2:00PM Water Cooler 10/20/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Dark-eyed/Yellow-eyed Junco, Gila, Arizona, United States

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“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

Biden Administration

“Senate Dems press SEC chair to slow Wall Street rules” [Politico]. “In a previously unreported letter, a dozen Democrats led by Sen. Jon Tester of Montana asked Gensler to give corporate America and the broader public more time to weigh in on the raft of rules the agency is proposing. The SEC’s agenda includes a landmark climate risk disclosure rule for public companies, new transparency requirements for hedge funds and a revamp of the stock market’s plumbing. The Democrats who signed the letter include: Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly of Arizona, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, Tom Carper and Chris Coons of Delaware, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Gary Peters of Michigan and John Hickenlooper of Colorado.” • Well, so much for Warnock. Naturally, the Democrats are trying to screw up one of the few bright policy spots in the Biden Administratation (antitrust being the other).


* * *

“Young Voters Approve of Democratic Policies But Don’t Credit the Party, Teen Vogue and Change Research Find” [Teen Vogue]. n = 1,173. “Although Democrats have enjoyed recent legislative victories, there seems to be a gap between these achievements and what the party has been able to communicate to young voters. Many respondents haven’t heard of the legislation Democrats have passed. Some don’t know who the candidates are in their statewide midterm elections and what they stand for. ‘We might see greater improvement in key measures if lawmakers and campaigns directly communicated these policies to young voters,’ the Change Research team tells Teen Vogue. ‘Unfortunately, few [young voters] have heard about these accomplishments.’ Fewer than 30% of surveyed voters have heard of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — the first significant federal gun reform legislation in nearly three decades. Barely half have heard about the Inflation Reduction Act, which is best known for its provisions to reduce US carbon emissions, and only 23% have heard a lot about the IRA. Just weeks before the election, almost half of the respondents say they’ve seen, read, or heard ‘only a little’ or ‘nothing at all’ about the candidates for Congress in their area. There are two significant outliers to this awareness gap: Most young voters have heard about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade (97%) and the Biden administration forgiving $10,000 in federal student loan debt (89%). Student debt relief has made 40% of respondents either much or somewhat more supportive of Biden and the Democrats, and 4 in 10 voters deem it a “significant step forward,” compared with 32% who call it “too little, too late.'”

PA: “It’s a dog fight: The battle over ads targeting Oz regarding animal abuse” [Politico]. “Ads detailing the abuse that allegedly occurred under Republican Senate hopeful Mehmet Oz’s watch while he was a principal investigator at the Columbia University Institute of Comparative Medicine have resulted in an embittered back-and-forth between the Oz campaign and the super PAC who funded them…. Oz’s campaign has denied his involvement in the abuse, claiming he was not in the operating room during or after operations, and that he was not alerted to the abuse until after the cases were finished.” • Surely a “principal investigator” is supposed to know this stuff?


“Donald Trump And Tulsi Gabbard: The 2024 GOP Ticket?” [1945]. “bookmaker Betfair has placed Gabbard as the third most likely candidate to win the GOP nomination – at 10 to 1 – displacing former Vice President Mike Pence to fourth place. Betfair still has Trump as the favorite, at 11-to-8 odds. If Trump does win another nomination, Betfair has Gabbard as the second most likely candidate to join him on the ticket, with 4-to-1 odds. Ron DeSantis is the favorite to be Trump’s running mate, at 16-to-5.” • Hmm.

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.

* * *

Clinton Legacy


I have helpfully underlined the part where Chelsea, not knowing what she says, says it.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“How the Diploma Divide Is Remaking American Politics” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. Chris Arnade first popularized the front row/back row distinction, shorthand for what Levitz takes on here. “Blue America is an increasingly wealthy and well-educated place….. A more educated Democratic coalition is, naturally, a more affluent one. In every presidential election from 1948 to 2012, white voters in the top 5 percent of America’s income distribution were more Republican than those in the bottom 95 percent. Now, the opposite is true: Among America’s white majority, the rich voted to the left of the middle class and the poor in 2016 and 2020, while the poor voted to the right of the middle class and the rich.” Wierd flex on “left,” but OK. More: “There are worse things for a political coalition to be than affluent or educated. Professionals vote and donate at higher rates than blue-collar workers. But college graduates also comprise a minority of the electorate — and an underrepresented minority at that.” Weak base, weak party (along with a reliance on the highly credentialed organs of state security, the press, and Big Tech — distinctions without differences — to make up the numbers. More: “In my view, education polarization cannot be understood without a recognition of the values divide between educated professionals and working people in the aggregate. That divide is rooted in each class’s disparate ways of life, economic imperatives, socialization experiences, and levels of material security. By itself, the emergence of this gap might not have been sufficient to trigger class dealignment, but its adverse political implications have been greatly exacerbated by the past half-century of inequitable growth, civic decline, and media fragmentation.” • Note the weirdly contradictory usages of “class”. Still, well worth a read, since Levitz is trying to work though some really knotty issues. Now, speaking of “values”–

“The Death Eaters: Covid in the Liberal Imagination” [Greg Gonsalves, The Nation]. “In poring over The Pandemic Diary—a magisterial work of hundreds of pages of text and photographs—what I quickly realized was that this was not my pandemic, especially in that first year, where Camilo showed an evolving streetscape of New Yorkers in poorer communities in the city, out and about in masks, trying to survive a plague as best they could. Meanwhile, many of us stayed home in the early months of Covid-19, ordering groceries and other essential online, while some decamped out of the cities all together. Of course, the “many of us” are the professional class who could opt out of the most dangerous circumstances over the past two and a half years, in the comfort that our class afforded. Camilo’s photographs are for me essentially a tale of two pandemics, in which social and economic class, along with race, are the dividing lines…. our policies on Covid-19—and not just on schools—have largely been based on taking the social realities of the well-off as the neutral, default setting. This perspective still predominates, from the pages of our major newspapers to the centers of power in our cities and towns, the states and the country as a whole. At some point, after we stop blaming Donald Trump for our pandemic woes or even focus on the policy failures of the Biden administration, we have to take a look at ourselves—or at least my own demographic: liberal, economically secure, highly educated, privileged professionals—and our role in all this.” • When hell freezes over, would be my guess.

“Democracy balances on the brink in Kansas and U.S. Too many of us choose not to notice.” [Kansas Reflector]. “As evidence, I present two separate yet interconnected stories. The first appeared in Kansas Reflector over the weekend. It outlined the potential consequences of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Called Moore v. Harper, the case involves a bizarre concept called the independent state legislature theory. As Minnesota Reformer reporter Michelle Griffith explained, if the nation’s high court backs this theory, the consequences could be cataclysmic. State lawmakers could “enact laws to make it harder to vote in federal elections without review from state courts. Legislatures could shorten the early voting period, restrict mail-in balloting to certain counties and require voter ID, among other measures.’ Legislatures — including the supermajority GOP one foisted upon Kansas — could have their way with election law. State courts couldn’t stop them. Griffith writes further that ‘administration of the presidential election is under a different clause, so at stake is solely the administration of congressional elections.’ Given the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent track record, however, that hardly reassures. Now, keep that scary scenario in mind while I pivot to the second story. The New York Times noted last week that more than 370 Republican candidates running this year have voiced doubts about the 2020 election. That’s a majority of those running from the party.”

“Election administrators are under attack in Texas. Here’s what that means for the midterms.” [Texas Tribune]. “With the 2022 midterms less than a month away, election administrators in Texas and elsewhere continue to face a level of harassment and threats that experts say had never been experienced before the November 2020 presidential election. In August, the entire staff of the elections office in Gillespie County, about 80 miles west of Austin, resigned, citing threats, ‘dangerous misinformation’ and a lack of resources. The same month, Bexar County elections administrator Jacque Callanen told KSAT, a San Antonio news station, that her department was confronting similar challenges. ‘We’re under attack,’ Callanen said. ‘Threats, meanness, ugliness.’ She added that staff members were drowning in frivolous open-records requests for mail ballots and applications. Texas is one of several states targeted by right-wing activists who are seeking to throw out voter registrations and ballots, according to The New York Times. Last month, angry activists disrupted a routine event in which officials publicly test voting equipment outside of Austin, swarming the Hays County elections administrator and Texas Secretary of State John Scott, a Republican, while alleging unproven election law violations.” • OTOH, if one outcome of all this commotion is the abolition of voting machines, I am here for that. OTOH, when I think of “election administrators” I think of nice old church ladies who cross my name off the voter list, hand me a ballot, and then give me an “I Voted” sticker. It would be unconscionable to harras them, especially because they are performing an important civic duty.


• ”COVID Rates Back Above 20% in Parts of Manhattan as Virus Rebounds” [NBC New York]. “COVID-19 positivity rates are back above 20% in parts of Manhattan, as the latest city data indicate the virus is digging in ahead of winter. The rolling seven-day positivity rate in the Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan is up to 22.5%, according to city data Wednesday. That is by far the highest rate in New York City, and no other neighborhood is close. Just a day prior, no neighborhood was over 20%…. You may not have heard of these two subvariants before — BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. Both are descendants of omicron, which has proven to be the most vaccine-elusive and infectious COVID variant to date, and both are spreading at rapid rates. That’s especially true in the CDC’s New York region, which also includes New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. According to the health agency’s latest variant report, those subvariants account for 11.6% and 8% (19.6%), respectively, of COVID cases for the week ending Oct. 15, up from 4.1% and 1.9% (6%) in the report two weeks prior. The CDC estimates those two variants could account for up to 36.6% of New York area cases, which is nearly double the highest-range estimate at the national level.” • Interestingly, the Port Authority Bus Terminal is in Hell’s Kitchen. So is the New York Passenger Ship Terminal, for cruise ships. Penn Station is just south. The Covid train always leaves on time, doesn’t it? And there’s always another one coming! An alert reader informs me of an increase in mask-wearing in New York working class areas. Can other readers confirm?

* * *

“Sports bars can be great places for catching the Phillies and Eagles — and COVID-19” [The Inquirer]. “With the Phillies in the National League championships, the Eagles still undefeated, and the Union making waves, it’s a great time for Philadelphia sports fever. But remember that festive fans can put themselves at risk of a real fever — as in the kind caused by the flu or COVID-19. Crowded spaces with lots of drinking and shouting, such as a sports bar or a packed stadium, are prime spots for the spread of infectious disease, public health experts say. Yes, official COVID totals are fairly low at the moment. Yet in Philadelphia and the rest of the country, those numbers have long been considered to be an underestimate, given that so many people are now testing themselves at home, if they are getting tested at all. The safe bet is to assume that the virus is circulating, said Chrysan Cronin, director of the public health program at Muhlenberg College. Case in point: Twenty-four out of 150 people who attended a recent party in honor of former Inquirer editor Gene Roberts have since tested positive for COVID, said event organizer Arlene Notoro Morgan, assistant dean for external affairs at Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication. The party, held in New York City, lasted for hours and featured plenty of drink and spirited conversation — much like the atmosphere at a sports bar.” • To be young and stupid is one thing. To be old and stupid is quite another.

* * *

• I wonder why:


I don’t see how a society that leaves a million deaths unmourned and unrecognized, collectively, could avoid considerable “anger, fear and sadness.” There’s no catharsis, no release, not even a “national conversation.” (Compare the AIDS quilt, now at the National AIDS Memorial. There’s nothing like that catharsis today, and a Covid Memorial is unlikely). Instead, we have smiling, and the demand that everybody smile. (No doubt the flip side of the smile power tripping is the epidemic of people grinding their teeth at night.) As a blogger who ingests an enormous quantity of “anger, fear and sadness conveyed by news media headlines” daily I feel this condition keenly. Of course, there’s rather a lot of real world reasons to feel anger, fear, and sadness. The issue, I think again, is the lack of release. Perhaps catharsis cannot be monetized in the same way that unresolved emotions can be.

“‘The Rage Would Come Out of Nowhere’: Personality Change Has Emerged as a Symptom of Long Covid” [Rolling Stone]. “While there’s still a long way to go, thanks to researchers like Nordvig, we’re beginning to see what’s happening inside the brains of those with Long Covid. ‘In advanced imaging — especially in some of our studies — we see changes in blood flow, blood permeability, and brain metabolism that overlap with areas responsible for these areas of the personality,’ [Anna] Nordvig [co-founded the Post-COVID “Brain Fog” Clinic at Weill Cornel] explains. ‘Neuropsychological testing is something we also send some patients for, to help diagnose the [personality] change. This is still under study.’ And given that Nordvig sees Long Covid personality change as likely being a combination of neurological issues and the mental health impact of long-term stressors, one cause shouldn’t be viewed as more ‘legitimate’ than the other. ‘The thing is, it’s a false dichotomy, because the mind affects the brain, and the brain affects the mind,’ [Adam] Kaplin [of Johns Hopkins] explains. ‘So saying that it’s both means that they’re interacting with one another.’ This interaction is something [Julie] Fallon has experienced firsthand. Before she realized she was dealing with Long Covid, she sought neurological treatment for what she thought was post-concussion syndrome, and added a psychiatrist to her multidisciplinary medical team. ‘At that point I was evaluated and diagnosed with PTSD, severe social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic, and depression,’ she explains. ‘I was presenting with the type of trauma experienced by war veterans.’ It would take several months, but once Fallon was able to recognize and process her personality change, her persistent rage went away, and she felt like her pre-Covid self again. Similarly, the turning point for [Tony] Marks came when he was able to identify the change in his personality and adjust his behavior accordingly.” • I can testify that recognizing the Process? Change? Syndrome is important. I can still remember reading a Scientific American article on Seasonal Affective Depression when crossing the Charles River on the Red Line on a dark winter day. I read the symptoms, and they were what I was experiencing (wolfing down cookies for the carbs was one IIRC). Once the whatever-it-was had a name, I was able to recognize and control it from that point forward, which made a big difference in my life. The mind really did affect the brain.

* * *

• The list gets pretty long:

#3 is denial. #4 is bravery.

* * *

• “Car Seat Headrest Cancels Upcoming Tour Dates Because Of Ongoing Post-COVID Health Issues” [UpRoxx]. “When Car Seat Headrest canceled a Chicago-area show last month, singer Will Toledo explained that he was experiencing, “A post-COVID condition which involves heavy nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and a buzzing nervous system.” Dubbed “histamine intolerance,” the ailment had Toledo “stuck in bed” and is one of the more common side effects of Long COVID symptoms. Now it seems as though Toledo’s health has not improved, and Car Seat Headrest has canceled an upcoming West Coast Tour, as well as the band’s appearance at When We Were Young Fest in Las Vegas…. The conversation surrounding Long COVID seems to be bubbling up in the music industry and is very much a real one.” • Bitter irony in “When We Were Young” fest.

* * *

• You do have to admit that Covid minimizers have been completely masterful in their “public health” [sic] “communications”:

What on earth induced the organizers of IDWeek (“the joint annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), and the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists (SIDP)) to put not only David Leonhardt but Emily Oster on their (unmasked) panel? I didn’t know they were in the business of infectious disease promotion!

* * *

• ”Making Trouble” [Science]. A review of forthcoming changes to GOF (Gain of Function) studies. “A U.S. clampdown will have no sway over privately funded GOF research or what happens in other countries, which typically lack policies like the P3CO framework. In Japan and most of Europe, for example, oversight is limited to rules on biosafety and, sometimes, biosecurity along with voluntary self-regulation, say biosecurity experts Gregory Koblentz of George Mason University and Filippa Lentzos of King’s College London. It’s too soon to say how a 2020 Chinese biosafety law will affect PPP research, they say… Meanwhile, a growing number of laboratories around the world are jumping into the field. In an interview with the MIT Technology Review last year, for example, [coronavirus expert Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina] noted that just three or four labs were engineering bat coronaviruses before the pandemic, but that number has since multiplied. The expansion is ‘unsettling,’ he said, because some ‘inexperienced’ groups could proceed ‘with less respect for the inherent risk posed by this group of pathogens.’ (Baric could not be reached for this story.)” • So the horse is out of the barn?

* * *


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 and more yellow and more blue, which continues to please. But is the pandemic “over”? Well….


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, October 18:


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


Wastewater data (CDC), October 16:

October 15:


Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. 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].

NEW Variant data, national (Walgreens), October 7:

Lambert here: BQ.1*, out of nowhere. So awesome.

Variant data, national (CDC), September 24 (Nowcast off):


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,092,031 – 1,091,086 – 1,090,802 = 945 (945 * 365 = 344,925, which is today’s LivingWith™ number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the LivingWith™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease.

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.

The Gallery

Matisse, you say. From 1915:

From a search of artbots on The Twitter, many artists tried their hand at #Cubism. Paraphrasing MarkTwain Bill Nye on Wagner: “Picasso’s art is better than it looks.”

Zeitgeist Watch

“A Sin to Eat: The Untold Story of Anorexia as Religion” [Jezebel]. “Amelia is living out her early twenties at a time when pro-skinny social media content is cause for censorship, and eating disorder-related hospitalizations are reportedly on the rise among adolescents. At the same time, New York podcasters canvas the virtues of skinniness in ketamine drawls, while the Y2K fashion revival inspires commentators to affirm that ‘thin is in again.’ She’s in a double-bind. As a young woman, she’s taught that her alignment with today’s beauty ideals grants her attention, affection, and envy. Yet she’s also reprimanded for taking that lesson in earnest, as journalists, parents, and online commentators tend to place the blame on individuals like her for reinforcing ‘painfully skinny’ waif girl ideals, without offering any empathy for why she might need to pursue skinniness as her life’s ultimate meaning in the first place. ‘It’s not about some skinny waif TikTok aesthetic,’ Amelia says, refuting anyone who might misunderstand her goals. ‘I want to be skinny so I can feel like an ethereal angel. If I can make it through the day without binging, then I can be pure and good. It’s almost like my own religion.’ So into the world of subliminals, pro-anorexia hashtags, and angel numbers Amelia escaped to worship among those who do understand her. You’ll encounter plenty of people like Amelia across TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, who use thinspirational saints like Alana Champion in their display photos and angel numbers in their handles.” • I don’t know if this is a moral panic or not. I rather hope so.

Class Warfare

“Workplace injuries loom behind recent rise in union activity” [Minnesota Reformer]. ” It’s no coincidence that here in Minnesota at least, much of the workforce revolt is concentrated within some of the most dangerous industries for workers. And those risks got even worse during the pandemic…. Minnesota’s workplace illness and injury rate has traditionally run higher than the U.S. average. But that gap widened even further in 2020, the last year for which the Department of Labor and Industry has complete data. That year there were 3.5 OSHA-recordable workplace illnesses and injuries for every 100 full-time private sector workers in the state, roughly 30% higher than the 2.7 per 100 nationwide. The data further show that the highest rates of injury and illness were found in private industry nursing and residential care facilities, where the rate of 13.7 illnesses and injuries per 100 workers was close to four times the statewide average. Justice and public safety professions were next on the list, followed by local government nursing facilities, private hospitals and state government nursing facilities. Four out of the five most dangerous professions in Minnesota, in other words, involve nursing and residential care. Those numbers partly explain why health care workers have been at the forefront of much of the state’s union activity. The COVID-19 pandemic was behind the lion’s share of those figures. The pandemic accounted for 41% of all injuries and illnesses, with much of those within the health care sector. The rate of injury and illness among health care workers effectively doubled between 2019 and 2020.” • The most concrete material benefit at all is your life. “You have the right not to be killed.” –The Clash.

“Prime Week Walkouts Hit Amazon, from Air Hub to Delivery Station” [Labor Notes]. “Amazon’s vast distribution network is staggering. There’s the invisible lacework of surveillance algorithms and artificial intelligence. There are the visible footprints: trucks, robots, hulking warehouses. And then there are the workers. It takes more than a million people, most of them low-paid and grindingly exploited, to pick, sort, unload, ship, and deliver packages to customers’ doors within days of an order. Last week workers took aim at disrupting this symphony of human capital with walkouts at four distinct warehouse types in the company’s logistics chain—a cross-dock near Chicago, a delivery station and a fulfillment center near Atlanta, and in Southern California, one of the company’s large air hubs. The walkouts weren’t centrally coordinated. But they were all timed to coincide with the company’s Prime Day promotional sales rush, which ran October 10 to 12.” • Wildcat strikes, hmmm….

Chris Smalls on Albany loss:

News of the Wired

“Furrygate: A Litterbox of Lies” [The Bulwark]. ” Ever since an episode of The Focus Group that made me aware of the great Furry Panic of 2022: an apparently widespread belief that children are “identifying” as cats in school, with said phenomenon being an outgrowth of the woke critical race theorizing / trans / groomer ideology that invaded American classrooms beginning January 21, 2021. During that fateful focus group, Stacy from Wisconsin was the first to raise the issue. She recalled a recent job fair where ’15 kids were furries. . . . They identify as a cat. Identify as a dog. . . . They had collars on. They had a leash.’ Another participant, Jennifer, chimed in concurring that it was a problem in her school district as well . . . even though she eventually conceded that she had ‘never seen anything.’…. The furry tales compounded upon themselves in my Twitter mentions and DMs. They were shared by several other prominent Republicans. Last week the man with the largest audience in all of podcasting, Joe Rogan, got in on the action during an interview with former Democrat and noted furriologist Tulsi Gabbard…. The story is the same in New York, Iowa, Oregon, and elsewhere. There are lots of accounts from people’s friends uncle’s kids. There is no—zero, zilch, zip, nada—actual evidence of purring while pooping.” • Tulsi, Tulsi….

“The Cambodian American Reign of Doughnut Shops Began in This La Habra Shop” [KCET]. “Few people know why there are so many Cambodian-owned doughnut shops in California. Even fewer would draw connections between the Cold War and those bright pink donut boxes made popular in the 1980s. As the U.S. war in Vietnam extended into Vietnam’s neighbors, the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia, killing millions and displacing hundreds of thousands. Refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia first arrived in Orange County by way of Camp Pendleton in 1975. Among them was a man who would later be known as the ‘Donut King’: Ted Ngoy. Ngoy, his wife Suganthini, their three children, an adopted nephew and two nieces were sponsored by a church in Tustin. Working as a church janitor and a gas station attendant at night, Ngoy observed the nearby doughnut shop, and its food that reminded him of the Cambodian rice flour pastry nom kong. Seeing the steady stream of donut customers inspired Ngoy to start a business of his own. Ngoy’s church sponsors helped him become the first Southeast Asian accepted into Winchell’s management training program. In 1979, after gaining experience running a Winchell’s on the Balboa pier in Newport Beach, he bought a small doughnut shop in La Habra called Christy’s where his wife and kids worked to keep the shop running. This is a familiar story of the reliance on unpaid family labor in the ‘mom-and-pop’ ethnic economy. When Suganthini became a U.S. citizen, she took the name Christy. As the Khmer Rouge wiped out between 1.5 to 3 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979 and displaced hundreds of thousands more, Ngoy was steadily growing his doughnut empire in America. This niche business created an economic pipeline for newly arrived refugees from Cambodia. By the 1990s, there were approximately 1,500 Cambodian-owned doughnut shops in California.” • I really don’t know where to file this, so it goes here.

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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 TH:

TH writes: “This Pampas Grass is at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in Lompoc, California.” The blue mountains!

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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. digi_owl

    I really wish all these -gates and moral panics would stay on the other side of the Atlantic. But then i am typing this onto a US blog so…

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        From the ancient “Blondie” comic strip.

        DAGWOOD: “Do you have a head of lettuce?”

        BUTCHER (in apron, behind case) “No, but I have a heart of gold!”

      2. Skip Intro

        Many Tories are suggesting that the unnamed lettuce actually replace Truss, but they haven’t been able to determine its position on Brexit: Did it vote Romaine or Leaf?

        1. ambrit

          If it is going to be offered a position in the Government then there goes the NC Lettuce Electroencephalogram Project. As we all know, membership in Government, there as well as here in America, does not require a functioning brain.
          Curses! I had hopes for some “honest graft” out of this.
          Back to the drawing board.

    1. The Historian

      Well, to be honest, at least the British politicians have the decency to resign when it is obvious nobody wants them – that’s not a quality you will find in American politicians.

      1. jonboinAR

        Is it because that, under the parliamentarian system, at the time of their resigning they find themselves in the predicament Nixon was in? That is, either you resign now or face even greater humiliation very soon? I’m not suggesting similarity in the mechanism, but somewhat in the degree, and I’m only guessing.

  2. fresno dan

    “Furrygate: A Litterbox of Lies” [The Bulwark]. ” Ever since an episode of The Focus Group that made me aware of the great Furry Panic of 2022: an apparently widespread belief that children are “identifying” as cats
    Well, I took out my wife’s 4 year old granddaughter (and her mother) for ice cream and the granddaughter stated that she was gonna lick her ice cream like a kitty. I thought that was OK, but her mother shut that idea down…

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It really makes you long for the days of Satanic Panics and naughty words in music. I wonder if parents ever reflect on why their kids think they are stupid.

      1. semper loquitur

        Unlike the “Satanic Panic”, there are elements of truth to the “Furry Furor”. Take a gander at Tik-Tok or Youtube Shorts. You’ll see a pantheon of Identi-loons exclaiming their frogginess, their vampire-ness, or in one instance their (insert howling scream)-ness.

        I have no doubt they are vanishingly small minority of today’s youth. Just as the rainbow haired teachers on those platforms who describe how they happily discuss their personal lives with their students, for the student’s own good, are a vanishingly small minority of teachers. The problem is there is an ideological war taking place in our schools. Identity politics are wielded as a weapon by self-righteous school boards and administrators to exert control over teachers and parents alike. The Right gets ahold of images of these fringe idiots like the Furries and tosses them onto the bonfires that are already raging. There are entire channels dedicated to it, such as “Libs of Tik-Tok”. People see them and uncritically smear all Gen Z’ers and all teachers as Marxist Nazis. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          But making excuses for the notion there is a school with a liter box for people who identify as cats is absurd and doesn’t warrant rationalization. Especially when its being pushed by a political party that had an actual pedophile as Speaker in the 21st century.

          The people who fall for it don’t warrant understanding. They are being childish well past the age where its charming.

          1. semper loquitur

            So sayeth you. I don’t do moralizing myself. What I see is a very real culture war, and behind it an ontological war, being waged. Absurdities -abound-. Then along comes the Right and says “Hey, here’s one more!” And people buy into it.

            Are they fools? Maybe, but that’s not my point. My point is that all of this ultimately leads to empowering the Right. They are looking like the Adults in the Room. Not the corrupt dirtballs in office but the “public intellectuals” and popular commentators. There is going to be a reaction; it’s being framed as a correction.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              its all quite stupid, but there we are.
              i know people who live off of government checks in the hundreds of thousands(“Farmers”), but who rail incessantly about “welfare queens”.
              for keeping fields fallow.
              (not a bad thing, but wrenched around to crosspurposes)
              many of those same folks have sisters on the dole.
              doesn’t matter.
              “people” are pretty dumb.
              individual humans is where you get the traction.
              one heart at a time, evangelise for a New New Deal.

              1. semper loquitur

                I wonder if there is time. I fear the oncoming tide of history, AtH. l’ve been dreaming so vividly lately. When I wake up, I want to go back.

              2. barefoot charley

                My Kansas cousin used to joke:

                Q: Why do farmers’ caps all have curved visors?

                A: From looking in the mailbox for their government checks.

          2. Rodeo Clownfish

            a political party that had…. as Speaker in the 21st century

            Took me longer than I’d expected to summon up the name of Dennis Hastert.

        2. HotFlash

          There have always been, well, odd teachers. I, for one, found them highly educational and the experiences very useful in my later life.

          1. semper loquitur

            Yeah, that’s totally not what I’m talking about here. Odd teachers are great. Teachers selling an ideological “product” are another thing entirely.

            1. lambert strether

              I agree on the distinction but I’d like to see some numbers on the ideologues. Actual currucula

        3. Mark Gisleson

          Exactly the point I was going to make but there may be a deeper agenda. Without talking about porn, this issue is going to expose a lot of search engine users to furries porn. I believe that some of this stuff gets kickstarted just to get people looking in a certain direction where they’ll be sure to see something they didn’t expect.

          The above ground sex industry still loves young actors. Whether the industry is using underaged talent or simply getting better at finding adults who look underaged, the result is that there are pictures and movies readily accessible online that appear to show minors dressed as furries having sex. Some appear to be homemade, no leering director or pimp hovering in the background, just two “amateurs” one or both of whom has on animal ears or a tail.

          I’ve never seen a litter box but my exposure has been inadvertent and in passing. I search for cosplay images from time to time because it gives me a heads up on which anime and SF has a following. I do unsafe searches so I’ve been seeing this stuff pop up for well over a decade now.

          Is this in our schools? I would have no way of knowing but this is on our internet so . . .

          1. semper loquitur

            If it’s on the internet, the kids are seeing it. I’ve seen teens around town wearing the kitty ears and other things, I don’t think they are “furries” but there is definitely some cross-over. I’ve seen some younger 20-somethings wearing the ears and they often accompany a very short skirt, collar, high-heeled leather boots, and a schoolgirl blouse.

          2. Acacia

            Furry subculture is out there, on the Net. Mister Metokur started ruthlessly mocking it years ago.

    2. Watt4Bob

      My daughter, a former teacher, informed me the other night, that the origin of “Furrygate: A Litterbox of Lies” is the fact that some schools have a bucket of cat litter near the front door to use on the icy sidewalk if necessary.

      Here in Minnesota, the bucket is full of salt, but in some locals, cat litter is more convenient?

      Sounds plausible to me.

      1. ambrit

        Many mechanics and DIY home car repair folk use cat litter to soak up spilled oil and other industrial liquids. It is great at that task.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          40+ years ago, in magnolia, texas middle school(5th grade) a guy named Biff threw up on the teachers desk..in great quantity…and the janitor lady came in and spread a bunch of cat litter all over it,then swept it up.
          ie: boring.
          ie, ie, lets find something to get our crazy bunch to get mad about today.

          fuck them.
          get mad about the continuation of neoliberal theft and austerity, and the threat of nukewar for bullshit, and get mad about how i shelled out 14k already to get 6 teeth removed, and whats it gon cost to get a bridge?
          fuckers worried about nonsense when theres real shit to be all mad about.

      2. Old Jake

        Cat litter (at least the clay-based varieties) is a very poor treatment for ice. As soon as the clay gets wet it becomes akin to grease, worse than nothing at all. I’m not so certain this is correct. Salt, sand or even fireplace ash is better (though fireplace ash tracks in, btdt).

    3. ambrit

      Momma is right to keep an eye on little girl’s associations. In the sci-fi fanbase, ‘Furrys’ refers to “persons” who dress up in animal costumes, and as Terran human animal anime hybrids and proceed to act out in rather lewd manners. Public displays of primary and secondary sexual characteristics are common in the dark, furry recesses of your local Con.
      I’m wondering if the two phenomena are being conflated? (Perhaps the legions of infernal helpers formerly assigned to assist Epstein in his sordid endeavours have found something ‘new’ to focus their malign attentions on. Notice that “Creepy” Joe likes to ‘sniff’ the coifs of prepubescent females. [Has Biden ever flown on the ‘Lolita Express?’])

    4. chris

      I put this into the “Just So” category of stories. I can totally see some of my neighbors insisting that their kids deserve that kind of treatment and that their furrieness be respected as a legitimate choice. I can see my kids’ schools being browbeaten into accepting that reality.

      Is that happening? I have no idea. I know it is not currently happening in any of the schools in my county based on discussions with friends who are SROs. But what is happening are people fighting even simple rules that we try to impose on child behavior. Parents buying their kids Juuls and other things. Kids showing up to school dressed as elves too.

      It seems mostly harmless to me.

  3. NotTimothyGeithner

    compared with 32% who call it “too little, too late.’”

    This is likely the Democratic messaging problem. Biden’s dithering was on display. “Who is the real President” -Charlemagne Tha God.

    Biden can go “we finally did something”, but its watered down garbage that came over a year after it was ready to be voted on the first time. Even the good parts aren’t direct payments, so the benefits won’t be immediate. The people who don’t know won’t see the victory, and the people Biden betrayed have no interest in helping him. The dead enders will praise Biden at every turn, but in the end, they are the choir. They are in the chancel, not pulling people into the building.

    Politics is all such simple stuff. Its only hard if you are trying to polish turds. Biden should be on his fourth major spending package per the rules.

  4. IM Doc

    About the two little old ladies from the church at the ballot box.

    We moved from the big city. In the big city – there was nothing but electronic computers in the voting booth. It happened to me once – it happened to my wife twice. Actually voting – and then on the summary page before you submit your vote – there were incorrect entries. The gnarling jerk of a poll worker who obviously has had to do this dozens of times already, is called over and resets the machine and you have to vote all over – and subsequently at least once or twice having the same thing happen again. In other words – who knows how you voted? How many people actually examine the summary screen at the end? Warm feelings were not to be had.

    Contrast, like you say Lambert, to the little small town voting. Multiple little old ladies at each station. Most important – each area is manned by one R little old lady, and one D little old lady. There are 2 crossing your name off, there are two at the problem desk, there are two signing and certifying each ballot, there are two at the machine where you place your ballot. And unlike the rest of society, they all get along. Actually lots of laughing and socializing. But most importantly, there is the deputy at the end of the table by the ballot box. Wearing a holstered gun so no monkey shine. He is always eating donuts when we have been there. But the “law” representing the “rule of law” is there nonetheless. At the end of the day, he takes the official tally done by D and R little old ladies and all the locked box full of ballots back to the county HQ.

    And the results are always 100% in within 90 minutes of the polls closing. All on paper ballots that have been scanned/counted – but every ballot is in that lock box and a full recount can be done.

    Now, in which place do you think I 100% trust the results? When we cannot even get this one fundamental thing right in our societies, what kind of joke have we become?

    1. Tom Stone

      There are two reasons to use electronic voting machines.
      1) Graft ( usually kickbacks).
      2) Fraud.
      That’s it.
      Using paper ballots is less expensive and while fraud is still possible it can be detected .
      You CAN NOT DETECT Fraud when a “Black Box” machine is involved or where machines are connected to the internet.
      Feature, not bug.

      1. Cancyn

        I moved to a small town a couple of years ago and am about to vote in my first municipal election here. I was surprised (pop 18,500 not many votes to count) and dismayed to learn that they have an electronic voting system. Agreeing with Tom Stone about graft (kickbacks) and fraud, none of my votes will be for anyone currently on council since they are the bunch who approved this system.

        “Every time something goes into a black box it becomes less accessible, less understandable, and scarier” – Rivendell Reader, Grant Peterson

    2. Watt4Bob

      In Minnesota, due to an incredibly close election some years back, election law was enacted to require ballots be hand-counted in public in the case of a recount.

      The most recent time this was required was in 2009 when Al Franken and Norm Coleman were running for the US senate.

      After the hand count, in public, resulting in Franken’s win, the republicans of course demanded election law ‘reform‘.

    3. The Rev Kev

      ‘At the end of the day, he takes the official tally done by D and R little old ladies and all the locked box full of ballots back to the county HQ.’

      I’ve worked the polls many times here in Oz where it is still paper based votes. But the difference here is that after the votes are tallied after the doors are shut, the person in charge phones the tally into the electoral commissions office so that that can be tallied State wide immediately. Of course those votes are driven to that office in when we tally them to be further recounted & checked. Point is that the tally is known and reported before leaving the polling station.

      1. Polar Socialist

        That’s how it’s done in my neck of the woods, too. At least according to my spouse, who has been one the “little old ladies” several times. The official tally is reported in the presence of the whole committee after everyone is satisfied that the count is correct.

        Then the slips are sealed and delivered to HQ for automatic verification count done mostly during the next day. We very, very rarely have recounts.

  5. hunkerdown

    At this moment the first snowflakes of the season are falling lightly on a Detroit suburb, mixed with rain. Seems a bit early for that.

    1. ambrit

      We here in the North American Deep South had our first light freeze of the year the two previous nights. Locals remark that this is early for here, but the records do note similar cycles of colder and warmer years over the last hundred years. Time is the essence here. The longer term climate record will tell the tale.
      I have read that an increase in weather erraticity is a sign of climate shifts. So, the long term trends are the thing to watch.

  6. semper loquitur

    Here’s a Medium article discussing the new Candace Owen’s movie The Greatest Lie Ever Sold about the perfidy of the BLM leadership:


    The article is a great overview of the crimes of the hucksters at BLM’s helm. I do wish the author had taken more pains to distinguish between the rank and file BLM members and the crooks at the top. He paints with too broad of a brush.

    I haven’t seen the movie but I’m willing to bet that Owens nails a lot of it correctly and then runs with it to make the claim that the only proper response is a sharp turn towards the Right. The same as Tucker, Shapiro, Walsh, and Kirk do. The Identi-Left doing it’s insidious work…

    1. aleric

      The left has been critical of the Black Lives Matter organization since its inception – here is the late great Glen Ford in an article from June 2019: Black Agenda Report. There is a great deal of in depth coverage and analysis at that site since then.

      Here is an unlocked TrueAnon from May about the BLM scandal as an alternative to the documentary: True Anon

      Though perhaps Candace Owen would have special insight as a grifter recognizing game.

  7. Safety First

    Re: Hell’s Kitchen COVID positivity rate.

    I encourage everyone to take a look at NYC Health Department’s COVID maps (https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data.page#maps – click on “By Neighborhood” under “Latest Data”). These are by zip code, which means that Hell’s Kitchen is divided into three distinct areas – 10018, 10036, and 10019 (for some reason showing up as NaN presently, but that is likely a bug of some kind). 10018 is the south area, from 35th to 41st streets, and includes the Port Authority bus terminal (or at least a part of it) as well as the Lincoln Tunnel exit; 10036 is the “middle” part, from 41st to 48th streets, and is generally made up of “old” residential buildings; and 10019 runs from 48th to 59th streets, basically up to Central Park South, and includes a number of new and not-so-new residential high-rises (some 50 or more floors), plus the southern bit of Mount Sinai West Hospital (formerly Roosevelt Hospital).

    For the past 7 days, the positivity data for these three is as follows:

    10018 = 108 tested, 18 positive, 16.67%; median daily test rate 127.2/100k
    10036 = 364 tested, 35 positive, 9.62%; median daily test rate 249.6/100k
    10019 = 555 tested, 55 positive, 9.91%; median daily test rate 250.4/100k

    Average positivity for the city as a whole is listed at 9.4%, by the way. [Click the “Summary” button.]

    Anyway, there are clearly two things going on here – one, for whatever reason, there is less per-capita testing in the 10018 code, but by the way it also clearly has the fewest number of residents of the three (because of the bus terminal, road infrastructure, etc.). Two, it is only the 10018 code that is significantly above the citywide average, again, for whatever reason. It could be that there just isn’t enough testing sites vs. the more residential areas, or it could be that they are capturing some of the bus terminal arrivals, or some other factor.

    So. I am not trying to diminish what is happening in NYC – even 9% is an awfully high positivity rate (remember when 5% was supposed to be some sort of a circuit-breaker?), and in any case the hospital figures have been growing very much more ominous in the past 2-3 weeks. On the other hand, the NBC story linked-to seems very…meh. The actual epidemiological picture in the city is rather more complex, especially when you add some of the other stats (like which zip codes the city tests more or less in, per capita).

    Parenthetically, from personal observations of the Midtown area (including bits of Hell’s Kitchen) – in the past few weeks I’d say that 10% of the people on the street are wearing masks, half of them KN95s or KF94s (I am the only one with an N95), the other half the blue surgicals. Roughly the same in stores, a bit less in bars/restaurants (mostly the servers and only a few of the patrons). You do get a rise to 20%-30% when you drop down into the Subway. Also, almost zero masking among either obvious tourists or the local “bougie white” crowd, you’re much more likely to see a black cashier/secretary/whatever in a mask than a white woman stepping out of a Mercedes…

    1. Roger Blakely

      Something like 10,000 Americans are dying of COVID-19 per month. I predict that we will see a total of 60,000 deaths for December and January. That means that there are 60,000 Americans who are going to be very surprised to find themselves dead within the next 100 days.

  8. marym

    Texas is one of the states with the least access to hand-marked paper ballots at the polling place, and very limited mail/absentee ballots. AZ provides paper ballots for everyone.

    Voter harassment is a policy choice.


  9. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “Senate Dems press SEC chair to slow Wall Street rules

    The Repubs and the industry itself are also pushing hard for things to go slowly (mostly as a delaying tactic), so the Dems could just walk away from this particular fight and turn their attention to other things.

  10. griffen

    Philadelphia sports fans are loving life. Why throw a turd in their punch bowl?? \sarc

    While I am content with the Braves winning a world series last season, I also remember very well their trials and near misses during the Bobby Cox years in October. Losing that series in 7 to the Twins in 1991 will be seared in my brain for a long time yet. What a pitching duel that was.

    1. voteforno6

      Not to mention their baserunning blunders, such as when Ron Gant stupidly overran first base, and was tagged out by the angelic, fair-playing Kent Hrbek.

      Quite a series indeed.

      1. KLG

        It was a great World Series! But I think you must mean lifted off the base by the demonic, cheating Kent Hrbek… ;-)

        Hey, if the moron umpire will give it to you, take it!

        And the late, great Jack (NOT JOE) Buck! along with one of the few times I agreed with Tim McCarver when he wasn’t catching during my Little League to high school playing days.

  11. mrsyk

    Alarming rate of indoor public space non-masking on the upper west side observed this past weekend. As in supermajority.

  12. Jason Boxman

    when crossing the Charles River on the Red Line on a dark winter day

    I still miss that, as awful as the red line seats are. Even years into it, I’d still stare out and marvel. And during the summer you’d get the boats out on the river. Sadly they built that awful One Dalton Place or whatever, ruining the Back Bay skyline, but rich people gotta be richin’, right?

    My best photos of that bridge were during a blizzard in 2017. And I have a few shots of someone running past me, just out for a daily run, in the blizzard. And my hands went numb after only 30 seconds of using the camera. Not sure how this person survived? My fingers tingled for an hour once I was back inside. Brutally uncomfortable.

    It was always a pleasant enough walk as well, from the financial district across the bridge to Kendall, where I’d finally hop the subway home sometimes. They used to have a mini famers market there on I think Wednesdays.

    So there’s plenty of loss to go around. America is a suicide pact.

    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      I remember once crossing that bridge on the Red Line next to a four year old boy and his father. The boy was asking an unending series of well-formed questions. His father would respond to every fifth one, approximately. That boy is fiftysomething now.

    1. flora

      Very odd. The story was there and now only a blank page shows. A ddg search shows the link. huh. ????

  13. ddt

    Will Toledo – singer’s name of that car head rest band. Reminded me of Jackie Daytona from What We Do In the Shadows for some reason.

  14. griffen

    Story about the doughnut shop and the influx of immigrants from Vietnam and Cambodia; if one clicks that article, it leads onto the site with the accompanying article “the…donut (shop) kid experience” which features the second generation children of all these shop owners. Fleeing their home, the parents practically lived every working second of the day to get these businesses to flourish. And these children often were not just observers, but became actively involved.

    I find it hard to finish my thoughts without adding: “doughnuts, is there anything they can’t do”.

    1. Wukchumni

      I knew a fellow who decided he’d make his pile owning a doughnut shop, but hadn’t reckoned on the working the wee hours each and every day and felt like a slave to the cruller trade. He lasted about 6 months.

  15. JTMcPhee

    Re Dr. Oz: seems to be a confusion of terms with regard to dog studies: “principal investigator” versus “principled investigator.” See? “He did nothing wrong!”

    1. dcrane

      The main thing a principal investigator (PI) is supposed to know is how to get the money/grant. Details of the research may or may not be known.

  16. curlydan

    That’s a bummer about Will Toledo and Car Seat Headrest canceling their tour. Car Seat Headrest is one of my favorite bands of the last 10 years or so. He’s 30 years old. There is so little rhyme or reason for who gets hit with Long Covid–again evidence of no “personal risk assessment” even being possible.

    Here’s Car Seat Headrest’s most famous song, “Drunk Drivers (Killer Whales)”

    Here’s a freakier favorite of mine–a 14 minute epic, “The Ending of Dramamine”. Headphones recommended.

    1. Roger Blakely

      I listened to Drunk Drivers. Car Seat Headrest reminds me (a Gen. Xer who doesn’t follow music) of Weezer.

  17. Jason Boxman

    From The Death Eaters: Covid in the Liberal Imagination

    We’ve heard again and again over the course of this pandemic that public health shouldn’t be political. But this is a fundamental misunderstanding of public health—which is not just a technical discipline, offering data and decision-making frameworks, but carries with it a commitment to addressing the needs of those most in need, the most vulnerable, the most at-risk.

    Indeed, public health is inherently political, if exercised in the true spirit of public health, because that means recognizing that unsafe air, unsafe water, substantial housing, subsistence wages, are social ills that harm those with the least resources to confront these ills, and any solution necessarily involves inconveniencing some wealthy people, with a substantial accrual of power that no individual can alone face down and vanquish.

  18. Wukchumni

    Humans have a long history of venerating ancient trees. That reverence and care taking took a modern turn in the 18th century, when naturalists embarked on a quest to locate and date the oldest living things on Earth, as historian Jared Farmer narrates in “Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees.” His book, which hits shelves this week, takes readers from Lebanon to New Zealand to California, looking at the complex history of the world’s oldest trees and how they can help us address the climate crisis.

    Penn Today spoke to Farmer about the book, why humans have no trouble looking at the ancient past but can’t seem to envision the deep future and what trees can teach us.

    “Ancient trees are bridges between short time and deep time, between lived human time and abstract geological time,” Farmer says. “We have to create emotive connections to the far future in order to work together on climate now.”

    For several reasons, trees are ideal for long-term climate thinking. Specimens of certain species can live for thousands of years. The cambium layers inside their wood contains data about past climates. At the population level, trees affect the water cycle and the carbon cycle. And, of course, a changing climate affects forests. Moreover, people have cared about—and cared for—ancient trees since ancient times. There’s a deep and powerful history here. Unlike the deep time of geology, which is all intellectual, the deep time of botany has emotional content. Much of my book concerns long-term relationships between people and individual trees.


    Its nothing for me to hang out with 1,000 year olds, they’re a Dime a dozen in my neck of the woods, and I used to take it for granted they’d always be there, but that was then and this is now.

    Fire is the obvious new threat to Sequoias-killing off 1 out of 5 Monarchs, but bark beetles have gotten into them and have killed off a small number of the Brobdingnagians, and another threat for these massive trees with no tap root, is the drying up of the soil and less moisture in it, according to NASA.

    I’ve seen around 10 large live trees that have toppled over in the past year, not to mention their pine cones have been somewhat diminutive as of late, we saw cones that were 1/3rd to 1/2 of their normal size, and keep in mind that this is their potential progeny, it’s as if the giants are saying ‘screw the future’, they gotta keep on keeping on somehow.

    1. ambrit

      Save some of those seed cones Wuk. Then send them to Mars with the 0.001% Migration. Imagine how tall they will grow on a planet with only one third Earth Standard Gravity. Dump a few ice asteroids into the Valles Marineris and let a microclimate form.
      Given the problems New Zealand is having with their Tane trees, perhaps a “Lend Leaf” program could be undertaken to grow Giant Sequoias on the North Island. Then, at the least, New Zealand will have some sort of giant tree plantation.

      1. Wukchumni

        Kauri trees were similar to our coastal Redwoods, in that they make exceptional furniture, decking and more.

        Like the Redwoods, 95% of them have been cut down and the few still kicking are impressive. Kind of like a white-bark Sequoia of decent size, but not much height as they only reach 150 feet or so.

        1. Greg

          Phytophthora agathidicida (~”plant eating kauri killer”) is unfortunately widespread and disastrous for those noble remainers that survived the cull a hundred years ago.
          Current thinking is that its not actually an introduced threat from the 70s, but something that has always been around but is newly lethal due to changed environment (temperature and increased disturbance). We’re getting better at identifying it, but we are nowhere on stopping it taking those it has found.

          Grim future for kauri young and old.

          30-60m, so 150ft is shorting them Wuk ;) https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/agathis-australis/
          Thanks for the link to the Farmer book review, much appreciated

          1. JBird4049

            The Redwoods, and I assume the Kauri, have been around a long, long time. I think that with just a little bit of luck and perhaps some assistance from humans, they will flourish again.

            But even if I am right, as they are trees, it will not before our great grandchildren’s great grandchildren’s lives before true forests of them reappear. Just another thing our descendants will be angry at us for.

          2. Wukchumni

            I apologize for shortchanging Kauri trees, so beautiful~

            My furniture is made from 45,000 year old ‘Swamp Kauri’.

  19. semper loquitur

    Surely smiling must be on the list of things that won’t protect you from an airborne virus that moves like smoke.

  20. The Rev Kev

    ‘Panel experts discuss how long #COVID has created a new challenge in the course of the pandemic and presents another public health communications hurdle as many factors surrounding the conditions remain unknown.

    Why aren’t any of them wearing masks? Aren’t they supposed to be the experts?

    1. SocalJimObjects

      We are talking about a very intelligent virus here.
      1. It knows not to infect people in restaurants. Humans got to eat after all.
      2. Experts talking about Covid are also exempt.
      3. etc, etc.

      Skynet’s got nothing on Covid.

      1. ambrit

        So, are we waiting in dread for SARs Coronavirus 2019 version T.2? Coronavirus as Skynet! We are doomed.

    2. petal

      I was at a natural dyeing workshop tonight on campus and there were 14-15 people jammed into a tiny room with no ventilation and only 3 of us were wearing KN94 or N95 masks. One girl was coughing a meaty cough. After a half hour I was freaking out and stood out in the hallway instead for the rest of the class. A yuppie NPR totebag-carrying type woman in her 50s-every time she’d walk past me-would give me the stink eye. An ugly stare. I cannot deal with this garbage anymore.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe put a secondary mask over your real one with the American flag printed on it. If anybody says something, ask them icily if they are really willing to insult the flag. Jerks like that you cannot reason with but you can, by pressing the right buttons, cross-circuit them.

  21. Ned

    Rage Would Come Out of Nowhere’: Personality Change Has Emerged as a Symptom of Long Covid…

    Yeah, people have realized what a f;ing failure the Democrats are and they are going to vote Republican…

    $60,000,000,000 for Ukraine—where’s our $600?!

  22. skippy

    All I know is that all is not lost in the Tories world view Truss is now up for a life time government income of 200K AUD per year just for 35-ish days of – ?????? – work throwing the economy under the bus and making her parties dysfunction resemble the aftermath of an all night long party as the sun comes up and everyone off to work can see through the windows ….

    The econ/financial tubes are full of the its boomers fault, it was MMT that done it, Putin, commies and socialists, the woke, and any other cardboard cutout that can be presented as being on the side of darkness …. my question is what happens when that well runs dry …

    Wellie all is not bad because after the debacle with the ex-wife I’m going on my first date tomorrow morning and from our conversations on the phone or text seems like someone that would fit right in here on NC. Heck of a world methinks …

      1. skippy

        Ahahhaha – yet this thirst is an delusion because suffering makes one stronger and whom can deny that because it was written thingy … head bowed rubbing the back on my neck over it with you all these years ….

  23. fjallstrom

    Regarding the anger, fear, sadness headlines, note that the graphs end in 2019. They probebly have continued upwards as per Lambert’s comments, but that doesn’t explain that they already were trending upwards.

    My would guess goes in two directions:
    * spillover form social media algoritms. The algoritms rewards that which gets most interactions. Anger if great for getting interaction.
    * the decline of print media gives a need for more aggressive headlines.

    Probably a bit of both, but given the timing I think it is mostly social media algoritms.

  24. melvin keeney

    Could you please post a peer reviewed study proving the existence of long COVID? I looked but couldn’t find one. I am an amateur tho.

    1. fjallstrom

      Hastie et al, Outcomes among confirmed cases and a matched comparison group in the Long-COVID in Scotland study, published on Natures website this month.

      I fear that if I add the link Skynet might eat the comment, but with that title you should be able to find it through any search engine.

      I am not saying it is a better study then any other, but it is peer reviewed and is based on a fairly massive population. Which I think is what you asked for.

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