2:00PM Water Cooler 4/19/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

This is Lyre Bird week at Naked Capitalism. The sound visualization does not disappoint!

* * *


“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 has told Obama he’s running again” [The Hill]. “President Biden has told former President Obama that he is planning to run for reelection in 2024, two sources tell The Hill. The admission to Obama is the latest indication that Biden is likely to run for a second term, something the president has spoken about publicly. During a press conference in Brussels last month, he told reporters he’d be ‘very fortunate’ to run against his rival in the 2020 election, former President Trump. ‘[Biden] wants to run and he’s clearly letting everyone know,’ said one of the two sources familiar with the conversations between Obama and Biden…. The source familiar with the talks between Biden and Obama said, meanwhile, that many Democrats are skeptical of Harris’s chances of winning in 2024. ‘People think she has no shot, which has to keep him as the guy.'” • One wonders why Biden feels he has to underline this now. Speculating freely, he’s telling Democrat lunatics who want ground troops in Ukraine to back off; Obama, remember, was enough of a realist to believe that Ukraine was not a vital interest to us (but was to Russia). So the meeting is a silent endorsement by Obama of Biden’s Ukraine policy (unless the Obama camp starts leaking stuff, of course). I mean, I can see ClintonWorld tasking Perkins Coei to find some cutouts that will get them a copy of Hunter’s laptop (if they don’t already have it).

“Give me a break. I have no empathy”:

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.

* * *

Note the sting in the tail:

A little more ice cream for Nancy’s freezer.


* * *

“5 plot twists that could upend the midterms” [Politico]. • A good technical analysis. Again, it’s amazing to me that the two biggest issues facing the country — the Covid pandemic and accountability for it, and potential war with a nuclear power — aren’t seen as “political issues” at all, even as they are the focus of enormous, mindblowing propaganda campaigns. Instead, it’s Inflation! Immigration! Crime! Maybe even Abortion! Most disappointingly, the left has been conspicuous by its silence on both these issues, including especially Sanders.


Generally, I deprecate the use of the word “terrifying.” But:

The easy explanation would be that the CDC has been gagged across two administrations. The darker answer would be that CDC — full of scientists, after all — knows full well what the results of its policies are and will be, and finds them literally unspeakable.

More CDC:

Cases are going up, so the obvious first response is to decrease our tracking ability in known hotspots.

A good question:

How it started, how it’s going:

* * *

If you missed it, here’s a post on my queasiiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.

* * *

Case count by United States regions:

Fiddling and diddling. Remember, it’s 100% certain the cases numbers are significantly understated. They’ve always been gamed, but it’s worse than before. One source said they though cases might be undercounted by a factor of six. Yikes. But how do we know? Here are the cases for the last four weeks:

“Transcript: Dr. Scott Gottlieb on “Face the Nation,” April 10, 2022” [Big Yahu]. ” I think we’re dramatically undercounting cases. We’re probably only picking up one in seven or one in eight infections. So when we say there are 30,000 infections a day, there’s probably closer to a quarter of a million infections a day. And they’re concentrated in the Northeast right now. And that’s because a lot of people are testing at home. They’re not presenting for definitive PCR tests, so they’re not getting counted. So when you look at the Northeast, for example, cases are up 89% over the last 14 days in Washington, DC, they’re up 58% in New York City, up 65% in New Jersey. So cases are up in the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic are going up. But the rest of the country looks pretty good right now.”

Let the spinning begin:

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.

From the Walgreen’s tracker:

I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to the goons at CDC.

NOT UPDATED MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

As usual, the crisis of the past is the normal of the present.

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.

Cases lag wastewater data.

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

The Northeast isn’t looking too good, now confirmed by hospital data. I’m picturing all the Gridiron Club attendees chugging up and down the Acela Corridor, and thinking it might be a good idea to take the Northeast Regional for a bit. Also, Amtrak should have masked cars, just like they have a quiet car. (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:

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission. This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you:

The Northeast remains stubbornly and solidly red.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

if anybody tells you hospitalization is down, tell them “No, it very isn’t.” (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.) Oh, and

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,015,790 1,015,451. We did it. Break out the Victory Gin. have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. The numbers have been level for the past few days, and they’re still democidally high.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Not sure what’s happening with Spain.

Stats Watch

Housing: “United States Housing Starts” [Trading Economics]. “Housing starts in the US unexpectedly edged 0.3% higher to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.793 million in March of 2022, the highest since June of 2006 and beating market forecasts of 1.745 million. Figures for February were also revised higher to 1.788 million from an initial of 1.769 million. Starts of houses with five units or more jumped 7.5% to 0.574 million and single-family starts dropped 1.7% to 1.2 million. Housing starts are still recovering from a low reading in January when pandemic-related labour shortages and weather constraints dragged housing activity down while a record low housing supply should continue to underpin homebuilding. However, mortgage rates continue to soar, material costs remain elevated and supply constraints persist which is weighing on house prices and reducing affordability.”

* * *

Retail: “Delta sparks backlash for calling COVID-19 ‘ordinary seasonal virus’” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “In a press release Monday night announcing its new mask-optional policy, Delta said it was ‘relieved to see the U.S. mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 has transitioned to an ordinary seasonal virus.’… It was not the first time Delta has referred to COVID-19 as a seasonal. Last week, Delta CEO Ed Bastian labeled it as such while discussing the company’s financial results. Dr. Henry Ting, Delta’s chief health officer who joined the airline from the Mayo Clinic, said last November before the omicron surge that ‘we’re coming down from the surge and entering an endemic stage,’ Business Travel News reported. He added then that ‘we will see this become a seasonal respiratory virus.'” • So why are we listening to Ting, when he’s an idiot? Also, Delta’s financials depend on this?! Commentary:

Tech: “Elon Musk Demonstrates How Little He Understands About Content Moderation” [TechDirt]. “There’s then a slightly more interesting discussion of open sourcing the algorithm, which is its own can of worms that I’m not sure Musk understands. I’m all for more transparency, and the ability for competing algorithms to be available for moderation, but open sourcing it is different and not as straightforward as Musk seems to imply. First of all, it’s often not the algorithm that is the issue. Second, algorithms that are built up in a proprietary stack are not so easy to just randomly “open source” without revealing all sorts of other stuff. Third, the biggest beneficiaries of open sourcing the ranking algorithm will be spammers (which is doubly amusing because in just a few moments Musk is going to whine about spammers). Open sourcing the algorithm will be most interesting to those looking to abuse and game the system to promote their own stuff. We know this. We’ve seen it. There’s a reason why Google’s search algorithm has become more and more opaque over the years. Not because it’s trying to suppress people, but because the people who were most interested in understanding how it all worked were search engine spammers. Open sourcing the Twitter algorithm would do the same thing.” • Well worth a read.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 44 Fear (previous close: 42 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 46 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 19 at 1:25pm.

Zeitgeist Watch

“This Teen Shared Her Troubles With a Robot. Could AI ‘Chatbots’ Solve the Youth Mental Health Crisis?” [The 74 Million]. “Digital wellness tools like mental health chatbots have stepped in with a promise to fill the gaps in America’s overburdened and under-resourced mental health care system.” • ”Digital wellness.”

News of the Wired


“The Significance of Sniffing: A Reading List on Smell” [LongReads]. “Every spring there is a moment when I am overcome by the scent of the new season. Sometimes I’m outside, sometimes it floats in on a breeze through windows thrown wide open; but wherever I am, I stop, shut my eyes, and inhale. Spring smells the same every year, and that scent is sharpest when the season is new — before the smell grows familiar and is relegated to background noise. This kind of experience isn’t unique to spring. Every season has its own scent. The musty wet decay of fall. The ozonic crispness of the first snowfall. The sharp green of freshly cut grass.” • The reading list looks good.

* * *

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.

SC writes:

It’s end of March and Spring has arrived. Between tax season and unexpected eventualities of life (“life” seems to be even more unavoidable than “death” and “taxes”; I suppose I shouldn’t complain about this), I have lost some time in my seed starting agendas — about a dozen trays that I would have liked to bring indoors from their cold treatment are still waiting.

However, there is significant progress. The first attached photo shows another “high density away from windows” seed germination setup, assembled hastily a few weeks ago against the looming wave of trays needing warmth and light. It’s an HDX utility rack repurposed for seed tray heating and illumination. All four shelves are lit with low-cost LED grow lights; the two bottom shelves also have heat mats on top of thick cardboard and wood slats to protect the mats from the wire shelves. Warming the germination trays really seems to accelerate the process. It’s a good idea to cover the germination trays with humidity domes at first to protect the newly germinated seedlings from drying out; this also further elevates the temperature. I find it hard to avoid either “too dry” or “too damp” and tend to err on the side of “too damp”; many of my trays develop a green crust on the growing medium, which I hope is nothing worse than algae.

The 2nd photo is a closeup, from the other side, of the 3rd from bottom shelf in the first photo. From left to right these are Tithonia and Tomatoes, Thyme, more Tomatoes, and a plug tray with Spearmint and Coleus. I put a few particles of slow release fertilize in each cell for the tomatoes; this may help to account for how large the plants 3rd from left are.

The 3rd photo illustrates a small victory in my long-standing struggles to learn how to effectively cold-stratify seeds that need Winter to germinate. It’s a tray of (what I hope are) Purple milkweed seedlings started from seeds saved from a plant shown in a 2021 Water Cooler.

They were left outside for a couple of months in the coldest part of Winter, very damp at first and watered again once when the ice had sublimated away. (They were on my back porch protected from the weather and so did not get more frequent natural watering; I was worried that these seeds, which are hard to source, might wash away in a heavy rain). The watering schedule was accidental (and I was worried at first that it would turn out to have been too infrequent) but seems to have worked; this tray is at above 50% germination and the time distribution of the emergences suggests that there are more to come. A prior tray of commercial Purple MW seed treated the same way reached close to 90% germination. I have two more 72-cell trays of this plant, so it looks like I will be busy this Spring repotting and pushing these to blossom.

The weather has warmed enough to start setting the larger of these seedlings outside under shade cloth for hardening off, but they may have to come back inside at night if it’s too cold. I need to set things out in any event to make space for the remaining trays waiting to be brought in.

* * *

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

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

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

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

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Questa Nota

    Visualize the screen as a heat map for revenue generation. Scrollbars would be cold.
    No surprise when every nano-pixel and twitch is hyper-analyzed for monetization.

    1. howseth

      Finally an acknowledgement on those too thin on the screen edge scroll bars on my iMac: they suck. Do the engineers even use these computers on a daily basis? I would think so. What gives?

      1. digi_owl

        They use macbooks, and worship the touchpad gestures like a miser worship coins.

        That is really all there is too it. The UX profession is overrun with macbook packing designers. Even Microsoft is filled with them after their pivot to cloud services. And that is why Windows 11 looks suspiciously similar to MacOS.

        The day Apple finally crashes and burns is the day the tech world may recover its sanity. The worst thing that happened was Gates giving Jobs a loan so that MS had a antitrust fig leaf, and Jobs got enough “runway” to get his consumer electronics thing going (ipod to iphone to ipad).

        There was far more creativity and experimentation in the industry while Apple was near bankruptcy.

        1. Louis Fyne

          I hate the “mac-ification” of Windows too. I feel like the user interface design team is treating me like a 7 year old.

        2. caucus99percenter

          Heck, there was far more creativity and experimentation in the industry back in the mainframe era, when leading universities wrote their own operating systems and applications, and users exchanged all manner of things, both tangible and intangible, freely at SHARE and ACM get-togethers.


        3. Bakes

          Personally, I found Windows 7 to be the high-water mark of the franchise. The Aero interface was attractive and actually used some of the GPU power becoming available. It was stable and actually secure when set up properly. Finally, it was not yet on-board with all the user tracking/data mining that every electronic device now integrates.

          Oh, Win7 still had “fat” scrollbars.

        4. Delpi

          How about not being able to increase the font size in text unless you screw up the screen resolution, which is the reason to buy a Mac?

      2. Glen

        There are many alternatives in the linux side of UX – lots of out there stuff, and surprisingly lots of stability. I’ve been using the same Outlook alternative almost unchanged for over 15 years, but I’m sure I could find bizzaro UXs that used smell-o-vision for input if i looked hard enough.

    2. Utah

      I use the page down button or the space bar on my keyboard. Anything I can get away with not using the mouse, I do.

      1. marym

        I did page down too a few years ago when I first got a mac, and eventually the key stopped working! A couple of other keys started failing too, so maybe I’m just a klutz. Trying to be gentler with my current one.

  2. Magda

    “many Democrats are skeptical of Harris’s chances of winning in 2024”

    –Snowball, meet hell, hell meet snowball–

    Hopefully, this fall, the entire California Machine of politics, Harris, Newsom, Padilla, McGuire, Weiner, Atkins, will begin their inevitable journey to the cesspool of history, where they belong.

    1. anon y'mouse

      don’t be so quick to underestimate them. CA knows about who to schmooze with and how to win them. image>everything, and the amazing thing is that it works. CA has always been a very dysfunctional state for everyone but the owners, yet with the peasants so proud that they are smart enough to live where there’s good food and weather.

      from links this morning, Harris has entered the Obama/AOC finishing school of polishing one’s public persona. these scammers play the long game.

    2. upstater

      > Obama, remember, was enough of a realist to believe that Ukraine was not a vital interest to us

      Let’s not forget that Obama empowered Victoria Nuland as the point woman for Russia and Ukraine. Obama’s administration engineered a coup against a democratically elected government 3 months before elections. When Minsk 2 was negotiated the was no US pressure to implement it. Could such meddling be anything BUT an expression of vital interest?

      Of course, the whole nightmare goes back to Gorbachev and Bush 1 and US “advisors” shock therapy under Clinton. Citizens of the former Soviet Union never had a chance with peace. Nor did US citizens realize a peace dividend.

      1. Tom Doak

        Was Nuland really Obama’s choice, or the choice of his Secretary of State (who wasn’t really his choice) ? He was seen as “not reliable” by the war machine and they were intent on having their more reliable people in certain key positions. Not saying Obama was a force for good, but his own party did restrict him in some areas.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > But perhaps Dems are attempting to get Harris in through the side door.

        More like out through the back door

        I’ll take a slight “L” here. I was more sure than not that by now, some sort of ascension for Harris would have been forthcoming from one of the controlling wings of the Democratic Party. The pandemic and Russian acquiescence didn’t go as planned, obviously, so it appears those who pull the strings are somewhat stuck with what they have … for now. The fact remains that Harris is an inept bore, and the Biden administration has treated her thus – sending her off to electorally meaningless destinations to engage in “pet projects”. The few times they have given her a mission with some gravitas, she has acted and appeared woefully unprepared for the big stage. Presidential material, she definitely ain’t – and that’s saying a lot with brain-fade Biden at the top of the ticket.

  3. jr



    “ CAMBRIDGE, MA / ACCESSWIRE / April 19, 2022 / Moderna, Inc., (NASDAQ:MRNA) a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines today announced new clinical data on its bivalent COVID-19 booster platform including data on the Company’s first bivalent booster candidate, mRNA-1273.211, which includes mutations found in the Beta variant of concern, several of which have been persistent in more recent variants of concern including Omicron. A 50 µg booster dose of mRNA-1273.211 demonstrated superiority against Beta, Delta and Omicron variants of concern one month after administration. Superiority continued six months after administration for Beta and Omicron variants of concern as well. A 50 µg booster dose of mRNA-1273.211 was generally well tolerated with a reactogenicity profile comparable to a booster dose of mRNA-1273 at the 50 µg dose level”

  4. Samuel Conner

    > the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric

    the thought occurs that a neologism that captures the spirit of the time would be appropriate. Taking inspiration from “comirnaty”, I propose that the new metric be called the “Comoneyti Level”.

    It helps to reminds us what really matters to the public health authorities.

    1. flora

      At the start of all this in early January 2020 I thought the CDC and the FDA had our backs; I thought any mistakes by them were honest mistakes from a ‘fog of war’ necessary sorting their way through a new disease. I gave them huge leeway in this regard. I don’t think that anymore. I think something much darker now – something having to do with corruption of agencies and financial conflicts of interest. It’s disorienting to think something I once counted on as impartial, accurate, that I could trust, and focused on the public health is maybe not focused on the public health as its first priority. sigh… (saying this might ding me as a bad person, I guess.)

      1. The Rev Kev

        I know what you mean. This is not just some common disease or a nasty outbreak of something like measles because too many people did not want their kids vaccinated. This is a once-in-a-century planet-wide Pandemic here. And when push came to shove, we found that out health officials in so many countries put their priority of the economy over public health. And you would have doctors in TV actually talking more about the frikken economy rather than the pandemic when you know that they have a degree in medicine and not economics for example. The CDC should not be surprised then if down the track that they get their funding cut due to their ineffectiveness in dealing with the Pandemic, even though they rolled over to all those demands by business people. Gratitude in DC gets you nothing and too many people have seen who the CDC were really working for.

        1. flora

          And which economy? Main Street’s, Wall Street’s, or Pharma Street’s economy, (or is Pharma Street a subset of Wall Street’s economy?) , or personal individual financial economy? Conflict of interest./ ;)

  5. NorD94

    long article

    Covid hasn’t given up all its secrets. Here are 6 mysteries experts hope to unravel

    1. How will the virus evolve next?
    2. What will future waves look like?
    3. If you’ve never had Covid, how worried should you be right now?
    4. How, exactly, does the virus transmit from person to person?
    5. Will we get a new, better generation of vaccines, therapeutics, and tests?
    6. How long before we understand long Covid?

    section 4 has a lot about aerosol spreading

    Marr and her collaborators are among the few other labs with the means and expertise to do such work. In a study published last October, her team measured the different sizes of particles coming out of sick hamsters’ lungs. They found that SARS-CoV-2 congregated in the smallest aerosols; particles smaller than 5 microns contained the majority of airborne virus. “It’s a little counterintuitive because we think, ‘Oh, well, larger particles have a lot larger volume and should carry a lot more virus,’ but that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

    Now, humans aren’t hamsters. But an aerobiologist at the University of Maryland, Don Milton, has been using a medieval-looking device he invented called the Gesundheit II to measure the amount of SARS-CoV-2 inside the breath of infected college students and staff. In a study published in September, his team found more virus inside smaller versus larger particles.

    They also discovered that SARS-CoV-2 was evolving to be even better at getting into those smaller particles. People infected with the Alpha strain (previously known as B.1.1.7, which first emerged in the U.K.) shed 18 times more viral material into fine aerosols than people infected with older strains, after controlling for overall differences in viral load. Milton’s team is now looking at newer, even more contagious variants like Delta and Omicron.

    2 links/studies from the aerosol section, article has more links

    Infectious SARS-CoV-2 Is Emitted in Aerosol Particles

    Infectious Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Exhaled Aerosols and Efficacy of Masks During Early Mild Infection

  6. Wukchumni

    Who would’ve thought the Rapture™ would be in consumer goods, not evangs?

    {Lifted from Reddit}China is continuing with the zero-COVID, full-on lockdown policy at least until Xi Jinping is “re-elected” in October (ie. he gives himself an unprecedented third-term, basically becoming leader for life).

    Not sure what people have heard about the full-on lockdown in Shanghai, but surrounding provinces are gradually doing the same to deal with more cases (all Omicron, but vax rates are low among oldies, hence lockdown to try to prevent them getting sick).

    Is this collapse? No. But piecemeal controls around the country have affected logistics, and all sorts of items are getting harder to get. Everyone shops online, but things aren’t being delivered.

    Ditto for the factories making stuff for export. One of my buddies makes camping gear, purely for the US market. He can still get raw materials, but some of his components haven’t been shipped, because the suppliers (less than 200km away) are locked down.

    He was able to get a couple of containers of stock on a ship to the US last month, but now isn’t sure when his next batch can be shipped, as our local port is taking the slack that can’t be shipped from Shanghai (which has the world’s largest port). He tells me there are currently 500 ships outside Shanghai waiting to unload their containers.

    This is just camping gear, so not an essential item. But all the factories in provinces around Shanghai have the same issues with lockdowns, lack of materials and no ships ready to take their containers. Expect your hardware stores, department stores, Walmarts and other stores selling Chinese stuff to be even more depleted of stock within the next few months.

  7. Hepativore

    Okay, guys, as I am not the only one this has happened to, has there been any speculation as to when the IRS is going to finish its 2020 returns? I tried viewing mine online and it has not even been processed yet, as it has a “non-filing” disclaimer on it by the IRS. This means it is still waiting to be looked at.

    They still owe me $600 for the second stimulus.

    I know that the IRS is chronically understaffed because of how much money they are allocated every year by Congress, but it seems like the US should have a better tax system than it does to avoid these messes in the future.

    I like the system that exists in some countries where the government and the province that you live in automatically take their cut out of your paycheck, and then send you a letter each year explaining what they took and their calculations, in addition to your surplus check if any…and you only need to file if you disagree with their calculations in order to show where the government miscalculated.

    As the IRS has to look over everybody’s returns when they file anyway, I do not think it would be that much more of a burden for them.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The IRS is kept understaffed on purpose in order to create these messes on purpose. It is all part of the Grover Norquist program of Deconstructing the Administrative State.

      Blueanons should give up on “America”. America doesn’t work anymore. It is an Idea whose time is gone. It was nice while it lasted.

      Blueanons who can bring themselves to accept this should find a few potentially Deep Blue states to move to and move there, and try making those states Deep Blue. Perhaps they can be the nucleus or stub of a future United States of Bluemerica.

      1. albrt

        Doesn’t that result in the Blueanons all ending up in cauldrons, much like the Ukronazis?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Good point. (Except that it is mostly Ukranormals who are in those cauldrons. The Ukranazis have been carefully spread out and seeded all around the country. But that is a side issue).

          So . . . would a few Deep Blue States become like cauldrons? Or Indian Reservations? Or what?

    2. 1UnknownSubject

      Similar thing happened to me (delay in processing). I called the number for the IRS and spoke in person to someone who finalized the return for me. It was worth the wait on hold for 10 minutes.

      1. John Zelnicker

        April 19, 2022 at 3:12 pm

        I’m a tax accountant who deals with the IRS on a regular basis.

        With all due respect, if your story is true, you are blessed with luck that is other-worldly, or you’re pulling our collective leg.

        Although short wait times may be possible if you call at just the right time, the average wait time is between 30 and 60 minutes. And that’s if your call isn’t dropped or refused by the system because the queue is too long. Last year only 42 million out of 182 million calls were answered.

        I’m also a bit skeptical that you got right to someone who could finalize your return. Most of the phone assisters can’t just pick a return and push it through ahead of the others in the processing queue.

        As of December 31, 2021, there were 6 million unprocessed returns and another 10 million pieces of unopened mail, according to the annual report of the Tax Advocate’s Office.

        I’m glad you are satisfied with your result.

          1. Rod

            Ditto to JZ
            I got a return for 2020, on 12/27/21, and felt blessed having given up on that life preserver months before.
            All of the many contact attempts were futile.
            We’ll see how fast they cash the check I sent out last week.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          So funny this subject has come up. I am currently going on hour NUMBER 7 of sitting online trying to get my “identity” verified by some sort of private company called “ID.me” so I can access my irs records online.

          I could have driven to the local office to take care of business, but I was informed when I called that they do not “offer” live telephone support, and I must make an appointment. Most “services” are available online, but I had to open an account with this clusterfuck private company called ID.me.

          I now have only 20 more minutes to wait before an ID.me “referee” will verify through video chat that I am who I say I am and can see the records of payments that I have spent a completely UNVERIFIED lifetime making.

          My blood is beyond boiling, and I just hope I can keep it together long enough to have…

          OMG I just checked back and apparently missed my “appointment.” 44 more minutes. Updates every 120 seconds.

          Jesus h, christ. It’s like living inside biden’s brain.

        2. IM Doc

          I have filed my returns for 2019 and 2020 in February before the April deadline both years. Both had substantial refunds.

          I have received nothing from either year. I have spent hours on hold on the phone on multiple occasions trying to rectify the situation. Despite the hours on hold, I have yet to be able to speak to anyone at the IRS. I have written certified letters every quarter and have never received a response other than the green cards indicating they had received it.

          The only communication I have received from the IRS is a letter to me and my employer in January of this year that because I have not filed returns for 2 years, that I will no longer be able to claim deductions on my withholding going forward. I was able to get through to someone in the IRS on that documentation ( a different 1800 number ) and she was able to get that rectified but said that indeed I had not officially filed a return since the 2018 return. She also told me there are literally millions of pieces of mail in IRS warehouses all over the country. There were months after months that no one was able to come in to open mail because of the COVID pandemic.

          I attempted to file my 2021 returns electronically earlier this year. I was unable to do so as I received an email a few days later that electronic filing was not an option for scofflaws like me who had not filed returns for the past 2 years.

          I have literally no idea what to do. The incompetence is just simple breathtaking. We have substantial amounts in refunds due – and I have this feeling that I will be arrested at any time for not filing tax returns.

          1. Lynne

            My only suggestion is to call the Taxpayer Advocate office. https://www.irs.gov/taxpayer-advocate

            Of course, this is at the top of their page:

            COVID-19 Response: Limited Services and Delays due to Coronavirus

            All in-person TAS offices are closed. However, TAS remains committed to assisting taxpayers and championing their taxpayer rights.

            Refund delayed? Our ability to help may be limited

          2. flora

            Too late now, I know. For future may I suggest finding a good cpa small business tax accountancy to do your taxes. It’s an added expense, a relatively small expense considering the aggravation it will spare you. If nothing else you’ll have a 3rd party willing to step in to prove taxes filed on time, meaning you won’t be giving uncle sam an interest free loan on the refunds you’re due.

            Let’s see: 2020 taxes due in April 2021, 2021 taxes due in April 2022. And the Dems seriously wonder why their poll numbers are in the basement? Oy. They think we don’t notice?

          3. Brunches with Cats

            IM Doc, a friend texted me yesterday about his IRS situation, still hasn’t received his refund for 2020. He was able to get through to someone on the phone, who told him simply that it’s still “in progress.” He received his 2019 refund last September, with a whopping $12 added as interest; apparently by law they have to pay interest if a refund isn’t issued within a specified time … But then you have to declare it on the next return. Something for you to look forward to. /s

          4. Clark

            Appreciate this thread — I was wondering why my claimed refund on my (paper) 1040 for 2020 hadn’t arrived, which I filed after an extension to mid-October, 2021. I chose the direct deposit route, so missing a check in the mail isn’t the problem. …. (This year, I had enough sense to e-file.) But it’s weirdly “reassuring” to find out that there’s a paper mountain of unread, un-filed returns, a likely explanation for the delay. No idea it was that bad. . . . It’s interesting to read anecdotes about the degradation of the IRS; I had forgotten that Grover Norquist and his minions targeted the IRS as part of the “starve the beast” strategy. That’s worked out well for the un-audited rich, not so much for those of us who’d like a functioning agency that wouldn’t put people on hold for hours.

            Many years ago, there was a major storm in the Northeast right around tax-time. I’m a procrastinator and intended to file on April 15. However, I got home and realized that I’d left my return at the office. After crying, throwing things, and scaring The Cat, I called the IRS. As I recall, it didn’t take all that long to get a sympathetic, older-sounding employee on the phone. I explained that I really didn’t want to drive back to “the city,” and he said, “relax, pour yourself a drink. Write in big letters at the top of the form ‘Northeast Blackout,’ and mail it tomorrow.” Stunned, I thanked him profusely. But after I hung up, I realized that my reference to “the city” might have implied “New York,” which I didn’t intend. Sure, I could’ve been stranded by the ripple-effects, etc., but that wasn’t the case. What I’ll remember, give the horror stories recounted here, is that (1) I got an employee on the phone who (2) was a kind person who helped me stop freaking out over the feared consequences of my own procrastination.

            [Aside: My tax law professor always referred to the agency as “The Service,” and implied that this usage was standard in Tax World. I have no idea if this is still true.]

            1. John Beech

              Here I am one of those who pays taxes. Each quarter we pay a substantial amount to the US Treasury. And I don’t mind. Why not?

              Simple, it’s because America is the only place in the world where a kid like me, son of a divorced Mom and who lived in a trailer park from the 4th grade, goes on to becomes the first in the family to attend college (a state institution in a southern state), and basically gets the chance to make it.

              Are we rich? Yes, but maybe not in the way you may believe. For example, no yacht of any size (not even a dingy). But if we’re being honest, we do OK and the American dream is alive and well within my breast because I found the formula. Show up. Work hard. Save. Start a business. Believe me, in America, and just like in the story books, you get a chance.

              Easy? Nope. But we live a close to average life. And in my experience, the harder I work the more luck I have. Today, I’ve turned 64, and looking over my manse, it means we live in a modest ranch type house instead of a McMansion. We attended a small service on Easter Sunday instead of one at the local mega church (but we tithe like everyone else). My truck is 15 years old but well maintained and may yet see me off this mortal coil.

              Basically? I owe it to the opportunity this country give everyone single one of us. I know because there are a lot of smart, hard working people in India, East Asia, and Eastern Europe who won’t ever live as well as we do. Whether it’s due to a caste system, a political system of governance incompatible with individual advancement, or endemic corruption that squashes all but a favored few, in America you at least get a chance.

              Me? I don’t regret a single dime of my taxes. Advice? Yes, start a business. In brief, do everything possible to avoid filing a W-2. Believe me, nothing sharpens your outlook like having to meet payroll, or pay for materials to create inventory. And when it’s all said and done, have enough left over to pay taxes.

              Were I to die in my sleep tonight, these are my last words to NC-readers . . . America has been good to me, and she can be good to you, also. Just show up. Work hard. Save. And critically, start a business.

              Worked for me.

              1. Robert Gray

                > My truck … may yet see me off this mortal coil.

                Sorry … what do you think ‘mortal coil’ means?

                > … there are a lot of smart … people … who won’t ever live
                > as well as we do.

                Alas, yes. Whenever I see a news story about thousands, or tens of thousands, of people ‘living’ in tents in a refugee camp somewhere, basically sitting around all day because there’s nothing to do, subsisting on meagre UN food relief, I feel deeply sorry for them. I have endured periods of what I experienced as enervating boredom but that pales in comparison to the mental (as well as the obvious physical) misery afflicting such refugees. And the ones I pity the most are the smart ones; you know there have to be some (because in any society there always are): highly intelligent, even genius-level individuals trapped amongst the general population in their day-to-day living nightmare. They may have little or no education but the brain power is still there. What must it be like?

              2. caucus99percenter

                It’s probably the same everywhere. The people who keep things running aren’t the symbol manipulators who get paid merely for airing their opinions on “the current thing,” but rather people like my former landlord, a 4th generation master Handwerker (his son and daughter also went on to earn their master’s certificate / Meisterbrief).

                Over three decades, he and his family were always there for me in a way that somehow all the hipsters, progressives, lefties, and Greens I befriended and allied with never managed to come close to matching, so preoccupied were they with their “causes” and virtue in the abstract.

            2. wilroncanada

              The service? Better the misnomer.
              Income taxes in Canada are end of April.
              I efile for sister-in-law, 1 daughter, wife and myself.
              My daughter will be getting refund of several hundred dolars.
              Will see how long it takes.

          5. Stillfeelinthebern

            IM Doc, i am so sorry to hear of your situation. I did contact my Senator, Tammy Baldwin. I was worried about the automatic process that seemed to be occurring with my IRS situation. Here is part of her response…
            The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that works to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and understands their rights. The TAS can help taxpayers with problems with the IRS. Information about the TAS and how to connect with them directly can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/taxpayer-advocate and https://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/contact-us/

            On November 17, 2021 the TAS announced that it will not accept new cases solely involving the processing of an individual or business amended return. Thus, my office is unable to submit inquires to the TAS that involve amended returns at the present time. The IRS has a backlog of over 2.7 million unprocessed amended returns and is processing these returns in the order they were received. Regretfully, the current processing time is more than 20 weeks.

            According to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, until the IRS computer systems indicate the receipt of a return, the TAS cannot meaningfully advocate for constituents. You can check the status of your refund by visiting the IRS’s website at https://www.irs.gov/refunds.

            Once a return is in the IRS system, it may take 90 days to be processed. If after that timeframe, you have still not received release of refund payment, my office is able to follow up with the TAS on your behalf.

            The Federal Privacy Act prohibits federal agencies from sharing personal information about individuals unless they consent to the release of that information in writing. In order for my office to initiate an inquiry to the Taxpayer Advocate Service on your behalf, I must ask each taxpayer to complete and return the attached U.S. Senate Privacy Act Release Form and the Tax Information Authorization Form 8821. If you filed a joint return, please have your spouse separately complete these forms as well.

            When completing the attached forms, please briefly describe the situation and specify what assistance you need. Please include copies of any IRS notices received and/or responses you sent to the IRS. Please return the completed forms (as well as all future correspondence regarding this case) to my Madison office at 30 West Mifflin St., Suite 700, Madison, WI 53703; or via fax (202) 224-1189.

          6. John Zelnicker

            IM Doc – Please contact me at zelnickertaxservice-at-comcast-dot-net.

            I may be able to help you work out these issues. I’d at least like to try.

            I’m an Enrolled Agent licensed to represent folks with the IRS and have over 15 years of experience dealing with them.

        3. Stillfeelinthebern

          Thank you for posting John Z. I received a letter from the IRS in December with instructions to call a number which I did every day for 2 weeks. When the call was answered, there was a recorded message telling me to try again the next day. I finally gave up and sent them a certified letter. Interestingly, today I received a response to a letter I sent them in November 2021 and all it said was they had received my letter.

        4. 1UnknownSubject

          I monitored the website and my return info kept saying it was not yet processed, then when January hit, the information on the IRS website changed and would no longer report back anything. So I took a deep breath and decided to call based on info from the comments in TurboTax since that is what I use.

          Waited 10 minutes, an IRS agent came on line, I told him the issue, and he put me on hold, then came back and said he will push it through. He said you will receive your refund in about 30 days. That is exactly what happened.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Getting to the IRS is a hassle, but I’ve had to call them here and there the last few years and the people they have answering were really helpful and suggested what was wrong. It helped that my taxes were clearly in IRS hands with just forms missing. Now, my local SSA office was a monster. I mean just awful.

        1. Hepativore

          I cannot get through to a person, and it has been this way since last year. The automated call system either puts you into an endless loop, repeating the same options with no selection talking to an agent or it simply says to “try again later” and disconnecting you rather than putting you on call-waiting…and they also do not answer emails since last year, apparently.

          It should not be this difficult to talk to contact a major government agency.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Last year did our taxes, owed money to the IRS, paid it, and then got a vague letter from the IRS a few months later saying we owed even more for reasons that weren’t readily apparent. There were two or three copies of a letter in the envelope saying essentially the same thing but with different addresses interspersed through the paperwork which made me question whether the missive was really from the IRS, so I decided to call.

            Got put through the voicemail hell for about an hour and a half with no response whatsoever. I figured if it was actually a scam they would have picked up the [family blog]ing phone already, so then I knew the letter was legit and just sent in the $$$ even though I’d never spoken to anyone about it, rather than spending way more time and effort than it was worth trying to fight it and probably winding up getting fined even more for my troubles. Meanwhile squillionaires get away with paying nothing. Ain’t America great?

    3. John Zelnicker

      Hepativore – See my response to 1UnkknowSubject above.

      You are correct that the IRS could process the returns for probably 70-75% of all taxpayers, maybe more.

      However, major changes would have to be made such as withholding taxes from independent contractors’ payments, as well as dividends and interest, etc. It likely would also be necessary to consolidate all of the employment taxes such as Social Security, Medicare, and Income taxes (which I think is the case in countries where the taxing authority prepares your return).

      The biggest hurdle would be the laws that companies like Intuit, H&R Block and other commercial software providers have managed to get passed that prohibits the IRS from developing its own tax preparation software.

    4. kareninca

      I used Turbo Tax in 2020 and owed the IRS money (which I then paid by mail using a voucher Turbo Tax produces) and it went through without a hitch. Maybe they accept returns quicker if you owe them money.

  8. Jason Boxman

    Oh wow. I didn’t believe it, so I went to “https://www.covid.gov/” to confirm, and the Test-To-Treat web site, the official web site, is slow enough on my Mac Mini 2018 to be somewhat unusable. I thought I must have been at an unofficial site (because we can’t provide official guidance on much of anything), but this is the real deal. Pretty much guaranteed not to work on smartphones then. Baffling. And they outsourced it to ArcGIS. Couldn’t even use a real gov domain. What a joke. A complete debacle.

    Wow, looks like even Walgreens found a way to use an external vendor to provide a UI while keeping it on their web domain, and it is responsive!

    Biden needs to resign. What a disgrace.

    Also, if you’ve been wondering — I have for a year — Walgreens has the positivity rate for known vaccinated people, per dose. This is invaluable and what CDC has refused to surface for over a year.

    Walensky needs to resign too.

  9. Ranger Rick

    The difference between Colorado’s data yesterday and today, explained. Automated reporting isn’t perfect, so a large backlog of cases requiring manual review has developed. Reading between the lines I expect there’s yet another problem with EHR and billing codes not lining up with what actually happened.

  10. drumlin woodchuckles

    If I were an Accelerationist, I would vote for Trump or DeTrumpis or whomever in the 2024 election. If I had confidence that I could surf the waves of mass violence and mass politicide and etc. which a Trump or DeTrumpis victory would usher in soon after, I would be an Accelerationist.

    But I am not confident that I can surf those waves. I want to buy myself some more time to entrench myself in place and make myself more “survival-ready” as various political floods and tsunamis wash over me in the years to come. So I am a Deccelerationist, and as such will vote for Biden in order to buy myself some more time to prepare to survive in a post-America Selectionist Darwinscape.

    1. chris

      I’m not sure supporting Biden will put the brakes on the horrible stuff happening lately. Like, it took Biden for us to aggressively challenge Russia. Trump couldn’t do that because he didn’t have the support of anyone in the government and bureaucracy.

      Several of my friends think we’ll have a boring summer this year. Limited wild fires. No riots. I don’t know why they’re so optimistic. I can’t point to anything specific as to why I feel like this summer will be awful. But I do feel that way. Maybe I’ll be very wrong. I had thought we’d see some kind of mass uprising over COVID + housing issues but nothing happened. So maybe all the bad stuff hitting the US won’t be enough to send people back to the streets this summer?

      1. herman_sampson

        Strip steak at Aldi in Indianapolis is $12.49/ pound. Prospects for democrats in November do not look good. Joe Biden owes me $600.

      2. tegnost

        why do we need to aggressively challenge russia?
        For what it’s worth I believe that had hillary been elected this war would have started 5 years ago, and the TPP would have been stuffed down our throat.
        Dems say globalism, what they mean is global domination through finance and patents, with total annihilation of dissenters.

      3. albrt

        An uprising would be good news. Nothing that good is going to happen. Just more death and corruption.

    2. jr

      Biden is already assembling his foreign policy team for ‘24:


      Here’s the video, from a certain angle Biden looks absolutely terrified of the creature when it confronts him:


      The lackey in the suit is the WH Director of Gaffe Avoidance or something. A busy lady these days. While you’re at it, check out Joe and a visibly annoyed First Handler Jill reading an Easter story to the kiddies:


      This guy isn’t in charge of story-time, let alone the Ship of State. He’ll be in diapers by ‘24, if he isn’t taking a dirt nap. Then it’s Kablah-blah the Klown. Good times.

    3. lance ringquist

      starting in 1993, nafta democrats put americans on a trip down pikes peak with the accelerator to the floor with no brakes.

      what makes you think anything would be different out of them in 2024?

      after all, trump was a terrible president, but compared to nafta billy, empty suit obama, and what day is it biden, trump was a towering politician who stepped over a bar so low, that it was on the ground.

  11. drumlin woodchuckles

    If I were on Twitter, I would write directly to Gregg Gonsalves’s Twitter Feed that he should simply stop flying as much as possible, because Delta ( and every other airline to follow) has surrendered to the power of the MAGA leper Trumpanons, and as such will never be covid-safe to fly on ever again.

    Since I am not on Twitter, I can only write “to” Gregg Gonsalves directly here in these comments.

    Dear Mr. Gregg Gonsalves,

    This is bigger than Delta or Science. This is about MAGAtard Trumpanon force and victory. The only way you will be safe from Airport SuperSpreading events is to stay out of airports. The only way you will be safe from airplane superspreading events is to stay out of airplanes. That means no more flying for you or for me or for anyone else who wants to avoid the waves of covid superspreading events to come as they circle the earth in airplanes and echo throughout the airports of the world.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      While is sort of agree with your sentiment (if you don’t want to get sick, stay away from airports/airplanes), it’s not clear to me how this is Trump’s fault. Are you saying his minions are in still in charge at the CDC (and Delta, and Science)? A barely capable president who’s been out of power for 2 years is still pulling the strings?

      It looks like a true bipartisan effort to me.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Not exactly Trump’s fault, but the judge who ruled against the mask mandates was appointed by him even after being labeled as “Unqualified” by the ABA.

        1. Tom Doak

          Trump is the one who required masks at the airport. Ed Bastian is the one who wants them to go away. Biden will be the one to oblige. Maybe the roles would have been reversed if the timing was the other way around, but it wasn’t.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        You are correct. It is bipartisan and ruling class. The judge was a Trumpanon judge, but the CDC mask defamers are Bidenon all the way. So you raise a good point.

        I need to update my thinking from when it was just the visible Trumpanon screamers and Mask Freedom Rebels who were the visible self-appointed face of spreading covid to everyone everywhere for “herd immunity”.

        Clearly WHO, CDC, the Bidenons,etc. are equally servants of the conspiracy.

        But Mr. Gonsalves should still stay off of airplanes. And out of airports. And so should the rest of us.

        Now more than ever.

      1. Basil Pesto

        I got a 3M 7500 respirator last week and, with suitable filters, used it in the portaloos at a music festival over the weekend (along with safety glasses with a foam gasket ?). Even setting Covid concerns aside, it certainly made the festival portaloo experience a lot less… unpleasant. They have an exhalation valve though so I’m not sure how they’ll go on planes, but with the rule changes (and assuming Australia will follow suit) maybe all bets are off. Also have a Flo Mask Pro on pre-order which seems to be positively received by covid/mask nerds

      2. Jack Parsons

        I went with the “Aurora AM99”, a Chinese-made powered HEPA filter respirator. You hole-punch a cloth mask and fit a grommet, then connect via hose to a small box.

        I’ve had it for a few months and love it. Steve Keen wore one in a pic (on Patreon) and I had to ask him :) He said that an ER nurse touted it to him, presumably in Thailand.

  12. jr

    That bit on chatbot counseling was troubling for sure, never any talk of more funding for human counselors of course but there is always money for an app. It’s nice that Woebot’s creator admits there are issues of objectivity arising from her conducting the research on her own product. How self aware. Funny too how Biden recognizes there is a problem but happily blurts out “No empathy!” when confronted with a major source of stress impacting kids down the line. I thought I would poke around the larger site and I found more of the same:


    This is “teaching to the test” after snorting a few rails of meth. Someone actually suggests a “DARPA” for education. Corporate tentacles waving at every turn, no one is talking about how teachers have been successfully teaching children for millennia. Why did that suddenly change? They are, as always, the problem. What’s needed is more standardization, more quantification, more technology, more scientificization of what is an art-form. This is what a dying civilization looks like. Hurry, hurry already.

  13. CP

    Regarding Dr Ding (fun to say)

    Can anyone link something official from CDC, I can’t find anything?

  14. Carolinian

    Re Biden’s future plans–hope you are right as starting a nuclear war would therefore be a poor re-election move. Whereas an “apres moi le deluge” Biden would be capable of anything.

    Plus a Biden bid would encourage more Republicans to run on the correct theory that any warm body not named Trump would defeat him.

  15. Glen

    Apologies for being link-less on this one, but apparently there is a video going around where Congressman Mo Brooks is discussing the prices associated with getting a position in Congress ($1M for chairperson of committee, etc), and that one Congress person actually has a price list available for the donors.

    I guess this is a logical endpoint to SCOTUS ruling that dollars = free speech.

    But does make one wonder – how much does a SCOTUS seat and ruling cost?

      1. Glen

        So in order to find out how corrupt the American Congress is, I have to go to a Russian News site?

        We truly live in bizzaro world.

        1. caucus99percenter

          Bizarro world, you know it! Never thought I’d see the day when I’d be regularly checking Pravda, etc. just in case there’s an important news item I’d missed because Western sources weren’t reporting it.


  16. NotTimothyGeithner

    Speculating freely, he’s telling Democrat lunatics who want ground troops in Ukraine to back off;

    I’ve speculated this, but are there any rumors this is happening? Twitter? Politico and other gossip rags?

    Did I miss something in the links this morning? I figure Coons is on the foreign relations committee not armed services, so he is likely listening to State lunatics, not people who would actually have to make a no fly zone work.

  17. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: the youth vote or voters under the age of 50.

    What happened to the Emerging Democratic Permanent Majority?

  18. anon y'mouse

    it was said above that “testing is happening more at home” implying that this puts us in the dark.

    does it? ask Walgreens & co. where the spikes of test purchases are being made, and suddenly increasing. they may not tell you, but they know simply to manage their stock what’s really going on. those things USmail sent out were used up long ago.

    my theory–people aren’t testing unless they are forced by some circumstance to do so (they weren’t doing it in the pandemic–they really didn’t want to know that they’d have to quarantine or couldn’t afford to take time off work), so it is even worse than everyone around here believes because that really is flying in the dark, rather than just flying in the obscured picture world that is being selectively presented/hidden to us.

  19. Noone from Nowheresville

    SC: I took a very fuzzy photo of a milkweed field last summer. Fuzzy for the purposes of flower close-up. Using your side-by-side, I’d say the milkweed here is closer to the left side pane.

  20. Dean

    It’s only a matter of time before the Walgreen’s tracker is watered down or outright shut down. It doesn’t fit the current narrative.

  21. ChristopherJ

    Plenty of info out there on how the insurance industry is reacting to a 40 per cent increase in all cause mortality among the working adult population, 18 to 64 year olds. This is in the death data from 2021 and is continuing in 2022.

    The talking heads I recently saw on YT explained that a 10 per cent increase would be a 3 sigma event (3 standard deviations) and extremely unlikely. They postulated that 40 per cent was possibly a 10 sigma event. One that is highly correlated with putting the spike protein in everyones arms over the last 18 months. Sure, deaths of despair play a role, and murders etc, but it sure looks like a duck to me.

    Remains to be seen if they will cop it and double everyone’s premiums, or, as some have said, they will seek to get compensation from the pharma companies that have misled us all, ie prove fraud and then sue them.

      1. ChristopherJ

        thanks Curly, from the article

        Industry executives and actuaries speaking to the Journal speculated that these “additional non-COVID fatalities” were a byproduct of delays in medical care due to lockdowns in 2020 and more recently due to people’s fears to seek medical attention or delays associated with going to their doctor.

        Nah, don’t think so, these were heart attacks and strokes and other adverse side effects associated with the vaccines

        1. Frank Dean

          Vascular damage is associated with COVID itself. This alone may explain the “non-COVID fatalities”–they may well be the result of COVID-related damage to the body.

          The hypothesis that the vaccines are responsible for excess deaths is difficult to reconcile with data from Japan and Taiwan where people are vaccinated, covid case numbers are small (even with recent spikes), and excess deaths remain very low. If the vaccines are killing more than a tiny number of people, why aren’t they killing people in Japan and Taiwan?

          Note that the adverse events in response to certain vaccines (e.g. AZ) were detected very early and were disclosed without delay.

  22. John

    2020 election issues: Inflation! Immigration! Crime! Maybe even Abortion! Ah yes…old reliables. Never a hint that there might be a world outside the borders of the USA. Never a hint that we are in an economic world war of our own making. Never a hint that the continuing failure to address climate change will, in the medium term, make almost all other issues moot. COVID is, of course, over because it has interfered with business as usual long enough. Looks as if reality is just too heavy a lift for our political class.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Its the govermedia-industrial complex flooding the zone with bullshit to try and keep these other things off the screen.

      Then again, about Abortion, a hundred fifty million Chrislamists consider that the Issue A Number One in their lives and therefor for the country. If that many Chrislamists consider something The Big Issue, they can certainly make it a Big Problem for the rest of us. With or without any help from the govermedia industrial complex.

    1. Conner

      Screw that! No Russian ever called me a deplorable, sold me a bill of goods with student loans that are not forgivable in bankruptcy, meanwhile every corporation can do it, no Russian ever screwed me over with medical bills, nor shut down our family business for nothing. I’m telling all my buds to make sure and watch R.T., they have marvelous videos and reporting to balance the USAgitprop.

    2. caucus99percenter

      Every time there is a link to RT, I am reminded I live in the European Union, an entity so insecure, undemocratic, and elitist in its philosophy that it pre-emptively prevents access to certain parts of the Internet because it believes We the People cannot be trusted to look and judge for ourselves.

  23. Brunches with Cats

    > It’s a tray of (what I hope are) Purple milkweed seedlings started from seeds …

    Sure looks like purple milkweed seedlings. Congratulations, Mr. Conner!

  24. kareninca

    I’m pretty confident my mom has covid. She lives in eastern CT, which is red as can be on those maps. She woke up yesterday with a headache and diarrhea. She’s 79 y.o. but in good health overall (knock on wood); she’s had two shots and one booster. Today she took some “I” and various other things like quercetin and COQ10 and melatonin and claritin and a multivitamin and an aspirin.

    I don’t know whether to suggest she ask her doctor about Paxlovid. I’ve been reading anecdotes on reddit of people who test positive, take five days of Paxlovid, then test negative for a few days, and then the symptoms come back worse than before and they test positive again.

    Out here in CA, anecdotally, loads of people seem to have “upset stomachs” (that is diarrhea with no other symptoms). Vaxxed and unvaxxed; covid tests negative. I wonder if there is some other virus going around.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      > I wonder if there is some other virus going around.

      Yep … sadly, the prevalence of COVID doesn’t mean everything else has gone away. Here, just outside Chicago, it’s allergy season, so lots of snotty noses in schools, There was also a brief appearance of strep earlier in the school year. All that plus a few kids testing COVID positive as well. All the best to your mom. Hope she feels better soon.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Where I live and work, mask use is and has remained high. I have gone a year and a half without a single cold or flu or sore throat. When I mention this to people around me, they say that . . . you know . . . so have they. So I hypothetically attribute that to the mask wearing. Creating a whole new incentive for masked people to stay masked. Maybe all those Liberals who are soooooo done with covid will keep wearing masks to go longer without the discomfort of a common cold.

        Worth a try?

  25. Jason Boxman

    Reading about how horrible tax filing is this year, I thought I’d mention an instance of government working, as far as I can tell. Here in NC, I wanted to confirm my party affiliation for the upcoming primary here. I was able to lookup my record through the NC State Board of Elections, see my relevant particulars, where to vote, and a PDF copy of the sample ballot.

    All of this quickly and as far as I can tell, accurately.

    So, for what that’s worth.

    Also, there are 14 people running in the Republican primary for US Senate here. Wow. And 7 people trying to unseat Cawthorn. I guess this is a Senate seat to watch as liberal Democrats score an own goal in November.

  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    . . . ” The easy explanation would be that the CDC has been gagged across two administrations. The darker answer would be that CDC — full of scientists, after all — knows full well what the results of its policies are and will be, and finds them literally unspeakable.” . . .

    The darkest ( darkerest? darkestest? ) answer would be that these two administrations have been ordered by their social class masters to arrange the stealth killing of a hundred or so million Americans over the next few decades and have ordered the CDC to do its part in getting a hundred or so million Americans stealth-killed over those next few decades. ” And make it look like an accident”.

    Any CDC person who talked about that would get assassinated real good. ” And make it look like an accident. Or a mugging gone wrong. “

Comments are closed.