2:00PM Water Cooler 12/7/2021

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient, patient readers, my post on containers took longer than I estimated. I’ll make it up to you over the rest of the week, I swear! At least today, I will have progressed from skeletal to merely emaciated. –lambert.

Bird Song of the Day

Chatty! I wonder if they scolded Darwin!

* * *


Vaccination by region:

Data rollercoaster! (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.)

60% of the US is fully (doubly) vaccinated (CDC data, as of December 6. We have broken the important 60% psychological barrier! Mediocre by world standards, being just below Estonia, and just above Taiwan in the Financial Times league tables as of this Monday). No change from last week, but I assume that’s a holiday data issue.

Case count by United States regions:

Now fiddling and diddling.

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 the current 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:

Now the Thanksgiving drop shows up. (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. The case data still looks like it’s trying to break out of the grey area. We shall see.

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection, not updated:

I have marked the previous peak in yellow, and the current peak with a black “Fauci Line.” Both 2020 and 2021 saw big jumps when the students returned after Thanksgiving vacation. 2021’s jump begins from a higher baseline. Now we’ll see how much higher it goes. It’s hard to know how pessimistic to be, but this tapewatcher’s guess is that this years peak will surpass 2020’s.

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” (PDF), “Rapid Riser” counties. Updated December 7 :

Yikes. Happy holidays.

The previous release:

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile), also December 2:

I have helpfully highlighted the states where the “trend” arrow points up in yellow, and where it is vertical, in orange. Google says it’s 51.8°F in Texas at 9:35AM EST, so the rising hospitalization is not due to wintry conditions.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 810,432 808,763. Back to normal. I have added a black “Fauci Line.” At this rate, I don’t think we’ll hit the million mark by New Year’s.

Excess deaths (total, not only from Covid), not updated:

Hard to believe we have no excess deaths now, but very fortunate if so. (CDC explains there are data lags).

(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’s duty 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.)

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

South Africa’s rise looks linear. 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 Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Capitol Seizure

“Why the Jan. 6 panel is on the clock” [Politico]. “The Jan. 6 panel is the only comprehensive investigation in Washington that’s probing how the government responded to an attack on one of its branches.” Presumably, it’s not a criminal matter, or the Department of Justice would be handling it. More: “Right now, the need to wrap up the Jan. 6 investigation before Republicans take over the House is a Beltway assumption that has yet to resonate for most voters.” ¨• Er…

Biden Administration

“Democrats see Christmas goal slipping away” [The Hill]. “The goal for Democrats was to pass President Biden’s sweeping climate and social spending package by Christmas, but that is slipping away as the Senate bogs down in one time-consuming fight after another. Democratic senators are growing increasingly doubtful that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will be able to meet his Christmas deadline because several major disagreements are holding up the Build Back Better Act, including a fight over lifting the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. Schumer told reporters last week that his goal is to bring the $2 trillion bill to the floor the week of Dec. 13, but that timeline will be tough to meet because negotiators have a lot left to work out and Congress will also have to raise the debt ceiling by Dec. 15, which will distract attention from Biden’s agenda. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), a key player in the debate, is predicting to colleagues the legislation will likely wait until after the holiday season. Senate Democratic aides say passage of the bill in January is looking more realistic than before Christmas. ‘I think there are issues with the parliamentarian’s office,’ said one Democratic aide. ‘I don’t think there’s the person power in the parliamentarian’s office to get everything done quickly.’ ‘It’s a chokepoint,’ the aide added.” • Of course! The Parliamentarian!

Democrats en Deshabille

Lambert here: Obviously, the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself. Why is that? First, the Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community. (Note that voters do not appear within this structure. That’s because, unlike say UK Labour or DSA, the Democrat Party is not a membership organization. Dull normals may “identify” with the Democrat Party, but they cannot join it, except as apparatchiks at whatever level.) Whatever, if anything, that is to replace the Democrat Party needs to demonstrate the operational capability to contend with all this. Sadly, I see nothing of the requisite scale and scope on the horizon, though I would love to be wrong. (If Sanders had leaped nimbly from the electoral train to the strike wave train after losing in 2020, instead of that weak charity sh*t he went with, things might be different today. I am not sure that was in him to do, and I’m not sure he had the staff to do it, although I believe such a pivot to a “war of movement” would have been very popular with his small donors. What a shame the app wasn’t two-way.) Ah well, nevertheless.

For an example of the class power that the PMC can wield, look no further than RussiaGate. All the working parts of the Democrat Party fired on all cylinders to cripple an elected President; it was very effective, and went on for years. Now imagine that the same Party had worked, during Covid, to create an alternative narrative — see Ferguson et al., supra, to see what such a narrative might have looked like, and with the unions (especially teachers) involved. At the very least, the Biden Administration would have had a plan, and the ground prepared for it. At the best, a “parallel government” (Gene Sharp #198) would have emerged, ready to take power in 2020. Instead, all we got was [genuflects] Tony Fauci. And Cuomo and Newsom butchering their respective Blue States, of course. The difference? With RussiaGate, Democrats were preventing governance. In my alternative scenario, they would have been preparing for it.

And while we’re at it: Think of the left’s programs, and lay them against the PMC’s interests. (1) Free College, even community college. Could devalue PMC credentials. Na ga happen. (2) MedicareForAll. Ends jobs guarantee for means-testing gatekeepers in government, profit-through-denial-of-care gatekeepers in the health insurance business, not to mention opposition from some medical guilds. Na ga happen. (3) Ending the empire (and reining in the national security state). The lights would go out all over Fairfax and Loudon counties. Na ga happen. These are all excellent policy goals. But let’s be clear that it’s not only billionaires who oppose them.

Showing the PMC’s inability to govern, as a class they seem unable to expand their scope of operations into new fields. Consider the possibilities of the “Swiss Cheese Model.” Layered defenses include extensive testing, contact tracing, ventilation systems (not merely blue collar HVAC work, but design and evaluation), and quarantines. If we look at each layer as a jobs guarantee for credentialed professionals and managers, like ObamaCare, the opportunities are tremendous (and that’s before we get to all the training and consulting). And yet the PMC hasn’t advocated for this model at all. Instead, we get authoritarian followership (Fauci) and a totalizing and tribalizing faith in an extremely risky vax-only solution. Why? It’s almost as if they’re “acting against their own self-interest,” and I don’t pretend to understand it.

And I’m not the only one who’s puzzled. “Even if you…

Stats Watch

Supply Chain: “United States LMI Logistics Managers Index Current” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index increased to 73.4 in November of 2021, the highest in 3 months, from 72.6 in September mainly due to involving capacity, cost and downstream inventories. The transportation crunch remains particularly pronounced, with transportation prices hitting 92.7 and warehousing prices reaching a new record high of 89.3 for the sixth time in nine months. These high prices are due to the rapid movement of a significant volume of inventory from upstream storage to downstream retailers. The shortages of retail goods this holiday season have not been as severe as they were predicted to be. This seems to have been largely achieved by firms spending heavily on warehousing and transportation to get goods downstream. Warehousing space is in particularly high demand downstream, where capacity is contracting 9.2 points more quickly than upstream, as firms work to meet customer demand.”

* * *

Airlines: “HOTR: A near $100bn Equity Hole to Fill” [Leeham News and Analysis]. “Revenue across those airlines decreased by 60% year-over-year. Net profits went from $17bn to $-140bn, or a $-157bn swing. It is worth noting that US carriers earned $14bn out of the $17bn in profits among carriers worldwide. Note that we’re using the Net Profit, not the Operating Profit. Despite several carriers issuing large amounts of new equity, it is nowhere near enough to compensate for the losses across the airline industry. The Equity (Assets minus Liabilities) decreased from $206bn to $112bn. Large amounts of debt issuances meant that airlines’ balance sheet assets increased overall. As a result, the aggregated debt to equity ratio grew from 3.8 to 8.0 among those carriers. As passenger traffic, let alone revenues, are nowhere near their 2019 levels, most airlines will still incur sizable losses during the following year. Capital raises won’t likely be sufficient to cover those losses.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 35 Fear (previous close: 25 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 26 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 7 at 1:24pm.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.) Wait ’til Roe….

The Biosphere

“Honolulu shut down its largest water source in Oahu due to reported contamination of Navy well near Pearl Harbor” [CNN]. “Records show a history of fuel leaks plaguing Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in the past decade, with the most recent leak occurring 11 days before the Navy announced it had discovered contamination in the Red Hill well on Oahu. Honolulu’s Board of Water Supply (BWS) shut down the Halawa Shaft, Oahu’s largest water source, on Thursday after the Navy said it found ‘a likely source of the contamination,’ the Navy said in a virtual town hall meeting.”

“A rush to mine the deep ocean has environmentalists worried” [Climate Change News]. “Too little is known about the oceans’ deep, its biodiversity and the role it plays in storing carbon to fully understand the impacts the nascent industry will have, Amon said. ‘Whatever way you look at it, mining is going to be very destructive in the deep ocean. It’s certain to say that this will be irreversible damage.’ Yet, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which regulates mining activities in international waters, is convening from Monday to consider a roadmap for negotiating extraction rules. It is proposing to finalise a mining code by July 2023, after being given an ultimatum by the world’s smallest island state Nauru. Countries have been discussing mining the bottom of the oceans for years. While some exploratory activities are under way, no commercial extraction has started in international waters. The reason for the hype is mineral concretions on the sea bottom known as polymetallic nodules. About the size of a potato, they are thought to take millions of years to form and are rich in manganese, nickel, cobalt and rare earth metals, key components of batteries for electric vehicles. As the energy transition accelerates, demand for critical minerals could increase sixfold by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency. Supply is lagging.


The infrastructure bill will fix this:

Health Care

WHO’s got aerosol transmission wrong, never admitted it, and that’s still doing damage:

The 420

“Jurvetson’s Big Gift Shows How Psychedelics Capital Is Different” [Bloomberg]. • No, it doesn’t.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Just because you can format a footnote, that doesn’t make you a scholar:

Zeitgeist Watch

“America’s Gambling Addiction Is Metastasizing” [The Atlantic]. “Gambling has become one of the defining pleasures of our time, the perfect accompaniment to an era of high-risk, rigged economies and a looming sense of collapse. Once there was Las Vegas; now there’s a Las Vegas in every phone. You can bet on almost anything today. Elections. Literary prizes. If you have a feeling that, say, Lapuan Virkiä is going to beat Porin Pesakarhut in the women’s Superpesis, the top professional pesäpallo league in Finland, you can put your money where your mouth is. During the pandemic, as casinos and racetracks closed, you could wager on the evening’s forecast in real time, or on the upcoming winter snowfall.” • I’ve never understood the attraction. Still, the writer. “During the pandemic,” case closed. Maybe I could inveigle them into a game of poker?

“The Sex Parties Really Are Better Than Ever Optimists predicted a horny free-for-all post-lockdown. They were right.” [New York Magazine]. • Dinner at Trimalchio’s?

* * *

I thought this was just some rando, but he’s the Representative for the Fourth District of Kentucky:

“Armed formations”:

I bet Massie was his own contractor:

Xmas Gift Ideas

Better than the original:

Although I believe that should be “smol son.”

“5 Games That Explain The World” [Foreign Policy]. “There’s a well-developed genre of board games drawing on 20th-century counterinsurgency, most notably the COIN games, from Vietnam’s Fire in the Lake to Afghanistan’s A Distant Plain. But none has been as successful as Root, a recent classic inspired by the struggles and intrigues of the Vietnam War, 19th-century India, and other conflicts. Unlike in Vietnam, though, everyone in Root is an adorable fuzzy animal.”

Class Warfare

Run! Run!

News of the Wired

“Has the Photobook Become More Interesting than Photographs Themselves?” [Aperture]. • Was it Aperture who printed those lovely square books with white covers, one book to one photographer? All black and white? And have any readers created photobooks?

* * *

Contact information: 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 (ulfarthelunatic):

ulfarthelunatic writes: “Attached is a photo of this years pumpkin harvest, some sort of french heirloom variety. One of the few plants (along with basil) that seems to thrive at 6500 feet in New Mexico. Old orange cat for scale.” That cat looks like it’s done some living.

* * *

Readers, I could still use more plants, so if you could send some photos to the address below, that would be great! I’d really like to see photos of harvests or completed projects, to inspire people to plan for spring over the winter. Also fall foliage? Thank you!

* * *

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

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

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

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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. Amfortas the hippie

            a Left of any seriousness would have bought up all the offset printers(900#, the one i had, and foolishly let go)
            i got mine for free, under mysterious circumstances…but they could be had for a frelling song in the late 90’s.
            i just didn’t have the room for it(although i still have a bunch of plates and ink and such)
            and i needed the Jack.

            but i’ve been THE LEFTY….as in the only one out of thedamned closet….for all my life.

            that’s right after i moved here.
            nevertheless, i should have known better.

            for those not on my Plane(i smoked 2(TWO) hoglegs, today):

            if you have extra money, run out and get a gaddam printing press…made of cast iron, if possible.
            heavier the better.
            I’ll store several.
            (i have room, now)
            it will be vital…whether we do the collapse, or limp along in subspace for a time.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > a Left of any seriousness would have bought up all the offset printers(900#, the one i had, and foolishly let go)

              You are correct. Worked for the Bolsheviks! That said, it takes capital to own and run a press.

            2. Grateful Dude

              I’m hoping to have time to learn how to make paper and cardboard from hemp stalks. There’re a lot of them around here this time of year, and some rough fabrics like burlap for bags and permaculture.

              Old typewriters are still reasonable in the thrift shops.

    1. clarky90

      Should those with two doses of a covid vaccine, plus a booster shot, Avoid those who have only had the double vaccine?

      Is it still safe to hang out with someone who is vaccinated, but not boosted?

      …….just asking for a friend.

      1. Yves Smith

        What you should care about is masking and ventilation. The vaccines do little to nothing to prevent the spread of Delta. They did with the wild type Covid, which is how the confusion arises.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Is it still safe to hang out with someone who is vaccinated, but not boosted?

        That depends on the non-pharmaceutical interventions you are using, since as we have discovered, the vaccines do not prevent transmission (nor could they, being delivered intramuscularly). Since Covid is airborne, masks and ventilation, as Yves said. To that I would being able to measure CO2 to be sure how much of other people’s air you are breathing, and avoiding 3-C situations, like Christmas Parties. If you must go to a party, I would go so far as to avoid singers, and avoid especially people with loud voices who do a lot circulating to other people, doing anything possible to avoid increasing a potential dose. I also spray my throat and nose after encountering other people.

        The essential thing is to have a strategy that takes account of how Covid is transmitted, and to be disciplined about sticking to that strategy.

        So, “Is it still safe to hang out with someone who is vaccinated, but not boosted?” isn’t a question I can answer, because I don’t know enough.

  1. Jason Boxman

    “Everyone is being respectful of the parliamentarian and we believe we’re still on track with our timeline of getting this bill done before Christmas,” the aide said.

    The needs of the one… out weigh, the needs of the many.

    What a useless faction liberal Democrats are, seen through the lens of universal material benefits or competence in governing in general.

    1. NotThePilot

      It’s ironic and fitting on so many levels. The repubs gerrymander & plant cronies at the state level while the dems try to butter up some hall-monitor in DC.

      And amidst all of this, both parties have decided to base our foreign policy on “democracy” good, “autocracy” bad. Even if you believe whole-heartedly in those categories, it wasn’t a strong case to begin with (is a country less democratic if it more consistently realizes the general will?)

      But how do you pass off fairly contested elections as the magical difference when our elected officials spend literally all their time to rig the game?

      1. Jason Boxman

        As we’ve seen repeatedly, it is the mere presence of “fair” elections that defines Democracy in the minds of liberal Democrats. Representative government has not to do with it. Although in this country, it seems not to apply, as we have consistent ‘administrative’ voter suppression by Republicans during general elections, and liberal Democrats during primaries, and that’s still apparently “our democracy” or some such, and thus legitimated.

        The mental gymnastics involved in this, I cannot fathom. It must be a Harvard class.

    1. NotThePilot

      Ahhh, Groverhaus! I only learned about this meme long after it took place, but it never gets old. Someone posted a highlights reel of the whole saga onto Twitter a few years back, and even though their account’s gone, you can still find a lot of it if you play around with the web-archive:

      The myth & the madness of Groverhaus

      It’s not just the house itself, but the house and Grover’s personality (the forum mod) apparently started to feed each other in a cycle that just kept upping the Dunning-Kruger effect. It’s like someone set out to make Christopher Alexander weep, but instead of getting a job at a high-flying architecture firm & building soulless monuments to their own cleverness, some suburban dude in NC just distilled all his unexamined beliefs into an anti-pattern language.

      1. Jen

        No link but this was in my inbox when I came in from walking the dogs:

        eRA Alert: Ability to Save, Retrieve, and Upload Documents in eRA Modules Affected by Amazon Web Services Storage Issue
        December 7, 2021

        “Amazon Web Services (AWS) is currently having issues with storage, which impacts the entire Eastern region. This, in turn, is impacting users of eRA Commons, IAR, and ASSIST, who may not be able to view, retrieve or upload documents (including for example submission of reference letters or upload of critiques) or to successfully submit grant applications. Notification processing is also impacted with e-mail notifications (incoming and outgoing) experiencing significant delays.”

        The applications listed all relate to federal grant submissions and I am absolutely sure that none researchers I work with having an aneurysm right now.

      2. FreeMarketApologist

        It’s affected some finance industry communications (some of those who use the Symphony platform), and I know of at least one antiques auction in PA that was rescheduled, as their bidding platform uses AWS. Some firms may not be affected, depending on how they setup AWS redundancy. Will be interesting to see the fallout from this, as well as the follow up root cause analysis.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I know the auction house of which you speak. The Slim family has done business with them multiple times. Highly recommended.

    1. cnchal

      Amazon’s department of crap built on lies works fast.

      There was a headline about this outage on Marketwatch.com with a time stamp of 11:44 and a mere ten minutes later when clicking on the link was a 404 error with the message “story not found”.

      Crap built on lies department is worth every buck that Bezos pays them.

    2. JWP

      Canvas runs on AWS, which is the largest school platform for grades, assignments, links, papers etc. It is down for the whole day during finals week. Thanks a lot consolidation. Spin it off into its own company so they can create a product that works, not one that holds the country hostage when profits come at the expense of function

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Canvas runs on AWS, which is the largest school platform for grades, assignments, links, papers etc. It is down for the whole day during finals week.


  2. diptherio

    “Invoking Manchin or Sinema doesn’t really explain the puzzle; it just re-describes it.”

    Everybody knows that the conflict between M&S and the rest of the Dems is just kayfabe, right? Those two got tapped to play the role of the heels is all, but they’re all still working for the same promotion (so to speak). Are the Dems trying to get Trump re-elected in ’24? Quite possibly. Nothing better for Dem fundraising than to having the Orange Menace in the Whitehouse, afterall.

    1. Hepativore

      Pretending to govern sucks, as the Democrats have to constantly make excuses for their inaction while they remain in the limelight.

      Being the Party that Doesn’t Do Anything is a hard job if you have to keep up appearances as the party in power. Also, if Roe vs. Wade gets overturned, they can fundraise off of having it reinstated when they become the minority party again while never intending to do anything of the sort.

      The Democratic Party will probably be reduced to a glorified, shrinking Lodge Club for rich people as the Republicans become a permanent majority party in the coming years. I doubt this would bother the Democratic leadership very much because they still will be making money hand-over-fist even as the party loses its national relevance in terms of voters and it also frees up the Democrats from actually having to make any pretense about policy goals.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Heh. And it seems like only yesterday that the smart set was proclaiming a permanent Democrat majority based on the fact that the percentage of white USians was in decline and the assumption that people vote for political parties based on the color of their skin.

        Wonder what ever happened to the content of one’s character? People without any tend to not want to discuss it…

    2. Nikkikat

      I think you are correct. Dems want the Trumpster back. He was so good for their identity politics game. Of course it may get more difficult for them, since all their identified groups have been shafted. Blacks, Hispanics, women. …..

    3. John

      Fundraising to what end? Certainly not in the interest of electing party members and governing. That would mean doing those grubby political things among the (shudder) people.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Everybody knows that the conflict between M&S and the rest of the Dems is just kayfabe, right?

      I should hope so. This is the party the liberal Democrat leadership built, and it is, as they say “broken by design.”

      Both Manchin and Sinema are creatures of the DSCC; Sinema had DSCC creatures actually running her campaign.

      I do think the Democrat leadership would prefer to be not quite as tied up in knots as they are; promising “before Christmas” and then not delivering is a really bad look. But their preferences are not relevant; Schumer and Pelosi’s Court gave a few barons some fiefdoms, and now the barons have the power to do whatever they want (which is to cash in, in Manchin and Sinema’s different ways).

  3. Neill Loria

    I have learned a lot from this independent webpage and for me it is a must read daily!! The US is very close to an economic collapse and some Americans are already in a state of collapse AKA the million or more homeless persons! The upper five percent are doing quite well there are roughly 20 million of them! Well when the upper classes thumb their noses at the hard working men & women as they drive by us in their $125 thousand dollar EV’s/Electrical Vehicles and mindlessly over-consume at whole-foods or free deliveries from amazons prime aka same thing!! They will soon realize that we view them as useless manipulating corporatists with no loyalties to America & Americans.
    It is not too late to get our country back we need unions cooperatives voting for people whom are not corporatist henchmen & we need to live work produce & shop local!! We need to support small businesses & use credit unions not banks. We also need to educate ourselves & others. It is not too late do not give up!
    We need to be Patriots For Common Sense

    1. curlydan

      Apparently from the help wanted sign above, it’s not only the rich consumers at Whole Foods (and similar places) who are causing problems, but it’s also the store managers.

      I hope a lot of potential employees come to an interview with a page saying:
      “Still looking for that special manager…
      You know the one who
      Doesn’t yell and rant
      Respects me and my family time
      Works hard
      Realizes that I probably will get sick at least 2-3 days a year
      Doesn’t sexually harass me or my co-workers

      1. Neill Loria

        Dan we need to unionize workplaces such as whole-foods and amazons sweatshops. As consumers we need to be supporting small businesses by purchasing goods & services from them. Retail store managers at large corporate supermarkets generally suck! I was working at an Acme 35 years ago and my boss was a corporate stooge!! The UFCW union got us wages $1.90 above Reagans paltry starvation minimum wage we also got some basic health insurance time and half on Sundays even for part timers paid coffee breaks and a lunch break etcetera. So a union makes even a retail job better thank you for your reply!

    2. dcblogger

      It is not too late to get our country back we need unions cooperatives voting for people whom are not corporatist henchmen & we need to live work produce & shop local!! We need to support small businesses & use credit unions not banks. We also need to educate ourselves & others. It is not too late do not give up!
      We need to be Patriots For Common Sense

      yup. more and more people are giving up, at least for the time being, on electoralism and looking for other tools to bring about change.

      1. Neill Loria

        DC blogger elections going to vote is only a small part of what we can do to bring about positive changes! Even shopping can bring changes go to the cafe or diner instead of burgerking or starbucks. We need to be self empowered! I am independent of any political party and will stay that way. What are some of your ideas to bring about the positive changes? Thank you for your reply & don’t give up.

  4. LadyXoc

    I’d like to add that a French heirloom variety of pumpkin may actually be an heirloom indigeneous American variety, thus its ability to thrive at 6500 feet in New Mexico. Thank the genius agriculturists of the pre-Colombian world for our modern foodstuffs.

      1. lance ringquist

        when i first read up on the crap and discovered what it was, i think i read it was the japanese back in the late 1950’s.

  5. Val

    Did our parliamentarian stir at any point during the bailouts? What was the parliamentarian doing whilst the last 2 or 5 wars of aggression were being suckled on the national credit card? I assume there is some evidence of their work and it should be darkly amusing.

    1. Gareth

      The parliamentarian has an advisory roll and can be overruled at any time by the Senate president, so the focus on her is simply a way for Senators to pretend they couldn’t do something when they really just don’t want to take the blame for watering it down or flat-out deciding not to do it.

      In the current case, the Democrats don’t have the votes to do what they promised, but Ms. McDonough provides them with a convenient distraction to hide their weakness and perfidy.

      1. Jason Boxman

        But this presumes that liberal Democrats truly want to deliver. But that strains credulity at this point; It’s not like they came into office with legislation ready to go. Biden couldn’t even get the paperwork right for the FDA nomination in the middle of a pandemic!

        And where’s my $600 bucks? That was the tell right here, for this crop of liberal Democrats. In the midst of the worst pandemic in recent history, nickel and diming people.

        So we’re talking about many hundreds of Democrat senators, Representatives, staff, ect., and no one has any idea how to govern? And this is somehow a sign of honest intent?

        I think the more plausible explanation is simply that liberal Democrats are performing exactly as intended.

  6. Adam1

    Lambert – “Hard to believe we have no excess deaths now, but very fortunate if so.”

    Yes and no… Covid has definitely moved some elderly peoples’ date of death forward so some excess deaths in 2020 are leading to fewer deaths in 2021 and soon fewer in 2022. When the pandemic is truly over we should pass through a period where there is consistently fewer actual deaths versus expected deaths (because so many people died before their expected pre-pandemic death) until the “expected deaths” averaging function catches up with the real post covid pandemic death data.

    But, yes it would be nice if we were heading toward the period where expected deaths were consistently higher than reported deaths. That would be a real data point to say the pandemic was likely behind us. Not that I’m saying we are there yet.

    1. megrim

      Not if repeated bouts of covid degrade people’s health and they keep dying younger than expected. It’s not as simple as covid either kills you the first time you get it, or you survive and are thereafter just fine.

  7. dcblogger

    When Trump comes back it is going to be much worse than before. He will not be content to bill the federal government for every conceivable service. Trump Redux will be like Crown Prince Bone Saws, he will require oligarchs to cut him, his family, and his retainers in on ownership of their companies, put everyone on retainer, and just put the squeeze on everyone. What could stop him?

    1. urblintz

      “require oligarchs to cut him, his family, and his retainers in on ownership of their companies, put everyone on retainer, and just put the squeeze on everyone.”

      one need not be POTUS to accomplish all that…

      just ask Hunter…

    2. christofay

      dcblogger, you just described the Clinton World economic plan. NO wonder Hillary is pissed she missed out.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > When Trump comes back it is going to be much worse than before.

      Trump’s corruption is just more open (but maybe Trump can get Ivanka in at the World Bank and visibly decouple policy from payoff, as Bill and Hillary did with their Foundation. But maybe not. I think he likes to be gross).

      What happens, this time, if people bow to the inevitable and Trump can get competent people to work for him? (The Never Trumpers and Lincoln Project types must be feeling pretty sick about throwing their lot in with the Democrats, given how weakly the Democrat have governed.)

  8. flora

    This is an interesting link; The current, financialized economic”infinite
    growth” model is a fantasy made possible only by depending on real, finite, cheap, energy resources. Those real energy resources are dwindling.

    “It’s quite possible to envisage circumstances where the cost of essentials is rising much more rapidly than the prices of discretionaries. We might, for instance, have a situation in which, whilst broad inflation is running at 5%, the cost of essentials is rising by 10%. Incomes, if they too are rising at 5%, thus offset general inflation, but fail to keep up with the cost of necessities.
    This inflationary divergence makes the consumer poorer because, whilst discretionary purchases such as cars, smartphones and holidays can be deferred – and are not, in any case, made continuously – essentials such as food, electricity, gas and other utilities have to be purchased, generally on a regular weekly or monthly basis.

    “Because prices, especially of necessities, are the point at which the financial economy of money intersects with the material economy of energy, current trends are unmistakable signs of the moment at which monetary delusion succumbs to energy reality. ”


    1. Pamela

      Flora, what a thought provoking post. Doubling, tripling, quadrupling, quintupling up as roommates is one way to short circuit this process and live very inexpensively. One utility bill, one internet connection, one water bill, one rent payment, food bought and cooked in bulk, a thoroughly worked and utilized garden, that’s the way to do it. Big suburban houses and yards are where it’s at, even though they are vilified.

      When seven people split everything, it’s not only a defense against inflation, but is ecological and forms a small tribe.

      1. Objective Ace

        This doesn’t really work well for families, especially with children. It’s tough to imagine 7 families (20-30 ppl?) under one roof.. Unless that roof happens to be an apartment building

        1. wilroncanada

          Objective Ace
          That’s the way the US,Canada, Europe, expect their temporary worker, or their migrant worker, families to live. There was a (small) scandal a couple of years ago about the manager of a fast-food chain restaurant/coffee shop, who “housed” his “foreign” employees. He rented a 2-bedroom apartment into which he put 8 bunkbeds. Those 8 bunkbeds provided sleeping accommodation for 16 employees i 2 shifts. the 16 also had to share the single bathroom, kitchen and refrigerator. He collected “rent” from each of those workers, the total which I can’t remember, but was a multiple of his cost of rental and furnishing.

          1. Objective Ace

            I think the “There was a (small) scandal” is key to your example. Sure it can be done. It was also done in early 20th century in the US when fire codes and occupancy permits were non existent. Even ignoring the safety aspect, its a miserable quality of existence, which is what I was referring to by saying it doesnt work well

      1. Carolinian

        Re Dollartree where I go from time to time–their previous prices really were extraordinarily low and the quality low as well for many items. But there are many simple household products where quality is not that big an issue. Practically everything in there comes from China.

        Which is to say those shoppers were getting bargains before and still will be at $1.25.

        Among my local groceries Aldi–which is all house brands–is holding steadier than some of the others. Aldi is more likely to drop a product than raise the price. Stores like Lidl and Aldi make it up on volume and minimal staffing. But for all of these poor people plus some middle class people stores price is the big deal–i.e. the Walmart model. As hated as Walmart is it does depress prices for heartlanders while menacing non chain stores.

        1. wilroncanada

          You forgot to add the bribes for shelf placement, plus further bribes for end-aisle displays

          1. Carolinian

            I think all regular grocery stores get those bribes. It’s not just Walmart.

            However since Aldi almost exclusively carries store brands they would have to be bribing themselves.

            1. katiebird

              I LOVE Aldi. We have several of them within an easy drive. I like the quality of their products and the prices are amazing. My one complaint is that they haven’t had sliced sandwich (deli) roast beef since March 2020.

              1. Carolinian

                We’ve had one for years so I’ve shopped there for a long time. The do have their act together for the kind of store they are. Lidl is the imitation.

    2. LifelongLib

      “It’s quite possible to envisage circumstances where the cost of essentials is rising much more rapidly than the prices of discretionaries.”

      No need to envisage anything. It’s actually been happening to the costs of housing, education, and medical care for 40+ years.

  9. JohnHerbieHancock

    re: Massie Family holiday photo

    I recall once reading somewhere on the internet about how people in the past didn’t smile in old photographs, and if you did, you were regarded with suspicion or were considered to be drunk.

    In other countries (at least in Ukraine, if not more?) people I met would not normally smile in pictures, and thought you were crazy or deceptive if you did.

    Given that photographic portraiture conventions vary around the world and with time, I wonder how that pic will age? I am guessing at some point others will see the Massies sitting there smiling widely and holding rifles while dressed in mundane LL Bean-type garb, as complete psychos.

  10. Glen

    I’ve often speculated on the origins of oceanic polymetallic nodules and have concluded that this could be the remains of Atlantiean beer cans tossed into the briny depths while pleasure boating.

  11. Arizona Slim

    In answer to Lambert’s question about photo books, yes, I have made them. So far, six. I am working on my seventh.

        1. LawnDart

          Professional photographer: shot for SI, did some Hollywood stuff, including film shots of skydiving scenes for old James Bond flick.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Lambert, in answer to your question of exactly how I make photo books, that would be a post in and of itself. Should we take this discussion to email, between the two of us?

    1. MonkeyBusiness

      Many sites who are skeptical of the vaccines also attributed the fall of cases in Indonesia to the use of Ivermectin. As much as I wanted to believe in it, it’s more likely that cases fell due to the introduction of PPKM (Large Scale Social Distancing) a.k.a lockdown. Or perhaps a combination of both.

      1. Larry Y

        Or, more likely, vast undercounts in deaths in both India and Indonesia.

        I can’t find a more recent source. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/09/06/econ-s06.html

        With estimates over 800k dead in Indonesia, and who knows what the numbers are in India.

        Almost everywhere, including the USA, the excess deaths significantly exceed the official COVID count. The exceptions are places which had zero- COVID policies, which have negative excess deaths.

  12. ven

    A recent paper showing that vaccine resistant mutations correlate strongly with vaccination rates.


    So to recap:
    – vaccines don’t reduce infection or transmission
    – vaccines increase the likelihood of evolving vaccine resistant mutations
    – vaccines have a higher incidence of adverse events and death than any other vaccine, through established mechanisms of action, especially micro-clotting precipitated by the spike protein
    – the UK data even suggests that vaccines may not actually reduce hospitalisation and mortality. Pfizer’s own study did not demonstrate this

    1. Objective Ace

      >UK data even suggests that vaccines may not actually reduce hospitalisation and mortality. Pfizer’s own study did not demonstrate this

      I believe Pfizer’s control trial had everyone wearing masks. Wouldn’t that be ironic if the variable that wasn’t controlled for and actually made a difference is the one that was dismissed by the CDC in May

    2. Daryl

      Interesting that the conclusion is that we should design “mutation-proof vaccines.” Well, I’m not an immunologist but that sounds like a tall order.

    3. Tommy S

      I’m a bit confused. I thought different from reading NC everyday…Is this the view of most people here and the great editors: – “vaccines don’t reduce infection or transmission. ” and ” the UK data even suggests that vaccines may not actually reduce hospitalisation and mortality.” I am well aware that a VAX doesn’t mean we don’t transmit it….and also…that ‘we’ can still get it….no matter which one…but…

  13. allan

    DePaul to Start Winter Quarter Online [Inside Higher Ed]

    DePaul University has announced that the first two weeks of the winter quarter will be online.

    “DePaul administrators are closely attuned to information emerging about the omicron variant, its potential impact and the potential surge in COVID-19 cases as we travel and gather to celebrate the holidays,” said a statement from the university. …

    So far from hot vax summer, so close to Omicron.

    There will be more of these.

  14. Jason Boxman

    So the NY Times case tracker has us at: 119,194 +26% as a 14 day change on 7 Dec. I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case, but it seems we’re once again in an upswing. To what extent this is Omicron we won’t know for days or weeks, of course. Stay safe out there!

  15. The Rev Kev

    Thomas Massie was pretty stupid with that Christmas photo of his and there is no defending it. The one thing that I will give the guy is that I think that he was the only one to stand against the CARES Act being rammed through and stood up in the House and said so. Not the squad, not the Progressives – I think only him.

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