2:00PM Water Cooler 6/22/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I’m going to go through and beef this up a little. Covid coverage plus 1/6 plus is clogging my filters, and so I’m chugging along a bit more slowly than usual. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

Roberts’s Warbler, Manicaland, Zimbabwe. Chatter, chatter!

* * *


“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

“The January 6th Scam” [Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report]. “There really isn’t a lot to say about what happened on January 6, 2021. Trump riled up his supporters to either stop the electoral college certification or just to yank the establishment’s chain. There was no threat to what most Americans think of as democracy and no path for a government to be overthrown even if that is what the mob wanted to achieve. Mostly they were motivated by racism, a white mob in the classic American sense without any high minded thought about the electoral process. They didn’t want to believe that their guy lost, so they broke in and trashed the place. But that simple explanation isn’t very useful to people with ulterior motives who want to win while also stabbing voters in the back. If progressives really want to learn something from January 6th they ought to ask themselves why the right are willing to travel across the country and break into the Capitol while they can’t get more than a handful of people to protest anything.” • Bingo.

UPDATE “Trump had a direct role in plan to install fake electors. Key takeaways from the fourth Jan. 6 hearing” [CNBC]. “Witnesses testified under oath to Trump’s direct involvement in efforts to reverse elections in key states by either decertifying Biden’s win or sending an alternate slate of fake pro-Trump electors to cast ballots in the Electoral College….. Arizona Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers said he refused to cede to Trump and Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani when they asked him to hold an official committee hearing at the Arizona capitol to prop up their claims of election fraud. Bowers said they wanted the hearing to justify arguments to remove and replace the electors. ‘I did not feel that the evidence, granted in its absence, merited a hearing, and I didn’t want to be used as a pawn,’ Bowers said. He recalled telling them: ‘You’re asking me to do something against my oath, and I will not break my oath.’ Bowers also said Trump lawyer John Eastman asked him in a separate call to hold a vote to decertify Arizona’s electors. ‘Just do it and let the courts sort it out,’ Bowers recalled Eastman as saying. Bowers said he replied: ‘You’re asking me to do something that’s never been done in history — the history of the United States — and I’m going to put my state through that without sufficient proof? And that’s going to be good enough with me?’ … RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told congressional investigators that Trump, during a phone conversation, ‘turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors, in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing changed the result of any of the states,’ according to a replay of part of her taped deposition.” So — lack of cross-examination, due to Republican stupidity, aside — a variant of faithless electors.

UPDATE “Trump’s open confession will loom large at today’s Jan. 6 hearing” [WaPo]. “Trump and coup-blueprint author John Eastman pressured Pence to illegally delay the electoral count in Congress, to buy time for states to revisit vote counts and certify electors for Trump. Separately, Eastman and others around Trump saw the fake-elector scheme as a way to manufacture doubt around which electors were the real ones…. This might also have given Pence a pretext to delay the count. Everything else flowed from this: Trump and his advisers pressured the Justice Department to fabricate an aura that the election was fraudulent, to create that pretext. Trump directly pressed the Republican secretary of state in Georgia to “find” votes for the same purpose.” And: “Given all this, Trump’s open telegraphing of intent to rerun his coup plot should frame how we understand Tuesday’s hearing. Let’s hope 10 Senate Republicans take it this way, even if they don’t say so publicly. If so, they have the option to help revise the Electoral Count Act so such a scheme will be much harder to pull off, by requiring Congress to count the slate of electors deemed legitimate by the courts.” • Well… First of all, like all of this, the timeline seems pretty rickety. How long would the “delay” be? Nothing suggests days, let alone weeks. (I suppose at this point we could wheel in an appeal to the Supreme Court through Ginny Thomas, which adds another layer of rickitiness.) Second, that word “illegal” sneaks into “illegally delay.” If that’s an unchallenged interpretation, then why does the Electoral Count Act need revision? I hate all this, but I’m also not sure how much is bent lawyers racking up the billable hours + cosplay, and how much is real.

UPDATE “CNN picks worst time to bail on ‘the Big Lie'” [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer]. “[New CNN boss Chris Licht] said his issue with ‘the Big Lie’ was that he saw the term as ‘partisan; and associated with Democrats, something he wants to avoid. As reported by veteran media critic Dylan Byers at Puck, Licht is aiming to ‘discourage spectacle and alarmism’ at the cable network.” • Maybe instead of “the Big Lie” we could say “a Large Lie.” That way, we avoid the inflammatory Hitler association and, better yet, we have a bucket we can throw RussiaGate into (arguably more significant, as it built an ideological/demonization foundation for war with a nuclear power, even if only by proxy).

Biden Administration

“Senators hail ‘bipartisan breakthrough’ on gun safety legislation” [The Hill]. “Senate negotiators on Tuesday reached a long-awaited deal on a bipartisan gun safety bill to take firearms away from dangerous people and provide billions of dollars in new mental health funding. The legislation represents a rare moment of bipartisan agreement on the charged issues of gun violence and gun control, breaking nearly 30 years of stalemate on those issues. The bill does not ban assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines or significantly expand background-check requirements for gun purchases, reforms that were top Democratic priorities a decade ago. But it does give states more resources to take guns away from dangerous individuals, even if they haven’t been convicted of a crime, and provides billions of dollars in funding for mental health treatment.” • Anybody who could smuggle one of those Armalite things past the metal detectors in a stadium could whack hundreds, not mere tens. I suppose it’s only a matter of time, and maybe then we’d get some decent legislation.

“Joe Manchin signals he’s open to extend Obamacare aid — but seeks to restrict richer families from qualifying” [Business Insider]. “Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia signaled he’s open to extending enhanced subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, a move that would help Democrats avert a huge political threat in the November midterms from millions of people learning about spiking monthly premiums only weeks before casting ballots…. “The main thing here is the means-testing,” he said in a brief interview on Wednesday evening. “We should be helping the people who really need it the most and are really having the hardest time.'” • That’s our Democrats — means-testing an already means-tested program.

UPDATE The political economy of Covid according to Ashish Jha:

UPDATE “School meal waivers expire in 9 days. After axing them, Congress may try to save them” [NPR]. “A bipartisan group of four lawmakers on Tuesday announced a bill that would extend the school meal waivers that have been a lifeline for schools and families during the pandemic…. Lawmakers failed to extend those waivers one more academic school year when they were excluded from the budget signed by President Joe Biden in March, resulting in a scramble for administrators and parents nationwide. School leaders and parents had weeks to prepare for summer meal programs without the waivers that allowed more summer meal sites. They also had to get up to speed on how fall meals would function with the return of free and reduced-price meal applications and continued supply chain challenges that meant some foods were not always available. Now, Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and John Boozman, R-Ark., and Reps. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., have released the Keep Kids Fed Act with the goal of passing the bill out of both chambers and to Biden’s desk before the waivers expire on June 30.”


* * *

UPDATE “Biden’s optimism collides with mounting political challenges” [Associated Press]. “Democrats are going to hold onto the House after November’s midterm elections. They will pick up as many as four seats in the Senate, expanding their majority and overcoming internal dissent that has helped stifle their agenda. As the challenges confronting President Joe Biden intensify, his predictions of a rosy political future for the Democratic Party are growing bolder. The assessments, delivered in speeches, fundraisers and conversations with friends and allies, seem at odds with a country that he acknowledged this week was ‘really, really down,’ burdened by a pandemic, surging gas prices and spiking inflation. Biden’s hopeful outlook tracks with a sense of optimism that has coursed through his nearly five-decade career and was at the center of his 2020 presidential campaign, which he said was built around restoring the ‘soul of America.’ In a lengthy Oval Office interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Biden said part of his job as president is to ‘be confident.’ ‘Because I am confident,’ he said. ‘We are better positioned than any country in the world to own the second quarter of the 21st century. That’s not hyperbole. That’s a fact.'” • If true, the Democrats had better start making the case. The 1/6 hearings and framing defeat in Ukraine as a victory over [makes warding sign] Putin won’t do the trick.

PA: So far, Fetterman’s variant of the “front porch” strategy (“I’ll hit the campaign trail when the doctors approve”) seems to be doing OK:

I wonder if Fetterman could deke frustrated Doctor Oz into doing armchair diagnosis….

UPDATE PA: “Why is no one talking about Doug Mastriano’s plan to destroy public education in Pa.?” [Inquirer]. The deck: “GOP’s radical Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate would end property taxes, slash per-pupil spending, and boost religious schools and homeschooling.”

UPDATE TX: “Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar declared winner in Texas recount” [Associated Press]. “A recount in Texas affirmed Democrat U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar as the winner Tuesday of his primary race against progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros, who had trailed by fewer than 200 votes following a runoff in May.” • Nancy, good job.


“DeSantis escalates feud with White House” [The Hill]. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is escalating his feud with the White House over the COVID-19 response as he positions himself for a possible presidential campaign in 2024…. ‘Doctors can get it. Hospitals can get it. But there’s not going to be any state programs that are going to be trying to get COVID jabs to infants and toddlers and newborns,’ DeSantis said to applause from the crowd on hand. ‘That’s not where we’re gonna be utilizing our resources.'” • We’ll see.

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.

* * *

Republican Funhouse

“Trump praises ‘powerful’ Texas GOP after rejection of Biden win” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump applauded the Texas Republican Party’s proposed platform that declares President Biden ‘was not legitimately elected’ on Tuesday. ‘Look at the Great State of Texas and their powerful Republican Party Platform on the 2020 Presidential Election Fraud,’ Trump wrote on Truth Social, the social media platform he founded as an alternative to Twitter. ‘After much research and study, they disavow the national result for President.'” Interestingly: “Texas GOP communications director James Wesolek told The Hill on Monday that the resolution the party passed is not officially part of the platform and passed by a voice vote of delegates. Each delegate needed to vote in favor or against 275 proposals for the platform, and the results are expected to be counted this week.”

Trump Legacy

“Donald Trump Likely No Longer in Contempt of Court in New York Probe, State AG Says” [Bloomberg]. “Former President Donald Trump, who was fined for failing to comply with a New York subpoena in a probe of his real estate company, may finally be in compliance with a court order, according to the state’s top law enforcement officer. Affidavits filed by Trump employees outlining record-retention policies at his business are likely sufficient to resolve a contempt-of-court finding against the former president that resulted in $110,000 in fines, a lawyer for New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a letter to a judge on Tuesday.” • But the walls were closing in!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“I’m Not Sexist, Other Voters Are” [Liz Lenz, Men Yell at Me]. “[In 2017, when Regina Bateson, a former diplomat and academic, ran for office] circular reasoning from voters who liked her and wanted to vote for her but were worried about the sexism that she’d face in a general election. It was a frustrating logic, one that wouldn’t be swayed by truth or actualities. Women did win. They could win…. When Bateson lost, she decided to study the infuriating logic of voters, which she termed “strategic discrimination.” Her resulting research offers insight into the sexist logic of electability and a better framework for assessing elected officials.” More:

LL: Something that jumped out at me in your research was that people overestimate how racist and sexist other people truly are.

RB: Yes. Massively. You do see this in other fields and professions and aspects of society, especially when there have been patterns of discrimination in the past, people have a tendency to hold on to their kind of knowledge from the past about how others think and how others behave.

And it almost seems like people are updating their own preferences and their own views more quickly than they’re able to update their beliefs about what other people think. In the paper, I quoted some psychologists and other research on how people get stuck in the prejudices of the past and perpetuate them because they believe that they’re still true. Even if other people’s views have actually changed.

It’s our beliefs about other people’s beliefs that hold us back sometimes.

Sounds like a Keynesian beauty contest.

“The Billionaire Family Pushing Synthetic Sex Identities (SSI)” [The Tablet]. “One of the most powerful yet unremarked-upon drivers of our current wars over definitions of gender is a concerted push by members of one of the richest families in the United States to transition Americans from a dimorphic definition of sex to the broad acceptance and propagation of synthetic sex identities (SSI).” Beware of all enterprises that require new acronyms. Nevertheless, it’s always good to follow the money, and especially family office money. More: “Over the past decade, the Pritzkers of Illinois, who helped put Barack Obama in the White House and include among their number former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, current Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and philanthropist Jennifer Pritzker, appear to have used a family philanthropic apparatus to drive an ideology and practice of disembodiment into our medical, legal, cultural, and educational institutions.” • Hmm. Lots and lots of detail on the funding, though. And the Pritzkers will no doubt heavily fund the Democrat Party in 2022 and 2024, too, so hold on to your hats.


I am but a humble tape-watcher, and I’m perplexed about the current state of play. Case data is showing the fiddling-and-diddling behavior characteristic of a peak. However, nothing I hear in anecdotal case data tells me there’s any relief. Hospitalization data (trailing) is easing (and so the hospital-centric public health establishment probably thinks Covid is done). Positivity data (leading) has been fiddling and diddling as it too does at peaks. Then again, waste-water data (leading) is slightly downThe wild card is variants BA.4/5 (and I thought we were supposed to be giving names to these things). All the variant sources I have say BA.4/5 are up, but they differ as to how much and where, and the data is two weeks behind (hat tip, CDC; who could have known we’d need to track variant data?). I am reminded of the “stairstep” (see the Case count chart below: I muttered about this at the time) that marked the Delta/Omicron transition, just before Omicron’s amazing take-off. Perhaps a BA.4/5 transition will exhibit the same behavior. OTOH, I could be projecting patterns into clouds.

* * *

“Ventilation is crucial, but until recently it took a backseat to other covid measures” [WaPo]. Rather, it was tied up, gagged, and stuffed in the trunk by droplet goons at CDC, WHO, and in the public health establishment generally (see here and here among many; NC readers know the story well). The article does contain an excellent timeline of official folly, but also contains some howlers: “For more than two years, scientists and researchers have known the coronavirus often infects people through ultra-tiny particles that hang out in the air — not just the bigger droplets that masks are supposed to protect against.” N95 masks protect against aerosols. That’s why people should wear them. More: “But it wasn’t until March that the White House pivoted its strategy to stress ventilation measures, in addition to face coverings, as a primary method of slowing the spread of the virus.” First, if there is any such stress, it’s not visible (the White House Office of Science and Technology has no clout, sadly, and there’s no funding for ventilation. And of course the Biden Administration has systematically destroyed masking as a non-pharmaceutical intervention). Second, masks aren’t “face coverings” because — hear me out — they don’t cover the whole face; not, for example, the windows of the soul, the eyes. More: “But spreading the message of covid spread through aerosol droplets was especially challenging.” And conflating aerosols and droplets with “aerosol droplets” doesn’t help, does it? More, this tweet:

Tell me you don’t know what a Corsi-Rosenthal box is without telling me you don’t know what a Corsi-Rosenthal box. (Of course, both Corsi and Rosenthal worked at state schools, not Yale. Perhaps that’s it [bangs head on desk].

• Maskstravaganza: Obama models masking. Watch all the way to end:

#CovidIsAirborne, and spreads by breathing, talking, singing, and shouting. Jerk.

• Maskstravaganza:

I’m not the only one whose back teeth itch when hearing “Let’s see your smile!” Reassuring!

• “Mild”:

• More reassurance:

A very good thing!

* * *

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.

* * *

I cannot find a case count chart that integrates regional and national subtotals, so we are that much stupider. I thought the New York Times had the nicest data presentationL

Case count for the United States:

The totals are or less level, but under the hood the BA.4/5 are making up a greater and greater proportion of cases. Remember that cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. Yesterday, the count was ~96,000. Today, it’s 100,500, and 100,500 * 6 = a Biden line at 603,000. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes had a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.

• “Coronavirus: French face Covid-19 upsurge, other Europeans see increase” [South China Morning Post]. “France is facing a new wave of Covid-19 infections fuelled by new variants of the disease, French vaccination chief Alain Fischer said on Wednesday, as daily new cases reached an almost two-month peak the day before at more than 95,000. Speaking on France 2 television, he said there was no doubt there was once again an upsurge of the pandemic in the country, adding he was personally in favour of reinstating mandatory face mask wearing on public transport… Other European countries, especially Portugal, are also seeing an increase, due two new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, are likely to become dominant in the region. The variants do not appear to carry a higher risk of severe disease than other forms of Omicron but as they are somewhat more infectious than the latter, it could lead to an increase in hospitalisations and deaths, the ECDC said.” • Good thing we kept testing at international airports. Oh, wait….

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

0.0%. (I’m leaving the corporate logo on as a slap to and check on the goons at CDC.)

NOT UPDATED Wastewater data, regional (Biobot Analytics), June 15:

Wastewater data (CDC), June 22:

I thought I’d give CDC’s wastewaster page another shot, and here it is. I don’t want to be cranky about this, but you’d think that the world’s premier public health agency would be able to keep its website up and running consistently. How am I supposed to do my personal risk assessment?

• So I must rely on this tweet from the CDC:

NOT UPDATED Variant data, regional (Biobot), June 15:

Variant data, national (Walgreens), June 15:

In 18 days, BA.4/5 has gone from 18 days, 9.66 to 28.47 (and this is not according to some sorta model, like CDC’s NowCast, which gives 35%). Nice doubling behavior, implying BA.4/5 should be happily dominant just in time for the travel weekend of July 4, good job everyone.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), June 4:

Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is.

NOT UPDATED From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:

Status quo.

The previous release:

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. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal. Use the community transmission immediately below.

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:

West Coast, and Midwest are all red. More and more orange (“substantial”) on the East Coast. Great Plains speckled with yellow and blue.

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Very volatile.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,038,900 1,038,385. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

• Optimism:

Let’s wait until the reinfections — the reinfections that the Biden Administration has built into the system through its Let ‘Er Rip policy — begin to kick in.

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Supply Chain: This is a cheap shot at the young person:

Who created the situation? Who set up the supply chain? Who profited? For some reason, they are not in the picture at all.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 23 Extreme Fear (previous close: 19 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 20 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 22 at 2:16 PM EDT.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 188. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.)

The 420

Combining one’s pleasures:

Book Nook

“Do you take us for a gang of brainless lizards?” [Letters of Note]. • Rejection letters. T.S. Eliot’s rejection letter to George Orwell is clarifying.

Zeitgeist Watch

Great metaphor…. For something:

“Buy Now, Pay Later Is Exploding in Popularity as Experts Warn of Overspending Risks” [Bloomberg]. • Another metaphor…..

Class Warfare

“What the Right Doesn’t Get About the Labor Left” [Sohrab Ahmari, Compact]. Well worth a read, though a bit dyspeptic on masks as a cultural marker. “America’s class structure isn’t all that complicated. Those who wish to map its contours would be better served by examining things like labor markets and capital flows than critical theory. Roughly speaking, there is the top 0.1 percent, the largest owners of capital; the top 1.1 percent, composed of Wall Street executives and other high managers; and the top 5 to 10 percent of professionals who service the assets of the first two groups. The bottom 90 percent, meanwhile, comprises blue-collar workers, nonmanagerial workers, non-college-educated workers, and downwardly mobile college-educated ones. That last group is the target of much right-wing ire, because its members often share the cultural views of the upper 10 percent. Indeed, those who work in media, information, and education often serve as the frontline enforcers of elite ideology. Even so, the wages of that last cohort have remained stagnant for about 30 years, all the more painful for a generation brought up to believe that a college degree is the pathway to a stable life. By any serious material measure, no one in the bottom 90 percent can be counted a part of the ruling class. To suggest otherwise is to stretch the notion beyond recognition. Yet so much of what passes for “class analysis” on the New Right is premised on the notion that the college-educated precariat is in the driver’s seat of the national economy, of politics and culture.” • Note that he mostly trashes the left (and here I don’t mean liberals) using (facile) cultural tropes, but his criticism of the right is strategic.

“The maddening saga of how an Alzheimer’s ‘cabal’ thwarted progress toward a cure for decades” [STAT]. From 2019, but highly reminscent of the droplet goons: ” The most influential researchers have long believed so dogmatically in one theory of Alzheimer’s that they systematically thwarted alternative approaches. Several scientists described those who controlled the Alzheimer’s agenda as ‘a cabal.’ In more than two dozen interviews, scientists whose ideas fell outside the dogma recounted how, for decades, believers in the dominant hypothesis suppressed research on alternative ideas: They influenced what studies got published in top journals, which scientists got funded, who got tenure, and who got speaking slots at reputation-buffing scientific conferences. This stifling of competing ideas, say a growing number of scholars, is a big reason why there is no treatment for Alzheimer’s. (The four approved drugs have no effect on the disease, providing only a temporary memory boost.)” • So there’s [genuflects] Science, and then there’s actually existing science.

News of the Wired

“Tear out your lawn, check. Drought-tolerant plants, check. Next up: recycled water” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘If we’re going to adapt to climate change, we need to recognize the impacts on the region, which means longer dry cycles and extreme rain events, so when it rains, it will rain more intensely,’ said Melanie Winter, founder and director of the River Project, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the Los Angeles River watershed. ‘We’re basically looking at aridification and flood.’ At a minimum, this means we should be installing gutters on our roofs, permeable walks and driveways around our homes and storage tanks in our yards — not barrels, because they’re not big enough to hold the water that pours off a roof in a single rainfall, Winter said.” • Interesting. Do any readers have projects like this underway?

* * *

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 ChiGal:

ChiGal writes: “Snake in the garden: taken during a walk on Wooded Isle in Jackson Park, where the red crane in the background is the only tell of how close the sprawling construction site for Obama’s monument to his own ego is….”

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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

    You need to close a bold tag. Should be right after the paragraph on Realignment and Legitimacy.

    On Edit; Looks like you found it – sorry.

  2. Toshiro_Mifune

    The bill does not ban assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines or significantly expand background-check requirements for gun purchases, reforms that were top Democratic priorities a decade ago. But it does give states more resources to take guns away from dangerous individuals, even if they haven’t been convicted of a crime, and provides billions of dollars in funding for mental health treatment

    The mental health treatment is nice… I suppose. The rest? They punted it to local authorities who certainly have the option to not do anything at all.

    1. Kitty

      Local authorities, and taxpayers, are supposed to take care of and fund services to homeless from all over America. What’s the difference?

    2. flora

      and, you know, who defines the definition of “dangerous individuals”. Not a trivial question in these hyper-partisan times.

    3. ambrit

      Why does the “mental health” component of this ring Soviet Era alarm bells in my head? Find possible enemies, declare them “mentally unbalanced,” and institutionalize them, where anything goes.

      1. JBird4049

        This is something that worries me as well. It is not the efforts to control “dangerous individuals” with gun control, but rather who is enforcing those laws. I mean who wants to have murderous individuals running around with guns? But it is the who on whom rather than the what that also worries me.

        The Soviet Union is not the only country to use questionable enforcement of the law to control dissidents; the United States not only used the law to suppress dissent, but also to minorities. Not only gun control but also such as The War on Drugs and redlining of housing were aimed directly at Blacks.

        I guess it corruption and the growing return of the use of the legal system to control the population in general and dissent in particular that is my real concern.

  3. Wukchumni

    “Tear out your lawn, check. Drought-tolerant plants, check. Next up: recycled water” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘If we’re going to adapt to climate change, we need to recognize the impacts on the region, which means longer dry cycles and extreme rain events, so when it rains, it will rain more intensely,’ said Melanie Winter, founder and director of the River Project, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the Los Angeles River watershed. ‘We’re basically looking at aridification and flood.’ At a minimum, this means we should be installing gutters on our roofs, permeable walks and driveways around our homes and storage tanks in our yards — not barrels, because they’re not big enough to hold the water that pours off a roof in a single rainfall, Winter said.” • Interesting. Do any readers have projects like this underway?

    I went to a coin show in Long Beach, Ca. in 2007 and lo and behold an old Aussie numismatist friend from Melbourne happened to be in attendance and we chewed the fat catching up with one another’s comings and goings, it had been many years since we’d laid eyes upon one another.

    They were in the grips of the Millennium Drought which went from 2000 to 2009, and he related how judiciously they had to save water, including a catch basin for the once a week quickie showers leftovers to keep a few plants somewhat alive, and he told me that since they were getting the dregs from the reservoir, it caused his wife’s hair to get all stringy when she shampooed it, and the most interesting thing he imparted was that rather all of the sudden on rooftops all over Melbourne, everybody had put 50 gallon catch basins, no way-now how were they going to miss out on a rainfall, and a little bit of ‘Roof of Dreams’ if you build it the rain will come.

    1. thistlebreath

      Friends of the Los Angeles River recently resigned from the river re imagine task force. They were the founding force behind it and had thought their soft bed would prevail. Frank Ghery’s design won out. The Army Corps of Engineers kvelled until they feinted. All concrete, all the time. Development up to and over the river on cantilevered platforms. All the fresh water still empties into the Pacific. Mission accomplished.

      1. Wukchumni

        …the SoCalist movement is funny

        Surfers shut down a proposed desalination plant, the chairmen of the boards having more pull than freshwater at this point, home owners anguish over what’s the right thing to do-using 19% more than usual, and all the while the constant drip drip drip of lessened resources

  4. Anthony G Stegman

    How does it make any sense to install permeable sidewalks and driveways while also installing tanks to collect runoff? The runoff should percolate through the permeable material and into the aquifers below. Replenishing the over-drafted aquifers should be a top priority. That and deep sixing turf lawns everywhere.

    1. nippersdad

      You are still going to have to water just to establish anything you might plant, so collecting rainwater from the roof is a good way of doing that without using treated water from the hose.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Having water tanks attached to roofs is pretty standard here in Oz. We have a 25 metric ton tank attached to our house roof and during the recent heavy rains, it was overflowing. We also have a 5 ton tank attached to our shed and if it rains very heavy, it fills up very quick. That is a lot of water that is now available for what you want to use around the home for. And in heavy rains there is still run-off.

      1. Lost in OR

        The metric ton is an interesting metric for water tanks. Do you think in metric tons or subconsciously convert to liters or cubic meters or whatever?

        1. The Rev Kev

          When we got them they were listed as being for example 25,000 liters which is about 6,600 US liquid gallons. And 25,000 liters is 25 tons (actually “tonnes”) so I used 25 tons as it is very roughly equivalent to a US ton. Problem is I went through my whole school career learning imperial measures like pounds, ounces, etc, but just as I finished high school, the country switched to metric which was hardly taught. And when I do research, I find that I have to think in those old Imperial values in doing so which means a sort of “doublethink.” :(

  5. douglas cracraft

    I bought a used trailer, live in a friend’s compound – it’s illegal to live in a trailer anywhere in huge, mostly rural Nevada County, CA, by the way, but the county isn’t doing anything unless someone complains. it’s the only way I could afford to live here in Grass Valley. But to the recycling water idea – no sewer hook up for me, so I bought a homemade composting toilet on eBay for $350, and I pump the grey water – from sinks and shower – out from a sump pump to whatever part of the yard needs watering. I thought it would be an inconvenience, but I love being self-contained. using the water twice. it’s illegal, of course, when it should be mandatory. if we had a functioning state.

    1. Laughingsong

      Strange, back in the 70’s drought in California, we redirected the washing machine outflow to a series of large tubs and watered the garden (NOT the lawn, just the flowers and stuff), and it was then encouraged. Of course one needs to be careful what soap one used, and how much.

      I wonder when it became illegal…..

        1. Laughingsong

          Thanks VERY much! We have debated xeriscaping the front yard, but recently we have been thinking about making it a mini food forest for people to avail themselves of. One of our cisterns is in the front along with a small rain barrel and useful grey water would help sustain it.

          1. Arizona Slim

            You’re welcome!

            And, pardon me, everyone, as I engage in a bit of self-promotion. I am photographing, writing, and designing a book about nature in the city. Will be including quite a bit of information about urban agriculture in the desert.

            1. jsn

              I can’t wait to see that!

              We do lots of urban Landscape Architecture, but the entire industry and the academy that populates it is hostage to the construction industry.

              It’ll be fantastic to see a real alternative perspective!

      1. Lost in OR

        The use of greywater is included in the International Plumbing Code (see here) and is accepted in many US states. Greywater use was pioneered in Portland, OR by Recode.

        Rainwater harvesting was pioneered in the US by Texas. Their valuable manual is available here.

  6. Arizona Slim

    Do any readers have projects like this underway? Yup.

    Among other things, I irrigate the fruit trees with greywater from the washing machine, I water the vegetable gardens with cistern water, and I watch the southeastern skies like a hawk. Why? Monsoon clouds! They’re coming! Rain is in our forecast!

    Yes, I am excited about the possibility of rain.

  7. Wukchumni

    Supply Chain: This is a cheap shot at the young person:
    I utilize tattoos on young adults to give me an idea of their visual net worth, and just from what’s shown on the backside of her legs, looks to be around $3350 and if you have tats on the back of your legs probably means you ran out of room on the front of your body, so i’m upping her visual net worth to over $10k.

  8. Adam Eran

    The article attributing January 6 to white supremacy and racism ignores the moral and economic motivation.

    The Obama administration got the presidency and both houses of congress thanks at least in part to public revulsion over the war crimes of Bush/Cheney (especially Iraq, which separated Obama from Hillary). But Obama not only didn’t prosecute those crime, he promoted the people who supervised torture and prosecuted the whistleblowers.

    Obama inherited (thanks to Clinton’s deregulation of Wall St.) what’s arguably the largest theft in human history: the subprime/derivatives scandal, now called “the Global Financial Crisis” (the GFC).

    In the previous biggest-ever bank scandal (the Savings & Loans), the Reagan / Bush 41 regulators filed 30,000+ referrals for criminal prosecution, and Justice Dept. prosecuted 1200+ cases with a 90% conviction rate. They got big fish too–Mike Milken and Charles Keating among them. Note: the S&Ls were by a wide margin the biggest financial/political scandal in U.S. history, far outdistancing Credit Mobilier and Teapot Dome. (sources: William K. Black, Martin Mayer)

    The GFC was 70 times larger than the S&Ls. Just bailing out a single Southern CA bank (IndyMAC) was more expensive than the entire S&L bailout.

    So…how many referrals for prosecution from the Obama regulators. Answer: zero! Even loyal Democrat Phil Angiledes who chaired a commission looking into the GFC expressed surprise at this supine response to a scandal that cost ten million homeowners their homes.

    Obama’s AG, Eric Holder, prosecuted about a dozen cases, all small fish. No one even went to jail (except for Bernie Madoff who turned himself in). Republican pollster Frank Luntz reports that the Obama administration was the first time he saw people weep in his focus groups. People were outraged that Wall St. got the gold mine and main street got the shaft.

    This breathtaking display of criminality got a response from the public, too, namely Trump, the anti-Obama. Why 70 million votes for Trump? (Trump won 74 million votes, nearly five million more than any previous presidential candidate) Says Thomas Greene (from Noteworthy): “Trump will not be defeated by educating voters, by exposing his many foibles and inadequacies. Highlighting what’s wrong with him is futile; his supporters didn’t elect him because they mistook him for a competent administrator or a decent man. They’re angry, not stupid. Trump is an agent of disruption — indeed, of revenge…..Workers now sense that economic justice — a condition in which labor and capital recognize and value each other — is permanently out of reach; the class war is over and it was an absolute rout: insatiable parasites control everything now, and even drain us gratuitously, as if exacting reparations for the money and effort they spent taming us. The economy itself, and the institutions protecting it, must be attacked, and actually crippled, to get the attention of the smug patricians in charge. Two decades of appealing to justice, proportion, and common decency have yielded nothing.”

    Disappointed by the conventional parties, Trump voters are willing to take a chance on a “disruptor” who his own party initially rejected. Meanwhile, Republicans are adaptive enough to embrace him as long as he helps them maintain their grip on power.

    So…when white men could get well-paid manufacturing jobs in the post-WWII period, afford stay-at-home spouses, college for their kids (who could graduate without significant debt even with a part-time job), get a defined-benefit pension, and have leisure and savings with just one worker in a household…well, it’s no surprise they yearn for the days when the U.S. was “great.”

    My point in this long post is to remind people that racism and white supremacy are distractions from the central fact that the current setup grinds labor to poverty. David Cay Johnston points out that real, median income for the bottom 90% has risen all of $59 since 1972. He says if that were an inch on a bar graph, the bar for the top 10% would be 141 feet high. For the top 0.1% would be five miles high.

    People understand they’re getting screwed. Racism (homophobia, tribalism, etc.) is misdirecting the blame. Why can’t the left (if there are any lefties left) muster a demonstration? Because the narrative directs their energy away from the real villains, blaming people with racist tendencies instead.

    1. Acacia

      Yep. The Obama-Trump voters. Estimates vary, but possibly 9 million? In any case, they helped to get Trump into office and, as you say, pretty much invalidate claims that the US just suddenly went full-on racist/xenophobic/hater and that’s why Trump got elected.

      However, as we’ve seen repeatedly, one of the jobs the PMC has taken on is to deflect any discussion of class into discussions of identity and prejudice.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      I think you’re conflating two different things. The best evidence that the racism argument is misdirection was Obama’s overwhelming re-election in 2012, but that is hard to square with your argument that Trump is/was a reaction to the failures of Obama (even though perhaps it should have been). Had Obama not been term-limited, I’m confident he would have crushed Trump in 2016 – for whatever reason, voters seemed to really like him (I think in part because he made them feel not-racist), and of course the donors really really loved him. The big difference in 2016 was that HRC was on the ballot. That’s where the revulsion was. And, no, I don’t think sexism is the reason she lost.

  9. drumlin woodchuckles

    About the cheap shot at the young person in the store photograph . . . . she is not even at the “fish” section. Every choice in the photograph is some kind of non-aqua-based item.

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      I noticed that. What is the intended message ? You’re a hypocrite if you express environmental sentiments and use a supermarket ? Real environmentalists forage for wild yams ?

  10. Geo

    “If progressives really want to learn something from January 6th they ought to ask themselves why the right are willing to travel across the country and break into the Capitol while they can’t get more than a handful of people to protest anything.”

    My two cents from both being part of protests and observation: The actual activist organizations on the left were effectively infiltrated, prosecuted, and persecuted by police, feds, and the media. Whereas, the 1/6 protestors had to literally be crawling through a broken down door into the same room with elected reps before force was used against them. Months earlier we saw tear gas and force used against BLM protests on the streets blocks from there.

    Similarly, we saw the Bundy family and their sovereign citizen pals have multiple armed standoffs and take over gov buildings with nowhere near the overwhelming force used against them as oil pipeline protestors.

    I remember being caged in “free speech zones” during protests back in the Bush era. Don’t remember Tea Partiers being penned in those spaces, nor the Virginia “khaki brigades” or so many other right wing protests. Remember Occupy protestors getting pepper sprayed like gnats for merely protesting. Never saw antimask protestors getting pepper sprayed (would be ironic though!).

    Not the only reason of course. A lot of the “left” protest movement has been co-opted, commodified, and corporatized. The Obama era neutered it too. But, it’s clear that protests which actually challenge power dynamics are crushed with the full force of our militarized police and fed. The right wing ones that support entrenched power dynamics are chaperoned by police forces and only tamped down when they overstep and create bad optics for their movements.

    Lastly, right wing protests often have the backing and support of billionaires and major news networks. Usually the Mercers but many others too. Tea Party had lots. Anti-mask/anti-lockdown had lots. The real left protests (not pink p**sy hat protests) have Susan Sarandon at most. Fox News promotes most right wing protests. MSNBC denounces them (Ed Shultz was the last host who positively covered left wing movements that I recall).

    TL;DR: the systemic power structures support right wing protest movements and crush left wing ones.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Please tell those poor folks in Racine WI about how the systemic power structures crushed their left wing “protests” (that looked like riots to me).

      You make some good points, but I don’t think it is as easy as right wing supported / left wing crushed… and oddly enough, I’ve heard conservative come to exactly the opposite conclusion. I don’t agree with them either

    2. marym

      The BAR critique of establishment Democrats and establishment-aligned progressives was well stated. The comment that the left can’t get large numbers to protest in DC was inexplicable.

      To your summary of the differences in how protesters are treated by cops, media, and the segment of the political establishment that supposedly shares some of their concerns, I would add:

      Unlike protest on the (broadly defined) left, the Capitol riot was over an issue – “voter/election fraud” generated by elites, who were actively pursuing the same objective in courts and state and federal government as the protesters were on the ground.

  11. Laughingsong

    “Interesting. Do any readers have projects like this underway?”

    We’ve had 1100 gallons worth of catchment above-ground cisterns for a few years now (non-potable). I found some low-pressure soaker hoses and I turn those on in the dry season first. Each of the cisterns has a level gauge so I know when they are depleted.

    It requires gutter guards and a piping scheme with a”first-flush” reservoir that I empty just before the rains return; it’s due to all the crap that builds up on a roof in the summer that you don’t want in your tank. Also, you can’t use that herbicide stuff on your roof to keep the moss down so it will need to be cleaned more often.

    You also have to check state and municipal laws; it wasn’t legal to put rain catchment systems in until 2009 here in Oregon.

    You can find information and installers in your area here:

  12. drumlin woodchuckles

    About the “catch-many” term “warblers” . . .

    There are three different families of perching birds called “warblers”.

    The “New World Wood Warblers” . . .

    And the “Old World Warblers” . . . Sylviidae

    And there is a mainly Old World bird with the word “warbler” in its name . . . the Arctic Warbler . . . which also has a population in Alaska. It is in family Phylloscopidae
    ( I gather that the “phylloscopids” in general are called “leaf warblers, though the Arctic warbler is just called “warbler” without the word “leaf” in its name.


    For all I know there may be perching birds from yet other families with the word “warbler” randomly inserted into their names.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The ruby crowned kinglet has a very pretty song, too high-pitched high notes to be warbles. A combination of bright clean notes and high metallic picollo trills and stuff. I was hoping it was a new world outlier of the Old World Warblers, but it isn’t. Maybe one could cheat a bit by declaring it an honorary Old World Warbler in order to feature the song . . .

  13. NotTimothyGeithner

    ‘Because I am confident,

    Deep down he is a little boy, isn’t he? Biden is the President. I expect confidence at a minimum. That he needs to say this is an indicator of what he thinks.

  14. hemeantwell

    Re Bateson “It’s our beliefs about other people’s beliefs that hold us back sometimes.”

    This is true much more broadly than the issues of prejudice she’s concerned with.

    Public opinion polling almost never allows respondents to express nuanced and ambivalent beliefs. People either have an opinion or preference, or they don’t, and the choices are typically mutually exclusive. Sometimes, as on a LIkert scale, they can express opinion intensity, but that doesn’t not convey ambivalent content. To the extent that people rely on polling to gain an understanding of a “climate of opinion” beyond their everyday lives they are at the mercy of these crummy measures and the artifactual mentalities they give rise to. It’s possible to do way better, but more intensive interview techniques are costly and, I think, there’s a form of Gresham’s law at work where poll results serve as a kind of executive summary that can be quickly “known” without the hassle of digesting interviews.

  15. jr

    re: synthetic everything

    The Pritzker degenerates and a host of other parasites are devotees of the “transhumanism” ideology that see our humanity as a curse to be overcome. Fantasies of SSI’s, immortality, and an existence of ceaseless luxury consumption abound. The ultimate good is travel to bubbled resorts while all around them chaos and ruin proliferate.

    They are part and parcel of the “progress” fools linked the other day as well as the ghouls at the WEF. They are intellectually incestuous and as the writer on “progress studies” notes they are not “completionists”. They cherry pick ideas to suit their ends. In other words, they are uncritical, fearing that opposing points of view might shatter their paper thin thought structures.

    They are the sworn foes of spirituality and the enemies of the planet and all it’s progeny. They have to go away. Preferably yesterday.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      “The Billionaire Family Pushing Synthetic Sex Identities …”:
      I think this issue makes a nice poster child for why wealth should be heavily taxed to remove the great power such wealth confers.

      1. LifelongLib

        Not quite the same thing, but there’s an alternative history short story in which Hitler inhales a little more mustard gas, and instead of being a spell-binding orator is a street person mumbling stuff that nobody understands. People think he’s funny. At the end he’s found dead on a park bench and a Jewish shopkeeper adopts his dogs. Would that it had been so…

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Another one of the clan is Rachel Pritzker of the Breakthrough Institute:

      Rachel is a board member of the Energy for Growth Hub, a global nonprofit network designed to promote energy solutions aligned with countries’ own development ambitions by connecting data, research, and evidence with policymakers, and a board member of Third Way, a national think tank that champions modern center-left ideas. Rachel is a co-author of An Ecomodernist Manifesto, which outlines a powerful alternative approach to climate mitigation and human development. Her TED Talk on ecomodernism offers new frameworks for moving civilization beyond a dependence on natural resources, and her TEDxBeaconStreet Talk, Energy Myths: Climate, Poverty, and a Reason to Hope, illuminates a path to protecting the environment while moving billions of people out of poverty. Rachel attended Brown University, where she majored in Latin American studies.

      These are allies of Gates in his efforts to redesign Earth: Frankenplants; lots of glyphosate; and robot bees. They’re also pals with David Keith who wants to shoot sulfur in the sky every two years. A lot of this crazy crap is taking place at Harvard, which seems to be the EcoModernist’s HQ. They’re long on hubris.

  16. Mikel

    “The Billionaire Family Pushing Synthetic Sex Identities (SSI)” [The Tablet]
    “…These investments go toward creating new SSI using surgeries and drugs, and by instituting rapid language reforms to prop up these new identities and induce institutions and individuals to normalize them….”

    And there it is.

    As I said there will be money to be made from the transformations and undoing of transformations and so on.
    Remember Michael Jackson’s face!!

    And, sorry but, lots of red flags pop in my mind with this:
    Also in 2002, Jennifer Pritzker founded the Tawani Foundation, which has since provided funding to Howard Brown Health and Rush Memorial Medical Center in Chicago, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Foundation Fund, and the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Health, all of which provide some version of “gender care.” In the case of the latter, “clients” include “gender creative children as well as transgender and gender non-conforming adolescents …”

    1. anon y'mouse

      i thought there was a Disney heir that was also pushing some of this.

      what would the result of being “disembodied” mean for most people? no strong sense of self? easily blown with the winds of change and fashion and, most importantly, advertising? no center around which to construct one’s own morality or opinions?

      emptiness needing to be filled.

      1. Acacia

        what would the result of being “disembodied” mean for most people?

        A brain in a vat. The Gamesters of Triskelion. The Brain from the Planet Arous. Gault’s Brain. Etc.

        Or maybe the new (and otherwise horrible) remake of Ghost in the Shell, which involves dismemberment of the body because it’s just the shell.

      2. JBird4049

        >>>what would the result of being “disembodied” mean for most people? no strong sense of self? easily blown with the winds of change and fashion and, most importantly, advertising? no center around which to construct one’s own morality or opinions?

        No center means no self control, which means that you are easy for others to control; I am not quite up to believing that some of this insanity is to make it easier to exploit and control the population, but the idea does make me go hmmm.

  17. Carla

    Has anyone else tried NONs (also called Enovid) — the antiviral nasal spray? We ordered it from Israel and have been using it as a Covid preventative with so-far good results. Very curious whether other NC-ers have tried it and what your experience was. It seems to be subject to an MSN blackout, and there’s no recent info on it from Israel that I can find, either. I first learned of it here of course:


    1. Daryl

      Yes, I have.

      It’s hard to say what my experience is, really. I used it while on a trip to San Francisco and did not take ill when several of my coworkers did after the trip, however I also took other precautions (masked when indoors, eating outdoors mostly). I’ve experienced no side effects, and intend to continue using it. There is an ongoing study on using it as a preventative that I am excited for the results of, expected sometime in November IIRC.

    2. lambert strether

      > Has anyone else used NONS?

      I have. I generally give myself a spritz when I come home after breathing other people’s air. No Covid so far, but I have a lot of confounders. Like other unnameable preventatives, it’s cheap and risk free, hence a no-brainer. It’s a little harsh.

      1. Carla

        Thanks, Daryl and Lambert, for replying. We also mask when in indoor public venues, and never eat at restaurants except on their patios. When we attended a family gathering a couple of months ago, for which everyone was asked to test before coming, we spritzed before leaving home and immediately upon returning. A couple of relatives tested positive the next day, but we did not. I now spritz with Enovid at least once a day, but also before and after being in “higher risk” situations. That means, for us, higher risk than outdoors, or than being in our home with up to two others.

    3. Jason Boxman

      Looks hard to get in the US; Out of stock at Bezos with no ETA for any more. I found an Israeli pharmacy web site that sells it and a site dedicated to selling it, but who knows if these are legit. It’s actually much easier to get IVM; Who would have thought?

      Times of Israel also has a discussion from March:

      ‘Life-saving’ nose spray that kills 99.9% of viruses begins production in Israel

      The claim on the packaging is based on testing in labs, during which a range of live viruses, including influenza and SARS-CoV-2, were subjected to the spray. She acknowledged that the experiments took place outside the human body, in test tubes, and do not provide definitive proof of how effective the spray will prove in nasal passages — though she said they are very encouraging.

      Separate research, which isn’t referenced on the packaging, has suggested that the spray can lessen the impact of COVID-19 among those who are infected.

      Last week, SaNOtize and Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey, UK, announced results of clinical trials indicating that the spray could prevent the transmission of COVID-19, shorten its course, and reduce the severity of symptoms and damage in those already infected. The study has been submitted to a leading medical journal for review and publication.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the spray coats the surface of the nasal passage to where the covid virus would have to fight its way through the layer of spray to get to the membrane cells beneath and beyond, it seems entirely plausible and believable that it should work in the nose as well as in the lab or in theory.

        If it stays on the nasal lining surface long enough to intercept every covid virus as it enters and makes contact.

        And of course if an infection starts with just one virus as against 10 or a thousand or a billion, it is replicating from such a low start that the body’s immune system may indeed be able to catch up and get ahead of it while it is still trying to colonize the nose.

    4. GramSci

      Thank you, Carla, we’ve been using Enovid ever since you recommended it here 6 weeks (?) ago. So far so good: 9 of our local family of 16 have gotten Covid since then, but we have not. But as Lambert says, there are confounders.

    5. ChiGal

      thanks for providing the link to the original discussion, Carla, and for specifying what you ordered. I have now ordered some as well as I have been meaning to do for a while.

    6. Lunker Walleye

      May I ask where you bought NONs/Enovid and if you need a Rx? I looked at the dreaded Amazon and they are sold out. To order from Israel you need a Rx. Thanks for any info.

      1. LilD

        I got it from buyenov.com
        Seems like it is legitimate. No Rx needed in March

        I use it before going to risky environments ( so, I don’t use it often…)
        So far, as the saying goes, so good but with plenty of confounders therefore not data
        And barely an anecdote

      2. Carla

        Enovid is OTC, no Rx needed. I refuse to buy from Amazon for any reason and purchased Enovid online from buyenov.com in Israel. Yes, it’s pricey at about $62.50 for a month’s supply, but shipping is either free or very cheap (can’t remember) and quite fast. In all honesty, there’s plenty left in the vial at the end of the month, and although they say to throw it out, I stretch my month to about 6 weeks.

        Thanks, everyone, for pitching in here with your experiences!

      3. GramSci

        I didn’t need an Rx; I just provided israelpharm.com with an arbitrary doctor’s name, probably for their junk mail promo list.

          1. Carla

            Thanks! That will save me quite a bit when it’s time to re-order, as I paid about $62 per 25 ml at buyenov.com.

    7. Jason Boxman

      Clinical Study Suggests SaNOtize Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray Is Effective at Preventing COVID-19 after High-Risk Exposure

      The study was carried out during an emergency effort by the University to contain an Omicron outbreak in February, 2022. Medical personnel, students, and professors (1,039 individuals, aged 18-60) were quarantined in dormitories after possible COVID-19 exposure. Individuals were included in the current analysis if they had confirmed high-risk exposure to a COVID-19 infected roommate (defined as being within one to two meters of the infected individual for at least five minutes without a mask). NONS was offered to staff and students who reported exposure.

      The study will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

      I look forward to that.

    8. kareninca

      I’ve been using Xlear nasal spray, and so far, so good (but I do also use other preventatives, including “I”). But Xlear contains xylitol, and I’ve had an upset stomach for a while, so I wanted a change. Enovid seemed expensive to me, at over $60 a month, so I’ve ordered Povidone Iodine Nasal Spray and Nasal Spray with Iota Carrageenan; about $50 including shipping for the two; they are by a company called ePothex. I wonder if anyone here has tried those products.

        1. bwilli123

          I’m in Australia. I use Betadine gargle (povidine iodine) and dilute it 50% for nasal spray. All good so far.

  18. nippersdad

    “…the Pritzkers will no doubt heavily fund the Democrat Party in 2022 and 2024, too, so hold on to your hats.”

    I had gotten the impression last week that Pritzker, like Bloomberg in ’20, was thinking about just eliminating the middleman. Though he denies it, seems like New Hampshire is a strange place to lobby for the Democratic party convention in Chicago when you can just call up a lackey in Washington.

  19. drumlin woodchuckles

    That covid-zombies picture on Twitter near the top of this post is a pretty neat meme. If the level-of-detail permits it, it would be even better if half the zombies were wearing MAGA hats and the other half were wearing Fauci tee shirts.

  20. scarnoc

    >Interesting. Do any readers have projects like this underway?
    We are in Southern California. We have rain catchment on the house and on the outbuildings, and 56000 gallons of cistern storage. I’d like to double it, and will do so if time permits. For anyone interested, I recommend Brad Lancaster’s work. All volumes of “Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond” are excellent. David Bainbridge’s ‘Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration’ is also of use.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I have both of Lancaster’s rainwater harvesting books. I concur with scarnoc’s recommendation. Haven’t read the Bainbridge book — yet.

  21. scarnoc

    Margaret Kimberly’s article about 1/6 at Black Agenda Report proves once again that it is one of the only western media sources worth reading. I miss Glen Ford’s short radio commentaries. God rest his beautiful soul.

    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      I think Kimberley’s article is mistaken because it does not take into account two important aspects of the hearings

      1/The coordination of the mob action with the effort to get politicians to reject election results and insert fake electors – much more extensive than was previously known

      see a New York Times video about the Capitol breach – 17 minutes long – referenced at https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/17/us/politics/proud-boys-jan-6.html

      2/So much of the testimony at the televised hearing is coming from Republicans – Bill Barr, state officials, etc.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        On coordination, so far as I know, nobody has shown why Congress would not simply move the certification process to another location at another time, regardless of how much illegal parading was going on. (I won’t be watching the video, because (a) it’s time-consuming, and (b) digital evidence is not evidence, especially when prepared with an eye toward the midterms.) As for the Proud Boys, we’ll know, I suppose, in the Fall, since Justice, due to the Committee hearings themselves, has postponed their trial until then.

        On Republicans, I think the premise is that these are reluctant admissions, when in fact we’re seeing one outcome of a war within the Republican Party. So I don’t see the relevance. (The one exception I’d make is state officials who happen to be Republicans. As it happens, I think the worst thing Trump did was hassling them; that should never happen. Kimberley might have mentioned that, but the theme of the piece is indicated in the headline: “The January 6th Scam.” The focus is not on the theory of the case, but Democrat scamming, which is happening and independent of the theory of the case).

  22. Michael Ismoe

    Mission Accomplished:

    “In the past 24 hours, there has been an uptick in the number of violent threats against lawmakers on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and all lawmakers on the committee are likely to receive a security detail,” the Washington Post reports.

    How often do you have to be elected 4th Grade class president before you get your own security detail? They are in more danger than Liz Cheney.

  23. Carolinian

    Rejection letters…this is the funniest

    Office of Admissions

    Dear Sir/Madam:

    Having now reviewed the many rejection letters received in the last few weeks, it is with great regret that I must inform you I am unable to accept your rejection at this time.

    This year, I applied to a great number of fine colleges and universities and, of course, received many rejection letters. Unfortunately, the number of rejections that I can accept is very limited. It is for that reason that I was forced to reject the rejection letters of many qualified institutions.

    This was not an easy task. Each rejection was reviewed carefully and on an individual basis. Many factors were taken into account, such as the size of the institution, student-faculty ratio, location, reputation, cost and social atmosphere.

    I am certain that most of the colleges I applied to are more than qualified to reject me. I am also sure that some mistakes were made, but I hope they were few in number.

    I am aware of the disappointment this decision may bring, for these were not easy judgements. Throughout my deliberations, I have kept in mind the importance to you of this decision. I wish it were possible to cite specific reasons for each of the determinations I have made but, frankly, it is not.

    It was even necessary for me to reject some letters that were clearly qualified as rejections. This is surely my loss.

    I appreciate your having enough interest in me to reject me, and, although it may seem inappropriate to you at this time, let me take the opportunity to wish you well in what I am sure will be a highly successful academic year.

    See you all in the fall!

    Sincerely, Paul Devlin Applicant at Large

  24. Pelham

    Re CNN bailing on “the Big Lie”: I’ve been out of big-league journalism for more than a decade, so my memory may be fuzzy, but I can’t imagine any reporter in those bygone days would have used the word “lie” in any but perhaps an historical context. Nor would an editor at any level let such a usage pass.

    Today, it’s all over the place, plus a good deal worse. When challenged, I can offer only a weak defense of pre-Trump and pre-internet journalism, which was biased and unhelpfully selective in its own ways. But by comparison with today’s garbage spew, it was a wonder.

  25. Lex

    No water collection projects underway for me. But I live a few blocks from the largest body of fresh water on the planet, so it’s a low priority (and we still get plenty of rain). I’d install gutters and rain barrels but snowload tends to rip them off roofs here unless they’re over-engineered and they’re an ice dam hazard too.

    I’mma say it again. The hierarchy of controls puts engineering controls above PPE for a reason and ventilation is an engineering control. How and why the USG can’t even mine the depths of its own rules and recommendations is beyond me. I’ll also point out that woodworkers have been taping a furnace filter to the inlet side of a box fan to control shop dust for generations. I half wonder if either Corsi or Rosenthal are hobby woodworkers …

    I’m not denigrating the C-R box. The box form will do a better job with aerosol virus particles than filter on fan because the flow through the filter will be slower, which will help the filter capture particles that are smaller than its rated to capture, and the orientation of the fan relative to the filters is far better for air capture and redistribution.

  26. clarky90

    Re; “When i delivered papers early morning in the snow, i’d walk backwards….”

    I only drive my car every few weeks, but I take the bus into town most days. My bus stop is at the bottom of a steep street that I climb to get home. (about one city block long). I always walk up this homeward street, backwards. It is usually in the dark so I am aware of the very rare, approaching car. I look behind occationally for pedestrians on the sidewalk, but hardly anybody walks anymore.

    I am healing a slightly sore knee that has bothered me for years. Also, walking backwards is a surprising POV. Akin to being in the backseat of the car when one is little,…… looking out the back car window, and watching the road and landscape, as it recedes into the distance (the past?).

    I invite anyone to join this enterprise. It is surprisingly different, healthy, helpful, fun, mind expanding, cheap, slightly dangerous, quirky, environmentally sound, entertaining/baffling for any random observers …….! Have a go.

    I learned about this from “The Kneesovertoesguy”.


  27. Jason Boxman

    Swell people: Nancy Pelosi’s Napa: Wealthy Friends and a Husband’s Porsche Crash

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi had just urged Brown University graduates to stay resilient and summon their “better angels” on Memorial Day weekend when she was forced to turn her attention to a less uplifting situation: her husband’s arrest in California.

    The details emerging from the incident were not especially flattering.

    Seriously wealthy people. No surprise she loves her some capitalism.

    Her losing the speakership in the next Congress might be about the only highlight of the midterms.

  28. alex morfesis

    alzheimers…what’s that ???…oh…the mutation of Pellagra ??…trash me if you want but methinx rather comfortably there is a direct correlation with the origin of the use of corn syrup instead of sugar in our foods and the mess we commonly call alzheimers; which I call a mutation of Pellagra…the wonderful folks at global fragrance and favors have never much given a rats (family blog) about humans…”tastes good…it woykz…let’s make it happen”…b3/niacin is my response to the mystery of “alzheimers”…nixtamalization…plenty of research already done long ago…but a simple solution would never be profitable….

    1. SocalJimObjects

      Russell Brand had a great Tweet the other day. “The problem with following the science is that the science follows the money” or something like that.

  29. The Rev Kev

    Looks like the US Embassy in Moscow is getting a new address. It is now going to be “Donetsk People’s Republic Square” which is going to make some people at Foggy Bottom flip out. I guess that this is retaliation for when Washington authorities named the square outside the Russian embassy after Boris Nemtsov who was killed a coupla years ago on that bridge in Moscow-


  30. Rainlover

    Water collection projects: My daughter and family live in New South Wales AU. When they built their house, their permits required them to put in two huge water tanks and an elaborate water collection system that begins with the gutters. It collects even the dew that forms on the metal roof at night. They also have a biodigester that deals with the house black and gray water and sprays the cleansed product onto the lawn, plants, wherever they move the hose. The system has a lot of moving parts and requires regular maintenance, not to mention occasional sorties into the night to clean the insects out of the tank filters. One tank is for rainwater, the other for bore water for fire fighting. Nothing like drinking and showering in pure rainwater. This year the rainwater tank is overflowing because they’ve had so much rain, but in the not too recent past, they were anxiously monitoring the tank level and praying for rain. They are lucky to have access to bore water in a pinch.

    Here’s another method of rainwater harvesting used in permaculture:


    Requires more sweat equity, but perhaps less maintenance. Fascinating subject.

  31. Rodeo Clownfish

    Zombie movies are not really pandemic movies. That’s just a Hollywood metaphor for class revolution. Zombies are the poor people, who are feared because they are numerous and may someday rise up and overwhelm the comfortable world of those above them on the socioeconomic ladder. Eat the rich, indeed.

    The movie plots are usually similar. Non-zombies, who can readily identify each other (as rich people can do), seek to withdraw from the zombie world into hideouts or enclaves in hope that the zombies cannot survive long without fresh victims. Occasionally a cure is sought, but that is just hoped to restore the zombies (the poors) back to their former docile participation in society. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, followed the zombie plot to a “T”; the author’s contempt for the poor was in the same level as seeing them as zombies. All that was missing was the appetite for braiiiins…..

    1. hunkerdown

      Astute, thank you. In Train to Busan the working-class guy saved the rich guy’s life at the risk of his own. By upgrading in that same fashion the working-class living guy to a representative of a middle-class, an interesting class collaboration dynamic is revealed (or engineered?).

      The hyperliterate precariat do enjoy a nice helping of brains, let it be said.

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