2:00PM Water Cooler 1/18/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, extra rations today because I was on holiday yesterday. Enjoy –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

“Begging calls coming from a nest.”

State birds:

* * *


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson

Capitol Seizure

“The Endless Loop of Covid-19” [Peggy Noonan]. Not the topic of the column, but: “What I think will be much more important in the excavation of what happened on 1/6/21—and who was behind it—is the January 6 Committee, set to continue hearings in the early spring. There are reports they may be televised in prime time. If they’ve got the goods, and I hope they do. Only stark facts, not words, will break down the walls of denial that need to be broken.” • If they have the goods, and not a yarn diagram. Televized hearings worked during WaterGate. They did not work during Iran-Contra (and in fact Reagan emerged even stronger). One unexpected benefit of televised hearings might have been that some hitherto unheralded Democrat emerged from the pack, since the current 2024 crop is mighty thin. But the members look like duds, to me. The only one that stood out for me was Stephanie Murphy (Florida), and she’s retiring in 2022.

Biden Adminstration

“FTC, DOJ launch joint inquiry aimed at blocking illegal mergers” [The Hill]. “The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust division on Tuesday launched a new inquiry aimed at updating guidelines to block illegal mergers. The agencies are seeking public input to update guidelines over the next 60 days. ‘Illegal mergers can inflict a host of harms, from higher prices and lower wages to diminished opportunity, reduced innovation and less resiliency,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement. ‘We need to understand why so many industries have too few competitors, and to think carefully about how to ensure our merger enforcement tools are fit for purpose in the modern economy,’ assistant attorney general Jonathan Kanter added. The inquiry comes amid a surge in new mergers, filings for which doubled between 2020 and 2021. The two agencies tasked with antitrust enforcement spent 18 months reviewing their joint guidance on vertical mergers during the Trump administration. The FTC voted last fall to withdraw those guidelines on a party-line vote. The Justice Department separately said it intends to review guidelines for both vertical mergers — referring to acquisitions within the same supply chain — and horizontal ones, which deal with competitors. The announcement Tuesday is one of the first major collaborations between Khan and Kanter, two nominees of President Biden who were strongly backed by progressives.” • Khan and Kanter held a presser today. Stoller live-tweeted it:


As of this writing, I can’t find a link where people would make the comments Khan asked for. Perhaps it will come later on in Stoller’s thread, and/or an alert reader will post it.

* * *

“The Week Biden’s Agenda Hit a Wall” [Wall Street Journal]. “Taken together, Mr. Biden’s rough week put into sharp relief the limits of the president’s powers, as he finds himself with little recourse to tame a pandemic, halt inflation or coax victories out of a 50-50 Senate. It also cast a spotlight on key strategic decisions made by the president and his aides: Right out of the gate, Mr. Biden pursued a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 aid bill that some economists warned would spur inflation. He decided to push an employer-vaccine mandate that was legally questionable and politically controversial. And he cast passage of voting legislation as an absolute moral imperative, even though it would require persuading moderate Democrats to reverse longstanding positions on Senate.” • Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks.

“4 things Biden got right in a bumpy first year” [Yahoo Finance]. Still, Biden has accomplished a few important things. Pervasive gloom over never-ending COVID and an inflation outbreak obscures an economy that’s still growing nicely and adding millions of new jobs. The daily turmoil of the Trump presidency is gone, and COVID protection is available to anybody willing to get vaccinated and boosted. Here are four things Biden has largely done right, even if many voters aren’t noticing…. Ending Trump’s trade wars…. The forgotten infrastructure bill… Stabilizing foreign policy…. Sensibility and empathy….”

“How the White House hopes to save Biden’s Build Back Better bill” [Reuters]. “Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to pivot from a long-shot attempt to pass voting rights legislation through the Senate, which begins on Tuesday, to renew talks in earnest with lawmakers on a slimmed-down version of the Build Back Better bill, the sources said…. The revamped measure would likely run over $1 trillion, these people said, and could jettison hundreds of billions of dollars of funding for new social safety net programs like paid family leave, universal pre-kindergarten and home healthcare…. Manchin indicated earlier this month that he supported $555 billion in climate spending, including production tax credits for solar and wind industries, which are seen as vital to ensure the United States reaches its 2030 emissions reduction goals, the sources said.” • The incredibly shrinking bill….

“Swing-district Democrats in need of a midterm reboot push leadership to break up BBB” [WaPo]. • It used to be the Republicans who were “the party of stupid.” These “moderates” seem to have forgotten why BBB was structured as a reconcilation package. Can they really imagine that Republicans will help them to midterm victories by passing individual bills?

* * *

Biden’s Covid speech:

“The Endless Loop of Covid-19” [Peggy Noonan]. “The president spoke to the nation about Omicron on Tuesday, but that speech was thin, reheated gruel.” Looks like Nooners and I are on the same page. And: “On testing: ‘I know this remains frustrating, believe me it’s frustrating to me, but we’re making improvements. . . . Google—excuse me—‘Covid test near me’ on Google to find the nearest site where you can get a test most often and free.’ I did this. The page that came up was cluttered with the propaganda we’ve all grown used to—the first words you see are “COVID-19 tests are available at no cost nationwide at health centers and select pharmacies.’ No admission of any difficulties. The first link offered for testing was a private company that barked in its automated message that walk-ins cannot be guaranteed service, and you cannot come if you are showing signs or symptoms of Covid or have experienced them in the past 10 days. The earliest test offered was in seven days. Omicron seems often to last about seven days….” And of course, Nooners being Nooners: “The biggest single thing he could say to convince American parents that he was on their side, being serious and trying to end this pandemic well is to put himself and his party in some jeopardy by finally, late in the game, going forcefully against the most reactionary force in American public life, the teachers unions.” • This is purest West Wing brain. I bet one of Biden’s advisors suggested it.

Hoisting this important comment from alert reader Dave in Austin. I appreciate especially the critique of the set and setting:

NCers should immediately Google “Biden’s speech 1/13/2022” and watch the original from C-Span. This is the saddest speech by a sitting President I’ve seen since… Lyndon. Biden looks and speaks like a broken man. The actual speech is much more devastating than Lambert’s line-by-line analysis.

First, the setting. Four people including Biden on the stage looking at a screen with the pictures of three armed service medical people dressed in camouflage fatigues not scrubs on it. The three other live participants come in first from stage rear-right led by a fourth person. All are masked. Biden enters with short tentative steps, unmasked, and as soon as he gets to his little school desk, he puts out his hand to steady himself as he goes around the desk to sit. The four desks are facing the wall of pictures, not the audience or each other. Why this un-Presidential setup? As soon as Biden begins to speak the answer was obvious. Normally the President would use a podium but Biden is too unsteady. The Oval Office is intimate and small, too small for the three other people, the big screens plus the camera crew.

So the use of the Old Executive Building auditorium. Biden’s desk faces toward the flag in the back right of the stage and he begins to speak. The camera is hidden behind the flag. And based on the one white dot in each of Biden’s eyes, the camera is also the only light source. His eyes never move up or down, left or right- the camera and a brightly lit screen with the text he is repeating are one. This is not a standard teleprompter which is very close to the speaker and betrayed by the speaker’s eye motion as the speaker follows the text near at hand.

Biden speaks as if he were speaking to children; no analysis, no taking ownership of the past year, no path forward. He holds up what appears to be an N 95 mask. He skips from one point to another, one “you should do this please” to another with no plan. No admission that the unmasked are reasonable people making a dangerous decision for themselves and their loved ones, a decision he understand but thinks is the wrong decision. No professional speech writer would have written this….

Then when Biden ends and the next speakers don’t cue-up immediately, a reasonable and not hostile question comes from the press. Biden looks like a trapped animal, dispirited, alone. More questions follow, no baying from the press, no hostility and an odd sense of respect for the moment. Biden bows his head and says nothing; an old man, over his head and out of his element, silent, waiting. I’ve never felt more sympathy for Joe Biden as a man than I did at that moment.

Perhaps it dawned on Biden that Vax only was a bad mistake. Worse than Vietnam, if you go by U.S. body count. Or institutional damage.

But I’ve seen that performance once before. During the week of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the USS Liberty President Johnson was carrying in his pocket a letter from a man of his social class from Oklahoma. The man had helped map Vietnam in the 50s and now his 18 year-old son was a Marine on the DMZ. So he did what a lot of fathers wanted to do. He got a ticket to Saigon and flew there. When he arrived he asked “How do I get to Da Nang?” got a ticket and went. When he landed in Da Nang he just walked up to the nearest Marine and said “My son is with the following regiment, battalion and company; how do I get out there? God love the Marines. Two helicopter rides later he was with his son in a bunker. All the Marines said the same thing: “This war is a loser”. The father went back to his home in Oklahoma and prayed. His prayers were not answered. So he wrote a letter to the President explaining who he was, who his son had been and simply asking “Why?” That was the month Johnson collapsed morally. From then on he spoke, looked and acted like Biden did on the 13th.

I’ll put money down that Biden will announce that will not run again within the next 12 months. Biden’s a pro after all. And he knows that the people waiting in the wings need the nod to move forward.

Biden also knows the people in the wings, far better than we do. It’s hard for me to imagine he would want any of them to move forward. Dave in Austin’s reaction that the speechwriting was awful is shared by me (and my new compadre, Nooners). But that’s so weird: If the West Wing can mobilize anything, it’s speechwriters. What the heck is going on up there?

Democrats en Déshabillé

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

I’m still puzzling over the PMC’s willful refusal to govern, which goes back at least to 2008 — Obama’s miserably inadequate stimulus package and the ACA debacle being two prime examples — and this article from Thomas Frank popped into my mind. It’s even more biting than Listen, Liberal. From Harper’s, “Nor a Lender Be“:

Sitting there in gilded Manhattan, I thought of all the abandoned factories and postindustrial desolation in the surrounding regions, and I mused on how, in such places, the Democratic establishment was receding into terminal insignificance. It had virtually nothing to say to the people who inhabit that land of waste and futility.

But for the faithful liberals at the Clinton Foundation gathering in New York, none of that mattered. The party’s deficit in relevance to average citizens was more than made up by its massive surplus in moral virtue. Here, inside the theater, the big foundations and the great fashion magazines were staging a pageant of goodness unquestionable, and the liberal class was swimming happily in its home element.

They knew which things were necessary to make up a liberal movement, and all of the ingredients were present: well-meaning billionaires; grant makers and grant recipients; Hollywood stars who talked about social media; female entrepreneurs from the Third World; and, of course, an audience of hundreds, who clapped and cheered enthusiastically every time one of their well-graduated leaders wandered across the stage. The performance of liberalism was so realistic one could almost believe it lived.

If the primary social relation (funders aside) between liberal Democrat electeds and Democrat NGOs is sycophantic groupthink, and the primary expression of that groupthink is performative virtue signalling, one can see why these components of the Democrat Party are incapable of governing, let alone politics. We can see these tendencies in RussiaGate, but they are visible all the more strongly in vaccination policy, where vaccination and virtue are equated, and Fauci embodies both. Note that with Vax only, nothing more is required of liberal Democrats than, essentially, the consumption of a consumer product. Nothing fundamental will change.

* * *

Look in the mirror (1):

Look in the mirror (2):

“CNN’s Paul Begala: Democrats don’t have ‘bad leaders,’ they have ‘bad followers'” [FOX]. Lot of dunking on Begala. Here’s the context: “The former Clinton aide went on to cite an essay he had read from former MLK confidant Andrew Young which he recalled an exchange he had with the civil rights icon after President Lyndon B. Johnson claimed he used all his power to get the Civil Rights Act passed and that he didn’t have enough political capital to tackle voting rights. ‘As they left the White House, Andy Young’s words. He said, ‘I asked- softly asked Dr. King, what he thought. He said, ’I think we got to go get the president some power,’ Begala told Harlow. ‘And so you know what they did? They organized. These are Andy Young’s words, ‘We mobilize the churches, the universities, the labor unions, the business community, a coalition of people of goodwill.’ ‘In other words, those of us who want to say voting rights- we need to get to work. I do think Biden is putting everything behind this. But he needs- he needs better followers, so he needs all of us in the game as well,’ Begala added.” • This is Obama’s “make me do it” all over again. Of course, this is what the Sanders campaign did, and the collective Democrat leadership, especially the electeds, wasn’t having any of it. And here we are!


“Beto O’Rourke announces $7.2 million in fundraising in first 46 days of campaign; Greg Abbott touts $18.9 million over last six months” [Texas Tribune]. “Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke raised $7.2 million in the first 46 days of his campaign, while Republican incumbent Greg Abbott raked in $18.9 million over the last six months as his war chest topped $65 million…. The figures confirm what has long been considered the case: O’Rourke is a strong fundraiser, but he is up against a juggernaut in Abbott, at least when it comes to the money the governor has saved up. O’Rourke did not release his cash-on-hand number, but he was effectively starting from scratch when he launched his campaign in November, and his $7.2 million period means his cash on hand remains a fraction of Abbott’s reserves. Abbott had $55 million saved up for his reelection campaign at the end of June.”

“How a GOP majority in Congress might handle Biden in 2023” [Politico]. “[T]here’s no unified GOP agenda for voters to examine this fall — other than an up-or-down vote on Biden and congressional Democrats’ record. Republicans aren’t sure what will happen next if they actually win.”


“Second gentleman Emhoff acts as public link to White House” [Associated Press]. “The couple’s biggest evening challenge, he said, is sometimes settling on what to watch on Netflix — especially when there are so many choices that they never actually make one. Emhoff said the couple will finally think, ‘We should watch that.’ ‘And then we realize it’s getting late, and we’ve had a long day, and we’ve got a big day tomorrow,’ he said, ‘and we just don’t watch it.'” • Hmm.

“RNC moves to require presidential candidates to skip traditional commission debates” [The Hill]. “The Republican National Committee (RNC) alerted the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) on Thursday that it plans to require GOP presidential nominees not to attend debates run by the commission going forward. ‘The RNC will initiate the process of amending the Rules of the Republican Party at our upcoming Winter Meeting to prohibit future Republican nominees from participating in CPD-sponsored debates,’ wrote Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in the letter, which was obtained by The Hill.” • Swell. The debates are awful and everybody knows it. I only wish that giving the debates back to the League of Women Voters was what the RNC had in mind.

* * *

“Eric Adams, the Mayor of Big Real Estate” [Ross Barkan]. ““Close the door” was the message Eric Adams had for the City of New York after its deadliest fire in 30 years. Fire safety, Adams argued, comes with personal responsibility. Since malfunctioning doors allowed the fire to spread, along with space heaters that sparked the blaze, Adams believes a public education campaign can ensure 17 people don’t die of smoke inhalation in an apartment building ever again. It was no accident Adams refused, even when pressed by reporters, to hold the building owners of Twin Parks North West in the Bronx accountable. One of them, Rick Gropper, was a member of his transition team, offering advice on housing issues. Adams said on Thursday he had not spoken to Gropper since the fire tore through the Bronx building.” • Filing stories on Adams here, for obvious reasons. “Hero Veep Cop Saves Democrat Party.” OK, OK, I’m spitballing. But who else is there? Tim Kaine? Again?

“A pro-business retired cop sparks liberal revolt in first few weeks as mayor” [Politico]. “The intra-party dispute is somewhat unconventional: Adams, the city’s second Black mayor who won with deep union support, often speaks about his time as a dishwasher and one of six children whose single mother held low-wage jobs. His biography makes him an uneasy target for the left, as he is keenly aware. ‘I was a dishwasher. I went to school at night. My mom was a cook in a daycare center,’ Adams said during a TV interview last week, when asked about Ocasio-Cortez’s response to his remark about ‘low-skill’ workers. “The blue-collar workers run this city in a real, productive way. So the word police are going to try to criticize. Eric is so focused and disciplined, and won’t be distracted by Twitter.'” • “The word police.” Ouch.

“‘His First Week in Office Has Been Quite Extraordinary’” [New York Magazine]. There is this: “After first announcing his brother would be a deputy NYPD commissioner, Adams downscaled his proposed responsibilities to running the mayor’s personal security detail, and he agreed to abide by whatever guidance comes from the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board. ‘I need someone that I trust around me during these times for my security, and I trust my brother deeply,’ he told CNN’s Jake Tapper.” • Nimble.

Trump Legacy

“Fed scrambled to make sense of Trump’s 2016 election, transcripts show” [Reuters]. “‘According to some interpretations of the Book of Revelations, when three unusual events occur together, they may be a sign that the apocalypse is near. Let’s take stock,’ St. Louis Fed President James Bullard joked, referring to the final book in the Bible’s New Testament and placing Trump’s victory in a category with the Chicago Cubs long-awaited World Series victory that year and folk singer Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize. ‘Does the recent election usher in a regime change with respect to growth prospects for the U.S. economy? The short answer to this is ‘maybe,’ and we are treating this as an upside risk,’ he said, according to one of the transcripts, which were released by the Fed on Friday. Fed staff promptly tried to build best guesses about whether the Republican businessman would follow through with tax cuts and fiscal spending, tariffs on trading partners or new immigration rules. The market reaction – a jump in stock prices – took some at the central bank by surprise, while others noted that their business contacts ‘used words like ‘exuberance’ and ‘euphoria,” because they expected lighter regulation and lower taxes, said Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Richmond Fed at the time.”

Hard to imagine any liberal Democrat achieving this level of engagement:

“I just want to win this one for the fans.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Autocracies outdo democracies on public trust – survey” [Reuters]. “The biggest losers of public trust over the last year were institutions in Germany, down 7 points to 46, Australia at 53 (-6), the Netherlands at 57 (-6), South Korea at 42 (-5) and the United States at 43 (-5). By contrast, public trust in institutions in China stood at 83%, up 11 points, 76% in United Arab Emirates (+9) and 66% in Thailand (+5). The trillions of dollars of stimulus spent by the world’s richest nations to support their economies through the pandemic have failed to instil a lasting sense of confidence, the survey suggested.”


Case count by United States regions:

Quite a drop! I’m reluctant to call a peak, since today follows a weekend, when data is bad, and the weekend itself will increase cases. If you look at previous peaks, you’ll see we’ve had declines, followed by rises, followed by final declines.That said, it would sure be nice if “rise like a rocket, and fall like a stick” applied, but we can’t know that yet. Previous peaks — how small the early ones look now — have been roughly symmetrical on either side. But the scale of this peak, and the penetration into the population, is unprecendented. I broke down the national aggregates into regional numbers, to see if I saw a pattern:


First in, first out. Looks like the MWRA is a good check.


I looked for California wastewater data, but the data seems to be weekly (why??), and the last date is 1/12/2022. If anyone has better data, please post in comments.



The official narrative that “Covid is behind us,” and that the pandemic will be “over by January” (Gottlieb), and “I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful pandemic, but you know what? It’s over” (Bill Maher) was completely exploded. What a surprise!

* * *

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Continues encouraging (this data is not updated. I mistakenly cropped the data off when I posted it on Friday).

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

From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:

I don’t see much improvement. There is more yellow and green in Lousiana, a little more pink in the Northeast. Kansas (not Nebraska) is worse.

The previous release:

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Still brutal. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 874,347 869,212. Oops, dropped the last digit….

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Might as well check out where we go, in case we bring something back (as from Italy to New York in 2020). This is a log scale. (Sorry for the kerfuffle at the left. No matter how I tinker, it doesn’t go away. (The data is from 2019, and so subject to subsequent events, but this is the best I can find.)

The excess deaths charts will appear weekly, on Friday.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States NY Empire State Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The New York Empire State Manufacturing Index plunged to -0.7 in January of 2022 from 31.9 in December, well below market forecasts of 25. The reading pointed to the first contraction in NY manufacturing activity since the second quarter of 2020, as demand for goods declined amid the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant. It also ends 18 straight months of expansion.” • Where Omicron hit first.

* * *

Tech: “Here’s what it’s like watching an NBA game courtside — in the metaverse” [CNBC]. “[Rob Shaw, Meta’s director of sports leagues and media partnerships] envisions immersive VR ads and allowing users to purchase avatar jerseys from a metaverse NBA store. Then, for an extra fee, private live-screening options. There are ideas around a sports bar courtside seat experience and VIP options that include watching games with an NBA legend or celebrity. ‘I do think sponsorship can be redefined,’ Shaw said. ‘The brand activation that is historically limited in-venue suddenly becomes more accessible and customizing to the metaverse.'” • Fascinating to watch capitalism create digital scarcity.

The Bezzle:

Of course, when the Supreme Court legalizes the crypto bros copyright theory, I’ll need to refile this under “Tech.”

The Bezzle: “The crypto-communists behind the Web3 revolution” [Protocol]. “a recent dispute among some of the industry’s top figures have served as a reminder of digital currency’s libertarian-anarchist roots. Alongside the hedge-fund cowboys arbitraging and leveraging their way to fresh fortunes, there’s a culture war being waged, with big implications for anyone thinking that the blockchain is just a cool way to lower the cost of cross-border remittances. Hidden in the army of moneymen is a fifth column of revolutionaries. Meet the new crypto-communists. The crypto culture war exploded into a full-scale tech feud as 2021 was ending when Twitter co-founder and Block CEO Jack Dorsey lashed out at critics who suggested that he was a Web 2.0 remnant trying to reinvent himself as a Web3 pioneer. His now-famous tweet — “You don’t own ‘web3.’ The VCs and their LPs do.” — triggered a bitter tit-for-tat with Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz, who blocked Dorsey on Twitter, then taunted him for weeks. Andreessen’s firm has backed Coinbase, OpenSea and other crypto firms that many view as centralizing the crypto world. Dorsey has made a fortune off of the VC-backed Block, but he’s also backed decentralized crypto projects that don’t seem to have any near-term payoff. One way of looking at crypto is the classic alchemy where Silicon Valley transmutes technological disruption into gold; the other prizes disruption as a goal in and of itself. It’s easy to see the ideological fault lines between the two — even the historical resonances between the compromising Mensheviks, who were willing to work with less-purist parties to bring about change, and the hardline Bolsheviks.” • Fun. Perhaps a little….. glib.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 57 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 59 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 18 at 1:20pm.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Persia (Iran). “Iran has been less active on the world stage” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)

Poetry Nook


Book Nook

“Implications for the Economy of Biological & Cultural Human Evolution” [Brad DeLong’s Grasping Reality]. “[W]e should not forget that this book, Machiavelli’s The Prince, was hastily written as an audition for a job in the post-coup Medici régime of Florence (and also as an attempt to make them realize that he was a useful tool they could use, rather than an obstacle to be tortured)—not one in which every comma was labored over to ensure that the key esoteric message was conveyed to a small hermetic circle of cognoscenti while escaping the notice of casual or even careful-but-not-initiate readers.” • So Machiavelli, as a writer, was more like four–cents-a-word Philip K. Dick than, say, Oscar Wilde (“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning and took out a comma. In the afternoon—well, I put it back again”).

Zeitgeist Watch

Too meta (and I will never forgive Zuckerberg for hijacking that perfectly good word for his vile brand):

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Happy anniversary (1):

Happy anniversary (2):

Class Warfare

“The week in US unions, January 8-15, 2022” [Jonah Furman, Who Gets the Bird]. “UFCW Local 7 took the mantle of organizing the largest strike in the country, when some 8,400 grocery workers walked off the job Wednesday morning, beginning a three-week strike at nearly 80 Kroger-owned King Soopers grocery stores in the greater Denver area. It’s the first of many grocery contract expirations this year, with 100,000 workers covered by the nascent west coast UFCW coalition (a bit of a misnomer – it includes locals in Colorado, Southern California, and Washington). Several thousand could theoretically join the Local 7 strike as contracts expire on a rolling basis over the next few weeks. It’s the largest private sector strike in Colorado since the last time grocery workers struck King Soopers in 1996 (when they also struck Safeway). BCTGM Local 26 members who represent some King Soopers workers in Colorado voted to authorize their own strike as well.” And: “I don’t usually cover non-US unions, but there’s a potentially big development in the Mexican labor movement at a big US-based company that is really worth following. More than 6,000 GM workers in Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico, at one of GM’s most profitable plants, will be voting on February 1-2 on a new union to represent them after they voted to abandon their existing contract in August. The initiative is being driven by autoworkers organizing against the entrenched corrupt/company/protection union that’s a part of CTM, the big politically influential Mexican labor federation, and comes in the wake of new domestic labor law requiring the right to vote on union contracts and to “legitimate” all existing contracts by 2023 (under the assumption that many of these are not actually legitimate union contracts that workers approve of); after a tampered vote in April of last year, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai intervened under the labor provisions of the new USMCA and in a vote last August, the contract was rejected. Now a new independent autoworkers union, SINTIIA, is on the ballot to be an actually representative union bargaining legitimate contracts with GM. The upshot is this could be a big development for independent unionism in Mexico, with all the obvious ramifications for runaway manufacturing and other shops from the US, feeding the international race to the bottom.” • This is a really good weekly round-up, and I recommend you subscribe to it.

News of the Wired

“It’s pronounced ‘GIF’” [Protocol]. “It’s GIF, with a hard ‘G.’ I don’t make the rules, and neither does the guy who invented the file format in the first place. This week, the internet decided. Out of 114,495 votes (and rising), a whopping 80% said GIF sounds more like ‘gift’ than it does a brand of peanut butter. The pronunciation debate was the first question on Neal Agarwal’s website, Let’s Settle This. Among the other long-debated questions posed to users: whether cereal is a soup (no, by a landslide), ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Star Trek’ is better (‘Wars’ for the win) and which way you should roll your toilet paper (over, in a truly crushing victory).”

* * *

Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (ChetG):

ChetG writes: “The best icicles (in my opinion) owe their existence to plants, bushes, and trees, so I figure the icicles might earn a place in your Water Cooler. The first is a fine example of pointillism (or sunlight highlighting points); and the second could be considered a decorated Christmas tree. The next-door PA game land is part-owned or -leased by Penn State, which uses the land as a water recycling system. Consequently, in the winter there are wonderful examples of ice formations. More so years ago, when the land was somewhat more wild, but still impressive today.”

* * *

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

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

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. jsn

      Loss of State Capability. In the Republic of Corporations, whoever paid the most the most recently for Govt. services etc., just assumes they will get what they want.

      When the conflicts between conflicted interests prove irresoluble, as ATT/Verison’s need to make more money/harvest and sell more personal data do with the airlines need to not have planes falling out of the sky, the normal post Citizens United resolution is whoever paid the politicians on the relevant oversight committees for the regulating agencies the most and most recently gets their way.

      The airlines appear to be “cheaping”, thinking airplanes falling from the sky will be a self evident problem, but then it took two MAXs to get anyones attention last time…

      1. jsn

        “cheaping out”

        Properly, the airlines need to pay the right congress critters more money now, that’s what Pharma and Insurance just did to maintain priority on their cash flows.

      2. PHLDenizen

        Might be an issue of magnitude. Two planes out of a very large fleet. If 25 or even 50 percent start falling out of the sky? Entirely different narrative.

        Interesting to see the airlines throw down what’s essentially a work stoppage: if Verizon doesn’t agree to our conditions, virtually all air traffic grinds to a halt.

        If the wireless carriers still insist on being combative, maybe require them to deposit all their cash, profits, and a large chunk of their stock into a escrow account as a hedge against risk. And whatever the cash doesn’t backstop, the insurance premiums they should also pay will presumably cover the rest. And if the insurers balk? Well, Verizon, et al can be on the hook for all the litigation costs to get them to pay up.

        In this game of chicken, I wonder whose stock gets shorted. Goldman undoubtedly has already made its bets.

        1. jsn

          It’s interesting to watch our corporate overlords show how to threaten a work stoppage.

          Everyone pay attention!

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          In the meantime, normal people should not fly at all until several years have passed with no planes crashing due to 5G interference, as proof of concept.

          After that, if planes and airports are still covid hotbeads, normal people should keep not flying anyway.

    2. Watt4Bob

      They didn’t shoot it down because they couldn’t prove it prior to its existence.

      Now that it exists, maybe they can prove it’s a safety issue.

      Isn’t corporate owned justice system the best!

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Don’t fly. And also, ” watch out for falling planes.”

        Someone could create a spoof safety-sign modeled on those ” watch out for falling rocks” signs.
        Only instead of the word “rocks” it would have the word “planes”. And instead of a picture of a falling rock, it would have a picture of a falling plane.

        Put them up all around airports.

    3. Mikel

      Here it is…found the memo:
      “Nothing is ever wrong until there is a body count that can’t be hidden.”

  1. Elijah SR

    This is the first time I actually read the donation notice at the bottom of the post carefully– donated! This is some of the most important coverage I get every day, and some of the most digestible. I don’t always have a lot of time, but I can page through this. Thank you, Lambert.

    1. marym

      Here’s a caution if you live at a multi-unit address. There seem to be a formatting challenges if you need to include your apartment number, so the system doesn’t think there’s already been an order from that address. This thread shows a couple o examples: https://twitter.com/SayaSigns/status/1483494959923744772

      I think it may have to do with how usps has addresses on file. One tweet in the thread says you can check your own address using usps look-up by zip code to see the usps format. Another tweet has a screen shot that shows the error message with Check Address and FAQ buttons, which may be easier than trial and error.

      Note: if you haven’t used twitter much, for the last few days if you click on a tweet you may only see a few replies. Keep clicking “more replies” to scroll – the info isn’t too far into the thread.

    1. ambrit

      No, he’s just trying to get a rise out of us. Which will be followed with the traditional “punching down.”

    2. JohnA

      Dear Mr Wukchumni,
      Thank you for your generous donation of 600 dollars towards sending provocative alms/arms to plucky/nazi infested Ukraine so they can fight/be wiped out by Russia on our behalf. Your generosity is much appreciated
      Kind regards
      Your president Uncle Joe Biden

      Note attached with your free test kit

      1. Bart Hansen

        A classic “let’s you and him fight”!

        One wonders how much of those armaments will be sold off to African warlords.

  2. sd

    USPS is offering free home test kits – but there’s a catch.

    Note: At-home COVID-19 tests will ship free starting in late January. USPS will only send one set of 4 free tests to valid residential addresses. We are unable to process duplicate orders for the same address.

    There are 5 people at our address. This is asinine.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      consider adding a unit or apartment number?
      Miss Smith
      100 Main Street, Unit A
      anywhere, AnyState

      Mr Jones
      100 Main Street, Unit B

      and so on.

      1. sd

        There are 2 other units on the property – they tried to order kits and got a message that an order had already been placed for the address.

  3. Jake

    ROFL “Joe Biden owes me 600 bucks.” The movie Better Off Dead: “I want my 2 dollars!” It is still so funny that the dems thought it would be a good idea to short change people that 600 bucks. It’s like they don’t want to win. It’s not part of their constitution.

    1. lordkoos

      I think there is an under-the-table deal – every term or two they agree to hand the ball to the other party. How else to explain it?

      1. Hepativore

        He also owes me $600 despite me claiming it on last year’s tax return because I never got it. The IRS will penalize you for tardiness in filing your return, so why can we not claim that we are owed interest for the money they owe us? What is going to happen when the 2021 returns go out this February?

        So the latest tactic by the media elites and liberal pundits is to blame the ungrateful peasants for having unrealistic expectations from Biden or the rest of the Democrats and advice for Biden to stop being so “progressive” and move to the center. Other than pulling out of Afghanistan, all Biden has been doing since he took office is standing around with his thumb up his a$$ and a confused look on his face. I mean, why does Biden not resign, since we apparently elected Joe Manchin as president in 2020 and we do not need two presidents.

        Well, I suppose the real question is, will the Democrats face permanent extinction as a party after 2024, or will they manage to have a Congressional majority and the presidential office again in the coming decades despite their best efforts to lose?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Other than pulling out of Afghanistan, all Biden has been doing since he took office is standing around with his thumb up his a$$ and a confused look on his face.

          So you’re saying Biden nets out positive over Obama?

    2. albrt

      The Democrat party can’t help stinging people in the back while crossing the river shortchanging their constituents. It’s their nature.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Now that the old New Dealocrat Party has been purged from the ranks, and its Clintobamacrats all the way down, that is a true statement.

    3. Jack Lalane

      My fave line from that movie, Curtis Armstrong says, “I’ve been at this high-school for 8 years, I’m no dummy”

  4. Wukchumni

    I’ve been trying to renegotiate my deal on here in garnering 6 Cents a word because it isn’t fair that a is worth the same as sanctimonious, and as far as bennies go, i’d like to get full dental coverage and a modest pension.

  5. Jeff W

    “…extra rations today…”

    ration: A fixed amount of a commodity officially allowed to each person during a time of shortage, as in wartime.

    I think the use of the word “ration” for the links is supposed to be humorous but it always strikes me as a bit severe, as if the readership were a bunch of proles waiting to be doled out their scarce portion of chocolate à la George Orwell’s 1984. (The other, very occasional use of the word “dose” for the links has its own issues.) Maybe just saying “more than the usual amount of links” would work just as well (without the accompanying connotations) or better.

    1. shinola

      Oh, I dunno; in this case I would equate “ration” simply as a synonym for “portion” (scarce or not). Although it could be argued that, due to limited time and/or space available, it could indicate scarcity of some sort.

      Context y’know…

      1. Jeff W

        “…in this case I would equate ‘ration’ simply as a synonym for ‘portion’ (scarce or not).”

        Yeah, I get that.

        I suppose, though, that my theory has usually been that, if a word in a given context is susceptible of multiple connotations, at least one of which that you wouldn’t want, it’s better to avoid that word, even if most readers could figure it out. (I kind of think the unwanted connotation jangles around unconsciously even if the reader knows that’s not the intended connotation.)

        The unwanted connotation here for me is not that of scarcity—it’s that of the readers waiting around for those creating the links to give them some allotment. That might be, strictly speaking, true any time someone apportions something for someone else but if someone cut me a slice of pie and said, “Here’s your ration”—or cut me a bigger-than-usual slice and said “I gave you an extra ration”—I’d think it was awfully weird.

  6. Sara K.

    Here is somewhat better wastewater data for certain parts of the San Francisco Bay Area & Central Valley:


    It’s currently only one day ahead (Jan 13) and the overview page shows 5-day smoothing, but if you go to the drilldown pages it shows the actual test results for each reported date. It also tests three different SARS-Cov-2 genes, which may indicate which variants are most prevalent. Also, this source corrects for ‘fecal strength’ whereas the source listed in the water cooler does not. Since San Francisco and Sacramento have combined sewage-stormwater systems, this is relevant (when it rains, the virus bits in the sewage are diluted).

    1. Hana M

      The rain/fecal strength correction is an excellent point. I went back over the Boston weather month for Dec/Jan and I don’t think it can be much of a factor here as we’ve had a quite dry winter to date. Saturday was the biggest rain event so far this season but no data that I’ve seen yet post the storm.

    2. CuriosityConcern

      I looked at the big drop in the daily rate, and if it’s correct that is great. I got myself to wondering if home testing has any influence on that daily rate, I guess wastewater testing would help us discern how much if any…

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Since San Francisco and Sacramento have combined sewage-stormwater systems, this is relevant (when it rains, the virus bits in the sewage are diluted).

      Thanks. This (“pilot”?) link is much better than what I was able to find.

      The MWRA’s vendor, BioBot, does in fact normalize for fecal matter*:

      Our methods for detecting SARS-CoV-2 in sewage are adapted from CDC protocols. Our approach relies on detecting genetic fragments of the virus that are excreted in stool by qPCR analysis. Here, we show SARS-CoV-2 concentrations after normalization to a fecal virus marker.

      I had thought Boston’s enormous Deer Island project had eliminated Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), but they’re still at it.

      The MWRA data comes from Deer Island. The system had combined sewer overflows an average of 60 days per year .

      NOTE * The story of my life!

  7. flora

    re: Édouard Manet, Charles Baudelaire, Full Face III, 1869

    Edouard Manet is today a larger public underrated, imo, wonderful artist, being a transitional artist from the academic style to to the ‘from real life’ impressionist style. His painting ” A Bar at the Folies-Bergere” was nothing heroic. Thanks for presenting the opening to say this. / :)

    link to a Manet painting site:


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Huge Manet fan here. I have Bourdieu’s book on Manet, which I will read as soon as I finish Social Capital which is so dense that three or four pages a day are about as much as I can handle. Really interesting, though!

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Forms of Capital: General Sociology, Volume 3: by Pierre Bourdieu.

          These are actually transcripts of lectures. It’s dense but very rich. He really squeezes all the juice out of every olive.

          Have any readers ever used a thing called Book Depository? “Free delivery worldwide,” so it looks like an alternative to Amazon…

          1. David

            I’ve used the Book Depository a lot and it’s pretty good. Slower than Amazon, and not so many reviews or special offers, but the prices are comparable … and it’s not Amazon.

            1. George

              Yes, Book Depository is OK, but according to Wikipedia “On 4 July 2011, Amazon reached an agreement to acquire Book Depository”.
              Their “About us” confirms this but claims some independence.

      1. MrQuitidian

        The book “The Judgement of Paris” is a fun popular history of the dawn of modern art in Paris, contrasting the rise of Manet against the decline of Meissonier (forgotten now, he was highest paid artist of the day. Out of fashion though he is, he wasn’t exactly a classicist – painted some grizzly scenes of the 1848 barricades).

        As a painter myself I must admit I don’t much care for Manet.. I respect his ideas but the work does not bring me joy. If I had to pick a contemporary favorite, it would be Jules Bastien-lepage, often considered the father of naturalism, a movement which was in turn a precursor to social realism.. so while Manet led to Duchamp and dada, and is widely hailed in contemporary western art education, Lepage (and Courbet for that matter) are not so well regarded. Yet their work helped inspire the much-derided social realism cherished by the non-western world…

        You can see Lepage’s Joan of arc painting at the met.. it’s worth a trip. He might not be for everyone.. have to see past what might be considered excess sentimentality. It’s virtuosic painting though, while Manet was more of an image maker.

        1. Skunk

          Thanks. I like Courbet but I had never heard of Jules Bastien-lepage. Just looked up some of his works and enjoyed some of them.

    1. Pelham

      Shouldn’t the issue with mergers first and foremost be whether they’re likely to lead to excessive political clout and interference, not the possible merit or disadvantage to consumers?

  8. Jason Boxman

    And they couldn’t come up with four, so we have Sensibility and empathy….. LOL. Lying over $600 isn’t sensible. Nor is our COVID policy. And most of it exudes a complete lack of empathy. Try again?

  9. polar donkey

    I have been to many NBA games. More than I ever wanted. So here are my observations of court side attendees. Lots of rich people. Some are older money, rich young people. Others are new rich with their families, or a rogues gallery of notable drug dealers, predatory used car lot owners, and real estate developers. Then you get the high end call girls and instagram models. Can spot them from the upper deck seating because they walk around the court more than anyone else to be sure to be seen by the players or rich guys at game. If the players are interested, they may leave out the expensive seating public exit, rather than go to their cars in their parking area under the arena. Many of the cheerleaders and instagram models go to the bar of closest high end hotel (across the street) where visiting teams may stay if not flying out of town immediately after the game. Although this has died down some with the rise of Tinder and Instagram. Getting high end adult entertainment for players/the rich is like ordering Ubereats. The bar set up under court side bleachers are for networking/socializing of the above mentioned demographics. I reckon the rich and hangers ons will still want to go be court side in the flesh. It is the wannabe’s sitiing in the $125 and under seats who would go virtual.

    1. griffen

      Those higher end girls and IG models are on the look out, for a careless young millionaire. This happened very recently, and I think he was a former Hornets player. I’ve read stories, that based on anecdotal reports, detail those women are into finding out where the visitors are staying.

      Nothing happens by chance, I assume, unless they really are basketball enthusiasts. And while the story mentions viewing an NBA game with a VR headset, think I’ll wait my turn on trying it.

      1. Wukchumni

        I had the misfortune of being an LA Clippers season ticket holder about 30 years ago, as friends had persuaded me how ‘fun’ it would be, and it was cheaper than a good shrink, but I questioned my decision all the while.

        There were 4 Hollywood screenwriter types in the row below us, each with a fifth of hooch they’d work into a soda play and they’d be soused by the 3rd quarter if not earlier, my buddies would bet on each and every game with or without allegiance to the lowly Clips, and invariably they’d lose, often screaming for a meaningless basket late in the game to cover the point spread, prayers never delivered.

        As bad as the Clippers were, you should have seen the oh so hawt female groupies every game hoping to latch onto one of the players, and a pay day without end hopefully.

        1. Stephanie

          An NBA girlfriend was a member of a college study group of mine. NBA player was footing her tuition, and her ultimate goal was for him to subsidize her medical-industry master’s degree – and that was her advice to any and all: “Make him pay for that education!”

      2. ambrit

        Curious as it may be, a “young woman” of questionable morals lived across the street in Hattiesburg from us when we first moved inland. She was the “property” of a New Orleans Saints player. They had a child, a cute little girl. When he transferred to another NFL team, he did not take our putative demimonde and sprat with him. After the drama died down, she tied up with a local drugs dealer. That didn’t end well. Eventually, she fixed up the house that the football player had stashed her in, and conveniently placed in her name, sold it and moved on. Phyl and I really pitied the little girl. She was growing up in about the most dysfunctional household we had ever seen. Such is life in Deploristan.

      1. albrt

        NBA games are fun, but too loud and over-announced, like minor league games in other sports.

        The NBA has more extraordinary athleticism visible from the cheap seats than any other American sport. The court is small and the ball is big. Buy the cheapest seats you can get.

      1. ambrit

        Then we come to the standing Corporate Suites….
        Ex-son-in-law works for an outfit that does this. He will snap up ‘available’ slots at “the suite” for N O Hornets games. He’ll take the kiddies with him. Oh, did I mention that the Corporate Suites come with some ringside seats too? There are some good photos of our nearby grand daughter, age about six, “working out” with the professional cheerleaders during half time. (Daughter and ex-son-in-law will not ‘release’ said photos. Something about the over commercialization of childhood.)
        It’s all about Public Relations.

      2. griffen

        Anecdotal, this was three years ago but I attended a home game in Chapel Hill, men’s basketball, on a February Saturday afternoon. This was treating myself, and also to revisit the area with a long term friend / old roommate.

        $150…practically standing room as we hit our heads’ on the rafters! That’s not even once a year to attend a game, at that price. If there was less demand, surely the price is lower.

  10. Screwball

    Biden speech – he has another scheduled for tomorrow. Miss Jen told us this the other day, but there doesn’t seem to be any clue what it will be about. Drinking game needed (I’ll take vaccinate).

    Get the yellow marker ready Lambert – this might be a dandy.

    The new COVID test kit site(s) are now open. I used https://www.covidtests.gov but you can also go to USPS it says.

    I ordered the limit of 4 per household, and the shopping cart said I owed $0.00. That is the limit at this time. I also put an entry into my calendar so I will know how long it takes.

    1. Lou Anton

      Low odds, but my guess: “Listen Fat” has taken the last two years to get into the shape of his life and has decided to take Joe Biden up the Push Up contest challenge. It will be broadcast live. (youtube link for a reminder)

      Jokes aside…while I only remembered the awful “listen, Fat” comment, the whole clip makes for very uncomfortable watching. Very confrontational, angry reaction to the guy at a town hall ahead of the Iowa primary (i.e., the guy asking the question is on team Dem!).

      Wonder if anyone working at the White House gets *THAT* Biden.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Wonder if anyone working at the White House gets *THAT* Biden.

        I think Obama was equally thin-skinned, if not more so, but w-a-a-a-a-y more passive aggressive.

  11. Jason Boxman

    I still remember last year’s “dark winter” that bumbling Biden was going to save everyone from happening again… or something? Can we have a new presidency yet? This one seems defective. Unfortunately it seems to be “final sale”.

      1. Wukchumni

        Ever notice the Donkey Show on stage is a 1-Trick-Pony, if they didn’t have hoopla over January 6th, that’s all there is.

    1. albrt

      Can the Democrats save us from Nietzschean eternal recurrence? I would vote for that, but the Democrats are certainly not known for delivering on their promises.

  12. William Beyer

    “Family-blog” Eric Adams, Mayor of big real estate. Self-closing fire doors are critical elements in a building’s fire and life safety systems. It is the building owners’ responsibility to keep them in good operating condition. Those owners need to be charged with criminally-negligent homicide – 17 counts – and sent to prison; “close the doors” indeed, after they’re locked up.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Lambert keeps trying to warn you that he is the next Obama. He’s got the “Blame the Victim” schtick down to a science. Obama must be so proud.

      1. albrt

        Eric Adams has too much testosterone to be the next Obama. Obama, despite being black, embodied “do I dare to eat a peach?” for his generation.

        If you meant to say Adams will be the next Democrat scam after Obama, then OK, yeah.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I’m so starved for an interesting Democrat politician, Adams is looking good* to me. Real estate deals, nepotism and all. At least he’s moving, not paralyzed. I thought his comment about New York’s “swagger” was exactly on point. The working class New Yorkers I encounter, in general, give off the vibe of “Best at what I do, best place in the world.” Their élan is refreshing and reassuring. Though I grant I only interact with them on the way through from point A to point B, so my standpoint is selective, and the pandemic may have wrought demoralization upon them.

          NOTE * I don’t mean “good” in the sense of supporting policies I agree with. I mean “good” in the sense of a dark horse that could make it farther along the track than we anticipate, if he holds his form.

  13. Wukchumni

    Used to enjoy matching wits with the state bird, which I termed ‘suicidal quail’ as they’d make a passioned run towards the wheel wells of your car when you’re doing 30 mph and then at the last second pull out and live to torment another driver, but that was in the days before wild turkeys took over and maybe i’ve seen a few dozen quail this year, whereas I used to see them in the thousands.

    The problem with both birds who’d rather walk than fly is territorial, with the quail’s nests being on the ground, easy picking for gobbles and others of their ilk in their quest for lebensraum.

  14. John Zelnicker

    Lambert – I think you have the plantidote pictures in the wrong order according to the way the caption is worded.

  15. PHLDenizen

    The incredibly shrinking bill….

    Wondering if “political incompetence” is more rightly labeled “political impotence”. IIRC, part of Biden’s campaign strategy was to come out fully tumescent as the guy who’d pound some sense back into America. To wit, the aviators and tooling around in his sports car. The patriarch who’d whoop Trumpism’s ass as if it were a child on the receiving end of corporal punishment.

    And now, despite the blob’s furious efforts as a fluffer, Joe’s political prowess has swiftly…shrunk. And I don’t see anyone with Viagra on offer. Not Manchin, not Sinema, not the SC. And even those blue voters who’d showered him with oh-so-many fistfuls of blue pills have realized he’s never going to get the job done.

    His adversaries scooped those sex skittles up and gobbled them for themselves. Manchin, Sinema, the SC, Garland. The peacock now himself being peacocked.

    1. tegnost

      They have to keep making it smaller until only the really bad parts and corporate giveaways are left…
      No soup for you.

    2. albrt

      Or maybe the Democrat leadership is doing exactly what they intended to do. Nothing will fundamentally change.

  16. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Begala

    The whole promise of centrism was an easy way to do politics. By their very nature, their followers won’t do anything. Bad philosophy leads to followers who don’t do anything but watch MSDNC.

    I realized he wasn’t talking about the left but the Karens.

    1. Swamp Yankee

      This is very well-put, of a piece with the development of politics into something like team sports over the last several decades. People talk about the political parties in the same way they talk about the Patriots or the Yankees (not the 1st to observe this, I know).

  17. Wukchumni

    Watched Biden’s 13 minute presser from a few days ago and he has the look of a beaten man who has no idea out of his predicament.

    He praises the medical industry that they are getting more N-95’s, and yet the leader of the world wears a greatly inferior around the ears model. Towards the end and the barrage of questions, he simply looks dumbfounded, clueless.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Not that Biden is super self aware, but he told a story about handling a faberge egg at a dinner with that socialite who’s name I can’t remember with numerous glitteratti in attendance including Ted Kennedy. The story was about the dope Biden rubbing elbows, but I think its a sign of a deeper conceit for Biden. In his mind governing is a by product of the elites “hashing out” problems and going “c’mon, man”. There was no rumination on the faberge egg.

      Ugliness and hard work don’t enter into how Washington is supposed to work. The behavior of the GOP was openly called a fever by Team Blue elites including Obama. BIden claimed he would bring bipartisan support to his presidency despite the GOP. Sanders’ calls for direct action are ugly and not necessary in Biden’s world. Now Biden is watching his Presidency crash and the GOP is just sitting around waiting to impeach him. Biden’s world view is collapsing too.

    2. Nothing

      Yes, the post Lambert posted above from yesterday’s comments inspired me to watch it as well.

      I haven’t actually seen Biden speak since the presidential candidate debates, and I was shocked by the difference. His speech was lifeless.

      Also nevermind that the actual content of the speech was average. It felt like a mid-tier company announcing some new policies in an internal email, not the President of the United States mobilising the resources of government try to prevent something that’s killing a thousand Americans a day

    3. The Rev Kev

      There was warning enough when he used to give those speeches from his basement last year as part of his campaign. There were already signs of the onset of dementia but the political system managed to push him through anyway as President. And just to demonstrate their power, they also got a unpopular, rejected candidate as Vice President as well. One that few voters wanted and who had failed miserably in the debates.

        1. ambrit

          “Death of a Salesperson” doesn’t have the same ‘ring’ to it as the original, but then, nothing does today.
          Ever get the feeling that today’s politics is but a pale shadow of what it once was?

      1. Eureka Springs

        There has been warning enough since I was a small child in the early ’70’s. No excuses. Good reason that man never garnered a single delegate in three previous attempts. Everyone who cast a vote for him should feel some shame. And those in the party, his family, who really knew should all be banished.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > And those in the party, his family, who really knew should all be banished.

          They will have to keep wheeling him out, though. It will be interesting if the feed is ever cut, er, “we are experiencing technical difficulties,”* if Biden ever slips a cog live (which I would define as losing the thread at the paragraph level, instead of the sentence level). Elder abuse is what it is.

          NOTE * Then, two days later, Russian hacking. Of course.

  18. Rainlover

    Re: comment on Biden fron Dave in Austin

    This just made me sad. We may be watching a drama in which the job of president actually murders an old man. I never liked Biden and didnt vote for him but this public torture of the vulnerable is inexcusable, especially coming from the “liberal” party. I hope they invoke the 25th amendment and soon, in spite of the fact that Harris would be elevated. No good choices. Story of my political life. Sigh.

    1. PHLDenizen

      As tragic as it may be, that’s an erasure of Joe’s agency. He could easily have said no and I refuse to believe his coterie was completely blindsided by the inevitability of his circumstances. So instead of maximizing the amount of time he’d have to spend with his grandkids, he’s deluded himself into thinking he was anything more than a game piece. A piece. Not a player.

      Trump has a talent for seizing on weakness. And Joe stepping down makes the Dems look very, very weak. They pick “losers” in their primaries that wash out:

      “How can you trust party that’s so incompetent their president couldn’t make it 4 years?”

      “How does it look to our enemies? They’re all thinking what I am. We’re a weak country who elects sleepy, weak leaders. Terrorists are going to come for us and the democrats will get us killed!”

      The “stop beating the old man” card doesn’t carry as much weight as you think. 600.00 not delivered. Childcare credits evaporated. Getting dragged behind the barn and beaten by Manchin repeatedly — and asking for another drubbing over and over. Unable to get the CDC on message.

      People are pissed. And Joe’s legacy may just have to be the piñata president.

        1. curlydan

          Yeah, but then O got Buttigieg and Klobuchar out of the race 1-2 days before Super Tuesday, so I’m not giving Mr. Cool a pass.

          1. Carli

            More importantly, throttled Gabbard and Sanders’ chances.

            DeSantis/Gabbard, now there’s a strong slate.

      1. albrt

        “deluded himself into thinking he was anything more than a game piece”

        That’s basically Joe Biden’s whole political career in a nutshell, so not surprising from that standpoint.

        I still don’t understand why anybody voted for him, though.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      I don’t see how the 25th happens. The Dems forced Biden through the primaries in spite of concerns and made speaking about his decline a cancelable offense. They own him and his failures. The Republicans have no need to help the Dems out by giving them a mulligan and cutting him loose. President Myboss told him he didn’t have to do this. Too bad he chose to ignore him.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        The best part is that after Joe “retires” and Kamala ascends to the Oval, they can’t replace her. There will be no vice president to make the tie breaking vote. We’ll end up with The GOP speaker as next in line behind Kamala. I wonder if they will impeach her? LOL

    3. The Rev Kev

      Is it elder abuse? Of course it is. Does he deserve it? Ask the hundreds of thousands of people that have spent a good chunk of their lives in prison because of his 1990s Crime Bill that he was responsible for – and which he is still proud of.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        And those whose potential was stunted or life ruined because they couldn’t discharge student loans in bankruptcy (essentially because they made a bad business decision in a rigged system).

        I think the LBJ comparison is apt, much more apt than FDR. LBJ was a very human monster, but that’s Texas politics. LBJ was ruined by the Best and the Brightest in Vietnam, but got civil rights and Medicare passed. Biden is a very human monster, too, and was ruined by the Best and the Brightest of our own day on Covid, but has no positive legacy. LBJ, of course, governed at our imperial apex. Biden, by contrasts, governs a failed state, even though he and the West Wing probably haven’t realized this.

  19. FriarTuck

    “GIF” pronunciation

    The “G” stands for Graphics. It stands to reason that it should be similar in the acronym.

    I still to this day don’t understand why people pronounce it like the peanut butter. Its like they’re contrarians for contrarian’s sake.

    1. Angie Neer

      There’s no accounting for language among real people, which makes it challenging for detail-obsessives like me. My guess on this particular issue is that JIF is just easier to say.

    2. HotFlash

      I don’t understand the question. A .gif is a hard g, of course, or it would be confused with a .jif (yes there is such a thing), which is pronounced like the peanut butter.

  20. Tom Stone

    Biden barely made it through that last speech, there ain’t much left of what was a very small man.

    And he needs to look better in his next speech, which might be tricky.
    Giving him a big enough shot of “happy energy” juice might kill him, not enough and he might fall asleep and fall out of his chair.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Just watched that speech, WT….? One thing W. Clinton do was visual communication. Biden’s team couldn’t be bothered to call up those people.

      imo, no one is running the White House. It is just a collection of bureaucratic fiefdoms run by their chief.

      Woe to us if a fast-moving crisis hits (massive earthquake, war, terrorism, etc)

        1. QuicksilverMessenger

          I thought of the chaos of the Do Long Bridge scene in Apocalypse Now (NSFW)

          Sheen (to the solider having a freakout): Soldier, who’s the commanding officer here?
          Soldier #1: Ain’t you?!
          > Soldier #2 walks up, cool as ice, launches some kind of gun propelled explosive at the Viet Cong soldier, blows him up.
          Sheen (this time to Soldier #2): Hey Soldier do you know who’s in command here?
          Soldier #2 (with a wry smile) : Yeah (and then walks away)


  21. marym

    A plan by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would establish a special police force to oversee state elections — the first of its kind in the nation — and while his fellow Republicans have reacted tepidly, voting rights advocates fear that it will become law and be used to intimidate voters.

    The proposed Office of Election Crimes and Security would be part of the Department of State, which answers to the governor… They would be stationed at unspecified “field offices throughout the state” and act on tips from “government officials or any other person.”


    Arizona just became the sixth state in the U.S. to introduce a copycat bill of the draconian Texas abortion ban.

    State Rep. Teresa Martinez (R) kicked off Arizona’s 2022 legislative session by introducing H.B. 2483, titled the Arizona Heartbeat Act. Similar to the Texas legislation, the Arizona bill bans abortion around the six-week point (a period in which most people don’t yet know they’re pregnant) and financially incentivizes private citizens to sue anyone who aids or abets a pregnant person trying to get an abortion after that point.


    [emphasis added]

    1. The Rev Kev

      If this became law across the country, you would no longer have the United States of America but the United Snitches of America.

      1. marym

        Snitches and bounty hunters. Here’s a few more.

        In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has asked the legislature to pick up the “Stop WOKE Act,” which would include the feature of creating a “private right of action” on top of the CRT ban the state already has in place. Parents would be able to sue any school they suspected of violating the state’s rules (with the expectation that a losing school would also have to pay their lawyer fees).

        In Oklahoma, Republican State Senator Rob Standridge introduced a bill that would allow any parent to demand the removal of any book from a school library— and after thirty days collect $10,000 in “monetary damages” for every day the book is not removed. The “responsible employee” may also be fired and barred from working in a school for two years.


        [emphasis added]

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > They would be stationed at unspecified “field offices throughout the state” and act on tips from “government officials or any other person.”

      Will there be bounties?

      1. ambrit

        Chilling to think that we are entering a period where ‘non-compliant’ people can be “retired,” just like the replicants in Blade Runner.
        P K Dick was profound.

  22. Todd

    Ancillary evidence, Cases will be dropping just due to hospitals not being able to test. Our local county hospital has run out of test kits. It is the largest hospital for a county that has over 2 million population. My guess is that other hospitals are running low with no real means to resupply timely.

    So now, the hospital will not be able to properly test to segregate patients that have covid but are asymptomatic. It can only lead to increased spread within the hospital. Latest guidance is to wear you mask upon entering the building and not just the designated covid wards.

    Also, for the past 2 weeks I’ve been following the county web site. They report things based on the week the test was collected, vs the confirmed cases that go to the state. New Years eve week has consistently gone up and up every day. First week in Jan surpassed above new years week last Friday. This is telling me that there is a huge backlog in testing. Looking at the rate of testing numbers the county capacity is between 8-10k tests a day.

  23. curlydan

    Off topic for this Water Cooler, but I just found out that the James Webb Telescope was named for NASA’s leader, James Webb (61-68), and not Jim Webb the politician/senator from Virginia. Earlier, I kept asking myself, why did that [bleep] from Virginia do to get a telescope named after him? Turns out, there was another, more deserving James Webb.

  24. Big River Bandido

    If the West Wing can mobilize anything, it’s speechwriters. What the heck is going on up there?

    Perhaps a small piece of this might be the influence of Mercury in retrograde. But mostly it’s just part of the general collapse of competence that accompanies societal collapse. After 50 years of trickling-down, the results of those policies are in charge, and they haven’t a clue how to actually do or run anything.

      1. albrt

        There might be a decent percentage of the rank and file who think that way, but the Democrat party leadership in Washington is delivering exactly what they intended to deliver.

        You’ll get nothing and like it!

  25. lance ringquist

    i knew it. when i saw things biden did that was right, including ending trumps trade war, i said in my mind, got to be rick newman, a thomas freidman wanna be. sure enough it was.

    ending the trade war and nafta nancy pelosi handing out made in china n-95 masks in the house is a stroke of genius for ensuring a electoral blowout of the nafta democrats, like on the order of a tonga volcano!

  26. Lee

    Ezekiel Emanuel on PBS Newshour listed “good air filtration in all indoor spaces” as a number 1 priority in the new and improved approach to “living with” Covid-19 going forward. Maybe he’s an NC reader.

  27. ChrisRUEcon

    #Kamala #NetflixAndKill

    > The couple’s biggest evening challenge, he said, is sometimes settling on what to watch on Netflix …

    I guess a pandemic run amok and political impotence, despite a majority in both houses, aren’t challenging enough. But forgive me for suggesting that the veep should “take her work woes home” to hubby. Must be nice though … if that’s your biggest challenge.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      #TheAdamsFamily #VeepVibez

      > “Hero Veep Cop Saves Democrat Party.” OK, OK, I’m spitballing. But who else is there? Tim Kaine? Again?

      As I said last week, loving the way NC is building steam from a grain of salt … ;-)

      I’m buying this. When you string together the series of (fortunate and unfortunate) events, you can’t ignore where the puck is headed here …

      – Kamala defections, and the “everything’s gonna be alright” tone from press covering it
      – HRC’s trial balloons, which before they started in earnest, were proceeded by her surfacing to remind Democrats of the perils of going too far left … ? … a.k.a. letting Bernie know early … Hahahaha!
      – in the “notable by its absence” category, anyone heard from #ButtItItch recently?! Awfully quiet on the Mayo front
      – the ascent of Adams and bro, with even the negative media coverage being turned on its heel; nimbleness
      – and finally, putting a feeble, foggy, poorly prepared Joe Biden out on television for all to see; a play to elicit pity, so that when the time comes, Joe’s departure will be viewed as an act of mercy.

      Now … how long before that Adams security detail is headed east out to The Hamptons? ;-)

      1. ChrisRUEcon


        You know who’s pumping out a lot of rags-to-crypto-riches articles lately? Business Insider. There’s at least one a week over the last month or so when I started taking notice. They’re all paywalled … which I find a bit odd … but then again, perhaps NFT is the new clickbait.

  28. ChetG

    “4 things Biden got right in a bumpy first year” … Stabilizing foreign policy

    That was worth an ironic laugh: “Stabilizing foreign policy”! Thanks to the Biden administration, we’re on the brink of World War III or already deeper into the war.

  29. lyman alpha blob

    RE: …”whether… ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Star Trek’ is better (‘Wars’ for the win)…

    Q was right. We’re not worthy.

    1. Mantid

      Star Wars does not hold up over time. Lots and lots of shooting with no one getting hit. Star Trek was actually based on script and acting. I know a certain generation thinks it’s the bee’s knees, but Star Wars is inane.

  30. Otis B Driftwood

    Regarding the Bragman tweet, the most dispiriting thing is that among all the pearl clutching about the likely return of Trump and the “I voted for Biden but I knew this was gonna happen” replies, not a single reply points out that maybe it’s time to support a third party alternative to this sh$t show. Not one, and I scrolled for awhile.

  31. Steeeve

    Matt Stoller DOJ/FTC – where to submit public comments

    From further down in the thread…

    Request for Information is available at: https://regulations.gov/docket/FTC-2022-0003/document.

    Comments must be received no later than Monday, March 21, 2022. Information will be used by the agencies to consider updates and revisions to the guidelines /5

    I don’t have Twitter so can’t click on the thread, but this appears to be the live link to where you can comment (if I linked it correctly)…

  32. Acacia

    Regarding that Dune book, as I exited a theater screening of Jodorowsky’s Dune, I spied a similar hefty tome on sale in the gift shop. When I opened it to skim though, I found… nothing but blank white pages. Could be the same item.

  33. VietnamVet

    I remember 1965 watching LBJ on the black and white TV at the Student Union announcing the sending troops into Vietnam. I even ended up serving a year in the first US Army Brigade that answered the call. At least Dick Nixon acknowledge the war’s destruction of the draft US Army and withdrew. Joe Biden’s failure is a magnitude greater (58,220 American deaths in Vietnam verses 877,240 with COVID). His transition team was told about the variants and yet he following directly in Donald Trump’s vaccine only policy footsteps and even promised a summer of freedom. The Delta and Omicron surges mortally wounded his Presidency.

    The corporate/state spokespeople still say and believe that “mRNA vaccines are safe and effective” despite all the evidence to the contrary. Illness, supply shortages, cognitive dissonance, and grief are causing mental breakdowns. The US government no longer works. The death cult that follows “the invisible hand” ideology has lost touch with reality.

    The only hope for the Democratic Party to avoid a midterm wipeout is that this is all forgotten in eleven months.

    1. skippy

      The flip side is the GOP freedom radicals and the creator makes all the important decisions depending on how much love is directed to him on an individual basis within a group.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The only hope for the Democratic Party to avoid a midterm wipeout is that this is all forgotten in eleven months.

      Eleven months is a long time in politics. So is 292 days.

      I think if I were a Republican strategist, of any flavor, I wouldn’t be all that enthusiastic about my choices. Perhaps Trump will end up being the lowest common denominator….

      1. Samuel Conner

        Is there room this year for genuinely ( i.e., ‘universal concrete material benefits’) progressive candidates? It’s probably not too soon for us to open our purses and dig behind the sofa cushions in their (and our) interest.

        1. ambrit

          When it comes to financing politics, corporations will always win. They have all the money. Instead, shift the ground of the conflict. Replace gold and silver with lead. (It doesn’t have to be well organized. Creeping chaos will do just fine. Just make sure that said chaos is evenly distributed across the demographics.)

  34. lance ringquist

    thanks lambert. i kinda added my own stuff.

    VIVA TRUMP! PRESIDENT TRUMP TURNED NAFTA BILLY CLINTONS FASCIST FREE TRADE AGREEMENT, “NAFTA” and turned it into a actual treaty with sovereignty and democratic control

    a new independent autoworkers union, SINTIIA, is on the ballot to be an actually representative union bargaining legitimate contracts with GM in mexico

    this could be a big development for independent unionism in Mexico, with all the obvious ramifications for runaway manufacturing, “that’s feeding the free trade race to the bottom”


    its says a lot of what happened to the democrats once nafta billy clinton took over.

    just think, empty suit hollowman obama kinda hinted he might renegotiate, he did not of course he is a liar, and the empty suit had huge majorities to do this.

    no wonder so many latino americans voted for trump along the border.

    1. skippy

      Bill was just the willing suit to advance Rubennomics and as such just a off target focal point for the real agency behind his actions, Bill had no clue about economics and was just a common political hustler.

      Your real ire should be directed at the economists that were advising him and what agenda they were pushing not to mention how it was all funded.

    2. skippy

      It should be noted in a conversation with Bill on economic matters when Rubin was advised that wages and productivity had diverged he did not bat an eye. So you have decades of Politicians regardless of party following the same economic paradigm save the administrative branding. Yet many still focus on specific political people and parties as having this influence during the neoliberal era and not one thought to the dominate orthodox economics which underpins it all …

      1. lance ringquist

        i have repeatedly said we need a truth commission before the total inevitable breakdown of america begins. without it, there will be a blood bath as finger pointers turn on everyone.

        we did it under FDR, we did it under TRUMAN, we did it after WWII, with the war crime trails. we need to do it now. nafta billy clinton, his advisors inside and out of government, his financial backers, same for every congressman and their advisors inside and outside of government, and their financial backers who went along with the crimes and treason of nafta billy clinton.

        if you do not do this, you will end up again with a nafta joe biden, neck deep in nafta billy clintons crimes.

        then nothing will fundamentally change.

        you cant leave them in power and have a revolution at the same time, it does not work that way, unless you invite failure.

  35. lance ringquist

    i just cannot say it enough, we can never recover till we reverse this monsters disastrous policies.


    January 18, 2022
    Bill Clinton’s Role in the Crisis Over Ukraine
    by Melvin Goodman

    Bill Clinton was initially responsible for the militarization. He abolished the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and began the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The party of betrayal, except this time in foreign policy (since Bush the Elder, through James Baker, had taken NATO expansion off the table after the break-up of the Soviet Union).

      1. ambrit

        You know that your Hunter S Thompson quote is appropriate when James Baker is now the “adult in the room.”

  36. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Italians have an excellent word for the phenomenon in the two plantidote photos: galaverna

    e la galavèrna o calavèrna :
    ghiaccioli che si formano sulle foglie e sui rami degli alberi
    durante la stagione fredda, per il condensarsi della nebbia

    May be worth importing into English.

  37. Tracie Hall

    Love the close-up of the icicles and the accompanying description of the land it is on, making the photographer a beneficiary of regular icicle displays!

  38. drumlin woodchuckles

    What stops the League of Women Voters from holding an Open Invitation debate to any candidate-wannabe who wants to appear? Does the League of Women Voters not have a You Tube channel? Does the League not know that such a thing is possible? Does the League not know what a ” podcast” is?

    The League could have its Open Invitation debate and digi-cast it on You Tube and cut the TV companies out of the process completely. And cut the Press out too.

Comments are closed.