2:00PM Water Cooler 12/28/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I am still not firing on all twelve cylinders. For the avoidance of doubt, a typical twelve-cylinder vehicle:

(Whoops, this is an inline six. Thanks, Google Image search! But its such a beautiful car, I’m leaving it.) So this isn’t going to be the best Water Cooler you’ve ever read. Please try to do your best to make up for my misfires, demonstrated so ably just above, and random swerving in comments :-) –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Meadow Bunting, Ilistay River, Primorsky Krai, Russia. “A bird continuously calling.” Not in the same class as Meadow Soprano, fortunately. Imagine the confusion!

* * *


“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

Capitol Seizure

“McConnell team raised worries about attack on Biden inauguration, ex-NSA O’Brien told Jan. 6 committee” [Politico]. “Two days after pro-Donald Trump rioters attacked the Capitol, then-national security adviser Robert O’Brien got a call from Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and an aide who asked him to look into something he’d been hearing: retired military personnel sympathetic to Donald Trump might be preparing to prevent Joe Biden’s inauguration. ‘[H]e was concerned that there were reports that there were retired military personnel who were sympathetic to the president and might be organizing,’ O’Brien said in the interview. McConnell’s own national security aide, Robert Karem, was on the call as well and raised similar concerns about Navy SEALs, O’Brien said.” • It seems like everybody knew something was up except Nancy Pelosi and the Capitol Police. Huh.

Biden Administration

“Biden’s 2022 solution to student debt could fall apart in 2023” [Politico]. The deck: “Progressives who spent more than a year pushing President Joe Biden to cancel debt in the first place say they’re mobilizing in the coming year to hold onto a hard-fought victory.” • So we’re doomed, then?


The gerontocrat in the room:

This is a case where I wish we had Luntz-like panels of voters chosen by sortition and interviewed by non-Bigfoot journalists. (I think town halls indicate that most people are far more articulate about their political views than the press gives them credit for, especially when given time to ponder.) Another job for the League of Women voters. Or the Grange. Or something. Polling and brainwaves by random opinion-havers — even [lambert blushes modestly] me — aren’t making it.

This is pathetic:

Mayo Pete’s big moment.

“Trump tax returns to be released by U.S. House panel on Friday” [Reuters]. ” Former Republican President Donald Trump’s redacted tax returns will be made public on Friday, a spokesperson for the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee said on Tuesday. The Democratic-controlled committee obtained the returns last month as part of an investigation into Trump’s taxes, after a lengthy court battle that ended with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the committee’s favor. The committee released a report into its findings last week, which said the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) broke its own rules by not auditing Trump for three of the four years of his presidency. Democrats on the committee said making the returns public was necessary to understanding the context of its report, which also included legislation that would mandate the IRS to audit presidents.” • Oh, [fiddlesticks]. If a Republican committee was doing this to a Democrat President, they’d be screaming bloody murder. And can a tax maven tell me if auditing a President’s income is purely performative, assuming the President has a good accountant, friends, family, business associates, and possibly a foundation.


NY: “George Santos’ victory tells a sad story about the state of local news” [MSNBC]. I rarely read MSNBC, let alone an entire article, but this time I did, and I’m glad. Because, thirteen paragraphs down: “[T]he North Shore Leader, a small local newspaper that has covered Long Island for more than 70 years, questioned in a September report how Santos went from no income or assets in 2020 to assets worth at least $2.6 million in 2022. The paper also said that Santos’ claim to local Republicans that he owned a $10 million mansion in the Hamptons was not backed up by real estate records. A small newspaper that has covered Long Island more than 70 years questioned how Santos went from no income or assets in 2020 to assets worth at least $2.6 million in 2022. But bigger newsrooms apparently didn’t notice. A search of online articles by Newsday, the largest paper in Long Island, brings up no mention of those allegations before the election.” • In other words, it’s the big newspapers — i.e., those most likely to be closely affiliated with, and responsive to, the Democrat Party — who screwed up. If screw up they did–

NY: “How a Perfectly Normal New York Suburb Elected a Con Man” [Steve Israel, The Atlantic]. “On Election Night, Republicans swept all four of Long Island’s House seats. Democrats didn’t realize the severity of the loss, however, until The New York Times revealed that Santos had lied about his education, work experience, philanthropic pursuits, and finances, among other things. This was no familiar case of a politician embellishing around the edges: Santos appeared to have made himself up. On Monday, he admitted that he’d engaged in serial falsehoods, but said that he intended to join the House majority anyway.” • Steve Israel (who represented Long Island) is the most vile DCCC head ever to have dragged his bloated, slime-encrusted belly over the unprotesting earth (perhaps after Rahm Emmanuel). That Israel has popped up to frame the story — which is that Santos should not take the seat he was elected to — reinforces my speculation that what the Democrats really want to do is set a precedent for removing elected officials at their pleasure, through dogpiling. Sure, Santos is no angel. But Joe Biden, after all, owes me six hundred bucks. So tell me what’s wrong with serial falsehoods? Because the slippery slope is obvious. The next quest for removal won’t be a candidate like Santos, to whom (if my theory is correct) Democrats gave a free pass to make a point. It’s gonna be racism, sexism, looking at a portrait of Obama in a funny way. I mean, they have form, as RussiaGate shows.

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.

* * *


Lambert here: I am but a humble tapewatcher, but unlike Eric Topol, I’m not calling a surge, because the last peak was Biden’s Omicron debacle, and after an Everest like that, what’s left? 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. There is also the TripleDemic aspect, which I don’t know enough about.

I am calling a “Something Awful.” It’s gonna be bad, in some new way, and we don’t know how, yet. Wastewater has taken off in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, right on time, two weeks after Thanksgiving. Those are not only in themselves large cities, they are all the sites of international airports (reminiscent of the initial surge in spring 2020, which emanated, via air travel, from New York). Wastewater is a leading indicator for cases, which in turn lead hospitalization (and death). In addition, positivity has begun to increase again (Walgreens), and BQ.1* has taken over. Finally, I’m hearing a ton of anecdotes (and please add yours in comments).

Stay safe out there! If you are planning to travel on New Year’s, do consider your plans carefully.

* * *

• “COVID-19 infection induces higher trust in strangers” [PNAS]. n = 1,163. “As to the nature of the cause, our ex-post analysis points at two mechanisms that could explain the increase in trust. First, experiencing higher than expected helpfulness from strangers who mobilize during the pandemic could result in a change of beliefs about trustworthiness.” This could be true in Italy, but not in the United States. More: “Next, the heightened health risk could make the need for support from others become salient and stimulate putting greater trust in them.” Ditto: “Our finding seems prima facie aligned with the predominant finding in the literature on the positive effects of natural disasters on trust.” True: “However, there are differences that make the comparison imperfect. Our research is in the unique position of being carried out during a protracted pandemic, rather than in the aftermath, as is the case with most other natural disasters or with historical studies of previous pandemics. Our finding that the effect on trust of being individually exposed to COVID-19 declines once people recover from the virus suggests that the effect of COVID-19 may be more ephemeral than that produced by other natural disasters.” • Hmm. Or, in an utterly dystopian timeline, therefore surely not this one, SARS-CoV-2 induces behavioral changes that enable it to reproduce more efficiently, like Toxoplasma gondii in rats. Readers?

* * *

• “Milan Reports 50% of Passengers on China Flights Have Covid” [Bloomberg]. • Wowsers, deja vu all over again. Well, I’m sure the rigorous testing, tracing, and quarantine system at our own airports will prevent whatever variants China is currently brewing from arriving over here. Oh, wait…. And speaking of maps, in yesterday’s Links I put up this map:

And wrote:

I placed a red check next to the airports in counties that have the highest “viral levels” for SARS-CoV-2 (“red dots”), according to the CDC wastewater map. The major airports that are not red dotted are BOS (no data) and DCA/IAD/BWI. I can’t find an average delay time, but one imagines what the unmasked people waiting in the airport are doing: Eating, drinking, and flushing toilets with no lids, all in close proximity with each other.

For BOS, this is true as far as it goes: On the CDC map, there is indeed a white dot (no data). However, as alert reader KB points out, Boston does have high levels of Covid from the MWRA map (which I run daily, and should have thought to refer to).

* * *

• Who invented “living with”? Does anyone know?

* * *

• “Will the Biden Administration Investigate Evidence of Ghostwriting Involving Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci?” [Disinformation Chronicle]. • So far as I can tell, the headline is correct only through legalistic logic-chopping. However, did Collins and Fauci review and edit the ‘Proximal Origins” article for Nature? Yes. Did the article, when published, not name them as contributors? Yes. That does seem to be “research misconduct” — whether by Collins and Fauci, or the authors, I’m not clear — and it odds to the general whiffiness surrounding the natural origins camp (with whose conclusions I vehemently agree, BTW. See Proverbs 28:1 for one theory of human behavior here).


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.) The map is said to update Monday-Friday by 8 pm:

NOTE: I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal.


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published December 26:

-1.8%. Decrease, but who gets tested on Christmas or Boxing Day? NOTE: Of course, it’s an open question how good a proxy Walgreen’s self-selected subjects are for the general population, especially because they didn’t go the home-testing route, but we go with the data we have.


Wastewater data (CDC), December 24:

Too much red (especially with Ohio back online). JFK/LGA (Queens County, NY), ORD (Cook County, IL), SFO (San Francisco, CA), LAX (Los Angeles), and ATL (Cobb County, GA) are all red. See also this morning’s Links for a map that shows the airports with long delays that are also red dots.

December 20:

NOT UPDATED And MWRA data, December 21:

Lambert here: Up in both North and South. Odd? Haven’t the students already left town?


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), December 11:

Lambert here: BQ.1* dominates, XBB coming up fast on the outside. Not sure why this data is coming out before CDC’s, since in the past they both got it from Pango on Fridays.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), December 3 (Nowcast off):

BQ.1* takes first place. Note the appearance of XBB. Here is Region 2, the Northeast, where both BQ.1* and XBB are said to higher, and are:

• NOT UPDATED As a check, since New York is a BQ.1* hotbed, New York hospitalization, updated December 24:

Resuming the upward climb after a short plateau.

• Hospitalization data for Queens, updated December 24:

We’ll see what is hospitalization is like about two weeks into January, after holiday travel has ended.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,116,095 – 1,115,748 = 347 (347 * 365 = 126,655 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease).

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

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Manufacturing Activity Index in The Richmond area edged higher to 1 in December 2022 from -9 in the previous month, pointing to the first expansion in the factory activity since April.”

* * *

Retail: “What Can We Learn from Barnes & Noble’s Surprising Turnaround?” [The Honest Broker]. “But Barnes & Noble is flourishing. After a long decline, the company is profitable and growing again—and last week announced plans to open 30 new stores. In some instances, they are taking over locations where Amazon tried (and failed) to operate bookstores…. Amazon seems invincible. So the idea that Barnes & Noble can succeed where its much larger competitor failed is hard to believe. But the turnaround at B&N is real. In many instances they have already re-opened in locations where they previously shut down. Barnes & Noble is no tech startup, and is about as un-cool as retailers get. It’s like The Gap, but for books.” • This is a wonderful, encourging article (because I love books). I’m stopping here to encourage you to read the rest of it. (Not sure about the CEO hagiography, or CEOs in generall, but it’s sure better to have one who isn’t a fool.)

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 34 Fear (previous close: 38 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 37 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 28 at 12:56 PM EST.

Our Famously Free Press

Xmas Postgame Analysis

Zeitgeist Watch

“The Meaning of ‘Asshole'” [Philosopher’s Magazine (LawnDart)]. “That got me thinking about what it would be for someone to qualify as an asshole. Harry Frankfurt partly inspired this. I thought: Frankfurt put his finger on “bullshit”, and I am a philosopher, so I should define “asshole”. After considerable tinkering and with the help friends, I settled on this definition: the asshole is the guy who systematically allows himself special advantages in cooperative life out of an entrenched sense of entitlement that immunises him against the complaints of other people.” You mean, like the bourgeoisie? More: “This definition is hopefully significant simply because it prompts one to think, “Hey, I’ve met that guy”. Maybe you encountered him this morning in the coffee shop. Maybe the guy wouldn’t quiet down on his mobile phone, despite obvious sneers. Maybe he drives as though he owns the road. He probably says, “Do you know who I am?” to the maître d’ at a restaurant when he’s not quickly seated. Although it of course matters how the definition’s details get worked out and applied, the main idea is that even those inclined to quibble in the small might agree that ‘asshole’ doesn’t simply have expressive meaning. Its function is to classify a person, correctly or incorrectly, as having a particular kind of moral personality.” • Although the the writer doesn’t mention it, Bourdieu has an extensive analysis of the insult as a form of classification, the key distinction between the insult and, say, the Dewey Decimal system — am I dating myself, here? — being that the insult has no “backup” in the form of, say, a professional association of bibliographers. (Bourdieu is a lot less sloppy, but I can’t dig out the quote just now. Perhaps a Bourdieu maven in the readership will pick up my slack, here, however, is a terrific quote, relevant to the discussion of “class” starting over here: “All classification is an object of conflict, both in science and society” (Classification Struggles, 53).

“The Problem with Punching Up” [Sibylla Bostoniensis]. “And I want to make this really clear: that “absolutely not okay when” part is crucial to the implicit popular definition we can observe of “punching up”. We don’t need – or use – the expressions “punching up” and “punching down” to regulate criticizing. As a society, we’re generally fine with the idea that you can criticize anyone, in any direction, all the time. Likewise, it isn’t applied to disagreement, or argument, or debate. No, the ‘punching’ in ‘punching up’ refers to behaviors that are not generally morally licit, such as: belittling, mocking, shaming, making fun of; denigrating the person rather than just the position; ostracizing, ‘canceling’, boycotting; driving away advertisers; de-platforming. Some would continue the list into more severe behaviors: harassing, doxxing, death threats, and even physical violence. There’s a lot to be said for this norm, because it attempts to regulate the morality of the use of verbal aggression and what’s called relational aggression. Either you believe that all verbal and relational aggression are morally illicit – which I most definitely do not – or you need to have some principled system for determining when they are morally licit. And that’s what this ‘punching up vs punching down’ paradigm is doing for us. Thus, it’s probably better to have it than not to have it, since most people generally don’t have an alternative. But there’s a problem with it. When you ‘punch up’, the parties most likely to be in arm’s reach are those hanging lowest from overhead. Sure, that party you’re ‘punching’ – berating, harassing, no-platforming, etc. – may be higher than you on the West’s modern Great Chain of Being, but that doesn’t mean they’re all that high in an absolute sense. Just because they’re higher than you (or whatever group you’re advocating for) doesn’t mean they’re not laboring under a considerable burden of discrimination and marginalization themselves. Consequently, you may have just ‘punched’ someone who is themselves oppressed and struggling to get by. Sure, they may have more privilege that you, but that doesn’t mean they’re all that privileged. You may be ‘punching up’, but you’re still kicking someone when they’re down. I’m not saying your cause is wrong, and I’m not saying that people higher than you on the Great Chain of Being can do no wrong or shouldn’t be held to account when they screw up. But we’re talking about ‘punching’, remember: the use of tactics which are otherwise illicit. If you’re legitimately ‘punching up’ but still managing to hit oppressed minorities, well, maybe that means the concept of ‘punching up’ as moral heuristic leaves something to be desired. Furthermore, in ‘punching’ someone just above you in social status, you just ‘punched’ somebody who otherwise shares most of the same oppressors as you and would otherwise be a natural ally, what with all you have in common. Sure the ‘punching up vs punching down’ doctrine says that morally you get to do that, but, pragmatically, is this going to lead to the result you want?” • So maybe only punch sideways?

Readers, thoughts?

“Stay safe out there” seems a little negative….

Class Warfare

“The Tom Brady of Other Jobs” [New York Times]. The deck: “Meet the people as old in their jobs as Tom Brady is in his: the oldest 1 percent of the work force, across a range of professions.” Underlining that word “professions.” They do include one logger: “Monday morning usually finds Mr. [Earl] Pollock, a logging foreman, in the cab of his bulldozer, flattening a road through the timber woods. It’s a natural evolution from the job he had as a teenager decades ago: felling trees with a power saw.” • Foreman. Oh. To be fair, I don’t know — and we aren’t told — Pollock’s entire career. But it’s hard to wreck your back from heavy lifting in a cab, is it not?

And speaking of [glassbowls]:

Note the final sentence: “This is not the type of communication I (or any Leader) want to issue…. I think capital-L “Leader” sounds better in the original German, don’t you? I think there’s some principle or other associated with it…. (I have long inveighed against the way that various official titles — CEO, Reverend, Professor, President, Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man — are merged into one gelatinous blur with “Leader.” I think this is a bad tendency because it eliminates a source of checks and balances between authorities.)

News of the Wired

“W. R. Bion’s Theories of Mind” (podcast) [New Books Network]. Despite the brutal assault on the university system by administrators and funders, there’s is an awful lot of great scholarly work being done, and New Bools Network is the place to find them. Bion is a fascinating thinker (and very subtle and dense, so it’s hard to pick out a nugget to quote. I started poking around to see if I could find something a fifth-grader like me could read, and came up with this: “A Theory of Thinking” (PDF):

It is convenient to regard thinking as dependent on the successful outcome of two main mental developments. The first is the development of thoughts. They require an apparatus to cope with them. The second development, therefore, is of this apparatus that I shall provisionally call thinking. I repeat– thinking has to be called into existence to cope with thoughts.

That made me sit up and blink. So I had to stop reading. Musical interlude.

* * *

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 RM:

RM writes: “Flowers were really popping out in Lyngdal, Norway when I went for the month of May. It turns out that the month of May in Norway is the dry season so it was wonderful to travel and enjoy fresh blossoms everywhere.”

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Wukchumni

    Mayor Pete made the South Bend to his will, but seems woefully out of his league when it comes to doing it on the tarmac.

    1. curlydan

      He’s got to be torn right now. His inner-McKinsey is telling him that Southwest can’t possibly be forced to pay people for cancelled flights because it would crush LUV’s quarterly results. And there was a little weather involved, too. But that other inner voice urging him to be President (AK-)47 is telling him to deliver something for the people.

      Who will win? I think we all know.

    2. EarthMagic

      Have you seen the list of people he’s related to on famouskin.com or other geneology websites? When you’re descended from Charlemagne, King Robert I, Alfred the Great, and have as many famous cousins as he does, do you really have to try that hard? Or do your kin lift you up regardless?

      1. The Rev Kev

        I met a little lizard once who claimed that it was related to a dinosaur on it’s mother’s side but it was kinda sad to listen to.

  2. Questa Nota

    But it’s hard to wreck your back from heavy lifting in a cab, is it not?

    Those bulldozer operators have to climb into and out of the cabs, several times a day, which ain’t easy. Slippery surfaces, sharp edges, uneven and soft or mucky ground, variable light, noise and other factors combine to make each trip a little challenge.

    Same goes for railroad guys who have to get onto and off of stationary or moving equipment. Hopping off with a bad landing can torque your foot, ankle, knee, hip, back or some combination thereof. Declining applicability now, and old guys hobble off to their rocking chairs.

    Career paths to the cab also pass through the more dangerous jobs where heavy stuff can fall on you, or make you have to jump out of the way or otherwise deal with more perils. Back in the day, loggers said you can make a lot of money* or have pretty legs, but not both.

    *relative to other town jobs, and includes some risk and return trade-offs

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks, that’s fair. I don’t think, though, that it’s the same as actually felling a tree with a chain-saw. Correct? I doubt he’d be doing that at 82 (or anything else).

    2. farmboy

      The true test is what happens when something goes wrong. As a long time operator of farm equipment, you are your next breakdown. Where are your tools? parts? Too much arthritis to “bend a wrench”? Anyway at 70+ I’m well into the “gee you should retire zone”, always retort “and do what?” Next generation left a long time ago.

    3. Tom Doak

      Running a bulldozer can be very hard on your back, especially on frozen ground or rough terrain [or going over fallen logs]. All the jerking back and forth takes a toll over the long term.

      1. Joe Renter

        Seems right me. Who knows, his back might have bad before getting into the bulldozer. My back is messed up, as I have a heating pad on it currently. You just learn to deal and find ways to make it less bad or get worse.

    1. hunkerdown

      Sibylla just wants to virtue signal but not be punished for it. The PMC protects itself with its own plot armor.

  3. tegnost

    A bit of mixing going on here I’d say…
    You may be ‘punching up’, but you’re still kicking someone when they’re down.

    In the “chaos is a ladder” framework, the one kicking down is the one who is being punched up at.
    Maybe it’s not seen as fair by the ladder climbers because the up puncher is necessarily hitting below the belt.?
    At any rate those at the top are being protected by the scrum on the ladder and get to live their princely lives so it’s ok, don’t be a hater and etc…
    I watched a vid this am that meshed with the a hole thing, relevant as the original link referenced the surf lineup as a place where the philosopher came to grapple with the issue of what it is to be one…
    Joel Tudor, certified old guy, 16ish mins

  4. Mikel

    I’ve talked to a ton of people about Biden over Christmas and basically everyone has said the exact same thing: “He’s going to be so old, what does he think he’s doing, what if he loses it or drops dead?”

    Doesn’t sound like much faith in Kamala.

    1. LifelongLib

      Not unprecedented. Everybody knew FDR wouldn’t live through his 4th term, so Wallace got dumped for Truman. It’s one thing to pick a VP to get votes and another when they’re actually going to end up governing.

      1. GramSci

        I dunno. In an early paragraph of its FDR entry, Wikipedcia says, roughly, ‘everybody at the 1944 DNC saw that FDR was ill. Later, it says, ‘FDR didn’t attend the 1944 DNC; he was in the Pacific conferring with MacArthur.’

        He looked pretty frisky in those few clips of him at Yalta. I find it hard to believe everything I’ve been taught.

        I suspect Harriman et al simply bought a lot of votes at DNC ’44.

      2. JBird4049

        Yes, but I think both Wallace and Truman were considered competent whatever their views were. Kamala Harris is a chuckleheaded, self absorbed, fool. Almost everyone knew, or should have known, she was not suited for the presidency before the election, but she is a person of the right sex and color who can put on the right façade if handled well. So, here we are wondering wtf is going to happen if she does become president. Short term gain for long term pain.

        1. John

          Wallace was disfavored by the conservatives, especially the southerners, because he was a, for want of a better tag, an extreme New Dealer. Jimmy Byrnes was put forward as a possible vice president and he was a segregationist and ill-informed. Truman has a decent reputation but he was led by the nose in his first term.

      3. Mikel

        I just realized something: whoever is making the comments about being worried about Biden, actually have to believe he is the one running things now.

    2. griffen

      What if he has already lost it should be the appropriate question, which assumes there might still remain a few marbles to rattle around in his head. Oh and that is perhaps when he’s not thinking that he is somehow within the US Presidential ranks of an FDR or a Lincoln. Just believe what Rob Reiner has to say and follow along!


  5. Cat Burglar

    Were the press to interview just any person and report their views, what would happen? How could the uncredentialed articulate anything credible?

    Those with the merit to report the views of the public understand that only experts can be rational about politics, and that the general public are only qualified to feel and consume, and perhaps to make a choice of candidates at election (a subset of consumption, really). Things could get beyond the control of the right people if there were detailed reporting of the considered opinions of people without tested merit. The enlightenment model of the rational, morally autonomous individual has to be limited to those that can show title, so a public participatory process of forming political ideas has to be limited — like C.Wright Mills wrote, “More enlightenment does not necessarily wise up the individual.” And it has to be kept from wising them up.

  6. hemeantwell

    The Bion article is a little dizzying but worth picking through. He does a slow walk through the development of consciousness in relation to the experience of frustration and then, in my view, takes off when discussing how the process of thinking, which should be firmly grounded in reality testing, can become dedicated instead to expulsion of thoughts linked to an intolerable reality, ridding the self of ideas that are treated like intolerable objects that must be thrown away. Michael Robbins wrote an outstanding account of work with a schizophrenic patient in which these processes were very evident, the patient talked about his listening to her in those terms. Closer to the day to day it is useful to consider how, for example, racism is pretty much devoid of reality testing, but is quite accomplished at smothering those denigrated with qualities the racist loathes about himself. This isn’t to deny that racism has a social function, but it also pulls individuals into this regression of thought.

    If you hang in there, the section about the conversion of states of need into “alpha elements” is interesting and lines up well with analysts reporting that for some patients the development of a capacity to dream, i.e. to more thoroughly represent their needs to themselves so that they can be thought about, is essential for analysis to move ahead.

  7. Pat

    I admit I am damn curious if anything will be discovered in Trump’s taxes that is damaging beyond the infuriating nature, by design, of the wealthy paying little or no taxes compared to average humans. This demand for auditing strikes me as an attempt to annoy and save face after making such a fuss to get them.

    1. Jason Boxman

      It seems this whole time, the effort by liberal Democrats to unmask Trump’s tax returns is just liberals griefing him. Nothing more. It’s juvenile and pathetic.

    2. John Zelnicker

      Pat – I’m a tax accountant and I agree that there won’t be much in the way of amazing revelations in Trump’s tax returns.

      However, IRS regulations require that all President’s tax returns be audited for the years they are in office.

      The IRS has given some lame excuse for why they haven’t done so, but the reality is that congressional defunding of the agency has made it almost impossible for them to audit the very wealthy.

      With an audit like Trump’s the IRS needs to hire outside tax attorneys and accountants who are as knowledgeable and experienced as the ones he uses. That’s because those folks won’t work for government salaries. They’re want their regular hourly rates, or something close. So, it becomes a budget issue for the IRS.

      In addition to being underfunded, the IRS has been mandated by Congress to intensively audit those poor folks who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Child Tax Credit (CTC), using up lots of agency resources.

      They might be cheating the government out of a few hundred or a couple of thousand dollars and that has to be stopped. /sarc

      1. Pat

        Mr Zelnicker, I think that is part of the design. Not only our puritan mind set that says those that are not as self sufficient as society demands should be punished, but also low hanging fruit because it is easier to hound people who think they got it right (and did) to hand over more money because they aren’t sure and can’t even afford H&R Block to go with them to dispute anything.

        And now getting those poor people to pay more is needed to justify even the underfunded budget they get.

        (Now if I were in charge forget the President instead there would be a heavily funded mandate to audit any tax return with a gross income of 2+ million where the effective tax rate paid is less than 15%.)

        1. GramSci

          “Now if I were in charge forget the President instead there would be a heavily funded mandate to audit any tax return with a gross income of 2+ million where the effective tax rate paid is less than 15% 95%.”

          Fixed it for ya. I concede 15% would be an improvement over the status quo, but negotiations should begin nearer to the desired end state.

      2. GramSci

        Thanks for this. In my too occasional work with immigrants v IRS, I’ve been gobsmacked by the gratuitous and mean-spirited complexity of the EITC and the CTC.

      3. Eclair

        Thank you, John Z., for bring up the issue of the tax audits of the recipients of EITC and CTC. Talk about punching down!

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      I think the Dems are falling under some of their own spells. We’re hearing night and day about the dastardly Putin who is the cause of all evil in the world. Before that, it was Bin Laden and Saddam. The Dems have so fixated themselves on Trump as the source of all the nation’s problems, they don’t even hear Special Forces JAG-man DeSantis slipping up behind them to slit their throats. I saw one recent confab of Dem-leaning media-heads all but wishing for DeSantis to vanquish Trump. And BTW, Susan Page called the Florida governor “DeSantOs” twice. How many cases of Covid, Susan?

  8. Steve H.

    > The first is the development of thoughts. They require an apparatus to cope with them. The second development, therefore, is of this apparatus that I shall provisionally call thinking.

    This reminds me a bit of this quote by Christine Averett:

    >> Affect control theory predicts people’s expectations about emotions. When people develop such expectations for themselves, they theoretically are identifying the emotion they are feeling.

  9. Jason Boxman

    Biden really is just trolling the Chinese now:

    The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau must present negative Covid-19 tests before entering the United States, a move that it says is intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

    The announcement, by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, came amid growing concern over a surge of cases in China and the country’s lack of transparency about the outbreak there.

    What does that even accomplish, while we let people from everywhere else in the world travel here infected? This is just a hapless FU. It seems 2020 is calling.

    1. Mikel

      I was wondering if anyone else had read about this new nonsense.
      What the hell does only testing the Chines tell anyone without comparisons to tests of people in other parts of the world???

      I don’t have enough eyes to roll.

  10. CanCyn

    WRT classification “All classification is an object of conflict, both in science and society” (Classification Struggles, 53).”
    One of my favourite classes in library school was Cataloguing and Classification. We had many fun and occasionally rancorous arguments about what a book was ‘about’. I kept this Jesse Shera quote up in my office for most my library career:
    “Shera’s Two Laws of Cataloging: Law #1, No cataloger will accept the work of any other cataloger. Law #2: No cataloger will accept his/her own work six months after the cataloging.” ~ Jesse Shera

    PS: Shera also said that the paperless office was about as plausible as a paperless bathroom!
    PSS Feel better soon Lambert.

  11. Lex

    “shake it slow” is my favorite verbal sign off.

    Almost all elections are of conmen, right? Biden’s lies back in ’87 were supposed to maybe derail his whole political career. But as he said, ″I exaggerate when I’m angry, but I’ve never gone around telling people things that aren’t true about me.″ Which is comforting and i’m sure hasn’t gotten worse with age. For a brief, shining moment in 1987 Joe Biden was a top student but then it turned out it was only in his own false memory. See, anyone can grow up to be president even mediocre students and liars.

    1. CanCyn

      ‘Later man’ is a verbal good-bye I commonly use, regardless of the gender of the person I’m leaving. I suppose the time is coming when the wokists will come for me. ‘See you’ or ‘Bye for now’ I also like. I use ‘Ciao’ but only with people who know that I’m not putting on airs. It is a good word but doesn’t feel natural in all cases. I have an Italian friend who would say ‘Ciao bella’, that always gave me a big smile.

    2. Martin Oline

      Well . . . Lambert did ask. My perennial farewell has been “Have fun, but don’t have too much fun.” much to the embarrassment of my long suffering wife. Is that why she waits in the car?

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        “Open roads and kind fires”.
        “Open waters and sweet tides”.
        In deference to these warming times of increasing drought:
        “Go carefully”

    3. ambrit

      Re: “Stay safe out there” seems a little negative….
      Well, we could go all logical positivist and tell each other to: “Take one for the Team.”

  12. Tom Pfotzer

    Is it time to start with predictions for next year yet, or do we have to wait till New Year’s Eve?

    I’m thinking this group could easily handle a few days of predictions.

    What about starting an office pool about when Zelensky is going to be decommissioned?

    Maybe not duffed out, but definitely replaced or scarpered.. My guess is that he’s got six months left; three to get thoroughly hammered by the Russians in the battlefield, and then another three of being the fall-guy for the failure before the greener pastures beckon sweetly.


    Lambert, I’m sending in my annual contribution next day or 2. Pls send me check-sending info per your suggestion above.


    Another thing for water-cooler talk:

    How are you guys feeling about Paypal these days? I just fired them because their customer service is abysmal and I discovered that fact after they unilaterally shut off access to my account unless I provided a cell phone number so they could verify my identity.

    I declined; other companies are content with a 2-step e-mail verification, but not Paypal. Cell phone (not land-line!) or else.

    I had to call them to find out why I couldn’t log in. That marked the green-flag on the race to discover just how thoroughly incompetent, time-wasting, border-on-outright-lying, world-class dissimulation and foolishness Paypal customer service truly is.

    My experiences were not reported to Paypal management because the flunkies are instructed to escalate nothing. Paypal way or highway.

    Lovin’ me some highway.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      That’s very interesting about the land lines being unacceptable. Says something about the privacy of a land line compared to a cell phone.

      As I commented on here several days ago, our SSA-endorsed debit card has decided to scrap their online access and require the uploading of an app in order to access account data other than through an ATM. It would seem that there’s an effort to tie all movement of money to somebody’s cell phone.

      1. JBird4049

        And if you don’t have a cellphone or live in Nowhereville where even cellphone service is problematic? I guess disposing of the overage or wilderness types is also a goal.

      2. Jason Boxman

        I think there’s some belief that a cell phone is a kind of personal ID, if you trust the cell companies to authenticate the customer.

        With number port attacks I’m not so sure.

    2. Daryl

      Paypal was the original move fast and break things company, though somehow they got off with a better reputation than Uber/Lyft/AirBNB et al. Part of their early business model was just… taking people’s money and keeping it.

      1. Eureka Springs

        At this point every company is the worst in the world once it comes time to contact them for any reason. It’s Anti Customer Service. No matter what or why it all reminds me of that Michael Douglas movie from back in the VCR era – Falling Down? It’s as if these companies want that to happen x millions.
        I really want to write a black mirror episode based on my endless spiral with Verizon this month. All starting with me trying to increase my plan on the 4th. Just like the last time I called (early 2020) to pay more to insure I had proper service while traveling abroad. Both times I was robbed of money and countless scores of hours lost pursuing it. They took money not owed, failed miserably by not providing services ordered. The literally zapped multiples more money than the 9.00 increase in my bill and disconnected my phone this time. money no owed and constantly add passwords, pin numbers and other layers insuring they never have to deal with you. Verizon has had my zip code incorrect for 7 years. I tell everyone online or rare instances of on phone time at verizon yet they have never fixed it. On top of that, I’m pre pay. They don’t send me anything by mail, have no need to know my zip. However they will disconnect me every time they request a zip and I don’t know what the magic number might be. I mean why should I give my data/trust to a company who never gives confirmations or direct ways to deal with things. Nothing is ever confirmed, no human is available or responsible. After 18 days of 1 to 5 hours a day, I got a person. A person who admitted there was an error on Verizons part. 3 hours later I’m demanding an email letter confirming it all and the promised refund of the theft amount, which would take ten more days.
        I can’t tell you how good I used to be at this. My employees would marvel at my abilities in these situations. They practically wanted to buy phone-side tickets when I would make these types of calls.

        Me: Please, I would like your direct phone number in case we are disconnected or I have troubles specific to this issue after our call?
        Verizon: We don’t have direct phone numbers.
        Me: You are a phone company, how is that possible? You are speaking on a phone now? And everyone has a phone in their purse or pocket these days, how about both numbers, I’ve lost weeks already due to theft committed by you. This is not safe. Don’t you ever ask me for passwords, pin numbers, or personal info again. It’s you who are the danger.

        Seriously, something has got to give. How many billions are stolen by wearing people down like this? It’s all one big theft ring out there. There are several subscriptions/services out there I simply will not subscribe to because I know the minute I have a need, even to increase my bill, things will end up like this.

        I wish I had enough ‘faith’ to take this to a Verizon owned U.S. Senators office.

  13. petal

    Nothing wrong with a little Jaguar love, though I prefer the XK120 or 150.
    Have been ill, too, Lambert since the 19th. It’s not covid. Assuming I got it on the bus where everyone was coughing and sneezing with no masks on. Take care.
    According to the internets, Mayo Pete is taking home $203k a year for his nearly-no show job. Nice gig if you can get it.
    US is going to start requiring travelers from China to have a negative covid test-beginning Jan 5th. After the horse is in the next county, as NC folks like to say.

    1. skippy

      Part of me can’t help ponder that China, all things considered, just decided to let everyone wander around a bit and then have a nice international holiday. Its like blankets all over again – ?

        1. skippy

          If its attrition underpinned with notions of ***freedom*** they have the numbers at the end of the day … so much so the Oz blog I frequent just had a post that accused China previously of totalitarian conduct wrt lock downs and now lifted accuse them of not looking out for its citizans because they won’t import the western mNRA experimental vaccinations e.g. not letting the west come to the rescue thingy …

          That and between the ability to deploy capital vs the west since say Katrina, insane dogmatic approach to get 2nd/3rd world nations to comply and now the tragicomedy that is the Ukraine suggest to me that the neoliberal agenda is at a tipping point. I think the Ukraine event highlights this because of so much sunk costs over such a considerable time due to its location on the boarder to the east and its rejection of the neoliberal agenda. Hence the detached from reality reports from the MSM and western political mouth pieces – all the chips are down in my view.

          So just like the evidence suggests that heaps of people are impaired now, health system built by PE on elective services is walking dead, heaps of people are now questioning previous policies as the data comes in and lived experience is not squaring with it, what happens when another wave of infections hits, assisted with all the other infections lurking and so many have reduced immune systems. All topped off with a system that reward short term profit so there is no redundancy and a lagging factor in redress.

          BTW I don’t think its a matter of they know something we [west] don’t know, more like they see reality differently e.g. in the west its just markets, everything is just markets, where in the east it continuity in the face of all that till it changes … as it will …

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      It was the kind of car they wrote songs about, though the foreign-built Jags usually came up short in American beach music:

      Around the far turn in a straight-away
      I was blowing off everything that got in my way
      The Stingrays and Jags were so far behind
      I took my Cobra out of gear and let it coast to the line

      “Hey Little Cobra” performed by the Rip Chords

      And better known:

      Well, the last thing I remember, Doc, I started to swerve
      And then I saw the Jag slide into the curve
      I know I’ll never forget that horrible sight
      I guess I found out for myself that everyone was right
      Won’t come back from Dead Man’s Curve

      “Dead Man’s Curve” performed by Jan and Dean

  14. Synoia

    V12 Jags
    The Jaguar V12 engine is a V12 internal combustion engine produced by Jaguar Cars. The engine was based on a prototype design by Claude Baily for an intended Le Mans car—the Jaguar XJ13. The XJ13 project was terminated in 1966 before the car was ever entered into competition, but under the direction of Jaguar Chief Engineer William Heynes the V12 engine design was reworked by engineers Walter Hassan and Harry Mundy into a production-ready version, first installed in the Series 3 Jaguar E-Type of 1971. The V12 was the second production engine design in Jaguar’s history. The all-aluminium block was fitted with removable wet iron liners, complete with single overhead camshaft aluminium heads with two valves per cylinder. It was regarded as one of the premier power plants of the 1970s and 1980s.[1]

    From Wikipedia

    1. Joe Renter

      My step dad had the Jag 12 sedan. It was a nice ride. He got over his skis and had to liquidate. He told me it was one of his worse purchases.

    2. Wukchumni

      Circa 1974 we had this cool neighbor a couple of streets over on a hilly street who had a convertible V12 Jag and he’d allow us to hold onto the door handle on my Schwinn Sting-Ray and with the other hand on the bicycle handlebars and give us a lift up the street and I must have done it a few dozen times when this one time I almost got swept under the chassis.

      Scared the hell out of me, and I never tried it again.

  15. ChrisPacific

    Republicans, at the end of the day, want to win, and that’s why they were vulnerable to Trump once he pulled ahead of the field. Democrats would have prioritized shutting down the anti-establishment candidate even if it meant losing the election. Once it was clear in 2020 that they were quite prepared to tank any candidate other than Biden, his nomination was assured.

    I see no reason why the same tactic won’t work in 2024 if they try it. Reagan already proved that mental competence isn’t a deal breaker for re-election. If it’s clear that Democrats intend to sabotage their own candidate if it’s not Biden, what do you think primary voters will do?

  16. The Rev Kev

    Re the Southwest memo-

    Have the same sort of mentality in Oz. All those business people were clamouring to let the virus rip, especially the airline people, so that they could go back to their old 2019 business model again. And now that they got their wish, they are going nuts because their workers are constantly falling sick or are even being taken out of the workforce. What did they think would happen by opening up in the middle of a pandemic? And now the penny is dropping that this may be a ‘forever’ problem for them which may even get worse.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>What did they think would happen by opening up in the middle of a pandemic?

      They thought that the same profitable practices of before could be continue; that enough of the workers serfs would survive and continue to be subservient enough to risk crippling illness or death to keep the businesses running and the money coming in.

      Greed blinded them.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        And they really couldn’t imagine any alternative to Business As Usual. Covid was an excellent opportunity in one sense: we could begin making the very substantial adjustments necessary to avoid going over Two Degrees (1.5 is dead) by reducing a lot of the churn our society generates in order to maximize the billionaires’ return on capital. But our elite PMCs couldn’t conceive of how to shift gears and goals.

        They believe their own TINA trash. “The universe would fall apart if we desert The Invisible Hand.” They will continue this way until we hit the wall because they can’t imagine anything different.

        1. JBird4049

          They believe their own TINA trash. “The universe would fall apart if we desert The Invisible Hand.” They will continue this way until we hit the wall because they can’t imagine anything different.

          This really does explain much. Covid, climate, Ukraine, etc. Although it might be better to say that the fear of using their imagination is the problem, not the actual inability to do so.

  17. Not Again

    How a Perfectly Normal New York Suburb Elected a Con Man” [Steve Israel, The Atlantic].

    I was hoping for a confession by the former congressman, but alas….

    1. Pat

      Dear Steve, this happened because the useless Democrat that had held the office for several terms finally annoyed enough voters that they voted for the alternative. I realize that is a simple answer, but the truth of the situation is that if the voters felt incumbent had truly represented their interests and provided decent service for his district he could have been facing indictment and still get elected. See Charles Rangel for example.

    2. Pnwarrior_womyn

      Here. Hold my beer:

      Everett newspaper rescinds candidate endorsement after discovering ‘misrepresentations’

      He won.

      WA Dems back candidate accused of exaggerating his military service

      “The race between Clyde Shavers and state Rep. Greg Gilday, R-Camano, was thrown into turmoil this week when Shavers’ father released a three-page letter stating his son had misrepresented his military service by claiming to have been a nuclear submarine officer.

      “Clyde was never a submarine officer, not even for a day,” the elder Shavers wrote in the letter, which also accused his son of having disdain for the military and having few ties to the 10th District in which he is running.

      Republicans have pounced on the letter, calling on Democrats to withdraw support for Shavers. But with only a few days to go before ballots are counted, and having poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race, Democratic leaders and an aligned political-action committee this week did not pull their support.”

  18. David in Santa Cruz

    Lambert, the E-type Jaguar (known in the U.S. as the XK-E) depicted in the photograph is a 1961-68 Series-1 car — powered by the evergreen Jaguar double-overhead camshaft straight-6 motor in 3.8-liter and later 4.2-liter displacements. The 5.3-liter V-12 motor was not introduced until 1971 in the Series-3 E-type.

    Talk about not firing on all cylinders! The bloated British-Leyland built Series-3 E-type was nowhere near as lovely to look at as that lithe and sexy Jaguar Cars Ltd. built Series-1 car, even a ratty one! We’re talking Susannah York vs. Ted Heath…

  19. NL

    “COVID-19 infection induces higher trust in strangers” (PNAS)

    Haha… looks like SARS-CoV2 alters human behavior to promote its own spread — trust of strangers during infection (but not after) = increased spread. This is very common in viruses…

  20. Acacia

    “Take care” seems appropriate for these plague years, though it’s nice to have options.

    Hope you’re feeling all better soon, Lambert.

  21. timotheus

    Very interesting details in the Long Island Leader on Mr Santos (though undated, it refers to a September filing). https://www.theleaderonline.com/single-post/santos-filings-now-claim-net-worth-of-11-million

    One detail that might get him into non-dogpile trouble: it is a federal crime to lie on the Financial Disclosure form that members-to-be have to file. I gather another one would be lying on the campaign finance declarations. By all indications, he did both.

    This paragraph is also noteworthy (no hyperlinks though):

    “And his income was only just over $50,000 for the prior year, derived from a venture fund called ‘Harbor Hill Capital,’ that was closed and seized in 2020 by US federal prosecutors as a ‘Ponzi Scheme.’ Santos was the New York Director of that ‘fund’.”

    What levels of decadence have we reached that this guy can pull off such a feat?

  22. LawnDart

    From Bourdieu, Classes and Classifications:

    Advantageous Attributions

    The basis of the pertinence principle which is implemented in perceiving the social world and which defines all the characteristics of persons or things which can be perceived, and perceived as positively or negatively interesting, by all those who apply these schemes (another definition of common sense), is based on nothing other than the interest the individuals or groups in question have in recognizing a feature and in identifying the individual in question as a member of the set defined by that feature; interest in the aspect observed is never completely independent of the advantage of observing it. This can be clearly seen in all the classifications built around a stigmatized feature which, like the everyday opposition between homosexuals and heterosexuals, isolate the interesting trait from all the rest ( i.e., all other forms of sexuality), which remain indifferent and undifferentiated. It is even clearer in all ‘labelling judgements’, which are in fact accusations, categoremes in the original Aristotelian sense, and which, like insults, only wish to know one of the properties constituting the social identity of an individual or group (‘You’re just a …’), regarding, for example, the married homosexual or converted Jew as a ‘closet queen’ or covert Jew, and thereby in a sense doubly Jewish or homosexual. The logic of the stigma reminds us that social identity is the stake in a struggle in which the stigmatized individual or group, and, more generally, any individual or group insofar as he or it is a potential object of categorization, can only retaliate against the partial perception which limits it to one of its characteristics by highlighting, in its self-definition, the best of its characteristics, and, more generally, by struggling to impose the taxonomy most favourable to its characteristics, or at least to give to the dominant taxonomy the content most flattering to what it has and what it is.


    1. LawnDart

      Made me think of our subspecies, elite, characterized by cowardess, duplicity, and excessive self-interest… …extinction is not always to be mourned, and a red flag could be just the meteor humanity needs!

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > interest in the aspect observed is never completely independent of the advantage of observing it

      A Bourdieu fan!

      One thinks immediately of the effort to stigmatize masks, so easy (not so easy as vaxed or unvaxed) because masks are visible, auto-labeling as it were.

      1. LawnDart

        As a conscious decision and product of free-will, more vulnerable are masks, as opposed to visible genetic or hereditary traits, and the involuntary bearing of labels.

  23. skippy

    @IM Doc …

    Hay mate I thought of you instantly when my eyes laid upon this ….

    ‘I am horrified’: Top RAH doctor’s brutal resignation letter

    The head of the RAH emergency department has resigned via a four-page letter blasting SA Health for “offending the very humanity” of clinicians.

    Won’t link as it all pay walled, suffice too say there is a very long list of grievances due to endless cost over runs in some new building work, health staff being bullied by industry types without any medical back ground, all the stuff as an old boy you would be very well experienced with. BTW RAH is Royal Adelaide Hospital.

    @Lambert ….

    Hay mate as you asked for more personal covid experiences I’ve got one for you.

    SO …. 92 old mother after a neflix tragicomedy ends just outside Austin, TX after a move form AZ with psychologically impaired younger brother and some dogs. Oops all rentals are gone post him going up to AZ two years before too ***look out for mom*** in her burgeoning dementia state – I have no life so I must consume one. No rentals due to IT snapping them up as worker candy and buff balance sheets w/a side of price setter action. So after about of a month of shenanigans at the 4K a month hotel, moms a dementia wander, escaped to another room after housekeeping left door ajar, brother came back from gig driving and a gray alert went out. She was soon found in room, but after that the state was informed, as such the process began.

    Anywho she was admitted as a temporary stay in a hospice which then transferred her to a nursing home across the road. So just about 3 days ago she contracted covid in the home, reports are she kept wandering into the infected area of the home, don’t need to spell this out to NC people. She died two days ago and there is more to this saga than I’ve got the patience to deal with.

    As the disheveled one of the 7 I only care about when people start thinking about when it their turn and how they would like to deal with it …

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sorry to hear about your mother, skip. Not a good way to end your life when you are not the person you use to be. Before my own mother went back in 2019, she was spending a lot of time out of it so perhaps it was a mercy that she went before the pandemic hit.

      1. skippy

        All good mate and her eating had taken a dramatic change week prior, agree that she digressed past any notion of individuality. Gasp man some of her last notions expressed was how she was in the discovery process of a new business offering etc.

        My one and only grievance is the way she moved in the place of care and got infected – see IM Docs ethics. Its not the people its the model IMO.

      2. skippy

        Ugh here I go again … one of the cornerstones to any civilization is how it treats the dead and more importantly the old regardless of class. When this starts to break down the societies seem to have a higher fail rate largely based on some new interpretation of past religious norms or some numerical symbology that has the same effect with out the need for vassal of divine with a bush as a cell phone or some worship of Newtonian symbology.

  24. VietnamVet

    Mayo Pete Buttigieg had COVID in June. Last night on the NewsHour interview on Southwest Airlines’ collapse due to worker shortages, IT problems, and the winter blizzards; he looked like he has lost 20 years — reported to be one of the outcomes of a COVID illness. Being a McKinsey’s ‘Whiz Kid’, I doubt that it is work as Transportation Secretary that is bothering him. It must be the illness. He is no longer the young candidate with the vim and vigor to challenge Kamala Harris. Eighteen years older she now looks younger than him even though she has had COVID too in April.

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