Links 12/19/2021

Juno flyby reveals stunning new images of Jupiter, sounds of its moon Ganymede CNN (Furzy Mouse).


The industry creating a third of the world’s waste BBC (Re Silc).

If maple syrup stops flowing like it did in the springs of my youth, what will Canada become? Globe and Mail


Report 48 – The value of vaccine booster doses to mitigate the global impact of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London:

By fitting an immunological model to population-level vaccine effectiveness data, we estimate that neutralizing antibody titres for Omicron are reduced by 4.5-fold (95% CrI 3.1–7.1) compared to the Delta variant. This is predicted to result in a drop in vaccine efficacy against severe disease (hospitalisation) from 96.5% (95% CrI 96.1%–96.8%) against Delta to 80.1% (95% CrI 76.3%–83.2%) against Omicron for the Pfizer-BioNTech booster by 60 days post boost if NAT decay at the same rate following boosting as following the primary course, and from 97.6% (95% CrI 97.4%-97.9%)  against Delta to 85.9% (95% CrI 83.1%-88.3%) against Omicron if NAT decay at half the rate observed after the primary course. Integrating this immunological model within a model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, we show that booster doses will be critical to mitigate the impact of future Omicron waves in countries with high levels of circulating virus.


In all scenarios it is likely that health systems will be stretched. It may be essential, therefore, to maintain and/or reintroduce [Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs)] to mitigate the worst impacts of the Omicron variant as it replaces the Delta variant.

Let me know how that works out.

How severe are Omicron infections? Nature. Final sentence: “‘Everyone is focused on the pathogen here,’ [says David Dowdy, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]. ‘But it’s not just about the variant, it’s also about the host and the environment.'”

* * *


More anecdata:

Big if true:

If so, will CDC be able to say now that “Covid is airborne”? After a year of footdragging and resistance by plugged-in droplet goons?

* * *

Vaccine Data Gaps Point to Millions More in U.S. Who Lack Shots Bloomberg. “[I]n collating reams of data on vaccinations, the U.S. has counted too many shots as first doses when they are instead second doses or booster shots.” EXCLUSIVE image of CDC’s data pipeline in action:

WHO COVID-19 Technical Team member rocks gappy mask:



“Medical mask,” apparently, is another term for “surgical mask.” Surgical masks are gappy. So the poorly fitted albeit branded mask Kuppalli is wearing on top of an already gappy mask won’t help (without a Badger frame, which Kuppalli, obviously, is not using). Further, by conspicously not wearing an N95 mask, Kuppalli perpetuates the noxious myth — much beloved by hospital infection control goons at WHO — that N95 masks should be reserved for medical personel, while surgical masks are for plebes. Why in the name of all that is holy couldn’t WHO have imprinted its branding on an N95? Everything about this sorry episode is stupid and wrong and bad. On aircraft air filtration see immediately below.

* * *

Southwest CEO tests positive for COVID-19 after Senate hearing – airline Reuters (Re Silc). The CEO who said people didn’t need to mask up on aircraft. Let nobody say the virus has no sense of humor. Oh, and he was coughing at the hearing (Redlife2017). Often. For grins, here is a long thread giving many examples of airborne tranmissions, with lots of seating diagrams:

I Canceled My Birthday Party Because of Omicron Ed Yong, The Atlantic. Some dunking on the headline, but this: “[T]he pandemic is a collective problem that cannot be solved if people (or governments) act in their own self-interest.”

Data Shows Little Improvement in Long COVID Patients After One Year MedScape


China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier set for Pacific training exercise South China Morning Post. All warfare is based on deception. Because—

The U.S. Navy’s Plans for Unmanned and Autonomous Systems Leave Too Much Unexplained War on the Rocks

Bitcoin contract was ruled invalid, sounding a wake-up call for virtual currency “mining” What China Reads

Pakistan seeks to calm protesters at Chinese Belt and Road port project FT


Japan business lobbyist backs Myanmar coup, urges investment Reuters. “[T]he nation’s coup leader has ‘[grown fantastically as a human being.'”

South Korean companies met Myanmar officials despite coup censure FT


Enraged monkeys kill 250 DOGS by dragging them to the top of buildings and dropping them off ‘out of revenge’ after pups killed one of their infants in Indian village Daily Mail

Major changes to NSW contact tracing, as COVID cases spiral The New Daily. “NSW is shaking up contact tracing as its COVID cases surge to record levels, leaving those diagnosed with the virus to tell close contacts themselves.” 


England Has Hundreds of Thousands of New Omicron Cases Daily Bloomberg. Let ‘er rip!

Highly vaccinated countries thought worst was over, but Denmark now facing pandemic’s toughest month WaPo

Dutch are first in EU to re-enter lockdown in face of Omicron surge FT


Qatar World Cup sparks culture controversies The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

New Cold War

Russia sends strategic bombers to protect Belarus border Al Mayadeen

In Chile London Review of Books

Biden Administration

Harris says Biden administration ‘didn’t see omicron coming’ The Hill. Kamala. Who did this.

Biden administration pushes back compliance date for vaccine-or-test mandate The HIll

White House not budging on Feb. 1 end to student loans forgiveness Politico

What’s Polluting the Air? Not Even the EPA Can Say. Pro Publica. Looks like the EPA modeled its data collection on CDC’s.

Realignment and Legitimacy

The COVID-19 Pandemic Eroded System Support But Not Social Solidarity (preprint) (PDF) PsyArXiv. From the Abstract: 

We present strikingly similar findings across the four diverse countries. We show that support for the political system has markedly decreased already by April and fell further till December. Exploiting the panel setup, we demonstrate that within-respondent increases in indicators of pandemic fatigue (specifically, the perceived subjective burden of the pandemic and feelings of anomie) correspond to decreases in system support and increases in extreme anti-systemic attitudes. Meanwhile, we find much smaller changes in social solidarity and trust compared to pre-pandemic levels, and we find that these attitudes are largely unaffected by pandemic burden. Our results imply that the pandemic is not only a health-crisis, but poses a substantial challenge to the relationship between citizens and the state.

Recall long-time pundit Charles Cook Friday: “We are living in a very odd world now. There is no telling what we will be thinking and talking about a week from now, let alone a year.”

3 retired generals: The military must prepare now for a 2024 insurrection WaPo.

Supply Chain

HIDA: Millions of critical medical supplies delayed at congested ports American Shipper

Our Famously Free Press

Finally some honesty:


Propaganda works. Cilizza, I think unconsciously, erases what both Biden and Walensky said: “You are protected” (without qualification). The deceit didn’t only from from “experts.”

U.S. Corporate Media Watch: An Interview with Richard Medhurst Black Agenda Report. Well worth a read.

Zeitgeist Watch

What I Learned From Pretending to Be Rich and Cool Online New York Magazine

Arkansas waitress fired after $4,400 tip shows why tipping at restaurants has to stop NBC

As fans return to high school sports, officials say student behavior has never been worse WaPo (Re Silc).

Imperial Collapse Watch

Hang up the magical thinking and try strategic empathy on for size Responsible Thinking

Class Warfare

Union grocery workers reach tentative agreement, ending strike at Fred Meyer, QFC stores Oregon Public Radio

Kellogg’s workers will vote on another tentative deal, but the strike may still go on NPR. Meanwhile, scabs in my cornflakes:

Kelloggs feels the boycott. Their response:

‘If you love America, you love the workers’: Bernie Sanders rallies with Kellogg’s strikers in Michigan Independent

People Love the Brain for the Wrong Reasons Scientific American

Schizmogenesis Cory Doctorow

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

Double bonus antidote:

Triple bonus antidote:

Lambert here: We should not forget that there is an enormous amount of good done in the world, and one purpose of “the news” may be to distract us from this. Ditto solidarity expressed and acted upon.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. Steve H.

    So I was talking to Parker last night, he’d had what had to be Covid, tho he tested negative (only one positive test in his cohort). Ninety seconds on elliptical got heart rate 200, mono-like fatigue, …

    I spoke up Vitamin D and IVM, and sourced NC, and he checked up while we talked:

    Failed Fact Checks

    None in the Last 5 years

    (Apparently this is impressive. He was impressed.)

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here’s what’s in my stack:

      Vitamin C
      Vitamin D
      Quercetin via elderberry syrup (yummy!)
      Mouthwash with cetylpyridinium chloride
      My usual bemused and snarky attitude
      Oh, did I mention daily doses of Naked Capitalism?

      Peeps, we will get through this. So, let’s keep on keeping on.

      1. Pate

        “Lambert here: We should not forget that there is an enormous amount of good done in the world, and one purpose of “the news” may be to distract us from this. Ditto solidarity expressed and acted upon.”

        Thank you Lambert and AZ Slim! The light returns Tuesday and that surely a good thing.

      2. lordkoos

        About Quercetin — I was not aware until recently that some doctors had recommended this supplement for COVID protection, but had been taking it for prostate problems. I can say Quercetin is definitely effective for that purpose… noticeably helps with “the flow”, whatever effect it has with COVID is a bonus.

      3. Stephen V.

        Looking good Slim! I’ve recently discovered Liposomal Vitamin C and there’s even a d-i-y version…

      4. DJG, Reality Czar

        Quercetin in elderberry syrup?

        I happen to be taking zinc + elderberry gummies. Yes, my morning gumdrop, which makes me feel silly.

        But it’s valuable? Quercetin.

        Vitamin D and sunshine: Yes, yes, yes.

        Tell me more about quercetin, groundlings….

    2. Louis Fyne

      Covid post by IM Doc below…. please everyone don’t forget all the great comments that flow-in during the course of the day.

      IM Doc
      December 19, 2021 at 9:18 am

  2. Samuel Conner

    No worries about CV transmission at that Senate hearing. Per FLCCC (as reported in NC comments on multiple occasions), the antihelminthic medication that must not be named is being taken by people on Capitol Hill.

    L’Etat, c’est eux.

  3. Wukchumni

    Bitcoin contract was ruled invalid, sounding a wake-up call for virtual currency “mining” What China Reads

    Limited edition Pop Tarts
    Everybody agrees that crisis = opportunity and mining activity has been entirely relegated to the greater Battle Creek bastion so far but there’s potential up the ying yang, combined with FOMO (food of mass obesity) and I think we have a winner here!


    1. svay

      And since ‘consumers routinely focus on the visual of the Pop-Tarts brand name’, why not simplify matters even further with virtual Pop Tarts for online avatars? A healthier option for all concerned.

      1. Wukchumni

        These virtual Pop-Tart avatars, do they come frosted as well, so as to give the illusion of being a Bolivian agricultural export?

        That would cause the value of PopTartCoin to skyrocket and go so high.

    2. Skip Intro

      They could drop the manufacturing of junk food and go straight to junk finance: Non-fungible Tarts

  4. farmboy

    schizmogenesis-it’s why I come to NC, it’s why today is so confounding, it’s why it’s all quicksand, it’s why i’ve decided to only vote for something–2012 did it to me, it’s why i don’t do youtube, podcasts, radio, anything but the printed word that can hashed and rehashed until it makes any sense and i see how others respond, it’s why no conversation about politics, religion, health, food, energy, schools, family is safe, minefields abound, it’s why only a lifetime of experience seems relevant to reality,…

    1. Wukchumni

      When Elizabeth Warren was on the campaign trail in 2020 and uttered that upon becoming President, her choice for education secretary would only happen if approved by a transgender youth she had met, my first thought was how bat-shit crazy of her to single out a tiny voting bloc of trans people in the country, but then it dawned on me the real reason and that is that evangs hate hate hate anything about trans, and she merely used it as a bulwark in a classic us versus them cause politically.

        1. upstater

          Unfortunately Andrew Cuomo is unavailable… now THAT would add even more gravitas to the democrats constellation of potentially great leaders.

      1. Carolinian

        Bulwarking or pandering? Most politicians welcome all the votes they can get being that democracy works that way. With ID Pol the Dems decided to go another direction.

        And yes the Republicans do it too going back to Ronald “welfare mom” Reagan and before. But if we condemned the practice then we shouldn’t approve it now. As for Liz, you got it right the first time.

    2. Questa Nota

      Pols have priors, so any calving off, mutating or strategerized counterpointing is just so much of same old.
      They will seek any pork in a storm, and demonizing the other is certainly a venerable way to get said pork.
      Principles aren’t involved, just talking points, enough to push the next news cycles.
      Meanwhile, some voters actually pay attention to principles and notice their absence. When the BS gets too prevalent then things change. A self-righting system of a sort, to counteract the DC tendencies toward self-wronging.

    3. diptherio

      That’s a very insightful article from Doctrow, and pairs nicely with the Medhurst interview about US media on Black Agenda Report. What’s truly astounding to me is the speed at which these reversals can take place. After the 2016 election results came in, it seemed like a lot of my progressive friends went from hating (or at least distrusting) the CIA and FBI to believing anything any government spook said, literally over night. It was really something to behold.

      1. Carolinian

        My brother likes Rachel Maddow because she looks a bit like his ex wife. Politics in America are super duper shallow. Perhaps that’s because the duopoly and their media wing have made it that way.

        1. Wukchumni

          Screwed up and bought a round toilet seat and cover when we needed an elongated opening instead, and Laura Ingraham came to mind for some reason with her kind of elongated head that must have some appeal, we humans being such easy prey for subterfuge real or imagined.

  5. doug

    I wake up , read some headlines, and realize others are catching up to the reality that has been presented here for a while about new variant.
    I just want to say ‘Thank you’.
    Nothing else to add.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its unfortunate that so often I really hope the NC brains trust on a topic like this is wrong. But thats rarely the case. The hope that omicron turns out to be relatively benign gets weaker by the day.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Here in Oz on the news, they are still pushing this idea of it being ‘mild’ by showing increased admittances to hospitals versus a small drop in people being shunted over to an ICU bed as final proof. Our media has now graduated into becoming a sort of stockyard Judas goat for their viewers

    1. Mikel

      It’s crazy. The dogs attacked a monkey that was going after a child.
      And read further and it says the monkeys are still going after human children as well as the dogs.

      1. clarky90

        (“In some Swiss villages, there were scarcely any women left alive after the frenzy had finally burned itself out.”

        A Delusion of Satan by Frances Hill )

        MASS PSYCHOSIS – How an Entire Population Becomes MENTALLY ILL

        A mass psychosis is an epidemic of madness and it occurs when a large portion of a society loses touch with reality and descends into delusions. Such a phenomenon is not a thing of fiction. Two examples of mass psychoses are the American and European witch hunts 16th and 17th centuries and the rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century

        Written transcript of video

        1. Alex Cox

          Ergotomane poisoning – mold on bread – has been suggested as an explanation for certain historic instances of mass madness.

    2. rob

      yes it does.
      maybe it shows something is pointing a “crazy ray” at the earth, and making everything go nuts.
      maybe it is like what skirmishes like “the battle of Alamance” in alamance county nc @1771 were as a precursor to the revolutionary war… only in the beginning of the turn to a planet of the apes , a reckoning is coming…
      The plotlines abound.

    3. Keith

      If anything proves we’re closely related to monkeys this is it. Imagine what the state of Mantana would do to their wolf population if one grabbed a human child and killed it.

    4. ChrisRUEcon

      Feels like Peter Gabriel knew this a long time ago … ;-) (via YouTube)


      “There is one thing you must be sure of
      I can’t take any more
      Darling, don’t you monkey with the monkey!”

    5. Aumua

      Honestly, there is a lot about this story and the interpretation being offered of it that is questionable. Before I really know what exactly is going on, I reserve judgement.

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      Hinduism frowns on killing monkeys, I believe. But what if there is no other way to stop the monkey attacks in these villages then to kill all the monkeys in these villages?

  6. The Rev Kev

    “England Has Hundreds of Thousands of New Omicron Cases Daily’

    The situation is getting so serious that Boris Johnson is meeting with his Ministers to decide if the UK needs to do a circuit-breaker lockdown to give the healthcare services a break but to do it sometime after Christmas is over. Apparently an Eton and Oxford education does not guarantee that you learn the meaning of the word ‘exponential.’

    1. Robert Hahl

      Near the beginning of the pandemic; Michael Moore celebrated the success of his podcast by interviewing the 10 million’th downloader. This turned out to be an expert in infectious diseases who had been driving around the US setting up field hospitals, to prepare for the expected crisis. Moore, who had not even left his NY apartment for several weeks, asked her about traveling conditions, and she happened to say she always closed the outside air intake vent in the car while on the highway. This was my first clue that COVID-19 mist be airborne. In hindsight it seems that that was an unnecessary precaution then, but she was just early, not wrong.

      1. Louis Fyne

        — and she happened to say she always closed the outside air intake vent in the car while on the highway. —

        In a car on the highway!, I’d be more worried about the recirculated air raising CO2 enough to make the driver drowsy. That is a genuine, empirically tested thing.

        Just saying.

        1. Lee

          Truly. Vents open and fan on for intake and windows open a few inches for outtake when in motion and fully open when stopped.

      2. albrt

        US government knew it was airborne early. An acquaintance works for an alphabet agency and was deployed to nursing homes early in 2020 to see what could be done to contain it. Quickly concluded very little could be done under existing conditions. Not even remotely possible to believe it was not airborne based on first-hand observations at a very early stage.

        1. Robert Hahl

          That is what Trump told Woodward, after all. I think he said that he didn’t believe the President was a reliable source on this and decided not to report it. If you believe that, I have some carbon offset credits to sell you.

    2. Jen

      Whenever I ask myself if I might be overly concerned about Omicrom I go through this calculation of new daily cases:

      15K x 2 = 30K x 2 = 60K x 2 = 120K x 2 = 240K x 2 = 480K x 2 = 960K x 2 = 1920K

      7 doubling cycles gets you to just a hair under 2M. Will it get to that? I hope not but even numbers well south of that would be very, very bad.

      I think a lot of people not only don’t get the math, they don’t begin to fathom the implications. Horrific for our already overburdened health care system. But what about schools, grocery stores, supply chains?

      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        Schools. The choke point is the teachers. My school district is mask optional (unless there is a given number of positives, which there is in a majority of the elementary schools) and can’t find enough subs. Currently in the elementary schools they are staying open by having in-building teachers and aids sub for teachers out because of Covid. Superintendent says it can’t go on for much longer.

        1. lordkoos

          A good friend of mine drives a school bus for the local district, he’s 70 years old. The kids all mask up on the bus (as do the drivers), and in the past two years he says he hasn’t gotten a cold or a flu, which is pretty amazing. Of course there is no way of telling if any of them have had asymptomatic COVID infections, which is very possible.

        2. Mantid

          Antidote. I am a sub and am not going in. I may be experienced and can sub for many subjects, but “I wasn’t born yesterday”. Relaxing and reading by the fire on this Sunday morn.

        1. skippy

          Not me my lady … this is weak tea to some work environments I’ve experienced and do it standing on my head if I have too …

          Yet aghast at the way information has been distributed and the agency which is driving it all. I did say from the early days you have a proper mask with fit or its a joke. Yeah that means a clean shave/hair cut for seal, mop 4/hazmat protocols.

          Hay at least our out of NYC …

        2. The Rev Kev

          That being the case, you would reckon that it would be a matter of the highest priority for the WHO and the CDC to develop contingency plans in case of the development of a lethal strain of this Coronavirus that could spread equally fast. Time would be short in such a scenario to undertake defensive actions.

    1. ambrit

      I see Curly, the CDC spokesperson.
      I always imagined that Bruegel self portrait with him wearing a propeller beanie.

  7. timbers

    New Cold War

    Russia sends strategic bombers to protect Belarus border Al Mayadeen

    “It is worth noting that Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Moravitsky said earlier that he does not rule out an escalation to war on their common border with Belarus.”

    It’s hard to believe the Empire’s poodles are really so unknowing about what caused this immigration problem. Russia/Belarus didn’t cause Poland’s immigration crisis at it’s borders. America’s wars invasions and regime changes did. As did the Euro poodles’ support and/or lack of opposition to America and her wars. All the immigrants are coming from nations America bombed and destroyed:

    “Data from the EU’s border force, Frontex, shows the main country of origin for migrants detected crossing the bloc’s eastern land borders so far this year is Iraq. There are smaller numbers from Afghanistan and Syria, as well as other countries.”

    What Poland should be doing is pounding the table for America to withdraw from Iraq and end sanctions on Iran…maybe even threatening war with America instead of Belarus if she doesn’t?

    What Poland is threatening will simply increase the immigration problem by adding Poles and Belarusians to the mix and maybe trigger a World War.

    1. Ozz

      You are absolutely right, but you are making sense! Poland and NATO are US lapdogs. They say and do mostly what we want them to. It’s all part of the story being told Americans that Russia is bad. That way when the war starts it will be all of their fault. The poles also need to keep us happy they abandoned Russia gas and rely on boats of it from us. So when we say jump they ask how high! The US Media also does not talk at all about Ukies shelling civilians almost daily. There seem to be signs this might work out but the danger is real.

    2. William Beyer

      The MSM has rebranded refugees as “migrants.” We need to object to the relentless propaganda…but, just shoveling sand against the tide.

      1. Bill Smith

        Nothing to do with the discount airline tickets from Belarus state carrier, Belavia, among others, and ‘promises’ of admission in the EU?

        Even Lukashenko has said it was possible his country had helped. But not on purpose. [BBC interview]

        1. Polar Socialist

          Very much to do with it. At least according to some analyses I saw at the time.

          Belavia being sanctioned due to human right violations and thus in financial troubles, they transported refugees from Middle-East to Polish border making the ends meet while forcing the EU to violate human rights on a whole new scale.

        2. JohnA

          Well the EU banned Belavia from EU airspace after the Ryanair incident, (that was more complicated than it first appeared), so the Belavia fleet had to find other routes to fly.

  8. Mikel

    Read a bit of the @ChrisCillizza thread.

    All I could do was face palm.

    They are comparing covid shots to actually sterilizing vaccines. They still don’t f’in get it!!!

    And also comparing covid shots to therapeutic drugs like cholestoral medication.

    1. LawnDart

      There was an awesome video in the thread with clips of Biden, Fauci, Gates and more saying point-blank “if you are vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask.”

      I searched Utoob for it to no avail. Can it be found elsewhere on the web? I’d like to keep a link or download it.

        1. lance ringquist

          back in march 2020 my wife and i watched a news conference of trumps, where he offered to close down the country and pay our bills, this set off howls and screams from the nafta democrats and fake news.

          the nafta democrats refused, would not even consider it, and we got means tested crap like unemployment, etc..

          i am sure i was not dreaming, anyone have a link to that?

    2. Louis Fyne

      Biden was saying that (vaccines prevent transmission) over the fall during his stump speech, dunno if he still makes that comment. Dunno if POTUS/his speechwriter is an idiot or genuinely believes it. And Biden/his speechwriter quotes Goldman Sachs as an authority on virology:

      “We’re making sure healthcare workers are vaccinated, because if you seek care at a healthcare facility, you should have the certainty that the pro- — the people providing that care are protected from COVID and cannot spread it to you. “….

      “Goldman Sachs, quote: “Vaccinations will have a positive impact on employment.” It means less spread of COVID-19, which will help people return to work.”

      1. Mikel

        Yes, I see the same non-sense everywhere too.
        Pharma only provided studies that showed reduced severity of disease/symptoms and that was all required out of the gate fir emergency aporoval.

        Much of the detail of many of the studies (all the alleged efficacy – those ever changing percentages) and the approval process has not been made public. And now, by law, none of it has to made public FOR DECADES.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden is lazy and wants what he perceives as easy. If he is vaxxed, he doesn’t have to wear a mask. He can go to Goldman Sachs to explain the economy instead of having his own explanation.

        The problem with the lazy is half measures lead to bigger problems later on. Not only has he failed on BBB which should have been done in July, he now has the impending Omicron economic effects to deal with. The dimwit is actually letting things like the child tax credit expire. Someone has explained doing nothing will let the inflation problem go away. Biden loves this. Thinking it through and recognizing the GOP House will impeach Biden every day for two years requires too much thinking.

        His messaging has always been that Republicans will be nice to him and do stuff for him. He probably believed that nonsense Obama threw around to justify his own failures that the GOP fever will break. He didn’t appoint a real attorney general. He appointed a lazy republican.

        He hasn’t even fired DeJoy. Someone would have to be in charge.

        Biden by not dealing with Manchin early instead chose to negotiate down. Biden’s sloth is the primary shaper of his Presidency.

      3. LawnDart

        More fodder, thanks for the links. Still searching for the Twitter video– I think it’ll be good ammo against the spin and gaslighting that we’re starting to see.

        A blast from the past, begets the question, “Why should we trust them this time?”

        But it was a noble lie.

        I’m not sure why he still has his head, let alone a job.

        Were all of these political misleaders playing grab-a$$ or sleeping during HS science, during the evolution and natural selection topics? Do these jags think that the spike protein is just going to wait around for us to catch-up?

        I don’t think it’s too early to think about Omega and how we will respond to it in an overall strategic sense, even as we gear up for the tactical against Omicron. There’s a lot of work to be done, and certainly a need to replace current management before they sink the whole enterprise.

        1. LawnDart

          On the “noble lie”

          (from Websters)

          noble adjective

          Essential Meaning of noble

          1: having, showing, or coming from personal qualities that people admire (such as honesty, generosity, courage, etc.)

          2: of, relating to, or belonging to the highest social class : of, relating to, or belonging to the nobility

          I’d say #2 gets a Fauci photo next to it as example.

          Coming from flyover, the Midwest, working-class me really didn’t have much of an awareness of the aristocracy that exists in USA, or the degree of actual contempt that these self-described “elites” hold for us plebs– it’s a very real thing, and something we have to acknowledge if we are to have any hope of seeing better lives for ourselves, as right now, this contempt is costing us our lives.

  9. Mikel

    Washington Post:

    “One barrier resulted from the vaccines’ ability to reduce the probability of infection, keeping spread low…”


    They need to stop with this non-sense. The drug companies did not have to meet the standard of preventing infection to get emergency apporoval.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Major changes to NSW contact tracing, as COVID cases spiral”

    This is just the political leadership of New South Wales gaslighting their people with a capital ‘G’. Contact tracing is extremely useful but useless when you not only have State borders open but also international ones. Our State put out an indoor mask mandate yesterday but the NSW Premier does not want to do them. Omicron case are starting to explode right across the country but Scotty from Marketing is demanding that all State borders stay open, refuses to consider lockdowns and pretends that vaccines will protect us from Omicron. In short, its going to be an absolute dog’s breakfast down under because our political leadership never gave up on the idea of herd immunity.

    1. Basil Pesto

      You might find this worth sharing

      Addressed to Sydneysiders but don’t see why it shouldn’t apply to all of us either at this point. It’s clear and well explained.

      He mentions the new, ahem, crowdsourced contact tracing regime in NSW and he seems ahhh, a bit frustrated by it, though he keeps his feelings impressively in check under the circumstances.

  11. c_heale

    That covid might be as infectious as measles tweet is seriously scary. Measles is well known to be very, very infectious.

    1. The Rev Kev

      At least they are not talking about holding ‘Omicron parties’ for their kids so that they can catch it and get over it.

        1. Michaelmas

          The Rev Kev: At least they are not talking about holding ‘Omicron parties’ for their kids so that they can catch it and get over it.

          PlutoniumKun: Just wait, it can’t be far away.

          Indeed. Whenever you think they can’t turn up MSM’s Mighty Wurlitzer any higher on teh stupid scale, they’ll prove you wrong —

          “”You can’t get a better immune response than this,” said Dr. Fikadu Tafesse, senior author and assistant professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at OHSU. “These vaccines are very effective against severe disease…””

          1. Objective Ace

            >You can’t get a better immune response than this

            I’d one up him and say that yes you can–death is a full proof way to never ever get covid again. There’s no reason to be worried about anything

      1. Wukchumni

        As of yet, outdoors has been the safest place to linger for human beans during the pandemic, and with the new strain being so infectious, will that still hold true?

        Find out today in the CDC ‘Omicron Bowl’ fitting individual teams against one another both on the field of play and in their assigned seats.

        My sisters wanted to go out to a Mexican restaurant during our family xmas get together and I sent an e-mail expressing what a horrid idea this was and both agreed, I think relieved that the house Cassandra spoke up, they were both worried as it turns out.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Two years ago at the beginning of the pandemic, weren’t you also debating about making a ski trip with you buddies but you decided that it was not worth the risk and then your buddies abandoned the idea as well?

          1. Wukchumni

            We had our over the hill gang of 7 aged skiers meeting on Sunday March 15th 2020, and I fretted about it starting a week earlier as Lombardi had shown what was coming, combined with a group of 14 skiers from LA who had been skiing in Italy and 13 came back with Corona (as we called it then) and my spider senses were a tingling bad.

            On the Friday before, I e-mailed everybody of my fears and why I wasn’t going to make it, and they all understood, but were still going anyway.

            Twas all the mootest of points, as Mammoth shut down that Sunday for the season.

            Game so over.

            Looks like there’ll be 10 feet of snow* on the ground by the time our Tahoe-Mammoth ski trip starts in a fortnight-an embarrassment of frozen riches, but i’d imagine ski resorts will be shut down just after the xmas holidays if not sooner, it’s their busiest time of year.

            * This winter has the feel of the ultimate winter of the 20th century 1968-69, we’re due for a weeklong storm starting this Tuesday.

            What made the snow pile up that winter was just one series of storms after another with a light break in between.

            There were 13 avalanches in Mineral King Valley that winter. In comparison, the awfully big 2016-17 snowpack only caused 3 avalanches.


          1. ambrit

            That’s a good question that brings up the problem of “public facing propaganda” in this matter.
            I will admit that I had considered the CDC to be suffering from a case of “Long Covid Denialism.”
            We can wonder about the differences and similarities of ‘internal’ communications and communications ‘cleared for public release.’ My example is from the CDC website. How many people read this “publication?” Meanwhile, the MSMs and Public Propaganda Units of the State spew out misleading and downright deceptive “information.” (See many examples mentioned here for example.)
            Thus, where the public gets it’s ‘information’ from is of paramount importance.
            CDC running true to form:
            As ‘Lambert’ says; “The stupid, it burns.” (Referring to the bullet points in the linked CDC pages.)
            Stay safe.

        1. c_heale

          Imo the real problem is that most people only get measles once – if it doesn’t kill you, you are safe.

          But you can get Covid many, many times.

  12. Wukchumni

    If maple syrup stops flowing like it did in the springs of my youth, what will Canada become? Globe and Mail
    This diddling* of innocent maple trees in the Gulag Hockeypelago has been tolerated for far too long, with both male and female baums violated repeatedly (the poor things can’t run away or call 911) up over in an area generally below the Great Slave Lake.

    In the end its all about oral pleasure for us, the sweet taste of the cloying liquid amber, but i’m willing to give it all up if there is a constitutional amendment in regards to growhabition, disallowing it on our pancakes & waffles.

    * i’m sad to say we aren’t exactly innocent, and isn’t it time to drop the modifier while we’re at it, New England. Yeah you were new in 1620, but it’s been 400 years now, the same thing applies to NJ/NM/NY.

    1. griffen

      Think of the children, Wuk! No maple syrup alternatives to the sugary topping for waffles and french toast. I’m not much of a syrup consumer, avoiding sugars and high carb breakfasts, to be honest. It is an impressive feat to plan forward and have a strategic reserve, if we reach crisis mode of global syrup demand exceeding supply.

      If the New England Patriots must rebrand, will they just go with Boston Patriots? The Gillette Patriots, or the Dunkin Donut Patriots could also work.

      1. Wukchumni

        If the New England Patriots must rebrand, will they just go with Boston Patriots? The Gillette Patriots, or the Dunkin Donut Patriots could also work.

        Damned straight!

        Cities have gotten a free ride by association with professional sporting teams for far too long…

        1. griffen

          Example 1 and 2. I believe that Arlington, Texas is the home field location for the Cowboys and also for the Rangers. To be fair the Dallas Cowboys of Arlington just doesn’t fit well on a NFL uniform. The Jerry Jones monument is a worthy stadium to visit.

          More locally the NFL team, the Panthers, identify with the region in more broad geographic terms.

        2. fresno dan

          December 19, 2021 at 9:44 am
          Don’t they have a beer they could name them after? Or better yet, the affects of the beer – the drunk and surlys
          as their coach doesn’t seem drunk, maybe surlys alone would be good enough

      2. Chas

        Retired sugarmaker here although I still keep a finger in the business. I put syrup on my cereal every morning for health reasons. It contains potassium, magnesium and other goodies that make it the most healthful sugar of all, even better than honey. However it gets harder and harder to buy cold cereal that hasn’t already been sugared or high fructosed upon which to put that syrup. Once in a while I find a sugarless cereal from Canada called Alpen. Otherwise it’s oatmeal. Something interesting about sugaring is that it’s a wild harvest, like haying. You can’t plan when the crop will come in. When the maple sap decides to run you just have to drop what you’re doing and go catch it.

        1. wilroncanada

          My father was born and brought up in Quebec’s “Eastern Townships.” One of his family (he had 16 brothers and sisters) had a sugar bush. Each year while I was i my teens, he used to send us (our home was in Southern Ontario) 5 gallons of maple syrup. We must have been so healthy. My cavities, at least, loved it.

        2. neo-realist

          You could have gotten the benefits of potassium and magnesium from a banana, without taking on the sugar.

          No sugar in Shredded Wheat.

          Oatmeal rocks. If your sweet tooth wants flavor, try cinnamon.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Something I have wondered about for years is this: If the freshly harvested sap is ultra-pasteurised and then aseptically stored in barrels and held till peak honeybee season, and then offered to honeybees, would they drink it? If they did, and if they liked it, would they turn it into maple sap honey?

        4. Noone from Nowheresville

          Scottish oats or pinhead oats are the best. Not sure what they are called or how they are branded for others.

          Toast the oats, cinnamon and nutmeg with a little butter (my favorite food group) until they have nice brown and a beautiful aroma. Then get the big whosh when you had the water. Bring to boil then lower to a simmer. Add the milk and the salt at the end. Takes a little time but glorious. Not that I’m food biased or anything.

          A banana, some toasted nuts and a touch of maple give that extra special pop for me.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      We should get our sweet fix from sugar cane plantations run with slave labor? Or is it acceptable to do the equivalent of drone-strikes on the homes of bees?

      just a bit /sarc

        1. ambrit

          Hmmm… Might as well include Saint Augustine, Florida, founded in 1565, and Biloxi, Mississippi, founded in 1699, or Mobile, Alabama, founded in 1702.
          I’m nit picking. Ten lashes to me with a wet noodle!
          Stay safe and watch out for displaced bruins due to the upcoming blizzard.

  13. Verifyfirst

    Meanwhile, in America….

    Michigan lawmakers create a pathway for school support staff to substitute teach

    “Whitehall District Schools Superintendent Jerry McDowell said bus drivers could teach in between their morning and afternoon routes. His district serves 2,000 students north of Muskegon.”

    Odd the liberal Democrat from Ann Arbor (Jeff Irwin) voted for it…… Maybe when they are done teaching they can head over to the local hospital and pick up a few of the cancer surgeries that were cancelled?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Truth be told, I had some pretty savvy school bus drivers. One of them, Mrs. Brown, taught me more life lessons than most of my teachers. So did Buster — that guy knew how to handle a rowdy bus like a pro.

      That being said, I think that a lot of bus drivers should stick to bus driving. That’s their strength and G-d bless them for it.

      1. Alex Cox

        The president of Venezuela is a former bus driver. Given a choice between a bus driver, a lawyer, an ‘ex’-spook and a ‘community organizer’, which would you pick?

    2. Mikel

      “Maybe when they are done teaching they can head over to the local hospital and pick up a few of the cancer surgeries that were cancelled?”

      Stop. LOL. Any day now they may suggest ambulance drivers pick up some OT in the surgery room.

      1. Mantid

        Great one Mikel. Once in a blue moon a parent or more often a school board member or other wanna be politcian would go off about how teachers have a slack job, summers off, sucking at the teat of the public trough, and other drivel. I would always invite them to “run my class” for a day and see what they thought afterwards. Imagine a bus driver coming into my class of between 50 – 75 students, all with noise makers (band/orchestra/choir), and trying to get some learning underway. You drive buses, I’ll teach kiddos. Union man and proud of it.

    3. FluffytheObeseCat

      Speaking as someone without a certificate who has substituted in both Louisiana and California, this measure is not as foolish as you all are making it out to be. Public school teachers commonly make lesson plans in advance of being out. Any teacher who isn’t critically ill right out the gate can do so and usually does. As we know, most Covid infections take a few days to become incapacitating after the first signs of illness present.

      Not every bus driver could administer a lesson plan in a classroom, but they have a few social advantages that might make it easier for them than your average college educated stranger. Most importantly, the students know the driver, and know better than to screw with him (her).

      School bus drivers aren’t all semi-literate working class knuckle draggers folks. Many can easily staff a classroom in a pinch. The assumption that it’s beyond them is nonsensical.

      1. Mantid

        Good observation until: shop class, band (does the bus driver know high C fingering for a flute?), welding class……… kids will see right through a school or sub that keeps wanting to show videos to waste time. Kids want to learn and be helped and taught – and above all feel safe in a room.

      2. c_heale

        In that case why bother training teachers at all? Sorry, but in my experience as a non-licensed teacher with a teaching degree, you will get very few people who can teach well without having some training and practical experience. Most teachers couldn’t drive a school bus without training so I can’t see that the opposite is true.

        1. Sailor Bud

          It depends on the subject and the person teaching it, and the students themselves and their environment. I don’t know about these bus drivers, but there are uncredentialed people out there who have the knowledge, and occasionally well-spoken amateurs with fine teaching abilities, etc. Likewise, as we all know, there are credentialed ones who aren’t so hot.

          My greatest music theory teacher had zero college (couldn’t afford it), but I went through all of Walter Piston with him, Schenkerian analyses, SATB, form, and even Tabuteau’s phrasing method as a sideline (from a piano player, no less). He excelled at picking out orthographic errors in jazz theory books, too, so I saw what their issues were. He also showed me that the Tristan progression is easily explained and a bit of a notation lie, and that PhD papers about it must be full of sheer fluff. How well he’d handle the class part is admittedly a question. Bit of a Browning Version type, mild mannered to a fault, and I think best for one-on-one.

          If a school system were sensible about it, they could find ways to weed out the truly weaker applicants, but would allow and look for potential diamonds in the rough, including those who would be filling in and deviating from the day’s lesson plan with some of their own methodology, especially those with novel approaches to learning.

    4. Swamp Yankee

      Jeff Irwin, that’s a blast from the past! My good friend in grad school had a girlfriend who worked on Irwin’s initial campaign for the Michigan House of Representatives.

      Hadn’t thought about that name in quite literally a decade — Naked Capitalism is good for that sort of thing!

  14. jr

    I missed the conversation yesterday about the Aeon article and the presumed deceased status of God. I think the writer makes a fundamental, but extremely common, mistake. That mistake is specifically the notion that because one seems to be able to make the claim that God is not present in the universe, God cannot exist. Setting aside one’s actual belief or lack of belief in God, if you are going to discuss the concept of God you should have some understanding of it’s definition.

    Assuming God’s existence: God is not of the universe, the universe is, theoretically, of God. Either as an extension of God or as God Itself. God is not bound by the universes’ rules, it is bound by God’s. To look for God in the mechanics of the universe is akin to seeking the inventor of the home computer by cracking open the case. You can theorize about that individual based upon the architecture of the computer but you cannot make any final or fundamental claims about them.

    This is the mistake Sean Carroll and other “Masters of the Metaverse” who argue that God doesn’t make for a good scientific theory. That is exactly right, as God is by definition outside of the physical world and therefore the purview of science. This mistake is made in other areas as well, such as with moral or political questions.

    Here is a link back to the article for convenience:

    1. Wukchumni

      Typically ancient Roman coins had the emperor on one side and some God or another on the other side, and we have it easy with pretty much a one-size-fits-all Jesus compared to the main dozen Gods the Romans paid heed to along with about 100 other lower case deities.

      The thing is, nobody gives a shit about Roman Gods now, but once upon a time they were oh so important.

      Some of their names are recognizable to us, in that a fair number of perfumes & luxury goods have taken the names of Greek & Roman Gods in a shopping vein.

    2. David

      Yes, that’s a much better articulation of a point I was fumbling to make yesterday. It’s like (to use a modern analogy) saying that computer programmers can’t exist because you can’t find them in the software. All religions have ultimately recognised that the reality of any kind of supreme being can’t be described, or even accounted for, using simply human concepts.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “wherefrom words turn back, together with the mind, not having attained”

        -a quote that joseph campbell lodged in my brain almost 40 years ago.
        don’t remember who he purloined it from.

        remains my favorite koan/exegesis on the Ground of Being.

      2. Bazarov

        Doesn’t this lead to mystical quietism? If we can’t describe or account for God using “human concepts,” which is really all we’ve got, perhaps it’s best to shut up about it and focus on other things amenable to our capacities.

      3. wilroncanada

        I always revert to the dyslexic insomniac agnostic.
        I lie awake at night wondering if there really is a dog.

    3. JP

      God by definition? I think Lao Tzu un-defined it best. Not approachable in terms. Beyond the reach of thinking.

          1. flora

            “One of the moral diseases we communicate to one another in society comes from huddling together in the pale light of an insufficient answer to a question we are afraid to ask.”

            -Thomas Merton

      1. jr

        I agree but I was referring to the dictionary definition, not some kind of ultimate understanding or encapsulation in human terms. That is the sidewise work of metaphor and symbolism. Oh, and there’s direct experience.

        1. Tom Bradford

          No it’s not “the dictionary definition”. It’s the myth of God still being sold by the three major monotheistic religions of a the world to billions, and it has served them well enough.

          Yes that myth is dying as it becomes increasingly untenable, but it always required ‘Faith” (a word copyrighted by the three said religions) and it is the rushing out of this “Sea of Faith”, leaving nothing, that Arnold noted on Dover Beach because for him in the mid-C19th there was no alternative to one of those three for most people in his world. Now, though, we have Buddhism or Zen or your own do-it-yourself God for those who take the trouble/have a reason to go seeking. Most people, though, have no reason go seeking and are quite happy to go along with a dead God that serves the purpose as well if not better than any remote, intellectualised God-of-the-gaps that defies definition. After all, at least dead Gods still give us Christmas binging and a couple of days off at Easter.

          1. flora

            No in general disagreement, based on my decades working in scientific endeavors, etc. And yet, and however, to the original commentator’s point that ” Oh, and there’s direct experience.” … Indeed. Granting direct experience isn’t scientifically provable as a fact. Still and all…and while I’m not saying the 70’s adage that “the personal is political” doesn’t apply here, on the other hand, I’m not sure it doesn’t apply here. It might. /:)

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Russia sends strategic bombers to protect Belarus border”

    There may be another reason why Russia flew those Tu-160 bombers over Belarus. Sure, there was a message that Belarus is under the protective umbrella of the Russian armed forces but there may have been another message. There is an enclave of Russian territory sandwiched between Poland & Lithuania called Kaliningrad which is only about 86 sq miles (223 sq klm) in size with 430,000 people living there. So those bombers may have also been a message to those countries not to try any funny stuff there as there will be consequences.

    1. Bill Smith

      The Russians have flown these types of aircraft over Belarus before. They publicly announced it back in November and sometimes they don’t announce it.

      Given that back in 1996 Belarus and Russia signed a Treaty of Community and in 1999 a Treaty of Union, one would have long supposed that Belarus is under Russians protection.

      As to Kaliningrad, I would be interested to see what would indicate Lithuania or Poland would try something.

      The Russians already fly these types of aircraft out of Kaliningrad (Chernyakhovsk, now rebuilt) from time to time.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      Sorry for being a nit picker, but the Kaliningrad region has an area of 15,100 sq km (5,800 sq m). Roughly half the size of Belgium. Russia is a big place, even K-grad. Probably you were looking at the city data.

  16. Tom Stone

    Omicron is going through the populace faster than shit through a goose, cases doubling every two days.
    And almost no one I speak to has any clue about the consequences of exponential growth.
    “It’s mild”,”Vaccines will protect you”, no need to change your behavior.
    And the admission by Harris that the Administration was taken by surprise when this coronavirus mutated, both times.
    Hopefully someone will explain to her that Covid IS a coronavirus and that it will continue to mutate.
    The health care system will collapse.
    Supply chains and markets ( All of them) will be substantially affected.
    Lotsa dead people.
    A whole lot more with long covid,disabled for the long term with no plan to deal with them other than”Because Markets”.
    Food shortages are likely by late spring.
    And Trump looks competent by comparison.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Or any virus or living organism. Harris has confirmed the “believe in science” crowd really does “BELIEVE in science”.

      All that time, and she’s never picked on how viruses work.

    2. Basil Pesto

      And the admission by Harris that the Administration was taken by surprise when this coronavirus mutated, both times.

      I find it very hard to take this claim at face value. If if is true and not a lie though, it’s hard to know which is worse. There are going to be severe political consequences as more and more people understand that neither party or their members are reliable, trustworthy or competent.

    3. John Grant

      The current administration must hold its collective breath every time Harris speaks to a reporter.
      Most people I interact with, even very well meaning friends and acquaintances, appear to be looking just in front of their nose, doing their jobs, going about their lives, and accepting as fact whatever expert opinions are held up by the class/media outlets they identify with. I suspect Harris is no different. It’s not her job to take the time/effort to conceptualize what is happening with covid. Better just to wait for a scientific expert to tell her what to do so that she can stick to managing VP political challenges of the day/wk/yr. Society continues to move farther and farther away from the renaissance ideal.

    4. lance ringquist

      trump sure did. but the nafta democrats see a silver lining, less deplorable and their off spring.

  17. Mikel

    “Enraged monkeys kill dogs…”

    I haven’t ever seen any good news about monkeys in India.
    Is there a wild area they could be returned to and would they stay away?

  18. griffen

    Mean tweets and social media, well people are jerks if attention gets paid to what you post. Well intended and all, I did not read too many of the replies to the WHO masker posting about the awesomeness of your corporate branded mask.

    It’s analagous to hitting send, a disparaging corporate email that includes your boss. You may try to recall or hit the “unsend and destroy” but it’s just too late. Don’t hit send! Or for this holiday season, don”t say the word little Ralphie says.

  19. IM Doc

    A bit of an update for my NC friends.

    Things in my world are clearly headed off the rails.

    All last week, we were experiencing a daily increase in ill COVID patients in the office. This is now becoming vertical. We have not been officially told that we have any Omicron in my area, however, things have subtly changed. I will repeat, I am not sure we are dealing with Omicron or with the long-dreaded Delta winter surge. It is hard to know with the testing regime that has been cobbled together right now.

    The promised testing improvements under the Biden administration have failed to materialize. Indeed, things may be worse now. We have so so many patients doing testing on their own that numbers cannot be accurately maintained. But those kits are really becoming scarce, and unless they have been hoarded, they are not available. The medical system testing remains grotesquely spotty and intensely expensive. This complete shitshow would actually be funny if peoples lives were not depending on it.

    How have things changed? – Way way more vaccinated and boostered patients are now becoming positive. Many of them quite ill. Indeed, as OUTPATIENTS, I would say our vaccinated ill is basically on par with the vaccinated population at large. The same is true of the boosters. So, basically, just like Denmark, we seem to be at complete par. Ergo, the vaccines are basically worthless for transmission of the virus. So far, it remains about 60-40 unvaccinated-vaccinated in the hospital. However, the vaccinated are becoming more and more ill. And unfortunately, are needing to be admitted. This is NOT just nursing home patients. On the other side of the coin, for those who believe that natural immunity is the golden ticket, I have news for you. I have been steadfastly telling the brain trust that I have yet to see a previously infected non-vaccinated patient come in with COVID symptoms again. Well – that run is now over. I have seen two in the past 2 days. We will see how this trend develops in the coming days.

    The symptoms are changing as well. For the majority, it is a bad head cold. But for those who are really ill, the respiratory symptoms that used to predominate are now replaced with intense nausea-inducing headaches at times leading to severe vomiting, intense fever, chills, and now I have been seeing a few patients with intense diarrhea. Interestingly, the muscle cramps and pain seem to all of a sudden be really bad.

    Also, there is some decrease in a few patients in efficacy with the monoclonal antibodies. They just do not seem to be working as well as they did for some people. Furthermore, these treatments are being heavily restricted and patients must now meet strict criteria to get them. I have been told there is quite a supply problem. I am not sure that is true – just the scuttlebutt. It is alarming to me that intense preparation was not done on these anti-virals by our officials – but as Lambert pointed out in the links above from the Vice-President, it is clear that further variants were not even on the radar of our officials this year. Omicron came out of nowhere, don’t you know. Who could have expected this to happen? And it was also crystal clear that this antibody therapy was not on Dr. Fauci’s or Biden’s list of things to take care of. If you live in certain states like Texas or Florida and others, your governor and health officials had the foresight to secure your own supply, limited as it may be. Everywhere else – well – good luck. We are spending our time on vaccine mandates and passports for a non-sterilizing vaccine.

    Sorry, if I sound very bitter – it is because I am. I get to watch people suffer every day because of the gross incompetence on display at almost every level of this country.

    We had one big group of patients the other day from a big holiday party. It was the same despicable scene of all the guests showing proof of vaccination and a recent COVID test – running around the party unmasked, while the hired help all were masked. I know this because I saw the pictures and videos of the party. 12 fully vaccinated older ladies and 3 staff, many boostered, many fat and diabetic – 11 of the 15 are now positive, 3 in the hospital and 1 is fighting for her life. One of the daughters informed me this weekend that the very ill mother had told her twice that Joy on The View had repeatedly stated this year that parties were great if everyone is vaccinated. This misinformation is causing severe health problems for the viewers. Where are the Youtube and Twitter censors for this? This is hubris of the first order. As I have repeatedly stated, the Ancient Greeks believed the only entity able to clean up Hubris was Nemesis.

    Let me put it this way – Santa is not the only character that is going to be flying through the midnight clouds this week. When Nemesis comes, she is like a thief in the night.

    Part of being an excellent physician is to constantly assume everything will be the worst case scenario – and work for that not to happen. I apologize if over the past months, I have been a bit of a downer – it is how I work – always assume the worst case and prepare accordingly. All the while being the Rock of Gibraltar for your patients and their families. That is guidance that has streamed through medicine from the most ancient of times. I must say I do not have a good feeling about this at all. Our hospital, like many others across the country, is now with a very diminished crew. Our federal officials have not only not helped, they have actively done things to make this situation infinitely worse.

    Again – I do not know if what I am experiencing is actually Omicron. And I would like to add as a medical professional for 30 years, I am just as confused as everyone else about our chances with Omicron. It is all fog right now – hopefully this will not be that bad. The next few weeks will be telling. I am praying daily.

    I am likely going to be so busy the next few weeks that I will not be around here much. I will absolutely stay in touch with Yves and Lambert and the brain trust. But I have this feeling a tsunami is on the way.

    This is what I would tell everyone to do right now – Be mindful of everyone in your life. Help those and look after those in your world who cannot help themselves. Elder and ill should not be in the grocery stores or post office or whatever in the coming weeks. Please please look after every one of them in your life. If you are fat, do something about it starting today. Walk, run, get out in the sun. De-stress. Sleep well. Eat exceedingly well. Get off the Doritos and Dr. Pepper. Start taking VIT D 4000 units daily today. Zinc 50-100 mg daily today [if positive and sick for a few days; standard issue daily lozenge or 1 or 2 pills daily (on the order of 5-10 mg) is perfect during the prophylactic stage]. VIT C 1000 mg daily today. Get POVIDONE/IODINE solution from the pharmacy or make your own nasal spray from Betadine ( recipes all over the web). Spray your nose and gargle twice daily. If you are going to or hosting a party, have every single person hose their nose down with POVIDONE before going in the house. Do it again as they are leaving. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT use the same nose spray for everyone. Each individual should have their own.

    Most importantly, put down the flame throwers and blow torches. I learned a very important lesson during the AIDS crisis. We are all going to have work as a team or this is going to be the end of us all.

    God Bless.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Ahhhh, an oasis of sanity amidst all of the freaking out. Thank you so much, IM Doc!

      BTW, I have some of that snoot spray on order. The brand? ImmuneMist.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through. Yes, it is a total s***show around the world but unfortunately it is people like you that we depend on to pick up the pieces as best as you can. But just remember to prioritize your own health too and not just physical. I regret to say that it may be a long winter coming where you live and people are going to depend on each other more and more. You know, its not the pandemic that gets you down. It is the sheer incompetency of so many political and medical authorities that refuse to stare at the facts and do the right thing that tends to wear you out. Or at least it does for me. Good luck, IM Doc. Everybody here will be thinking of you.

    3. Stillfeelinthebern

      Thank you IM Doc. You are always in my thoughts and I deeply appreciate your taking the time to inform us. The brain trust at NC is a remarkable group.

      The hardest thing right now is convincing our vaccinated friends they have to change their behavior.

    4. notbored

      On the other side of the coin, for those who believe that natural immunity is the golden ticket, I have news for you. I have been steadfastly telling the brain trust that I have yet to see a previously infected non-vaccinated patient come in with COVID symptoms again. Well – that run is now over. I have seen two in the past 2 days. We will see how this trend develops in the coming days. IM Doc

      Sounds like Omicron, imo. The question now is who will fare better. Not that those at risk should not get vaccinated but that vaccinating EVERYONE may soon be shown to be even more foolish than the thousands killed and crippled needlessly so far from the “rare” side-effects of the current “vaccines.”

      I appreciate your witness, btw.

    5. PlutoniumKun

      Thank you so much for the very practical advice (I’d just add, as a non-medic, that my understanding is that its far better to get vitamin C from food as its not clear that supplements work – your five a day should provide sufficient).

      Best wishes for the season, I truly hope its not going to be as bad as you think. But looking at random things on twitter its clear that people are not taking precautions.

    6. Wukchumni

      Now the lack of mask of red death isn’t an issue and we’re all in this together in terms of slitting our risks, thanks for the tips & commentary IMDoc.

      I like to get my Vitamin D from a higher source, is it as capable as taking suppliments in warding off something wicked this way comes?

    7. Carolinian

      FWIW here’s Berenson on Denmark where they do have better data.

      Most new Covid cases in Denmark occur in people who are vaccinated or boosted – and that is true for both Omicron and earlier variants. More than 76 percent of non-Omicron Covid infections in Denmark are in vaccinated people, along with about 90 percent of Omicron infections.

      Further, only 25 of the 561 people currently hospitalized in Denmark for Covid have the Omicron variant. The Danes do not provide an exact number for patients in intensive care with Omicron, saying only that it is fewer than five.

      Perhaps the most stunning fact about Omicron and Denmark is that its rise actually parallels a marked slowdown in the growth of Danish hospitalizations and intensive care patients. Those rose roughly fivefold between mid-October and late November, as the Danes left the happy vaccine valley. Since then they have barely budged, rising about 20 percent[…]

      The Danish data also show that people with Omicron are both less likely to be hospitalized than those with other variants and released from the hospital much more quickly – in line with what South African health authorities have reported..

      Of course he’s pushing his own view and is probably jumping the gun on a still emerging situation. But it sounds like Denmark at least may be more “winter Delta surge.”

      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        Another report. Good description of how the Denmark is testing and tracking the variants and ramping up.

        “And then there is the matter of infections. Before this wave, Denmark had never seen more than 5,000 cases in a day. On Friday, it logged more than 11,000 new cases. Within a week, in a moderate scenario, case numbers could hit 27,000. And into January? The institute’s estimates climb higher still, off the Y-axis.

        What that data has shown, so far, is that the hospitalization rate is slightly lower for omicron than it is for delta — though because hospitalizations lag behind infections, and because omicron infections hit only recently, scientists say the results will be more meaningful in a couple of weeks.

        Scientists have also identified how omicron was seeded throughout the country, first from travelers inbound from Africa, and then through several superspreader events. A just-published paper from the institute and other researchers described a Christmas party attended by about 150 people. Most were vaccinated. And yet 71 tested positive for omicron.

        Scientists say they feel trepidation — and also a bit of awe — about what they are seeing: an incredibly fit virus, winning a turf war against delta. As of Monday — the most recent day with complete, publicly released data — omicron accounted for 26.8 percent of cases. A week earlier, omicron’s share had been 4.9 percent.”

      2. Skip Intro

        An interesting thing about the hospitalization admission and release numbers is that they are probably elastic; admissions will be reduced and releases accelerated as doctors see or anticipate demand increases.

      3. Gumnut

        Sitrep Denmark update:
        Friday 11k, Sat 9k, Sun 8k cases.
        Roughly 35% omikron. 91% omikron in vaxxed (vs. 75% for delta, reason unknown, but n=10k+ & all tests are variant-confirmed). Usually no weekend dip in reported numbers. Booking the free PCR test waiting time up from 24h ahead to 72h ahead first available slot = (nearly) every single Dane has booked a pre-julehygge xmas test. So spike on Friday could be catching early pre-planned testers. Media is very calm on hospital situation. Stay safe.

    8. cocomaan

      Zinc 50-100 mg daily today.

      I’m already taking all things listed but on zinc I take about 25mg a day because if I took this much it would be blowing out my rear end, to be crude.

      Best of luck to all.

    9. Danpaco

      Speaking from personal experience, be very careful of taking that high a dose of zinc over the long term.
      I recently got over a 2.5 months long vertigo/nausea episode brought on by taking 65mg of zinc daily for over 150 days. The recommended daily dose is 11mg for adult males, anything over 40mg per day can lead to zinc poisoning.
      My vertigo went away three days after stopping the high dose of zinc and has continued to not be an issue. I’m happily back at work.
      Be well all.

      1. IM Doc


        Mistake on my part from the sleep derived brain. That is the therapeutic dosing when someone is already sick and positive. And only for a few days.

        A standard issue daily lozenge or 1 or 2 pills daily (on the order of 5-10 mg) is perfect during the prophylactic stage.

        Sorry all. Yet another reason why NC commenters are indispensable.

        I really need to be careful about this on this kind of forum. Thank you for pointing this out.

          1. Joe Renter

            Thank you as well, IM Doc. I just copied your post and sent it to my 90 year old Mother, who goes to Costco like it is Church. I sent some K95 mask to her and told her to ditch the surgical ones. I am not sure if she will survive the multiple variants in the future. I can only hope that is the case.

      2. Kris Alman
        Zinc toxicity levels have been seen to occur at ingestion of greater than 50 mg of zinc. There are different absorption rates depending on compound:

        Comparative absorption of zinc picolinate, zinc citrate and zinc gluconate in humans
        Each group rotated for four week periods through a random sequence of oral supplementation including: zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, and zinc gluconate (equivalent to 50 mg elemental zinc per day) and placebo

        This study demonstrates that in humans zinc picolinate appears to be absorbed significantly better than zinc gluconate or zinc citrate.

    10. John Zelnicker

      IM Doc – There aren’t adequate words to express my gratitude for all of the knowledge and experience you share with us here at NC.

      Take care of yourself with the same dedication you show your patients. We and they need you around now more than ever.

      Be blessed.

    11. grayslady

      Re: antibody shortages, the Chicago Tribune published a long article on this four days ago. From the article:

      The federal government is paying for the antibodies and giving them to the states. The Illinois Department of Public Health then distributes them to providers. The antibodies themselves are free to patients, though providers may bill patients or their insurance companies for services associated with providing the infusions.
      For the time period stretching from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12, the state allocated 8,638 courses of monoclonal antibodies to more than 100 providers across Illinois, with Innovative receiving nearly 500 for its two locations, one of the largest allotments in the state, according to a recent health department memo to providers. When deciding where to send the antibodies, when there’s a shortage, the state takes into consideration which areas are in greatest need as well as how much a facility has been using…

      Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that the state is “making sure that monoclonal antibodies are everywhere in the state. And that’s not a small feat. It’s hard to get a hold of them. There’s a bit of a shortage of monoclonal antibodies but we are managing that throughout Illinois.”

      Interesting that the high income North Side of Chicago has two outpatient clinics receiving 6% of the State’s total allocation. To be fair, Innovative seems to have enough skilled technicians. My pulmunologist, who works for one of the country’s “top hospitals” told me the other day that in the past year 1500 employees have already quit due to burnout. The tech who performed my DVT ultrasound the other day had been shifted from mammograms since so many doctors are concerned about blood clots from Covid that more ultrasounds are being ordered, and mammograms are apparently on hold.

      1. IM Doc

        This has been a different year for mammograms. The COVID vaccines make changes happen on the mammograms that could lead to unnecessary testing. Therefore, many women are messed up on their scheduling and the numbers being done are down.

        1. anonymous

          “The COVID vaccines make changes happen on the mammograms that could lead to unnecessary testing.”

          May I ask you to expand on this if possible? Do you mean that the vaccines cause changes in breast tissue?

    12. Pat

      Thank you, sir. Your patients are lucky to have you.

      And I am going to echo something above. Take care of yourself as well as them. Please.

    13. Kris Alman

      Antibody Dependent Enhancement Due to Original Antigenic Sin and the Development of SARS

      It is actually typical for the immune system to respond, to what it already knows, a phenomenon that has been observed in many infections with closely related viruses and has been termed “original antigenic sin.” The question then arises whether such cross-reactive antibodies are protective or not against the new virus. The worst scenario would be when such cross-reactive memory antibodies to related coronaviruses would not only be non-protective but even enhance infection and the clinical course. Such a phenomenon of antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) has already been described in several viral infections. Thus, the development of IgG against SARS-CoV-2 in the course of COVID-19 might not be a simple sign of viral clearance and developing protection against the virus. On the contrary, due to cross-reaction to related coronavirus strains from earlier infections, in certain patients IgG might enhance clinical progression due to ADE. The patient’s viral history of coronavirus infection might be crucial to the development of the current infection with SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, it poses a note of caution when treating COVID-19 patients with convalescent sera…
      Children are usually very susceptible for infections in early lifetime, after that, the immune system develops steadily until it is equivalent to that of the adult population. In SARS-CoV-2 it is different: children are less likely to have a severe course of infection as compared with adults. Could this be because children are less likely to have a history of repeated coronavirus infections in their lifetime than adults?

      In linking these concepts together and speculating as to whether omicron could be the demonstration of ADE, it makes me wonder about young people and even infants in South Africa getting sick with this variant. Could it be because so many young people have taken a bite of the Covid apple (through previous infections and vaccinations)?

      Surely the prevalence of infected youth must be much higher since this data, which is approaching a year and half old. A JAMA article shows regional differences. Much higher seroconversion (~27%) in NY a year ago. What’s happened since Delta (and vax) has surely shot up these numbers and may be why kids are doing worse with Omicron as I speculate.
      Serologic testing of residual blood specimens collected during May–September 2020, from 1,603 persons aged <18 years suggested that approximately 113,842 (16.3%) of 698,420 young persons in Mississippi might have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 by mid-September 2020, and only 8,993 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases among young persons had been reported to the Mississippi State Department of Health by August 31.

      Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in the US as of September 2020 (See supplemental tables)

  20. Howard

    I’m still waiting for some sanity from our political leaders. They really want to kill us for money and power. There’s no problem passing a nearly $800 billion defense bill (should I call it $8 trillion since we like to multiply an annual expenditure over ten years or is that only for social welfare spending?) but god forbid they do anything to help us get through this pandemic. If “Let er rip” seems to be the current policy at least we can come up with extensive support for our doctors and nurses, say obtain and distribute the best PPE possible and massively boost pay for all hospital workers. We need to massively increase funding for what MLK called universal programs of social uplift. Instead the Biden administration is conducting a de facto structural adjustment program on the middle and lower classes. Biden will be giving a speech this Tuesday and it looks like he will continue to blame the unvaccinated while offering nothing that will help actual people other than the rich donors he serves.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Much of DC is waiting on Biden. He’s well known as lazy, but 40 plus years of neoliberalism has left behind people in the halls of power who don’t know how to do anything or even start. They just repeat the greatest hits.

      Harris sounds like star the didn’t learn about viral mutation until Omicron.

    2. svay

      Call me cynical, but I see no reason to expect sanity from savages who want $800 billion for war preparations and relish a massive famine in Afghanistan in the name of human rights.

    3. John Zelnicker

      Howard – “should I call it $8 trillion since we like to multiply an annual expenditure over ten years or is that only for social welfare spending?”

      Yes it is; all social welfare spending and most other budget items are always presented as ten-year figures, but the defense budget is never presented that way. So, $1.75 trillion for social welfare spending (if it’s not cut further) is compared to $800 billion for the defense budget.

      I’d wager that very few people do the correct conversion in their head. They just see the two numbers and compare them.

      “Wow, we’re going to spend more on giving ‘Free Stuff (TM)’ to those lazy poors than we’re spending on our vaunted military (that can’t win even a small war).”

      That would make the insanity too obvious.

  21. sfp

    The article by Ed Yong has a good message, but when I read about staff writers at The Atlantic “writing articles that take a toll on [their] resilience”, I feel like I’m gonna puke.

  22. Tom Stone

    Thank you IM Doc, be careful and be lucky.
    The disconnect between America’s “Leadership” and reality has become too obvious to ignore or successfully deny.
    This has gone beyond gross incompetence and has become overtly malign, the consequences are going to be dramatic with the demise of the Democratic Party the only bright spot.
    The likelihood that Americans will be able to pull together as a team to deal with this Pandemic are between slim and none, and slim is on vacation.
    Biden’s speech on Tuesday will be a good indication of how fast we can expect things to completely fall apart.

  23. Mikel

    “Kuppalli is wearing on top of an already gappy mask won’t help (without a Badger frame, which Kuppalli, obviously, is not using). Further, by conspicously not wearing an N95 mask, Kuppalli perpetuates the noxious myth — much beloved by hospital infection control goons at WHO — that N95 masks should be reserved for medical personel, while surgical masks are for plebes….”

    And I’m looking sideways at Kuppalli’s claim about airplane airfiltration being “the best in world.”
    Staff cuts mean maintenance cuts…among other things. Looking at you – airplane bathroom.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ll admit to being a mask watcher, do they or don’t they have one on?, and as a long-time N 95* wearer (with the 2 elastic straps that go behind your head) I seldom ever see them worn in public, its almost always the behind the ears model which is a lot less effective.

      * I had a dozen from a box of 30 bought circa 2016 of them left from when I do weed whacking in the spring, you don’t want high powered mini divots making their way into your nostrils

    2. chris

      Re: airplane bathrooms, I have had to fly a lot for work in the last two months. I have been on the new SW airlines 737 max. The bathroom door is tiny. The room itself is miniscule. A large passenger got up during a 4 hr flight and found they couldn’t even get in the door to use the toilet.

      I’m fairly confident that maintenance of things like the air circulation and HEPA filtration on board is being done because that’s a relatively simple set of activities. The claim about airplane filtration being the best in the world is most likely because it is simple to achieve something like 20 to 30 air changes per hour in that volume. But maintenance can’t fix bad design. The parameters we’re using to design passenger aircraft these days aren’t conducive to human comfort and occupation. I’m sure what seemed like a great idea to cram more people into the same space 5 years ago is going to be a nightmare during and after COVID.

      1. Synoia

        Planes get Cabin air from the first compressor stage of the Engines, and exhaust it through the rear of the Cabin. I don’t believe it is recirculated.

        For best protection sit as far forward as possible.

        1. rowlf

          Approximately 8th and 15th stage compressor air per engine type at 500 degrees F, depending on engine speed. The usual standard on large airliners after 1970 is to filter and recirculate 1/2 of the cabin air once to save fuel. Cabin air design at that time was also aware of tuberculosis spread and flows air from the top of the cabin to the floor, where the warm air then moves through sidewall grills to the cargo areas before exhausting through the outflow valves.

          I’ve always wondered if anyone ever studied measles spread during airline travel, as in 2017-19 there were people from unvaccinated infected communities traveling from the US to the Middle East. The data set should have been pretty good if anyone wanted to science the data.

      2. Tom Bradford

        A large passenger got up during a 4 hr flight and found they couldn’t even get in the door to use the toilet.

        So what did they do? Pop outside for a moment?

  24. Kris Alman

    Re Southwest executive, he was triple vaxed. Wondering how much earlier his booster was given and whether his tests were antigen tests that can’t pick up omicron.
    He tested negative multiple times before the hearing and tested positive after returning home, said Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King.

    She said Mr. Kelly, 66 years old, is fully vaccinated, received a booster earlier this year and is experiencing mild symptoms.

    1. IM Doc

      I just heard on the news that Elizabeth Warren now has COVID.

      I must admit the first thing that came to my mind was if she was in the room with the Southwest CEO who was coughing a lot massless and later found to be positive.

      1. flora

        Dear IM Doc, (and please forgive this untoward intimate address, as I do not know you but highly regard your comments here), I am reminded that the hospitalliers and hospitals were a Middle Ages invention, born from charity. Prior to that invention the poor and sick were left to fend for themselves as best they could. Judgement of “worthiness for treatment” was replaced by care for all, regardless of social largely agreed upon “worthiness”.

        I say this because, while I’m disappointed in Sen. Warren’s treatment of Bernie, she is no less worthy of treatment than the least among us. She is a human in need of treatment, regardless of whatever her political ideas. my 2 cents.

        1. IM Doc

          Oh I agree
          We all need to be treated the same vaxxed or not. I have been yelling for months at students who have a righteous attitude toward the unvaxxed. I meant nothing bad about sen warren. I only wish all the best. My comment was mainly about the flippancy being demonstrated by our elite. There are now photos going around of her maskless in meetings and on her plane. We are all going to have to take this seriously including our elite. It would make my job do much easier of our elite were actually practicing good habits right now.

          I meant nothing bad towards her at all. Sorry it came out that way.

          1. flora

            Thank you for your reply. I hope I understood exactly your original meaning as you describe. I’ve never thought otherwise about your comments, and only wanted to add on my 2 cents for whatever they might be worth. Best

  25. The Rev Kev

    “3 retired generals: The military must prepare now for a 2024 insurrection”

    What is this garbage. A trial balloon to see what the Pentagon can get away with in 2024? What do they want? Soldiers on guard at each polling station? Washington DC under military occupation? Officers ‘supervising’ the counting of the votes with soldiers doing the actual counting? A battalion of US Marines guarding the White House and another the Capital Building? Sounds like they want to spy on ordinary soldiers as well to make sure that they don’t believe in the ‘wrong’ things. Maybe there was a reason why these three generals were retired.

    1. ambrit

      Yeah, well, I would venture to say that the present “Revanchist” military brass in America has read their history and are preparing to emulate their late, lamented, adversaries, the Soviets. The old Soviet Army had an internal political “compliance” department; the dreaded Political Commissars. I expect to see something similar instituted here soon.

        1. ambrit

          True. There are lots of non-kinetic warfare reasons to re-establish the “Citizens Army” in America: climate shift projects, Infrastructure projects, even border control projects. A draft into such a force would help re-install ‘Civic Virtue’ into the population. Besides, a pre-emptive short circuiting of the mass needed for a “mass movement” inimical to the Status Quo should be a prime policy of the Elites.
          Unfortunately, all of the above posits a self-aware and sane Elite.

    2. BeliTsari

      Bezos, Lincoln Project & Atlantic Council SAVE us from Terroristic Fascist Insurrection! Jeepers, I’m curious if Kamala will be in uniform, totting Ol’ Joe’s animatronic head about, like some StarTreck episode? Musk in a mithril Ironman jetpack, Gates cloned into a saphire velocioraptor, or Bloomberg in a Ed Gein skin-suit… OH, that’s actually just HIM? Sorry, I’d thought the coup happened INSIDE the Capitol?

  26. Carolinian

    Re NBC…waitress forced to give up all but 20 percent of large tip and then crowdfunded by the diners

    The practice also enables all manner of endemic problems — sexual harassment, racial bias, income disparity. As Cornell University’s tipping expert Dr. Michael Lynn has found, both Black and white diners tip Black servers less. And cooks are chronically underpaid for their work, often making only half of what servers take home at fancy restaurants. And imagine how your relationship with a car salesperson would change if you tipped on the price of a car and what they might feel impelled to let you get away with because you get to decide how much they earn.

    I think I agree with this with the add on that tips that are routinely added on to card payments simply serve as a hidden charge rather than the original purpose. Long ago when I youthfully toured England I had lunch at a pub and as I was leaving the publican stopped me and said “you forgot this” (my tip). Customs vary?

    1. fresno dan

      December 19, 2021 at 10:22 am
      To start with, the minimum wage for tipped workers in Arkansas is $2.63 per hour, compared to the regular minimum wage of $11 per hour. Under the tip credit provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, when workers don’t make enough in tips to equal the minimum hourly wage ($7.25 federal, $11 for Arkansas), the employer is expected to pay the remainder. However, labor laws are only as good as enforcement, and the tip credit system is full of holes. One review by the Department of Labor from 2010 to 2012 estimated that 84 percent of restaurants had labor violations, including when it came to tipping.
      The practice also enables all manner of endemic problems — sexual harassment, racial bias, income disparity.
      Somehow, IdPo inserts itself into tipping, where money going to people NOT EVEN paid minimum wage leads to all sorts of problems. Lip service is given to noticing the problems in the restaurant industry (uh, how many articles about underpaid restaurant workers before this clickbait article???) but the real solution is for better off people to stop giving money to less well off people. Excuse me, but tipping is the most inconsequential part of the article.

      1. Carolinian

        I would cynically assert that the media don’t talk about restaurants very much because they spend a lot of time in restaurants and are protective of their favorite hangouts. When District of Columbia proposed a minimum wage law they made sure it only applied to Walmart and not restaurants.

        And the practice of tipping itself is a throwback to the gracious seigneur showing favor to the servants. Maybe those restaurant sharing rules are more democratic? But yes definitely not to be shared with the salaried managers.

        1. Mantid

          T.I.P. evolved from pubs of hundreds of years ago (medieval times?). Places of repose or where people would meet, drink and be merry would have a “tip jar”. If you wanted service, you would toss a coin in the jar and rattle it a bit. The patron would come to your table and ask what you want, mead, vino, etc. This behavior evolved from the effort “To Insure Promptness”.

        2. juanholio

          I haven’t eaten in at a restaurant since all this began. At first it was as a precaution, then I realized I just didn’t miss it at all.

          Same with the movie theater.

      2. Valerie

        The tipped wage should have been ditched decades ago. If I sell you a steak at Kroger the store has to pay me minimum wage. If I sell you a steak at a restaurant , the owners can pay me $2 and change with the balance dependent on the generosity of the patrons. Why? If I buy a steak for $10 at Kroger, the cashier can’t add a tip when she rings it up because she’s not being paid enough. Why are restaurant owners permitted by law to get away with this nonsense?

        When I waited tables in Texas in 1986, the tipped wage was $2.13 an hour. Thirty-five years later in Arkansas the tipped wage is $2.63? Seriously?

        And if I remember correctly waitstaff rarely clocks forty hours a week and rarely qualifies for unemployment. The system is feudal and the restaurant lobby needs to be told to take a hike!

    2. lyman alpha blob

      If cooks make half what servers do, it’s also likely in double the time. When I worked in restaurants, the cooks had been there for a while by the time the servers showed up for their shift. I do sympathize with the restaurant to a point here, and this incident sounds like a huge misunderstanding caused by the ignorance of the diners. Different restaurants have different policies, but I never worked in one where the server ever kept 100% of the tip. When I worked in a large moderately upscale tourist restaurant, servers were expected to tip out at least 15% to the busser, 10% to the bartender and 5% to the host desk. If you didn’t, you’d hear about it. I don’t remember a requirement to tip the cooks, but the good servers did. Giving the server 100% of the tip for a big party like that is depriving the rest of the staff of their expected income. When I read the first account of the story, I didn’t take the waitress telling the diner that she had to split the tip as a complaint, just the reality of the situation. If the diner hadn’t asked, the waitress would still have pocketed over a grand for a few hours work and everyone, diners who could pat themselves on the back for their generosity and the restaurant staff who all made a little extra that night, would have been happy.

      The best waiter I worked with would tip out the service bartender and line cooks before every shift (and after too). When it got busy he got his food quicker from the cooks and an extra well vodka & cran for himself with his customer drink order. He was a great turn and burn waiter and kept the schmoozing and offers of post-dinner coffee to a bare minimum since it isn’t worth it in the long run. Head ’em on and move ’em out. He routinely had the highest sales of any server there and walked with the most money, despite tipping out a larger percentage to support staff than other servers did. And you’d never know it as a customer, but he also routinely drank the better part of a fifth of vodka during the dinner shift.

      Anyway, rambling aside, the hustle to make a living in a restaurant can be fun for a time, especially when you have a big night, can be invigorating, but it gets old. I agree with the article that this is a great example of why tipping should end, and it needs to start by changing the minimum wage for tipped workers to equal that of everyone else.

      That was the case in the mid-90s in WA state when I did restaurant work so it isn’t like there aren’t already existing examples. The state minimum was $7+/hr for all workers regardless of tipped status, that state minimum was well ahead of the federal minimum at the time, and there was no shortage of restaurants in Seattle.

      1. Janie

        System in France: no turn and burn – the table is yours for the night. None of that rushing thru dinner to make a show; dinner is the evening’s entertainment. Tips are included in the prices, although it’s polite to leave loose change. Other European countries as well.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Also worked in a small Greek place. The owner/chef used to get incensed at people who would come in and expect to be fed in an hour because they had tickets to a show later. Every time I told him a table needed food quickly cursing would ensue, with some “This isn’t McDonald’s” thrown in followed by more cursing. I much preferred the pace in that restaurant, especially once the early show crowd rush was over.

  27. flora

    The winter covid surge is bad. Thanks to IM Doc and others in the brain trust for sensible comments about boosting one’s immune system and taking precautions.

    Also, imo, we must not let this disease cause us to throw out the baby with the bathwater, as the old saying goes. Politicians doing medicine has worked predictably badly to date. (What haven’t they got wrong?) This Spiked article is from Dec. 6th.

    1. GramSci

      A good screed, but it fails to mention the consideration that current vaccines are *non-sterilizing*. On our hegira to hell north to DC we’ve been staying with retired schoolteacher friends in South Carolina who watch PBS like it’s the Pledge of Allegiance. They remain blissfully and self-righteously ignorant of this fact and of its mutational consequences. As it stands, this screed will not serve to educate them.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        He recognizes Biden as a thug and knows Biden only kicks down, and Biden already sent the Delaware Senators to vote with Manchin and Sinema against the minimum wage increase.

        Biden would have to move against a US Senator, and Biden only kicks poor people. Manchin knows it. So he will just sit there. Manchin won’t go other to McConnell because he’ll just be another GOP Senator and replaced.

        1. Dave in Austin

          I listened to the whole Manchin interview. He didn’t fault Biden. When baited he refused to charecterize the “White House statement”, which isn’t really anything except the press aide barking, as a statement by the president.

          According to the reports Manchin gave his leadership the usual1/2 heads-up. After he did that he refused to take a call from a “White House staffer”. Biden seems to have known his sunny statement was wishful thinking so he didn’t intervene and make the call to Manchin himself, letting both parties of the hook.

          Manchin’s actual words left open the possibility that a more focused and narrow bill in January might get his support. This interview was respectful politics at its best. But the look on the face of the rookie host when got the news, after Manchin said it twice, was priceless.

          Manchin doesn’t burn bridges. He didn’t even take the bait and blame the progressives.

          1. Yves Smith

            The only thing that is surprising is that Manchin made a very simple statement of what was obvious. Manchin has refused to support the bill for how many months? We said at least a month ago, and maybe even two, that the BBB was done because if Manchin’s (and Sinema’s) vote could be obtained by any tools Biden was willing to use, the bill would be passed already.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Never, but Biden must have made it clear he’ll never retaliate against President Manchin. The guy went on FoxNews. He’s just thumbing his nose at Biden. The man is clearly a terrorist, but he knows they won’t strip of him committee or go after his criminal daughter. Hell, Biden probably will continue to call him a friend, even while President Manchin is taking a dump on the rug.

      Biden’s tough guy act was always just that.

      1. Geo

        Just a week or two ago the conversation was about whether Biden will run for re-election or not. Now, it’s about if he even is president.

        Leave it to the Dems to elect someone capable of making Trump look competent and engaged.

        As for Manchin: His state of West Virginia is already cashing in on the “bipartisan” infrastructure bill with $2M for airport upgrades. Good to know the PMC’s and CEO’s of WV will have a nicer travel hub. As for the majority of WV who are too poor to see the inside of an airport… they’ll just have to enjoy their status as a third world regarding education, health care, infrastructure and economic disparity.
        Airport funds:
        WV rankings:

        Be interesting to see how much clout Manchin has in a GOP lead senate next year. My guess is all the love he’s getting now from his colleagues across the aisle (and rightwing news) will evaporate quickly.

  28. Amfortas the hippie

    re: wapo –generals freaking out:

    lay this heartfelt plea to shore up the Norms next the Doctorow bit, and the overarching Crises of Legitimacy it points to.
    like including a breakdown of racial demographics in every article, this desire to go after the “propagandists” and “disinformation” is as performative and hollow as what they presume to “fight”.
    again, i find that i am wholly unrepresented in this country…”Both” parties are corrupt as the day is long, and don’t care one whit about me, or anyone i know.
    both are locked into their neighboring bubbles, and cannot contemplate the nuance…as well as the more accurate generalisations… about who lives outside of those bubbles.
    let trump and hillary come work on my farm for a month before they presume to rule, dammit.
    no cameras, no phones, and let the SS stay well in the background.
    these career militarists can’t get their head around why so many people are so angry….and , as in most of the freakouts, from “both sides”, the great majority of the apathetic and uninvolved are erased entirely.
    had a college kid working out here last week…smart, precocious(annoyingly so, at times), presents as mildly ADHD and OCD, and a devout Catholic, to boot(asked for the afternoon off to go do the rituals around Mary getting knocked up by G*d.)
    as a habit, i encourage…as subtly as possible…discourse…and he took the bait i left laying all over the place.
    he’d hold forth about capitalism, religion, even the New Deal….and then allowed me to hold forth.
    his mom’s a right wing nutjob(literally) and coach and math teacher…and it showed…but modified by his dad, obviously, who is also a coach, teaches shop class and history and even has a mini classics library…his dad is also a right winger, but of the more thoughtful kind(russel kirk, perhaps).
    i’m interested for him to come back when he needs more gas/beer money…so i can glean his parents’ reaction to whatever he brought home from my place,lol….remembering Socrates’ fate.
    as i’ve said before…this is likely the only way left to us to “save civilisation”, or at least pockets of it…socratic dialog, asking questions and listening before reciting whatever dogma…meeting people where they’re at.
    the various pmc safaris into the bush to find out who inhabits their country were all lacking in that part about listening and meeting them where they’re at(except for Arnade).
    all that will do is reinforce the bubbles, and do nothing to palliate our decline.

  29. Jason Boxman

    And this NY Times Op Ed normalizes breakthroughs! (While curiously minimizing their frequency before Omicron.)

    Annual shots, as with seasonal flu variants, and boosters, as with tetanus, have always been an accepted part of infectious disease prevention. And outside of the Covid pandemic, no one really speaks of breakthrough infections, though the term may still apply. In the future, getting Covid-19 boosters and breakthroughs will feel like the new normal, Dr. Ellebedy said.

    The goal posts keep moving. We’ve gone from “you’re protected” to “breakthrough is normal” and “get booster shots periodically” where for SARS-COV-2 periodically is probably on the order of every 8 months or so. Yeah, that’s gonna go well.

    And this:

    This was always bound to happen: As more Americans get vaccinated and more variants circulate, more infections are expected among the vaccinated. But Omicron is speeding up the process.

    Well, yes, but no one from the Establishment was saying jack all about it 18 months ago, or 12 months ago, or even 6 months ago.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>Well, yes, but no one from the Establishment was saying jack all about it 18 months ago, or 12 months ago, or even 6 months ago.

      What? Better check that memory, friend.

      Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “…normalizes breakthroughs…”

      A cynic might say it was “lucky” that omicron–“discovered” by the intrepid epidemiologists in South Africa fer chrissakes and completely blindsiding the american “experts” per vp harris–came along just in time to explain the increasingly obvious worthlessness of the “vaccine” that is getting harder and harder to cover up. (See the NFL, for example, where the crisis is in the essentially fully-“vaxxed” player/staff cohort and not the hundreds of thousands of recklessly aerosolizing fans.)

      From IM Doc’s comment above:

      The promised testing improvements under the Biden administration have failed to materialize. Indeed, things may be worse now. We have so so many patients doing testing on their own that numbers cannot be accurately maintained…

      So now we’re supposed to believe that the same “public health” establishment that failed to anticipate and prepare for inevitable virus mutations have swung into gear and are sequencing the willy-nilly test results competently enough to establish the prevalence of “omicron” and predict its course?

      I, for one, am not buyin’ any of it.

  30. steve

    Four antidotes and a reminder of the good in the world…there certainly has been an unpleasant whiff in the air of late and the bad news keeps a rollin’ and so I’m reminded of this, and for those not familiar, this is from a pre-christian tradition:

    Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius:

    “Such is the new birth of the Kosmos; it is a making again of all things good, a holy and awe-striking restoration of all nature; and it is wrought in the process of time by the eternal will of God.

    For Gods will has no beginning; it is ever the same, and as it now is, even so it has ever been, without beginning.

    For it is the very being of God to purpose good.”

    Of course that’s after a brutal period of “disorder”.

  31. stefan

    Adam Tooze on stalled presidency in New Statesman:

    “In light of the anti-democratic drift of the GOP, the stakes in 2022 are extremely high. It is hard to exaggerate the havoc that might be wrought by a Republican-controlled House on top of a deeply conservative Senate, a Supreme Court stacked with reactionary judges, and state legislatures and governors across the country dedicated to rolling back the Democratic win and consolidating Republican power…”

  32. Tom Stone

    I’m hoping one of the WH reporters asks slow Joe what his administrations plans are to deal with the next variant to emerge.
    And I won’t be at all surprised if our “Leading Liberals” call for a Military Junta to save “Our Democracy”.
    2022 is going to be a very interesting year…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      We should really focus and ask Joe Biden why President Manchin’s daughter is not being investigated for price gouging.

      Now Biden is whining about being blind sided.

  33. chris

    From the Kamala interview article in the Hill:

    “We didn’t see Delta coming. I think most scientists did not — upon whose advice and direction we have relied — didn’t see Delta coming,” Harris said. “We didn’t see Omicron coming. And that’s the nature of what this, this awful virus has been, which as it turns out, has mutations and variants.”

    Barring everything that has been discussed on NC, scientists were theorizing about what kind of combinations of mutations were required for immune escape all this past year. Here’s one example of a peer reviewed paper that was published in September.

    To hear people in government trot out the line that no one could have known this would happen so we didn’t prepare…

    I’m speechless. She may actually be right. The White House may nothing been talking to anyone who thought this could happen. But isn’t this kind of analysis the point of paying for all those fancy degrees and intelligence briefings? You plan for the worst and accommodate what you can so that our country isn’t crippled?

    Bah humbug. What a Christmas :(

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Don’t underestimate rank stupidity. I know a retired history professor, and at a local dem event, he was ranting about how dumb Republicans are for not believing in evolution. He then proceeded to explain how simple and obvious evolution is by describing Lamarckian (spelling) evolution. Natural selection and mutation never entered hus understanding but some half remembered line about giraffes from childhood was evolution in his mind. Lamarckian evolution has never been taught in schools officially. No, he wasn’t confusing some single cell organisms that reproduce asexually. He was talking about giraffes.

      It’s entirely possible she simply never learned anything about this until it proved to be a major inconvenience for her. We go through life assuming people know basic stuff, but we shouldn’t give them credit.

      1. Pat

        I agree that everyone has aspects of basic education that have been missed. But to me the only basic stupidity we should grant the Biden administration in this is dependence on greedy and willfully stupid experts. By willfully I mean they know better but either created a bubble where unwelcome thought is not allowed (“don’t bring me bad news” or else) OR they actively ignored details that would interfere with their personal goals. We have evidence of Fauci doing this with two deadly diseases. The first might be excused as ideological, but this one cannot be excused so lightly. SARS viruses mutating is how we got the first version of 19.

        Everyone directing our national public health is quite clearly being driven by things that are NOT about the public’s health. That could be politics, funding, post government employment, and yes investments, but little of it is lack of basic knowledge.

    2. cocomaan

      I’m speechless. She may actually be right. The White House may nothing been talking to anyone who thought this could happen.

      Likely anyone who brought up such eventualities was politely left off the next meeting request.

      This is how it works in every organization I’ve ever worked in: anyone who doesn’t tow the ideological line gets thrown out.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think her quote indicates its more than a company line. Its entirely possible they are learning about mutation for the first time.

        1. Samuel Conner

          Perhaps they’re also learning for the first time about the difference between “sterilizing” and “non-sterilizing” vaccines.

    3. cnchal

      > “We didn’t see Delta coming. I think most scientists did not — upon whose advice and direction we have relied — didn’t see Delta coming,” Harris said. . .

      Total idiocy. While Delta was ravaging India and even the MSM was pointing it out nightly, Biden was behind the podium telling us, if vaxxed to take the masks off and party on as if the pandemic was over. That is a fact and no amount of whocoodanode can sweep that ugliness under the lino.

      The disgrace is that these are the “folks” large and in charge.

  34. Wukchumni

    We’re so divided in our every life is special way of thinking under the auspices of Capitalism, you can sense & feel a lockdown is imminent, but will public adherence to the law amount to much in what promises to be a world wide super spreader event?

    Boudreaux, the Sheriff for Tulare County leans so far right he probably tips over occasionally and in the past since Covid has hit, will not enforce state mask edicts.

    If the Soviet bloc party was still in the league, they would have had the easiest time dealing with a pandemic compared to us in that compliance was a given, but the bastards folded up and went away.

  35. fresno dan
    The principle that explains his seemingly contradictory outlook toward Jews is simple: Trump believes all the anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews. But he sees those traits as admirable…..As a man who has always stood solely for his own naked self-interest, Trump does not see the anti-Semitic conception of the self-interested Jew as a complaint, but rather a compliment.
    “Pro-Israel” versus “anti-Israel” is meaningless in his politics. There’s only “pro-Trump” and “anti-Trump.”
    One could see how Trump perversely could attract simultaneously anti-semites and pro-Israeli supporters (?pro-semite?) at the same time. For the pro-Israelis “Trump believes in Israel no matter what!” is positive and for the anti-semites “Trump understands that Jews put Israel first at the expense of America first!”
    I think this is just another example of Trump being totally transparent – the difference being that every member of Congress that supported Netanyahu speaking to congress would cannot ackowledge that Israel has disproportinate influence on congress.
    So, at least on this issue, and for all the wrong reasons, Trump is closer to reality than any member of either party.
    “Pro-Israel” versus “anti-Israel” is meaningless in his politics. And being anti-semitic is also meaningless in understanding Trump’s view of things.

  36. Phil in KC

    Vaccine and mask mandates are ending just as Omicron really takes off in the U.S. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that many public officials were protecting the virus from public health measures. The virus seems the real winner here.

    1. cocomaan

      Same way that al-Qaeda won the war on terror. One attack and the US empire lost all sense of proportion and somehow ended up failing to do regime change in multiple countries.

      1. ambrit

        More importantly in the long run, also showing that it was incapable of effecting regime change in multiple countries. Yes, some States disappeared, but the replacements were by no means what America publically professed as wanting.
        Secondly, Russia showed that America can be opposed, and stymied. Once the Myth of Imperial Exceptionalism is debunked, the rules change, and not necessarily in favour of the former Hegemon.

  37. JohnnyGL

    Charlamagne Tha God might be the best interviewer in the corporate media out there right now. The man consistently gets jaw-dropping quotes from big names whenever he gets an opening. From HRC’s hot sauce in her purse comment (his follow up was to ask which brand), to Biden’s “if you don’t vote for me, then you ain’t black” quote.

    Now, check out his interview with Kamala Harris.

    Specifically, note in the 10th minute, he asks specifically about Joe Manchin being a problem. She then goes on to filibuster for 3 minutes straight, then, he rehashes and asks the question again. She filibusters again on Manchin, specifically.

    He then asks about student loans in the 15-16th minute, and then brings up Joe Manchin again in the context of the voting rights bills in congress. You can start to hear Symone Sanders pulling the plug.

    In the 18th minute, he asks “Who’s president? Joe Biden or Joe Manchin?” Again, Symone Sanders tries to pull the plug, but Harris continues. Charlamagne specifically points out that it’s going to be hard to get turnout up among black voters in the midterms if Dems don’t deliver.

    Then, after she doesn’t touch Manchin again, he flatters her to wrap it up.

    I’ll do a separate commentary after this summary.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Now, what can we take away from this? I think the above clip is worth hanging onto for a nice neat summary of the state of the Democratic Party in 2021.

      Charlamagne patiently spent 10 minutes trying to get the Vice President to acknowledge that Joe Manchin is a problem. She does not concede the point, or even directly address the issue. I don’t think there’s any way to sustain the idea that Biden’s presidency is being hamstrung by Senator Manchin when VP Harris either voluntarily, or under orders from the White House, won’t speak a word of criticism about the Senator.

      It really helps to illustrate the Corey Robin tweets that Lambert has been re-upping for the past couple of weeks.

      Bernie Sanders just did a recent interview where he basically states that the Build Back Better plan was essentially a bundle of Biden’s campaign promises. So, why isn’t the White House showing more than a passing interest in pursuing them?

      The current state of affairs can’t possibly be seen to be a thoroughly considered political stance, as it’s already shaping up to be a colossal failure, yet there’s no visible attempts to change course? Why not? Who’s making the decision to stick to the current set of policies?

      Is it an uneasy compromise among warring factions within the Administration? With factions in the Senate and House? Where are the battle lines drawn? Why is no one in the press even interested in asking or answering these kinds of questions? They would certainly make for a lovely long-form piece in the NYT or Politico.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        So, why isn’t the White House showing more than a passing interest in pursuing them?

        Besides corruption. Look at Biden. He’s a dimwit. He’s lazy. Hard work is not something he will do. It’s “c’mon man”. He also very much rejected the idea we need to organize. It was very much part of his campaign and that personal relationships work.

        If you look at his record, he’s really only passed bad legislation where something like an expansion of Head Start was held over people.

        The simple answer is he doesn’t know how and will simply lack the basic understanding to even start to acknowledge how he might go forward. He has to start from 0 with everything. His original plan was to make friends, and then President Manchin would come on over. BIden didn’t let him vote with Sinema alone. The Delaware Senators voted against the minimum wage too. He rode to Manchin’s rescue in the caucus. Even thugs like Warner wouldn’t vote against it. This is where he started. Biden probably doesn’t even know he has leverage over President Manchin. He’s just too lazy and ignorant to recognize it.

        Senate decorum aside, whining about Manchin being a liar is further emasculation. He’s obviously a liar. He lies every time he opens his mouth. Manchin probably couldn’t even say its the month of December. Now that Biden is saying he was untruthful, so what? Manchin went on FoxNews to do this. He does not care about Biden coming after him. Everyone else knows he’s a liar. Manchin won’t be governor of West Virginia. He won’t be reelected. He reached a point where he is likely so unpopular, even voting won’t get him reelected. And the Senate map likely means he’ll be the 53rd or 54th Senator regardless of polling.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The current state of affairs can’t possibly be seen to be a thoroughly considered political stance, as it’s already shaping up to be a colossal failure, yet there’s no visible attempts to change course? Why not?

        I am actively pursuing a state of non-bafflement on this question, but without success so far. How is that that a party that can cripple Trump (albeit with the aid of the intelligence community and the press), and then muster its whole strength to stomp on Sanders, and yet fail so dismally to govern? (As I point out in Water Cooler, a Swiss Cheese strategy on Covid is a virtual jobs guarantee for the PMC.) I have never encountered a dereliction of duty like this, and I can’t think of historical parallel in the United States, unless perhaps the Whigs, yet today we have — incredibly!!! — no national question like slavery, which is what broke the Whigs apart.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Presidency is so powerful minor whims disrupt everything, so the neoliberals can’t swing to a singular focus because everyone is out for their own trough. Then the President is like a bull in a china shop. Biden is just lazy and won’t follow up on anything, but he’ll disrupt any plans with a tv appearance, even a shrinking President like Biden.

          I disagree about crippling Trump. He was really effective for a minority elected President.

          There is also decadence setting in. Pelosi doesn’t have to run against Republicans, but she gets to appoint the people in charge of running against Republicans. Bad staffers can stay because of patronage.

          In the end, it boils down to Biden’s disinterest which is his character, and a cadre of people who understand a Buttigieg victory is a loss for Neera and vice versa.

          1. ChrisRUEcon


            The real battle is not Team Blue vs Team Red, it’s Plutocracy+Kleptocracy vs #TheRestOfUs

            The point is never to govern if by govern one means delivering tangible, material benefits to the masses. It is instead always to serve the dictates of the plutocrat ruling class and that means tax breaks, bailouts, subsidies and corporate-friendly policy. Every time one figures that a new low has been reached (vis-a-vis dereliction of duty), it turns out to be a point of inflection. There is apparently no depth too low to be plumbed by this horrid political duopoly.

        2. Jen

          Perhaps the answer lies in Schizmogenesis:

          “According to the Davids, new cultures are budded off of others — a process called schizmogenesis — when one group of people define themselves in opposition to another”

          Think about what the Democrats have done. The whole 2020 election was essentially about not being Trump. Most of our politicians haven’t the faintest clue about what it takes to actually keep the country running. They assume that because as far as their experience shows, everything is working out splendidly, that it will just continue to do so.

          Since 2016, the Dems have defined themselves as “not Trump.” And they won, just barely. Perhaps in their minds, that is all they needed to do.

        3. JohnnyGL

          “How is that that a party that can cripple Trump (albeit with the aid of the intelligence community and the press), and then muster its whole strength to stomp on Sanders, and yet fail so dismally to govern? “

          I think this gives the party too much credit. In each of these two instances, other forces made the decision to lead, and the PMC institutions followed.

          For Trump, they didn’t cripple him, just re-oriented him in a direction (sanctioning Russia and cozying up to Saudi Arabia) that suited them better. It was intel officials and nat sec bureaucrats like State Dept in the lead. Media and Dem Party just followed their lead. And, to be clear, they drove Trump’s polls to their highest ever level on the eve of his impeachment in Jan 2020. He was probably going to win if he hadn’t been so damned uninterested in dealing with COVID.

          For taking down Sanders, really it was down to Obama himself. The media spent months pushing Harris/Buttigieg/Klobouchar/Bloomberg. They failed. Obama himself screwed it up for months trying to push Warren who was never going to achieve sustained support. That failed too.

          Once Biden had a win under his belt, and a decisive one at that, all Obama had to do was pick up the phone and tell the field to fall in line. No one else in the Democratic Party had the stature to make a move like that. Only Obama could do it.

          So, I’d argue the two examples you’ve listed of PMC organizing successfully are actually much more mixed, — arguably even failures, concealed by external factors.

          As far as historical examples of ‘dereliction of duty’, well, the war effort in WWI was pretty dismal, crippled by profiteering monopolies. American troops were barely arriving in France in substantial numbers more than a year after America entered the war.

          1. sd

            Struck me as more Clinton Global Initiative than Obama. Obama is too much of a narcissist to care (how many autobiographies is enough…) The Clinton’s and all their little consultants, they care that their grift doesn’t end.

    2. PHLDenizen

      Filibuster is too kind. That’s straight up tergiversation. Somehow she manages to sound even dumber than W. And apparently everyone forgets that autocratic rule was legitimized back in 2000 when the Supreme Court decided to appoint The Puppet Bush and The Monarch Cheney president.

      Her always on the precipice of sobbing affect is also grating: a broken series of unsuccessful gestures. And a self-righteous conviction that the Maddow crowd’s flabby impressionability is enough to carry them unharmed through 2022.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the Inner DemParty Lords and Leaders agree with you, they will probably decide to re-coronate Senator Clinton as their nominee yet again. With either Harris or Buttigieg as her running mate.

        It would create a vacuum and an opportunity for Gabbard and a movement to get Gabbard on the ballot in a few key Big Electoral states, just enough that if she won those, she could deny either BiParty candidate an election victory, and could then force the House of Reps to elect a President.

  38. The Hunt for the Fun Twitter

    Anybody that help me?
    Some time ago a twitter account was linked to that was hilarious but I forgot the name of it.
    The guy wrote about Europe and US in the very same terminology like Western media write about Africa. E.g. “On the sub-scandinavian continent, the situation is dire and conflicts along ethnic lines are commonplace.”
    I would really appreciate your help finding this twitter account again.

    1. bradford

      Duckduckgo “sub-scandinavian” led me to, which led me to @gathara, which I’ll bet is the one you want.

      1. The Hunt for the Fun Twitter

        Thank you so much bradford!
        Highly irritating too because I have spent real time om ddg searching with that term too bit haven’t found gathara. The search bubble is true for ddg too?
        Again thanks a lot for your help. You made my life better ?

  39. Wukchumni

    BBB going down in flames while student loan repayment will be soon reinforced is tantamount to a 14 point swing in a football game.

    You almost get the feeling the Donkey Show not only wants to be beaten to a pulp in November, but is hoping to get tarred & feathered too.

    Career advice

    Then: ‘Learn to code’

    Now: ‘Learn to cope’

  40. fresno dan

    Lambert here: We should not forget that there is an enormous amount of good done in the world, and one purpose of “the news” may be to distract us from this. Ditto solidarity expressed and acted upon.

    Merry Christmas and Happy new year!

  41. Redlife2017

    Update from the centre of Omicron – Islington, North London:

    *Suddenly have queues at the butcher. We haven’t had that since the Spring lockdown – the store reinstituted only 2 family groups inside the store at any one time. One older gentleman was queuing and then saw how many people were in the store (2 family groups can be a lot of people). He decided to wait outside. One of the butchers realised that he was waiting outside and didn’t let anyone in until the numbers came down and invited the gentleman in.

    * A local very popular cafe that went total open in September (no masks even for the help) has gone back to takeaway / delivery only this weekend. The Redlife family will be supporting this business for their good sense.

    * The VERY popular giant pub with indoor and outdoor seating (with heaters and table service!) has closed this weekend until after Christmas. The note said: “We have made the very difficult decision to close our doors until after Christmas for the safety of our staff and customers.” The Redlife family will be going to their outdoor area as often as possible in the Spring / Summer to support their decision.

    What this adds up to us is a Wildcat Lockdown – December 2021 edition. This happened as well prior to the 23 March 2020 lockdown. You see, it isn’t the lockdowns that destroy economic activity – it is the virus…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      This is one thing that gets me about the stupidity of the hospitality lobby. They are acting suicidally by fighting restrictions at every step. All that happens is that you end up with responsible owners losing out to those willing to stretch the rules, and all losing out because customers stay away.

      They could instead go to the government and say ‘lets shut everything quickly when needed – but the government needs to cover all staff costs and rents’. Plus government money to fund things like outdoor dining for when open. Plus of course investment with shared costs in Hema filters and other necessary alterations.

      Once you get into a battle between the PR side of the hospitality industry and weak governments, you end up in a situation where nobody wins except the virus.

      1. c_heale

        Regarding the UK, the hospitality industry has been asking for government help, but to no effect, recently.

        Imo the UK government is following the herd immunity plan, although they have kept it undercover. There is no other way to explain the fact that in UK schools, children are allowed to wear masks in corridors but are forbidden to do so in the classrooms.

      2. Basil Pesto

        The hope is that hospitality will realise that, oh, this is going to happen over and over and over again and maybe we should look to jurisdictions that have done things better at some point.

        I’m hoping the lesson will be more pointed here, where most other states that aren’t NSW or Vic have been Zero Covid for the past two years and the whole country is about to get a short, sharp lesson in what “living with the virus” looks like. Why “live with” it when that course of action is so manifestly worse than the past two years, pre-vaccine rationalisation of “living with it”

  42. Bart Hansen

    This is from Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times ‘Well’ section

    Get a booster shot so you don’t bring Omicron home for the holidays.

    I’m ending today’s newsletter with a plea: If you haven’t gotten your booster shot already, get one now.

    (Emphasis hers)

  43. AndrewJ

    I’m curious about feelings in the commentariat about personally getting The Booster. If you had asked me a week ago, I would have said no way, no how; a new-tech vaccine based on a strain that isn’t even circulating anymore, but more importantly being pushed far too hard by organizations that I have zero trust in, that does not reduce transmission, seemed like a no-brainer – in the “heck no” category (as a 37 year old in okay physical shape).
    These last few days, though, I’m not so sure. It seems like a lot of folks here in big city Oregon are getting on the booster bandwagon. I went looking for any evidence that the mRNA vaccines may have long term effects, and can’t find much that fleshes out claims of ADE or other aspects of the novel tech, or that there is anything that will crop up in 10 years that hasn’t been seen in the last year-ish of them being unleashed on the population at large. There are claims both ways as far as reduction in transmission goes, though obviously far from sterilizing and incapable of ending the pandemic even with hundred percent compliance. And it looks like a booster does offer some protection from severe disease, at least for a couple months, against Delta. On the other hand, two weeks of efficacy against Omicron seems pretty useless.
    So on one hand, I can’t find any substantiated long-term-effect reasons to not get a booster, and it’ll help with Delta. On the other hand, I don’t trust Pfizer or any of the other creeps in charge, I don’t like shots, I don’t like being a guinea pig, it seems like it will be next to useless against Omicron, and where do I draw a line? The next “booster”? The one after that? If I am leery of piling up the total number of these vaccines I get, do I want to bank a booster shot for when we finally get a vaccine retooled against a relevant variant?

    What are your personal calculations, fellow denizens of the comment-o-dome?

    1. Louis Fyne

      anecdote, me only: every family member I know over-65, hell ya.

      me (2x Pfizer, under-65, not fat, never had even vanilla flu, am not socializing outside of my very small bubble, will not set foot in a bar or restaurant): begrudingly I’ll prob get the Moderna booster.

      Just like you, incredibly distrustful od the entire process….particularly the slow-playing of the FOIA request to the CDC re. Pfizer vaccine approval data.

      But odds of Long Covid is greater than odds of all the known side effects by a ginormous factor. That said, I’d rather be a hermit for 3 months than take a booster if that was an option

    2. Wukchumni

      I’m about 711 days from hitting the SS Jackpot and my first monthly stipend…

      Got both Pfizer shots in late April-early May and had every right to be incredulous based on the Rx vibes presented here well ahead of the curve, but to my way of thinking what else do I have to fall back on aside from being the ultimate hermit in terms of protection?

      It felt good akin to a sugar high-safe at last!

      We had lunch with my mom and a dozen family members in late May with all of us double vaxed, we’re in the clear!

      Now I get it, and maybe the Moderna booster shot I had on Thursday was superfluous and not effective against Omicron, in essence a placebo, but again what is Plan B?

      I’ve been quite fatigued for 4 days now, lotsa sleeping, lethargy and general loopiness beyond the usual pale.

      I had no reaction other than a sore arm with the initial Pfizer jabs.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I took the booster when offered (moderna, after Pfizer shots). I have no faith in the vaccine led approach and I worry deeply about the mass use of such poorly tested drugs.

      However, it seems clear to me that the potential long term health impacts of a bad dose of covid significantly outweighs the potential risk of the vaccines. The unknowns about omicron to me firmly pushes the risk profile towards getting the booster.

    4. Maritimer

      No one, expert or otherwise, has ever explained why a person should engage in an experiment with Criminal Organizations like PFI, AZ, JJ. See

      So, that is where injections start and end for me. No thanks. It is absolutely stunning that Governments around the World work in lock step with these criminal organizations.

      As has been said “Fool me once (with your crimes) shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

      1. Basil Pesto

        No one, expert or otherwise, has ever explained why a person should engage in an experiment with Criminal Organizations like PFI, AZ, JJ.

        About half a dozen people above and below your comment have explained why.

        Is there a reason your heuristic (while understandable up to a point) is better than theirs?

        1. Yves Smith

          To your point, these vaccines do help a substantial majority of the people who take them. The problem is benefits have been oversold (for Delta and Omicron, they don’t do much if anything to prevent contagion) and enough people do get side effects beyond feeling like crap for 24 to 36 hours to confirm concerns re the adequacy of testing.

          But you do not want to get Covid. T-cell depletion (which increases risk of cancer), brain inflammation, long Covid and all sorts of other things happen, even in asymptomatic cases. And most people are not in a position to play hermit.

          1. Tom

            Is there any correlation between severity and T-cell depletion? Or any other factor? The soft tissue cancer spike is really scary. Thanks.

    5. LaRuse

      I got a Pfizer boost on Dec. 5 after double Pfizer jabs in the Spring. I was not thrilled with doing so, nor do I believe it will go to any great lengths to keeping me from getting Omicron. My husband is ALL IN on the jabs. He says he would volunteer to get one every 2-4 months. He even supports withholding care from non-vaxxed patients. We vehemently disagree on this front.
      However, we will see his family on Christmas eve, all of whom are COVID survivors, none of whom are practicing any social distancing or even good masking techniques. His 82 year old mom (widowed thanks to COVID) insists that nothing can change, so we will have her fried chicken and collards for dinner on Christmas even and open presents and be in close contact for 4-6 hours. So if I went, unboosted to see his family, came down sick and they came down sick after me, the rhetoric in the home would reach divorce petition levels.
      So I boosted. Unlike my first pfizer jabs, when I had a fierce headache and fatigue, I was fine this time except a chicken egg-sized lump raised up at the base of my neck, above my collar bone, in front of my trapezius muscle on the left side, the side where I got my shot. It was hot and hurt for 3 days and I was scared it was a blood clot, and then it went down and peace was back on in the house since I had my third needle.
      Would I have bowed to pressure if not for spouse’s attitude? Probably eventually. I think the risks of the vaxxes are less than that of COVID, but I don’t think they are effective enough to warrant the rhetoric around them. I wish things were different.

    6. NotTimothyGeithner

      I signed up for trials. I didn’t get in because I had the antibodies, but my sisters were in trials for the chickenpox. I’m healthy.

      Someone has to sign up, and I have a will and a living will.

    7. c_heale

      I’m also half and half on the booster. I have the first two shots (Pfizer), but got them very late ( 2 months ago), mainly because my wife wanted me too. I have a very serious long term (probably fatal) illness which suppresses my Vit D levels. But my illness is also likely to affect my heart as time goes on. My wife has the booster.

      Personally I’m prepared to wait a a couple of months longer to see if anything changes.

      I have friends that are unvaccinated.

      I live in Korea, so most people are very good about masking.

      My family live in the UK where Covid is out of control and many people, especially in the cities don’t wear masks. I think I would be more inclined to get the booster if I lived there.

    8. Objective Ace

      I can see the pros and cons both ways, that said–I think the long term side effects are being significantly downplayed and ignored. If you were searching for them on google you certainly wont come across anything. But either way.. we dont really have enough data to know what is best (and surely it differs person to person, risk profie to risk profile either way)

    9. Basil Pesto

      I mean, I’d rather not have to, but when the virus is running amok, what are you gonna do? You can try and avoid the virus but when it’s this transmissible, that’s going to be a lot harder. On the other hand, if you live in Japan, or China, that’s going to be a lot easier. Even if the benefit of a booster is transient, going into the holiday season, that could make a decisive difference. So I’d get boostered, except I can’t because I only got my 2nd AZ shot 10 days ago – delaying it for so long because I was trying to make the best decision according to known information vis a vis Delta at the time, and was seeking protection that would (hopefully) last going into southern Winter in June. But this is what “living with the virus” looks like. Constant uncertainty and changing circumstances. I now have to wait 5 months before I can be boosted (boostered?) although I expect that will be two months by the end of January. But who knows what the situation will be by then?

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’m in the same boat as you, Basil. Just got my 2nd AZ shot today so now am playing it wary for the next fortnight to see for any after-effects. Like you, I was trying to judge when to take the vaccines so that I would be ready when they opened the borders up but not that successfully as they are opening up so fast. By the time 5 months rocks by, I expect Delta to be long gone from the scene and Omicron the dominant strain so we will see how that works out by then. Helluva way to run a railway is all I can say.

    10. SB

      I came down with tinnitus after getting the J&J shot in early March and I still have it. VAERS shows all three vaccines associated with cases of tinnitus, so I’m very reluctant to get a booster and risk making the tinnitus worse even though I agree with other commenters that I really don’t want to get COVID either.
      As an alternative, I have a prescription for IVM and I’m following the FLCCC protocol taking it twice a week along with vitamins C, D, zinc, melatonin, and quercitin. I also have Viraldine brand 1% povidone iodine nasal spray handy.
      If I didn’t have tinnitus, I’d probably take a booster as part of a layered defense, although I don’t like the idea that there’ll be another booster after that and another, etc. I like the Pfizer loyalty card that was posted here a few days ago that showed after your tenth booster you got a free toaster!

    11. eg

      Already took it. All the other options appeal to me even less.

      So now my immune system is a carnival ride — I had one AZ, then one Moderna and now one Pfizer …

  44. Wukchumni

    Casa Blanca quotes, updated.

    “As the leader of all illegal activities in Casa Blanca, I am an influential and respected man.”

    “You overestimate the influence of Manchin. I don’t interfere with him and he doesn’t interfere with me. In Casa Blanca I am master of my fate!”

    “You want to feel sorry for yourself, don’t you? With so much at stake, all you can think of is your own feelings. One woman has hurt you, and you take your revenge on the rest of the world. You’re a coward and a weakling were you to die and she assumes the Presidency.”

    “I might as well be frank, monsieur. It would take a miracle to get you out of Casa Blanca, and the Republicans have outlawed miracles.”

    “Realizing the importance of the case, my men are rounding up twice the usual number of suspects, both Sinema & Manchin.”

    “Heh, you know, watching you just now give into the Banks, one would think you’ve been doing this all your life.”

    “Oh, what makes you think I haven’t?”

    “Oh, n-n-n-nothing, but when you first came to Casa Blanca, I thought…”

    “You thought what?”

    “Hm, what right do I have to think, huh?”

  45. Elizabeth

    Thank you IM Doc for your report today and your recommendations about vitamins. I’ve been doing this regimen for quite awhile. I can’t say it often enough, you are an invaluable part of NC’s brain trust. Thank you so much. Please take care of yourself and best wishes for a Happy Christmas.

    1. Wukchumni

      My Kevin will have to do without Devin, who resigns at the end of the year.

      He never had any credibility to lose, so call it a push.

  46. Louis Fyne

    The latest Spiderman reboot opened this weekend, $250+ million in ticket sales worldwide.

    Super-spreader event brought to you by Hollywood? Curious to see what happens in 14 days.

    1. Louis Fyne

      correction: 250+ million domestic, 300+ million outside the US. will easily cruise past $600+ million after today.

  47. stefan

    If I were Joe Biden, I’d go barnstorming immediately for BBB, starting tomorrow with multiple stops in West Virginia. Either the Democrats can show that there is widespread popular support for their agenda or they can’t. Have to do the legwork.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Manchin doesn’t care at this point. He got his subsidies for his failing mining company and is now playing Mr Smith Goes to Washington fantasy. Like all Frank Kapra movies its a stupid movie.

      He’s a thug. He only understands fear. Biden has coddled him for months on end. Voters being grumpy. He doesn’t care. He lost his fantasy of being Governor again when people were protesting his yacht.

      The AG needs to be replaced. That will get his attention.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It may be too late for “getting his attention” to matter any more.

        Should the goal be changed to “getting revenge”?

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          He’s a mine owner and his daughter is at the epicenter of insulin price fixing. Biden could make him vote for 6 trillion for transvestite vampires if he was so motivated. Fighting the good fight is fine when you have backing.

    2. Big River Bandido

      There’s nothing left in that monstrosity of a bill that would give Biden a salient issue on which to barnstorm. All the popular items were removed by President Manchin.

  48. NotTimothyGeithner

    “But after months of negotiations, one Democratic U.S. Senator has now summarily walked away from productive negotiations. That is unacceptable, and we cannot act like this moment is the end. Children, families, and the future of our planet are counting on us.” -Spannberger

    I know she’s full of it, but this is the statement she feels she should put out.

    Don’t worry Mark Warner and Timmy have both offered their condolences for a dead Republican today.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        But Spannberger is one of the biggest POS’s out there. This is a big deal. And her district was the epicenter of the November loss in Virginia.

  49. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the maple syrup piece

    This really is a canary in a coalmine demonstrating the reality of climate change in case anyone still needed proof. One reason production has gone up is due to the vacuum systems which draw sap from the tree when the weather won’t allow it to run on its own. That won’t work forever though once trees get too old and the climate is no longer suitable to grow new maples.

    My family has made maple syrup in VT for generations now. My father is in his mid-70s and a few years ago our family didn’t even bother tapping out because the weather wouldn’t cooperate. I asked him if he remembered another year when they didn’t bother and he said there was one that didn’t make any because they hadn’t sold all of the previous year’s bumper crop, but never due to poor weather.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The people who still believe in ” no such thing as global warming” are clue-proof and proof-proof. Nothing will change their so-called “minds” at this or any future point.

      They would best be viewed as damage to be routed around, if possible.

  50. drumlin woodchuckles

    Dear Krutika Kappali,

    If you are part of the WHO conspiracy to prevent knowledge of the aerial transmission of covid, then you deserve every bit of the abuse you get on social media.

    So my question for you . . . Ms. Krutika Kappali . . . is this: are you telling everyone you know about the aerial transmission of covid? Or are you going along with the Conspiracy of Silence about aerial transmission being ongoingly perpetrated by your masters at WHO?

  51. skippy

    Direct report from Qld of doctors and medical staff responding to a very fit young man [nutritionist] and sports coach after second shot of covid vaccine having upper bound cardio inflation. Presented at ED and all in attendance quickly admitted they knew exactly what it was, not only that, but it was becoming quite common.

    Best bit is during his consultation with cardiologist, who BTW reinforced previous ED views, refused to sign off on a waver for getting the next booster. More so, he frankly stated that if he [patient] thought this experience was bad he was really going to cop it after the booster, so he better be prepared for it.

    This person got the vaccinations over work policies [income] and to continue his coaching youth sports.

    So at the end of the day this and many other cases will not be registered in the medical system because of some political mandate, hence it never happened and cannot be used by the medical field in studies en fin …. because it does not exist …

    Hows that IM Doc … its not just some random betrayal at the patient level, but an attack on the entire scientific discipline present and future by denying raw data collection which could be used to navigate this pandemic and those to come … stick a fork in it …

    BTW agree with the prognosis about planing for the worst having experienced some very ugly environments and lived to tell the tale, would only add that Hope can be just as bad if not worse than Fear, tendency to distract from reality and how to survive it e.g. what if the Calvary never comes. Lookout for yourself, you are needed.

    1. Objective Ace

      Limited sample obviously, but my cardiologist was super sympathetic and understanding of my concerns regarding the vaccines. Cardiologists are actually seeing the people (especially young people) who have been messed up by the vaccines–they arent buying the media and CDC narrative (or at least mine isnt)

      1. skippy

        In this case no medical staff are reporting it but the individual has the choice[tm] to fill out a 20 page report, if so inclined, not that needing a B.S. level to fill them out or anything. Know of a few that are assisting others so this can be at least submitted so there is a paper trail.

  52. Judith

    Some good news. According to the Gravel Institute, Gabriel Boric, the socialist candidate for president of Chile has won.

    1. Daryl

      Interesting. I had only seen snippets about this over the last few months, but I had thought that the opponent was favored.

      Latin America seems to be headed in a better direction these days; hopefully they can stay free of all the evil and madness still being produced and pushed out up here in the US of A.

  53. Wukchumni

    Royal Caribbean ship docks at Miami port with 48 cases of COVID, cruise line says
    We must be awfully close to everything shutting down, tempered of course by the lure of xmas spending, so it’ll happen after Omicron has spread like wildfire, all 48 cases being double vaccinated in this case.

  54. Tom Stone

    I was out and about today and ran into a friend (Outside) who was doing the final shopping for his wife’s annual Christmas party.
    Indoors because it is cold, 30 odd people but it is OK because everyone is vaxxed.
    I did not waste my breath and simply wished him a good time.
    I also watched part of the 49’er, the stands were full and very few masks.
    When the mass casualties hit in January it is going to get really ugly,fast.

  55. neo-realist

    Lucas Kunce for Senate in Missouri–former marine, very promising candidate-break monopolies, corporate pacs, marshall plan for the midwest, universal health care.

    In a sane smart world he could wipe up Hawley

    1. Yves Smith

      Miami is the hub for flights out of Central and South America.

      Suggests he was so sick he or his family wanted him hospitalized ASAP.

      And it’s not as if Washington has any world class teaching hospitals.

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