2:00PM Water Cooler 1/3/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I must extend my holiday breather by one day in order to finish a post. I will be nack in full force tomorrow. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Two swans, not a’swimming… They’re not kidding about that “trumpeter” part. The pair sound like a parade of football fans after a victory!

* * *

Here are a couple Covid charts. Case count by United States regions:

Looks like a three-day weekend reporting problem, to me. (Worth noting the case count is probably an undercount. All home tests don’t get counted, and not everybody can go get a test.)

NOT UPDATED Here are the CDC’s rapid riser counties as of 12/29/2021:

Oy. California and Texas, suddenly not looking good at all. (I’m not adding the blue dots so as not to conceal the spread of red, but those Blue Cities aren’t looking any better either.)

NOT UPDATED Previous (12/28/2021):

Here, thanks to the sharp eyes of alert reader ChrisFromGeorgia, I have helpfully dotted the major cities that are also rapid riser counties — in blue (plus Denver and Nashville). Looks like those Blue Cities have some sort of Enemy Within thing going on…. (Chicago isn’t red, but pink, so no dot.)

* * *

Not a flex in Bezos’s class, but still:

* * *

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 (JD):

JD writes: “Longtime lurker here. I took this at a lovely place called Mt. Misery, west of Boston, a few years ago while walking my dog. The photo is actually of a small pond reflecting October in all its glory.” Mt. Misery is about the most New England name I’ve ever heard. Still, what a gorgeous photo!

* * *

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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.

87 comments

    1. Jason Boxman

      I know, right. This is punishment. Honestly this is one of the reasons I have nothing to do with the Twitter.

      Reply
        1. chris

          You may kid but who else does Team Blue have? The bench on both sides is really light. It will be interesting to see if the Republicans borrow the innovation that gave us Glen Youngkin and use ranked choice voting to select the candidates to run for POTUS in 24.

          Reply
        2. Screwball

          I’m afraid of that – and she would probably win. The thought of that scares me $hitless. Not that there is anyone else worth a bucket of spit, but imagine the damage she could do. We get raped while the worshipers worship. It’s already bad enough watching them slobber over Sleepy Joe (who can’t do anything wrong – because Trump). Truly sickening.

          Reply
          1. chris

            So the funny thing is Scranton Joe isn’t playing well in Scranton and the courtiers are noticing. That’s why there’s all the urge and urgency over his media coverage and articles are being written about how unfair it’s been. That’s why we have NPR reporters asking Psaki questions about giving out test kits for free. There’s also limited enthusiasm outside of the donor salons for Mayo Pete and Madame Harris.

            If Michelle Obama was put forward she probably would do well in the primary and would then get slammed in the general. But that all depends on who the Republicans put forward. And I don’t think there’s anyone there people are excited about.

            Reply
            1. rowlf

              As a mental exercise, imagine if a well organized third party ran an animal. (I like skunks but that’s how I roll. Mom had one.) How many previous independents, nonvoters and voters that are fed up with poor candidates would hit it to make their point that very few people like the two dominant political parties?

              Reply
                1. rowlf

                  Over the years people who campaigned for Ross Perot have mentioned how hard the two dominant political parties worked to prevent entry by other parties. It wasn’t that the Perot campaign lacked money and resources, it was the obstacles placed in their path to keep them off ballots in several states. If we want to show Our Democracy, I think anyone who files the paperwork should be on the ballot and in the debates. Who cares if there are > 300 names? It’s a democracy, isn’t it?

                  Who couldn’t like your Skunk Party platform? Btw way, mom was a muscle car driving hottie who couldn’t be bothered by small minds and became one of those types of librarians we heard about a few years ago.

                  Reply
                  1. Yves Smith

                    There are lots of obstacles and overcoming them requires $ and superb organization. Just getting on ballots in all 50 states is hard.

                    And then you have the problem of internal saboteurs. One of the reasons Sanders withdrew after the Weekend of Long Knives is about half his team, who had been Dem operatives, told him to quit. The implication was at least half of them would quit. With holes in key positions in his organization, which was already something less than a well running machine, his campaign would be mortally wounded.

                    In other words, you are forced to use current insiders to navigate the process. They are largely out for their careers, not any cause. Outsiders are at much more risk of defections.

                    Reply
                2. Skunk

                  Unlike ultra-aggressive politicians with “in-your-face” methods, skunks mind their own business and do not seek out confrontation. Well, I guess skunks can also be in-your-face, but only if you threaten them…and then it would likely be the last time you did so. I like the fact that skunks are as non-violent as possible in their response, yet also (ha ha) highly effective. There are, though, some similarities between skunks and the activities of actual politicians. In both cases, people may suspect that something smells rotten…

                  Reply
    2. ambrit

      Sorry jo6pac, “The Story of ‘O'” was a waking nightmare we all ‘lived’ through. The photo might be considered a “flashback” of a ‘bad trip’ we all had.

      Reply
    3. Nikkikat

      Don’t they just look so happy and rich and everything!? Wonder if they’re with Bezos at his new year party.

      Reply
  1. jefemt

    That pond reflection photo is wonderful!

    Trumpeter swans: If you never read it, EB White (former “New Yorker” staff, author of Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and NYC off to Maine ex-pat homesteading egg famer) wrote a great book called the Trumpet of The Swan.
    Set in Rupert Murdoch’s new backyard, the Centennial Valley/ Red Rocks area, in SW Montana.
    One of the prettiest places in the lower 48…

    https://orionmagazine.org/article/trumpeter-swans/

    Reply
    1. CanCyn

      We used to live near a spot on Lake Ontario where the Trumpeters spend the winter. Walking down to where they were sounded like approaching the horn section of an orchestra warming up. Wonderful.

      Reply
    2. Retaj

      Hearing the trumpeter swans was a treat as Trumpet of the Swan was one of my favorite books that I read as a child. I vividly imagined the forests of rural Canada, and the mute protagonist swan Louis playing his trumpet in Boston.

      Reply
  2. drumlin woodchuckles

    I once saw a very “New England” made up place name on a National Lampoon map of Maine once. It was along the seacoast. It was a small point of land called . . . Dunder Head.

    Reply
    1. katiebird

      We won’t publish comments that fully-copy posts or comments from other sites. You posted the deleted comment yesterday and it was removed then. That should have given you a clue. Don’t do it again.

      Reply
      1. ChiGal

        Ha! I am suddenly remembering that you are moderating now Katiebird—I had been noticing a reproving tone that didn’t seem characteristic of you lately and wondering.

        Happy New Year and thanks for helping to clean up the neighborhood!

        Reply
            1. katiebird

              Thanks, Steve H. — but my memory is that either Lambert came up with the 12 word platform or it was a group effort at Corrente (the link-source I included with my comment — deep within your link — is gone now). For those wondering, here is the 12 Word Platform:

              1. Medicare For All.
              2. End The Wars.
              3. Tax The Rich.
              4. Jobs for Everyone

              Reply
  3. bwilli123

    A well argued article on (neo) Liberalism within the DSA and the American Left in general.

    …The actually existing US left, particularly in major cities, is almost exclusively based in the educated liberal middle classes, and is completely interpenetrated at the leadership level by the Iron Triangle of academia, media, and NGOs. It therefore not only lacks an independent political base capable of upholding genuinely socialist politics, but is in fact subordinated to capital via these institutions…
    And
    …The middle class in general is preoccupied not with class or exploitation but with correctness and etiquette: it supervises, disciplines, and “educates” other workers all day long at work, and it moralizes and polices people the rest of the day outside of work…

    https://classunity.org/2022/01/03/the-lefts-middle-class-problem-a-response-to-tempest/

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      When ostensible Marxiss use the nebulous term “middle class” as an analytic category, it bodes ill. From my readings of Marx, he really doesn’t discuss what they are referring to as the middle class as being a “middle class”. And the third volume breaks off right at the point where a more detailed discussion of classes was to be introduced.

      In the pejorative sense in which they want to use the term, they really need to come to terms with the fact that it is descriptive of Marx himself. And Engels. And Trotsky. And many more. Not quite Lenin, because he was beyond middle class status, hailing from the petty aristocracy, though trained for the law.

      Was Capital an inferior work because not written by a steelworker?

      Reply
      1. lambert strether

        > the third volume breaks off right at the point where a more detailed discussion of classes was to be introduced

        The proof was too large to fit in the margin….

        Reply
        1. Darthbobber

          And the projected project was way too large to fit into Marx’s life. I believe the 3 volumes of Capital cover only a bit more than half of the planned topics, and parts of volume 3 are little more than Marx’s outlines fleshed out by Engels.
          It really grew a lot from those early days when Marx anticipated having “this economic shit” dispensed with in a few months.

          Reply
      2. bwilli123

        To your 1st point- From note 4 in the article (see bottom of page) which seems suitably un-nebulous.

        …Consider the following two concise statements by Marx about the middle class: “What [Ricardo] forgets to emphasise is the constantly growing number of the middle classes, those who stand between the workman on the one hand and the capitalist and landlord on the other. The middle classes maintain themselves to an ever increasing extent directly out of revenue [i.e. they are an overhead cost, faux frais of production], they are a burden weighing heavily on the working base and increase the social security and power of the upper ten thousand” (Marx/Engels Collected Works, vol. 32, 198).”

        To your 2nd point (again from the article)

        …”We would like to make absolutely clear that our stance is not that every person from a middle-class background has bad politics, nor that every individual’s politics are mechanically determined by their class position, nor that middle-class people should be somehow excluded from the workers’ movement. The problem is not individual middle-class people. Rather, there is a characteristic kind of middle-class politics, though there may be numerous exceptions.”

        One would imagine the above might include not only Marx, but Engels,Lenin,Trotsky etc

        Reply
        1. Darthbobber

          I would point out that the material in mecw 32, which they cite twice, is the notes grouped under Theories of Surplus Value. This material was preparatory study for the eventual writing of Capital, and contains a lot of things that are modified or abandoned altogether in the work Marx actually published. The citation they have from p196 is not apropos at all, since the context there makes it clear he’s talking about servants.

          The problem with middle class the way they want to use it is that it seems to include everybody who is not a capitalist or a manual worker. And once it’s been cast that broadly, it is far too various to have A characteristic politics.

          Reply
      3. pebird

        Vol 1 Chap 32:

        Footnote: “The other classes perish and disappear in the face of Modern Industry, the proletariat is its special and essential product…. The lower middle classes, the small manufacturers, the shopkeepers, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class… they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei,” London, 1848, pp. 9, 11.”

        The classical definition of the middle class is the collection of small propertied owners – shopkeepers, small landowners/farmers, small manufacturing, etc.

        For Marx, class is defined by the relationship to property ownership. As the classic middle class has died out, and “class” has been redefined as relative income, our neo-middle class is the professional/administrative workers.

        To some extent you could say they are small propertied owners – they own their “profession” (although you could argue they are just a certain type of skilled laborer). Certainly if they look at themselves as “propertied” they would have an ideology similar to that of the classic middle class. As Marx puts it “reactionary”.

        Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      excellent. thank you.

      i predict that the authors of that piece will suffer a dearth of invitations to “lefty” conclaves, going forward.

      Reply
    3. GramSci

      I think a link from the referenced article makes a more lucid presentation of the Class Unity position:

      “CDSA is currently unrepresentative of the city’s working class. The organization’s disproportionately college-educated and professional-class membership doesn’t have the strategic leverage in the regional economy to exert power against capital. And CDSA doesn’t yet have the capacity to build this power because it doesn’t have social standing in working-class neighborhoods.”

      https://midwestsocialist.com/2021/07/12/vote-for-class-unity-in-the-cdsa-branch-elections/

      Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        It’s a good bill of particulars, and also singles out the Uni and Professional class aspect. The language and other games that one learns to play in those organizations build a significant wall between them and the working class that wrecks a lot of “outreach.”

        At one point during Occupy Philadelphia I had the enlightening experience of observing as a legacy admission to Bryn Mawr lectured a roofer on his assorted privileges.

        Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      ‘it supervises, disciplines, and “educates” other workers all day long at work, and it moralizes and polices people the rest of the day outside of work…’

      You could take that description and apply it to the Victorians where the minor elite would do the exact same thing. In fact, that could define Victorian behaviour. But a least back then they were bold enough to say right out that it was a matter of class – with everybody in their own place. You knew where you stood.

      I was reading an account of a ship that brought my g-grandmother out to Oz here in the 1880s and the newspaper said that as a grand finale, the passengers on that ship had a promenade around the open deck of that ship with the first class passengers at the head, the second class passengers and then followed by the steerage passengers. They knew where to line up. But at least they would have said that they got this idea from the bible and not a Milton Friedman.

      Reply
  4. Robert Hahl

    A musical interlude:

    Kenny Burrell and Stevie Wonder Live at Catalina Jazz Club 2011
    https://youtu.be/QjfvuNW_B44

    Mr. Zoot Suit – Ingrid Lucia and The Flying Neutrinos
    https://youtu.be/1PMfX0UHdlk?list=RD1PMfX0UHdlk

    SWINGROWERS – Precipitiamo
    https://youtu.be/M0EaVKcVEFc?list=PL1fIU72-EgAxSgbhM1W0Iz1rmBXcdrxEA

    Electro Swing Dance Freestyle: Lost in the Rhythm, Jamie Berry Feat. Octavia Rose
    https://youtu.be/gPxjgSK08lc

    Chuck Pyle – Here Comes the Water
    https://youtu.be/EwI8q3zPYVQ

    Reply
      1. Steve H.

        I’ve had ‘Tears of a Clown’ going through my head lately, looked it up.

        >Songwriter(s) Hank Cosby, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder

        Supergenius.

        Reply
  5. DGL

    The Obama’s: There are three people working full time to keep the wall “treatment” pristine. Thank you job creators!

    Reply
  6. Robert Hahl

    A few good books, useful to get away from current events

    Don’t Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle
    by Daniel L Everett
    A missionary/linguist in the Amazon goes native, learns to speak the language fluently, and provids a counter example to Chomsky’s theory of universal grammar.

    The astronomical companion
    by Guy Ottewell
    The entire universe illustrated.

    Nora Webster
    by Colm Toibin
    A quiet novel about being Irish, in which very little happens. Not written to be a movie unlike “Brooklyn.”

    The Moor’s Account
    by Laila Lalami
    Conquistadors in Florida.

    The Dud Avocado
    by Elaine Dundy
    A young American woman on the loose in 1950’s Paris. Groucho Marx wrote her a fan letter.

    These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
    by Luke Mogelson
    Short stories, mostly about American life after war.

    Nam: The Vietnam War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Fought There
    by Mark Baker

    Bread and Wine
    by Ignazio Silone
    The story of a communist who evaded Italian fascists during the war by impersonating a priest. Most people are annoyed by the ending but they love it up to the last page.

    Black Sunset: Hollywood Sex, Lies, Glamour, Betrayal, and Raging Egos
    by Clancy Sigal
    Sigal started out as an film agent, became a blacklisted screenwriter, and went to Europe to have affairs with Doris Lessing and Simon de Beauvoir.

    Into Their Labors
    by John Berger
    The art critic, who emigrated to a French mountain village to write about it’s last period of peasant life.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      “Nam: The Vietnam War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Fought There” by Mark Baker is definitely a great book to read and I keep a copy myself. “Dispatches” by Michael Herr is also a great book on Nam.

      Reply
    2. Robert Hahl

      P.S. According to Tom Wolfe, Chomsky retaliated by having Daniel Everett’s Brazilian visa revoked so he could not continue working with the tribe he had lived with for 30 years. I guess he believes it is important to censor misinformation wherever it’s found.

      Reply
  7. lordkoos

    I live in a college town in eastern WA and was looking at our local small-town paper today, which I rarely read. I noticed an unusual full page ad for a “job fair” being held by our local community health clinic. They do not deal with COVID cases directly but refers them to the local hospital who have set up a special clinic for COVID tests and evaluations. I’m not sure what is going on but they appear to be suddenly, critically understaffed. The ad lists the jobs available as:

    Program Scheduler
    Medical Assistants
    Nursing Supervisor
    IT Systems Administrator
    Recruitment and Community Relations Coordinator
    Population Health Manager
    Director of Privacy
    Dental Hygienists
    Dental Assistants
    Receptionists/Schedulers
    Registered Nurse (part time)

    This is in a county with less than 50,000 population and I have never seen this kind of ad in the local rag before this – they are looking for a huge number of positions considering the size of the clinic, which is not tiny, but it’s nothing like what you might find in a big city.

    My theory is that a) people have quit because of: a) a vaccine mandate (this is a very conservative county), b) health safety concerns, c) it’s some kind of walk-out over wages (although you would think that would be publicized) d) some type of management problem, or e) some other issue I know nothing about.

    The timing seems quite odd given the pandemic rising right now.

    The top headline in the same issue of our paper was about the number of fentanyl overdoses in 2020. Things are not going well in rural America.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      The ferries have been all on light schedule due to crew shortages
      commenter Brunches with Cats may know more

      Reply
  8. clarky90

    A Pfizer injection report, n=1. I bumped into my old friend Jess (about 40 yo) yesterday. She has been double injected. (I never say “jabbed”. It is baby-talk.)

    I asked her how she had gotten on. Jess said; “Just a sore arm for a few hours, and tired for a few days. Nothing much.”

    But about ten minutes later, Jess said that she had been keeping careful records of her menstrual cycle. It had been regular (like clockwork) for decades. After her Pfizer injections, not regular at all.

    I urged her to make a report to VAERS, but she said “no”.

    Are we cannon fodder……. ?

    “Fix bayonets! Out of the trenches, Chaps. Let’s teach the Huns a lesson they’ll never forget!”

    Reply
  9. Samuel Conner

    A question for the NC Covid Brain Trust:

    There are anecdotes of unusual numbers of cancer diagnoses in recent months. It is speculated on various sides that this may be a consequence of immune dysfunction in consequence of CV infection or even, asserted by some, of CV vaccines.

    Is this something that, if it persists or worsens, would rise to the level of notice in “Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Reports”?

    I’m wondering on what time frame it would be reasonable to expect these anecdotes to start, if they continue, becoming “official data” or noticed in the academic literature.

    Reply
    1. LawnDart

      There are anecdotes of unusual numbers of cancer diagnoses in recent months…

      It was brought up by the Brain Trust maybe a few weeks ago in comments in relation to some major t-cell ugliness from infection (very freakin depressing stuff). The time frame will likely parallel “Long Covid” with regards to “becoming “official data” or noticed in the academic literature” I would wager if I were a sporting man: additional effects of the virus will remain under study, in question and inconclusive, for as long as it is politically possible.

      Reply
    2. juneau

      I am not an expert, but have a vested interest in this topic and like epidemiology. The American Cancer Society expects the numbers to be reduced initially due to diagnosis and treatment delays from the pandemic, then to rise as people receive delayed diagnosis and treatment (presumably with poorer outcomes). Cancer patients dying from Covid need to be separated from those dying from their cancers as well. Overall it may take years to get accurate data on this topic. They are predicting excess cancer deaths from the pandemic due to delays in getting adequate care. They make no comment on the effect of the virus on cancer progress nor of the vaccines. I don’t expect that they will comment on this for a long long time….due to political pressures or simple bias. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2021/cancer-facts-and-figures-2021.pdf (page 30 and on)

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        IM Doc explicitly rejected this theory. We’re two years into Covid. There has been virtually no cessation of provision of medical services, save in the cities and states that had long-ish hard lockdowns. Even those were only a few months at the very tops. In supposedly hard hit NYC, I had zero difficulty getting appointments with various specialists regarding my deteriorating hip, which became deteriorating hips due to my not wanting to get surgery, or getting imaging when needed (MRIs and Xrays) or getting the per-op and surgery scheduled. Hip replacements are elective (unlike a lot of oncology procedures) and even if MDs were seeing a lot of patients virtually, they could still order and have patients get imaging.

        In other words, any backlog was months at most, in NYC and CA, and oncologists would do more work arounds even then. It would have easily been cleared out in less than a year.

        Reply
        1. juneau

          Yes and I agree with you both. My docs have been readily available as well and if anything, more concerned than usual I agree and worry that biases will prevent the epidemiologists from making proper interpretations. I worry every day that the virus will bring back something I worked hard to get rid of….via inflammation and immune dysregulation from virus or vaccine. Time will tell but it will be a while.

          Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Could it be people who came in for “symptoms” all at once after spending months without medical attention all through the prior covid rushes?

      Reply
  10. Herbæ Malæ

    Testing capacity maxed out and positivity rate oscillating around 30% for the last few days in Quebec. Hospitalization up 127% in a week, many surgeries getting canceled, and we’re very close to the maximum capacity of our health care system.

    Things are pretty dire.

    Reply
  11. Tom Stone

    We will be seeing a Million or more new cases each day in the USA by the end of this week,and that many or more each day until the end of February or longer.
    And there are signs that we have parallel pandemics of Delta and Omicron.
    In a week or so on any given day we will have 8 Million or so seriously ill.
    Who will they be?
    Anyone in healthcare, that system has been on the verge of collapse for many months and it will go over the edge within a month.
    Broken completely.
    Anyone who comes into touch with the public, retail clerks, grocery clerks, delivery drivers,schoolteachers…
    And football fans, the stands have been full of the unmasked for a Month or more and Omicron is always happy to make a new acquaintance.
    And anyone exposed to any of the above people.
    It seems reasonable to expect a number of disruptions if things go well, deliveries of everything from fuel to groceries delayed because too many warehouse workers are sick, groceries closed for a week or more because 80% of the staff are out sick (‘Flu hasn’t gone away either), restaurants closed both due to staff being out sick or inability to have needed items delivered.
    And do keep in mind that Covid is still mutating ( Urk) and that coinfections ( Flu+ Covid, Omicron + Delta) will become more common because we have more cases.
    It would be a good idea to have a 60 day supply of any needed meds on hand and if you can afford to stock up on other necessities now is a good time to do so.
    Good luck to all.

    Reply
    1. curlydan

      yes, good luck to all. In my area, the great experiment commences in the local schools on Wednesday when the kids return: Masks will now be “optional” based on a decision made on November 15th and reaffirmed today in a 4-3 school board vote. So I guess that’s good luck to me, my kids, and my wife. I fully expect the kids, especially my oldest who dislikes masks, to bring Omicron home quite soon.

      Infections were very low in the school district all through the first semester when masking was required.

      If more than 3% of the school’s population is in quarantine, the masks are back on. But by the time 3% of the school is in quarantine, probably 10% of the school will have it. Sigh.

      Reply
  12. ChrisRUEcon

    #NewYearHodgePodge

    #OzElections

    I didn’t find out till recently about The New Liberals (via TNL website) in Australia. Genuinely heartened to see Economist Steve Keen running for Senate (New South Wales) under their banner. Yes, I am still a likkle cringey about the word “Liberal” in there, but I am familiar with Keen, and he will bring much needed heterodox economic heft!

    Reply
    1. ChrisRUEcon

      #Bolsonaro

      Brazilian President Bolsonaro admitted to hospital under emergency circumstances today. Being reported as “intestinal blockage” (and for the second time in six months). So of course, the jokes on Twitter are writing themselves. I’ll spare everyone.

      Reply
          1. ChrisRUEcon

            I think the crux of the whole Casimir effect is to avoid the need for exotic-matter sources for rapid space travel … it’ll take a while to extrapolate it from the nano to the super-structure scale, no doubt … but still cool … :)

            Reply
    2. Foy

      Mmmm I wonder how long it would take The New Liberals to become The Old Liberals lol? I really like Steve Keen he would definitely bring some heterodox heft, but I would really struggle to vote for any party with the word ‘Liberal’ in it.

      In the next few months that word could be toxic if things keep going pearshaped like they are. Although looking at the TNL website their policies are fairly wide ranging. Almost Labor like even and more Labor than Labor in some.

      But as many find out when suddenly new in power you can only spend your political capital on a few things, spread yourself to thin and nothing gets done. I wonder which ones they will choose, which are the most important to them?

      Reply
      1. ChrisRUEcon

        I wonder how long it would take The New Liberals to become The Old Liberals lol?

        Right?! Let’s see … early days yet!

        Reply
    1. jim truti

      it will be interesting to see what sentence she will get compared to the hateful Martin Shkreli who made money for his investors instead.

      Reply
    2. Joe Well

      And here is an Eric Feigl Ding thread about the time he called her a fraud during a Q&A at Harvard.

      Someone replied with a Youtube video of it. The moderator flat out mocked him.

      A true “Don’t Look Up” moment.

      Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          I wasn’t aware Feigl Ding did that until I saw it on twitter yesterday – he has gone up very much in my estimation. Its clear a lot of people behind the scenes were questioning their tech while the media and people in power were still fawning over her.

          Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      This will be a good opportunity for a Young Peoples’ Movement to create a single-issue party for Cancel the Student Loans. If it could get itself on the ballot in just enough key Electoral College-rich states to deny either candidate a victory by winning all of those few states it gets on the ballot in, it will show it has the power to deny the two parties a victory. Such a visible display of power might attract more people to join such a party.

      It could even become a three-issue party. Cancel the Student loans. Destroy the Democratic Party. Destroy the Republican Party.

      Reply
      1. lance ringquist

        the nafta democrats have done a good job transcending the generations. how the youth could vote for another nafta democratic is beyond belief.

        didn’t they watch nafta billy clinton rape their grand parents and parents, same with empty suit hollowman obama.

        hopefully this is the last hurrah of the nafta democrats.

        Reply
  13. drumlin woodchuckles

    Well, it looks like the IranGov has given up any hope of ever getting back to the JCPOA deal. They have announced that . . . ” Iran vows revenge for Soleimani killing if Trump not put on trial ”
    https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-vows-revenge-soleimani-killing-if-trump-not-put-trial-2022-01-03/

    And the US Gov will not permit Trump or any other high official to go on trial for the Suleimani hit. And the IranGov knows it.

    So it looks like the IranGov wants to heighten the tension from its end for some reason or other.

    Will they go out of their way to take the kind of kinetic “wet” revenge designed to invite a US response in kind?

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      It has been already happening the past two years with constant attacks against convoys in Iraq plus the occasional attack against a US base. It will be sheer unrelenting pressure rather than a spectacular attack like that missile attack on that US base.

      Reply
  14. Dave in Austin

    The press in a nutshell:

    I just got up for an hour and hit the internet. Johns Hopkins says the US had 1,082,549 new Covid cases today. Reading left to right and then top to bottom here are the headlines in the NYT, the Guardian and AP (in fairness I should mention that they have shifted a bit in the last five minutes as I typed this but not much):
    ———————-
    Top three stores in the NYT:

    “Schools Were Almost Back to Normal. Then Omicron Upended Them Again.”

    “A Film Captures Jewish Life in a Polish Town Before the Nazis Arrived”

    “The lack of a quick test to diagnose Omicron or Delta is complicating treatments.”
    —————————
    Top three in the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news

    “‘It just seems like a big scam’: diabetics criticize Biden’s insulin proposal”
    “Capitol attack panel in race against time as Trump allies seek to run out clock”
    “Elizabeth Holmes trial: jury finds Theranos founder guilty on four fraud counts”
    ———————
    AP:

    Top left has “Insurrection prompts year of change for US Capitol Police”

    Top right has seven small stories:
    “Conditions hard for 13 million under China virus lockdown
    What will Silicon Valley learn from Holmes’ conviction?
    Activists urge Tesla to close new Xinjiang showroom
    Future of prayer site in doubt under Israel’s fragile govt
    Why are so many vaccinated people getting COVID-19 lately?
    1st Cambodian American mayor in US takes office
    A surge of evangelicals in Spain, fueled by Latin Americans”

    Any questions?

    Reply

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