2:00PM Water Cooler 9/23/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, this will be a bit light. As you know, I’m a big LeCarré fan, ndd I discovered the BBC’s “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (the television series, in six parts) was on YouTube, legitimately. So I binge-watched it, instead of gathering Water Cooler material. Fifty lashes with a wet noodle for me. –Lambert. P.S. Alec Guinness, although not podgy enough, is superb as Smiley. The entire cast is a glorious ensemble…

Bird Song of the Day

Northern Gray-headed Sparrow, Tarengire National Park, Tanzania. “In campground, 2 seen in a tree over the tent. Dawn song.”

* * *


“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

“Support from women boosts Biden to another year-high approval rating: poll” [The Hill]. • It’s amazing to see the Demcorats make hay out of not delivering on Roe.


* * *

“Trump to unleash millions in the midterms in possible prelude to 2024” [Politico]. “Donald Trump’s top lieutenants are launching a new super PAC that is expected to spend heavily to bolster his endorsed candidates in the midterm election — and, some people close to the former president say, could become a campaign apparatus if he runs in 2024. Sanctioned by the former president, the new group, dubbed MAGA, Inc., will become the primary vehicle for Trump’s operation to engage in political activity in 2022. The outfit is designed to funnel large sums into key races and could conceivably be used to boost Trump in the event he seeks the White House again.” • My first thought: A little late. My second: At the margin, it might make a difference in tight races if Trump makes good picks. We’ll see.

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.

* * *

“U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz unlikely to face charges in sex-trafficking probe, report says” [Orlando Sentinel]. “Citing concerns about the credibility of key witnesses against him — including Seminole County’s former tax collector, Joel Greenberg — career Justice Department prosecutors have recommended against charging U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz with sex trafficking, according to a report.” • Ah, those “career prosecutors.”

Republican Funhouse

Realignment and Legitimacy


After Yves exposed Andrew Bowden for similar behavior, the SEC heaved him over the side. I guess it’s different if you’re a congress critter.

“FBI misled judge who signed warrant for Beverly Hills seizure of $86 million in cash” [Los Angeles Times]. • The FBI? Surely not.


“Italian study shows ventilation can cut school COVID cases by 82%” [Reuters]. “An experiment overseen by the Hume foundation think-tank compared coronavirus contagion in 10,441 classrooms in Italy’s central Marche region. COVID infections were steeply lower in the 316 classrooms that had mechanical ventilation systems, with the reduction in cases more marked according to the strength of the systems. With applications guaranteeing a complete replacement of the air in a classroom 2.4 times in an hour, infections were reduced by 40%. They were lowered by 66.8% with four air replacements per hour and by 82.5% with six air replacements, the study showed.” • We ran this story when it appeared, back in March. Recent commentary:

Needless to say, the United States is unlikely to replicate the Italian study. If you think that solving airborne tranmission is an engineering problem, that’s not an issue. If you think that ventilation requires an RCT, it is.

* * *

A thread on the history of pandemic planning. Some factoids:

The Center for Disease has been broken for a long time.

“The Next Pandemic Could Be Worse than Covid. We’re Unprepared” [Politico]. “As with every “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” so far except for the Zika virus, the global Covid response has centered around our best defense: vaccines.” • Best and only, apparently.

* * *

• Maskstravaganaza: “Stanford researchers find wildfire smoke is unraveling decades of air quality gains, exposing millions of Americans to extreme pollution levels” (press release) [Stanford University]. “Using statistical modeling and artificial intelligence techniques, the researchers estimated concentrations of PM2.5 specifically from wildfire smoke in sharp enough detail to reveal variations within individual counties and individual smoke events from coast to coast from 2006 to 2020. ‘We found that people are being exposed to more days with wildfire smoke and more extreme days with high levels of fine particulate matter from smoke,” said lead study author Marissa Childs.” • Your N95 or better should protect you against PM2.5. That’s why compliance in some parts of Asia was so good, because people were already accustomed to wearing them. Of course, in this country, presumably it is not OK to wear a mask when your motivation is Covid, but it is OK to wear a mask when your motivation is wildfires. Or is it? It’s so confusing!

Case Count

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 ~59,200. Today, it’s ~52,800 and 52,800 * 6 = a Biden line at 316,800. (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 August, 2021, and we are very far from that of March, 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):

The West:

California on a high plateau all of its own, with yet another backward revision.


Wastewater data (CDC), September 19:

Lambert here: I added all the dots back in. The number of grey dots really concerns me. How can all the sites for international air travel center New York be grey (“no recent data”). And California’s pretty gappy, too.

For grins, September 18:

NOTE To get the CDC data pages to load, I have to turn off my VPN. Thanks for the security breach, CDC.


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

-2.1%. Good news!


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), September 23:

I suppose that if case counts are indeed level, it’s likely there would be few rapid risers. Those two red areas in Northern Maine and upstate New York are both on the way to Quebec, Canada.

Previous Rapid Riser data:

Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), September 23:

Not a 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].

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), September 10:

Still no sign of BA.2.75 at Walgreens, despite its appearance in CDC data below.

Variant data, national (CDC), September 10 (Nowcast off):

Two highlights: BA.4.6 has assumed a slightly greater proportion (more in the NowCast model, which I refuse to use). What about BA.2.75?

The above chart shows variants nationally. I have gone through the CDC regions and made a table. As you can see, BA.2.75 is prominent in Region 2 (New York and New Jersey), followed by Region 5 (Midwest), and Region 1 (Northeast). Hmm.

Table 1: CDC Regional BA.2.75 Data, Sorted by % Total (September 23)

CDC Region % Total States in Region
Region 2: 1.3% (0.8%) New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands
Region 8: 1.3% (0.0%) Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming
Region 9: 1.2% (0.0%) Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands….
Region 6: 0.6% (0.0%) Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas
Region 3: 0.5% (0.4%) Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia
Region 4: 0.4% (0.4%) Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee
Region 5: 0.4% (0.7%) Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin
Region 7: 0.3% (0.3%) lowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska
Region 10: 0.3% (0.0%) Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington
Region 1: 0.1% (0.7%) Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont

LEGEND: Previous CDC variant release shown in parentheses, (thus).

Not encouraging. Of course, the absolute numbers are small, but we’ve seen that movie before. I especially don’t like the jump in Region 2, because the New York area is “spready,” based on past history. Region 1, on the other hand, dropped.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Lambert here: Not sure why World in Data changed the color to red.

Total: 1,080,836 – 1,080,356 = 480 (480 * 365 = 175,200, which is today’s LivingWith™* number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though 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

There are not official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Finance: Huh?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 21 Extreme Fear (previous close: 26 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 35 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 23 at 1:42 PM EDT.

Our Famously Free Press

“Democratic firms prevail in suit against Project Veritas” [Politico]. “A federal court jury on Thursday awarded $120,000 in damages to Democratic consulting firms targeted by Project Veritas, a conservative group specializing in hidden-camera video stings, in connection with recordings made in 2016 by an operative who obtained an internship using a false name and story. The jury of four men and five women concluded that the actions of the former operative, Allison Maass, breached a fiduciary duty to the consulting firms and amounted to fraudulent misrepresentation, according to the verdict form. Recordings made by Maass and other operatives depicting what the group said were efforts to incite violence at rallies for then-President Donald Trump drew significant media attention in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign. A key figure behind the Democratic consultancies, Robert Creamer, said the firms lost organizing contracts after the release of the videos. He adamantly denied encouraging violence during so-called bracketing efforts around Trump events. Project Veritas’ founder, James O’Keefe, refers to Maass and others who conduct the stings as journalists. Vowing an appeal, he said the jury verdict endangered hidden-camera work by a wide range of journalists.” •

The Gallery

Like listening to YouTubes on Ukraine today?

Groves of Academe

A university administrator actually approved these abominations:

Class Warfare

We still haven’t seen a contract for the railroad workers, so now it’s not there’s no deal, it’s that there’s really no deal. Here is on snippet that somehow escaped:

The timeline is looking pretty sketchy, too:

Disgruntled individuals? Perhaps. The obvious answer would be for the union leadership to come clean with a full copy of the TA, and with actual contract language ASAP.

“U.S.-China Tensions Fuel Outflow of Chinese Scientists From U.S. Universities” [Wall Street Journal]. An increasing number of scientists and engineers of Chinese descent are giving up tenured positions at top-tier American universities to leave for China or elsewhere, in a sign of the U.S.’s fading appeal for a group that has been a driver of innovation. The trend, driven in part by what many of the scholars describe as an increasingly hostile political and racial environment, has caused the Biden administration to work with scholars of Chinese descent to address concerns. More than 1,400 U.S.-trained Chinese scientists dropped their U.S. academic or corporate affiliation for a Chinese one in 2021, a 22% jump from the previous year, according to data gathered by researchers from Princeton University, Harvard University and the Massachuseolo found that China-born scientists account for nearly 30% of artificial-intelligence researchers working for U.S. institutions.” Oh? And: “Chinese and other foreign-born scientists have been a source of national strength, Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet Inc. and chairman of the U.S. government’s National Security Commission on AI, said in an interview. ‘We should never aim to cut ourselves off from a country that is home to 1.4 billion, with immense talent.'” • Especially as people of Schmidt’s class are nuking the university system here. But why build when you can buy?tts Institute of Technology.” And: “A 2020 analysis by Chicago-based think tank MacroP

News of the Wired

“Be critical or be corrupted” [CJ Cenizal]. On The Wire: “What began as the homicide division’s initial reaction to a problem becomes a chain reaction. More metrics blossom and breed bad behavior. The department measures crime in terms of felonies, so they show a reduction in crime by reclassifying felonies as misdemeanors, thus letting violent criminals off the hook. Meanwhile they use their arrest rate to measure effectiveness, so they demonstrate an effective police force by arresting people for minor infractions like loitering. The metrics incentivize counterproductive behavior and, over time, develop into a self-perpetuating culture. This is corruption…. What can we do about this entropic tendency of organizations towards corruption? We can carefully design our metrics and think critically about the behaviors we expect them to incentivize. This one’s obvious…. We can extend self-awareness and critical thinking to all decisions made within an organization. We just have to consider every decision’s second-order effects.” • Hmm.

The Streisand Effect?

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

AB writes: My sunflowers made the local news: “Towering Sunflowers In Alameda: Photo Of The Day.” Congratulations!

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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. ambrit

    Love those sunflowers. I also like it that Madame needs to wear a crash helmet to take a walk around the neighbourhood. Earthquake readiness?

      1. ambrit

        Curses! Reading comprehension fail.
        I am a graduate of the old “Kill Off the Unlucky Kids” ethos. Bike helmets were only for bicycle racers. All else pay in kind.
        The ambiguous nature of the quote is a bit of fun too. What do the sunflowers ride?

    1. Bart Hansen

      Years ago I was in contact via a Trollope list with a guy in Sydney who used to tell the story of how parents would equip their children with come kind of head covering while walking to school to ward off the dive bombing magpies. A little foggy on this but I think the coverings were tin pots.

      May the Rev can help here.

  2. Roger Blakely

    John McGregor has no COVID in this morning’s links. That makes no sense. So we have to talk about it here.

    As of today Los Angeles County no longer requires riders of public transit to wear masks. At yesterday’s weekly briefing the director of LA County Public Health delivered a message that requires translation. Allow me to translate. She said that she is removing the mask mandate for public transit due to political pressure and because the public is fed up with COVID. However, she said, removing the indoor mask mandate for public transit is insanity. She read an email from an Uber driver pleading for the public transit mask mandate to remain in place. She showed wastewater data indicating that virus concentrations are bottoming out and about to rise again.

    Dr. Campbell’s video today discusses the latest data from the ZOE COVID Study and Prof. Tim Spector’s message that COVID is on the rise again in the UK. We are only in the third week of September. Experts did not expected this rise until later in the fall.

    There is also discussion of the new variants BA.4.6, BA.2.75, and BA. (BF.7).

    The takeaway message is that everything is in place for December and January to be awful.

  3. Michael Hudson

    C’mon, Lambert. If the Dems DID fix Roe by settling matters decently, there would be no more opportunity for fundraising on that front.
    They’ll keep it simmering as a badge of identity.

    1. EGrise

      Yep. Perennially “fighting for” but never quite achieving, while the money rolls in. That’s the ticket!

      1. ambrit

        As was so eloquently demonstrated by Obama; the financialization of hope.
        The old ‘Reverse Wimpy.’ “Pay me today for access to hamburgers on Tuesday.”

      2. nippersdad

        Yup. This is the one that I always remember:

        Like mother:

        “So I do believe that if you want to have whatever they’re calling their plan – Medicare for All, whatever it is – the path to it is the Affordable Care Act. But we might take that path to something that enables people to have Medicare if they wish or their private insurance if they wish. And I salute them. And if that’s what they believe, God bless them for that. But that is, I think, not the practical path to getting something done.

        And again, I say to them, all of these issues – single payer and all that – I have those signs in my basement from 30 years ago. I’m with you as an advocate. But as a member of Congress needing to get results for the American people, let’s take a path that takes us quickest and best and strongest to affordable care for all Americans.


        …like daughter:

        Christine Pelosi
        “If the left doesn’t think I’m left enough, so be it. Come to my basement. I have these signs about single-payer from 30 years ago.But we have a responsibility to get something done, which is different from advocacy. We have to have a solution, not just a Twitter fight.” 💥#NDP


        1. marym

          “Pelosi’s still “fighting”

          There’s a case at the SC that “could leave beneficiaries of major programs like Medicaid with little recourse should states neglect their care” by (restricting? ending?) the right of individuals to sue in federal court.

          So “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other high-profile Democrats” are fighting for people who can’t get medical care by filing an amicus brief to support the right of poor, sick people to file a lawsuit.

          Because who needs M4A as long as they have the right to file a lawsuit.


      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Democrats are passively receiving hay blown their way by the Republicans’ drive to ban and outlaw abortion as everywhere as possible. If state and local Democrats prevent or roll back Republican antibortion laws at the state level, windblown haydrifts will keep building up around Biden.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      It’s been entertaining to watch this change in our media. As I grew up the guys on TV just couldn’t sort out if seatbelts save lives, if smoking causes cancer, if waterboarding was torture, if torture was torture, if carbon dioxide absorbs infrared light, etc. (must.stop.list.) Now we have direct declarations of goodthink and ungoodthink.

      1. griffen

        People are weird. Or in the words of a country song by who I am unsure, “…beer is good, and people are crazy…”

        I always thought the permanent marker / white out “sniffers” were weird in high school. Now on occasion, a permanent marker whiff does offer a nice boost LOLZ.

  4. Brunches with Cats

    > Fifty lashes with a wet noodle for me. –Lambert
    I dunno, seems to me that it should count as “research” to help readers make more-informed decisions about how to spend the limited amount of time and money they have for entertainment. News you can use!

    1. Sub-Boreal

      Drat. There goes this weekend. Just when I thought I’d crack the back of fall garden cleanup.

      I absolutely adored Alec Guinness in his Smiley roles, but didn’t know that TTSS was so readily available.

      1. ambrit

        Yes. I re-watched both TTSS and Smiley’s People last weekend. Both are on YouTube, each in six hour long installments. When one installment ends, the next one is at the top of the queue of ‘suggestions’ on the right side of the screen.
        Should be easy to find. [Crosses fingers and toes.]

  5. Tom Stone

    My Father got a copy of Fred Smith’s “The FBI Nobody Knows” shortly after it came out, which was not an easy thing to do.
    Dad had friends in high and low places, one was the owner of a small bookstore in Berkeley and a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln brigade.
    Max was already on the Feebs list and was willing to stock the book when almost no one else was willing to take that risk.
    Moe’s wouldn’t, Shakespeare and Co wouldn’t, Holme’s wouldn’t.
    That changed in the mid 60’s when Hoover was on his last legs and the Free Speech movement took off.
    Censorship and FBI criminality are nothing new.

    1. Bart Hansen

      The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was at the top of the organizations I had to swear not being a member of to get a job with the government or a contractor thereof. This was all during the period while the earth was nearly cooled.

    2. Librarian Guy

      I’m really shocked that Moe’s wouldn’t– I engaged with him casually numerous x, never in depth, he seemed to be a person of real independence and integrity . . . I suppose he may have sensed a threat of having his business taken out (there were some suspicious arsons of community housing starting the first year I moved to the Oakland–Berkeley area in 1989, and clearly before that. Moe was a business man and did not seem the type that would martyr himself for a cause.) I worked in the Holmes bookstore downtown on 14th St. Oakland between ’89-91– the coolest patron I met there was Ishmael Reed who often came in and custom ordered something if we didn’t have it in stock. The owner at the time, Craig K, who had inherited it was not particularly into books and socially conservative (though gay), so Holmes not hiring “controversial” doesn’t surprise me in the least.

      1. Tom Stone

        This was ’61-’62 and you are damn right there would have been consequences if Moe’s had stocked it back then.
        By ’66 things had changed.
        Holme’s book store was wonderful, when I was a kid paperbacks were 10 for $1 and I’d ride my bike there with my best friend and we’d blow our weekly allowances on books…except for enough for a donut at Colonial Donuts on Lakeshore ave.
        Over the decades I must have spent a few thousand dollars there, none of it wasted.

    1. chris

      Wow. That is some great on the ground reporting. Also, in the first few minutes or so you hear the minister saying that by joining Russia they will get better quality healthcare, and that it will be free. Free healthcare AND less terrorist attacks. The democrats are sure to hate that.

      I feel like this is where Bugs Bunny pops up dressed like Chuck Schumer saying, “Of course you know this means war!”

  6. griffen

    Stock markets in the US are having a sad, super sad September. Between inflation and much higher UST yields and then the overseas activities by the BoJ and then the UK new scheme for tax cuts, there are enough apple carts getting turned over.

    Happy talk is really starting to dry up, at last, on the televised programs I consume on CNBC. Which I do in between filing those TPS reports. Yes, I did get the memo!

    1. curlydan

      Even with the dive, the S&P is still more than 10% above its March 2020 pre-COVID high. But people got used to all the extra punchbowls, so I’m sure the tears are flowing on CNBC today.

      1. ambrit

        Perhaps, but factor in all the “new” money poured into the “economy” by the Covid rescue stimulus cheques and business loans and grants. Even at 10% above the March 2020 dollar level, the S&P 500 is practically, taking inflation into account, below early 2020 ‘real’ values.
        Take away the punchbowls, and you find an investing public clamouring for punching bags.
        All sorts of financial ‘bubbles’ are popping at once. “Things” do not look rosy at present.
        Plus, as the Federal Reserve has decided to fight inflation by crushing the wages of the working class, watch out for increased civil unrest. Homeless people might not be all that much of a threat, except perhaps to local property values. The newly homeless though. They will be enraged at having been ‘betrayed’ by ‘the system’ that they had faithfully supported for much of their working lives.
        Stay safe. Hull down.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Let’s not forget the slow hissing of the Reserve Currency bubble. Is there an app to track that?

          1. ambrit

            Perhaps something like NORAD’s Santa tracker program.
            Next Christmess we will all get lumps of coal in our stockings. Kris “Ka-ching-le” Manchin should be happy with that.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Speaking of coal. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, had a solution for people who don’t have the money to buy three tons of coal to help get them through the winter. He said just buy one and a half tons. Problem fixed.

  7. Pat

    Between his sniffing to multiple reports of worse inappropriate behavior with women, not to mention his history with Anita Hill and rabid pursuit of legislation that would make life ever harder for single parent families….let me put it this way women should have been throwing bricks at Biden for decades not voting for him. Roe is just the last in a long line of reasons this support makes women look self destructive.

    1. ambrit

      Fully agree with you, but look at the other side. These brave, forward thinking women are virtuously voting for “The DNC Cause!” Some sacrifices have to be made, even if most of the sacrifices are made by low wage, working class women. It’s just a matter of priorities.
      {Big time snark. Just like the Democrat Party ‘narrative.’}

      1. John D.

        Exactly. The people we think of as being feminist tend to be educated, upper class white women who are either wealthy, or still count themselves as solidly part of America’s shrinking middle class. By throwing their lot in with the neoliberal Democrats, they’re simply following their own class interests.

  8. Watt4Bob

    Is De Satan gonna get credit for evacuating vulnerable refugees to safety from the upcoming hurricane?

    What a humanitarian!

  9. lyman alpha blob

    RE: the Stoller tweet

    If I’m understanding things correctly, the banks that financed a leveraged buyout for a couple PE firms couldn’t unload all the new debt at face value, sold some at a discount to increase yield for otherwise reluctant investors, and are caught holding the bag on a significant portion of the rest with the result being a sharp uppercut to the lower mandible. According to one of the PE types, he feels banks will shy away from underwriting LBOs for a while while they lick their wounds. Stoller’s exaggerating a bit with the tweet – it’s not that there is no more funding for PE, more that it’s likely that funding will dry up temporarily. If that’s what you were asking by “Huh?”.

    1. notabanker

      There’s a stratification of “banks” here that is important. The Wall Street Banks, TBTF’s, have been pouring money into PE firms by selling their debt. The regionals do not. In fact, the PE’s are competing with the regionals by essentially replacing traditional lending with “investment capital” and taking ownership stakes.

      And let me tell ya, Vista is a real piece of work. It’s one thing to be ruthless, quite another to be ruthlessly unethical.

      The harder it is for these guys to get money, the better.

  10. JBird4049

    >>>Of course, in this country, presumably it is not OK to wear a mask when your motivation is Covid, but it is OK to wear a mask when your motivation is wildfires. Or is it? It’s so confusing!

    Proper Covitude is more easily about virtue signalling because the cause and effect is somewhat ignorable, while being able to actually see, smell, taste, and feel? the damn smoke as you hack your lungs out for days while trying to sleep makes it much harder to show your virtue by ignoring it by not using masks or air filters.

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘Only just now learning about the ongoing rebranding of universities and their publishing houses.
    Wilful destruction of history. Presumably all on the advice of useless PR types.’

    Seen this here too. The marketing droids just can’t help themselves but have to do stuff to justify their big salaries. Decades if not centuries of traditional branding and whoof, over the side it goes. You get the same with big business corporations – or is that what universities and their publishing houses are these days? I’m surprised that some marketing droid has not gone to Coca Cola and told them what they need to do is get rid of that old flowing ‘Coca Cola’ script and just have a flashy ‘CC’ as their new name. People will love it. And that was how you got ‘New Coke’ back in 1985-


    1. Acacia

      Yep, they have become corporations too, often with big RE projects. I think NYU is one of the largest landowners in lower Manhattan.

      When that new U. of California logo was rolled out, I wondered how the marketing droids failed to see how much it evokes a toilet flushing.

      1. Pat

        Oops you missed the largest private owner in NYC, Columbia University. According to studies and listings of private property addresses Columbia has twice as many properties as NYU. A whole lot of the West Side above 110th Street is Columbia’s.

  12. Van Res

    Thanks for the tip about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy series.
    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Episode 1
    Only a point.

    At the main Pirate Bay version, there is a comment that the original series at BBC was 7 Episodies.

    “In the United States, subsequent syndicated broadcasts and DVD releases compressed the seven British episodes into six, in which scenes were shortened and the narrative sequence altered. In the British original, ..” (Spoiler alert)


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