2:00PM Water Cooler 6/27/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, a bit more shortly. The disintegration of our Covid data gathering capabilities is making me think too much. –lambert UPDATE Finished!

Bird Song of the Day

Common Nightingale, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom. Time for some musicality!

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“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson

Roe v. Wade

UPDATE Thanks, Obama, for installing Biden:

UPDATE More flaccidity:

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“Florida’s GOP stays vague about abortion; Gillum indicted and defiant; Surfside remembers” [Miami Herald]. “Democrats, beleaguered after electoral and legislative losses in the past four years, hope the issue will mobilize voters to break the mid-term trend and show up at the ballot box…. Republicans, fresh off a legislative session in which they pushed through a ban on abortions after 15 weeks that mirrors the Mississippi ban, could go further and outlaw most abortions entirely…. But consider this: the majority of Floridians oppose the state’s new abortion law. And a May survey by Florida Atlantic University showed 67% of Floridians want abortion to remain legal in either all or most cases, including 85% of Democrats, 52% of Republicans and — this is significant — 63% of independents. After the ruling, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he would ‘work to expand pro-life protections.’ But he was careful not to provide any specifics about what that would mean. Will voters demand specifics answers about what’s next? Unless the issue becomes a litmus test for voter support, watch conservative abortion opponents keep their positions vague in advance of the November mid-term elections.” • Should be interesting. For the “vague” scenario to work, the Christian Right will have to be magnanimous in victory, and not over-reach. Neither seems likely to me. OTOH, I would bet the the “litmus test” will vary by the state. DeSantis and Abbot (for example) might keep their positions vague. A smaller and redder state might well outlaw all abortion, including in cases of rape and incest. Democrats will then try to make that small state a synecdoche for the Republican Party as a whole. Key question: What will suburban women, especially the non-working class white women both parties covet, think?

“What to Expect in a Post-Roe World” [Jonathan Turley]. “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Vice President Harris and other Democrats continue to claim that the court was taking the country back to the last century. The image of criminalized homosexuality, marriage bans and contraception limits is unnerving — but also untrue. In the Dobbs decision, the court’s majority expressly, repeatedly rejects the application of this holding to these other rights. Indeed, it is relatively rare to see the court go to this extent to proactively close off the use of a new case in future cases. The court said that ‘intimate sexual relations, contraception, and marriage’ are not impacted by its holding because ‘abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged.’ It noted that abortion is unique in dealing with ‘what those decisions called ‘fetal life’ and what the law now before us describes as an ‘unborn human being.’’ The court repeatedly stressed that those claiming the country will be put into a legal Wayback Machine are simply using the opinion ‘to stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil those other rights.’ It could not be more clear, as the court said, that ‘rights regarding contraception and same-sex relationships are inherently different from the right to abortion because the latter (as we have stressed) uniquely involves what Roe and Casey termed ‘potential life.'” • First, that’s not what Clarence Thomas believes (though granted his opinion is a concurring one. Second, trusting proven liars is generally a bad idea (“It’s my nature”). Third, I suppose, I suppose that, as an, er, prophylactic, we should research the Catholic teaching on all these matters, given the Catholic majority on the Court (their religion being shared by Biden and Pelosi, both of whom are noticeably non-energetic on this issue).

“SD gov: Bar abortion pills, but don’t punish women for them” [Associated Press]. “South Dakota’s Republican governor pledged on Sunday to bar mail-order abortion pills but said women should not face prosecution for seeking them. In apparent defiance of legal guidance by the Justice Department after the Supreme Court last week stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion, Kristi Noem indicated in national television interviews that she would put in place a plan approved by state lawmakers to restrict the pills. The majority ruling Friday by the court’s conservative justices triggered abortion bans in South Dakota and elsewhere. But Noem said doctors, not their patients, would likely be prosecuted for knowing violations of what would be one of the strictest laws on abortion pills in the United States. ‘I don’t believe women should ever be prosecuted,’ she said. ‘I don’t believe there should be any punishment for women, ever, that are in a crisis situation or have an unplanned pregnancy.’ At issue is mail-order or so-called telemedicine abortion pills, which have been on the rise in the country since 2000 when the Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone — the main drug used in medication abortions. More than 90% of abortions take place in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and more than half are now done with pills, not surgery, according to data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.”

UPDATE “Democrats agree to confirmations of 15 Trump judges” [Politico]. • So the pipeline is full with “professionally qualified” creatures from the Federalist Society. From 2018, still germane.

Capitol Seizure

UPDATE “The Radical Reign of Clarence Thomas” [MoDo, New York Times]. “While his wife ran around helping Trump with his coup, Thomas was the senior firebrand in a coup of extremists on the court. They yanked power away from John Roberts and are defying the majority will in this country in ways that are terrifying…. The court is out of control. We feel powerless to do anything about it. Clarence Thomas, of all people, has helped lead us to where we are, with unaccountable extremists dictating how we live. And that is revolting.” • Pretty loose use of the word “coup.” And the Supreme Court, for good or ill, is not a majoritarian institution. Good history of Thomas’s ascension the Court, though, including Biden’s role; MoDo was present for it all.

Biden Administration

“The Biden administration has dropped the ball on vaccine development” [Noah Smith, Noahpinion]. • I swore a blood oath never to quote Smith again, but “when you’ve lost Noah Smith…..” The deck: “Vaccines have saved tens of millions of lives. So why aren’t we making better ones?” And: “So the real problem here might be that our leadership, like some segments of the American populace, have simply decided that they’re “done with Covid”, even if the virus isn’t done with America. This is unacceptable. Vaccines are one of our most amazing accomplishments, and we’ve just decided to leave it in the past and rest on our laurels. Not the kind of thing a first-rate nation ought to do.” Well, as I keep saying, America isn’t a serious country (a.k.a. first-rate nation”). So this should come as no surprise. (Note that “better vaccines” includes sterilizing vaccines and/or nasal vaccines, neither of which is getting the “Operation Warp Speed” treatment. Biden didn’t so much “drop the ball” as “drop kick the ball out of the stadium entirely.” More: “So the real problem here might be that our leadership, like some segments of the American populace, have simply decided that they’re “done with Covid”, even if the virus isn’t done with America.” • Some segments certainly includes (the dominant players of) PMC, who are “vaxxed and done,” in their delusional minds, through a combination of high-on-their-own-supply trust in “the science” (or rather, scientists in the same class position as themselves), plus a desire to maintain or enhance their class position by resuming their climb up the professional ladder (as in superspreading events like conferences). And good heavens, let’s dump the kids back in the schools!

“‘YOU take YOUR seat’: Very specific cheat sheet reminds Biden how to act” [New York Post]. “President Biden on Thursday inadvertently held up a comically detailed cheat sheet prepared by his staff instructing the gaffe-prone leader of the free world to ‘take YOUR seat’ and to limit his remarks to ‘2 minutes.’… The prepared instructions for Biden — titled ‘Offshore Wind Drop-By Sequence of Events’ — tell Biden to “enter the Roosevelt Room and say hello to participants.’ Then, the paper says, ‘YOU take YOUR seat.’ The typed-up note says that after reporters arrive, ‘YOU give brief comments (2 minutes).’ When reporters depart, ‘YOU ask Liz Shuler, President, AFL-CIO, a question’ and then ‘YOU thank participants’ and ‘YOU depart.'” • Good staffwork, though!

“Joe Biden unwittingly helped finance Hunter’s trysts with Russia-linked escorts” [Washington Examiner]. “President Joe Biden apparently unwittingly financed his son’s participation in an escort ring tied to Russia, records from a copy of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop show. Hunter Biden spent over $30,000 on escorts, many of whom were linked to ‘.ru’ Russian email addresses and worked with an “exclusive model agency” called UberGFE during a 3 1/2 month period between November 2018 and March 2019. He managed to do so thanks in part to Joe Biden committing to wiring him a total of $100,000 to help pay his bills from December 2018 through January 2019. In one instance, Joe Biden wired his son $5,000 while he was actively engaged with an UberGFE escort…. There is no suggestion in these messages that Joe Biden knew what his son was spending his support payments on.” Joe Biden didn’t know his own son? More: “It is not clear who runs UberGFE. The group is not registered as a business entity anywhere in the United States, according to a Nexis public records search. The group claims on its website that it has staff in Ukraine, its site was created by developers from Kyiv, and its ‘head office of operators’ is in that country.” • Oh. No security issues here! (Also, Ukraine is crawling with CIA spooks. Are we really to believe that the CIA didn’t have UberGFE wired to the gills? (Not, of course, that the CIA would ever have used its data to muscle a President.)


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UPDATE PA: “Pa. primary election set voter turnout records. Here’s what else the data show.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “The 2022 Pennsylvania primary election — finally filed away in the history books after a recount — wasn’t just a wild political saga. It also set vote records. More Democrats and Republicans voted than in any midterm election primary in the last 25 years. Who those voters are, where they live, and which candidates they supported for Senate and governor show how the state’s political geography is shifting…. The parties’ long pattern of geographic self-segregation continues: Republicans are increasingly a rural and exurban party, while Democrats rely on urban and suburban voters. What’s less obvious, but equally important, is that there are also important geographic divides within the parties. Consider rural counties. They’ve always been more important in Republican primaries than in Democratic ones. But Democratic primary votes from rural counties now make up just one-sixth of the statewide total — half the share they did 20 years ago. By contrast, rural votes have consistently made up a third of the Republican primary electorate, even as overall turnout has increased and the rural population has significantly declined. Many of these voters were mobilized by Trump’s 2016 campaign and have stayed engaged. Philadelphia has long anchored the Democratic primary electorate, being between 15% and 20% of the vote. Republicans get less than 5% of their primary vote from Philly. But city turnout has been stagnating for both parties. For Republicans, Philly barely cracked the top 15 counties for primary votes this year. And while Democratic turnout set records, the proportion of statewide votes that came out of Philly was at a 10-year low. A repeat of that in November could be trouble for the party.” • This implies that Fetterman is right to pick up rural votes, at the margin.

UPDATE PA: Fetterman (1):

UPDATE PA: Fetterman (2):

Walking is good. Hitting the campaign trail would be better.


UPDATE “Gavin Newsom jumps onto the national stage and Bidenworld takes notice” [Politico]. “For weeks, an exasperated Gavin Newsom warned Democrats they need to more aggressively confront Republicans in the national culture wars he’s convinced his party is losing. In recent days, the California governor signaled to his team that, for now at least, what they’ve referred to internally as his “Paul Revere” phase has gone far enough. But the warnings turned a whisper campaign into something audible: Is the governor positioning himself for a White House run in 2024? … [Cedric Richmond, a former senior Biden White House official who recently transitioned to a top role in the Democratic National Committee] bristled at suggestions — advanced by Newsom and others — that Democrats aren’t taking the fight to Republicans on abortion and guns, and praised Biden for uniting the West against Russia, delivering baby formula and continuing to lead the response to Covid.” • So Biden’s gonna run on Ukraine and Covid? Let me know how that works out.

Democrats en Déshabillé

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

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“The Democrats’ Progressive Organization Problem” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. “The secret is out. Progressive organizations—nonprofits and advocacy groups—which form a vital part of the Democrats’ supportive ecosystem have become massively dysfunctional due to internal meltdowns, mission creep and maximalist goal-setting… A party that is serious about winning would be wise to start ignoring these organizations and concentrate on what is really important: connecting to the values and concerns of the broad majority of the American electorate. No doubt they’d get some flak from these organizations for doing so. But I suspect the trade-off in support where it really counts–among actual voters–would be very much worth it.” • The irony is that nobody did more to structure the NGO “ecosystem” as a bundle of identity-driven verticals than Ruy Teixeira; that’s the structure his “coalition of the ascendant” justified. (The inventors of “intersectionality,” which came into play when any of the verticals needed to meet in the same room, didn’t help any.)

UPDATE “It Is Time For Dems To Fear Their Own Voters” [David Sirota, Lever News]. “First, an admission. For most of my adult life, I’ve clung to a grand unifying theory: The only way to fight off right-wing fascism is to build not just a well-organized progressive movement, but to also mobilize rank-and-file apolitical Democratic voters to press their own party to deliver…. It wasn’t just external factors that undermined this effort to mobilize normies. It was a failure of an entire generation of operatives, activists, advocacy journalists, policy wonks, philanthropists, filmmakers, pundits, labor leaders, think tankers, Capitol Hill staff, and politicians in left-of-center politics — and I include myself in that group of failures…. Because this dynamic allowed Democratic leaders to never feel the heat of accountability, they never wielded their power to make a serious effort to avert the current nightmare. In many cases, they did the opposite.” But tellingly: “If Democratic base constituencies — college-educated white collars, communities of color, young people, etc. — went beyond merely voting in November and actually made demands of their Democratic lawmakers (and held them accountable in primaries), then maybe the party would pursue its purported agenda.” • Not the working class? David, David, David….

Realignment and Legitimacy


UPDATE Clever:


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.

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• ”COVID cognitive decline more widespread than thought, say researchers at Australia’s first long-COVID clinic” [ABC Australia]. “Hidden behind St Vincent’s hospital in Sydney there’s an unassuming grey building where some extraordinary research is happening. It’s here that the detailed medical data of 128 of Australia’s COVID veterans — who caught the original Alpha strain in early 2020 — is being picked apart and exhaustively analysed. The hope is that by tracking this cohort over years, Australia might contribute to the international effort to understand this fiendish virus and its short and long-term effects. And the team has found something startling. Around one quarter of the ADAPT study’s participants were experiencing noticeable cognitive decline a year after getting COVID…. [neuropsychologist and associate professor Lucette Cysique] emphasises that the cognitive decline recorded among most participants in the study is mild and they may not even notice it.” • Ah. “Mild.”

• ”Psychological underpinnings of pandemic denial - patterns of disagreement with scientific experts in the German public during the COVID-19 pandemic” [Public Understanding of Science]. “Two groups in the general public differed distinctively from expert evaluations. The Dismissive (8%) are characterized by low-risk assessment, low compliance with containment measures, and mistrust in politicians. The Doubtful (19%) are characterized by low cognitive reflection, high uncertainty in the distinction between true and false claims, and high social media intake. Our research indicates that pandemic denial cannot be linked to a single and distinct pattern of psychological dispositions but involves different subgroups within the general population that share high COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs and low beliefs in epistemic complexity.” • Hmm.

• ”SARS-CoV-2 aerosol transmission in schools: the effectiveness of different interventions” [Swiss Medical Weekly]. From the Abtract: “In the absence of interventions, the cumulative dose [of viruses absorbed by exposed occupants] absorbed was 1.5 times higher in winter than in spring/summer, increasing chances of indoor airborne transmission in winter. However, natural ventilation was more effective in winter, leading to up to a 20-fold decrease in cumulative dose when six windows were fully open at all times. In winter, partly opening two windows all day or fully opening six windows at the end of each class was effective as well (2.7- to 3-fold decrease). In summer, good ventilation levels could be achieved through the opening of windows all day long (2- to 7-fold decrease depending on the number of windows open). Opening windows only during yard and lunch breaks had minimal effect (≤1.5-fold decrease). One HEPA filter was as effective as two windows partly open all day in winter (3-fold decrease) whereas two filters were more effective (5-fold decrease). Surgical face masks were very effective independently of the season (8-fold decrease). Combined interventions (i.e., natural ventilation, masks, and HEPA filtration) were the most effective (≥25-fold decrease) and remained highly effective in the presence of a super-spreader.”

• Fine, fine, maybe there’s something to fomites and in any case it’s good to wash your hands:

But did they have to make the mask icon a surgical mask? What were they thinking? Who approved this? (Granted, from November 21; N95s were known to be most effective at that point.)

• Maskstravaganza: From the Times of London:

I agree with @KashPrime. I hate this timeline and I wish the showrunners would change it. And speaking of our stupid timeline–

“Expert puzzles – Mysterious cough disease keeps Sweden in suspense” [Today Times]. • It does?

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

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Case count for the United States:

The totals are more 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 ~ 99,600. Today, it’s 103,000, and 103,000 * 6 = a Biden line at 618,000. 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.

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 presentation. UPDATE Hoping against hope, I checked out 91-DIVOC again. Looks like it’s back. Phew! I will have time to look more tomorrow.

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker:

1.2%. (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 22:

STILL BROKEN Wastewater data (CDC), June 4 – June 18:

CDC’s wastewater chart is down again.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, regional (Biobot), June 8:

Out of date compared to Walgreens (below) but still showing doubling behavior.

NOT UPDATED 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. I looked for more charts: California doesn’t to a BA.4/BA.5 breakdown. New York does (BA.4/BA.5 is 27.7% as of June 18) but it, too, is on a molasses-like two-week cycle. Does nobody in the public health establishment gets a promotion for tracking variants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everybody gets the results from them? Additional sources from readers welcome [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk].

• ”What Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 variants mean for the pandemic” [Nature]. “The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are spiking globally because they can spread faster than other circulating variants — mostly BA.2, which caused a surge in cases at the beginning of the year. But so far, the latest Omicron variants seem to be causing fewer deaths and hospitalizations than their older cousins — a sign that growing population immunity is tempering the immediate consequences of COVID-19 surges.” • That’s what we always hear, in the beginning: “Fewer deaths and hospitalizations.” Let’s wait to see what happens: “One possible future for SARS-CoV-2 is that it will become like the other four seasonal coronaviruses, the levels of which ebb and flow with the seasons, usually peaking in winter and typically reinfecting people every three years or so,’ [Christian Althaus, a computational epidemiologist at the University of Bern] says.” “The” “other four” is question begging. It’s true that there are large peaks in the winter (Biden’s Omicron, for example). There are also peaks in the summer. I think the case for seasonallity is not proven. More from Althaus: “The big question is whether symptoms will become milder and milder and whether issues with long COVID will slowly disappear,” he says.” More question-begging on “milder.” And more: “If it stays like it is now, then it will be a serious public-health problem.'” • Indeed!

• ”Bay Area COVID surge is winding down, but experts say cases could stay high well into summer” [San Francisco Chronicle]. “Coronavirus cases are continuing to level off or decline across the Bay Area as the spring surge appears to be winding down, though health officials note that the amount of virus in the community is still astonishingly high and the arrival of new variants could prolong the current wave well into summer…. Unlike the omicron surge that quickly spiked to previously unimaginable case counts and then plunged to relatively low levels, this wave may take many weeks longer to taper off, health experts said. That’s due in large part to new variants — specifically, the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which together now make up roughly 20% of cases — taking hold in the region and potentially slowing the downward trend in cases or even causing a new upswing. ‘This is one surge that I would describe as having a long tail: It doesn’t go down sharply all of a sudden, it’s kind of lingering with us,’ said Stephen Shortell, former dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. ‘I don’t anticipate any sharp upsurges in the next few months. On the other hand, it may not go totally down as much as it has in the past.'” • “kind of lingering” is what I tend to call (following dhttp://lexnihilnovi.blogspot.com/2009/09/most-enjoying-offseason.html) “fiddling and diddling.”

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

Improvements everywhere. Good news, for once!

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, with some yellow breaking out. Great Plains speckled with yellow and blue.

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Very volatile. And speaking of BA.4/BA.5:

Get ready.

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,040,805 1,040,236. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.


The Gallery

Seems appropriate:

Class Warfare

“Major WA employers commit to maintaining abortion access for employees” [Seattle Times]. Deceptive headline: “Starbucks said it will reimburse abortion travel expenses for employees enrolled in its health plan if a legal provider isn’t in a worker’s state of residence or within 100 miles of their home…. On June 15, Starbucks also said all partners who are enrolled in the health care plan would have access to the benefits, including those who are in the process of unionizing. But it added that it could not ‘make promises of guarantees about any benefits’ for unionized stores.” • Sounds like union-busting to me.

“The unexpected immortality of Karl Marx” [Branko Milanovic, Global Inequality and More]. “Marx’s influence as a thinker, appealing to our intellect, is inextricably linked with capitalism. So long as capitalism exists, Marx will be read as its most astute analyst. He identified two crucial and historically original features of capitalism: insatiable need for gain (“Accumulate, accumulate, this is Moses and all the prophets”), and the need for perpetual expansion to new territories or areas of production, which itself derives from the search for gain. If capitalism ceases to exist, however, Marx will be read as its most prescient critic. So whether we believe that in another 200 years, capitalism will be with us or not, we can be sure that Marx will.” Also the “boom and bust cycle,” “first anticipated by Karl Marx” (Investopedia (!!)). And then this factoid: “[T]he Chinese government’s decision in the early 1980s concerning how far to allow the growth of the private sector was justified by Marx’s true or apocryphal statement that workers’ exploitation was acceptable if the total number of employees hired by a capitalist does not exceed seven. (This particular classification is still present in Chinese official statistics that distinguish between owners of private businesses (hiring more than 7 persons) and owners of individual businesses.) ” • I poked around to find the source on “seven.” Here is an explanation:

Marx does endorse that idea that beyond a certain threshold the nature of the employer-employee relationship changes fundamentally. The passage Engels cites [in Anti-Duhring] is from Volume I, Chapter 11 of Capital:

If this labourer were in possession of his own means of production, and were satisfied to live as a labourer, he need not work beyond the time necessary for the reproduction of his means of subsistence, say 8 hours a day. He would, besides, only require the means of production sufficient for 8 working-hours. The capitalist, on the other hand, who makes him do, besides these 8 hours, say 4 hours’ surplus-labour, requires an additional sum of money for furnishing the additional means of production. On our supposition, however, he would have to employ two labourers in order to live, on the surplus-value appropriated daily, as well as, and no better than a labourer, i.e., to be able to satisfy his necessary wants. In this case the mere maintenance of life would be the end of his production, not the increase of wealth; but this latter is implied in capitalist production. That he may live only twice as well as an ordinary labourer, and besides turn half of the surplus-value produced into capital, he would have to raise, with the number of labourers, the minimum of the capital advanced 8 times. Of course he can, like his labourer, take to work himself, participate directly in the process of production, but he is then only a hybrid between capitalist and labourer, a ‘small master.’ A certain stage of capitalist production necessitates that the capitalist be able to devote the whole of the time during which he functions as a capitalist, i.e., as personified capital, to the appropriation and therefore control of the labour of others, and to the selling of the products of this labour. The guilds of the middle ages therefore tried to prevent by force the transformation of the master of a trade into a capitalist, by limiting the number of labourers that could be employed by one master within a very small maximum. The possessor of money or commodities actually turns into a capitalist in such cases only where the minimum sum advanced for production greatly exceeds the maximum of the middle ages. Here, as in natural science, is shown the correctness of the law discovered by Hegel (in his “Logic”), that merely quantitative differences beyond a certain point pass into qualitative changes.

Fascinating notion. And quite a twist at the end! And speaking of booms and busts–

“Growing up in a Recession” [The Review of Economic Studies]. From 2013, still germane. From the Abstract: “Does the historical macroeconomic environment affect preferences for redistribution? We find that individuals who experienced a recession when young believe that success in life depends more on luck than effort, support more government redistribution, and tend to vote for left-wing parties. The effect of recessions on beliefs is long-lasting. We support our findings with evidence from three different datasets. First, we identify the effect of recessions on beliefs exploiting time and regional variation in macroeconomic conditions using data from the 1972 to 2010 General Social Survey. Our specifications control for nonlinear time-period, life-cycle, and cohort effects, as well as a host of background variables. Second, we rely on data from the National Longitudinal Survey of the High School Class of 1972 to corroborate the age–period–cohort specification and look at heterogeneous effects of experiencing a recession during early adulthood. Third, using data from the World Value Survey, we confirm our findings with a sample of 37 countries whose citizens experienced macroeconomic disasters at different points in history.” • So, individuals who experienced a recession when young (as my parents experienced the Great Depression) are more likely to be members of the reality-based community…..

News of the Wired

Only eight?

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From SC:

SC writes: “A quick update: the milkweeds are blooming in the “I hope they’re A. purpurascens” colony and things are looking up. According to Prof. Steven Broyles of SUNY Cortland (thanks to NC reader BrunchesWithCats for drawing attention to his work on Purple/Common Milkweed hybridization), who has kindly been advising me, this specimen is a healthy Purple Milkweed. The mature Rose Campion in the background is a nice accent; not sure how that ‘volunteer’ got there. I am not fully in control of this garden. I’ll send a fuller report when time permits; as the weather warms and the plants speed up, their requirements absorb more and more time.”

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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. Samuel Conner

    > I hate this timeline and I wish the showrunners would change it

    As a neighbor said to me halfway through the first year of the pandemic, “it feels like we’re in a sci-fi movie.”

    Maybe the showrunners did change it — from something worse.

    There’s a Dr. Who episode, “The Pyramid at the End of the World,” in which a world-destroying biolab leak is averted, but at the cost of imposing tyranny on the planet.

    1. jr

      The Archdruid called this the Cthulu-scene epoch, the age where irresistible forces with no regard for human needs come crashing down upon us.

    2. Acacia

      Regarding the abysmal data coming into the timeline, my feeling as of late is that it’s like that moment when you’re on an airplane that is flying into dense clouds before landing, and you wonder idly how the pilots can see where to land and avoid mountains, but you know there is some impressive whizbang tech to help them achieve this feat, etc., except that instead the pilot comes on the PA to tell all passengers that they in the cockpit don’t like what the instruments are telling them so they just turned off the instruments and “it’s gonna be alright”.

  2. Wukchumni

    Hickory dickory dock. The son paid by the clock
    The father sent funds. The debt went down
    Hickory dickory dock

    1. fresno dan

      inquiring minds want to know – Did Biden (jr) pay hookers to P on the bed Trump slept on?

      1. Geo

        Would be hilarious if there was a Hunter pee tape. Not surprising at all, but hilarious.

        Leave it to the Dems to elect a guy who defuses most legit (and even some non-legit) criticism of Trump’s family corruption.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          The germophobic trump was like, no not today.
          Hunter is like, here hold muh beer and my pipe.

      2. Wukchumni

        inquiring minds want to know – Did Biden (jr) pay hookers to P on the bed Trump slept on?

        Hunter leaves laptops, not lap dances… so no, but really who knows, he almost makes you long for any other Presidential offspring instead, but you go with first family you have-not the one you want.

        1. christofay

          Knowing that our security bureaucrats attitude to enjoying the service economy, “wheels up, rings off.” It’s a possibility the CIA members were visiting the same talent agency as Hunter.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > It’s a possibility the CIA members were visiting the same talent agency as Hunter.

            No doubt, as management*, they got a discount. (Not that the CIA would ever run a honey trap, let alone in Ukraine, the most corrupt country on earth, heaven forfend.)

            NOTE * Speculating freely.

  3. Jason Boxman

    First, that’s not what Clarence Thomas believes (though granted his opinion is a concurring one. Second, trusting proven liars is generally a bad idea (“It’s my nature”).

    What to think when both sides are proven liars? Liberal Democrats have every incentive to up the histrionics to 11, having completely lost the abortion issue as a fundraiser now, having, well, lost abortion access for women in much of America. So this gives them a chance to for example active gay funders, which as I recall were important in getting Obama to care about gay marriage.

    So it’s likely all actors are malevolent here, just differing in matters of degree.

    1. Fraibert

      Justice Thomas is an interesting one. He abhors Substantive Due Process as having no basis in the Constitution’s text. However, he has expressed willingness to in effect recontexualize certain rights that current doctrine treats as part of Substantive Due Process under the 14th Amendment’s Privileges and Immunities Clause. In his _Dobbs_ concurrence (similarly in some past cases, I believe), he writes that after abrogating Substantive Due Process “[w]e could consider whether any of the rights announced in this Court’s substantive due process cases are “privileges or immunities of citizens of the United
      States” protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.”

      (Just for reference, this clause reads as follows: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States . . . .”)

      Because Justice Thomas has repeatedly raised the Privileges and Immunities Clause issue (and some originalist scholars even belief that clause is intended to do what Substantive Due Process has been used to do in practice), I don’t even know that Justice Thomas would end up fully overturning all the past Substantive Due Process rules.

      Honestly, if I were a Constitutional litigator (getting that job is like winning the lottery in terms of difficulty), I’d probably start framing all my 14th amendment claims in both Equal Protection and Privileges and Immunities terms. (Truth be told, many, though not all, Substantive Due Process claims can be framed in Equal Protection with little difficulty, and reframing Substantive Due Process claims as Privileges and Immunities claims does not seem difficult to me.)

      1. albrt

        Or Biden could issue a letter of marque and reprisal against the conservative justices. Easy peasy.

        In reality, there is exactly one principle of modern US constitutional law. It is called the rule of five. The rule is that it takes five votes to win. So you can see why expanding the court is not possible.

  4. Jen

    McSweeney’s Internet Tendency is truly glorious:

    “Our most reliable base has told us they want us to do something. But when we focus-tested our plan to do something on a group of thirty-four- to forty-seven-year-old people with a history of killing their pets, we found that doing something wasn’t as popular as we’d hoped. We had to have set up a committee to rethink it. Then we found ourselves in the position of asking whether it’s really worth doing something or not if people who were never going to support us still won’t support us? You have to play it smart.

    Let’s not forget that the law is a complicated thing. Recent events have turned your civil rights into a minefield of fear and potential imprisonment. In order to turn back the clock, we can’t just do the thing we should’ve done when we had the chance before. All those times experts warned us are long gone. And we should be glad: If we did something back then, it’s possible that voters wouldn’t have liked it, and then we wouldn’t have the power to do something now, which—to be clear—we’re not going to use.

    It may sound like your rights aren’t a priority for us. That’s absolutely untrue. Protecting your rights is our second priority, right after supporting candidates who agree with the other side about taking away your rights. We know it’s uncomfortable, but we believe that if we work with the people who want to take away your rights, they’ll naturally stop wanting to take away your rights. And that will give us the power to protect your rights. It couldn’t be simpler than that.”

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Jen: Thanks. This is a perfect analysis, and the whole article reminds me of how powerful good comic writing can be when it doesn’t bother with conventions, “offending,” and “punch up / punch down” puritanism.

      Here goes: “It may sound like your rights aren’t a priority for us. That’s absolutely untrue. Protecting your rights is our second priority, right after supporting candidates who agree with the other side about taking away your rights.”


  5. Steve D

    Not, of course, that the CIA would ever have used its data to muscle a President.

    Of course not. That would be unthinkable.
    I believe we can all stipulate to that.

  6. Wukchumni

    The Supremes decided prayer was ok in football, but as a long suffering Bills fan, i’m here to tell you it doesn’t work.

      1. Geo

        Since church and state are no longer separated it’s about time that tax exemption should be revoked for all religious institutions. It is in the Bible after all: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

    1. fresno dan

      obviously, the acoustics are such that the prayers of a team a little to the east of you are easier for the Almighty to hear

  7. FedUp

    Where’s my $600 Joe?

    If you can blow $55 billion on Ukraine, you send us what we are owed.

    Everyone who didn’t get your check, change your registration to Republican to protest.

    You can vote for whomever deserves your vote in the fall.

    1. Wukchumni

      Inflation to right of them,
      Inflation to left of them,
      Inflation behind them
      Volleyed and thundered;
      Stormed at with shooting prices on the shelves
      While wholesale inventory fell.
      They that had fought so well
      Came through the jaws of Debt,
      Back from the mouth of penury,
      All that was left of them,
      Left of the lack of six hundred.

    2. Bart Hansen

      I’m telling you, FedUp, that by not getting that $600 you are helping to decrease demand for goods and services! Whip Inflation Now.

      1. FedUp

        Ha! Until I get my check, We’re going to help whip inflation, and help reduce California’s budge sales tax surplus, by not buying anything but food, energy and toilet paper until 2024.

        Everything else? Thrift store, garage sale, borrow, repair, do without, and to further help that, we’re going to sell every last thing we don’t really need to our fellow citizens cheap, or if we like you, just take it for free.

    3. albrt

      I was thinking of changing my registration from Green to Republican so I could vote in a meaningful primary. The Democrat primary is never meaningful because none of them ever do anything they say they are going to do, regardless of whether they call themselves centrist or progressive.

      But then I realized that changing my registration to Republican would probably be taken as a signal that the Democrats should triangulate more. So I decided to go back to my tried and true position of not caring because I am old and don’t have kids.

      Good luck breeders!

  8. Lou Anton

    What I’m keeping my eye on in the Walgreens tracker…

    1) The weekly absolute level of tests from current to prior week. It’s “softening” a bit, as we say in the biz (chart-watching biz). And so with positivity holding around its same-and-high level, maybe indicates we’re calming down some.

    2) There might be a sneaky way to get a preview of the BA.4/BA.5 data (unsure if it’ll hold up until page 3 of the Walgreens site is truly updated). Page 2 of it shows a net of BA.1/BA.4/BA.5 relative to the BA.2s. That page says it’s updated as of 6/24, and it puts the 4/5 net at 55.92%. Now, that net might be an old calculation because of the BA.1 still in the label, so I can’t say for sure. So either page 2 gets updated before page 3, or page 2 should be ignored. We’ll see.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It’s “softening” a bit

      I think the data in the red circle is telling you the same thing. Any other useful chart words?

      As for the sneaky way…. That sounds like work. And easy to get wrong.

  9. Lambert Strether Post author

    I beefed up the Politics section some. Even being selective, there’s a lot I’m missing. In particular, I follow Fetterman partly because his campaign is technically interesting, but also because he’s from Pennsylvania, where I lived for several years (in Philly). If readers have other interesting Senate candidates I should follow, please suggest!

    1. super extra

      We have an interesting A/B testing situation shaping up in Oklahoma: thanks to a retiring senator and a closed Republican primary, we have a huge number of the entire whack-a-doodle range of options due to the ‘normal’ reelection campaign of Lankford and the ‘special’ campaign for Inhofe’s seat. This Bloomberg piece has a decent overview but a summary of the interesting part is that while we have 2 Maga candidates dueling, and both are somewhat known factors (one was in the state congress, the other is currently in house as representative), but one is going hard on the anti-abortion and anti-birthright citizenship (TW Shannon) and the other has been rapidly iterating through culture war red meat topics like trans kids (and then dropped the ads the last two weeks of the primary) and relying on the Trump connection (Markwayne Mullin). Mullin is the favorite to win but when Shannon came in with the anti-birthright citizenship thing, I realized this was probably a good chance for the Magas to A/B test their hot-button issues in one of their hothouses before the big campaigns to come, right after Roe, where they have one candidate leaning hard into it and one that has stayed out of it beyond the standard ‘I’m a god-fearing family man’ tribal announcement they all have to do

  10. Fiery Hunt

    Nobody seems to notice that a large part of Latino voters (some of whom are already shifting to the Republicans in significant numbers) might just applaud the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

    Seems to me the fallout to RvW is gonna be a wash in the midterms.
    I put the odds of Republicans taking both the House and Senate at 75%.

    1. Mr.Negrón

      “El Cucho y La Negra” The feeble old man and the negress, are what the common names for the Biden Administration are among all the Spanish speakers we know.
      There is zero support for Democrats among lower and middle class Hispanic people around here, except for a few of their daughters who are off on some college campus, returning home with shaved heads and tattoos.

      The Democrats make a huge mistake in forcing the gender denying Latinix, which basically spits in the cultural face of a millennia of Hispanoparlante people.

    2. curlydan

      Which reminds me that among all the condemnations of the Republicans for Roe’s demise, I haven’t seen many (any?) blaming the Catholic Church. I’ve been to very few Catholic services, but it seems like in each one the American priest feels a need to vilify abortion.

      5 of the 6 Justics to overturn Dobbs were Catholic.

      There’s a lot of blame to be handed out.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Let’s not forget that a number of Senate Democrats voted to confirm these Justices.

    3. hunkerdown

      AOC tried to sell Latinx a few weeks ago, and in a really anti-democratic way, too. The Democrat establishment would like to have more pious people in their coalition who can be moved around by giant puppets waved on command. But 1/3 to 1/2 of Latinos don’t seem as likely to hand their vote over to the Church, if Pew data is reasonable. I keep wondering if election authorities will print equal numbers of fake ballots for each party to juice turnout numbers “fairly” (for legal reasons, that’s a joke).

    4. c_heale

      From my very limited experience (I don’t live in the USA), there are black Republicans too. The Democrats are beyond stupid to believe that every non white person is a Democrat voter or even a potential Democrat voter. And most people will also vote depending on how the economy is. And in this case the current administration has really blown it on the economic front.

    5. albrt

      I certainly hope the Republicans win the house and the senate in 2022. It is our best hope to get rid of the Dem gerontocracy by 2024.

  11. antidlc

    Theatre news:

    In yesterday’s LINKS, NC member Pat posted: “Today in the news it was announced that despite Hugh Jackman’s return, The Music Man was still going to be without a name lead as Sutton Foster would be out for the second time because she has Covid. ”

    Timeline: Jackman is out for the second time, starting June 13.
    Jackman returns on June 22.
    Sutton Foster makes announcement on June 26 (only four days after Jackman’s return) that
    she is out a second time.

    Broadway drops theater mask mandate for audience members starting July 1.

    In local news, I had posted earlier that performances of two different shows at two different theaters were cancelled for the weekend June 17-19 due to sickness. Both of the shows were supposed to resume this past weekend June 24-26. One of the theatres ended up cancelling this past weekend as well, with no plans for makeup performances. So they had exactly ONE performance for a show that required weeks of rehearsal, theater rental, costumes, music director fee, choreographer fee, licensing fees, set construction, etc.

    Quite devastating. A lot of these little community theaters operate on a shoestring budget and the loss on this show had to be huge.

    1. Jen

      The major local theater in my neck of the woods beefed up their indoor ventilation, requires all audience members to be masked up for the entirety of the performance, and does regular PCR testing on all of the performers. They have not had to cancel a single show.

      1. antidlc

        If it’s an equity theater, Actors’ Equity has ventilation guidelines:

        I was disappointed that Actors’ Equity agreed to dropping mask mandates in Broadway theaters as of July 1. Evidently, the union claims it was not consulted:

        Actors’ Equity Says It Was Not Consulted In Mask-Optional Policy; Broadway League Calls New Approach “Entirely Consistent” With Negotiated Protocols – Update

        UPDATE with Broadway League response In a letter sent to members of Actors’ Equity Association and obtained by Deadline, the union says that the Broadway League’s decision to adopt a “mask optional” policy for audience members beginning in July was “made unilaterally, without input” from the union.

        In a response provided to Deadline, the League says the mask optional announcement is “entirely consistent with our fully negotiated safety protocols.

      2. antidlc

        One of the major local theaters here claims they beefed up their indoor ventilation and adhered to the COVID safety protocols. They still had to cancel a performance of the “Hamilton” national tour because of COVID infections within the company.

    2. Steve H.

      We finished our ‘Henry IV pt 1’ Shakespeare in the Park a couple of weeks ago. Both the Stage Manager and I lost a quarter of the rehearsals to being Covid posititive. Still made a good show.

      Our losses were four times our gains. But this was mostly due to our local government breaking down. The stage had engineering issues and had been wrapped in fencing for a half-year. While we were assured it would be fixed by performance, I still made plans B and C. Both of those fell through, so we made stage entrances on the pavers using canopy tents. Then I did the math on wind speed and we had to spend over seven hundred bucks on weights to make sure they didn’t flip.

      Plan B involved the shiny new stages at a different location, which seemed feasible until we got bumped because a wedding reception wanted to go longer. Our mayor has his sights set on DC and seems bent on showing he can cut services while charging the public more.

      Stuff’m. We made our community event, no transmission within the cast as colloquy formed, the audience got singing and dancing and dirty jokes and the weather was shockingly good. Worth it.

      1. antidlc

        Good times, Steve! Glad you had good weather.

        I remember freezing at one of our Shakespeare in the Park productions. We brought blankets and still shivered the whole time.

      2. Pat

        Congratulations both on weathering the minefields and on providing much needed theater to people!


  12. BeliTsari

    Anybody wondering how ALL media KNOWS Russian fired missiles, killed 10 in Kremenchuk mall? Do they call their shots, like Minnesota Fats?

  13. Art_DogCT

    SC commenting, “[…] not sure how that ‘volunteer’ got there.”

    If this individual showed up a significant distance from others, it coming from wind-driven scatter seed dispersal is unlikely. The next probable vector is animal. Many seeds have ant-attracting adaptations, like a fat or carbohydrate rich part of the seed coat. The ant finds a seed where it landed, collects it and heads back home. Then, the ant either eats the nutritious portion and drops the seed, or drops it for some other reason, and thus the volunteer. Also, any other small animal could carry away a seed in fur or feathers, it dislodging along the way, the animal entirely unaware.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Thanks! These are definitely a long way off from the probable parent plant(s) — and are upwind of them, given the typical wind direction here. There are two big ones that are probably the founders, and a few smaller that may be their offspring.

      I’ll try to save seeds from these this year, and cold-stratify a few trays over the Winter. There’s a local social services agency that has requested quantities of this plant for its site, and the small volunteers I have been repotting have tended to not make it through the first winter at the new site.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > There’s a local social services agency that has requested quantities of this plant for its site

        Awesome. Another admirable effort in the commentariat.

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Sounds like union-busting to me.

    Virtue signalling at its finest! Paying once for an abortion sure beats giving someone a permanent raise to an actual living wage.

    But this begs the question, how many abortions will Starbucks pay for? Will they “trust all women” or will they require some proof a woman is pregnant first? Because based on the Starbucks pay rate, some people may just decide they need an “abortion” monthly to make up for the crappy pay.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      223 Starbucks in Texas. Does travel expense reimbursement count as assisting? Is approval required prior to travel? Would a bounty hunter have to get a copy of the reimbursement and/or the insurance statement to take Starbucks to court for that $10,000? Does Starbucks’ health plan cover abortion services? If so, does that coverage extend to out of state or out of network coverage? How many hours does an employee have to work to have “access” the health care plan? What’s the co-pay? etc.

      If we look only at Texas, I’m curious how many employees would qualify for travel expenses or the cost of out-of-network / state abortion service / follow-up care. I notice the article didn’t say the health care plan paid for any type of abortion services i.e., the office visit, surgery or the pills.

      Planned Parenthood tells me that an abortion can cost up to $750 depending on state, facilities, etc. The AP article says more than half of the 90% are done via pills rather than surgery.

      I wonder what Starbucks plans to use as a defense if a bounty hunter filed a case.

  15. super extra

    > Gavin Newsom jumps onto the national stage and Bidenworld takes notice

    I am grindingly cynical thanks to the events of the last few years but reading this caused me to emit a feral giggle. Where’s that diagram of the incestuous relationships between the California aristocracy? Who’s ready to game out some real intra-elite competition to utilize connections to existing power players to change the balance of power within the brittle democratic party? Kamala, I haven’t forgotten Willie Brown explicitly warning you off taking the VP role before the election!

    On second thought maybe the Russians can just lob a few well-aimed Khinzals at the western centers of planning and power and end this farce for all of us.

    1. Wukchumni

      Godzone is Kiwi 19th century slang for ‘god’s own country’ as in beautiful NZ-a paradise, and henceforth i’m abandoning the CVBB as being too woke by having as many letters as woke, in favor of Godzone to describe the red state bastion of the golden state in which I live.

      1. ambrit

        “Godzone” is too pointedly anti. Now, CVBB is anodyne and suggestively “Credentialled” as a descriptor. It can also act as an intellectual form of plausible deniability. This one can be spun faster than the MCP in Tron.

    2. Shiloh

      They wouldn’t waste a warhead on Kamala.

      Newsom’s monied past including a tangled web of business dealings and millions of dollars in handouts to Gavin Newsom by his own personal special interest, the oil-rich Getty family as well as the lavish lifestyle Newsom enjoys while claiming to be a ‘man of the people.’”

      Newsom’s connected to the Getty family through his father, a “powerful, politically-connected” attorney who managed the J. Paul Getty fortune. Newsom grew up enjoying his privilege in well-to-do Marin County, outside of San Francisco. As a young adult, Gavin capitalized on that connection, and Gordon Getty was the investor behind his first business, a San Francisco wine shop.

      “In addition to investing in the businesses, a Getty trust paid Gavin Newsom for investment advice, and Gordon and Ann Getty provided gifts and loans for his home, according to reports and disclosures. They paid about $233,000 toward his first wedding reception. His thirtieth birthday party, given by the Gettys, was Great Gatsby-themed, down to the flappers and Charlestons. Newsom bid adieu to his Roaring Twenties as Alphonse, the Gettys’ chef, reportedly prepared sushi, lamb chops, mashed potatoes, asparagus and a fish pasta.”

      Newsom slummed in San Francisco for a few years for political reasons, turned the place into a s***hole, then eventually fled back to Marin.

      Oh, and how did that political career get started? In 1992 Newsom’s father leaned on another friend, John Burton, to suggest that then-Mayor Willie Brown (who also brought us Kamala Harris via his pied a terre bedroom) appoint Newsom to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

      So far, Newsom’s been immune to any attacks on his character – and there are many. But, the only thing he has accomplished as Governor has been pissing off the middle class, and his advocacy of draconian water usage restrictions, universal healthcare for illegal aliens, and never-ending increases in gasoline and vehicle taxes are further alienating him from both the middle class and business owners. Then there were the Covid lockdowns which destroyed at least 40% of California’s small businesses…


      1. Anthony G Stegman

        For me it’s hard to see Gavin Newsom having a political career outside of California. I think Newsom and Getty are dreaming if they think Newsom can be elected POTUS.

      2. Lowdown

        Redstate has it in for “Eminence Grease”
        “it looks like that loan and a similar cashout refi the Newsoms obtained on their Marin County mansion in November 2017 are “sweetheart” deals that aren’t available to even the most qualified buyers. Between the two deals – which haven’t been reported on the Governor’s financial disclosure forms – the Newsoms were provided with $3.8 million in tax-free cash.
        Two long-time mortgage professionals who spoke to RedState and who specialize in mortgages and refinancing in this price range were “stunned” that the Newsoms were able to obtain these loans and shared dozens of anecdotes where their own customers or associates weren’t able to.”

        The biggest failure of all is this: from 2014 and better yet, today:


        June 30, 2004, Newsom unveiled his Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, a 70-page opus written by former Supervisor Angela Alioto and more than 30 other city officials, homeless advocates, business leaders and others. Newsom and the plan’s writers believed that by today,[2014] the city’s 3,000 chronically [NOW 8,000] homeless people — the longest-term, most in-your-face transients — would have been brought inside and housed. Newcomers to the streets would be dealt with quickly. And emergency shelters would cease to exist, because nobody would need them…”

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Where’s that diagram of the incestuous relationships between the California aristocracy?

      I think this is what you’re looking for:

      If I had to choose between Newsom and Harris, I suppose Newsom, but yeccccchhhhhh.

  16. Leroy R

    With the sturm und drang unleashed by the Dobbs decision, will the security arrangements for the “imperfect vessel” furnished to the evangelicals to do “God’s will” have to be increased exponentially?

  17. Pelham

    One of the odd things about the Roe debate is the eagerness of the religiously motivated side to cite the science of what is known about life in the womb and the determined avoidance of this aspect of the issue on the secular pro-choice side.

    1. Greg

      Cherry-picking science isn’t just for the atheists!

      I don’t know that avoiding the “science” is as big a deal as you’re implying. From my understanding of the biology, “life” starts at one cell, but the religious right isn’t converting to buddhism. A rational science-based pro-life position wouldn’t have any choice but to avoid killing any cell.

      The pro-lifers are not arguing about life, but instead arguing that the “soul” appears or is bestowed at more than one cell, but less than a few billion cells. Somewhere earlier than the pro-choice side would argue that consciousness arises (which is roughly their equivalent of the soul).

      The problem with the argument is that “science” doesn’t have anything usefully conclusive to say about either souls or consciousness. Science just talks about cells and life, and pro-lifers don’t mean life like that.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The problem with the argument is that “science” doesn’t have anything usefully conclusive to say about either souls or consciousness. Science just talks about cells and life, and pro-lifers don’t mean life like that.

        If one is looking for lines to draw (which “on demand” does not) then the ability to suffer pain* is probably better than viability, since viability has so many confounders, including medical progress.

        Of course, one might argue that the state has an interest in creating more citizens, but no interest in avoiding pain.

        * As the animal rights people would argue.

        1. Greg

          The problem is that even “the ability to suffer pain” when explored in any organism that can’t explicitly communicate rapidly moves from science to philosophy. Its the same problem as consciousness or souls.
          Do you have a soul mr baby? Wave at the sonogram for yes. Does it hurt when i do this, mr tree?

          I’ve looked and i haven’t found a good “line” anywhere, it’s all fuzzy. Maybe i missed the obvious, other people certainly seem convinced. I’m prone to seeing problems in commonly held views, it’s probably on me.

          Your point regarding powers and interests is probably closer to the truth than any of the stated arguments.

          1. Pat

            Greg, my problem with the majority of the so-called pro life movement is that it is incredibly selective about the pro part where life is concerned. The sad joke that life for them begins at conception and ends at birth is not entirely inaccurate for too many of the most influential of the movement.

            It isn’t just not being against the death penalty, it is attitudes toward any kind of social program designed to make things easier for people suffering under conditions that might make abortion a consideration. People worried about being able to feed or house a child when they aren’t entirely successful aren’t given much help in South Dakota. How about children with intense special needs, where are the medical and social help for that. There aren’t enough and one of the ways our blood thirsty politicians pay for things like Ukraine is by making them even harder to get. And it isn’t like the pro life movement is all over them for those choices. Hell what about making sure good prenatal and ob gyn care are available to all.

            You talk about lines, mine is lack of concern of the kind of life they want for the baby after the birth.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Was it really a stealth plan though? Because they’ve been telegraphing it for 40 years or so while the Democrat party sat around with their thumbs up their posteriors. If one didn’t notice this happening, they were either not paying attention or braindead.

      Sure seems like to me that the Democrats starting with Bubba took the “if you can’t beat ’em, join’ em” route and for all intents and purposes became Republicans themselves. Jen’s McSweeney’s link above describes the situation much more accurately.

    2. marym

      I bought it recently and I read the concluding chapter to see how grim it was likely to be. I was trying to decide if I should put it high on the list to read thoroughly. So, thanks for the assignment, I guess!

  18. Tom Stone

    The Dims had no reason to kill the golden goose of Roe Vs Wade..
    The take must be in the hundreds of Millions of $, Joe Biden did promise to codify a Woman’s Right to a safe abortion in his campaign, but we’re talking about JRB who has been lying badly his entire career.
    As you may have noticed Joe isn’t at the top of his game these days, He’s real cranky and a bit tired…
    It might just have slipped his mind.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Maybe, I’m splitting hairs. This is more a case where Biden has lied “directly”. Yes, he lied when he wasn’t running for President, but now he’s lied directly to voters. He thinks he can get away with it because he has in the past, but he doesn’t quite understand this key difference.

      Biden tried to not pick Harris, but he didn’t understand how he was expected to keep his spring time promise because it was made on the campaign trail when he was in the spot light. He wasn’t just some doofus senator.

      Biden didn’t give himself an out with words like “access” which is bandied about when we discuss healthcare. He was clear. He has options. He’s simply not doing them and expecting to be forgiven.

  19. Skippy

    Ref: America is gone forever – see bottom right photo

    Reminiscent of an old NC post on Debt[tm] with Raygun and crew in stitches –


    Ref: Maskstravaganza: From the Times of London: Covid comes and goes but Japan still ***hides*** behind their mask.

    First thing that popped into my mind was old memes about self haters, endless tropes about mindless communalistic actions [except corporatist driven] was marching on the road to serfdom and the loss of individual freedoms …. WOW …. look how that all played out …. don’t know about others but I can smell the Gary North in the air …

    1. c_heale

      Since the UK newspapers and media are so focused on the UK and how everyone else is doing stuff wrong (if only they would listen to the UK is the general attitude), they are in general not worth reading/listening to regarding world news.

      1. Skippy

        My point is the framing is not just a U.K. specific case and the U.S. plus some others are all on board. The most pertinent fact is this ideological PR has roots going back to the onset of neoliberalism in all these nations and the changes this framework has made on both individual/social perceptions.

        Obviously Japan still has too much social identity which needs to be destroyed so they can all enjoy the freedoms and liberties their betters do in the West.

          1. Charger01

            Can you add a rule #3, “privatize everything else” as a shorthand for all problem solving?

  20. upstater

    Kaliningrad continues to evolve into a hair trigger situation. Medvedev apparently is threatening to isolate the Baltics from the BRELL grid. This probably is manageable in summer, but days are short and very cold in winter. The connections to the EU grid cannot replace the generation in Russia and Belarus.

    Russia threatens ‘to cut off oxygen’ to EU member
    Former president promises “tough” retaliatory measures to Lithuania for Kaliningrad blockade

    I have relatives in the Suwalki Gap. Unfortunately the Lithuanian elites seem OK with WW3. The cousins seem on board.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      There are a surprising number of people who feel that a nuclear exchange will NEVER occur for the simple reason that it is unthinkable. These people believe that Russia will never resort to using nuclear weapons no matter the actions other nations take against it.

      1. hk

        How ironic that those who seem to hate the Russians most, at least from the way they talk, are most trusting of Russian goodwill and self-sacrificing nature when it comes to their own (and everyone else’s) survival

      2. digi_owl

        They are perhaps trusting that uncle Sam will come blasting and glace Siberia should that happen.

        It kinda reminds me of a bullying tactic where a small kid will pick on a large one, knowing they have their big brother within earshot should the large kid try anything.

        Almost as if nobody is thinking beyond their own short term self interest, perhaps because some notion of nihilism has set in as the environment etc is beyond rescue.

  21. Jason Boxman

    Over the past few weeks, the NY Times front page tracker has dropped number of tests done, and now just in the past few days it dropped test positively rate. Curious, this. It’s almost like they’re dumbing down the data to reveal less and less.

    As a country, I don’t think the US is going to survive too many more clarifying moments, so to speak, as we’ve gotten from the political establishment and liberal Democrats of late.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Over the past few weeks, the NY Times front page tracker has dropped number of tests done, and now just in the past few days it dropped test positively rate

      That’s odd, since according to Walgreen’s the positivity rate is still quite high.

  22. Old Sarum

    I wouldn’t put to much weight on that famous German Journalist’s words as when those infamous Soviet practitioners of the ‘ism’ got into power they had very little idea (or guidance) as what to do with a modern economy from what I’ve read about the post-revolutionary period (eg their treatment of kulaks and the famine in Ukraine).

    Marx: journalist.
    Mussolini: Journalist.
    Boris: journalist.

    Also, watch out for those who at some time have been heading for the priesthood.


    1. Roland

      Considering the rapid and enormous industrial expansion and technical advances made by the USSR during the Stalinist regime, one would have to admit that, notwithstanding their deficiencies as far as Communism was concerned, those Soviet leaders had no few ideas of how to modernize an economy.

    2. Acacia

      The claims that the Soviets were “responsible” for a famine in the Ukraine have been debunked. Since the 1990s, the opening of the Soviet archives have allowed historians to study the actual evidence, and a number of putative “truths” about the USSR have been re-evaluated. E.g.:

      The “Holodomor” and the Film “Bitter Harvest” are Fascist Lies

      There was a very serious famine in the USSR, including (but not limited to) the Ukrainian SSR, in 1932-33. But there has never been any evidence of a “Holodomor” or “deliberate famine,” and there is none today.

      The “Holodomor” fiction was invented in by Ukrainian Nazi collaborators who found havens in Western Europe, Canada, and the USA after the war. An early account is Yurij Chumatskij, Why Is One Holocaust Worth More Than Others? published in Australia in 1986 by “Veterans of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army” this work is an extended attack on “Jews” for being too pro-communist.

  23. flora

    re: Third, I suppose, I suppose that, as an, er, prophylactic, we should research the Catholic teaching on all these matters, given the Catholic majority on the Court (their religion being shared by Biden and Pelosi, both of whom are noticeably non-energetic on this issue).

    Thank you. Chris Hedges was strongly condemning of Protestant Evangelicals but strangely silent on the US Catholic Bishops’ influence in his latest article. Why is that, I wonder. Both are Christian religious, after all. Are Evangelicals lesser mortals in the social sphere of influence and public regard and therefore easier to target, less threatening to Hedges’ career to target than targeting the Bishops ?

    1. super extra

      Isn’t there a type of class difference between the catholics – especially the urban coastals (Pelosi, Tucker Carlson) and those in the notorious politics/law nexus (eg Josh Hawley’s wife, ACB) – as compared to the big box evangelical church christians, or the oral roberts school christians, or certainly those trashy westboro baptists? Honestly the impression I’ve gotten from some of the first type is that they see all evangelical-branched christians as secret snake-handlers. I think it was HMP who pointed out that Mellon money probably helped keep the coalition infighting to a minimum to get the goal accomplished.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Expert puzzles – Mysterious cough disease keeps Sweden in suspense”

    You begin to wonder whether if Coronavirus has weakened so many people’s immune systems on a constant ongoing basis, that populations as a whole are now weakened to things like this cough which in normal times might pass without much impact. But since according to that other article ‘The Biden administration has dropped the ball on vaccine development’ as in they are not bothering with any new vaccines, especially a sterilizing one, that this is becoming part of the new norm.

    1. Basil Pesto

      I think in this case the weakening is of the brain. The mystery cough is Covid. Sweden is framing it as a mystery because they consider the pandemic over, thanks in part to their glorious yet, alas, non-existent Tegnellian herd immunity.

  25. Raymond Sim

    Imo the Chronicle saying the surge is winding down is a portent of doom, so I checked the SCAN Bay Area wastewater monitoring site to see how bad things are.

    The situation is extremely concerning.

    Given that a new variant complex is taking over, interpreting that data as evidence for anything except a high probability of rapid increase is absurd.

    I assume ‘winding down’ is the Chronicle’s own lie. But the former public health dean from Berkeley says he thinks further surging is unlikely any time soon?

    Well, of the three most recent readings at Oceanside two were above the first Omicron peak, and the third came in just below it. Here in Davis of the three most recent, two were above the first Omicron peak, one being well over 50% higher. Gilroy, which I guess you could say has been kind of lingering, is spiking now. That man must keep his eyes on the sunny side. So what the hell’s he doing in public health?

    Oh, and let’s not forget the Oceanside monkeypox. You need Natural Killer cells by the bushel to fight monkeypox. In people convalescent from Covid NK cell production is suppressed, and the competence of the ones that are produced is questionable. I bet the Bay Area will, much as with Covid, chalk up the first US pg-rated community transmission of monkeypox.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      SF Bay Area universities are hotbeds of pandemic denialism. UCSF, Stanford, as well as Berkeley have spread the nonsense that Covid is not that bad, that we all need to get used to it, and by the way masks are recommended but by no means an urgency. See commentary from the likes of Monica Ghandi, Bob Wachter, and let’s not forget the Trumpian Scott Atlas.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘SF Bay Area universities are hotbeds of pandemic denialism’

        Do you mean the students or the staff? Or both?

  26. Bsn

    Hmmmm, so “South Dakota’s Republican governor pledged on Sunday to bar mail-order abortion pills”. Reminds me of Ivermectin. Soon they’ll ban aspirin for anything other than a headache. Will they ban me from using Tums when I plant my tomatoes?

      1. Beech Hill Garden

        Tums contain calcium carbonate and calcium is a nutrient for tomato plants. There are other calcium sources that might be more economical, crushed shell, garden limestone ( raises pH ), garden gypsum

  27. martell

    I’m almost certain Marx never said that exploiting anywhere from one to seven workers is fine and dandy whereas exploiting eight or more is unacceptable. The quoted passage from Capital does not support that (bizarre) view. In the quoted passage it is assumed that the working day is twelve hours long and that the rate of exploitation is 50%. He also assumes that half of the aggregate surplus value will be invested in expanded reproduction.That’s why a capitalist would have to hire eight workers in order to live twice as well as any one worker while also expanding reproduction at said rate. But of course, none of these ratios are fixed (neither the rate of exploitation, nor the rate of investment in expansion). The length of the working day isn’t fixed either. Marx knew this perfectly well. Indeed, a big chunk of Capital, Vol. I is devoted to the working day, relentless efforts on the part of capitalists to extend it, and the effects of extension on workers. Marx also argued that changes in the length of the working day and the rate of exploitation (and even the rate of investment in expansion) depend on the state of play in the class war. Finally, the bit about quantity turning into quality has to do with scale of production necessary in order for some capitalist to become a personification of capital. There’s a threshold beyond which capitalists can devote themselves, full-time, to increasing the rate of exploitation, among other things such a personification would like to do. At what point can they devote themselves to union busting, workplace surveillance, and worker discipline? What is this threshold? Seven workers? Eight? Maybe two? The correct answer from Marx’s theoretical standpoint is “It depends.”

    1. digi_owl

      Sadly most people treat volume 1 as the only volume, and thus see Marx as oddly old fashioned even for his time.

      But what he was doing was limiting himself to certain base parameters to make it easier to develop certain early parts of his model. His working drafts for volumes 2 and 3 went beyond those parameters, showing what would happen when things like debt and finance was added to the largely commodity money focused modelling of volume 1.

      Working drafts that Engels tried to clean up and got published after Marx’s death.

      Supposedly there is a curious passage in one of those later volumes, where Marx muses that during a capitalist crisis, invariably brought on by finance, industrial owners should side with their workers against finance. But that history thus far showed them only cluing into this far too late.

      Never mind that far too many think that Marx had the complete blueprint for communism worked out, and that said blueprint is what the likes of USSR followed into the ground. It was never the case. Marx was focused on producing a proper mechanical description of capitalism, and thus its inherent flaws. Only in passing did he muse about how communism could be used as a stepping stone towards socialism.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Marx was focused on producing a proper mechanical description of capitalism

        No small task, as clearly shown by the unwillingness of mainstream economists to even attempt it.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’m almost certain Marx never said that exploiting anywhere from one to seven workers is fine and dandy whereas exploiting eight or more is unacceptable.

      I interpreted the Bearded One as follows: If half of your time is spend exploiting others, and half of your time is spent exploiting yourself, then you’re not a member of the capitalist class. If 100% of your time is spent exploiting others, then you are.

  28. flora

    re: MoDo’s article about Thomas.

    The Radical Reign of Clarence Thomas

    MoDo at her best. And MoDo is a GOP-Reagan conservative. Thanks for the article.

    1. Wukchumni

      You know how she feels about the little people…

      …heard Nancy’s husband opened a 11-501 see

  29. ChrisRUEcon


    Well, well, well …

    I guess Gavin hasn’t checked in with the relevant “wings” … (Clinton, Obama, Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard)

    Coz, if I’m reading the early doom-scroll tweets correctly, some people are already picking sides (via #Twitter) while other people are already acting spooked (again via #Twitter).

    Dare I say, this could be a schism a la “east-coast-v-west-coast rap”! Has there ever been a west coast scion as Democrat president?!! A quick google tells me ’tis Nixon alone was born in the Golden state! Blimey! I can feel the angst of West Coast liberals rising! We too! We too! They cry, tired of eastern and midwestern domination!

    What say you, Lambert? Are we gonna get a three-horse race? Biden, Adams, Newsom? I can’t lie … I want him to run; not that it’ll make much of a difference to Democrat fecklessness … but Biden should take a hike for sure.

    1. Yves Smith

      Adams has no hope. NYC pols are toxic outside NY state (Teddy Roosevelt being the most recent exception I can think of). Plus he lied on his required financial disclosure forms and was a crypto tout shortly before the bust.

      The Democrats have become a California party. I think they think it’s time to take what they deserve.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > … he lied on his required financial disclosure forms and was a crypto tout shortly before the bust


        True. But he’s a big-city, ex-cop mayor at a time when Dems are reaching into their back pockets for tough-on-crime voter treats – over to you, Stacey Abrams (via Twitter). He’s got the ego too … in abundance, but yes, he needs the money, which leads us to …

        > I think they think it’s time to take what they deserve.

        Exactly my sentiment. So does the House Of Biggie defend its historical primacy against the House Of Tupac?! And if it does so, does it stay with current gerontocracy or try to meet (relative) youth with youth?!


      2. Noone from Nowheresville

        Franklin was also from NY state plus a Democrat. Teddy was the Republican. Different family branches. Maybe its about more than which the political social club they belonged to.

      3. Pat

        Pretty sure the one term mayor with an approval rating that mirrors Biden’s does not have and will not get the important backers that Newsome has. Personally I think they will be wasting their money, same as Buttigieg and Kamala’s were in the last presidential primary. But that is about a year away…

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          > same as Buttigieg and Kamala’s were in the last presidential primary

          See? In a world predicated on logic and learning from one’s past mistakes, what you suggest makes total sense. However, in a world where we frequently say of the Democrats: they have learned nothing (see quote in Politics section heading as well) – it is absolutely in the realm of possibility. And yes, that’s bizarre … but yet, here we are. Is someone going to look back at the failed Harris/Buttigieg presidential runs, and say, ” … nah, not this time”, or is someone going to say, ” … sure, why the hell not?”

          I dunno …

  30. LawnDart


    Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease Following Influenza Vaccination: A Claims-Based Cohort Study Using Propensity Score Matching

    People who received at least one influenza vaccine were 40% less likely than their non-vaccinated peers to develop Alzheimer’s disease over the course of four years, according to a new study from UTHealth Houston.


    Out of my lane here, but how many common viruses fry the brain?

  31. Juneau

    I don’t want to frighten people and am speaking as a mental health provider who reads on this issue. Most common virus implicated is probably Herpes Simplex Type I (cold sores) which is associated with cognitive decline in some people but may or may not cause dementia, and certainly does not cause it in everyone infected. HIV can cause cognitive decline and dementia, especially in some who have had HIV for a long time. Hep C, CMV, varicella implicated in dementia. Some people just get unlucky with these things. Still, there are other forces in play to mitigate or increase risk of dementia. Personally I worry more about insulin resistance and getting enough sleep and doing what I can to avoid Covid.

    1. Mark Sanders

      I know many people who have had long term HIV since the 80s, and none of them have any apparent cognitive decline or dementia.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      I think Taibbi’s doing some real historical writing right now. Twain, Bierce, Swift, …
      He’s got a vein and he’s mining truth.

      1. Soredemos

        I do wonder who is going to be the one to write the definitive, 1500+ page doorstopper book on the Russiagate conspiracy (I’m thinking of Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy as the blueprint here, which weighs in at over 1600 pages). I’m thinking it’ll end up being Aaron Mate, but I think Taibbi is in the running as well. Maybe they’ll work together.

  32. Skippy

    An Australian greengrocer has ranted that other stores are using inflation as an excuse to jack up prices and explained why produce could be so much cheaper.

    Johnny Kapiris, who runs St Bernards Fruit and Veg with his wife Leannda in Rostrevor, in Adelaide’s east, went viral with an expletive-laden video posted to Facebook on Sunday morning.

    ‘Every f***er in Australia and the world is using inflation for an excuse to jack their f***ing prices up so they can f*** everyone,’ Mr Kapiris said.

    ‘You know why? Cos they’re money hungry f***s.’


    But do they deliver to PMC house holds ….

      1. Skippy

        Saw that and have watched before with thy own eyes long ago, but here we are …. again …

        I just thought it was notable and reminded me of an old 90s era comedy show regular skit ‘Con the Fruitier’ with the repetitive phrase – “in a couple of days …. beautiful …” Oz NC contingent can testify.

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