2:00PM Water Cooler 3/10/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

* * *


“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

Biden Adminstration

“The Biden Administration Turns Its Back on the Pandemic” [Gregg Gonsalves, The Nation]. “[Paul Farmer wrote] in April of last year: ‘Those whose lives are rarely touched by structural violence are uniquely prone to recommend resignation as a response to it.… Since the beginning of this pandemic, we’ve been mired in a sort of magical thinking about how it will end. Just because smallpox and bubonic plague no longer terrify us, this new pandemic too is sure to blow over and disappear without us exerting ourselves in new ways beyond the development of new vaccines.… But in settings in which all of us are at risk, as is sometimes true of contagion shared through the air we breathe, we must also contemplate containment nihilism—the attitude that preventing contagion simply isn’t worth it.’… As the CDC and the Biden White House rolled out its new pandemic strategy last week, in which preventing contagion, or even mitigating community spread, is now no longer a priority—in which ‘exerting ourselves’ beyond vaccination has become too much to ask of a weary American public—Paul [Farmers]’s words become prophetic. Our resignation in the face of Covid-19 was something he saw coming a mile away. And this latest structural violence was brought to us not by Donald Trump but by white liberals for whom the urgency of normalcy, resignation by another name, was paramount—at which moment the right and the left in America finally found common ground. The White House and CDC could do nothing but follow their lead.”

“Biden administration extends travel mask mandate through April 18” [Politico]. • I find the whole situation so exasperating that if the Biden Administration removes the mask requirement for crowded metal tubes in the sky, I’d like to see the anti-maskers get a taste of their own medicine from maskers; treat the anti-maskers like people who try to use cellphones.

“Pandemic aid bill pulled as House aims to wrap up omnibus” [Roll Call]. “After weeks of partisan haggling over the omnibus and the pandemic aid, Democrats and Republicans agreed to provide $15.6 billion in new money for COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. But at the insistence of Republicans, the omnibus would have offset that spending by tapping unspent aid from previous pandemic relief laws. That included nearly $7.1 billion in undisrupted state fiscal relief funds…. A coronavirus relief law enacted last year provided $350 billion to state and local governments to make up for projected revenue shortfalls from the pandemic. Of those funds, $195.3 billion was set aside for state governments, with the remainder parceled out to municipalities, territories and tribes. But some states weren’t given their full allotment of aid after the law was enacted. The program called for placing a priority on states with unemployment rates that were at least 2 percentage points above their pre-pandemic levels. While those states received their full allotments, the remaining 30 states have yet to receive their second installments set to be delivered in the coming months, a year after the first tranche. As a result, the second tranche those 30 states are waiting on — and in many cases budgeting for – is sitting in the Treasury, available for Congress to try to claw back. The formula in the bill wouldn’t affect some big states like New York, California and Texas, while states like Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota are among the more populous states with funding that could be taken back. Some Democrats, led by those from the Midwest, said their states would have been unfairly targeted if the money was clawed back.”

“Shot down: How Biden scuttled the deal to get MiGs to Ukraine” [Politico]. ““We do not support the transfer of the fighters to the Ukrainian air force at this time and have no desire to see them in our custody either,” [Pentagon spokeshole] John Kirby told reporters, conveying the main sentiment of a Wednesday phone call between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Polish counterpart. He added that the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence community assessed the warplanes wouldn’t materially improve Ukraine’s chances, but instead would escalate the prospects of drawing NATO directly into the fight.” Which was, of course, the goal. More: “Biden, per three U.S. officials, agreed with the cautious Pentagon and intelligence view, in part over concerns that Russia would see America openly helping NATO send fighter jets into Ukraine as an escalation.” • Funny to see Ukraine and Poland trying to muscle the EU and the US, particularly Ukraine: “[T]he Ukrainian government heard the proposal and ran with it, producing infographics claiming they were about to receive 70 used Russian fighter jets from Poland, Slovakia and Bulgaria. A Ukrainian government official told POLITICO that Ukrainian pilots had even traveled to Poland to wrap up the deal and bring the planes back over the border. Yet [the EU], much less the countries actually tasked with supplying these jets, had never agreed to this plan.” High on their own supply, like so many.

“Amazon’s Washington Strategy Wins Few New Friends in the Biden Era” [Wall Street Journal]. “Last March, for example, Amazon’s public-relations account on Twitter posted a series of aggressive tweets directed at the politicians Amazon’s D.C. team meets with. One tweet accused Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) of wanting to break Amazon up so that it would stop criticizing her. Another responded to a tweet from Rep. Mark Pocan (D., Wis.), who had criticized Amazon’s treatment of employees and referred to reports that its delivery drivers sometimes urinated in bottles because they couldn’t take time for breaks. The Amazon tweet dismissed his criticism: ‘You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?’ Amazon later apologized for this tweet, saying it was incorrect and calling it an “own-goal.’ Ms. Warren reiterated that she favors breaking up Amazon. Mr. Pocan’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment. The tweets departed from the tone of traditional corporate public-relations accounts. Unlike most tweets from Amazon’s news account, these tweets were crafted by executives including Mr. Bezos and Mr. Carney, said people at Amazon.” • When they tell you who they are….

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.

* * *

“Pregnant, Sick, Homeless and Afraid: Bronx Fire Survivors Say the City is Not Doing Enough” [Documented NY]. “In the days after the Bronx fire, once the smoke had dissipated and the magnitude of the tragedy became clear, it appeared that the City would act quickly to help the displaced victims. The City, along with non-profits such as BronxWorks, mobilized to support the former tenants of Twin Parks. The Mayor’s office was able to raise over $2.5 million for the former tenants. Celebrities such as Cardi B paid for the victims’ funerals…. But two months after the Bronx fire, the Mayor’s office has distributed just $265,500 to the families, alongside providing meals. For Rodriguez and many others, their allotment of $2,250 is not nearly enough to start rebuilding their lives. ‘The Mayor’s Fund has millions in undistributed money for Bronx fire families, yet we don’t know where that money is going,’ said Ariadna Phillips, the founder of South Bronx Mutual Aid. ‘The fund has no accountability and has zero transparency.'” • Eric Adams, get on this!


“House Democratic campaign arm shakes up midterm battlefield plan” [The Hill]. “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) rolled out updates to its midterm battlefield plan on Thursday in a move meant to shake up the party’s House campaign arm’s strategy going into November. The committee said it’s adding 12 challengers to its ‘Red to Blue’ program, many of which are in districts that became more favorable to Democrats after the decennial redistricting process…. The program’s candidate additions include Rudy Salas in California’s 22nd congressional district, Jay Chen in California’s 45th congressional district, Brittany Pettersen in Colorado’s 7th congressional district, Christina Bohannan in Iowa’s first congressional district, Liz Mathis in Iowa’s second congressional district, Nikki Budzinski in Illinois’ 13th congressional district, Hillary Scholten in Michigan’s 13th congressional district, Gabe Vasquez in New Mexico’s second congressional district, Jackie Gordon in New York’s first congressional district, Max Rose in New York’s eleventh congressional district, Greg Landsman in Ohio’s first congressional district, and Emilia Sykes in Ohio’s 13th congressional district. President Biden won ten out of the 12 districts in 2020. The DCCC also added a number of districts to its “Frontline Program,” which is aimed at supporting candidates in highly competitive districts. Those additions include North Carolina’s sixth congressional district, Connecticut’s sixth congressional district, and Pennsylvania’s sixth congressional district.”

Republican Funhouse

“Russian Aggression Derails Conservative Populism” [Bloomberg]. “It’s been a rough few months for national populists. They’re the faction of the American right that is challenging the tenets of the conservatism we have known since the 1950s. That conservative consensus included a strong preference for free markets, support for an assertive foreign policy willing to use military force abroad based on an expansive conception of U.S. interests, and moral traditionalism. The populists instead favor a much more restrained foreign policy and government activism to protect working-class families. It wants to retain the social conservatism, which it believes will be better served by a politics that is less attuned to corporate sensibilities than conservatives have historically been. The influence of national populists has been rising in recent years, helped along by — well, seemingly by everything: by a delayed reaction to the debacle of the Iraq war, by the financial crisis and the slow recovery from it, by the continued shift of working-class voters into the Republican Party, by business leaders’ turn toward an aggressive social liberalism. And, above all, by former President Donald Trump…. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has tended to split and marginalize the nat-pops. Their second-most-important spokesman, Tucker Carlson of Fox News, initially took a pro-Putin, or at least anti-anti-Putin, line. Very few Republican voters or officeholders followed it, and Carlson then had to change direction. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who has gone so far toward national populism as to advocate leaving the World Trade Organization, has taken the same basic view of the war as old-line Republicans and, for that matter, most Democrats: The U.S. should aid the Ukrainians while not directly entering the conflict. The most prominent Republican politician advocating a purely isolationist position on Ukraine is Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance.” • Well. at least they’re not floating paper airplanes in the Guggenheim in favor of a No-Fly Zone….


“Trump 2024: Will He Actually Run Again or Be the Nominee?” [Teen Vogue]. “For now, Trump is also maintaining strong fiscal support. At the start of 2022, his team announced that its various political committees had amassed $122 million in funding. In local, state, and federal elections, the candidate who spends more money on their campaign tends to win the election.” I think Ferguson should write for Teen Vogue and explain the industrial model. No, I’m not kidding! More: “So even though Trump has yet to officially announce his 2024 candidacy, entering with millions in cash would provide him with an advantage, covering major campaign expenses such as staff salaries, wide-reaching ads, and frequent travel to campaign in key areas…. From just January to October 2021, 33 voter suppression laws were enacted across 19 states. Voter suppression efforts can look like enforcing stricter ID checks, making it harder to vote early or by mail, and restricting those convicted of felonies from voting…. Then there’s the wave of election subversion bills. In 2021, lawmakers across the country introduced more than 180 bills that would shift election authority from the people to the legislators themselves. Says [Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies for the University of Virginia’s Miller Center], ‘You have these new policies coming to the forefront among Republicans whereby the legislature would be allowed to review the popular will and be able to overturn it.’ These bills have either passed or been introduced in eight of the 13 swing states, including several that Biden won in 2020. These laws, introduced and championed by Republican legislators, stand to bolster Trump if he is selected as the GOP nominee.'” • Category error, I think, on “review the popular will.” It’s the votes that are being reviewed. I don’t like legislators reviewing the vote, though I wish I did, especially after Trump acting like Biden v. Trump 2020 was like Bush v. Gore 2000; it wasn’t.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The 2000 U.S. presidential election was a harbinger of things to come” [CNN]. • For those who didn’t live through election 2020, this is a useful summary of the horrid election that culminated in Bush v. Gore, where Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia selected George W. Bush as President. If I seem at times a little strident in my abhorrence of digital voting, it stems from election 2020.


Case count by United States regions:

Fellow tapewatchers will note that “up like a rocket, down like a stick” phase is done with, and the case count is now leveling out. At a level that, a year ago, was considered a crisis, but we’re “over” Covid now, so I suppose not. I have added a Fauci Line. Let’s zoom in, and look at the last 4 weeks:

Perhaps “leveling out” isn’t quite fair. If I were the Biden Administration, I’d be very happy with this.

NOTE I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it.

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! This time, it may be different. But who knows?

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Flattened out, continues encouraging (and independent from the CDC).

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:

Those notes in red at the bottom make me wonder about what else is wrong. (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.) And what’s with Idaho?

The previous release:

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission:

Continuing slow improvement, assuming the numbers aren’t jiggered.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Not 100% green. From the point of view of our hospital-centric health care system, green everywhere means the emergency is over (and to be fair, this is reinforced by case count and wastewater). However, community transmission is still pervasive, which means that long Covid, plus continuing vascular damage, are not over. (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: 989,473 987,615. Heading slowly downward. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci line.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Stats Watch

“United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased by 11 thousand to 227 thousand in the week ended March 5th, from a revised 216 thousand in the previous period and compared with market expectations of 217 thousand.”

* * *

Shipping: “Shipping Companies Ask Crew to Abandon Ships Stuck in Ukraine” [Bloomberg]. “More than 1,000 seafarers are estimated to be onboard ships stranded in Ukraine, some with cargo still onboard. The vessels — which include tankers, bulkers, cargo ships and a container vessel — aren’t able to leave because there aren’t harbor pilots to guide them out amid danger from missiles and underwater mines. ‘We understand some ships may have been laid up,’ said a spokeswomen for the International Maritime Organization, an agency of the United Nations, without providing further details.”

The Bezzle: “A Wheat ETF Teaches the Meme Crowd a Lesson the Hard Way” [Bloomberg]. “This week we learned that the Teucrium Wheat ETF – ticker WEAT and the only U.S. ETF tracking wheat – was unable to handle the volume of cash that was flowing into the fund from investors looking to profit from a record rally in the price of the grain. WEAT is a special kind of ETF known as a commodity pool, and unlike normal ETFs it needs regulatory approval to create new shares beyond a certain threshold. But so much money flowed in that the threshold was exceeded, and creations were suspended, which led to the ETF’s share price diverging from the price of wheat. In other words, the ETF ended up trading at an unusually large 9% premium above the fund’s net asset value. So, anyone who bought the shares significantly overpaid for the underlying assets.” • Commmodities are a sporty game.

Tech: DuckDuckGo turns into Google:

Does anybody think it will stop with this?

Tech: “Russian sanctions drive renewed focus on Asia semiconductor reliance” [Axios]. “President Biden is hosting industry leaders and a pair of governors at the White House on Wednesday to call on Congress to pass legislation to turbocharge manufacturing in crucial industries and make America less susceptible to outside shocks, like the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…. Democrats still expect Congress to pass a $150 billion to $350 billion bill to turbocharge the domestic semiconductor industry, but they’re hesitant to provide a timeline.”

Tech: “Space Delivery?” [Curbed]. “According to the New York Times, a new start-up called Inversion Space thinks the next frontier in delivery is space. Let’s consider this.” • No.

Mr. Market:

Wouldn’t it be great if all prices worked like this?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 15 Extreme Fear (previous close: 16 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 22 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 10 at 1:20pm.

The Gallery

“… in search of monsters to destroy“:

Zeitgeist Watch

Sounds like a terrific work of scholarship:

But the title of the talk, and the date (1788) are interesting, too.

Class Warfare

“‘They need to pay up’: Emails in college admissions trial show USC’s interest in wealthy applicants” [Los Angeles Times]. “USC officials discussed how much money some families stood to donate while deliberating whether to endorse their children as “VIP” applicants, according to emails filed recently in federal court. Lawyers for Jovan Vavic, who was fired as USC’s water polo coach in 2019 after being charged with misrepresenting applicants as talented athletic recruits in exchange for bribes, put forward the emails to support a request to call USC officials as witnesses in his trial, which began this week in Boston…. Vavic’s lawyers say USC effectively required coaches to raise funds for their programs. One of his attorneys, Stephen G. Larson, previously told The Times that the case brought against Vavic ‘ignores the reality that at USC, a parent’s ability and willingness to contribute to the university, including to athletics, influenced admissions decisions.’ Larson is seeking to call three current and former USC officials to testify about the school’s fundraising practices. The emails that he filed in court, he said, show that Alexandra Reisman, Scott Wandzilak and Joseph Aguirre discussed giving ‘preferential admissions treatment for children of prospective donors, including with Coach Vavic.'” • Great. Blow the lid off.

News of the Wired

“Time Crystals Made of Light Could Soon Escape the Lab” [Scientific American]. “Although a time crystal’s behavior repeats over time, it cannot be considered a mere ticking clock. Specifically, a clock requires external energy to keep going, but for a time crystal, the “ticking” is its most natural, stable state. This is the opposite of physicists’ idea of thermodynamic equilibrium, in which energy flows into a system only to inevitably dissipate: imagine a pot of water that is brought to a rolling boil and then returned to room temperature. In this sense, time crystals are rather like a pot of water that always boils in the exact same way and never cools down. By some definitions, they thus represent a new and unique state of matter that is distinguished by a steadfast persistence in staying out of equilibrium. As such inherent metronomes, time crystals may be a great future asset to precision timekeeping or quantum information processing.”

“Indignity Vol. 2, No. 20: The mysterious lingo of Philadelphia–Baltimore.” [Indignity]. “I, and a lot of other people, were shocked to read a tweet from @the_megalopolis saying they had just read that using a phrase like ‘I’m done my homework’ is a Philadelphia–Baltimore regionalism, rather than standard American English…. But useful though it may be, this construction remains mostly invisible, apart from the occasional linguistic discussion. The Yale Grammatical Diversity Project maintains an updated map of self-reported usage, which clusters in a line along the Northeast, with a gap around New York City before it reappears in northern New England.'” • According to the map, people use this construction in Maine. I’ve never heard it (and I’ve also lived in Philadelphia). Readers, have any of you heard this? “I’m done my homework”?l

Wait for it:

Works if there was such a thing as Sumerian “light” beer. But why a dog?

* * *

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 (TH):

TH writes: “Deep Blue Senetii from Roger’s Gardens. This was my second day in a row visiting the nursery and I didn’t want to take my camera in this time, thinking I’d gotten any pictures worth getting the day before, so this was taken with my iPhone.”

* * *

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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. jr

    Rolled back into NYC from NJ this afternoon. One truck stop was out of fuel! Fortunately the next one wasn’t but oof…

    1. PHLDenizen

      My girlfriend lives in Mercer County around Hopewell. High prices, but no shortages. It’s also a fairly wealthy pocket, so no one is rioting yet.

      The local farmers, however, are incredibly unhappy since planting season is underway. Between labor shortages, the increased labor costs, the inputs like fertilizer spiking, and now fuel costs, their already minuscule profit margins are getting squeezed hard. Especially the ones growing commodity crops like soy. Parts availability and the inability to fix your own equipment in the field isn’t helping, either. John Deere sucks.

      If this keeps up, I imagine more and more farmers will just turn their land over to developers for more tacky houses.

      1. jr

        Total insanity. I commented on the grocery store full of plastic food yesterday, what if those farmers stopped producing soy and……grew healthy food for local consumption? Instead of the fu(king asparagus from Chile I saw there, no doubt nearly devoid of nutritional value and costing a fortune in petro-fuels to ship. It’s madness, the spiders-web of inanities and paradoxes that lays over our lives.

  2. JohnA

    Re A Ukrainian government official told POLITICO that Ukrainian pilots had even traveled to Poland to wrap up the deal and bring the planes back over the border.

    A pilot acquaintance of mine once told me that there was a saying among pilots, that there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.

    If the Ukrainain official comment is accurate, which I doubt, this would confirm that Ukrainian pilots are bold.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The pilots went to Poland. They might have a chance of becoming old pilots.

      My feeling is its set in that the war is functionally over. Ukraine isn’t going to surprise. Now Western politicians need to spin a victory. I saw a bit of one of the cables and the anchor said 500+ civilians had been killed before “the Russian onslaught“. An estimate for the civilians killed in the first battle of Fallujah is 1,200. I don’t think anyone in the msm referred to the US onslaught.

      1. WJ

        I wonder how many of those civilians have been killed in Kiev by other civilians armed with AK47s. I imagine nearly 100.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I actually suspect the civilian number is higher. The framing is interesting. At this point, even the most brain dead fp person has likely had no fly zones explained.

  3. Davis

    “Trump 2024: Will He Actually Run Again or Be the Nominee?”

    The best thing he, who started zero wars, could do for the country would be to not run, but to destroy the two party system, and the D and R warmongers, by
    endorsing Tulsi Gabbard for president as an Independent.

    She would win.

    Far fetched? Could a mediocre district attorney become vice president?

    Imagine the contortions, screaming and exploding heads in the MSM, Wall Street, Silicon Valley etc. :-)

      1. Thistlebreath

        Tulsi: Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown to kick.

        Supported her in the last primary only to see her fade as a not-Bernie once the fix was in.

        To quote Roger Daltrey: “….won’t get fooled again.”

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Listen, she’s mired in Identity Police BS.

          But she’s Anti-War. That’s enough to get my vote.

            1. Skip Intro

              So that ancient smear resurfaces again. Can’t question the MIC without some wokistas trying to cancel you.

              1. orlbucfan

                What ancient smear? It’s a fact. Look it up. She is into Fundi Hinduism and likes Modi.

    1. PHLDenizen

      I’m so nihilistic, I think one of the only bright spots might be another circa 2015 Republican clown car vs 2022 Democratic clown car derby. If they can maximize the number of debates, even better. Kamala running as a Biden primary challenger that would be spectacular. Trump antagonizing both of them would truly awesome.

      He could show up in California casual with one of her “That little girl was me” t-shirts under a blazer with aviator glasses. Keep referring to Hillary as Ms. Epstein.

      Whatever it is, I doubt it would be boring.

    2. TBellT

      lol what daydreaming. Trump had always been willing to sublimate his populist energy into the Republican establishment’s plans. Mitch McConnell got everything he want those four years, and only now is Trump realizing he got screwed on the deal like the loser he is. No way Trump would endorse an independent run. He shares an affliction with “progressives” in the theory of “working within the party”, he just works within a different one.

      1. Wukchumni

        Trump was really an abominable showman, but who knows what his piece of the action pertained to?

        My Kevin (since ’07) distanced himself from Trump by dissing Vladimir in claiming Putin wasn’t a genius, and Kev would know.

      2. Carolinian

        Trump doesn’t like the establishment when it doesn’t like him. He’s coming to SC in a couple of days to campaign against two Repubs who have criticized him.

        And people may not want him to run again but he would win against Biden. Easily.

        1. TBellT

          None of that negates what I said. He is not going to endorse an independent run. Full stop.

    3. Pelham

      I guess I’d vote for Tulsi in this scenario. Also, I’m loath to say it, but I’d also vote for Elizabeth Warren, snakelike though she is. In either case, we’d have a reasonable chance of getting someone into the White House who would have the energy and backbone to tackle at least a few of our many probably incurable national ills.

    4. KD

      Because as a complete narcissist, he cannot stand anyone being the center of attention besides himself. The question is really whether he can find a way to easily skim profits out of all the campaign donations, or whether he has to expend energy to campaign so he can convince himself that he still exists. Maybe if he gets his Twitter account back, he can start tweeting again and convince himself that he is still real, and spare the Republic.

      1. cnchal

        Your first sentence is negated by your second sentence..

        What narcissists hate above all is being ignored. As President he can’t be ignored. He will run again.

    5. Jessica

      Trump picking Tulsi as his VP would be enough for all those heads to explode.|
      Tulsi doesn’t fit neatly in any category and might not be reliable, but precisely those qualities would make her a good fit for making all the algorithms, silicon and carbon-based alike, go Tilt.

      1. Lost in OR

        OK, Jessica, you just made my head explode. I had never expected this and cannot process it.

        Trump/Tulsi… Please God, don’t!!!

        She wouldn’t do this to us.

        1. ambrit

          As the late Stephen Hawking said about the Diety and “dem bones.” “Not only does G– play dice, but…he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.”
          Trump/Tulsi would be a Populist Dream Ticket. Especially if the odious Hillary runs as the Democrat party candidate.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Trump/Tulsi would be a Populist Dream Ticket.

            I’m not much of a fan of Bill Clinton or his wife (lets be honest, its time to stop pretending she mattered), but wouldn’t a populist ticket need to be popular? The EC is anti-populist by nature, and its how Trump won.

            1. ambrit

              Extending that narrative, with the Electoral College, every President that did not win in a landslide won through the Electoral College’s arcane methodology. Kennedy beat Nixon through shenanigans in Texas and Illinois for example. The first non-Electoral college decided elaction I can think of is Bush versus Gore in 2000. That was decided by the Supreme Court.

      1. HotFlash

        I’ve had a bit of experience with Sumerian literature and I suggest that the dog is referring to his eye. There may be a pun or other wordplay involved, they were fond of that sort of thing but those don’t translate well and many ‘serious” scholars don’t believe they exist.

        1. Grussfuss

          Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend.
          Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
          — Groucho Marx


  4. Chris

    Actual Lifelong Mainer here. I’ve heard “I’m done my homework.” I’ve heard it in study halls. Teacher: “Why are you reading/drawing/not doing homework.” Student: “I’m done my homework.” It’s short, economical, practical. If you haven’t heard it you’re not from around here.

      1. Jason

        Thank you for posting the link about “I’m done my homework.” It sounds just fine to me, and I had to reread the excerpt to realize even what was supposed to be the issue. Very interesting article.

    1. Pat

      I can’t say I have heard it, but umpteen years ago in NM and Colorado I was known to say it as I was often asked why I wasn’t doing my homework. In a similar vein, I was also approached about reading something else in class, where I responded to the question of why I wasn’t reading the assignment with “I’ve read it.” One other aspect of this is that if the instructor required some proof and you had it, which I did, later you might be the only student in that study hall or class that was never approached with those questions if you were seen doing something else.

    2. Pelham

      Wouldn’t “I’ve done my homework” be equally short and practical?

      Also “I’m done my homework” sounds somehow similar to the construction, “The dog needs walked,” which I’ve heard is supposed to be a Pittsburgh thing.

      1. Stephanie

        My husband’s family is from Nebraska and they regularly drop the helping verb after ‘need’: “the laundry needs washed”, “the table needs set”, “the grass needs cut”, etc.

        My mother-in-law’s people were from parts further south and I have wondered if they didn’t bring that construction with them to the Midwest. Interesting that it shows up in Pittsburgh.

      2. Objective Ace

        As someone who grew up in Pittsburgh I do not think those 2 sentences sound familiar, lol. However, I can confirm that Pittsburghers definitely drop the “to be”. 2 decades since moving and I still havent broken the habit. That and “slippy”

      3. ChetG

        The fear of the passive voice has dominated any number of situations, and I’ve heard the verb “to be” dropped in any number of situations (in central PA but suspect that it would be the same all over the country).

    3. Mike

      Could be a derivation or usage of misheard “I’ve done my homework”, which would be acceptable upper twit English, no?

  5. Ranger Rick

    Oh joy, more search engine shenanigans. SEO has evolved to the point where if I search for two seemingly unrelated terms I will get a mountain of garbage in return because all the pages are auto-generated. Some are actually quite good fakes, and probably done by Markov chain.

    One of the things I noticed fairly early on in the Ukraine coverage is that, as a consequence of the Web having such a long memory, it is incredibly difficult to find recent information. That is especially true if people are reusing old information and claiming it is recent information. This is actually more of a technical limitation in how search works (it has to find the new content) but I’m surprised they don’t run it through, say, a plagiarism checker or image comparison tool to see if it occurred elsewhere first.

    1. IMOR

      Will have to drop duck duck go as my SE and advise my relatives to do the same. Taking such action is one thing, being a self-righteous, self-satisfied braggart about it is insufferable. All these tools and clowns have been writing, speaking, and tweeting in the same lousy patronizing, faux gee whiz register for 20, 25 years. Sickening.

        1. britzklieg

          it’s a bit different, but good, has different search categories and, especially, will do any maths you might require: wolframalpha.com

        2. Lost in OR

          Brave has been working for me. None of the interference I’d get with Safari. Way way way better with NC and utube. With NC it opens clicks in the next tab. I like that.

          I hit one snag early on when I made it the default browser though. I clicked an link in my email and ended up with a Comcast website. Tried numerous times with the same result. I defaulted back to Safari.

          Seems like there are two functions here; viewing and searching. Brave has my viewing covered. I’m still searching for searching.

          1. Jessica

            I use Qwant for searching, Brave and Vivaldi and Opera for browsers. Some sites seem to insist on having Chrome, so I use it for them and none others.
            Vivaldi sometimes crashes my whole computer when it crashes. In fairness to Vivaldi, I often have 100+ tabs open across the various browsers. Videos seem to be the kryptonite.
            Brave only displays a limited number of open tabs at a time. Getting back to others takes an extra step.

            I have always wondered how much different browsers share cookies etc. with each other.

          2. Acacia

            The snag could be in your OS or email app, not the browser, as it’s the OS that generally decides how to map URLs.

      1. albrt

        I’ll drop duck duck go just as soon as I figure out which fresh young silicon valley twit to believe this time.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I just typed “russia today” into DDG and the rt.com website was the first thing that came up and I didn’t see any warnings. Maybe they haven’t officially started yet?

      I also did the same on the Qwant search engine which I believe is European and got nothing – no mention of the actual rt.com website in the first few dozen results at least.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Weirdly, I just tried DDG and Qwant with your ‘russia today’ search and both pages are almost identical. Al Jazeera comes up first, then RT’s YouTube channel, then the wikipedia page.

        Its really odd because I’ve found Qwant and DDG almost always produce very different results (I’ve always found Qwant, which is French, to be far superior to DDG, and in some cases better than Google).

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Just tried again on a different machine and different browser and got the same results as earlier. Al Jazeera is also the first one on Qwant for me.

          One other I forgot earlier – the Brave browser has it’s own search engine and doing the search with that one brings up two rt.com links as the top results – English and French versions.

          I’m far from a tech expert but I do like Brave. It also has built in privacy protections along with its own search. No free VPN like Opera though.

    3. fjallstrom

      A rather different search engine can be found at search.marginalia.nu

      It is geared towards finding the odd and interesting rather than the new and commercial. You may not find what you were looking for, but you may find something interesting.

      1. kareninca

        That is a simply incredible search engine. Incredible. It is nothing like any other search engine I have ever tried. I feel as if I have sudden been given a tunnel into a different universe. One that is far more interesting. I don’t think it will get me to anything about covid or the current war, but now that I have this search engine I don’t care.

  6. Greg

    Cross-posting this from the most recent covid thread, as I believe it is very useful and more people should see it.

    I came across this risk estimation tool for social situations that is very well put together. The real detail is in the scenario definition on the right hand side.
    I think it might be very useful for at least some of the NC community.

    The tool is customisable enough, and states the outputs in a calculated risk of infection. It uses reasonable midpoints from the available scientific studies, as far as I can tell, for each potential risk factor (effects of social distancing, masking types, vaccination, boosting, room size, number of people, duration of visit).
    There are also some pre-calculated estimates for common settings like visiting a grocery store.

    Finally it suggests reasonable risk mitigation steps to take to reduce your exposure.

    Very cool tool.

    p.s. from a nerd perspective I like that it uses naked url’s to control settings so it’s highly useable from an idiots automation perspective e.g. https://www.microcovid.org/?distance=normal&duration=60&interaction=oneTime&personCount=2&riskProfile=average&scenarioName=indoorUnmasked2&setting=indoor&theirMask=surgical&topLocation=New_Zealand&voice=normal&yourMask=n95&yourVaccineDoses=3&yourVaccineType=pfizer

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > this risk estimation tool for social situations that

      This is very good. The last tool I saw like this didn’t include ventilation, and so I couldn’t recommend it. This not only includes several ventilation scenarios, but also mutual masking scenarios.


      > naked url’s to control settings

      So the scenario can be easily shared by sharing the URL (like 91-DIVOC). This is of course entirely counter to the app philosophy and therefore good.

    2. Samuel Conner

      Thank you! I am forwarding this to others.

      It looks like the suggested risk budget is about 200 microCOVIDs/week, a 1 in 5000 chance of infection per week, or around 1 in 100 chance per year.

      That amounts to approximately a 50% chance of infection in 70 years. So this is a real deal “avoid infection almost completely for the duration of your life” suggested risk tolerance. I like those odds; maybe effective and low-cost prophylaxes and/or treatments will come to light before too many of those decades have elapsed.

      Up until now, I’ve been using a “County level prevalence” map to get a sense of ‘how likely am I to encounter an infected person’, with my threshhold for ‘brown trousers’ time (as opposed to “yellow trousers”, my default), arbitrarily, 0.3% active case prevalence. This is a much better tool. It’s impressive the benefit masking is thought to provide, especially if fitted/sealed N95s are used by all persons present.

      (Aside: it may not be easy for people to get their masks fit-tested, but for at least some face shapes, the 3M Aura series seems to provide a very comforting seal all the way around the mask/face contact area, which can give one some confidence that the leaks, if any, are small. Lambert has described the fit as the sensation that your face is armored; I agree. It’s a really comforting sense of snugness. Unfortunately, not all face shapes fit perfectly into the mask ‘tent’.)

      1. Greg

        Happy to help.

        I went through the calculation and realised it totally solved a problem I had last week, where a colleague couldn’t wrap their head around the additive probability math involved in working out whether a meeting could be in person. Their reaction was to throw up their hands and say “too hard lets just ignore covid”, which is not great. Booking meetings these days is way harder than it used to be.

    3. Objective Ace

      I dont understand how this can be reliable. What does “how many people are usually next to you” mean? If I sleep for 8 hours and stay in the house alone for another 4-6 hours theres usually no one next to me. I suppose we could try to average how many people are usually next to me, but that gets unwieldy very fast.

      Eg: Say for 8 hours a day Im at work next to 10 people, thats 10*1/3 the day or an average of 3.33 people I’m “usully” next to. Ignoring that fractions aren’t an option–how am I supposed to know the risk profile of all 10 people, or how close (on average*?) they are throughout the day. And this is just one scenario. I need to do this when I go to the grocery store, doctor’s appointment, public transportation, etc

      *I’m also sure that average is not a good metric. If one person is 20 ft away and another is on top of me, a 10 ft average is misleading. Also, if your constantly next to the same 1 or 10 people that changes your risk significantly vs someone who is constantly interacting with a different set of 10 people like a bartender or doctor

  7. PHLDenizen

    Tangentially related to Covid:

    My buddy‘s poor kitty was diagnosed yesterday with a rare illness called feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Usually cats infected with FeCV (another coronavirus) have some transitory GI and mild respiratory symptoms at worst, but spontaneously recover. In a few cases, the virus ends up looking like severely acute or long haul Covid in the guise of FIP. The virus mutates and provokes a debilitating and catastrophic inflammatory reaction in every organ system it comes into contact with. It’s progressive and almost always fatal without an intervention.

    There’s no FDA approved treatment. But there is a determined guerilla group of vets and others working to figure something out and the most successful one is a several week course of daily subcu injections with something called GS-441524. GS is a metabolite of remdesivir. The whole thing is decidedly not EBM or RCTs, but the bottom-up paradigm seems to be working well, as it did for the HIV crisis in its early days. UC Davis did some prelim research. The diagnostic piece is also not an exact science.

    Oh. And to get GS, you have to send thousands of dollars to China for unmarked vials since it’s, uh, “challenging” to source in the US. The first course cost him $1800.00 and it just arrived today.

    With the let ‘er rip strategy in full bloom, I thought it interesting to mention. IIRC, there was a rumor that Gilead specifically wanted no veterinary approval for fear it would derail approval in human use cases.

    In case you’re more curious:



    1. petal

      Yes, you either go one or the other, never both. You are shooting yourself in the foot if you do say, dogs or cats first and plan to do people after, because if something bad shows up in the animals, you’re fecked-whether it would show up in people or not. Doesn’t matter. Or vice versa. Game over.
      Will send good thoughts out into the universe tonight for the kitty.

      1. Pat

        More good thoughts to the universe for the kitty, and for the buddy. They both deserve a happy ending of more time together.

  8. IMOR

    “House Democratic campaign arm shakes up midterm battlefield plan” [The Hill]. “
    Chen boasts of his intelligence work against ISIS in the naval reserves, says in the navy “it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican”, runs against Washington (“broken”, “career politicians”).
    He looks like a nice guy, but boy, that DCCC has form, don’t it? Too bad it’s the still run scared from Ronnie after he’s in the grave, 25-year old DLC/blue dog form.

  9. Henry Moon Pie

    Republicans and Putin–

    I think Bloomberg is a little too optimistic from their point of view.

    I too checked out Tucker Carlson after the invasion began and also concluded that he had tucked his tail between his legs.

    This week, that has obviously not been the case. While the segment on war games between Russia and the U. S. always leading to a minimum of a billion dead was pretty amazing, his evisceration of Nuland, Rubio, the DoD and American MSM was pretty complete over the biolabs issue. And using a Russian general and Chinese foreign minister to make points on Fox, pretty amazing. (Video)

    I don’t know where Carlson or Fox can be headed with this, Clearly, the Bannon faction, trying to build an international coalition of right-wing nationalists, doesn’t like to see Russia demonized in the Western press. If they think they can reverse this, they must be pretty good at swimming upstream against a torrent. Still, I’m glad to see some truth about what America is come out from whatever source.

    1. super extra

      I’ve thought for several years that the most likely post-Trump major candidate would be Tucker Carlson!

      1. KD

        And what the heck does Carlson know about fund raising? Organizing? Messaging? If elected, what does he know about getting a hostile bureaucracy to do his will despite itself? How does he handle a hostile media?

        Just because you get on TV and do a little bit pointing out that Victoria Nuland is a moron (that was hard), doesn’t make you fit to run in a national election, or fit to govern. Its great that Trump was an outsider and all *supposedly* but he was incompetent and “drain the swamp” became appointing John Bolton so it was easier for him to f___ yah.

        Right-wing populism is an oxymoron, and you read about these “national conservative” conferences and what great issues of the day do they concern themselves with? Internet porn. Really? Isn’t it just re-branding the Religious Right? The GOP is totally corrupt and thinks it is living perpetually on the set of Back to the Future. It can’t die in a 1980’s-style Bonfire of Vanities fast enough.

    2. jr

      Thanks for that, HMP. The high point was watching John Kirby mimic a human being acting self righteously annoyed with a reporter. Also, watching Nuland almost snap a pen in half as she attempts to simultaneously (rap out a response to Rubio and maintain her cool demeanor was fun. This is gonna be a great war!

    1. Robert Hahl

      I have been using Quant, from Europe, because duckduckgo started to feel too conventional about two years ago. But I don’t know much about .

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Noted above, I just typed “russia today” into Qwant and got nothing. They seem to be blocking access.

    2. jo6pac

      I use the Russian one that also is security software. I use it for translations to. I can’t post a link

  10. Wukchumni

    A Keynesian, a Socialist and a Bitcoin devotee walk into a bar and the latter orders a virtual round on the house for everybody imbibing, while the Keynesian not to be outdone quietly asks the barkeep to do the same-aggregate demand is more likely than aggregate supply of money to be the primary cause of a short-run economic event, while the Socialist orders another round for the somewhat sloshed great indoors, and inquires to the bartender as to whether those on the receiving end will be able to work off the tab by cleaning dishes?

  11. hunkerdown

    MI-13 is Rashida Tlaib’s district. This “Red to Blue” initiative clearly refers to ideological introjection, not to elections.

  12. jr

    Department of Cosmic Farce

    Wow, just read through the space delivery article and I have to say I’m really reassured that there won’t be any problems with this at all. Which is good because on first thought I had a vision of the NYC night sky being lit up with the flaming streaks of thousands of pizza delivery re-entry vehicles from Rome burning up after the network fails and they start to drift. The pods are small, for now, and that’s also a good thing because I would hate for WW3 to start because 500 extra large “Nonna” pies fail to disintegrate and punch a hole through China’s air defense sensor nets at 10K kph. Here is the flashy site, complete with smug, self-assured 20-something Monkeys in Business Attire busy disruptin’.:


    TechCrunch is on hand to provide the necessary media fellatio to garner the attention of the investor classes. Concerned about collisions with com-sats and chain reactions and such? Fear not, there will be “systems” for all that…

  13. C.O.

    Further to duckduckgo beginning to tragically lose the plot when they had been holding up so well… I have noticed something very odd in my own searches on duckduck go for the past year or so for sure. I’ll be searching a topic that isn’t literally the title of an existing web page or article, and more and more often I have to add filter string after filter string to clean out completely stupid wikipedia repetitions and meaningless amazon catalogue links. By the time I get through all that, there are usually less than 20 relevant results left. That’s actually okay, more often than not. But in the past six months or so, I have noticed that now instead of getting repeats of that type of result after maybe 1-5 other actually relevant results, the search results are full up with bizarre links to sites that have zero to do with my search terms, but lots of click bait from sites claiming there are lizards running the world and the COVID-19 shots are a psy-op. After some experimenting, I have worked out that sometimes when duckduckgo is doing badly at finding specific results, it is shifting to searching the individual words in my searches one by one, which of course for common words can dredge up all manner of horrors. Putting the short phrase into double quotes blocks the issue for now.

    I am horrified to realize that I have been slowly adding in the many query tweaks and alterations necessary to make google work before its privacy evilness plus deliberate destruction of its own search algorithms to the way I use duckduckgo now. This leads me to wonder if maybe duckduckgo has been having issues because the thesaurus their algorithm uses is possibly being gamed effectively by the people who still spend effort on SEO that doesn’t involve buying ad space. Or, maybe, and actually this is more likely, this an impact of the data duckduckgo accesses via its partnerships with other search engine companies.

    I can second the comment that swisscows is very good, but like qwant it won’t work without turning on javascript. I have always appreciated that duckduckgo has an html-only version that is blisteringly fast and all that’s needed if I am not looking up images.

    1. cocomaan

      I can confirm that Duckduckgo has, in the last year, started to be less useful. For awhile, it was a great alternative to google because it would bring up links google was hiding. Google is awful these days, so it was welcome.

      Lots of garbage clickbait sites on DDG. No idea what happened but your reckoning about SEO might be spot on.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Yuck. I agree it’s stupid to have different rules for each league, but NL baseball is way better than AL. Plus, speaking selfishly, we have just lost a large part of the advantage we have had over the last several years in having the best manager in baseball.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        We? I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was a follower of the national league.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      Determined to lose this life long NL fan.

      Gotta screw everything up just for more, i.e. greed, don’t they?


      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Actually, its the players. Batting doesn’t help pitchers on the money side. Its an extra player the teams have to carry on the 40 man roster. Pitchers, at least relievers (maybe not star closers) have been doing alright relative to their usual spot all these years.

        Despite my dad’s triumphant text messaging, I love making pitchers hit. I think its fun, but its a labor issue.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Wait…who’s the “extra player” teams have to carry? Essentially, teams will swap out a utility player who can pitch hit for an extra pitcher, right? Same number of players…

  14. lyman alpha blob

    Since you mentioned Voltaire, this might be of interest to NC readers. Vaccine controversies are nothing new – here’s Voltaire on inoculation.

    “It is inadvertently affirmed in the Christian countries of Europe that the English are fools and madmen. Fools, because they give their children the small-pox to prevent their catching it; and madmen, because they wantonly communicate a certain and dreadful distemper to their children, merely to prevent an uncertain evil. The English, on the other side, call the rest of the Europeans cowardly and unnatural. Cowardly, because they are afraid of putting their children to a little pain; unnatural, because they expose them to die one time or other of the small-pox. But that the reader may be able to judge whether the English or those who differ from them in opinion are in the right, here follows the history of the famed innoculation, which is mentioned with so much dread in France.
    The Circassian women have, from time immemorial, communicated the small-pox to their children when not above six months old by making an incision in the arm, and by putting into this incision a pustule, taken carefully from the body of another child.”

    He goes on to explain that the reason the Circassians take inoculation so seriously is because they have very beautiful women who are the main Circassian export so having pockmarked girls just won’t do. I’m guessing that’s an argument that wouldn’t get much mileage today…

    1. The Rev Kev

      At the time, milkmaids were reputed to be pretty because they never got smallpox and so their faces were never pocked. When people like Jenner began to wonder why, it was noticed that those milkmaids did get cowpox which was much more mild to get. Simple observation and deduction.

      1. LifelongLib

        My understanding is that initially innoculation used actual smallpox, which was supposed to be weakened in various ways so that it would cause only a minor illness. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn’t, hence the controversy. Vaccination (i.e. using cowpox) was discovered subsequently and was generally a much safer procedure since cowpox conferred immunity to smallpox but was usually a much milder illness.

  15. hamstak

    If anyone needs a good laugh, the following comment was posted over on Moon of Alabama, regarding Naked Capitalism and its prospects of remaining online amidst the information pogrom being waged vis-a-vis the Russian military campaign:

    “Naked Capitalism will stay up because they are a radical left, subversive, marxist site and their people are the people in the White House. These are the people intentionally destroying the US today with one after another disastrous decisions including the response to the Ukrainian war. The sooner Naked Capitalism and their soulmates in the White House are gone, the sooner the US can return to sanity.”

    I am sure Yves and Lambert must be heartened to learn that they wield so much influence in the White House!

    But perhaps the commenter had their tongue in their cheek; they used the handle “Lynx”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      So are they suggesting that Yves is merely a nom de plume for Jen Psaki? And who would they think Lambert is in real life? Ron Klain?

      (shakes head and walks off)

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      “Naked Capitalism will stay up because they are a radical left, subversive, marxist site and their people are the people in the White House. These are the people intentionally destroying the US today…”

      Goddamn I love that comment!!!! If this is what people over at MoA think about us then we are doing our job! Imagine a Marxist president with a Cabinet of NCers firing the Beauracracy….

      Omina Fausta Cano!

      1. jrkrideau

        Imagine a Marxist president with a Cabinet of NCers firing the Beauracracy….

        As a Canadian I do not even see the equivalent of Sir Henry in the US Gov’t. What bureaucracy?

    3. ilpalazzo

      That comment seems to be gone now so there’s that.

      I’ve been checking there only occasionally but I have the impression that b’s coverage of COVID matters is mostly inspired by NC so perhaps that’s worth appreciating.

    1. Philonius

      They’re not. The kids aren’t on FB. The parents probably aren’t either. FB is for the olds. Just like this war..

      1. LawnDart

        Russian embassy to U.S.: Meta’s actions are yet another evidence of info war without rules declared on Russia

        “Users of Facebook and Instagram did not vest the management of these Internet platforms with the right to determine the criteria of truth and to pit peoples against other peoples,”


  16. Tom Stone

    No pandemic aid $ after all.
    Which is not surprising, chickenshit cruelty is typical of the Biden administration.
    Speaking of which, where’s my $600?

    1. The Rev Kev

      One girl put this on twitter-

      ‘Thia is with … ?✌️??
      “Dems abandon $15.6B for battling the pandemic and OKs $13.6B for Ukraine in huge spending bill.”
      They walked back every single promise and left us with an inflation spike of 7.9%, highest in 40 years.
      Fk all the way off.’


      Your midterms are going to be a bloodbath.

      1. LawnDart

        The lessors of two evils always win…

        [American oligarchs… …never mind– I’ll see myself out]

      2. OIFVet

        It’s hopeless, our elites don’t care. I made a collage of headlines several days ago, juxtaposing how hard it is to pass legislation for aid for needy US children with headlines about generous spending for weapons for Ukraine. My friends response? “Meh.” But they are heartbroken about Ukrainian children, of course. Not saying they shouldn’t be, but most of them will never accept the reality of how we got here, and just how much our elites do not care about Americans.

  17. lyman alpha blob

    Russell Brand is really growing on me lately. He manages to bring an upbeat positive outlook to generally horrendous and depressing current events. Here he is today on the prodigiously prodigal Biden son’s financial shenanigans, with the story now being taken seriously by the Grauniad.

    1. Lost in OR

      Followed up your link with a RB link addressing the Ukraine issue. Turned out to be an RB advert for crypto and nothing about the Ukraine. Felt like I was being sold. I just showered and feel better.

      Not sure where Russell is going with this.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        He did a segment on crypto the other day that was really bad and he came off as ill informed about it all, which is unusual for him from what I’ve seen. Hopefully it will be the last one in that vein. If he’s hawking it, that would explain a lot, but I’ll cut him some slack since I do think he’s trying to bring people together while also being informative, which is what we need if we’re ever going to get out of the mess we’ve created for ourselves on this planet. Plus I’m fairly sure the defi will be exposed for the scam it is anyway and be far less harmful than rampant imperialism in the long run. Unless some squillionaire manages to use it to pay an army first. Crazy times.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Russell Brands messaging is awesome. Uniting the working class of the world. I hope he can keep it up and doesn’t sell out.

      Didn’t really watch the crypto vid and he gets stuff wrong sometimes. He’s the first to admit it and will ask commenters to correct him in the chat. Very responsive. Def not gonna ignore because of that one issue.

    1. The Rev Kev

      George Orwell talked about it in his novel “1984” and he called it Doublethink which is ‘the act of holding, simultaneously, two opposite, individually exclusive ideas or opinions and believing in both simultaneously and absolutely. Doublethink requires using logic against logic or suspending disbelief in the contradiction.’

      You see it elsewhere when our betters tell us the Pandemic is over and mind that you do not trip over the bodies on the streets.

      1. britzklieg

        Khanna imagines “nihilistic relativism” that’s “appalling” while indulging in the same.
        And he calls himself “progressive.”
        I know what I’d call him.

  18. LawnDart

    Naked Capitalism will stay up because they are a radical left, subversive, marxist site…

    Wait… isn’t that why we’re here?

    Debout, les damnés de la terre
    Debout, les forçats de la faim…

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel




      1. The Rev Kev

        I can see what you are doing here but I do not think that “Yves’s Roughnecks” has that ring to it.

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