2:00PM Water Cooler 11/2/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Black Siskin, Catamarca, Argentina. “Flying.” Some purist has marked this down to one star because of the clucking of chickens and the crowing of a rooster, but I think that adds to the verité, and the siskins sound fine!

* * *


“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

Mehdi: Do #CovidIsAirborne with Rochelle (or better yet, Tucker Carlson, but I doubt that would ever happen):

If only there were some sort of award I could give Klain…

“Book Publishing Mega-Merger BLOCKED” [Matt Stoller, BIG]. ” As I noted back in June, Kanter and Khan have put a bunch of torpedos in the water, and there’s a lag time after the launch of a torpedo and before it rams the hull. It’s easy to think nothing’s happening on the placid surface even as something is churning underneath. Well, one of those torpedos just exploded, in the form of Judge Florence Pan ruling against the merger of two large publishing houses, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, in a case that will reverberate in important ways across the economy. This ruling was front page news in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Financial Times, as well as publishing trade publications. Even seemingly unconnected groups, like the Writer’s Guild West of TV and movie writers, chimed in approvingly.” • The Biden Administration being good on anti-trust wasn’t on my Bingo card, I admit.


* * *


“Top Democrats Question Their Party’s Strategy as Midterm Worries Grow” [New York Times]. “Even among the kibitzing chorus, there’s little agreement over exactly what could cost the party control of Congress. In areas where victory depends on high Black voter turnout, Democrats worry that they are not mobilizing that constituency. Others say there has been too much focus on abortion rights and too little attention on worries about crime or the cost of living. And across the country, Democrats point to an inadequate economic message and an inability to effectively herald their legislative accomplishments. ‘The truth is, Democrats have done a poor job of communicating our approach to the economy,’ said Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat from Michigan who is in one of this year’s most competitive races. ‘I have no idea if I’m going to win my election — it’s going to be a nail biter. But if you can’t speak directly to people’s pocketbook and talk about our vision for the economy, you’re just having half a conversation.'” • Deploy the Blame Cannons! Slotkin is, of course, a CIA Democrat, so it’s interesting to see her joining the chorus…..

“Democrats’ tattered coattails” [Axios]. “[S]ome Democratic operatives working on House races are already beginning to assign blame in the event their party loses winnable seats: The culprit, they say, is blue-state governors [like Newsome and Hochul] dragging down the rest of the ballot.” No party discipline whatever. Can’t they wait a week before starting the pissing and moaning and blinding and stiffing?

“Amid political violence and rise of disinformation, Biden looks to keep focus on economy” [Politico]. “A brutal assault on the husband of the House speaker. A rise in celebrities spouting antisemitic beliefs. The world’s richest man pushing fake news on his newly acquired social media site. With a week until the midterms, a series of major events have fueled a growing sense of national unrest and division and sparked larger debates about the future the country is charting. Against this backdrop, President Joe Biden plans to stay the course. His closing campaign argument will remain largely centered on economic themes and messages that aides believe are closer to immediate voter interests.” • I hate that “closing argument” trope; I don’t think voters think of campaigns as like trials, or debates. A “closing argument” sums up what was come before, and highlights what the presenter believes is a winning argument. But campaigns are chaotic open systems, and whatever is said at the beginning often has nothing to do with what is said at the end. This is classic West Wing brain damage.

“White Suburban Women Swing Toward Backing Republicans for Congress” [Wall Street Journal]. “White suburban women, a key group of midterm voters, have significantly shifted their support from Democrats to Republicans in the closing days of midterm campaigning because of rising concerns over the economy and inflation, according to the latest Wall Street Journal poll. The new survey shows that white women living in suburban areas, who make up 20% of the electorate, now favor Republicans for Congress by 15 percentage points, moving 27 percentage points away from Democrats since the Journal’s August poll. It also suggests that the topic of abortion rights has faded in importance after Democrats saw energy on that issue this summer in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. ‘We’re talking about a collapse, if you will, in that group on the perceptions of the economy,’ said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio who conducted the poll with Democratic pollster John Anzalone. The poll showed that 54% of white suburban women think the U.S. is already in a recession and 74% think the economy is headed in the wrong direction.” • I don’t think the economy is all that great, especially on the supermarket shelf, but the economy is also weird in a way I don’t think we’ve seen (weird supply chain; weird labor market; weird housing market; weird war; Fed seemingly pushing on a string). So I think that all a straight “perceptions of the economy” take proves is that propaganda works. Of course, the Democrats were stupid to think that abortion would remain on the front burner; that issue peaked too soon. Cautionary note: Elections are won at the margin in districts, not in averages, not even in averages among demographics. I don’t know, for example, if the energy from the Kansas referendum dissipated or not. If it did not, results in Kansas might favor Democrats more than they would otherwise be favored. One of the pleasing aspects of the polling system being completely crapified is that we don’t know anything until the votes are counted. I personally wish this country would follow the example of other countries, and outlaw the publication of political polls for a period before the election; say, two months. Enough time for events to make a difference. (I’d outlaw the practice itself if I thought that was possible.)

* * *

MI: “Once a G.O.P. Stalwart, Liz Cheney Hits the Trail for Democrats” [New York Times]. “Stumping for Elissa Slotkin [that’s two stories on Slotkin, interesting] in Michigan, Ms. Cheney had an urgent message for voters: ‘We all must stand and defend the republic.'” • Perhaps there’s some definition of “republic” I’m not aware of. One where James Madison thoroughly approved of the Executive department managing the people’s “cognitive infrastructure,” as CIA Democrats — assuming, at this point, that there’s some other kind of Democrat — would wish them to do.

PA: “Former President Barack Obama to rally in Pittsburgh with John Fetterman” [WTAE]. “Former President Barack Obama is coming to Pittsburgh Saturday to campaign for Lt. Gov. John Fetterman as the Nov. 8 election approaches. The exact time and location of the event has not been revealed, but both Obama and Fetterman are set to appear…. Obama is coming to Pittsburgh on the same day as former President Donald Trump rallies for Fetterman’s Republican opponent Mehmet Oz and GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano.” • I don’t see this as moving votes Fetterman’s way (although the celebrity-obsessed Democrat party establishment probably believes different). However, Obama never does anything that would get egg on his tan suit; nothing embarrassing, nothing awkward. That suggests to me that the Fetterman-Oz debate didn’t move the needle agaist Fetterman (either in internal polling, or in the hysterical and jumpy party establishment).

PA: “Do naked ballots mean trouble for John Fetterman? Here’s what you need to know” [The Inquirer]. “A down-to-the-wire U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania has renewed some attention — albeit less than two years ago — on how mail ballots can be rejected in the state if voters make mistakes filling them out and sending them back. In addition to ‘naked ballots’ tossed for missing required inner secrecy envelopes, voters’ ballots can be thrown out for missing the deadline, forgetting to sign them, and other errors. The difference between votes cast and votes actually counted is usually pretty small, but some are rejected every election. Those rejections go largely unnoticed — until they matter in extremely close races. Races like ones in Pennsylvania.”

PA: Minor candidate drops out, endorses Fetterman:

PA: “I’m John Fetterman: This is why I want Pennsylvania’s vote in the midterm election” [John Fetterman, FOX]. “Whether it’s rising crime or rising costs, we need leaders who actually understand the problems we’re going through here in Pennsylvania, and who have the experience and the ideas to do something about it. I know we need to tackle crime because I live in a community with a serious crime issue. I know that costs are too high because I see it with my own eyes when I’m at Costco. I get these issues because I’ve lived these issues. My opponent Dr. Oz can’t say the same. On inflation, crime, and any number of other issues, he just doesn’t get it. This is a guy who has spent the better part of his life jumping between his ten mansions on his private jet. That’s why his entire campaign has been based on spreading lies about me and my record. There’s a reason why Oz and his allies have spent nearly $100 million attacking me with tons of negative ads – because Oz has no record and no solutions of his own to run on. But it’s time to set the story straight—because the truth is I have a strong record of successfully confronting crime, and a real plan to take on inflation.”

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.

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Sheriff: “I’m sick of these Black bastards…. Every Black that I know, you need to fire him…”” [WBTV]. Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene, on tape: “‘Tomorrow’s gonna be a new f**king day. I’m still the motherf**king sheriff, and I’ll go up and fire every godd**n [inaudible]. F**k them Black bastards. They think I’m scared? They’re stupid,’ Greene said. ‘I don’t know what else to do it. So it’s just time to clean them out. There’s a snitch in there somewhere tellin’ what we are doing. And I’m not gonna have it. I’m not going to have it.’… ‘Every Black that I know, you need to fire him to start with, he’s a snake,’ Greene says before ending the phone call.” • Recorded by then-Captain Jason Soles. And: “Soles, who is now running for Columbus County Sheriff against Jody Greene, said he was concerned that the most powerful law enforcement officer in Columbus County was racist, and would not treat Black employees or the residents he policed fairly.” • I wonder if Green is one of those “Constitutional Sheriffs“?

“Judge restricts how right-wing group can patrol Arizona drop boxes” [CNN]. “A federal judge in Arizona imposed new restrictions against a right-wing group after voters complained about aggressive patrols of ballot drop boxes in the state. The judge blocked members of the group, Clean Elections USA, from openly carrying guns or wearing body armor within 250 feet of drop boxes. The judge also banned members from speaking to or yelling at voters who are dropping off their ballots. The group is additionally banned under the order from photographing or filming any voters at the drop boxes or from posting similar images online – which they’ve done in recent weeks.” • Perhaps vigilantes aren’t ideal election workers? Just a thought.

“Obama warns ‘more people are going to get hurt’ if political climate persists” [Reuters]. “Democratic former President Barack Obama on Tuesday warned that “more people are going to get hurt” unless the U.S. political climate changes, after the husband of the Speaker of the House was attacked by a man wielding a hammer… ‘This increasing habit of demonizing political opponents creates a dangerous climate,’ Obama said, faulting elected officials who fail to reject the violence, make light of it, or inflame the situation with heated rhetoric.” • Totes. Obama, 2008, demonizing as only Obama can:

[OBAMA:] You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

(Obama’s version of Clinton’s “deplorables.”) To my mind, the key point of Obama’s unheated rhetoric was his denial of agency to this class of voters. One doesn’t say, of the PMCs that form the Democrat base, that they “cling to” mainstream macro. Note that the citizen reporter who published Obama’s remarks, Mayhill Fowler, was also, in an early version of cancel culture, thoroughly demonized by Obama Democrats, although we didn’t have social media back then, so they couldn’t really go to town. As usual, the inability of liberal Democrats to self-reflect is staggering.


A really astonishing piece of science:

• ”Tracing the origin of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron-like Spike sequences detected in wastewater” [medRxiv]. “The origin of highly divergent “cryptic” SARS-CoV-2 Spike sequences, which appear in wastewater but not clinical samples, is unknown. These wastewater sequences have harbored many of the same mutations that later emerged in Omicron variants. If these enigmatic sequences are human-derived and transmissible, they could both be a source of future variants and a valuable tool for forecasting sequences that should be incorporated into vaccines and therapeutics…. The presence of the cryptic virus was narrowed from a municipal wastewater sample (catchment area >100,000 people) to an indoor wastewater sample from a single facility (catchment area ∼30 people), indicating the human origin of this virus…. High levels of persistent SARS-CoV-2 shedding from the gastrointestinal tract of an infected individual likely explain the presence of evolutionarily advanced “cryptic variants” observed in some wastewater samples.” • Here is a thread on the article:

And but:

* * *

Sure is odd The World’s Best Health Care System™ hasn’t come up with an innovative delivery system like this:

• ”CanSino Biologics rolls out inhaled vaccine Convidecia Air in Shanghai” (press release) [BioSpectrum Asia]. “CanSino Biologics has announced that its recombinant COVID-19 vaccine (Adenovirus Type 5 Vector) for inhalation (Convidecia Air) has been approved by the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council of China for inclusion in Shanghai’s booster vaccination programme, marking the start of the rollout of the world’s first inhaled COVID-19 vaccine, Convidecia Air…. Based on the same adenovirus vector technological platform of the intramuscular version, Convidecia Air has proven to be an innovative solution that provides safe and effective protection for people through a needle-free, painless and non-invasive delivery without any serious adverse events observed.” • What, no needles? No trained health care peronnel? No cold chain?

• ”CanSino rallies 76% on the promise of inhaled COVID-19 vaccine” [Seeking Alpha]. “Vaccine maker CanSino Biologics Inc. (OTCPK:CASBF) added ~76% on Wednesday after the company announced that more Chinese would follow Shanghai in deploying its inhaled COVID-19 vaccine. The Tianjin-based company said in its official social media account that 13 Chinese cities in Jiangsu province, including Wuxi, Huai’an, and Yangzhou, are rolling out the vector-based non-invasive vaccine option. Hopes of a potential improvement in vaccination rates also led to the rally amid speculation that China was considering a gradual reopening of the country.”

• ”Inhalable vaccine in trials” (advertorial) [Nature Portfolio]. “[CanSinoBIO’s co-founder, chief scientific officer and executive director Tao Zhu] says the inhalable vaccine imitates the way COVID-19 enters human bodies via the airways. When CanSinoBIO’s vaccine is aerosolized into tiny particles, it can then be inhaled into the respiratory tract and lungs to trigger immunological memory and initiate an immune response in the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract.” • Hmm. Mucosal immunity, but no claim of sterilizing immunity? Again–

• “China rolls out first inhalable COVID vaccine” [Reuters]. “‘Our body’s first line of defence is the mucus membrane of our respiratory system, we want that to be directly stimulated to improve immunity and using the inhaled vaccine does that,’ Dr Zhao Hui, chief medical officer at Shanghai United Family Hospital Pudong, told Reuters.” • If in fact an inhalable vaccine produces mucosal immunity was also sterilizing, that would make all the sacrifices of Zero Covid more than worth it (leaving aside the millions of lives saved).

* * *

• ”Dozens dead, hundreds infected, but health authorities fight to conceal B.C. hospital outbreak findings” [CTV]. “A CTV News investigation into COVID-19 outbreaks in hospitals in the Lower Mainland has resulted in scant information from health authorities, which have fought disclosure even though hundreds of patients and staff have contracted the virus in hospital and dozens have died as a result. For months, multiple attempts to obtain information and documentation around investigations, responses and fallout from COVID-19 outbreaks in Lower Mainland hospitals have been met with stonewalling, redactions and insistence that no such documentation exists, even though lives were lost. Fraser Health fought a months-long battle with a freedom of information request, ultimately resulting in 79 pages of written documentation, of which 55 pages’ worth were redacted. Every page is marked ‘Confidential,’ and some say ‘Confidential Do Not Distribute.’ Meanwhile, a Vancouver Coastal Health privacy officer insisted that – despite the deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks taking place in that health authority – there was ‘no documentation’ to provide under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.” And: “‘Air flow measurements found the actual air changes per hour (ACH) to be below the design expectations,’ the report reads. ‘International experience with COVID-19 and observations of super-spreading events in various settings suggest crowding and poor air flow may contribute to outbreaks.'” • So where are the lawsuits in the United States?

* * *

• ”What were the historical reasons for the resistance to recognizing airborne transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic?” [Indoor Air]. We ran this back when it appeared (hat tip alert reader sub boreal), but it’s worth a read now if you didn’t catch it then. Not a p-value in sight! “The very slow and haphazard acceptance of the evidence of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by major public health organizations contributed to a suboptimal control of the pandemic, whereas the benefits of protection measures against aerosol transmission are becoming well established.24-26 Quicker acceptance of this evidence would have encouraged guidelines that distinguished rules for indoors and outdoors, greater focus on outdoor activities, earlier recommendation for masks, more and earlier emphasis on better mask fit and filter, as well as rules for mask-wearing indoors even when social distancing could be maintained, ventilation, and filtration. Earlier acceptance would have allowed greater emphasis on these measures, and reduced the excessive time and money spent on measures like surface disinfection and lateral plexiglass barriers, which are rather ineffective for airborne transmission and, in the case of the latter, may even be counterproductive.” • “Suboptimal control of the pandemic” = tens of thousands of preventable deaths, but who’s counting? Here is a thread on the paper, worth reading in itself:

* * *

• ”Someone in my home has COVID. How do we isolate safely?” [CleanAirCrew]. “When someone in your household needs to quarantine at home, you want them to be isolated from others as much as possible. Remember that the virus transmits predominantly through the air, so sanitizing surfaces is not enough.” • Here is a handy diagram:

Since preventing Covid infection is naturally not a goal of the public health establishment, I haven’t seen any studies on this sort of arrangement, but I’ve seen plenty of testimonials on the Twitter. Not all homes will have bedrooms with private bathrooms, of course, but the principle of circulating plenty of fresh air seems clear enough. Do any reader have experiences with isolation, hopefully successful?

* * *

• Hucksters slipstreaming on #CovidIsAirborne:

This in Colorado, one of the centers for aerosol research:

That, or steak dinners…

* * *

• Somebody should ask the Metropolitan Opera why it makes every opera-goer sign a Covid waiver, if it’s so safe to go unmasked:

• And once more:

* * *

* * *


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, October 31:

0.4%. Increase slows.


Wastewater data (CDC), October 29:

October 23:


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, academid pace utterly incompatible with protecting yourself against a variant exhibiting doubling behavior.

Variant data, national (Walgreens), October 19:

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

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

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


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,095,646 – 1,095,315 = 331 (331 * 365 = 120,815, which is today’s LivingWith™ number (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the LivingWith™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease.

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

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States ADP Employment Change” [Trading Economics]. “Private businesses in the US unexpectedly created 239K jobs in October of 2022, the most in three months, and compared to market forecasts of 195K.” • It’s like a horror movie, where Powell is trying his hardest to strangle the economy, but. Just. Can’t. Choke. It. To. Death.

Retail: “United States Total Vehicle Sales” [Trading Economics]. “Total Vehicle Sales in the United States increased to 14.90 Million in October from 13.50 Million in September of 2022.”

* * *

Tech: “Twitter Co-Founder Already Beta-Testing New Social Media Platform, Bluesky” [BizChina]. “In late 2019, Dorsey founded Bluesky. The latter is considered a decentralized social media platform. By the way, initially, Twitter also provided start-up capital for Bluesky. Bluesky is based on the ‘AT Protocol’ (Authenticated Transport Protocol). This is a new federated social network that many websites run. The protocol allows users to choose among providers, individuals, or businesses to self-host. As a decentralized network, the AT protocol operates independently. Thus, it doesn’t depend on any company’s wishes. This independence ought to protect users’ private data. The next step is to test the AT protocol. Bluesky explained that developing such a distributed protocol is a tricky process. Also, it requires coordination among multiple parties once the network goes live.” • This is very interesting, and I wonder what view Doctorow, a strong proponent of data interoperability, will take of it. (I don’t hate Dorsey with the hatred of a million burning suns, as I Musk or The Zuckerberg™. Twitter, in its bad neighborhoods, really is a hellscape, but, as Miss Marple always says, “Human nature being what it is….” Perhaps a protocol that permits federation an interoperability will allow the break-up of the platforms; their enormous scale is the problem. (Of course, that scale is what makes censorship easy, so it will be interesting to see what posture the liberal Democrats adopt on Dorsey’s platform.)

Tech: “Weirdly, Taylor Swift Is Extremely Close to Creating a True Metaverse” [The Atlantic]. “To call what Swift is doing with this album release ‘online savvy’ or ‘audience engagement’ or ‘marketing’ is to undersell it. She has, in a way, created a virtual universe in which fans can experience the launch. As The Washington Post’s Emily Yahr recounts, Swift has left puzzles and secret messages for fans for more than 15 years, embedding them in her album liner notes, music videos, and social-media posts, and even (if the theories are right) in the clothing she wears. The result is a near-year-round ecosystem that’s pretty much constantly bubbling away online. Fans gather in the tens of millions to obsessively dissect every move she makes. Last night, they seem to have crashed Spotify. A mass of people are gathering to participate in a large virtual world with direct ties to the real one. Talk about it enough, and it kind of starts to sound like another much-discussed concept: a metaverse. This may seem like a leap, but a metaverse—a futuristic virtual-reality world—is essentially a shared online experience, which is not all that different from the online fanscape that Swifties inhabit.” • A data structure representing the work product of such a fanscape was in fact the technical premise of William Gibson’s Idoru. “‘Where I can see,’ Laney said, staring down into intricately overgrown canyons, dense with branchings that reminded him of Arleigh’s Realtree 7.2, but organic somehow, every segment thickly patched with commentary. ‘Yamazaki was right. The fan stuff seems to do it.'”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 58 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 2 at 1:37 PM EDT. I must admit I don’t understand Mr. Market at all. OTOH, it’s now November, and we haven’t had a Crash.

Thanksgiving Pre-Game Festivities

“This Recipe Reveals the Lighter Side of Brussels Sprouts” [Wall Street Journal]. • No.

News of the Wired

“The First Minute of Every Phone Call Is Torture Now” [The Atlantic]. “[T]he telephone used to be one of the most reliable communication technologies around. Once wired into homes and businesses, the public switched telephone network facilitated calls with resilience, even in the event of power failure. But when phone networks went digital and then cellular, a combination of factors made calls less reliable: Digital sampling captured voices poorly; environmental noise made calls hard to hear; wireless networks offered a signal in some places but not others. The speakers and earpieces were smaller and designed for looks rather than acoustics, making already tenuous calls even more unintelligible. And so, as digital, mobile telephony overtook copper-wire analog calls, telephony degraded forever. But all of that sits underneath the current phone-failure malaise. Before a call can even begin, you are now forced to fight with the apparatus that makes the call in the hopes that it will successfully connect you… That’s the bad news, but it has an upside. A new ritual for telephonic greeting has emerged: discoursing about the collapsing infrastructure of telephonic intercourse.” • And speaking of phones–

“T-Mobile will start charging a $35 fee on all new activations and upgrades” [Engadget]. “T-Mobile may be joining rivals Verizon and AT&T by introducing an $35 charge for all new postpaid activations and upgrades, according to The T-Mo Report and some Redditors. According to T-Mobile internal documents, it’s introducing a ‘Device Connection Charge’ for ‘all activations and upgrades for mobile, Beyond the Smartphone and broadband devices.’ Before, the Uncarrier charged activation fees only if you received in-store customer support for new activations, with online orders exempt. Now, all new postpaid activations are charged, whether or not you were assisted. This includes updating to a new device, adding a Bring-Your-Own-Device line, or ordering a Home Internet line, according to The T-Mo Report. T-Mobile has always tried to separate itself from regular telecoms, but charging customers for essentially nothing doesn’t sound very Uncarrier-like, if the reports are accurate. And you can’t take your business to Sprint, as it no longer exists thanks to its merger with T-Mobile. When that deal was finalized, T-Mobile said things would be “better for customers,” but constant activation charges would definitely not be better.” • No. They wouldn’t.

* * *

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 Carla:

Carla writes: “Bouquets from the autumn garden.”

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Wukchumni

    MI: “Once a G.O.P. Stalwart, Liz Cheney Hits the Trail for Democrats” [New York Times]. “Stumping for Elissa Slotkin [that’s two stories on Slotkin, interesting] in Michigan, Ms. Cheney had an urgent message for voters: ‘We all must stand and defend the republic.’”

    Face it, the Cheney clan are good trouble shooters.

      1. hunkerdown

        Do private-equity mice lie more than wild-type? Any mouse criminologists in the commentariat feel free to weigh in.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Periodically I tell this joke–

        Some scientist are running a maze experiment with rats.

        One of the rats builds a little ladder, so they can climb up high and see the way out.

        SCIENTIST: Look, a defective rat!

        And euthanizes the animal.

        1. Brunches with Cats

          Not entirely a joke — they do that with circus elephants who figure out that a flimsy rope around the leg isn’t what’s preventing them from escape. I got this firsthand from an elephant handler at the circus in Knoxville in the mid-1980s.

          An acquaintance who worked at the zoo was invited “backstage” at the coliseum after the show and agreed to let me tag along. The elephants were all in a row –unimaginably massive for anyone who hasn’t stood right next to one, all the more impressive in multiple — munching on hay. Shocked to see them tied up with only a rope looped around a front foot, attached to an iron stake barely pounded into the concrete floor, I asked the handler how that could possibly hold them. He said it didn’t (duh), but that they were trained early on to believe it did, and if one of them ever realized the truth and made a mad dash for it, they’d have to shoot it on sight before the others caught on. That story made me so sad and has stuck with me all these years — surely a metaphor for something.

          Now that I’m so much older, I wonder if maybe the elephants were indeed smart enough to comprehend the choice between certain, painful death or guaranteed nightly meals in return for performing a few tricks, and that they chose the latter.

          1. AndrewJ

            If circus elephants are several generations away from wild elephants – I have no idea when circuses stopped, if they ever did, purchasing wild-caught elephants rather than breed their own – then they’ve been selecting for domestication. It doesn’t take too many generations for that to take hold.
            I personally believe that human beings accidentally domesticated ourselves, roundabout the beginning of agriculture. We are indeed shackled by a string.

              1. Brunches with Cats

                “Domestication syndrome?” “Language conspiracy?” Odd terminology. In any case, couldn’t get past the first few paragraphs and author’s biases, of which he apparently isn’t even aware. My immediate takeaways: 1) I had no idea that “self-domestication” is considered a “research topic;” and 2) Aaahnold must be kicking himself for not using it to explain the “science” behind his “girly man” comment. FWIW, Julius Caesar made an equivalent remark about certain tribes of Gauls ca. 52 BC, while others he respected as hardened warriors — and then bragged about annihilating them. So much for the author’s theory that Homo sapiens evolved for cooperation and “egalitarianism in male hierarchies” (in itself an outrageous bias).

                Gotta run. Feline Overlord is howling for his dinner …

            1. Brunches with Cats

              Yep. And those who catch on and try to escape, if not shot on sight, are ridiculed, intimated into silence, or otherwise forced to shut up, by whatever means. I was momentarily heartened by the Guardian headline in this morning’s links about the “planet killer” asteroid headed for Earth, until 4 or 5 grafs in, the NASA dude gave it near-zero probability of hitting. Damn shame. (And guessing he added “near” only to avoid the potential impact on their budget for asteroid blasting).

  2. Mikel

    “High levels of persistent SARS-CoV-2 shedding from the gastrointestinal tract of an infected individual likely explain the presence of evolutionarily advanced “cryptic variants” observed in some wastewater samples.”

    Lids need to be present and able to be closed before flushing on all toilets.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Lids need to be present and able to be closed before flushing on all toilets.

      An excellent sorting device for bathroom, especially in airports. Assuming one can hold it, of course.

      1. LawnDart

        Prison ettiquette: flush soon as the turd makes a splash (keep the smell down for cellie). Might as well mainstream this too.

        1. ambrit

          Hmmm…. It seems I have offended the “Anti Bathroom Humour League.” Lesson learned. Behaviour in modification mode.

    2. Joe Well

      Couldn’t the same thing could be accomplished chemically with something that makes water more viscous and less likely to aerosolize? I’m thinking of that VIPoo product that was advertised on the interwebs and TV with the commercials of a fake movie star and director.

  3. notabanker

    ‘The truth is, Democrats have done a poor job of communicating our approach to the economy,’

    Over and over again, it is always about the messaging with these people. As if, we should just hire better communications consultants. It can’t possibly be because they aren’t doing anything that benefits their constituents, at least the ones that actually vote (vs. donate), or worse, causing them a lot of pain.

    1. petal

      It’s those dumb voters’ faults!
      Deplorables 2.0: Hillary Clinton blames ill-informed Americans for rising GOP fortunes across US and questions whether voters ‘really understand’ what a midterms ‘red wave’ would mean

      “Hillary Clinton has suggested that American voters may not ‘really understand’ the stakes of the upcoming midterm elections, as she argued that GOP gains in Congress could have dire consequences.

      Clinton made the remarks in an interview on Tuesday with MSNBC host Joy Reid, who asked the former Democratic presidential nominee whether she believed voters grasped what Republican majorities in the House or Senate would mean.

      The dismissive comments echoed her 2016 election gaff wherein she called ‘half’ of Donald Trump’s supporters a ‘basket of deplorables’ who were ‘racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it.’ ‘I think that with all of the noise that we’ve gotten in this election season I don’t think that people are really able to grasp that,’ Clinton replied.

      ‘But more importantly, I’m not sure they really understand the threats to their way of life. They may think that whoever’s chairing a committee, you know, kind of abstract,’ she added.

      Clinton argued: ‘So ask yourselves, please, why would you entrust power to people who they themselves are unable to see how terrible it is that someone may be attacked in their home or don’t really care because they somehow think it’ll get them votes or get them elected? This is a real threat to the heart of democracy.'”

      1. Carolinian

        See I thought Clinton’s “sky is falling message” was Biden’s too. Good thing Politico cleared that up and told us it was the economy all along.

        My own theory is that should the Dems lose big we can blame it on Hillary babbling like a loon. None of that economy stuff for her.

        1. Screwball

          If my PMC friends are any indication, when they lose, it will be because the other side cheated. It is one of their main conversations, so I assume their propaganda pipeline is convincing them of that.

          Not to worry, the dims will fight harder next time. Oh, and please send money.

            1. ambrit

              Why oh why couldn’t the Democrat Party act like their role models from the days of yore, the Imperial Romans, and kill the “bearers of ill messaging?” That would wonderfully concentrate the minds of the PMC communications masters to know that, like the poor sods coming back from the disaster at the Teutoburg Forest, a quick end awaited their message of woe.

      2. nippersdad

        “Clinton argued: ‘So ask yourselves, please, why would you entrust power to people who they themselves are unable to see how terrible it is that someone may be attacked in their home or don’t really care because they somehow think it’ll get them votes or get them elected? This is a real threat to the heart of democracy.’”

        One gets really tired of millionaires telling us that we do not understand our own reality every couple of years, conveniently just before an election. Just one of a million examples: Let’s see how Hillary reacts to a no-knock warrant, like Breonna Taylor had, before she opines on how her reality is in any way similar to those she likes to deprecate.

        I’m pretty sure that if Breonna Taylor had had the kind of pull that the Pelosi’s have they would not last long.

      3. griffen

        There is not a rock large enough for that festering wound of a supposed leader to crawl behind, beneath and burrow under. But I’m sure as the sun still sets in the west, people are gonna be “with her.” Vomit.

        Tone deafness, thy name is Hillary R Clinton. People will vote with their wallets, and when inflation is tearing most of us mopes a new one the choice is easy.

        1. Tom Stone

          Hillary Clinton is a suppurating pustule on the American body politic.
          The foul reek of her murderous corruption and the pious hypocrisy she embodies are evidence of just how broken our political system is.

      4. Jen

        Oh bloody hell. She makes me want to vote R straight down the line, and many of our Rs are bat guano crazy.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      ‘The truth is, Democrats have done a poor job of communicating our approach to the economy,’

      Fixed that for them.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        Good Lord. A Hillary sighting and a Liz Cheney quote in the same thread. I just remembered why I voted Republican.

        1. tegnost

          Tifffany Smiley has been all over the sports radio (my only mass media, don’t do tv) for weeks, today I heard the first Patty Murray ad…the first dem ad in that venue since Bloombergs “we ain’t no socialists” in the run up to 2020…things must be looking bad…

          1. judy2shoes

            I would LOVE to see Patty Murray kicked out of the palace. For reference, the dems and repubs nauseate me equally, but I am heartily sick of watching dems like Patty wailing on about the plight of the working people while doing precious little to nothing to improve their lot.

            1. Joe Renter

              I would like to see Senator Cantwell get the boot too. She bought her seat from her Tech stock options. A real fake (aren’t most politicians?).

              1. judy2shoes

                Completely agree about Cantwell and fake politicians. If there’s a non-fake one running around, I haven’t spied them. Perhaps I need to find my rose-colored glasses; all the dems I know seem to be wearing theirs..

              2. spud

                she is just another sellout.


                Supports expanding Free Trade
                As a member of the House, Cantwell supprted NAFTA, As an exporting state we will lead the way as a beneficiary.
                Source: SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, November 15, 1993 , Sep 21, 2000

                Voted for NAFTA; favors China PNTR
                Cantwell voted for NAFTA and favors normal trade status for China. These are not daring positions, mind you, for a representative of trade-oriented Washington. Yet, [Democratic primary opponent Deborah] Senn says she is “trying to get to” supporting permanent trade with China – shorthand, that means she cannot break from old-line labor positions.
                Source: The Seattle Times: Editorial , Sep 10, 2000

                look at the rest of the page.

                a orange suit would suit her:)

            2. spud

              yea her crocodile tears are streaming down her face like a water fall.


              Trans-Pacific Partnership important for Washington economy
              On the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Murray says, “We have a state that is very trade-based. And our ability to be able to make products or grow products and sell them in a global marketplace is absolutely critical to the economy of our state and for many, many families and businesses. I look at that agreement, and say, ‘Does this set the best path forward for our state?’ And I think the current legislation that is before the Senate meets those parameters, and it’s important for our state.”
              Source: Pacific Northwest Inlander on 2016 Washington Senate race , May 12, 2015

              look at her record on that link. she belongs in jail for treason.

    3. skippy

      That was the whole point of the Curtis doco ‘Century of the Self’.

      “Happiness Machines”
      “The Engineering of Consent”
      “There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads; He Must Be Destroyed”
      “Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering”

      With emphasis on the latter – The final chapter explains how contemporary politicians on both sides of the Atlantic adopted and applied the ideas and techniques studied in this series. Neither political party is interested in communicating their approach to the economy because that would be saying the quiet part out loud in front of the kids e.g. there is only neoliberalism aka TINA.

      Everything is a market based study of how segments of society perceive themselves and how that effects their view of others and how that can be managed for votes. Politicians just pay marketing experts to divine these truths and then reverse engineer everything from it. Not that the study group is a dynamic of older marketing studies, which then ends up as a bunch of badly nominated groups at onset then vibrating at different frequencies to the other concocted groups, but now path dependency is baked/burnt in due to the funding model Citizens United unleashed whilst the unwashed are on Idpol apps or favorite MSM channel so they can “I’dentifiy with some made up construct and feel[tm] like they belong to some group in the scary world neoliberalism has unleashed upon them all ….

      I mean its all the Boomers fault … non productive old people sucking the wealth away from the younger productive people …. terrorists … China and Putin … or any other strawman than the people running the show and the ideology they project on everyone and everything else …

  4. Mark Gisleson

    Not just Taylor Swift. UK-based Sault (a somewhat mysterious music ensemble that doesn’t reveal the names of its partipants) just simultaneously released five free [FREE!] albums on Monday and they’ll remain free through this Friday. A different approach but one that’s slowly building the band a serious following.

    No descriptors, no noticeable PR but their Wikipedia page somehow was updated in real time (most Wikipedia band pages are years out of date). Not sure what Sault’s plan is, but I’m pretty sure they have one.

    1. Joe Well

      The William Gibson novel that this reminded me of was Pattern Recognition, especially the subplot about The Footage, people around the world piecing a movie together from bits and pieces scattered over the web.

  5. NotTimothyGeithner

    As president, Mr. Obama saw his party suffer heavy midterm losses. But this year, he is regarded by many Democrats as their most powerful surrogate by far. The problem, some say, is that there is only one of him.

    This just may be me, but perhaps, there is a connection between Obama’s results and Team Blue’s current messaging woes.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Didn’t Obama abandon not only the movement that got him into power but the basic party machinery as well to the point that it was in such bad financial shape, that Hillary came in and brought it up back in 2016 and ran it as her own?

  6. IM Doc

    Regarding the article above about questioning the tactics of the current Dem effort in the midterms.

    I would point you to this article as well –


    White suburban women, in the blue areas – have apparently been polled recently as going from a D+18 group just weeks ago – to a R+15 group now – a 33 point difference. There are articles all over the place today in the MSM stating that this is simply impossible. The denial is breathless – bordering on frantic.

    I would venture that those denial articles are being written by reporters who are looking at shining screens all day and not out on the beat with the voters. It is very difficult to tell what is going on in the world from a screen. This is one of the major faults of our society.

    They should be out talking to ministers, Chamber of Commerce people and primary care providers like me. They may have a more clear picture than what is had by lampooning these articles amongst their friends on Twitter.

    These articles are all blaming the economy. I am certain that is playing some role. But I have also noticed something unique starting in mid-October.

    I live in a very blue area. I have many young mothers and grandmas, Rachel MSNBC viewers all, in my practice. And something started to happen a few weeks ago then that has only been accelerating – 3 times already this AM.

    This is a composite sketch of the interaction…….

    Patient – IM Doc, are you having your kids vaccinated with the COVID shots?

    IM Doc – No Ma’am – not even remotely enough evidence for a risk/benefit ratio to even consider doing so.

    Patient – I agree. My children/grandchildren will not be vaccinated…..Do you agree with the CDC vote to put them on the vaccine schedule for kids? So and so politician on the news the other night stated if the CDC put them on the schedule they will have to be taken to go to school. I do not think they are that helpful for my kid. They certainly did not stop all of us adults from having Omicron twice this year already.

    IM Doc – I most certainly do not agree – again – there is nowhere near enough evidence to do so. Many of us are concerned that experimental vaccines do not belong on that list at all. Polio, MMR, all the others absolutely. But the COVID vaccines have not near enough evidence for that placement.

    Patient – I agree. And thank you for being honest. Do you think that “public official 1″ is going to now mandate this for my kids/grandkids to go to school” – I will assume they are – they have mindlessly done every other stupid thing the CDC has recommended the past 2 years…..If they do so – I will not vote for the Dems at all. I am sick and tired of this.

    This is happening over and over and over again. And I mean over and over.

    Add that to the large number of working class and minority families in my practice that have historically been Dem voters who themselves or friends or families were absolutely screwed by the vaccine mandates – again, I remind everyone a mandate for a product that was non-sterilizing and does not stop transmission – and we are starting to have some real problems for the Dems.

    When you are a physician in a small town – sometimes you hear things from patients that they tell you out of their stress or frustration. Like the local official just yesterday tasked with counting the early votes who told me – “this is going to be a shocker.”

    Who knew that the October Surprise this year was the 15-0 CDC vote, Dem donors all, to place these vaccines on the kiddy schedule and get the mandate ball rolling all over the country? They say that is not the case – but after people watching their local officials bend to the will of the CDC over the past 3 years, I do not blame the people for thinking this way at all. There is also clearly a gnawing realization among my patients that games are being played. With their kid’s lives. Patterns matter. And unless a forceful hard no is coming from the governor, the lingering doubt will continue.

    Suburban moms and grandmas put up with a lot of stuff – but you start screwing with their kids health and lives without coherent reasoning – and there will be hell to pay.

    The vaccine mandates from last year, I continue to firmly believe, are going to be one of the greatest political self-owns in American history. This kid vaccine schedule thing and, more importantly, the profound and completely unanswered confusion it is causing, may be right up there as well.

    Dem politicians – if you are reading this you may do yourselves a lot of favor by speaking out now. This is really and truly happening. It appears to be dramatically affecting one of your core constituencies in blue America.

    And Dem politicians of the future – before you get into bed with one of the worst corporations in American history, that has been found guilty of fraud and charged billions of dollars in the past, you should keep the shellacking you are about to undergo in mind. Blind following of these kind of entities usually does not end well.

    And my own professional leaders better start paying attention as well. The wrath is now pointed at the politicians. That will soon be pointed right at this profession. The first and most important thing is to be honest at all times.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I added this as a late update. See my comment.

      Wouldn’t it be great if we had an actual Truth and Reconciliation Commission for our national Covid debacle. Sadly, I don’t think we’ll get one.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      That 33 point swing could just as easily be attributed to food and gas prices. Going food shopping for a family right now is humbling.

      1. Pat

        I think anyone who discounts IM Doc’s boots on the ground experience is shortsighted.

        Look I don’t discard the pressure that inflation is exerting. but look at the time frame we are talking about. The increasing cost of food and fuel has been ongoing for longer than the period covered by the polling. It is logical to think there is a more recent trigger for the exodus of so many white suburban woman to switch voting preferences.

    3. Carolinian

      Thanks Doc. I live in a non blue state and a neighborhood with lots and lots of kids and families. To my mind there’s absolutely no doubt that

      you start screwing with their kids

      then you are just begging to be voted out of office. Taibbi talked about this earlier re the conflict in Virginia and the Repubs have been making hay out of it in Florida. If all politics are local then it doesn’t get any more local than people’s kids. What are the Dems, those supposed surfers of the Zeitgeist, thinking?

      1. Dandelion

        That plus telling women their very act of expressing concern makes them a Republican.
        Tell people that enough times, and they’ll say, okay fine, if being concerned about my kids is a Republican position, then I guess I’m a Republican.

    4. Beware JABerwocky

      IM Doc, as if you weren’t busy enough. Don’t have math skills to vet this:


      Data from Rambam hospital in Haifa reveal a stillbirth, miscarriage and abortion (SBMA) rate of 6% among women who never received a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 8% among women who were vaccinated with at least one dose (and never had a SARS-Cov-2 infection).1

      That’s a statistically significant odds ratio of 1.36 (CI 1.0-1.9), meaning your odds of having a stillbirth, abortion or miscarriage are 1.36 times higher if you are vaccinated.2

      Another way of putting it is that the SBMA rate among vaccinated women was nearly 34% higher than the rate among unvaccinated women.

    5. flora

      Thank you, IM Doc. I know my state is a moderate GOP majority state, but in this case I don’t think partisan politics is the driving force, it’s parents concerned about their kids. I know that in the week following the CDC decision my state’s Health Department was flooded with calls and emails wanting to know if this vx would be added to the state’s required school immunizations. (The answer is ‘No.’) Most of the state/local newspapers ran front page stories about this, which means it is a very big deal to have this many concerned citizens and parents contacting the state health department all at once.

    6. Lou Anton

      Thirty-point swings in a given period versus its immediate prior should not happen. I think it’s either sample error (inconsistency across the intersections of gender , age , region , urbanicity , income , etc.) or its a small sample size for the cohort described as suburban women.

      Now, as to which number is the right one – plus double-digits for D or plus double-digits for R – I’ve no idea.

    7. The Rev Kev

      ‘…that games are being played. With their kid’s lives.’

      The one issue that totally unites nearly all the voters whether they go for Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Socialists, Communists, non-voters, etc. Maybe not party leaders but certainly all the voters. You go after the kids for fun & profit and they’ll come after you.

      1. Basil Pesto

        but it’s not really true though, is it? the de facto SARS infection mandate that is now in place for adults and children alike is going to be disastrous for children’s health for decades to come (although, of course, once the first generations of SARS babies are adults, the performative concern about their wellbeing will stop, and they’ll merely become more grist to the mill. see: 20+ million shrugged off mostly adult deaths per the Economist’s excess deaths tracker). It’s straightforwardly barbaric, and vanishingly few people seem to care. This is in part a consequence of information and how it is presented, including early propaganda claims about Covid being harmless for children, a nonsense that is now apparently deeply rooted in the public consciousness, and a fallacy that will probably take decades to undo.

    8. skippy

      Sorry IM Doc but the Chamber of Commerce is a Corporatist feeder agency … was quite up to its eyeballs in the lead up and then white washing of the GFC e.g. it is an Amway sort of agency which grooms the little people into thinking if they have a punt starting a small business, work hard, and be a good sort they might have extra money for a trip to Disney Land for the kids and make dreams come true …

      You should see its HQ in Boulder CO … so three letter agency looking just from the main road running past it …

      Its a neoliberal cortex injection or Red Dawn Psyirens episode thingy …

  7. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added a good many orts and scraps in the politics section. It’s hard enough to track the collapse of civilization in the Covid realm, and then do the same in the political realm! Please forgive any scattered thoughts.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>Please forgive any scattered thoughts.

      What is there to forgive? I get discombobulated enough just reading this daily summation. You have to read this and much else. Digest it and then post a coherent post on our hellscape.

      I should be surprised (and thankful) that you haven’t been reduced to a drooling, babbling, and rocking basket-case in some corner somewhere.

    2. Questa Nota

      Brussels sprouts mention reminds hosts that it is not too early to begin planning for Thanksgiving festivities.
      The lighter side includes use as projectile ammunition for those post-meal slingshot games when nobody remembers how to play touch football, or the Hyannis invitation is mislaid.

      1. Joe Renter

        I worked at a Brussels sprout processing plant in the late 70’s. Quite the odor. Yes, we would throw them at each other. One of my buddies that worked there called them monkey turds. Never forgot that description.

  8. JBird4049

    >>>Somebody should ask the Metropolitan Opera why it makes every opera-goer sign a Covid waiver, if it’s so safe to go unmasked:

    I used to go to San Francisco to hear some live jazz sometimes. It is some of my nicest memories with the better half, God rest her. It would not be as fun without her, but it has been a few years, and I would like to go again. I’ve heard some fine live jazz especially at the jazz festival and for almost free.

    But damn, these… people? They want to kill us all. Perhaps as a sacrifice to the god Mammon. Either that or it’s truly a death cult and they want to sacrifice everyone, including themselves. Just wtf is wrong with a mask, any mask? Or these lunatics? Can we get them all institutionalized at a nice mental hospital?

    1. ambrit

      Reagan got rid of a lot of the Federal level mental hospitals. Now it’s the Neo-liberal method: Homeless camps and meth labs.
      Of course, a grizzled cynic would observe that, by running the Met as it now is, the Elite PMCs have made the Met itself into a fine and dandy mental ward.

  9. Ed Grystar

    Maybe Obama’s campaign message in Pittsburgh will be that he understands Fetterman’s flip flops on fracking since he killed single payer while President but made a recent speech in Chicago where he lamented the lack of single payer in the USA. Sure that will build confidence with the public since both fracking and the ACA are propped up with billions of tax subsidies. Go Dems!

  10. Reader_In_Cali

    Re: Someone in my home has COVID, how do we isolate safely?

    Housemate tested positive ~3 weeks ago. Luckily, we had maybe spent a max of 5 minutes around each other in the 36 hours prior to his positive test. But I immediately got on my war footing! 1) I opened all of the windows in the house, and pretty much kept them open (lowering them at night when it gets chilly) 2) housemate not allowed out of his room, and if absolutely necessary only with a mask 3) portable air filters usually meant for fire season setup – one in my room near the door and one in their room near the door. Both running constantly and with HEPA filters plopped on top 4) box fan setup outside his bedroom door, running around the clock 5) if i was bringing up something to his room (food, water, etc.) I would set it outside of his door and knock to alert him it was there. He would wait 30 seconds before opening his door to retrieve it, so that i had enough time to get back downstairs 6) i was always masked when walking in the hallway upstairs 7) FLCCC early exposure protocol (note: i’ve been on the prophylactic protocol for over a year)

    Caveats: townhouse-like setup, so I was downstairs unless I was sleeping; no central heating or air, thus no shared air ducts; and luckily we do not share a bathroom.

    Happy to report I never tested positive and have been able to keep the streak going! Thanks in big part, no doubt, to reading NC religiously during the pandemic. Thanks, y’all!

    1. Redlife2017

      Lots of similarities for me as well – two floors, no central air or heating, although we did share a bathroom. When my partner got Covid I stayed downstairs with all the windows open. The CO2 concentration was generally about 450 downstairs, so like outside (and it was cold!). My partner would let me know they need to use the bathroom downstairs and would wear an aura n99 (and I would put an n99 on too). I wouldn’t go near the bathroom for over a half an hour. I would wear an n-99 to bring my partner food at the top of the stairs, but not interact until we got two negative tests. I never tested positive.

      I used Enovid very regularly before, during, and after this. I’ll note that I do sleep next to my partner in the same bed…but didn’t catch it from the early exposure, so it’s possible that my regular use of Enovid (and povidone iodine spray) worked.

  11. Pricknick

    2 mbps internet and landline telephone with Frontier Communications = $108.56 per month.
    168 mbps slow time, 285 fast with T-Mobile 5g internet, voip phone, no activation fee and vpn, taxes included = $73.59 per month.
    I do math.
    I would gladly have paid a $35 activation fee.

    1. Eureka Springs

      My local yokel home wifi net is at very best 2 mbps for $160 a month. Says unlimited but it’s about a buck a gig, supposedly slows down at 160 gigs used. How is someone with 2mbps supposed to know it slowed down? I just spent over two hours on both Verizon web and phone trying to purchase (take my money please) additional phone data. If Verizon customer service is an example of the best Ai can be then we should definitely kill it with fire. Never ever let it control a car. They never would take my money.

    2. griffen

      T mobile and the fee for existence as a publicly traded company. I have to say that “charging customers for essentially nothing…” pretty much sums up what they are doing.

      Most people would likely rethink if that fee is in bold print, which alas it may not be. You are paying this fee because otherwise our shareholders may not like our quarterly reports. Wireless and their ilk passing on fees and surcharges is like paying a toll to cross a bridge we helped the bast*rds build and opened 15 minutes ago.

  12. Wukchumni

    Requiem for a heavy wait as the only thing becoming clear will be the Donkey Show is gonna get walloped and Joey will be fitted for a Lamé suit and no doubt he’ll look smashing.

  13. ambrit

    A Curious Zeitgeist Sighting Report.
    Toddling home from the local grocery store, on foot through the little park, and heard a medium sized jet flying by. This is not a usual occurrence. Usually such large jets are C-5 Galaxy Air Force cargo jets, generally doing training flights from Gulfport to here and around the training loop.
    C-5 Galaxy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_C-5_Galaxy
    Today’s air sighting was of what appeared to be an Airbus A-319 with no identifying markings except for the tail logo of either Allegiant Air or Jet2. Since Jet2 is based in England, I’m guessing it was an Allegiant Air unit. It was evidently taking off from the Hattiesburg “little airport” or the big runway at Camp Shelby. Very curious and unusual.
    Allegiant Air: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegiant_Air

    1. britzklieg

      Curious indeed… there were several large, out-of-the-ordinary military aircraft rumblings over my home today, which is about 15 miles southwest of MacDill AFB. Cloudy today so I couldn’t see them but it was an enormous sound not at all like what I have heard before. It definitely caught my attention.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Wait – are you saying that the normal October Surprise will be held in November instead making it the surprise itself?

        1. ambrit

          Hmmm…. It’s a Cunning Plan!
          “The November elections in America have had to be postponed indefinitely due to the electronic voting machines being disabled by the EMPs from the Russian nuclear airblasts above the Midwest.” [Text of leaflets circulating at FEMA centres.]

  14. ChrisRUEcon


    Just want to say thanks so much for all the site is doing. I’ve been meaning to take some time to post/comment, but work is really busy and busy as well as other IRL concerns. But I do read some posts and in no particular order, grateful for articles on:

    Soviet Union Dissolution – really filling a gap in my knowledge and understanding.
    Ukraine Proxy War – the backstory on the US government is basically trying for a two-fer where it destroys Germany as well is per usual, something that is widely missed elsewhere. Great Hudson article today.
    COVID – the farUV light articles piqued my interest! I followed Naomi Wu and got some more useful info.

    Gracias and merçi!

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      #COVID19 #JuliePowell

      So … on the COVID19 front, there’s an interesting back-story to the untimely passing of ‘Julie & Julia’ author Julie Powell at age 49.

      It seems both she and her husband had COVID recently – September – and since she’s on #Twitter, she’s left an interesting breadcrumb trail to analyze. Of most interest is her last tweet where she confessed to having woken up on morning with “black hairy tongue” (via WebMD).

      Needless to say, people who followed her and are aware of the effect of COVID on the body’s immune system (T cells, especially) are still replying to her last tweet (via Twitter) suggesting that COVID did play a part in her sudden death. From the WebMD article:

      “Black hairy tongue is more common in men, people who use intravenous drugs, and those who are HIV-positive.”

      Anthony J Leonardi has been screaming on Twitter for over two years now and he’s been proven right about T-Cell harm. It’s potentially bad enough so as to be on par with HIV. Horrid but true. I saw “AirborneAIDS” as a hashtag on #Twitter recently. I’m praying I don’t ever see it trending … but … we’re led by sociopaths.

      1. Basil Pesto

        A sad story. Assuming her death (from cardiac arrest, if I recall correctly) was caused or precipitated by Covid (and it’s impossible to know for sure, but quite likely), it was probably caused by the damage to the heart that the virus is known to cause rather than T cell harm or immune system damage (which is more likely to cause things like this). It’s basically anecdata at this point but we are seeing many, many reports of “sudden death” in relatively young celebrities/notables including Ms Powell. The most likely hypothesis is Covid, but of course with the Dems pushing the “Covid is mild now” messaging, and the GBDists apparently having suckered most of the right wing into believing that Covid was mild in the first place and not worth responding to, these deaths will be blamed on literally everything but the virus that is known to cause clotting and damage to the heart: it’ll be blamed on “lockdowns”, vaccines, masks etc.

        #AirborneAIDS is, imo, not a helpful designation. Covid is not AIDS. That doesn’t mean HIV isn’t fair game for bona fide comparison with SARS2 and in terms of how it behaves in the body and the damage it can cause, but even if the damage the virus does to the immune system does turn out to be disastrous in the years to come, Airborne AIDS would still, I think, be a grandiose claim that will immediately get people to tune out and, paradoxically, not take the very real damage that SARS2 is causing to almost all humans seriously. AIDS, before anti-retrovirals, had a 100% fatality rate. I don’t think Covid will turn out to be as devastating as that. Times are fraught and many people are justifiably concerned but we should be a bit more circumspect in the language that we use, I think. But yes, for some people, Covid does appear to be precipitating a number of unusual syndromes/disorders that are often seen in the immunocompromised, including HIV patients, such as the black hairy tongue you mentioned, and certain fungal infections too.

        And with all that said, it’s also true that the more we learn about this virus, the more worrying it is. I would draw the commentariat’s attention to this research from Australian scientists from earlier this week (and, following on from that, I would also remind readers that scientist GM has been predicting a surge of early onset dementia in the population as a result of mass covid infection since 2020, or maybe early 2021, something which this new research would also strongly hint at us to expect). Not to worry though (as the article cheerily tells us not to), there’s a drug on the way.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          Thanks for the context and perspective, BP.

          And yes, the effect of COVID on the heart is more likely the cause here. But I remain horrified that the immune response effect of COVID is so widely ignored.

          Also, tanks for reminding me that our own GM and IMDoc have also been screaming for years now about this.


  15. VietnamVet

    “Wag the Dog”, the movie, was released a quarter century ago in Bill Clinton’s second term. So, the concept of a war for a diversion from other pressing matters like an energy crisis is not unknown. Except there is deathly silence now. One lonely Congressional Progressive, Ro Khanna of California, defended promoting a diplomatic solution rather than the continued escalation of the Russian Ukraine/NATO World War into a nuclear holocaust.

    I mailed in my ballot. The first time I’ve voted for neither a Democrat or a Republican candidate. There was one Green Party Candidate for Governor that I filled in the circle. The basic problem with the Neo-liberal seizure of Western Government is that no one can talk about the end of democracy in the West. The first rule of the Oligarchy is: you do not talk about Oligarchs.

    The Neo-Conservatives have used the diversion of war to sideline corporate Neo-liberals. The USA has declared a computer chip war with China. I hope that it is before the fact that it is recognized that the Neo-conservatives have planned for the last several decades to strike first with nuclear weapons to defeat Russia. No matter that the best-case estimate is 75 million Americans will die in the nuclear war.

    The lack of a working public health system already has killed a million Americans already. “11,000 Americans died in the past month from Covid”. In the month of January 1968, the death of 262 U.S. troops in the Tet Offensive, first phase, changed the course of the Vietnam War.

    Something is clear in the 21st century. Death of Americans in the millions no longer matters. It is a statistic. Survival of the USA depends on the restoration of democracy and instituting reconciliation tribunals to tell the truth of what in the hell happened here.

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