2:00PM Water Cooler 8/23/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I have had a bit of a debacle today: a long and liquid repast (albeit delicious). I will begin with the Covid charts, and deliver more soon (but after 2:00). –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

Crested Satinbird, The Gap, Central, Papua New Guinea. Not quite sure what I’m hearing, here. I mean, I know it’s a bird….

* * *


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

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

“You can’t really dust for vomit.” Nigel Tufnel, This is Spinal Tap

Biden Administration

“Congress implies UFOs have non-human origins” [The Hill]. • Maybe we’ve found out where the lizard people come from?


* * *

On that “threats to democracy” poll, pushed by the sadly diminished Froomkin here:


“GOP Will Lose The Senate Because Of Bad Candidates” [Down with Tyranny]. “A new PPP poll of Wisconsin voters, released yesterday, shows that 55% of Wisconsinites are concerned (50% ‘very concerned’) about Sen. Ron Johnson’s role in trying to put fake elector documents from Wisconsin and Michigan into the former Vice President’s hands on January 6th, including 57% of independents. Will it play into the November election? I think so… and this kind of thing is hurting Republicans in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Arizona… maybe even Florida.”


“Litigation by Leak: Government Officials Leak New Details on the Mar-a-Lago Raid While Continuing to Oppose Disclosures in Court” [Jonathan Turley]. “It is litigation by leak where the government prevents others (including the target) from seeing key representations made to the court while releasing selective facts to its own advantage. It shows utter contempt for the court and the public. The question is whether the court will take note of this series of leaks. Most judges do not like to be played so openly and publicly by government officials. Moreover, the leaks should push Garland to reverse course as suggested in a recent column and order substantive disclosures in the affidavit in light of the government’s prior leaks.” • One could wish for new scripts, instead of recycled ones.

“Trump Was Hoarding Some of America’s Most Sensitive Secrets, Letter Reveals” [Rolling Stone]. ““Special access program” is a classification protocol specific to highly sensitive materials and information that can include everything from ‘black projects’ to information regarding presidential communications and transportation security. Access to these types of materials is extremely limited, often to just a select group of high-level intelligence and military officials. Additionally, some of these materials may only be stored and accessed in secure facilities.” • Well, if I were gonna classify RussiaGate, I’d get out my “Special Access” rubber stamp and do just that. #JustSaying. Meanwhile, as an antidote to the pearl-clutching, see the Federation of American Scientists on “What Is Overclassification.”

Republican Funhouse

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

“Underreported And Massive Theocratic Movement Joins Forces With Michael Flynn And Roger Stone” [Jennifer Cohn, Bucks County Beacon]. “The [New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)] is a rapidly accelerating and dangerously under-reported worldwide Christian authoritarian movement. It practices faith healing and exorcism and promotes dominionism, a belief that Christians must take control of government, business and culture in order for Jesus to return to earth…. Longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone, who works with Flynn and has ties to violent extremists, embraces the NAR as well. He, Flynn, and other like-minded MAGA influencers and Christian authoritarian zealots are coming to Pennsylvania for the final stop of the so-called “Reawaken America Tour” (RAT). The tour was founded by Clay Clarkson, a far right podcast host from Oklahoma, and is sponsored by NAR apostle Steve Strang through Charisma News, one of Strang’s media companies. Several NAR apostles have spoken on the RAT. Spooky Nook Sports in Mannheim is hosting the event on October 21 and 22.” • Cohn is sound on voting machines, unsound on voting machines. and I’m not clear whether this article is (yet another) example of a yarn diagram with the yarn drawn too tight. The last administration where the Christian Right really dominated was the Bush Administration, and it didn’t go well.


* * *

• Maskstravaganza:

• Maskstravaganza:

* * *

“The 5 Laws Of Human Stupidity And How To Be A ‘Non-Stupid’ Investor” [Seeking Alpha (Karl)]. • Since this is the stupidest timeline, these laws may be of interest:

• Law 1: Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

• Law 2: The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.

• Law 3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

• Law 4: Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.

• Law 5: A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

Amusing, and I’m sure many examples of these Laws in operation can be found. I do not see, however, how these Laws can give an account of how stupid people attain positions of real power, a topic of concern to many.

“Anthony Fauci’s Retirement Marks the End of an Era” [Gregg Gonsalves, New York Times]. Gonsalves is a lot kinder than I would be, perhaps giving respect to an ancient and formidable adversary. So I won’t pull out the hagiography. But these two passages caught my eye: “As the Yale historian Frank Snowden has noted, from the middle of the 20th century until the advent of AIDS — during what he called ‘an age of hubris‘ — scientists had largely declared mission accomplished in terms of the battle against infectious diseases…. If the age of Dr. Fauci was one in which we looked forward to progress, even if always piecemeal, the current era is the age of ‘We have the tools.’ It is a distinct new pessimism of spirit, cynicism of the will, born of the hubris of some physicians but mostly of the political calculations of others that doing more on this pandemic is untenable. The sound you hear is the thud of resignation in the face of the suffering of so many over the past two and a half years and a summer in which we add hundreds to the dead every day in the United States.” • I’m wondering if “hubris” gives a better account of the Covid debacle than stupidity, especially for the PMC. Wikipedia (sorry) has an interesting passage: “In ancient Athens, hubris was defined as the use of violence to shame the victim (this sense of hubris could also characterize rape). Aristotle defined hubris as shaming the victim, not because of anything that happened to the committer or might happen to the committer, but merely for that committer’s own gratification.” Shaming mask-wearers, for example, might fit into this framework. Hubris, though, like stupidity, is a characteristic of what Bertie Wooster’s Jeeves called “the psychology of the individual,” so again, probably not a sufficiently powerful explanation.

* * *

• ”What were the historical reasons for the resistance to recognizing airborne transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic?” [Indoor Air (Sub-Boreal)]. From the Practical Implications section of the Abstract: “Since the early 20th century, there has been resistance to accept that diseases transmit through the air, which was particularly damaging during the COVID-19 pandemic. A key reason for this resistance lies in the history of the scientific understanding of disease transmission: Transmission through the air was thought dominant during most of human history, but the pendulum swung too far in the early 20th century. For decades, no important disease was thought to be airborne. By clarifying this history and the errors rooted in it that still persist, we hope to facilitate progress in this field in the future.” • Well worth a read, since this is open access (the authors, including Jimenez, Marr, and Tufecki, have already put forward this thesis in other venues. But you’ve got to hammer, hammer, hammer on the proponents of the old paradigm — “droplet goons” — until they shift their mindset or their funerals are announced.

• “Think the CDC F–ked up Covid-19? Monkeypox and Polio Aren’t Going Any Better” [Rolling Stone]. “The first big failure came in March 2020. Covid was spreading rapidly across the globe and, with no vaccines or proven therapies to prevent or treat the disease, countries had no choice but to lock down their populations and shut down their economies. What the world needed most at that moment was accurate information. That meant testing. While the World Health Organization in Geneva moved swiftly to ship test kits to poorer countries and wealthier countries such as China and South Korea quickly expanded their own production of tests, the United States fell far behind. It was the CDC’s fault. The agency had designed a PCR test kit that it intended to provide to state and local health departments. But the kit included a faulty reagent, making it unusable in most cases. Worse, the CDC initially rejected requests from local and state health departments and private labs to develop and use their own tests. So for a critical few weeks early in the pandemic, the United States was in the dark. Yes, Covid was spreading — that much was evident from all the people falling sick. But the CDC and state and local authorities couldn’t accurately track the virus’s transmission or tally up the total number of infections.” • NC readers have been able to follow this debacle in real time. I have always focused on the CDC’s test kit omnishambles, but Brain Trust member GM points out that the “sabotage” of the efforts of state and local labs to develop their own tests is also horrifying. I’m struggling to come up with an example of a government department in this bad shape that has also been successfully reformed. Wouldn’t it be simpler and safer to burn it to the ground?

* * *

* * *

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:

Quite a drop. 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 ~101,000. Today, it’s ~81,600 and 81,600 * 6 = a Biden line at 489,600 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:

Looks like there was a data issue somewhere in the Midwest.

The South:

We’re going to have to live with that ridiculous Florida curve for a week, ffs.

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

The West:

Another drop. No plateau.

• ”Google’s Covid Outbreak Is Currently The Largest Of Any Employer In Los Angeles” [Deadline]. Los Angeles, you say. “The number of Covid infections among Los Angeles-area Google employees nearly doubled over the weekend, according to the count on the county’s official Covid workplace outbreak site. On Friday, Deadline reported that the tech giant’s stylish Silicon Beach campus in Venice had recorded 145 infections. This morning, the L.A. County Public Health dashboard showed another 135 newly-tallied cases at the company’s massive Playa Vista complex. (There were another another 15 infections listed Friday for the Venice campus that no longer appear today.) Combined, those 280 infections constitute the largest current tally for any employer in the county. At LAX, 274 TSA employees are listed infected. Likewise 234 American Airlines workers. Those entities, however, are not only consumer-facing, but likely deal with the largest amount of foot traffic in the county. Google has 2,000 employees in Los Angeles, according to reporting by the Los Angeles Business Journal last year. If that is accurate, it would mean that 14% of the company’s workforce has been hit recently.” • Great news on LAX, too. I hope anybody traveling through LAX has their throat and nose sprays, is masked up, and avoids crowds (and especially crowded restrooms) in the terminal.

• “Apple drops mask requirements for most of its corporate workers” [The Verge]. “Apple is dropping its mask mandates for corporate employees at ‘most locations,’ according to an internal email from the COVID-19 response team, obtained by The Verge. ‘Don’t hesitate to continue wearing a face mask if you feel more comfortable doing so,’ the email reads. ‘Also, please respect every individual’s decision to wear a mask or not.'” • ”Please respect every individual’s decision to take a dump in the pool or not.” “Please respect every individual’s decision to smoke cigarettes or not.” And so forth.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, August 21:



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.

• “Omicron subvariants BA.4.6 and BA.2.75 are here. How concerned should California be?” [Los Angeles Times]. “[T]he BA.2.75 subvariant has attracted attention for becoming dominant in India and outcompeting BA.5 there, according to a tweet from Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla. ‘We’re now seeing signs it can also compete with BA.4.6 in Australia,’ Topol wrote. ‘Just the fact that variants can outcompete BA.5 is of concern.’ And a preprint study from scientists in China suggested that BA.2.75 ‘may prevail’ following the current BA.5 wave. What this means for California and the U.S. is not clear. There have been plenty of variants that have eventually fizzled out. And, as Topol wrote, the trajectory of a variant like BA.2.75 ‘may vary considerably between countries.'”


Wastewater data (CDC), August 19:

Not happy with the grey dots in California, or virtually no dots in Texas and Florida. We have no check on case numbers in critical states.

For grins, August 16:

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: Deaths also on a “high plateau.” 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: 1,066,082 – 1,065,569 = 513 (513 * 365 = 187,245; 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.

• “New York State Led US Life-Expectancy Drop in 2020, CDC Says” [Bloomberg]. “Life expectancy in New York plummeted by three years in 2020, the biggest decline among all states in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Residents of the state are expected to live to just under 78, the 15th-highest life expectancy in the country and a steep drop from 2019, when they had the third-highest ranking, the health authority said in state-level data published Tuesday.” • Hat tip to Andy Cuomo for his stellar work cleaning out the Lebensunwertes Leben in nursing homes.

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of note today.

* * *

“The Era of Economic Whiplash Is Just Beginning” [Bloomberg]. “How often do you see employment in nonfarm businesses grow by 4.3% over two consecutive quarters, even as their production declined by 2.3%? How do you explain why car dealers employed 21,000 more workers in July than in April even though sales of motor vehicles and parts were roughly $9 billion lower? What would you tell builders who started 34,000 fewer housing units in July than in April but employed 36,000 more workers to do it?… ‘There is measurement noise,’ Jason Furman from Harvard’s Kennedy School told me. But ‘something very weird is going on in the underlying economy.’ Even the standard noise that regularly shows up in the data seems stranger than usual. For instance, GDP is, by definition, equal to gross domestic income. Somebody’s purchase is someone else’s sale. A modest gap often emerges between readings of the two because they are measured in different ways. But these days the gap is a gaping chasm, wider than anything we have ever seen: While GDP shrank 1.6% in the first quarter, GDI grew 1.8%.” • Maybe the Centers for Disease took over economic data and nobody told us?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 45 Neutral (previous close: 46 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 56 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 23 at 3:15 PM EDT.

The Gallery

If this were Manet, we’d see off-kilter cropping:

Zeitgeist Watch

Speaking of the male gender:

Guillotine Watch

“Tensions fly high in East Hampton airport drama” [Financial Times]. “Local businesses don’t want to stymie the spending of literal high flyers, while summer people don’t appreciate the relentless chopping of elevator blades over their beach homes.” Hard to pick a side, here. More: ‘Eighty per cent of the town wants the airport to stay open, with restrictions on things like schedules,’ says Andy Sabin, a pro-airport Hamptons resident and plaintiff in one of the lawsuits against the town [which wants to privatize the airport to control the sound]. But we have the wackadoos out here. If you don’t like rich people, go to Venezuela or Cuba and you don’t have to worry about it any more.'” • Maybe Venezuela or Cuba will come here. As Mark Blythe says: “The Hamptons are not a defensible position.”

Class Warfare

Essential workers:

Not shown, then or now: Administrators shoving them off.

News of the Wired

“Everything’s Going According to Plan” (since drumlin woodchuckles asked):

(This is actually a cover of a Russian punk rock original; I was introduced to both by (the great) Mark Ames. I like the Massive Attack version better (their sound, plus their natty jackets and unemphatic multiraciality).

* * *

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 TH:

TH writes: “This is my favorite flavor of Lantana (primarily pink with orange and yellow accents) – why this isn’t the only picture I’ve submitted of it. 😊 The Monarch butterfly has a similar preference, hanging out with me the entire 10 or 15 minutes I was there circling the huge plant.”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated:

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Dale

    Newsom is corrupt. California is falling apart because of this clown. Empty storefronts everywhere because of his big business friendly shutdowns that left his donors unscathed while destroying their little business competitors. Four of our favorite businesses gone, along with their employee’s lives. Meanwhile the Dollar Store, Target and Home Depot, “essential businesses” according to the Serape Kinte Cloth Money Mensch Mafia running the state are doing just fine.

    When you governor is in the pocket of a major utility which has been judged a corporate criminal and murderer, what chance do little people have?


    “Carbon free,” the Earth’s ass, it’s carbon free.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      Newsom is eyeing a presidential run, perhaps in 2024. He has four or five billionaire families financing his political career, as a result he will be a formidable contender.

    2. Tommy S

      While I can’t stand the guy, I don’t understand how he is responsible for CA ‘falling apart’, ….we’re not falling apart any more, and often less, then the rest of the country. He didn’t print that hot money for 10 years that raped our affordable housing even worse then before, nor has he massively increased incarceration like Harris wanted to, and Biden has done his whole career. More fracking? yes, damn him…and many other things too….but a governor doesn’t make a state ‘tank’…….c’mon….

      1. JBird4049

        Yes, he is not directly responsible for the forty years of neoliberalism that happened before he was elected Mayor of San Francisco and then Governor of California. This is true. However, Governor Hair Gel is happily adding more accelerant to the Bonfire California for his personal gain.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Newsom is corrupt. California is falling apart because of this clown

      I would say California is falling apart because of the four-family oligarchy of which Newsom is a part (and front man).

  2. Screwball

    Many Tweets saying another 3 billion for Ukraine to be announced tomorrow.

    Incredible, and insane.

    1. Questa Nota

      Public Congress view: We have to stand up for Democracy and against the Rooskies.

      Private Congress view: God help us if when people find out what we did in Ukraine.

      Those ukase dollars.

    2. griffen

      It’s just math, that’s a rounding error for the DOD. Dems must be reading up again on what the minister from Rock Ridge was speaking about.

      Let’s turn to the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and Duck.

    3. The Rev Kev

      That 3 billion may just be to meet the payrolls for the Ukraine for the month of August. They are now an official dependency.

  3. antidlc

    OK, I’ve had it and decided to do something.

    School is starting in our district and I am worried for the students, teachers, and staff.

    I called the school district to ask if the school district made use of ARP funds to improve ventilation.

    “Not that I’m aware of”.

    I’m off to the post office to mail a certified public information request to get an answer in writing.

    If the answer is NO, I’m going to raise (family blog).

    I also emailed our city council to ask if ARP funds were used to improve ventilation in our public buildings.

    Next I will contact the school newspapers at the local universities.

    If the money is there for improving ventilation, these schools and municipalities should take advantage of it.

    I’m tired, depressed, angry…and decided to do something.

    1. chris

      If your school hasn’t been able to complete upgrades to the ventilation you can be a champion for getting HEPA filters in the classrooms and making sure your school still has a masking policy.

      1. antidlc

        Masking mandate is a no go. Schools here cannot put in a mask mandate. They can only request/suggest.

        But I will certainly get on them to put in HEPA filters if they haven’t installed them in the classrooms.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > They can only request/suggest

          All the more reason, then, for HEPA (and when you get traction, make sure they don’t veer off and get those ionizing gizmos).

      2. JAC

        A Note: Many HVAC systems cannot take multiple HEPA filters since they will strain the units causing them to break down.

        1. chris

          To be very specific, I was referring to free standing HEPA filter units with the necessary flow rate to handle the volume of air inside a given classroom. I am not advocating for the installation of inline HEPA filtration in HVAC systems I have neither seen nor specified. If you have a system that can accommodate higher levels of filtration, such as MERV 13 filters, then that is an additional step your school can take to help with improving indoor air quality. But increasing the filtration to MERV 13 is not the same as HEPA.

          The reason why inline HEPA filtration, or simply increasing the filters in a system to MERV 13, may not be possible in a system is because you need to size the fan, the ducts, the grilles, and the heating system for the differences in pressure and flow. If you increase the filtration in a system too much you can burn out the fan from trying to pull air through the filter. As some features in a system rely on a certain volume of air flowing through it you can cause other issues too. For example, with a furnace, regardless of what fuel it uses, you’re supposed to have enough flow through the system to carry the heat away. If you don’t, then you may trip the furnace because it gets too hot once a thermostat calls for heat. This can lead to short cycles of operation that can ruin a furnace. Or, worst case, you’ll create the conditions for a fire.

          Modifying an existing HVAC system is a complex endeavor. It’s not easy or cheap. It is often expensive. For those reasons I’m a big fan of using the readily available portable HEPA filters to improve indoor air quality in these cases where time is limited and you need an improvement quickly.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I’m a big fan of using the readily available portable HEPA filters to improve indoor air quality in these cases where time is limited and you need an improvement quickly.

            Cogently expressed!

    2. Judith

      Did you see the tweet in the water cooler on 8/19 about the improvement in the ventilation in the Newton MA school system where Walensky’s kids go to school? Might be some useful information.

      Here is a link to the Newton plan:

      I just did a quick search.

      1. antidlc

        Yes, thank, Judith.

        I saw that. All school districts should have that type of system.

        Waiting on a response from my public information request. They have 10 days after receipt to respond. I just mailed it today, so they should get it tomorrow.

        If the answer is NO, I will use your link in contacting the superintendent and school board members.

        That will be my next step.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You should use that argument if you find resistance to ventilation systems. Tell them that this is the system that they use in Walensky’s kids school. Not what they tell people to do but what they actually do. So if that system is good enough for the kids of the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, then it should be good enough for your school’s kids. Good luck.

        2. Big River Bandido

          See if you can line up contact information for local news outlets. Especially if you are in a small or medium-sized city, sometimes with such short staffs “reporters” will listen to you, especially if you go to them with documents and a “brief” already written up. If you can cultivate a friendly advocate, it will raise your power exponentially.

          In some ways, you are better off escalating but not directly confronting authority until you have agitated a critical mass of people to help you raise hell. Politicians hate the pile-on, especially when they get blindsided by it or read/hear about it in the news rather than first-hand. It makes them feel not only shame at the situation, but embarrassment that they got caught flat-footed. Hence, it is incredibly effective to organize your support *first*…and only let the PTB in on it until the last act is played.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > If the answer is NO, I’m going to raise (family blog).

      Good. Please keep us posted. Perhaps others will be inspired.

      Biden, bless his heart, keeps saying the funds are available, but heaven forfend he should actively encourage their use.

      1. skippy

        DCblogger posted that tent camp health and safety check[/s] by a pop up private security firm …. Here I am thinking there are heaps of wackos you can get for free ….

      2. antidlc

        Will do, Lambert.

        This is the type of investigation the newspapers should be doing.

        Pending the outcome of my public information request, I plan to contact the local media if the funds aren’t being used for ventilation. I will ask the local media to do an investigation of all the school districts in the area.

        This info needs to be exposed.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Pending the outcome of my public information request, I plan to contact the local media if the funds aren’t being used for ventilation. I will ask the local media to do an investigation of all the school districts in the area.

          I thought this chart was great. To pick up the thread from two days ago, I wasn’t advocating using it as a persuasive tool in conversation with school officials; but I thought it was a very well-organized way of getting one’s head around the arguments. Every path out of doing the right thing was blocked with a footnoted study.

    1. Bugs

      Funny this coming right after his Covid infection. Guy his age, even with his free top shelf health care, must have been brutal.

  4. drumlin woodchuckles

    I could see voting in a Majority Republican House to balance a Majority Democratic Senate IF . . . we could be SURE that a Republican House would spend two years conducting a very slow very public very loving forensic proctological examination of every aspect of Fauci’s career beginning with his graduate school days.

  5. Jason Boxman


    Paul Pelosi was sentenced to serve eight hours of community service and three years of probation in connection with a crash in Napa County, Calif., in May.

    The judge, Joseph J. Solga, also sentenced Mr. Pelosi to five days in jail, though Mr. Pelosi will not have to serve that time.

    Mr. Pelosi will not lose his license, but for a year he will have to use an interlock ignition device, which requires drivers to provide a breath sample before the engine starts. He also will have to attend a three-month D.U.I. class.

    (bold mine)

    So al in all, a pretty sweet deal. I wonder how class attendance is recorded? Can you just phone it in and walk away?

    1. Carolinian

      Only the little people do jail time.

      In the final episode of a certain cable tv show about lawyers the lead character negotiates incarceration in Bernie Madoff’s NC jail that has a golf course. There’s a little more after that happens however.

        1. Carolinian

          Yes, yes. I was trying not to be a “spoiler” but presumably anyone who cares has seen the episode by now.

          Saul was a great show although as with any long running series there’s a bit of filler in the mid years.

    2. ambrit

      I believe that the “DUI class” requires attendees to do a breath test at the beginning to assure compliance with sobriety mandates. [I have never had to do such myself, so…]
      Community service should be fitted to the “criminal.” Knowing Mr. Pelosi’s track record, he should be sentenced to managing the County investment funds for three years. If he can get returns for the County anywhere close to his personal results, that county should soon be rolling in dough.

    3. Bugs

      Judge Smails: I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn’t want to do it. I felt I owed it to them.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “long and liquid repast (albeit delicious)”

      This has me thinking three-martini lunch, but I don’t know how delicious that would be.

  6. griffen

    Inflation rate last reported was 8.5%. I’m going to repeat that anytime these media whoring tweets are lining up a different angle on what people are concerned with most. Tyranny of the few / elite and most wealthy, well yeah that concerns me as well.

    8.5%. Still a 40-year high mark. Anecdotes I overheard on CNBC earlier yesterday / today was that the Saudi kingdom might look at curtailing their output come the fall. Batten the hatches if WTI per barrel rises and energy comes roaring back into full view.

  7. Thistlebreath

    Re: the disordered Dem’s:

    I’m not a huge Nation fan but a stopped clock is right, etc.

    Hahn teaches history and has zeroed in on a critical point in it: the Truman years and all the falling dominoes afterwards. It’s when the New Deal ideals were undermined, fatally.


    By the time Nixon resigned, the key elements were cemented in place. We’re living the outcomes.

    1. Carolinian

      Think I prefer the “authoritarian liberalism” article from the other day. I’m reading a book about the founding of, first, the OSS and then the CIA which Truman very much had a paw in. The people behind both were Eastern establishment types who were strongly motivated to make sure the aftermath of WW2 turned out the right way (for them). And they didn’t shy at all when it came to foreign regime change and violent methods. Later Lyndon Johnson, who longed to be the heir to FDR, forced young people to fight a needless imperial war in Vietnam and I’d say that was the real crackup since it fractured the Dems and gave an opening to the right. So perhaps we could say that the war lovers killed the New Deal, or much of it, and are still doing so. I believe this is somewhat the case Michael Hudson has been making. The rise of the neoliberals and the MIC are tied together.

        1. Carolinian

          The book I’m reading on CIA agents is called The Quiet Americans. It’s not exactly anti CIA but does give a run down on the important early players.

          The Robert Caro series on LBJ talks about him as a Texas New Deal Democrat who idolized Roosevelt and then wanted to create his own bit of New Deal and a war presidency to go with it. Johnson’s considerable ego undoubtedly had a lot to do with the Vietnam mess.

      1. John

        Those who forced Wallace off the ticket in 1944 were the architects of what followed. They knew exactly what they were doing. I do not know that they were counting on FDR’s death so soon, but it seems likely.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Was FDR already too sick and weak to oppose them? If he had been strong and healthy, would he have kept Wallace on the ticket?

          1. Big River Bandido

            Roosevelt was a very sick man in the summer of 1944, and displayed almost no concern for the choice of his successor. Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote that FDRs conception of the presidency was himself in the office; probably he was not able to conceive of his own death on the job. He was never told of his own diagnoses.

  8. kareninca

    The only blogger that I have found who is laser focused on how horrible monkeypox is going to be for infants is someone whom I can’t cite since he is not suitable for human society. But he is right about this. Monkeypox can cause terrible birth defects and fetal deaths; there is not a lot of data on how often but it seems likely that it will be often.

    Imagine you are a woman who just got pregnant; you are about four months on. You find out that someone you’ve been in the same room with has monkeypox. You may easily have caught it; it can live on fabric for two weeks and be carried through the air in droplets. But you can’t know. There isn’t a good test for your infant (PCT amniocentesis, but who knows how well that works; I”m sure there isn’t much data). What do you do?????? I’m not seeing that there is a treatment for the fetus. It just either has it or it doesn’t.

    This is the sort of thing that doctors will be doing with women in this situation:
    “Serial ultrasound (USG) surveillance for MPX features such as placental calcifications, ascites, hepatomegaly, fetal growth restrictions, and hydrops could benefit expecting females with real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) -confirmed and symptomatic MPX or those at high risk of MPX. ” (https://www.news-medical.net/news/20220823/Clinicopathological-correlations-and-obstetric-management-of-pregnant-women-with-monkeypox-virus-infection.aspx)

    Doesn’t that sound nice. You get to keep checking to see if your infant has calcifications? ascites???!!!! hydrop???? And what about the poor kid’s brain? Brain problems might not be visible on an ultrasound.

    This is going to be a nightmare. I’m not a kid focused person, and I’ve never been pregnant, but I can imagine how awful this would be for a woman in this situation.

    1. chris

      Here’s the FAQ page from ACOG. Read it for the explanation of everything we don’t know and for the woke references to “pregnant people”.

      Fun details in there are that breastfeeding mothers should pump and dump. Also that monkeypox can be transmitted to a fetus in utero. I agree with you that this will cause a lot of pain because we seem incapable of getting it under control.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the woke references to “pregnant people”.

        It may be, at this point, that verbal substitutions like this are the only tasks that our hegemonic PMC can perform reliably. Where HR is the only department that can actually perform its functions.

  9. bassmule

    “Trump Was Hoarding Some of America’s Most Sensitive Secrets, Letter Reveals”

    Oh, we’ve got him NOW! For the 99th time…I will celebrate the day he’s put behind bars. Golly, you don’t think BIden will pardon him, to keep him from running again? He wouldn’t do that, would he? /s

    1. ambrit

      Demented Biden’s excuse for the pardon will be that he mistook Trump for Gerry Ford, you know, the ‘good’ Republican President.

    2. nippersdad

      Once one eliminates all of the things measured in Friedman Units over the past twenty years there is nothing left to talk about, except all of the important things they have been keeping us from talking about.

      I can’t wait until these documents come out and we will finally know the secret formulae for Coca-cola, Mrs. Fields cookies, the secret sauce on Big Mac’s and the breading for Colonel Sanders fried chicken. All the stuff on RussiaGate will just be a laboratory (of democracy TM) engineered frankensauce for the feast.

      1. John

        DJT is a bit a a germaphobe as I understand. That would be difficult in prison, but as we all know the wealthy and powerful do not go to prison, unless like Bernie Madoff, they stole from the wealthy and powerful

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well . . . it would be the bipartisan thing to do. Especially if it were a ” full, free and absolute” pardon for anything Trump did, or will do, or might have thought about doing. That would be even more bipartisan, in the mold of Jerry Ford’s good strong example.

    4. chris

      Given the senility of congress and others, they could pardon Trump by accident! Apparently Jerry Nadler was interviewed and he said that he voted to impeach George Bush.

      And yeah, there is a pattern here, isn’t there? I can’t wait to see whether the walkbacks are covered by the news or just disappear.

    5. The Rev Kev

      I heard that some of the secrets that he was hoarding was who really shot the Kennedy brothers, the “dress-up” photos of J. Edgar Hoover and what happened to the flying saucer that crashed in Roswell in ’47.

  10. drumlin woodchuckles

    About “reforming” CDC . . . . didn’t several thousand people leave CDC during its period of “Typhoid Mary covid-spreading” policy?

    If you want to “change” CDC, perhaps a way to do that would be to fire every single person who currently works there because they were clearly not disgusted enough to leave. Then put all the buildings and facilities in mothballs and under guard. Then contact all the people who either left or were pressured out or were fired out because of the current Typhoid Mary management and personnel. See if they want to come back to a sterilized and then re-innoculated CDC if they are given sole control of who else is permitted to come work there in order to bring it up to proper staffing but also keep it firmly ” anti-Mary counter-Typhoid” and devoted to tracking and stopping diseases instead of covering them up and lying about them in order to spread them.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Then put all the buildings and facilities in mothballs

      I think that’s too dangerous. I’m sure the very fabric of the building — cubes, offices, conference rooms, hallways, elevators, labs, facilities of all sorts, HVAC — will reproduce dysfunction in any population that uses it. No, we should burn it down, plow the rubble under, and salt the earth.

    2. Big River Bandido

      You will also need a rule that the new agency cannot hire any management from the old, corrupt agency, and no more than x% (probably 5-10%) of the staff employees.

  11. Will

    re Fauci and hubris

    This episode of the CBC’s Ideas series covered the supposed “efforts to reframe failure”.


    Has several interviews, but the one I found the most interesting was with Scott Sandage, a professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University and author of Born Losers: A History of Failure in America. Haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but one of its main goals is to trace how in America failure went from being an event to an identity.

    For those looking for an alternative to the podcast, here’s the transcript of a long interview with Sandage:


    I’ve read some good commentary here on the PMC, creditionalism, etc, but that success is the flip side of failure. Or, according to Sandage, being a success or failure. So, perhaps instead of pride, the reason Fauci et al refuse to admit to mistakes or the reality of how bad things are, is because then they would have to admit to failing – to being a failure?

    From the second link:

    There is a real element in which when Americans talk about success and failure, they’re…talking about life and death. Failure is a form of death.

    The above quote from Sandage sounds, to me, a bit over the top. But then again, I didn’t grow up in America or been a success like Fauci.

    1. chris

      With respect to your comments about failure…

      In the US, it is more that some people are allowed the space and safety to fail and others are not. If you’re someone who can “fail up” or has enough support in their career that failures are things you can learn from and add to your biography, then you talk about failure as something important. Failure becomes an important step on your lifetime walk towards perfection. You mention it during interviews and Ted talks.

      Things like Kickstarter for instance are sold in part because they offer makers an efficient market for failing with a pitch/product on the way to delivering what their target audience wants. Ditto with institutions like school or Scouts or sports teams. You fail so you can come back in glory. Business has the same kind of mythology. “They went bankrupt 3 times before they finally got it right and now they’re a millionaire!” Congregations love sinners in their midst because it makes them feel superior to someone AND because they get to observe the redemption of a failure in their society.

      There are some people who are allowed to accept their failures. Like people who try to diet and fail. Or people who try to pick up a new hobby and only succeed in accumulating more junk around their apartment. This is comedy. we accept it and laugh along as we pile more laundry on the Peloton we still mean to use more often. You are absolutely allowed to fail in the US. It can be transformative. It is something your therapist wants you to do more of!

      But what you cannot be is a loser. Which by definition is someone who only got by on luck, not the hard work you clearly put in, and once their luck ran out they became desperate and destitute. There’s no redemption offered to losers. They’re poor for a reason. You can name all the reasons because you learned from your failures. You became a better, stronger person through adversity. Your setbacks were stepping stones. Whereas the poor losers wallowed in their misery, frozen, unable to grow. They gave up. They lost their hustle. Thats why they deserve to suffer and why you have earned everything you have.

      That’s what I see in people like Fauci. Their failures are either ignored or used as character defining moments in glowing biographies. Because they didn’t learn from their hubris. In their minds, they challenged the gods, and WON.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        ” Get this loser out of here, Tex. He’s stinking up the office.”
        — Hunter S. Thompson

  12. pjay

    “Underreported And Massive Theocratic Movement Joins Forces With Michael Flynn And Roger Stone” [Jennifer Cohn, Bucks County Beacon].

    Hmm. I have a feeling this “underreported” Threat to the Republic is about to get a lot of coverage! Just this morning in Links someone posted an article from the New Republic on this New Apostolic Reformation group. A “yarn diagram drawn too tight” isn’t the half of it. Both articles were similar, lumping a variety of different individuals and groups with different motives together into a vast, secret, cabal of right-wing religious fanatics bent on taking over the country. I was going to reply to the earlier post but decided not to. But since this is the second breathless article on this dastardly religio-fascist group I’ve seen *today*, I feel like I need to say something. And that something is … what bulls**t! The latest liberal fear-mongering talking point.

    Now don’t get me wrong. Christian dominionists are nasty, and I hate them. And people with power who believe they are doing God’s work are especially dangerous. Michael Flynn is one of these guys (though he did get royally screwed by the CIA Democrats as the first Russiagate victim). Mike Pompeo is another. But this scare story about the “NAR” as some kind of vast underground movement ready to pounce is just more liberal hysteria and misdirection. Are these people unpleasant, undesirable, maybe even threatening under the right conditions? Yes, absolutely. But are they the main source of potential fascism in this country? Absolutely not! Rather, it is stories like this that are justifying the continuous expansion of our increasingly undemocratic, surveillance-based, propaganda-dominant National Security State. *That* is the threat.

    I have no doubt that if some of these Christian dominionists actually controlled the country they would be little fascist Ayatollahs. But they don’t. They make nice targets for hysterical liberal journalists, but they are not the people I spend my time worrying about.

    1. Mike

      Too true, and, unfortunately, allows the real culprits of proto-fascism to go free of surveillance – libertarian chief honchos of Silicon Valley, the petrochemical outfits, health systems and their insurance bros, plus the Adelsons, Coors, Scaifes, Heinz’s, Koch’s, and their sycophants in and out of government or the NGOs. The religious Right in all its appearances can become some of the field soldiers for fascism, but they need funding, and the above deities are the banks.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      And, Roger Stone, really?

      An effective rat-f×+#*> in his day, his sell-by date has surely passed, no? His burlesque of an indictment for perjury was based on his sticking to his discredited Assange tale, insisted upon in a pathetic attempt to make it seem he still had political juice. As pjay says, a nasty bunch, but not the ones to worry about first.

      Lord, I resent #McResistance/TDS liberals for making me “defend” these people, and have to always be the one questioning their Democracy Is Endangered (By Those People) porn.

    3. griffen

      Great googily moogily, that is some out there stuff when it comes right wing fundamentalism. I say this from experience, the better part of my young life spent soaking it in. But my experience was not that by any stretch. Just simple country churches and decidedly hard right conservatively independent baptists, no affiliation with a convention. Not snake handlers!

      These folks are nuts. Let them build a new Jonestown and they can lead their followers into their own dominion.

  13. Roger Blakely

    CDC updated its recommendations on isolation last week. It confused me. I heard that two negative tests taken 48 hours apart were required. What were the negative tests required for? Not for getting out of the house but for taking off the mask. If you tested positive you have to self-isolate for five days. You can leave the house on day six. No test is required. But now if you don’t want to wear the mask on days six through ten, you need two negative tests 48 hours apart. Masks are magic. When the California Dept. of Public Health took the recommendations in March, CDPH added the requirement that a negative test was required to be able to leave the house on day six or later.

  14. kareninca

    I now check “Pandemic News” on twitter every day (using nitter.it to avoid signing up for twitter). There is a study out of Ecuador on covid reoccurrence:

    SARS-CoV-2 reinfection is defined as a new infection with a different virus variant in an individual who has already recovered from a previous episode of COVID-19. . . . The frequency of reinfections in Latin America has been scarcely reported. The current study shows that in Ecuador, the frequency of reinfections has increased 10-fold following the introduction of Omicron, after 22 months of surveillance in a single center of COVID-19 diagnostics. . . . Monthly surveillance showed that the main incidence peaks of reinfections were reached within four to five months, coinciding with the increase of COVID-19 cases in the country, suggesting that the emergence of reinfections is related to higher exposure to the virus during outbreaks.. . (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2022.951383/abstract)

    About 85 percent of the population of Ecuador has been covid-vaccinated to some degree or other (https://ycharts.com/indicators/ecuador_coronavirus_vaccination_rate_any_dosage)

    Every four or five months sounds about right.

    The people in my ultra-liberal church in Silicon valley are almost all vaccinated; they are now catching covid for the first time as a result of going to concerts. They seem to have a great love of concerts. I would pay good money to not go to a concert (and would have before covid), so I guess I’ll dodge that particular bullet.

  15. Librarian Guy

    I’m going to disagree (respectfully) with “The last administration where the Christian Right really dominated was the Bush Administration, and it didn’t go well.” Barfsack OBomber continued on with “faith based initiatives” and subsidies to Christian cults and conservative tropes– I will agree that that “didn’t go well” either, there’s few things that I could agree to always/never (always important when taking a test) but that theocratic beliefs and practices always turn ugly I think qualifies for “always” status. (And okay, “dominated” is debatable, but neither the BushCo baby nor bathwater was thrown out, as Barack & Michelle’s bff was being coddled and rehabilitated by Mr. No Hopey No Changey)

  16. Acacia

    A friend sent me an article from Slate by Adam Kotsko, translator of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, on how he lost faith in Agamben over the latter’s pandemic-denialism.


    The article seemed more about the scales falling from Kotsko’s eyes than anything else and, being Slate, there is of course a ring-wing tie-in. Kotsko writes:

    Most puzzling to me was Agamben’s failure to see the obvious difference between the Nazi regime, which aimed to exterminate life, and the pandemic measures that were aimed at saving it.

    Agamben’s take was certainly subject to Godwin’s law and “just the flu bro” absurdity, but is perhaps illustrative of where people end up when they don’t pay attention to the forces of capital. I wonder what Kotsko thinks about the normalization of ~700 deaths a day from COVID in the US. It’s difficult to see the CDC’s so-called guidance as being “aimed at saving” human life.

  17. The Rev Kev

    ‘My daughter is 10. Masked every day for 2 yrs, lunches home. Think the only kid in grade not infected by covid at least once (teachers too). Friday, relative visited her at mom’s n didn’t disclose had been exposed. Today she was +ve at lunch n this evening 39 C fever.’

    I like one of the replies to that tweet-

    ‘Leta McCollough Seletzky, JD
    I just want to live long enough so that when people look back on this time in history and try to soft-pedal it or make excuses, I can say, “No, those mfers knew exactly what they were doing.’

  18. Bart Hansen

    “…a belief that Christians must take control of government, business and culture in order for Jesus to return to earth…”

    That’s already been refudiated:

    “If God meant to intrude in the degeneracy of mankind would he not have done so by now?”
    – Blood Meridian

  19. anon in so cal


    1. Was on this blog, I believe, that someone posted a very informative document chronicling how the epidemiologist, Dr. Charles Chapin, (1910) refused to acknowledge overwhelming evidence supporting airborne transmission of infectious diseases. His viewpoint dominated the textbooks for over a century.

    2. Many large southern California employers have had large Covid outbreaks over the past two+ years. I scrutinize the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health “locations and demographics” report every day. Airlines have been hard hit, throughout the pandemic. So have the studios, Lockheed Martin, Smithfield Foods, etc. One of the oddest developments was when, on a single day, 11 In-N-Out Burger locations that were fairly widely geographically dispersed had significant staff outbreaks. We guessed that someone, perhaps a supplier, went from location to location, while positive.

    3. One of my neighbors told me last week that she had caught it and was still recovering. No idea if she was testing negative at that point. She said she caught it when someone rang her doorbell. She felt compelled to answer, then spoke briefly with that person at the door, with the door wide open. This aligns with some articles that have suggested that “outdoors” may not be as safe as many believe. I recall that, at the beginning of the pandemic, it was reported that someone in China caught it after a 15-minute outdoor conversation. That was the less contagious original variant.

  20. Karl

    RE: Cipolla’s 5 Laws of Stupidity.

    Lambert raises this conundrum:

    I do not see, however, how these Laws can give an account of how stupid people attain positions of real power, a topic of concern to many.

    I’m not sure I can offer more than a few guesses. One guess derives from Law #1:

    Law 1: Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

    Maybe in fact, the number of smart people in circulation is very small. That would solve the conundrum right there. Here’s another guess: maybe there is a strong correlation of stupidity and ambition.

    Lambert’s conundrum is suggestive that the 5 laws may not be complete. Maybe there is another law:

    6th Law of Stupidity: Stupidity spreads.

    Like an infection, stupidity begets stupidity. Humbling thought: even the smart may succumb to stupidity.

    1. britzklieg

      “Never argue with stupid people, they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
      Mark Twain

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      Perhaps the problem is the smart people. The stupid people, such as they are, are useful purposeful distractions and perhaps also not so stupid either because they know how to get paid for their services. May even become true believers.

      I doubt very much that stupid people came up with the rules of neoliberalism or means testing or black box algorithms or even our outstanding PR methodology to divide us into small groups without a lot of power.

      Just to turn the thought experiment on its head. Which group is worse for civilization “The Stupid” or “The Geniuses?”

      1. dk

        I think that is a productive approach to take.

        We’re a species that specializes broadly, but any given individual specialist will be a narrow expert, which means they’re be less than expert (naive) in many domains.

        Increased population and the development of industrialized convenience (technologies that obscure their processes) drive increasingly higher rates of interaction between expert communities, at some point of interaction the quality of domain expertise begins to decline more rapidly.

  21. Anthony K Wikrent

    “Anthony Fauci’s Retirement Marks the End of an Era” …. As the Yale historian Frank Snowden has noted, from the middle of the 20th century until the advent of AIDS ….scientists had largely declared mission accomplished in terms of the battle against infectious diseases.”

    I doubt Snowden aver paid any attention to the small protests in front of the World Bank and IMF in the 1980s, let alone attended one. But, in the “I told you so…” category — one of the points we protesters made was that the World Bank and IMF imposition of austerity was going to destroy developing countries, and turn their impoverished populations into massive petri dishes from which would emerge new and deadly diseases, which would not be stopped at the national borders of the rich countries.

    Can you hear me now?

  22. Starry Gordon

    I want to thank you for introducing me to “Everything is going according to plan.” I have listened to Massive Attack and several Russian groups/persons performing it. At last I have an anthem for our time and place.

  23. Daniil Adamov

    Ohhh, so it is the same “Everything Is Going According To Plan”. I’ve been wondering about that. Interesting cover, though there’s no beating the original as far as I’m concerned. It is the most iconic Siberian punk song (and by extension, Russian punk in general). Frankly, the Massive Attack version comes off as soft and sedate by comparison, at least to my (culturally-conditioned) taste.

  24. thousand points of green

    Interesting permaculture site ( and source of some permaculture and soil books) . . . there is a site called The Permaculture Student. https://www.thepermaculturestudent.com/

    Here is the part of the site focused on the books in particular. It gives each book title and a way to see some of the subjects and even actual pages of each book. The book about soil appears to be current and complete enough to mention the very recent field of rhizophagy, among other things. Here is the link to the part of the site just about the books they offer.

    The Acres USA bookstore is selling these books in its annual August book sale at a sale price lower than the normal price. It is still high, but not as high. I will be getting the “whole bunch of books” for deep reading over the coming winter. Here is the link to the Acres USA bookstore’s August Sale price on this set of “The Permaculture Student” books.

  25. Noone from Nowheresville

    Ahhhh, monarchs. Used to have monarchs dancing in the milkweed field. Now not so much. Don’t know why they stopped coming. I think this is the third year where they really haven’t shown like they used to. But the various species of bees, wasps and hornets don’t seem to mind in the least. Pretty light on the dragonflies too.

Comments are closed.