2:00PM Water Cooler 10/7/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Black Solitaire, Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Lots of jungle noises, with an aria at the end.

* * *


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“Here’s food for thought, had Ahab time to think; but Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels” –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

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

Capitol Seizure

“How Influential Senate Democrats Shut Down a Bid to Call Witnesses Against Trump” [Politico]. The caption under the photo at the top tells the tale: “Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), as President Biden’s closest ally in the Senate, voiced out against bringing out witnesses to testify, worrying about the trial dragging out and hurting the new president.” • IOW, the headline is deceptive, as a close reading of the story shows. Coons was Biden’s straw.

Biden Administration

“White House says no change in nuclear posture after Biden ‘armageddon’ remark” [The Hill]. • So that’s alright, then.

“Biden Takes Welcome, but Very Limited Steps Towards Marijuana Legalization” [Reason]. “Yesterday, the White House announced two incremental steps towards loosening federal marijuana prohibition. President will pardon ‘all current United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who committed the offense of simple possession of marijuana in violation of the Controlled Substances Act.’ In addition, he has directed the Attorney General and the Department of Health and Human Services to study whether marijuana should be removed from the list of Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). If marijuana is removed from Schedule I (a decision which the CSA leaves to the executive), penalties for possession and distribution would be reduced. These are welcome steps. But, as Reason’s Jacob Sullum explains, they are very limited. According to the White House’s own data, there are currently zero inmates in federal prison incarcerated solely for marijuana possession. Some 6500 people have been convicted under federal marijuana possession charges over the last 30 years, plus a few thousand more in the District of Columbia (to which the president’s pardon power also extends). But nearly all of these people have either already been released, or are currently serving time on other charges, as well.” • Plus Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks.


* * *

“The most important voting bloc is still undecided” [Politico]. “There are 34 days to go until Election Day 2022, and the largest bloc of voters — and the largest bloc of swing voters — is undecided. Only 17 percent of women over 50 have decided whom they plan on voting for in this year’s midterm elections, according to a recent survey by AARP. This group can make or break elections: While women over 50 make up a quarter of the voting-age population, they made up 30 percent of those who showed up to vote in 2020. And 82 percent of these voters say they are very motivated to vote in November.” • Hmm.

“Democrats’ strategy to boost MAGA Republicans is vindicated” [MSNBC]. “Take, for example, Rep. Peter Meijer, who voted for the legislation and in January 2021 voted to impeach Trump. Earlier this year Democrats helped defeat him in a primary against MAGA (and Trump endorsed) Republican John Gibbs. So far, in baldly political terms, the Democrats’ strategic analysis that Gibbs would be easier to defeat appears to be correct. After the primary, the Cook Political Report shifted its rating of the race from ‘toss up’ to ‘lean Democratic.'” • This is the only national race MSNBC has got. Some vindication! An alternative theory, I suppose, is that Democrats are figuring which MAGA types they can do business with.. I mean, they’re certainly doing that with the Azovs. And others:

“Don’t worry. We can control them.”

GA: “Herschel Walker’s Abortion Story Has Become Incoherent” [New York Magazine]. “Five weeks out from Election Day, Herschel Walker and his campaign are learning the very basics of crisis communications, including rudimentary lessons like ‘when the pro-life Senate candidate in Georgia paid for a girlfriend’s abortion and his staffers know about the matter, it’s probably a good idea to have a game plan ready for when the story comes out.’ But since the Daily Beast reported that the former football star paid $700 for a girlfriend to terminate a pregnancy in 2009 — and sent a get-well card with his signature on it — the campaign has been scrambling to respond.”

PA: “Fetterman breaks fundraising record in latest quarter” [The Hill]. “Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman pulled in $22 million for his Senate bid over the last three months, doubling what he raised in the previous fundraising period. The haul — which came from 330,000 different donors, according to Fetterman’s campaign — marks the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee’s best fundraising quarter to date and brings his total cash haul to more than $48 million. Fetterman’s campaign said that the $22 million total is the most raised in a single quarter by a Senate candidate in Pennsylvania…. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, shifted the race into its toss-up column this week after previously rating it as ‘Lean Democrat.’ Despite early stumbles by Oz, the Trump-backed celebrity physician has refocused his campaign in recent weeks, relentlessly casting Fetterman as a far-left radical and raising questions about his health and fitness to serve in public office. The two men are set to meet on the debate stage on Oct. 25.” • That debate will be for all the marbles, unless Fetterman runs a brutally effective air war almost immediately. And Fetterman’s debate performance has not been good.


“On Trump’s last day in office, why were sensitive documents allegedly in such disarray?” [NBC]. “At the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, his team returned a large batch of classified FBI documents and other government records to the Justice Department in such disarray that a year later — in a letter to lawmakers — the department said it still couldn’t tell which of the documents were the classified ones. The documents came from the FBI’s controversial probe in 2016 looking at alleged links between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign. Trump tried to make the documents public the night before he left office, issuing a ‘declassification’ memo and secretly meeting with conservative writer John Solomon, who was allowed to review the documents, Solomon told ABC News this past week. But for reasons that are still not clear – and to the great frustration of Trump and his political allies – none of the documents were ever officially released, and the Justice Department said Thursday it’s still working to determine which documents can be disclosed.” • Supports my theory

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.

* * *

“Democrats’ swing-state local news ploy” [Axios]. “Writers for a D.C.-based media operation run by prominent Democratic operatives are behind a sprawling network of ostensible local media outlets churning out Democrat-aligned news content in midterm battleground states, Axios has learned. Behind the patina of independent local news, these sites are pumping out content designed to put a sheen of original reporting on partisan messaging. It’s an increasingly common tactic among political outfits looking to give their team a steady stream of positive content they can then use to boost their own electoral communications. A network of at least 51 locally branded news sites has popped up since last year under names like the Milwaukee Metro Times, the Mecklenburg Herald and the Tri-City Record. The sites are focused on key swing states with elections in 2021 and 2022: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Each follows a similar template: aggregated local news content and short write-ups about local sports teams and attractions — interspersed with heavily slanted political news aimed at boosting Democratic midterm candidates and attacking Republican opponents.” • Maggots infesting the corpse of the news business.

Republican Funhouse

“Michael Flynn’s ReAwaken roadshow recruits ‘Army of God” [Associated Press]. “BATAVIA, N.Y. (AP) — By the time the red, white and blue-colored microphone had been switched off, the crowd of 3,000 had listened to hours of invective and grievance. ‘We’re under warfare,’ one speaker told them. Another said she would ‘take a bullet for my nation,’ while a third insisted, ‘They hate you because they hate Jesus.’ Attendees were told now is the time to ‘put on the whole armor of God.’ Then retired three-star Army general Michael Flynn, the tour’s biggest draw, invited people to be baptized. Scores of people walked out of the speakers’ tent to three large metal tubs filled with water. While praise music played in the background, one conference-goer after another stepped in. Pastors then lowered them under the surface, welcoming them into their movement in the name of Jesus Christ. One woman wore a T-shirt that read ‘Army of God.’ Flynn warned the crowd that they were in the midst of a ‘spiritual war’ and a ‘political war’ and urged people to get involved. ReAwaken America was launched by Flynn, a former White House national security adviser, and Oklahoma entrepreneur Clay Clark a few months after the Jan. 6 insurrection [sic] at the U.S. Capitol failed to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Attendees and speakers still insist — against all evidence and dozens of court rulings — that Donald Trump rightfully won…. In the version of America laid out at the ReAwaken tour, Christianity should be at the center of American life and institutions. Instead, it’s under attack, and attendees need to fight to restore the nation’s Christian roots. It’s a message repeated over and over at ReAwaken — one that upends the constitutional ideal of a pluralist democracy. But it’s a message that is taking hold.” • Frankly, I don’t trust the national press, even the staid AP, to get this right. because I don’t think they undertstand the population, When the Trillbillies, who do, get around to this, I’ll listen to them. Meanwhile, we had the same fervor with Bush. It turned out the Christianist factions that supported him didn’t have the skills to govern; as it turns out, Liberty University isn’t Harvard.

Realignment and Legitimacy

A lot of strategist’s kids are gonna have to go to state schools:


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

The net result is that the best early warning system for an oncoming surge will be wastewater, which has (a) spotty national coverage and (b) is routed through CDC with no check. That’s really a recipe for tragedy, especially when we consider that the only system that CDC explicitly built for early warning was the horrid “community levels” (“the green map”).

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

* * *

• Maskstravaganza: “I Won’t Be Tossing My Mask Any Time Soon” [MedPage Today]. “I have lost count of the number of personal exposures to contagious, pre-symptomatic patients I have withstood without becoming infected, thanks to simple surgical masks. The negative aspects of masks as a barrier are simultaneously apparent in my work and in my life. As physicians, we are struggling to appear empathic and kind with only the top halves of our faces while breaking bad news. … We are all eager to ditch the masks, but I won’t be tossing my mask away completely any time soon. I am not comfortable making the same decisions for my patients that I would make for myself. They don’t have a choice about being ill enough to require hospital admission, dialysis, or infusion therapy — and they are at our mercy for care. Just as we dutifully perform ‘time outs’ before procedures, and use maximal barrier precautions when placing central lines, I would encourage us to continue masking when caring for patients, at least for the time being. I will be, and will continue to work on, smiling with my eyes.” • This article accepts the validity of CDC’s “community levels” metric; an editor should have caught that.

* * *

• ”Southwest CEO tests positive for COVID-19 after Senate hearing – airline” [Reuters]. “[CEO Gary] Kelly did not wear a mask during the hearing and questioned the health benefit of masks on airplanes. ‘I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much if anything in the air cabin environment — it’s very safe, very high quality compared to any other indoor setting,’ Kelly said. Late Friday, Southwest released an email Kelly sent to employees that sought to clarify his comments, saying the airline supports the current federal mask mandate at airports and on airplanes: ‘There is no effort underway to change it before it expires … The majority of our Employees and Customers have felt it has been an important layer of protection, and I certainly agree with that.'” • That’s a damn shame. Always entertaining to see karma operate in near-real time. Kelly is, of course, full of it:

• ”Yes, airline ventilation policies vary from carrier to carrier” [WUSA9]. “Is the air ventilation system turned on when airline passengers are boarding and disembarking? There are no federal rules and it varies from carrier to carrier.” • You’d think the online airline ticket sites would be adding this information.

Case Count

Case count for the United States:

The last case count chart. I have added a black “Fauci Line.” If we’re lucky, that’s the new normal. Just like the Great Financial Crash: They got away with it, didn’t they? Only Biden can adopt eugenics.

• “So long, Omicron: White House eyes next phase of pandemic” [Politico]. From Feburary, still germane: “Emboldened by falling case counts, the Biden administration is plotting a new phase of the pandemic response aimed at containing the coronavirus and conditioning Americans to live with it.”

• “Q&A: Is the pandemic over?” [KPBS]. After Biden declared: “the pandemic is over.” “Is the pandemic over? [Eric] Topol: Unfortunately, it isn’t. We’re going to see more of what we have been seeing. There’s some very troublesome variants out there that have more immune evasion than the BA.5 that we had to contend with through the summer. We’re already seeing a significant uptick in the European Union. And you mentioned that things are coming down in the U.S. overall and certainly in San Diego, but unfortunately, we’re already seeing an upswing in cases in the Northeast, and as you know, we don’t track cases that well. So there’s a lot of disturbing things out there that tell us, I think, pretty well that while the weeks ahead look okay, we’re in for some more trouble in the next couple, few months.” • Well worth reading in full.


Wastewater data (CDC), October 3:

For grins, October 2:

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

Lambert here: This seems to have stalled.

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


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


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


Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission. (This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you.)

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

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


Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. I looked for more charts: California doesn’t to a BA.4/BA.5 breakdown. New York does but it, too, is on a molasses-like two-week cycle. Does nobody in the public health establishment get a promotion for tracking variants? Are there no grants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everybody gets the results from them? Additional sources from readers welcome [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk].

Variant data, national (Walgreens), September 24:

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

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


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,087,350 – 1,086,685 = 665 (665 * 365 = 242,725, which is today’s LivingWith™* number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. Fluctuates quite a bit, but even the low numbers are bad). I have added an anti-triumphalist black Fauci Line. NOTE I may need to configure this as well. But I have reconfigured enough for one day.

It’s nice that for deaths I have a simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Unemployment Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The US unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in September 2022, matching July’s 29-month low and remaining below market expectations of 3.7 percent, in another sign overall labor market conditions in the world’s largest economy remain tight.” • I guess Powell’s gotta tighten the thumbscrews some more….

Inventories: “United States Wholesale Inventories” [Trading Economics]. “Wholesale inventories in the US advanced by 1.3 percent from a month earlier to $912.6 billion in August of 2022, matching an initial estimate and after a 0.6 percent increase in the previous month. It was the 25th consecutive month of growth in inventories.”

* * *

The Bezzle: “Twitter, Elon Musk Trial Postponed as Deal Talks Stall” [Wall Street Journal]. “The surprise ruling, granting a request by Mr. Musk, effectively ends negotiations for a settlement that would allow the parties to quickly close the deal. Mr. Musk now has until Oct. 28 to do so. Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick said if the deal doesn’t close by that date, the parties should contact her to schedule a November trial. She had previously denied attempts by Mr. Musk to delay the trial and had fast-tracked it at Twitter’s request.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 32 Fear (previous close: 30 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 14 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 6 at 12:59 PM EDT.

The 420

Given Mucha’s record (he invented the concept of the Platinum Coin) I think this is a real proposal, not a modest one:


Humanity’s Best Friend

“What Do Dogs Know About Us?” [The Atlantic]. “It feels as if she has come to a different level of awareness of us. She is seeing us; she is minding us. With this she has developed a knowing look. Picking up a peanut-butter-jar lid from the floor, she gently mouths it and carries it over to a dog bed, the prey captured and brought back to her den. And then she looks directly at me as she begins to gnaw it. Outside she picks up a perfect maple leaf by the stem and lightly pads away inside with it, glancing backward until she is out of our view. Another day she hurries into my son’s room, then saunters out carrying his sock, lazily mouthing it, looking right at me. There is a real understanding going on there, between my seeing her and her seeing me see her (and now my seeing her see me see her).” • This whole article reminded me of why I prefer cats. Sorry, dog people!

Our Famously Free Press

Once you become an opinion-haver, you can have opinions on whatever you like:

Odd to see the nimble Slavitt cash in his health care expertise to become an expert on war. Maybe he’s angling for the Times Op-Ed page, which could use a man of his talents.

Guillotine Watch

“Peloton’s CEO doesn’t understand why people aren’t happier he laid off 500 people” [The Verge]. Following a WSJ story. “In a memo obtained by The Verge, [CEO Barry] McCarthy wrote: ‘We were expecting a story about redemption and the successful turnaround of Peloton, which is why we invested time on background briefing them on the state of our turnaround. The headline should have been that recent strong execution and today’s restructuring have positioned us to meet our fiscal year-end goal of break-even cash flow, with a renewed focus on accelerating our growth, which is why I’ve never felt more optimistic about our future. Would I say this if it weren’t true? Not a chance.” • Oh, right.

Class Warfare

A long thread on wholesale restaurant food distributor Sysco from Moe Tkacik:

News of the Wired

“Why Dates and Times Seem to Lose Their Meaning” [Wall Street Journal]. “The dates on the calendar and the time on a clock are some of the most ubiquitous and easily understood numbers in our lives. And yet over the past two years, many Americans have felt time blur: They lose track of the day or hour, think more (or less) time has elapsed than actually has, and can’t place exactly when a traumatic event actually happened. It isn’t their imagination. Psychology has a term for it: ‘temporal disintegration’—when the present seems disconnected from the continuity of time—and it plays an important role in how we perceive and respond to trauma…. It’s normal to be focused on the present to the exclusion of the past and future. But if you frequently don’t know what day of the week it is or can’t recall if something important in your life happened a day, a month or a year ago, or feel like the past and future have disappeared, then a more serious time warp might be at work.” • Handy chart:

I’m not sure living in the present is such a bad thing. I think there is something going on here, but the article reads like “urgency of normal” propaganda, to me.

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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: “I believe this one is called French Lavender. I spotted it in our wanderings on Naples Island in Long Beach (CA), and mostly took the picture to see what kind of Lavender Apple thinks it is (my iPhone 11 seems to have an app I didn’t ask for that identifies plants . . . sometimes).”

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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. John

        Since there has been no threat to use nuclear weapons by Russia, should one be used I shall be quite certain it is a false flag. The monumental stupidity and mendacity that characterizes official in DC would be beyond belief were it not so painfully real. The administration is terrifyingly inept.

    1. Old Sarum

      Pucker up Pedro:

      I keep my ass in with the other equines. Given that the balloon could go up at any moment it seems that to comply with the instructions I am sleeping in the stable now. Was that song “Away In A Manger” really about nuclear war? I never did follow the words.

      Pip pip!

  1. Samuel Conner

    > new phase of the pandemic response aimed at containing the coronavirus and conditioning Americans to live with it.

    should that be

    “… aimed at containing [public concerns about] the coronavirus …”


    I don’t see how one would “condition people to live with it” without addressing their concerns in some way. I suppose that ‘anesthetizing’ the concerns is a way of ‘addressing’ them.


    re: ‘pandemic time’, it feels to me like it has been decades since the pandemic started. The Pre-pandemic world looks sort of like the period before the First Age of Middle Earth, viewed from the perspective of a hobbit at the beginning of the Fourth Age. A dimly perceived lost semi-paradise that can never be recovered.

    1. ThirtyOne

      Hey neighbor let me give you some advice
      The Russians are about to pulverize us
      In our sleep tonight
      That is if the crazy Arabs
      Or the riots don’t get us first
      And the fire will rain down from the sky
      The fire will rain down from the sky
      People will die–People will die
      People will die–People will die
      But go ahead sleep tight in your beds
      Remember what the wise man said
      There’s nothing to fear nothing to fear
      There’s nothing to fear nothing to fear
      There’s nothing to fear (but fear itself)
      There’s nothing to fear (but fear itself)

      Oingo Boingo, Nothing to Fear

  2. Tom Pfotzer

    Observations from visiting Seattle WA container port last weekend

    Over the past year, container traffic bottlenecks have loomed large in the “what caused inflation” discussion.

    This past weekend I was in Seattle, and had a few spare moments to visit Seattle’s container port. I was able to walk along the road that runs beside the wharves. I spoke with Coast Guard, container storage-lot, and (adjacent) ferry operations personnel.

    If you follow this link, you’ll see an aerial view of the dockyard, along with icons denoting the ships at the dock. Count how many there are.


    Here’s what I learned:

    The port can simultaneously handle about eight ships (my visual estimate based on dock length and number of cranes). Only one ship was at-dock.

    There were two other container ships anchored within sight offshore.

    There was no activity at the wharves. Monday through Friday operations only at this time.

    Empty containers are being collected at dock-side. There are tens of thousands of them, arriving at a rate of about a thousand per day.

    There is a 1000+ person waiting list to become a longshoreman. The jobs pay in excess of $100K. There is no shortage of willing workers.

    The longshoremen are union workers. The union hall (admin office and training facility) is dock-side.

    Traffic at the port is expected to increase rapidly as the holiday season approaches

    The port’s road infrastructure is not designed to efficiently move traffic off the major highways and into / out of the port. Roadways cross at-grade, and non-port-related commute/commerce traffic directly impedes port traffic.

    BNSF’s railroad container terminal is located right beside the wharves. It is divided from the wharves by a two-lane road. The rail yard was active on Saturday.

    From those observations I infer that:

    a. there isn’t a labor shortage that’s impeding traffic
    b. there is currently plenty of excess ship-loading capacity
    c. there are plenty of empty containers ready to go to Asia
    d. the port’s major throughput bottleneck appears to be poor highway design

    I posted this material over at MoA earlier today. A poster named Planner had this to say:

    I plan container ships out of Tacoma and Vancouver (but not T18/Seattle lately) — import and export volumes are both starting to drop noticeably, and my last ship in from Asia was conspicuously not full. Unclear what it means in the long term though.

    After reading his post, I further wondered why the empty containers are accumulating dockside. Would it not be better to move them to Asia now? It takes 2-4 weeks one-way between U.S. and China. If they left right now and had immediate turnaround at the Asian docks, they’d get back just in time for the holidays.

    I also wondered about the paucity of ships awaiting unload. Remember the images of all those ships awaiting unload in the Los Angeles port’s off-shore anchoring slots last year around this time?

    1. Tom Pfotzer

      Got some more feedback from the poster named Planner. Cross-posted from comments @ MoA:

      Hi Tom, ships are still nearly full, just not quite stuffed to the gills like we’re used to seeing — we’re not talking empty bays, just piles on deck that aren’t stacked quite as high as is possible. I should mention as backdrop that the industry has been making gigantic windfall profits for the past 2+ years, based on both robust volume and very high rates the sales folks were able to charge. Over the past few months the rates have been dropping, and I understand they’re now about back to “normal.” As the whole situation was unique and unprecedented, AFAICT nobody within the company really has any idea whether they will continue to plunge. I don’t deal with the financials at all though, I just occasionally see the data presented in meetings. FWIW the heads of our division did advise we’d see things softening a bit in the coming months, and that was just based on their analysis of our fundamentals and not due to any expectation of economic downturn. I have no insight into the production side though, just pointing out what I see downstream.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      WalMart used to have a rule that their Xmas shopping merchandise had to be in-hand by Oct 31st in order to make the promotions rotation.

      1. wilroncanada

        Michael Ismoe
        I worked next door to an importer of Christmas decorations back in 1968. They received and shipped all of their product in July and August, all ordered by the previous February.

    3. Lost in OR

      In my pre-pandemic position as a manufacturers rep I had the pleasure of periodically winding my way through the Seattle port area. From my memory…
      Online maps (google, apple, whatever) do not help. Streets will cross, wind, split, merge, terminate without warning. Adjoining, opposing, merging traffic take no prisoners. Dog help you.
      Be as one with the homeless. They are everywhere. Whole alleys, avenues, streets, lots, all lined RVs, tents, and every other possible residential configuration. With the associated detritus.
      I would recommend an altered state of mind. I just don’t know which alteration to recommend.
      Kind of like a trip through P-town, Key West, or a Greatful Dead concert… without the love. It’s a trip.

  3. Eureka Springs

    About twenty years ago returning from a long road trip I stopped at a motel for a few hours shuteye near Dardanelle, Arkansas, along the Arkansas River. There was a nuclear power plant within 5 miles of me and I noticed a booklet in the room provided by the power company – Emergency Instructions – Arkansas Nuclear One. I still have it. The people who wrote it must now by the publishers of the onion. I left in places like my coffee table for years. People would get a lot of laughs out of it. Basically it says, Leave, just leave, don’t take your pets and if your kids are in school don’t try to pick them up. Or seal yourself inside a house, listen to the radio for news. Clean water will be an impossibility. If you farm, say goodbye to all livestock, all pasture and ponds.

    There is no plan. And when it happens the contaminated river flowing through most of AR, meeting the Mississippi, flowing down through LA into the Gulf. I don’t know? I’ve wondered about those rivers below Chernobyl, do people eat fish or water crops, drink from those waters now?

  4. Michael Hudson

    What are the Undecideds undecided ABOUT? I think it’s about which party they’re going to vote AGAINST — which is worst, as none have anything positive to offer.
    But in the end, why really vote in that case? Nobody has said what a difference it will make.

    1. Ranger Rick

      It depends on what they mean by undecided. In previous elections the “low information voter” was touted as a large proportion of those with no political preference; they are thus assumed to be undecided because they aren’t aware of (better put: not reached by advertising about) the issues that they’re being asked to decide. In terms of candidates for office, many of them continue to “evolve” their positions up to election day, so it’s really a shot in the dark if you pick based on something said on the campaign trail months ago.

    2. nippersmom

      This woman over fifty, when polled, indicated she was undecided whether it was worth the trouble to go to the polls, since there are no candidates worth voting for. Whether I vote or not will depend on whether there are any referenda or ballot initiatives I want to weigh in on.

      1. ChiGal

        agree, same demo and will go to vote on workers’ rights constitutional amendment in IL. if I have the opportunity to vote for any socialists I will (there are some in the city council but I don’t think from my ward) but otherwise will leave much unmarked.

        those ballots, where they see that someone took the trouble to vote down ticket as it were but didn’t vote for representative, senator, or prez come 2024, have a name I don’t recall–maybe undervotes?–but they are counted as an indication of disaffection rather than apathy. probably worth doing wherever you are…

        1. Carla

          Over here in Ohio, the state Supreme Court race is pretty important this term. One sitting Democrat is running for Chief Justice (and will keep her current seat if not elected to that position). If one of the two other Democrats running wins a seat, the Dems will hold a majority position on the Ohio Supreme Court at a pivotal time, with abortion and redistricting cases likely to come before them. All three Dem candidates are impressive, well-qualified women. I consider these to be the compelling state-wide races.

          Tim Ryan for Senate? Hold my nose and vote for him — he’s surely better than Republican J.D. Vance, but that’s about as enthusiastic as I can get.

      2. flora

        Yes. Voting in the general for the local city and county candidates, school board candidates, state house, gov candidates, and ballot initiatives is what I’m focused on.

    3. Pat

      In my case I cannot decide who to write in. Do I write in the person who I wish would get the job or do I write in someone who makes clear how big a bad sick joke I believe the two main candidates being in Congress is for the people of my district.

      There is always the chance that Others may be hoping to find a redeeming feature in one of their choices. Some people are Pollyannas.

      Decisions decisions…

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I remain fascinated by ‘No’ the vote that ousted Pinochet in Chile. There is nothing comparable available to u.s voters but even so, I can dream. I intend to vote such that my vote is counted. In most states, I believe that means voting for someone who qualified as a candidate for office — some office — although Senate or Congress is the minimum level I would risk. In most states there is someone who qualified to run for Senate or Congress I could vote for without risk that my vote might turn out like that of a protest vote for a certain German party of the last century. I am not sure whether ballots are counted unless there is at least one vote for a ‘consequential’ office.

      [It would be very nice to have a national NONE of the ABOVE party I could vote for.]

      The problem I see is that no matter how anyone or everyone votes — the ‘official’ vote will be different and select for whatever candidate the ascendant elements of our ‘elite’ have already selected to appear to rule.

    5. LilD

      We seem to have consensus that the Democrats deserve punishment but republicans do not deserve to be rewarded
      “Bully from the red team and a zombie from the blues,
      even if we flip a coin, either way we lose…”

  5. Michael

    “Maybe you’ve heard Sysco @Teamsters are on strike in 3 cities. But unless you work in a commercial kitchen, you probably don’t know what Sysco even is…”

    Read this phenomenal description of it years ago :-)

    “If a restaurant advertises on national TV, it is a fast food terminal. It’s feedstock will come from central warehouses and will most likely contain factory farm pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified ingredients, plus lots of preservatives, otherwise it couldn’t last on the warehouse shelves, semitrucks in the summer sun and then appear salable at its end distribution point. “


    1. semper loquitur

      When I worked in food, we called them “Cyst-co”. Except for the most basic foodstuffs, which are garbage-adjacent, their products are garbage. When you see a restaurant has Sysco soups in the pantry you know the place is a dump.

    2. Randy

      This relates to the link yesterday? about the prevalence of chain restaurants in certain states. In my state we have less chains but I see Sysco trucks and Reinhart(Sysco competitor) trucks parked outside all the mom and pop restaurants.

      In the past mom and pops were diverse in menu and quality of their food. Now they are mostly alike because they all are supplied by the likes of Sysco. There are probably 100 different restaurants available for my patronage in my immediate area but I will only eat at three. It doesn’t matter if the restaurant is a chain outfit, corporations like Sysco make them all a chain. In the past I went to a restaurant for excellent food. Now the only reasons to patronize a restaurant are not having to cook and not having to do dishes. I have had to learn how to make everything I used to go out to eat.

      It doesn’t matter if the food comes from the Applebees truck or the Red Lobster truck or the Sysco truck, it’s all the same, it’s all heat and eat crap off the truck.. You can do better and cheaper at home.

      1. Deborah2

        Amen! This was one of the few positives of the pandemic shutdowns, people were forced to have to cook at home. Some probably excelled at it, most learned a useful skill, a few died of food poisoning…

        One way to tell the quality of a restaurant is to go behind it and look in the recyling/garbage bins. When you see lots of five and ten pound cans from Sysco and or large square five gallon white oil containers, run don’t walk. Also, look at the cardboard boxes. Any food coming from China, never go back and warn your friends and neighbors to boycott the place for their health.

        Large amounts of vegetable trimmings and small cans or jars for sardines or relishes, that’s OK. No establishment can make everything from scratch.

        1. bonks

          Any food coming from China, never go back and warn your friends and neighbors to boycott the place for their health.

          Yet 1.4 billion people are alive eating Chinese food products and healthier than the average American.

  6. curlydan

    “Still no sign of BA.2.75 at Walgreens”

    Look again, buried in there (no pun intended) BA.2.75.2 is now clocking in at 0.55%

    So we can track its progress as it starts to get COLD

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I will fix this. This is interesting because BA.2.75.2 is said to be more contagious than BA.2.75.

      Experts will correct me if I am wrong, but I had thought of these lineage (?) numbering systems as rather like a Dewey Decimal system, i.e. BA.2.75.2 is a subtype of BA.2.75, so to track the less general number is to track the more specific. However, I believe this is wrong: The numbering is based on molecular characteristics, which may have different results medically.

      1. j

        BA.2.75.2 is a “child of” BA.2.75.

        Each generation adds a decimal and digit.

        They chop them off after a while, and
        increment the letter in front:

        BN.1 is BA. is B1.1.529.

        Versions starting with a X are a recombinant,
        and have two parents (who may or may not
        have actually loved each other very much).
        Or at least that what it looks like to me.
        I never researched the naming conventions,
        and I’m an Engineer, not a Doctor!

        It does seem like in a lot of communication,
        BA.5 is used as shorthand for BA.5 and its
        close descendants.


      2. ChiGal

        I did click through as you suggested and what I am curious if anyone has a fancy explanation for is that the test positivity is lowest (the lower the better, right?) for the unvaccinated and those vaccinated within the past three months. this is pretty consistent across age groups.

        So people who got vaxed a year or even six months ago have higher test positivity rates than the unvaxed. Is there something about % of people in each category who get tested that would account for this? Otherwise it seems that if you didn’t get vaxed within the past three months you are more at risk than the unvaxed, possibly due to risker behavior (which seems unlikely to me but what do I know)?

        1. Mikel

          They should ask the unvaxed about their mask use. That may be the preventative measure of choice among a good number of them?
          Who’s keeping track?
          Did they ask any of those testing positive about mask use?

        2. Paua Fritter

          People who’ve never been vaccinated are more likely to have had prior infections than people who’ve been vaccinated, so they will have acquired some immunity that way.

  7. antidlc

    RE: Ventilation

    Sorry, I had hoped to have more info by now, but unfortunately, life intervened and I had some stuff to take care of.

    I submitted requests to the local school district and the community college for documentation regarding their applications for funds for ventilation through the American Rescue Plan.

    Geesh. What a learning experience this has been.

    I submitted the same request to the school district and the community college. The school district was very forthcoming. They even provided more info than I asked for. The school district did not request ARP funds for ventilation, they focused on funds for student learning recovery. However, they did request funds for portable filters through some other grant money that became available. (I am trying to find the source for this funding, but I don’t think it was the American Rescue Plan.) The school district had to request funding from the state education agency and evidently, have not been successful (yet) in obtaining funds for ventilation. I have some more requests to submit to try to find out exactly what is going on here, but it looks like they have been trying for months to get ventilation funding. I am not sure what the holdup is.

    I sent virtually the SAME REQUEST to the community college — just changed the name from the school district to the community college. I got back a request for clarification because they are not required “to prepare answers to questions or to do legal research.”

    I had to re-submit the request asking for specific documents. I guess the 10-day timer starts over???

    Just wanted to give an update.

    1. nippersmom

      As someone who works for a public university, I find it astonishing that the community college (assuming it is also a pubic institution) thinks they are “not required to prepare answers to questions or to do legal research”. Have they never heard of the FOIA? Thye are opening themselves up for a lawsuit, as well as some very bad PR, by refusing to comply with/reasonably respond to your request.

      1. antidlc

        They referenced the state Public Information Act and claimed “Public Information Act does not require a governmental body to prepare answers to questions or to do legal research.”

        The whole thing is rather odd because the school district didn’t have any problem with my requests.

        Perhaps a delay tactic? Or they just don’t want to be bothered? Dunno.

        I will keep asking.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Just wanted to give an update.

      Thank you. You can always visit the people who deny your request, and bring a videographer. We did that on the dump with some success heh heh.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I greatly admire your initiative. … I wish I might replicate it. I have no excuse except for laziness, lack of initiative, and other undesirable personal traits I prefer [fear] to enumerate. PLEASE continue your efforts and provide updates and — though I am not robust to withstand condemnations — please provide commentary-cudgeling to correct the failings of others who share your concerns, as I do. The CDC and FDA are MIA … responsible and caring citizens must step-up and step-in to fill the void.

      1. antidlc

        I know some teachers and I just want to try to keep them, the students, and the staff safe.

        I am tired of the sickness, the hospitalizations, and the deaths.

  8. Ghost in the Machine

    Is it possible that you could have high co2 but low virus on planes because some of the air is recirculated when it goes through filters? Filters won’t get co2 but will help with virus.

    1. chris

      Not as far as I understand it. The claims made by many airline PR spox during the pandemic were that the air in the cabin would be replaced every 3 minutes for most of the jets in their domestic service fleet. That’s 20 air changes per hour (ACH). If you’re in a space with 20 ACH and you’re bringing in fresh air to replace that volume every 3 minutes then it is highly unlikely you’ll maintain high levels of CO2 from passengers in the cabin.

  9. semper loquitur

    re: Flynn’s Army of Gog

    I caught a short video featuring conservative Catholic commentator Matt Walsh today. He was hosting a rally/talk which featured a woman who identified herself as the mom who had taken on her son’s school board to rid the library of pornography. There was a time I would have dismissed this as nuttery but these days I can believe it.

    The woman asked Matt, more or less, if all this is bigger than they are. Matt replied that it is for sure but to remember that “God is on our side.” to loud applause. Good times.

    I correctly called the McCloskey husband running for a Senate office. I’m placing my chips down Walsh will as well. He’s very bright, well spoken, and doesn’t appear at all fanatical. He is bringing the fight to the enemy. People are noticing.

  10. t

    urgency of normal – no doubt. People are terrible at this generally which is why calendars and clocks are so successful.

    Dogs are often better at telling time and knowing the day of the week than people.

  11. notabanker

    I motion the Our Famously Free Press be officially re titled to:

    Once you become an opinion-haver, you can have opinions on whatever you like.


  12. Jason Boxman

    Topol: Well, those are some really essential points that have been made. I think the long COVID, which has still not really been unraveled, with no treatment, no biomarker, is completely different than what we see with influenza, of course.

    And what is the good part comparing flu and COVID is that we’ve done so much better against this virus, you lose perspective. There’s never been a vaccine against flu that’s 95% effective against infections, hospitalizations and deaths as it was all the way through the delta variant. It’s only when omicron came where we started to see the problems with infections and transmission not being checked by the vaccines.

    We never had a pill like Paxlovid. The best we’ve had with flu has been Tamiflu. That doesn’t work that well. This is a virus that we can triumph over.

    Isn’t this oversold? We know about problems with transmission as early as Delta with regards to vaccination, and should have adopted the precautionary principle regardless. And unless it has changed, Paxlovid has a ton of contraindications that most apply to those that most need it!

    Sure, this is more than we might have for the flu to date, but it’s middling at best.

  13. dougie

    I have often wondered why the lack of puppy love here at NC? I don’t understand cats, or cat people’s fascination with them. A cat can never provide you with “puppy breath”, which I find wonderful. The dismissive, condescending attitude of many, if not most, cat people towards dog owners can be downright insulting. But then, so can my introductions of them to fellow dog owners.

    If this appears to be a rather value free post, I agree! If I had a point, it would be to bestow high praise and honor upon the writers at NC, because I have learned to trust them with about 95% of the information I allow into my world. Cat people. I have learned to trust cat people. What is this world coming to?

    Would it kill you to post some doggo pics upon occasion?

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Puppy-love? I would like to introduce you to my sister’s three dogs — no longer puppies. Badly behaved cats typically have the grace to disappear. Badly behaved dogs are much more vociferous and ‘demonstrative’ in unpleasant ways. Ever wonder why cats are better tolerated than dogs as pets for apartments? Where I live my landlord would tolerate neither pet. If I were looking for a place where some pet were tolerated cats tend to win in that contest — wonder why. Our gracious host is an avowed cat-lady. Between cats and dogs, I find it much easier to visit people with cats.

      I keep neither animal. I am doing my best to take care of myself without adding the responsibilities and costs of cats or dogs. Between the two, cats are somewhat less expensive. Given a choice I prefer cats because they can generally take me or leave me. Dogs are much more demanding.

      When I can give what a dog needs, I definitely prefer the love from a dog over the nonchalance of a cat. I also would wait until I could give a dog the space and freedom they truly need in addition to the mutual love. In such situation I would probably get a cat also. I am very fond of both animals.

      1. Eureka Springs

        The problem with most dogs is their owners. Their inability and or unwillingness to train a dog. Far to often a dog is seemingly a substitute for an unruly two year old child.

        That said, my cat Jack (of Hearts, from Lily Rosemary and The Jack of Hearts) brought a screech owl in the house night before last. Nice evening, I left the back door open past dark thirty. Took a lively hour to catch it and release. Nothing quite like an an owl eye level in your bedroom looking you straight in the eye, flying straight at you, screeching.

        1. nippersdad

          “The problem with most dogs is their owners. Their inability and or unwillingness to train a dog.”

          Truer words. My Wife and I have never been on the same wavelength wrt the dogs. I line ’em up and only let them eat when the word is given, she lets them eat the furniture. The one bit of luck we have had over the years is that we have had so many willing and able to train each other in a kind of baton passing relay race.

          “Look out for the guy, beg treats from the woman, don’t bother the cats.”

          Forty dogs later, somehow it has all worked out. The cats, on the other hand, have always been problematic. They really do dance to their own tunes.

            1. nippersdad

              A bit of an exaggeration, but, Lordie, does it feel like we have had a lot of dogs! We have had twenty two dogs that we kept, and five or so more that we found good homes for. Of the fifty cats it feels like we have had, we have actually had twelve indoor cats with various other outside ones; nine more outside right now.

              Miss Nippy was just one of our favorite dogs.

              This is a fairly rural area which used to have a lot of stray dogs. Now it is feral cat colonies. We are trying to get our particular colony under control right now. Anyone in need of a cat in the West Georgia area should know that we have a very good selection of nigh on perfect kittens that need good homes………

              Some of them really are pretty great; no exaggeration there……….Angela Davis (who we now find is a male) and Fred Hampton (who we now know is a female) are eager to seize your means of (cat food) production as we speak.

              I have never seen feral kittens try to charge the door before, and it is adorable.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Would it kill you to post some doggo pics upon occasion?

      Yves and I both posted multiple photos of dogs in orange hunting vests this week; readers sent them in.

      I have, on occasion, searched the Twitter for dog Antidotes. There are some problems. First, the results are dominated by abuse or shelter photos. Those just aren’t suitable. Second, the residue is mostly insufferably cute. I use more Antidotes of wolves and coyotes than dogs, because they are out in the wild being themselves, as opposed to being whatever the photographer wants them to be. I do occasionally check the “We Rate Dogs” site (“14/10”). Perhaps I should check it more often.

  14. Roger Blakely

    Dr. John Campbell and Dr. Tim Spector are talking about some modeling that indicates that the current surge in the UK will recede in November. I’m not buying it. I see no reason to think that December and January will be just as bad as every other December and January.

  15. .Tom

    > This whole article reminded me of why I prefer cats. Sorry, dog people.

    Unfair to blame dogs for Alexandra Horowitz. I read her book and hated it. Wrong-headed, narrow, self-important and condescending.

    I spent the afternoon at the animal shelter looking after dogs and they are full of cool ideas and tricks that I doubt Horowitz would even notice.

    1. Hepativore

      I still have my cat, but unfortunately, I do not have a dog anymore as he got untreatable cancer, and the apartment complex where I live now does not allow dogs over thirty pounds.

      I like big dogs, and my dog was a big fluffy creature at 85 pounds. I think he was some sort of lab/Australian shepherd mix. Anyway, There was something to be said about how he was basically a living teddy bear, as he was always present in the room next to your feet or sitting next to you on the sofa as he was always happy to give you company and had all sorts of ways for when to tell dinner was almost done.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Unfair to blame dogs for Alexandra Horowitz

      I really didn’t like the article. It was pretty fact-free. I felt I should run it as compensation for having run a similar article about cats.

  16. Wukchumni

    Plus Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks.
    The good news if you ever get the moolah is that it’ll buy you 1/4 pound, and aside from new tv sets, it might be the only consumer item that has deflated.

  17. kareninca

    I am obsessed with the question of whether being infected with covid causes behavior changes. I know about ten people who have had covid. Not a single one has thereafter tried to avoid catching it again. In fact, they have all given up all caution. This is true even of a relative of mine who nearly died of it.

    Next week my 79 y.o. mother (who had a mild case of covid a couple of months ago) plans to go to “Grandparent’s Day” at the local elementary school as a substitute for kids who don’t have grandparents (maybe they died of covid?); no masks will be worn by anyone.

    I have read tweets by people who say that they have had it and are terrified of getting it again, and so are very cautious. But I have not seen that at all. Not at all. In fact, just the opposite.

    1. chris

      I had the OG version at the end of 2020. It sucked. I have done a lot to protect myself and my family so that we don’t get it again. Were a household of 5 people, occasionally 6 depending on other family who live with us for extended periods of time. So far, according to PCR and rapid tests, no one in my family caught it from me in 2020. And no one caught it from 2 other members when they were sick during summer 2022. We have 2 people in our family who have never had COVID. None of us have had COVID more than once. I intend to do whatever I can to keep it that way.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > But I have not seen that at all.

      A biological mechanism would be needed. I’m sympathetic to the beauty of the idea (indeed, linked to it), but wouldn’t one argue that official propaganda, folk medicine (“what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”), and a desperate desire for the conveniences of the Before Times gives a sufficient account?

      1. kareninca

        Yes, I saw the link you provided. I agree that we don’t know of a biological mechanism. Yes, it could be for the reasons you list.

        There are also the people who claim that they are very careful, but aren’t at all. For instance, a visitor (who had had covid in the past) next door told me that she takes no risks, but I saw her spend an hour inside chatting with a plumber who was working on the sink; neither of them wore masks. As if saying that one is careful, is enough to count as careful.

        1. Acacia

          What about the article posted here at NC recently that explored which areas of the brain and which types of cells get infected by COVID? (Sorry, I don’t have the exact link, but it shouldn’t be difficult to find.)

  18. Darthbobber

    We get one of the American Independent “newspapers”, the East Pennsylvania Independent, and if it’s a fair sample, that money might as well be thrown into a bonfire for all the votes it’s going to sway. Leaving aside the fundamental duplicity of the approach, I can only scratch my head as to how anybody sees it as effective. It does deliver x checks to y people fairly regularly, so there’s that I guess.

  19. Darthbobber

    Ukrainian troops complaining about Starlink being down on the front lines today.

    More likely that
    A. The Russians deployed anti-satellite measures? or
    B. Elon Musk took their insults about his referendum plan amiss and decided that a yank on the chokechain was in order?

    1. tegnost

      elon is worried russias moonrakers are going to gobble up his starlinks and give them to china for reverse engineering…hey, we’re not the only totalitarian control freaks on the planet, yeesh

  20. Wukchumni

    You’ll need to revise your plans if you were thinking of using the historic Pear Lake Winter Hut high in the Sierra Mountains this winter for some backcountry skiing.

    “Due to ongoing impacts from the KNP Complex Wildfire and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pear Lake Winter Hut will remain closed for the 2022/2023 season,” explained Sequoia Parks Conservancy, the official 501(c)(3) nonprofit partner of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

    Take heart, however, if you love skiing in the mountains of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

    “Only the hut itself is closed. With the proper wilderness permits, visitors can still go out and experience the Pear Lake basin this winter,” Sequoia Parks Conservancy told TravelAwaits in a statement. “Visitors will have to snow camp as an alternative.”

    What a bummer, but I get it. 10 strangers sleeping nearly cheek jowl inside a somewhat cramped building makes for easy-peasy Covid spread…

    Last time I was there, was perusing old registers and found an entry from my birthdate some eons ago.

    It’s a classic backcountry ski trip, hopefully it’ll be open in 2024.

  21. LawnDart

    Re; Our Famously Free Press

    This is not good, especially as it appeared in China’s state-mouthpiece, The Global Times– so consider it an endorsement of the thoughts expressed by the author:

    Note to the US – a nuclear war can be won by rivals

    Some may seek to minimize the risks of any nuclear weapons employment because all nations will suffer equally, reinforcing MAD deterrence. But the electrical infrastructure designs of Russia and others have spared no expense in applying Cold War civil defense lessons. Command economies, long range planning, hardened grids, and stability of centralized leadership further aid their societies in surviving any potential EMP attack. Given their histories and traditions, those cultures are probably more adept at continued functionality in the absence of amenities and infrastructure than the US.


    1. SocalJimObjects

      The writer wasted his/her time. They are telling people who have been misjudging the whole Russian situation since 2014 that Russia might/will win. That scenario simply does not exist in the minds of those people.

  22. kareninca

    This was just tweeted by a doctor in England (I copied and pasted since I don’t know how to link a tweet, but it is easy to track him down on twitter or nitter)

    Dr. Graham Lloyd Jones
    To all #radiologists.
    Have you seen the typical #COVID pulmonary vasculopathy on CXR/CT in the last week?
    We’ve not seen this since omicron became dominant Feb ’22. I’m concerned we have a new variant which causes the same clotting in the lungs as delta/pre-delta.
    Please retweet
    Oct 7, 2022

    one of the responses to this was from “goinggrayMD”@upshaw_stacy (an ED/UC doc in Mississippi)
    Replying to @DrGrahamLJ @crwequine
    Deep South. Starting to see this clinically again.
    Oct 7, 2022

    and in response to a request for details from Dr. Lloyd-Jones, Dr. goinggray wrote:

    “Starting to see hypoxic presentation again, but more commonly presenting hypoxic 7 to 10 days after initial diagnosis. Plain films a little different than 2020 and 21. Look more like a multi lobar scattered pneumonia but Covid positive.”

  23. digi_owl

    And pop goes the Crimean Bridge.

    So far it seems to have been done using a truck laden with explosives.

    1. Old Sovietologist

      If i was a Ukrainian i would be heading to the shops and buy everything I need, and get my family out of the country, as the political elite and Zelensky did.

      This is Russia’s window of opportunity to start a full war against Ukraine with a good pretext.

  24. LilD


    My wife got original flavor COVID March 2020 and has been completely obsessed with not getting the virus again.
    We have respirators, enovid, co2 monitor
    Do not dine indoors publicly
    Mask while shopping etc
    So far we have avoided the sequel but nearly all of our social circle has had omicron in the past few months…

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