2:00PM Water Cooler 11/23/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Common Nightingale, Taliouline, Morocco. 28 minutes!

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

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

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

Patient readers, I apologize for the Politics section being so light; it seems that the entire political class is having a cigarette after the midterms. –lambert

Biden Administration

“The IRS Will Need These 4 Things to Succeed After the Midterms” [Government Executive]. “In my view, the personnel flexibilities described above are essential to IRS’s success. But to obtain them, along with the funding that will fuel them, IRS could also use unequivocal top cover from the Biden administration, perhaps via a presidential memorandum that tells OPM, the Office of Management and Budget, and the General Services Administration to push the edge of the legal envelope when it comes to granting IRS the flexibilities many of us have outlined. And by shifting the burden of that push to the White House, such a memorandum could also alleviate any risk-aversion [Office of Personnel Management] and its peer-agencies may have.”


MN: “Keith Ellison’s Narrow Victory” [Dissent]. “Keith Ellison’s narrow reelection as Minnesota’s Attorney General holds important lessons for Democrats as they seek to articulate positions on criminal justice. Elected in 2018 on a pledge to be the ‘People’s Lawyer,’ Ellison entered this years’ race with a strong record of protecting worker and consumer rights and leading the successful prosecution of the police officers accused of killing George Floyd and Daunte Wright in 2020. That he won by just 20,000 votes (a fraction of his 100,000 vote margin of victory in 2018) revealed how successfully Republicans narrowed debates over police reform and crime into simplistic narratives about ‘law and order.’ But it also demonstrated that Democrats can win on platforms that deliver racial and economic justice as well as public safety. Asked why he traded a safe seat and a leadership role in Congress for what many viewed as a step down to state office in 2018, Ellison explained that with Republicans in control of the White House and Senate, state attorneys general had key roles to play in countering attacks on civil liberties, consumer and environmental protections, and other “things the administration is doing to weaken rights, both social and economic, of Americans. It is at the local level that fight is being waged.” • Ellison lost his leadership role in Congress because he was a Sanders supporter, no other reason. Of course, that was awhile back, and he can’t say it anyhow.


“Biden’s generation is ceding the stage as he plots his next act” [Politico]. “‘He was not my first or second choice for president, but I am a convert,’ Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash), told POLITICO recently. ‘I never thought I would say this, but I believe he should run for another term and finish this agenda we laid out.'” • I never thought you would say that either. How wrong I was.

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.

* * *

Ro Khanna on FTX:

Republican Funhouse

“Why impeaching DHS’ Mayorkas is back on the table for the GOP” [MSNBC]. “‘If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign,’ McCarthy told reporters, ‘House Republicans will investigate every order, every action, and every failure [and] will determine whether we can begin impeachment inquiry.'” • Hmm.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Ep 51 | Counting & Auditing the Election” (video) [YouTube].


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 wastewater 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!

“A Year After the Omicron Surge, Officials See a Reduced Covid Threat This Winter” [New York Times]. “Now, Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said he was confident about the holiday season as long as Americans continued to get vaccinated and boosted. ‘Nothing I have seen in the subvariants makes me believe that we can’t manage our way through it effectively, especially if people step up and get their vaccine,’ he said at a White House briefing. That could be a significant caveat. Weary of two years of repeated vaccination campaigns, Americans have been reluctant to embrace the updated booster shots that the administration rolled out in September. Thus far, only 35 million people have received one of the revised shots from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. The administration bought enough doses for nearly five times as many people…. And where the coronavirus is headed remains a mystery. Federal officials have been watching a new subvariant of Omicron called XBB with some trepidation. The new subvariant accounts for only a tiny percentage of cases in the United States so far, but it is showing up in testing of travelers at the nation’s major international airports and has taken hold in India and Singapore.” • I don’t want to be cranky about this, but “reduced Covid threat” is not at all the same as “the pandemic is over.” I suppose I have to watch XBB now, though I don’t know why. BQ.1* far outperforms XBB on the Walgreen’s variant chart (see below), and doesn’t appear at all on the CDC “Nowcast 0ff” variant chart. Nor does it appear on CDC’s “Nowcast On” chart, or on the “Region 2” version of “Nowcast On,” which includes the New York. So I don’t know where the reporter is getting this information.

* * *

“‘Immunity debt’ is a misguided and dangerous concept” [Financial Times]. “[T]here is no evidence that an individual is worse off for having avoided earlier infection. “Immunity debt as an individual concept is not recognised in immunology,” Dunn-Walters says. “The immune system is not viewed as a muscle that has to be used all the time to be kept in shape and, if anything, the opposite is the case.” The constant onslaught of common pathogens such as cytomegalovirus, she adds, means the immune system begins to malfunction and slacken with age. She rejects the idea that infection is somehow good for health, saying vaccination is a far safer way of building population immunity…. The immunity debt theory holds broad appeal because it can be employed in so many ways. It seems to intuitively explain the current wave of respiratory illness. It is attractive to those who would downplay disease in children, and those who advocate for infection over vaccination. It provides a post-hoc justification for opposing measures such as masking, even though evidence suggests that such measures curbed Covid and virtually banished flu. Immunity debt also plays to the idea that the ebb and flow of childhood illnesses are best left to nature — until one remembers that the entire childhood vaccination schedule is about keeping the worst of nature at bay.” • One day, nothing on “immunity debt” anywhere. The next day, opinion-havers sagely nodding their heads at it. I wish I understood that process, because it seems to be happening a lot.

* * *

“What Covid taught scientists and the public about the flu” [NBC]. “‘It was shocking how flu went to zero [in 2020],’ said Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. ‘We’ve learned that it is possible to stop the flu. Researchers, to some extent, disagree on the exact reason for the unprecedented drop in the flu that season. Pandemic-related mitigation measures — including the use of masks, avoiding travel and indoor gatherings, and more frequent hand-washing — likely played a role. Others credit the fact that Covid was the dominant virus that winter. ‘When you get exposed to a respiratory virus like flu or Covid, it induces an initial immune response that is nonspecific,’ explained Dr. Matthew Memoli, director of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases’ clinical studies unit at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases…. Whether it was Covid’s dominance or behavioral changes that contributed most to the nonexistent 2020-2021 flu season — and many credit both — the newfound knowledge that flu transmission can in fact, be stopped, is here to stay.” • Could be both?

* * *


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


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published November 23:

1.5%. Up.

• “What was your COVID-19 home test result?” [Make My Test Count]. From the FAQ:

What is the goal of MakeMyTestCount?

At-home COVID-19 tests allow us to quickly and easily find out whether we’re infected with the virus. But if we don’t share our test results, the people who work to keep us safe from this disease won’t know how fast the virus is spreading, or where surges are happening. Without that information, they can’t do the work they need to do to keep us and our communities safe.

The data from MakeMyTestCount can help public health teams do that work – while keeping your personal test results private and anonymous.

Sharing your at-home test result makes your test count. When you share your result, you help keep yourself and your community safe from COVID-19 – both now and in the future.

Good idea, although one might ask why we aren’t doing this already. More importantly, why is NIH doing this, and not CDC?


Wastewater data (CDC), November 19:

• Queens County (JFK/LGA) is elevated (red orange), just in time for holiday travel:

Interestingly, this is the first curve I’ve seen for awhile that looks like doubling behavior. Let’s wait and see. Cook County (ORD) remains elevated. LAX and SFO are not.

November 16:

• “Wastewater Surveillance Data in the U.S.” [COVID-19 Data Dispatch]. • A very handy and usable list (sadly gappy, but that’s the US). In particular, it’s got “State and local COVID-19 wastewater dashboards.” Here is the New York Map, with “Jamaica Wastewater Treatment” (JFK, Queens) highlighted:

Seeing a lot of red in NYC and New York State. Note that from this map, Queens County has two wastewater treatment plants: Looks like “Jamaica” is nearer JFK, and “Bowery Bay” (covered by the Queens popup) near LGA (also red, substantial to high). I now need to understand how CDC aggregates all the wastewater treatment plants in Queens county into one dot. This is important, because JFK is an international airport, which deserves its own tracking [bangs head on desk].


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), November 6:

Lambert here: BQ.1* moving along quite briskly, though lower than CDC. XBB present here, not in CDC.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), October 29 (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 19:

Lambert here: Increasing, after leveling out.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,103,355 – 1,102,915 = 440 (440 * 365 = 160,600 deaths per year, 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

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims: [Trading Economics]. “The number of American filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 17,000 to 240,000 on the week ending November 19th, the most since August and well above expectations of 225,000 likely boosted by the wave of layoffs in technology companies. Also, last week’s rise may be technical as the model used by the government to adjust the data for seasonal fluctuations typically anticipates a rise in filings because of temporary company closures related to the holidays.”

Manufacturing: ‘United States Durable Goods Orders” [Trading Economics]. “Durable goods orders in the US which measure the cost of orders received by manufacturers for goods that meant to last at least three years, jumped 1% month-over-month in October of 2022, following a downwardly revised 0.3% increase in September and beating market forecasts of a 0.4% rise. It is the biggest rise in four months, led by transportation equipment (2.1%) and military aircraft (21.7%). The data aren’t adjusted for inflation.” •

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Retail: “Morgan Stanley says jaw-dropping inventory levels a ‘key risk’ to retailers” [Freight Waves]. “According to the Morgan Stanley Shipper Survey, in which some 100 corporations regularly share their transportation needs and macro expectations, net ordering levels have reached the lowest point in the survey’s 12-year history. Ordering levels are down 40% year over year. Net inventory levels are also unusually high. ‘Almost half of respondents say that their inventory is higher and ordering is lower going forward — which firmly indicated an over-inventoried/de-stocking condition,’ wrote Ravi Shanker, who is Morgan Stanley’s lead transportation equity analyst.”

Tech: “Meta Workers Hijacked User Accounts and Charged Bribes, Report Says” [Wall Street Journal]. “Meta disciplined or fired more than two dozen workers that it found allegedly misused an internal system to hijack users’ accounts. In some cases, Meta says the workers charged users bribes to regain access to their profiles, according to people familiar with the matter and internal documents.” • Only a podcast so far.

Tech: “Leaving Twitter’s Walled Garden” [Electronic Frontier Foundation]. “Federation is a broad term that means a group that has smaller groups within it that retain some measure of autonomy within that whole. In internet terms, the most well-known federated system is our old friend, email. No matter how much you love or hate email itself, it is a working federated system that’s been around for over a half-century. It doesn’t matter what email server you use, what email client you use, we all use email and the experience is more or less the same for us all, and that’s a good thing. The Web is also federated – any web site can link to, embed, refer to stuff on any other site and in general, it doesn’t matter what browser you use. The internet started out federated, and even continues to be…. In this way, Mastodon is very similar to services you already know and probably use every day. In fact, it’s very much like Twitter itself, which is why people unhappy with Twitter are considering Mastodon as an alternative and why we’re writing this essay…. That said, there are reasons to pick one server over another. The biggest one is moderation. Fediverse services are good at giving individuals the ability to block other accounts or even entire servers that they don’t want to see in their timeline. They are also good at letting servers block accounts or entire other servers that don’t meet with their own moderation decisions. One could, for example, make an instance that only allows incoming posts that contain the word ‘cat’ and permanently blocks anyone who uses the word ‘dog.’ Thus, finding a server where you agree with the moderation policies may be a good idea.” • (Twitter can already to the “cat” or “dog” thing. Twitter, in consquence of being the only platform on which you can Tweet, is a universal address space in a way that Mastodon is not. I’m a bit torn on this, because I’ve advocated federated systems for many years (for things like taxonomies). But now, confronted with the reality, I’m changing my views. Twitter seems to me like a busy street in a huge city where you can run into anything at any time. Exciting! Mastodon feels a lot more like a network of gated communities. Constricting.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 62 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 63 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 23 at 1:35 PM EST. In all my years doing this chart, I have never seen it update. Today, the pointer moved from 65 to 66 while I was watching it!

Humanity’s Best Friend

Please, dog people, don’t say I never did anything for you:

Thanksgiving Pre-Game Festivities

“Meet the Underground Network of Butter Bargain Hunters” [Wall Street Journal]. “The coming holidays and near record high butter prices have churned up an underground butter brigade. People who love to bake are scouting national, regional and local stores across the country and sharing butter deals with fellow spritz and snickerdoodle makers on social media. They post photos of store shelves with prices listed and kitchen counters piled with their latest hauls. One made a butter Jenga…. Dee Stroup, who won a Pittsburgh Nut Roll Competition in 2019, needs 20 pounds of butter to get through Thanksgiving and Christmas and will only bake with Land O’ Lakes.” • Holy moley!

“The Remedy: Grandma Lacey’s Cornbread” (recipe) [Scalawag]. “1 ½ sticks of butter, melted.” • OK!

“How To Tell Your Mom You’re Not Coming Home For The Holidays” [The Onion]. “Isn’t this why you had two kids?”

“Chelsea Manning accused of leaking grandma’s secret Thanksgiving recipes” [Duffel Blog]. “This marks the first time Manning has leaked secret documents to the public in over a decade.”

Zeitgeist Watch

“Contentious George Washington mural at San Francisco school can stay, judge decides” [Los Angeles Times]. • Here is the mural:

Exactly like the Kentucky mural discussed yesterday (hat tip 430MLK), this mural historically accurate; we have noted land speculator George Washington on the left, and on the right armed frontiersmen marching off to conquer that land, stepping on the body of a dead Native American as they go. Interestingly, both murals were commissioned by the Public Works of Art Project of FDR’s WPA, and as attempts to correct the historical record at that time, look to be striving for racial justice, by correcting the record. To straw person just a bit: Anybody who throws these murals in the same bucket as Confederate monuments is a fool. Neither of them glorify white supremacy. Quite the reverse.

Our Famously Free Press

“Associated Press reporter fired over erroneous story on Russian attack” [WaPo]. • About the quickly debunked story of Russian missiles falling on Poland. The lead is buried:

LaPorta shared the U.S. official’s [who] tip in an electronic message around 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. An editor immediately asked if AP should issue an alert on his tip, “or would we need confirmation from another source and/or Poland?”

After further discussion, a second editor said she “would vote” for publishing an alert, adding, “I can’t imagine a U.S. intelligence official would be wrong on this.”

You don’t need a spook at the censor’s desk if one lives right in your head. More:

But a person at the Associated Press familiar with the larger conversations surrounding the story that day said LaPorta also told his editors that a senior manager had already vetted the source of LaPorta’s tip — leaving the impression that the story’s sourcing had been approved. While that editor had signed off on previous stories using LaPorta’s source, that editor had not weighed in on the missile story. [AP spokesperson Lauren Easton} said the organization did not anticipate any discipline for the editors involved.

But the editors ought to be disciplined, at least according to AP:

Here is the entire Slack conversation, including the “can’t imagine” quote:

So, in my mind, this is a labor issue as well; the bosses have conned worker into believing they must be available at all times, and so here we have an exchange that could have set off World War II with the reporter at a dentist’s appointment (doubtless in “fear and trembling,” if LaPorta’s experience with Amrican dentisty is anything like mine). Note this is exactly the same issue the railroad workers may strike over: paid time off for medical reasons. So the feckless, unaccountable editors also bear responsibility for not covering LaPorta’s slot.

Class Warfare

“United Furniture abruptly shuts down Triad operations. Hundreds of workers affected.” [Winston-Salem Journal (Polar Donkey)]. “nited Furniture Industries Inc. has stopped production abruptly at its five Triad facilities — where it was reported to have had between 530 and 600 employees — as part of what appears to be an overall shutdown of the business. Multiple media reports say employees in Winston-Salem, Verona, Miss., and Victorville, Calif., as well as delivery drivers, received emails from United’s board of directors late Monday and early Tuesday…. The first email read ‘we ask that all employees not report to their work locations tomorrow November 22, 2022.’ The second email informed employees that ‘your layoff from the company is expected to be permanent and all benefits will be terminated immediately without provision of COBRA.’ The company ended the memo citing the ‘difficult and unexpected situation’ that industry analysts said likely includes inflation, high gas prices and the war in Ukraine as key factors.” • The whole story is worth a read I doubt very much the “difficult and unexpected situation” was Ukraine.

Not a good look:

If Starbucks wants those cheerful and hardworking baristas looking and acting like wage slaves, they should proceed exactly as they are proceeding. The baristas are the public face of the company, not Laxman Narasimhan, whoever the hell he is (or Howard Schultz).


Hmm. Which side is winning?

News of the Wired

“Dimming the Sun to Cool the Planet Is a Desperate Idea, Yet We’re Inching Toward It” [The New Yorker]. • Wheee!

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From AM:

AM writes: “Unidentified large yucca-like plant in Vandeleur Walled Garden just outside Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland on September 13, 2022. Formerly an estate, the garden now commemorates the evictions of the tenants during the potato famine during the 1840’s.”

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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. Silent Bob

    The data from MakeMyTestCount can help public health teams do that work – while keeping your personal test results private and anonymous.

    Priceless! Thanks for the laugh!

    1. mrsyk

      Yes, one wonders if the service providers are held to the same standards on privacy as the researchers (to which have to clear a high bar on this).

  2. mrsyk

    About that reduced covid threat this winter. I right now know more people who have covid than at any other time during the pandemic(Southwest VT and NYC represented). My better half and I are just recovering(two weeks in). Am I to believe my lying eyes? BTW, it’s not fun.
    And about MakeMyTestCount, we wanted to get a PCR to get our Covid cases on the record. Nope. Told not to come in. Couldn’t figure out how to report it.

    1. Roger Blakely

      Under the “let ‘er rip” policy infection rates don’t matter anymore. The only things that matters to the people running things are hospitalization rates and death rates. To be fair BQ.1 is causing less hospitalizations and death than I would have guessed two months ago. Public health officials can only do what the politicians let them do. Public health officials are pushing non-pharmaceutical interventions as hard as they feel that they can push them on a public that is done with COVID-19. Many public health officials understand how much damage is being caused by the inhalation of SARS-CoV-2.

      Every week Dr. Daniel Griffin reports that by this time in the pandemic the vast majority of hospitalizations are among people who are fully vaccinated and who have already had COVID-19 at least once.

      Happy Thanksgiving. What am I thankful for? I am thankful that I am not in a airport terminal inhaling a soup of respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, and SARS-CoV-2.

      1. Lee

        I’m a fan of Griffin. The dynamic between him and his host, virologist Vincent Racaniello, is interesting. I consider Racaniello to be something of a Covid minimizer, while Griffin isn’t. Yet they carry on together for an hour each week in a congenial and collegial manner.

  3. mrsyk

    More regarding MakeMyTestCount. The data “is de-indentified and sent to the same public health systems that currently receive COVID-19 test results from laboratories and doctors’ offices.” Oh. I want to say “never mind”, but I guess there are still a few principled public health officials scattered about. What would be helpful is making the data public.

    1. LawnDart

      The article links to Open Secrets which lists FTX’s 162 bribe recipients/selected officials and pet PACs, with almost an exact 50/50 split between the party wings of the demopublican/republicrat body. Somewhat interestingly, not a dollar went to an independent which is further indication that the oldest and greatest democrasy has the juice-machine locked-up tight.

      USA makes third-world shitholes seem like pikers.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Looking at Ro Khanna going hysterical because a person wiser and more experienced than him questioned the stability of FTX made me realized that if Ro ever got any real power, that he would fir in nicely with Trudeau and Macron.

    3. Michael

      crypto larger risk than subprime says it all
      how did it get there? failure to learn? no one watching the store?

      Terry Duffy is a player. Ro is an amateur. Made an enemy for life.

      R’s are gonna dominate the news for the next two years without trying hard

      Will we be better off in Nov ’24 than today?

      1. Yves Smith

        Wash your mouth out. Crypto risk is bupkis.

        1. It is a private currency and therefore not connected to the banking system. This is just private punters losing money.

        2. Market cap fell by over 2/3 and no systemic event, not even a systemic hiccup.

        1. Michael

          Not my words. Quoted Duffy. It’s the scale it grew to so quickly is his point. Former Enron receiver stated he’d never seen such a mess. Nonexistant records, commingling and outright theft. Celebrity endorsements induced action too. As I said who was minding the store?

          You call it a private currency. So no regulations? Or is it just another Ponzi?

          Not all risk is financial either. Publicists working full time.

          Charles Keating, 5 US Senators, campaign $$ spread around, regulators intimidated, innocent investors scammed out of $300+M, media ineffective etc. Taxpayer cost $2B. Keating went to jail.

          Madoff was hounded by the media constantly and went to jail cuz he bilked the wrong people.

          Grave diggers working overtime to bury this one. Optics not good.

  4. DJG, Reality Czar

    Lambert Strether asks:

    One day, nothing on “immunity debt” anywhere. The next day, opinion-havers sagely nodding their heads at it. I wish I understood that process, because it seems to be happening a lot.


    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.

    The continuing damage of the follies of “salvation through faith alone.”

    Next up?
    Large piles of faith-based imaginary money suddenly disappearing. Who’da thunkit?

    1. Art Vandalay

      In this, the Stupidest Timeline(TM) (ht: lambert), I don’t think we can underestimate the immense attractiveness of any narrative that asks the least in terms of critical thought, actions, or sacrifice for the benefit of one’s community.

  5. Jason Boxman

    Well, Rep. Pramila Jayapal demonstrated who and what she is when she folded on Biden’s agenda 18 months ago, when anyone with any common sense knew that a two-track approach meant Biden’s “agenda” was history, and history it is!

  6. Raymond Sim

    Regarding things Dr. Jha is confident about, this is the SCAN Bay Area wastewater monitoring project’s ‘Location Compare’ page:


    It now seems to be the only part of their site where one can access Covid data going back more than 12 weeks. However, even with the smoothing most likely making things look better than they are, the graphs look damned ominous to me. Sacramento and San Jose, both big sewersheds which don’t typically vary wildly, began rising sharply weeks before they did last year, turning around from the gigantic pandemic-that-was-over wave.

    It’s not vertical like last year, not yet. Is that what it takes to signal a threat now?

    Meanwhile Influenza A and RSV appear to be going gangbusters, and Monkeypox came back.

  7. Art_DogCT

    Today’s Plantidote is a bromeliad. Given it’s location I would expect it to be one of the hardier cultivars. The emerging rosette of foliage at the top of the inflorescence shows that the pineapple branch of the broms (Ananas) is in the genetic mix somewhere. There are lots of intergeneric hybrids that have occurred naturally in nature and in horticulture, and a thick catalog of the products of a couple of centuries of selection and directed hybridization.

    In nosing around just now I see my taxonomic understanding of the Bromeliaceae is out of date. Somewhere ~2007 the three subfamilies which which I’m familiar have been revised to eight, based on chloroplast DNA studies tracking evolutionary development from the last common ancestor to the present. Those are tricks this old dog will forego to train for – especially since I am not able to reliably access my earlier learning.

  8. Dr. John Carpenter

    “Which side is winning?”

    Today’s Trillbillies got on a really good conversation postulating that the next civil war so many on the left fret about won’t be a Ken Burns styled North vs. South affair and that the fighting will be more terrorist attacks such as the most recent nightclub shooting (let’s call it what it is, a terrorist attack.) And, to that end, they also theorized that the war has already started. I found it kind of hard to argue against much of what they were saying.

    They also pointed out that the right is accomplishing goals regardless of electoral success. Again, I feel it’s kind of hard to argue against this point too.

  9. Reify99

    Michael Osterholm of CIDRAP poked a couple of holes in the immune debt thingee pointing out that
    A. Mitigation against Covid was always so inconsistent e.g., the mask wearing so bad, the lockdowns so leaky, that it doesn’t really count. But some other viruses were suppressed nonetheless.
    B. He then refers to the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 where mitigation was *none* and points out that other
    Strains of the flu that year appeared to have been suppressed.
    He finished by saying, we need to be humble and admit that there is a lot about the ways in which viruses interact that we just don’t know.

  10. fresno dan

    Andrew Ross Sorkin
    A lot of folks have been asking if I would still be interviewing @SBF_FTX at the @nytimes @dealbook Summit on Nov 30…
    The answer is yes. 👇
    There are a lot of important questions to be asked and answered.
    Nothing is off limits.
    Looking forward to it…
    The questions not asked will be so much more elucidating than the ones asked…

    1. Screwball

      The questions not asked will be so much more elucidating than the ones asked…

      I couldn’t agree more. When we count on a lying little creep like Sorkin we have already lost the battle.

      I wonder how many people (like me) think the business press is worse than the (non-business) news press? When you think about it, how can Jim Cramer still be put in front of a TV camera if accuracy and integrity in news mattered.

      1. JBird4049

        Jim Cramer is not a news reporter, a news anchor, or even a commentator. He is not even a court jester. He does not even rise to Baghdad Bob’s level. The man is a clown. At best, he is carnival barker trying to sell snake oil or the mysterious tattooed mermaid of the South Pacific.

  11. notabanker

    It will be interesting to see if there are real shenanigans going on at United Furniture or if it is just the continuing disintegration of a dead industry. I can’t imagine the furniture market below ultra high luxury is doing well. The auction sites have been moving high end used furniture for pennies on the dollar for years now.

    Regardless, they canned their CEO, CFO and EVP of Sales in June. In July they reorganized and cut 10% of the workforce. — UFI Chief Executive Officer Todd Evans. “Our industry is experiencing a drastic decrease in consumer demand. Our inventory levels remain high and new orders from our customers remain slow.’’

    4 months later, poof!

    1. Greg

      Kind of refreshing that they sacked the big hats before coming for the workers, although I’m sure it was for some skeezy reason rather than altruism.

  12. JBird4049

    >>>Left-wing activists are responsible for 2% of murders committed by political extremists in the US over the past decade; right-wing activists are responsible for 74%

    Well, yes, in American politics, this has always been true. Why would anyone be surprised?

    The percentages might change, but the sheer difference in favor(?) of whatever is the conservative or right-wing side has been a thing for over two centuries. Actually, thinking on it, it was a thing in the earliest British colonies as well. Advocates for better treatment of workers in the South and for better relations with the Natives in the North tended to have health problems. As did the devout or anti slavery advocates. So, four centuries, more or less.

    Do not get me wrong in believing that the American left has always been peaceful; in an American context it almost always is, but battles using clubs, guns, firebombs, and explosives was a thing for most of American history and with the leftists usually reacting, not acting, towards right-wing violence.

    People tend to believe that Blacks, their White supporters, union activists, suffragettes, and others always got the worst of it, but some cases the lynch mob, goon squad, police, etc got the worst of it. But this is treated like how the Dunning School’s treated the Antebellum South and Reconstruction with their BS of the Lost Cause. Inconvenient facts are never mentioned and even the convenient ones are distorted to create a patchwork history of lies. That Americans had to die at the hands of police, corporate goons, and lynch mobs with the occasional deaths of cops and goons as well to get their reforms put through is an inconvenient truth. If anything, the usually, although not always, defensive actions of the left is emphasized with the authorities’ de-emphasized.

    That this is almost certainly going to happen again is also unfortunate. Who wants death squads? Assassinations? Or gun battles? But that is the norm whenever there is a push for major reforms in the United States. Maybe that is why I am feeling increasingly agitated. I got family. I have, corny as it sounds, already read this. And as they say, history does not repeat, but it certainly does rhyme.

    1. Kip

      Death squads already exist in black neighorhoods. Additional uninforced laws are not going to change this. Things are far worse in most of these places than this list from 2019.

      “Some of the most dangerous parts of the world cannot even be considered in this list of top one hundred most dangerous US cities because, due to their population sizes, they cannot be classified as cities. So, just because a location is not listed in the queue of most dangerous United States cities does not make it safe necessarily. You should always look into the area that you plan to visit. On that note, here is a list of the top one hundred most dangerous cities in the United States as of 2019…”


      Bessemer, Alabama
      East St. Louis, Illinois
      Monroe, Louisiana
      St. Louis, Missouri
      Detroit, Michigan
      Baltimore, Maryland
      Memphis, Tennessee
      Camden, New Jersey
      Flint, Michigan
      Pine Bluff, Arkansas
      Danville, Illinois
      Gadsden, Alabama
      Kansas City, Missouri
      Wilmington, Delaware
      Little Rock, Arkansas
      Rockford, Illinois
      Saginaw, Michigan
      Chester, Pennsylvania
      Milwaukee, Wisconsin
      Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
      San Bernardino, California
      Cleveland, Ohio
      Alexandria, Louisiana
      Stockton, California
      Albuquerque, New Mexico
      Riviera Beach, Florida
      Indianapolis, Indiana
      Springfield, Missouri
      East Point, Georgia
      Oakland, California

      1. JBird4049

        Just looking at list, I can see a lot of unusually violent and corrupt police departments that over police and heavily surveil Black and poor White neighborhoods while underserving and not protecting them.

        Civil asset forfeiture is routinely used to strip residents of cash, cars, even houses and businesses without any charges being brought up. We can always bring up the average of over a thousand dead (not including prisons or jails) each year or the many, many more who are injured or maimed for life. How about the almost routine planting of evidence, false arrests, and testilying most often in those dangerous areas?

        Take away the factories, replace the missing tax base by stealing from the vulnerable, destroy the educational system, impose brutal control using a violently corrupt legal system, and then blame the residents for their condition. Personal responsibility is a thing, but so is hope and opportunity.

        The Empire always comes home. First to the disposable areas, then the working and poor areas, climbing up the economic and social ladder. The reformers, the college graduates, the busybodies, politicians…

        What I am foreseeing is the kind of semi official and semi organized programs of assassinations, assaults, and false imprisonment that have been common in the past. Not just by the federal government, but also by state and municipal governments as well as large businesses. It already happens at the level of the Disposable Class, but the other 90% of Americans are fairly safe. That is until they, meaning the authorities, get frightened

        1. Tom Stone

          Stockton has been a violent city for a Century and its Police Department has been notoriously corrupt and violent for at least that long.

  13. IM Doc

    The complete humiliation of the New York Times and I would add Andrew Ross Sorkin of CNBC is now complete.

    Some of the comments to the tweet are for the ages. Please note – his commenters are limited to those he allows or knows. It is brutal.

    This man, who is now proven to be a sociopath and a consummate huckster/liar is just weeks after his company’s implosion, going to be featured as a speaker to the nation’s newspaper of record. And he will enthrall the enraptured PMC crowds paying 2500 bucks for the privilege.

    It may be interesting to tune in to see if Sorkin is actually going to ask some real questions or more likely, do some back-scratching.

    Add this as yet another thing I would have never dreamed possible just 5 years ago. I used to actually read the New York Times daily.

    One question – how long did it take Bernie Madoff to get arrested? Why is there not breathless coverage all over the New York Times and others like there was back then for Madoff?

    What a complete joke our entire media has become…….

    1. Earl Erland

      Take the comment with a pinch of meth. FTX is under control of the the Trustee appointed by the Delaware Bankruptcy Court. Any offer of “billions of potential interest” has to be made to the Bankruptcy Trustee (who now runs FTX).

    2. Screwball

      This is all part of the coverup, and what better people to do it than the NYT and the creep Sorkin.

      But we already knew that.

      Define “we” Kemosabe. LOL! My PMC friends tell me the COVID pandemic is behind us, Ukraine is beating the &%$# out of Russia, Joe Biden is the best president since FDR, and we have to elect democrats because they are squeaky clean and are the only ones that care about us. Because Trump, Putin, Russia, and the fascist take over if we don’t. Democracy itself is at stake don’t you know.

      Once Sorkin lobs softballs at this crook in order to set the narrative on how they cover it all up, our good little blue voting (who don’t own a mirror apparently) soldiers will tell us how great it was, and we are the stupid ones. How dare us question anything. The adults are in charge.

      1. ThirtyOne

        The NYT also published the Warren Commission report, coverups and limited hangouts are their specialty.

        1. Earl Erland

          Or/And/Gag on this:

          ATLANTA, April 13–The outspoken stand of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the war in Vietnam has dampened his prospects for becoming the Negro leader who might be able to get the nation “moving again” on civil rights.


          MONTGOMERY, April 4, 1968

          NEW YORK TIMES APRIL 4, 1968: https://www.nytimes.com/1968/04/04/archives/text-of-hanois-statement-responding-to-johnson.html

    3. Jason Boxman

      Times has been rotten for awhile. Iraq War propaganda, blackholing bush’s warrantless wiretapping until after the election…

  14. JBird4049

    “Contentious George Washington mural at San Francisco school can stay, judge decides” [Los Angeles Times]. • Here is the mural:”

    My apologies. Isn’t this the Kentucky mural?

    1. Expat2Uruguay

      It is the Kentucky mural. You can follow the link to the story about the Washington mural, and they have a picture of it there.

  15. Earl Erland

    Re: The George Washington Murals. According to the link, the Murals have not yet been covered by drywall via a reprieve from Judge Circuit Some based upon the “California Environmental Quality Act .”

    I need to read that statute.

    Too bad California did not extend its Jurisdiction over Buddhism, Afghanistan and/or Mullah Omar.

    This smell like a sideways challenge brought before an intellectually challenged Judge; which challenge eventually takes a bite from perfectly reasonable statute.

  16. Tom Stone

    My extended family cancelled Thanksgiving, too many are sick with a
    “Really bad cold that just keeps hanging on”.

    1. Bsn

      Wife just got “it”. I think it, was the Flu. Started with, “Hmm, I’m a bit tired”. 20 minutes later, wasted and in bed. Covid comes on slower in a longer arc. Did a squirt of Ivermectin on some crackers and all the other “normal” stuff: liquids; Vit C; aspirin; Elderberry. About 20 hours later and she’s still a bit slow but feeling much much better. Keep some Ivm handy. Looks like chicken soup and Waldorf salad tomorrow.

    2. curlydan

      wife and son have had that, too (Covid RAT negative). The cough just keeps lingering. It’s annoying. I slept in a separate bedroom for a week or more and have my 3 HEPA air filters going 24/7–hoping to avoid it.

      Son had Covid in August, and I’m wondering if his immune system is a bit weakened.

  17. Roger Blakely

    It’s not COVID (thank God). It couldn’t possibly be COVID. They tested negative. And besides, the pandemic is over.

  18. The Rev Kev

    ‘it seems that the entire political class is having a cigarette after the midterms.’

    Straight away the image flashed in my mind of them doing so after screwing over the nation’s voters.

  19. The Rev Kev

    ‘After further discussion, a second editor said she “would vote” for publishing an alert, adding, “I can’t imagine a U.S. intelligence official would be wrong on this.” ‘

    Not so much spooks living in her head as having a summer home there. Does she know that they actually give spooks classes in how to lie effectively? By rights they should put that intelligence official on a list of untrustworthy sources and mention them to other publications but you just know that they will still use that person as a source down the track. Hell, that intelligence official is just as likely as not to get a job with the media in the next few years.

  20. Bsn

    Hello comentariat, Lambert, Yves and all. Quick question. After posting a comment and beginning to type my “name”, it was auto filled. My email address was auto filled as well. Being cautious about personal information online, can you confirm that none of our comments, monikers and email addresses are sold or otherwise given to anyone else, beside the NC staff and it’s published archives? Also, is auto filling really needed? I’ve often found that the less convenient something is, the more worrisome it is. I’m a bit of an ol’ school woman so thanks for answering these questions.

    1. Daryl

      Auto filling is frequently a feature provided by browsers, rather than individual sites. You might look at your settings and see if you can disable it there.

    2. Bsn

      Hoy Ho, figured it out m’self via autofill in Brave. I’m new to Brave and like it so far, privacy wise. All good, carry on :-)

      PS, Still Ol’ S’cool

Comments are closed.