2:00PM Water Cooler 3/2/2022

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

“Biden used State of the Union speech to take ‘proud to be an American’ from GOP” [Kurt Bardella, USA Today]. “During President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, a chant led by congressional Democrats of “USA, USA, USA” broke out on the floor of the House of Representatives. Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, the moniker of patriotism has been tied to the Republican Party brand. When you see an American flag hanging on a porch, you think it’s a “Republican household.” When you see the flag flying on the back of a pickup, you assume it’s a Trump voter.’ For too long, Democrats have surrendered the notion of “proud to be an American” to the Republican Party, Biden took it back Tuesday night… The fact that Biden was able to outflank the GOP with such precision on wheelhouse issues like America first and the economy underscores how far gone the Republican Party is from its own orthodoxy. Biden’s speech was an effective blueprint that Democrats should immediately employ heading into the 2022 midterms.”

“5 takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union speech” [NBC]. “And in an apparent appeal to Manchin, who has called for prioritizing debt reduction, Biden said his proposals would “not only lower costs and give families a fair shot; it will lower the deficit.” He took aim at the Republican-led tax cuts enacted during the Trump administration, which Manchin has said he wants to roll back, saying it “ballooned the deficit with tax cuts for the very wealthy and corporations.” • Let me know how that works out:

The SOTU and Black Lives:

Remember when liberal Democrats turned on a dime and said large gatherings like marches were OK* during Covid after George Floyd was murdered by cops? The very same party is now increasing funding for the police. This is a sign of the enormous institutional strength of the Democrat Party. NOTE * As it turned out, outdoor air, as in a march, is much, much safer than indoor air. But the science on that was by no means settled at the time.

Cop-loving liberal Democrats. You love to see it:

“‘Ukraine is a country in Europe… Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine so basically that’s wrong’: Kamala explains Putin’s invasion in ‘layman’s terms’ and compares sanctions to parents punishing kids” [Daily Mail]. “[Harris] compared the strategy of deterrence to disciplining a bad child. ‘So you know if you’re a parent and you tell your children to do this the punishment is gonna be that right? And we hope that by doing that it will deter our children from doing the wrong thing, right? So that’s deterrence, so that’s where we started with the sanctions. And when Russia actually went in we are implementing the sanctions.'” • We’re doomed, aren’t we.

“Hunter Biden’s Ex-Partner Sentenced to Federal Prison for Fraud” [Jonathan Turley]. “Archer was convicted of defrauding the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in the handling of a $60 million bond offering. Hunter Biden was not implicated in those dealings…. One of the most extraordinary exchanges found in Hunter’s text messages reportedly dealt with Archer complaining that he was arrested by Biden “appointees.” According to press accounts, Hunter Biden responded by assuring him that he was covered and ‘family’: “Every great family is persecuted prosecuted in the US — you are part of a great family — not a side show not deserted by them even in your darkest moments. That’s the way Bidens are different and you are a Biden. It’s the price of power.” That exchange is highly concerning since Hunter knew that he was a potential target of a criminal investigation. He was talking to a potential witness who could be used against him and his family in any investigation of their alleged influence peddling and foreign dealings.”

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.

* * *

“Most Americans say the coronavirus is not yet under control and support restrictions to try to manage it, Post-ABC poll finds” [WaPo]. “Yet nearly 6 in 10 U.S. adults think it is more important to control the virus, with some restrictions in daily life, while 4 in 10 prefer no restrictions.” • So let ‘er rip!

The party of betrayal (1):

Remember when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress under Obama? Good times.

The party of betrayal (2):


* * *

“What Went Down At Biden’s State Of The Union And Texas’s Primary Election” [FiveThirtyEight]. “Progressives have had a pretty good night in Texas. Casar, who is endorsed by the Sunrise Movement, Indivisible, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Our Revolution and Justice Dems, won his open primary in Texas’s 35th District. In Texas’s 30th District, Crockett, who is endorsed by Our Revolution, is leading in that open primary. And as noted throughout the night, Cisneros is leading in Texas’s 28th District in a close race against incumbent Cuellar that might go to a runoff. And in Texas’s 16th, incumbent Rep. Veronica Escobar, who is endorsed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, beat back her lone challenger.”


“Trump calls the Russian invasion ‘a holocaust,’ urges Russia to stop fighting” [The Hill]. “‘Well, you have to work out a deal. They have to stop killing these people,’ Trump answered. ‘They’re killing all of these people, and they have to stop it, and they have to stop it now. But they don’t respect the United States and the United States is like, I don’t know, they’re not doing anything about it. This is a — this is a holocaust. This is a horrible thing that’s happening. You’re witnessing and you’re seeing it on television every night.”

Republican Funhouse

“GETTR Had a Very Visible Presence at CPAC. Trump’s TRUTH Social? Not So Much.” [Mediaite]. “Former President Donald Trump was an inescapable presence at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), held last week at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, Florida. However, his newly-launched social media platform, TRUTH Social, was scarcer than a Bush family member at the MAGA-riffic confab…. Your friendly neighborhood Mediaite contributing editor wandered around the grounds of the Rosen Shingle Creek all four days of CPAC (my Apple Watch tracked all the miles I racked up every day), and found lots of representation for GETTR but not one single logo, promotional item, or event from TRUTH Social. GETTR was a high-level sponsor for CPAC this year, with their logo shown in the third tier (the “Partnering” Sponsors) in various signage and materials displayed around the conference (see photo below). Their logo was also on giant label overlays applied to one of the staircases in an atrium near the main ballroom, as shown in the image at the top of this article.”

Obama Legacy

“The Obama Line, Samantha Power, and U.S. Intervention in West Africa During the Ebola Epidemic” [MR Online]. “Obama cited the global response to the Ebola epidemic of 2014–16 as another sterling example of how the United States single-handedly “mobilized” the globe to combat the virus…. Former deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes hailed this U.S.-led ‘global response’ as well, while officials who worked for Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor who was tapped as a potential vice president for Biden in 2020, claimed they would follow her into hell after bearing witness to her bravura performance under pressure while handling the Ebola crisis. Peddling the Obama line proved very useful indeed, as a weapon to attack Trump’s gross mismanagement of COVID, to counter MAGA-style antiglobalization nationalism, and to further professional ambitions…. Yet, scholars have demonstrated that the U.S. response to Ebola was not the roaring success Power makes it out to be in her memoir. In fact, according to public health experts at John Hopkins, ‘the epidemic curve began decreasing before most global efforts were in place, limiting their impact on stopping the epidemic’s spread.’ Global health specialists also agree that no one precisely knows why Ebola petered out in late 2014, but it had little to do with U.S. involvement. There is simply no evidence to support Obama’s extraordinary claim that U.S. health workers and soldiers helped save ‘hundreds of thousands, maybe a couple million lives’ in West Africa.” • So Ron Klain was “the Ebola Czar” in the same way that King Canute was “the Ocean Czar.” No wonder he left everything to Zeints and Walensky. What a farce.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Nazis are only bad if they’re not our Nazis:

Even a realist admits there are times when morality outweighs strategy; I think supporting Nazis is one such time.


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. A chart going back to January shows this clearly:

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:

Idaho back up again. Vermont? 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:

“Health update: Vermont’s COVID-19 outlook improves” [Vermont Public Radio]. “COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations and deaths are declining in Vermont, and health officials say they expect the numbers to keep falling. As the state enters into the endemic phase of COVID-19, there are still questions about how to keep older Vermonters and those with compromised immune systems safe.” • Amazing how “the endemic phase” because conventional wisdom without, so far as I can tell, any scientific justification at all. Is it wishful thinking? Is it MBAs thinking their spreadsheets rule the world, instead of the other way round? It’s bizarre. Like so much else.

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

Continuing slow improvement.

* * *

“Old data? CDC apparently misjudged California’s COVID risks” [Cal Matters]. “Federal health officials who reported that nearly half of Californians live in ‘high-risk’ counties for COVID-19 were relying on old data, and only a small number of counties now fall into that category, according to local officials. At stake is whether counties considered high risk should keep indoor masking requirements under new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or follow the state’s lead in removing nearly all mask requirements. Kamlesh Kaur, a spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Department of Public Health, said the county was surprised to be designated high risk by the CDC. The most recent COVID-19 case rate for Stanislaus County is about 13 times lower than what the CDC reported on Friday, she said. The CDC’s estimates appear to be outdated by more than a month.” • The fax machine must have jammed.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Sea of green once more, including the Northern Marianas. 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.)

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 977,402 975,150. An uptick. But it looks like we won’t break a million for Biden’s SOTU. I was hoping for a ribbon cutting ceremony of some kind. Maybe the West Wing staff could have staged a photo op with funny hats and noisemakers. Walensky’s staff could have joined in by Zoom. Ah well, nevertheless.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Stats Watch

“United States ADP Employment Change” [Trading Economics]. “Private businesses in the United States hired 475 thousand workers in February of 2022, beating market expectations of a 388 thousand rise as the labor market recovery gathers steam. The service-providing sector added 417 thousand jobs, led by leisure & hospitality (170 thousand), trade, transportation & utilities (98 thousand), professional & business (72 thousand), and education & health (40 thousand). The goods-producing sector added 57 thousand jobs, boosted by rises in manufacturing (30 thousand) and construction (26 thousand).”

* * *

Shipping: “World’s largest container lines suspend shipping to Russia” [Reuters]. “The world’s three biggest container lines on Tuesday temporarily suspended cargo shipments to and from Russia in response to Western sanctions on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine, in a further blow to trade with the country…. Swiss-headquartered MSC, the world’s biggest container shipping company by capacity, said in a customer advisory that as of March 1 it had introduced ‘a temporary stoppage on all cargo bookings to/from Russia, covering all access areas including Baltics, Black Sea and Far East Russia.’ ‘MSC will continue to accept and screen bookings for delivery of essential goods such as food, medical equipment and humanitarian goods,’ it said. Denmark’s Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), which is the second biggest carrier after MSC, said separately it would temporarily halt all container shipping to and from Russia, also adding that the suspension covering all Russian ports, would not include foodstuffs, medical and humanitarian supplies.”

The Bezzle: “Defi and Shadow Banking 2.0” [Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic]. “Allen argues that defi repeats the sins of the original shadow banking system, and then makes them worse. Defi, after all, is the latest iteration of fintech, and as Riley Quinn is at pains to remind us, “fintech” is a euphemism for ‘unregulated bank.’ As with the shadow banking system, the point of defi is to offer traditional financial instruments outside of the traditional regulatory framework. As with the shadow banking system, defi’s instruments are complex. As with the shadow banking system, defi enables leverage, compensates for it with rigidity, and is thus vulnerable to bank runs. Defi’s pitch is that you don’t have to trust a regulated bank to play fair (which is compelling, as regulated banks are awfully sleazy). But defi replaces regulated banks with something even riskier: “new intermediaries who are often unidentified and unregulated.'” • Worth reading carefully and in full. Mentions this paper–

The Bezzle: “DeFi: Shadow Banking 2.0?” (PDF) [Hilary J. Allen, William and Mary Law Review]. From the Abstract: ” there is still time to prevent DeFi from becoming Shadow Banking 2.0. This Essay argues for precautionary regulation of DeFi, designed to limit its growth and to cordon off whatever remains from the established financial system and real-world economy. While proponents of DeFi will contend that this will limit innovation, this Essay argues that DeFi innovation has limited benefits for society. DeFi doesn’t aspire to provide new financial products and services – it simply aspires to provide existing financial products and services in a decentralized way (meaning, without intermediaries). This Essay will demonstrate that the DeFi ecosystem is in fact full of intermediaries and explain why full disintermediation of financial services is an entirely unrealistic aspiration. This Essay will then proceed from that finding to argue that if DeFi cannot deliver on decentralization, regulators should feel emboldened to clamp down on DeFi in order to protect the stability of our financial system and broader economy.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 22 Extreme Fear (previous close: 18 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 27 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 2 at 1:38pm. Looks like Putin still has Mr. Market’s attention.

Our Famously Free Press

“The Pandemic Interpreter” [Sam Adler-Bell, New York Magazine]. “What Leonhardt didn’t seem to accept in any of our conversations is the idea that his work is an enormously consequential input into the equation of what is politically possible — not merely a disinterested assessment of our political horizons. ‘He’s contributing to a reality that’s based on political small-mindedness, a sort of austerity thinking,’ said Gonsalves of Yale, ‘an idea that there’s no such thing as doing better in America. It’s really corrosive.’ Yong, the Atlantic writer, put it this way, “I was writing as early as spring of 2020 that this is, in many ways, an opportunity to take stock of societal problems that have been allowed to go unaddressed for too long.” The pandemic was an X-ray of the dysfunction and rot in our social order. Things like the child tax credit, universal health care, investments in schools and hospitals, and alleviating poverty: These are all highly effective pandemic preparedness and mitigation policies. ‘And I think the risk has always been in pushing back toward that normal, we lose that chance to fashion a better normal,’ Yong said. After all, getting back to normal isn’t going to be sufficient to fight the next pandemic because ‘normal led to this.'”

The Agony Column

“Coronavirus Today: To mask or not to mask” [Los Angeles Times]. “My colleague Deborah Netburn introduced me to the concept of ‘mask fishing.’ It’s the idea that a person is more attractive with their mask on than off. If teenagers think this applies to them — that their mask is doing them a favor by covering up their braces and acne — they’re likely to keep wearing them. ‘A lot of our friends suffer from that,’ Netburn’s eighth-grade son told her. She dug a little deeper and discovered that the phenomenon had been documented in scientific literature. It’s not clear why our brains prefer the masked version of faces; one theory is that masks cause our brains to fill in a person’s unseen features with noses, mouths, chins and jaws that are more idealized than is usually the case.”

None of these people are masked, and they’re all smiling:

Giving credence to my theory that since smiling is a tool of deception, psychos disproportionately oppose masks.

Class Warfare

Good for Canada:

“On His Way to Theoretically Colonize Mars, Elon Musk Is Actually Colonizing South Texas” [Jacobin]. “Musk began looking for a site to base his space travel project in 2011, somewhere near the equator and a large body of water. Sites in Florida and Georgia were reported as potential options. But in 2012, it was reported that a parcel of land near Boca Chica Beach, some twenty miles east of Brownsville on the Gulf Coast, was a leading candidate for the facility. That was enough for the Texas Legislature to spring into action, passing a $15 million incentive package and a bill to allow the temporary closure of state beaches during rocket launches to try to lure Musk. Cameron County kicked in a ten-year property tax abatement…. From the beginning, it was clear that Musk thought little of the people and the culture he was joining. In 2018, Musk paid tribute to Brownsville’s rich history thusly: ‘We’ve got a lot of land with nobody around, and so if [a rocket] blows up, it’s cool.'” • Can’t Musk take all the squillionaires with him? That might make Brownsville’s sacrifice worth it.

Again, why just Russian billionaires?

News of the Wired

More on CDC’s “Community Levels”:

“New Study Disavows Marshmallow Test’s Predictive Powers” [UCLA Andersen Review]. “For some 30 years, parents and scientists have turned to the marshmallow test to glean clues about kids’ futures. The experiment gained popularity after its creator, psychologist Walter Mischel, started publishing follow-up studies of the Stanford Bing Nursery School preschoolers he tested between 1967 and 1973. You can have this treat now, he famously told each 4 and 5-year-old, or have two when I get back to the room. The kids who couldn’t hold out long generally grew through their teens, 20s and 30s quicker to frustrate, weaker in academic and social skills, and with more drug use, mental health and weight issues — all that, according to well-publicized studies in the decades since…. But the latest Bing follow-up study, by a team of researchers that included Mischel, casts doubt that a preschooler’s response to a marshmallow test can predict anything at all about her future. Following the Bing children into their 40s, the new study finds that kids who quickly gave in to the marshmallow temptation are generally no more or less financially secure, educated or physically healthy than their more patient peers. The amount of time the child waited to eat the treat failed to forecast roughly a dozen adult outcomes the researchers tested, including net worth, social standing, high interest-rate debt, diet and exercise habits, smoking, procrastination tendencies and preventative dental care, according to the study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. ‘With the marshmallow waiting times, we found no statistically meaningful relationships with any of the outcomes that we studied,’ UCLA Anderson’s Daniel Benjamin, who brings expertise to the study that includes behavioral economics and statistical methodology, says in an interview.” • Hmm.

* * *

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: “I’m always surprised and how many flowers bloom in the winter. Here’s some Daffodils that live at the South Coast Botanic Garden in Rancho Palos Verdes, 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. Micky

    “”Harris compared the strategy of deterrence to disciplining a bad child.””

    She outta know, when she was attorney general, she caused the jailing of hundreds of parents whose kids missed school for legitimate reasons. God almighty, doesn’t she have a fashion consultant? That feces brown outfit she was wearing last night made her look like a giant horse, or something often floating in a punchbowl, on the stage behind Biden.
    Here’s video of her threatening parents:

    1. JBird4049

      Seeing her gleefully describing her jailing of the parents is painful. The woman actually laughs.

      1. anon y'mouse

        when i brought that up, my mother-in-law (20+ years as primary educator and 10+ in admin) told me that the program was actually great.

        why? because supposedly the application of it was more along the lines of making the parent and child come in for counselling, sign a contract and meet benchmarks. and according to her, this worked to get the children into class and achieved an explicit agreement between the parents and the instructors/school to make sure they got there. and as an aside, we all know the real reason that attendance is so important (and not whether they’re teaching anything)—the districts get money for butts in seats.

        i have no reason to believe Harris had anything to do with how that program was actually applied on the ground, and this is in no way an attempt to make her better than she was (although i think my MIL believes she is better than she is, for that and a few other reasons). i should ask her if she knows who wrote up the programs for remediation of the truancy–whether this occurred only in her district or at a state-wide level.

        does Harris even have children? hasn’t anyone spoken to her about the fact that “deterrence” is admitted to NOT work by nearly everyone involved in criminology? otherwise murder would be near zero in capital punishment states and countries.

        people kill people either in a fit of rage and/or insanity (in that case, they aren’t caring about getting caught), or in a carefully planned out way for long-considered reasons (which make them think they won’t get caught). if you hate someone enough to want them dead, no law is going to stop you unless you are the most spineless sort of individual, and those probably won’t go through with it even without the “deterrent” factor present.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘more along the lines of making the parent and child come in for counseling, sign a contract and meet benchmarks’

          Showing how education is now all about market relations with parents, teachers and kids being reduced to stakeholders. The power of the market, folks.

        2. Yves Smith

          I have a friend in San Francisco. Kids who missed school due to religious holidays (Jews, Christian Orthodox) were also deemed to be truants.

    2. Synoia

      That feces brown outfit she was wearing last night made her look like a giant horse, or something often floating in a punchbowl, on the stage behind Biden.

      Making it an accurate rendition of her character perhaps?

    3. Thistlebreath

      What do you have against horses? They smell good, don’t lie, respond to affection, remember their care givers and can reliably transport humans through wilderness.
      Can’t say the same about the human subject.

    4. Arizona Slim

      Giant horses are feeling very hurt right now. They are quite sensitive, after all.

      (Sarcasm off.)

  2. Tom Stone

    Wow, Kamala Harris is not just a LOT stupider than I thought, she’s also more arrogant than I believed.
    Has she been huffing her own farts in lieu of airplane glue?

    1. herman_sampson

      In 2020, I thought Harris would sink Biden’s run, as I thought people should have been voting for the vp ( I still think neither Trump nor Biden will last through 2024, Biden at least from dementia and Trump being one cheeseburger away from a heart attack). Pence would have been horrible, but more electable than Harris. But, what do I know; not much I guess.

    2. Nikkikat

      She spent a lot of time on her back, during her rise in politics. She was huffing something but it starts with Willie and ends with Brown.

    1. Eoin Mac

      You could argue that his business model for Chelsea changed world football. Over the last 20 years Chelsea have won every trophy possible in Club football.
      I think it is interesting that Abramovich isn’t calling in the £1.5 Billion he has loaned the club ” I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid” as the club is valued around £2 billion.
      If he was from one of the gulf states this would not be happening. A sad day for football.

    2. Basil Pesto

      It’s certainly momentous for Chelsea. I don’t think there are any wider implications for football as a whole; the trend he started of ‘financial doping’ (or as David Dein* famously put it at the time “they’re putting tanks on our lawn and firing 50 pound notes”) and big foreign investment in Premier League (and other) clubs will continue apace.

      I find it hard to go along with the idea that it’s a “sad day for football”. Chelsea and what their sudden rise to football superpower status from basically nowhere represents has been widely loathed up and down the football pyramid for years, albeit at the same time not really strenuously condemned by the football press who feed upon the product that Chelsea have doubtless improved (that is to say: the entertainment value and competitiveness of the league). The resentment was most acute from 2004 up to the early 2010s, at which point Chelsea were no longer outliers thanks to Man City’s obscene wealth, and they became accepted as just another part of the football firmament. Some mega-rich consortium will buy Chelsea and I hope they do a worse job of owning them than Abramovich has.

      * interestingly, a few years later, Dein tried to initiate an ownership coup of his own by selling shares to Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov. Dein was turfed out of the club for his troubles. Usmanov held on for years but thankfully (I’m an Arsenal fan) relinquished his shareholdings a few years ago after it became clear that he had no path to ownership. The other party that was hoovering up shares was… Stan effing Kroenke, who emerged victorious and now has full ownership of the club ? . These ownership battles across the Premier League were all precipitated by Abramovich’s arrival, so even though it changes nothing, good riddance frankly.

      1. QuicksilverMessenger

        Every time I see Kroenke’s name, or KSE, I have PTSD triggered visions of Fiszman selling his shares. Dein was right, but the Usmanov overtures were just as bad. Abramovich was and is, in my opinion, and I have said this since 2004, blood money. If I had my fantasy they would be stripped of all their titles since 2004. But of course I think the same of City, Real (Franco’s Club!). There is a very dark background to football. There aren’t any saints. I can hardly even watch a match anymore. And the kicker is FIFA now booting Russia from qualifying, but are responsible for the nightmares of Qatar hosting. Blech

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, he changed everything for the Premiership. He massively distorted spending power and showed the value of football for whitewashing reputations. The UK media suddenly went all cosy with him, unlike with other expat Russian oligarchs. English football history of course is full of local businessmen using club ownership as vanity purchases or indirect marketing, but Abramovich took it up to a massive scale, both in terms of money spent and in taking it international.

        His writing off of loans though is likely bs. If those loans were on the books it would hugely reduce the face value of the club, so he’ll get his money back through other routes.

        As you say though, it won’t fundamentally change things, except that there is a high probability that Chelseas new owners will be less skilful than Abramovich and take on more the Manchester United model, of squeezing a valuable brand name for all it can get. They may be disappointed though, as I think they’ll find that for all their success, Chelsea doesn’t have the ‘deep’ support worldwide of an Arsenal, Man U or Liverpool. As a Liverpool fan, I can just say I’m very grateful to have pragmatic US owners – they are definitely the least worst of a bad bunch.

  3. jo6pac

    WOW I see the Russian billionaires are way behind Amerikas B$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. They to get better a stealing the money.

    Russian billionaires extraordinarily powerful, control ~30% of nation’s wealth

  4. Tom Stone

    IMO the Real Estate market in Sonoma County will be toast before the end of summer.
    If rising rates, the next wave of Covid and war don’t kill it, this Summer’s wildfires will.
    We’re expecting the first significant rain since January 7th tomorrow which will bring the total this calendar year up to a little more than 1″ in the wettest areas.
    If we get 8″ more this March we’ll still be in an extreme drought…

    1. howseth

      As I watch reports of snow and rain – seemingly – everywhere in the USA except where it’s really needed – Here in the American west – I did see the report of rain for tomorrow here in Santa Cruz.

      However, as per usual – the amount always gets reduced the closer we come to predicted rain… Nature’s last laugh. Somehow, I think Sonoma County real estate will hold up no matter what. I do wonder how expensive home insurance has become/will be? I rent don’t know those details. We have a good air purifier ready for the inevitable smoky time when we’ll need to hunker down in one room again.

    2. Arizona Slim

      I’m listening to you, Tom. Matter of fact, I think that the same thing is going to happen here in the Tucson real estate market. Prices have truly gone bonkers around here.

      1. skippy

        Sister in north eastern Maricopa county just bought a newish house for 500K, big back yard, but what the heck are they making them out of these days. Not to mention the landscaping of the back yard with a pool in the middle of it all uncovered and some weird plot of grass off to one side 3m sq? and the bizarre colour scheme of tiles, counter tops, lighting fixtures, etc.

        Oh and the desperation to buy now[!!!!!!], not alone I would bet, not that she and her husband, at the time, got wiped out in the GFC or anything. Loaded up with executive RE developments and even an undeveloped plot in a sought after Sedona enclave …. all went poof …

        Mentioned she and her new hubby might want to have a buffer for any margin call, response is both are working with income flows, contra the past where they owned a high-end home improvement business that was neglected for the RE development big payday and ascension.

        Ugh she[fit 64y] is in sales for raw materials sourced overseas to the RE market and he’s a translator.

        To top that all off I had to maintain composure whilst she informed me her long time side project of a cocktail mix has finally been picked up by a distributor and will be on sale at Amazon … Kudos big Sis … I’ll have to buy some so they get a overseas sale in Oz hit … on Amazon curse you skydog …

        BTW if your up that way driving beware of my 92y mother with the onset of dementia that refuses to stop driving, something about freedom and liberties w/a side of guns. Once was a T1 corp CPA/Executive that dressed like movie star of the 60s … getting the sensation that a young Robin Williams specter has possessed me sorry …

    3. WhoaMolly

      Living near Sonoma, I find myself wondering if its time to look at selling and moving somewhere with abundant water.

      What happens to house prices if the water disappears for good?

      Fort Bragg Ca, and Mendocino are already facing serious water shortages. The reservoir near Ukiah is nearly empty.

      How long before the thousands of acres of water-hungry vineyards in Napa, Sonoma and Lake counties deplete the aquifers?

      Two neighbors moved to Arkansas. Another to Alaska. Two friends moved to Portland. One family member moved to a forested part of Utah.

      Advanced age and 30 years of community contacts make me reluctant to budge.

      1. c_heale

        A move might be advisable. But in the long term, nowhere will be safe since drought refugees will be fleeing to those safe places.

  5. Carey

    “Obama cited the global response to the Ebola epidemic of 2014–16 as another sterling example of how the United States single-handedly “mobilized” the globe to combat the virus….

    Black African lab rats for profits:
    “However, six months into the Ebola study, the trial’s Safety Review Board suddenly pulled both remdesivir and ZMapp from the trial. Footnote 12
    Remdesivir, it turned out, was hideously dangerous. Within 28 days, subjects taking remdesivir had lethal side effects including multiple organ failure, acute kidney failure, septic shock, and hypotension, and 54 percent of the
    remdesivir group died—the highest mortality rate among the four experimental drugs. Footnote 13

    Note 12 National Institutes of Health, Investigational Drugs Reduce Risk of Death from Ebola Virus Disease, NIH News Release, (November 27, 2019). https://
    http://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/investigational-drugs-reduce-risk-d eath-ebola-virus-disease

    Note 13 Sabue Mulangu, “A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Ebola Virus Disease Therapeutics, New England Journal of Medicine,” (December 12, 2019). http s://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1910993

    And if it worked in Africa…
    Note 15 NIH Press Release, “NIH clinical trial of remdesivir to treat COVID-19 begins,” NIH, (Feb. 25, 2020), https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releas es/nih-clinical-trial-remdesivir-treat-covid-19-begins

    From The Real Anthony Fauci downloaded from Archive.org

    1. anon y'mouse

      everything i’ve read about that drug inclines me to get a medical bracelet that spells out “NO Remdesivir EVER” on it.

      do you think it will work when i’m catatonic on a gurney in a hospital hallway somewhere?

      1. britzklieg

        my brother was administered R when in hospital, December 2020, pre-vax.

        they stopped it after damage to his liver showed up very quickly

    1. c_heale

      What about a global depression? The impact of the sanctions and lack of resources from Russia and Ukraine is going to have an effect on the world food supply. This is already going out of control.

  6. JBird4049

    >>>If we get 8″ more this March we’ll still be in an extreme drought…

    We will not be getting 8″ of rain.

    But if we did, it would be like the floods of 1982, 1984, and 1986 with the rains coming down all at once. It’s a thrill as the water rising is not always slow in coming. It just appears and you’re going wtf? With the hills around here fried by the last few years’ fires, leaving precious little top cover, I would expect mud, not water, floods. Maybe I should see when the highest tides are this month as that help cause the last few floods as the rising tides caused the rivers to back up.

    Sigh, maybe I should not be so sure in my statements, but damn, the climate around here has gotten so unpredictable and extreme. Heh, rather like the climate is changing.

  7. jr

    Well they finally found a job for Kamala: the no none-sense woman of color who is going to “break it down” for us with a bit of sass and flair! Turn a negative into a positive! No grasp of the situation? Can’t follow the translators fast enough? Keep pointing to Uruguay on the map? No problem! Kablabla will just slip into a beloved, approved, American stereotype of black women! She doesn’t need fancy words or ideas, she’s runnin’ things! Can’t you hear the beautiful music!?


  8. steve

    Today’s Plant

    aka Tazetta Narcissus, Paperwhite Daffodil. They have a lovely fragrance.

  9. Toshiro_Mifune

    The Marshmallow Study
    The kids who couldn’t hold out long generally grew through their teens, 20s and 30s quicker to frustrate, weaker in academic and social skills, and with more drug use, mental health and weight issues — all that, according to well-publicized studies in the decades since….

    I mean – how do you even quantify “weaker Social Skills”?

    But the latest Bing follow-up study, by a team of researchers that included Mischel, casts doubt that a preschooler’s response to a marshmallow test can predict anything at all about her future. Following the Bing children into their 40s, the new study finds that kids who quickly gave in to the marshmallow temptation are generally no more or less financially secure, educated or physically healthy than their more patient peers

    So, was it nothing more than a psychology study that was reinforcing cultural norms masquerading as science ? There seems to happen quite a bit.

    1. .Tom

      You can quantity anything with the right postgrad degrees and suitable research funding.

    2. Sailor Bud

      Childhood precog determiners always bother me. Same with IQ stuff.

      Precocity fetishism often ignores the possibility that a remarkably talented or brilliant human might develop “slowly,” rather like an extra complex computer might take longer to boot up. We let a lot of underachievers and late bloomers fail because of it, while a lot of wunderkind might develop horrible lizard brains and yet they get the red carpet anyway. Writers tend to be such late bloomers, in particular, because both language and things to write about are often experience based.

      I remember either Wanda Toscanini-Horowitz or her famous pianist husband remarking about the violinist Jascha Heifetz, “he was no great intellectual,” and I always found that easy to picture, since from childhood he had been trained to do practically nothing but fiddle. His precocity was so scary that he was causing genuine distress by age 11, to all the adult violin pros who heard him play.

      Pianist Leopold Godowski and violinist Mischa Elman, at an early Heifetz concert:

      Elman, fanning himself with his program: “It’s hot in here!”
      Godowski: “Not for pianists!”

      Well, that kid could play like crazy, hot as hell, but the man he became was a bit cold, though incredibly dignified.

      The entire Gen X generation was trained to an ethos of “carpe diem” in the 1990s, on T-shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, etc, after a decade of the hippy refugee 70s followed by the Reagan 80s. Talk about mixed messaging. Afterwards, we got to call them slackers, while huge numbers of them drifted into dead-end lives. Lots of forgotten talent out there, and it is painful to know personally like I do. Every formerly working gig musician I know of this age group is breaking under the yoke of it.

      1. Harold

        The great teacher Nadia Boulanger used to say, “you can be a prodigy at any age.” I think really perceptive teachers know this.

        1. Sailor Bud

          I happen to be her pedagogical grandson. She taught one of my piano teachers. ;)

          Anyway, I totally agree. To show a single example in a prodigy-dominated field, Yasser Sierawan, the chess grandmaster, started chess at 16 or so, and he was a top player in the ‘70s & ‘80s. He has written a book called Chess Duels, which is entirely devoted to his games against the world champions of his era. He acquitted himself quite well!

          Even Bobby Fischer’s prodigiousness was weird. He started at six, got obsessed, but in his own words, “at eleven, I just got good.” Before that, he was hardly thrilling the neighborhood. His mother found him an environment that nurtured his desire, which turned into an obsession that ultimately stilted his maturity.

          I am out of my depth in discussing it, but I often wonder if a lot of what gets classified as autism is just kids whose engines are struggling to find a car to get placed in, or whose learning environments are barren or stilted by abuse or ennui, almost as if Wayne Gretzky grew up in a town that only had a mall and no sports team or something. Maybe he’d then be known as Wayne Gretzky the grocery clerk.

      2. Toshiro_Mifune

        The entire Gen X generation ….
        At some point someone is going to write a book or make a movie about how weird the 70s/80s were to grow up in. Maybe it’s already been written and it’s going to take another 2 generations before it’s rediscovered. There’s been a few that have come close; Hairstyles of the Damned and American Skin but that’s only small slices of it.
        The Gen-X experience is genuinely strange.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “The Gen-X experience is genuinely strange.”
          but there’s relatively few of us…and not all of us turned out as cynical misanthropic weirdo intellectuals.(i live beside a mountain, and wear robes)
          most of the people i went to high school with are either corporate drones or more backwards than their already backwards parents(whatever the current iteration of “Monster Trucks” is).
          still, it was a strange time to come of age, if you were paying any attention at all.

        2. kareninca

          “Repo Man” captures a lot of it. So does “Oh Lucky Man” (even though not American).

      3. Bugs

        I hear ya. I come from the same world and a lot of those people with great artistic talent and potential who in another, more nurturing system, would have brought much joy and beauty to the world are just poor, badly housed, and bitter or worse, dead.

        1. Sailor Bud

          Yep. The latchkey kids. To allay boredom, Gen X played with hobbies as much as toys, and at least in the 1970s, there were no video games, and the stupid TV turned off for a while after the national anthems. I played outside much more! I swear, it’s the only decade of my life that felt truly natural in any way, and it wasn’t.

          The neolib programming was in the mix already, before I was born. Tony the Tiger, et al, should be considered by future historians to be an example of American parents being cruel to their own children, especially the people making the stuff. Just astonishingly grotesque, IMO, all of it.

          Star Wars broke my brain. I obsessed over the glitzy stupidity, at the age of nine. Even then, I questioned Kenner’s incredible oversight, even as a money-making device, in not making a rebel trooper action figure, the mutton-chopped guys in Bell bike helmets from the very beginning of 1977 SW. A figure that clearly demands that a kid have more than one of the things, just like needing an army of storm troopers. And they didn’t make it. I knew already to question authority. They could have made million$ more, but they gave us hammerhead instead, and it bothered me. Now it bothers me that it bothered me. Unbelievable.

          And then the awful ‘80s, wow.
          Snap, crackle, pop and Puppy Chow.
          All the TV time allows…
          I think I need a shower now.

    3. anon y'mouse

      i could have sworn i read about a study that was done that influenced the level of student achievement (massive increase) simply by telling the instructor that all of the kids in their class were tested gifted/advanced, regardless of whether they were.

      does anyone remember that one?

      sounds like somewhere along the line, people were creating a self-fulfilling prophecy with the initial test subjects.

      i thought that this marshmallow business had been disproven time and again. there are too many ways to change the decision of the subjects, both inside and outside of the experiment.

    4. Pelham

      I would’ve passed the marshmallow test with flying colors. I hated marshmallows as a kid. Weird mouth-feel. Wouldn’t go near one. Still not crazy about them 60 years later. Makes me wonder whether a significant fraction of the kids tested were similarly inclined.

      1. Harold

        I used to try to save the delicious candy we got as presents in Italy when I was six (made of real fruit); only to have my mother sneak in and eat it during the night. Thus I learned not to delay savoring my pleasures.

      2. jsn

        I always thought of marshmallows as “angel farts”.

        Heard that very young and it stuck.

        Not my food group.

        1. Wukchumni

          Marshmallows don’t harsh my mellow, but they’re certainly down there with candy corn & circus peanuts in terms of satisfying a sweet tooth.

          They burn real good, maybe Ukrainians can make Marshmallowtov Cocktails?

      3. BeliTsari

        Old enough to remember Euell Gibbons’ books on foraging (a book was a bunch of bleached sheets, pressed from tree pulp with iron gall ink characters on them). So we’d experimented with making them outa actual marsh mallow. Too bad, we’d not appreciated just how toxic coal, steel, glass & aluminum production render water? But, hey… I’ve never eaten fake, HFCS, fake vanilla and gum flavored ones, again?

        1. Harold

          My kids made marshmallows one Easter. We made peeps. It was hard to get them to look right. I was disappointed to learn that they are composed mostly or virtually entirely of pure sugar. No egg white or anything nutritious.
          I grow the plant myself in a pot in my little garden. They consume a lot of water, true to their name. According to Wikipedia the original marshmallow did contain both egg white meringue and a flavoring extract made from the root of the plant, now called Althea officinalis, with the addition of rosewater.

          1. eg

            I played in the creek behind the Noranda Research Centre in Pointe-Claire QC for years when I was a little kid — I mean, what could possibly go wrong, amirite?

    5. aj

      Are you saying you can’t reliably predict life outcomes based on a simple test you give to a kid when they are 5 years old? And this is a result we find surprising?

      1. anon y'mouse

        even worse, imagine telling someone “how you make this decision, which is of no great importance to anything and takes less than 5 minutes, will tell us how you will do nearly everything for the rest of your life”.

        it makes me as horrified as when i learned that a friend had to endure those tests in the UK at 7 y.o. that would predetermine his education course. he was always a nervous test taker, so did badly and this tracked him into somewhat low-level “technical” education (trade school, essentially) when he came from a family of academics. it took him decades to find self-worth in what he did, since he had been labelled “the dumb one” and worked with his hands.

        but we try to do that here by surreptitiously giving children in school IQ tests, and then never actually sharing the results with the parents.

    6. Skippy

      Loved the old jelly bean experiments with kids left alone in a room which was used to proclaim 90%+ kids all lie and therefore ***Natural***.

    7. Skippy

      Should add that as deemed natural there is nothing you can do about it and its just a human thingy, thus meddling with it would be unnatural and an attack on liberties and freedoms … in the – natural ***order*** – of things …

      Somehow this perception then makes it all the way up to regulatory forbearance in markets.

    8. SlayTheSmaugs

      I always understood the Marshmallow Test as a metric of impulse control. Being able to control one’s impulses is a positive life skill. I have worked to help my children get the skills to make good decisions, one of which is impulse control. But impulse control is not the only life skill; it’s not even the only skill underlying good decision making. Nor do we ever lose the ability to get better at it.

      If I said to a middle-aged person at the bus stop: Your ability to control your impulses when you were a small child had a meaningful, measurable impact on your financial stability, physical well being, or any equivalent, they would rightfully dismiss me as being absurd.

      1. anon y'mouse

        a decision about a marshmallow hardly demonstrates “self control”. if you prime the subjects that you’re unreliable, or if they’ve been around unreliable adults their entire life who never come through on their promises, they eat the marshmallow. they also eat it if they’re really hungry beforehand, extremely curious (maybe never given one before), etcetcetc.

        what does that single decision actually say about the child’s “self control”?

        and, have we even determined whether the child is at a cognitive level to understand cause and effect and “free will” or agency?

        1. SlayTheSmaugs

          totally fair. There may be no value whatsoever in the test.

          I’m just saying that to the extent the marshmallow test demonstrates anything, it seems to me to demonstrate how well impulse control is developed at that age. Which means that expecting it to have substantial impacts decades later is totally absurd.

  10. TroyIA

    I guess this is the inflation rate where you fill your car with gas in the morning before work because if you wait by the afternoon it will be 3% more expensive.

    1. pjay

      I almost got gas yesterday but decided to wait. Today: 14 cents a gallon higher! Now if sugar prices shoot up 1000% I might start having flashbacks to the 1970s.

  11. curlydan

    Masking should make someone more attractive. It’s kind of like sunglasses. Is anyone less attractive in sunglasses? Not that I’ve noticed. But when those sunglasses come off, it’s usually like, “Oh, maybe not as hot as I thought..”

    Masks also make people less worried about bad breath.

    As a hypochondriac introvert with a big nose, I don’t mind masks at all.

    1. Harold

      Venetian mask quite attractive. But mostly used for holiday occasions, except maybe those little round black ones used by ladies. So poetic.

  12. ChrisPacific

    Re: Republicans staying seated

    So apparently performative standing ovations during SOTU are the new loyalty oath?

    1. JBird4049

      Our leadership is composed of children.

      Have you ever seen recording of Joseph Stalin’s speeches during his purges when the applause just does not stop? I mean they eventually stopped. It just took a long time. IIRC, they finally had to develop a signal to tell people to stop clapping.

      I figure that when a president gets Stalinist levels of applause that is when we will know that we have a dictatorship. Unless they have the imagination and discipline for some serious kayfabe.

    2. John

      SOTU long since ceased to be an event with any substance; it is not even good performance art. I hope for the return of written messages delivered to the Congress where they will be read by aides and interns who will summarize for the congress critters as they dial for dollars.

  13. jr

    Well, who could have seen this coming?


    Gee, what a shocker, apparently when children are used by one side as a pawn it’s pretty easy to flip that around because, well, they are children. It’s all about “children’s welfare” and anyone can play that game. It’s a big industry!

    According to this expert, we need to listen when children tell us they, in the full wisdom of their years, know they are the living incarnation of the latest cultural fad:


    “When children tell us they’re anxious, we believe them. When children tell us they have problems focusing, we believe them. If a child tells me, “Hey, some doctor got it wrong when I was born and this isn’t who I am,” I believe them.”

    What the fu(k!?

  14. Captain Obious

    Would Elon Musk be more popular if he built a system to defend Planet Earth from asteroids headed for a direct hit? SpaceX apparently is finding success in the field of rocket-ships.

    Good post-apocalyptic read: the dystopian novel from 1977 Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Substitute comet for asteroid.

    1. Wukchumni

      Lucifer’s Hammer is set nearby above Springville on the Tule River where the survivors hang out. There’s no good reason why we shouldn’t have survived here as well, but you don’t want to spread dystopia too thin.

  15. antidlc

    Sen. Kaine introducing bill to support long COVID-19 research and patients

    Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is introducing a bill to support long COVID-19 patients.

    Sen. Kaine says this bill would improve understanding and response to long COVID-19. Additionally, it would accelerate research and increase understanding into how effective certain treatments are. The proposed legislation would also development partnerships between community-based organizations, social service providers, and legal assistance providers.

    For Kaine, this bill even has a personal tie after getting COVID-19 himself.

    “I have lingering nerve tingling 24/7 all over my body. I tell people it feels like all my nerves have had just like five cups of coffee,” the senator said. “It kicked in at the start of covid and it’s never gone away.”

    So it’s personal…

    1. Jason Boxman

      My guess is this will need to happen to people in power throughout the United States for this to ultimately get widespread traction, in terms of anyone taking this pandemic seriously.

  16. Samuel Conner

    Re: the Biden “holocaust” charge, it will be interesting to see if specific charges of war crimes are brought by Western governments, and what forum will be advocated for the trying of these charges.

    US would seem to be highly vulnerable to either counter-charges re: Iraq and Afghanistan or charges of hypocrisy.

    Maybe one of the rules of the Rules Based International Order is that only Slavs, East Asians and MENA people can be tried in international courts.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      The US does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC, so Biden will need to create something else for trying Putin on war crime charges.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The Constitution of the Russian Federation says ‘A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported from Russia or extradited to another State.’ so the ICC saying that they will be investigating Russian war crimes while ignoring those of the Ukrainians the past eight years is not going to fly with them. Would it be crass to say that the ICC usually only tries black people or Slavic people and so the Russians would have qualified here?

  17. North Star

    SOTU – So Joe wants the US to make all sorts of things again, from start to finish. Guess we can look forward to those great Westinghouse, RCA, or Zenith televisions again. Hey Dad, I turned the vertical hold knob all the way to the left and the picture is still flicking upwards, but slower. Can you change out the tube? Dad, as he ruffles through a shoe box full of tubes, says: I don’t seem to have one and the stores are closed today (jeeze, its Sunday).

    1. JBird4049

      I always got my Dad to go to the roof and try to move the TV antenna first. I always wanted to see the reruns of The Outer Limits. Doesn’t that bring back memories?

      Small, independent appliance stores and “repair” shops. Holidays and Sundays off. American made everything including vacuum tubes. I mean really everything my family had except for the VW Bug and the Vespa, IIRC. (Even back when American cars had issues like quality control.)

      (And some members of the commentariat goes huh?)


      Let’s see. I think that the offshoring of industry began in the 1960s when the United State wanted Japan to rebuild its destroyed industries. A strong Japan would make a better satrapy or ally against the USSR. The trickle became a stream in the 1970s, a river in the 80s and a then reversed itself as the easy, more profitable industries were consumed.

      Maybe antitrust is just as important. The small family farms were destroyed by Earl Butts starting around 1970. All the many independent stores, businesses, farms, and factories that have not been destroyed have been merged into vampiric gigantacorps including anything dealing with the media: music, theater, movies, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, books including transferred or recreated online where the vultures are very busy.

      I think that breaking up the various monopolies even to the level that they were in the 1980s is harder than reshoring industries because the corporations, the Security State, and the American regime all benefit from the security of profits and control.

      How long does anyone think it will take to reverse 40-60, maybe even 70 years of economic destruction?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The easiest thing is M4All. Turning plenty of lousy jobs into decent jobs would be the sanest thing we could do.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          You really ought to stop using the phrase “Medicare For All”. Is that what you really want? Medicare is awful; only a notch above Obamacare. This is not something we should aspire to.

          1. Lemmy Caution

            Agree. I’m nearing Medicare age and have been reading up on it a bit. Quite horrifying actually.

          2. Joe Renter

            I agree, as having just turned 65. Plan B went up 14% this year, i believe. Luckly for now the state of CA is letting me stay on Medi-Cal until the Covid-19 emergency is over. That might be any day. It’s quite depressing. What a sh*t show of a country.

            1. JBird4049

              One third of Californians are covered by Medi-Cal, which is not quite like what Medicare should be, but it comes closer than anything else that I have heard of in this blighted nation and country of mine. How hard would it be just to expand coverage to the rest of Medicare users, never mind the rest of Californians?

              It shows how corrupt and narcissistic Governor Newsom is. Although having seen him very briefly in person, he does clean up well with some real charisma, but he is still just a smarter version of VP Harris.

          3. anon y'mouse

            i say we want Congressional Health Care for All.
            but it doesn’t quite work as an acronym nor slogan.

          4. Jason Boxman

            Indeed, I went to a web cast about selling Medicare supplements, and Medicare is the ultimate complex eligibility requirements wet dream of liberal Democrats. I’ve never seen so many rules and deadlines. What a nightmare to navigate that must be. And if you miss signing up for some things on time you’re screwed big time.

      2. Carolinian

        Drugstores used to have a display of electic sockets where you could plug in and check your tubes. Probably next to the comic books. While I don’t recall they must have therefore sold tubes as well.

        Sadly no current displays where you can plug in your surface mount soldered iPhone board and buy an integrated circuit. On the plus side that ic is a lot more reliable.

        1. Wukchumni

          Rexall drug stores had this certain smell never replicated in any other drug store chain…

        2. JBird4049

          They often did had shelves or counters filled or stacked with them as one would books, LPs, or CDs packaged like lightbulbs are within arm’s length of the tester.

        1. JBird4049

          Thank you. I have put it on The Buy List.

          I have to say that while I do not always buy or even want a particular book suggested by the commentariat all of them are good suggestions, which is nice and appreciated.

      3. LifelongLib

        I think at least with cars and consumer electronics, it was less about off-shoring and more about U.S. companies having gotten very complacent. The Japanese made better cars and were quicker to see the significance of the transistor for portable devices. Even then older U.S. companies were getting financialized and conservative.

    2. britzklieg

      I remember the TV repairmen coming to the house with their big, square tool boxes with all the cool compartments filled with all the needed tubes and potentiameters (that was a word I learned from them). TV worked only minimally better afterwards but the visit was always exciting to a curious kid.

      1. upstater

        What about those big metal cabinets that were vacuum tube testers at hardware and drug stores? They had perhaps 20 or more sockets for various tunes on the top and a cabinet below stocked with replacements. Always studied, but never touched!

        No doubt the legal department would have killed them if transistors and Japan hadn’t.

      2. howseth

        How can anyone not like ‘tubes?’
        They had that beautiful glow – and sheen – shapely too, and there was that element of danger and heat along with the loveliness.
        I do remember the local TV repairman.
        Tubes were made in the USA once. Now, gulp, mostly Russia.
        Tube amps also smell good when they are on. I can’t say that about any solid state amp.
        The English call tubes ‘valves’ – that’s just wrong. Tubes is the perfect word for them.

        1. JBird4049

          One did have to be stuck to unplug the tv and then wait for it to cool down. Otherwise you could be burnt or electrocuted. Plus, solid state is more compact and less likely to break.

          It is not a big deal in a building, but for portable electronics?

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      Biden is delusional if he thinks “Made In America” will reduce inflation. The math does not add up. The cost of living in this country necessitates higher wages which translates to higher overall costs, not lower costs. Now if Biden is intent on building a “Fortress America” whereby costs are of secondary importance then he may be on to something. A Fortress America will mean the end of capitalism as we know it. Perhaps that won’t be so bad after all.

      1. Maxwell

        Not if he allows five million more “migrants” in to work for the most minimum wage possible. That’ll teach those uppity Americans that think they deserve a livable wage!

        Really pathetic, his “let’s defend the border”, U.S., not Ukrainian. F’ing hypocrite.

      2. tegnost

        Didn’t biden say something last night about bringing industry back, and bring the workers as well?

      3. lance ringquist

        you forgot 1933-1973. we produced and consumed about 90% of what we made, under 10% was exported.

        smoot hawley and gatt were wonderful. nixon listened to the idiot freidman who advised him to let japan flood america with cheap imports to drive down inflation. of course it did not work.

        imports raise prices, lower wages and produces ever more debt.. we are watching that play out now.

        funny thing happened under trumps tariffs, wages exceeded inflation, and import prices fell.

      4. anon y'mouse

        isn’t it commonly bruited about on this very website that labor costs are a very small part of the overall cost of most products? i think i remember 14% being the average. where did this info come from, if not from my insane brain?

        but how we account for it is another thing. “sunk” costs can run to the millions or even billions (chip manufacturing, supposedly) but it is not accounted for in the same way that paying a living wage is so therefore the wage is an undue burden even if it allows the machinery to be used and profit to continue to be made.

        and yeah—someone’s transcribed SOTU implied to me that Biden plans on “bringing workers”. because the millions of people we have here are obviously too lazy, too stupid, and too physically degraded to manage making things.

        1. lance ringquist

          yes labor is but a small part of manufacturing.

          after all of the dust settles on nafta billy clintons free trade, many will find out that being pushed into communist china by nafta billy clintons wall street, only enriched a few, and left the companies hollowed out, unable to compete with nothing to show for the stupidity of free trade.
          lost skills, lost factories, lost technology, and nafta billy clintons wall street long gone. looking for other things to asset strip.

    1. Maxwell

      In October 2021, Pfizer announced that it was projecting an astonishing $26 billion in revenues from its COVID boosters.

      Associated Press, “COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Could Mean Billions for Drugmakers,” USNews (Sept. 25, 2021), https://www.usnews.com/news/busi ness/articles/2021-09-25/covid-19-vaccineboosters-could-mean-billions-for-d rugmakers

  18. The Rev Kev

    ‘Even a realist admits there are times when morality outweighs strategy; I think supporting Nazis is one such time.’

    But are they ‘mild’ Nazis?

    1. Samuel Conner

      In analogy to Syria, perhaps we could call them the UDN, the “Ukrainian Democratic Nazis”.

  19. Anthony G Stegman

    Don’t Russian oligarchs deserve due process? Here in the good old US of A the government wouldn’t seize Jeff Bezos’ mega yacht without due process, would it? This is troubling in many ways. Who does Biden think he is?

    1. The Rev Kev

      You do have to wonder though. Maybe Washington asked themselves if they wanted to cripple America, how would they do it. And the answer was to go after the billionaires. So they assumed that the same must be true of Russia as well.

      1. Wukchumni

        Everything Joe prattled on about last night in regards to Russian sanctions seemed to be money oriented, but nothing much about values.

      2. Duke of Prunes

        There was a comment recently (maybe even today) that said politicians are easier to understand if you assume they are always projecting. Seems to work here.

      3. JBird4049

        Maybe I’m stupid, but how does guillotining the billionaires cripple the economy or is it sarcasm? Is it the Babylon Bee, The Onion or is the New York Times? I am slowly losing my mind trying to find the real and true among the glitter sparkles of manure I’m also slowly dying from. And this last is not satire.

    2. Polar Socialist

      I think I read yesterday a comment by a Russian economist that whether right or wrong, going after the oligarchs is, of course, very popular among the Russian non-oligarchs.

      And every oligarch that can, will likely try to get most of their fortune back to Russia, and eventually invest in the domestic economy. Even if the sanctions may cause the future of Russian economy to look rather bleak, the oligarchs have nowhere else to put that money.

  20. Expat2uruguay

    Tonight there is a peace protest at the Russian Embassy in Montevideo Uruguay. We will have to see if a peace movement grows up in South America and globally.

  21. Carolinian

    Michael Tracey on the connection between Russiagate and the invasion of Ukraine.

    The contours of the ideological conflict between the US and Russia had thus shifted — no longer did it have anything remotely to do with capitalism versus communism. Rather, it pitted the US as the world’s leading steward of contemporary “liberal democracy” — a status temporarily imperiled by Russia subverting the US electoral system to install Donald Trump — versus Russia as the great nationalistic saboteur of “liberal democracy.”

    If there is any “threat” that “Western” elites have been most exercised about for the past several years, it’s this supposed international surge of populist illiberalism and/or right-wing radicalism, and Putin was appointed as the main global exporter and string-puller. Which made it all the more untenable over the course of the latest Ukraine standoff for a Democratic Administration, especially one that campaigned on “confronting” Russia, to offer any significant concession to the world’s Number 1 progenitor of white supremacist extremism. You know, the same extremism that we are told nearly toppled the US Government on January 6.


    1. Tom Stone

      My Sister is among those with severe TDS,it is very unpleasant.
      I’m seriously considering cutting my ties to her permanently.

    2. tegnost

      I continue to believe that this would all have gone down 4 years ago had hillary been elected. Russiagate imo was just meant to keep the fire burning…

      1. britzklieg

        She campaigned specifically, iirc, on a no-fly zone over Syria, which was always about Russia.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        The last time I went shopping, the shelves looked like I was in Haiti – unless they were selling the empty shelves. Wait till diesel goes over $5/gal, there won’t be anything to buy.

        The local Dollar Store just became the $1.25 Store. Shoulda just moved it to $2 Store and saved the signage.

    1. Tom Stone

      Gas has been hovering around $5 per gallon in Sonoma County for Months, sometimes a little more than $5, now a little less than $5 for regular.

    1. K.k

      The U.S is an empire. For some in the u.s the world is its sphere of influence. Mearsheimer , and others understand the U.S. is way overstretched if it intends to take on the main prize , China. So him and his ilk have no problem with American chauvinism, in fact he is a proud chauvinist, yet is willing to allow other large historical adversary powers their own limited spheres of influence in order to focus on China.

  22. GC54

    Global Hawk Forte10 from Sicily is currently cycling along the Belarus and Ukraine borders at 54k ft. Forte11 not squawking along the Black Sea coast

  23. lance ringquist

    all the free traders have left is war on russia to plunder her, and to seize the cash of the deplorable

    oil now $113.45 a barrel, its jumped almost $20.00 in a week, nice going nafta democrats

  24. VietnamVet

    Kamala’s child parable revised;

    The Russia Federation’s justification for the Ukraine War is that it is striking back at the NATO bully that is trying to destabilize it. It would have been best to wait it out by supporting the world’s workers until the global elite got religion or were knocked out by cutting off their natural gas and fertilizer that would have surely popped the West’s economic bubble. Maybe even kicking them in the balls could have been rationalized to protect yourself and friends. But pulling out an AK-47 and killing onlookers is going to have consequences; like blowing up the school, city and northern hemisphere in a nuclear war.

    The real tragedy of the Ukraine War is that it is clear that human beings will never learn to live together. Anything that requires communities and society working together from mitigating pandemics to dealing with climate change, or even addressing resource depletion will not happen.

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