store near you, they carry Scott’s anti-fog spray. Motorcyclists have a very similar problem and solution. Around $4.

  6. jsn

    “Remind me what’s so great about Modernist glass boxes:”

    You can’t cut your fingers off in the safety grill?

    The designed environment has “given up”: a lot for safety.

    I can’t remember where I got this Corbu quote:
    “And he told me with chuckles of glee how Mrs Sarabhai had pleaded with him for railings on the terrace and balconies of her house in Ahmedabad. “The good woman was afraid that when her sons get married their children would fall off and kill themselves, as if I cared. As if I, Le Corbusier would compromise with design for the sake of her unborn brats!” “

    1. Sailor Bud

      Machine architecture and art was one of the first steps to making machine people. While this world goes for some weird Star Trek future (married to a Bud Light commercial) I want Hobbiton instead. I hate the sci-fi devotion to smooth and inorganic shapes, and that these tech vultures are intentionally making the world look that way. I hate Star Trek’s devotion to making everything look like the interior of a car.

      Now they’ve killed fine art entirely, and nobody noticed. We’re one-fifth of the way through the twenty-first century, and nobody here or anywhere can point out a single household name artist, architect, composer, novelist, sculptor, poet, or playwright of the twenty-first. You just can’t. The two most famous painters of this century are GW Bush and Hunter Biden. Banksy already had reputation in the 1990s.

      1. jsn

        All true, but if you focus within your local community, you will find all of them alive and well!

        Though educated at the height of Post Modernism, which attempted to put a veneer of history on the “Machine”, I never cottoned on to the Machine Aesthetic (though I admit to a taste for industrial objects).

        This classic debate between Peter Eisenman and Christopher Alexander is a great example of a Machine funded dog chasing a Humanist escapee from it into the woods! Architecture is practiced at the whim of power, so Alexander had a career in publishing and academia instead. We have to break the Machine paradigm first, then we’ll be able to see all the artists that have had important things to say for the last two decades but no venue.

        1. Sailor Bud

          Thanks for the interesting link. A classic debate, apparently, and I’d never heard of it. I read the whole thing.

          A good deal of it was above me (never read Foucault, and almost certainly never will). They didn’t start off so well either, because a sentence like “the order of a Mozart symphony is not available to us” needs further context for someone like me. Without context, I don’t know what that means. I’ve read Charles Rosen’s books, and they very well describe the sonata form of Mozart, contrasted with that of Haydn and Beethoven, and as far as I know, that’s the “order” of it. The harmonic form is also easily understood, and has been since before any of us were born. A small quibble, but whatever!

          Anyway, the meat and potatoes part was in the explicit naysaying of Chartres (weirdo!), and the way he said it – “once you’ve seen one gothic cathedral you’ve seen them all” – what? This, from a modernist? Most disturbing, if I read it right, was especially the support for anxiety-inducing disharmonious architecture from Eisenman, which recalls the stuff from Mike Davis in his discussion of panopticon shopping malls and the fascist, soul-breaking architecture of LA.

          As for art being alive and well in localities, I’d agree somewhat with the alive part. I’ll defer on the doing well bit, and will say that it’s maybe like a fish in an aquarium can do well and be alive, but it’s not swimming around in the sea, is it?

      2. Wukchumni

        Now they’ve killed fine art entirely, and nobody noticed. We’re one-fifth of the way through the twenty-first century, and nobody here or anywhere can point out a single household name artist, architect, composer, novelist, sculptor, poet, or playwright of the twenty-first. You just can’t.

        It’s a great point, there’s nobody out there doing anything arty that would earn you plaudits from a vast audience in this here century.

        The internet should’ve been a boon in bringing forth exceptionally talented types to the forefront, but it has been a bust.

        1. flora

          …there’s nobody out there doing anything arty that would earn you plaudits from a vast audience in this here century.

          Au contraire. It’s less about artist skill – which is still equally distributed as before – and more about cultural “sensitivites.” A vast audience relies much on a single, accepted, coherent, national narrative about what is praiseworthy. (How else explain much of the West’s 20th c celebrated art?) A unifying, cultural, national narrative broke down some years ago in the West, imo. To put too fine a point on it, wokeism is divisive. / ;)

          1. flora

            adding: aiming for divisiveness alone, without regard to the substance that’s challanged, is only aiming to replicate the shadow of the thing challenged instead of the thing itself. imo.

        2. Eustachedesaintpierre

          ” It’s a great point, there’s nobody out there doing anything arty that would earn you plaudits from a vast audience in this here century “.

          I wonder whether anyone has previously expressed that opinion while the likes of Van Gogh, Vermeer, Kafka, El Greco, Emily Dickinson & Bach were all anonymously doing their thing.

          One problem is I believe that there is too much of it out there whereas for the average person at least it was once a rarity so capable of great significance. The spires now only point to Mammon & materialism of which the machine made architecture & the current Salon reflects.

          I saw the 3 Carravagio’s in the church of San Luigi dei Francesci in Rome & failed miserably in the attempt to see them as someone would have back in the time of when they were painted – who unlike myself would not have seen millions of images, could well have been illiterate & likely a true believer in the message conveyed by that rich place & it’s amazing imagery, which I could only admire but not ever truly be a part of. As for our current places of worship IMO humanity has not quite, but almost left the building.

          1. Wukchumni

            From my vantage point, the only art young adults are seemingly interested in, is something in ink on their bodies…

            You hate to toss around monetary values when it comes to subject matter so arbitrary, but at the very least it gives me an idea of their visible net worth on canvas.

          2. Sailor Bud

            Those artists existed in a time when artists were known and lauded, though, whether they made it or not. It was more my point that handsy artists of ‘high civilization’ type aren’t put front and center now at all.

            In a way, it’s a question of who is “allowed” to be world famous now: sports stars, movie & TV personalities, pop stars, political figures & pundits, tech lords, and maybe this or that other weirdo or criminal. We are manifestly hearing calls for kids to stay away from liberal arts, too, and if those things aren’t connected then I’m Davy Crockett.

            Gabby Petito is a household name right this moment. But no major, or even publicly “majorized” artist at all, for twenty years?

            1. The Rev Kev

              ‘it’s a question of who is “allowed” to be world famous now’

              I think that you have an important point. We are supposed to celebrate “celebrities” these days instead of people who, oh I don’t know, actually do things? I suppose that the Kardashinas are the most notorious in that they are famous for – wait for it – for being famous. With all this attention on such people, it is like watching a cat trying to chase a laser light and means about as much.

              1. Sailor Bud

                Sincerely, thank you. It’s hard feeling like the sole person, on a planet of billions, making a point that feels obvious to the point-maker. You’ve made me feel half as alone as I did this morning, or for the last many.

      3. Eudora Welty

        I was listening to one of those Youtube offerings where young adults listen to oldies songs. The song was “Vincent” by Don McLean, and the young woman didn’t know what the song was talking about except that it was a sad song about somebody hopeless. I was trying to remember what I learned about “great art” in public school, and I don’t remember that much, except a teacher in Art class (in a studio where we painted, not in a book-reading environment) talking about how a painting of Picasso’s was recently x-rayed and there was an abandoned version underneath. Otherwise, I might have read my parents’ encyclopedias at home. Just don’t recall about art history. But when I toured Europe as a young adult, I was eager to see the Louvre, the David statue, the Van Gogh museum, etc.

    2. JBird4049

      >>>Remind me what’s so great about Modernist glass boxes:

      They are cheaper to build and maintain, requiring no aesthetic sense or sense of humanity beyond the carceral stye of plain glass (and concrete) is good, making them just great for anti-humanist, late modernist, neoliberal free market capitalism? A form of propaganda for the the soul sucking capitalist state.

      And I don’t known anything about that quote, but Le Corbusier has always given me that jackass vibe.

  7. garden breads

    Lambert – Excess deaths data lags. For the week of October 23rd ten states (Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Rhode Island, West Virginia ), Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia still had not reported any death certificate data to the CDC. Many other states will have reported only partial data. Five states and DC have not reported data for the previous week. West Virginia still has not reported deaths from the end of September. One has to wait 6 weeks to be confident of nearly complete data and eight weeks to be certain. However by three weeks one uaually can tell there are excess deaths that can’t be explained by natural variation.

    1. Ahimsa

      I like this particular Covid-19 data visualisation offered at OurWorldInData.org showing, with one selection, multiple metrics for a country/region (all per million people):

      (i) Confirmed COVID-19 cases;
      (ii) Hospital admissions;
      (iii) Patients in ICU;
      (iv) Deaths.

      I strongly suspect seasonality with concomitant increased sharing of indoor air and reduced vitamin D levls is a much greater confounding factor than has been given credit.

      Considering vaccine rollouts started in most regions when the winter (northern hemisphere) waves had already receded, the coming winter flu season will be the vaccines’ first real test efficacy and at a stage when most non-boostered will presumably be experiencing diminished protection.

      The x-factor is perhaps the undercounted extent of natural immunity already achieved at a population level..

  8. Odysseus

    My priors are that Facebook, from the UI/UX perspective of both writer and reader, sucks, and there’s no reason to think Facebook engineers will be able to do any better with more dimensions to work with.

    I mean, things get way better the minute you stop including advertising and instrumentation to drive more advertising.

    The Facebook UI doesn’t *have to* suck. They choose to make it suck.

    Eliminating strict timeline presentation of Facebook posts is a choice.
    Failing to implement a proper nested threaded discussion structure is a choice.
    Failing to properly mark new content in ongoing discussions is a choice.
    Intentionally screwing up URLs in posted content is a choice.

    What would a service that didn’t make those awful choices look like?
    Would it truly be less engaging and less profitable?

    1. .human

      Why are we spending so much time and treasure on virtual worlds when the public park down the street needs considerable real maintenance?

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Is it partly because the public park down the street needs considerable real maintenance?

  9. Bemildred

    Regarding Facebook, yes, I had some 20 years of experience in GUI interfaces, specifically representing simulation results graphically with lots of radio buttons and walking menus, maps, drawing etc., and using all sorts of “unintuitive” UIs, and I have never had a Facebook account specifically because I find their site so annoying to work with.

    Hope that helps.

  10. griffen

    Welcome to the hellhole of dental care, where it sucks anyway but incrementally worse if you have low income and Medicaid isn’t really up to snuff. You got all them teeth, how many do you actually use to chew up food and such.

    Even with decent dental benefits via an employer plan, it’s no great shakes to having what you need really covered. That was a good and thoroughly written article. Takes a lot of effort and patience, I wish to assume, serving the poorer and lower income communities / counties.

    1. Josef K

      Here are some details from the medicare dental “care” trenches. I’ll preface remarks by saying Applecare in WA state is actually pretty good. But the dental….as remarked above, teeth are seen as luxuries if you’re not wealthy enough.
      The dentists seem to be doing their best with what they’re given, and I laud and respect at least some of them for choosing to treat low-income folks. Dentists have a very hard time numbing up my lowers, hard to find the nerves, I’ve been told, and the dentist I last saw there had a multi-shot solution for that I’d never seen before, and worked.
      However, the treatment plan offered is pretty simple, but not pretty: if it’s not a front tooth, and needs more than filling, it has to be pulled to be covered. Root canals are not. I overheard “OK then let’s schedule for —- to have them pulled” every time I was in that office. A 30-something woman, appeared she had meth-teeth, was told they’ll pull them all and get her dentures. So basically dental care under medicare, at least in WA, means fillings, or extractions.

  11. Rob Urie

    The CDC’s Excess Deaths calculation is based on U.S. historical data. Beginning in 2003 the U.S. saw a large increase in deaths, a.k.a. excess deaths, relative to other developed countries.

    The CDC’s reliance on U.S. data misses this departure from other developed countries.

    This paper from the NAS (National Academy of Sciences) provides the relevant comparison to claim that more Americans died from inadequate health care in 2017 than died from Covid in 2020.

    And 2017 was barely an outlier year. Similar results are found from 2003 forward.


    1. GramSci

      From the Discussion [emphasis added]:

      Because it has captured a great deal of national attention, the number of deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020 forms a timely basis of comparison. On 20 February 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 376,504 deaths ascribed to COVID-19 had occurred in the United States in calendar year 2020 (10). That figure is similar to but below the estimated total number of excess deaths of 401,000 in the United States in 2017 (Table 1).

      The comparison is more striking when years of life lost is the measure used. Goldstein and Lee (11) estimate that the mean loss of life years for a person dying from COVID-19 in the United States is 11.7 y. Multiplying 377,000 decedents by 11.7 y lost per decedent gives a total of 4.41 My of life lost to COVID-19 in 2020, only a third of the 13.02 million life years lost to excess mortality in the United States in 2017 (Table 1). The reason that the comparison is so much sharper for YLL than for excess deaths is that COVID-19 deaths in 2020 occurred at much older ages, on average, than the excess deaths of 2017.

  12. Kevin

    Modernism / Art Nouveau

    I really enjoy Art Nouveau. Especially Rennie MacIntosh, and artists Gutav Klimt and Alphonse Mucha.

    The only good thing I can say about Modernism is; by totally eschewing any historical references; they really had to start from scratch to come up with original designs. I can sympathize on that front. Unfortunately, they didn’t get very original – just a lot of cold steel and concrete boxes. Some people really dig that style tough. Van der Rohe’s famouse Farnsworth house is just 2 miles down the road from me – never visited it. It’s a glass house sitting on the Fox River which floods fairly often leaving the house inaccessible. The all glass house attracts bugs in swarms – like a giant outdoor bug light. No thanks.

    1. jsn

      I’m re-reading Mumford’s “Technics and Civilization” after 35 years and it’s fascinating! He begins by talking about the world-views of anamist cultures, where a chair leg is shaped like a lions leg because that’s what a good leg looks like. Then how technology disrupts their associations and starts to isolate all the parts into mechanical ideals. He then gets into how Capitalism engages with Technics in the 17th C in a symbiosis that tremendously accelerates both, but begins to rend civilization and its artifacts apart, particularly apart from nature.

      It was written in 1934 as Modernism was struggling to take root in the austerity of The Treaty of Versailles even as the BIS was set up to try to help Germany with the impacts. First in Europe, with the Bolsheviks and the Nazis, then under the New Deal, a depressed Western Civilization was re-energized under the banner of “Modernity”, and for the US Modernity won the war, setting an ethical and aesthetic direction for the world for 60 years.

      But to Mumford’s point in the introductory chapters I’m just getting through, society was torn away from nature by modernity and it hasn’t been restored. The Machine builds now for the Machine and the pre-machine world views have all been dissected and pinned to museum boards by science. But all the science does nothing to heal the tear that’s pulled humanity away from the natural world on which it depends. The scale, intimacy and voluptuousness of the architecture you list is what the man made environment looked like the last time we were within shouting distance of natural balance.

    2. anon y'mouse

      Richard Neutra was one of the only who showed any soul or humanity.

      i’m willing to be proven wrong, but haven’t been thus far.

  13. outside observer

    So apparently the FDA has just been twiddling its thumbs on tests, and all the big talk about making tests available at cost was just that – big talk. If you’re going to mandate something, it should be testing, of both vaccinated and unvaccinated. That is how you stop transmission. Couple it with a message of solidarity that is actually meaningful: if you test positive, stay home until you test negative. I swear, with each passing day the FDA looks to be more and more of a criminal enterprise.


    I also see that walmart no longer carries the abbot binaxnow test for $14 per 2-pack – the webpage has disappeared, though was up til just a couple days ago.

    1. ambrit

      Yep. I just checked the local Walmart website, (which is, alas, a national site,) and both “inexpensive” quick test kits are “Out of Stock.”
      Plenty of the hundred dollar per test mail in tests available though. So, the message is; “You brought it on yourself by not being ‘financially successful’ you deplorable scum!”
      Now, is this ‘shortage’ a product of high demand or low supply?
      Oh, and good luck qualifying for one of those “tested every week” vaccine exemptions.

      1. outside observer

        Myself, vaccinated and unaffected by the mandates anyway, but do have a family member who will likely be looking for work shortly. Has good reason not to want to take the risk – even documented medical exemption. Federal contractor employer doesn’t want to deal with it. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess lots of vaccinated people across the country will know people whose lives are upended by this and only a small minority will look at them as though they deserve what they got. The majority of the population does not have the hive mind that exists within the beltway.

    2. JBird4049

      Am I a bad person for thinking that getting an approval for the tests might involve bribery, kickbacks, interest free loans, blackmail, or a special friend in the FDA?

      1. outside observer

        Am I a bad person for thinking that absolutely anything that presents the possibility of a feasible alternative to vaccination is given the IVM treatment?

    1. bubba

      So there is your reason for the uptick in California. 500k mobile humans, not counting the trucks and processing workers. Several week delay on positive jump is normal.

  14. Sea Sched

    the gathara thread is amazing…the mocking of the bland food- so hilarious
    wish wapo and nyt would report this way

    1. Fred1

      I can’t imagine any Commonwealth Attorney not being happy to turn over to the AG his entire General District Court traffic docket.

    2. marym

      “[Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares] said one of his top priorities will be passing legislation that would allow his office to intervene in local cases if police disagree with how prosecutors are handling them — a proposal he said is inspired by dissatisfaction with plea deals he considers too lenient.

      “It would essentially say that if a chief law enforcement officer in a jurisdiction, either chief of police or the sheriff, makes a request because a commonwealth attorney is not doing their job, I’m going to do their job for them,” Miyares said. “And I’m thinking specifically of some of the so-called social justice commonwealth’s attorneys elected in Northern Virginia.”


      Seems like only yesterday when “local control” was a core value for conservatives.

      1. Fred1

        Nearly every police officer thinks the local prosecutor is soft or incompetent or worse, because all of their cases are slam dunks. Of course, some of them bark. The AG does not have the staff or time to screen all of the cases that will be marketed to it. The local prosecutor will be more than happy to let the AG unknowingly take the dogs off their hands. In fact will probably encourage the AG. There are enormous transaction costs for trying a case and then losing.

        1. rowlf

          A college roommate that became an assistant DA in a NYC borough mentioned that as long as the police did not screw up the case he could always get a conviction. He also said most perps incriminated themselves.

        2. marym

          The AG-elect clearly stated his political and social agenda – giving cops a way to bypass the locally elected prosecutor – the choice of the voters – in order to get harsher sentences. It’s replacing local power with centralized power.

          1. albrt

            That’s the intent, but the intent of Zillow buying houses at above market prices was to sell them for even more. I think Fred1 may be right about how it will work out in practice.

    1. fresno dan

      November 4, 2021 at 4:53 pm

      FROM THE ARTICLE: Only a materially advanced civilization could have wreaked all the atrocities and destruction of World War I, Valéry observed: “A great deal of science was doubtless required to kill so many men… but moral qualities were equally required. Knowledge and Duty: Must we suspect you also?” [Emphasis again the author’s.]
      We must, say yes, to reply to Valéry a century late.
      America, the most materially advanced nation in human history, has made the same error Valéry described ever since it nominated itself, in the mid–19th century, as the very incarnation of Progress with a capital P. It has by a long tradition mistaken material progress for authentic human progress.

      1. VietnamVet

        A good article and I agree with the parallels. The Western Empire is collapsing. Instead of whistling them over the top into the death rattle of machine guns, Joe Biden is forcing American workers to be jabbed with mRNA or an adenovirus that directs the assembly of an artificial spike protein that is likely the cause of blood clotting in young women and heart inflammation in young males and serves no purpose since the “vaccines” do not stop transmission of the virus. “ERs are now swamped with seriously ill patients – NPR… and includes abdominal pain, respiratory problems, blood clots, heart conditions”- 7 days ago.

        The survivors of WWI and the Spanish Flu were the Lost Generation. Survivors of the breakup of the West and the Coronavirus Pandemic, if they reflect on what happened to them, will call themselves the Gone Generation.

  15. Samuel Conner

    re: the Airlines and sustainability:

    I wonder if tran-oceanic flights could get carbon credits for fertilizing the ocean over which they travel with, um … fecal plumes. Perhaps they’re already doing that and aren’t getting the credit they deserve. /s

  16. chuck roast

    Re: Bloomberg on UPS work force.

    This is a nice piece of happy talk. Bloomberg finds a UPS driver who has been humpping packages for 40 years and is living the dream. I have no reason to believe that this guy does not exist. But the next time you catch a UPS guy on his lunch break ask him to give you a litany of his injuries over the years. Then you will scratch your head and wonder how this lucky soul survived 40 years wearin’ the brown and is not a cripple. And it’s my understanding…correct me if I’m wrong…that the UPS union rolled over for a two tier wage scale some time ago. So, our lucky soul may have been doubly lucky. Not a peep from Bloomberg.

    1. anon y'mouse

      have a family member who works behind the scenes doing loading/sorting.

      they have multiple injuries every year, and have for 20 years. torn rotator cuffs, etc. middle aged but more banged up than an elderly bricklayer.

      last i saw them, all they could do was happy talk about their retirement fund.
      my mind was saying “that fund is not going to be enough to pay for an early retirement in a wheelchair, if it still manages to be paid out and not snatched somehow”. then a long rave about the health care coverage paying for all of this damage to get them on the line again. i mean, they don’t rebuild you like the Six Million Dollar Man. you’re still dinged up but at least you can move packages and eat aspirin for every meal, and that’s about it.

      but it was admittedly the best job they could get at the time as a single parent, working nights and being home during the day without any higher degrees and only hourly wage slave frontline employee job experience. so i tried to keep my mouth shut.

      living the dream, indeed.

    1. Objective Ace

      Might be because of demand–talking with my local farmer, last year was the first time in a long time they still had turkeys for sale that hadnt already been reserved weeks prior. People were afraid to have large get togethers last year (at least the types of people who buy farm fresh pasteurized turkeys)

    2. ambrit

      Our local food emporiums have yet to offer any Pre-Thanksgiving turkey sales. This would have already been a going concern in previous years.
      Prices are in the $1.49 USD to $2.00 USD per pound range. Most of the frozen birds on display so far are ‘Dino Turkeys,” 18, 20, and on up pound birds.
      Considering the carnage that characterized last year’s turkey sales, could the producers have cut back from an excess of caution?
      Gobble! Gobble!
      Go figure.

      1. Wukchumni

        We must have a thousand wild gobblers here in tiny town, about 30 of them did a quit-claim deed on what was our property with one of them plucking out a quill to scrawl it’s John Henry on said deed. We’ve been given a fortnight to clear out, although I negotiated to let us stay through Thanksgiving weekend.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If you could feed them chunks of old bread to get them used to eating old bread, then maybe you could start feeding them whiskey-soaked old bread. If they like that, and they like getting too drunk to stand up, you could harvest one of them at very little risk to yourself by getting it too drunk to protect itself and fight back.

          1. Wukchumni

            Unlike most reasonable animals who flee upon sight of us, the wild turkeys have more of ‘Yo!, i’m standing here!’ feel when you come upon them on the road, there is really no sense of urgency to get out of the way, as if they own the road, which they very well may, by now.

  17. Brunches with Cats

    Re: Medicare dental benefits …

    I’ve been contemplating for some time who would be blocking Medicare dental coverage other than the dental lobby. And now it turns out they’re OK with it, under its own part with a separate a means test. Meanwhile, about a week ago, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps the biggest obstructionists are the purveyors of Medicare Advantage plans, especially since dental and vision are the only “advantage” they’ll have if hearing aids are covered.

    I enrolled in a MA plan, strictly for the dental coverage. The plan makes sense for me only because 1) I don’t need it for healthcare, and 2) I don’t pay anything for it. Admittedly, my situation is unique, but maybe it can provide some insight nonetheless …

    I qualify for Medicare Part B, although I declined it, because the $144 monthly premium is deducted from one’s already meager SS or disability check, and I get most of my healthcare through the VA — except for dental, for which I’m not eligible under the VA’s byzantine rules for who gets what. So when I broke a tooth last year and needed a crown, an acquaintance referred me to a local Medicare Advantage plan, which will cover a crown with a copay of $125, and no monthly premiums. I don’t know if this is what all those obnoxious ads shouting “Call now to see if you qualify for free Medicare!” are all about, but I suspect it’s along these lines. Here’s how it works where I live (rural upstate New York):

    If you’re eligible for Medicare Part B, but have an income that qualifies for Medicaid, there’s a program funded through the state (with federal money, if I’m not mistaken) and administered by county social services that picks up your Part B premium. My county automatically chooses that option for Medicaid applicants who are eligible for Medicare, as it’s less costly for the county (and actually much better for anyone with a little income, because you end up forking over a big chunk to the county under a complicated “spend down” scheme). I never checked to see if I could get USG Medicare this way, for obvious reasons. I did, however, have to have a “sponsor” cosign the application form, which would seem to preclude Medicare. My sponsor was the Medicare Advantage agent who sold me on her program (I know, I know).

    The application was approved in less than two weeks — which, unfortunately, was a the week before the pandemic shutdown. So, still no crown. Since the Grand Reopening, the challenge has been finding a dentist who will accept Medicare rates, who won’t accidentally pull the wrong tooth and whose admins have the English language skills necessary to file successful insurance claims.

    Putting on my trendy Fall ’21 foil hat: Dentists obviously don’t like Medicare rates but want a chunk of that $1.7 trillion or $.5 trillion or whatever it ends up as. If they get what they want, the only “advantage” to enrolling in MA will be one cheap pair of glasses a year. Then again, it’s a pretty good bet that MA lobbyists are furiously writing language for the new bill, even as I type.

  18. Stanley Dundee


    The Fed: “Powell Dodged a Taper Tantrum With Ease. That’s Suspicious” [John Authers, Bloomberg]…Readers who understand the bond market may wish to comment.

    Not sure if I qualify as understanding the bond market but I’ll channel Jeff Snider (e.g. The Curve is Missing Something Big) and say the bond market seems to be according high probablility to renewed deflationary forces as helicopter money tails off, small businesses close their doors, and the post-pandemic (endemic?) labor force participation rate remains a long way below pre-pandemic levels.

  19. flora

    re: “…The threshold was raised to $10,000 but it was dropped from the ‘reconciliation’ bill last week after a strong lobbying effort against it from the financial services industry.”

    Remember, the “financial services industry” is an incredibly broad category encompassing not only tbtf Wall St banks but also locally owned community banks, state chartered small banks, small credit unions, and savings&loans. Much shorter: The broader “financial services industry”, aka mostly not the Wall St tbtf banks, find no benefit to their customers or to themselves in this idea. (And they are right.)

  20. upstater

    re. India Walton defeat. I don’t know anything about election law here in the Empire State… but I’m wondering if a wrte in vote is legal if not written in the voter’s hand? Is a “rubber stamp in” vote REALLY the same as write in? More importantly, doesn’t it seem obvious that rubber stamping ballots may possibly be susceptible to having been tampered with.

    More lessons in the conduct of US elections…

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      What if a Socialist candidate were to run the very same kind of write-in campaign against the Democrat candidate for something? What if the Socialist candidate were to WIN that write-in campaign against the Democrat candidate, using exactly the same methods that the Democrat used in Buffalo?

      Wouldn’t that be interesting?

  21. JCC

    I came across something interesting today, or at least the sort of thing I find interesting. You all may not.

    There are various CBT (Computer Based Training) courses we have to take every year at my J-O-B (known here as “(family blog)”. One of them deals with CyberSecurity and the handling of various types of documents within the DoD.

    One section required us to review the case of a guy that worked for the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) by the name of Henry Frese. He got caught passing some Top Secret info to a reporter he was sleeping with by the name of Amanda Macias (according to court documents, cajoled by her) on the Intel Desk of CNBC and a cohort she was working with at NBC. They published the information.

    So the question is, what happened?

    First, Henry Frese ended up in prison with a 2.5 year sentence and he’ll probably end up at Walmart or McDonalds, if he is lucky, when he gets out in a few months. Absolutely nothing happened to the two reporters, their editors, or CNBC and NBC. The reporters are still working the same jobs for the same companies while the companies have always “declined to comment”.

    Compare that outcome to all the (family blog) surrounding Assange, both in the position of reporter and editor, who has spent the last 11 years locked up, the last near 4 years in what is considered the worst prison in GB in solitary confinement, not to mention CIA attempted assassinations.

    All of our Corporate Mainstream Media has “declined to comment” on this situation.

    The obvious conclusion is that Assange’s problem is that he did not work for US Corporate-owned Media outlets. He was unlucky enough to be born as, among other things, a “damn feraner”.

    An older article on the subject – https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/10/reporters-cnbc-nbc-news-become-tangled-leak-investigation/

  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    This sounds like a good time for politically motivated individual thing-shippers who are in a position to choose between UPS and FedEx . . . to choose UPS every single time . . . . in order to further strangle and attrit and degrade FedEx’s revenue streams and enhance UPS’s revenue streams which could then go to hire even more higher-paid workers.

    Now . . . IF . . . . several to many millions of people could somehow co-ordinate themselves to launch the 3-D analog-world equivalent of a DOS attack against FedEx, by all trying to send more packages at the same time than FedEx can cope with, stretching FedEx even thinner and making it even poorer and maybe even making key parts of it crash; maybe that would be worth doing. If it could all be co-ordinated to come together just right.

    Shoving two pounds of sand through a one pound hourglass to see what happens. Maybe you can break the hourglass.

  23. jr

    I know this is reaching back but am I the only one who felt a twinge of disgust at that photo of Wolff Blitzer? A self important empty suit waiting on his owner’s pleasure, while the destroyers dine on fine foods.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Plant in traditional Samoa medicine could be as effective as ibuprofen, study shows”

    Now all we need is a story (based on what happened in Mexico) is a team from a big pharma to go out to Samoa, take samplings, analyze it for the active ingredients and then take out an ever-greening patent on it. And the next time some guy in Samoa goes to use it on a patient, have the big pharma corporation threaten him for breaking one of their patents.

    1. LifelongLib

      I first read that as “NASA’s anti-steroid program” and had a vision of muscular, enraged astronauts…

  25. Wukchumni

    “Kyle Rittenhouse Claims Self-Defense After Shooting 3 Jurors” [The Onion].
    He’s such an unlikely Horst Wessel, but you go with the proto-martyr-murderer with a baby face.

    Any chance of a Kyle-Rittenhouse-Lied?

    1. ambrit

      No, no, no. Horst Wessel was a “martyr” for the National Socialist cause. As such, he was dead, defunct, taking a holiday in the Obersalzburg.
      Young Rittenhouse is very much alive. To achieve “martyr” status, young Rittenhouse must come to some painfully obvious “tragic end.” Preferrably something associated with the “cause” he is purported to espouse. So, expect young Rittenhouse to wander into a BLM or Antifa rally while out on bail and be ‘sacrificed’ on the Altar of Woke. Then the Party apparatus can churn out paeans to his “Patriotic Spirit” and other similar content free verbiage.

  26. John Anthony La Pietra

    My go-to antidote for Modernist elevators is the little wrought-metal-looking one that played such a big role in the movie Charade.

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