2:00PM Water Cooler 5/09/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, this is an open thread because I am finishing up a post on crypto. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

This is Hermit Thrush Week at Naked Capitalism (hat tip Noone from Nowheresville).

* * *


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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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 blue “Biden Line” shows what the case count would be if it were 71,000 * 6 = 426,000, 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 cases for the last four weeks:

Worth noting that cases have nearly doubled in four weeks.

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.

MWRA wastewater data:

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. But that drop in the West looks like an adjustment, too. Perhaps the falling wastewater measures in California presaged a drop in cases on the Rapid Riser map? (OTOH, the Biobot data is only as good as the non-representative sample it uses, so…). Do we have any readers who track non-Biobot wastewater in the West?

Cases lag wastewater data.

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

Slightly better on the East and West Coasts. Slightly worse in the Upper Midwest. It occurs to me that one sign that all is not well is the refusal of this map to “clear.” We are supposed to get a rapid rise, followed by a fall. But we’re not. In the main, red stays red. (Remember that these are rapid riser counties. A county that moves from red to green is not covid-free; the case count just isnt, well, rising rapidly.)

The previous release:

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):

The “orangization” of New England is quite striking. The Admissions baseline is getting higher, too. (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: 1,024,546 1,023,908. Now even the death rate is up. By a lot. Did CDC discover a bunch of death certificates stuffed in a drawer? I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Broadly down. (Note the quality of these numbers varies wildly. For example, the UK is cutting back on testing data.

* * *

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 Re Silc:

Re Silc writes: “My stream.”

* * *

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 completely 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. Screwball

    From the “might need a barf bag” department. Fauci tells ’20, ’21 UM grads to believe in science, reject ‘normalization of untruths’


    Ann Arbor — Dr. Anthony Fauci on Saturday encouraged University of Michigan graduates who weren’t allowed to walk across the stage two years ago due to COVID-19 to dream big, be future leaders, believe in facts and science and “do not accept the normalization of untruths.”


    “Being in Washington has allowed me to experience first hand the intensity of the divisiveness in our nation,” he said. “What troubles me is that differences of opinion or ideology have in certain circumstances been reflected by egregious distortions of reality.”

    Sadly, he complained, “elements of our society have grown increasingly unfazed by a cacophony of falsehoods and lies that often stand largely unchallenged, ominously leading to an insidious acceptance of what I call the normalization of untruths.”

    Fauci called out “so-called news organizations” and “certain elected officials in positions of power,” which drew applause from the graduates.

    My PMC friends were in an uproar because people were across the street protesting St. Fauci. U of M also just decided to drop their mask mandates for the next semester. Of the pictures I looked at not a mask in sight, including St. Fauci.

    Fauci lecturing about truths standing at the U of Michigan has quite the irony ring to it.

    Speaking of COVID, a family member flew to Florida from Columbus, Ohio last week for work. Some yearly shindig for the company. Got home Friday, tested positive on Sunday. Home test kit. Took it because of really bad headache. Triple vaxxed, with latest booster in January.

    Went to the local Kroger this morning. Talked to the ladies about shortages and customers being dicks. Completely out of baby formula – shelves are empty. What are they going to feed the babies? Not good. I read somewhere that some CVS pharmacies are limiting each customer to 3.

    1. PHLDenizen

      Inflation + failure of government to enshrine abortion rights in legislation + likely job market collapse among the non-PMC + formula shortage = economic dislocations that create market demand for wet nurses. The south, of course, will be an export colony for such goods and Blackrock will skim from the revenue stream. “Feed to own” with breast milk in lieu of cash could be a currency. After all, PE DOES own a lot of housing stock and these people need a place to live. Delivered via Amazon Prime, no doubt.

      Go long big boobs?

      Women as commodity livestock being resurrected in the present day and age. The US sucks.

      I watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for a heads up on the liberal aghastitude that’ll materialize the next week. Refreshingly, he actually called out Obama and the other Dems on their failures to take the football away from Justice Beer Pong and his friends.

    2. Louis Fyne

      ugg, the scientific method is not a belief system.

      The apt mottos are “Trust but verify” and “Show me the money! (data)”. 90’s meme from the film “Jerry Macguire” for all the younglings out there.

      1. Objective Ace

        Exactly–anyone who says “believe the science” should be asked what their thoughts are about Galileo when he refused to “believe the science” and pushed the idea that the world is round.

        1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

          The life of Galileo was spared and he was allowed to serve imprisonment under house arrest.

          Bruno was not so fortunate.

    3. Synoia

      I am informed that in many cases, Mothers are a good substitute for Baby Formula.

      1. Norberg

        My wife could not produce enough so we had to supplement. I guess wet nursing may make a comeback.

        1. Redlife2017

          I had to supplement as well once a day – I just couldn’t get enough out for the little person on a 24 hour basis. It was a game changer as he wasn’t gaining weight and was actually losing weight. So, I guess I am a bit surprised by the “hey you ladies are lazy if you aren’t 100% breast feeding” cause life isn’t like that at all.

      2. chris

        There’s also the problem of children needing to be fed when Mom isn’t around. Like if Mom has to quarantine because she’s ill with COVID.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Speaking of COVID, a family member flew to Florida from Columbus, Ohio last week for work. Some yearly shindig for the company. Got home Friday, tested positive on Sunday.

      Lots and lots of anecdotes on the Twitter about similar experiences. Lots of coughing, no masks.

  2. Jason Boxman

    If these past years with COVID have taught us anything, it’s that if you tell middle-class white people that they will be fine, they will not give a rat’s ass about anyone else. And so this message, intended to engender empathy and provoke action and commitment, may instead have been an anesthetizing one. It may have permitted middle-class white people, with their significant political clout, to sleepwalk comfortably — as they have through all of Roe’s existence — into the waiting jaws of illegality.

    So all of societies ills are really the fault of middle class white people? Interesting.

    Nonetheless, the commentary that there will be significant knock-on effects from overturning Roe is quite sound. The Supreme Court is kicking the table over, and thus this begins a new chapter. Chaos. But in chaos also lies opportunity.


    1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

      I’ve only recently come to this opinion, but I think the middle classes are the biggest problem, not the upper classes.

      I’m not middle or upper class.

      1. Objective Ace

        TBF, its an uneducated ignorant middle class that is the problem and it is the upper class’ fault they uneducated and ignorant.. so who is really the problem?

        1. albrt

          As far as I can tell most people of all classes want very badly to stay as uneducated and ignorant as they can. Exceptions are 1-2 percent of the total population I would say.

        2. hunkerdown

          The intermediate class function is to preserve the system against the will of the people, and that function doesn’t need to exist. The PMC tendency to assume all power structures can be managed to produce favorable results, “If only I were deciding things” preening is noted.

  3. B1WHOIS

    If change is the one constant, then the future will necessarily be different than today. That is to say, the nature of reality is such that there is always an alternative.

    1. Bugs

      Great little article.

      Imvho, there’s no real tension; they are two distinct disciplines and don’t even share a common taxonomy. I guess calling them both “philosophy” could be a problem. I’m with the French, on this one.

    2. Acacia

      Yes, this is a great article, thanks. The quotation from Iris Murdoch is bang on, regarding analytic philosophy being confined to a world in which ‘people play cricket, cook cakes, make simple decisions, remember their childhood and go to the circus, not the world in which they commit sins, fall in love, say prayers or join the Communist Party.’

      However, I’m not convinced by one of Salmon’s main claims, viz. that identity politics are “central to the French intellectual tradition up to the present day”. Questioning identity and politics, sure, but that’s not quite what we’re seeing as idPol in the US. I’ve heard this claim many times about the “French connection” with woke, usually from the political right in the US, but it seems to me that if you are really onboard with post-structuralist thought à la Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, et alia, then it becomes quite difficult to embrace woke shibboleths like “white fragility”, claims that “Trump is a fascist/racist/xenophobe”, or the current obsession with race in the US.

      I would submit that if Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, or Lacan were alive today and were invited to teach in a US university, they would not be in agreement with the wokeistas, and there would very likely be fireworks on the order of Lacan’s famous confrontation with student activists of 1968, in which he told them: “what you aspire to as revolutionaries is a new master. You will get one.”

    3. jr

      Thanks for the comments:

      @bugs That’s an interesting point. When I was in school, the framing was always that it was analytical v. continental. My go-to position was that they were all valid endeavors, which seems to be what the author is heading for:

      “A philosophy is a way of seeing, and none is better than another. Each continues to ferret out the explicable with more or less success. Meanwhile, life goes on.”

      Seems hard to disagree with that. It’s the journey, not the destination, so to speak.

      @ acacia

      I don’t quite follow the quote but if it’s meant to imply that analytical philosophy simplifies the world too much, I agree but I think that it’s ok. It’s just another angle, maybe not as useful as other pursuits but of value as a kind of exploration. Like spelunking, just seeing what’s on the other side of that wall for no other purpose than curiosity.

      On the other hand, ID Pol isn’t a philosophy, it’s a cult formation. That fraud Butler is it’s high priestess. For supposedly having done away with truth, it’s devotees seem to be spouting a lot of truth claims. And I have to disagree with the author of the article when he writes:

      “A golden generation of French philosophers dismantled truth and other traditional ideas.”

      They certainly seemed to have complicated, perhaps enriched, the ability to make truth claims but dismantled? And if they are in fact making any kind of a claim, aren’t they proposing a kind of truth? To say “There is no truth!” is to expound a truth, a pretty big one too. I don’t know enough about the poststructuralists to say with certainty but my guess is that they aren’t as starkly “anti-truth” as they are made out to be. Or perhaps thought they were.

  4. WhoaMolly

    Re: Paypal whacking accounts

    I don’t read Consortium News very often, but this is troubling. Apparently they whacked CN and froze their account without any warning.

    I’m looking for an alternative way to subscribe to news and blogs.

    1. The Rev Kev

      A nice place to sit down and chill for awhile. I can almost hear that water running and splashing now.

    2. albrt

      In my youth I used to camp next to a stream that looked like that, on Mount Hunger near Waterbury VT.

  5. Val

    The hermit thrush will be tail wagging up in those yellow birch right next to Silc’s Stream. Good job everybody.

    The time for fervid horticulture is upon us.

  6. Stephen V.

    Good news about monopolies–
    Cory Doctorow.:::Sometimes, a tiny change in the political process comes along that makes you realize just how far things have come — a change that’s both substantive and symbolic. Something like this terse, six-paragraph memo from the FTC, a deceptively anodyne wrapper for an explosive moment:

  7. LawnDart

    Dem lawmakers tie Ukraine aid to “additional billions for COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.” Repubs want separate bills.

    Hill bargainers seek Ukraine aid deal, COVID aid in question

    Lawmakers are working toward a compromise on President Joe Biden’s $33 billion Ukraine aid request that they hope to have ready as soon as next week

    The overall U.S. defense budget is around $800 billion

    Already this year, a White House request for $30 billion for the pandemic was cut in half and ultimately dropped by the House. A bipartisan Senate compromise then trimmed it to $10 billion, but stalled over GOP demands for a vote on immigration.


        1. rowlf

          The Dems must have found an empty spot on the floor to fall down on.

          Whew that was close!

      1. Michael Ismoe

        $40 billion in new Ukraine aid, which will not be linked to a stalled coronavirus package.

        Remember when free community college was “too expensive’ because it cost $42 billion? The only way we are going to get free Comm College is if they hire Zelensky as the dean.

        Every time I think “Well, I gotta vote blue because the Republicans are nuts.” the Democrats convince me to stay home.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Well, a Javelin missile costs $178,000 including the launch system and missile itself. So by my calculation, about 300 people do not get their $600 to make up the cost of one of these things.

        “Slava Ukraini!”

    1. JTMcPhee

      I wonder if anyone will follow the money on what I believe is at least $300 billion in “aid to Ukraine.” Wonder who is getting filthy rich off this steaming pile. Zelensky for sure.

    2. Daryl

      Why are they afraid of a vote on immigration? Or is that another thing they’re worried about President Manchin going rogue on?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        They blamed the “Senate Parliamentarian” for that, but their betrayals come so fast its hard to keep track.

    3. Glen

      Maybe we can get Hunter a seat on the board of an American company so that Biden will send America some money.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Maybe we can get Hunter a seat on the board of an American company

        Or perhaps Zelensky could be a university President, and Hunter one of his Deans…..

  8. LawnDart

    White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice has tested positive for Covid-19, she announced Monday, becoming the latest high-ranking Biden administration official to contract the coronavirus.

    “This morning I tested positive for COVID-19. I’m feeling fine and grateful to be vaccinated and double boosted. I last saw the President in person on Wednesday—masked—and under CDC guidance he is not considered a close contact”


    1. Arizona Slim

      Wait a minute. She says that she got all of those shots, yet she still got the thing that the shots were supposed to prevent?

      1. Samuel Conner

        I think the shots are supposed to make you feel safer about the worst outcomes if you actually do become infected.

        That way, you aren’t afraid of getting infected and you can get the economy back to the way it should be, with the corporate profit share of national income back on its upward trend.

        Of course, you’re also likely to get infected. But at least you weren’t as worried about it while you were getting infected.

        The power of positive thinking!

      2. Pat

        Amazing how that happens…over and over.

        There sure are a lot of outlying exceptions.

        Snark aside, none of them will care until they fight for life and/or have debilitating long Covid. Their easy access to Paxlovid (and I would guess other drugs) probably make the former unlikely, but I still hold out hope for the latter.

      3. Louis Fyne

        Newspeak. The shots were sold as vaccines, cuz “pre-emptive gene therapy” doesn’t roll off the tongue.

        in hindsight I wish I got the JNJ shot instead, despite its clot risks

        1. Arizona Slim

          One of my close friends got the J&J shot because she didn’t want to lose her job. Right after she got it, she had trouble using her legs and experienced hallucinations. She also got tinnitus from it.

          She got this shot before Christmas, and guess what she came down with in February. If you guessed the coof, you’re right.

          And if you think she’ll get a booster, she has some things to say. But I can’t repeat them on this family blog.

          1. rowlf

            I also enjoyed my tinnitus and long covid symptoms after a safe and effective J&J shot. I recently contracted covid inside the EU 270 day post vaccination effectiveness window so I am kind of wondering if all the medical super genuises know what they are talking about. In my family the unvaccinated teenage son is the only one that did not test positive.

            No booster for me. Maybe a nasal vaccine after normal vaccine test protocols.

          2. Pat

            I got JnJ with no real side effects, knock on wood, and I have exactly the same reaction to the boosters.

    2. ChiGal


      And as the the death rate, first it was cases and now the PMC is probably fine with deaths going up too so long as hospitals aren’t stressed. And why would they be, when the best people have quick and easy access to outpatient treatment and with the lack of PCR testing many of the proles probably never even make it to the hospital.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the PMC is probably fine with deaths going up too so long as hospitals aren’t stressed.

        ‘Twas ever thus. Remember bending the curve? The goal was not to overload hospitals — granted, a good thing — but not saving lives in and of itself.

    1. LifelongLib

      Dunno. The dog connection seems to be based solely on a report from the U.K. that 70% of the families of the kids with hepatitis also have dogs. No control group of kids without hepatitis is noted. The article is also all-in with the adenovirus hypothesis, no mention of covid.

      I suspect BS.

      1. LifelongLib

        Correction: the article does mention (and dismiss) the idea that the hepatitis might be connected to covid vaccines, noting that most of the kids are too young to be vaccinated. No mention of a possible connection to covid itself though.

  9. LawnDart

    Return to the “Great Depression”: US policy is driving its economy to a standstill

    “The Americans in the Ukrainian adventure initially miscalculated the margin of safety of their economy”

    The US policy towards Ukraine may lead the country, “carrying democracy”, to economic collapse. According to experts, the uncontrolled distribution of weapons to the troops of the Square does not play into the hands of the Americans. In this conflict, the scenario of closing the holes in your budget with someone else’s blood, which the states have successfully used more than once in history, will not work. There is nothing to take from a flaming Ukraine, and the loans so generously provided by Europe and the United States are unlikely to pay off not only in the foreseeable future, but at all.

    According to Khazin, we are now seeing a structural crisis in America. In fact, the United States is experiencing a new year in 1930. Then the rate of decline was somewhere around 1% of GDP per month or 10% per year, and it lasted until the structural crisis was exhausted, that is, until the end of 1932. In the current reality, since the structural imbalances are higher, the crisis is likely to last for five years. It began last fall, when industrial inflation rose to 20%.

    “In the European Union, inflation in March compared with inflation in February increased by one and a half times. There was industrial inflation at the end of February – 20%, at the end of March-30%. This means that the European economy will collapse completely in two months. The Europeans have realized that they have been driven into a trap, and a trap from which there is no normal way out: current politicians cannot lift the sanctions without resigning,” Khazin believes.


    1. Thistlebreath

      Looks as if Porky and Petunia may be fair game year round soon, here in Californiyay.


      Until ’92, no license was needed.

      Mike Pollan wrote an amusing sketch about an aesthete going out to whack pigs in rural Marin vicinity, in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

      Most interesting firearm rig I’ve seen was down in TX in the flat areas: what looks like a portable camera tripod supporting a .223 rifle with a big scope.

      In rural Hawaii, they use dog packs and no firearms, just something akin to a WWI bayonet. It’ll get your pulse pounding when a couple hundred pounds of piggy, tusks and all, needs an assisted suicide while Fido and Rover and their buddies have their incisors clamped on to porcine ears, legs, etc.

      Kalua pig da kine, eh?

      1. MT_Wild

        I got my start working with pigs on Maui. There is a long history of local culture hunting pigs. Dog hunting is popular and effective because in most places the understory is to thick to hunt effectively with firearms. The dry sides of the islands are more open and firearms are used.

    2. VK

      Once knew a lady living near Avignon, France, who bred wild boars for prey-starved hunters all over southern France. Looks like that business model has run its course.

  10. Noone from Nowheresville

    Just found this wastewater tracking for the state of Wisconsin. Haven’t played with yet. Looks like the eventual goal is to have 100 locations across the state. Madison, Milwaukee, Wausau, Green Bay, Hudson, Sparta, Ashland, Hayward, etc., etc. At a glance there’s a lot of data to be had if someone wants to dig in.


    Twin Cities numbers rising. Current numbers similar to Nov 2020.

    1. LawnDart

      Thanks for that– I have some family in WI, half of which (2/4, early 50s) caught a dose in the Fall, no hospital but very not happy with the experience. The elders (80s) so far have been spared as some gods seem to have a soft-spot for fools (no complaints because I’m still here)– they eat out once or twice a day, each and every day, although with the health issues between them they aren’t long for this world anyway, so what the hell I guess. The other two can and probably will use that info you posted and I’m sure that they will share it.

  11. MT_Wild

    Just in case the link gets lost in moderation, Rome banned outdoor picnics today because of the aggressive wild boars crashing them in search of food.

  12. anon in so cal

    “Frank Thorp V @frankthorp

    NEW: President Biden has asked congressional leadership to decouple a Ukraine aid package from COVID relief money in an attempt to pass the aid for Ukraine without having to deal with thorny partisan opposition to the COVID relief funds, a Congressional source tells NBC News.

    Two aides tell @JulieNBCNews & me the Ukraine aid package that Democrats hope to pass is a total of $39.8 billion, with increases above the president’s request of $3.4 billion more for food aid, and $3.4 billion more for additional draw down authority for military equipment.”


    1. anon in so cal

      Whoops. Sorry, did not see this was already posted.

      Still, it’s so ghastly, maybe it’s okay to post it again.

  13. LawnDart

    Wild boar tenderloin is soooo delicious– lean, but tender with an amazing bacony-flavor! I’ll sear it in garlic butter and finish on a charcoal grill, or cut it into petite fillets (marinade in red with scallions and some pepper) run a stake through a chunk at a time to cook over a campfire– totally brings out my inner-caveman.

    I try to avoid the factory-farm meat that’s sold in supermarkets and served at most restaurants, so, aside from fish, not much meat in my diet. But when I do eat it, I want the good stuff– boar is one of my favorites, along with venison and elk.

    Total bonus for eating an invasive species too.

    [Crud– reply to MT_Wild]

  14. Charles Sheldon

    so we got the JNJ vaccine march 2021 knew of the clotting chance but it seemed to be the one vaccine that if you got covid you would be most protected from hospital or death. It was NEVER about not getting covid it was ALL about mininizing danger once caught. Got moderna boosters november 2021 and a pfeizer booster march 2022. I am 75 wife is 62 and we wanted not to die of covid nor if possible infect grandchildren under 5 of which we have one. The narrative now seems to be we were lied to about vaccines and because they dont stop covid it is all a great scandal. But if you look at hospital and death results vaxxed versus unvaxxed then not being vaxxed is 5 to 20 times more risky. Why isnt this well known? That seems to be the risk profile. It is astonishing to me this is even an issue.

      1. Aumua

        Just to play devil’s advocate here, it naturally follows that the more people who are vaxed, the larger the percentage of vaccinated deaths will be versus unvaccinated. So that particular statistic always falls a little flat for me.

        Not that I think the covid vaccines are all that great or anything.

        1. Yves Smith

          We’ve put repeatedly in comments that IM Doc (who has been very carefully tracking vaccination status of patients) has had no unvaxxed patients in the last 2 months with Covid. Compared notes with a couple of docs who were tracking like him in vastly lower vaxxed neighboring counties. They have virtually no unvaxxed cases.

          1. Basil Pesto

            I don’t wish to ventriloquies him but I know GM hypothesises a ‘J-shaped’ pattern of ongoing disease severity (picture a ‘j’ in a typeface where the bottom of the letter is a half-pipe)

            That is, baseline first infection is moderately severe, several die but many more survive. Then Abs protection kicks in for the survivors and so the 2nd infection and 3rd infection aren’t as severe due to those antibodies. But by the 4th or 5th or 6th infection, the cumulative damage of SARS2 has weakened the body in a way that Abs, which are diminishing, can’t keep up with, leading to much more severe outcomes after those later subsequent infections.

            So it might be the case that the unvaccinated, who probably are well past their first infection, are now at the “bottom of the J”, so to speak, and remain protected from the most severe outcomes.

            By contrast the vaccinees rocking up at hospitals now, many of whom may have avoided infection prior to the 2nd half of 2021, might be at the *start* of their J now that vaccinal Abs are well and truly diminishing. Maybe their first infection was okay because of the vaccines, but as the Abs diminish maybe their 2nd infection won’t be so much, and their infection is more like a 2020-style naive infection? If that makes sense (clearly I am speculating)

            But again, IANAS, I just listen to pretty capable ones. Offered in the spirit of food for thought.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      Not here to spread misinformation, but Pfizer in the following https://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=14472 (page 5) actually claims the following:

      What are the benefits of the vaccine?
      The vaccine has been shown to prevent Covid-19. –> Really? If this is not true, shouldn’t they be sued?
      The duration of protection against Covid-19 is currently unknown.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > he narrative now seems to be we were lied to about vaccines and because they dont stop covid it is all a great scandal. But if you look at hospital and death results vaxxed versus unvaxxed then not being vaxxed is 5 to 20 times more risky.

      Both Biden and Walensky said, of the vaccines, “you are protected” in those exact words (too lazy to find the links again). That means — it certainly meant to me — “you are protected from catching the disease,” a perfectly reasonable expecttation given that this is the expected behavior for other vaccines. (One takes a polio vaccine to be protected from polio, after all; not to avoid going to the hospital for polio. Same with measles.)

      Personally, I’m fine with having gotten vaccinated and being protected against hospitalization and death. But there’s absolutely no question that we were lied to by Biden and Walensky, and all the rest of the press and public health establishment who sang along in chorus.

    3. Pat

      Along with Yves and Lambert’s well thought out answers, I wish to add another negative about the vaccine oversell: the mistaken belief that vaccinated meant not contagious.

      Yes reducing the chance of hospitalization and death greatly is good, but it also meant that asymptomatic infections and light infections mistaken as allergies were ignored and could be present in a room were everyone was told they were safe because everyone is vaccinated, when that isn’t and never has been the case. And this nonsense was pushed with the vaccine mandates, that were, I believe, far more about reducing hospital utilization than about public health.

      Far better to tell the truth, not just about vaccine effectiveness but the significant side effects, which are still being hidden about Pfizer and Moderna. Push them, not as the only answer but as one prong in a multi front protection plan. Vaccination but with increased emphasis on frequent testing, quarantine, ventilation, effective air cleaners (Corsi boxes), proper masking, and better nutrition and immunity supplements would allow for safer increased socialization. Choosing to only focus on vaccines has absolutely led to lax attitudes about Covid. It meant lots more hospitalization and ever increasing numbers of people who will deal with long Covid for years or even a lifetime.

      But Pharma has done great, the airlines are saved and businesses don’t have to provide sick leave or greater hazard pay while opening up completely! The “Person” that matters has been saved!

  15. Imminent Testator

    Thanks, Lambert. I have been waiting for such an open thread to ask the following question.

    I am getting up there in years (although I am still, thank luck, in good health). I have some money in the bank but I have no close family. I would appreciate any suggestions from the crowd regarding either (a) worthwhile charities or, perhaps even better, (b) groups / individuals/ blogs (whatever) that evaluate charitable organisations and try to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Now, I realise of course that this is a rather large issue. I read several travel groups and every once in a while a European, for example, will say ‘I have two weeks’ holidays and I’ve never been to America. Where should I go?!?’ My question is equally unwieldy. However, leaving ‘It all depends on what you want’ aside for the moment, I’d like to be able to avoid what I don’t want. I remember reading, perhaps here, that some / many of the big names in do-gooding are actually more concerned with self-enhancement and self-perpetuation than with actually generating positive effects on the ground. (I believe the American Red Cross, for example, has been called out for such practices.)

    I would be more inclined to help an individual or ad-hoc group that fixes tail lights for free, so as to remove at least one pretext for police harassment. But on a much larger scale.

    Naturally, everybody’s Venn diagram is going to be different but I want to keep an open mind here and I would be grateful for your opinions. Thanks in advance.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I would appreciate any suggestions from the crowd regarding either (a) worthwhile charities or, perhaps even better, (b) groups / individuals/ blogs (whatever) that evaluate charitable organisations and try to separate the wheat from the chaff.

      I would avoid all NGOs, anything with a fundraising organization bigger than a (sigh) PayPal button.

      My thought (as it would be) is a local organization that takes care of a wetlands, or a watershed/viewshed/airshed, or preserves heirloom seeds. Something on that order.

      Something very simple would be a donation to your public library.

      1. BillC

        Re. charity evaluation: No direct experience, but my late mother (a retired major university reference librarian) relied on Charity Navigator back when there were few such sources available. My middle brother (a fellow IT guy who’s more organized financially than I) still does, though he says newer alternatives have emerged. Such a one that looks good at first blush in a cursory Web search is Charity Watch. At least one of these — maybe both — require membership donations for full access to their information.

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      Everything Lambert already said.

      More options.

      Buy gifts cards to grocery stores to hand out via local food pantries or charities. (sometimes the stores give discounts for bulk purchases). Benefits the local store as well as the recipient. Bigger bang for the local community.

      Pet food and care supplies for no kill animal shelters. Matching donation fundraisers for animal medical care.

      Local libraries with strong friends of the library groups. Librarians themselves might also help you track down charities with very low administration and PR expenses. Or they can point you in the multiple research directions. Some libraries even have seed saver and trade programs. Libraries, and the librarians who care for them, are the most amazing places in the world.

      Local historical societies. Remembering the past as opposed to the myths is really important. We should remember how truly innovative, cooperative (and competitive) and competent our society once was despite the obstacles. We still are on many levels, we just need to reminded of that fact.

      Smaller homeless shelters that are able to help people back climb back into their communities; going that extra step to provide more than temporary housing. Of course temporary housing is very important as well.

      Public toilets.

      Find one of those medical debt forgiveness charities that sprung up after Occupy & Hurricane Sandy.

      Look into community gardens. Helping people learn how to grow their own food again, or even just having the space available, is rewarding and tasty. Perhaps work with local farmer co-ops to further develop monthly farmer food boxes. Good for the guaranteed income angle for the farmer and better nutrition for individual / family. Local local farmers’ markets might have info on programs like this already out there.

      And everything Lambert already said.

      So many possibilities. Once you start looking into areas which excite your imagination, you’ll find all kinds of ways to make a difference. But start now. Do smaller donations to see if you’re happy with how the charities / organizations handles the donation. For me the “how” would be that the donation goes more to the need than the overhead or pr expenses.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        Adding on the overhead expenses bit make sure that the organization isn’t exploiting volunteers. Some times those volunteer or internship positions really should be paid positions. Too much money being taken at the top. I know fine line and probably much more involved than you want to be.

    3. Yves Smith

      I am big on feeding people and it should not be too hard to find food pantries or other food charities that are locally run and so the $ goes substantially to food, not overheads.

      I vote for libraries too.

      I wish I knew of a way to support legal services. Many pro bono lawyers are well meaning but not seasoned, and even the ones who are decent caliber are overloaded.

  16. Glen

    Scott Ritter; Ukraine, Finland and Nato, a Warning to the People of Finland

    Good history, and then some projections on Finland joining NATO. Bits I did not know about how an F-35 is considered nuke capable (as a delivery platform).

    I do not understand the seemingly head long rush into a new cold war. We were lucky to escape the last one intact.

    1. Yves Smith

      Aha, this is where it originated. I have a version someone hoisted to YouTube in Links. Ritter is still posting short vids to YouTube, wonder if he’s been throttled somehow.

      I noticed the same part you did and Lambert and I quickly verified it.

Comments are closed.