2:00PM Water Cooler 5/04/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Warbler Week Two at Naked Capitalism. From Manitoba, Canada ion 1958 (!). Seven minutes of intermittent warbling, with trail sounds and night birds.

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“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

Capitol Seizure

Biden Adminstration

I’m going to skip all the liberal Democrat aghastitude on the Alito draft over-turning Roe, because we’ve heard it all before, and present instead such posts as I can find on the legal cases against Alito; they’re pretty thin on the ground.

Biden checked with President Manchin on that filibuster thing:

“THOMAS E. DOBBS, STATE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL, PETITIONERS v. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION, FT AL.” (PDF) [Supreme Court of the United States]. This is Alito’s draft. Appendix A is “contains statutes criminalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancy in the States existing in 1868. The statutes appear in chronological order.” And so “Missouri (1825)” is first on the list (and I’m not sure, frankly, that “Missouri (1825)” is the killer argument Alito seems to think it is). Here is a critique of Appendix A’s list:

The thread is long, and does make me wonder if Appendix A is an example of conservative “copy-pasta.”

“The Supreme Court’s draft opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade, annotated” (not paywalled) [WaPo]. For example, a clever tactic by Alito:

If anybody has a post defending Roe’s drafting, please add in comments; I find Alito’s excoriation pretty convincing (which says nothing about the effects of his draft, if it becomes “the law of the land”).

“It’s impossible to wall off reversing Roe from landmark marriage and contraception rulings” [CNN]. “In the draft, Alito said that what “sharply distinguishes” Roe, and the 1992 follow-up Casey v. Planned Parenthood, from those other cases is that abortion destroys ‘potential life.’ ‘None of the other decisions cited by Roe and Casey, involved the critical moral question posed by abortion,’ he said. ‘They do not support the right to an abortion, and by the same token, our conclusion that the Constitution does not confer such a right does not undermine them in any way.’ But critics of the draft decision will take cold comfort in Alito’s words attempting to wall off abortion from everything else They believe that if Alito’s opinion is ultimately rendered, it will represent an opening salvo in a push to target other rights grounded in privacy and liberty. It will also destabilize the law by rendering the legal doctrine of stare decisis — the notion that courts should follow their precedents even if they disagree with them, to protect the cohesion of the law — a dead letter. And it will raise new questions about the politicization of the court… legal experts are skeptical that the fallout won’t be swift. They point to another part of Alito’s draft opinion. He noted that the Biden administration had relied upon decisions like Lawrence v. Texas (the right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts) and Obergefell v. Hodges (the right to marry a person of the same sex) in defending Roe. ‘These attempts to justify abortion through appeals to a broader right to autonomy and to define one’s ‘concept of existence’ prove too much,’ Alito wrote. He said that such criteria ‘at a high level of generality’ could license fundamental ‘rights to illicit drug use, prostitution, and the like.’ ‘None of these rights has any claim to being deeply rooted in history,’ he said.” • To say that legal reasoning has knock-on effects is not to refute the reasoning. That said, this “deeply rooted in history” catchphrase — What is “deep”? What is “rooted”? Who decides? — which Alito fondles as if it were a rosary, doesn’t impress me much. Slavery, after all, was rooted in history. So was the idea that the State couldn’t set maximum working hours (Lochner). One might, in fact, argue that in history, “the only constant is change.” That is the root.

“Gay marriage, other rights at risk after U.S. Supreme Court abortion move” [Reuters]. “Abortion is among a number of fundamental rights that the court over many decades recognized at least in part as what are called “substantive” due process liberties, including contraception in 1965, interracial marriage in 1967 and same-sex marriage in 2015. Though these rights are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, they are linked to personal privacy, autonomy, dignity and equality. Conservative critics of the substantive due process principle have said it improperly lets unelected justices make policy choices better left to legislators. Alito reasoned in the draft that substantive due process rights must be ‘deeply rooted’ in U.S. history and tradition and essential to the nation’s ‘scheme of ordered liberty.’ Abortion, he said, is not, and rejected arguments that it is essential for privacy and bodily autonomy reasons.” • Roots grow downward, as the tree grows. Hence, the most deeply rooted roots are the newest, not the oldest, as Alito would have it. Block that metaphor!

““Deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” [Hogeland’s Bad History]. “For precedent [on “deeply rooted”], Alito cites Washington v. Glucksberg—that’s the source of the material in the quotation marks above. In that 1997 decision, the court came up with what Justice Kavanaugh has called “the Glucksberg test,” a concept that the legal right wing has adopted as the standard for determining which if any rights not enumerated in the Constitution are protected and which are not. In 2018, the writer Ian Millhiser pointed out in a ThinkProgress article that in his confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh asserted that ‘all roads lead to the Glucksberg test,; from which Milhiser deduced—correctly, we now know, if we didn’t before—that Kavanaugh was eager to overturn Roe v. Wade. Millhiser also noted that in a 2017 speech, Kavanaugh had already explicitly connected the Glucksberg test to the idea that the Roe case had been wrongly decided. All of which Senator Collins either didn’t notice or care to notice, or pretended not to notice, when she claimed she’d reject any nominee who would overturn it…. But wait. A principle so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental? That’s a rule? I mean—ranked by whom? How? And the conscience of which of the people? Not of the very essence of a scheme of ordered liberty? Who decided what’s of the ‘very essence’ of such a scheme? When?… Alito’s draft thus cites precedent that itself relies on decisions denying federal protections for trial by jury and against self-incrimination. Along with Kavanaugh’s and others’ elevating such stuff as the basis for a so-called hard-and-fast test, all of this suggests to me that the roots of the deep-rootedness run pretty deeply into an Anglophile national fantasia wrapped in a wishful oratory framed in the passive voice.” • Well worth a read as Hogeland traces back the case law.

“No, Justices Did Not Commit Perjury in Their Confirmation Hearings When Asked About Roe” [Jonathan Turley]. “In recent hearings, some of us have criticized Democratic members for demanding assurances on how nominees would vote on particular cases or issues. However, both Democratic and Republican nominees have largely stuck to rote responses on Roe and other cases to refuse to make such commitments. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously insisted, there would be ‘no forecasts, no hints.’ The problem is that politicians often display a type of selective auditory attention problem: they hear what they want to hear. Indeed, confirmation hearings are highly choreographed on both sides. Each senator seeks to secure a thirty-second clip showing that he or she secured assurances or trashed a nominee. For pro-choice senators like Sen. Collins, it is essential to have some answer that would support a claim that, despite seemingly antagonistic judicial philosophical views, a nominee would not likely overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.” • I think Turley is logic-chopping, here. I don’t think the issue is perjury, or what was said at the hearings (“confirmation nonspeak’). Certainly, for Collins, the issue is that Kavanaugh looked her in the eye in her office and lied to her face. I don’t know what the legalities of that are. (I mean, is lying to a Senator like lying to the FBI? During a job interview.) Structurally, the issue is credentialism-blinded liberal Democrats made the hearings all about “professional qualifications,” when they should have hammered on ideology from the beginning. Bork should have been the start of that, not the ending.

“Democratic Party Betrayal, Abortion, and the Supreme Court” [Black Agenda Report]. The lead: “Democrats have been fooled into thinking that only the courts can protect abortion rights. In fact, legislation could protect abortion permanently, but their party has refused to do that. Now that SCOTUS control is lost because of their corruption and betrayals, they continue to spin lies that bamboozle the party faithful.” • Yep. It does occur to me that working class women lost the right to a legal abortion years ago. The voters the Democrats hope to activate, one might speculate, are suburban women. If that’s true, it will be interesting to see how the Republican attempt to nationalize issues with the schools play out, since schools are also a matter of great concern to these women.

“What Now?” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. “But, what about a blue state, like Virginia. In the 2021 gubernatorial contest, Democrat Terry McAuliffe spent more than $2 million on ads like this one accusing his GOP opponent, Glenn Youngkin of wanting to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. Even so, that was less than half the amount that the McAuliffe campaign on ads trying to link Youngkin with Donald Trump. This suggests that the abortion issue, even in a state as blue as this one, wasn’t moving the needle for the voters the McAuliffe campaign was targeting. Exit polls in that race found that Youngkin did better among the 54 percent of Virginia voters who fall in the middle of the spectrum on the issue of abortion. Youngkin took 37 percent of the vote among those who want abortion to be “legal in most cases,” while McAuliffe took just 12 percent of the vote among those who want abortion to be ‘illegal in most cases.’ Bottom Line: We are in the very early stages of what could be the first major change to abortion laws in 50 years. As such, we need to watch the above benchmarks like salience and enthusiasm about the issue very closely. And, given that these battles will take place at the state level, we’ll also need to get more state by state data to make any projections on the impact it could have on individual statewide races.”


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“Trump flexes and the center shrinks: 5 takeaways from a key primary night” [Politico]. “Trump probably has one more chance to run for president, in 2024. But the 75-year-old former president is putting an imprint on the party in the midterms that could last for decades, regardless of whether he runs again. Vance, his endorsed candidate in the Ohio Senate race, is only 37. Max Miller, a former Trump aide who won his House primary in Ohio in a landslide, is in his early 30s. In a northeast Ohio House race, Trump-backed attorney Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, who is 30, was running ahead in early returns. Rep. Ted Budd, who has a comfortable lead in North Carolina’s Senate primary, which will be held later this month, is 50. If Trump’s candidates keep winning, it will all add up to a lot of Trump loyalty coursing through the party for years.” Also and interestingly: “Of all of Mike Pence’s carefully plotted maneuvers ahead of a possible 2024 presidential bid, it was his endorsement of a close friend in a little-watched Indiana county prosecutor race that proved most pivotal in his backyard. In the GOP primary for Hamilton County prosecutor, Pence backed challenger Greg Garrison, his handpicked successor on his old radio show “The Mike Pence Show.” Pence pulled out all of the stops for Garrison, who beat longtime incumbent D. Lee Buckingham Tuesday night.” And: “There’s one area in which the activist wing of the Republican Party appears likely to keep struggling — dispatching incumbent governors.”

OH: “Vance Wins Republican Senate Primary in Ohio After Nod From Trump” [New York Times]. “J.D. Vance, the best-selling author whose “Hillbilly Elegy” about life in Appalachia illuminated a slice of the country that felt left behind, decisively won the Ohio Senate primary on Tuesday after a late endorsement by Donald J. Trump helped him surge past his rivals in a crowded field. Casting himself as a fighter against the nation’s elites, Mr. Vance ran as a Trump-style pugilist and outsider who railed against the threats of drugs, Democrats and illegal immigration, while thoroughly backpedaling from his past criticisms of the former president…. Mr. Vance had been trailing in most polls behind Josh Mandel, a former Ohio state treasurer who had also aggressively pursued Mr. Trump’s backing, until the former president’s mid-April endorsement helped vault Mr. Vance ahead…. Trump-style Republicans did not prevail in the other top contest on Tuesday. Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a more traditional Republican who has held offices in the state for more than 40 years, finished far ahead of his multiple primary rivals after a strong right-wing challenge never gained traction despite some conservative backlash to Mr. DeWine’s early and assertive response to the coronavirus pandemic…. In the Senate race, Mr. Vance will now face Representative Tim Ryan, a 48-year-old Democrat from the Youngstown area who has positioned himself as a champion of blue-collar values and has not aligned with some of his party’s more progressive positions.” • The press fell in love with “Hillbilly Elegy,” no doubt because of its emphasis on personal risk assessment responsibility. (If you want to get a real look at what’s happening out in the biomass, look at Chris Arnade’s photographs, which are brilliant and far more interesting than Vance, who after all grew up to be a venture capitalist, and a good friend of Peter Thiel, though not, so far as we know, an actual blood bag.) The Trillbillies won’t think much of Vance’s victory, I would venture to guess.

OH: “House Incumbent Tops Progressive as Democrats Wrestle Over Focus” [Bloomberg]. “Representative Shontel Brown easily turned back a challenge from progressive activist Nina Turner in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for a U.S. House seat in Ohio that was seen as part of the struggle for influence between the party’s two wings. With most of the ballots counted in the Cleveland-based district, Brown had 66% of the vote to Turner’s 33%, according to a tally compiled by the Associated Press.” • Yikes. Sadly, I think Turner needs to find another line of work.

PA: Another Fetterman/Lamb/Kenyatta debate, seemingly with few fireworks:


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.

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Our Famously Free Press

“Sen. Josh Hawley introduces bill to dissolve Biden’s ‘unconstitutional’ DHS disinformation board” [FOX]. • Hawley’s bill could, of course, be performative (though Republicans do tend to get things done). If Republicans deliver on this, I’m gonna have to give serious consideration to no longer giving Democrat candidates the deference I would normally give them. (I try to be cynical, or realistic, enough, I really do, but never, never would I have imagined that a shadowy combination of Silicon Valley tech firms and Blob drones would try to deny writers the means to make a living by exercising their First Amendment rights. It’s astounding. And under a Democrat Administration, too. (The idea that the dominant factions of the PMC, after 2016, gobsmacked by the loss of their champion to Trump, simultaneously came to class consciousness and declared “a state of exception” gives an account of such events.) Consortium News had less than $10,000 in their PayPal account when the ban hammer came down. That’s the catering bill for a half-day conference of weapons manufacturers on Capitol Hill. Why the hysterical reaction to a tiny venue? “Blob Fragility”?


“To Spy on a Trump Aide, the FBI Pursued a Dossier Rumor the Press Shot Down as ‘Bullshit'” [RealClear Investigations]. “Though the FBI presumably had access to better sources than the newspaper, agents did little to verify the rumor that Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page had secretly met with sanctioned Kremlin officials in Moscow. Instead, the bureau pounced on the dossier report the day it received it, immediately plugging the rumor into an application under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to wiretap Page as a suspected Russian agent. The allegation, peddled to both the press and FBI in the summer of 2016 by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to dig up dirt on Trump during the presidential race, proved to be the linchpin in winning approval for the 2016 warrant, which was renewed three times in 2017 – even though the FBI learned there were serious holes in the story and had failed to independently corroborate it. The revelations of early media skepticism about the Trump-Russia narrative before journalists embraced it are included in a 62-page batch of emails between Fusion and prominent Beltway reporters released by Special Counsel John Durham, who is scouring the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign for evidence of abuse and criminal wrongdoing. The documents suggest that some journalists, as keen as they were to report dirt on Trump, were nevertheless more cautious than FBI investigators about embracing hearsay information served up by Clinton agents. (The FBI declined comment.)”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Institutionalist’s Dilemma” [Alex Pareene]. “One of the more consequential contradictions of the Democratic Party is that the vast majority of its staffers, consultants, electeds, and media avatars, along with a substantial portion of its electoral base, are institutionalists. They believe, broadly, in The System. The System worked for them, and if The System’s outputs are bad, it is because we need more of the right sort of people to join or be elected to enter The System. But when the party does manage to win majorities, it depends on support from a substantial number of anti-system people. Barack Obama defeated the Clintons with this sacred knowledge, before he started reading David Brooks. Institutionalists, in my experience, have trouble reaching an anti-system person, because they think being against The System is an inherently adolescent and silly mindset. But believing in things like “the integrity of the Supreme Court” has proven to be, I think, much sillier, and much more childish…. I think some people in the White House have some sick hope that the end of Roe will galvanize the midterm electorate. Something like that may indeed happen. But if they wish to understand why the president has been bleeding youth support for the last year they should try to imagine these young people (and “young”, at this point, has expanded to like 45) not as the annoying and hyper-engaged freaks they see on Twitter every day, but as ones they don’t see anywhere, because, having been urged to pay furious attention by people in the party, they discovered that those people had absolutely no realistic plans to overcome entrenched, systemic obstacles to progress. Maybe some of those voters went back to brunch. I suspect many of them went back to work brunch.”


“Carnival Cruise Ship passengers say COVID overwhelmed ship” [Associated Press]. “Passengers on a Carnival Cruise Ship that docked Tuesday in Seattle say more than 100 people aboard the ship tested positive for COVID-19 and the ship was overwhelmed. Multiple people say they’re in quarantine at Seattle-area hotels after testing positive or being exposed to someone with COVID-19. Carnival Cruise Line would not confirm how many people tested positive, but said there were a number of positive cases, KING5 reported. Darren Sieferston, a passenger on the cruise from Miami to Seattle, is in quarantine after testing positive. He said the crew’s response was chaotic. ‘They didn’t have enough staff to handle the emergency that was happening, period,’ said Sieferston. ‘They were overwhelmed and they didn’t have a backup course in how to handle about 200 people affected with COVID. We all suffered.’ Passengers tell KING 5 they waited hours for meals, weren’t properly isolated and couldn’t get ahold of medical staff.” • Yes, this is what “living with Covid” means. What’s the issue here? Petri dishes gotta Petri!

Because “Covid is over” (1):

The account is BU’s Chair of the Department of Environmental Health.

WHCA superspreading event (1):

WHCA superspreading event (2):

WHCA superspreading event (3):

(Via KHN.)

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Lambert here: I am but a humble tape-watcher, but if some trusting, non-realist soul tells you that “Covid is over,” you can tell them that cases are up, transmission is up, test positivity is up, hospitalization is up, rapid riser counties are up, and wastewater is up, too. And this is all from data designed to support the narrative that “Covid is over,” and gamed within an inch of its life. So, if signals like that are flashing red, consider what the real signal must be like. (Note also this is all with BA.2 only, and with what the establishment considers an “immune wall” made from vaccination and prior infection. Since semper aliquid novi Africam adferre, and we’ve let ‘er rip at the airports…. Well, I just hope we get lucky with BA.4 and BA.5. “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.” –Otto von Bismarck.

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If you missed it, here’s a post on my queasiness 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.

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Case count by United States regions:

Looks like the train is rolling, now. Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out. Also 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. Gottlieb thinks we only pick up one in seven or eight. The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises. The Democrat-blue “Biden Line” shows what the case count would be if it were 57,000 * 6 = 342,000, i.e. not gamed. (I changed the Biden Line from dotted to solid because the dotted line was too hard to draw properly in my crude tool.)

Here are the cases for the last four weeks:

Worth noting that cases have nearly doubled in four weeks.

“Newer, fitter descendants of Omicron variant begin to drive their own coronavirus waves” [CNN]. “There’s no denying the numbers: Even with spotty [crippled] reporting, Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising again in the United States.” Not to preen [lambert preens] but NC readers already know this. More: “Cases are trending up in most states and have increased by more than 50% compared with the previous week in Washington, Mississippi, Georgia, Maine, Hawaii, South Dakota, Nevada and Montana. In New York, more than a quarter of the state’s population is in a county with a ‘high’ Covid-19 community level, where the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends indoor masking. Average daily hospitalizations are up about 10% since last week, according to data collected by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The culprit this time appears to be a spinoff of Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant called BA.2.12.1, which was first flagged by New York state health officials in April.” • Er, no. The “culprit” is a public health establishment that not only failed to protect the public, but actively worked to harm them (and that establishments masters and owners).

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 test positivity tracker:

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

Both North and South services have turned up.

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 Biobot Analytics:

Northeast unflattened, and — hat tip to readers for pointing to this — it looks like past aggregation was adjusted up.

Cases lag wastewater data.

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

California slightly worse. Oregon worse. (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.) It would be nice if the falling wastewater measures in California presaged a drop in cases. (OTOH, the Biobot data is only as good as the non-representative sample it uses, so…).

Well spotted by alert reader Lou Anton:

Rapid Riser Counties:

As the “COVID weather pattern” moves NE to Midwest (and maybe West to SW in the future?), I can see the big metropolitan areas and college towns are getting hit:

Illinois: NE Cluster is Chicagoland, central Illinois is college towns (University of Illinois, Illinois State, Illinois Wesleyan), SW is the Metro East of St. Louis.

Wisco: Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay

Indiana: Gary, South Bend, West Lafayette, Indianapolis

Michigan: Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek

Ohio: Youngstown and Akron, Cincinnati meeting soon, meet you in the middle Columbus.

Let. ‘er. rip.

Confirming: The one red county in Kansas is Sedgwick, home of Wichita State. But don’t worry. All those kids will soon by traveling home for the summer! Oh, wait…

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. Now California is red as well. The Upper Midwest is moving that way, too. (The Unorganized Territories in Maine are back to red, good job.)

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Hospitalization is most definitely up in many places. (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: 1,021,581 1,021,089. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. A blip upward, but every previous blip has been followed by continued decline, at least in the recent past.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Still a bumpy ride…. (Note the quality of these numbers varies wildly. For example, the UK is cutting back on testing data.

Stats Watch

“United States ISM Non Manufacturing PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Services PMI for the US fell to 57.1 in April of 2022 from 58.3 in March and below forecasts of 58.5, mostly due to the restricted labor pool which caused employment to fall (49.5 vs 54) and the slowing of new orders growth (54.6 vs 60.1).”

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Shipping: “Maersk Exits Russian Assets While Navigating China Congestion” [Bloomberg]. ” [Russia] accounted for 2% of its business. “We are writing down all the assets that we have in Russia to zero basically’ and will try to divest those port and warehousing assets in coming quarters, [CEO Soren Skou] says. ‘It will take a little while, I suspect, but there are active talks.’… ‘We are seeing the impact’ related to a lack of labor to move goods, he says. ‘The ports right now are open for business, but it only really works if the landside is also.’ Maersk is ‘seeing a negative impact on our volumes out of China right now from Covid-19 lockdowns — not as much as you may expect, but we’re certainly seeing an impact.'”

Tech: “Black Twitter Is Not a Place. It’s a Practice.” [Tressie McMillem Cottom, New York Times]. “On a typical day last week, my iPhone was logged into Twitter for over five hours.” That’s all? More: “Twitter is a small commons, not commonly held. It is nowhere near the largest or most profitable social networking site, but it is loud. It is a kaffeeklatsch for educated, middle-class cultural workers who kind of hate their jobs. Young people think we are old for using Twitter. Normal people think we are strange.” I disagree on this. Twitter has plenty of “normal” verticals; aerosol science being one such. More: “If you are a billionaire who wants to buy Twitter, you probably want to buy the Twitter that changes conversations and innovates culture. But the Twitter that Elon Musk is buying is not guaranteed to be that Twitter. Twitter’s significance is not about revenue or advertising platforms or new features. It is about communities that create ideas. The real Twitter lives in the practices of people who can migrate at any time. User migration and social fragmentation are the real present threat to Twitter’s cultural dominance.” • This is well worth a read, including the origin of Black Twitter in Live Journal (!),

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 Fear (previous close: 32 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 29 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 4 at 1:36 PM EDT.

The Gallery


Class Warfare

See the KHN chart under #COVID19.

News of the Wired

“What Birds Really Listen for in Birdsong (It’s Not What You Think)” [Scientific American]. “when researchers analyze birdsong, we usually break it down into smaller units, termed notes or syllables. We then group the syllables into sequences called phrases or motifs that have characteristic rhythms and tempos. In this way, we can measure potentially important aspects of song, such as the number of syllable types in a bird’s repertoire or the patterns in which phrases are arranged. These descriptions also parallel the ways we mark the relations among words in human syntax or among notes in musical compositions. But what do the birds think about all these features? How does birdsong sound to them? Recent research that my colleagues and I have conducted, along with work from a growing number of other scientists around the world, has revealed that birdsong sequences do not sound to birds like they do to us. Moreover, birds appear to listen most closely not to the melodies that catch our ears but rather to fine acoustic details in the chips and twangs of their songs that lie beyond the range of human perception.”

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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. From Marku52:

Marku52 writes: “The adequately named Redbud, pursued by Sasquatch.”

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NOTE ON PAYPAL: As some readers may know, PayPal whacked Consortium News’s account, for no justification that I can see. It’s to be hoped that Consortium News has its account restored, and that NC doesn’t come under the same ban hammer. In the meantime, until I/we can come up with an alternative, I must continue to rely on PayPal (and rely I do). I will be cleaning out the account daily, and PayPal does give a heads-up, so your risk is minimal. Please carry on as before, or, if you feel you must, write me and I will send you directions for sending a check. Please put “PayPal” in the subject line. Thank you for your support! It is much appreciated, and helps me with responsibilities. –lambert

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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. Molon labe

    Wanted to comment on Roe v Wade where it would be seen. I posted before, but are we so outcome driven that no one cares about “penumbras” and “emanations”?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > penumbras” and “emanations”?

      Indeed. IANAL22 but what about “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects?

      1. Fraibert

        Given the current Court, a careful linguistic parsing of the relevant provision establishes the field of analysis. Some thoughts follow based on that reality:

        1. The Fourth Amendment as a whole is clearly concerned with “unreasonable searches and seizures” and should be read in that context. “Searches” and “seizures” are technical legal concepts that aren’t really relevant to the regulation of abortion.

        2. There’s a question of whether “effects” has any relevance to abortion at all. The Shorter OED (5th ed.) (best dictionary I have on hand) defines, in relevant part, “effects” (plural noun) as “[p]roperty (excluding real property); goods, belongings.” In other words, “effects” in modern terms seems to mean personal property, such as books, musical instruments, computers, etc. This definition is dated to the early 18th century, and I don’t see any definitions that show an expansion on that meaning by the late 18th century.

        Relying on this linguistic history, the question then becomes whether the fetus is an “effect” at all within the meaning of the Constitution. That a question for historians, but I personally suspect the answer, at least for free citizens, is that a fetus did not fall within the definition of an “effect” at the time of the Constitution’s drafting. (In the historical U.S. context, slaves and their potential offspring might have been considered “effects”–but again, that’s another historical question.)

        In any case, the “effects” language does not seem like the basis of a broader privacy right because the word itself has a quite specific meaning when adopted in the Constitution.

        3. I think in the abortion context there might be a better argument in the right to be “secure in [one’s] person.” But, again, that misses the context of the Fourth Amendment noted above in Point #1.

        I think the above helps to illustrate why the _Roe_ majority adopted the whole penumbra approach–because the explicit text of the Amendments they were citing didn’t directly speak to the issue.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Interesting that you hoisted those words. “Penumbras” is the most-often maligned word in that entire decision, and probably for good reason.

  2. Geo

    One of my favorite writers, William Deresiewicz, has a new essay out and it’s a doozy. It tackles economics, politics, elitism, wholeness, evangelism, and much more in a short but thoughtful form. Worth a read:

    “Unless the Democrats start coming, not to the parts of the country they’ve neglected or taken for granted, but from them, then 2022 will look a lot like 2021, and so will 2024, and 2025, and 2026…”

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      It seems no accident to me that wokeness began to emerge, around 2013, in the wake of the Occupy movement. Occupy returned the issue of economic inequality to the center of our public discourse, where it hadn’t been for decades—hadn’t been, that is, throughout the rise of the meritocratic elite. Now that elite was being called to account: for its self-enrichment, for engineering the mechanisms of its self-perpetuation. Wokeness, in that context, was a way not only to change the subject, but to restore to that elite its precious sense of moral superiority. We’re not oppressors, we could tell ourselves; we’re liberators. We’re not selfish; we’re righteous.

      Thanks for the link. Very good.

  3. Molon labe

    “Structurally, the issue is credentialism-blinded liberal Democrats made the hearings all about “professional qualifications,” when they should have hammered on ideology from the beginning. Bork should have been the start of that, not the ending.” I disagree. Credentials certainly are not everything, but I care about a knowledgeable and thoughtful judge with integrity much more than ideology.

    1. Chromex

      I was a litigating Lawyer for 15 years. All the judges, federal or not , that I argued for were political appointees and/or were elected. No one I argued before was knowledgeable or thoughtful. ( out of about 30). The vast majority were below average intelligence imo. Whatever is erudite that comes from written opinions comes from clerks who wrote all of the opinions I know about. Clerks are generally intelligent but must do what they are told and have little, if any, input into the decision.
      As for this comment ” In fact, legislation could protect abortion permanently, but their party has refused to do that.”
      Well… no… all legislation can be amended. there is no such thing as permanent legislation because future legislatures cannot be bound.

    2. JPT

      Knowledge, thoughtfulness, and integrity are highly correlated with indeology. If one thinks some conservative jurist like Scalia is knowledgeable, thoughtful, or has integrity, one would be wrong. So to some extent I don’t disagree. The problem is that anybody assessing an American conservative to be any of these things has very poor judgment. (Most establishment liberals lack these qualities as well, to be fair, though they tend to be a bit closer to the mark.)

      1. ambrit

        Wouldn’t “knowledgeable and thoughtful” tend to be cancelled out by “ideology” of any flavour?

  4. John

    am I overly cynical to think the dems rigged the scotus leak so they had something to rally on that was in their wheel house than the republicans would likely fight about making people “need” them or white wash our memories for the coming mid terms? even better that it was just a draft and them may not have to do anything at all. all the credit no labor.

    1. Screwball

      Given Biden’s speech today about the ultra-MAGA agenda, no, I don’t think you are cynical at all. The leaks sure has many on the left fired up. Some I’ve read are talking about all the rights they will lose, border checkpoints, segregation, etc. You would think the court just made slavery legal again. Biden’s speech seemed to correlate, after the narrative managers ran with their agenda for a day, Biden added the cherry on top.

      I guess the “unity” agenda they used last election isn’t working.

      1. hunkerdown

        It’s worked in the primary, which is all they REALLY care about, because that shapes their party. The general is mainly for fan service.

    2. Glen

      New DNC junk mail heading your way:

      We screwed up AGAIN, please send more money so we can screw up SOME MOAR!

      We double swear pinky promise that monkeys will eventually fly out of Pelosi’s butt and the world will be SAVED!*

      *This message has been approved by President Manchin/Sinema.


    3. ChrisRUEcon

      > am I overly cynical to think …

      Ha! No, you’re not …

      Let’s look at where we were moments before that leak dropped:

      • Biden falling in polls
      • Anger about non-cancellation of student debt; lowest polling among young people
      • Ukraine war consent manufacturing fail; Ruble strong against EUR & USD; China & India showing spine
      • Anger about US sending money to Ukraine when money being withheld for domestic relief
      • COVID surging despite gamed figures and graphics!

      The Dems were staring at a election of discontent. Now, a couple key constituencies with have more reason to hold their noses and “vote like their lives depend on it” yet again. I still don’t think they’re out of the woods, but the #RvW leak energizes outcomes in Dems’ favor.

  5. Wukchumni

    I stake the claim that tiny town here and environs has about the best natural Redbud display in the CVBB, an otherwise waif of a tree destined to be a wallflower in the upper strata of things that grow, they barely top 25 feet on a good day…but for a glorious month of the year they make up for 11 months of meek.

    Interesting year on the floral front, everybody thought the Golden Poppy displays were of perhaps the most pronounced anybody can remember, but on the other hand, it was as if the Redbud really didn’t do hardly anything, going from a barely there bit of color to leaf & seed pods and that was all she wrote, in a most disappointing effort.

    Of course they’re different in that the poppies are shallow rooted and benefited largely from the overly bountiful Santa storm around xmas, while the Redbud are deeper rooted and like everything not watered by the hand of man, suffering in the drought and climate change, and breaking patterns that we’d become accustomed to.

  6. Brunches with Cats

    One would think 24 hours would be enough for Sasquatch to disappear behind the tree. ;-)

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        It would make a nice pair with the T-Rex/Flamingo pic of a few days ago.

  7. IM Doc

    I saw this response to the Dr. Ding tweet above about the WHCD superspreader event. Apparently, they did not want to use some types of mitigating equipment because of the blue light this may throw off. It would tend to make someone like Biden sickly and they did not want to give anyone any ammunition.


    Hey guys, FYI, as a physician, having an 80something actually get COVID is a real good way of having someone look sickly and whitish. It is called the 6 foot eternal dirt nap.

    I swear, there are days I just cannot believe what I am reading.

    1. Pat

      They honestly do not think any one of theirs will die from this. A local anchor was still flabbergasted on her return to work that her bout had been so bad.

      I shouldn’t wish anyone ill, but the public really needs for a few prominent journalists and a couple of top politicos to die or be permanently disabled from getting Covid. I think a fearful media and political leadership is the only way the fog about the dangers of the disease and how bad our treatments and vaccines are will be dispersed on any significant level.

      1. antidlc

        ” A local anchor was still flabbergasted on her return to work that her bout had been so bad.”


        Yep! I tested positive for Covid, but basically I’m feeling fine- grateful to be vaxxed and boosted…

        But then he admitted on Monday night, his first night back, that he had three days that were not fun.


    2. Geo

      Very interesting. I’m guessing the blue lights could not be solved with a bit of black gaffers tape (what I use to cover the annoying lights from electrical devices)? Or, a warm gel over the stage lighting to counter the blue from the devices? Their lighting designer is apparently an amateur. Non-union maybe? Would be on brand for Dems.

      My guess is they would be less bothered by that 6 foot eternal dirt nap for him then by bad optics at a gala. The dirt nap would be easily spun and remedied by placing another vacant shell (Harris) in his place. Bad optics would spoil the charade.

      1. ambrit

        “Creepy” Joe Biden and “Horizontale” Kamala harris as ‘Pod People!’ Cue the end scene where Bernie Sanders runs against the current on the Interstate yelling; “You’re next! You’re next!”

    3. antidlc

      They didn’t want Biden to appear blue when he addressed the crowd.

      Note the blue lighting in the room.


      Also, the attendee who posted the pic announced she has COVID and I think she regrets her decision to go.

      I’m mad at myself for not pausing to ask the question, “Is THIS assignment worth getting covid for?” (Definitive no) “Or do you want to protect yourself so you can do the big trip you were looking forward to?”

      1. Carla

        “I’m mad at myself for not pausing to ask the question, “Is THIS assignment worth getting covid for?” (Definitive no) “Or do you want to protect yourself so you can do the big trip you were looking forward to?”

        Does she mean that big trip called Life, or what?

        1. ambrit

          As we used to say back in the day; she must have been tripping to have gone to that asignment in the first place.

          1. caucus99percenter

            Hunter S. Thompson definitely would have been tripping on that assignment. On the other hand, probably the perfect set and setting for having the mother of all bummers and/or freaking out and streaking or worse on national TV.

        2. thoughtfulperson

          If like my sister in law, she’s going on a big trip to Yellowstone. If like my daughter, a big trip to Redwood NP. Covid is over and it’s mild! Its the new narrative!

          Both certainly will be wearing masks on the ane but still risky these days with the more infectious variants

    4. Alyosha

      A handful of open UV-C lights wouldn’t do much anyhow, except maybe cause eye damage to the people who end up staring at them. UV sterilization requires proximity and contact time. It’s often ineffective even in situations where an air stream is passed over the lamp. It is most effective for destroying microorgamisms that are trapped by a filter or used on HVAC condensate traps. Obviously using it for hard surfaces is very effective so long as there’s enough contact time for the target microbiology (e.g. mold spores require a fairly long contact time).

      The air right around those blue lamps is super clean. A few feet away, probably not so much. And they’ll only work in a space with very little air flow. Which is, of course, not helpful for keeping CO2 levels (proxy for ventilation effectiveness) down.

    5. sd

      Just how difficult would it have been to hide small air purifiers in the centerpieces, around the room and stage?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Mean-spirited folks might say don’t bother with the filters and lights,, the attendees at the Masque of the Red Death ought to experience some consequences…

        Common sense is not very common, when faced off against tribal stupidity and True Belief.

    6. Yves Smith

      These people are lazy as well as criminally stupid. You get theater guys in to put in lights with color filters to counter the bluish tinge. You only need to correct it on the stage, FFS.

  8. Maple Mower

    Someone in the Commentariat might know the answer: here in a western suburb of Boston, the ground is covered with thousands(!) of maple seedlings. Never in 40 years have I seen 2% of this. Have the maples all decided that we are done for and are firing off their last ammo?

    1. Utah

      I seem to remember from college botany classes that when trees are really distressed they produce a lot of seeds- it’s an evolutionary survival mechanism. Did Boston have a particularly dry and/or hot year last year? If you want a forest in your backyard then thin them out and let them grow.

      My own observation at home is that the gamble oaks along the creek banks produced more acorns last year than I’ve ever seen. The west has been in a drought for years and the trees are struggling. I haven’t seen any real tree growth unfortunately, just the acorns.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Are they Norway maples? They are insidious – https://nyis.info/invasive_species/norway-maple/

      I have them in my yard in Maine and they drop uncountable thousands of seeds twice per year and it’s extremely difficult to get anything to grow anywhere near the adult trees. I’m constantly weeding out their seedlings. The roots spread far from the trees and choke out other plants, they grow very quickly which has had the effect of shading out my garden, and they are constantly dropping branches.

      If they are Norways and you’re looking for shade and not trying to grow anything else, keep them around – they’re good for that. Otherwise, as Lambert would say, kill them with fire.

      1. Kilgore Trout

        My first thought as well–Norway maples. Their prolific seed production and adept sprouting are why they’re regarded as an invasive. Quick check to see if you’ve got one in your yard: exuded sap from breaking off a leaf at the petiole is milky. Buds are also yellow/gold as opposed to Red maple’s red buds. Bark is tan colored on younger trees, compared to gray color on red maples

    3. FreeMarketApologist

      The big maple tree in my upstate NY yard did the same thing — There are hundreds of seedlings coming up under and around the tree, as well as a few scattered farther across the lawn. First I remember in 20+ years of owning the house that I’ve seen such a bounty.

    4. Greg

      As others have said, masting is likely the cause.

      I dont know about maples, but many of the important NZ native trees and grasses mast specifically when average seasonal temperatures are significantly higher than the year prior (which as you’d imagine, has meant increasing frequency of masting due to climate change).

      This 2002 paper is a good one –

      “Synchronous fruiting by these species was associated with anomalously high temperatures the summer before seedfall, a cue linked with the La Niña phase of El Niño–Southern Oscillation. The lone asynchronous species appears to respond to summer temperatures, but with a 2-yr rather than 1-yr time lag. The importance of temperature anomalies as cues for synchronized masting suggests that the timing and intensity of masting may be sensitive to global climate change, with widespread effects on taxonomically disparate plant and animal communities.”

  9. Pat

    I love me some Hopper. Not sure if the palette is accurate or my memories are more saturated than the reality, but his use of color speaks to me. There is more to his work obviously but it is the colors that draw me in to look further.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Yes, and I also love the melancholy quietude his work projects… the way he paints the late afternoon light on red brick.

    2. Bazarov

      Hopper is America’s greatest painter.

      So of course he’s obscure compared to Norman Rockwell, a Thomas Kinkade-tier kitsch artist.

  10. Henry Moon Pie

    “It does occur to me that working class women lost the right to a legal abortion years ago.”

    I remember vividly where I was standing (at a bus stop on Connecticut Ave) when I heard what Carter had said about the Hyde Amendment’s effect on poor women.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I wast just going to ask about that. Saw the news that paypal had backed down in today’s links and went to check the site and couldn’t get it to load. I’ve tried several times now with no success, so it’s not just you.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        their twitter was live as of an hour ago.
        but the site wont open for me either.

        1. jsn

          Opens for me on Safari but not Google.

          Is Google now in the direct censorship business as well?

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Spoke too soon – got the site to load but tried to read an article and it timed out again and I got the “site can’t be reached” message.

  11. Wukchumni

    Ahoy! “Carnival Cruise Ship passengers say COVID overwhelmed ship” [Associated Press]. “Passengers on a Carnival Cruise Ship that docked Tuesday in Seattle say more than 100 scallywags aboard the ship tested positive fer COVID-19 ‘n the ship was overwhelmed. Multiple scallywags say they’re in quarantine at Seattle-area inns aft testin’ positive or bein’ exposed t’ someone wit’ COVID-19. Carnival Cruise Line wouldna confirm how many scallywags tested positive, but said thar we be a number o’ positive cases, KING5 reported. Darren Sieferston, a passenger on the cruise from Miami t’ Seattle, be in quarantine aft testin’ positive. He said the crew’s response was chaotic. ‘They didn’t ‘ave enough staff t’ handle the emergency that was happenin’, period,’ said Sieferston. ‘They we be overwhelmed ‘n they didn’t ‘ave a backup course in how t’ handle about 200 scallywags affected wit’ COVID. We all suffered.’ Passengers tell CAP’N 5 they waited hours fer meals, weren’t properly isolated ‘n couldn’t get ahold o’ medical staff.”

    1. Geo

      I’ve never taken a cruise and have always had an irrational disdain for the very idea of cruises that lead to an irrational judgement of those who partake in cruises.

      With all these stories of illnesses sweeping cruise lines (not to mention the infamous “poop cruise” from a few years ago) I’m starting to think my irrational feelings about cruises and cruise-goers are actually quite rational.

      1. Wukchumni

        My parents liked the idea of doing cruises when we were all grown up as it kept us together as a family for a week as it’s hard to jump ship… and they were paying for it, more importantly.

        One cruise around 2004 we left San Pedro a few days before xmas and were in Mexico for the holidays, and xmas is a really low key affair there-so it was refreshing compared to the Car Go Cult cruising the outer reaches of the back 40 in the mall parking lot, jockeying for a space.

        We all decided it was the bestest cruise ever, lets do it again next year, and we do, little did we know that we had booked voyage on the SS Norovirus, and within days of raising anchor 5 out of 9 of us were horribly sick, confined to room pretty much and forget about food, we’d stare at a cornucopia of edibles with no appetite whatsoever. I was able to buy some cold/flu medicine in the ship’s store as the plague hit me early in the sojourn, but by day 3 you were out of luck, although there were still 48 different kinds of perfume and cologne available.

        I’d guess 5/9’s of the ship was sick, one of the stops was in -Zihuatanejo, and I mustered the strength to walk to the disembarkment lounge where about 37 people were in lieu of hundreds usually, ye gads.

        The cruise lines know they are the worst possible place to spread Covid, but markets.

        Probably a lot of the people cruising now are using credits from cruises bought and paid for in 2020.

      2. Janie

        Best use for cruises is to see otherwise inaccessible places, IMO. Alaska coast, Greek islands, Svalbard and Norway coast (sighs wistfully).

    2. The Rev Kev

      Notice in that article that it only refers to it as a ‘”Carnival Cruise Ship “and does not give the name of the ship itself? I went looking and a Washington Post article was silent on that name as well. A local Seattle paper gave the name – the “Carnival Spirit” – but is it policy in the MSM to remain silent about ship’s names so that if there are virus outbreak that gets really bad, that the name of the ship does not get associated with it? This may be a result of the “Ruby Princess” having an outbreak a week ago which was the same ship that had a spectacular outbreak in Sydney 2 years ago-


  12. ProNewerDeal

    Any recommendations on COVID preventative imperative how-to knowledge advisor, especially because here in Murica the governmental and BigBusiness elites have made it a solely individual problem?

    I have questions including on wheteher to get a J&J booster or wait for N0vavax.

    A way to internet-purchase the I vitamin from a specific internet pharmacist that has a track record of quality, and not selling placebo counterfeit FakeProduct.

    For prevention/mitigation products, does the vendor matter or is it an equivalent commodity. In the case the vendor does matter, what is a recommendation for the OTC vitamin vendor like Vitamin D3, nasal spray, KN-95 masks, CO2 meter.

    Any updated empirical data on COVID risk by occupation.

    Does such an Advisor exist?

  13. aj

    Basing the right to abortions, gay marriage, and interracial marriage on the Due Process clause has always been legally murky. It’s a band-aid meant to overturn bad laws and provide constitutional protections without having to pass an amendment through Congress.

    To be clear, I absolutely think we should have federal protection for gay and interracial marriages and women should have the right to safe medical procedures without undue hardship. But it needs to come from the Congress doing their jobs and passing legislation. The Dems will absolutely not do this because it would cost them time and money. So while we gripe about legislating from the bench, that is exactly what people want the Supreme Court to do.

    1. Big River Bandido

      It’s not the time and money. Her™ raised more money than any presidential candidate in history in 2016, and proceeded to cram it in the can and flush. And as for time…they’ve had 49 years.

      The simple truth is that Democrats don’t care about anything their donors don’t want.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        They didn’t flush it. C’mon. They divied it up via fees and services. Expensed two billion. Prolly had Larry Summers on retainer (and you know he’s not free).

      2. aj

        I meant it would cost them future money. They can’t continue to fundraise off a problem if they actually fix the problem. Better to just give it lip service, hope someone fixes it, and let the money continue to flow in. Also remember, it’s not the Dems fault, its your fault for not voting for Hillary (sarcasm).

    2. JT

      It’s also what the constitution expects them to do (assuming one agrees with the practice of judicial review at all). See the 9th Amendment.

  14. JT

    Roe’s drafting is fine. There isn’t any basis to reject it that doesn’t also apply to the recognition of a whole host of rights (and indeed the Alito opinion now places many basic rights people take for granted at risk). The question is whether you believe that courts can recognize rights or not. If so, then Roe is fine. If not, Roe isn’t. But, if Roe is not fine, then neither is Brown v. Board of Education. There is no way to reason that can draw objective distinctions here. Either you believe a particular right should be recognized and articulate (non-objective) reasons or you believe it should not be recognized and articulate (non-objective) reasons.

    What’s really most egregious about overturning Roe is not the outcome (“no right”), but that it is revoking a broad, substantive right that has already been recognized for half a centry. I don’t think SCOTUS has ever done that before in the nation’s entire history. One possible exception here is the right to contract recognized in the infamous Lochner era that was subsequently rejected. But nobody cares about that because it was a property right that had nothing to do with actual individual liberty. This is an assault on the public, and it’s coming from the court itself. Highly unusual, if not unprecedented.

    1. ambrit

      One could make the case that the 13th Amendment was such a case. it took away from citizens their chattel property, that had been a recognized institution for centuries, to wit, slaves.
      Roe versus Wade being revoked just returns America’s women to their status of yesteryear, property of the men.
      That the Democrat Party was derelict in this is the canary in the coal mine of social relations.

  15. Big River Bandido

    Reporters and staffers from CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Politico, and other news organizations test positive for COVID-19 after White House Correspondents’ Dinner

    That’s a damn shame.

  16. allan

    Rep. Abigail Spanberger @RepSpanberger
    As a former law enforcement officer, I know that simply installing additional cameras and security systems on our public transportation will not keep Americans safe.

    As I told @MorningEdition, we need more police, security,
    and surveillance officers to thwart potential threats.
    12:23 PM · May 4, 2022

    Well done, DCCC, well done. You certainly know how to pick them.

  17. KD

    Your original free press, free speech, right to petition grievances, and freedom of religion/non-establishment are about citizens being able to participate in a democratic process and the state not being co-opted by some clerical establishment. It bears a relationship to the form of the government system–its not much of a “republic” if only certain people get to communicate, and only certain people get to make their grievances known, and its all administered by a clerisy.

    On the other hand, modern “rights” are stuff like abortion, contraception, sex, it really has nothing to do with the form of government. All this stuff could fly in a communist dictatorship or a constitutional monarchy, so they have no real relationship to the rest of the constitution. They may be good, but they have no relationship to promoting an enlightenment-based republic. The converse is also true, you can have a free republic and have lots of restrictions on abortion, contraception, and sex if you have enough puritans for citizens. I think this is where a lot of the old-fashioned libertinism versus liberty arguments come in. Some rights rejected is stuff like the right to take drugs and rejection of conscription, but why can the government tell me I can’t take drugs if they can’t tell me I can’t have an abortion or engage in high-risk sex? Where does personal fulfillment or whatever end?

    Anyways, that would be my take on deep rooted or not, its related to a constitutional republic organized along the lines of the European enlightenment, versus a modern liberal “self-liberation” model.

  18. Somecallmetim

    This reminds me of a question that popped up while reading the interview – what’s the best estimate of the effectiveness of the various abortifacients?

    1. Synoia

      For medical advice contact a Doctor. In this case Planned Parenthood might help.

      1. ambrit

        Doctors are like everyone else in this “best of all possible worlds.” Some are honest and helpful, while quite a few are mere functionaries in the societal merry-go-round.
        I speak from experience. I have yet to encounter a local doctor willing to use their native knowledge and prescribe some of “The Drug That Must Not be Named.” The ‘capture’ and group think on display in our medical workers is almost ubiquitous. If “local mores” decry abortifactants and contraceptives, will these credentialled “professionals” suddenly grow spines and think for themselves?

        1. Jason Boxman

          For what it’s worth, the FLCCC doctors list on their web page was useful for finding a prescriber for that drug, and it was easier than I thought it might be. I created a whole spreadsheet and expected to go down the long list, calling and emailing, but I succeeded on the first two attempts.

  19. Jason Boxman

    Yep. It does occur to me that working class women lost the right to a legal abortion years ago.

    Indeed, Casey set the stage for this decades ago now, and where have liberal Democrats, the defenders of women, been on this?


  20. marym

    Re: “deeply rooted”

    When states’ rights, originalism, the independent state legislature doctrine, and (christianist) religious freedom just won’t get;you where you need to go…

    Anti-abortionists are pushing GOP politicians for a nationwide ban, and abortion before quickening wasn’t illegal in the “original” US. So Alito doesn’t say it’s an issue for states to decide, and he starts the “deeply rooted” clock in 1825 when states started criminalizing abortion.

    The draft opinion references other insufficiently rooted rights on the right wing hit list, but doesn’t overturn them. Maybe “deeply rooted” is itself a deeply rooted legal principle that will bloom more fully in the final draft, or the next rights-removal case.

    I can’t say where “deeply rooted” stands as a criterion in a court of law, but the task of expanding and protecting people’s rights is itself “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” Or was.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Any idea what Pfizer data release this tweet is referring to? Couldn’t find it myself after a quick search…

      1. TBellT

        Probably because it’s bullshit.

        My worry remains that I may eventually get Covid. Not that the vaccine from months ago is suddenly going to kill me.

  21. drumlin woodchuckles

    Biden sez: ” And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. ”

    That’s the old traditional playbook they will lecture us from. Will it work?

    How many bitter had-enoughers will say to themselves that if the DemParty officeholders really want to legislate and sign the Roe v. Wade standards into law, they can nuke the filibuster with their 1 tiebreaking Vice Presidential vote and then vote to make Roe v Wade the law. If they don’t do it before mid terms in exactly this way, that shows they have no plan to do it ever. It shows they want to keep the “issue” fake-alive to keep running candidates on it and keep raising money on it.

    Maybe I am the only such had-enougher in the whole country. But I will not consider whether a candidate for National Federal office is probortion or antibortion when I do my voting. I will still consider such things at the state and local level, but not the federal level anymore.

    Why even care at the state level, even? Because some states may vote to make themselves probortion states and keep themselves as fortresses of survival against the rising tide of christianazi-satanofascism of the antibortion community.

  22. thoughtfulperson

    MWRA is looking fairly high for Mass. in May. Last time this high (outside of Winter coronavirus sesson) no one was vaccinated in esrly 2020. Probably the new BA2.12 kicking in.

    Meanwhile FL and TX head higher with heat of Summer. Only question is how many will get long covid or death?

    1. Jason Boxman

      It certainly creates a climate of terror for those of us paying attention; I went to the bank today to open an account. No one was masked, of course, except one senior citizen that came in to the teller line. (Due to identity theft, I have to do this in-bank or attempts to open an account are almost universally rejected.) The process took two hours, and I was consigned to a small enclosed glass space for the entirety. Even with an N95, a cloth mask, and a mask badger for a tight seal and no fogging glasses, I’ll wonder about this encounter for the next 10 days. Was this a fatal mistake? I guess we’ll see.

      Travel came up, and I mentioned with COVID I don’t travel anymore. The banking specialist offered that with hand washing, neither he nor his daughter had caught COVID last fall, so he’s going to do that again this year. I couldn’t help but warn that the CDC is full of it, SARS-COV-2 is airborne, and I recommend a quality fitting N95. It got awkward, dispensing public health advice, so we got back to the business at hand. I doubt much he’ll heed my warning. I hope nothing happens to them. I did what I could.

      Stay safe out there!

    2. ambrit

      I don’t think that the old “Founding Fathers” had in mind the idea of; “Give me Liberty, and give me Death!”

  23. Jason Boxman

    Eventually, Google’s going to have to commit to ethical research or it’ll find itself unable to compete with the companies and organizations willing to.

    I’m not so sure; I don’t think the author is familiar with the race to the bottom. That there’s so much fraud in the AI research space makes one wonder just how crap “self driving” cars, for example, really are.


  24. Dorie

    This is an interesting case of a 3-year-old female who had COVID-19 and developed acute hepatitis

    Pediatric Acute Liver Failure Due to Type 2 Autoimmune Hepatitis Associated With SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Case Report

    Although elevated liver enzymes are common in hospitalized children with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, pediatric acute liver failure is an uncommon manifestation of COVID-19 disease. We describe the case of a 3-year-old previously healthy female who developed acute liver failure secondary to type 2 autoimmune hepatitis preceded by mild infection with SARS-CoV-2. Testing for viral hepatitis was negative, and the patient did not meet diagnostic criteria for multisystem inflammatory disease in children (MIS-C). A liver biopsy showed acute submassive hepatocyte necrosis with brisk CD3+ T lymphocyte infiltration and no evidence of fibrosis or chronic liver disease. Treatment with high-dose methylprednisolone resulted in rapid normalization of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), international normalized ratio (INR), and ammonia levels, and liver transplantation was avoided. This case highlights a possible association between SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent development of autoimmune liver disease presenting with acute liver failure.


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