2:00PM Water Cooler 8/24/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Satin Bowerbird, Queensland, Australia. “Calls of a male next to its bower.”

* * *


“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

“Biden canceling $10K of student debt for millions, $20K for Pell grant recipients” [Politico]. “The Biden administration on Wednesday announced it was canceling up to $10,000 of student debt for millions of people and up to $20,000 of debt for low- and middle-income borrowers who previously received a Pell grant. The loan relief will be limited to borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year or families earning less than $250,000. In addition, the White House plans to extend the moratorium on monthly payments and interest for a “final time” through Dec. 31…. The officials also touted a plan already in the works at the Education Department to overhaul the current student loan repayment system. That income-driven plan would cut monthly payments in half for undergrads and propose a permanent rule change in the Public Service Loan relief program to make it easier to receive loan forgiveness credit for people with jobs in the military, nonprofit or government.” • What can’t be paid, won’t be paid…. Personally, I’d roll back the entire system to where it was before the Student Loan racket began, and fund state schools. I’d also give all the good do-bees who successfully paid off their debt their money back, because they got sucked into a scam, solving what some regard as a moral issue. Imagine the stimulus! (Of course, this would involve gutting the administrative layer and returning the university system to its once-primary twin mission of teaching and research. What a shame that would be!) Also, make that $10,600.

“2022’s States with the Most and Least Student Debt” [WalletHub]. Handy map:

Dark is more. PA is #2.

“White House projects record drop in budget deficit” [Politico]. • Well, that’s awesome; it’s how Bill Clinton elected Bush the Younger. Recession, here we come!


* * *

“Sour, Frustrated Electorates Are Rarely Kind to Incumbents” [National Review].

But if you told me that:

then I would tell you that I expect the incumbent party to do really badly. A frustrated, disappointed, stressed, angry public does not say, “please give me more of this, elected officials.”

True in the abstract. Perhaps voters view Biden as so detached from all reality that they don’t hold high actual functioning Democrat responsible for him, which would make it hard to make the election a referendum. (Also make it hard for Biden to claim his own accomplishments of course.)

“Red Wave Looks More Like a Ripple” [The Cook Political Report]. “That sound you hear is the crash of expectations of big GOP gains in the House this fall. Democrats notched a huge victory in New York’s 19th CD last night as Democrat Pat Ryan defeated Republican Marc Molinaro 51% to 49% in a Hudson Valley special election both parties had invested in. That’s roughly the same margin President Biden had carried the seat by in 2020. The result shouldn’t be shocking, considering Democrats had outperformed in other recent specials in NE-01 and MN-01. But Molinaro, regarded as a pragmatic executive of blue-leaning Dutchess County, had led in multiple polls throughout the race. Ryan, the younger Ulster County executive and decorated Army veteran, prevailed after a late push to make abortion rights the centerpiece of the campaign. In Florida, former Governor and current Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist easily won his primary and will face GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis this fall. The fact that this low-key primary attracted as many votes (1.5 million) as the more high-profile Democratic gubernatorial and Senate contests of 2018, suggests that Democratic enthusiasm has been elevated….”

NY: “Democrat’s win in bellwether N.Y. House district showcases power of abortion rights message” [NBC]. “Democrat Pat Ryan won the hotly contested special election on Tuesday, defeating Republican Marc Molinaro, NBC News projected. The outcome reveals the power of Democratic messaging on abortion: Ryan had put the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade front and center to try to galvanize his party’s voters to get to the polls, drawing on his military service to argue that fighting for American freedom means protecting reproductive rights. It was pitted against the Republican message, carried by Molinaro, that the election is a referendum on President Joe Biden, economic pain through inflation, and crime. Molinaro ran as a check on ‘one-party rule’ by Democrats in Washington, which Republicans have long seen as a winning pitch. On Tuesday morning, he urged voters to show up and ‘send a message to Washington.’ It wasn’t enough.” • Note also Molinaro’s failure to make the election a referendum on Biden. I can’t find the tweet where I read this joke, but it goes like this: “Why were all the polls wrong?” “They didn’t have a uterus.”



Politics ain’t beanbag…

PA: “Pennsylvania Senate Race: Recent poll shows Fetterman leading Oz by five points” [WHTM]. “New polling data, from the Trafalgar Group, shows Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman leading Republican Mehmet Oz by nearly five points. Fetterman and Oz are competing to replace Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who is stepping down after two terms. The same poll puts Democratic Governor candidate Josh Shapiro four points ahead of Republican Doug Mastriano. Both Oz and Mastriano have been endorsed by former president Donald Trump, who will rally for both at a Sept. event in Wilkes-Barre.”


“The Great Disappearing Raid Story” [Matt Taibbi, TK News]. “In sum: Joe Biden didn’t know the raid was coming, Merrick Garland blamed Trump for the raid becoming public at all and took three days to take responsibility for ordering it, and Trump’s crime has moved from mishandling ‘nuclear documents’ to keeping ‘Sensitive Compartmented Information,’ whose possession by Trump poses ‘exceptionally grave’ risk to the United States. Something about all this stinks. On one hand, we’re in the same place we’ve been a hundred times in the Trump era, waiting for the big reveal. We were here before Michael Cohen’s testimony, before the Mueller report, before the Ukraine whistleblower letter, the Barr memo, and countless other expected bombshells. On the other hand, the evidentiary hype train has been turned off early this time. The deadline for more news out of Reinhart’s court about what’s inside the affidavit is this Thursday, when Garland is supposed to submit his proposed redactions, yet the story is getting more coverage on Fox (Gutfield! incredibly surged to the top of late-night comedy ratings after the raid) than in mainstream press, which appears to be tiptoeing back from the case much as administration officials did in the first week.” • We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I’m so excited by all this I can barely contain myself.

“Youngkin plans midterm campaign stops — including a 2024 early state” [Politico]. “Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is set to make a campaign stop next month in Nevada, his first appearance in early 2024 nominating state and part of a broader midterm push that’s coming amid speculation he’s weighing a presidential bid. Youngkin — who earlier this year launched a political action committee, another traditional step for a politician with national ambitions — is preparing a fall travel schedule that will include stops on behalf of Republican candidates for governor in more than a half-dozen states. The list includes Georgia, where Youngkin will travel next month to bolster Gov. Brian Kemp, who is in a high-profile race against Democrat Stacey Abrams. Other states Youngkin is expected to visit includes New Mexico, Oregon, and Kansas — all states where Republican challengers are looking to knock off incumbent Democrats. The party is particularly focused on Nevada, where Lombardo, the Clark County sheriff, is looking to unseat Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak.” • We’ll see how Youngkin takes to the national stage. I mean, so far Youngkin has knocked off McAuliffee, a really vile Clintonite who ran a horrid campaign.

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

“Smoke and Mirrors” [The Nation (Thistlebreath)]. “During the early 1970s—the “silent phase” of neoliberalism’s ascent, as Gerstle terms it—the Heritage Foundation, the Koch Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, and the Business Roundtable were all established, demonstrating that wealthy donors with neoliberal convictions were ready to go on the offensive. These well-funded think tanks sought not only to promote the concept of deregulation but also to change the very way we spoke about politics and economics. Their intellectuals embarked on a massive propaganda campaign to demonize organized labor, government power, and liberal jurisprudence and to persuade the public that the creeping stagflation of the time was the logical outcome of a government-regulated economy. This ascendant neoliberalism was not just a project of the Republican Party: It was bipartisan and already evident in Jimmy Carter’s administration in the late 1970s, before Ronald Reagan’s near-landslide election in 1980 secured its reign.” • A review of Gary Gerstle’s The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order. One more [family-blogging] book to read….

“Court ruling paves way for out-of-staters to own medical marijuana dispensaries” [Press-Herald]. “The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week upheld a lower court ruling that Maine’s residency requirement for owners and operators of medical marijuana dispensaries is unconstitutional…. In-state licensing preference has been at the heart of Maine’s marijuana laws since the dispensary system was created in 2011 and recreational marijuana was approved by voters in 2016. Marijuana advocates used the residents-only language to gain political support for legalization, saying it would generate jobs. But Wellness Connection of Maine, the state’s largest cannabis operator and its parent company High Street Capital Partners, of Delaware, pushed back against those residency requirements and in December 2020 sued the state to overturn the requirement for the medical market.” • “Of Delaware.”


• ”How a $100 box is changing the way people protect themselves against coronavirus” [Dallas Morning News]. “Enter the Corsi-Rosenthal Box, a do-it-yourself air filtration system with North Texas ties that has taken the internet by storm. Each box typically costs under $100 to make and is more effective than other, pricier options like High Efficiency Particulate Air filters. The simple contraption consists of a box fan, four MERV13 furnace filters that can be purchased online or in store, some cardboard and strips of tape. It’s the brainchild of air quality researcher Richard Corsi, dean of engineering at the University of California, Davis, and Jim Rosenthal, CEO of Texas-based company Tex-Air Filters. …. The White House recognized the need for better ventilation and launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge in March to call on building operators, like schools and companies, to up their inside air quality. But interest in such investments has been weak, even with billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 funding for schools that can be used to upgrade ventilation systems. Portable air filters can make up for outdated ventilation systems, although they tend to come with hefty price tags. Standalone devices that use HEPA filters can cost upwards of $300 to $400, and that doesn’t include the price of filter replacements. So when the DIY air filter prototype – designed by Corsi and first constructed by Rosenthal in the summer of 2020 – worked, the two were elated. With MERV13 filters making up each side of the cube, the box fan on top pulls air through the filters and blows clean air out of the top. In a 700-square-foot classroom with nine-foot ceilings, a Corsi-Rosenthal Box on the highest fan setting can add the equivalent of about seven-and-a-half to eight air changes per hour, Corsi said. ‘If we started at two air changes per hour and we added eight air changes per hour, we’re roughly getting about an 80% reduction in inhalation dose with that single Corsi-Rosenthal Box,’ he said. ‘That’s a huge reduction. That’s like everybody wearing pretty decent masks in the classroom.'” • As I’ve been screaming for the White House to do for years, have Dr. Jill go on Good Morning America with Corsi and/or Rosenthal and build a CR box with some cute kids. “Interest is weak” because the White House, CDC, Klain, and the usual suspects have done nothing to build interest [pounds head on desk]. Just because it’s a cheap way to safe kids from illness and death — is that so wrong?

* * *

“Covid intranasal vaccine phase III trials over, proven safe: Bharat Biotech” [Financial Express]. “Bharat Biotech has completed clinical development for phase III trials and booster doses for its intranasal Covid-19 vaccine (BBV154). The company on Monday said BBV154 has proven to be safe, well-tolerated and immunogenic in subjects in controlled clinical trials phase III. Data from both phase III human clinical trials have been submitted for approval to national regulatory authorities. If approved, this would the country’s first intranasal Covid vaccine. Two separate and simultaneous clinical trials were conducted to evaluate the vaccine as a primary dose (two-dose) schedule, and a heterologous booster dose for subjects who have previously received two doses of the two commonly administered Covid vaccines in India.” Here is the Bharat press release:

So here we are: Phase III trial complete, India regulatory approval required. How strange this is not Big News in the Free World, despite (say) this article in Science by Topol (“Operation Nasal Vaccine—Lightning speed to counter COVID-19“). One article–

“Scientists hope nasal vaccines will help halt Covid transmission” [Guardian]. “Many now view a nasal vaccine as the most realistic way of achieving nasal immunity and breaking the chain of Covid transmission. More than a dozen clinical trials of nasal vaccines are under way, including a phase 1 trial of a nasal version of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.” • Not one mention of Bharat. Amazing. And speaking of suppression–

“Cuba’s Mambisa vaccine candidate meets study expectations” [Prensa Latina]. “Mambisa, Cuba’s only anti-Covid-19 vaccine candidate administered nasally, managed to get more than 70 percent of the volunteers participating in the clinical study to increase their antibody titers fourfold, they reported today. In short, he said, 96 percent exhibit a high level of protection after receiving the benefit of the immunizer. Likewise, he added that in the case of Mambisa, the induction of specific memory cells of the nasal mucosa was confirmed. This allows us to anticipate that the vaccine contributes to a sterilizing immunity, that is, in addition to preventing the severity or symptoms of the infection, it cuts transmission, one of the fundamental objectives of nasal vaccines.” • Interesting, at least. And also not covered in the West. Because sterilizing immunity would mean a loss of billions to Big Pharma? Because eliminating needles would mean a loss to Big Hospitals? Because cutting transmission is not a goal for the political class? Hard to say….

* * *

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 ~81,600. Today, it’s ~87,700 and 87,700 * 6 = a Biden line at 526,200 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:

The South:

Florida Man still grabbing cases out of the drawer.

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

Tennessee, WTF? Was the records department flooded?

The West:

Up again…


Wastewater data (CDC), August 20:

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 19:

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.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, August 22:



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.)

Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), August 24:

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

Previous Rapid Riser data:

Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), August 24:

Lots of green, which should make the hospital-centric goons at the Centers for Disease happy.

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].

Variant data, national (Walgreens), August 13:

No sign of BA2.75 at Walgreens, despite its success in India and presence in Bay Area wastewater.

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

BA.5/BA.4 moving along nicely.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Lambert here: Deaths, like positivity and transmission, are 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: 1,066,416 – 1,066,082 = 334 (334 * 365 = 121,910; 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.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Durable Goods Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for US manufactured durable goods unexpectedly were unchanged from a month earlier in July of 2022, disappointing market expectations of a 0.6% increase and following an upwardly revised 2.2 percent rise in June. It was the first month in five that orders showed no growth due to a 0.7 percent decline in orders for transport equipment.”

* * *

Tech: “Ex-Twitter exec blows the whistle, alleging reckless and negligent cybersecurity policies” [CNN]. “The disclosure, sent last month to Congress and federal agencies, paints a picture of a chaotic and reckless environment at a mismanaged company that allows too many of its staff access to the platform’s central controls and most sensitive information without adequate oversight. It also alleges that some of the company’s senior-most executives have been trying to cover up Twitter’s serious vulnerabilities, and that one or more current employees may be working for a foreign intelligence service.” Pulling my copy of The Memoir of James Jesus Angelton off the shelf, here… More: “The scathing disclosure, which totals around 200 pages, including supporting exhibits — was sent last month to a number of US government agencies and congressional committees, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. The existence and details of the disclosure have not previously been reported. CNN obtained a copy of the disclosure from a senior Democratic aide on Capitol Hill.” • Commentary on the relation of this story to Musk’s lawsuit against Twitter:

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 47 Neutral (previous close: 44 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 24 at 2:25 PM EDT.

Zeitgeist Watch

Seems legit:

Because what we’re getting is less and less scripting, character, and plot, and more and more green screens and special effect. Who knew that “learn to code” would be a form of agnotology? (To be fair, this does not seem to be true in many games. But I would bet that many game artists and developer have not been subjected to the credentialing process.)

Class Warfare

“Estimating Labor Market Power” [José A. Azar, Steven T. Berry & Ioana Marinescu, NBER]. “As recognized by Robinson (1933), job differentiation is one possible source of imperfect competition in the labor market. When jobs are differentiated, workers cannot costlessly substitute between jobs: even if a job pays more than another job, it is likely to be different in ways that are relevant to the worker’s well-being, e.g. the alternative job may be further from the worker’s home (Marinescu and Rathelot, 2018). Such job differentiation can allow firms to pay workers less than their marginal revenue product.” • Hmm.

News of the Wired

“Why are there so few economies of scale in construction? Part I” [Construction Physics]. ” [T]he very concept of ‘cost per square foot’ suggests a cost function that is largely independent of overall building size. Similarly, we see few apparent economies of scale in production methods. Large volume builders use substantially the same methods of construction that small volume builders do, and do not in general produce buildings more cheaply.” • Hmm.

“The Secret Language of Signs” [Slate]. Actual road-signs: “Signage—the kind we see on city streets, in airports, on highways, in hospital corridors—is the most useful thing we pay no attention to. When it works well, it tells us where we are (as when an Interstate marker assures us we’re on the right highway) and it helps us to get where we want to go (as when an airport banner directs us to our gate). When it fails, we miss trains, we’re late to appointments, we spend hours pacing the indistinguishable floors of underground parking garages, muttering to ourselves in mounting frustration and fury. And in some cases, especially where automobiles are involved, the consequences of bad signage can be fatal. Bad signs can send perfectly ordinary citizens into spirals of obsession. Take Richard Ankrom, a Los Angeles artist who thought the junction of the 110 freeway and the 5 freeway was badly marked. In 2001, he put on an outfit that looked like the ones Caltrans highway workers wore, climbed up onto a freeway gantry, and mounted an aluminum sign he’d manufactured himself according to state specs. The sign stayed up for nine months without anyone noticing what he’d done; when the story leaked to the press and Caltrans finally cottoned on, the agency left the sign up for eight more years (eventually replacing it with one of their own that served the same function).” • In the caption: “Guerilla public service.”

“Do not try this at home: Medieval medicine under the spotlight in major new project” [University of Cambridge]. Very beautiful scanned images of medieval books; worth a look for that alone. More: “A bewildering array of ingredients – animal, mineral and vegetable – are mentioned in these recipes. There are herbs that you would find in modern-day gardens and on supermarket shelves – sage, rosemary, thyme, bay, mint – as well as common perennial plants: walwort, henbane, betony, and comfrey. Medieval physicians also had access to and used a variety of spices in their formulations, such as cumin, pepper, and ginger, and often mixed ingredients with ale, white wine, vinegar or milk.” Jackpot-compliant, or at least moreso than modern medicine. But where are the RCTs? More: “Behind each recipe, however distantly, there lies a human story: experiences of illness and of pain, but also the desire to live and to be healthy. Some of the most moving are those that remedies that speak of the hopes or tragic disappointments of medieval people.” • This, too.


* * *

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 JM:

JM writes: “This is a photo of an oak seedling with a curious sort of growth attached. There was a second oak seedling nearby with the same kind of growth. It was taken in the spring in a shady damp edge to a small lagoon. I was wondering if anyone could identify this.” Readers?

* * *

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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. Bart Hansen

      Here in central VA the oak galls are dark brown and slightly smaller that a ping pong ball, each with a tiny exit hole. They crush easily in the hand.

  1. Mikel

    “…The Nice household is one of some 20 million across the country—about 1 in 6 American homes—that have fallen behind on their utility bills. It is, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (Neada), the worst crisis the group has ever documented. Underpinning those numbers is a blistering surge in electricity prices, propelled by the soaring cost of natural gas…”

    Not only an overseas phenomenon.

    1. Hood

      This is why utilities are trying to fool the public into accepting smart electric, gas and water meters as “efficient” and “helping conserve energy/water.”


      It allows them to remotely shut off utilities instantly and will allow a spot price auction, that is the highest bidder, credit card on file of course, gets the power/gas/water in case of a blackout or shortage, or just for plain old profits. “

    2. griffen

      The national news that I watch at most, just to see what’s reported, is not talking about it. CNBC does mention the above on occasion, as though paying the utility bill or the cellular phone bill is becoming a choice of eating, sleeping or communicating.

      Something just seems, very wrong, with these anecdotes. I sense a looming problem for many in this country going into the fall and winter. I can hope to be proven wrong.

      And yes, Democrats in DC, inflation is still a problem to be solved damn it. You are in charge.

          1. rowlf


            “Now, I want you to tell me everything you know about for profit pharmaceuticals, and don’t forget the name of the company that fixed it for me.”


            “Now a real person, when they picked up Paxlovid, would’ve immediately asked about the small print on the bottom of the prescription sheet“.

            It was a hoot a few months ago when someone joked about a possible Pfizer Comirnaty Covid vaccination commercial on television would be very long due to the possible side-effects disclosure.

  2. Mark Gisleson

    Humor requires context and I think you have found the perfect home for that Tufnel quote!

  3. Mikel

    “Wow…people realized “learn to code” was just a joke, right?” pic.twitter.com/0pf8C4xSso

    They also haven’t considered that CS has always been the area most ripe for automation.
    Nothing says “automate me” like 01000101111, etc…

    But at any rate: lots more mediocre code headed our way.

    1. Thistlebreath

      Code repositories have been the bane of our game making careers.

      Someone writes some almost ok code, or maybe just good enough code and stashes it somewhere like Github.

      Party B comes along and cuts and pastes the original, warts and all.

      This multiplies over time.

      It’s like laying the sill plate on a concrete foundation. If you’re off 1/64 of an inch, by the time you reach the rafter set, it’s half a foot or more.

      1. Mikel

        I bet the field is attracting alot of extrovert, go-getters now that know how to network…while scientific areas of work always seemed to me to require more quiet contemplation.

        1. Jorge

          I don’t buy it. I believe that gaming always has been and always will be owned by obsessed weirdos who work night & day. This is why big-company (Apple, Google) game studios get shut down: they can’t attract the people who make something truly new.

  4. antidlc

    Public information request update…

    I am requesting info from local government and schools regarding use of funds from the American Rescue Plan to improve ventilation in schools and public buildings.

    I submitted my public information request to the school district yesterday, thinking the certified letter would arrive today since it only has to go 2.6 miles. I checked the tracking and the letter is being routed through two different distribution centers (each miles away) before it will hopefully arrive tomorrow.

    I also submitted a public information request to our local city government.

    I will mail a certified letter to the local community college and a local public university.


    Did you know? You can use American Rescue Plan (ARP) education funds further described below to improve indoor air quality for in-person instruction, including through:

    Inspection, testing, and maintenance of current ventilation systems and approaches
    Purchasing portable air filtration units, such as HEPA air filters
    Purchasing MERV-13 (or higher) filters for your HVAC system and ACs
    Purchasing fans
    Repairing windows and/or doors so that they can open to let fresh air in
    Servicing or upgrading HVAC systems consistent with industry standards
    Purchasing equipment to run outdoor classes
    Purchasing carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors, air flow capture hoods, and anemometers for custodians and building personnel to assess ventilation
    Paying for increased heating/cooling costs due to increased use of heating/cooling systems
    Other spending that supports inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair.

  5. Garbo

    Corsi boxes~“Interest is weak” because the White House, CDC, Klain, and the usual suspects have done nothing to build interest [pounds head on desk]. Just because it’s a cheap way to safe kids from illness and death — is that so wrong?

    Yes, if you are long Pharma, surveillance capitalism, national big box retailers, social control, chinese style social credit scores and a few other low hanging pandemic fruits.

    To paraphrase Micky Spillane,

    In 75 days, Vengeance Is Thine.

  6. Carolinian

    So an Emily Litella coming up from Dems on the raid? How about their 2020 presidential choice? Pleeeze??

    And the Corsi Box sounds impressively successful. However when it comes to preventing “death” might be more useful to put one in every nursing home room.

  7. Screwball

    Biden’s approval numbers.

    They don’t look good but only to those who care to look, apparently. My PMC friend just today, as he celebrated how great the student loan forgiveness is, tells me “Biden has been the most successful and most liberal president since Lyndon Johnson.”

    Alrighty then…

    It really is entertaining to watch these people. For as much as so many of us loathe Trump, he did do some things right/good. But with the PMC it is all binary. Trump could do NOTHING right/good, while Biden is just the opposite. He can’t do anything wrong (which includes the entire party). Amazing how this works.

    Did anyone happen to catch the video of Paul Pelosi’s traffic stop? The world’s greatest trader was seriously toasted. Must have made a fortune that day.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Did anyone happen to catch the video of Paul Pelosi’s traffic stop? The world’s greatest trader was seriously toasted. Must have made a fortune that day.

      Here’s the 18 minute version….

      Good catch!

        1. Hood

          Suspended sentence, monetary fine.

          Same treatment that 11 year carjackers threatening to kill drivers get, without the fine.

      1. Graff

        Mr. Pelsoi was treated for upwards of five hours for medical problems BEFORE they took his blood alcohol measurements.
        Special treatment for Special Uberworld people.

      2. skippy

        Best part about the U.S. road side test is its a joke … everywhere else they just breathalyze you and its neg or pos .. no psychological puppetry on the side of the road …

    2. Wukchumni

      22′ Paulosi

      Recently decanted… A subtle, but haunting, bitterness in the finish adds complexity and makes the story even more appealing, with a rose like bouquet of circumstances.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Haven’t really followed that story but wasn’t there somebody else in his car? I saw one reference that that and no more.

  8. Questa Nota

    Class warfare from downrange.
    Switching costs have a few components for employers and employees.

    When employers became more hard-nosed and built in festering resentments, they were guaranteed to suffer in any market upheavals.
    That can show up with ghosting interviewees, as word does get around. Each interviewee is not some isolated, never to be heard from again bot begging for a job, even if it may seem like it at the time.
    There would appear to be a degraded marginal revenue product aspect to company behavior, as they aren’t getting their best efforts if they are fostering precarity.

    Employees see how their current and former co-workers are treated. In such environments they are less likely to observe former protocols like the Two Week Notice. Ghosting variants go both ways, not that that makes it right, but it does exist. One local employer was such a jerk to employees that her key sales person went out on many sales calls that happened to be made from, and for the benefit of, his new employer. Not particularly ethical, so another sign of the times.

    What will it take to restore a semblance of decency in the workplace? Remind people that treating one another like human beings should be the rule and not the exception. One positive note from the Covid period is that all parties saw or learned of the costs and benefits of working from home. Research continues.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      “What will it take to restore a semblance of decency in the workplace?”

      Ummm…total collapse of current system? Climate armageddon? Global pandemic that reaches “Black Death” levels of lethality? Nuclear war?

      Not betting any of these will actually result in “a semblance of decency in the workplace” except maybe nuclear war….and that’s kinda of a hedge.

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    Cambridge and the Medieval Medicine project. They just can’t resist showing their snobbery toward the past, can they? It’s all brainless Dead White Men eating salted owls. Good thing that medicine now is so advanced and we know everything.

    Some counter-reminders:

    it sets forth the six essential elements for well-being:

    sufficient food and drink in moderation,
    fresh air,
    alternations of activity and rest,
    alternations of sleep and wakefulness,
    secretions and excretions of humours, and finally
    the effects of states of mind.
    Tacuinum Sanitatis says that illnesses result from imbalance of these elements.

    This was an Arabic treatise that became quite popular in the West. We’re talking 1250 or so for its arrival and translation at Palermo in Sicily (which still had an Arabic-speaking subpopulation then).

    And besides the famous Women of Salerno, the female professors and physicians, there’s this:

    Books made the Salernitan school famous. They had a strong start with the Pantegni, Constantine’s translation and adaptation of the Al-malaki of Haly Abbas, ten volumes of theoretical medicine and ten of practical medicine. He had also translated a treatise on the ophthalmology of Hunayn bin Ishaq and the Viaticus of Ibn al-Jazzar. The most famous pharmacopeia of the Middle Ages, the Antidotarium Nicolai, also was written in the circles of the school.

    What’s remarkable is that the Cambridge / Welcome project seems to be years behind what others know about medieval medicine, one of the basic pieces of knowledge being that it often worked quite well.

    So do try this at home: Just don’t listen to what Oxbridge has to tell you. After all, the Astra-Zeneca vaccine against Covid, a total fiasco, is out of Oxford. And they’re yukking it up about eel fat. Come on.

    1. Revenant

      The AZ vaccine looks increasingly effective, given that protection against serious illness is all any of the non-sterilizing vaccines manage and that its record of side effects is much better than the mRNA vaccines. The AZ vaccine, like all vaccines for Covud-19, should have been kept away from the young, whose risks were from side effects rather than the virus.

  10. Carolinian


    Indeed, many of the views that the media attacked as conspiracy theories or debunked are now again being seriously considered. That includes claims of adverse responses to the vaccines, natural immunity protection, and the psychological costs from masking or isolation, particularly among children. None of these views are inviolate or beyond question — any more than the official accounts were at the time. Rather, they were systemically “disappeared” from social media – pushed to the far extremes of public and academic discourse.

    The First Amendment is designed to prevent the government from censoring speech. While the new lawsuit will face legal challenges, it has already forced previously unknown government-corporate coordination into the public view.

    He’s talking about the recent revelations from Alex Berenson and others that the Biden govt directly instructed Twitter to censor him and others and thereby turned twitter from a private “free speech defense” actor into an arm of government censorship which is very much not business as usual.


    Berenson settled his lawsuit against Twitter–in his favor–and now says he may sue the USG.

  11. Geoffrey Dewan

    Seems like only yesterday you predicted:

    “White House solicits ideas on student debt relief as Biden’s decision looms” [Politico]. • I’d go with means-testing, complex eligibility requirements, a long phase-in period, pay-fors, and a ceiling considerably less than the total debt “owed.”

    Oh wait, that was yesterday

    1. pjay

      Lambert today: “Personally, I’d roll back the entire system to where it was before the Student Loan racket began, and fund state schools. I’d also give all the good do-bees who successfully paid off their debt their money back, because they got sucked into a scam, solving what some regard as a moral issue.”

      Regarding the latter suggestion: I went to the Fox News website to check on another issue and found it full of testimonials by those “good do-bees,” who had worked hard to pay off their loans and felt cheated by the Biden bill. Some even had some helpful advice on how you could pay off your loan by disciplined budgeting, etc. I support *real* student loan relief (though I’d much prefer we follow Lambert’s first suggestion and fund education directly), but I’ve never thought this issue was a winner for the Democrats at all. It is too easily gamed by the Republicans as another “giveaway to the irresponsible.” And with the means-testing distinctions, you can guess how the “irresponsible” will be stereotyped. I don’t care how much relief is given to poor white kids who went to for-profit diploma mills. The appeal is mainly to the upper-middle class who are already most likely to vote Democrat.

      1. Screwball

        It’s so hard to understand how this will work and who it will help with all the media to sift through. I’m too lazy and I’m out of school as a student (I am a teacher) so it doesn’t matter. But what matters is the messaging (since this is close to mid-terms and I think nothing but a political ploy for votes).

        I did ask someone how this will work. I was told “The majority of these people who are getting their loan canceled are poor people, particularly black people.”

        Ok, best I can tell, nobody is getting loans cancelled, and there seem to be plenty of rules for qualification. So I’m guessing this person who told me is only reading White House & DNC propaganda.

        I’m still trying to figure out why anyone would believe a politician or party.

      2. notabanker

        I don’t begrudge anyone who can get relief on college costs. I paid a fortune for mine to go and the choices are pay a ridiculous amount, let your kid get into a monster debt for the rest of their life or not go to college.

        Giving Biden credit for anything in this fiasco is like giving Corleone credit for ‘only’ putting the horses head in the bed. Sorry not sorry Joe, it ain’t business, it’s personal.

  12. Mikel

    “The Great Disappearing Raid Story” [Matt Taibbi, TK News]

    Surprise! I keep saying: Use your street smarts when thinking about Trump and the FBI.

    For more information: The Departed is now playing on Netflix.

    1. ambrit

      Better yet, get a copy of the original Hong Kong film, “Infernal Affairs.” A very good film, and perhaps an even more appropriate tale concerning today’s Political Crime Scene.

    2. Young

      Since the president(current) personally denied any knowledge of it before it happened, this becomes a gate,

      Mar-a-gate, or

      Lagogate, or


    1. Larry Carlson

      Blue collar veggies, though. Maybe fried pickles? And he sets down his beer to swing, just like John Daly.

    2. griffen

      Just making the switch to light beer at the turn might help! I don’t think that sort of posturing by an opposing candidate is gonna help Oz that much. But hey he might come in 2nd place.

      He could opt for a vegan option at the 19th hole as well. That might not go too well.

  13. digi_owl

    I suspect the only way to get economies of scale out of construction would be if the industry shifted more to prefab, as then it would be a matter of how fast the factory could churn out modules.

    1. ambrit

      It’s on the way. Many home builders now use pre-built roof trusses for attic and roof building. The trusses are lifted into place with medium sized road cranes. Many multi storey apartment projects now do this. Carpenters have told me that the roof is the hardest part to build. Lots of compound angles and spread out stresses. With pre made trusses, an architect works out the loads and design on the drawing board and a factory makes the units which are shipped to the site.
      I have seen many house plans where the prints are quite vague about the roof components and how they go together. Another aspect of pre-made trusses is that the design shop can figure out which corners to cut based on design maths and past experiences. On the job site, cutting corners for budgetary reasons can quickly veer into “guess and pray” territory.
      Additionally, on many panels, the sheathing, eg. plywood over the studs, can be used as a stiffener and replace support studs. Pre-made panels can be made that way and the entire wall stood up as a unit, rather than studs put up and the sheathing added on top. The latter method requires somewhat higher initial load bearing abilities since the stud layout needs to be self supporting ahead of the addition of the sheathing. This is not necessarily the case with pre-made wall units. The same consideration, though to a lesser degree, applies to roof rafters.
      One big problem with pre-made modules is the profit required by the ‘investors’ in the factory that makes the units. That plus the transport costs from factory to job site.
      I shudder to think of how complex it would be today to try and build a Gothic cathedral.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Hi, ambrit.

        Back during my eighteenth summer in 1968, I worked for a local company that made roof trusses for the largest developer of shopping malls and apartments in the Southeast at the time.

        The lumber was laid out on a huge table with movable stops so the pre-cut pieces would fit into the desired shape. Then we’d nail those metal plates with sharp points into the junctions and run the whole thing through a press that flattened the plates into the wood. When they came out we’d hang them on overhead trollies that moved them to shipping. It was quite an operation.

        All those compound angles on roofs are a relatively new feature that gained popularity with the McMansion movement. I don’t doubt that the engineering is very tricky.

        1. ambrit

          Greetings my good Mr. (-)elnicker. I hope you are weathering the storms of the “Curse of Sesame Street.”
          Well do I remember those big steel plates. One big no no on a jobsite was to remove or cut holes in one of those things. You wouldn’t believe how many times exactly that would happen. I know not why, but the plumbers and the electricians were the worst offenders.
          That and finding the proper place in a stud or rafter to drill a hole, and not taking out more than a third of the chord was a real chore. Many is the time I had to get the carpenters to stiffen up a corner or rafter so that I could drill a large enough hole to let the proper size pipe through. There are a lot of commercial buildings where the venting is undersized simply because the architects didn’t allow a large enough piece of wood to satisfy both needs; strength and passage for piping.
          We all would breath a sigh of relief whenever we saw that the designer had put in box columns to carry piping.
          Be you safe, and enjoy our new Monsoon Season.

    2. IMOR

      As several writers asked during the late-1940s, early 1950s housing shortage. “Imagine how much a car would cost if you had to bring the materials and workers to each owner’s address to build it?” Admittedly, the impulse played out in Levittown-style tracts across the country and truly huge developments like Irvine- but 70 years later, it still seems there should be more of that vector.

      1. Earthling

        Too much up-front cost to build wall modules, etc. Much cheaper to run wages down to the floor and pay undocumented wallboard crews on the day they do the work.

    3. eg

      Up here not far from me in Milton, Ontario there was a subdivision built exclusively with homes built indoors in a gigantic “hangar” and then trucked to the lot where they were dropped onto the basement. Nearest thing to a “house factory” I’ve ever seen.

  14. JTMcPhee

    Rosenthal-Corsi box inflation:

    I have been sending the Corsi box materials to family and friends. This is no longer an under $100 item. The cheap stuff, box fan, filters and duct tape from Amazon, is over $150 now.

    What price health? (Absolutely insanely silly question in ‘Murica.)

    1. MT_Wild

      I was able to put one together a few weeks ago with supplies from home depot. You get a sizable discount on the filters if you buy four or more ($10 each instead of $20). $20 for a box fan on sale. I already had duct tape so was just over $60 total.

      The four or more deal struck me as odd. I wondered if Home Depot was subsidizing CR boxes. Implausible, but not impossible.

      1. MT_Wild

        In retrospect I should have said they are subsidizing CR boxes. Clearly giving 50% off a purchase of four filters is quite a break.

        I just wonder if it’s intentional in regards to covid and making a CR box.

      2. John Zelnicker

        I got the same deal at Lowe’s a couple of months ago when I built a Corsi box for my home office. Total cost with duct tape was about $66.00. I showed the clerks a picture I found on the internet and they were very interested.

      3. JTMcPhee

        Props to HD and Lowes if they both have the same deal, helping their customers stay alive. So I can get the items a little cheaper than from Amazon by going to HD or Lowes — the people I was giving them to live on the other side of the country, and shipping costs would be half or more what I would pay. So Amazon’s free shipping makes a difference.

        The fundamental facts as noted below are that the forking rulers of this country don’t give a toss for the rest of us, and have done virtually nothing to abate this horror — in fact, seem actively to have connived, for profit, to make it worse.

        From George Herbert Walker Bush:

        “If the American people had ever known the truth about what we Bushes have done to this nation, we would be chased down the streets and lynched.” Interview with Sarah McClendon, 1992

        From William Casey, another CIA director type:

        “We will know our program of disinformation is complete when nothing the American public believes is true.”

        And if one cares to research “useless eaters,” not the band, or “surplus population,” one might find some reason to be concerned about where our “leaders” are leading us… plus,, of course, all those hundreds of billions of dollars, whatever they are, in profits from the current “medical” system and the rest of the globalist initiatives.

    2. MT_Wild

      On the Home Depot site, if you put corsi box filter in the search, it returns results for 20″ box fans and 20×20 air filters.

      1. Angie Neer

        My guess is you’d get the same results if you left out “corsi”. I haven’t tried it myself though.

    3. curlydan

      If we were serious about “having the tools” to defeat COVID, Biden would have authorized the Defense Production Act to make these filters closer to $1-$5 apiece. He could also get some CO2 monitors made a hell of a lot more cheaply.

      I love some good CO2 Aranet photos, but who the hell wants to spend $250 on a portable CO2 monitor? I think my family would have a real WTF moment if I got one.

  15. ChrisRUEcon


    > … we’re in the same place we’ve been a hundred times in the Trump era, waiting for the big reveal.

    In other words … the walls are (not) closing in … again.

    As you were.

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      Odd … not one mention of Trump in the Youngkin article. Youngkin’s come out anti-FBI-raid (so on Trump’s side), but a July write up (via Politico) called him:

      “The Republican Who Wants To End The Trump Era — Without Taking on Trump”

      The article makes the case that Youngkin is deftly navigating a GOP landscape where Trump’s omnipresence looms like a big blue sky over all. It’s going to be interesting for sure as the timeline toward ’24 advances.


      1. ChrisRUEcon


        > Lambert: Dark is more. PA is #2.

        Yep. Good ole Scranton Joe, shafting his home state yet again. Surely they can’t run this dude in ’24. Watch him lose his home state this time.

  16. Jason Boxman

    So hilariously, the United States might be one of the last countries on Earth that is still ravaged on a continuing basis by COVID, while other countries adopt nasal sprays and nasal vaccines.


    No sign of BA2.75 at Walgreens, despite its success in India and presence in Bay Area wastewater.

    But BA4.6 was at 4.5% in the last update. It has increased since then. This is one to watch for another Dark Winter, delivered to you with love by Biden and The Democrats.

  17. jr

    “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke,” Dr. Oz’s campaign says.”

    Well, way to appeal to the working class types, many of whom, if years of working in kitchens are any indication, much prefer meat to vegetables and many of whom have had strokes for one reason or another. Or know someone who has. Unless Oz’s campaign is only aiming to attract upper-class Democratic voters, which means Philadelphia and Pittsburgh voters…

  18. jr

    Jimmy Dore on the Minneapolis School system laying off white teachers in favor of teachers of color:


    although the COVID take is off base as usual. Identity politics doing it’s divisive work, as always.

    Here Dore presents a conversation between a Trump supporter and Socialist:


    Of course, they have more in common than not. The Trumper demonstrates a total lack of knowledge of Marxism, he thinks the big banks handed out Communist literature, but he is right on on the issues.

  19. Jason Boxman

    Google Finds ‘Inoculating’ People Against Misinformation Helps Blunt Its Power

    Oh great, and who decides what is correct information?

    Is this like Twitter suspending accounts for posting truthful information about COVID from published research studies? LOL.

    So researchers at Google, the University of Cambridge and the University of Bristol tested a different approach that tries to undermine misinformation before people see it. They call it “pre-bunking.”

    The researchers found that psychologically “inoculating” internet users against lies and conspiracy theories — by pre-emptively showing them videos about the tactics behind misinformation — made people more skeptical of falsehoods afterward, according to an academic paper published in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday. But effective educational tools still may not be enough to reach people with hardened political beliefs, the researchers found.


    Since Russia spread disinformation on Facebook during the 2016 election, major technology companies have struggled to balance concerns about censorship with fighting online lies and conspiracy theories. Despite an array of attempts by the companies to address the problem, it is still largely up to users to differentiate between fact and fiction.

    Yeah, those cartoons of Bernie and Jesus were some serious disinformation, very hard to detect!

    Social media platforms have made attempts to pre-bunk before, though those efforts have done little to slow the spread of false information. Most have also not been as detailed — or as entertaining — as the videos used in the studies by the researchers.

    Lovely! So access to the Internet is gonna be gated by videos “educating” people on “misinformation” schemes?

    Maybe we can just teach critical thinking skills in grade school again?

    Jigsaw will start a pre-bunking ad campaign on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok at the end of August for users in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, meant to head off fear-mongering about Ukrainian refugees who entered those countries after Russia invaded Ukraine. It will be done in concert with local fact checkers, academics and disinformation experts.

    (bold mine)

    LOL. I can’t wait.

  20. Samuel Conner

    Question re: Corsi boxes.

    In dusty environments, is there any reason to not put a cheaper filter (MERV 8 to 10-ish, for example) outside the higher-performance filters? I would expect this to make the inner high-performance and higher-cost filters last longer before clogging.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      It creates more resistance and therefore less airflow going through the system
      I wouldn’t double filter.

  21. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: Intranasal covid vaccine: “How strange this is not Big News in the Free World,”.

    I’d suggest that our biased view of the sub-continent as a source of cheap raw materials and labor, cheap imported labor via visa programs, and a pool of people paying full tuition (who will subsequently file into the cheap labor pool), and perhaps ‘exotic’ food, blinds us to the fact that they are definitely capable of inventing things that the world would find valuable. There’s a fair amount of pearl clutching when those believed to be the uneducated servants turn out to be more creative and effective than the masters.

    1. Bugs

      I had to go to the hospital in India for a very bad allergic reaction and I got much better care there (Kerala, but rural) than at home in France. It wasn’t fancy, but I was better and out of there within a record time. In the US I’d have worried about paying 1K for an ambulance and dying waiting on a gurney. Anecdotal, but take it as you will. It’s a very big country with many, many talented people.

    1. ambrit

      Go through Mexico. I don’t know if Cuba will let Americans in on some sort of temporary visa, where you do not have to report your movement to the American government, or not. Perhaps medical tourism smuggling will become a ‘thing.’
      “So, we take a vacation to Cancun honey. Then we meet Harry at the dock and take the Midnight Special to Cuba.”

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i looked into this pretty deeply, right before SSI ‘s tattered net caught me and i got my hip…so…102, or so.
        the widespread anecdote is that Cuiban custons guys will just not stamp your passport, if you’re from El Norte.
        but, yes, going through mexico is necessary, as there are no direct flights from usa to Cuba.
        or you could have a friend with a boat in florida…and go thataway.
        (i was gonna opt for the through mexico method, since mexico is just right over there(waves towards the south))

        I’d be interested to know if amurkin tourists can get the nasal vax, too.
        i do know that Cuba encourages medical tourism…the hip replacement that would have cost me $300K in Texas, would have cost me $20K or less in Cuba…with a private bungalo on the beach and a nurse/physical therapist for recovery, to boot.
        back then, at least, the managers of the Cuban economy were more than happy for folks to leave dollar bills in country.

        after we finish our infrastructure and other doins out here with Wife’s unexpected largess, i have considered an actual vacation…only second in my life(honeymoon cruise was first)
        i’d love to go to Cuba.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and!…the darkish green dot in the middle of texas on the rapid riser thing is McCollough County…just up the road.
          i go there all the time…and know a bunch of nurses there.
          whatever data the cdc is using for that county doesn’t gel at all with what my nurse buddies say.
          anecdata, and all…but still…
          should be dark red.
          perhaps a coding error….

          1. ambrit

            I am not at all surprised to learn that “The Proper Authorities” are ‘gaming’ the figures. It is a natural fit with the “let ‘er rip” Democide Program.
            Round here, all I get is evasion from the doctors and nurses.
            We hope you all are bearing up well.
            Stay safe and sane.

    2. K.k


      While you are at it maybe bring back some of that lunger cancer vax for friends in need.

      This little gem, “The tighter regulations are only part of what is keeping patients from going. Another factor is the State Department advisory issued this past September warning American citizens not to go to Cuba due to alleged assaults against American Embassy staff.” Reference to some magical brain damage causing weapons deployed by Cubans or those sneaky Russians. Now that enough time has elapsed can anyone tell me this was not a psyop against the American population.

    1. Mikel

      Yes, it continues. This is why the real laugh was on the people laughing at older artists boycotting Spotify.
      Catalogues are streaming platforms’ cash cow. And catalogue has always been what’s kept the lights on while the big labels bat 1 out of 10,000 with new signings.

  22. upstater

    NY-22 my congressional district, after attempted gerrymandering, we now have the choice of a Trumpian Brandon Williams (landslide over an establishment Republican millionaire Steve Wells that had $1M of Republican Congressional Campaign contributions) or an ex-navy hack Democrat Francis Canole (handpicked and previously lost to progressives in 2020).

    It is a serious motivation to stay home and vote “none of the above”, particularly after Cuomo “reforms” basically removed any alternatives for governor besides Hochul or Trumpian Zeldin.

  23. Tommy S

    Damn, you people of NC, you never cease to impress. Ive been reading for 35 years urban studies, but I had no idea that ‘economies of scale’ didn’t apply to those huge builders. And then the constant update about nasal stuff in the works. I’m doing my best to spread that news, and Corsi boxes…..you people are the best…..who knows how many lives you may have saved?…….seriously….the real facts since Covid started ….about masks etc…and how it spreads……..thank you….

      1. skippy

        Ta for the links …

        I’ve never understood the normative aspects of pricing anything by sq or linear measurements when one thing is not like the other one on one. Per se the younger bloke I started working with [him 40 now and me 61] after my return to the manual arts after being retired 10 odd years. Anywho he was pricing jobs like it off plan or one unit like a window to be prepped/repainted as the same. Came into the industry and such was dominate, top down pressure of course. Then wondered why he was always so tight on jobs and everything that goes with that.

        Took me awhile to get him to understand you can’t assume stuff and you either know it or not. Got him to up quality and price to suit. Now were in high demand and life is a whole new experience for him, labour retention/education, better tools [mostly mine – just plonked for a festool planex 2 225mm sander] or flog himself to death trying to make money on rubbish jobs for rubbish people.

        I’ll actually pass on your links to him, recovering rothbardian that he is lol.

    1. Dermotmoconnor

      Green may be algal blooms. YT channel ‘sin city outdoors’ has shown some of those up close. Do not swim near them.
      Recent rains added a foot or two, but prior to those the lake was falling a foot a day, which should resume. Heading for dead pool at this rate, the emergency measures needed NOW are still not being implemented. Mad.

    2. FredsGotSlacks

      I assume that the green shows up where it’s just more shallow. Maybe more shallow water with seaweed/plants changes the color too I went down an Internet rabbit hole recently going back through the news stories and NPS press releases as the various marina’s in Lake Mead have been shut down since the water has been receding, particularly from the Overton Arm. You can go on Google street view and the satellite view and see the now shut down infrastructure at the Overton Beach Marina (shut down in ‘07) and then the Echo Bay Marina (shut down in ‘13). It’s stark and amazing to see how far from the water the two boat ramps (and where the docks had been) are in the current satellite images. Some of the contemporary news stories at the time described how they were mothballing some of the facilities in the hopes they can be brought back online when “the water level is back up” but now it seems more likely that will never happen. I’m a sucker for ghost towns and abandoned places. There is an actual ghost town (St. Thomas) revealed years ago by the receding water near the former Overton Beach Marina. I hope to hike out to that one day in the near future and see both the OLD ghost town and the NEW ghost town (the abandoned marina). NPS indicates you can no longer drive to the Marina as the access road is closed BUT you can hike in (a couple miles).

    1. skippy

      That 3B will be looted worse than all the funds thrown at the ME over the years, some then ponder why Ukrainians are selling some of the physical stuff that comes their way.

      Gezz it just makes me wistful for the old Bush Jr days where they started applying market solutions to heaps of military tasks e.g. more efficient at a lower cost thingy. Gosh there was even good articles on it in the liberal press so as to give Bush Jr the stink eye. Now its just a feeding frenzy for everyone, make packet now or no life boat pass for you kiddo …

      But remember … its all about protecting[tm] Liberties and Freedoms[those words again] w/ a side of Democracy[all your stuff is for sale] …..

  24. eg

    Gary Gerstle’s “The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order” is excellent and well worth your time, Lambert.

  25. skippy

    The notorious weed-killer, Roundup, originally made by Monsanto and acquired by Bayer, has been found to cause seizure-like convulsions in roundworms. When a soil-dwelling species, Caenorhabditis elegans, was exposed to highly diluted samples of Roundup – 300 times lower than the lowest concentration recommended for consumer use – researchers found the herbicide elicited prolonged paroxysms. In a third of the worm models, the toxic effects of Roundup and its main ingredient, glyphosate, could only be halted with drug intervention.


    File under profit just like tons of sugar et al in food and call it progress.

  26. skippy

    I know this is USA Today …. but …

    An ousted Florida data scientist who said she was fired for refusing to manipulate COVID-19 numbers and emerged as a critic of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over his handling of the pandemic won her U.S. House primary race and will challenge Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of former President Donald Trump’s staunchest supporters, for a seat in Congress.

    Rebekah Jones won Tuesday’s Democratic primary in northwestern Florida’s first congressional district, setting up a chance to unseat the incumbent Gaetz, who has represented the district since 2017.


    Basically had to fight the republican governors [hurmph] camp over covid accusations over data manipulation and the democratic party to get on the ballot, yet here she is …

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