2:00PM Water Cooler 1/31/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I must finish up a post on antiwork at Reddit, so here is a skeletal Water Cooler. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Boreal chickadees live in the northern woods all year round. Brrr!!

* * *


Case count by United States regions:

Peak behavior; I think we can expect more bounces on the way down, if we go by past behavior. If you look at the two previous peaks, you’ll see we’ve had declines, followed by rises, followed by final declines the fiddling and diddling phase was almost instant and now seems to be over. It looks like “rise like a rocket, and fall like a stick” applies; the slope of the downward curve is more or less the same as the upward curve. (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 unprecedented.) I wonder if there will be plateau when B.2 takes hold. Since the Northeast has form, that is probably the region to watch for this behavior first.

The official narrative was “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!

NOT UPDATED, DUDES, WTF? MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Continues encouraging. No jump from the return of the students yet.

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

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

Still improving, especially in California, but the southern side of Ohio River and Minnesota are stubbornly red. (Remember that these are rapid riser counties. A county that moves from red to green is not covid-free; the case count just isnt, well, rising rapidly.)

The previous release:

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Very encouraging (reinforcing the MWRA data and case data). Just two orange states: The recreation/vacation-oriented Montana and Virgin Islands (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.)

Just a reminder:

As with everything else, because the United States is not a serious country, our hospitalization data is bad. Here the baseilne is off:

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 907,190 902,196. As we know, deaths are a lagging indicator. I assume the absurdity of the “Omicron is mild” talking point is, at this point, self-evident. If you know somebody who’s in “lead my life” mode, you might consider telling them the odds of dying from Covid are tied for second worst with the first wave in New York.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Good news here too. For the time being.


* * *

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 (Quist):

Quist writes: “I’d never seen a century plant at this stage before. Not great pics but fun here in Oakland, California.”

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. jo6pac

    Well I’ll take a nap until some very smart people come around.

    I was going to get blood test that my Dr. wants but none of the locations in my area are open. sad

    1. Samuel Conner

      After reading Yves’ post this AM on the pandemic, I wanted to take a long nap in the hope of waking up and finding that I was just dreaming about reading about Lewy body dementia.

      I heard a Radiolab podcast several years ago titled ‘Parasites’. One of the parasites discusses was the pathogen that causes toxoplasmosis. It was asserted that it changes the brain of infected animals and reduces risk aversion — this promotes its life cycle (it lives in mice before it gets into the cats).

      It was suggested that it might promote risk tolerance in humans also, who can be exposed to the parasite through pets (specifically — the litter box). The date of the program was in the aftermath of the GFC.

      The thought occurs that maybe this is widespread. Perhaps there’s an epidemic of toxoplasmosis among the public health authorities and Western political leaders more generally.

      1. clarky90

        Viri impel us to sneeze and caugh. Viri also compel the “jet setters” to jet around the globe (the neo-sneeze/caugh)?

        Let us mandate the grounding of all Private Jets, to help control the pandemic.

        Why not? This would help our global good health, and The Environment. easy………

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Hell, why not ground planes in general? I sure wouldn’t miss them or the age of world travel in general, though I guess exemptions may be necessary to avoid especially grotesque human rights violations.

      2. Carla

        “Perhaps there’s an epidemic of toxoplasmosis among the public health authorities and Western political leaders more generally.”

        Maybe they all need to take the idrug. After all, it’s an anti-parasitic — with anti-viral properties thrown in for free!

      3. Eduardo

        It’s like when humans get toxoplasma, we start liking the smell of cat pee more, too. Isn’t that wacky? The parasite knows just what strings to pull. But it’s the more general effects we’re concerned about. We don’t need to worry our newfound appreciation for saber-tooth tiger urine is going to get us eaten, but mucking with our reaction times, that could be a problem. That could be why multiple studies have shown more traffic and worksite accidents among those that are chronically infected. But it may not just be our slowed reaction time. The parasite appears to also affect “subtle behavioural alterations,” like personality alterations that make us more likely to take risks. Great for the parasite in the cat-and-mouse game, but not so much if we’re driving a car, or wondering whether or not to take that next drink. Maybe one reason people with this brain parasite get into so many car accidents is that it may make people engage in riskier behaviors, like excessive alcohol consumption.

        We typically think of malaria as being humanity’s greatest killer parasite. “However, when we take into account the hundreds of thousands of deaths that occur due to the increased probability of traffic accidents, working accidents, suicides, and possibly also other side effects of the infection,” maybe this supposed “’asymptomatic’ latent toxoplasma infection [that has infested one in four Americans] could easily take malaria down [a notch].”

        Long-Term Effects of Toxoplasmosis Brain Infection

      4. megrim

        I definitely qualify as a crazy cat lady, and yet I am the most risk averse when it comes to covid.

  2. Wukchumni

    Over a year into the Biden Presidency and aside from the generous gift of nearly $4 a day (in a 1-time lump $1400 payment) to keep us living in a pandemic manner which we’ve become accustomed to, I just received 4 made-in-China antigen rapid tests as well. Our leaders can’t do anything to stop Covid, but they can let you know in the privacy of your own home whether you’ve got it or not, and in 15 minutes.

  3. R

    The graph of deaths does not show the odds of Omicron mortality tie with the first wave. They show that the rate of mortality in the whole population ties. But if that rate is over more ascertained cases, the odds of mortality are lower. Small percentage of a big number etc. “Mild” is a weasel word but this is not the evidence you are looking for.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “Mild” is a weasel word but this is not the evidence you are looking for.

      Oh dear. Statistics was not my major. I will try to work out a better explanation.

      1. DarvaRN

        Cannot get longer version of this post to load. Keep chopping off links

        Speaking of numbers:

        Fauci’s oft repeated by media “Unvaccinated” deaths includes all people who died with or from Covid before vaccines were introduced, and counts people with one shot or two shots, until 14 days after their second shot or booster as “unvaccinated.”

        Nice way to fudge the numbers.
        1/22,000 lives saved with vaccines.

        5/22,000 lives lost from vaccines

        Therefore vaccines cause four more times deaths than prevent.


        Entire list of footnotes in RFKJr. book These footnotes to scientific studies would by themselves, add up to a small paperback

        Google “The Real Anthony Fauci citations”

        to read them. Get the book, which is so good, it’ll probably be banned.

        1. debu

          Ordered months ago from Amazon to ensure the purchase was reflected in the bestseller list. Still no delivery ETA so effectively it has been pretty much banned already.

          Soft censorship.

    2. Samuel Conner

      The “conditional probability of dying if infected” is lower, but the absolute probability of dying of infection is not lower, because the probability of becoming infected is higher.

      I think Lambert’s statement, which I interpreted to mean “absolute risk of mortality”, remains justified.

      The “Omicron is milder than prior waves” meme does not make me feel safe at all. Omicron is more infectious than prior waves.

      1. Samuel Conner

        I’ll add, in lieu of a comment that I think may have transgressed moderation rules, that

        if one takes into account long COVID sequelae, then the total incidence of CV infections is a prognostic indicator of future long COVID sequelae, and the focus only on mortality from acute disease may greatly underestimate the burden of suffering and disability that will emerge in future.

        Considering that possibility, Omicron might be the worst thing to have happened yet in the pandemic.

        The happy talk may just be ‘whistling past the graveyard.’

  4. Robert Hahl

    What is funky, exactly?
    Matt Johnson of Jamiroquai – Getting up on the one, the secrets of Funk Keys!

    Ruben Rada – Dedos – Encuentro en el Estudio

    Brooklyn Funk Essentials – Dance Or Die

    Brooklyn Funk Essentials – Blast It!

    Backyard Party – Ole Børud
    European imitations of American music don’t usually work, but if anyone knows Lenny Kravitz, ask him to cover this.

    1. Eureka Springs

      When anyone ever says funk, I immediately think of Cymande. The entire Soul of Rasta album has to be in my top 5 all time funk favorites. Can’t find the whole thing on youtube… but it’s all there in pieces. Can’t believe those guys are still playing but there’s some recent live stuff too.

      I bet the Brooklyn Funks Essentials have a dedicated Cymande shrine somewhere.

    2. LilD

      I tried to play rhythm guitar for a funk group
      Audition: “play F9 16th notes at 150bpm for 45 minutes and make it interesting “

  5. antidlc

    Study on long COVID finds hidden lung abnormalities not detected in routine tests
    Initial results suggest significantly impaired air transfer from lungs to bloodstream, linked to breathlessness, indicating possible microscopic damage to respiratory system

    Researchers have discovered abnormalities in the lungs of long COVID patients who suffered from breathlessness a long time after they were infected, which could not be detected with routine tests, according to media reports.

    The pilot study used xenon — an odorless, colorless, tasteless and chemically non-reactive gas — to investigate possible lung damage in patients who recovered from the disease but continued to experience shortness of breath.

    Initial results suggested significantly impaired gas transfer from the lungs to the bloodstream even though other tests – including CT scans – came back as normal, raising the possibility that COVID causes microscopic damage to the respiratory system.

    1. Pelham

      Thanks for highlighting this. The absence of anything but marginal discussion of this type of affliction and Long Covid in the MSM and by officialdom is telling. I’m stocking up on N95s.

    2. Acacia

      I understand the properties of Xenon and can see why they chose it for this study, but if gas transfer is impaired, wouldn’t tests of blood oxygen show something amiss?

  6. NorD94

    How long will the US “fall like a stick”?

    If you look at the UK, I just google “uk covid cases” set time to 6 months, looks like the UK has hit a plateau for the last 1+ week. Peak was near Jan 5 192k/day (7 day ave) and a big big drop. But downtrend started slowing by Jan 20 at 92k/day and has drifted down to 90k/day by Jan 30. From the peak the UK has fallen by about a factor 2.

    From early Aug until end of Nov the UK had gradual uptrend from 25k/day to 43k/day. The late Jan 90k/day is about a factor of 3.6 to 2 higher than the Aug to Nov pre omicron numbers. Maybe the UK will see another big downtrend and get back to pre omicron numbers by end of Feb?

    Will the US look like South Africa with a drop like a stick to pre omicron numbers? Will the US see a plateau like the UK?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      110% on the dumb car thing.
      and yes, i am most certainly a niche market,lol.
      i’ll keep my 04 dodge pickup running for as long as i’m able…manual windows and analog radio, and only enough cpu power to run the abs and fuel injection.
      i pulled the little box that sings when you leave your keys in or door open as soon as i obtained the truck.
      i abhor every newer vehicle i’ve driven or rode in…like he says…distractions abound, by design!
      “hey! keep your eyes on the road!”..flashing urgently, distracting me from actually watching the road.
      of course, like i’ve said, but for wife’s cancer, i’d be happy with a mule and a buckboard.

    2. Appleseed

      Thanks Steve for the Emergence Magazine link. Fascinating story. Beautiful digital presentation. The Thich Nhat Hanh tribute is also very lovely.

    3. QR

      Yes re: the car–though I’d strenuously dispute his characterization that requesting manual window cranks is an “affectation.”

      And thank you for the tree story–it was lovely to pause my day for a few minutes with that.

  7. Bob

    Whoa…look at p. 12 of the CDC Community Profile Reports. Idaho had a ton of people initiate their vaccines. The report says Idaho only provides vaccine data for those who are 18+, but I don’t see how that would cause such a one-week jump…is there some other reporting fluke, or did Idaho incentivize it in the last week somehow?

    1. Utah

      Idaho is on their second round of crisis care. Lots of human interest news pieces about people dying waiting in the ER for a bed. Maybe that’s part of it.

  8. savedbyirony

    I have been waiting for an open Water Cooler to post this: https://tonyortega.org/2022/01/27/academics-bleat-over-scientologys-loss-in-appeals-court-and-heres-what-theyre-missing/ (this deals with members arbitration contracts)

    Awhile back I became hooked watching a series on Netflix called Scientology and the Aftermath. Part of what fascinated me about the info in the series was how much of what the “church” of Scientology does to its members mirrors the rip off business practices often covered here, but often pushed to a degree further because of Scientology’s “church” tax status and mental/social hold on its customers and especially its labor force. So i have been wondering if anyone else here noticed this court decision and thinks it could have effects beyond the business of Scientology and/or has been following the credit card scam mess that Scientology is at present also involved in.

  9. Samuel Conner

    Following up on a prior comment about ‘what to expect from SOTU address’, and puzzled that I have heard literally nothing about it anywhere, which seems a bit odd for late January, a web search revealed that JRB will address Congress on March 1.

    My cynical first thought was, “aaaah; they’re waiting for Omicron to recede.” The commentary associated with the item also suggested that JRB is hoping for some legislative ‘wins’ before the Address.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the mortality curve in coming weeks — it might peak not long before the address, which might not be a great look. I rather doubt that the ‘effectively 52’ blocking majority in the Senate will let much through on the legislative front.

    One wonders if there are any ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda …’ regrets about 46’s 2021 legislative strategy among the advisors.

      1. Samuel Conner

        I have no idea what rules would be appropriate, but I suggest that in the interest of staying awake through the whole thing, one consider a stimulant beverage rather than a CNS depressant.

        I’ve avoided hearing the SOTU address for decades; it was depressing to hear the national leader speak. But I think I’ll tune in this time out of curiosity about ‘cognitive status’ and … I’m really curious how POTUS is going to ‘spin’ the pandemic disaster. Will it be an exercise in ‘creating new realities’ for the rest of us to experience? That didn’t work out well when the neocons did it.


        Lambert: are SOTUs candidates for NC comments liveblog?

      2. griffen

        Catch phrases can be ordered to your choosing.

        “fighting for you”
        “heart of democracy”
        “our democracy”
        “my friends”
        “access to ________”
        “best healthcare”

      3. Martin Oline

        I think self-mutilation might be apt. It is too painful to watch him flail around. Elder abuse. . . .

  10. clarky90

    Re; New Zealand’s “…exceptional Neo-Liberal regime”

    “Exclusive: Pregnant TV reporter Charlotte Bellis’ full, open letter on MIQ (Managed isolation and quarantine)- ‘NZ said you’re not welcome’


    “My name is Charlotte Bellis and I am from Christchurch New Zealand, but based in Afghanistan.

    You might know me for being that Kiwi journalist who asked the Taliban in their inaugural press conference; “what will you do to protect the rights of women and girls?”

    What no one has known, until now, is that I conceived a little girl a week after that press conference. For years I had been told by doctors I would never have children. I threw myself into my career and made my peace with it. Now, during the fall of Kabul, a miracle……”

    And the response from our kind government….

    Charlotte Bellis: ‘Covid-19 Minister’s statement on MIQ incredibly disrespectful’

    “The most outrageous thing was that he encouraged me to take this seriously,” she said. “If anyone in New Zealand thinks I’m not taking this seriously as a woman in Afghanistan staring down her first pregnancy, I find that incredibly disrespectful…….”

  11. TBellT

    I mean say what you will of the official narrative, people are accepting it, funnily enough more supported by those who were infected than not.

    Of course the question is can “our bodies handle, say 10 more covid-19 infections over the next three years?” (a point frequently made by NC brain trust).

    People just willingly throw themselves into the volcano, hoping to get to some fictional past. It’s amazing to watch. Remember when Robert Malone was suggesting it was those taking preventive measures who were suffering “mass formation psychosis” ?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Of course the question is can “our bodies handle, say 10 more covid-19 infections over the next three years?” (a point frequently made by NC brain trust).

      If the Powers That Be think three injections a year for the forseeable future is doable, they’re out of they’re minds. I mean, we already know they’re out of their minds, but now we really know it.

    1. CNu

      Blackstone Engineered the Spotify Market Manipulation

      Spotify was never going to drop Joe Rogan because his long form podcast is the strategic lynchpin for making Spotify profitable. Spotify’s 6 year history shows it can’t profit from music streaming alone, but that in order to achieve profitability, it needs to book advertising revenue, and THAT’s what the podcasting content is for.

      Spotify is scheduled to announce its Q4 results this Wednesday. In the interim, the musically and popularly irrelevant Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Nils Lofgren have cost Spotify billions in market value through their virtue signaling shenanigans. Kudos to the shrewd manipulators who pulled this charade off and managed to capitalize on the short term decline in Spotify market valuation.

      Spotify’s shares have subsequently dropped by 6% in just three days, from January 26 to January 28 (via Variety), following Young’s protest. Spotify has not been having the greatest of times even before the loss this controversy caused. Its stock price had already dropped earlier this month, as the company reported a 25% fall in share value on January 25, a day before this all started.


      Neil Young has sold 50 percent of the worldwide copyright and income interests in his 1,180 song catalogue to Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, the U.K. investment firm founded by manager-turned-investor Merck Mercuriadis. The move comes days after Hipgnosis, which has spent the last year snapping up music catalogs left and right, announced it had acquired 100% of Lindsey Buckingham’s publishings rights as well as Jimmy Iovine’s producing royalties.


      Blackstone and Hipgnosis Song Management launch $1 billion partnership to invest in songs, recorded music, music IP and royalties

      1. urblintz

        Trust the art, not the artist.

        The business of music is a sewer and most succumb to the sludge that dominates it, especially and often, the most successful and creative.

      2. Acacia

        I thought Hipgnosis was a group of graphic artists who specialized in album covers, e.g., Pink Floyd.

        But now there is “Hipgnosis Song Management” a British Guernsey-registered music IP investment and song management company (I guess Guernsey means “tax shelter”?), whose logo is a dead elephant, and who I guess ‘borrowed’ the hip-sounding name from the deceased artists.

        I wonder what Rodger Waters would say…

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > book advertising revenue

        The New Books Network has a ton of excellent interviews with authors on a large range of topics, and — surprisingly? — they’re not on Spotify.

  12. Nikkikat

    Agreed, Lyman I’ve been a fan for over 40 years. He is calling to censer Rogan which is ridiculous. I doubt he even listened to the particular show he is complaining about!
    Now we are hearing that Harry and Megan want to censor the show too!
    Great company you are keeping there Neil, everyone cares what Harry and Megan think!

  13. Robert Hahl

    So, how does the “hospital trick” of delisting COVID patients after ten days translate into reported COVID deaths? The death reports are so high right now, I can’t believe they are all dying within ten days. This practice must not be very prevalent.

    1. Yves Smith

      IM Doc says the same thing is true in his small hospital…..

      Presumably, the death reports would be worse. High does not mean higher is impossible.

  14. Lemmy Caution

    Polish off enough of your favorite libation so that you fall into a restful slumber just as Biden ambles on to the stage and begins his hunt for the lectern.

  15. Pat

    Kudos to Rogan. I am sure his response was initiated by Spotify. And theirs was certainly the bowing to the blob’s desire to have only their misinformation spread. But Rogan owned the idiots calling for his firing AFAIC. He is just going to include the usual suspects on his show when he has on someone controversial. Considering how few of them can actually handle out of the box questions that can only go well for Rogan, and make the attempted censorship look even more idiotic.

    I will also make a guess that Rogan’s numbers will be up after Young, Mitchell and laughably Harry and Megan called for his head.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If they were hoping for a wave of people pulling their music until Rogan went, it’s not happening.

      1. juanholio

        Young didn’t want to be associated with a platform that put out content that went against his principles.

        I don’t think he requested that the JR show get pulled at all.

        What’s wrong with that?

        1. Pat

          I sure hope he has done a comprehensive search of all that Amazon has to offer, I wouldn’t want him to be surprised again by content of which he doesn’t approve.

        2. Yves Smith

          By making a big stink, as opposed to just going somewhere else, he was trying to pressure Spotify to force Rogan to behave. Or hurt Rogan directly (Young apparently never having heard of the Streisand effect).

          That’s tortious interference, BTW. Not that Rogan or Spotify would give Young the gratification of playing martyr by suing him.

  16. Pat

    Sending thoughts to our friends in Texas, hoping power and heating hang on. Wishing the same for other states not used to deep winter.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      aye…and thanks.
      texas gooberment, as far as i can tell, has done nothing to address the power issues that made a bad situation so much worse a year ago.
      this approaching storm doesn’t look to be as bad…as in , it’s only 3-4 days, rather than 2 weeks.
      still, NWS is starting to talk about potential for ice snapping power lines…wouldn’t want to be a lineman,lol.
      i’ve seen very little on what the natgas people are doing to get ready(ted cruz is scouting for a seat on a private jet this time around)
      regardless, gonna be a lot of cold people who aren’t used to that kind of cold.

      as for me and mine…we’ll weather 3-4 days handily…even without electricity.
      filling water jugs, pools and troughs(last 2 for the critters) tomorrow…since i’ll be shutting off the water on wednesday(i hate being a plumber when it’s 40 degrees, so i get rabidly prophylactic).
      and by this time tomorrow, i’ll have enough wood laid in for all 4 woodstoves…including the greenhouse(which has an ancient, leaky stove, that must be fed all night…sigh…i always get the graveyard shift for the firekeeper duty)
      and , given what was learned with the valentine snowpocalypse last year, i’ve got a bunch of VA blankets laid out and ready to cover the greenhouse windows for the 2 days of clouds and blowing snow.
      i have tomatoes and peppers blooming in there, and i’m bound and determined that they survive.
      hopefully, this will be it for the Michigan weather in central Texas.

      1. Pat

        Adding good thoughts for the tomato and pepper seedlings to the list…

        Also reconfirming my admiration for Amfortas the hippie

  17. Ranger Rick

    Ha, I just got a letter from the IRS reminding me that Biden owes me 600 bucks.

    “If you think you didn’t receive the full amount of the third Economic Impact Payment you were entitled to, you must file a 2021 federal income tax return to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit, even if you aren’t otherwise required to file a tax return.”

  18. antidlc


    All-out effort to keep Biden COVID-free; no ‘normal’ yet

    When President Joe Biden met with U.S. governors at the White House on Monday, he was the only one given a glass of water — lest anyone else remove their mask to take a drink.

    The president was seated more than 10 feet from everyone, including Vice President Kamala Harris and members of his Cabinet.

    A White House staffer who was wearing a surgical mask when Biden entered the room was quickly handed an N95 version.

    These are just some of the extraordinary efforts on the part of the White House to keep the president from getting COVID-19, even though he’s gotten both of his regular vaccinations and his booster.

  19. Wukchumni

    Hi folks, Crazy Sam here offering some blowout deals on 2021 models, they won’t last!

    F-35A MSRP $102 million, now just $86 million.

    Or lease one for just $11 million down and 12,000 miles annually* on a 3 year lease @ $666k a month.

    * an excess charge of $88 per mile if you go over.

  20. Jason Boxman

    Completely off-topic, but someone recommended The Expanse a year ago, and now that I’ve finished that, any other shows worth watching?


    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i thought Station Eleven was pretty good, if somewhat ethereal and weird.
      i’m binging Raised by Wolves, atm…not ready to Rec, yet.(a Ridley Scott joint)
      and i’m patiently waiting for bezos to dribble out the entirety of season 3 of Britannia(i don’t understand the reasoning behind making us wait for fridays, or whatever, on a streaming platform….they did that with the Expanse, too.)
      the first 2 seasons were pretty good, especially if you dig druidy weirdness set in roman britain with Donovan and TRex as the soundtrack.

    2. Grebo

      The Boys. Superheroes with feet of clay in the employ of an exploitative corporation. Very violent and profane, as well as biting and funny.

      If that tickles your fancy there’s also Preacher from the same producer (Seth Rogen) and writer (Garth Ennis). A small-town preacher/criminal acquires the Voice of God and sets out to give it back, in the company of his childhood sweetheart and an Irish vampire.

    3. griffen

      I am watching this series again, The Serpent, on Netflix. The material is fact based, on bad people doing bad things in mid to late 1970’s. It’s a quite fascinating story that arcs out over time. Much of it centers around living in Bangkok.

      The ring leader is evil like Ted Bundy was evil.

  21. RockHard

    Alright, open thread and into my second margarita, hold onto your butts…

    He thought tending bar sounded like fun. Then the entire kitchen staff quit on Christmas Eve.

    My name is Bill McCamley. I have pretty much been in politics my whole adult life, and until April 2021 I was the Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions… the state labor department. I left that job for personal safety reasons, and other than a couple of years back east for graduate school, I’ve always lived in New Mexico. I thought I would never leave, but… 2021.

    There are so many things I could pull out, but really, read the article. It’ll make your jaw drop.

    1. griffen

      The experiences he describes whilst working in a movie theater setting were remarkable, and unfortunately revealing on how patrons can misbehave. It’s no small wonder he treated that role as a temporary gig. Like you’ve suggested above, a first hand reading is a good use of time.

  22. VietnamVet

    The US China life expectancy chart is quite “chilling”; contrasting what works and what doesn’t.

    I am now past my expected life expectancy. I was waiting for this fourth omicron surge to wither away to take the risk of seeing my doctors and dentist. If the new mutant omicron BA.2 surges, this means that getting medical treatment in the USA is no longer safe or available in 2022 for me, if ever. It is Russian Roulette.

    Corporate/state propaganda no longer works. Unless Zero-COVID is implemented, survivors will be overtaken with disabilities, caring for the afflicted, or isolating to stay alive/healthy. Everyone will be infected with coronavirus, most multiple times. Failed States are unmanageable.

    The only thing that has any value the ruling western oligarchy is money, not people, not even working debt-slaves. Public health is blasphemy. The current privatized US for-profit medical system does not prevent disease, prolong life, or promote health through the organized efforts of society. It extracts wealth. Diseases previously eradicated by the in the USA have returned with vengeance among the worthless.

    “Doom” is the appropriate sense to feel at this moment.

  23. The Rev Kev

    Lots of people want to see Joe Rogan banished from the net for spreading medical information but no word on when this will happen to this particular individual-


    Now that Russiagate is a done cause, you won’t hear much from her now. That is probably why she has just announced a MSNBC hiatus to make a film with Ben Stiller – another comedian.

    1. Foy

      Great clip Rev, gonna use that one when someone mentions JRE. And Maddow was a bit more adamant about her perspective than Joe was, at least he asked his production guy to “look it up” to confirm or negate.

      It’s getting to the equivalent of the burning books stage now. There will be no one left if it is taken through to its logical end.

    2. LawnDart

      Excellent find, Rev.– I know some who take the Liberal Limbaugh’s word as gospel, who won’t let go of RussiaRussiaRussia!, and believe her to be a credible news source. Were she officially officialdom, I think she’d equate to our own Joseph Goebbels, though with maybe a little Jim Jones sprinkled in.

      I’m all for the First Amendment, but she is the equivalant of the one who cries “fire!” in the crowded theater, or one who baits a lynch mob to violence– if there’s one person who should be stopped and held to account it is her.

      You think that since she didn’t get the nuclear war that she’s been working on and rooting for, she’s now all-in on the zombie apocalypse?

      What a vile and disgusting person. I’ll be sure to name this morning’s constitutional in her honor (a child of chili, chips and beer), and to wave “bye” as I flush and send her on her way.

  24. CanCyn

    Boreal chickadees live in the northern woods all year round. Brrr!!
    We’ve been in a deep freeze (as low as -30C) off and on here in eastern Ontario this January. The little chickadees come to our feeder every day, regardless of the cold. So do the blue jays, nuthatches, downy, hairy and yellow bellied woodpeckers. When it is really cold they puff up and are almost unrecognizable.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      thanks for reminding me about the bird feeders for our 3-4 day experiment with your weather, here in northwest texas hill country.
      i can’t even imagine such cold as that…and, as rugged as i tend to be, i feel like a wimp for freaking out over a couple of nights of 13 and 16 degrees, and a mere 5″ of snow.
      of course, that sort of weather is the #1 reason we didn’t attempt to fugee off to canada at the nadir of the last Bush Darkness.
      i am, however, well suited for 100 degrees, which would make most of y’all arctic people melt.
      my grandad’s shop built and installed the sound traps for the hvac in the toronto airport, mid-80’s, and in the june after my 8th grade year, i accompanied him and grandma up there as a board member(!).
      lacross team around the heated rooftop pool in montreal…hot chicks in bikinis…and mugwump me wearing layers, trying to look cool,lol.
      they were intrigued by my exotic(east texas) accent, at least…kept asking how many cattle we ran.
      and where’s yer big hat?

      may we both remain tolerably warm in the coming days.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          we’re simply just not set up for it.
          my pipes are generally buried a foot in the ground, for instance.
          historically, that was sufficient, save for maybe a few days per year..and on those days, i drain the lines and endure, so i don’t have to repair the far-flung faucets scattered throughout.
          my place is set up to handle extreme heat…historically, april or may til well into september.
          this last summer, we had like 2 100 degree days where i live…both in may.
          an irksome feature of the last couple of winters is trying to explain to the rubes that our weird cold spells are actually due to “global warming”…low differential between hot equator and rapidly warming arctic=sluggish circumpolar jet= meandering circumpolar jet= bubble of extreme cold escaping that sluggish wall of wind that used to contain the worst cold way up there, and sending those bubbles down over us.
          eventually, stagnation will set in , when the poles and equator are close enough to equilibrium.
          (however, insert “hypercomplex system” and like caveats)

      1. CanCyn

        I wish you had come to Canada Amfortas. We could use more folks like you up here!
        And you’re right, I tolerate the cold and pretty much melt in the heat. We had a couple of 40C days here last summer, I seek the shade and sit until it’s over

  25. CoryP

    I agree with the point I think you’re making.
    It’s the is/ought problem.
    We ARE going to have to deal with it because of the incompetence of the public health authorities and the lack of any real influence by those who are still concerned.

    I think a segment of the general population is “over it” just as a matter of fatalism and exhaustion, not because they’re propagandized (which they are).

    Having worked retail throughout the whole pandemic, Ive heard that attitude in people I interact with. They’re not optimistically over it, as the propaganda would suggest, but they’re over it in the sense that “i guess it’s time to accept this shitty new normal’.

    But then again I’m in Ontario where people who are “over it” are still wearing masks like everybody else so what else can they do? (Pretty universally the people who make a fuss about masks were already our “problem patients”)

    Our customer/patient volume seems to go down when covid spikes locally but the weather is a confounding factor so I can’t be sure. So people are probably doing their own risk calculations.

    So a segment are over it. But also a segment are newly wearing K/N95 masks who didn’t previously. So. I dunno.

    People are making their own risk/benefit calculations. It would be much better if the official information provided actually helped people do that intelligently.

    But I think its unhelpful to have the attitude that everybody who is ‘over it’ has been necessarily fooled and misled. Some of them (us?) just reached the point where the fact that TPTB are trying to kill us is just integrated into their worldview and daily life.

    (Sorry for rambling poorly structured comment. Edit: and the fact that I was trying to reply to Carolinian but I think this became a new comment)

    1. CoryP

      Crap I was replying to Carolinian on Covid Situation Continuing to Develop Not Necessarily to the Officialdom’s Advantage. Sorry not sure how this got so badly posted.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > But I think its unhelpful to have the attitude that everybody who is ‘over it’ has been necessarily fooled and misled. Some of them (us?) just reached the point where the fact that TPTB are trying to kill us is just integrated into their worldview and daily life.

      I think this is correct. However, I think that those who vehemently declare their over it-ness, and who try to get others to share their view, are likely to be ideologically or tribally motivated and should be opposed, because they are wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. They may be finished with Covid, but Covid is not finished with them….

  26. Dave in Austin

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

    From an “early today” Lambert map.

    Am I the only one amazed at how effective state borders seem to be in stopping the spread of Covid?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, some of it clearly is different data systems in different states. However, states genuinely do function as a separate level of government under Federalism. Given that public health regulation defaults to the local level, it follows that different states have different regulatory regimes for Covid. Mores and culture also differ between states (Ohio is not Kentucky, Louisiana is not Texas.) In summary, state borders have material effects, and it is not surprising that these effects would show up in Covid data.

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