2:00PM Water Cooler 9/15/2022

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Red-throated Loon, Norðurland eystra, Iceland. Lots of birds, most very excited. I think ducks and gulls, besides the loons?

* * *


“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


“The Perverse, Potentially Lethal Consequences of Lindsey Graham’s Federal Abortion Ban” [Slate]. “On Tuesday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham unveiled a bill that would impose a federal ban on abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy with a few very narrow exceptions. The senator, reversing his prior position that abortion should be left to the states, now seeks to override blue states’ more liberal laws by establishing a nationwide cutoff. If enacted, Graham’s bill would criminalize abortion at the exact moment in pregnancy when dangerous fetal anomalies and maternal health problems come to light. It would force many patients with high-risk pregnancies and severe fetal defects to flee the United States in search of legal termination. It would condemn countless sexual assault victims, including children, to bear their rapist’s child. In short, Graham’s measure would spread the tragic, potentially deadly consequences of red state abortion bans to the entire country.” • Just when we all relaxed because abortion was going to be left to the states.

Biden Administration

The union mambers have to vote:

I know the railroads, the Administration, the press, and even the union leadership would like to make it about anything other than the workers, but the workers have the final say. For example, at John Deere:

And worker sentiment is not entirely favorable:


* * *

* * *

OH: “China and the Lore of American Manufacturing” [The New Yorker]. Vance v. Ryan. Interesting local color. No notion whatever that Ohio’s deindustrialization might have a cause.


“Why Buttigieg is sparking 2024 chatter” [The Hill]. • Because of the role he played in halting the railroad strike? No, silly. Because this is the stupidest timeline!

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.

* * *

“The For-Profit D.C. Firm Staging America’s ‘Grassroots’ Movements” [The Tablet]. “Meet Arabella Advisors, the brainchild of ex-Clinton administration staffer Eric Kessler and the favorite tool of anonymous, billionaire donors on the progressive left. Since 2006, the Arabella hub has overseen a growing network of nonprofits—call them the “spokes”—that collected $2.4 billion in the 2019-20 election cycle, nearly twice as much as the Republican and Democratic national committees combined. These nonprofits in turn manage and supervise a vast array of “pop-up” groups—mainly political attack-dog websites, ad campaigns, and “spontaneous” demonstrations staffed by Arabella’s network of activist professionals who pose as members of independent activist organizations. These groups—such as Fix Our Senate, the Hub Project, and Floridians for a Fair Shake—typically emerge very suddenly in order to savage the political opposition on the policy or outrage of that particular day or week, then vanish just as quickly. The pop-ups do not file IRS disclosures or report their budgets, boards, or staff. In most cases, their connection to Arabella goes unreported. Many of them have offered sympathetic ordinary voters the opportunity to donate to whatever the “grassroots” cause happens to be, when in fact the money feeds back into Arabella’s enormous dark-money network. The relatively novel and innovative model of political activism perfected by Arabella, which was founded 2005, went more or less unnoticed until 2018, when I was reporting on the activist groups that attempted to prevent the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Among the sea of picket signs outside the court in July 2018 was the name of an unfamiliar group: Demand Justice. A search of the IRS nonprofit archives showed the name itself wasn’t listed. What did turn up in an online search was a downtown address on Connecticut Avenue shared by dozens of other organizations, including the Arabella “spoke” that appeared to be running Demand Justice, Sixteen Thirty Fund.” • Hmm. Seems almost like… a counter-intelligence operation.

Republican Funhouse

“Partisanship Over Policy at the Heritage Foundation” [The Dispatch]. “Interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees reveal how the think tank sidelines its scholars to score political points.” • Dear Lord. Somebody wants to change the brothel drapes from red velvet. What did these little children think the Heritage Foundation was for?

Realignment and Legitimacy

As usual on monopolies, Stoller nails it:


“House members roll out bipartisan election bill aimed at preventing future coups” [The Hill]. “Both bills are aimed at preventing future coup attempts by clarifying the limited role of the vice president in counting Electoral College votes, raising the threshold for members of Congress to object to states’ presidential electors, beefing up laws around certifying elections for the rightful winner and promoting an orderly presidential transition.” • There’s something a little odd about outlawing a coup…..

“Posse Comitatus, Made Respectable” [John Ganz]. “I’ve come to two strong, but I feel unavoidable, conclusions about the Claremont Institute, the California-based right-wing think tank that supplies Trumpism with its intellectual cadre: One, that they are attempting the creation of a distinctly American form of fascism that studiously avoids references to European forebears, and two, they have become essentially a seditious conspiracy against the American people. I don’t use this rhetoric lightly; I realize it can sound a bit extreme, even fevered and crankish, but everything else reads like hedging or euphemism. Claremont has played an instigating and integral part in all of the most authoritarian and menacing elements of the Trump era: from the wild proposals to end birthright citizenship and abrogate the 14th Amendment, to the creation and dissemination of “Stop the Steal Propaganda,” to persistent outreach and legitimation of the extreme-right fringe, and then to providing the spurious legal architecture of the January 6 putsch attempt. But one of the Institute’s most concerning initiatives yet is their “Sheriff’s Fellowship,” a direct effort to bind law enforcement to their ideological program. Founded in 2021, the Sheriff’s Fellowship purpose is described in quite partisan but still mostly benign-sounding language on the Institute’s website as a high-minded course in political theory and history for the local police.” • What could go wrong…



• Maskstravaganza: Life’s little ironies:

This is funny. But, readers, is it true?

• Maskstravaganza: “Bill Hader Masks Up At Emmys And Fans Can’t Cover Up Their Approval” [HuffPo]. The deck: “‘We stan a safe king resisting peer pressure in the year 2022!’ one person tweeted about the “Barry” star.” • True, Hader is immuno-compromised. But I dare to hope some pushback from pro-maskers is having an effect.

• Maskstravaganza: “Experimental Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Content in Inhaled Air With or Without Face Masks in Healthy Children” [JAMA]. • RETRACTED (if you see anyone quoting it).

* * *

• A very interesting FOIA, albeit from Canada:

I believe we have alert reader antidlc is engaged in a similar effort; perhaps this will help.

* * *

“A Disturbing Preprint About Long COVID” [Mike the Mad Biologist]. “Even if we assume that most of the observed effect is either misreporting, ascertainment bias or background noise–and regarding the latter, do we really think fifteen percent of 25-34 year old adults suffer from long COVID like symptoms for some other reason?–it still would mean one to two percent of people suffer from fatigue, difficulty concentrating, or shortness of breath.” • Hmm.

* * *

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

Lambert here: I guess when Johns Hopkins takes these numbers away, I’m going to have to rethink this section.

Case count for the United States:

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 ~73,400. Today, it’s ~70,000 and 70,000 * 6 = a Biden line at 420,000. (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.

Lambert here: The fall in case count looks impressive enough. What the Fauci Line shows, however, is that we have at last achieved the level of the initial peak, when New York was storing the bodies in refrigerator trucks. So the endzone celebrations are, to my mind, premature. Not that anyone will throw a flag. Of course, the real story is in the charts for California and the South. See below.

Regional case count for four weeks:

The South:

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

South Carolina seems to have halted processing until they can figure out what’s going on.

The West:


SITE DOWN Wastewater data (CDC), September 10:

For grins, September 9:

Lambert here: If the site doens’t load in five minutes, it’s not good for anything, is it?


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, September 9:

2.8%. Should be a leading indicator, if Walgreen’s customers are an adequate national proxy. Interesting who’s not (especially the grain belt) and who’s not.


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), September 9:

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), September 14:

Sea of green!

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), September 1:

Still no sign of BA.2.75 at Walgreens, despite its success in India and presence in Bay Area wastewater.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), August 20 (Nowcast off):

Still no sign of BA.2.75. I looked at all the regions, too.

BA.2.75 in Ontario and Quebec, Canada:


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Lambert here: It is interesting that the deaths per 100,000 curve — with its curious recent flattening — has more or less the same shape as the case curve, suggesting that a “Biden Curve” would have more or less the same shape as the case count curve, as opposed to the straight line I am drawing for the current level.

Total: 1,077,477 – 1,076,343 = 1134 (1134 * 365 = 413,910, which is 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

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits decreased by 5 thousand to 213,000 in the week that ended September 10th, well below market expectations of 226,000. It was the lowest number of weekly jobless claims since the final week of May, highlighting a tight labor market and giving the Fed more space for aggressive interest rate hikes.”

Manufacturing: “United States Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index in the US fell to -9.9 in September of 2022 from 6.2 in August, missing market expectations of 2.8. The indicator for current activity returned to negative territory, the new orders index remained negative, and the shipments index also declined but remained positive.”

Manufacturing: “United States NY Empire State Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The New York Empire State Manufacturing Index climbed 30 points to -1.5 in August 2022, beating market expectations of -13. New orders increased, and shipments expanded significantly. Delivery times were steady while inventories picked up. Labor market indicators pointed to a modest increase in employment and no change in the average workweek.”

Manufacturing: “United States Industrial Production” [Trading Economics]. “Industrial Production in the United States increased 3.70 percent year-on-year in August of 2022. It is the smallest annual increase in seven months.”

* * *

The Bezzle:

Yeah, where are the web3 bros? It’s gone quiet suddenly.

The Bezzle: “‘Scary easy. Sketchy as hell.’: How startups are pushing Adderall on TikTok” [Vox]. • Ugh, but hard to get excited about TikTok after what Big Pharma and the school systems have alread done.

Tech: “Google’s ‘Rest and Vest’ Days for Senior Employees Are Over, Says the CEO. It’s a Brilliant Idea” [Inc.]. “With looming recessions and inflationary pressures, there’s growing concern of slower growth and fiercer competition. At the conference, Pichai talked about TikTok and other entrants in the Chinese market. Things that they didn’t have to think about two years ago are suddenly becoming real issues for the big guns. There will be a number of solutions put in place to find efficiencies and weather this economic downtown. One of the approaches just may be a concerted effort in uncovering the resters-and-vesters and calling them out. Or getting rid of them altogether.” • If you think Google sucks now, just wait ’til the coders don’t get free lunches and massages any more.

The Bezzle:

And another:

My answer would have been: “Enough suckers.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 42 Fear (previous close: 41 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 41 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 15 at 1:37 PM EDT.

Bible Corner

“Archaeologists Discover Red Pens Gospel Writers Used To Write Words Of Christ” [Babylon Bee]. “‘Bible scholars have been searching for this for centuries,’ said head archaeologist Dr. Max Macon. ‘We knew that if the New Testament record is trustworthy, then the red pens the gospel writers used to write the words of Christ had to be around here somewhere. And now we once again have the Bible’s account confirmed to be 100% reliable.'”

The 420

“How Weed Became the New OxyContin” [The Tablet]. “In the era of legalized weed, the drug you think of as ‘cannabis’ can hardly be called marijuana at all. The kinds of cannabis products that are sold online and at dispensaries contain no actual plant matter. They’re made by putting pulverized marijuana into a tube and running butane, propane, ethanol, or carbon dioxide through it, which separates the THC from the rest of the plant. The end product is a wax that can be 70% to 80% THC. That wax can then be put in a vacuum oven and further concentrated into oils that are as much as 95% or even 99% THC. Known as ‘dabs,’ this is what people put in their vape pens, and in states like California and Colorado it’s totally legal and easily available to children. ‘There are no caps on potency,’ said Stack. If you’re over 30 years old and you used to smoke weed when you were a teenager, the strongest you were smoking was probably 20% THC. Today, teenagers are ‘dabbing’ a product that’s three, four, or five times stronger, and are often doing so multiple times a day. At that level of potency, the impact of the drug on a user’s brain belongs to an entirely different category of risk than smoking a joint or taking a bong rip of even an intensively bred marijuana flower. It’s highly addictive, and over time, there’s a significant chance it can drive you insane.” • I’m not seeing any links in that last sentence, and the whole thing reads like “Reefer Madness” all over again:

That said, it was predictable that corporatizing cannabis — certainly not the vision I had of “legalization,” back in the day — would bring ill effects. OxyContin level effects? I’d need to see more evidence. Readers, has anyone… heard about the effects of the new “products”?

Our Famously Free Press


The Gallery

The limit case of a queue:

Class Warfare

“Economic reflections on the Fall of Constantinople” [globalinequality]. “The reading of Eastern Mediterranean history is extremely instructive for a way in which we should think of trade. A benevolent approach, starting with Ricardo, always regarded trade as an activity freely undertaken by two parties with no extra-economic compulsion. No reader of history of the Eastern Roman Empire can share that view. Trade and military underpinning of it went hand-in-hand. This is at its most obvious not in large empires which anyway had to have armies but in trading city-states like Venice and Genoa. If you believe that trade is all about peace there would be no reason why these city-states had to maintain large naval fleets, fight battles, conquer islands, negotiate, under military threat, special rights to tariff-free imports and exports. Trade, debt and the army always moved together. No tourist to any Greek island today will fail to observe large Venetian and Genoan fortresses that could not have been built without money and labor but also without a naval presence that allowed the control or conquest of the islands in the first place.”

News of the Wired

“How to nurture a personal library” [Psyche]. “Many of us grow our collections on a book-by-book basis: a volume catches our interest in a bookstore, we buy and read it, stick it on a shelf, and repeat. Thinking like a librarian is about taking a step back to consider your collection as a whole, including what you add to it and why. A well-tended library is like a landscape, with its valley of crime novels, its peaks of reference texts, its shores of memoirs. Together, all those individual titles become part of something greater, form something with emergent properties, something totally unique to you.”

* * *

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 doesn’t look like quite like the Bird of Paradise I see all over California, including in my backyard, but that’s the name I’m going with. It’s in the greenhouse at the Sherman Library and Gardens in Newport Beach, California.”

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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. katiebird

    So this brokered deal would give the railroad employees “unpaid sick days” … is that really right? What is this 1922 or 2022? Come On.

    1. Stephen V

      Funny you should say that katieb. Sept. 1 was the Centenary of the Rail Shop workers strike, 4th largest in U.S. history.
      It may rhyme but it ain’t pretty!
      on September 1, Judge James Herbert Wilkerson issued a sweeping injunction against striking, assembling, picketing, and a variety of other union activities; it was colloquially known as the “Daugherty Injunction”: “One of the most extreme pronouncements in American history violating any number of constitutional guarantees of free speech and free assembly. (But) it effectively broke the strike”.

      1. Borrick

        The last vestige of the American workers rights, railroad employees, moving the nation, hauling billons of tons of dangerous cargo, keeping our roads clear of trucks, providing for their families. More power to them. Brothers–go on strike for all of us!

        Think those multiple workers and safety regulations are
        “too expensive?” Here’s an example of non union railroad workers in action:

        “an unattended 73-car Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA) freight train carrying Bakken Formation crude oil rolled down a 1.2% grade from Nantes and derailed downtown, resulting in the explosion and fire of multiple tank cars. Forty-seven people were killed.”


        1. Late Introvert

          Yes. Most people don’t realize how many trains go through their town hauling all kinds of dangerous things. I have tracks half a block from my house, on an elevated track above a creek. I very much want those trains to be operated by rested, content, and well-paid workers. Come on! Joe family blogging Biden.

    2. The Rev Kev

      21st century Democrats see no problem with a offer like that and can’t understand why railroad workers should not take it. And that is the problem

    1. Bugs

      Thought it might be the weed.

      Re: “How Weed Became the New OxyContin”: In my recent experience of seeking recreational bliss through legal substances, in very legal Illinois, no one takes more than a hit or two off the pen and then they just chillax. Probably less THC (and euphoria) than sharing a joint in a circle with a jug of chianti passed around in the 70s. Not that there was anything wrong with that either.

      It’s reefer madness, sir. Pure, butane-asbestos-extracted, 99.4%, reefer madness.

      1. ChiGal

        not so sure. I haven’t come across it but a friend is a psychotherapist in Oregon and has told me about clients who are addicted to “dabs” and they sound pretty debilitating. These days (also in legal Illinois) one or two hits of Jack Herrer does me just fine. But dabs are something completely different from what I understand.

        1. John Zelnicker

          ChiGal – Your friend may have such clients, but I would wager that other problems are causing their “addiction” to dabs. Do you know what his politics are around legal weed? Might have an effect on his observations.

          THC is THC, no matter the concentration. There is a limit to how high you can get, perhaps you’ve heard the saying “smoking yourself straight”. After a point your body simply won’t respond to more THC. Been there, done that for 50 years.

          1. PE Bird

            Right, and alcohol is alcohol, regardless of whether it’s a 3.5% beer or 99% distilled.

            Sounds like someone had one bong hit too many.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              As someone who has indulged, and sometimes overindulged, in both, Mr. Z is quite correct. You simply can’t pull a “Leaving Las Vegas” with weed. You can only get so high with weed, but you can always get a little bit drunker until the point you die. Obviously chugging 180 proof will get you dead quicker than quaffing Michelob Ultra Light

              Time for an attitude adjustment (in moderation!) Take us on out, Reverend – Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em!

          2. ChiGal

            she is a clinical social worker with the usual lefty attitudes, more in favor of a harm reduction approach to drug use than criminalizing it. she occasionally smokes herself, or does gummies. this weekend she is going to a conference at which Paul Stamets and others will be speaking about psylocibin-assisted treatment.

          3. barefoot charley

            John (and Lambert!), I know it’s unlikely you’ll see this so late, but I must note that, while functional addicts do indeed smoke themselves straight, because they’ve built up immunities to the immense amounts of weed they ingest, mere mortals bowl over faster from higher concentrations; dabs to a novice can be as potent as a date-rape drug. The simple truth is that buzzy concentrates are made by and for consumers who, whatever you choose to call them, consume vastly more dope than most of us. So they’re always raising their high bar, so to speak, and the marketers are glad to process product to meet their superhuman appetites. The rest of us should have nothing to do with such artificial processing. It’s not essentially different from chewing coca vs snorting heroin. Okay, there’s no limit to how high you can get. But there’s no point in passing out faster.

        2. juneau

          The research is very clear that children and young adults have deterioration in academic performance when they smoke. I think adults can do what they like, but diversion to kids is a big problem here and it happens all the time.

  2. Wukchumni

    Re: Libraries

    I prefer to read something and then pass it on (luckily used books always have new content for those who haven’t read them yet) and then the daisy chain develops with somebody asking if they could share it with somebody else-to which I always agree.

    With any kind of luck, one book might end up with a few dozen readers in my ersatz lending library and hopefully remains a stray.

    I read Kim Stanley Robinson’s The High Sierra-A Love Story 3 months ago, and 5 others in my clique have also read it already.

    1. Carolinian

      Hey great book.

      And I keep referencey type books but otherwise prefer not to own books. On the other hand my movie collection is quite extensive. But even there I’m a poor librarian.

    2. CanCyn

      Wuk, I admire your shared library very much – takes up a lot less space in the house! And, seriously, books are a lovely thing to share. I am both a book collector and a pretty avid public library user. My home library is small, it moved in 33 boxes and only needs one wall of shelves which also includes a small desk and other things on display. I was a reader long before the idea of becoming a librarian crossed my mind. I stumbled into the career entirely accidentally when I got a part-time job at my university library. I was working on a history BA and planning on teaching. When I found out there was such a thing as professional librarians, I got my MLS after I got my BA instead of going to teachers college. But I digress…the author of the article In Psyche is correct, it is a very good idea to think of your book collection as a whole. I like my books because of the memories of reading them and the cosy feel they give to the room. To paraphrase that awful Japanese book about cleaning up, if your books don’t give you joy, there is no point in keeping them.
      The Psyche article author used the gardening term prune when she talked about getting rid of books. The horrible professional term is de-selection but in libraryland, weeding (another gardening word!) is the term used colloquially. My library got a thorough weeding before we moved after I retired. I mostly collect favourite authors and hold onto things I will want to read again. But as the years go by, ideas and tastes change and I can usually find a few to weed every year. Happily I have a neighbour whose volunteer gig includes a fundraising used books sale every year, so my discards go to her.
      I don’t do it annually but I do like to take everything down, dust and reorganize from time to time. I love the chronological acquisition idea, I am very aware of that my books reflect my age and interest when I read and acquired them, that would be a fun project. Currently, I have fiction in alpha order by author, Canadian authors are separate, as are my signed copies and some early editions that have some financial value (just an accidental few, I don’t collect for that reason). My non-fiction is loosely organized by subject. I never buy e-books because the ridiculous licences mean you don’t in fact own them at all and you cannot loan them to others. I love to loan my books, the only ones I won’t loan are my signed copies, the valuable ones and some out of print editions that someone wouldn’t easily be able to replace if lost or damaged.
      I knew someone who organized her all of her books fiction and non-fiction either by the author’s country of origin or the country in which the book was set – that was a fun collection to browse.

      1. Late Introvert

        “Canadian authors are separate”

        I confess the only Canadian author I have direct knowledge of reading would be Alice Munro, but I would definitely put her in her own category. Richly detailed stories about regular humans, with a sharp take on sexual relations and class and race, deep insight, a very light touch, and I can’t recommend her enough.

        1. CanCyn

          Agreed. I don’t read a lot short stories but Munro is the exception. She is a Canadian treasure and should be way more well known than she is.

  3. DJG, Reality Czar

    Economic Reflections on the Fall of Constantinople. Why do I, nevertheless, get a whiff of Ukraine here?

    To quote:
    “The unequal treaties” with China would be unimaginable without European military superiority and the threat it implied; the Opium War—another example of the close association between the two—was won by arms. “Free trade” came to India and Africa “out of the barrel of a gun”.

    And yet:
    Having read histories of Venice and Genova, I can assure you that Genova was not as influential in all of these areas as Venice was. Venice had entrepreneurs, state-funded arms-building (ship-building) at the Arsenale that used a kind of assembly line, and a working class paid wages. Yet it did not launch a capitalist revolution.

    The same question comes up in relation to industrialization and ancient Rome. Heck, Rome had chicken-raising farms that were a kind of precursor to modern broiler operations.

    Hannah Arendt suggested that the main beneficiaries of the Reformation were the nobles, who merrily confiscated church lands and shut down monasteries after looting them. That sudden surge of lots of loose money may have launched capitalism in northern Europe.

    So was the Roman Empire at Constantinople guilty of not suppressing the monasteries? Not selling off the icons?

    A mystery.

    1. Wukchumni

      Wasn’t there enough time to find out if ancient institutions could become capitalistic? Eight or nine centuries seems plenty. Moreover, what, culturally and institutionally, better place to develop than the Eastern Empire: direct continuator of the larger Roman whole with an educated elite, same institutions, stable currency (solidus, “the dollar of the middle ages”),

      I come from old money (not that kind) and as the western Roman Empire was nearly completely devaluing the financial workhorse of the realm by silver-washing copper coins to look like a Denarius which used to be 95% silver is when things began to go to hell.

      Soldiers in the Legion were paid in Denarii and and you want to talk inflation?

      The ratio for many hundreds of years was this:

      25 silver Denarii = 1 gold Aureus

      And then it skyrocketed to around 4,000 Denarii = 1 Aureus.

      You can imagine the consternation of the legionaries and the buying power of their pay, yikes!

      You can see where that quote above: stable currency (solidus, “the dollar of the middle ages”) comes from, and the eastern Roman Empire learned their lesson about debauched currency by never issuing silver coins-which had been the undoing of the western Roman Empire.

      Byzantine currency, money used in the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West, consisted of mainly two types of coins: the gold solidus and a variety of clearly valued bronze coins.


      1. Paradan

        Wasn’t this caused by them spending all their silver on imports from the far east? Also probably lost a lot paying soldiers on the frontier, who then spent the money abroad. Silver and Gold were used for minting coins because there are only a few areas were you mine them, surround the mine with troops and only you can mint coins. It’s an anti-counterfeiting technology. Bronze would have the same quality as Tin was also very scarce, especially after the fall of the Western Empire and it’s Tin mine in Britain. It’s all fiat currency, precious metals are just fancy paper.

      2. fjallstrom

        Inflation in Rome was low and stable until the crisis of the third century. For almost a hundred years there was civil wars upon civil wars. During these wars, the silver content goes down sharply.

        Not that surprising, considering that armies needs to be payed and if the choice is to mint or be executed by competing wannabe emperors, well mint it is.

        1. Wukchumni

          Yes, everything goes to hell in the 3rd century when bad money shows up…

          The alchemy craze originates out of the silver-washing of the Denarius I think, as they had pulled it off with silver, why not all that glitters?

          In the collector marketplace today, 95% silver Denarii with ‘test cuts’ are worth a lot less than the same coin sans file marks into the planchet on the edge, and sometimes you’ll see a coin with half a dozen test cuts on it, which gives you an idea of the trust in the money back in the day.

    2. digi_owl

      Probably multiple things contributed, including things like the reformation loosening the strictures surrounding usury and the introduction of fractional reserve banking.

      Another may be that the printing press allowed far more people access to information, and ushering in first the renaissance and then the enlightenment as people “rediscovered” and then built on the classics.

      As best i can tell, the romans never had anything like the thermometer (and if they did, no record of it seems to have survived to the present). Thus working with heat may well have been done more by feel and experience than measurement.

      Working with say iron that way is easy, as the closer it gets to white the softer it gets. But working with say aluminum is anything but, as it stays seemingly rigid until it suddenly collapse into a liquid.

  4. semper loquitur

    So I’m on Utoob the other night. They have these still images with text that come up. I was shocked to read one where it relayed that Kentucky cops are conspiring to steal packages with UPS staff.

    Apologies for no links. You cannot bookmark the images and I can’t find it anymore. I’ve seen nothing in the news.

  5. Ghost in the Machine

    The flooding in Pakistan is on my mind. It is reported that over 30% of he country was underwater. Draining is predicted to take weeks and I have seen estimates that ~60% of the crops are destroyed. This in the context of rising food scarcity and rising energy prices worldwide. Pakistan was already struggling to pay for imported natural gas and was suffering rising electricity prices. Then there is all the water born diseases etc. to deal with. I am starting to wonder if this will turn into the truly colossal climate catastrophe that KSR imagined in the beginning of his novel, The Ministry for the Future. But, with flooding and subsequent disease and starvation instead of the heat wave. 1/3 of the country! I imagine that was very hard on all the terrestrial animals other than humans as well.

    1. CanCyn

      Thank goodness the world is gearing up to help, putting together aid packages, expediting refugee processing, lots of media coverage so people know what’s happening, etc.
      oh… wait,
      I got confused there for a minute. We’re helping the white people in Ukraine with all that aren’t we? Never mind.
      I just finished Ministry for the Future and even if this horrific flooding is the equivalent of KSR’s heat wave, I have to wonder if the lives lost will galvanize the world as the heat wave deaths did in the book. I loved Lambert’s optimism post but I gotta say, I ain’t feeling it myself.

  6. hunkerdown

    Tablet is engaging in 87% pure Reefer Madness. Addiction professionals and buggy whip makers both want society to be shaped in such a way that they’re needed and valued; their professional testimony is therefore inherently suspect of market-building. The gratuitous and sensationalized drama about being “easily available to the children” is senile Puritan cant. The “OMG stronger than in the 1960s” concentrate product is taken a few tens of milligrams at a time, usually as a vapor. One might conceptualize it “backwards” such that flower is “diluted” 4:1 with carbohydrates, terpenes, and other flammable materials.

    TBH, vape pens never got me very high, and edibles aren’t my favorite either. Personally, I’m happy with flower.

    He has some rather more interesting articles about the PMC, such as “Inherit the Earth”: Is the PMC the new ruling class?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I’m with you. The reefer madness argument for decades has been that today’s weed is much stronger than what was around 20-30 years prior, no matter the current year. Having been a smoker for longer than that time frame now, that argument is bunk. Seems about the same to me, and if anything, it seemed stronger back in the day, likely because my tolerance was much lower.

      Tried the edibles and they are OK, but in my area it costs about $25 per 100 mg THC, which is way more expensive than the equivalent flower.

  7. anonymous

    Re the new weed

    I’ve been smoking, in various amounts and various frequencies (daily, weekly, every so often, depending) for about 37 years.

    I finally got a medical ID card b/c once recreational dispensaries opened in nearby states and I discovered the dispensary reality I didn’t want to buy outside the dispensary anymore, as I like knowing the potency and type of weed I’m getting (sativa, hybrid, indica) and having hope that my purchase isn’t fueling a violent drug regime or a really toxic hidden grow. I’d avoided getting a medical card for years b/c I didn’t want the record evidence, didn’t want my habit in a database.

    Here are my thoughts, fwiw. My current habit is smoking/vaping most evenings after dinner:

    1) vaping is more intense but easier to be discreet and very convenient. As a general matter I prefer ‘flower’, but the ease of a vape pen v having a bowl that I pack and light with a light can be meaningful, depending on context.

    2) weed is *much* stronger, if I vape a potent strain every night for a week, I feel like I am hurting my brain, something I never felt smoking flower. I mean, my brain feels like it’s shrunk a little and I have a headache. So I try to rotate vape and flower. The high potency vape also makes me more likely to smoke too much; I don’t like to smoke to pass out/veg out; I like the sativa mania I get at a lower dose, I get very productive. But the high potency vape I’m likely to take too many pulls on by the end of the night, and, while not exactly passing out, I can come close. I hate it when I do that, and try not to. But very occasionally I will…

    3) It’s addictive. Not remotely opioid level addictive, at least not for me. I don’t *have* to smoke every night, and I don’t smoke & do things I shouldn’t while high (like drive or do my job), but I’ll notice myself thinking about whether or not I have a window in which it’ll be ok to smoke, and if I do, I do; I notice that if I don’t smoke, it can impact my mood/patience with other people.

    One of the things weed does for me is make me nicer and more patient. If I skip a night, it’s possible that I’ll get extra impatient and bitchy relative to baseline, and crave a smoke (not enough to get me to smoke when I shouldn’t, but my desire for it will catch my attention.) But bottom line, when I’m not high I’ll notice that getting high in the future is something that’ll catch my attention and I’ll plan around–do I have the opportunity or not? And I notice physical (albeit minor and transient) consequences of not smoking at my normal frequency. I also notice that the easiest way for me to not get high when I do have the opportunity to is simply not have it in the house.

    So I think it’s inaccurate for me to say my relationship with weed has no addictive dimension. (see also the over smoking of the high potency vape.) The reason it’s not interfering with my life–my relationship with my husband and children is better than it’s been in many years, and work is going great–is because I have found a way to have a responsible habit. And, like I said, weed makes me nicer and more patient, which my family appreciates.

    But I’m a little tired of people pretending that weed has no ill effects. Heck, breathing can have ill effects.

    1. Utah

      I recently got a medical cannabis card. I have chronic pain- doctor says it’s fibromyalgia but I’m not so sure, however the diagnosis probably doesn’t matter, I hurt all day long every day. I put a topical on my feet the first time a month so, and cried from relief. I’ll probably never use my card for anything psychoactive, but I’m pretty happy with topicals. The thing I’ve noticed is that my low dose topical doesn’t work as well a month in. But there is some relief still. Better than my medications, for sure.

  8. Mark Gisleson

    Kids today don’t think 28% THC strains pack enough wallop? I feel an old guy rant coming on…

    The first time I vaped my brain started saying “whoa” like Extraodinary Attorney Woo trying to calm someone down (sorry for the obscure reference but I just binge viewed EAW and am still on warm and fuzzy overload).

    Speaking very seriously, the best thing I can say about vaping and dabs is that if you dab, you should vape. No one that stoned should be playing with a lighter.

    1. skippy

      As with all things kids physical and mental development is key here. Its a completely different animal for an adult to take high THC doses, especially if a past and present user of cannabis, kids is a completely different thing. Plenty of medical literature on the effects of high THC doses and significant risk for psychological dramas.

      The part that bothers me the most is the drive for such high THC is just profit orientated and any ill effects are the responsibility of the user. Then again the cocaine leaves by themselves is beneficial to the natives that used them, due to poor diet, mild stimulant and packed with minerals not available in other foods. Then when discovered by the west was refined as a product and sold as a miracle cure for all that ails one. That got to a point down the road it actual became a significant public health crisis and required federal intervention, much to the dislike of those that made money off it.

      At the end of the day whats the drive for such high TCH, what are its individual and broader social dynamics. What is wrong with good old fashion organic pot that it deemed a drive for 7 gen hydroponic science bud to get high[????].

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        my youngest is not a drinker, thankfully…but he does like weed.
        gummies are the rage among his cohort…and, near as i can tell, he’s pretty responsible about it.(we talk about it all the time)
        he told me that someone had “dabs” at a party, and…since he wasn’t gonna be the DD as per usual(makes $ driving drunk and stoned folks home)…he tried a puff.
        said it was way too potent for his taste./
        and that the guys who brought it were hard core stoners, and usually attached to a couch.
        there have always been those kinds of weed people…i knew many, long, long before dabs.
        guy i used to drive to austin to get my stash from(i’d get 2-4 oz every 6 months or so) him and his brothers were always high…passing around 3 bongs and 4 joints constantly…manically switching between 15 sports channels and attempting to play a video game on another big screen…(yes, they made bank, somehow,lol)
        i thought it a waste…especially since i had to drive 2 hours with that much herb.
        i’m very frugal, still…although i do smoke more frequently than i used to…mostly as part of the pain management…but also for the high…and, as someone mentioned, i find that a half a joint at 4am with coffee, and i get all kinds of stuff done before noon….just glide through, task to task.
        when it’s a pain day…and/or super cold or something…and i must stay abed…then yes, i’ll go overboard and thaw a brownie and maybe even get out the big bong(its a dick bong, so nobody else touches it,lol—one of my numerous social engineering experiments)

        like with anything, there’ll be dumbasses who ruin it for everybody.
        some folks, if you take away every other intoxicant, will empty your ac unit of freon and get high that way(this really happened)…escape, for such folks, is paramount, and will not be denied.
        rather than attempt to police such pathos after the fact, better and more prudent to attempt to figure out causation, no matter how much it damages your rosy world view.

        1. howseth

          “If you’re over 30 years old and you used to smoke weed when you were a teenager, the strongest you were smoking was probably 20% THC”

          As a teenager my friends – and I – did drink anything we could get our hands on – and we did smoke weed… (and also opiated hashish.) That was back in the 70’s. Even grew a few plants – they looked innocent enough to my mother.

          However, by the 1980’s even the 20% THC – or whatever % it was back then became too much for me – no longer experienced as a lovely high (+ munchies) – No – became laced with paranoid hallucinations. Took my last toke on a cold Wisconsin night early 1985. I have not had a toke since – despite many, many opportunities.
          The skunky smell of weed is everywhere now though. Certainly here in my neighborhood in Santa Cruz – and I suppose that may be true everywhere.
          Perhaps, I might be inclined to be an opium guy… inclined on an oriental couch with a jeweled hookah
          However, when I hurt these days – I might swallow a tab of prescription codeine – but more likely just a boring Tylenol pill – or two.
          Hard to imagine the pot the teenagers are smoking now. More like a big hit of LSD?

        2. skippy

          Yeah I’ve seen it and done some of it Amfortas and that is why I have concerns about kids, yet even with adults it can be problematic for those around them. Pretty much my views are about information and not criminalization and all the ills attached to that solution, albeit the profit thingy makes things hard if you know what I mean.

          OK Amfortas are you ready for a ride – ???? – just so you don’t think I’m having some concern thoughts that translate to authority over personal choices.

          I spent some time in the midwest in the 60s/70s [conservative is putting it lightly] and regardless of religion or anything else they were all smoking pot. The thing is there was still huge post WWII hemp farms and anyone could grow small quantities without fear lest selling and getting pinched – cops would smoke or resell.

          Anywho post Korea ETS I landed in SoCal in the early 80s, post Blow movie and less than Zero territory back drop. I knew the players, knew the investors, and saw all the ramifications of it from a socioeconomic stand point. Best bit is I was close to a couple of brothers that were from Champaign IL, well healed family, dad an exsc for a top concern, knock about boys looking to make money to party hard. So back in the day them and a few friends used to raid the old hemp farms at night, local cops did do patrols when they were in bud. Old van and combat rolls out of because the cops looked for red tail lights, Crawling on their backs with military surplus red filtered flashlights, military surplus duffel bags to store buds, and getting picked up at speed.

          So now the deal was selling half the about ton haul to buy prime and then mix it all up and sell as prime at the right venues aka collage rich kids and the thing they could afford like concerts. This then morphed into a huge enterprise due to social dynamics with a band from the same area. The older brother got the contract for all concessions at their concerts and others which was basically just a set up for the distribution of drugs at the end of the day – all back door money off the balance sheet and free money outside the IRS – ever seen a suit case with a quarter million in small bills lol.

          This one bloke had properties in Manhattan, Upper State, L.A., Snow Mass [better than Aspen] and once watched his brother try to contact him over a problem for hours and finally found him a bar in Jamaica. His younger got nicked in L.A. airport after a 3 day bender in Fl and with a few others and transported a key of coke to pay for the trip and see a girl. Dad helped, got religion and severed a year in a honor rancharo outside L.A.

          Wow this social network spanned America right under the noses of the unwashed.

          Ugh … don’t ask about my ex partner and his ex wife Italian princes or her mob gone sorta legit shenanigans …

          Are drugs a sign of freedom – ????? – when one considers the deeper socioeconomic factors – ????

          PS still would like to do a pop and bang on your AO cranking enterprises style then do lots of stoopid stuff, but cook like mad men …

            1. skippy

              Its amazing to understand how this cottage industry went from IL collage town on a lake to being a major distributor across the U.S. incorporating high payed white collar execs as blind investors, contacts with long shoremen et al, the foundation to many business as its distribution and storage logistics before distribution at the regional level – per se a national franchise located in shopping malls.

              So much much more IMO.

              Just from a socioeconomic observation and how this effected various tiers of society across time and space to include Asia and Central/South America. Then again as cocaine has been making inroads here in Oz where it once was deemed in the same light as meth I get to see it all happen again – everyone in Noosa during the x-mass holidays has it lol. Haven’t partaken but the quality looks absolutely rubbish and they still pay ludicrous sums for it. Then again I’ve seen 8 balls of pure crystal with pink and purple veins in it untouched since Mfg.

              So yeah per your observation above its stomped on 5 or more times at about 10% vol before it reaches the consumer. Pretty much sums up a lot of industry these days. I would note that most of the big players did not do so well physically and mentally as they aged even if they had heaps of money. Oh and the violence was a late stage market effect for control once market saturation had occurred.

              Heck of a thing to have watched the same dynamics play out in various economic sectors over the years, gets to a point where you say to yourself – I don’t want to play anymore because its just groundhog day over and over, stuff the money. Kinda why I do what I do theses days, intrinsic sanctification, service to client interface, preservation, client at currant job saw us working on a house along her walks and that did it for her, left work yesterday and she thanked me for all the hard work I did that day.

              Previous job was for a old client, did the exterior next door too, bumped into her and she said they much be happy to have me there, anyway transformed the old master bedroom which had not been painted for 20 years in a early post War house. The client is a Dr at the ED my youngest daughter works at and she said the client was showing all the other Dr’s and older admin staff before and after pictures and was super chuffed. Told them if they need any work done to have me, by name, and the guy I work for to do it. Um … more money than I need and some faux social status multipliers … naw …

              Anywhoo some pics of the room – https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2022/09/weekend-sundries_-10-11-september-2022/

        3. Revenant

          “maybe even get out the big bong(its a dick bong, so nobody else touches it,lol—one of my numerous social engineering experiments)”

          News you can use / concrete material benefits etc. This is what NC is for! That and the medicine of laughing out loud. Thank you, Amf!

  9. Carolinian

    Re Graham

    Here’s a description of the proposed bill from my local paper (picked up from USA Today)

    What’s in the bill: Graham’s bill, the “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act,” would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and include exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother. Republican women and independents who have sided with Democrats on abortion have said they didn’t like bills or laws that didn’t include exceptions. His bill also includes criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions, including up to five years in prison..

    So is Slate just outright lying or USA Today? I don’t like Slate so I’ll go with the former.

    And no we don’t want criminalization but my impression is that this is more of a political gesture aimed at the upcoming election since it would never be signed by Biden in any case. Of course the Dems would never use abortion or any other issue as a political ploy.

    1. marym

      The quote says there’s an exception for the health of the mother. Slate and the bill say it’s for the life of the mother. This can mean not intervening in a situation until it becomes more dangerous, even though the situation at an earlier phase has a known progression to greater danger. The Slate post gives examples; and also provides some detail about “substantial obstacles” to obtaining an exception for rape or incest.


      1. Carolinian

        I would be the last person to defend Lindsey Graham but here’s suggesting that the Dems are caricaturing their opponents and the public’s attitude is not pure legalization or pure abortion ban but somewhere in between. And that includes my very Republican state where a ban is being debated but has so far failed to pass. That in between may not be Graham’s version but an attempt to put a dent in the caricature is not necessarily dishonest or bad politics.

        And if the above is incorrect it should be easy enough for the Dems to pass their own bill no? Indeed they better do it now before the house falls to the Repubs. Pretending that your opponents are all wild eyed radicals and fascists is not a formula for getting things done but for doing nothing. It’s just possible that for the current Dems it’s only about politics.

    2. B flat

      As much as I dislike defending Graham, his bill is in line with most of western Europe. Slate needs to get off the fainting couch.

      1. marym

        Topics: Gestational cut-offs, Access: hospitals vs clings; TRAP laws imposed on providers; Compliance costs imposed on women; Financial costs; Child-rearing support

        “Countries with Shorter Abortion Access Time Limits Than the United States Of- ten Have Broad Exceptions After Those Limits Expire, Legally Providing For Abortion Access Later in Pregnancy.” – Search on “exception” for discussion and comparisons

  10. ambrit

    This ain’t your Grandad’s weed sonny.
    The few times I have partaken of ‘The Devil’s Weed’ over the last few years, it was much more potent than anything I encountered “back in the day.” In the long ago, a stoner could smoke a half of a joint and still bop around and make the scene. Just a couple of hits on this new stuff impels the average Terran human to assume the cocoon position and contemplate the Infinite Void for an indeterminate length of time.
    Lost in the Ozone Again. Our old, new, and eternally American Anthem.
    Commander Cody: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heK8QjhWGag

    1. John Zelnicker

      ambrit – You simply weren’t fortunate enough back in the day to get the best that was available.

      There were Kona buds from Hawai’i that were as strong as any cultivars today. Maui Wowie was really a thing, one or two tokes was plenty, even for experienced smokers. And, the Thai sticks brought back by the soldiers from Vietnam were amazing. I was fortunate to have tried them all.

      Stay safe.

      1. ambrit

        Oh yes for extra potent ‘smoke’ from the old days. However, one had to search for those “special” agricultural products. I mean to say that “extra potent” seems to be the standard today. I’d make the analogy with the difference between plain old opium and heroin. Both are derived from the sap of the poppy seed ball, but the processing makes the difference. I’ll also remark that people’s tolerances for drugs of any sort are all over the place. There’s a reason why medicine is characterized as primarily an art.
        I remember Panama Red, which we could purchase from “someone who worked at” the Coast Guard base off of McArthur Causeway. Then there was the time one of the “guys” did a backpack tour for a summer and bought back some Nepalese Temple Ball hash. (Simpler days when you could still “bring back” agricultural products from overseas. [Don’t try this today boys and girls!]) A few years later, when I was living in New Orleans, I ‘encountered’ some Nigerian volcano grown black leaf.
        I’m just glad I survived to tell the tale!
        You be extra careful up there on the Mobile Heights!

        1. John Zelnicker

          Ag products, indeed.

          That Nepalese must have been primo. I had some black hash from Mazar-e-Sharif once, even had the gold seal; it was excellent.

          1. Wukchumni

            First time I ever smoked hash was of the Nepalese Temple Ball variety in Australia in 1982.

            I was in Canberra and that’s where the Royal Australian Mint is, and there was this $10 silver commemorative coin you could buy up to 25 pieces in person-but only 1 by mail or something like that.

            They sold for like $12 and you could get $20 in Sydney for them, but the catch was the eagle-eyed lady of middle age in charge of sales at the mint was a bit of a scold with a great memory of faces, so you could only make a couple hundred bucks once…

            There was a coin dealer with a store in Canberra i’d met coin shows held at the Sydney Opera House (easily the coolest digs for a coin show ever) and we discussed how to make hay on this arbitrage?

            He asked, why not recruit people he knew and give em’ $50 for their effort by having them go to the mint with my money and come back with the goods?

            Went through 4 or 5 guys being shadow buyers for me, and the last guy asked why couldn’t he do it again, and I explained the problem and he tells me, no worries i’ll just change my look, so we go to his house and 5 minutes later a different looking guy comes out and we go back to the mint and back home and back and forth 5 more times, he was a master of making himself look different.

            After that 5th time, he asks if I wanna do a smoke-o?

    2. John Zelnicker

      Just saw your response to my comment on Tuesday. I already live on a hill, Spring Hill, 200 feet above sea level. I think I’m pretty safe here.

    3. JohnnyGL


      Back in maybe 2018 I tried a couple hits on a vape pen, having not smoked a bowl or joint for 10 years. It felt like i, unexpectedly, got a ride on one of elon musk’s rockets for quite a few hours.

    4. Randy

      Anecdotes. Back in the day I had encounters with super weed twice.

      The first time (about 1971) it was called African Ganja. I had six tokes. I watched gladiators fighting in the smoke/steam from a smokestack on a cold winter night. Two friends had a bad experience on this weed. I never had any problems with this weed, I loved it and I am still hoping I can find it again. I won’t.

      A year later I tangled with some really strong acid. It overwhelmed me. A bad trip. My friends experiences as they described them on that weed were the same as my bad trip. I couldn’t relate to their description until I experienced the same thing. I wondered, how could they have a bad trip on that pot that rivaled my bad acid trip.

      The second time (1972) it was two foreign exchange students from Argentina that provided. Super weed but not quite as good as the first time but still very, very potent.

      I have been (kind of) looking for that buzz from those days. But even with the supposedly increased potency of today’s marijuana strains I haven’t found it.

      Just a thought: They must have been Sativa.

      1. Late Introvert

        You all should know better. Yes, it’s stronger now. That’s a good thing. A little bit goes a long way. Cheaper and healthier too.

        Adjust accordingly.

    5. JohnnySacks

      One hit vs. a shared (blech) joint, shot of bourbon vs. pint of beer.
      I’m not a staunch advocate for overuse of either, all I’m smelling is blatant hypocrisy.

      And it’s hard to take any criticism seriously considering pot busts are the bread and butter for the cash cash cows of both parties – legal fees and prison industrial complex.

  11. Eureka Springs

    Of all people, Senator Graham who has probably never even had a girlfriend (not that there’s anything wrong with that) wants to outlaw women’s choices.

    Anyone comparing oxycontin to any form of THC use deserves no attention at all. The Sacklers would have owned THC long ago if there were any way the two should be compared.

  12. Jason Boxman

    In There’s Terrific News About the New Covid Boosters, but Few Are Hearing It Zeynep Tufekci vaccines hard:

    For the first time, the United States is rolling out Covid vaccines updated to match variants that are currently dominant, as well as the original strain. This bivalent character will provide a better response not just to the most threatening variants today but probably to future variants too, because when the immune system faces different versions of the same virus it generates broader protections overall.

    This is terrific news, and there’s more. Not only will a booster with the new vaccines decrease the likelihood of infection and severe illness, and help reduce transmission of the virus; it could also decrease the likelihood of developing long Covid.

    (bold mine)

    Unlike in the past, zero mentions of any other mitigations. This is vaccines!! all the way.

    While young, healthy people who have been vaccinated and had an uneventful breakthrough infection are at much less risk of severe illness even without a booster, they might prefer to avoid getting sick or reduce their risk of long Covid. But beyond the personal benefits: despite common claims to the contrary, vaccines still help dampen spread, and boosters can further reduce transmission of the disease, including by reducing infections in the first place, and thus help protect especially the more vulnerable.

    (bold mine)

    So do NPIs?

    Do they reduce spread enough to bother now that we’ve abandoned NPIs, given the risks inherent in mRNA vaccines? Shouldn’t we adopt strategies that benefit the most at the least risk? Once upon a time, I thought Tufekci was more of a defense in depth proponent. But it’s been a long pandemic, so I’m starting to forget.

    Also links to: Two or 3 vaccine doses may cut risk of long COVID

    I’d say 16% risk, even after a 3rd dose, is really really high. If I had that high a chance of an automobile accident every time I drove, how often would I do that?

    And some writers and scientists have said the boosters should not have been offered until their specific human trials were complete. But there have already been extensive human trials for this vaccine and some of its updates, and it is not unusual to tweak a vaccine using data from sources like lab work or mice. That’s similar to what’s done every year for influenza vaccines.

    But then influenza vaccines have been available for decades now. And the incidence of adverse events for mRNA vaccines is shockingly high compared to, say, MMR vaccine.

    1. marku52

      Pfizer tested on 8 mice. What, they couldn’t afford 9? And the anitbodies titers were all over the map. And if they work like the last batch, your immunity lasts for 2 or 3 months?

      Oh yea, and they include the original Wuhan strain, so you get get the whole Original Antigenic Sin thing pumped up again.

      No thanks. I’ll stick to C, D Z and Q, with the Unmentionable added if I catch it.

      Friend just announced she has long covid, tho suspiciously, it popped up 2 weeks after her second Pfizer. Vaccine damage is a real thing.

  13. antidlc

    Woohoo! Thank you for the twitter thread from Tracy Casavant Oh, BASc (Chml), MES who is trying to find out why ventilation measures were not taken.

    Yes, I am in the process of doing something similar.

    If anyone else wants to start asking questions, it is very easy to do.

    1) Go to your local school district website. Search for “American Rescue Plan” and see if the school district has any info as to how ARP funds were spent. Also search for “Public Information Request” and you should get information how to file these requests.

    2) Go to your municipality website and do the same.

    3) Go to your local community college website and do the same.

    4) Go to your state university website and do the same.

    These entities receive public funds, so you should be able to request and get information as to how many public dollars were received and how they were spent.

    Be aware they can charge you for copies, research, etc. (although I have not been charged anything yet).

    I received some replies and had to file further requests to get further clarification.

    I have googled around and some school districts have to get approval from the state education agency for HVAC projects. I don’t know if portable HEPA filters/Corsi boxes have to get approved from the state, but I am trying to find out. I also want to know how many school districts requested funds for HVAC projects and how many were approved. I need to file a public information request for this info as well, but I want to see if I am charged fees for my school district and community college requests.

    The problem is if you submit a request, they have a certain timeframe to get back to you and if you file a follow-up request based on the replies you get from a previous request, the timer starts over.

    THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR PUTTING OUR KIDS, TEACHERS, AND STAFF AT RISK. There are federal funds available and at a MINIMUM, there should be a Corsi-Rosenthal box in every classroom, office, lecture hall, cafeteria, etc.

    Thanks to Lambert for staying on top of the ventilation issue.

    I’m tired of the sickness. I’m tired of the deaths. I’m tired of reading about people who have long COVID. It shouldn’t be this way.

  14. Partyless poster

    The story about weed vapes shows a huge ignorance of the subject. Vape carts will say 90% THC on the label but that is very different than if it were flower to smoke. When I smoke a vape it will take maybe 10 hits just to get as high as 2 or 3 pipe hits of weed that is in the 20s THC percentage.
    You can’t really compare it that way.
    Not to mention stronger weed just means you don’t have to smoke as much, so its actually less harmful
    People don’t seem to realize that you can only get so high from pot, once your high enough having more is just a waste.
    It seems like drug warriors always treat drugs as if they are all the same, I think thats the biggest fallacy.
    Why are people so afraid of a plant that makes you feel good?

    1. aj

      Back in my day we used to smoke giant blunts and pass them around, now all you have to do is take a couple hits off a Vape and you are good to go. We got just as high as kids do these days, it just took a lot longer. Some people prefer to drink hard liquor cuz you can take a shot and be just as drunk as drinking a whole beer. Same thing. It’s just another old people think kids are doing it wrong story.

  15. lyman alpha blob

    RE: “Posse Comitatus, Made Respectable”

    I’m no fan of “spurious legal architecture”, but I am wondering exactly why this has become a concern only now.

    I do remember the US torturing, maiming, and murdering any number of brown people about twenty years ago and when it came to light and the legality was questioned, they trotted out a memo from John Yoo saying it was all AOK, because, well, John Yoo passed the bar and he said it was, and nobody in power batted an eye about it when it was clearly illegal as hell to anyone with two functioning neurons and should have put those who greenlighted it in the Hague for life.

    I really don’t see how you go after Trump when all the other abject lawlessness of past presidents gets a pass. And not only a pass, but those involved get promotions and W himself, the Decider, becomes revered as some avuncular figure from the good old days.

    Just disgusting.

    1. spud

      Yoo was right.


      9 He Pioneered Extraordinary Rendition

      “Extraordinary rendition” is when shady government operatives stuff a bag over your head and fly you off to some foreign country where they can legally torture you. It sounds like something Alex Jones might dream up in a paranoid frenzy, but it’s a well-documented phenomenon under both Bush, Jr. and Obama—and Bill Clinton was the guy who started it all.

      Clinton and Gore signed off on the first rendition back in the ’90s, despite being aware that it breached international law. Until recently, rendered people frequently wound up in the prison cells of places like Mubarak’s Egypt or Gaddafi’s Libya, where they were tortured with electric shocks, rape, beatings, and even crucifixion. It can sometimes go hideously wrong: In 2003, the CIA snatched a terrorist off the streets and beat, tortured, and sodomized him, only to discover they’d accidentally grabbed the wrong man. The victim just happened to share a name with a wanted criminal. His suffering came care of the Clinton/Gore dream team.

  16. Anon

    Just in case people don’t know there are vape pens that heat up the weed flower you provide, using battery power. The G pen Dash vaporizer is an economical choice.
    This is quite different from the ones that use cartridges containing the weed in wax form

  17. Cat Burglar

    It was interesting to watch the NGO world light up for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during the contests with Sanders. I wondered how the patron/client network was strung, and now we have the article on Arabella Advisors, a likely part of the skein. Interesting that the founder, Eric Kessler, even worked for the National Democratic Institute — “we do what the CIA used to do clandestinely “– that’s what I call Bringing It All Back Home!

  18. semper loquitur

    John Oliver on copaganda and Law and Order:


    I hate cop shows passionately and this hammered it home. Shocking but not surprising. Producer Dick Wolf is unabashedly “pro cop”. Public defenders are called “scum” and presented as hustlers and schlubs. A significant percentage of people, including cops, think the show is gospel truth. And despite what the Special Victims Unit narrative says, one study found that only six percent of sexual assaults are solved by NYPD.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Why Buttigieg is sparking 2024 chatter”

    The best thing that the Republicans could do against Buttigieg in 2024 is have his posters and put in an image of Alfred E. Neuman over his face. Maybe his image with the chaos of airports and west coast containers and the words “What, me worry?”

    1. Questa Nota

      How will Mayo Pete address that newest challenger, Huma Abedin, without looking like a weenie?
      Surely, there must be some backroom dealing and dictation of intersectionality talking points.
      Maybe just a slow news day or editorial hijinks?

    2. Michael Ismoe

      Wait until the Republicans start donating to his campaign because he’s the most beatable. You know, like the Democrats do.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “The Little Mermaid” trailer is getting a helluva lot of push-back by potential audiences and I believe that as of two days ago, that it had some two million dislikes. And the movie hasn’t even been released yet. In the past, people who refused to eat such movie dog food would be called bigots but that is not working anymore. Media critic Dave Cullen did a video on this a coupla days ago-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtakByAQVAk (6:35 mins)

  21. chris

    I’m starting to see the more right leaning among my friends and acquaintances make predictions on how our economy will crash after Europe devolves into a cold anarchy this winter. Usually the theorizing ends with Joe Biden abdicating his presidency and Kamala going anywhere else and Nancy Pelosi dying of chocolate ice cream poisoning, etc. etc. etc. Insert your cousins right wing fantasy here. But there comments did get me thinking about what would happen if Europe stopped trading with us entirely doe to any number of reasons. And whether the USA is still exposed to a Lehman style risk but this time coming from the other side of the pond. Any ideas on where to start looking for Euro/US supply based issues or financial contagion?

  22. lyman alpha blob

    Thanks for the link on personal libraries. I’ve been building one for years now and always liked the idea of buying books based on references from previous books. My favorite reference book is Garner’s Dictionary of Modern American Usage which I only own due to reading David Foster Wallace’s review of it. Both the review and surprisingly, the reference, are hilarious.

    If you have an hour or two to spare, here’s Wallace’s essay.

    Here’s an easier to read version with better formatting, but I think you need to be a Harper’s subcriber to access it.

  23. skippy

    What the heck – !!!!!

    Was watching some UFC on the weekend with eldest son, into the skill aspect alone, never the less besides the USA chanting in some fights …. wowzers on the endless HIV pharma pill ads and its sales pitch based on being non HIV positive in testing …

    Hahaha …. U can have sex again without fear of being taken to court for not informing your partner … giggles …

    Best bit is when they do the disclaimers … don’t get pregnant, liver function dramas, side effects out the wazoo, if you feel side effects stop taking immediately and go to hospital and not your doctor … slaps hand to face and pulls back to Asian features … does absurdity have no limits …

    Then again the whole manscaping thingy is bizarre, need to promote man cosmetic care as a term which has masculine qualities like mowing the lawn thingy/looking after the property[tm], which is a huge advertising concern with the UFC. lmmao I need lotion for the boyz sack and ladies demand a well manscaped neither regions on will not get laid. Not to mention its the same gear for the ladies, but at a higher price, but blokes are the smarter gender … hahahha

    So much for the enlightenment of our species and the fraught tribulations of our ancestors ….

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