2:00PM Water Cooler 12/29/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, thanks for your thoughts and prayers [snort]. I’m almost recovered, except for some lingering irritability and minor neurological damage. Kidding! Onward. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Reed Bunting, Rutland Water–Lagoon 4, Rutland, England, United Kingdom. Named for the great Adolph Reed, for those who don’t know.

* * *


“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

“Judge: Jan. 6 committee evidence suggests Trump asked rally crowd to break the law” [Politico]. “The Jan. 6 select committee’s finding that Donald Trump lured followers to storm the Capitol does not absolve them of legal responsibility for their actions, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, the first opinion to cite the congressional panel’s criminal referrals of the former president. U.S. District Court Judge John Bates cited the select committee’s report and criminal referrals to swat down a Jan. 6 defendant’s claim that he believed Trump had authorized him and other rioters to enter the Capitol when he urged the crowd to march down Pennsylvania Avenue. Bates, an appointee of President George W. Bush, ruled that defendant Alexander Sheppard should be prohibited from making the ‘public authority’ defense because there’s simply no evidence Trump told his followers that entering the restricted grounds of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was legal. In fact, his incendiary rhetoric — especially telling his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ — may suggest Trump was asking them to break the law, Bates said. His words ‘could signal to protesters that entering the Capitol and stopping the certification would be unlawful,’ Bates found.” • From “fight like hell”? Really?

Biden Administration

“The Federal Program to Rebuild After Hurricane Katrina Shortchanged the Poor. New Data Proves It.” [Government Executive]. “The complaints started as soon as Louisiana launched its massive program to help homeowners rebuild after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Community leaders said the largest rebuilding program in U.S. history would be unfair to the state’s poorest residents. Activists and real estate experts spoke out at meetings of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, which designed and ran the Road Home program. An attorney representing poor homeowners testified before Congress. A fair housing group sued the state and federal governments. State officials made tweaks and settled the lawsuit, but they never changed a core part of the formula that determined how much homeowners received. Now a groundbreaking analysis of nearly 92,000 rebuilding grants statewide shows critics were right all along: Road Home shortchanged people in poor neighborhoods while giving those in wealthy neighborhoods more of what they needed. People in the most impoverished areas in New Orleans — those with a median income of $15,000 or less — had to cover 30% of their rebuilding costs after Road Home grants, Federal Emergency Management Agency aid and insurance. In areas where the median income was more than $75,000, the shortfall was 20%, according to the analysis by ProPublica, The Times-Picayune | The Advocate and WWL-TV.”


Honestly, it’s not easy to make Kamala Harris look good:

Maybe a listening tour?

“The Presidential Race Is Entering a New Phase. Here’s Who’s Best Positioned” [Politico]. “The 2024 race for president began a long time ago. In fact, we already have candidates who have lost; Andrew Cuomo’s unspoken bid died in 2021 when he resigned the New York governorship over sexual misconduct allegations. This year, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton , Josh Hawley and Rick Scott, despite their past preening, indicated they would forgo a presidential campaign. And the Democratic governor of California, Gavin Newsom , announced he would not run, regardless of President Joe Biden’s plans. Now, with Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago stemwinder of an announcement coming just one week after the 2022 midterms, the playing-it-coy phase is winding down. So, with the race about to begin in earnest, who had the best year of jockeying for position? In my previous 2019 , 2020 and 2021 year-end assessments of the 2024 candidates, I did not christen singular winners in each party. But 2022 is different. We have undisputed victors: Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis.” • Seems a bit early.


“22 Things We Learned in 2022: National Overview (1-5)” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. “According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “state control is more unified in either the blue or the red column than ever, and the number of divided state governments is lower than ever.” Democrats now have full control of state government in 17 states, while Republicans hold trifectas in 23 states. That leaves just ten states with divided government, the fewest since 1952, when eight states had divided state control. Between 2000 and 2010, there were always 20 or more divided states.”

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.

* * *

“Larger squad? How the Hill’s newest progressives plan to wield power” [Politico]. “An optimistic crop of liberal first-year lawmakers is confident they can pry back the majority from Republicans in two years. In the meantime, add another five members, aligned with the liberal Working Families Party, to the ever-expanding list of those vowing to push President Joe Biden’s administration to the left on priorities like workers’ rights, climate change and immigration. And they’re already tuned in to a cliché critical to commanding Congress: There’s power in numbers. While several soon-to-be members had already come together on the campaign trail and grew closer as they descended on Washington, they’ve also forged alliances with other incoming lawmakers they met for the first time at orientation. ‘I think that as legislators, our job is to agenda-set. It’s to govern, it’s to create policy, but it’s also to put forth that best case, and bring people over to us,” said Rep.-elect Summer Lee (D-Pa.), one of two Justice Democrat-backed candidates to win a general election. ‘That’s what progressives have to do, whether we’re in the majority or the minority. … That’s going to be where a lot of power is: in expanding the realm of what’s possible.’ They’re all set to join a Democratic Caucus that’s becoming younger, more diverse and more liberal.” “More liberal is not a good thing. More: “It’s potentially more hospitable terrain than what the ‘squad’ faced four years ago, when the original group of four progressive lawmakers became a favored target for Republicans — and even some moderate Democrats.” Yeah, I remember Pelosi pistol-whipping AOC on that Israel vote; seems to have worked! More: “Lee and other lawmakers are looking to the group of six as an example of the power those with similar values can wield, despite being relatively junior legislators with little concrete congressional influence.” • Oh, yeah. I remember the Working Families Party very well. They knifed Sanders in 2020 by endorsing that snake Elizabeth Warren.


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.

* * *

• Speaking of the New Yorker’s Emma Green (that Emma Green):

The bleakly hilarious part is that one of the first epidemiological studies to show that #CovidIsAirborne was a superspreading event at a church chorus in Skagit Valley, WA. NOTE Green is now a staff writer at the New Yorker. Previously she was a staff writer (and managing editor) at The Atlantic, which shows you how incestuous and stifling the tiny little world of liberal journals is. From her bio, she has never covered a science beat, a healthcare beat, an epidemiological beat, the Covid beat, or the regulatory (CDC) beat. One can only wonder why she was chosen to write “The Case for Wearing Masks Forever.” Perhaps it was her ability to achieve…. a certain tone.

• More on Emma Green:


* * *

• Maskstravaganza: Innovation? Or humor?

Refreshing an old design?

Actually, the mask was developed to protect against airborne infection, then conceived of as the result of miasma and identified with bad smells. It might actually have been of some benefit. The glass eyepieces protected against infection via the surface of the eye, the beak provided at least some protection, being stuffed with herbs, and the herbs might have stimulated the flow of mucus. Just as sane as droplet dogma!

* * *

• “CDC calls out China for ‘lack of adequate and transparent’ COVID data” [MarketWatch]. • Not The Onion!

* * *


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 29:

-1.7%. 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 25:

Too much red (even with Illinois offline). JFK/LGA (Queens County, NY), ORD (Cook County, IL), SFO (San Francisco, CA), LAX (Los Angeles), and ATL (Cobb County, GA) are all red.

Lambert here: A rare hat tip from Lambert to the CDC for getting the data out on Christmas Day.

December 24:

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.

Variant data, national (Walgreens), December 13:

Lambert here: BQ.1* dominates, XBB moving up fast. This data is updated, even though the last batch was December 11 (i.e., only two days of additional data). Not sure why this data is coming out before CDC’s, and on a Thursday, 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:

As a check, since New York is a BQ.1* hotbed, New York hospitalization, updated December 29:

Resuming the steady 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: 1,117,194 – 1,116,095 = 1099 (1099 * 365 = 401,135 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease).

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

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 9K to 225K in the week ending December 24th, in line market expectations of 225K. The 4-week moving average which removes week-to-week volatility was little changed at 221K, still pointing to a tight labour market.”

* * *

Finance: “Why So Many Accountants Are Quitting” [Wall Street Journal]. “More than 300,000 U.S. accountants and auditors have left their jobs in the past two years, a 17% decline, and the dwindling number of college students coming into the field can’t fill the gap. The exodus is driven by deeper workplace shifts than baby-boomer retirements. Young professionals in the 25- to 34-year-old range and midcareer professionals between the ages of 45 and 54 also departed in high numbers starting in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Recruiters who have been luring experienced accountants into new roles say they are often moving into jobs in finance and technology…. Students want to make more money up front than many accounting firms are paying—and they are finding it in other industries, according to professors. The expanded opportunities have come during a decadelong economic boom that has created new roles in sectors from banking to tech. Top students straight out of college can make significantly more going to work for consulting outfits and banks, rival fields that are drawing quantitatively minded students, according to recruiters.” • Well, maybe we can get ChatGPT to do it.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 36 Fear (previous close: 31 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 35 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 29 at 1:38 PM EST.

Under the Influence

“Black creators say they ‘have to be perfect’ to get promotional products from brands. They want that to change” [NBC]. “As influencers who were new to New York City, Antoni Bumba and her former roommate spent time last year trying to strengthen their relationships with brands. The creators, who had already built sizable followings on their platforms, knew that one of the best ways to grow their careers was to ask brands for ‘PR packages,’ or gifts, to create promotional content and foster brand relationships. One day, Bumba said, the two of them decided to send emails to the same company. Bumba’s friend, who is white and had fewer followers, was sent gifts from the brand shortly after. Bumba, who is Black, did not receive anything at the time. Instead, she said, she was told the brand was at capacity for “gifting.” It was one of several instances in which, Bumba said, she has tried to get on a brand’s public relations list with little to no success. ‘As far as it goes for those free ops, you gotta know people, and you gotta know [white] people,’ said Bumba, a lifestyle creator with 938,000 TikTok followers. Black creators, like Bumba, have been vocal about how the lack of gifting to creators of color demonstrates the inequity in influencer marketing. The problem, which is not new, has become the subject of many TikTok videos in recent months, with Black TikTok creators sharing their experiences, or lack thereof, with PR lists and gifting. Many of them have called on brands to do better. Black creators said that without access to gifting, they have to spend their own money if they want to use certain products, which takes away from their take-home income. That can contribute to widening the existing pay gap between Black and white influencers, which is 35%, according to a 2021 study from MSL, a global public relations firm that offers influencer marketing services. Black creators say they still feel they have to work twice as hard as their white counterparts.” • I agree. Payola should be race-neutral!

Guillotine Watch

“U.S. Virgin Islands Sues JPMorgan Over Epstein Sex-Trafficking Scheme” [New York Times]. “Mr. Epstein was a client of JPMorgan’s high-end banking services for 15 years, a relationship that continued well after his 2008 conviction even though the bank’s employees raised alarms about the legal and reputational risks. The bank ejected him as a client in 2013. Tuesday’s lawsuit, parts of which were redacted from public view, said the bank’s failure to cut ties with Mr. Epstein after his 2008 conviction, as well as its failure to scrutinize his activities when new sexual abuse allegations against him became public, amounted to helping Mr. Epstein carry out his schemes.” • Hmm.

Class Warfare

“Are U.S. Healthcare Workers Better Off Unionized?” [MedPage Today]. “Labor unionization among U.S. healthcare workers was low in recent years, even though union membership or coverage was tied to higher weekly earnings and better non-cash benefits, researchers reported. Out of 14,298 healthcare workers surveyed, 13.2% reported union membership or coverage, with no significant trend from 2009 through 2021, according to Xiaojuan Li, PhD, of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, both in Boston, and colleagues. Unionized healthcare workers had significantly higher reported mean weekly earnings than non-union workers at $1,165 versus $1,042 (P<0.001), the researchers reported in JAMA. And unionized workers were more likely to report having a pension or other retirement benefits at work than non-unionized workers at 57.9% versus 43.4% (risk ratio 1.33, 95% CI 1.26-1.41, P<0.001), the authors found. They also were more likely to report having a higher level of health insurance coverage and higher annual employer contributions to those health plans. Unionized healthcare workers reported more weekly hours than non-unionized workers at 37.4 versus 36.3 hours (P<0.001), but Li's group pointed that the mean differences of 1.11 hours did not indicate "much change in working hours." The study comes as labor unionization efforts have experienced a resurgence in the U.S., with the National Labor Relations Board receiving a 57% increase in union election petitions in the first half of 2022, according to Li and colleagues." • Maybe Emma Green can do a hit piece on labor unions next. What say? "America's shrinking population is here to stay" [Financial Times]. “The size of America’s working age population has been stagnant for over a decade. If fertility continues to decline or stabilises at a low level, then without a substantial increase in immigration, the working-age population will soon begin to shrink. This means fewer workers, which means lower economic output overall. But it also could mean less economic output per person and lower standards of living.” • Lower standards of living for whom? Oddly, the recent declines in life expectancy seem to be correlated with even greater concentration of wealth.

News of the Wired

“Discover The Fascinating World Of Plant Root Systems With Erwin Lichtenegger And Lore Kutschera’s Collaborative Project” [Design You Trust]. “As someone who has always been fascinated by the hidden world of plant roots, I am thrilled to share with you the incredible collaborative project of the late botanists Erwin Lichtenegger and Lore Kutschera. Through their detailed drawings, we are able to celebrate the power and beauty of these vital systems that often go unseen. The archive, which has been digitized by the Wageningen University & Research, is the result of 40 years of research in Austria. This research involved cultivating and carefully retrieving developed plant life from the soil for study, and the result is a collection of over 1,000 renderings of the winding, spindly roots of agricultural crops, shrubs, trees, and weeds.” • Gorgeous! For example:

Finally, hoisted from comments Skippy writes:

@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 …


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.

I’m very sorry to hear of Skippy’s mother’s death, but also of her fate. She stumbled into one of the grisly traps constructed by Rule #2, and that was that.


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.

As targets for wealth extraction, especially when helpless. Why do you ask? (And while I whinge about a head-cold, other sentient beings have real problems!)

* * *

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 CG:

CG writes that this is a mandala, but I’m not sure what plant it is. Readers?

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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. Chad

    Talked to Amazon driver, UPS driver and retail clerks yesterday. Stores are empty, except for returns, package deliveries way down, including seasonally adjusted.

    What’s it like where you are?

    Weather is not a problem in Arizona BTW.

    1. nathe

      nyc weather not out of the ordinary. many robberies from the lobby in our building last year had some of us find other delivery locations. but, still, christmas deliveries about a quarter of last year’s. fifty apartments.

    2. Jen

      Working from home, my office window overlooks some woods, with my neighbor’s driveway on the other side of them. For the past 2 years I’d see Fedex and UPS going up his driveway at least 3 times a week. Some times every day. I think they’ve gotten 1 delivery since October. Common practice around here if you have an intimidating driveway, which we both do, is to place a plastic tote close to the road. Neighbors never even put one out this year. The guy who delivers to my house said he was really busy – but I’ll note that instead of 3-4 drivers crisscrossing routes in smaller vans, there’s just Tony, and he now has a bigger delivery truck.

      Haven’t noticed much in the way of empty shelves in my area of NH. A friend went to the drug store in a town to our north before Christmas. Her observation was that they weren’t moving much, if any decorations and cheap gifts. Store across the river that caters to a higher end clientele looked to be doing all right.

    3. Not Again

      I just came back from Costco. The PMC are doing fine. There was a run on $1800 flat screen TVs and the aisles were so clogged with people that you had to leave your cart at the end of the aisle and try to find what you needed.

      Did you know that Costco sells roast beef that costs $37.99 a pound? WTF?

    4. Wukchumni

      Ended up (are we finished yet, USPS?) getting 4 xmas cards, easily down 80% from our usual numbers.

      Has it gone out of fashion, the practice?

      1. ambrit

        We have observed the same decline in the volume of Christmess Cards. The drop off seems to be happening in all socio-economic classes.
        Stay safe up there.

        1. cyclist

          I’m not a card guy, but my cousin recently sent me a birthday card. Nothing fancy, on the back I noticed that it cost $4.95 and was “Printed in China”. So there is that.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Same here actually though I noted to my wife was that one reason was so may older relatives passing away over the years, people who spent their lives sending/receiving Christmas cards.

    5. Phil in KC

      King Crab legs (16-count) at 59.99/lb.at my local grocery. Wild caught. Product of Russia! The demand is there.

    1. IM Doc

      I agree. So Sorry you are going through all this.

      I continue to be very disappointed that these stories are becoming so common these days. It is clear that a critical mass of people in my profession have completely lost the thread.

      I do everything I can in my own little world to prevent this abuse from happening to my old and defenseless patients. When I have seen this happening, it often takes just a few minutes of scolding from a physician to end all the crap. It pains me to see this type of thing happening to anyone. Widows are a vital part of our communities. It is true after all that the very first Christian martyr, Stephen, found himself at his end because of issues related to the care of widows. This is on the top of my head right now. Our family just celebrated his feast just 3 days ago and I read that whole story to my kids at dinner. One does not have to be religious to appreciate so many of the ethics and good community behavior outlined in these stories. It is a shame the substitute in our modern world for them are glowing little boxes to fill entire days with inanity.

      So sorry this is happening to you and your family.

    2. Carolinian

      It might be interesting to see some statistics on how many elderly Social Services departments have killed versus struggling family caregivers. One would think that, especially during a dimished but still existing epidemic, forcing a fragile old person into a nursing home would at least be questionable. But to the bureaucrats the legal liability is covered so all is good.

    3. ambrit

      Sorry to hear that. Mom and Dad matter a lot. It’s no wonder that the loss of a major relative is at the top of the psychic damage chart. So many are ‘Going at the Turn’ this year.

    4. skippy

      At all above …

      Condolences are appreciated.

      Albeit my concern is not about – my loss – as its about how this played out over a number of years back up in AZ and ultimately just outside Austin, TX. e.g. the failures in both states. If I was to provided the backdrop of my mothers life and then close in upon my younger brothers incursion in the matters it would require a reader warning. My half sister in AZ just a year before had to assist my mother in sorting out her finances only to find she was being scammed by some well know well-being/beauty clinic in the area for a considerable sum of monies. When queried about the CC transactions my mother said she had a special relationship with the guy that ran it – ugh. All this in the light that my mother was a C-corp CPA, advance tax educator/consultant and owned a accounting business back in the day.

      So now her finances at this age are a wreak, burgeoning dementia, concerns about her still driving, and after a life time of being basically a cosmopolitan liberal with some conservative leanings gradually since the ME wars changed into a fully immersed religious person with lots of guns and a menagerie of dogs in the house. Trying to get her to stop driving lest she hurt herself or others was nigh impossible, same with attempting to get the guns out of the house for the same reasons. All this then culminates in attempting to get her to sell the house and use the proceeds to get an assisted living apartment near all the services she might need. This would also be supported by her SS payments.

      The house was sold but younger brother had other ideas and decided to move to TX as they had better Vet benefits, he is on full disability pension due to his back and joints, and without any planing packed up and drove down to Austin only to find it quite different than 2 years ago.

      The highlight of all this was when the younger brother took her to the hospice to have a look around as required post the gray alert and the living circumstances at the time. Was informed by my half sister that as they were walking through the place my mother told my brother that they better get out of there lest they put one of them in a room, only to look around and see her name on a door. Originally the staff requested my brother visit once a day or at least every two. That was quickly amended to don’t come and visit or she will attempt getting him to remove her from the home. It was just after this that she started moving around the place and repeatedly gained access to the infected ward of the home.

      People can make what they want of this, but in my mind, its a total failure of duty of care. In all my years of work I’ve seen this dynamic over and over again, worse is what was a low roar in the back ground has now become dominate in just about everything. Then again I can’t help but think how just before this she was in the process of becoming a ward of the state because she was in such financial difficulty and the brother needed to work and could not attend to her needs. This then became an issue as their bar was income below 1500 and her SS was 1600ish, not that it matters anymore.

      Sorry all … amends … but thanks for letting me put it out there … just so many compounding issues all culminating in an avoidable outcome and that is what gets at me … the broader ramifications and what future that portends die all …

      P.S. @IM Doc … At least some physicians in authority here in OZ are making public notice about the state of things, not taking it and very clear in their language about it – “offending the very humanity” of clinicians. Head of the ED at a very large and prestigious hospital in Adelaide.

        1. skippy

          Ta John … but my past experiences make this just another Thursday in comparison to some of what I seen. I’m not even emotional about it, more like this stuff happens everyday too others, and due to my past and accumulated knowledge know why … that is what puts hair on my back teeth … that its not an isolated instance and many others cop it or more … and that dynamic is increasing …

          Basically its not a bad day for me … its a bad day for all of us … amplify that how many times with all the thing happening right now and how that ends up down the road … that is my concern[.]

          Cheers mate

          1. Pat

            More condolences, with a recognition that part of what you must go through in this process is knowing how much of it was an unnecessary outcome of a system that is broken and will not be repaired/changed/discarded until many Moms have been sacrificed in it.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > compounding issues all culminating in an avoidable outcome

        Every three-ring binder out there has an introduction explaining that’s the general theory. Then in the middle they suit the honey to the particular bee. Then at the end they have the service agreements, the EULA, the forced arbitration….

        Fascinating your mother was a CPA. And then, and then, and then…. Families are weird.

        1. skippy

          “Fascinating your mother was a CPA. And then, and then, and then…. Families are weird.”

          If you only knew Lambert … born in the sticks of Iowa, father[baptist minister//architect died looking for work in St Louis so did the depression as the poor of the poor, movie screen looks, rookie of the year commodities trader, old school calendar girl, worked for Monsanto/Clarion Inc, owned businesses, married 6 times, 5 kids spread out, sucker for self help scams, could be painfully class orientated, great artist, yet at the end of it all became something she mocked before, and that is the short list.

          Yet I still remember the header on her FB page saying “I made it to the top” ugh whats a kid too do about that. So considering the currant topic about the PMC I find it all very applicable as an observation, backed up by all the network I was exposed too and how that crowd rolls … I even related to my half sister that she has once again “made it the top” as a item on your water cooler considering the stature of NC.

          Just imagine telling your mother when you broke the 100K a year mark back in the early 2000s in Oz to have her reply … but that is in Australian dollars and stuff costs more there … then I had to inform her of all the state funded things that matter which offsets the difference way more than her cheap labour and consumerist feel good class identifiers …

          Oh and to add insult to injury don’t forget my ex wife with the ICH had a psychotic episode in Budapest whilst on a 2 month holiday in the E.U. and called me up in the middle of the night and again on the way and at work. New boyfriend walked out on her after getting a preview of the future relationship after a few drinks and something was said back at the hotel.

          I guess what I’m rambling on about is rich or poor its the same game … seen it all … albeit wealth has an effect which deflects the vulgar aspects that the poor can not afford … so at the end of the day we have the same humans doing the same human stuff yet one lot aka the PMC and its betters have means to wash themselves of all sins and still stand above all others … this provokes my ire …

  2. ambrit

    For the plantidote, my best guess, accent on guess, is that it is an artichoke.
    YMMV (Your Meal Might Vary)

    1. Art_DogCT

      Definitely one of the thistle group. I initially thought it was a chrysanthemum, but then noticed the terminal spines on the leaves.

      1. Stephen V

        I concur as the Milk Thistle I planted last year did not bloom–too hot hear in Arky flyover last summer.. Yes, they are insanely spiny.

      1. ambrit

        If so, I never thought that I would fall so madly in love with a spiny tongue eater like the artichoke, but I did after Phyl first cooked some, actually, ‘stuffed’ them. Half of the fun is eating them safely. It can become a real challenge.
        Stay safe.

  3. FreeMarketApologist

    RE: “Why So Many Accountants Are Quitting”

    These (and the auditors) are my people. And it is tough work, particularly if you don’t have an aptitude for patterns, handling numbers, and knowing lots of rules from memory.

    That said, once you get past the basic mechanics of accounting, and the standards and regulations, it’s beautiful, in the way that simple shapes can combine to create beautiful, complex geometric patterns. When you start out, it all looks like little boxes, triangles, and some oddball lines. At some point though, the parts come together and the big pictures are revealed. And the joy is in knowing the parts and their fit.

    I’m not a math head, but have been working with the numbers and systems in finance for 30+ years. Some of it certainly was real slow going, but it has paid off intellectually, aesthetically, and financially.

    And given that good versions of the work are all about an extremely high degree of accuracy (and not just made up stuff), ChatGPT won’t be taking over any time soon — though data analytics are making the work of putting more of it together faster.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I remember getting my intermediate accounting textbook, which was something like 800 or more pages and probably 2 pounds. Prior knowledge of financial and managerial account were required.

      I changed my major.

      And this was one of like 10 required courses to hit the 150 credit hours of education required in Florida, and then you needed to sit for the accounting exam after a year long internship.

      Hard pass.

    2. KD

      I don’t understand why anyone would become a CPA. Hours are terrible, pay is terrible relative to law or finance or IT, and the liability they take on is ridiculous. I’m not surprised no one is doing it.

      1. Yves Smith

        It’s a great job for women who want to work part time (mommie track) as long as you can find a way to resist or limit the hours demands at tax season. So you’d need to be a CPA working under a partner.

      2. albrt

        No offense intended to accountants because I mean this literally, not as an insult – accounting seems to be a popular career choice for people who want to do something others cannot and will not do, aka borderline masochists.

        1. caucus99percenter

          That’s how computer programming used to be thought of, back before Apple & Co. made it seem “cool.” In the days before the Great Tech Gold Rush, back when I was a young ’un, and data entry was holes punched in card stock, and mainframe dinosaurs from IBM and the Seven Dwarfs roamed the earth…

        2. eg

          My father was an electrical engineer who after 10 years in communications with the RCAF became a computer programmer at Northern Electric (you probably know it better by its later, bankrupt name, NorTel). He got his RIA designation (the old acronym in Canada for CMA) presumably because he worked on the finance systems there in the 80s. My suspicion is that he found the predictability and regularity of numbers and computer systems appealing in a world of irrationality.

          1. Questa Nota

            Accounting story, of a sort

            You have $100.
            You can buy NorTel stock.
            Or you can buy beer.

            Turns out that the beer was the better purchase.
            NorTel stock crashed and was worth less than the deposit you got back on the beer.
            And you had the enjoyment of savoring the beverage.

            Variations of the story were repeated by former NorTel employees, from whom I heard it, and many others.

    3. Offtrail

      Thank you for that post. The heart of any profession is always of interest, especially when presented by someone who loves it.

    4. rowlf

      Someday I would love to hear your view on data analytics. I work on a project that has data monitoring of machines and human inputted data. The machines are mostly ok to work with (but a few computers go crazy) but human inputted data is very low quality stuff to work with. With the HID you have to spot what is missing or mucked up.

    5. Laura in So Cal

      YES! None of my friends are numbers type people so they don’t get the fun of bringing order to chaos or of spotting the anomalies in patterns, etc.

      I always loved the core of my job as an accountant/financial analyst. The corporate bs is what I had a problem with.

    6. griffen

      This might be a mere anecdote, but the corporate employers nearby in South Carolina all want people with accounting / finance skills plus an aptitude to either know or learn SQL coding. Bonus points for someone able to do that plus a side role dabbling in Tableau or Power BI. I can dabble in the BI software, but that’s where things are leading. I have learned more about data infrastructure and daily operational best practices in the past few years.

      As these finance companies grow and branch into new states, every state has different licensing and regulations on business practices and crucial lending statutes. Hard to codify this all into Excel spreadsheets, so hire the GL accountants and the number crunchers. Final thought, the young minted graduates are not interested in paying their dues as they have already done so with their shiny undergraduate degree. I could really vomit.

      Added, no shout out for the financial book cooking movie thriller “The Accountant?” Art history doesn’t pay the mortgage.

  4. Mikel

    “Why So Many Accountants Are Quitting” [Wall Street Journal]

    The definition of “tech” has become too broad.

  5. Art_DogCT

    A friend has recently been sharing the writing of Violet Blue, who publishes on Patreon. She says of herself, “I have an unusually high metabolism for news and developed systems to find and filter relevant stories on challenging topics. This becomes my weekly cybersecurity roundup (every Tuesday on Patreon), and sex news posts on TinyNibbles. My primary standards are factual accuracy, diversity, and telling you why these stories are important.” Since this writing she’s added a COVID-19 roundup she updates almost daily, and a weekly privacy news roundup as well.

    Woohoo! Finally, a peer-reviewed study on Corsi-Rosenthal boxes! “This interesting research showing that the air filters not only reduce particles carrying the SARS-CoV-2 virus but also reduce other indoor air pollutants could be very significant as we continue to work to create cleaner and safer indoor air,” [News-Medical]

    Her notes on the stories she links to have a savor similar to our gracious host. For example, some of her headlines:

    – CDC reacts poorly to China copying CDC’s covid response
    – New variant XBB.1.5 scares everyone (except CDC)
    – Long covid omitted from all “top 2022” health stories


    The embedded link: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20221223/Simple-Corsi-Rosenthal-boxes-can-help-reduce-exposure-to-indoor-air-pollutants.aspx

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Blue is very good. I should link to her more often, but unfortunately she does not have a newsletter to subscribe to, and her Twittering is infrequent enough to get lost in the flow,,,,

  6. semper loquitur

    Lot’s of confusions in that hit piece by Emma Green”

    “All the talk about empire-building and capital accumulation—a key component of Marxist economic theory—made me wonder whether “the people” in the People’s C.D.C. are those people. When I asked Wallace this on Zoom, he gruffly denied that the members are all communists. “There’s certainly an edge of Red-baiting on your part,” he said.”

    An edge of Red-baiting? I’d call it a full serving. And empire-building and capital accumulation are discussed in circles ranging from conservative to leftist. And asking whether everyone in your organization is a Communist? What answer did she expect?

    “Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer and the president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, pushed back on Wallace’s claim that states are in cahoots with the C.D.C. to abandon basic covid data-gathering. Her department doesn’t have the money or political backing to set up daily nasal-swab testing sites. Instead, it’s investing in wastewater testing, but not as a conspiracy to obscure what’s happening—the practice is just more sustainable.”

    Ah, it’s more sustainable, there’s a nice sugary word. Why, pray tell, is it more sustainable for a state in the wealthiest nation in the world to go with only one effort to combat COVID? Why doesn’t the money or political backing exist to take an “all hands on deck” approach to a pandemic? Perhaps it has something to do with the “empire-building and capital accumulation” she flinched at? No story here, sez Emma. And what answer did you expect to get from a official who would be involved in any such conspiracy? Did she seek out other sources for the claim? Nope, it’s an appeal to authority. The whole pile of (rap article is, but it is exactly that authority that is under question. Is this a form of question-begging too?

    “The People’s C.D.C. talks about “science” as proof that the members’ position is correct, when in reality they’re making a case for how they wish the world to be, and selecting scientific evidence to build their narrative. It’s a kind of moralistic scientism—a belief that science infallibly validates lefty moral sensibilities.”

    Right, cause telling everyone it’s their personal problem, Grandma be d@mned, is not moralizing. Are those “lefty moral sensibilities” at work? And what about the principle of precaution? We as a nation have the money to do everything that might help….ooops, my Communism is peeking out.

    “To make claims that C.D.C. is beholden to big business—this is just nonsense, frankly,” Frieden, the agency’s former leader, said. “Once you’re sitting at C.D.C., your goal is not to say the thing that makes you feel best or sounds most politically correct or radical.”

    Right, because if it were beholden to big business we could certainly expect a full disclosure from someone who ran the agency. My Brave search function certainly believes in disclosure:



    Crackerjack journalists like Emma Green might find internet searches useful in the future. And the notion that the C.D.C is somehow magically above politics is patently ridiculous. It’s a government agency, for chrissakes. Does anyone over the age of 12 believe it is somehow above the fray?

    “This approach falls flat in areas where scientific knowledge is lacking, such as long covid. Leana Wen, a professor at George Washington University’s school of public health and the former health commissioner of Baltimore, told me that there’s a distinction between patients who have trouble recovering from a bad covid case or who experience lingering symptoms and those who are truly debilitated afterward. “That’s not one in five patients,” she said, of the latter group.”

    Ugh, Wen. Okay, so scientific knowledge is lacking about long COVID but we know for certain that there is a distinction between people recovering from COVID or who experience lingering symptoms and the debilitated. Couldn’t it be a spectrum? How do we know, exactly? And whatever the case, isn’t it still a crisis? “Oh, I was only sick for two months! I lost my job and home but it’s not long COVID so there is that.” No discussion to be found here. On the face of it, it sounds like one of those blanket statements that Green was presenting criticism of just a few scant paragraphs above.

    It sounds like Green is trying for that “balanced” approach so favored by the PMC. Everyone has a story to share! But the grim numbers belie such attempts to normalize and minimize. Perhaps those are the reasons no one trusts the institutions involved, not a group of concerned citizens raising the alarm? That and the back and forth advice, confusions, lack of data, and cheerleading for experimental medicines?

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The first time it came around I skipped reading Green’s Forever Masking assemblage of words — an assemblage of words about which I remain puzzled and wonder at their basis. I tried reading your comment and wondered at its length and peculiar scatter of words and ideas — so — after mystifying over Green’s twitter tweets I gritted my teeth and made an effort to read Green’s piece about Forever Masking. [Disclaimer: I have grown despondent that I may indeed be forever masking with my P100 mask.] After reading Green, I could too well understand the length and desultory spread of you comment as a brave effort to respond to her word mashup. I salute you. Even IRS interpretations of tax law are more transparent than Green’s inimitable [I hope to god!] writing clarity and style.

    2. tegnost

      Why, pray tell, is it more sustainable for a state in the wealthiest nation in the world to go with only one effort to combat COVID?

      Wealthiest nation? And as for combat, you realize we have ukraine to pay for? We can’t just pay for anything! And we need to bankroll the reconstruction for Blackrock, which firm is obviously an american hero? And you seem not to have noticed but in the above lambert reminds us that the electioneering for 2024 has started so what are you? Some kind of Trumpster?

    3. Jason Boxman

      I certainly look forward to learning of her COVID infection(s) and eventual contraction of long-COVID, if only she is so fortunate.

      These people deserve nothing but scorn and contempt.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      It grows ever difficult and tiring to argue with opinions expressed as unstructured aggregations of points of argument, vaguely expressed and without clear indication of the author’s regard or lack of regard for the arguments they collect and mimic. It is infuriating to attempt deciphering an author’s opinion from subtle and obscure hints tossed in as a smattering of points possibly favoring, others possibly opposing, a never completely stated position. Increasingly, I grow ready to summarily and completely dismiss all such expressions of quasi-opinion — regardless of such merit as I might find in them after exertions on their behalf.

      [This comment tails a preceding comment which may or may not survive.]

  7. polar donkey

    It’s hard to believe after the job Pistol Pete did in South Bend, he’s not knocking it out of the park at the Department of Transportation.

    1. poopinator

      There are rumors coming out of D.C that they will solve this crisis by installing wine caves in all major airports.

            1. RA

              At risk of debasing a previously perfect period piece.

              What does ‘spolling’ mean. Put into search
              produces puzzling propositions. Leaving me perplexed.

              1. RA

                Was editing but timed out.

                Oops, now I assume Spolling is misspelling of Spelling.

                I’m OK on most posting punctuations too. But this is all in fun.

                Alliteration, a high form of humor, just behind puns on the scale

                Sorry I made my last post.

    2. Bob White

      We were just discussing what job Mayo Pete could be competent at…
      Best one I could think of is “robot dog” (no weapons though).

      1. Pat

        Thank you for that correction. Pete Maravich was the reason for my brief period watching basketball. I’m one of those weird people that love movement styles more than sports themselves. Maravich could corner on items smaller than a dime and was explosive from almost a dead stop. Amazing, and the players that offered the best defense against him were almost as interesting.

      2. griffen

        I can highly recommend the book on point guard extraordinaire Pistol Pete, written by Mark Kriegel. The dynamics between his father Press Maravich makes for a remarkable read. Dad was a college hoops coach, and the son was apparently destined to play for hometown NC State. Alas, along comes LSU with a job offer and hires Press to be their head coach.

        Averaged 44 per game. Before a shot clock. Without a 3 pt line. That stat is just unreal.

  8. kareninca

    The egg outage has reached Silicon Valley. Yesterday at Trader Joe’s in Palo Alto there were no eggs at all (except for a couple of packages of the pre-boiled ones). Over the past several months I have seen many mentions of lack of eggs on reddit/collapse, but we’ve had a tolerable supply here. No longer. I also noticed that the TJ’s mayo section, which used to include nice big cheap jars, but for the past two years has only had little costly organic jars – was empty. Mayo contains eggs.

    My 98 y.o. father in law, who lives with us, gets half his calories from mayo. Vegan mayo is just not the same. So I’ll be getting a few extra jars at Safeway, as soon as I can.

    1. vao

      Avian flu has been devastating commercial poultry in Europe and the USA for the past few months. Could this explain the egg shortages?

    2. tennesseewaltzer

      My experience with backyard chickens is that they slow down, maybe take a long break, from laying eggs starting usually in late November into January. Then production ramps up again. It has to do with cold and the length of days. Commercial chicken farms must have some ways of overcoming the shortage, especially at this time of year when baking hits a high. Perhaps the commercial approach is no longer chicken-acceptable. Or it also could be the avian flu.

      1. Lex

        Egg producers usually apply artificial light during the winter months to keep production up, even at a pretty small scale. I don’t know the details but do know some small producers and some who used to do it. My recollection is that it isn’t even strong light but just the presence. I don’t remember if they keep temps above a set point, but assume that they do.

        1. John

          We had lights, bare bulbs, 60w I think. They were on a timer and came on about 3PM until about 6:00 or 6:30 then again in the morning so the chickens had about 12 hours of light. Egg production was steady,IIRC. This wasmany years ago and I was a boy. I may have the details wrong.

    3. Noone from Nowheresville

      Eggs: Store brand $5.45 / dozen large $8.18 / 18 egg carton
      Gas Station branded eggs large $4.99 / dozen

      The grocery store still has some sales on eggs but those shelves are empty at the moment.

      Noticed that cottage cheese was now $4.99 per carton. I forgot if we’re on the 32 oz or the 28 oz container these days.

      Whole milk yogurt on sale for $3.99

      Parm cheese jumped $1.00 / per lb on the big wedge. Smaller wedges of the same product jumped more. No New Years Eve sales on cheeses this year.

      Also no holiday coupons starting around Thanksgiving like prior years.

      Other stuff seems to be going up a dime or a quarter at a time. e.g., Pineapple juice used to be on sale for $2.49 it’s now $2.99. Went up a dime at a time. Probably $0.20 in the last six weeks.

    4. Laura in So Cal

      Kroger/Ralph’s had no eggs at all on Tuesday, but had a 1/2 full section today.

      This is in Los Angeles County.

    5. Darius

      Meijer in Marion, O. was all out of cheap store brand eggs yesterday. I had never seen it and was surprised. We got the cheapest national brand. About $5.00 for a dozen.

    6. RA

      Another odd egg observation from a “silicon valley” Trader Joe’s. This one at San Jose/Campbell.

      When I bought a dozen about a week ago many egg shelves were empty but a few dozens in the higher priced “Jumbo Free Range” section where I do usually buy. So I bought a dozen — checked, none looked cracked or were stuck to the package.

      Now as I used them, I found a couple eggs I removed intact but found shell fragments stuck to the package under them.

      I guess the store must have manipulated the short stock to juggle damaged dozens to make full ones.

      Other than the odd remnants under a few in the package, the full eggs looked ok and didn’t make me sick.

      Just an odd observation that probably reflects the shortage. Thinking now, no idea if this manipulation was store or supplier.

  9. lyman alpha blob

    RE: “Judge: Jan. 6 committee evidence suggests Trump asked rally crowd to break the law”

    It’s really quite amazing the knots of stupid the TDS-infected will tie themselves into trying to show that Trump committed some kind of verbal crime. I just checked my Dictionary of Modern American Usage and found that the phrase “peacefully and patriotically” is NOT synonymous with ” grab a sharp implement and stab someone in the eyehole”, despite the Idiot Schiff’s claims to the contrary.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Big difference between “suggests” and “prove in a court of law”. If Schiff says stuff like this just in the streets, Trump could go after him for libel.

        1. Questa Nota

          Schiff, the next lying sack of… Senator from the Great State of California?
          Feinstein, say it ain’t so.

    2. albrt

      The Politico article is stupid. The opinion of the judge is actually semi-reasonable:

      although his express words only mention walking down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, one might conclude that the context implies that he was urging protestors to do something more—perhaps to enter the Capitol building and stop the certification. But even if so, there is simply no indication that Trump informed the protestors that doing so would be legal, as required to make out either defense. His speech simply suggests that it would be an act of “boldness” to “stop the steal.”

      In a footnote he says that the Jan. 6 committee had reached the conclusion

      that former President Trump acted “corruptly”—that is, he knew that stopping the vote certification was not lawful….. The report also notes President Trump’s instruction in his speech to, for instance, “fight like hell” . . . which could signal to protesters that entering the Capitol and stopping the certification would be unlawful.

      The judge goes on to say that his conclusion is consistent with the January 6 committee conclusion, which seems like a stretch. But for purposes of deciding what evidence a jury can hear, if the conclusions in either direction are strained and improbable (which I would say they are), then it probably makes sense that the evidence is not admissible in a jury trial.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > “one might conclude that the context implies”

        I haven’t read the briefs. It may be that this logic is directed solely at the claim the defendant was making (hence the apparent absurdity that Trump had to tell the protesters what was legal; surely the presumption is legality? But perhaps not in the theory of the case the defense used.

        But as far as an indictment of Trump goes, “one might conclude that the context implies” is the sort of logic one gets in one of the many, many “walls are closing in.”

        Meanwhile, we have the intelligence community, Twitter, plus Democrats all merging into a single Blob and engaging in domestic pysops, and nobody turns a hair. It’s a funny old world.

  10. lyman alpha blob

    RE: black creators

    I appreciated the phrasing that black creators ” still feel they have to work twice as hard as their white counterparts” because I read that excerpt about four times and couldn’t figure out where anybody was doing any actual work.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      My daughter is a ‘creator’ — part Asian, not Black — of the sort you question, and question only in the sense of your wonder that they must work twice as hard for the goodies of profitable retail ties. My daughter does women’s nails ‘creatively’. I have not seen her work and I have no idea exactly what she is up to. [Your query about ‘work’ is strange — suggesting you have not attempted to create something ‘new’. Sorry, that is unfair! Take a closer look at what you do and have created and ask again whether ‘work’ were required. If that exercise fails try inventing. Creating is work. Creating is difficult and consuming work — requiring exertions far beyond those required for common physical work.]

      I had a close, even best-friend, from high school who published some reviews of rock records in a local counter-culture newspaper in the 1970s, and who benefited immensely from a flow of recordings he received as a consequence of his articles. They helped shape and structure his views on contemporary rock and they saved him oodles of cash that he did not have, and never did have. I believe his views were influential, and the inflows of CDs were extremely beneficial to his development as a music critic and to the quality and insight contained in his reviews. He was no one of greatness beyond the limits of the few music reviews he did.

      I believe we all suffer a loss from the peculiar bias evidenced in this link — a bias that constrains the fullest and broadest aesthetic of Humankind’s creativity and culture. The racial bias this link intimates is anathema to the fullest creative potentials of Humankind.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Of course all people should be compensated equally and true creativity is a boon to all of society. And your daughter and friend perform actual, useful work.

        The occupation described in the excerpt is “influencer” or “lifestyle creator” which in my mind is someone who hawks the creation and work of other people on a social media platform someone else created. That occupation is what my snide comment was aimed at, and in the world I’d like to live in, it wouldn’t exist.

        That children receive substantial compensation for unwrapping product in front of a camera for thousands of “followers” of a similar age is not the sign of a healthy society to me. Stumbling across that type of crap several years ago made my kid cry, thinking she had so little compared to other kids after watching them receive one toy after another and not understanding what was really going on. I’ve had enough of advertising, marketing, branding, and late stage hypercapitalism in general. Apologies for not being clearer about that earlier.

        1. Pat

          One of the things that has annoyed me most in the ongoing censorship of social media is that the one thing that should happen hasn’t. And that is clear and prominent labeling that this is a paid advertisement. If X has received compensation to open a box on video that video should have a crawl that states flat out paid advertisement for *brand name*, that should be at the top of the Twitter post, Instagram shoot, etc. That isn’t censorship it is just transparency.
          And part of the reason it hasn’t happened and won’t is that social media companies actually do profit from the most prolific influencer accounts.

          I admit I have a fantasy of one day hearing that 99 out of 100 posts made by Kardashians have banners across them saying “paid X dollars to tell you they used or wear or do this when they don’t”

  11. Jason Boxman

    Two used bookstores in Durham NC, masked required, people were masked. Only places I’ve seen almost any masks in months. Reminded me of early days in 2020.

  12. Wukchumni

    The Eel River in the far north of the state wasn’t dammed back in the day, on account of an unlikely benefactor of then Governor Reagan interceding.

    Its projected to flood by Sunday, as we have a fortnight more Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious coming from the heavens above.

  13. agent ranger smith

    About the upcoming Something Awful for covid . . . . I suspect China is already providing the upcoming Something Awful.

    The ChinaGov has gone from zero covid to let ‘er rip. In a population as big as China’s, that could mean the emergence of yet more new variants with yet more new talents. Also, I believe the ChinaGov has reduced proof of immunization and/or negative-covid-testing requirements for anyone wanting to enter China. I think the ChinaGov plans to use this new permissiveness-to-entry by foreigners to extort an equal permissiveness-to-enter from foreign governments on behalf of Chinese wishing to travel to other countries no matter what their infection status or what brand new variants they might be carrying.

    They have already adopted a ” Wuhan 2.0 Coverup” approach to covid tracking for the whole entire country.

    Why shouldn’t I believe the ChinaGov is working to export a brand new Covid Something Awful to the rest of the world? Japan, South Korea, and some other East Asian countries will try to prevent it from reaching their countries. And the harder they try, the louder the ChinaGov will demand that these other countries let Chinese visit these other countries with zero testing or controls of any kind. And if demands don’t work, the ChinaGov will try firmer methods of pressure and extortion.

    Events will prove me right or wrong over the next 6 months.

  14. Lex

    Good to see data on the C-R box. I’m not surprised by the results and, IIRC, they’re in line with the small study that 3M did a bit ago. Filtering air isn’t hard and it is effective. What can be difficult is applying aftermarket filtration solutions to extant, commercial HVAC systems. The C-R box or any number of similar solutions are good solutions for stop gapping.

    Aside, taping a filter directly to the side of a box fan will not be as effective as the C-R box because of particle velocity through the filter being higher. That filter type will work better with low velocity flow. And making a similar setup that moves more air and uses HEPA filters is no more difficult. A 4” centrifugal fan and replacement HEPA filter for an air purifier will do it. You need the increased pressure of the centrifugal fan type to overcome the static pressure drop across a HEPA, but you will also gain a significant number of air changes per hour with the increased CFM of that fan type. And it will all be in a smaller package than the C-R box. Always prefilter a HEPA to increase filter life.

  15. thousand points of green

    About ” “Discover The Fascinating World Of Plant Root Systems With Erwin Lichtenegger And Lore Kutschera’s Collaborative Project” . . .

    An American agricultural researcher named John Weaver did the same thing to a lesser extent in America many decades ago. Here is a link to a book he wrote about that.

    Here is a bunch of images which starts off being some of Weaver’s mapped-out root images before it branches off into unrelated things.

    A respected gardener/ garden writer named Robert Kourik has written two books about understanding plant roots and how to use that understanding in gardening , horticulture and agriculture.
    https://awaytogarden.com/understanding-roots-with-robert-kourik/ . . . . and . . .


    Kourik uses some of Weaver’s root-map diagrams.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Oooh, I should do a post on roots. I’d bet anything there’s a carbon capture angle. I’d also bet all those “Plant a million trees” efforts pay no attention to roots at all, and that’s why they fail (in addition to the monocultural aspect).

      1. thousand points of green

        One very narrow spot-focused little corner of the possible carbon capture angle might be the sugar/amino-acid/other products and metabolites which plants exude through their roots into the soil right around those roots. Part of those exudates go to feed favored bacteria and another part of those exudates go to feed favored mycorrhizae. The mycorrhizae use those exudates as their food to live on and part of what they do with the energy they get from those exudates is to scavenge certain minerals out of the soil they are in contact with and send those minerals back into their host plants via the roots. Those minerals help the plants grow more-better and photosynthesize even more CO2 and H2O into more sugars both for more plant growth but also for feeding yet more exudates to the mycorrhizae who bring back even more minerals to their host plants. Thus setting up a virtuous spiral stairway to the stars, so to speak.

        And one of the excreted by-products of the mycorrhizae’s own metabolism is a gluey long-chain carbon material which the scientists have decided to call “glomalin”. And the glomalin breaks down into a very refractory and durable long-chain carbon component of humus, making a longer lasting humus than some other sources. That glomalin and glomalin-humus is a longish-term carbon lockup storage material down in the soil where the roots and mycorrhizae put it.

        To the best of my purely amateur hobbyist knowledge, to be sure.

        Several years ago at an Acres USA conference, a researcher-businessman named Andrew Melendres with a business called Soil Secrets was invited to give a presentation. His presentation was about restoring certain needed and useful mycorrhizae to trees who were missing them on their roots. Here is a link to his business, with enough sub-links that the reader can find some papers and etc. with enough clicking and see if it seems interesting or not.


        I would look forward to such a post. So might others. Some of us might even be inspired to bring little bits and pieces of their own information and experience to the resultant comment thread.

        1. thousand points of green

          Here’s some random images for “plant tap roots”.

          Here’s some random images for “deep root systems”

          Here’s some random images for ” deep root system plants”

          There is image overlap, but some images are unique to each collection of images. Some of this might offer some pleasurable url diving.

  16. VietnamVet

    The top caste is filled with Emma Greens. I’m one of those untouchables she shuns who socially distances and wears masks, forever.

    After five outings, unless I’ve caught COVID, I’ve updated all of my medicine. The next trips in public are for a blood test and medicine towards the end of February. Forcing exposure of grumpy old veterans and widows to the outside world infected with endemic Wuhan coronavirus variants is Eldercide. Once you are forced out of your home onto the ice floes, you’re dead.

    The report that NGOs led by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation seized the global response to the pandemic has come and gone. Still, the results are clear: Profits for pharmaceutical corporations/stockholders and no non-pharmaceutical interventions.

    The response to the Ukraine proxy world war is not much different. The lives of others are of no concern. Since March 2022 in the USA, the approximate 13,000 deaths with COVID each month is almost twice the near 7,000 Marines killed at Iwo Jima in 36 days. The USA is suffering two bloody WWII battles each month in silence.

    A prime reason Southwest Airlines collapsed is worker shortage. Pilots, train engineers, and truckers are needed to deliver the goods. Millions of Americans and Canadians are too ill with Long-COVID to work.

    2023 has the hallmarks of the year that civilization collapses. The end of Zero-COVID in China means that there are no functional national Public Health Services left on earth. Without peace and cooperation, there is no future. Today, right now, the global end-times capitalistic economic system is simply profiteering and exploitation. Damn the consequences.

    1. John

      William Gibson’s novel Pattern Recognition says that the Jackpot, a never specified series of calamitous events leading to the gradual collapse of civilization to a much meaner level for most, began in 2023. He is a careful observer. Let’s hope reality does not follow fiction.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I’d be more worried about cascading failure rather than a jackpot-

            This sounds like cascading failure to me:

            No comets crashing, nothing you could really call a nuclear war. Just everything else, tangled in the changing climate: droughts, water shortages, crop failures, honeybees gone like they almost were now, collapse of other keystone species, every last alpha predator gone, antibiotics doing even less than they already did, diseases that were never quite the one big pandemic but big enough to be historic events in themselves.

            What distinction are you making, here?

            1. The Rev Kev

              That a critical failure in one major system leads to another major system falling over and so on going through most of the system. The financial events of 2008 give an indication of what that can look like that, one that originally started in home mortgages and in the end nearly took down the financial system.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                That is the work that the word “tangled” is doing. I’ve always assumed all the disasters in the Jackpot were cascading and interlinked. I’m quite sure that is what is meant.

              2. skippy

                Sorry but it did not start in RE mortgages Kev … it was baked in long before that due to total and expansive dysfunction in credit risk weighing.

                It only only looked like a RE thingy due to its socioeconomic effects which were quite public in nature. This is why in the past YS noted that it could have all been sorted with workouts and a slight recession to cool the RE market from taking a total dive.

                The problem was the entire ecosystem of credit was impaired and necessitated such gob smacking liquidity to fend of the shorts and investor emotions.

                Good grief had it only been a RE thingy …

  17. Glen

    A good look at the SWA breakdown:

    The Largest Airline Meltdown in Aviation History! 29 Dec 2022

    Sorry for linking to YT, but Juan gives a quick concise rundown on just how SWA fell apart.

    To be honest, I’ve seen the EXACT same types of decisions made where I work (profit over everything) for decades, and while this worked for a long, long time we are now semi-officially out of the period where ignoring problems is gonna work for very long. The duct tape and bailing wire that held many companies together because the CEOs refused to spend the money or hire the people to really fix the problem is coming apart.

  18. spud

    the reason why i fear bill clinton democrats more than a trump type, is because bill clinton and his type actually believe the free market garbage, there are feverish believers, far more dangerous than a trump blowhard.

    they hated trump because he exposed them. he said the clintonoite democrats helped to rig the system, that trump himself said he used all of the time.


    “Often not well understood, however, is this: The biggest private expansion into intelligence and other areas of government occurred under the presidency of Bill Clinton. He seems not to have had the same anti-governmental and neoconservative motives as the privatizers of both the Reagan and Bush II eras. His policies typically involved an indifference to — perhaps even an ignorance of — what was actually being done to democratic, accountable government in the name of cost-cutting and allegedly greater efficiency. It is one of the strengths of Shorrock’s study that he goes into detail on Clinton’s contributions to the wholesale privatization of our government, and of the intelligence agencies in particular.”

    ya gotta know history to help fix the future.

  19. spud

    i believe that one of the most important reasons FDR was allowed to run, is because america was melting down into a elites are gonna pay one way or another.

    elites feared that they were gonna pay for their follies, and not in a court room, but by mob.


    “Violence was in no way limited to cities and industrial workers. Since World War I farmers had been producing too much food. As a result they were getting very low prices for their crops. Many could not make ends meet or afford to make their farm mortgage payments to the banks. Banks were foreclosing on those who could not make their payments, taking possession, and then selling the farms at auctions to recover what money they could. Seeing no help coming from Hoover, in 1933 farmers in the Midwest began taking matters into their own hands. They began organizing to push for mortgage relief legislation and a guarantee that at least their farming production costs would be covered. Some went beyond lobbying to forcefully stopping eviction sales and intimidating judges, bankers, and insurance agents. In Dennison, Iowa, a crowd of farmers attacked collection agents and sheriff’s deputies attempting to foreclose on a farm. Such violence in early 1933 was growing so much that the governor of Iowa placed six counties under martial law, which meant suspending local civil laws and placing military forces—in this instance armed National Guard troops—in control to maintain peace. Some warned President-elect Franklin Roosevelt that economic strife was so widespread and severe that a violent revolution was brewing in the Midwest farm region. Farm relief became a top priority of Roosevelt’s first New Deal programs.”

    once rage fueled mobs go out of control, you never know where it might lead, FDR understood this well.

    its why the


    did make some elites pay a price for their follies.

    truman had one also, lots of elites did perp walks.

    1. agent ranger smith

      This historical information, in general and in detail, should be spread to the middle aged and even more to the young.

      ” Someone or someones” should find a way to begin starting either real or virtual teach-ins all over the country to spread knowledge of this history to millions of non-old people who don’t know about it. Perhaps seeing that it was once done might inspire millions of non-old people to begin wondering how updated versions of it could be done in today’s conditions.

      Such teach-in movements would have to be dispersed and leaderless enough and geographically ever-shifting enough that they could not be stopped by government police force the way Occupy was.

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