2:00PM Water Cooler 11/16/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Russet Nightingale-Thrush, Bosque de Santa Ana Tlacotenco, Milpa Alta, Ciudad de México, Mexico.

* * *


“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

“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

Biden Administration

“Biden would veto proposed U.S. Senate resolution to end COVID national emergency -White House” [Reuters]. • Good.

Good one, Ron:

Now maybe rip out whatever CDC is doing with its data and give it to USDS, too?


The House:

Still waiting….

* * *

“An unexpected winner in the midterms: public health” [Michelle A. Williams, The Hill]. Williams is dean of the faculty of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Public health was on the ballot last week — and it won. I’m not talking about specific candidates, as important as those races are. I’m talking about the ethos of public health — the principle that health is a fundamental human right and the understanding that we must look out for one another, to think not just about our own well-being, but about the public good…. The most high-profile examples of public health wins are the abortion referendums…. In another major victory for public health, South Dakota voters decisively chose to expand eligibility for Medicaid, using a ballot measure to extend access to health care to the working poor when their legislators refused to do so…. In Oregon, meanwhile, voters approved a ballot measure that makes the state the first in the U.S. to guarantee residents access to “cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable” health care. This measure effectively establishes health care as a human right…. Arizona voters overwhelmingly supported a ballot measure to restructure collection and limit interest rates on medical debt, which has become an enormous burden for far too many families. Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont outlawed forced labor for prison inmates, restoring some measure of their dignity and autonomy. And in California, voters overwhelmingly endorsed a ban on all flavored tobacco products in the state — a move designed to protect young people, who gravitate toward flavored vape products…. The outcomes of these ballot measures suggest that a majority of voters, in both red states and blue, believe the government has an obligation to protect the health and well-being of the most vulnerable among us. That is the essence of public health. It also happens to be the only way to build a resilient economy and a successful civil society.” • Oddly, Williams doesn’t mention that the Oregon ballot measure is part of a years-long push for single payer health care. I dunno. I don’t wish to seem churlish, but a grab bag of social justice measures doth not a public health movement make. This is, basically, small ball.

* * *

Los Angeles, CA: “Los Angeles Mayor Election Results 2022” [NBC].

71% seems slow. VSAP not up to scratch?

GA: “Walker’s campaign tells Republicans to stop ‘deceptive fundraising’ in Georgia runoff” [NBC]. “Republican politicians and associated committees are sending out desperate fundraising emails begging the GOP faithful to help save America by getting behind Herschel Walker in his Dec. 6 runoff against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia. But what’s not immediately clear to recipients is how little of that money is going to Walker’s campaign: just a dime for every dollar given by small donors. Walker’s campaign, which has trailed Warnock’s in fundraising throughout the election, is asking fellow Republicans to stop their fundraising practices — or at least to start sharing more with the candidate. ‘We need everyone focused on winning the Georgia Senate race, and deceptive fundraising tactics by teams that just won their races are siphoning money away from Georgia,’ Walker campaign manager Scott Paradise said Monday.” • Goodness. That’s the sort of thing a Democrat would do!

NY: “The Inside Story of Sean Patrick Maloney’s Face Plant in New York” [Slate]. “Maloney is also the first DCCC chair to lose reelection in 40 years. ” Juicy details: “In the weeks before Election Day, Maloney set off on a Europe trip, where he hung out on a balcony overlooking the Seine, and turned up in London, Paris, and Geneva, often alongside congressman Adam Schiff, for gatherings billed as DCCC fundraising events. (The DCCC said in a statement that its total efforts in Europe, of which Maloney’s trip was part, raised $1 million.)…. Across the major Democratic outside spending committees, Maloney sopped up more than $4 million in support, all of it coming at a time when the DCCC he chairs—as well as Pelosi’s House Majority PAC—was crying poor and cutting funding in extremely winnable races. He had pledged in August not to spend party resources on his own race. Just a few months later, he was siphoning critical dollars that could have gone to other contests, including Oregon’s 5th, where the DCCC and House Majority PAC both cut bait on Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a Democrat who, on Sunday, narrowly lost to her Republican opponent.” And: “In a phone call, Bill O’Reilly, the communication director of New York 17th’s incoming Republican House member, Lawler, reflected on the win. ‘I feel bad saying it because he’s been so gracious,’ he said, of Maloney. ‘But it really was just an ‘outworked’ situation. He wasn’t around, and we just outworked him.'”

* * *

On Pelosi (from 2007):

The example that always comes to mind to me is one that Tom Perriello, a Democrat who served one term in the House from a very red district in Virginia from 2009 to 2011 (and is now running for governor) told Ezra Klein back in December 2010. Perriello was weighing whether to vote for the DREAM Act, which would legalize the status of undocumented immigrants who arrived as children. “There was the whole question of whether the Senate would support it,” he told Klein. “And I didn’t want to do this if it was just going to die in the Senate.”

Then the lobbying started. “I got a call from [Education Secretary] Arne Duncan, and he began telling me about the individual anecdotes of guys that he worked with in Chicago who needed this legislation,” Perriello recalled. “There were strong Latino organizing networks that began moving, and someone I went to second grade with called and was like, ‘Tom, you might not vote for the DREAM Act? I know we haven’t talked in 32 years, but…’ A few of my friends from college started to call. Several people contacted colleagues I’d had in past jobs, so now they’re writing me. ‘Dude, I haven’t been following this, but I’ve heard from six people today that I have to call you about the DREAM Act. …’”

This is how Pelosi whipped votes. She got the administration involved, she got outside groups involved, she got random figures from Congress members’ pasts involved. She was really, really good at it. And it all happened quietly, without anyone watching or applauding.

If only she had used her superpowers for good!

As pretty as… well, AOC:

I include this tweet because although Daily Progress is real, the tweet is not organic:

I searched the Twitter on “Pelosi speaker” and got a ton of tweets identical to this one, all from different accounts. Looks like somebody made a buy, but why?

One alternative to Pelosi:


“Trump announces 2024 run for president” [The Hill]. “Even in announcing his latest campaign on Tuesday, Trump suggested that China may have played “a very active role in the 2020 election.” He also insisted that only paper ballots should be used in elections.” • Well, he’s right (and a bitter irony that Trump’s endorsement will poison paper ballots in the minds of liberal Democrats for decades. Not that they actually ever wanted them; paper ballots are too simple, too rugged, don’t require homework, and make it hard to steal elections (as in Iowa 2020)). Ah well. Commentary:

“With midterm losses, Trump’s climb to the nomination could be steeper than he’d like” [NPR]. “Donald Trump, who tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election and inspired a deadly riot at the Capitol in a desperate attempt to keep himself in power, announced he is running again for president in 2024.” • When you use the word “desperate” in the lead, you’re not doing reporting. Or journalism, for that matter. Commentary:

Unmentioned by “Hollywood’s Ultimate Insider’ is that he hates the riff-raff.

“Trump, who as president fomented an insurrection, says he is running again” [WaPo]. “A defeated former president running for election again while facing potential criminal indictment is unprecedented in U.S. history.” • The walls are closing in!

“Don’t Blame Trump” [J.D. Vance, The American Conservative]. “Something odd happened on Election Day. In the morning, we were confident of my victory in Ohio and cautiously optimistic about the rest of the country. By the time the polls closed, that optimism had turned to jubilance—and lobbying. Every consultant and personality I encountered during my campaign claimed credit for their own faction. The victory was a testament to Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), one person told me. Another argued instead that SLF had actually bungled the race, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)—chaired by Rick Scott—deserved the credit. (Full disclosure: both the NRSC and SLF helped my race in Ohio, for which I’m grateful.) But then the results rolled in, and it was clear the outcome was far more disappointing than hoped. And every person claiming victory on Tuesday morning knew exactly who to blame on Tuesday night: Donald J. Trump.” • Deploy the Blame Cannons!

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.

* * *

“Column: And you thought the movie ‘L.A. Confidential’ was fiction” [Los Angeles Times]. “How is it possible, in 21st century Los Angeles, that a high-ranking police officer swore allegiance to a major Hollywood figure accused of sexual assault, then vowed to use his law enforcement position to keep the alleged victim quiet? What is this, 1950? And yet that’s exactly what the New York attorney general says a now-retired LAPD commander did after Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, a retired TV show development executive inspired by the burgeoning #MeToo movement, walked into the Hollywood police station in 2017 and filed a confidential complaint that Moonves had sexually assaulted her in 1986 when he was an executive at Lorimar Productions. The LAPD identified the commander as Cory Palka, a now-retired former captain of the Hollywood station, after the report was released…. ‘Les -I’m deeply sorry that this has happened,’ Palka wrote to Moonves. “I will always stand with, by and pledge my allegiance to you. You have embodied leadership, class and the highest of character through all of this. With upmost [sic] respect …'” • But… But… Los Angeles is a Democratic town. Yes, and anybody who’s surprised by the feudal level of fealty expressed in Palka’s “pledge my allegiance to you” hasn’t been following Democrat party politics closely.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Seven politicians are returning FTX’s tainted money — others are keeping quiet” [Popular Information]. “Bankman-Fried spent about $41 million in the 2022 midterm elections, mostly benefiting Democrats. Bankman-Fried donated to 47 individual Democratic candidates, 8 Republican candidates, 16 Democratic PACs, 4 Republican PACs, and 2 non-partisan PACs. Bankman-Fried also spent millions on independent expenditures through his Super PAC, Protect Our Future. Bankman-Fried donations appear to have given him an unusual amount of sway with Democratic party leaders. In April, Bankman-Fried donated $6 million to the House Majority PAC, the Super PAC affiliated with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Shortly thereafter, the House Majority PAC took the unusual step of supporting political newcomer Carrick Flynn, who was competing in a Democratic Congressional primary in Oregon. Bankman-Fried spent more than $11 million on Flynn’s unsuccessful campaign, citing Flynn’s commitment to ‘pandemic preparedness.’…. Popular Information contacted 98 individual campaigns and 24 PACs that received money from Bankman-Fried or Salame. Seven members of Congress — four Democrats and three Republicans — indicated that they are donating the cash from FTX to charity or back to FTX’s customers.” John Hoeven (R-ND), Kevin Hern (R-OK), Chuy Garcia (D-IL), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and David Schweikert (R-AZ). More: “Most candidates and PACs that received funds from Bankman-Fried and Salame did not return requests for comment. This includes the top Republican recipients of funds, the Senate Leadership Fund (Mitch McConnell’s Super PAC), which received $2.5 million from Salame, and the top Democratic recipient of funds, the Democratic National Committee, which received $865,000 from Bankman-Fried. Other major recipients of funds from FTX executives that didn’t respond to requests for comment include the NRCC ($184,800), the DCCC ($156,400), the DSCC ($66,500), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) ($20,600), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) ($20,600), Congressman Alex Mooney (R-WV) ($11,600), and Congressman Ronny Jackson (R-TX) ($10,000).” • It is gone where the woodbine twineth.

“Elizabeth Warren wants to pass a major crypto bill. Sherrod Brown says not so fast.” [Politico]. “Two key questions lawmakers have yet to sort out are the extent to which agencies have sufficient existing authorities to police the market and, if not, which agency should be empowered to oversee it. Leaders of the SEC and CFTC are vying for pieces of the crypto market, and the split is reflected in legislation that’s started to emerge from Capitol Hill. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Tuesday that a digital currency bill must be ‘comprehensive,’ covering consumer protections, anti-money laundering rules and climate safeguards for crypto mining. When asked if the SEC had sufficient powers at the moment, she said the agency ‘could do more with the current authorities but in order to regulate this entire space we need additional legislation from Congress.’ Warren said it was an ‘open question’ whether the SEC should be the primary regulator. ‘The SEC has certainly shown in the past that it has a strong bent toward consumer protection but it also needs more resources in order to carry out its current jobs,’ Warren told reporters. The leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee are backing a bill that would give the CFTC a bigger role in overseeing crypto trading. The CFTC today primarily focuses on financial derivatives such as futures contracts.”


Lambert here: I can’t call a winter surge, though we’ll really have to wait for Thanksgiving travel. However, high transmission (CDC), the elevation and continued increase in positivity (Walgreens), and the steady takeover of BQ.1* (CDC; Walgreens) are all a little unsettling (as is the apparent proliferation of variants). Stay safe out there! (As far as Thanksgiving travel goes, lacking CDC’s “Rapid Riser” counties feature, the best we can do, I think, is follow the news and look at wastewater. I would order risk from highest to lowest at JFK/LGA (New York), LAX (Los Angeles), ATL, Atlanta, and ORD (Chicago). Since New York — as of this writing, and of course all the data is delayed, making personal risk assessment an effort in delusion, but I digress — is a BQ.1* hotbed, I’d try to use EWR (Newark) not JFK/LGA. My $0.02!

* * *

“The scientist behind Pfizer’s Covid vaccine says a flu pandemic is only a matter of time” [STAT]. Last sentence: “As this pandemic becomes more manageable, however, the flu, in turn, may become more like Covid.” • Happy thought!

* * *

• One more for the Walensky dossier at the Hague:

• Jack’s new rule on parody accounts already bringing results:

• Yet another for the Walensky dossier. From 2020:

* * *

“Diagnostic accuracy of SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen self-tests in asymptomatic individuals in the Omicron period: cross sectional studies” [Clinical Microbiology and Infection]. n = 3,600. ” Participants were sampled for RT-PCR (reference test) and received one self-test (either Acon Flowflex (Flowflex), MP Biomedicals (MPBio), or Siemens-Healthineers Clinitest (Clinitest)) to perform unsupervised at home. Diagnostic accuracies of each self-test were calculated…. The sensitivities of three commonly used SARS-CoV-2 Ag-RDTs when used as self-tests in asymptomatic individuals in the Omicron period were very low. Ag-RDT self-testing in asymptomatic individuals may only detect the minority of infections at that point in time. Repeated self-testing in case of a negative self-test is advocated to improve the diagnostic yield, and individuals should be advised to re-test when symptoms develop.” • Hmm.

* * *

• Stoicism?

* * *


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.)


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published November 14:

-0.7%. Down.


Wastewater data (CDC), November 12:

Lambert here: An enormous number of counties have gone dark (grey dot, no data) in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, and Oregon. I don’t know whether that’s because they’ve dropped out of the program. or CDC butchered the data, or CDC’s contractor, Biobot, had problems. (Biobot’s data page includes the following disclaimers: “Not all locations may have submitted recent samples,” and “Biobot’s scheduled variant data update is delayed.” Maybe so.) I poked around to see if there was a reporter somewhere who had CDC as their beat. Apparently not.

November 12:

We found elevated levels (orange dot) in JFK/LGA’s county, Queens. We looked at ORD’s county, Cook (one of two counties, actually), which was not elevated (blue dot). On November 12, CDC’s map said LAX’s county was not elevated (blue dot) but we can see a slight rise in its chart.

Heck, here’s ATL (Cobb):


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? [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk]. UPDATE Yes. See NC here on Pango. Every Friday, a stately, academic pace utterly incompatible with protecting yourself against a variant exhibiting doubling behavior.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), October 25:

Lambert here: BQ.1* moving along quite briskly.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), October 22 (Nowcast off):

BQ.1* moving along quite briskly. New York/New Jersey (Region 2) numbers are higher:

As a check, since New York is a BQ.1* hotbed, New York hospitalization, updated November 15:

Lambert here: An almost imperceptible increase. Let’s wait and see.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,100,631 – 1,100,296 = 335 (335 * 365 = 122,275, which is today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ 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

Industrial Production: “United States Industrial Production” [Trading Economics]. “Industrial production in the US decreased by 0.1% mom in October of 2022, after a 0.1% increase in September and missing market expectations of a 0.2% gain as higher interest rates and prices weighed on demand. Manufacturing output went up 0.1%, below expectations for a 0.2% increase mostly supported by durable goods (0.5%).”

Manufacturing Production: “United States Manufacturing Production” [Trading Economics]. “Manufacturing production in the United States edged up 0.1% from a month earlier in October of 2022, after a 0.2% increase in September and below market expectations of a 0.2% gain. Manufacturing output went up 0.1%, below expectations for a 0.2% increase mostly supported by durable goods (0.5%). Within durables, increases of at least 1.5% were recorded by electrical equipment, appliances, and components; aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment; and motor vehicles and parts.”

Capacity: “United States Capacity Utilization” [Trading Economics]. “Capacity Utilization in the United States decreased to 79.9 percent in October from 80.1 percent in September of 2022. It is the lowest reading since June and below forecasts of 80.4 percent. Capacity utilization for manufacturing was unchanged at 79.5 percent. The operating rate for mining fell 0.5 percentage point to 88.4 percent, while the operating rate for utilities declined 1.2 percentage points to 72.1 percent.”

Retail: “U.S. Retail Sales” [Trading Economics]. “Retail sales in the US surged 1.3% month-over-month in October of 2022, the strongest increase in eight months, after a flat reading in September and beating market forecasts of a 1% gain. Sales at motor vehicle dealers were up 1.3% as supply chain constraints have been easing while rising gasoline costs pushed sales at gasoline stations 4.1% higher. Excluding gasoline and autos, retail sales were up 0.9%.”

Retail: “United States Retail Inventories Ex Autos” [Trading Economics]. “Retail trade inventories in the United States, excluding automobiles and parts, fell by 0.1 percent from the previous month in September of 2022, matching the advance estimate and following an upwardly revised 0.7 percent rise in the previous month. It was the first decrease in retail inventories excluding automobiles and parts since June of 2020.”

* * *

The Bezzle: “Vast Majority of People Who Invest in Bitcoin Inevitably Lose Money, Study Shows” [Gizmodo]. “Around three quarters of newfound bitcoin investors have lost money when putting their funds into the great crypto game, according to new research from one of the world’s leading central bank institutions. A working paper from the Bank of International Settlements released Monday looked at the crypto world from 2015 to 2022 and found evidence to state what we were all already thinking, that most people, from 73 to 81% of new crypto investors, inevitably lost money on their initial investment. Most people who were buying into crypto came from Turkey, Singapore, the UK, and the U.S. during that time.” • From what I recall of crypto culture — we ran a long and brutal YouTube on this which now I cannot find — the basic idea was that everyone would be a winner. Ah well, nevertheless.

The Bezzle: “Frustrations Grow Over Company’s Response to Breathing Device Recalls” [New York Times]. “By 2015, Philips Respironics knew its breathing devices had a problem: Foam inside the CPAP machines, which help people with sleep apnea breathe at night, was breaking off into black flecks and blowing into the mouths and noses of users. The company did nothing at the time. Years went by as complaints mounted, and the company made cursory efforts to examine the problem, according to an investigation conducted later by the Food and Drug Administration. But it was not until April of last year, the company has claimed, that it realized the flaking foam contained potentially cancer-causing particles, setting off the largest and most disruptive medical device recall in more than a decade…. The U.S. Justice Department is now negotiating the terms of a consent decree with Philips, underscoring the deep concern about what the company knew — or should have known — before millions of people received devices that many believe caused devastating illnesses. A decree would likely require the company to document the steps it would take to prevent such a failure in the future.” • Wowsers, that’s some decree.

Tech: “Silicon Valley’s All Twttr” [On my Om]. From 2006: “Twttr has married Short Code Messaging, SMS with a way to create social groups. By sending a text message to a short code (for TWTTR) you can send your location information, your mood information or whatever and share it with people who are on your social-mob! Best part – no installation necessary!… Glass, says that it started off as a conversation between him and Jack Dorsey, “in a car parked on Valencia and 14 in san francisco” after a night of Vodka drinking!”

Mr. Market: Biden’s chip announcement enables a natural experiment on the efficient markets hypothesis:


Readers, any of you play the ponies? What do you think?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 67 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 52 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 15 at 1:02 PM EST. Falling back to mere greed….

The 420

“Medical marijuana now partially legal in Kentucky” [The Hill]. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed an executive order on Tuesday allowing some state residents to possess and use medical marijuana. In the executive order, Beshear said Kentuckians with qualifying illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder could use medical cannabis purchased from other states as long as they provide written proof from a Kentucky physician diagnosing them with the illness. ‘Allowing Kentuckians diagnosed with certain medical conditions and receiving palliative care to purchase, possess and/or use medical cannabis would improve the quality of their lives,’ Beshear said in the order. Per the order, Kentucky residents cannot purchase more than eight ounces at a time. Kentuckians also must keep proof of purchase that displays the date and store after buying medical marijuana outside of the state. ‘It may help reduce abuse of other more dangerous and addictive medications, such as opiates.’ Kentucky is one of the dozen states that has yet to legalize medical or recreational marijuana. As of February 2020, medical marijuana is legal in Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and 37 states, including most of those sharing a border with Kentucky.”

Book Nook

“A bluffer’s guide to Proust 100 years after his death” [ENCA]. “His neurologist father urged his sickly son to get out in the fresh air and play sport, noting that asthma was not contagious. But Proust’s mother was prone to mollycoddling, and from 1906 he followed her counsel, staying cloistered inside like a hermit, with a steady supply of caffeine and aspirin. His respiratory problems would finally get the better of him. He died after pneumonia that turned into bronchitis and then an abscess on the lungs.”

The Gallery

I never had the benefit of art history courses, so this is interesting to me, especially on the differences between the Northern Renaissance (Germany, the Netherlands, Flanders) and the Southern (Italy):

I still don’t think the skull is explained, though. For example, why that angle?

Our Famously Free Press

Handy chart:

The account is quite right on the Beeb. It’s an interesting list; I was surprised by scrappy Yahoo. And the New York Times has done very well for itself in the midterms, hasn’t it? Totabags galore.

Class Warfare

“New Measure of Climate’s Toll: Disasters Are Now Common Across U.S.” [New York Times]. • We have the tools! Start with your personal risk assessment. Oddly, a New York paper makes no mention of the highly successful Occupy Sandy.

More aghastitude about The Twitter:

What the Musk dogpilers in the PMC cannot seem to get their heads around is the idea that Musk might not be the only billionaire with bad politics. No, no, it’s all about Musk [loud snicker]. It’s the same with Twitter programmers who got the axe. Musk dogpilers really take their troubles to heart in a totally non-performance fashion [weeping sounds]. But bosses lay off workers all the time. Where’s the pearl-clutching then?

News of the Wired

The Turbo Encabulator 2.0 with quantic IoT:

* * *

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 CM:

CM writes: “Taken in Grey Country, Ontario. Thank you for your work” [lambert blushes modestly]. A lovely pond in autumn. (See NC on ponds here.)

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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. Dana

    Race has been called for Kevin Kiley in California. Republicans now have 218 seats.

    Hopefully we will all be alive to see his swearing in.

    Biden: “We’ll all pay the price for Ukraine sanctions, for as long as it takes.”

    In this case, “we” is everyone.

    Effects of nuclear weapons on the human body.


    “thermal flash lasts many seconds and accounts for more than one-third of the weapon’s explosive energy. The intense heat can ignite fires and cause severe burns on exposed flesh as far as 20 miles from a large thermonuclear explosion.”

      1. Wukchumni

        Team Pachyderm limped over the finish line all sweaty and obviously weary from the journey yet victorious and after reading about this Andy Biggs nutter who was vying for the Speaker role, i’m tentatively sanguine that My Kevin (since ’07) got the initial nod of approval, and on account of another Kevin, kismet or karma-you tell me.

        Nothing happens though until January and that’s great because I want Kev to squirm a bit and be on tenterhooks getting ready for his Sally Field moment of recognition…

        ‘You like me, you really like me!’

        1. JBird4049

          Copyright issues my posterior. I had to use a VPN to get past the censorhip, which is yet another reason why to get one. Can’t wait until the United States, like China, outlaws them.

    1. JBird4049

      I’m sorry, I read stuff like this more times than I should have during the First Cold War. The thing that gets me is that most of the elites are old enough to have done the same. So, they really are stupid and/or ignorant and/or homicidal.

  2. Wukchumni

    You’re the kind of person you meet at certain dismal, dull affairs
    Center of a crowd, talking much too loud, running up and down the stairs
    Well, it seems to me that you have seen too much in too few years
    And though you’ve tried you just can’t hide your eyes are edged with tears

    You better stop, look around
    Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes
    Here comes your Long Covid 19 nervous breakdown

    When you were afflicted you were a Pfizer treated kind
    But you never came back right after testing positive that time
    You were spoiled with $1200 but still you hurt all night
    Your country who neglected you owes a million dollar tax
    And your President’s still perfecting ways of making coverage lax

    You better stop, look around
    Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes
    Here comes your Long Covid 19 nervous breakdown

    Oh, who’s to blame, the symptoms are just insane
    Well nothing I do don’t seem to work
    It only seems to make matters worse, oh please

    Remember when you had that Fauci fool who really messed your mind
    And after that the country turned its back on treating people kind
    On my first go round I tried so hard to pay it no mind
    But after a while I realized brain fog was disarranging mine

    You better stop, look around
    Here it comes
    Here comes your Long Covid 19 nervous breakdown
    Here comes your Long Covid 19 nervous breakdown
    Here comes your Long Covid 19 nervous breakdown
    Here comes your Long Covid 19 nervous breakdown
    Here comes your Long Covid 19 nervous breakdown
    Here comes your Long Covid 19 nervous breakdown

    19th Nervous Breakdown, by the Rolling Stones


    1. Sardonia

      Dueling 19th Nervous Breakdown song parodies. :)

      You’re the kind of person, who trusts the words from
      Corporate media
      If they got nice hair, you don’t really care
      Just what they’re feedin’ ya.
      You take each new jab, from the Pfizer Lab
      Even though it soon degrades.
      They neglect to teach you, it’s one that each new
      Variant evades.

      You better stop.
      Look around.
      Here it cuh…ums, here it cuh…ums
      Here it cuh…ums, here it cuh…ums
      Here comes your nineteenth Bug Infection!

      Big Business ghouls, got a lotta Tools
      They got lotsa wherewithal.
      The imperative, of their narrative
      Is “Go out and spend it all.”
      “No need to fret”, said your TV set
      On the PBS News Hour:
      The same line as Trump, from another Chump
      Whose only concern is Power.

      You better stop.
      Look around.
      Here it cuh…ums, here it cuh…ums
      Here it cuh…ums, here it cuh…ums
      Here comes your nineteenth Bug Infection!

      Oh, who’s to blame?
      This world’s just insane.
      Well nothin’ we do don’t seem to work
      ‘Specially when Special Interests lurk.
      Oh, Plee-eee-eee-eeze.

      In medical schools, we got lots of fools
      Who really mess our minds.
      Overlooking facts, they can turn clocks back
      To much more carefree times.
      What we wanna hear, is “No need to fear.”
      And they wanna think that too.
      And if they’re kinda hot, they’ll get a speaking spot
      On primetime Channel Two.

      You better stop.
      Look around.
      Here it cuh…ums, here it cuh…ums
      Here it cuh…ums, here it cuh…ums
      Here comes your nineteenth Bug Infection!

      Oh, who’s to blame?
      This world’s just insane.
      Well nothin’ we do don’t seem to work
      ‘Specially when Special Interests lurk.
      Oh, Plee-eee-eee-eeze.

      We’ll take Innocence, over virulence
      We’re gonna let the good times roll.
      There’s no need to see, increased morbidity
      And its cumulative toll.
      We all hid away, and now it’s time to play
      Time to go and have some fun.
      Play Russian Roulette, and mock the etiquette
      Of anyone who checks the gun.

      Not gonna stop
      Or look around.
      Here it cuh…ums
      Here comes our nineteenth Bug Infection!
      Here comes our nineteenth Bug Infection!
      Here comes our nineteenth Bug Infection!
      Here comes our nineteenth Bug Infection!
      Here comes our nineteenth Bug Infection!
      Here comes our nineteenth Bug Infection!

    1. curlydan

      Those sensitivities were low, but FlowFlex did do the best. “Overall sensitivities were 27.5% (95% CI: 21.3 to 34.3%) for Flowflex, 20.9% (13.9 to 29.4%) for MPBio, and 25.6% (19.1 to 33.1%) for Clinitest.” I just got a free FlowFlex test at my local library this morning.

      From another link:
      “[Sensitivity] has been defined as the ability of a test to identify correctly all those who have the disease, which is ‘true-positive'”

      Sensitivity=Total True Positives/(Total True Positives + Total False Negatives)


  3. mrsyk

    From the JD Vance piece. “Outside groups, like SLF, try to close this gap. But it is a losing proposition. Under federal elections law, campaigns pay way less for advertising than outside “Super PACs.” In some states, $10 million from an outside group is less efficient than $2 million spent by a campaign. So long as Republicans lose so badly in the small dollar fundraising game, Democrats will have a massive structural advantage. ”
    I didn’t know that, about the spending power differential.

  4. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added a few orts and scraps. I’m so not looking forward to the press coverage of the Trump campaign. I’d welcome a blog in a daily diary format, that just wrote up what Trump said accurately, went to all the rallies — a “van life” concept, here — photographed the crowds with a wide angle lens, didn’t go in for aghastitude, talked to voters ideally in panels, etc. What we used to call reporting.

    1. Screwball

      I’m so not looking forward to the press coverage of the Trump campaign.

      I watched the presser last night until he made it official, then turned it off in disgust. Why, just why? We all know why unfortunately. I have no dog in this fight as I can’t stand any of them. I find it all to be nothing short of a clown act preying on gullible people who believe their BS – which is never ending from both sides of this rotten coin. They will continue to do nothing for the serfs while enriching themselves from their donors, insider trading, and who knows what other grift.

      But the first thing I thought of was; now we have to listen to two more years of screeching from the usual suspects, and probably now, some from his own side. Crank up the mighty Wurlitzer and play us some tunes. $hit show version 2.0 is now here. Why watch? Good question. It’s like a train wreck and you just can’t look away at what happens next.

      Yippee ki yo ki yay!

      1. none

        And of course the liberal media attacking Trump are helping DeSantis, who is likely to be even worse in the WH than Trump was. Both are evil but DeSantis is far less crazy. So DeSantis will do more damage.

        1. HawaaianEye

          You assume DeSantis wins the Republican primary.
          Here’s a much better alternative:

          A woman kind of sort of color, Major in the army, two tour combat veteran, ex house member, ex Democrat, OUCH! and a young surfer babe too. Contrast with the tottering crone-capitalists like Feinstein, Pelosi or fill-in the-blank rabbit Warrens the Democrats have to offer.

          Imagine the PMC wailing, gnashing of teeth and heads exploding were she to run against say Kamala, or any of the other Demochickenhawks.

          This is a presidential candidacy announcement.

          Tulsi Gabbard: Biden’s message is the wrong approach
          69,000 views in less than 24 hours.


          1. MaryLand

            Yes, that is a an announcement of candidacy, but she has a very non-mainstream religious background that would keep her from being the GOP candidate for president. She is well spoken and would be appealing to many, but the religious background would be a barrier to many in the GOP. Trump may have been immoral, but his background was mainstream.

            1. Carla

              @MaryLand — Uh, you say this as if the Republicans ever had a choice to reject Trump. They didn’t. He beat their F-ing asses and continued to do it for a long time. Remains to be seen if he’ll do it again.

              Tulsi still thinks she has standards. DT was never troubled by any such notions.

            2. John k

              Trump thought to solidify the evangelicals with pence in 2020, but pence is out. If he gets the nom he fingers the veep, and he can read the polls as well as anyone. If she brings the indies he’d pick her, and imo she’s clearly running for veep. Tucker seems to like her. Plus, she was in the military, certainly a plus for rank and file. And he’s a one-term er, and old, good spot for a veep.
              If de santis wins the nom… we’ll, he would also want to win the general. If the polls favor her, why not?

              1. John k

                And maybe both trump and de santis would value and credit the person who so easily demolished Kamala, remember there’s a veep debate, too.

            1. Skip Intro

              She’s already survived the wrath of the Clinton machine at the height of its power. I don’t think they would miss much.

            2. scott s.

              Don’t see it as murky, it’s the National Guard not the army.

              Her father got re-elected to the HI state senate. Working his way up in the power structure. He got elected as an R primarily due to traditional marriage then promptly switched to D presumably to get into power.

        2. Lee

          “More damage”? Than whom and to what and whom, one might reasonably ask. The supreme court is long lost, the legislative branch is constitutionally anti-majoritarian, and both major parties are irredeemably corrupted by oligarch money.

          As Craig Murray recently wrote:

          “I view as a joke any notion that the USA is a democracy. Democracy is about giving citizens a choice of political direction. The 2022 elections saw a simply incredible campaign spend of US$ 9.7 billion. Yes, nearly ten billion dollars. This is not democracy, it is a huge exercise in corporate control from which the ordinary citizen is frozen out.”

          1. Acacia

            Yep, good summary.

            But the gullible will still get all worked about the putatively yuge difference between the two heads of the duopoly. Happens every time.

      2. skippy

        I thought Trumps embrace of Faith Healers and Mega Church Jebus = Wealth for the chosen was heir apparent … he tends his flock yet seems to ignore the part about turning water into wine or fish/bread multiplied to feed the masses …

        Its just the opposite IMO … the many feed him both physically[worldly] and emotionally[spiritually] … not that he is alone or anything, but, others seem to take exception to him diminishing the brand …

  5. Swamp Yankee

    Re: Dem feudalism.

    I cannot emphasize how greatly this mirrors precisely what I have been experience here in Cranberry Country (SE Mass.). Posted this yesterday on the Zuckopticon on a friend’s comment thread, with an amendation:

    Despite not being an anthropologist, I have been considering doing an ethnography of Massachusetts Machine Democrats whom I have been dealing with a lot recently with various attempts to stop corporate polluters from dumping radioactive wastewater into Cape Cod Bay. Because they are totally a culture, and their view of basic things, ontology and the world and the ethical, is totally different from not just kind of left-liberal academia, but the vast majority of the population.

    What has come through to me is that their understanding of the world is essentially _feudal_ — every “speech” they give is not so much a speech in the sense of making an argument, but a liturgy of people they know, literally in order of prominence of office (“I’m so glad Sen. Moran could be here, and my colleague from the North Shore Rep. Ferrante, County Treasurer O’Brien, Selectwoman Riley and Selectman Dawes….”)

    Academics tend not to be fans of the market economy, but Machine pols literally don’t know how it works, every job they have had has come from familial-patrimonal connections in many cases. I remember a Machine Spouse and I having an exchange when I worked for a Machine-controlled community college; I told her that the local oyster farms weren’t aware of a program we had for their generally young workers, courses on aquaculture.

    “Well, they should be coming to us!” she said, with real indignation. The implication being we shouldn’t “have to” (cf. Martha Coakley) make an appeal to the people who we wanted to give us money for services rendered (i.e., classes taught; at the comm. college level, it’s pretty explicit that students are customers). That they, rather, owed us.

    I tried to gently explain to this former indicted-for-corruption State Treasurer’s wife that in a market rather than a feudal economy, customers had to be solicited, not commanded. It was extremely illuminating, because she really had never had a non-feudal, market in the 19th century of the term, economic interaction, it became clear.

    It was one of the most illuminating exchanges I’ve had with someone who is remarkably stupid. Ironically, because Clio loves irony, she failed her way up to become head of a local Chamber of Commerce.

    Their mentalite’ is so bizarre and premodern that I wonder if similar Democratic Machines (NYC, Chicago, Philly) have similar cultures. I imagine they do.

    1. hunkerdown

      The Melanesian kula trade might be a better metaphor for the valuation of names, but feudalism seems to better capture the plastic servility to rank.

      Nice post, though. It seems likely to have poked them in the right spots and perhaps stoked some bit of drive to live up to their pieties. I would like to subscribe to your Substack.

    2. skippy

      Used to be some great videos on the Chamber of Commerce machinations that foamed the runway for the endemic fraud that culminated in the GFC … classic Amway structure where the lower gem qualities after a hard night in sleeping in the parking lot bathe in the hotel restroom and groom for their betters for a life upgrade at a big regional conference.

      Best bit is how the Diamonds are sell side bots 24/7, can’t even let collage wait staff serve them without the “what are you going to do with your life” canned pitch. Ugh then I come all the way to Oz in 95 and whilst looking for degree work I am supplying labour for a friend of the wife’s family in landscaping/lawn maintenance and then one day whilst in his ute on the way home asks me in a measured tone **** what are you going to do with your life**** …. NOOOOOOOO – !!!!!! …. I’m trapped in a UTE with a Amway bot ….

      Wait it gets even better … young bloke above [about 25@the time] lived with his mom who was a early Amway dealer in the bush before moving to the big smoke of Bizzy and one of three brothers came home one night with 3 Swedish girls flying out the next morning and taking them to airport. I had to pop over and watched as they were getting ready to leave and then to my utter amazement watched as good old mom popped on a Amway VCR video before they left – could not help herself – so indoctrinated. My brain just imploded at the thought of having foreign guests about to jet off and then hit them with a sales pitch, good thing I went to SEER school so I could maintain my civility and not say a peep …

      I just find the above so relative to so many ills society has at the moment … and then some ponder why I am so disheveled[tm] …

    3. Acacia

      This feudal understanding of the social order may come from the Ivy mode of education, as it also describes the way most people from the Ivys introduce themselves. It’s not “I am working on X”, it’s “I worked for Prof. X., and then the Institute of Y, and was invited here by Emeritus Bigshot Prof. W, etc.”

      It’s about telling you their place in the network of power, not about what they’re actually writing or thinking about.

  6. Lee

    Rather pleasantly surprised by part one of the PBS program American Experience piece, Taken Hostage. Unlike much of the MSM, which typically dates Iran/U.S. hostility only back to 1979, this piece details the overthrow of Mosaddegh, the subsequent misrule by the Shah, and could be subtitled, “Why Iranians Have Good Reason to Hate the U.S.”

    1. John Beech

      Good thing nobody appoints me King for a Day, else I’d sincerely apologize on bent knee to the Persians, whom we helped find a path to true Democracy.

    2. notabanker

      I believe you can go back even to further to the British National that bought the country’s oil rights for $1200 sterling.

      1. JBird4049

        $1,200? Even adjusted for inflation and using British pounds, this would be what $50,000? What a steal deal. And both the Americans and British coup makers were so aggrieved by Prime Minister Mosaddegh attempts to at first merely renegotiate the agreement before nationalizing British Petroleum’s Iranian holdings. The nerve of the man to insist on a fair deal.

        1. JBird4049

          With the qualified exception of the Korean War being as North Korea was ruled by a murderous megalomaniac fanatic supported by Joseph Stalin (just like how South Korea was ruled by murderous megalomaniac fanatic backed by the United States) who flat out invaded the south, every coup, assassination, invasion, and war was against countries friendly towards the United States. However, they also all wanted economic policies favorable to their own citizens and not to American corporations, which is apparently Soviet communism and against Mom, the Flag, and Apple Pie.

  7. tongorad

    Re the skull in Holbein’s painting, I reckon it was the artist showing off while reminding viewers that all is vanity.

  8. Glen

    Thats a skull reflected in a sword or large knife.

    Not sure why its there, (tired of elites?) but cool nonetheless.

    1. Acacia

      The technique is called “anamorphosis”. Discussed by Lacan, but the best take I’ve seen is in a short film by the Brothers Quay called De Artificiali Perspectiva, or Anamorphosis (1991):

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEfwbnMf3jM (14:17)

      They show a number of other examples from Italian art before looking at Holbein’s Ambassadors.

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Cultural Tutor. Kind of a crock.

    This: “And Northern art had a longstanding fascination with detail, one not shared by the Italians.”

    Evidently, the Cultural Tutor is too busily fascinated with fascinators to have looked at the work of Bronzino or Crivelli. If anyone wants to see how to paint cloth and clothing, the Italians do rather well.

    Titian also was a master of the portrait, such as Man with a Quilted Sleeve, Man with a Glove, or Portrait of Aretino. All of these paintings show the Italian fascination with cloth and the virtuosity in getting cloth to flow and glow on a canvas. Let alone the Italian stress on the face, hand, and eyes (yes, the Italian gaze. Deal with it.)

    Of course, the Italians are also good at portraits of naked peeps.

    I’d also point out thay the esteemed Sofinisba Anguissola knew a thing or two about portraiture.

    As for anamorphosis, one thing I find especially interesting is that in Italian culture the word anamorfosi is still used to describe an image that resolves a certain way from a certain angle.

    In the Holbein painting, the objects shown are the “high tech” of the time–new inventions that caused wonder.

    The anamorphosis of the skull, though, is a reminder of the fleeting passage of fame and fortune: And whose fame is more fleeting than a well-dressed ambassador, who delivers the message of another who is even more powerful and who then, after the delivery of the fleeting message, then must disappear?

    1. c_heale

      Caravaggio had such attention to detail that an modern expert could identify the type of scab (plant disease) on an apple he painted apparently.

  10. semper loquitur

    Sabby Sabs of the Revolutionary Blackout Network on The Jimmy Dore Show discussing how Biden intentionally attached the student loan forgiveness program to the “Heroes Act”, which made it vulnerable to legal challenges:


    Vote harder no matter who!

  11. Rick

    Re wapo “A defeated former president running for election again while facing potential criminal indictment is unprecedented in U.S. history.”

    Eugene Debs in 1920 ran for president while in prison and garnered nearly a million votes. So the ‘while facing’ clause is a bit disingenuous.

    Pearls must be clutched, I suppose.

  12. Jeff W

    “I still don’t think the skull is explained, though. For example, why that angle?”

    The always-engaging Waldemar Januszczak gives something of an explanation in this video on YouTube. Essentially, Januszczak surmises that, in the room where the painting originally was hung, you enter the room from the right side of the painting, see the skull (shock!), but, as you move to the front, the skull disappears. Death—“all that discord, all that death” in the world of Henry VIII—is just another illusion. All that really matters is the eternal truth suggested by the crucifix partly hidden behind the curtain.

  13. jsn

    Retail Sales up, capacity utilization down.

    Do the sales figure account for inflation? I clicked through and didn’t see any explanaiton.

    If no, then purchasing power is declining in line with capacity utilization and the two links make sense together.

  14. Pelham

    Thanks so much for the Turbo Encabulator video. Someone should do something similar for US voting machines.

    1. ambrit

      You have to ‘love’ that PMC Lite Mood Music tinkling in the background. Kenny G meets Yanni to the rescue!
      Alas for us all, someone, (aka. ‘the usual suspects’) already has applied the principles that make the Turbo Encabulator great to the field of Public Profession of Personal Political Preferences (P-5.) With the immense strides made in information processing, and analysis by Deep State Industries, through generous grants via DARPA, the Turbo Encabulator has a close cousin in the True Vote Entabulator. The True Vote Entabulator has been “Keeping Democracy Safe” since it’s first experimental deployment in the 1980 American Presidential election.

  15. C.O.

    Latest pearls of wisdom from Bonnie Henry from the Times Colonist.

    https://www.timescolonist.com/coronavirus-covid-19-local-news/heres-why-bc-is-not-mandating-masks-in-schools-6113703 Here’s Why BC is Not Mandating Masks in Schools

    Asked about U.S. studies showing a decline in illnesses in communities that had school mask mandates, Henry said they are “challenging” to interpret as they don’t show cause and effect.

    Henry said her decision is not because setting a renewed mandate would be challenging to implement. She also said she’d likely only consider a mask mandate if a new virus were to emerge. And she repeatedly stressed that immunity levels are high enough to not mandate masks.

    As the article goes on to note,

    Meanwhile, BC Children’s Hospital emergency room wait time reached nearly 12 hours as Henry spoke.

    Such wait times have persisted for roughly the past month. When asked how many pediatric surgeries have been postponed during this time, [public health minister Adrian] Dix was unable to respond with a clear answer.

    So, here is the province’s dynamic duo. The irresponsible public health officer and the health minister who has no idea what is going on. If there were ever wheels on the public health bus here, they are long gone now.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Trump announces 2024 run for president”

    ‘Even in announcing his latest campaign on Tuesday, Trump suggested that China may have played “a very active role in the 2020 election.” He also insisted that only paper ballots should be used in elections.’

    Was just thinking. You know how Musk took over Twitter and then you had all those enraged Twits trying to wreck Twitter with all those parody accounts because Musk made Blue Check accounts not special anymore? Well, if Trump was elected President again and he carried out his threat to bring back paper ballots for all elections, what is the bet that those very same Twits would be the same sort of people who would rage and write swearing or anti-Trump messages all over their paper ballots?

    1. skippy

      Ugh …. Elon’s takeover is all about making the twitter platform a payment system … free speech and such is just the glazed apathetic leash on the minds of its commodities called users of … Elon despises the riff raff … they smell and get the art dirty …

      1. Anthony Noel

        Nah, Elon’s twitter take over was all about creating a way to take billions out of tesla without triggering a collapse in the stock price, then back out of the buyout.

        Unfortunately for Elon, Delaware might be one of the most corrupt jurisdictions on the planet on terms of favoring our corporat overlords, but that’s because they take their corruption seriously and enforce the hell out of contracts, so the Judge in his case would not let him wiggle out of it. He had to eat the sh*t sandwich he made with his meme 54.20 per share offer (420).

        So once again the world got to see that Elon is an actual idiot. Who knows, maybe this time it’ll stick, and he’ll get wiped out. And now he’s over extended and tettering on the brink of collapse. He needs twitter to start generating profit so he can con investors again, or at least have all the right media people tell everyone he’s a genius so all the rubes will “valuate” his crap company at billons of dollars on the penny to suck in the investor class, or offload it quick.

        Of course the conspiracy nut in me also thinks this is all a way to have the intelligence community force a take over of twitter. I mean lets remember Elon’s deep in with the defense and intelligence industry.

        1. skippy

          He stuffed SpaceX gov funds into it because Elon only cares about stonk price and as far as I can tell is he took exception to twit because of personal brand being questioned in the open like it was a Vom drama …

          He’s all about perception and nothing more but now running on fumes … aka act of desperation … no one is going to Mars … Tesla will not save the planet … splat … and all that potential will be lost on future generations ..

  17. skippy

    Where is Richard Smith when I need him … lmmao at my dating/sex app socioeconomic explorations …

    Just WOW at all the financial interconnections, monopolies, ties with RE and flow of funds, and how not unlike Fborg everyone is a/the commodity on a platform, which creates self reinforcing loops of perception about ones self and reality as a whole, its so Logan’s Run right swipe for the right match[tm] for the evening. whom knew you could blend Ferengi with the Borg … oh your more than attractive enough but that family value about owning RE, not that I’m worth 10X more and not exposed to such risk or maintenance costs, oh you seem like you could provide interesting perspectives at brunch, you should know that cheeky comment about my friend in the photo with the PMC wild green glasses looking like an agent of SMERSH is an emanate Dr ….

    It really is a mirror on how so many are just reacting to the tender mercies of neoliberalism … again taking hits for the team to observe this …

    1. ambrit

      Glad it was you and not me mate. My “ego” (TM) is fragile enough already.
      Your ‘report from the front’ reminds one of Joyce’s ramblings; a true Scream of Consciousness narrative.
      Stay safe and definitely ask to see her papers first.

    1. rowlf

      To add, there was a long tradition in the US engineering fields to make April 1st product technical specifications. (Write only memory chips?) A few times these got loose when sales departments didn’t understand the product.

      Good times, giants once walked among us.

  18. Dr. John Carpenter

    “bitter irony that Trump’s endorsement will poison paper ballots in the minds of liberal Democrats for decades”

    And yet his denial of the 2020 election haven’t slowed down Dem denials of 2016. Heads they win. Tails we lose.

    1. C.O.

      Wow, she was close to yelling at that reporter, and the handwaving – I haven’t watched the full press conference yet.

  19. Watt4Bob

    So, someone thinks my post about horse betting was off base.

    I beg to differ, my point was precisely relevant.

    The gambling on horses is, on the surface, in the control of “in the hands of privileged but relatively uninformed elites.”

    However, the real money, or at least a substantial portion is systematically syphoned off by an assortment of fringe characters, essentially parasites, who not only corrupt the supposedly legitimate primary game, but one way or another accomplish the establishment of a parallel game which takes advantage of a higher, and more sophisticated level of access to information which enables them to profit at the expense of the average bettor who is unaware that they are not only participating at a distinct disadvantage, they are not even involved in the ‘real‘ action.

    Playing the ponies;

    Part of the reason for the slack appears to be ossified arrangements in financial intermediation; with power in the hands of privileged but relatively uninformed elites. This sort of corruption and rigidity is bad for market efficiency.

    The real game of investment as practiced on Wall $treet is in no way based on the efficiency of markets, and the study of the information that is the by product of those markets, the real game is played by a parasitic class whose superior access to information, ensured by HFT among other technological chicanery that makes the average retail level, low information ‘investor‘ the chump.

    My friend’s experience in gambling on horses, enabled him, because of his temporary inherited wealth, to have the leisure to explore the region inhabited by that corrupt fringe and catch a glimpse of the ‘real‘ game as played by the ‘big boys‘.

    His intelligence and temporary wealth allowed him a glimpse, but in the end he was alone, and up against something like that “ossified arrangement of financial intermediation”.

    He was, in the end, a chump who felt immense gratification in being able to rub elbows with the guys who were playing the ‘real‘ game, but none the less, a chump.

    1. Wukchumni

      I remember one time @ Caesar’s Tahoe in the mid 80’s there was this fellow who was betting $100k on the pass line and backing it up with odds and other substantial wagers on the various numbers, easily $750k on the felt for every time he held the dice and nobody else was going to get a chance as the casino had roped off the craps table, so only onlookers from afar could watch the action.

      The truth of the matter was it was only the amount that made a difference, if he was betting $2 on the line you’d never give him a second look, and the dice would do their thing.

      Horse racing is like that, yeah there’s the owners & trainers and all that, but from a punting aspect its just as much fun betting a few bucks versus betting the house on an outcome.

      Poker got really hot late in the 20th century and it was such a boring game compared to thoroughbred racing from a variables standpoint.

      In poker either you have the goods or you don’t and fold or bluff, that’s about it.

      All of the factors in a horse race are tantamount to a detective case with oodles of clues in Today’s Racing Digest that you have to coalesce into reasoning why you put $2 across on the #7 horse in the 5th race.

  20. skippy

    Amends in advance ….

    I just want to take a moment to acknowledge IM Doc et al, but will use him as an exemplar.

    You Sir remind me of my youth and the MEN I had the gift of knowing and impressed on me the hard fought knowledge and experiences of the world, in their day, it was not perfect by any means, yet they toiled to make the world better for everyone, and most importantly understood SIN in its many guises and sought to make amends for it for past occurrences due to lack of knowledge and experience – I will be a better human – that is what life is about when you strip it all the way down.

    Too see the forces brought against people like you is abhorrent as its agencies dicta in shaping how we all live so someone can make packet and look down on all others. That some use the creator to justify this is just another nail in our coffin and I am not a religious person, but understand its place in the reality we all live in.

    You use the best of Spirituality and Science Sir … crap what does it say when someone like me sobs and has tears typing this …

  21. karma fubar

    Regarding the “Biden would veto proposed U.S. Senate resolution to end COVID national emergency -White House” story.

    First off, the “story” is all of four sentences long. The headline accounts for a quarter of the content. Good job, Reuters. It took four people credited with bringing you this “story”.

    Second, I was talking a couple months back with my brother, who works as a regulatory consultant for companies dealing with the FDA. Mostly on the device side (as opposed to pharmaceuticals) but he pretty deep in those weeds. He said that the national emergency was solely a directive of the HHS Secretary. I have not seen any prior machinations by the house or senate to revoke the emergency, but my understanding is that they cannot.

    Third, and most disturbingly, he pointed out that absolutely all of the Covid test kits in the US were cleared (permitted) under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The Covid test kits approval are thus directly tied to the emergency. If the emergency is rescinded, the test kits lose their regulatory clearance, and will be pulled from the shelves. As in all test kits pulled from all shelves. I would consider this a neo-Stalinist approach to ending the pandemic – “no data, no problem”. But as has been mentioned here before, we live in the stupidest timeline.

  22. Tom Pfotzer

    As I’ve said so many times before, technology solves all problems.

    The Turbo Encabulator 2.0 is merely the latest example.


  23. lyman alpha blob

    “…never had the benefit of art history courses…”

    If only it were 35 years or so ago I could have helped you out Lambert. I took two art history courses at the Maine college I attended – the first was a 101 survey I took because I was dating an art major and it seemed like a good idea to stay in her good graces, and the 2nd was a course in Northern European Renaissance art where I did a paper on that very painting. It’s buried in my parents’ attic somewhere so I can’t check for any valuable insights I may have had and forgotten as an undergrad dilettante art historian, but others have covered the details above. I took the 2nd course because the first one was so good and that’s what the prof was teaching the next semester. I was more of a math/science guy but those two classes were near the top of anything I ever took. Unfortunately the prof passed away years ago or I would recommend auditing his class.

    I will always remember the first lecture in the survey he gave where he asked us what makes something “art” and started by showing us two pictures. One was a metallic abstract Duchamp sculpture and the other was a short piece of polished industrial piping. There two objects were strikingly similar, and the prof pointed out the former was worth millions while the other could be purchased for $5.99 at the hardware store. We got a whole semester to learn that it was all really in the eye of the beholder. And I’ll never forget his absolute disgust with Hans Memling, another Northerner who he mentioned only in passing, feeling obligated to because he was somewhat famous, but still a complete hack in the eyes of the prof. I think the prof may have been a somewhat frustrated studio artist himself, and enjoyed getting in a few shots when he could!

  24. Greg

    Another big round of missile strikes on infrastructure in Ukraine tonight. Pre-emptive shutdown of the electrical grid, oo doubt a sensible precaution against cascading failures. Will see what’s left to turn on again in a dozen hours i guess.

    1. Polar Socialist

      At least the whole Dniepropetrovsk oblast has been shut down as an emergency measure.

      I don’t know if it’s significant, but earlier in the war Russian strikes happened at night, when people were at homes and not in the places targeted, but yesterdays volleys started around 3 PM (IIRC) and today at 11 AM.

      1. Greg

        Reducing the time available for repairs?

        I’m not even in the same hemisphere so have no clue, have daylight hours reduced with the season change?

        Iirc the “October 10” strikes were actually 48 hours of non stop strikes. I remember the air raid maps were red all day.

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