2:00PM Water Cooler 10/10/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, this Water Cooler will be light, because I was finishing up my “smoking gun” post on hospitals and airborne transmission. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

White-breasted Nuthatch (Eastern), Roy H. Park Preserve, Tompkins, New York, United States.

* * *


“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

“The logic of the insult and the logic of scientific classification represent the two extreme poles of what a classification may be in the social world.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

Capitol Seizure

“Text messages reveal what, exactly, the Jan. 6 crowd wanted Trump to do” [Politico]. “Central to prosecutors’ allegations is Rhodes and, more plainly, what his perceptions were of Trump in those critical moments. The Yale Law-educated Rhodes came to see political and courtroom paths as doomed for keeping Trump in power and the potential invocation of the Insurrection Act as the only viable way. So, the right-wing activist began promoting the Insurrection Act among fellow Oath Keepers, privately and publicly, urging them to also loudly call on Trump to take the extreme step of using the military and citizen militias to remain in office. But Rhodes also had a backup plan, according to the prosecution. If Trump failed to act, Rhodes said in the messages, the Oath Keepers would be ready to take matters into their own hands — even if it meant a ‘bloody’ Civil War. The trial, as well as a parallel case prosecutors are building against the leaders of the pro-Trump Proud Boys, underscored the degree to which right wing extremist groups sought to operate in tandem with Trump. Ultimately, the prosecution alleges, they saw validation in his rhetoric as they maneuvered to prevent Joe Biden’s inauguration. Rhodes’ defense lawyers have suggested that much of his fiery language, particularly in a pair of open letters he addressed to Trump, amounted to little more than hyperbole aimed at fundraising for the Oath Keepers. Ultimately, they note, Rhodes didn’t enter the Capitol on Jan. 6, nor did he bring weapons with him. Instead, he remained just outside the building while the others can be seen on video joining the mob that surged into the building after police lines collapsed. But Rhodes’ own rhetoric alarmed even some members of his group, at least one of whom passed recordings and tips to the FBI — tips that weren’t acted upon until after Jan. 6.” • And did Trump do those things?

Biden Administration

“Pentagon: No sign Putin is planning to use nukes after Biden’s ‘Armageddon’ comment” [Politico]. • When the adults in the room are at the Pentagon, you know you’re in trouble.

Not bad:


* * *

PA: “Why Senate hopeful John Fetterman’s masterful online trolling of Dr. Oz is working” [Fast Company]. “John Fetterman had a neat way of saying ‘Hi everybody!’ to his entire electorate recently. The Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate tweeted a video comparing his opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, to The Simpsons quack Dr. Nick Riviera—an alumnus of Hollywood Upstairs Medical College—using clips of Oz’s many dubious miracle cures. The video proved so brutally effective that a wide array of media outlets contributed to its virality, doing the candidate’s work for him. It’s just the latest example of Fetterman’s mastery of the comedic political hit job. His campaign has proven over and over again that, in the right candidate’s hands, Twitter trolling can have a devastating impact and a reach that goes far beyond the platform.” • Show me the votes, though… Again, I urge the theory that the real value of the online trolling is to distract the press with bright shiny objects (not a bad thing). I have yet to be shown it moves votes.

PA: “On Pennsylvania’s campaign trail, the doctor will see you now” [Politico]. “Physicians across Pennsylvania are politicking in unprecedented ways with less than a month to go before the midterm election, making the case that the abortion restrictions proposed by Republicans would threaten one of the state’s most important economic sectors. They’re flanking Democrats at campaign rallies and knocking on doors in flippable state legislative districts. They are registering patients and colleagues to vote. At town halls and in ads, they warn that doctors, residents and medical students will avoid a state where they could be prosecuted for helping a patient terminate a pregnancy — damaging one of the largest and most recession-proof pieces of the economy. Typically cautious establishment groups, such as the Pennsylvania Medical Society, are also sounding the alarm about ‘the potential criminalization of physicians and urging lawmakers considering new abortion restrictions to ‘stay out of the exam room,’ while doctors and doctors-in-training are forming newer advocacy groups like Medical Students for Choice, Physicians for Democratic Principles, Physicians for Shapiro and Fetterman, the Committee to Protect Health Care and VoteER.” • Now do #MedicareForAll.

“Democrats ‘need new blood,’ congresswoman says” [Politico]. “‘We need a new generation,’ Slotkin, who is 46, said. ‘We need new blood, period, across the Democratic Party in the House, the Senate and the White House.'” • A CIA Democrat…


“Youngkin declines to say if he will run for president: ‘2024 is a long way away’” [The Hill]. “”I am focused on getting some Republican congressional candidates elected in Virginia and some governors elected around the nation,’ Youngkin said on CNN. ‘2024 is a long way away. And I’m really humbled by the speculation, but right now I’m very focused on Virginia.'” • Humbled!

Democrats en Déshabillé

Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert

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.

* * *

Republican Funhouse

“A majority of GOP nominees — 299 in all — deny the 2020 election results” [WaPo]. “Candidates who have challenged or refused to accept Joe Biden’s victory — 53 percent of the 569 analyzed by The Post — are running in every region of the country and in nearly every state. Republican voters in three states nominated election deniers in all federal and statewide races The Post examined…. Far from repudiating candidates who embrace Trump’s false fraud claims, GOP primary voters have empowered them….. The Republican fervor to elevate election deniers this midterm cycle comes at a time when pro-Trump allies and activists are continuing to doubt the administration of elections in the United States, demanding investigations of voter fraud and accusing state and local election officials of rigging races or using fraudulent voting equipment.” • The difficulty here is fundamental: There is no way to prove that compiled code does not yield fraudulent results.

“Falsehoods, harassment stress local election offices in US” [Associated Press]. “Yet ever since former President Donald Trump began falsely claiming that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, Mickley, Whipkey and local election workers like them across the country have been inundated with conspiracy theories and election falsehoods, and hounded with harassment. They’ve been targeted by threats, stressed by rising workloads and stretched budgets. The stress and vitriol have driven many workers away, creating shortages of election office staff and poll workers. During Ohio’s second primary in August — an added burden for election officials stemming from partisan feuding over redistricting — Mickley’s two clerks darted around the county all day filling in for absent poll workers. Two staff members’ husbands were enlisted to help. And then there’s the stream of misinformation falsely alleging that voting systems across the country are riddled with fraud. Unfounded conspiracy theories about voting machines, manipulation of elections by artificial intelligence or ballot fixing have found a wide audience among Republicans.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

Gloria Steinem, spook:

The whole thread is wild. NGOs as a counter-insurgency operation, for sure.


Patient readers: Friday I reconfigured the Covid-19 section. Since CDC will now make case data available only weekly, that data will become entirely useless for early warning purposes, instead of only partially useless, so I eliminated that section entirely. I will retain CDC’s wastewater chart (still daily), and Walgreen’s positivity chart (still daily). For transmission, CDC also made Rapid Riser and Hospitalization weekly, so I have eliminated them, too. I will retain the CDC community transmission map (“the red map”), the CDC and Walgreens variant data, and the death rate (for as long as CDC supports them).

The net result is that the best early warning system for an oncoming surge will be wastewater, which has (a) spotty national coverage and (b) is routed through CDC with no check (except for the Biobot regional chart, which I gave up on because of its constant backward revisions). All this is a recipe for tragedy, especially when we consider that the only system that CDC explicitly built for early warning was the horrid and deceptive “community levels” metric (“the green map”), which by incorporating a lagging indicator (hospitalization), didn’t provide early warning at all.

I will continue to aggregate Tweets, as before; modulo censorship, the Twitter may end up being the best early warning system we have. Meanwhile, if some experts are correct, we should get whatever the UK is having in a month or so. But maybe not! If we still seem to be on a plateau after Thanksgiving travel, I will reconfigure again, back to more emphasis on the economy (because I have sorely neglected business news).

• A success story:

* * *

• ”CDC: Nearly Every American Can Drop Wearing Masks Indoors” [US News]. And the deck: “COVID-19 transmission levels, however, remain high across the majority of the country.” Good job, whatever beacon of sanity got that deck in there. More: “According to CDC data, less than 1% of Americans live in a county with a ‘high’ COVID-19 community level, where masking is recommended while inside. The majority of the country – 79% – lives in a county with a “low” level, while 20% of the population lives in a ‘medium’ level, where masking should be considered by those at-risk for severe COVID-19.” CDC pushing its deranged and lethal “community levels” metric [bangs head on desk]. At least they’re committed to the bit! More sanity: “Additionally, COVID-19 transmission levels remain high across the majority of the country, and a fall and winter COVID-19 surge is expected in the U.S. One warning sign of a coming surge is increasing coronavirus infections in Europe. Fifteen countries in the region are reporting increasing cases. It’s the first spike in coronavirus cases across the region since the most recent BA.5 wave began, according to a report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.” • To be fair, it looks like BA.4.6 is taking over here, not BA.5. But maybe that infection sink over there in the UK will have something entirely new in store for us! Just-in-time demasking, Rochelle, good job. Commentary:

I’m not the only one fed up to my back teeth with this “smile” power trip, then.

• And while we’re on CDC:

Yep, no question.

• So we go with the data we have:

• “‘There Is No Scent!’ What Yankee Candle Reviews Can Tell Us About Covid-19 Trends” (press release) [Northeastern]. From June, still germane: “Beauchamp took the Twitter joke and turned it into a full paper—presented at this week’s ‘International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media’—that examines the clear link between the ‘no smell’ reviews and upticks in COVID-19 cases. The work follows a rising trend of researchers using online clues known as ‘breadcrumbs’—such as Google searches for restaurants that deliver chicken noodle soup—to help predict the next surge in COVID-19 cases. In theory, if one follows trends like this, it could give us information that other data, like the number of hospitalizations in a given period, cannot.” • However, Yankee Candle went viral. So now the test population is self-aware. Interesting article, though!

* * *

• Maskstravaganza:

This whole thread is quite bracing.

• Maskstravaganza: Since anecdotes are what we have now:

* * *

• Oh dear. Gastrointestinal symptoms:

* * *

• Now, of course, we know that indeed children get sick from Covid. Too late for Sweden, sadly:


Wastewater data (CDC), October 4:

October 3:

An alert reader suggested taking a look at the MWRA data from the Boston area, and lo and behold:

Lambert here: This seems to have stalled. Then again, it’s a long weekend.

This is a seven-day average, mind you, so the rise is no fluke. (MRWA is divided into north and south sewersheds. Both are rising.) Let us also remember that the Boston area is not only the home of many, many students, it’s also a PMC center, and we have already seen one ginormous superspreader event from the conference in Boston. Boston also has a major international airport, another cause of spread.


UPDATED From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, October 5:


Readers, please click through on this, if you have a minute. Since Walgreens did the right thing, let’s give this project some stats.


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.)

Lambert here: I have to say, I’m seeing more yellow and more blue, which continues to please. But is the pandemic “over”? Well….

NOTE: The case data driving this map has always been weekly, so it is not affected by CDC’s decision.


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 24:

First appearance of BA.2.75 at Walgreens, confirming CDC data below.

UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), September 17 (Nowcast off):

• Good framing:


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,087,880 – 1,087,350 = 530 (530 * 365 = 193,450, 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. NOTE I may need to configure this as well. But I have reconfigured enough for one day.

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.

• They’re not “enormous.” They’re normal:

Learn to live with it.

The Gallery

My goodness:

I had the idea, from the books on Bloomsbury and Woolf’s circle I read when much younger, that Carringtoin was some sort of lightweight. Oops!

Guillotine Watch

“Former Fed Chair Bernanke shares Nobel for research on banks” [Associated Press]. • I hate this timeline. Then again, is The Bernanke smarter than Yellen? Probably.

News of the Wired

Sadly, I am not feeling wired today. Perhaps tomorrow.

* * *

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 HH:

HH: “From Canyon of the Eagles, in the Texas Hill Country about 60 miles northwest of Austin on the weekend of August 22, 2020.” Fantastic! But why is a “live oak” called “live”?

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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. Wukchumni

    Most oak trees go dormant but not live oaks which stay green all year, and were the most likely victim of the 2012-16 drought on the all cats and no cattle ranch, and now i’ve got fresh kills to contend with, some disassembly required.

      1. .human

        The Dewey-Granby oak in Granby CT. 450 years old. Takes 6 people to straddle it with arms. Huge tree with lower branches that touch the ground and sweep up again out beyond 50 feet.

  2. Howard

    regarding the evergreen live oaks: As you can also see from the picture, their shade can be pretty dappled, probably because their leaves are tiny compared with the leaves of other types of oak. But they definitely are a Quercus, and, like other oaks, they can live for many centuries.

  3. petal

    Our local hospital has stopped screening people for covid at the door, and masks are now taken from a dispenser. Surgical masks, of course, not KN94/N95. And this morning some guy got on the bus, had a surgical mask in his hand but never put it on, and commenced coughing through whole trip. Coworker in same bay as me has stopped wearing a mask. Good fun. Another coworker who only wears surgical masks was out all last week with covid and had a difficult time of it. I finally get my car back from the shop Wed afternoon and it cannot come soon enough. I fear riding the bus these days-feel like a sitting duck. Yesterday I saw charity walk participants for the local children’s hospital getting onto school buses. No one had a mask on, and all of the windows on the buses were closed. I do not understand any of this. Up is down and down is up.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Highly highly recommend an elastomeric mask! Still need a good seal, but it is easier to get, the filters are replaceable and last awhile, and the mask itself lasts for a long long time. Mine was about $35. No difficulty breathing, but mine has an exhaust valve, because no one cares anymore, and I never leave the house so unless COVID can teleport, I don’t anticipate getting infected. If I am sick, I have N95s here for that.

      Only in America is sickening others considered a just price for freedom! Freedom for me, f**k thee!

  4. Jason Boxman

    So I can picture this short film in my head. A wide angle of a huge smoking battlefield, think WWI, with most visibility concealed. So there’s a line of American citizens in a trench, with a ramp leading up and over into the haze. You’ve got Biden and Walensky, dressed in their liberal Democrat best, telling each American don’t worry the war’s over, it’s all good, up and over. And each person in turn goes up and over and then, predictably, gets machine gunned down. Next!

    American is a shared suicide pack!

  5. John Zelnicker

    Lambert – A Live Oak has the name because it its one of the few oaks that is an evergreen.

    Edit: I see others said it before me.

  6. Michael Ismoe


    The head of the Ukrainian office that called for the murders of Roger Waters and Scott Ritter because they weren’t pro-Ukrainian was apparently killed in the Russian strikes in Kiev this morning.

    “Today, during a missile strike on Kiev, the head of the Department of cyber police of Ukraine, Yuriy Zaskoka, was killed” according to the Telegram channel

    1. hunkerdown

      So much for the DNC in these midterms. They’ll have to go back to school shooting theater if they want any chance at all.

      1. hunkerdown

        (And CNN just might could be a little bit shy about that sort of thing right now, after two of its mythologists were booted from Thailand…)

        CNN backtracking now from very shameful behavior.

        Anna Coren should’ve known better… Not that she cares.

        Parachuting in for 15 minutes to get blood stained floors of a scene where 20+ kids were just slaughtered does not humanize anything.

        You wanted gore. Go to hell.

        One might hope for a lot less crappy preaching during “election” season.

  7. Glossolalia

    Is loss of sense of smell still a common covid side effect? It seems it was common with earlier variants but I haven’t heard of anyone losing smell in the last year or so.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Since this is Capitalist America, I’m going with Yankee Candle saved two cents a candle and didn’t add any fragrance.

  8. Jason Boxman

    Black Holes May Hide a Mind-Bending Secret About Our Universe

    According to Einstein’s general relativity, the information content of a black hole or any three-dimensional space — your living room, say, or the whole universe — was limited to the number of bits that could be encoded on an imaginary surface surrounding it. That space was measured in pixels 10⁻³³ centimeters on a side — the smallest unit of space, known as the Planck length.

    With data pixels so small, this amounted to quadrillions of megabytes per square centimeter — a stupendous amount of information, but not an infinite amount. Trying to cram too much information into any region would cause it to exceed a limit decreed by Jacob Bekenstein, then a Princeton graduate student and Hawking’s rival, and cause it to collapse into a black hole.

    It’s all mind bending.

  9. pjay

    Re ‘Gloria Steinem, spook…’

    The entire thread is very good. The information is not new, but it is also not widely known. A story that is certainly very relevant today. CIA “liberals” and NGO hybrid-warfare are not recent phenomena; the playbook has been around for a long time.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hmm. You go into her Wikipedia page and find out all sorts of interesting tidbits such as this-

      ‘However, Germaine Greer flatly contradicted Steinem’s account, reporting, “Jacqui Ceballos called from the crowd to demand abortion rights on the Democratic platform, but Bella [Abzug] and Gloria stared glassily out into the room,” thus killing the abortion rights platform,’


      1. JBird4049

        Either Steinem is a bald face liar or mentally ill. Of course, she is an architect of the crippling of the Feminist Movement; getting a leadership position and pushing away working class women out of the movement by ignoring or downplaying working and lower middle class issues like childcare, and focusing issues like the “glass ceiling” in management instead. She got paid by the CIA to do stuff like this.

        Crippling social movements by splitting them along class and race. MLK gets dead and the Black Misleadership Class turns the Civil Rights Movement into a grift while abandoning the poor and working class blacks. Although I think that there was a plot, just old fashioned racism, it does me of the idiot American Suffragettes who pushed black women out of the move sixty years before despite the resistance of both the black women and their (white) allies.

        And the more poor people their are, there is another letter added to the LBGTQI+ list. I remember when being gay gave you a good chance of being beaten, certainly ostracized, and I also remember when homelessness was really unusual. You had to be an absolute mess to be homeless.

        And the CIA is our friend? What about the FBI? Is it next to be cleansed of it sins of illegal spying, assassinations, blackmail, and bribery?

  10. Darwin

    Shocking secret recording of L.A. City Council President. Listen to the audio on the L.A. Times. The multicultural race based political cookie is crumbling into crumbs of greed.

    Most interesting is how it reveals race-based redistricting is a ploy to grab tax assets like LAX, a brewery etc.

    In an hour-long, secretly recorded meeting in October 2021 with L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera and fellow Latino Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, she called the Black child of Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin “un changuito,” or “a monkey,” who gets carried around like a purse. “Su negrito, like on the side.” Of Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón, she simply said, “F— that guy. He’s with the Blacks.”


    Her pal, and fellow Latino power broker–Testifying before a state Senate panel this month, Kevin de León, said “half of my family” would be eligible for deportation under a recent executive order by Republican President Donald Trump because they used false identification, drivers licenses, Social Security or green cards, i.e. identity theft– has been under FBI investigation for years: https://patch.com/california/highlandpark-ca/senator-kevin-de-len-named-in-fbi-affidavit-alleging-corruption

    In a 125-page FBI affidavit posted online on Wednesday by the cable news network Al Jazeera America, de León’s name appears prominently—and as many as 47 times—in two of three stings that federal undercover investigators launched against state Sen. Ron Calderon, a longtime friend of de León whose Sacramento office was raided by FBI agents in June as part of an investigation into his finances.”

    The whole thing is falling apart.

      1. Marcos

        And? Doesn’t change a thing. The entire state of California is a Mexican Handoff with the usual elites running things behind the scenes for further profits and power.

        You can see what happens when they get real power by looking at Kamala.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>You can see what happens when they get real power by looking at Kamala.

          Kamala Harris is an outlier of incompetence and shallowness even for California. All façade.

    1. tegnost

      15 or 20 years ago I was going to the labor site by in n out in pacific beach to get some guys and there was a black guy standing outside the place ready to work and so i grabbed him ( I’m southren, and whatever, we’re not supposed to rascist). George was his name, he had some attitude but I of course like that so he worked fine for me, but he said the other guys didn’t like him. Do the math yourself. I liked the other guys too, but George was as good as anybody else. Jimi hendfix’s dad was a lawn guy…here in the great northwest.

  11. Mikel

    ”CDC: Nearly Every American Can Drop Wearing Masks Indoors”

    No diplomatic or nice way of saying it. These f’ers are corrupt and insane.

    Nearly every American is in close contact with someone with a co-morbidity.

    I hate everything the CDC is trying to value. And it’s not lives.

  12. Carolinian

    Pepe Escobar has the dope–or the purported dope–on the Kerch bridge attack.

    And that brings us to the key information in the Russian intel source assessment: the whodunnit.

    It was a plan by the British MI6, says this source, without offering further details. Which, he elaborates, Russian intel, for a number of reasons, is shadow-playing as “foreign special services.”

    It’s quite telling that the Americans rushed to establish plausible deniability. The proverbial “Ukrainian government official” told CIA mouthpiece The Washington Post that the SBU did it. That was a straight confirmation of an Ukrainska Pravda report based on an “unidentified law enforcement official.”

    He says the explosives’ origin was Bulgaria and hence the British angle. The driver didn’t know what he was driving. The bridge itself may have been mined as well. All FWIW.


  13. Bart Hansen

    I’d pay close attention to the people who cannot smell Yankee Candles. That particular brand is cloying to the max. People who enter YC stores have about five minutes to buy and run, lest the smell gives them a migraine headache.

    1. nippersmom

      I get a headache just walking past the store. Not being able to smell those products is serious loss of sensory function.

    2. Harold

      I lost my sense of smell from COVID the second week of May. I can tell you I don’t miss not being able to smell unpleasant odors. I still have a faint sense of some floral things.

  14. fjallstrom

    Having lived through 2020 in Sweden with kids, I would like to add something that is often missed.

    While there was a recommendation not to close schools, there was also a recommendation to keep kids home if they showed any symtoms of the common cold, and two extra days after symtoms stopped. The care for children system (VAB) was relaxed, so doctors visits where not required until after weeks of illness (don’t quite remember how many weeks). For each missed day of work a parent gets 80% of missed pay, which is promptly payed after reporting at an easy to use website.

    VAB days increased by 24% in 2020, so I wasn’t the only one staying home with kids with sniffles.

    A similar system (with the same webpage) is used to reimburse adult workers when ill, and there pretty much the same rules applied: 80% reimbursement (up to a cap which is a fair bit above median wage), no doctors appointment was necessary for weeks, stay home at first signs of symtoms and as long as you have any symtoms and for 48 hours after.

    I feel like this carrot part, which meant that the recommendations to stay home and keep kids home were automatically accompanied by money, is often underrepported.

    1. Mikel

      I feel like I just lucked out in the USA. The company I worked had office leases that expired in 2020, things worked out well for the company, and they’ve stuck with work from home so far.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Unfortunately that system would not catch kids that got this virus and were asymptomatic. Also, infected kids would be spreading that virus before they would present any symptoms. Still think that, like in a lot of countries, that schools were turned into Covid-distribution centers to get as many people in the community infected as possible in search of the mythical herd-immunity.

  15. DGL

    A live oak always has leaves. It drops some in the fall and a large amount in the spring. A live oak is always green. Also, a live oak has a deep root system. Water ensures life. Live oaks are the strongest and most durable of southern oak trees. When Hugo went through South Carolina it damaged a lot of live oaks. Mystic Seaport in Connecticut went down a got tons of live oak forks. In old wooden ship live oak forks were to wood of choice for ship ribs and ‘knee braces’.
    USS Constitution, ‘Old Ironsides’ was built with live oak.

  16. ebirah

    What the CDC has been doing (and continues to do), is a crime. I work in a federal facility in a supposed “low” transmission county (where of course, like everywhere else, we are experiencing a surge due to back to school and end of summer travel, not to mention upcoming flu season), and we just received an email the other day from our director saying to stay updated with our boosters, that that is the best thing we can do to keep our workplace safe. Meanwhile, masking at our facility is optional. How can we keep workplaces safe if we don’t enforce masking? It’s mind boggling. They just cite the CDC to justify this. I knew it was a political thing the whole time but to see it play out everywhere is so disheartening. My husband emailed his workplace (a public university) about filtration and they just shut him down and said they were following CDC guidelines for covid safety. The whole thing disgusts me to my core.

    1. Mikel

      I’m just thankful I’d heard of the 1918 pandemic before Covid hit.
      Then I refreshed my memory and read more detail.
      I masked up immediately (looked at Fauci like he was crazy from day one) and prepared for the crap show and the whining about profits and “normal”.
      But living through the in-the-face denials is like being in Alice In Wonderland.

  17. Jake

    Live Oaks do drop their leaves, they just do it in spring. I know this because I have to pick them up myself.

  18. Bugs

    That’s a beautiful photograph. Reminds me of the work of Karen Kilimnik, who I think reads this blog. I highly recommend seeing her work in person. A brilliant artist.

  19. Takaratiki

    The great Carrington confusion. Bloomsburg is Dora Carrington, soul mate to Lytton Strachey. Leonora is the surrealist painter, partner for a spell to Max Ernst, who moved to Mexico where she gained fame as a feminist thinker. Trips me up all the time. Dora did have her moments, though, as an artist, particularly her later landscapes.

    1. Lunker Walleye

      Are the white unicorns having an afternoon at the museum? They seem to be studying the rider on horseback closely. At first it seems like all the artwork is fresco, but maybe it is on canvas. And the canvas they are looking at seems to be hanging at an odd angle. Charming and “surreal”.

    1. semper loquitur

      That’s more bizarre than Mark Hamill or Ben Stiller as ambassadors. Why is she there? What possible benefit does she offer? Undermining Ukrainian teacher’s unions?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Mark Hamill, unfortunately, has gone to the Dark Side. Would you believe that I met him once back in ’80? Seemed like a nice guy. Never meet your heroes as the saying goes.

          1. ambrit

            The Oracle at Delphi had it right: “If you meet your Hero at a crossroads, kill him (or her.)” Hilarity is sure to ensue.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I wonder then how all those women that supported Gloria Steinem feel after finding out she was a CIA spook all along. Played?

    2. Pat

      Oh please let her be on a train with a munitions delivery and few innocent citizens. And let there be a strike. I realize that Russia doesn’t really want to help the US, but maybe they’ll make an exemption…

      1. SocalJimObjects

        Well, perhaps she is there to deliver munitions and a personal letter from Brandon to Zelensky.

  20. chris

    I didn’t think the fog of war and the accompanying spin could get worse but it has.

    I have long abandoned any kind of TV or cable news regarding anything important, especially anything related to Ukraine. It’s getting to where I can’t stand most of the podcasters I like either. I think two sets of useful counterpoint are Krystal & Saagar on “Breaking Points” balanced by Katie Halper & Aaron Mate on “Useful Idiots”. Krystal and others just keep asserting that Russia is losing the war and that Putin’s back is to the wall. Whereas guests on Useful Idiots such as Col. McGregor display a deep knowledge of facts supporting a completely opposite theory. At least Krystal Ball is consistent with her opinions and follows through with “since Putin is desperate and losing we need to stop making matters worse because he’ll use nuclear weapons.” Others I’ve heard opine that magically Putin is at once a mad man and someone who would never use nuclear weapons. Saagar said today that reporting indicates Russia is ripping control boards and chips from dishwashers and other appliances to feed its war machine. I haven’t seen any articles stating anything like that outside of the Guardian which claims to read the minds of Kremlin officials.

    It’s sad to think that the Breaking Points crew are also captured by the Blob and can’t conceive of Ukraine losing this war. Or that Russia may not be doing what it wanted but is far from losing. I find myself listening to people like McGregor more because I find it better to listen to people who think the “enemy” is better and more capable. It makes you think and plan more. At least it should. I don’t know who is responsible for planning what we’re doing with Ukraine in NATO or the US. I think we’re just coming to the crazy times. This is chaos. Our little proxy war has now surged beyond our control. God help us all.

    1. Polar Socialist

      For what it’s worth, I did see an article way back when stating that according to the Ukrainians, the Russian missiles contain western chips, including programmable gate arrays just like the ones used in washing machines. The article also credited the designers for some ingenious solutions, like not cooling just the main processor (like in the west) but the whole circuit board (so it’s possible to use off-the-shelf stuff) and something about a ceramic antenna never seen in the west before.

      IIRC it then proceeded to mention that there is a huge market in Asia for second hand programmable gate arrays, so Russia can likely keep getting all the chips they need, one way or the other.

  21. The Rev Kev

    The Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba demands that Africa’s leaders ditch their neutrality and support then in the upcoming UN General Assembly vote-

    ‘“Africa’s support is needed now more than ever,” Kuleba wrote, revealing he was cutting short a lobbying tour of African capitals to return home following Russian missile strikes on Kiev and other cities. “African nations [must] stand by international law, territorial integrity, and peace,” not only by condemning the strikes on Kiev, Odessa, Dnepr, Kharkov, Rovno, Lviv, and Ivano-Frankovsk, but also by opposing with a UN vote Moscow’s “annexation” of the formerly Ukrainian territories, his message demanded.’


    At least he didn’t threaten to nuke them.

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