2:00PM Water Cooler 10/28/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Blue Mountain Vireo, Silver Hill Gap, Portland, Jamaica. “Song from a bird moving low and mostly hidden through roadside second growth.”

“Good godwit! Bird flies 8,425 miles NON-STOP from Alaska to Australia – setting a new world record” [Daily Mail]. “A young bird has become a world record holder by flying 8,425 miles non-stop from Alaska to Australia in 11 days. The five-month-old bar-tailed godwit left Alaska on October 13 and touched down in Ansons Bay in northeast Tasmania, Australia on October 24. Scientists say the bird, known simply as 234684, flew a minimum of 8,425 miles (13,560km) in 11 days and one hour without stopping.It’s one of many birds that scientists in Alaska had attached a 5G satellite tag to in order to track migration patterns.” • Go go go, 234684!

* * *


“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

“Scoop: John Kerry preparing to leave Biden administration” [Axios]. • Ketchup with that nothingburger?


* * *

More totally genuine smiles:

* * *

PA: “Hot mic opens window on Senate races” [Jamie Dupress, Regular Order]. “Two days after a somewhat rough debate for Lt. Gov. John Fetterman – because of his speaking difficulties – Schumer was still upbeat. ‘It looks like the debate didn’t hurt too much in Pennsylvania as of today, so that’s good.’ Biden crosses his fingers when hearing that.”

PA: “Fetterman debate performance has Democrats on edge about Pa. Senate race” [NBC]. “One Democrat who has been in touch with the Fetterman campaign said it erred in not having him do more events and interviews sooner, to better acclimate voters to the challenges he was facing and to make the incremental improvements in his recovery more visible in real time. Fetterman, after spending much of the summer off the campaign trail, began ramping up his activity in the weeks leading up to the debate. ‘Their team has been ignoring what tons of strategists and insiders have been saying for months: We’ve expressed our concerns many, many times about being more transparent,’ the source said, who asked for anonymity to speak candidly about the race. ‘It’s OK to have a medical issue — you just have to be transparent about it.’ The alarm is also acute in Democratic circles beyond Pennsylvania. ‘It was startling,’ said a senior Senate Democratic aide who has worked on political campaigns. ‘I really question the judgment that he continued with this race.’ But with partisan control of the 50-50 Senate hanging in the balance, Democrats have little choice but to hope that Fetterman’s platform matters more to voters than his performance.” • ”[T]ons of strategists and insiders.” So, OK. I suppose they can be right some of the time.


“Biden keeps low profile on midterms campaign trail as he weighs 2024 run” [Financial Times]. “‘If [the midterms] are as bad as some people expect, there’s going to be a lot of chaos in the party. There are going to be demands from many different quarters for a complete change in the leadership — citing the gerontocracy that we currently have,’ said Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and former senior adviser to Harry Reid, the late Senate majority leader… ‘[Biden] is the most impactful president we’ve seen in this country’s history,’ Cindy Axne, the Iowa Democrat in a tight contest to keep her seat in the House, said at a virtual reception with him on Wednesday evening.” • Can’t argue with that!

“From Fetterman to Biden” [National Review]. “Fetterman’s condition, and the way that his campaign and the media guarded against any serious inquiry into it, will have a run-on effect. The taboo against believing your own eyes and ears was shattered last night. And that taboo was guarding Joe Biden.” • 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.

* * *

“First on CNN: Assailant tried to tie up Paul Pelosi in home attack, sources say” [CNN]. “The man who assaulted Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, tried to tie him up ‘until Nancy got home,’ according to two sources familiar with the situation. When the police arrived, the assailant was saying he was ‘waiting for Nancy.’ Paul Pelosi was attacked with a hammer at the couple’s home in San Francisco by a male assailant early Friday morning, law enforcement sources told CNN. The assailant who attacked Paul Pelosi was searching for the speaker of the House, according to a source briefed on the attack. The intruder confronted the speaker’s husband in their San Francisco home shouting, ‘Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?’ according to the source. Pelosi, 82, was hospitalized but is expected to make a full recovery, the Democratic speaker’s office said in a statement. The attack sent shock waves through Washington and sparked an outpouring of condolences and condemnation from congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle. It comes as fears of political violence directed toward lawmakers remain high in the wake of the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol as well as other high-profile violent incidents that have targeted members of Congress in recent years.” • How the hell do we get in? (The coverage, naturally, will be all about feelings, not facts…).

“Diplomacy Watch: The West doesn’t know how to talk about Ukraine” [Responsible Statecraft]. On the “Progressive” Caucus’s retracted letter debacle: “But hope springs eternal: The controversy over the letter has managed to open up some, let’s say, spirited conversation about diplomacy, and some establishment figures have been pushed to defend the idea of expanding talks between Washington and Moscow. Even former Obama aide Ben Rhodes, who has previously worked closely with much of the Biden administration, argued on his podcast that dodging the topic of diplomacy is (politically) dangerous for the Democrats. ‘Some of you Ukraine stans who just pile on this stuff, you might be creating the outcome you don’t want, because by punishing anyone who says, ‘let’s have diplomacy,’ the only alternative to your position is […] where Tucker Carlson is,’ Rhodes said.” • No question about it.

“What really happened with that Ukraine letter? We asked Joe Cirincione to explain.” [Semafor]. “Terrible staff work + terrible expert advice – Member involvement = Debacle. To produce the shortest-lived Congressional letter in history, the CPC policy director worked in June with a few outside groups to write the letter. They were told they could release it when they got 30 of the 100 CPC members to sign it. They couldn’t hit that number until October, when they blindsided the members by releasing it 2 weeks before key elections.”

I wouldn’t have thought Ro Khanna would be the only Democrat left standing — or at least not groveling — but here we are:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Nevada officials begin unprecedented hand count of ballots” [Associated Press] • ZOMG, “unprecedented!” Aghastitude at hand-counted paper ballots now? I don’t think much of the Republican “activists” on this. But a system of hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, is robust enough to resist any of this nonsense. The same cannot be said for voting machines.

“Sheriff Found Guilty of Violating Detainees’ Rights With Restraint Chairs” [New York Times]. “The jury sent a note to Judge Eleanor Ross, saying that one juror had not been following instructions and had repeated that he believed “the sheriff and the president are above the law and not required to follow the Constitution,” the newspaper reported.” • Except when I click through, I see the anodyne “one juror was failing to follow instructions.” Not the same!


• At least we know Biden’s a** is OK. Because look what he pulled out of it:

“One Covid Shot Once a Year” isn’t remotely true; see current CDC vaccination schedules here.

• Scotty, Gladys, Jacinda: Take a bow!

Can’t have Zero Covid in the Five Eyes; it just won’t do. (Note, again, according to Wu, the Chinese government isn’t behaving as if #CovidIsAirborne. The wrong theory of transmission isn’t a recipe for success with a Zero Covid policy (though if that new bubble tea vaccine works out for them, they may skin by).

* * *

• Throwing away an appreciable percentage of the workforce?

Not that tech is without problems.

* * *

• Looking into Far UV:

This is a good thread with a lot of detail. Concluding:

Putting my concerns more pointedly: If businesses can make themselves and their customers believe they’ve made Covid go away by screwing in a lightbulb, they will (this being the stupidest timeline). And at the expense of genuinely solving ventilation problems, and showing the ventilation problems have been solved).

* * *

• ”EU regulator recommends adding heavy periods to side effects of mRNA COVID shots” [Reuters]. “European Medicines Agency (EMA) committee on Friday recommended adding heavy menstrual bleeding to the list of side effect of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna, as well as Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. Reports of heavy periods – bleeding characterised by increased volume and/or duration that interferes with the quality of life – have been observed during clinical trials, from cases in the real world and in medical literature, the EMA said…. The regulator has now concluded that there is at least a ‘reasonable possibility’ that heavy menstrual bleeding is causally associated with these vaccines.

* * *

• Poor babies!

* * *


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 24:

1.3%. Faster increase.

• Can any library-going readers confirm?


Wastewater data (CDC), October 23:

October 22:


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? UPDATE Yes. See NC here on Pango.

Variant data, national (Walgreens), October 19:

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

Variant data, national (CDC), October 8 (Nowcast off):

Lambert here: Most of the screenshots of CDC variants running around crop out whether Nowcast (CDC’s model) is on or off; see red box at top. The BQ1.* figure of 27% that’s running around is CDC’s Nowcast projection, three weeks out. (It’s telling that CDC would rather build a model than fund faster acquisition of real data.)


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,094,596 – 1,094,163 = 433 (433 * 365 = 158,045, 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.

Stats Watch

Consumer Sentiment: “United States Michigan Consumer Sentiment” [Trading Economics]. “The University of Michigan consumer sentiment for the US was revised higher to 59.9 in October of 2022 from a preliminary of 59.8. The current conditions subindex was revised higher to 65.6 from 65.3 while the gauge for expectations was confirmed at 56.2. The median expected year-ahead inflation rate rose to 5.0%, with increases reported across age, income, and education. Last month, long run inflation expectations fell below the narrow 2.9-3.1% range for the first time since July 2021, but since then expectations have reverted to 2.9%. Uncertainty over inflation expectations remains elevated, indicating that inflation expectations are likely to remain unstable in the months ahead.” • Uncertainty is not what Powell wants.

* * *

Retail: “Amazon is heading into the holiday season talking about cost cuts rather than sales growth. The e-commerce leader is projecting that sales in the current quarter would be far below expectations… sending a new shock wave across the retail sector and offering a stark sign of how shifting economic forces are battering companies that thrived during the pandemic” [Wall Street Journal]. “Amazon’s sales last quarter rose 15% from a year earlier, while its $2.9 billion net profit marked its first quarterly profit this year but a 9% decline from the year before. The company also jolted observers with its projection for revenue of $140 billion to $148 billion in the fourth quarter—analysts had expected more than $155 billion. CEO Andy Jassy said Amazon is building ‘a stronger cost structure for the business moving forward.’ That plan includes cutbacks in the company’s sprawling logistics network.” • A “stronger cost structure” = union busting?

Tech: “Adobe steals your color” [Cory Doctorow]. “For people who work in prepress, a key part of their Adobe tools is integration with Pantone. Pantone is a system for specifying color-matching. A Pantone number corresponds to a specific tint that’s either made by mixing the four standard print colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black, AKA “CMYK”), or by applying a “spot” color. Spot colors are added to print jobs after the normal CMYK passes – if you want a stripe of metallic gold or a blob of hot pink, you specify its Pantone number and the printer loads up a separate ink and runs your media through its printer one more time…. All of this is suddenly relevant because it appears that things have broken down between Adobe and Pantone. Rather than getting Pantone support bundled in with your Adobe apps, you must now pay $21/month for a Pantone plugin…. Remember, Adobe’s apps have moved to the cloud. Any change that Adobe makes in its central servers ripples out to every Adobe user in the world instantaneously. If Adobe makes a change to its apps that you don’t like, you can’t just run an older version…. The next version of Adobe’s apps will require you to pay that $21/month Pantone fee, or any Pantone-defined colors in your images will render as black. That’s true whether you created the file last week or 20 years ago. Doubtless, Adobe will blame Pantone for this, and it’s true that Pantone’s greed is the root cause here. But this is an utterly foreseeable result of Adobe’s SaaS strategy. If Adobe’s customers were all running their apps locally, a move like this on Pantone’s part would simply cause every affected customer to run older versions of Adobe apps. Adobe wouldn’t be able to sell any upgrades and Pantone wouldn’t get any license fees. But because Adobe is in the cloud, its customers don’t have that option.”

Tech: “High-Tech Cars Are Killing the Auto Repair Shop” [Wired]. “If you want to understand the rising complication in the auto repair industry, try to get a realignment on a new Audi. A car needs realignment when it’s drifting to one side or the steering wheel is vibrating, a procedure that involves adjusting the suspension, which connects a car to its wheels. A decade or so ago, that took about an hour and a half, auto repairers who spoke to WIRED say. Today, that same procedure is usually closer to three or four hours, and it can take up to nine. That’s because newer cars have advanced driver-assistance systems, which can keep cars in their lane, detect blind spots, and avoid collisions—functions that require a car to have a firm grasp of where it is in space. That requires repairers to calibrate the sensors and cameras in a car underpinning those advanced systems. Some brands of vehicle can only be calibrated with specialized and expensive tools. To start with, the equipment needed to assure a car’s wheels are in alignment costs in the $70,000 range, says Lucas Underwood, the president of L&N Performance Auto Repair in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Then you’ll need targets, which help a car’s sensors and camera systems orient themselves. These can vary by automaker and cost around $30,000 per set. In all, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire the tools and make the shop adjustments to repair just a few car makes. That’s before the cost of training workers to use those tools, with shops paying thousands each year to keep their staff certified to fix specific cars. Investing for the future, then, can set shop owners back by millions. That investment can be worth it for a business that intends to stay open for a while, but many auto shop owners are nearing retirement. A 2019 industry survey found that nearly half of auto shop proprietors were 60 or older.”

Tech: “Your next PC should be a desktop – maybe even this Chinese mini machine” [The Register]. “The big incursion into the PC market in recent years has been just-good-enough laptops in the form of the Chromebook. Maybe it’s time to think about good-enough desktops too – especially now that hybrid work is a new normal. I’m often told that the two or three days a week of work from home that’s now permissible for many workers demands tools tuned to these new circumstances. It’s important to ensure people are as productive as possible now that the office is not an everyday destination. By tidying up my workspace and freeing my laptop for when it’s really needed, my mini-desktop is that tool. And I think it could be yours, too, if like me you are lucky enough to have a dedicated work from home space.” • A PC desktop seems to run around $300, exclusive of peripherals.

Labor Market: “[T]he introduction of artificial intelligence and other sophisticated technologies is changing the nature of the workforce across supply chains, from white-collar management positions to the jobs on the warehouse floor. It is the flip side of automation efforts often undertaken to cut payrolls” [Wall Street Journal]. “Mondelez Chief Supply-Chain Officer Sandra MacQuillan’s new recruits are showing more interest in things like the snack-foods supplier’s ‘no-touch’ distribution centers and factories. Companies say the investments also help open the remaining warehouse jobs to a wider array of workers since robots at some sites now do more of the heavy lifting.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 61 Greed (previous close: 57 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 45 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 27 at 2:06 PM EDT. A swing to greed? Weird. Honestly, if it means Mr. Market thinks there won’t be a nuclear war, I’m a happy camper. But still…

Book Nook

Epic indeed!

Who knows, maybe somebody in the readership will break the code! (Fascinating that the poster is able to figure out how many scribes worked on the manuscript. It was quite a project! But to what end? And what about the alien plants?)

The 420

“Blowing smoke? Lawsuit accuses popular cannabis brand of overstating THC content in its joints” [Los Angeles Times]. “‘The declarations of THC content on [DreamFields Brands Inc. and Med for America Inc.’s] labels … are false,’ the plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote in the complaint. ‘Defendants are systematically overstating the THC content to deceive consumers into thinking that the effects of their prerolls are more potent than they truly are.’ The makers of Jeeter products have a ‘financial incentive’ to misrepresent the THC contents in their marijuana, the lawsuit alleges, because consumers are willing to pay a premium for potency: the higher the price, the higher you get, in theory. The suit, filed by Santa Monica-based law firm Dovel & Luner on behalf of two California residents who bought the allegedly mislabeled products, seeks unspecified damages and restitution. Attorneys are also seeking class-action status for the lawsuit.” • Lawsuits from users who didn’t get loaded enough didn’t figure in my picture of legalization, though I suppose it should have. And THC levels in modern cannabis are so much higher than they were than I heard they were in my day it’s hard to know who people would even know the difference.

Class Warfare

“Young Silicon Valley workers are in for a rude awakening as industry giants make major job cuts and ditch ambitious projects for the first time in their careers” [Business Insider]. “For years, Big Tech companies have competed on pay and perks to lure workers in a tight labor market. Now, the endless hiring and allotments for employee travel, free food, and company swag are being replaced by budget cuts, new performance mandates, and even layoffs. It’s a first for many tech workers, an entire generation of whom have known nothing but non-stop growth and a bull market. To these employees, recent changes are ‘straight up heresy,’ as Bill Gurley, a veteran venture capitalist, put it in June. ‘During this rate-induced boom, competition for employees created a Disney-esque set of experiences/expectations in high tech companies.’ There was something of an outcry at Meta, for example, when the company earlier this year decided to limit the timing for free meals at offices and took away the laundry service it offered to workers. Within two months, the company froze hiring. Now, employees are worried about it cutting headcount by as much as 20%, as managers warn workers of impending cuts, Insider reported.”

News of the Wired

“More fun”:

In other words, I should never trust a smile I see in a photo, ever again.

* * *

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 IM:

IM: “Rodney Graham died this past week. He was a legend in the Vancouver art scene, and a true polymath — rock and punk musician, bakery owner, multimedia art star, genial freak and weirdo who always had time for everyone. I was fortunate to help look after him in the course of his illness. One of his favorite subjects was the upside down tree — initially from the inverted projection of a camera obscura, later simply photos hung upside down. I can’t claim to have taken any as gorgeous as he did, but here is a Vancouver tree headed the wrong way, in Rodney’s fashion.”

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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. Jason Boxman

    Fun fact from that CDC link; You can’t get Novavax if you’ve ever been “boosted”:

    People ages 18 years and older who completed primary vaccination using any COVID-19 vaccine and have not received any previous booster dose(s) may receive a monovalent Novavax booster dose at least 6 months after completion of the primary series if they are unable to receive an mRNA vaccine (i.e., mRNA vaccine contraindicated or not available) or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine and would otherwise not receive a booster dose.

    Why, I wonder?

    1. Objective Ace

      Who gets to decide this?.. I understand general guidelines, but I would have thought it would be up to the individual doctor to decide what is best for a given patient

    2. FlyoverBoy

      I just tried and failed. Had to get Moderna or Pfizer. I read a quote from a medical expert saying there is no medical rationalization for it. I assume it’s our government’s Duopoly Profit Protection Program in action.

      1. ambrit

        It’s just more fuel for the fires of the “Globalist Eugenics Program” conspiracy theory.
        [Remember, over the last few decades, many of what were initially demonized as “conspiracy theories” have turned out to be true. Such as: Operation Paperclip, Operation Gladio, Operation Mockingbird, the CIA LSD experiments, ad. nauseam.]

        1. indices

          Gotta chuckle when I think of the CIA LSD experiments — they bit off way more than they could chew.

        2. John

          Was the J&J single shot so good that it had to be trashed as a threat or was there actually something amiss with it? My initial shot was J&J. Since then I have had two Modernas. My preference would be to have none at all.

          I gave up trying to understand this stuff long ago. I work with open windows and a fan when I must be in the same building with others and at home with no one around whenever I can.

          1. katiebird

            I’ve had 2 J&J (1 initial then a booster) so I guess I can’t get the Noravax. Since I’m not going to get an mRNA vaccine, I guess that’s it for me….

          2. Mikel

            J&J single shot receivers can do the Novavax.
            But now since you also received the mNRA booster, they aren’t recommending or allowing the Novavax.
            It does make one wonder. What exactly is the scientific reason?
            What exactly would be the harm if you now did the Novavax?
            And why doesn’t that (having mRNA shots) have an effect with whether or not you get the flu shot?

          3. ambrit

            Good. You are exhibiting rational thinking and evidenced based decision making skills.
            The manner in which the mRNA “vaccines” were rolled out, with the corporate waivers of responsibility and severely truncated testing regimes almost guarantees adverse outcomes. Stupid versus Evil is no longer the issue. The effects upon the public are already manifesting. Either Stupid or Evil would have facilitated this outcome.
            With the systemic imposition of a ‘vaccine’ only treatment regime by the Medical Industrial Complex, we lack any operational level multi-layered treatment plan. We are well and truly buggered, and without ‘access’ to lubrication.
            Stay safe and guard your ‘privates’ with the utmost vigour.

          4. chris

            They decided to sideline the J&J vax because of concerns about heart related issues. They made that decision last year.

            Funny bit about that though, is I received a J&J shot as my chaser to the Moderna mRNA initial series. At the clinic I went to they let you choose whatever you wanted. I find it odd that they’ve stopped doing that now.

            1. ambrit

              And yet the mRNA “vaccines” are presenting with increased cardio vascular issues in the younger cohorts now. So, what is worse, dying from the J&J shots or dying from the mRNA shots? Does getting one “vaccine” get you to Heaven while the other style of “vaccine” sends you to H—?
              This entire Coronavirus Pandemic response has taken on the features of a theological controversy; True Believers versus Heretics.

    3. Mikel

      Maybe because it is all still in the study phase and they are trying to have control groups of some kind?
      In other words, they still don’t really know the long term effects of it all.

    4. Tom Doak

      When I went to get a booster prior to my overseas trip last month, I was told at my pharmacy in MI that I couldn’t get another dose of the old vaccine, and had to get the new booster, instead. The original vaccine was being saved for those getting a first dose, supposedly.

      My take was that they wanted to have more guinea pigs to find out whether the new booster was effective. It wasn’t, in my case; I got back to America with a new case of COVID, four weeks after my booster shot. Fortunately, “it was mild”.

      1. Mikel

        I’d be interested to hear from you a year from now. Just to know if you get sick again within a yesr.

  2. zagonostra

    >Stop Saying Ridiculous Things’: [anti-war ] Protesters [shout questions] Heckle Rep. Ilhan Omar At Townhall

    Ilhan Omar is going through the same wringer as AOC for funding Ukraine war. From the social media comments I’ve been reading, she is being shredded.


    1. Stephen V

      Wringer indeed. Maybe Scylla and Charybdis as well. Social media trolling & heckling is the former but what is the latter? Getting primaried / De-funded goes without saying. Maybe grandkids? Epstein’s black book? It’s a long list. This is me trying to be empathetic.

      1. ambrit

        The cynic in me wonders about who would gain the most if the Squad were to be tossed out of Congress. Somehow, the “Usual Suspects” come to mind, (and not just the RNC.)
        The Pelosi Gelato Association might not even shed crocodile tears at the prospect.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          If the Squad gets decimated (or commits political suicide, which seems much more likely) they will invent a New, Improved Squad. They are there to give to comfort and succor for voting for the Dem Team

          1. ambrit

            Do you mean like the hookers who work in red, white, and blue outfits and triple team you to show their ‘patriotism?’ [Sounds like the strip club down by the entrance to Camp Shelby.]

  3. Jason Boxman

    Wow. American healthcare is garbage. A third party service to help you manage your medical bills!

    Pay all of your medical bills, right from your phone or computer
    Just upload a picture of your bill, select your provider, and we’ll handle the rest.

    Pay a bill. Get money off the next one.
    Lower your overall out-of-pocket expenses.

    Although these probably aren’t new. But this one started in 2020. And they offer points!! if you use them that you can redeem to reduce future medical bills. How insane is that?

    And what kind of vacuous garbage is this?

    We connect patients and their medical providers, to empower them to take back control of healthcare. Our simple platform puts patients at the center of the healthcare experience, with the tools and resources they need to access care at a price they can afford.

    (bold mine)

    I’ve helpfully bolded some of the most obvious bulls**t tells. This is like parasites feeding on parasites!

    1. hunkerdown

      “And these have smaller still to bite ’em” for sure. I guess their business story goes something like “Hello, provider, we will e-check you for your patient’s bill right now, if you’ll give us 2% off and drop this line item you and I both know no insurer would pay for; otherwise we’ll bank the money and look at you smugly while collecting interest for the next 119 days”.

      That verbage (a portmanteau of “verbal garbage”) is painfully vacuous, I agree. But there is real value in patient advocacy and bill adjustment services for the self-paying patient, outside of the insurance loop, however “single-serving” they must be in our nightmarish corporate system.

    2. Objective Ace

      I’m so tired of waiting on hold and for call backs when I try to pay my medical provider. It shouldn’t be so hard for me to give my money away and yet it is. Medical providers have brought this upon themselves by cutting costs to barebones levels

      I’d like to see this for utility providers too

    3. Lee

      Hyperparasitism. Hyperparasites feed on another parasite, as exemplified by protozoa living in helminth parasites, or facultative or obligate parasitoids whose hosts are either conventional parasites or parasitoids.

  4. Jason Boxman

    From Young Silicon Valley workers are in for a rude awakening as industry giants make major job cuts and ditch ambitious projects for the first time in their careers

    For years, Big Tech companies have competed on pay and perks to lure workers in a tight labor market.

    We know this was false, at least for the merely ordinary tech workers. Perhaps that changed after the scandal broke?

    The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s Most Celebrated CEOs Conspired to Drive Down 100,000 Tech Engineers’ Wages | Pando

    It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds. I’d never seen so much free food as they have at Google. In Google Cambridge they’d installed a counter to track how much monthly food waste there was, to try to get Googlers to throw away less food. The tons thrown away monthly was shocking. And this wasn’t even the Mt View campus where they also do dinner every night! In Cambridge dinner just recycled breakfast and lunch food and wasn’t offered on Friday nights, only M-TH. And this doesn’t count the free snacks on every floor and free drinks and sodas. Plus they had special stuff on some floors, like ice cream.

    And they renovated to include even more space for new hires. The floor space that was previously the game area all hosted a cube farm for the building services employees last I saw, about 4 years ago.

    It has to be seen to be believed.

      1. upstater

        Where the Japanese grow those square watermelons… not!

        Think Dilbert, but hundreds of thousands of square feet, of thousands of office cubicles and workers.

      2. Joe Well

        “cube farm” is an old term, since at least the 90s.

        Maybe you’re too young?

        cube = cubicle

  5. laughingsong

    “Young Silicon Valley workers are in for a rude awakening as industry giants make major job cuts and ditch ambitious projects for the first time in their careers” . . . “To these employees, recent changes are ‘straight up heresy,’ as Bill Gurley, a veteran venture capitalist, put it in June. ‘During this rate-induced boom, competition for employees created a Disney-esque set of experiences/expectations in high tech companies.’ There was something of an outcry at Meta, for example, when the company earlier this year decided to limit the timing for free meals . . . “[Business Insider].

    I call BS – setting up a youthful straw person :-) Back in Tech Crash #1, which I went through, although we were bummed when the perks (and the pay, and the cubicle size, and the swag) started to go away, and yeah, when we heard there was some “Awww, I’m going to miss that, did you have to?” kinda stuff, but that “something of an out-cry” is doing a lot of work to show that these are spoiled millenials, which this article seems to be trying to imply.

    Am I reading too much into it?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Reminds me of the dot.com bubble. I had what were for that time and that market excellent technical skills. I thought I kept getting jobs with more money because I had gotten smarter and better. Turns out I was just riding the bubble, sigh.

  6. foghorn longhorn

    Of those 67 million tiktokers, how many are over the age of 12?
    Joe just playing with the kids, again.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Indeed. If my kid is any guide, filling up TikTok with political content is a surefire way to kill off TikTok as a platform anyone wants to use.

      Perhaps TikTok should take a look at Meta’s (which is full of all kinds of political content shoved at you whether you like it or not) stock price and decide whether they really need CoronaJoe’s mug all over their website.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        I’m curious to know how much influencing a “influencer” actually accomplishes. Are there any metrics? I’m not one to be easily influenced; perhaps there are more like me?

    2. Michael Ismoe

      I know for a fact that one is Bot that posted 33 times on You Tube explaining that “Crowd Strike is a neutral party who has done so much good work for America.”

      If Brandon gets the Bot vote, it could be long night for the GOP.

      1. ambrit

        Hmmm…. What’s your legal case for ‘Votes For Bots?’ Could Citizens United be stretched to include non-corporeal beings on the internet as “legal persons” since they ‘serve’ corporate interests?
        The old mantra of “One Dollar – One Vote” is now “One Byte – One Vote?” Seeing how Traditionalism is a guiding force behind the Neo-liberal political struggle, may I suggest a resort to the writings of the ‘Founding Fathers’ and propound a neo Three-fifths Compromise concerning ‘Votes For Bots?’
        In a really outre fashion, the cases are similar.
        See: https://www.britannica.com/topic/three-fifths-compromise

        1. Michael Ismoe

          According to Trump. most of them voted in 2020.

          Let’s see if they can carry Fetterman over the finish line.

    3. Acacia

      Joe just playing with the kids, again.

      Heh. And I like how the number of social media “followers” is considered somehow equivalent to those “watching” television. The TV viewers are at least giving some steady attention to the content, while the followers are all swiping their timelines and only occasionally stopping. Scrolling is the new smoking, indeed.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Of those 67 million tiktokers, how many are over the age of 12?

      TikTok is for consumption (trends, memes; clothing, music, cooking, humor) not for citizenship.

      I’m sure at some point in the last two years Biden could have developed himself into a brand (the sunglasses, the car) but they didn’t do that. I don’t think a selfie two weeks before the election will do it.

  7. Mark Gisleson

    Re: Tik-Tok, “combined followers” suggests that the number of unique followers among these tik-tokkers is probably much, much less than 67 million followers. It’s entirely possible that they all have less than ten million followers because the kinds of people who follow incredibly popular accounts usually follow lots of popular accounts.

    Tik-Tok claims 4.48 billion people are on all social media combined. Unless they’re counting email as social media, I find that highly improbable. Then again, if I had counted all the traffic to my old blog and not just the real traffic, I would have had average readership in the thousands instead of the hundreds so maybe these experts are onto something (assuming we count votes like they count followers).

    1. Acacia

      This. When there are literally dozens of sites selling fake TikTok followers and other sites to rank them (e.g., “21 Best Sites to Buy TikTok Followers to Double the Viewers and Earning”), a number like 67 million is quasi-meaningless. “Our fakes are guaranteed more real than all the other fakes out there.”

      1. John

        Would it not be simpler to not use these so-called social media sites? I do not speak from personal experience except of Twitter as embedded in sites like Naked Capitalism.

        1. Acacia

          Yes, though many do, such that we are now constantly seeing questionable claims about metrics of “audience engagement” like the tweet that started this thread.

          To the point you’re making, I’ve heard several anecdotes from parents of high schoolers that their kids are already tired of social media, as they feel it’s another demand to constantly follow a timeline of their friends, engage, respond, etc., and in part this is why they use stickers or gifs. So maybe there’s some hope?

            1. Ben Joseph

              She took the ESPN sideline reporter ‘non-verbal commutation -HAND” course. Five new games and five fingers?! Will the coincidences never end!

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Obviously, this is social media, but the 24/7 lock in of platforms like FB had a certain utility in being a platform to rapidly bring people together who fell out of touch in internet 2.0.

            With kids having ways to reach them without having to cross a physical distance or go through parents, the allure of FB or a singular platform simply isn’t there.

            With the ease of access and time commitment of games like Fortnite, kids didn’t have to stop being friends because of distance.

  8. Roger Blakely

    COVID transmission.
    The Northeast and Midwest are bright red. The Sun Belt is yellow. Merry Christmas. Santa will be bringing a sack full of BQ.1.

    1. curlydan

      It’s interesting to me that BA.2.75.2 which was causing some to sound warnings a few weeks ago has now dropped off the Walgreens charts.

      Looks like BQ will dominate the fall.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      Who the Hell wants a toy that demands a billion dollars worth of accessories every three days? And he has more Dream Houses than Barbie.

    2. Brunches with Cats

      Unless his jacket comes off to reveal otherwise, his arms are not articulated, as they are on the other figures. Nor does he appear to have articulated legs (none of the others do, either). Was there a reason they made him rigid and essentially useless? Maybe the design phase included discussions in Foggy Bottom or Langley?

      Oh, and his shirt’s the wrong shade of green. Deal breaker.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I could see Putin ordering one. He could put it on his mantle piece and whenever he sees it, has a good laugh to himself. Does that action figure come with a crack pipe as an accessory?

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        If I were to buy a Zelensky bobble head and print a “Z” on it would I get into trouble?

      2. ambrit

        No. The crack pipe comes with the Hunter Biden as Board Member of Burisma action set. Some of the accessories are way cool: a briefcase of cash, a letter of introduction on White House stationary, some Honey Hooker hangers on action, (very active,) figures, and a case lot of “missing” laptop computers.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Right and it’s the Zelensky that comes with the small mirror, rolled up Benjamin and a credit card (no limit of course!). They’re easily confused.

        2. Brunches with Cats

          Wouldn’t it more accurately be called a “play set?” Not only is that what they’re called in Barbie World, but by all accounts, he did little else. So might I humbly suggest the “Hunter Biden As International Grifter Play Set,” including all of your accessories, with cash in various foreign currencies and at least one very — ahem — “youthful-looking” Honey. Optional Joe Biden figure available for a grossly inflated extra price.

          1. ambrit

            Please excuse the snark.
            The way Hunter and Company, (is The Company involved?) did it, it wasn’t play, it was all monkey business.
            I like the idea of a stand alone “International Grifter Play Set.” The ‘action figures’ would all be extra.
            I could see all sorts of fun antics possible with various combinations of figures like: Evil Queen Hillary Clinton, Big Bill Clinton, Little Chelsea, Barak “Show me the money” Obama, Michelle “Like my shoulders boys?” Obama, the Girls, “Creepy” Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, the ‘Ghost’ of Beau Biden, Dr. Jill, and various hangers on.
            It could all get quite complicated when Palmer Eldritch gets back from his trip.
            Here’s hoping that the ‘Adults in the Room’ can keep the likes of Vikky Neuland and the other ‘True Believer’ Neo-cons away from The Football.
            Stay safe and keep a weather eye on those wind patterns.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > International Grifter Play Set™

            One of those situations where the map is uncomfortably close to reality. Perhaps there could be a special Davos edition? (“Comes with free bugs!”)

      3. ChrisPacific

        I feel like it would be better as a puppet. Perhaps a reversible one – turn it inside out and it turns into Uncle Sam.

  9. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Unprecedented hand count

    Unprecedented except in all the places that have always done it this way and still do.

    Maybe some AP reporter would like to visit Town Meeting in Vermont sometime. Happens every year on the first Tuesday in March. Somehow, the town I grew up in has never had any vote count controversy. Everybody’s pretty good with the town clerk’s work.

  10. Val

    “CPC policy director worked in June with a few outside groups to write the letter.”

    CPC policy director. HA ha ha ha! I like that.

    But seriously, a complete annotated list of “outside groups” and “inside groups” would really help my democracy yarn diagram, as the Schoolhouse Rock model has lost all explanatory power.

  11. zagonostra

    Scot Ritter back on Twitter

    I notice anti-war accounts I’ve been following all of a sudden have much more likes and retweets than previously…also Musk has fired Vijaya Gadda head of legal, has taken Twitter off of NYSE and is going to make the code open source. Not bad for 1st day…

  12. Carla

    The upside-down tree makes me think of the climate equivalent of the upside-down flag, signalling distress.

  13. Louis Fyne

    —‘It looks like the debate didn’t hurt too much in Pennsylvania as of today, so that’s good.’ Biden crosses his fingers when hearing that.”–

    LOL, who wants to be staffer who tells Schumer the truth? — excuse me sir, actually, we’re going to get our butts whipped by the crimson red tide in two weeks.

    1. dcblogger

      there are years when an anti-abortion celebrity quack can win an election. this is not one of those years. Fetterman has won one statewide election. Voters are invested in the idea that they like him. Early on Fetterman reduced Oz to the level of a joke and everything about Oz’s campaign has confirmed that idea. Fetterman has this.

      1. IM Doc

        Maybe you should talk to my cousin who lives in the Philly suburbs.

        He was at some kind of church outing in the past few days.

        I will quote directly from his Facebook entry last night……other family members had been asking him what was going on in PA after the debate.

        “Never seen anything like this. We usually do not talk politics at church. But that was all that was talked last night. This is a group of non-political blue collar workers and their families. All Fetterman voters, that is until this week. Just listening to the group I would say it is 70-80% Oz now. I think they were more upset about the lying and what they considered a cover up than at Fetterman himself. There was lots of pity there, and pity is not something these people are used to showing their leaders. There were two older women who had already voted who were actually upset because they voted for Fetterman. All I can say is no early voting for them anymore. I was going to vote Fetterman. I think I am leaving it blank now.”

        I would say that is the same demographic as Biden’s Scranton bros. We will see but I would not be wanting to place bets on that race either way.

        1. John

          I think that additional polling days should be confined to at most the week before the mandated election day and paper ballots hand-counted in public even if the ahistorical find that “unprecedented.”

          I do not live in Pennsylvania. I much prefer an impaired Fettermen with the prospect of further recovery to a carpetbagger like Oz on his best day.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          The Fetterman debate, regardless of one’s view of it, is to my mind a dispositive argument against “early voting.” Every voter should be voting, as far as this is possible, with the same information available to them (whether they go and get it is another matter). Therefore, every voter should vote on the same day (which should also be a national holiday, ffs).

    2. Tom Doak

      What is the protocol for removing a Senator from office? Does he have to do it himself or can he be declared in need of replacement by the party or by someone on the outside?

      I ask, because we remember that the D party wanted Conor Lamb to win that seat, and only supported Fetterman after Lamb was soundly defeated. It would have been too hard to make the replacement prior to the election and run the guy who couldn’t win the primary . . . but how easy will it be to swap him in should Fetterman hang on?

  14. Lee

    Sunak’s wealth and right-wing politics mean he is far from representative, British Asians say CNN

    “‘it is a sign of progress, but only at the top. Rishi Sunak comes from a very privileged background,’ the 58-year-old solicitor said, his glasses tucked behind his bright orange turban.”

      1. Sailor Bud

        It does, but not in the same first thought it would give to Americans. Look up Sir Thomas More, or A Man for All Seasons. Anyway, I lol’d.

        1. ambrit

          More, seated: “Rishi, is that the seal of The City?”
          Rishi, standing: “Yes sir, it is.”
          More: “What profiteth it a man…”
          Rishi, interrupting: “Stop moralizing More. We deal with Matters Temporal here.”
          More, sadly: “Alas it is so Rishi. But, Rishi, for London Whales?”
          Abashed, Rishi retreats unto a place where the Sunak doth not shine.

  15. Jeff N

    Re: high tech cars-I remember as a kid, my elders not wanting to get things like power windows because they were perceived to be less long-lasting/more difficult to repair than manual crank windows.
    I still kind of have that spirit in me, e.g. not wanting to get accustomed to a backup camera that my next car might not have.

    1. Louis Fyne

      imo, one absolutely needs backup cameras nowadays.

      given fuel efficiency and safety mandates (particularly side impact standards), cars have converged on the same basic profiles—-

      and the common feature of these profiles is bad rear visibility as you need more steel/less glass to get better safety scores.

      it is what it is. I prefer “keep it simple” but rear cameras is a net win. in my opinion.

      1. Brunches with Cats

        No backup camera in my 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid. Instead, it has four sensors on the rear bumper, and the system emits beeps if the vehicle’s in reverse and there’s something or someone behind it. The closer the obstacle, the shorter and louder the beeps, which become a constant tone if I’m within a few inches of hitting whatever’s back there. I like it, because I can actually look behind me instead of watching a computer screen — which, BTW, can black out in hybrid vehicles during extreme cold like we have here in Upstate NY.

    2. dougie

      The article is not untrue, BUT, being a shop owner I am not the least bit concerned. Here’s why. We specialize in superior customer service. The few times a newer car needed a fancy, schmancy alignment, we recommended the client back to the dealer. There, they got to wait 2 months for an appointment, then be treated poorly. I don’t lose customers by sending them to a dealer. I gain more loyal customers.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        I’ve always taken my vehicles to dealers. I have never had to wait two months for an appointment. Lots of folks are under the impression that dealers charge more, and often do a lousy job. That has not been my experience. The dealer I go to has better hours, and better trained mechanics than do competing independent shops. Their prices are competitive for a wide range of services. And, the dealer provides complimentary coffee and donuts (while supplies last).

        1. Paul

          As a mechanic myself, I’ve never seen a dealer write up that wasn’t double or more what I would do the job for.

          This is an old issue: GMs tech2-techline etc, VAGCOM, and all the dealer tools are mostly useless garbage designed to male you go back and pay for the dealer to service your vehicle for stuff that doesn’t need computers.

          What the article doesn’t get into are the ‘tamper’ tools. There are systems to detect that you fixed the car and brick it until the dealer clicks “ok” for about $100 of me doing it or them doing it for $400. Do you really need the ECU to check the vin registration of the window motors for your windows to go up and down?

          Whats lovely is when those click over and nothings even changed. Nothings broken but the security clearance code and that will be $400 plus the diagnostics.

          And after putting that much effort into it…they are not going to be price competitive. Although the 2 month wait depends on were you live/ what dealer.

          Just try to fix a Saab. They were the epitome of this junk. It’s basically a big engine Saturn that needs millions of dealer codes all the time.

          John Deer and what it does is the automakers dream. We need OBD3 tomorrow. OBD2 cleared up the last batch but we need a lot more now.

  16. C.O.

    Some more COVID-19 related news from BC. It was interesting to read Bonnie Henry explaining how they made the data collected inaccurate, and the frustration that even after all their meddling their rejigged counts are still showing increased numbers of infections. They haven’t been reporting outbreaks in longterm care homes for months.


    Times Colonist: B.C. reports highest COVID-19 death count in months

      1. C.O.

        I have access to the book she wrote with her sister, *Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe,* published in 2021 about the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a cause of considerable controversy over what was going to happen with the royalties from its sale as I recall. Perhaps it is time to read it, see how it attempts to shape the historical record. It certainly won’t read the way it did when first released today.

    1. ambrit

      Don’t look that Gift Director in the mouth. Enjoy the cessation of relentless propaganda while it lasts.

  17. Roger Blakely

    That Tweet that Lambert posted from Eric Feigl-Ding tells me why I’m so laid-out today. I didn’t get hit with good old BA.5 in LAX on Monday. I got hit with BQ.1.

    I was wearing a well-fitting industrial respirator in the airport and on the airplane, and I wore chemical splash goggles when I visited the restroom. And I got whacked by BQ.1. What do you think it’s going to do to all of those people wearing nothing?

    1. Bsn

      I’ve lost respect for Feigl-Ding. He works for the WHO and is against treatments such as Vit. D & C, Ivm, and anything that’s not “approved”. He’s a shill that tries to sound concerned but is in reality, just another cog in the wheel.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        C’mon. Treatments are a matter of judgment and not all agree. Feigl-Ding isn’t an IVM supporter, so he’s a shill? Seems a little binary to me, the thinking here.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I didn’t get hit with good old BA.5 in LAX on Monday. I got hit with BQ.1.

      Here is the Covid sampling for LA wastewater (the dots on the CDC wastewater map are clickable):

      Of course, a serious country would have variant data for the wastewater for particular airports, at the very least major international airports. But the United States is not a serious country….

      And here is Los Angeles Country variant data from the pie charts below the national chart that I run. BQ.1* doubling quite nicely (though this is Nowcast data):

        1. hunkerdown

          I’ve always wondered why no toilet designer has placed an air intake inside the bowl to continuously draw odors and spray away from the room.

  18. Carolinian

    Re Wired and car alignment–my takeaway from that would be don’t buy an Audi. Surely lane centering is something that could easily be adjusted in firmware, not in the manner described.

    We make BMW’s around here and allegedly they are quite difficult and expensive to repair….the same for Teslas. Guess if you have to aske what it costs you can’t afford anyway.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      I’ve heard that an oil change for a Beemer can run $300. One person told me that replacing a cigarette lighter costs $150. Ay caromba!!!

  19. marym

    Some tweets and a detailed report from an AZ reporter:

    I filled out a web form for Clean Elections USA, the AZ drop box watchers accused of voter intimidation, expecting to get on an email list. Imagine my surprise when I was given access to a discussion board & nationwide contact list w/ 4500+ names/emails.

    Here’s what I found:

    It’s a fast-growing movement. Last week dozens were joining by day. In AZ, lots of discussion about watching the 2 drop boxes where voter intimidation complaints have come in.

    They organize by zip code. 48 states. 100+ in AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, NY, NC MI, OH, PA, TX and WA


    1. rowlf

      Office discussion is to troll the poll watchers.

      State “New week, new vote.”

      As I mentioned a few days ago after being overseas, the US electorate does not like the US government.

      1. marym

        I don’t understand the comment in this context. Harassing voters at the ballot box isn’t anti-government, it’s anti-rank and file fellow citizens.

        1. hunkerdown

          No, elections are a religious ceremony designed to “elect” a useless, parasitic noble class and make it seem righteous. No actual policy-making components are included, because that useless, parasitic noble class has defined their whole life around virtue-signalling and making up values that center themselves as valuable people.

          Anyone who votes FOR some imaginary thing called authority is voting against their fellow humans. Anyone who votes FOR a ruling class is voting against their fellow humans. The rank-and-file has no need for your management or for you to speak for them, thank you very much. When you and the other institution-fetishists have gotten yourselves and your hangups and your properties out of the process, there will be no childish mythical others to chase us down because you will have stopped imagining them into existence as team-building exercises.

          1. marym

            I am the rank and file, most people are, and harassment is harassment. When ordinary non-elite activists harass ordinary non-elite voters, teachers, abortion clinic patients, workers who ask them to wear a mask, etc. it’s rank-and-file vs rank-and-file and not conducive to whatever good you think will be possible when whoever gets all their whatever out of the process.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Imagine my surprise when I was given access to a discussion board & nationwide contact list w/ 4500+ names/emails

      The Democrats could make this numbers for a meme, or possibly a fundraiser, or something performative. But they can’t seem to generated committed activists on the ground (perhaps that’s what NGOs are for, though in that case into the ground would be more accurate).

      I don’t like the ideology and I don’t like harrassing election administrators. But you’ve got to admire the right’s commitment to the bit, their operational capability, and wonder why Democrats can’t do the same.

      Will anybody on the Democrat side show up to protect the ballot boxes from the gunhumpers? Doubtful. Bringing a totebag to a gunfight….

  20. truly

    Autosmile. Hmm. Somewhere recently I read an article about Toxic Positivity. What amazing site had that story up………..?

  21. The Rev Kev

    ‘This, 100%. China may be the worst version of Zero-COVID but it’s the only one we’ve got left since we’re the only one that can withstand pressure from the West. Aus and NZ proved Zero-COVID could be done democratically while respecting individual rights- so had to be stopped.’

    It did not escape my notice that Scotty from Marketing, aided and abetted by Gladys, started dropping all the restrictions and opening up the country shortly after he returned from the G-7 in Cornwall. Methinks that he got his marching orders about making countries in the rest of the collective west looking so bad.

  22. spud

    Lambert should like Uries latest.


    “For those who may have forgotten, Joe Biden was elected in 2020 to ‘restore’ humane and technically competent governance that would send the nefarious political forces then aligning in the US packing. In fact, the Biden administration has overseen one of the worst failures to govern in modern history. In 2021, Biden’s first year in office, half again more Americans (150%) died from Covid than had under Donald Trump. And an additional 500,000 ‘excess deaths’ brought the total to 1.1 million excess deaths in the US during Biden’s first year in office.”

    “These are end-of-empire numbers. And they represent an unfolding human and political tragedy. Had Donald Trump not produced the existing Covid vaccines under Operation Warp Speed, several million more Americans might have died from Biden’s ineptness. And whereas Republicans appear to see neoliberalism for the grift it is— insider self-dealing posed as adherence to immutable laws of nature, Liberals believe their own bullshit. Quickly, how many excess deaths has the US experienced since the ACA was implemented in 2015? Several million.”

  23. skippy

    Um … errr …

    Masked people with semi-automatic weapons and bullet proof vest overseeing the ballot box. In every other countries it’s call voter intimidation, but not in the USA.


    First Amendment? A semi-automatic weapon is now free speech?

    “The judge is a Trump appointee and a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization.”

    1. Michael Ismoe


      People go to the grocery store in Arizona carrying semi-automatic weapons. What’s your point?

      1. skippy

        The voting thingy and I grew up in AZ mid 60s/70s, this is not that place anymore and the attitude about guns has changed dramatically …

        Dobson Ranch was my old family playground before becoming a golf coarse and holidayed on Oak Creek Sedona at my grandfathers holiday home on the creek itself.

    2. ambrit

      In many countries, those gun toting, armoured people would be called something like ‘Federal Police.’
      Large parts of America are trending towards being “Wild West” now. Constitutional Carry is the law of the land in about a half of the States of the Union today. As you know, the ‘real’ Wild West was not quite so wild as that. Also, many of the fiercest power struggles were over which proto-oligarchs would end up controlling the natural resources upon which vast fortunes were based. Now, the Federal Government is akin to those old ‘natural resources’ and the oligarchs are again contending for power.
      As Frank Herbert remarked about his time on the set of the David Lynch version of ‘Dune,’ made in Mexico City; “…in at least some of the major cities, Mexican police are the criminal syndicate….”
      Stay safe and live the good life.

      1. skippy

        People open carried in AZ back in my youth and no one blinked an eye, but, it was not a political statement or ideological shout to everyone around them. Then they were all working rifles or pistols when out and about and not just to stroll around town with. Even the in some smaller towns people would come into the bar with them, but had to leave them on the rack at the front door.

        People read about the old west where I grew up with the actual cowboys, prospectors, and people that lived it from the late 1800s/early 1900s and have family history steeped in it from all around the 4 corners. Step sister still lives there and the family name well known in the state – deep networks. She is going up to Sedona for her B-day.

        This is more like Galt’s gulch theater …. glad I’m in Brisbane …

  24. Acacia

    So it’s film festival season and among the various new offerings I saw David O. Russell’s Amsterdam, which despite all the star power is perhaps not getting so much love due to its idiosyncratic approach to comedy. Nonetheless, it’s an anti-war film about the infamous Wall Street putsch of 1933, with Robert DeNiro as an aged General Smedley Butler. There’s also a fair bit of class analysis in this film, buried under standard Hollywood atmosphere.

    For a treatment of politics and politicians, though, the new film that really stands out is the Catalan director Albert Serra’s Pacifiction, about a High Commissioner in present-day French Polynesia:


    It’s also concerned with power and the threat of war, though this is really a serious work of cinema. Highly recommended.

  25. Michael Ismoe

    The Dems are toast. You know it’s bad when you get an email from Mark Kelly telling you how he ‘fights the Democratic Party to help all Arizonans” then the end is near.

    When your senator wants you to think he’s a Kristen Sinema Democrat, hilarity ensues.

  26. Lambert Strether Post author

    Suspect in assault at Pelosi home had posted about QAnon AP

    The alleged perp, David DePape, seems to have left quite a digital trail, from the story. This, however, stood out for me:

    David DePape was known in Berkeley as a pro-nudity activist who had picketed naked at protests against local ordinances requiring people to be clothed in public.

    Photographs published by The San Francisco Chronicle on Friday identified DePape frolicking nude outside city hall with dozens of others at the 2013 wedding of pro-nudity activist Gypsy Taub, who was marrying another man. Taub did not respond Friday to calls or emails.

    A 2013 article in The Chronicle described David DePape as a “hemp jewelry maker” who lived in a Victorian flat in Berkeley with Taub, who hosted a talk show on local public-access TV called “Uncensored 9/11,” in which she appeared naked and pushed conspiracy theories that the 2001 terrorist attacks were “an inside job.”

    DePape strikes me as a very odd figure. (We should also remember that cops always lie, and the initial story is never the final story.) As for the web sites, they’re digital evidence…

    Adding, how the heck did the guy get in?

    1. Pat

      How bad was Nancy’s security was my first thought. She is steps away from the Presidency and her residence isn’t secured? I don’t think so.

      1. caucus99percenter

        “Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

        “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

        “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

        “That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

      2. SocalJimObjects

        Putin helped him!!! Isn’t it obvious? It’s an act of revenge for the bridge as well as the Nordstream pipelines and most importantly the killing of Dugina.

        Writing fiction is fun.

      3. lambert strether

        Also, why a hammer? Seems am odd choice for an assassination attempt.

        Naturally, I wish Pelosi a full recovery, but it’s still odd.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          LA Times says officers found both struggling over a hammer when they arrived after a 911 call. They then go on to list every right-wing like thing they can come up with that he ever posted online. Couple of those seem to be pretty on the money, although the Times is short on details –


          This one says Pelosi made an excuse to leave the room and called 911 himself (are they sure he wasn’t just calling his broker?!?) – https://www.businessinsider.com/paul-pelosi-secretly-called-911-spoke-in-code-to-dispatcher-2022-10

          So it could be the hammer was Pelosi’s, he grabbed it after making the 911 call to defend himself, and the attacker struggled with him, took it from him and hit it with it before the cops could separate them. Possible the attacker didn’t have a weapon when they broke in.

          Given as you note that there is normally a bunch of security, it’s odd that this fellow was able to walk right in. Also odd that the 1/6 rioters were also able to mostly walk right in, some with the assistance of security. All very odd…

        2. tommy s.

          Actually, having lived in ‘dangerous’ parts of cities, including SF, since early 80’s, it’s not odd to see a mentally ill person walking around swinging a hammer. Or a crowbar.

  27. Bosko

    With respect to the lawsuit about fraud/low THC levels in cannabis, the THC content is no longer considered to be a good reflection of how ‘strong’ cannabis is. Go into a recreational cannabis store and tell them you want something with the highest levels of THC, the person behind the counter is going to give you an elaborate explanation of ‘terpenes’ and its similars. (This has happened to me three times… not because I wanted strong cannabis, though. Just because these guys seemingly like to talk about terpenes.) The current thinking is that the strength of the cannabis has to do with other factors, not THC percentage, and so ‘mids’ with sub-18% levels of THC can land you on your butt for a few hours.

    1. Jonathan King

      Not to mention that moral panic over high THC levels has led to nanny-state calls for mandating lower levels if growers and brands want to stay legal. The sin-tax mentality so destructive here in California takes many forms. God forbid people should learn to titrate their doses and make their own decisions.

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