2:00PM Water Cooler 12/14/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Warbling Vireo (Eastern), St. Charles, Missouri, United States.

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Patient readers, I am finish up a post on WHO’s draft “Respiratory pathogens: pandemic preparedness guidance,” so you can imagine. I will return in full force tomorrow. In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves! –lambert P.S. Since we don’t have data about anything anymore, does anyone have anecdotes about the tripledemic? RSV, flu, and Covid? What’s it like? How widespread is it in the “community” (i.e., outside hospitals)? How many people say it’s the flu, when it’s Covid? And other topics of your devising. Thank you!

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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 timotheus:

Timotheus writes: “Another view of Staghorn Sumac. Broadway is just beyond the trees in the back.”

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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. Laughingsong

    Here in Oregon (south Willamette Valley), at work, we have had many absences, most multi-day. At least one was admitted to be COVID, none of the others were specified, except one who was sure it was flu (tested? Dunno).

    Some people seem to be constantly getting sick, as in back for a few weeks, then out multiple days again. These seem to fall within two types: 1) older people (3 especially, one a cancer survivor who was ALWAYS in the office and never masked . . . this is the confirmed COVID case as well), and 2) the “Field Services” team, the ones who are in the office the most (we have hybrid WFH/office except for these people), and going around to all the locations.

    Masking is really sparse: there’s me and three others who mask in our department, as far as I have seen.

    I changed jobs from application support to Data Center support. I moved to an office inside the Data Center (the best ventilated lace in the entire building). Even in there I am masked unless in my office with the door closed. It’s a restricted place so most cannot just cruise by. It’s effin freezing but I don’t care.

    1. curlydan

      At my work, it’s a mixed bag.

      Last week we had an all hands meeting. I decided to attend “virtually”. CEO starts the in-person meeting saying he has a cold (that he got at a convention 4 weeks ago) that he hasn’t recovered from. He said he’ll power through it. At the previous all hands 3 months ago, one exec could not attend due to Covid.

      This week my group (about 50 people) holds a quarterly planning session. Everybody non-local gets flown in. Local buddy tells me he had Covid 2 weeks ago–boss says come to in-person meetings anyway. Of the 50 in attendance, I’m the lone masker (3M N95 Aura). An early morning meeting starts out in a conference room that becomes standing room only. After 5 minutes, I leave my chair and walk out. Later, a colleague walks by the smaller conference room I’m in and asks, “Are you planning on doing any sanding?” haha

      Office group holiday party tonight from 5-7. Politely declined.

      Outside of work, I’m hearing a lot of Flu and Covid in the past month with Strep A now creeping into the picture, too. I don’t hear about RSV. A first grader I tutor at a school was coughing a bit yesterday. Hopefully, the N95 caught whatever he coughed.

  2. ambrit

    Sorry to threadjack, but we are having an outbreak of tornados here in Southern Mississippi right now. At least seven tornados identified. This storm system is headed roughly towards the Birmingham area. Perhaps our Esteemed Hostess should put this at the top of her “Things To Pay Attention To” list for today.
    Stay safe. Bunker up!

      1. ambrit

        Thanks Mr. Zelnicker! Keep an eye on this front good sir. It has produced strong storms and tornados in Louisiana and Mississippi so far. It is not slacking off. Be safe!

    1. Wukchumni

      My old man had a circa 1968 Olds Toronado that looked sharp, but was prone to breaking down. The next 2 cars we had were a Chevy Vega & Ford Pinto. He would’ve bought an Aztek if they had been available back then…

      Oh, and stay out of harms way and go get a tattoo of your SS # (it’d be cool if you were to incorporate it with a bitchin’ spiders web tat on your choice of elbows) so to be helpful for the searchers.

      1. ambrit

        Shouldn’t that be my Azov # for today’s “Upscale National Socialist Aficionado?”
        In our Neo-liberal world, the method is now to; “Bury them all in a big pit and let Hayek sort them out.”

      2. Joe Well

        Dude, my family had a 1977 Chevy Vega. Some of my earliest memories are seeing the scenic highway breakdown lanes of New England.

        We can start a Childhood Survivors of Chevy Vegas association.

        1. John Beech

          I once bought a Vega, pulled the four and stuffed in a SBC making about 350hp out of a wrecked Corvette. Then I discovered the Datsun 240Z were MUCH better with a small block Chevy and switched. Today? I still have one in the garage, and this is going on 44 years later! While I only had it a few months shy of a year, thanks for reminding of my Vega.

        2. rowlf

          A high school friend had a hand-me-down Chevy Vega with no matching tires that drank oil. He let me drive it one night to go to another friend’s house in northern NJ. Some Vinny in a Camaro got on our butt and I laid into the throttle, which didn’t cause much acceleration but let out a huge smoke cloud.

          My friend punched my shoulder and said to knock it off he’d just topped off the oil. (He bought the half gallons at K-Mart)

      3. Nikkikat

        Holy smoke, my mom had a 68 tornado! Ours was totaled by a massive truck. No one was hurt. Truck drivers fault. No mechanical problems. We always could hear the car coming around the corner, we would then stop doing whatever we were doing that we shouldn’t have been doing. Thanks for the memories Wukchumni.

      4. wuzzy

        It was in ’68 and a friend drove his Tornado over Donner in a big snow. The CHPies made him move the chains from the front to the back. It’s the law you know.

    2. ambrit

      A ‘rotation cell’ just passed directly overhead, heading Northeast towards the City of Petal. This will be their second strong cell. More entraining to our southwest, headed our way.
      When the cell passed overhead, my ears popped and the printer connected to the PC shot out an electric spark when a big lightening strike hit very close by. The trees thrashed around like some Demon Haunted Copse on Walpurgis Night.
      Now just heavy rain. (Neighbour’s yard is now a shallow lake, along with a half of ours.)
      Stay safe all.

      1. petal

        Yikes that sounds scary! Stay safe, you two!
        Good to know about this storm system-will keep tabs on my cousin in Bham.

        1. ambrit

          The ‘strange’ bit is that it didn’t become scary until it was over.
          Phyl says that, the way I enjoy storms, I must be a frustrated meteorologist, plus an overgrown kid.
          Be safe and good luck to your family in Alabama.

          1. Martin Oline

            I know what you mean. When I was a kid in Iowa large thunderstorms just thrilled me. Big wind and thunder are exciting, but didn’t really care about torrential rainfall. Trees can be dangerous, though. An older relative told me one time “Trees are really nice but if they get too big they can kill you.” I spent this fall replacing several boards in the roof of my Des Moines house where a large limb had punched through. Fortunately it was in the overhang and not above the living area.

            1. ambrit

              I remember when I was little, my Mom and I sat through a middling hurricane in Hialeah, Florida, hiding in the inside closet. I remember blankets and pillows. When the eye passed overhead, Mom took us outside to look at that quiet spectacle. I do remember noticing the whining roar of the other side of the eyewall as it approached. Eerie to see bright sunshine and a dead calm in the middle of a hurricane.
              Trees in storms though. I never made the connection between the murderous anarchism of storms and the Neo-liberal Dispensation. That is something to contemplate.
              Stay safe in this Triple Threat Pandemic Winter!

        1. ambrit

          Yes, this one was “odd” in it’s breadth and scope of destruction. The ‘tail end’ of the front spawned tornados in the New Orleans area, Gretna, Marerro, Arabi, the Northshore, etc.
          Glad you all dodged the tornados this time.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Hey, keep yourself safe down there. I saw reports of wild weather hitting middle America and it looked like that it was going to cop a flogging.

      1. ambrit

        Thanks Rev. We have just had the trailing squall line pass off to the East. A month’s worth of rain in a day, (no figures yet from the local Metros.) We live on a section of the street that was originally a natural drainage swale. There is a shallow sheet of water running from the back of our and the southern neighbor’s lots, to the street, across and through the yard of the smaller house opposite us, then across an alley, and then to a drainage ditch. Said ditch communicates with the main drainage canal, (ten feet deep with concrete sides and all,) that sends the offending fluids to the local river, the Leaf. The above is a fairly general reason why the Ancients(TM) built their houses up off the ground. (Ours is one such.)
        Oh well. At least we don’t have to worry about wild Tasmanian Devils.
        Be safe.

  3. IM

    At my hospital we are seeing patients who are positive for one than more virus at a time, which is unusual (influenza and COVID, RSV and COVID). I have yet to see a “triple positive” individual, thank goodness. Between the tripledemic and the acute care needs of our aging population, we are way above capacity. I wish Canada had invested more in the system from the 90s-2010s…the thin staffing is showing. So odd that money can be created behind the scenes for the sake of finance, but not for actual health delivery systems that do real work. Looking at you, JT

    1. Joe Well

      I saw a viral Twitter thread of a woman in Quebec who claimed she was quoted a 25 hour emergency room wait for her baby with pneumonia. Is it really that bad?

      1. C.O.

        I don’t live in Québec, but in BC they are talking about double bunking the wards at kids’ hospitals, and wait times for anybody at the ER sometimes run out to nearly three days here, so it sounds horribly plausible to me.

        The provinces have been attacking nurses, teachers, and the many support staff that hospitals and schools need for decades. When I was an undergrad we all got the message to stay out of medicine and education because the wages were frozen, strikes declared illegal, and it had already hit the point that hospitals were understaffed and teachers secondary levels and down had to buy their own schools supplies.

        That is what has happened to the medicare system and the education system in Canada. It may not be officially starved of funds, but the support for restaffing it has been destroyed, and the provincial and federal governments can’t bring in educated people from other countries fast enough to make up the difference and pat themselves on the back for finding people they can pay less and get away with it. Of course, many potential immigrants who are in medicine or education have cottoned on and aren’t inclined to take their chances on Canada anymore.

    2. jax

      I saw a CNN clip this afternoon with Dr. Fauci. He quoted “more than one million out of the workforce” with Long Covid. Are you seeing this in Canada, IM?

      1. Luke

        Never forget that Fauci has firmly established a well-earned reputation for lying when his lips are moving. So, if you figure that the truth is the opposite of what he says it is, you’ll likely stay well-informed.

  4. Chris Cosmos

    There’s more sickness than usual in these parts. We’re seeing mainly the two main variants of the flu. I sense that people are developing, also, a sort of low-grade depression going around more a result of the COVID stressors and a feeling of events just running away with themselves both on the personal and collective level. Once a crisis or series of crises has moderated then the body often breaks down.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > a sort of low-grade depression going around more a result of the COVID stressors and a feeling of events just running away with themselves

      I’ve heard the same from others. Perhaps introversion and a regular practice of Covid avoidance helps me avoid this. Perhaps this is “Consistency Bias,” which Taleb thinks is a bad thing, but I don’t see an upside to getting Covid.

  5. Cocomaan

    Here in PA, November was tons of sickness for everyone. Colds flus and covids. Nobody is testing anymore, just sort of getting through it. Peaked at thanksgiving. Most people seem to have gotten over the worst of it. No big deal. Overblown hype.

    1. playon

      I seriously doubt that things have “peaked”. Let’s see where things stand by the second week of January…

      1. Cocomaan

        I’m in southeastern and central PA so things may be different elsewhere. Major surge here during that time which seems to have abated. Can’t speak for anywhere else

      1. Cat Lady

        I have just returned to NYC for the winter – I have been back two days from a 2 and a half year period of living mostly in RI – and in those two days have heard one person email that he was staying home from work (in Manhattan) because he was “feeling under the weather” and another colleague from work report that he was was at home feverish with the flu, and taking care of his daughter who also had the flu. He is on Long Island and said he tested negative for Covid. In RI and MA my father in law and sister in law both had bad colds last week that they had a hard time getting rid of. Don’t know if they tested negative for Covid.

  6. Sutter Cane

    Speaking of not having data about anything:

    Yesterday, 445 covid deaths in the US, with only 16 states reporting. No idea what’s going on in the other 34 states, anecdote is all we have to go by.

    I have no anecdotes to contribute, however, as I am now hunkered down and trying to avoid going anyplace where I could collect an anecdote.

  7. Jason Boxman

    On “COVID-19 Variant Dashboard” today XBB1 and XBB1.5 are combined just over 8% now. XBB classic seems to have fallen out of favour though. Walgreen is plus 0.6% today nationally.

  8. notabanker

    I don’t know anyone right now who has covid, I do know at least a half dozen people, including two in my immediate family, that have the Flu A. And they were tested for both, so it is not a guess. Fever was pretty high 104-105F, it’s a pretty bad strain, but seems to move on after a few days. I saw a media report, and I cannot remember where, that hospitalizations for Flu A this year are higher then the previous 11 years combined.

    Anecdotally, when my kid went to urgent care they said they have seen a ton of flu, but hardly any covid.

    1. Samuel Conner

      One could hope that the CDC is watching this ‘flu season closely and is formulating plans to promote population health against the possibility that this may be (as it might be, on the hypothesis that the CV may have impaired immune function in some fraction of those infected with it) a “new normal” for influenza in US.

      One could hope …

  9. Kyle

    Elon has banned the @ElonJet account and there are leaked messages of his new VP of Safety saying they should shadow ban the account.

    The champion of free speech!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I have no interest in Musk’s personal characteristics, including hypocrisy (with which I am familiar, and which is a drug on the market in any case). I do care that Musk has made the overlap in Twitter between Democrats on the content moderation team and Democrats in the Biden campaign crystal clear (and I assume the same for the intelligence community, though that has yet to be exposed). And of course there’s additional overlap with the Blue Checks and party operatives now expressing their aghastitude that their party can’t censor political opponents on a platform they control.

      I don’t see why (some) people find this so hard to understand, and have to personalize it, and make it about Musk. It’s not personal. It’s just business.

      Adding, you give no link. Next time, consider actually adding value.

      1. Aumua

        I don’t see why pointing out hypocrisy (however widespread on all sides it is) has to be in denial of or in opposition to whatever facts have had light shed on them through the twitter files releases. Certainly “champion of free speech” is a commonly expressed view lately. I do care that Musk is tightly controlling what information is released, how it is released and when it is. Instead of making the information public, he is giving it to hand picked filters to tell specific sides of specific stories. Also I care that Musk is increasingly, exclusively responding to and engaging with reactionary and even far right ideologues and their followers on the platform.

        It’s all what you choose to emphasize I guess. But hey in other news: https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1602914925273182208

        They just kept calling different viruses C19, because that got more funding than if not.

        That’s why I called it the “Virus of Theseus”: how many RNA changes are required before it’s *not* C19!?

        Our hero.

        1. caucus99percenter

          > Our hero

          It seems your objection is that Elon Musk — and by extension our hosts and the other members of the commentariat at NC — are helping “the wrong people” (far right, etc.) in their choices of what to highlight as hitherto-hidden truths are exposed.

          Living in Germany, my judgment is just the opposite. I am so used to seeing German media and institutions omit or obfuscate truths out of fear of helping “the wrong people” that I have come to be repulsed by that habit. Basically, any fair observer of German affairs now is practically forced to include at least a few “far-right” sources in order to fill in what’s missing.

          I don’t want anyone or anything I rely on to prioritize “Whom does it help if I report this?” in editorial decisions — isn’t that how search engines became so crapified?

          On the contrary: noticeable disregard for such considerations is, in these times, a recommendation. “Report the truth, and let the chips fall where they may.”

          1. Aumua

            I didn’t say anything about our hosts, but I would file certain post-left “friends of the site” who shall remain nameless in the milieu of “useful idiots” in that, regardless of their intentions, they are effectively amplifying the talking points of the Right. I think if you’re going to go on Tucker etc then you should make some effort to distinguish what you’re saying from the Right’s rhetoric, or else you just become part of the rhetoric. And I don’t see those people making any effort whatsoever in that regard.

      2. fjallstrom

        I think Musk’s hypocrisy when it comes to free speech about him, shows that the free speech era will be very short.

        The Twitter files shows the previous corrupt power structure, and delegitimises them. But showing the datjas of the corrupt elite of the communist bloc didn’t prevent the rise of an even more corrupt elite. And the tools are right there, ready to be used.

        1. Aumua

          And that is one of the ways that liberals and/or democrats are paving the way for the fascists. But don’t be fooled, the fascists will be coming from far right, and no where else.

  10. Samuel Conner

    This being an open-discussion day, some items from what might be considered “the department of TMI”

    I got confirmation today that my intuition is valid that “not bathing so frequently (or, being perceived in that way) can help with ‘physical distancing’ “.

    Some representatives of a telecoms company (or, possibly, scammers posing as such) came to my door to invite me to switch my service. I donned a 3M Aura 9210+ before answering the door but did not open the outer door, leaving a pane of glass between me and the would-be interlocutors.

    There were three people, none masked.

    I was in grubby, overdue for the laundry, clothing.

    I deflected the offer to switch my service (more out of uncertainty about the credentials of the people before me than satisfaction with my current provider). Before I sent them off, though, I brought a box of N95s out to give to them. The spokesman for the group looked uncomfortable and pulled his coat up over his nose; perhaps my clothes were smellier than I perceived. Good.

    They accepted the N95s without protest; perhaps they’ll actually use them.

    More likely, I suppose, is that it will just be an amusing story about the kinds of reactions they get during cold calls. I hope this was not one of the more disagreeable ones.

    Not sure if this is TMI or not:

    3M Aura 9210+ N95s are currently available from the internet marketplace that must not be named at a bit over $1 each if ordered in case quantities. Perhaps use these as stocking stuffers again this Christmas — a gift that communicates that you hope the recipient lives long enough to receive them again next year.


    This is probably TMI:

    Outside Pride is back in stock with seeds for a novelty house plant for caffeine addicts: Coffea arabica nana. It’s a coffee bush that grows to 12″ height. Not winter hardy in climes colder than Zone 8, but you could pot it and overwinter it indoors.

    If you had one of these and a pet civet cat, you could make your own civet cat coffee!

  11. Carla

    Press says flu is everywhere in Cleveland, and Covid transmission is also high. But no one wears masks. In our hospitals, where masks are required, lots of people, including MANY doctors, don’t wear them properly.

    As I commented in another thread, I’ve gone back to my gym after almost 3 years away, and most of the time I’m the only person in the entire building wearing a mask (KN94). Sometimes there’s one other wearing a gappy surgical or fabric mask.

    My sister lives in New England where she says, “everybody’s sick, all the time.” She masks religiously in public places and has not had Covid. But her husband doesn’t mask at all and hasn’t had it either.

    1. petal

      Every time I ride the bus, I hear a cough. And then someone else coughs, and so on. Some dry coughs, some meaty. I am still the only person wearing a mask, let alone an N95. And most of the clinical care staff in the cancer center are still only wearing surgical masks around their cancer patients. A family friend is having to be a patient there and it’s infuriating to see the care staff not taking the health of their patients seriously, doctors and all the way on down the staffing tree.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > most of the clinical care staff in the cancer center are still only wearing surgical masks around their cancer patients. A family friend is having to be a patient there and it’s infuriating to see the care staff not taking the health of their patients seriously, doctors and all the way on down the staffing tree.

        CDC doesn’t say they must. So they don’t.

        1. Samuel Conner

          Around the turn of the year (around the peak of the Omicron wave), when I was helping a friend get his cancer infusions, I gave a case of 3M Aura 9210+ N95s to the infusion center nurses.

          I was hoping that they would use them in the infusion center, and that my friend would benefit from this. But it didn’t happen. I infer that they weren’t allowed to wear them, and that the “suits” had decreed that the paper procedure masks were adequate. But they were glad to have them; they took them home and shared them with family.

          The staff wanted to be safer but management, seemingly, would not allow it.

  12. Hepativore

    I know that Christmas is still eleven days away, but as I am so tired of the mangled, remixed, Christmas songs that I have been subjected to daily at my crappy retail job since the beginning of November, I have made my own playlist for people to enjoy. For some reason, 1970’s era electronica works really well.

    Isao Tomita – Mother Goose suite (1979)


    Isao Tomita – Snowflakes Are Dancing (Album, 1974)


    Klaus Schulze – Synphara (1973)


    Klaus Schulze – Conphara (1973)


    Klaus Schulze – But Beautiful (1978)


    Tangerine Dream – Sunrise In the Third System (1971)


    Christmas is suited for spacey, self-reflective music once all of the boisterous house guests go home or go to bed.

    1. Michael King

      Thank you. Funny, I was listening to Tomita’s Snowflakes Are Dancing yesterday. Wonderful. For something that rocks, check out ‘Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets and their EP Yuletide Beat. Available on cheerful red vinyl, CD and streaming services. The Ventures’ Christmas Album is also fun.
      Yves, hope you are recovering quickly from the Covid infection.

      1. Yves Smith

        Thanks for you consideration, but THAT WAS A FAKE COMMENT! We have an extremely immature attention-seeker who tries impersonating both Lambert and me. This was the first of his comments to get through. It was expunged pretty pronto.

        1. Michael King

          What an a**hole! We are very pleased that you are well. Merry Christmas to you, Lambert and everyone at NC.

    2. caucus99percenter

      Ah, thanks for some welcome new seasonal suggestions I can try cranking up on the Apple Music virtual gramophone…

  13. The Rev Kev

    And since this is an open thread, I though that I would drop a tweet about Sean Penn-

    ‘Max Blumenthal
    Sean Penn calls The Unvaccinated criminals and demands they be stripped of their jobs, while pushing the lie that the jab prevents transmission

    Penn is a Covid profiteer whose CORE received millions from Gates, Jack Dorsey & Clinton Inc to do mass testing’

    https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1602562543834333186 (1:04 min video)

    I’m kinda hoping that that Oscar that he lent Zelensky ends up as a Russian war trophy on display in a Moscow museum somewhere.

  14. CGKen

    I went to the outpatient clinic today for an X-ray. Not very busy and happily most people (staff and patients) wore masks, but unhappily mostly paper masks.

    I then went to do some Christmas shopping and was part of a very small minority (1 in 10) wearing masks.

  15. The Rev Kev

    Even with the FIFA Cup, western media is trash. So when Argentina won, a professor got to publish an article in the Washington Post questioning why there were no black players in that team. So one guy tweeted to them-

    ‘Because we are a country, not a Disney movie.’


    And when Morroco had their historic win, ‘three Moroccan players were seen smiling, holding a Moroccan flag between them and raising their index fingers.’ The gesture is used in a celebratory manner by Muslims as a show of thanks to the Almighty, dating back centuries.

    But then German news channel Welt had a go at them because ISIS used the same sign so that might be the cause of “irritation.” One girl tweeted that that must mean that Messi is an Islamic state terrorist then-


    1. eg

      Argentines might also point out that unlike many of the European nations they have a dire shortage of former African colonies.

    2. caucus99percenter

      The German Greens- and Left-adjacent daily taz.de had a rare moment of agreement with their political archrivals at the Axel Springer broadsheet Bild — both ends of the suspiciously narrow conventional German left-right spectrum accusing the Moroccan team of anti-Semitism for being photographed holding a Palestinian flag.


      To its credit, a few days later taz.de did run a different writer’s opposite view, a qualified defense of the solidarity with Palestine on display at this year’s FIFA Cup.


      1. The Rev Kev

        Strange that Axel Springer allowed that second article to run. When he took over Politico last year he told pro-Palestinian staff to leave and wanted American staff to sign the company mission statement pledging support of Israel. And that tidbit is from Israeli news. That second article did have the line though that says ‘Meanwhile, it is up for debate whether they (the Palestinians) have any claim to land in the Middle East at all’ when translated. Nice to know. /sarc


        As for the German left-right political spectrum, these days it is more like a psyops and it seems that most people’s voices are being excluded like that for Sahra Wagenknech. Sooner or later, there is going to be hell to pay for that.

        1. caucus99percenter

          Good reminder about the Axel Springer concern’s corporate loyalty to Israel.

          I think you got your wires crossed a bit there, though. It’s the Bild and the Welt newspapers that are — along with Politico — Axel Springer publications, not taz.de.

          Present publisher and owner of taz.de (formerly known as die tageszeitung) is a co-op (genossenschaft):


          (Full disclosure: I’m a member. Not that there’s anything special about that — the co-op has almost 22,500 members. Anyone can join by ponying up 500 euro for a share.)

  16. The Rev Kev

    Video of Ukrainian troops undergoing training with the British army in the UK. Reports, however, say that most of the guys doing so are straight off civvy street so the few weeks training that they will receive will not even be close to the months necessary to make a qualified infantryman-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRv-AjciU7A (3:11 mins)

    Lots and lots and lots of positive comments attached to that video. Perhaps too many.

  17. Rainlover

    Our triage hospital here in the PNW has been practically standing room only for months. If you go to the ER, which you have to do to get admitted for ANYTHING, if you need a hospital bed, you will spend 2-5 days waiting in the hall on a gurney to be admitted. The hospital just opened 56 new beds and it is still overbooked. A friend (70s) with two blood clots in her legs spent two nights in the hall before she was sent home with covid symptoms. She said many people were unmasked (in the ER!).

    Another friend’s sister (mid-80s) several months ago was “lucky” enough to get a room in the ER and was there for 5 days. She got confused in the middle of the night, fell and broke her hip. She passed away shortly thereafter. Most recently, an acquaintance (80s) with liver cancer suddenly took a turn, spent two nights in the hall in ER before being admitted and passed away 3 days later.

    Many friends have been sick with the flu, i.e. testing negative for covid but really ill with weakness, fever, respiratory symptoms, etc. My daughter in AU lost her covid ninja status this week after flying to a Christmas party in Brisbane. 3 years of no covid and she did this! She’s been unusually sick this year too, which makes me question whether she has perhaps had covid before and just didn’t test positive. She works from home but spends a lot of time with my grandson’s rugby team.

    All this sickness and death, covid or not-covid, has me being very careful. The PNW looks better on the Walgreens map, but the last time I looked, positives were still over 30%. As Ambrit always says, stay safe out there.

    1. ambrit

      Thanks and a point about the 80s and above dying after entering the hospital; it is looking like the older cohorts now have a better chance of surviving even moderate physical problems at home than at hospital.
      I am awaiting formal Triage to be enforced nation wide. The longer these crises go on, the less and less the elites are seen to care about the “rest of us.” Is this hubris on their part or an accurate expression of the social power dynamics today? Don’t know for certain, but I suspect both.
      I understand one of the stealth agendas behind the ginning up of a war in some far off land; the normalization of sacrifice in the population. What seems different this time is that the “sacrifice” being demanded of us is the eradication of the entire population of older “useless eaters.”
      As we always say, (inclusive “we,” not a royal “we,”) and mean with the passion of a thousand burning suns, stay safe out there.

  18. ChrisRUEcon

    > does anyone have anecdotes about the tripledemic?

    It’s gonna become a quadrademic if MERS escapes from Qatar!

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      No updates. Thankfully no reinfection here. Maybe it’s luck, maybe it’s the masking and use of nasal spray. I don’t travel for work. I’ve made one work trip this year. I also made one personal trip back to NYC in summer. That’s been it. Still tape-watching! Really fascinated (in a morbid way, apologies) by the fact that Deaths do not appear to be lagging Cases any more (via #FlipTheScript).

    2. Adam Eran

      JFYI, I’ve masked constantly (surgical, not N95) whenever out, changed our air filter to MERV13 and bought a HEPA filter for the house. In spite of my precautions, I just recovered from COVID. Three other friends have reported COVID…and no, I didn’t give it to them, they got theirs elsewhere. One anti-vaxxer, but the others not quite as cautious as me. The disease itself was a “bad cold” with a fever that lasted for about three days (I’m fully vaccinated).

      Still no masks for the 90% of the shoppers I see. I did get a nice N-95 that I now wear whenever I’m out. The County’s health dashboard has been as low as 2.7 positive tests per 100K. It’s now 16.1 (retreated from 16.7). I know these are “optimistic” figures, but they’re as good as I’ve got.

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