2:00PM Water Cooler 12/12/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

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

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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

Biden Administration

“Biden earned political capital this fall. He’s quietly spending it.” [Politico]. “Biden aides have been working with outside advisers to help sketch out components of a reelection ramp up, including Obama alum Jim Messina, with whom the president has discussed polling in recent weeks, according to two people familiar with his involvement. Messina did not return calls for comment. They are also reengaging donors and zeroing in on key staff roles and hires to fortify a unit that could operate outside the close-knit group that runs operations at the White House. They’re further along on finalizing a headquarters for the campaign, too, with Wilmington, Del., the likely destination, although Philadelphia has not been ruled out. ‘We’re aware that there is no deficit of people who speculate, but very few individuals are actually knowledgeable about anything of that nature,’ White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said. Those in the White House have proceeded like Biden will run. His family will play an outsized role in making the final decision and first lady Jill Biden, initially reluctant, is said to have warmed to another campaign.” • Swell. Of course, Biden wired SC up for himself, not just Harris….


“Herschel Walker’s Defeat and the GOP’s Lost Vote Harvest” [Wall Street Journal]. “Republicans got whupped by Democrats’ early-voting game and may be years behind in a major shift in turnout tactics. The party spent more time grousing over Democrats’ 2020 voting changes than it did asking itself why its opponents were so laser-focused on making mail-in and early voting easier. It turns out that 720 hours (the month Democrats use to mobilize early voters) is more than 72 hours (the three days Republicans use to mobilize their Election Day voters). Top Republicans have finally discovered arithmetic.” • Oh good. More people voting on partisan affilation rather than candidates or issues.

“Turnout by Republicans Was Great. It’s Just That Many of Them Didn’t Vote for Republicans” [New York Times]. “In state after state, the final turnout data shows that registered Republicans turned out at a higher rate — and in some places a much higher rate — than registered Democrats, including in many of the states where Republicans were dealt some of their most embarrassing losses…. The final Times/Siena polls showed that voters in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada preferred Republican control of the Senate. It’s fair to say voters in these key states probably preferred Republican control of government, in no small part because more Republicans showed up to vote. They just didn’t find Republican candidates they wanted to support at the top of the ticket.”

* * *

GA: I bet Neera Tanden won’t even remember who she is:

On the bright side, national Democrats loved Abrams, and gave a lot of money to the party. So there’s that.

IA: “Want to Know Why Democrats Lose Rural America?” [New York Times]. “[D]iscarding Iowa is not a great way to mend fences in rural America — where the Democratic brand has become virtually unmarketable…. But diversity did have a chance here. Barack Obama was vaulted to the White House. Iowa actively encouraged Black candidates to challenge the white establishment. Mr. Obama beat Hillary Clinton here. Iowa had no problem giving a gay man, Pete Buttigieg, and a Jewish democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders, the two top tickets out to New Hampshire last cycle. Black, white or Latino, it’s organization that matters in Iowa…. Latinos in Storm Lake overwhelmingly caucused for Mr. Sanders. Julián Castro can complain all he wants.” And: “The old brick factory haunts along the mighty Mississippi River are dark, thanks to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and everyone else who sold us out for ‘free trade.’… It tends to frustrate those left behind, and the resentment builds to the point of insurrection when it is apparent that the government is not here to help you…. It’s hard to feel from 30,000 feet. So Donald Trump landed in Sioux City on the eve of the midterm elections to claim his stake before a large crowd buffeted by the gales out of Nebraska. ‘The Iowa way of life is under siege,’ Mr. Trump bellowed. ‘We are a nation in decline. We are a failing nation.’ They loved him. The Democrats view the crowd as deplorable and told Iowa to get lost.” • Indeed they did. And I would bet conditions in rural SC are just as bad, if not worse.


“New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary in jeopardy” [WCAX]. “New Hampshire could lose its coveted first-in-the-nation presidential primary under new rules proposed by President Biden and the Democratic National Committee…. If New Hampshire does end up losing its number-one status, it could also have a huge economic impact. The primary brings in tens of millions of dollars each election cycle. Lappie says candidates would likely campaign in the state less. ‘If South Carolina is officially voting first with delegates, that could cause New Hampshire to lose attention,’ he said. The party chair in New Hampshire released a statement that says in part, ‘The DNC did not give New Hampshire the first-in-the-nation primary and it is not theirs to take away. This news is obviously disappointing, but we will be holding our primary first. We have survived past attempts over the decades and we will survive this.’ As for what comes next, Scanlan says his office is simply waiting to see how things play out. He says New Hampshire’s exact primary date will not be announced until the fall of next year. The debate is only about the Democratic primary. The Republican Party says it intends to continue to have New Hampshire first on its primary calendar.”

Republican Funhouse

“Meet New York’s New Republican Voters” [New York Magazine]. “In significant swaths of Brooklyn and Queens, Republican voting is growing organically, driven less by reactionary white people looking longingly to the suburbs — a coalition that helped elect Rudy Giuliani twice in the 1990s — and more by communities of recent immigrants and Orthodox Jews. Some of these voters are conservatives who no longer wish to support Democrats at any level of government after spending years ticket-splitting…. What unites immigrants from East Asia and Russia as well as Yiddish-speaking Hasidic Jews and the comparatively less strict Orthodox Jews? Fear of rising crime.” • So maybe Adams knows what he’s doing, an appalling prospect.

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

“After the rail fiasco” [Tempest]. “We are still in the early days of assessing the potential long-term political implications of the Biden administration’s decision to impose a highly unpopular contract on rail workers with the active support of “The Squad” (with the exception of Rashida Tlaib) in Congress. A line has certainly been crossed, however, and it’s hard to see a way back for those on the Left and in the labor movement who’ve engaged in mind-boggling intellectual summersaults to justify it as a good thing. It should be noted that even Tlaib’s dissent was well within the boundaries of Democratic Party politics…. Biden’s blatant strike-breaking will have dire consequences for the rest of us. He handed the mainstream and paramilitary far right a huge gift, four weeks after many people breathed a sigh of relief that the Republican victories in the midterm election were limited. The fact that no one in Biden’s cabinet threatened to resign over the decision goes to show how far removed from the lives of working-class people they are and the dynamics of U.S. politics today. The two most likely to dissent, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, who is close to the unions, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has presidential ambitions, did Biden’s dirty work without any hesitation on Capitol Hill…. For Tempest, recent events add urgency to several political questions before the revolutionary socialist Left in the United States. The first and foremost is the utility of socialists, who know which side of the class line they are on, remaining members of DSA, which is so damaged and irreformable at this point. The second issue before us is the need to take steps to create a larger revolutionary socialist grouping—to move beyond the fragments of the revolutionary Left. There are several thousand revolutionary socialists in the U.S. in and around DSA and scattered through different formations. Most of us feel the need to be in a larger organization, yet such a group can only emerge out of debate, discussion, and cooperative work and struggle. We look forward to having those discussions.”

“The Evolution Of Union-Busting” [The Intercept]. “Virtually none of the presenters identified explicitly as anti-union agents. Many described themselves or had professional biographies emphasizing their role as DEI experts, developers of ‘human capital,’ and champions of workplace ‘belonging.’ The industry has undergone somewhat of a rebranding, with many labor relations executives now identifying as ‘people experts’ and diversity executives. Even the host of the conference was camouflaged. The conference was organized by a group called CUE, which bills itself publicly as simply ‘a community for positive employee relations.’ But that sunny image belies its true agenda: Founded in 1977 by the National Association of Manufacturers, as part of a sweeping crusade against organized labor, CUE is formally known as the ‘Council for a Union-Free Environment.’ The organization provides research and training for the union suppression tactics, an estimated $340-million-per-year cottage industry of lawyers and consultants who specialize in assisting corporations with mitigating the threat of organized labor. But there was no doubt that they understood how controversial their work can be. Ken Hurley, the vice president of Kellogg’s Co. for human resources and labor relations who presided over the effort last year to replace striking cereal workers, said he did not want participants to share his slide deck, for fear of leaks…. ‘Labor consultant folks converting into DEI folks,’ added [Michael C. Duff, a law professor at the University of Wyoming]. ‘It’s really a wonderful kind of psyops, right, because these people are supposed to be close to employees.'” • I’m sure that there are no NC readers surprised by this.


Lambert here: Eric Topol has called a winter surge (or “wave”) of Covid. I am but a humble tapewatcher, but I’m reluctant to do so. (Partly because I know my temperament, and I have strong priors. So “I won’t because all of me wants to,” as Sam Spade says.) Topol’s view is the establishment view: Hospital-centric. Mine is infection-centric. I do not see the acceleration or doubling in cases that I would expect to see based on past surges. So we’ll see. Let’s wait and see what the remainder of the holiday season brings. Reader discussion on this important point is welcome. Nevertheless–

Stay safe out there: High transmission (CDC), the elevation of positivity (Walgreens), the steady takeover of BQ.1* (CDC; Walgreens), along with elevated hospitalization in BQ.1* hotbed New York are all more than a little unsettling (as is the apparent proliferation of variants). As one might expect at the beginning of a holiday surge, wastewater in Queens County, NY (JFK/LGA), Cook County, IL (ORD), and Los Angeles County (LAX) continues to be elevated. If you are planning to travel on Xmas, do consider your plans carefully.

* * *

• Not sure whose side to be on here, if any:

Though it is interesting to see a powerful spook openly attacking Musk.

* * *

• Maskstravaganza: “The Case for Mask Mandates” [Chasing Normal]. • Canada. Lots of good data.

• Maskstravaganza:

Do what I do, not what I say… And yes, yes CDC did “encouraged” masking up–

• Maskstravaganza: Even CDC’s community levels are bad:

• Maskstravaganza:

• Maskstravaganza:

Typically, Dad being Dad doesn’t lead to infection by a potentially lethal pathogen. Not sure what to do about this…

* * *

• ”Stubborn omicron wave sticking around for Christmas” [Financial Review]. Australia. “Melbourne University epidemiologist Professor Nancy Baxter said the rising number of infections was due to waning immunity, but underreporting was camouflaging the prevalence of sickness. ‘We think probably at least one in 50 Australians to one in 25 Australians currently have COVID,’ Professor Baxter said. ‘That’s a lot of COVID in circulation. And it’s peaking in the next week or two. That means there are going to be a lot of cases at Christmas where people want to get together. There’s a lot of risk.'” • One in 50 is a lot. One in 25 is a lot more.

* * *

• Alert reader splashoil reports from the field:

From my trusty Aranet4! My flight from Puerto Vallarta to Seattle and a 40 minute flight to Bellngham WA. (Huge spike)

Maybe a dozen masks seen on the two flights. Lots of coughing! Where is testing of cabin air filters?

• Another report from the field:

* * *

• “Respiratory pathogens: pandemic preparedness guidance” (PDF) [WHO]. Just unbelievable, or rather, all-to-believable:

Clearly, a political document, rather than a technical, let alone epidemiology. The priority ordering of “fomites, droplets, and aerosols” makes no sense unless it’s from least to most attested, which makes no sense (and by “least,” I mean “not”). For SARS-CoV-2, the ordering makes no sense at all, especiall given that fomites and droplets are not affected at all by “closed settings” or “poor ventilation,” which WHO mentions in, er, it’s next breath. What I think we can infer is that there are fomite goons at WHO as well as droplet goons, and they still have significant political power.

• ”Population cyclical immune dysregulation”:



A good call, if made (I haven’t seen the report he mentions) and scenario that looks a lot like what we are experienced (see the Tyee here). Thread worth reading in full. (The account is a “biorisk consultant specialising in COVID-19 business continuity, forecasting, and analysis.”)

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* * *


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.)

Previous version:

NOTE: CDC doesn’t say how often this updates.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published December 10:

0.5%. Slightly up.


Wastewater data (CDC), December 6:

JFK/LGA, Queens County is still red; ORD, Cook County just turned red; LAX, Los Angeles County now red. I would bet that speckling of red in Utah is sky country. Stay safe when travelling.

December 5:

• California data point (1):

• California data point (2):

And MWRA data, December 8:

Lambert here: Fiddling and diddling. Up in the North, down in the South.


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 28:

Lambert here: BQ.1* first on the leaderboard. XBB charging.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), November 19 (Nowcast off):

BQ.1* takes first place. Note the appearance of XBB.

• As a check, since New York is a BQ.1* hotbed, New York hospitalization, updated December 10:

Lambert here: Slightly down.

• Hospitalization data for Queens:


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,109,851 – 1,109,394 = 457 (457 * 365 = 166,805 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.

• A lot of stories like this:

Lots of confounders, of course. Commentary:

• How strange that there weren’t ten such pages:

Incalculable? All too calculable.

• “Thousands more Australians died in 2022 than expected. COVID was behind the majority of them” [The Conversation]. “Last month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released a report of mortality statistics. It showed that from January to July 2022, there were 17% more deaths (16,375) than the average expected for these months…. As we will see, the excess deaths this year were likely lower than the ABS estimate – but still overwhelmingly related to COVID and its effects on health.”

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

The Bezzle: “Sam Bankman-Fried to testify before Congress remotely: ‘Quite overbooked’” [New York Post]. “During Monday’s interview with the ‘Unusual Whales’ platform that was conducted on Twitter Spaces, Bankman-Fried confirmed he will testify — but through a Zoom link from his luxury residence in the Bahamas.” • The Unusual Whales interview:

The transcript is not up yet, so I can’t sell if SBF was asked into which account he desposited his billion dollar loan from Alameda (see Yves here).

Tech: Let’s not get too excited about fusion power; there’s a history here:

The whole thread is worth reading (and bookmarking).

Tech: Oops:

A well-regarded photographer in the UK.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 56 Greed (previous close: 53 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 64 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 12 at 1:47 PM EST.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Israel. “Israel has been rarely calm in the past few days” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.)


I’m sure every international traveler or expatriate has had this experience:

Of course, we as the imperial hegemon are working hard to make sure that the rest of the world sinks to our standard, not to raise our standards to theirs.

Zeitgeist Watch

Word of the day:

“Necrophage” might replace “ghoul,” say, being more general. Also, like C.S. Lewis’s macrobes, necrophages might well be entities, as opposed to individual (natural) persons.

Class Warfare

“Huge decline of working class people in the arts reflects fall in wider society” [Guardian]. “The proportion of working-class actors, musicians and writers has shrunk by half since the 1970s, new research shows. Analysis of Office for National Statistics data found that 16.4% of creative workers born between 1953 and 1962 had a working-class background, but that had fallen to just 7.9% for those born four decades later. This reflected a similar decline in the number of people with working-class origins, according to the paper in the journal Sociology by researchers from the universities of Edinburgh, Manchester and Sheffield. People whose parents had a working-class job accounted for about 37% of the workforce in 1981, but by 2011 that had fallen to about 21%. The finding raises questions about why years of attempts to make the arts more open and diverse have not had more impact – people who grew up in professional families were four times more likely than those with working-class parents to be in creative work, the study found…. The lack of ability to take risks is another barrier, Carthew said, such as working two jobs or not having money to go out for drinks to build a network or pay for a hotel in London while doing an internship. ‘Publishers are trying more to get a broad church of people,’ [Natasha] Carthew said. ‘But they’ve been slow, like everywhere’s been slow.’ ‘There are lots of schemes, and then the money runs out – they’ve ticked that box and then they move on and put their cash somewhere else. I’ve seen that with my festival. That’s why the momentum keeps changing. They want novelty.'” • Doubtless the same in the US, or worse, given how NGOs work.

“Amazon announces new holiday driver tip pool that’s just .0005% of its net worth” [Daily Dot]. “In 2021, Amazon drivers were overworked, harassed, and underpaid, especially during the holiday season. This year, the tech mega-giant will give their drivers a $5 tip if their customer says ‘Alexa, thank my driver.’… The total cost of the Amazon program—$5 for the first million “thank yous” plus $20,000 for each of the five most thanked drivers—is $5.1 million…. Meanwhile, the company spent $4.3 billion working to bust Amazon’s union campaign last year…. While Amazon could be using this money to pay its workers without some customer aspect attached to it—as it refuses to abide by national labor laws—the initiative will hopefully bring some kindness into Amazon driver’s days, which can be marred with hostility.”

“Why Is Howard Schultz Taking This So Personally?” [New York Times]. “Mr. Schultz, 69, appears intent on defusing interest in a union before he leaves the company next spring for the third — and, dare one say, final — time. He has thrown himself into providing new benefits and wage increases, but withheld them from employees in the union, which represents about 2 percent of the company’s U.S. work force of more than 250,000. When asked in an interview in June if he could ever imagine embracing the union, Mr. Schultz responded with a single immovable word: No. He has alluded to a downside for customers, and some labor experts argue that a union could seek to limit the number of syrups, powders and foams that can be added to drinks, as a way to ease the burden on baristas…. The stakes extend far beyond Starbucks. The union campaign has helped give rise to labor organizing at a variety of other companies, including Apple, Trader Joe’s and REI. If the union manages to wring significant concessions from Starbucks, it could accelerate organizing elsewhere and help change the relationship between management and labor across the country. If, on the other hand, the union fades away under Mr. Schultz, it could undermine the recent organizing renaissance and further relegate unions to the economy’s margins.”

* * *

“The 4% Rule for Retirement Spending Makes a Comeback” [Wall Street Journal]. “‘It’s counterintuitive, but when valuations are high, it is the worst time to retire,’ said Morningstar personal finance director Christine Benz.” • What an insane system. You retire when you’re lucky, not when you need to, or want to. But those “personal finance directors” collect their ample salaries and bonuses!

* * *

Sounds like a lovely event:

“Selling your labor power to survive” means “selling your labor power to survive”:

Consult Rule #2.

News of the Wired

“The Autocrat in Your iPhone” [Foreign Affairs]. “Pegasus or other similar spyware technology has been found on the digital devices of prominent political opposition figures, journalists, and human rights activists in many countries. Providing the ability to clandestinely infiltrate even the most up-to-date smartphones—the latest “zero click” version of the spyware can penetrate a device without any action by the user—Pegasus has become the digital surveillance tool of choice for repressive regimes around the world.” • Autocrats? What, we’re not worried about the organs of state security enforcing “the rules-based domestic order”? Or Apple itself?

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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 Carla:

Carla writes: “Cranberry Lake, Adirondack Park, NY.”

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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. flora

    Tonight Greenwald will interview Taibbi and others on his new show.

    “We’re incredibly excited to announce the debut of @SystemUpdate_
    — to air nightly, live, Monday-Friday at 7 pm ET — exclusively on Rumble.

    Our first live show will be this Monday, December 12, featuring an interview with @Mtaibbi
    and other topics and guests:”


    Could be interesting.

    1. diptherio

      Taibbi was just on Ben Shapiro’s show and Glenn thinks Trump was a socialist…so yeah, should be interesting.

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        Being an unsubtle person, I hate it when I misunderstand the subtlety of others; what’s your point?

        1. skippy

          “Trump was a socialist” brings questions about what framework is used to derive that opinion and what other things might pop out the other side of it …

          For me the idea that Trumps treatment of labour or anyone deemed not in his class makes that a heavy barrow to push from both the economic and sociopolitical framework.

          1. digi_owl

            Socialism in “popular” discourse seems to limit itself to the cultural sphere. If you do not come down hard against certain cultural trends going round, you are apparently a “socialist” (or maybe even “cultural marxist”, that has pretty much crap all to do with Marx).

            Between Tumblr and 4Chan the terminology has become so abused it makes newspeak seem almost preferable.

            1. skippy

              Literally thousands of hours of been there done that, hence my comment above about the confusion.

              “cultural marxist” – yeah remember it started out as a right wing barb to deflect any critique about colonialism and segued as a maypole into anti Western Christian and currently all about political correctness …

              Then again after watching the mangling of what the Frankfort School said to mean just the opposite of what its authors said … everything is possible …

              These days I just ask … so where is the 2 main class or rights to productivity in this so called Marxist thingy your banging on about … then ask how it feels to be a bot for others …

  2. CoryP

    So since water cooler implies free conversation… has anybody listened to the Radio War Nerd episode which I think is going to be an unkind Taibbi roast? I can’t bring myself to listen to it yet. Mark and especially Yasha have always seemed really bitter and have alluded to things.

    To be frank I don’t think my TK subscription is worth the money. The serializing of Hate Inc was worth it. The Russia gate stuff was worth it. Now it’s just mostly fluff. News recaps with Walter Kirn. He said he was writing a book about the financial scam that was the CARES act and other pandemic profiteering. I’m there for that.

    So my beef isn’t that his content has taken an ideological slant.its more just that it’s been fluff content. If he does the Twitter Files well, that would justify my subscription. (Despite the fact that he’s working from a redacted database or if you think he’s ideologically captured )

    Anyway. I’ve only viewed the drama from a distance.

    (Also Lambert, please hit up Aaron Good. The commentariat appreciates a deep dive into the hidden powers that are shaping our reality)

      1. CoryP

        Sorry. I had emailed you about this. Understandable if you never saw it.
        I learned of him when he was a guest on TrueAnon.

        On Twitter he is Aaron_Good_

        He has a podcast on Patreon called American Exception.

        He recently published a book based on his PhD thesis called American Exception: EMPIRE AND THE DEEP STATE in which he lays out his tri-partite theory of state power, drawing on C Wright Mills.

        He’s been doing a youtube/podcast collaboration with Ben Norton formerly of Grayzone, now as Multipolarista.

        They have about 20 episodes so far which I believe are free on YouTube though I am a Patron.

        (This has nothing to do with Taibbi or the EXiled crew. It was just a post script)

        1. Beyond the rubicoN

          Yea the podcast is very good, and I’m nearly done with the book. I did have to go back and reread selected chapters from TPE to fully understand and refresh my memory of the subject matter.

        2. eg

          I’ve read the book, which was scary, and I’ve heard him interviewed on the Multipolarista podcast, which is excellent.

      2. Sailor Bud

        There is a free version of it on Podcastaddict.com, and they talk about eXile & Taibbi for quite a long time, too. I’ll withhold any comment, as I’m naturally biased, and generally favor Ames & Dolan and their work.

    1. johnherbiehancock

      It’s disappointing to me when people on the left let personal differences cause such a huge divide, especially since the powers against them are so deep and almost limitless.

      Like… it’s fine to disagree with other, but to spend so much ink / podcast minutes attacking him over this and other stuff over the years when they could be going after like the entire legion of ghouls in DC and throughout the country really seems ridiculous to me.

          1. Basil Pesto

            Ames, Levine and Dolan are obviously not PMCs

            Like… it’s fine to disagree with other, but to spend so much ink / podcast minutes attacking him over this and other stuff over the years when they could be going after like the entire legion of ghouls in DC and throughout the country really seems ridiculous to me.

            That is clearly what they believe themselves to be doing, and not unreasonably. Matt and Greenwald pretending the only criticism is coming from insufferable liberal yuppies is pissweak (and something of a trend; for a long while Matt has pretty much only engaged the most stupid people imaginable in debate on his timeline).

            Besides RWN, there are many cogent and strong critiques of ‘the Twitter Files’ in terms of power, class interest etc. This guy, for example (don’t know him, just saw Ames like one of his tweets), I think is has been driving at the heart of the issue for a week or so. Carl Beijer’s been good too. The issue is not, as I see it, about internecine bickering. It is about the cynicism and bullshit of various wings of the Altstream Media, and how those wings are devolving into a mere echo of the worst tendencies of the Mainstream Media, while feigning socratic/syncretic centrist neutrality or ambivalence. So there’s definitely a media story here, just not the one that Musk/Taibbi/Weiss are trying to sell.

            1. CoryP

              Thanks for your take and providing further reading.
              This is as good a time as any to say that I really appreciate your contributions here and that I think you serve as an important counter-weight to certain group tendencies. I always look forward to what you have to say.

              1. Basil Pesto

                Thank you, that’s very kind, especially as I’ve been having a tough week as this and much else in the world have been weighing on my mind. Everything just feels unfixably and deeply stupid and bad.

                1. CoryP

                  I mean, you’re not wrong.

                  In that sense, instead of horrified, I should be grateful that I’ll have a Canadian Suicide Booth when I need it.

    2. diptherio

      I have and it’s very fair, imho. No venom to speak of, just plenty of facts that don’t cast a real flattering light on Matt. It’s obviously a painful topic for Mark.

      1. CoryP

        Thanks. That’s what I expect. Maybe I have a weird crush on Matt or something given my defensiveness of him. I fear they’re probably right. I will listen shortly.

    3. Gulag

      I have listened to the Radio War Nurd episode with Mark and Yasha Levine and their discussion about Matt Taibbi.

      I happen to be a fan of all three of these individuals despite their differing political perspectives.

      In may opinion their discussion raises profound issues about the future direction of the alternative politics and vision of the Left (those grouplets which function outside of Sanders and the Squad.)

      One key issue is the theoretical and practical role of social class as it actually operates/functions within left factions– which is often considered a verboten topic

      Mark and Yasha often sounded skeptical/suspicious/envious of Taibbi because of class background (His privileged upbringing due to his Dad’s position at NBC). Yasha, in particular, seems suspicious because of a possible belief that Matt identifies too powerfully with his own class background and therefore, when push comes to shove, is not to be trusted–Matt will finally end up doing what is necessary to preserve his class position.

      Is such class skepticism (By Mark and Yasha) valid or worthwhile when applied to Taibbi?

      Is such class skepticism valid or worthwhile when applied to Musk?

      Cory P, I am also extremely familiar with the work of Aaron Good and would be glad to discuss it with you. Good’s analysis, in my opinion, tries to prioritize what he labels as state crimes against democracy like the assassination of President Kennedy or FBI’s COINTEL programs against the antiwar civil rights and Black Power movements etc.)
      Good then links this type of perspective to the insights of Carl Schmitt on the sovereign exception. I also think the accuracy of his tripart state conceptual framework needs to be carefully examined.

      1. CoryP

        Regarding class position, Matt has never called himself a socialist as far as I know. My impression of him is a good hearted straight talking liberal who I may not always agree with.

        He’s obviously petit bourg, as are most commenter here I would assume.

        Also sure. Hit up Yves for my contact info if you want to talk about stuff. I’m not that smart or well read but it’s nice to bat ideas around.

        I don’t think his analysis is the be-all, end-all but I think it’s a good synthesis of the last century, and I find him personally charming on his podcasts.

        1. CoryP

          In my first two comments I conflated class position with ideology but you probably know what I mean, and there is an oblique connection.

    4. Bosko

      I listened. I enjoy listening/reading Yasha, but the guy is a bit of a gadfly; he seems to like to call people out and name names, and I appreciate that, but at a certain point, it says more about him than it does about some of his subjects. Another way of saying this is, Yasha having beef with someone is neither here nor there for me at this point. I was a little surprised about Ames, as I didn’t know there was this level of bad blood there. Given the early 90s style ‘gonzo’ outlook of eXile (not to mention the smack), I’m not surprised there’s dislike there… There are specific criticisms of the Twitter Files, which are valid even if I don’t agree, and then some more personal criticism of Taibbi as a professional climber. (To me, it’s self-evident that Taibbi’s views on journalism are pretty traditional and that he tries to be objective; this would not be a surprise to anyone who listened to him on the podcast with Katie Harper and followed the transition to Aaron Mate.)

      I also support Taibbi’s Substack, and I’m a little bothered by the Culture War crap, I have to say. There seems to be a certain amplification of Culture War topics that I find questionable. The stuff with Walter Kirn is unlistenable–I have no idea what purpose this is supposed to serve, since Kirn’s opinions are pretty stale. And today I spent an unfortunate ten minutes or so reading the comments under one of Taibbi’s posts. Many of his readers seem to be IDW-worshipping types who see some ideological connection between, say, Bari Weiss and Taibbi.

      1. CoryP

        The comments sections on most popular Substacks are absolute trash. Freddie dB’s is worth clicking on once in a while.

        But most comments sections are trash, which is why we love NC.

        MoA and OffGuardian had tolerable comments but there’s no insight to be found even if you try to wade through the antisemitism. (I haven’t visited OffG since they went off the rails with covid, so my bad if it’s now a cesspool)

        Consortium News seems to have nice polite non spammy commenters. But there’s no real discussion. I think that might be due partly to the cumbersome formatting.

        There’s a reason we like NC. This kind of dialog is irreplaceable. The only comparable thing I’ve seen have been comment sections under some Patreon feeds I follow.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      Another subscriber, and I do find it worth the money. There is some fluff, and they can’t all be winners, but I do enjoy the chats with Walter Kirn. And he is doing some solid reporting too – the several part series on the school board brouhaha in Loudon county was really excellent. I’m also wondering if there might be more reporting once he’s done with the latest book. Or here’s an idea for Taibbi – how about a discounted or free copy of the new book when you renew your subscription?

      I really don’t like the model though – there are only so many journalists you can support at that rate. For now I’ll subscribe to Taibbi and NC. There are a handful of others I’d like to subscribe to, but it starts to get expensive real fast.

      1. CoryP

        Yeah my combined patreon and substack and only fans bill is like 200. I’m looking to whittle it down and I’m in a comparatively good financial position.

        I love the idea of this model for content creators but it doesn’t seem sustainable.

        Briahna JG and her callers on her live show often wax poetic about making a “left media” thing. Banding together and acknowledging the real resource constraints…. There’s no way in hell that’s happening. Too many disagreements.

        You’ve got TYT. You’ve got Breaking Points.
        ….. I don’t see a collab model working unless you want to turn into a mushy liberal. Idk I need to read some Theory.

    6. Basil Pesto

      I did, and thought it was good, albeit maybe sometimes a bit superficial in its analysis – as you might expect a rather ad hoc podcast chat to be. I agree with diptherio and Gulag above.

      It’s not a gossipy pile-on like you might expect (but there is a bit of that, which, given the givens, is unavoidable I think). Matt also gets due praise. But keep in mind that besides being eXile affiliated, Levine did write a book on the malign involvement of the USG in the internet, WWW and social media, so it is relevant subject matter for him. Worth a listen imo.

  3. Jeff W

    Denise Dewald, MD: “Didn’t the CDC just issue a statement recommending masks?”

    …yes, yes CDC did

    No, no, it didn’t.

    CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky encouraged people to wear masks; she didn’t go so far in her statement as to recommend them. That said, that the CDC Director is not wearing a mask—after “encouraging” the public to do so—at that event in Atlanta is, nonetheless, pretty egregious.

    1. Carla

      A couple of weeks ago, I returned to the indoor track at the municipal gym for my almost-daily walk. I had not been there since Feb. 2020, and of course wear my KN-94 mask whenever I go. Most days, I’m literally the only masked person there — counting both staff and exercisers. Occasionally, one other brave soul is masked. Many African Americans (about half the population in our community) who regularly attend wear surgical masks as chin diapers.

      1. ambrit

        The concept of “chin diapers” seems to have become a fashion statement. I’m still waiting for widespread usage of ‘Designer’ masks.

  4. semper loquitur

    re: The Big Zero in ’24

    Good to hear that Biden’s handlers have decided to run him again. They’ll need those outside hires, the “close knit group” will be busy keeping “Brain-plaque” Joe from wandering off and taking a header down the stairs. Jill is on board, wiping off the drool and steering away from the Girl Scout troops. Hunter is lending a hand as well, he’s Chief of Cybersecurity and in charge of the holiday parties…

    1. Carolinian

      If only you were joking. Perhaps we’re hearing all this talk now so Biden can claim the upcoming Hunter hearings are “just politics” (or depend on the press to say it for him). If he steps away from that closet door all the skeletons will come tumbling out. At least Merrick’s on the team.

      And re our relentlessly middle class arts scene–nobody in H’wood seems very interested in poor people except maybe Frances McDormand and a few others. Current plotlines take place in swell housing with plenty of arugula. Young lovers in particular often seem to have no visible means of support.

  5. Carla

    Re: Plantidote: I must clarify that my dear sister took that photo (in Oct. 2022) although I know the particular view very well.

    1. upstater

      Cranberry Lake is a beautiful place, especially in the spring and fall when motorboats are not so dominant for us paddlers. Fall is an especially beautiful time. Great hiking, too!

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Yes, and Wanakena, just above where the Oswegatchie River drains into Cranberry Lake, is a very sweet little hamlet!

    2. eg

      Never been to Cranberry Lake, but camped with my father and my brothers an hour away at Rollins Pond for years.

  6. Judith

    More data:


    Amid a surge in wastewater levels of COVID-19, Boston officials are ramping up their efforts to track the virus throughout the city.

    Boston is planning to establish 11 new wastewater testing stations, Bisola Ojikutu, the city’s public health commissioner, said on Monday, The Boston Globe reported.

    Speaking at a City Council meeting, Ojikutu said that the move was in response to significant declines in COVID-19 testing across the city.

    1. Jason Boxman

      What I’m curious about, and my cursory search for Newton and COVID turned up nothing in news results, but then our search engines aren’t great these days, is whether in Newton kids are faring better, or worse, or the same as the nation overall in terms of COVID sickness given the years long project to improve the ventilation in this elite city. I live way too far afield to get any sense of it, living in a different part of the country these days.

  7. Karl

    RE: Let’s not get too excited about fusion power

    Interesting series of tweets on how the Livermore National Ignition Facility (NIF) has bee reporting breakeven net energy production from fusion (or better) for years.

    Science is supposed to be repeatable. But if you have only one NIF in the world (the cost of building another is prohibitive–maybe $10+ Billion in today’s dollars) and NIF is grading its own work, how do you get independent verification?

    As an undergrad engineering student way back in 1972, one of my physics profs presented results of fancy computer simulations that pointed to feasibility, justifying the R&D. In those days, it seemed like commercial fusion was around the corner. Now it doesn’t look like we’ll see a commercial demonstration for decades (if then).

    1. johnherbiehancock

      Re: fusion

      I’ve seen the story in various places, but haven’t seen anyone comment on the political barriers to its implementation.

      Is anyone else skeptical for this reason? Like a new technology such as fusion will require a substantial investment, and regulatory approvals (among many other things), before it can be implemented.

      And it’s implementation directly threatens the fossil fuel industry, which is – in my understanding – possibly the most powerful single industry on the planet… And is substantially intertwined with Wall Street, which organizes all our economic activity.

      What are all those powerful and well-connected guys going to do with all their dollars, and future profit streams if we suddenly have a way of creating clean energy from basically nothing? Just shrug and stand aside?

      Not gonna happen.

      1. Robert Hahl

        You are assuming it might work. Didn’t you ever see The Producers? If a gov’t program is bound to fail, but takes 30 years to do so, that would be a gold mine and would not trouble the fossil fuel industry. A lot of the researcher’s money would end up in XOM stock anyway.

      2. notabanker

        The fossil fuel and wall streeters (or in this case more accurately, the PE firms) are exactly who is going to own this after the govt spends for all of the research. And then they will have plenty of clean energy to sell the rest of us from basically nothing. Sounds like good margins in that.

    2. vao

      Following the twitter messages from the original thread to another, one eventually arrives at a discussion of why the NIF accomplishment is wholly irrelevant. To summarize:

      1) It uses lasers to provoke the fusion, whose energy efficiency is on the order of 1%.
      2) Capturing the energy produced by the fusion and transforming it into actually usable current would incur a conversion loss on the order of 60% (heat to electricity).

      So the “breakeven” achieved is between the output energy of the laser and the fusion, not the end-to-end cycle (electricity to power lasers – fusion – heat transformed to electricity) which would require a 250 times factor improvement in energy efficiency.


      3) The technology used (relying upon lasers focused on a pellet of material that is compressed to fusion) was originally designed and is only useful to manufacture detonators for atomic bombs; it is not a viable technical path to a power plant.

      In other words: a meaningless achievement.

      For decades it has been touted that fusion will be feasible and power our societies maybe 50 years from now. I contend it is time to pull the plug on those never-ending projects that never come to fruition and redirect the gargantuan resources devoted to those white elephants to something feasible — it is becoming urgent.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I can’t even recall which decade it was that I first heard about a new breakthrough in fusion power. So until all problems are resolved and that they are now in full production, I no longer spend the time reading those articles. Maybe we should call them Godot devices.

      1. Keith Newman

        “Godot devices” Very funny!
        Anyway, I agree. I’ve been reading about fusion power “breakthroughs” for decades as well. I no longer pay attention.

    4. Mikel

      Hard to get excited about it when cities and towns are still struggling with drinkable water. And allegedly plenty of technology exists to make it possible for them to have it.

    5. jeffc

      Engineer here, a compulsive numbers guy. FWIW, the best press account I’ve seen of the Big Deal so far is in ars technica. They reported that 2.1 MJ of energy went in and 2.5 MJ of energy came out. So a 0.4 MJ gain in energy! Woohoo!

      But let’s use more familiar units. One kWh of energy is 3.6 MJ, so 0.4 MJ is 1/9 of a kWh or around 111 Watt hours. So enough energy to run an old-school 100W light bulb for a bit over an hour. And comments above about other inefficiencies are of course right on.

      Yay. /sarc

  8. marku52

    Good interview with Dr Aseem Malhotra, well respoected British cardiologist. Once a strong proponent of covid vaccines (went on TV to say “Get vaccinated”), now decidedly anti due to risk of myocarditis. (“What do you do when new information comes in?” “I change my mind”)

    His change in attitude initially came about when a colleague cardiologist called and told him he was noticing massive change in heart disease markers post vaccination, either with Pfizer or Moderna. This led Malhotra down the rabbit hole where he looked up the original test data from those vaccines and calculated that now the risk of vaccine damage is much higher than the risk of covid even for the very old. And for the young and healthy, vaccination makes no sense.

    Vaccine stuff gets serious at about 15 minutes. Also later on, there is a good discussion of the Gates foundation directing the pandemic response VS their investment portfolio.

    Interview is by Tucker Carlson but the interview is very non-political, and to my ear, Carlson does a fine job of interviewing. Mostly staying out of the way and letting the Dr talk.


    1. Raymond Sim

      I’m short of time to watch this. I’d be interested to know to what extent the confounders of the data are discussed, specifically the liklihood of prior infection, symptomatic or otherwise, and behavioral differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. Also, are two well-defined populations being compared?

      1. marku52

        He discusses that. If anything, the “healthy population confounder” should make the data even stronger than it already appears. Ie, vaccinated people are more likely to be healthy to start with.

        He comments that even if he took up an unhealthy diet and smoked 40 cigarettes/day, he would be unlikely to change his cardiac numbers that strongly.

        Also this concerning data is replicated in other countries as well. A German pathology report shows in autopsies where 5 people who “died suddlenly) out of a population of 35 IIRC, were shown to have been killed by vaccine caused myocarditis. Other causes ruled out.


        1. Raymond Sim

          It’s not at all clear to me that vaccinated people represent a healthier cohort. But I’m more interested in confounding by previous infection.

  9. Mark Gisleson

    I think it’s fair to say that a lot of Republicans looked at their ballots and decided the best Republican candidates were running as Democrats…

    1. Not Again

      “For every blue collar vote we lose in Philly, we pick up two PMC in Bryn Mawr.”

      It worked. Those rail workers never stood a chance.

  10. Jason Boxman

    Winter Illnesses:

    You probably know by now how to reduce your risk of Covid: Get vaccinated and boosted. When the virus is spreading quickly, mask indoors and get tested regularly. If you get sick, isolate to avoid spreading the virus and try to obtain a prescription for Paxlovid to reduce the risk of hospitalization or worse.

    “It’s all the obvious things,” Gounder said. “It’s really a question of whether people want to do them or not.”

    Yes, the core definition of public health: Whether the public _wants_ to do something, on an individualized basis. There ya go.

    1. eg

      I guess you can’t have Public Health if you have no public but instead only Thatcherite individuals.

      Hence peak neoliberalism where we skip “because markets” and head straight to “go die.”

  11. JBird4049

    >>>The lack of ability to take risks is another barrier, Carthew said, such as working two jobs or not having money to go out for drinks to build a network or pay for a hotel in London while doing an internship. ‘

    It is interesting to see that as the San Francisco Bay Area become increasingly deracinated and, well, boring the more wealthy and “liberal” it became. The entire working class is really poor as church mice. The Jazz scene left along with the Black population fleeing. Yoshi’s while great is too expensive and not enough. There are still the nice museums and the opera and symphony, but I don’t have the money for it anymore, and most of the bookstores have died as well. City Lights is living off its glory days of fifty years ago. Thank the creator for Green Apple.

    However, since the arts are a fantastic way to connect everyone, I assume that destroying much of the population’s ability to create and enjoy it is part of the plan. Seeing a Monet in person or listening to live jazz with someone, or even by oneself, is ever so much powerful and enjoyable than on a screen.

    1. wol

      As an art practitioner from a middle class background who worked his white way up while painting houses, I don’t advertise it. The PMCs who run things distrust me because of my class, and rightly so. When I was on Facebook my 2016 promotion of Bernie and projection of DT as the eventual winner got torrents of bitter comments from my professional peers.

      Thank you, NC, for making this anonymous comment possible.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      i was once a musician of some note, at least regionally…blues/rootsrock guitar slinger.
      that was almost 40 years ago.
      articles like this always make me compare and contrast this time to that…the rub: precarity begets hyperbusyness…and even then, not enough spare cash to go to an open mike on a regular basis.
      let alone actually obtaining a decent guitar, amp, etc.
      it was hard enough back then(caveat: with zero familial support)…i can’t imagine it now.

      and, as you alluded…it takes a lot of hanging around in bars and whatnot to get into a scene…find others, etc.
      that takes money and free time.

      feels like part of the neoliberal dispensation, to me…just like the corporatisation of music…beginning with disco…i hypothesise that that foray into music world was, at least in part, the Machine ensuring that the dern 60’s never happened again(driven by the fecund music scene)
      or maybe it’s just a side effect of hyperindividualisation…making every one an atomised island unto themselves…and Enterprise,lol…so that no collusion or conspiracy(“breathing together”) or collective fellowfeeling can ever emerge…unless approved by committee, and run through the appropriate archons.

      1. JBird4049

        Since music is such an effective way to communicate and connect with others, if was inclined to wear my tin foil hat, I would not be surprised at all that, like with writing and the various rights organizations, the CIA got their grubby hands on the industry as a whole. It would not take much especially with the increasing precarity.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You don’t need a tin foil hat for that. After all, the CIA weaponized modern art and financed more than a few well know artists during the First Cold War. Maybe that is why so much of it was junk-


          Maybe too the powers that be do not want a return to the originality of music in the 60s but would prefer a more banal music scene written in part by computer software as has been learned recently. Stuff that won’t even survive as elevator music.

      2. eg

        The lack of time afforded to working people is part of the strategy ensuring their permanent immiseration — their inability to participate in the arts is a symptom of the more important imperative that they have no time to either learn about nor participate in the democratic process which is theoretically their birthright.

        The iron law of oligarchy proceeds apace …

  12. Raymond Sim

    Regarding Bay Area and UCD wastewater data:

    It appears to me that the UCD levels Majime Sugiru tweeted (from the UCD dashboard) are ringing the alarm bell late.The big spike occurs ~5 days earlier on the SCAN charts: 11/26-11/27, followed by much lower levels. This appears consistent with very high levels in City of Davis wastewater on 11/25 and 11/27 – but SCAN has UCD levels then dropping to well below those it shows for the town. A spike on 12/1, as the UCD dashboard appears to show, appears at about half-strength on the SCAN charts for UCD, but is very close to levels SCAN gives for City of Davis on 12/1 and 12/3. I’ve been under the impression these graphs use the same data. If the discrepancies result from smoothing and ‘trimming’ then I really do wish they’d lay off that.

    More generally, pretty much the whole greater Bay Area was in exponential (straight line on log-plot) growth for going on a week, then pretty much all the curves flattened or even bent downwards. Now locales appear to be returning to the former trend, but individually, not in unison. My personal guess is that the downward trend represented people who were so inclined adopting protective measures as the epidemic became more obvious, and the return to the former trend is the exponential growth in the rest of the population catching back up. As it happens the where and when of the return to growth seems to be confirming my personal biases about the characters of various communities in the region.

  13. Mikel

    “I went on to speculate that PCID could lead an inexorably downward spiral of population health: first Covid infection to secondary infection to second Covid infection to more secondary infections and so on. This would obviously place an unmanageable strain on health services….”

    Some anecdotes:
    Famiky friend needs an urgent pancreas surgery in OKC. The hospital where it’s scheduled is “out of beds”.
    Friend has a family member in the Indianapolis area who had to go to 3 different hospitals to find care.

    A semi-retired nurse friend (Houston area) of my mother thinks the problems could include staffing issues.

    But health in health insurance premiums are increasing.

    1. petal

      Rode the elevator with a hospital employee today. From what I can tell he delivers various supplies to the different clinical areas in our cancer center. He said there’s a hiring freeze on due to the massive financial losses, that staffing is at bare bones level as it is and will get worse, and that they are pushing employees to the limit.

    1. notabanker

      Crazy stuff. Pretty bad for business to have an online service go down and not come back. On the other hand, losing random data off twitter forever is not really a bad thing in the grand scheme of things.

    2. Aumua

      Well I suppose it’s worth whatever someone will pay for it. One can only wonder what else could have been done with that $44 billion..

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Stubborn omicron wave sticking around for Christmas”

    So yesterday I had the TV on while I was doing stuff online when they had somebody from the medical establishment on – somebody from the government. It was only about halfway through this dreck that it grabbed my attention when they said that here in Oz that we can expect major waves for about the next two years and then the virus will just go away into the background. Isn’t that what Trump said back in 2020?

    I don’t even know where to start to take apart that idea but as a method to have people just lay back and accept these waves of infections until it is so firmly entrenched that the ongoing damage is beyond repair, well, mission accomplished. Maybe we can have ex-CIA Director John Brennan fly down here and tell us how we should be grateful to our medical authorities or something.

  15. griffen

    Contractor role and the above tweet thread. Well that does suck but I have to question what sort of company would force contractors for hire to travel for such an outing, let alone spending two days for team building. I have been fully remote since about March of this year, working on a contract position for a large separate account investment manager during a global software roll out.

    Yeah it’s not a good look if the aforementioned tweets make the person feel put upon so immediately out of the gate. I just have not felt that same amount of pressure to travel.

  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘this is why i struggle to fully convey to americans just how bad they have it’

    There were a whole series of Tik Tok videos that made their way to YouTube where the question was asked – ‘Americans Living Abroad: First Time You Realized America Really Messed You Up | Part 1’

    And that example of sick days in the Netherlands was in one of them-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPOsf_EpHxs (13:28 mins)

    1. petal

      My moment was when I needed life-saving emergency surgery in Wollongong. Probably wouldn’t have survived in the US. It was a rough re-entry when I got back to the US and had to see an MD for follow-up care and meds. It was a nightmare in the US all the way around.

      1. The Rev Kev

        May I say that I am personally glad that if you had to have an emergency, that serendipity chose that you were in the ‘Gong when it happened. I hope that they took good care of you there.

        1. petal

          Thank you, Rev Kev. I received wonderful care there by the 2 MDs and the nursing staff over the 2 weeks. Can’t say enough good things about them. The surgeon was so proud that he was able to keep the large incision/scar beneath my bikini/tan line, and the anesthesiologist looked like a Hells Angel. It was so funny. I still miss turkey broth, Bega cheese & water crackers, and Schweppes Lemonade. I know I’ll never get(and so far haven’t gotten) as good of care here as I did there. And it was all so…easy. There was no “how are you going to pay for this?” before being taken care of, or being turfed out asap after. They just took care of me. That was the priority.

  17. Not Again

    The two most likely to dissent, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, who is close to the unions, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg,

    LOL. Mayo Pete resigning because workers got screwed? They do realize he worked for McKinsey, right?

    1. The Rev Kev

      To break that rail strike, old Joe not only had enablers but also enablers of enablers, like this-

      ‘Defund Ukraine
      The Squad: “We are voting collectively to crush a union rail strike”
      Ryan Grim: “This is actually a good move by the progressives and not at all inconsistent with their pro-worker message. Let me explain…”


      1. Aumua

        I’d love to hear AOC’s reasoning, and certainly would be willing to give it a chance, but she appears to be hiding out. She’s hardly tweeted a word since the vote, so I guess she doesn’t even want to pretend to have an excuse.

    1. Carolinian

      Pam Martens reports that the NYT, Bloomberg, FT and Dow Jones filed a letter last Friday with the bankruptcy court demanding the list of creditors be made public. Sounds like the MSM have also turned on Simple Jack.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Obviously I don’t live in the US but your comment made me realize something. For donkey’s years newspapers employed cartoonists who would draw cartoons of famous people that they were criticizing in their panels. And some cartoons like that became more well known than the people that they were modeled after and that really got under the skins of some pretty big politicians. You don’t see much of that these days. I wonder why.

        1. Jason Boxman

          True. With the railroad strike debacle, I was just today thinking about a dearth of impactful political cartoons of the bosses stepping on workers from above, or any of the other depictions that were known from eras past. I never did learn to sketch. Oh well, there’s still time.

  18. anon in so cal

    COVID and, to a lesser extent, getting an MRNA vaccine, is linked to developing POTS aka postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, “a disorder of the autonomic nervous system often characterized by a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, fainting and lightheadedness,” upon standing.

  19. Jason Boxman

    For what it’s worth, I’m monitoring “COVID-19 Variant Dashboard – USA” (google it) about daily. And XBB* is going down slightly every day now. I guess it got out competed by BQ so far. I guess we’ll see what the future holds, but right now an XBB wave doesn’t seem in any way imminent.

  20. converger

    For what it’s worth, that speckling of red in Utah shown on the CDC wastewater map is not “sky country”. It is where pretty much everybody in Utah actually lives.

    1. ambrit

      Yeah, but is ‘everybody in Utah’ anybody?
      Speaking of Utah, I wonder what the attitude of the Church of the Latter Day Saints towards the Coronavirus-19 is?

  21. Klimashkinov

    Re cabin air filters – they use HEPA filters no? A quick google will tell you that HEPA filters covid. HEPA doesn’t do anything for CO2. Speaking from experience from living in HK for a number of years to get rid of dirty air / particles, but living in a stuffy apartment – air purity would be great, but CO2 is off the chart.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes but HEPA filters don’t protect you from the people near you breathing, as in any cooties they exhaled before their breath gets circulated through the HEPA filter.

      Think of the more extreme version: an unmasked dentist working on you. Having a Corsi box in the corner reduces the concentration of any virus in the air (from staff or previous patients) but does not protect you from the dentist breathing in your face.

  22. Adrian D.

    That Conversation piece regarding excess deaths in Australia being “overwhelmingly related” to Covid is an incredible piece of work.

    The author (and it seems the actuaries who wrote the original report) quite happily bundle the “with” and “of” medically-associated CV19 deaths varieties which is fair enough I suppose, but then on top of that they also include any associated with the “public health measures” – which includes everything from delayed health interventions, ‘dry-tinder effect’, life-style changes, fear of attending hospitals and pretty much everything else aside from possible vaccine side effects which don’t get a mention.

    Add to that their addition of “undiagnosed” & “unidentified” CV19 then it’s hard to see what deaths could possibly not be “related” to Covid by their phenomenally broad definitions. Likewise how they could talk of people under lockdown making the “choice” to exercise less.

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