2:00PM Water Cooler 8/22/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Loria’s Satinbird, Papua New Guinea. There is exactly one recording of Loria’s Satinbird, from 1993. Here it is! (I think there’s a waterfall in the background.)

* * *


“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

“Here’s food for thought, had Ahab time to think; but Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels” –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Biden Administration

“Will anti-vaccine activism in the USA reverse global goals?” [ABC News]. “First lady Jill Biden left COVID-19 isolation on Sunday after twice testing negative for the coronavirus and reunited with President Joe Biden at their Delaware beach home.” • Really? She couldn’t just return to the White House after five days? Why?


* * *

“Could Democrats Really Pull Off a Miracle in November?” (interview) [Amy Cook, New York Magazine]. “The president’s not much more popular than before. The economy is better, but it’s still not great. Are people more optimistic? What I’m really going to be watching for in these next couple of months is not whether voters think the economy has suddenly recovered or that everything’s awesome but whether Americans are more optimistic. I think it helps Democrats if there’s a sense that things are at least headed in the right direction and that they have something to sell to voters — to say, ‘We’re actually doing something. We’re taking this seriously. We’re focused on the things that people care about.'” • Ha. Zeitgeist watch! (Walter’s no dummy, so this is interesting.) And the same in a different venue, earlier–

“Vibe Shift” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. “Will the drop in gas prices, favorable media coverage of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, and a laser-like focus on selling the most popular elements of that new law, convince enough voters that Democrats are indeed ‘on their side’? Or, will Republican ads that link persistently high prices at the grocery store and gas pump to Democratic policy decisions, be more effective? Earlier this week, I was able to see how this match-up of messages might play out with voters this fall. At a focus group of white male swing voters, the moderator presented a list of Democratic accomplishments, including things like the infrastructure bill, the Recovery Act, and, of course, the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act. Also noted were low unemployment and strong job growth. When asked to respond, a man from Georgia replied, ‘I don’t disagree with anything here. But, I am paying double for lumber and groceries than I was three years ago.'”

“‘It’s a rip-off’: GOP spending under fire as Senate hopefuls seek rescue” [WaPo]. “Republican Senate hopefuls are getting crushed on airwaves across the country while their national campaign fund is pulling ads and running low on cash — leading some campaign advisers to ask where all the money went and to demand an audit of the committee’s finances, according to Republican strategists involved in the discussions. In a highly unusual move, the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week canceled bookings worth about $10 million, including in the critical states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona. A spokesman said the NRSC is not abandoning those races but prioritizing ad spots that are shared with campaigns and benefit from discounted rates. Still, the cancellations forfeit cheaper prices that came from booking early, and better budgeting could have covered both. ‘The fact that they canceled these reservations was a huge problem — you can’t get them back,’ said one Senate Republican strategist, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. ‘You can’t win elections if you don’t have money to run ads.'” • Sadly. Personallly, I’d abolish all digital political advertising to force the parties to engage entirely on the ground (and through local print media. Ah well, nevertheles…). See below at “An Unusual $1.6 Billion Donation Bolsters Conservatives.” That may help.

* * *

PA: “Mehmet Oz’s new hometown is a private, religious community where opinions on him are split” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “Lisa Oz’s mother is a minister with the Convention Church, a branch of the [Swedenborgian] New Church, and her great-grandfather helped build the cathedral [in Oz’s adopted town, Bryn Athyn]. Her mother is a member of the Asplundh family, one of several highly successful families in town. The family’s tree business, Asplundh Tree Expert LLC, is one of the largest U.S. companies, with 34,000 employees and some $5 billion in revenue. The company is owned by about 200 Asplundh family members, who collectively are worth about $3 billion — and several have contributed generously to Oz’s campaign.” • American gentry! But back to Oz’s residency: “Jeremy Finkeldey, who lives down the road from the home the Ozes bought, sees the relocation as a political move that might not be permanent. ‘Oz has never lived in Bryn Athyn,’ Finkeldey said. ‘He married into a Bryn Athyn family and after he decided to run for our Senate seat vacated by Toomey, he bought Michael Pitcairn’s old place … and put up two Oz signs at the end of the driveway.’ Oz does not currently live in the home, which he’s said still needs renovations. So far, no construction permits have been filed in Lower Moreland.” • Hmm.

PA: Ouch:

One thing I’m really enjoying about Fetterman vs. Oz — and Fetterman had better remember it’s not even Labor Day yet — is that the snark is so often genuinely funny. It brings back happier, more innocent times.

PA: “To support working Pennsylvanians, we need to hold Washington accountable” [John Fetterman, Times-Leader]. “[W]hile my opponent, Dr. Oz, has been trying to familiarize himself with his new state — and, apparently, with grocery stores — I’ve been putting in work, talking to people across the commonwealth, and coming up with a plan that will improve the lives of working Pennsylvanians. The first step of fighting inflation and bringing costs down starts with making more stuff right here in America and bringing jobs home. Because for too long, out-of-touch politicians in Washington have sold out people on factory floors to benefit their friends in corporate boardrooms, passing bad trade deals that have sent thousands of good-paying jobs overseas. We’ll bring back American manufacturing by punishing the companies that ship jobs overseas, strengthening ‘Buy American’ requirements for companies that do business with the federal government, and mandating that companies we buy from make their products right here at home. And while we’re at it, we should crack down on companies that falsely claim their products are made here and punish them for ripping off and misleading the American people. If we make more stuff here in America, prices won’t spike every time there’s a problem overseas. We don’t need to be outsourcing any more jobs and production to China, while making inflation worse. But when it comes to bringing costs down for working Pennsylvanians, we can’t end there. It’s time we crack down on the big, price gouging corporations that are making record profits while jacking up prices for all of us.”


“Trump pushes for un-redacted affidavit’s release, despite the risks” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump is pushing for the full, unredacted release of the affidavit that led to the search warrant for his Mar-a-Lago estate, a move that carries risks for both Trump and the Justice Department. ‘Pres. Trump has made his view clear that the American people should be permitted to see the unredacted affidavit related to the raid and break-in of his home,’ Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for the former president, said Thursday after Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said he may be willing to unseal portions of the document. Reinhart ordered Justice Department officials to suggest redactions to the document by next Thursday. ‘Today, magistrate Judge Reinhard rejected the DOJ’s [Justice Department’s] cynical attempt to hide the whole affidavit from Americans,’ Budowich continued. ‘However, no redactions should be necessary and the whole affidavit should be released, given the Democrats’ penchant for using redactions to hide government corruption, just like they did with the Russia hoax.'”

Republican Funhouse

“An Unusual $1.6 Billion Donation Bolsters Conservatives” [New York Times]. “A new conservative nonprofit group scored a $1.6 billion windfall last year via a little-known donor — an extraordinary sum that could give Republicans and their causes a huge financial boost ahead of the midterms, and for years to come. The source of the money was Barre Seid, an electronics manufacturing mogul, and the donation is among the largest — if not the largest — single contributions ever made to a politically focused nonprofit. The beneficiary is a new political group controlled by Leonard A. Leo, an activist who has used his connections to Republican donors and politicians to help engineer the conservative dominance of the Supreme Court and to finance battles over abortion rights, voting rules and climate change policy. This windfall will help cement Mr. Leo’s status as a kingmaker in conservative big money politics…. For perspective, the $1.6 billion that the Marble trust reaped from the sale is slightly more than the total of $1.5 billion spent in 2020 by 15 of the most politically active nonprofit organizations that generally align with Democrats.” • Once again, Democrat layers of indirection vs. Republican simplicity and directness.

MTG asking for my vote again:

I can just barely see electronic tabulators. But ballots? No. The Democrat position on hand-marked paper ballots is disgraceful.

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.

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

Interesting theory, but portraits are painted by the winners:


Joey Steel was quite the hottie, no question….

* * *

But socialism:


• “Fauci, top infectious disease expert, to retire in December” [Associated Press]. That’s a damn shame. “Fauci found himself marginalized by the Trump administration, increasingly kept out of major decisions about the federal response, but he continued to speak out publicly in media interviews, advocating social distancing and face coverings in public settings before the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines.” • What a whitewash. Fauci’s noble lies on masking (not “poor messaging,” but lying) were the first obvious step in the catastrophic destruction of trust in public health (although perhaps we should not have been surprised).

• ”Statement by Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.” (press release) [NIH]. “While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring. After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field. I want to use what I have learned as NIAID Director to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats.” • MSNBC slot?

• Trump weighs in:

A refreshing lack of sycophancy…..

* * *

• This is absolutely terrific. Please distribute widely:

This should be in the hands of anyone who attends a school board meeting, or encounters resistance from the administrative layer on fixing ventilation issues. You’d think there’d be something as simple, compact, and powerful as this at the Centers for Disease, but who am I kidding?

* * *

• ”Tip of the iceberg: erectile dysfunction and COVID-19″ [Nature]. We did run this back in February when it appeared, but for the bros: “Current evidence illuminates endothelial dysfunction, direct testicular damage, and the psychological burden of COVID-19 that are of the pathways of ED. Although the proposed underlying mechanisms partly fail to answer the questions by which COVID-19 leads to ED, it is important to monitor men who recovered from COVID-19 regarding the sexual dysfunction sequelae of infection and address the long‐term consequences.” • Let me know how the “monitoring” works out. Nevertheless. You’d think Pfizer (ahem) could climb up the value chain and together a marketing campaign on this. Too soon?

* * *

• Maskstravaganza, as more PMCs deliberately create superspreading events:

• More on #ISME18:

And this screencap:

• “Conference organiser” = hegemonic PMC, called out by an exceptional PMC:

• More on

• Maskstravaganza:

Hopefully those who would prefer not to wear Darth Vader-style respirators to next year’s DEFCON won’t have to, since the gross irresponsibility exhibited at #ISME18 won’t continue.

* * *

• ”With or without you?” [Pandemic]. “Countries with large populations have the potential to significantly distort how we see the severity of the pandemic around the world. Considering the pandemic performance of the US, China, India and Ethiopia, we assess how these population outliers affect average mortality rates by World Bank income group. As it turns out, the rankings of pandemic severity are completely upset. High-income countries, which have sone of the highest elderly shares, have not been affected the most during this pandemic; paradoxically, once we exclude the US, they are likely to have been affected the least.” • Another way of saying this is that the United States, despite its high income, has Third World-level performance that’s bringing down the curve for the other high income countries.

* * *

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

* * *

Case Count

Case count for the United States:

But wait for the regional stories…

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 nominal case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. The previous count was ~93,500. Today, it’s ~101,000 and 101,000 * 6 = a Biden line at 606,000 per day. (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. If you look at the Fauci line, you will see that despite the bleating and yammering about Covid being “over,” we have only just recently reached the (nominal) case level of November 1, 2021, and we are very far from that of July 1, 2021. And the real level is much worse.

Regional case count for four weeks:

Wild stuff. Who knew the Midwest would jump?

The South:

Florida Man enters data?

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

The West:

If this keeps up, California will level out to a “high plateau.”


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, August 20:



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.)

NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), August 19:

I suppose that if case counts are indeed level, it’s likely there would be few rapid risers.

Previous Rapid Riser data:

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), August 19:

Flat calm on the hospital front. If you’re CDC, and that’s all that matters to you — because Long Covid isn’t a thing, and everybody who is really sick can get to a hospital — you’re probably feeling good right now.

NOTE: Rapid Riser and Hospitalization data are updated Wednesdays and Fridays.


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 but it, too, is on a molasses-like two-week cycle. Does nobody in the public health establishment get a promotion for tracking variants? Are there no grants? 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].

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), August 6:

Complete takeover by BA.5/BA.4. I wonder what’s coming next?

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), July 30 (Nowcast off):

BA.5/BA.4 moving along nicely.


Wastewater data (CDC), August 16:

For grins, August 15:

What I’m really worried about is an increase in grey dots (“no recent data”). because that would mean the effort is being shut down or defunded.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Lambert here: If in fact the drop in cases is real, as CDC seems to believe, we should start seeing deaths, which lag, drop around September 1.

Total: 1,065,569 – 1,064,780 = 789 (789 * 365 = 287,985; today’s LivingWith™* number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, thought they can talk themselves into anything. Fluctuates quite a bit, but even the low numbers are bad). I have added an anti-triumphalist black Fauci Line. It’s nice that for deaths I have a simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.

Lambert here: Yes, I multiplied by 365 this time!

• Ron, put down the pom-poms, I’m begging you:

Klain completely erases infection, hence neurological damage, vascular damage, and Long Covid. And as for Paxlovid, “a bevy of new lab studies shows the coronavirus can mutate in ways that make it less susceptible to the drug… Researchers have found some of those mutations in variants already circulating in infected people, raising fresh concerns that physicians could soon lose one of their best therapies for fighting COVID-19.

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of note today.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 47 Neutral (previous close: 51 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 54 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 22 at 1:47 PM EDT.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Wild Weather. “The three tropical zones have been generally quiet” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.). They’re missing Drought and Food Supply. Ya know, I scan the total list, and I’ve got to wonder if this is yet another number that’s being rigged.

Zeitgeist Watch

Karen™? Is that you?

I don’t know why anybody would assume that air travel would ever revert to its pre-Covid glory days. The entire system is one ginormous superspreading device, and at some point enough people are going to figure that out.

Surely this is irony? But I don’t think Matty goes in for irony much:

Class Warfare

“AL Coal Miners Must Pay $13 Million in Damages for Strike, Biden’s NLRB Rules” [Truthout]. “On August 3, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and the Associated Press reported that the subunit of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for Region 10 (much of the South) has ordered the union to pay $13.3 million to Warrior Met Coal. About 1,000 workers from two mines and two aboveground facilities southwest of Birmingham, Alabama, have been on strike against Warrior Met since April 2021, resisting brutal working conditions. Now the Biden NLRB is demanding the UMWA pay what amounts to $13,000 per striker into the company’s pocket. The government says this is reimbursement for security guards, security cameras, repairs, and production lost because of the strike, plus buses for carrying scabs across picket lines.” • So strikes are now illegal? I do note this is a subunit of the NLRB, so doubtless the UMW will appeal. But I have the feeling this will only culminate in direct action. Imagine if Starbucks takes the same position!

“A Coal Miner’s Political Transformation” (transcript) [New York Times]. “There’s a whole bunch of people over in that building that hate us. They just hate us because we won’t bow down, because we won’t say, yes, do whatever you want to us. We won’t do that. And they don’t understand that we will not subject ourselves to their mercy.”

Terrific thread on homelessness, worth reading in full:

The reality of enormous tent cities all over America wasn’t on my Bingo card, back in the days when America put a man on the moon, and so forth.

News of the Wired

“Shocker! Test Shows Physical Buttons Are Less Time-Consuming in Cars Than Touchscreens” [Car and Driver]. “Vi Bilägare tested a dozen vehicles—primarily new but also one 2005 Volvo—to see how long it took to perform a series of four tasks. It took 10 seconds in the old car and up to 45 in one of the new models. By timing the tasks as the vehicles were in motion, we can see how a simple thing like turning on the radio to a specific station can mean a driver’s eyes and focus are on the screen much more than they used to be. Future drivers may look back at the current trend of replacing swaths of simple, physical buttons with touchscreens and wonder why we let this happen.” • If we’re lucky, yes.

* * *

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 CC:

CC writes: “Bushes inside the erosion crater at Haleakala National Park on Maui.” Wow!

* * *

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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. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks. Looks like somebody found some cases in a drawer… Looks like Missouri’s wastewater coverage is pretty good, and it doesn’t show anything from day to day, at least.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        Upon further review, this appears to be due to the fact that only Missouri’s #s have come in so far today. This would be IMO, the “back to school” spike, sadly. So I would expect this to get worse when other states report.

  1. jr

    Thanks goodness Matty the Y is here to point out that mega corporations that obviously don’t give two $hits what the world thinks are where we need to place our trust. It’s patently obvious small businesses don’t care about reputations or losing even a single customer. Someone should let him know Brian “Potatohead” Stelter has been canned at CNN and they need new “analysts” to blow smoke rings up their own a$$e$…

    1. John Zelnicker

      “a reputation to worry about, lots of media scrutiny” – Matty

      These are the very same things that tripped up Alan Greenspan and his pet theory about the how the markets are so good for society. He thought managers would care about reputation and that scrutiny would help keep them in line. He finally admitted he was wrong.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Matty’s trust in big companies is terribly naive…for one thing, the products will kill them if the ecological catastrophe those products have created does not.

      As for small business…I know personally the owners of several of my local businesses. They vary in ability with business, but I know who I can trust because I know the people behind them. That knowledge is invaluable as a consumer.

      The biggest marketing, lobbying, and corruption campaigns can’t hold a candle to the power of knowing who you’re buying from.

      And if Matty needs a plumber, he’s not going to go look for one himself, he has people to do that for him. We recently found an electrician just by asking around, its really not that difficult.

      1. notabanker

        He uses brand name rental car companies and chain hotels “after flying into an airport you’ve never been to” as his examples in the twitwit thread. He must love the consistency of all you can eat powdered eggs, frozen pancakes and high fructose corn syrup. And he’s obviously never had one of his favo rental car companies cancel his reservation after being 8 hours late because the airline cancelled one of your connecting flights. But hey, I trusted they wouldn’t leave me stranded. They were kind enough to offer a replacement for 3x the price I booked at a month prior.

        BTW, that same trip wifey and I were on vacation in Italy and stayed at nothing but B&B’s. One of them called themselves a hotel, and it was a legit claim, but family owned and operated 10 rooms. Some of the stays we booked less than 24 hours in advance. Every place ranged from nice to spectacular and the people at each were friendly and real. Averaged about $110 eur a night. How could you trust them, you say? The don’t even have commercials? We read all the reviews in tripadvisor, but only from UK and Aussie tourists. The brits write the best and the aussies are pretty laid back with their expectations. Worked every time.

  2. Lee

    Covid 19

    Only after you’re done here you might want to check out the one hour discussion between Andy Slavitt and a panel of virologists on This Week in Virology.

    “Empathyology with Andy Slavitt

    Andy Slavitt joins TWiV to discuss his book, Preventable and how failures in leadership, politics, and selfishness doomed the U.S. response to SARS-CoV-2.”

    He talks about class based inequities, PMC/expert arrogance, political malfeasance and ineptitude which at times discomfits the panel. The virologists know tons about viruses, which I have found useful and informative, but as regards politics, messaging, and public health, not so much.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Both TWIV (about whom GM Has Views) and Slavitt are mixed bags. But it doesn’t sound like I’ll stroke out. Also, for those who use podcasts as sleeping aids, TWIV is very soothing.

      1. will rodgers horse

        Slavitt has some nerve prattling on after the role he has played in preventing M4A

      2. ChiGal

        has GM shared these views somewhere where inquiring minds could read them? I listen to TWIV but have noticed that they have become increasingly heavy on the vax vax vax.

  3. flora

    re: “Trump pushes for un-redacted affidavit’s release, despite the risks”

    Good for him.
    Some background for new readers: I’ve been a lifelong Dem, a Sanders supporter in 2016 and 2020, and I still hope, perhaps naively, I still hope the US is nation of laws and not of men. So, good for T to call out the secrecy the FBI is covering themselves with and hiding behind after an unprecedented raid on the home of a former president. Good for T, good for him. (Never imagined I’d write a comment like this about T, but here we are. It’s not even about T, really, it’s about the precedent set if this is allowed to go unchallenged.)

      1. pjay

        You say Trump is “just making accusations and fundraising.” No doubt. But so, too, are his enemies. Because the public really doesn’t know what this is all about. Absent information, everyone can speculate.

        Regarding Reinhart’s order, it basically says what all such findings say, that the Affidavit must be sealed to protect “sources and methods.” Since we don’t know what those sources and methods are, we have to rely on the “judgment” of the judge. Agents’ names could easily be redacted, so to me all the discussion of danger to agents, doxing, etc. are irrelevant. I’m guessing the main identity they want to protect is that of the informant, and the “methods” used, whatever they are.

        The other relevant part of the order regards partial redaction:

        “I must still consider whether there is a less onerous alternative to sealing the
        entire document. The Government argues that redacting the Affidavit and unsealing
        it in part is not a viable option because the necessary redactions “would be so
        extensive as to render the document devoid of content that would meaningfully
        enhance the public’s understanding of these events beyond the information already
        now in the public record.””

        Reinhart hasn’t ruled on this yet, but I find this argument interesting. I’m trying to picture in my mind why such extensive redactions would be necessary in this case.

        1. marym

          “…just making accusations and fundraising.” No doubt. But so, too, are his enemies.”

          So true, on this and many issues that’s all they’ve got.

          I think it’s witnesses, not just the “informant” who would be protected by the seal or redaction.

          Anyway he filed something. It’s 21 pages. Twitter commentary: It’s a request for a special master (someone who will screen for privileged documents) but he references executive privilege (which he doesn’t have).


          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > protect “sources and methods.”

            Given that the same crew that ran the RussiaGate operation is running this one, it’s the “sources and methods” that would seem to be the issue. Trump’s idea of a “Special Master” seems good to me (even though it sounds like the only lawyer he could hire butchered the argument).

    1. Big River Bandido

      Agreed, flora. Sanders voter here, as well, and I’m convinced the Democrats won’t release the affidavit because it will completely deflate their case and they’ll have egg all over their faces — yet again.

    2. pjay

      “It’s not even about T, really…”

      This is the crucial point, which I keep stressing to all my TDS suffering friends and family. These are much bigger issues than Trump himself.

    3. Buzz Meeks

      I am in full agreement. Also by having Trump in office I think war with Russia was postponed by four years. I shudder to think of what things would have been like with Clinton.

      1. anon in so cal

        Also in full agreement with Flora.

        “…by having Trump in office I think war with Russia was postponed by four years”

        Had Trump won in 2020, perhaps the US would not currently be at war with Russia, either.
        T originally campaigned on the laudable premise of peace and diplomacy with Russia. He did
        get rolled, though, early on.

  4. Wukchumni

    The reality of enormous tent cities all over America wasn’t on my Bingo card, back in the days when America put a man on the moon, and so forth.

    I too never imagined that re-education camping would become a thing, where Angelenos in their million $ SoCal homes within walking distance-bake cookies and bring over a plateful, respectfully tapping on the rainfly for admittance and meet & greet with new arrivals to the neighborhood.

    1. ambrit

      Not snark; we here in the Half Horse Town in the North American Deep South have had an uptick in random ragged strangers physically coming to our front door and asking for handouts. We personally have had three in the last week. One was seriously psychotic looking and acting. [Our area has no dedicated public psychiatric facilities for the general population. All “nutters” picked up go straight to the County Jail. {Which is exactly the wrong place to send them.} After a few days, such unfortunates are put back on the streets.] One lesson to be taken from this is that calling the police in such panhandling situations is counterproductive.
      I now keep a shotgun just inside the front door. Loaded. (It has a push button safety.)
      If you can get out of America to live in a ‘safe’ country, I suggest you do so as soon as possible.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Never thought I’d do it but my family unit (Me and wife) did the concealed-carry/gun safety course. A lot of other very ordinary people in the class. I spent some time in Vietnam so had some familiarity with weapons — and really was hoping life in America would never go down the way it has. Now the question is whether to arm up, and if so, with what weapons? The great debate — AK platform, so good for urban combat, or AR, which has so many incredible options and accessories? Or buy another Ruger Mini-14, shoots the AR 5.56 NATO round (tumbles through the anatomy) but also the 7.62×39 AK round favored by urban combat types around the world. Choices, choices… choices I never thought I would be considering, ever, especially in my dotage… And it’s pretty clear, given the givens, that mumbling “it can never happen here” is the sappiest kind of wishful thinking. Wait and see how fast Western Europe goes down, as the “choices” forced on the “Combined West” [f/k/a “The Free World”] by the Fokkers who have slimed and murdered their way into political and financial power have made for all the rest of us.

        And I’m too old to learn Russian, and even Russia has own its set of horrors, wildfires and some level of corruption and stuff…

    2. JBird4049

      One of my earliest memories was asking Mom to change the channel as the black and white flickers on the tv was boring. She was not happy about it, but how was I to know that it was the Moon Landing? I only realized it a few year later!

      About the same time, another memory is the smell of the remaining fruit orchards when they bloomed and seeing the closed canneries where they had been packed; I understand why the valley of Santa Clara became Silicon Valley, and some of the changes were good. However, concurrent with paving of the entire valley, which made the developers a lot of money, the destruction of the farms, ranches, the working port of San Francisco, plus much of the light and not so light manufacturing industry including all the many industries needed for shipping destroyed a lot of jobs. It also destroyed much of what San Francisco, San Francisco, or Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, etc including the arts, jazz, and the wacky culture that had been there.

      Now, life is change and any gardener knows this, but instead of the steady change you see in any garden, what happened is like ripping out the entire back yard, planting an oak tree in the corner and saying that this single tree will replace everything, flowers, bushes, vegetables, grass, weeds, everything. And of course, oak trees tend to kill plants that get near it. So there would be just dirt, a few blades of grass, maybe peppermint as they are weeds, and one large death tree in the corner. That is what the tech industry has done to the whole Bay Area.

      There was a deliberate policy of destroying everything including those pesky unions, and replace it with THE FUTURE of the new high tech industry, Big Medicine, and higher education. Some blame the homeless for being homeless, but from what I remember, what my family told me, and reading, the economy of the Bay Area was completely different. There have always been the homeless, but I think you would truly had to have been a complete disaster as there were jobs that actually paid something and affordable places to live just about everywhere.

      Today, we do have a lot of nonprofits trying to “help” people, but although there are good people there, it is more of a jobs program for the college educated. Too bad all that investor money sloshing around is not used to invest in new industries and factories instead of the latest app or some other nonsense. I guess the rate of return is too low. And it is too bad that many of the nonprofits seem to have a short life as changing our problems would take more than a couple of years. But funding seems to only be for the short term.

      Pardon me, there might be some kids on the lawn…

      1. ambrit

        Our homeroom teacher in grade school brought a black and white television into the classroom and tuned it to the clearest channel and we all stayed in our desks most of the day watching the moon landing. She said that we should all remember that day as it meant that mankind was now “out of the cradle.” Somehow we all knew that this was important. No one cut up or disrupted the experience. We all sat there, entranced by the flickering images on the television screen.
        Now look at us. The last moon landing was in 1972. We are just now trying to get back to the moon with the Artemis Program. Terran humans have thrown away fifty years of opportunity.
        Pity those kids on the lawn. Neo-liberalism has stolen their futures for short term immediate gains.
        [One way to discourage those lawn defiling youngsters is to put out “Achtung Minen” signs on said lawns.]
        See: https://stock.adobe.com/images/achtung-minen/69281168
        Rant off.

  5. Laughingsong

    “The reality of enormous tent cities all over America wasn’t on my Bingo card, back in the days when America put a man on the moon, and so forth.”

    I’ve had very vivid dreams about travelling just out of the downtown area of my city, and as one passes out of it and two near-in posh-ish neighborhoods, the roads peter out and nothing but shanty-town, tarp-cinderblock-corrugated steel shelters are all that’s there, cheek by jowl, like pictures of the hillsides of Hong Kong island or Soweto. These are the types of dreams I have periodically where it feels very real, with feeling the sun on skin and the breeze, and even (unfortunately) smells.

    I had a dream like that about 9/11 (not the impacts but the building site afterwards) but I misinterpreted it . . . I thought something was being BUILT, instead of having been knocked down.

    1. digi_owl

      So basically favelas?

      There would be a certain irony if US cities developed in that direction…

      1. vao

        Somebody on this website once called the USA “Brazil with nukes”. I cannot remember who and in what circumstances, but the expression stuck in my mind.

          1. JBird4049

            And this is why people who are not Americans get flabbergasted with American “healthcare.” I have gotten more confused responses over this than anything else. Not the guns, violence, religion, the corruption, or even all the wars we as a country keep starting and losing. It is the lack of a functional healthcare system.

            Chancellor Otto von Bismarck started the German system in the German Empire. The British government did it right after the Second World War. America? IIRC, starting with President Teddy Roosevelt there has been at least five, maybe six, serious attempts to create a truly national healthcare system especially under FDR, Harry Truman, LBJ, and Bill Clinton, but the doctors, then the unions, and now insurance companies often shouting about the dreaded communism manage to spike the efforts. And after each effort, it is worse than before.

            Maybe the sixth or seventh effort in more than 120 years will succeed. Hopefully, I will still be alive. Roughly two decades between efforts and maybe eight years since the bait and switch of Obamacare. Should be alive. But a hundred and forty years and seven generations to get what any first, second, and some third tier country has is just insane.

            1. digi_owl

              Note that old man Otto did so to get ahead of the communists.

              UK drew up the plan, as someone here mentioned recently, during WW2 as a means for keeping the population from revolting.

              USA, ever since WW2, has been a golden child. The USD reserve currency has seen to that. Thus unless one was mentally ill or similar, one could be dirt poor according to the US average and still have more “toys” than most of the world.

              This may be slipping, slowly, now, but the powers that be may not consider a proper public health service until the people bring something far more threatening than a buffalo head to Congress.

  6. petal

    Re Microbiologists Behaving Badly: Our virologist was the one pushing to drop masking and precautions at our institution. And every day I see (just about all) immunology researchers of every level maskless and not taking precautions.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > every day I see (just about all) immunology researchers of every level maskless and not taking precautions.

      It’s like a [family blogging] death cult.

      I have literally no insight into this behavior at all.

      Can more readers from the researcher milieu comment? (I’m looking for what is called “lived experience” here, not PMC-bashing per se. I don’t need help with that!)

      1. Lex

        This is why I’ve been saying since 2020 that we don’t need doctors or researchers in charge of pandemic responses. We need Industrial Hygienists because us IH types deal with contamination and exposure in real world situations rather than research or even treatment. (the hospital infection control people are rarely IH trained, btw) If we had had Industrial Hygienists in charge of this shit-show, ventilation would have priority number one everywhere and good, reasonable masking requirements would have been everywhere too.

        I am not a researcher but I’m academia adjacent and mostly in the hard sciences. All the biology professors I know, including the ones who’ve been running the Covid testing and waste water testing, have been back out at the bars maskless for nearly a year now. They tend to have a different view of masking when it comes to campus, but I haven’t asked how they rationalize it being different than their social lives. One bio prof was adamantly anti-mask from the beginning, even when the university actually had a policy (labs being in-person throughout).

        1. digi_owl

          Who cares about their titles, the real problem is that they are leaned on to put the economy before public health and safety.

          I get the impression that far too much of the western world, thanks to exporting industry to China etc, depends on live entertainment and hospitality industries to keep things chugging along.

      2. petal

        I don’t either, and trying to figure it out makes my brain hurt and I get grouchy thinking about it. Maybe if I get up the guts I’ll start taking an informal poll, however we are not supposed to question someone’s masking choices. I wouldn’t be questioning per se, just asking for the rationale out of sheer curiosity.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Look at the bright side, petal. All those people who still wear mass and take precautions may find promotion opportunities as those that don’t find themselves being sidelined for, ahem, medical reasons. Lambert says ‘It’s like a [family blogging] death cult’ so I say we swipe a name from the Harry Potter series and simply call them ‘Death Eaters.’

      3. KLG

        In my research and teaching environment, masks are rare.

        A close colleague just suffered through a nasty bout with COVID and then a Paxlovid rebound that was worse than the initial infection. Attended a series of facult/staff appreciation luncheons, unmasked along with everyone else. Now, a very good scientist who has learned a lesson.

        I took over this colleague’s medical student tutor group. Masks are optional. I wear an N95 and 3-4 of the other 8 students wear a mask of some sort. When one of the students tried to shut the door I would not let him. I am making a Corsi box for the room, which is small in a building of 1981 vintage. Ventilation is therefore lousy.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Unfortunately, if he gets Long Covid, or stealth after-covid cell/tissue/organ damage, it will be the lesson that keeps on teaching.

      4. Carolinian

        I’m stll wearing a mask at the grocery but it’s almost out of habit and an attitude of “why not?” Guess I’m not very vain. These days other mask wearers are rare.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Are you getting less colds, sore throats, and/or flu than you used to? I have noticed that I am getting way less of any of that ever since ‘masks up’ .

          1. Carolinian

            I don’t wear one all the time–just in stores which the way I shop means brief visits. So my lack of colds probably has little to do with that.

        2. ambrit

          Here in the North American Deep South, most of the mask wearers I encounter are older people. Almost all of the younger cohorts have given up wearing masks.
          I think it is going to take the emergence of a new, much more deadly coronavirus strain to “focus the minds” of the complacent masses.
          It reminds me of an early scene from Murnau’s “Faust” where the townsfolk go riotous after the plague struck.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The problem is that various authorities told all the younger people to be complacent and live normally now that vaccines have solved the problem.

            I suspect that young people wearing the mask today will be showing their rebellion the same way that young people showed their rebellion in the early Crew Cut Era sixties by wearing their hair long and by using marijuana and maybe psychedelics while making a special point of NOT using the government’s CIA white powder death-drugs.

            Young and youngish people wearing masks may well be among the leaner tougher meaner hippies of today. They could be one of several stubs that a green culture-war-fighting counterculture could be built out from. And non-masked young people could be today’s equivalent of the happy drinky tobacco-addicts of the early sixties. The Mainstream. The Squares.

            1. ambrit

              I’m wondering what form a moderne Hippy Commune Survivalist movement would take. My gut feeling is that most would go all hull down and avoid exposure to the outside gaze as much as possible, simply as a survival strategy.
              Such communes generally happened out in the sticks back than. The same would happen now for similar reasons.
              Any of the Commenteriat living in out of the way places see evidence of such a movement?
              Another major aspect of the “Commune” idea is the historical evidence that the longest lived such communities are religiously oriented. The Mormons come to mind. An entire sub-culture organized around a prepper mentality.
              Stay safe all.

      5. Foy

        One little anecdote. I went to my local public hospital Dermatology dept in Melbourne for a follow up 30 min visit – I have been seeing them for 2 years. Lots of small consulting rooms that open into a staff open staff area and large indoor waiting area. It’s also veterans repat hospital which was its original purpose from years ago so there are a lot of people being seen there.

        On entry everyone is given a quality 3 piece N95 mask that even has a little rubber strip to protect the nose against the steel strip that goes over the nose, very good fit.

        The senior lead consultant dermatologist who saw me had his surgical mask (!) under his chin when talking to his colleagues and to me, sometimes it covered his mouth but not his nose. Some of the staff where wearing the same N95 as me, but it seemed clear that the further up the medical hierarchy one goes the less interested they were in wearing the mask properly or even an N95. I was quite taken aback. He looked a fit guy about 55-60

        It’s interesting, the quality of the masks given to patients on arrival has slowly been increasing over time, surgical masks for first 18 months of covid, then simple one piece N95s, now the 3 piece better fit versions. Seems someone is starting to realise that its airborne and we need to stop our staff getting sick so the health system doesn’t crash. They just can’t convince the old senior guys of it it seems

      1. KLG

        Yes, back when something like 40% of American adults smoked. But I know of not one doctor who smokes now, and I am around physicians every day.

  7. antidlc

    RE: Tweet

    Ronald Klain

    As @potus
    said last month, three free and widely available tools we have — boosters, tests and Paxlovid — can virtually wipe out COVID deaths if people use them.


    Tweet from Andy Slavitt:


    What I learned yesterday: If there is another Omicron this winter, we will not have nearly enough tests for the public. US manufacturing of testing is shutting down. This is a result of Republicans deciding not to fund the pandemic response,

    It’s all the Republicans’ fault, Andy?

    1. Objective Ace

      I also take issue that Kain is quick to note that deaths from Covid are reduced in those who are vaccinated, however, he doesn’t acknowledge what all of the Pharmaceutical trials point out: all cause deaths are not reduced in the vaccine group

  8. Fiery Hunt

    Nor. CA kids are back in school (about 2 weeks now).

    Superspreading has already begun. The bank down the street just shut the branch for a week due to covid. Three people the wife works with have called out of work TODAY because of either a kid “close contact” at school or childcare issues.

    Welcome to the shit show, Aug ’22 version.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > CA kids are back in school (about 2 weeks now).

      I thought that curve was flattening. So let’s watch.

      > The bank down the street just shut the branch for a week due to covid.

      Sounds like somebody wasn’t doing their personal risk assessment properly!

      1. JBird4049

        My college just had its first day. Interesting. They are demanding that everyone has proof of vaccination and they pinky swear that the ventilation has been revamped. I get to see what they did tomorrow. Hopefully, I will not be the only one with a mask on.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      More kids getting covid today equals more grownups dying just in time to avoid collecting Social Security tomorrow.

      What is Lambert’s go-to phrase about that? ” Everything’s going to plan.”

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I always think of Letov when I see that line, but it occurs to me it might be a reference to something English.

    3. Otis B Driftwood

      Norcal resident here. Wife and daughter both down w/ Covid. First time for both. And both had been scrupulous about wearing N95 masks when out in public.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        My wife is recovering from her 1st bout with Covid. She was also scrupulous about us always wearing masks when out… and being careful about where and when we go out. Grocery shopping at night and such. I don’t know how I dodge this bullet, but I’m glad I did. She hasn’t been too sick, but the recovery seems quite slow (it’s been about 10 days since she got sick, and she is still pretty lethargic).

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I sincerely hope your wife makes a full recovery.

          As for me, I remain 99% isolated (I do quickly buy groceries once a week) and am doing my level best to smoke enough cannabis to protect everyone at Naked Capitalism and all my other favorite news sites. I promise to try harder in the future and am blowing smoke at the screen even as I type (it also helps make the news easier to digest ; )

        2. The Rev Kev

          @ Otis B Driftwood & Duke of Prunes. Hope that your wives and Otis’s daughter recover quickly but at least you guys are there for them. My daughter got sick real bad recently and she was knocked down hard for about a week. Helluva time that we are living in – and we aren’t even at the three year mark yet.

          1. rowlf

            A friend’s daughter who works at the CDC in Atlanta has recovered from Covid.

            Just out of University and a very upbeat positive person, but the whole concept of the CDC and other health leaders getting tagged seems to frame the insanity of the US response. Seeing the health care leaders get infected doesn’t give people confidence in their leadership.

    4. curlydan

      I’m impressed that people in Nor CA are still getting close contact notifications.

      My 10th grader tested positive last Friday morning. He was definitely having symptoms throughout the previous day at school. No one next to him will be notified. The district looks like it’s stopped even counting and posting infection results.

      COVID…meet the underside of the rug.

      1. eg

        Our school district had been the last in Ontario to report possible exposure to parents when a classmate tested positive. They will no longer do so this Fall semester.

    5. JTMcPhee

      My veterinarians’ office closed for a week about a month ago. The place was initially so careful that you had to wear “a mask” — not specified — hand off your fur baby at the door to a masked tech, who would then take it inside for treatment/exam. They started out in 2019 with masking, then over time, like mid-last year, did away with the hand-off and let pet parents back into the exam rooms (no ventilation, small and stuffy, least-cost approach) and then the staff and one of the vets got sick. I have not wanted to poll them to see what sequelae they may have.

      My 14 year old doggie is due for physical, inoculations, stool culture and blood tests next month. I believe they are allowing the option of handing off the pet at the door, which you have to have a mask on as do the techs. Given the manipulations and dishonesty and money grubbing that have infected veterinary practice, I would prefer being present for the exam, though of course a lot of “back office” stuff that’s pretty expensive is done out of pet parents’ sight. (So next you get the pitch: “after careful examination, here is your case plan for x,y,z. We recommend all of the above, but we can eschew x, or whatever you approve. But if you love your pet, s/he should have the full course. Total cost will be $XXXX, will that be cash or credit card? Payment before service, please.”

      i have not checked, but this practice may be owned by a private equity outfit…

      Greed is infectious too. Often fatal.

  9. Angie Neer

    GPS as socialism: that’s a great observation that never occurred to me, and I appreciate it. But when I think about GPS, my main thought is how much everything now depends on that relatively small number of satellites, which are protected only by the fact that they’re in space. Which is not ironclad protection by any means. I mean, in addition to obvious hostile nations, Elon Musk could decide he’s a better steward of those orbits than some silly government.

    1. digi_owl

      It is a military project first and foremost, guiding missiles and bombs to their targets.

      Frankly most of technological development has been driven by warfare, sadly.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        Yes, and the military can shut down civilian use of GPS any time they want. Always carry physical maps when traveling to new places.

      2. rowlf

        GPS is convenient for cheap missile and bomb guidance, but important delivery uses internal navigation. There are even ground transportable field inertial navigation units that can be used if GPS is offline or inaccurate. (No, not sextants.)

        “When it absolutely, positively has to be there over the polar cap

        1. digi_owl

          True. Something like the Tomahawk use both GPS, INS, and a ground tracking radar paired with detailed terrain maps to figure out where it is and need to go in order to reach the designated target.

          But the point still stands that it was first and foremost a military tool that was opened up for civilian use. Not really that different from what we use to exchange comments, btw.

          Heck, look at air travel. Before WW2 it was mostly about seaplanes and Zeppelins. But thanks to the war, a massive number of hard surface runways were built in order to handle both bombers and cargo planes. And those cargo planes were then fitted with seats after WW2, and here we are.

    2. Skip Intro

      my main thought is how much everything now depends on

      I thought you were going to say how, like the internet and the VA, socialism is depends on military spending.

  10. drumlin woodchuckles

    Professor Kyle asks . . . ” I just don’t get why anyone would advocate for “no means testing” for anything. Are you saying you want to give handouts to wealthy people? That’s the opposite of progressive.”

    And I answer . . . . Yes, Professor Kyle. I want to give handouts to wealthy people. I want to give the very same handouts to wealthy people that I want to give out to me. That way, there is a chance that the wealthy people will not object to paying taxes if they get to enjoy the same free and equal access to the handouts that I want to enjoy free and equal access to, funded in part by my meager taxes on my meager earnings as well as their big taxes on their big earnings.

    Oh, and . . . . don’t call me “progressive”.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      Out of curiosity, what would you like to be called?

      I like the cut of your jib here, either way.

  11. Milton

    Being a geographer and working in the GIS industry, my biggest peeve were people or products claiming to have a GPS on their phone or in a vehicle. On days when I felt a bit pissy, I’d retort that unless there were a multitude of orbiting satellites in their device or under the hood, they do not have a GPS but rather they have an app that utilizes GPS technology. Yup, I’m a fun guy to be around.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Well, The Squad should be ecstatic that a veteran Twitter user will be joining them in “fighting for us.”

      The fund-raiser with Seth Moulton was a tell.

  12. Screwball

    Warning; this will not be popular

    Fetterman; The first step of fighting inflation and bringing costs down starts with making more stuff right here in America and bringing jobs home. Because for too long, out-of-touch politicians in Washington have sold out people on factory floors to benefit their friends in corporate boardrooms, passing bad trade deals that have sent thousands of good-paying jobs overseas. We’ll bring back American manufacturing by punishing the companies that ship jobs overseas, strengthening ‘Buy American’ requirements for companies that do business with the federal government, and mandating that companies we buy from make their products right here at home.

    I’m all for bringing jobs back home, but it is NOT going to fix inflation. It will do the exact opposite. Cheap slave labor is what make an iPhone cost $1000 bucks and not $4000. Same with microwaves and many other items made/manufactured with slave labor conditions and little to no environmental restrictions.

    Fetterman is the next Manchin. This is just another example of things he has said that made me think this way. YMMV of course.

      1. hunkerdown

        That wasn’t why Japanese game consoles were so “cheap” compared to their bill-of-materials cost. I think that a similar phenomenon is operative here; the phone is sold as a means of creating billable events in their App Store.

      2. skippy

        It should be remembered these devices were sold at a loss, back in the day, even with the slave labour costs for market share depth, facilitating the transaction flows of various app sales and establish their payment systems like apple pay et al. It expands their balance sheets, the flows across it, and how that reflects in other financial gains for the mfg.

        Less we forget Apple is a hedge fund now with a residual mfg tail now run out of low tax Reno. I like to think of it as like people batteries in the matrix movies and all that comes with it.

      3. Left in Wisconsin

        The reason those iPhones are so cheap is because of the slave labor.

        So cheap? “The iPhone 13 costs $407 in components, a cost-to-retail-price ratio of 37%.” And this is apparently way up from what it used to be (cost is 2.5 times more than 10 years ago). Let me rephrase:
        “The reason the margins on those iPhones are so high is because of the slave labor.”

        Source: https://www.imore.com/apple-sacrificing-iphone-13-profit-improve-performance-report-finds

      4. Sin Fronteras

        They are so cheap(?) because of intellectual property (ultimately enforced by the US government). Huawei makes just as good phones, much cheaper. (Enter the US to “fix” that problem)

        The bulk of the iPhone cost is engineering design on the front end, and marketing on the back end.

      1. Ned

        Stop funneling money to Ukraine, Israel and other military out posts and you have paid for national healthcare.

        “Free health care instead of freeing Ukraine”

    1. LawnDart

      The cost of living and doing business in USA is way too high for most competetive manufacturing, and the pool of talent too shallow– we extract far too much from our citizens for them to survive let alone work actual low-wage jobs. How do we compete with countries that actually subsidize affordible housing, transportation, education, healthcare and even daycare for their workers?

      Although, I guess in the case of our European competetors, we could just cut-off their energy supplies, so there is that…

      Fetterman’s the next AOC, moving up and talking a good game without the ability or chance to get anything done that’d improve the lives of most of his constituents, but still a good career-move on his part. And the circus-comedy in his race against Oz is of some amusing distraction…

      1. lambert strether

        I don’t expect a lot from Fetterman. I like his tactics, and I especially like that all the establishment Democrats hate him, and he summarily dealt with that blow-dried twerp Conor Lamb. Yes, my baseline is low.

          1. Wukchumni

            Oz has foot in mouth disease with the only cure being a loss, but what if we go into sudden death over time before election day?

            1. ambrit

              Like if both ‘F’ and ‘Oz’ stroke out and Chelsea is slid in to their spot? A classic “Statue of Liberty Play.”

              1. JBird4049

                Chelsea Clinton? The love child of two warmongering, uber narcissistic acolytes of neoliberalism? Aside from the nepotism, just what kind of human being is she?

          2. ambrit

            Is that a ‘Circle Jerk (TM)’ reference? And here I was thinking that Obama’s “Pivot to China” strategy was a political reference.
            I feel so ‘dirty.’

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          He is talking up a re-shore America’s industry concept. Others may take example and begin to talk it up also.

          If enough people start talking it up, and then expressing hope or even demands for it, it gives an opportunity for others to point out that the way to make it possible is to exit America from every single Free Trade organization and Free Trade agreement.

          If we do that, then it won’t be against International Law for Americans to make things for Americans in America again.

        2. Buzz Meeks

          I have gotten donation requests from Fetterman and they are fun compared to the usual democrat “fighting for you” horse shit. But when I see two time impeachment loser Adam Schiff as co-chair, count me out because it will be more of the same.

          1. ambrit

            Yes. I too see too many Old Guard Democrat apparatchiks in evidence in Fetterman’s campaign organization.
            Did Fetterman see what happened to Sanders and ‘adjust’ his political thinking?

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      Where do you think that extra cost of US production goes? To the men and women who make those things.

        1. John

          And the corporate jocks who run the megacorporations.
          I love all this talk about reshoring mfg to USA. Does anyone seriously believe that the same people who gave it away will bring it back? Maybe using prison slaves @ $.35/hr.
          Slave ship America is still doing fine. Just ask your next Uber driver.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      When stuff was made in High Classical Labor Union America, the wages were higher and the prices may well have been constant-dollar higher too. But those prices were a smaller percent of the total pay of the workers paid to buy things other workers made than what such prices are today for many things. So the value money represented was more distributed to the working classes than now.

      What legal and tax-code framework made that possible at that time? Perhaps the same legal and tax-code framework would make it possible at this time too, if that framework were restored. And if the thingmaking was also restored back into America.

      1. rowlf

        As an example, I am always amazed at how many Snap-On tools I was able to buy (cash) in the 1980s while being paid $7 to $13 an hour as a mechanic.

        Since many of these tools are still in the catalog the current prices are gobsmacking.

          1. rowlf

            Has that changed for Snap-On? As far as I could find their manufacturing is still in the US. Do you have some other information?

    4. Objective Ace

      Cheap slave labor is what make an iPhone cost $1000 bucks and not $4000.

      I dont want to say you’re confusing rates with levels, you may just be ignoring the longterm time horizon in favor of the short. Iphones costing 4k rather then 1k has no bearing on inflation. Yes its possible to employ “slave labor” to reduce costs and inflation. But that only works once. When you’ve done that you cannot do it again which is the situation we currently face. And doing that is not completely costless. We have convoluted our supply chains and opened ourselves up to other country counterparty risk which is now coming back to bite us and is a significant source of inflation.

      To your larger point — yes, building back some manufacturing base would cost money and likely increase inflation short term, but once that level is achieved inflation would be lower then it is now as the economy is more robust and able to absorb shocks to other countries. (and of course there’s other benefits like good paying jobs in America) That’s Fetterman’s point and he is absolutely correct

    5. spud

      if you have to give up your standard of living and your technology, plus pay other peoples prices for stuff that you can make yourselves, then free trade ain’t so cheap is it.

      tent cities are a direct results of your kind of thinking.

  13. Big River Bandido

    “Could Democrats Really Pull Off a Miracle in November?” • Methinks Betteridge’s Law clearly holds here. More: “When asked to respond, a man from Georgia replied, ‘I don’t disagree with anything here. But, I am paying double for lumber and groceries than I was three years ago.’” • How much can prices rise in the next 80 days? Probably more than enough to make people forget the nothingburger the Democrats just passed, seeing as how this one voter is already there…

    Re: Amanda Hu tweet. While I agree with the information on the flow chart, on the political level this is PMC nonsense. To paraphrase Lambert, if you’re defending or denying, you’re losing the argument. Tom Harkin had it right: “never defend. Attack!”

    On that note…Re: Fetterman: It’s time we crack down on the big, price gouging corporations that are making record profits while jacking up prices for all of us.” • I like this very much and it’ll be potent. I don’t believe he’s sincere about it, but saying it (and repeating it) will do the public no harm.

    And I’m embarrased to admit: who was Joey Steele, other than a hottie? I found a link reference to a Joseph Steele who was a carpenter and politician from Nova Scotia, early 20th century…is that him?

      1. Duke DeGuise

        Josef Djugashvili is the name he used before becoming “man of steel.”

        Uncle Joe, baby, now there’s a dude who didn’t f*#< around.

    1. Pelham

      I don’t think it would necessarily take a miracle for the Dems to pull off a decisive win in November — given what’s on offer from the other side. The Republicans are OPENLY proposing to get rid of Social Security in five years. Why this isn’t a BFD in Dem campaigning I can’t imagine as it scares the living daylights out of this humble voter who otherwise loathes both parties.

      The only reason I can imagine is that the Dems are plotting to do the same thing, only quietly. It wouldn’t be unprecedented.

      1. hunkerdown

        The GOP are doing that because they need a strong Democratic Party just as much as the DNC needs a strong GOP. They have to keep either party from losing the ballot in ’22 or the two great gods battle royale script can’t be acted out in ’24.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          I will prognosticate and say that the Democrats will narrowly retain control of both the House and Senate in the mid-terms. Nancy Pelosi, as despicable as she is, is a hardened and very clever political combat veteran and will be very difficult to unseat as Speaker. Of course, the caveat is always the black swan events that may occur.

      2. notabanker

        Getting rid of SS at the exact time the boomers are now all covered would be the ultimate act of hubris and likely the final nail in the coffin for the US Govt as it exists today.

      3. Ned

        “POPULIST Republicans vs. the RINOcans”

        Cue picture of the nauseating perfumed Lindsey Graham shaking Zelinsky’s hand.
        Does that guy own nothing but one t-shirt?

        Another phrase that deserves dissemination is
        “Tax Strike in ’23”

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          But they don’t want to let the Republicans be the ones to do it, interestingly enough. They want to be the ones to do it themselves.

          When Bush Junior wanted to privatise and otherwise abolish Social Security, the Democratic Senators prevented it. I think that is because they all wanted a Democratic President to be the historic “Nixon goes to China” Democrat to abolish Social Security. That’s what Clinton wanted to be. That’s what Obama wanted to be.

          How can the Democrats get credit for abolishing Social Security if they allow the Republicans to beat them to it? ( I hope that’s not a reason for electing a Republican President and a Dem-Majority Senate).

    2. ChrisRUEcon

      > I like this very much and it’ll be potent. I don’t believe he’s sincere about it, but saying it (and repeating it) will do the public no harm.

      I don’t think he’s insincere about it, TBH. I think he’s realistic about it as a single future Senator knowing what (whom) he’ll have to work with if elected. But you’re right about saying it – especially if he stays healthy and has higher ambitions. If and when that time comes, he’ll have priors.

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      The only miracle I’m interested in the Democrats pulling off would be actually doing something good for the 99%, no strings attached, not means tested, no hoops to jump through, no “President Manchin” kabuki, etc. Saving their own kushy political jobs doesn’t impress me.

  14. Lex

    Re on the ground campaigning,
    I’ve long held a deep-seated desire to reform American elections with the understanding that we live in a world of reality television and politics will gravitate towards that (see, Trump though my dream precedes his candidacy). Therefore, I propose that the main presidential campaign be conducted by train.

    A special campaign train will be used and each candidate will be allowed to have a small group of advisors. All candidates will ride the same train, crisscrossing the country. In the locations where train access is not direct, they’ll be allowed to use buses for “last mile” transport. The candidates will be filmed throughout, broadcast 24/7 on CSPAN. All speech events will be held consecutively in the same venue; the first speaker will be chosen by coin flip (lots or shortest straw may be used if more than one candidate is included). Debates will be surprise debates that replace scheduled speaking stops.

    Specific facets of governing the US will be addressed through scheduled “game night”. Candidates can display their economic ideas during Monopoly, foreign policy during Risk, etc. As always, “game night” on the train will be filmed and broadcast live. Candidates will not be allowed off the train for any reason. If one candidate is the sitting president, they shall designate the VP, SoH, etc. to fulfill necessary and in-person duties of the president. Leaving the train will require dropping out of the race and no selected advisors may be replaced if they leave the train during the campaign. The train campaign shall last for the three months prior to the election.

    1. LawnDart

      I’m thinking a different kind of “special train,” one with cattle-cars and not like the one they’ve been running on us for all these years…

    2. MaryLand

      Still doesn’t fix the problem of promising during the campaign and not even trying to deliver once in office, otherwise known as deception. That’s not fixable unfortunately.

  15. Sutter Cane

    I found this pandemic survival guide refreshing in its refusal to sugarcoat anything:


    If you’ve been paying attention and thinking critically, you’ll realize by now that the CDC, Health Canada, and most other supposed “public health” agencies here in the western world cannot be trusted. They’re tied to capitalist interests, and the capitalists have made their intentions clear. You must stop caring about your health, safety, and your loved ones and go to the damn office, fast food franchise, et cetera to labour for your overlords. Many jobs can be done from home but it’s difficult for your boss to micromanage you that way! So get to the office, send your children to get infected multiple times at school, and don’t worry about wearing a mask because masks remind people that there are pandemics going on, and that’s bad for business.

    1. Divadab

      Y’a but keep in place vaccine mandates like emperor jay in Washington state and emperor Justin in Canada. Maroons the science- hating pair of them.

  16. Regis II

    On Fauci:

    I want to use what I have learned as NIAID Director to … advance [my net worth] and to [leave a big trust fund] to the next generation of [Fauci children].

    I think that fixes it.

  17. Jason Boxman

    What’s next: Are Omicron subvariants BA.4.6 or BA.2.75 threats to California?

    It’s readable with “Reader View” in your browser, even if the subscriber login overlay blocks the content.

    As the latest coronavirus wave fueled by the super-infectious Omicron subvariant BA.5 continues to recede, health officials are turning a wary eye to what might come next.

    Experts in California are closely tracking two newer subvariants, BA.4.6 and BA.2.75 — themselves members of the Omicron family. It isn’t clear whether they will eventually spread to worrisome extents in the state, but there’s reason to pay attention as they’ve caused concern elsewhere in the world.

    However, the proportion of infections attributed to BA.4.6 has inched upward. That subvariant was estimated to constitute 6.3%of cases over the week ending Saturday, up from 5.6% the week before.

  18. jax

    Rapture Index: Closes down one on Wild Weather The indexers haven’t been watching the floods across the American west. The financial damage being done by hail and flooding is enormous. Moab in Utah got hammered Saturday night in a “we’ve never seen it do this” moment. Two hundred people were stranded in Carlsbad Canyon National Park Saturday for up to nine hours. Dallas-Fort Worth might as well give in now and move itself to higher ground. Last week it was raining from the ceilings in Las Vegas. This week Las Vegas is being told its water supply, of which it has less than a 30-day supply, is threatened by the ash and silt being washed in by adjacent floods.

    As an aside, I’d caution anyone looking for a used car anywhere in the states to look for flood damage!

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      For economists flood damage is good for the economy as the repairs increase GDP. Remember, silted up rivers have no economic value. Nor do washed out hillsides. Clearcutting forests is a plus for GDP, while intact forests are not.

    2. griffen

      Dallas and Fort Worth is just a long mostly contiguous asphalt and concrete jungle. All that water coming down in a sudden burst just exacerbates a known drainage issue, and it worsens south of the downtown area. Back in 2014 or 2015, maybe 2 miles from my work location Farmer’s Branch there was a local muni golf course that always flooded in moments like this weekend.

      I think the Rapture index is rigged!

  19. Anthony G Stegman

    I’m not at all surprised that physical buttons are less time consuming to use than are touchscreens in automobiles. In the interests of safety I’ve given up on changing the radio channels on my new-ish automobile while driving. Never mind mapping, bluetooth phone calls, and all the rest. The key fobs for the pushbutton starts are also problematic in that they are heavy and are battery powered. If the battery dies the vehicle won’t start, nor will you be able to gain entry without extracting the manual key from the fob. Changing the battery is a nuisance too. Not at all like replacing the battery in a flashlight. Though I haven’t tested the fobs, they may not be waterproof, unlike a good old fashioned key.

    1. Carolinian

      The screen is there for the backup camera that all cars have now and I believe are required to have. I have one too and it’s fairly big but I don’t have to touch it to operate the radio or phone because there are buttons on the steering wheel for that. It is annoying to have to learn all the new eyes on the road physical actions to use these buttons but then the public seems to like features such as voice operated calling.

      What I find dubious is the screen in a Tesla 3 which is the size of a laptop screen and serves as the readout for all the car’s functions. But perhaps in that case you are using the self-crashing er driving ability anyway.

      1. Carolinian

        Just to add my car’s “head unit” (as they now call it) does still have knobs for volume and radio tuning. This unit also contains all the radios including Wifi, Sirius, GPS (probably) and cell (something maybe you don’t want since the cell, if on, can hack the car according to the paranoid). When you make phone calls you use your phone’s cell connection however.

  20. LawnDart

    From the Congressional Budget Office:

    Federal deficits are projected to nearly triple over the next 30 years, from 4 percent of GDP in 2022 to 11 percent in 2052. Such persistently growing deficits would cause federal debt held by the public, which is already high, to continue to rise even further. In CBO’s projections, such debt reaches 185 percent of GDP in 2052.


    What does this mean in layman’s terms?

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      The heavy debt means it will never be repaid. Austerity will be imposed in order to somewhat limit the increase in debt.

    2. Samuel Conner

      I think it means that the US is expected to 1) continue to run trade deficits and 2) private sector dis-saving will not be large enough to offset those, so 3) the cumulative public sector deficit (pejoratively termed “debt”, but really it’s the cumulative spending injections from the government sector into the non-government sector) will continue to grow.

      [this comes from the “sectoral balances identity”, which sounds arcane but is a useful framework to think about “what the government deficit means” and also “where it comes from.” The deficit is determined more by private sector savings/dis-savings and import/export decisions that it is by explicit government spending/taxing policy, because the non-government sector is not passive; it reacts to changes in government fiscal policy.].

      The ratio of the “debt” to GDP is IMO less important than the question of what the productive capacities of the US economy will be in the future. Will we have sufficient capacity to feed, clothe, house and employ our population?

    3. Polar Socialist

      Oddly enough Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russia’s Security Council and one of the top five in Russian government, just told ASEAN countries that Russia has reasons to believe that “USA will have problems in serving it’s debts in foreseeable future” and that any dollar assets held by foreigners will likely be stolen just like Russia’s were stolen.
      He doesn’t seem to be the type for trolling, but who knows. In any case this signals that Russia is now openly pushing for de-dollarization in Global South.

    4. Samuel Conner

      Further, I have the impression that the economic model of the US economy employed by CBO is not “stock-flow-consistent” (or was not at the time I read about this, which was about a decade ago when I was gaining my layman’s understanding of MMT), and that can lead to large forecasting errors.

      Here’s a discussion, from a leading US MMT person, of the sectoral balances identity.



      IIRC, the issue of “stock-flow consistency” has to do with keeping track of the cumulative deficits of all 3 sectors and not forecasting unreasonable outcomes for any of those. Back in the mid/late ’90s, CBO was forecasting federal surpluses as far as the eye could see, but the sectoral balances identity requires that these would be funded by a deficit in the combined domestic private and external/foreign sectors. At the time, the US trade situation was roughly ‘balance’, so the CBO projections of permanent federal surpluses (IIRC WJC was talking at one point about completely retiring the federal ‘debt’ within 10 years) would require permanent US domestic non-government annual deficits, which would eventually exhaust the resources of the private sector. The CBO forecast was intrinsically impossible, and the flaw was failure to employ a stock-flow consistent model (in particular, to take into account the economic effects of the private sector dissaving as much as was required for the projected federal surpluses to actually happen).

  21. Tim

    I’ve pondered starting a Meme Twitter account: “If our government worked for the people, this wouldn’t happen: ….”
    Seen a couple today already. Apparently in the past the IRS signed a non-compete agreement on their in house developed software to not compete with the private services (e.g. H&R Block), which is why I can’t e-file my taxes for free unless I’m too poor to pay H&R Block.

    Kirsten Sneyma lobbying to except private equity from sharing in tax pain prior to paying out profits to equity owners/

  22. Mark K

    On knobs vs. screens (News of the Wired)

    By timing the tasks as the vehicles were in motion, we can see how a simple thing like turning on the radio to a specific station can mean a driver’s eyes and focus are on the screen much more than they used to be. Future drivers may look back at the current trend of replacing swaths of simple, physical buttons with touchscreens and wonder why we let this happen.

    If you take “used to be” back far enough, there was no screen at all, unless you count the radio display with painted frequencies and a red indicator line as a “screen.” You could do everything by touch, never taking your eyes off the road. Why we “let this happen” is to allow a vastly greater set of options. But choice is a double-edged sword, especially in situations that occasionally require split-second timing.

    I, for one, cannit see myself ever owning a car with a huge tablet-like screen in the middle of the dashboard, for exactly the reason highlighted in the article. Which means, sadly, that I will probably never own an EV — unless the industry wises up and offers models old-fashioned controls.

    1. fresno dan

      Mark K
      So my car has a screen, that WHILE I AM DRIVING, puts up this message: Taking your eyes off the road while driving can lead to accidents.
      And in a non intuitive place on the screen, I have to press a little button to acknowledge that message.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > And in a non intuitive place on the screen, I have to press a little button to acknowledge that message.

        Another caltrop. One of “late Capitalism”* many little traps, for which I wish there was a metric.

        * I don’t like the phrase, because it implies a teleology.

  23. Wukchumni

    Hundreds of acres and thousands of giant monarch trees in the Sequoia National Forest were lost following month-long fires over the last two years, prompting the U.S. Forest Service to come up with a plan to protect the trees that still remain.

    The Giant Sequoia Emergency Response was announced this week, specifically aimed at reducing the wildfire risk currently threatening the giant sequoia groves throughout California.

    “By reducing the potential for mortality… and taking the actions we are taking now,” Sequoia National Forest Supervisor Teresa Benson said, “we will protect the people, our communities and our land for generations to come.”

    And although giant sequoias rely on low-to-moderate severity fire to reproduce, recent fires have been burning at a higher severity, damaging the iconic trees.

    “We have seen fire in these groves occurring for many, many years… But as fires have gotten more aggressive, the drought has continued,” Benson said. “We’ve been very concerned about that.”

    This, in part, is because of the massive amounts of fuel — sometimes topping 4 to 5 feet — have built up near the base of the sequoias over the past 50 to 100 years. Fuels can include weeds, dry grass or even fallen pinecones and pine needles.

    This week’s emergency response allows fire crews to start clearing the fuel throughout 11 groves considered “extremely vulnerable to high severity fire” all throughout the forest.

    Currently, work is underway in the Bearskin, Black Mountain, Indian Basin and Wishon groves. Eventually, fire crews will also work through the Abbott, Belknap Complex, Burro Creek, Grant, Landslide, Long Meadow and Silver Creek groves.

    Crews are hard at work hand-cutting small trees, piling or lopping-and-scattering debris, as well as pulling duff away from the base of large giant sequoia trees and stumps.

    Before the Oregon Trail opened the West, lightning strikes and fires set by Native Americans helped thin forests. The Post reported that it was “typical to have about 50 trees per hectare in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades, whereas now some forests have 300 to 400 trees per hectare,” according to Alexis Bernal, a researcher with the University of California at Berkeley who studies giant sequoias.

    “Protecting communities and life is our No. 1 priority, and saving the giant sequoia trees is our No. 2 priority,” said Clay Jordan, superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. “They’re virtually irreplaceable. People come from all over the world to see these trees.”


  24. The Rev Kev

    ‘That thread asking people how they would get out of homelessness if they only had $20 is literally people saying “I would simply just'” and then saying something that is literally impossible, unavailable, or has been made illegal by local city governments.’

    After reading that tweet thread, you can say that being homeless is expensive, is hard work and amounts to a full time job that requires planning and adaptability.

    1. JBird4049

      Just bringing back all the SROs (single resident occupancy) or even studios that used to exist before they were gentrified out of existence would help wonderfully. Maybe the city of San Francisco could use eminent domain to seize those low occupancy condos and apartment towers. Haha. Mayor Breed would probably get blasted by all her friends, but doing this in San Francisco and other Bay Area counties, all of whom have homeless people, would open up the rental market and drive down the rates, which is why the developers will never let it happen.

      Having people live, sleep, and poop on the streets is more profitable.

  25. Ned

    “We’ll bring back American manufacturing by punishing the companies that ship jobs overseas, strengthening ‘Buy American’ requirements for companies that do business with the federal government,”

    i,e. “In two years, no federal tax money can be spent on imports.”
    Same for states and municipalities. If we could build shipyards in 6 months during WWII, the government can build its own factories with the savings from profit seekers.

  26. Bob White

    “Show a child these pictures, and ask who they think the good guys are…” Arthur Bloom
    His choices of “good guys” leaves A LOT to be desired. Especially, choosing the CSA confederate generals as the “good guys”… ugh.

  27. Bob White

    More for the Dr. Oz pile-on:
    (from 2017, still germane…)

    “Asplundh …pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal criminal charge and was ordered to pay a total of $95 million. Prosecutors called it the largest monetary penalty ever levied in an immigration case.

    The U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia said Asplundh employed thousands of unauthorized workers between 2010 and 2014, its top management remaining “willfully blind,” while lower-level supervisors hired people they knew were in the country illegally. In some cases, the supervisors rehired workers who’d already been let go by the company due to their immigration status.”


    Since we are in the Philadelphia viewing region, we see a lot of Fetterman ads, and have been enjoying them, too.

  28. Sub-Boreal

    What were the historical reasons for the resistance to recognizing airborne transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic? (open access)


    The question of whether SARS-CoV-2 is mainly transmitted by droplets or aerosols has been highly controversial. We sought to explain this controversy through a historical analysis of transmission research in other diseases. For most of human history, the dominant paradigm was that many diseases were carried by the air, often over long distances and in a phantasmagorical way. This miasmatic paradigm was challenged in the mid to late 19th century with the rise of germ theory, and as diseases such as cholera, puerperal fever, and malaria were found to actually transmit in other ways. Motivated by his views on the importance of contact/droplet infection, and the resistance he encountered from the remaining influence of miasma theory, prominent public health official Charles Chapin in 1910 helped initiate a successful paradigm shift, deeming airborne transmission most unlikely. This new paradigm became dominant. However, the lack of understanding of aerosols led to systematic errors in the interpretation of research evidence on transmission pathways. For the next five decades, airborne transmission was considered of negligible or minor importance for all major respiratory diseases, until a demonstration of airborne transmission of tuberculosis (which had been mistakenly thought to be transmitted by droplets) in 1962. The contact/droplet paradigm remained dominant, and only a few diseases were widely accepted as airborne before COVID-19: those that were clearly transmitted to people not in the same room. The acceleration of interdisciplinary research inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that airborne transmission is a major mode of transmission for this disease, and is likely to be significant for many respiratory infectious diseases.

    1. JBird4049

      Thanks for this. I am baffled by the actions of people who should know better like most of the NC commentariat, I think.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Most of the authors have written more or less the same article several times (Marr, Jimenez, Tufecki). That is not a bad thing!

        I guess if the infection control departments in large hospitals — whose leadership is hegemonic with respect to infection paradigms, sadly — read Indoor Air and can accept the thesis, we will better off.

        As Keynes did not quite say, “Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct epidemiologist.”

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