2:00PM Water Cooler 12/30/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Painted Bunting, Wichita Mountains, Comanche, Oklahoma, United States. “Songs from a male perched prominently on a tall oak.”

* * *

Readers, since these are the waning hours of Saturnalia, I’m going to be very lazy, and not do a full Water Cooler. Specifically, I’m going to leave out most of the Covid material — all the “good” data is yet to come after holiday travel finishes, and in any case I can’t really add to the message “Stay safe out there!” — and everything else will be sketchy.

I’m sure will have more posting soon on the past year, and the year that is to come, but you still might care to comment on 2022, and 2023. For example:

Readers? What about you? Lessons learned?

* * *


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

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

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

Biden Administration

“Sam Bankman-Fried had four White House meetings THIS YEAR: Bombshell report reveals disgraced crypto mogul met with top Biden aides as recently as September” [Daily Mail]. “The Democratic donor, 30, awaiting trial for what prosecutors say is one of the biggest financial frauds in U.S. history held talks with senior White House advisor Steve Ricchetti on September 8, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. He has had at least two other meetings with Ricchetti on April 22 and May 12 and another with top aide Bruce Reed. Bankman-Fried’s brother Gabriel also participated in a meeting on his own on May 13. The latest report is further evidence of the deep ties Bankman-Fried had with Washington before he was charged with swindling investors out of at least $1.8 billion. The White House has refused to say whether Biden will give back some of the $5.2 million in donations from the fallen FTX founder gave to his campaign and connected groups in 2020.” • Oh.

“White House antitrust adviser Tim Wu set to depart” [Politico]. “Wu was the architect of President Joe Biden’s 2021 executive order on competition policy that directed agencies across the federal government to boost competition throughout the economy…. ‘We had the rare opportunity in this Administration to try and steer the giant battleship of antitrust policy in a new direction,’ Wu said in a statement provided by the White House. ‘We got more done over the last two years than I would have ever imagined, and it has been the opportunity of a lifetime to work on that project with an extraordinarily talented group of colleagues in the White House and the federal agencies.'” • I hope this isn’t a bad sign. Commentary:


“Trump’s tax returns released after long fight with Congress” [Associated Press]. “The documents include individual returns from Trump and his wife, Melania, along with Trump’s business entities. They show how Trump used the tax code to lower his tax obligations and they reveal details about foreign accounts and the performance of some of his highest-profile business ventures.” • Totally not a nothingburger!

Democrats en Déshabillé

Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Note From San Francisco” [Matt Taibbi, TK News]. “At the moment, all we can do is show a few pieces of what we think might be a larger story. I believe the broader picture will eventually describe a company that was directly or indirectly blamed for allowing Donald Trump to get elected, and whose subjugation and takeover by a furious combination of politicians, enforcement officials, and media then became a priority as soon as Trump took office.” • What a nothingburger!!


“Covid Year Three (Unlocked)” (podcast) [Death Panel (enoughisenough)]. “On the sociological production of the end of the pandemic.” “We take a look back at the year’s events and the major social and political developments that worked to normalize covid in 2022.” • This is a great podcast. This episode begins with a sonic montage of various luminaries, including Walensky. I wonder if Walensky’s voice sounds like Marcie Frost’s? It should.

Note from the grounded:

Of course, if “Covid is airborne” had been appearing on every chyron in America for two years, that Southwest passenger probably would have spelled “airborne” right.

As long as it’s “mild” Russian Roulette:

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Chicago PMI” [TradingEconomics]. “The Chicago PMI in the United States increased to 44.9 points in December of 2022 recovering slightly from a 30-month low of 37.20 points hit in November and compared to market forecasts of 40. The reading pointed to a fourth consecutive month of contraction in business activity in the Chicago region.”

* * *

Supply Chain: “From the docks of Southern California and Europe to the parcel hubs in the Midwest and the store shelves in New York, signs are growing that the global supply-chain crisis is over” [Wall Street Journal]. “The Covid-19 pandemic that spawned product shortages, shipping bottlenecks and soaring transport costs may not be gone, but… goods are moving around the world again, reaching companies and consumers. Despite widespread government and industry attempts to unwind the bottlenecks, the real break may have come in the demand slowdown that has eased the pressure on strained operations.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 36 Fear (previous close: 35 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 38 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 30 at 1:06 PM EST.

Guillotine Watch

“How Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and world’s 500 richest billionaires lost $1.9 trillion in 2022” [Bloomberg]. • Happy new year! And many more like it!

Class Warfare

“Socialist candidate Will Lehman exposes massive voter suppression in the UAW elections” [WSWS]. “One million out of 1.1 million eligible members did not vote in the election because the UAW leadership deliberately kept them in the dark. This is not a matter of opinion but of provable fact. Lehman’s protest describes, for example, how the UAW national “Member News” web page, which is incorporated into many local union web sites, made no reference to the election whatsoever between July 29 and November 29. While it maintained a conspiracy of silence around the union’s internal elections, the bureaucracy devoted vast resources to campaigning for the Democratic Party in the national midterm elections. In those elections, which took place at the very same time as the union election, the bureaucracy utilized advanced techniques, organized public events, and bombarded union members with advertising in an effort to increase turnout by reminding workers of voting deadlines. There is no innocent explanation for this contrast.”

Useful source:

News of the Wired

“How did the Babylonians know √2 up to six digits?” [The Palindrome]. “This clay tablet from 1800-1600 BC shows that ancient Babylonians were able to approximate the square root of two with 99.9999% precision. How did they do it?” • For math mavens!

Happy New Year!

* * *

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 Tom:

Tom writes: “On our walk with the dogs today at Middlesex Fells Reservation in Massachusetts we found this one tree that, remarkably, sill has leaves on it. It’s late December and after the heavy wind and rain last week so it’s quite a surprise to find any leaves on trees. So this really stood out and looked ghostly. Whatever commenter can tell me about it would be welcome.”

* * *

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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. LawnDart

    Re; #COVID19

    Here’s one for ya:

    China Covid surge: US considers wastewater procured from international flights to track mutation of virus
    Ayndrila Banerjee, December 30, 2022 17:26:09 IST

    Experts say wastewater testing has proven to be a better solution to track the mutation of Covid-19 than travel restrictions including mandatory testing


    [“No s**.” In 3, 2, …]

  2. Carolinian

    Turley on Dog-gate (the NY Post story in yesterday’s Links)

    “It didn’t happen.” According to published excerpts, President Joe Biden is denying an account of the Secret Service about an agent being attacked by his German Shepherd, Major, at the White House. The statement from the President raises some interesting legal questions after he effectively called an agent a liar about an official report on one of many bite incidents with the Biden dogs.

    If the quote is accurate, the criticism could not only be viewed as defamatory but another unfounded attack on the integrity and veracity of federal employees by the President. This should not be dismissed as some sensational “President Bites Agent” story. It raises long-standing concerns over the lack of recourse for agents endangered or abused by protected individuals. Indeed, the controversy raises some of the issues litigated during the Clinton Administration over the status of Secret Service agents.

    The article suggests that Biden’s feud with the SS may go back to when female agents objected to his swimming in the nude in front of them. What a guy.


    1. polar donkey

      Seems a trend, don’t talk bad about my useless, corrupt son and don’t talk bad about my psycho dogs.

      1. Carolinian

        There are no bad dogs–only bad owners. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. At least he doesn’t have pit bulls.

  3. Kilgore Trout

    Today’s plantidote looks like a juvenile beech tree. They tend to retain their leaves until springtime, making them distinctive in mixed hardwood forests of New England in winter.

    1. LY

      I also think it’s a beech tree, as the branch structure looks like it. I can’t confirm without looking at the leaves. I’ve been surveying them for the last few months, as they’re now plagued by Beech Leaf Disease (BLF), probably caused by a nematode. The main characteristic is dark bands on the leaves. It is eventually fatal.

    2. divadab

      Fagus Grandifolia, if I’m not mistaken Big-leaved beech or American Beech. This tree arrives late in forest succession, and can live for years and years as a small understory tree until a neighboring tree, such as red maple or balsam fir or birch, falls and opens up a light gap in the canopy that the beech can grow into. I suspect the leaves stay on longer for this reason – to catch the very last rays of sun after other trees have shed their leaves. Same survival strategy as Lucopods – ground pines.

      In northern New England, at altitude, there are large beech forests, mixed with yellow birch, hemlock, sugar maple, red oak, and black cherry. I call these forests Narnia forests – they are relatively open and really lovely with the various shades of grey bark. Look out for bear claw marks on the beech bark – bears love beechnuts! Interestingly, Beeches do not produce nuts every year. It is theorized this is a survival mechanism – an irregular fruit will not attract a regular fruit eater!

      1. Alex Cox

        In southern Oregon our oak trees didn’t drop their leaves. It looks like autumn in the snow. Some have fallen. What will happen in the spring?

  4. doug

    Some species of immature (young) trees hold their leaves well into winter. White oaks, I think and Beech trees do. Quick way to spot new growth while botanizing at 60mph…

    1. CanCyn

      It is likely a beech tree, agreed. We have a lot of beech trees. Their golden leaves are very cheering in November when all the other leaves are down and we don’t have any snow yet. They do lose them slowly over the winter. A big stand of beech trees in fall can look like Lothlorien in the right light. We always try to mark the last leaf to remain in the early spring but never quite manage. One day there are still a few and then one day they’re gone and I am watching for new spring growth.
      For more info:

  5. in_still_water

    Fukushima – still astounded how little about this was reported initially.
    In depth reporting could have helped alert folks that ‘just-in-time inventory’ could mess the supply chain royally up on a regional/international scale – to say nothing about the dangers of this type of energy source and the generational ramifications thereof.
    {sorry about the source (haven’t seen many recent articles about the subject) and lack of a link due to firefox and some of my add-ons}

    1. nippersdad

      So many of the people I watch on YT who comment on EU Green policies tend to sneer at, say, Germany’s putting their nuclear power plants on ice, but fail to mention that the policy was a direct response to the Fukushima melt down. Were they only as informed about the radioactive water poisoning the Pacific as they are about other issues their commentary on the topic might have some value.

      Something with the potential for a 25,000 year half life of misery should get more respect.

    2. Paradan

      We could have a Fukishima, or a Chernobyl happen every 20 years and it will never equal the foot print of a single instance of global warming.

      1. ambrit

        I beg to differ.
        Global warming has been a part of the Pleistocene Epoch for several millions of years. Periods of glaciation interspersed with warming trends. The dreaded Milankovitch Cycle comes into play here.
        Pleistocene Epoch: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleistocene#:~:text=The%20Pleistocene%20(%20%2F%CB%88pl,recent%20period%20of%20repeated%20glaciations.
        The Quaternary Period: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternary
        Milankovitch Cycles: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2948/milankovitch-orbital-cycles-and-their-role-in-earths-climate/
        Anyway, back to the radioactives.
        Fukushima is planned to release huge amounts of radioactively contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. There, the Pacific currents move the contaminated waters towards the Northeast and affect the Northern Pacific fisheries. Part of that current ends up running south along the coast of North America. So, this is similar to the oft cited “comparing apples to oranges” effect. Given the half lives of some of the contaminants, one Fukushima should be quite enough to cause observable changes in the flora and fauna of the world for the potential lifespan of the Terran human ‘experiment.’
        I take solace in realizing that, the earth will carry on long after we are gone.
        Since we individuals live in the short term, Stay Safe!

        1. Milton

          Denialist! Your talking periods that took 10’s to 100’s of thousands of years to complete a cycle from glacial advance to retreat. Humans are managing to perform this trick in 100’s of years. My fingers are shaking too much to offer much else as a response to your insanity but if you are too blind too see the approaching cataclysm ahead you are simply, well, I don’t want to spell out what I might regret.

          1. ambrit

            I realize that you are strongly concerned with this issue, but the deployment of slurs like “Denialist!” and “your insanity” reek all too strongly of religiosity. Roughly speaking, “Heretics” versus “The Saved.”
            First, the ultimate judgment on Terran humans will be if we suffer near term or far term extinction.
            Secondly, the “narrative” that climate changes were long drawn out affairs, ie. uniformitarianism, exclusively are losing said exclusivity before increasing evidence that catastrophes have had a far greater impact on the world than presupposed. The Younger Dryas event is the poster child for this.
            Younger Dryas catastrophe theory: https://bigthink.com/hard-science/younger-dryas-impact/
            Back further, the Toba eruption of about 74,000 years ago created a severe bottleneck in the Terran human population.
            See: Toba catastrophe theory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory
            In short, Terran humans have faced near extinction several times before.
            Terran human technological civilization might not survive the Sixth Extinction event looming on our horizon, but the odds are that some Terran human populations and cultures will.
            I am fine with being excoriated. One needs a tough skin to comment on the internet. It would not be a first time for me to suffer such an event. However, do consider the corrosive effects upon yourself from allowing rage and anger to consume your heart.
            Stay safe, and calm.

          2. Scylla

            I’m sorry- you are a denialist. We do not need either of these. The people pimping nuclear power are the ones that want to keep this monstrous party going. Complete denial. Industrial society with a gigantic human population is built upon carbon emissions. There is no way around that. The correct answer is to reduce everything- consumption, power use, population, and most of all- the elimination of capitalism and exploitation of others for wealth hoarding. Nuclear power is not the answer here.
            I don’t know why I even bother, because nothing will be done that will not make matters worse, and one way or another, we are going to hit the wall at 1000 mph, and then completely collapse. Mother nature will take care of the problem, just as she always does.

        2. Paradan

          They are releasing water contaminated with Tritium, a hydrogen isotope. It’s a beta emitter, with a half-life of 12 years. In humans it has a biological half-life of 7 to 14 days. Its 1/1000 of a cubic kilometer being diluted into an ocean of 700 million cubic kilometers. Your granite counter-top is more dangerous.

          1. Acacia

            Do we know for sure that’s the only radioactive contaminant in the water?

            Have there been any independent audits of the contaminated water?

            The clean-up operation at Fukushima has been pretty slipshod, and it’s not as if the people in charge haven’t lied or minimized or played games with numbers before.

            1. nippersdad

              Apparently, we do not:

              “Since Japan announced it would release the treated water into the Pacific, it has been working with the International Atomic Energy Association to ensure its plans are safe. In February the IAEA made its first assessment and recently completed a second assessment at the end of March.

              The IAEA is expected to deliver reports from its site visits in the next two months, according to its website, and would release a fully comprehensive report before any water is released.

              Richmond said the panel wants to work with Japan and the IAEA to ensure the best outcome.

              Nonetheless, the information seen by the panel showed less than 1% of the tanks of wastewater had been treated and less than 20% had been adequately sampled, Richmond says.

              “Based on those numbers alone, we’re uncomfortable in making predictions of where things are going to end up,” Richmond said.”


              I would guess that this is the same IAEA that cannot discern who is shelling the ZNPP. What is most troubling is how all of this is becoming normalized.

          2. melvin keeney

            I worked in nuclear power. Tritium can’t be filtered by anything. You should be much more worried about the plutonium, uranium, cobalt and cesium isotopes. Look up those half lives.

      2. Milton

        Wholeheartedly agree. Blaming Fukushima radiation on depleted fish stocks in Alaska is tin-foily adjacent to public ills caused by powerlines and jet Chem trails. The cause is staring us square in the face and few want to accept it. Of course over-fishing by large corporate fleets are a major contributor as well but rising ocean temps caused by global warming is (or will be) the primary cause.

      3. Mikel

        Fukishima and Chernobyl left behind a lot of foot prints.
        Prints of the people that had to run for their lives.

  6. IM Doc

    This hagiography was printed in the New York Times yesterday.

    I have read many biographies of medical figures over the years. This one is rather unique, I must say. Most, but certainly not all, physicians of the past would take great pains to hide their narcissism. Not this time. it is literally spelled out for all to see right in the first few sentences of the piece.

    The walls in Dr. Anthony S. Fauci’s home office are adorned with portraits of him, drawn and painted by some of his many fans. The most striking one is by the singer Joan Baez. The two of them, he said, “have become pretty good friends over the years.”

    Let me put it this way, I have over my life been inside the inner sanctums/offices of countless dozens of this nation’s most prominent physicians from Nobel Laureates to members of the NAS to writers of textbooks. On not one single occasion in my entire life have I ever seen any of these offices festooned with gigantic portraits and photos and totems of themselves. Not once. Certificates yes – portraits never.

    It is also concerning to me that our elite are so out of touch that they do not even know the basics of the stories that their own mental and personality issues are based on.

    The story of Narcissus is about a man who spent hours daily sitting at the side of lakes looking at the reflection of his beautiful face in the water, petting his temples and getting his hair perfectly straight.

    I have always thought of the selfie craze of the past decade as an expression of what our forebears noticed millenia ago in this regard. The concept of covering your own office walls with artwork of your face never occurred to me until now.

    I wonder if the NY Times would be so celebratory in its discussion of this, had the subject been someone like Trump.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I don’t read the Times regularly any more; I would rather rely on trusted sources to vet the Times stories for me before reading them. Such as yourself!

      I’ve already given him a Sociopath of the Day award. But perhaps that was only for 2022….

      1. Bosko

        Lambert, as a longtime NYT-subscriber, a leftist who grew to view this publication with a warier and warier eye, I can say that unsubscribing from the paper was one of the best things I did in 2022. It doesn’t publish the news, it publishes (as Taibbi recently said better than I will here) a certain representation of upper-middle-class preoccupations, and the ‘lifestyle’ pieces and occasional recipe are the only things worth reading. My life is better without it.

    2. CanCyn

      Creepy to the max also. I had a girlfriend who was interested in a guy until the first time she went to his apartment and found his walls festooned with huge images of him in martial arts action shots. No other art. Just framed poster size images of him. She made her excuses and got outta there quick.
      If I didn’t already loathe Fauci, I surely would now.

    3. katiebird

      (humming along with Elvis)
      Well, I used to be disgusted and now wished I was amused….

      I think Fauci was the worst possible person for the COVID time. I guess it starts to make sense now that we know he’s so wrapped up in himself, he didn’t have much leftover for serious pandemic work.

    4. semper loquitur

      Thanks for your insights, Doc. There is some real “mojo” going on with all those drawings. I’d call them votive offerings.

    5. Cas

      I’ve also been struck by the blossoming of narcissism reflected by the selfie craze. Walking down the San Francisco waterfront watching the endless parade of people taking selfies reminds me of the aria from Handel’s Semele, “My Self I Shall Adore (if I persist in gazing)”. Of course the addictive mirror leads to Semele’s destruction.

    6. Pat

      I am reminded that Fauci, once he recognized his response was not going to produce the results he was going for, finally signed on to actions activists had been urging for years thus becoming an “ally” for some. But he never admitted to a course change and has never acknowledged the failure of his judgment regarding AIDS. I am not sure he has admitted it even to himself, because of his narcissistic nature.

    7. skk

      I’m wondering whether to buy Robert Kennedy Jr’s book “The Real Anthony Fauci” – a person ( David Collum) I listened to recently seemed gobsmacked by the stuff stated in the book. No idea if its true or not..

      1. Yves Smith

        I believe the stuff about Fauci is accurate, particularly on AIDS. Book very uneven on the disease, for instance touts the bogus “natural immunity”.

    8. curlydan

      In the article, he claimed to be “embarrassed” a bit by the portraits but said he couldn’t not display these things that were created for him by people. But then in a subsequent photo, we see that he’s also displaying a bobblehead and an action figure of himself. Uh, Tony, a factory in China created those, so that kinda blows up your claimed rationale for displaying the portraits.

      I recently read “And the Band Played On” where Fauci only has a bit part (but does not come off well). One of the main things I took from that book was the incredible egos some of these NIH guys have, particularly Robert Gallo.

    9. KLG

      I came along a bit before IM Doc, and I can say the same thing about those I have known who were awarded a Nobel Prize and the many more who are/were members of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society. Most were humble and helpful and did not care if they were talking to a research technician, graduate student, postdoc, or junior faculty member who would have been yours truly ;-)

      As for NIH researchers, for the most part they have been viewed as second-raters, which has not always been true, of course. I am not one to complain about second-raters, but off hand I cannot think of one Nobel Laureate who was an NIH staff scientist when the research was done except for Marshall Nirenberg, who came out of nowhere to be instrumental in describing the real genetic code in the 1960s. Which is NOT the sequence of a genome! But that is an argument not worth pursuing anymore.

      As for Fauci, who has been an administrator mostly, he and Francis Collins were two peas in a pod. And their doings regarding COVID have not been fully accounted for, yet.

      Regarding the RFK Jr book on Fauci, it sits on my shelf but I stopped reading after 30 pages because he was casual with his facts. That dovetails with his utter stupidity regarding vaccines and autism. I doubt I will return to it.

    10. agent ranger smith

      If the coming House Republican Majority is going to investigate somebody and hold hearings, I hope they focus their effort and detailed attention on Fauci most of all.

    11. rowlf

      In the military a wall of achievements and everything else is known as a “I Love Me” wall.

      (At least the folks who have been on the two way range keep it real.)

    12. skippy

      Well spotted Sir …

      I mean what lordly castle is not festooned with the likeness of its Lord, because its apparent they are the Lord, not to mention put there by the LORD himself, and all should rejoice in his accomplishments because it is THE PLAN.

      Its even better when the chattel or artisans supply the Lord with the iconography in a symbolism of love for him without him having commissioned it. None can deny this observance and the Lord is blessed by it.

      Not that any of these people in question have studied the bibles or the history attached to each iteration through out history. One day I would like to know which is your preferred concise summery author.

  7. TimH

    A comment that people aren’t black and white:
    E Musk is a dick, but with the help of Taibbi and friends exposed the FBI takeover of Twitter

    D Trump is a dick, but he killed TTP as soon as he got into office

    M T Greene is a dick, but she is one of a few questioning why USA is funnelling so much money into Ukraine when domestic issues are not being funded

    1. IM Doc

      CS Lewis, the British writer philosopher that brought to the world The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy spent much of his time also writing about the concept of evil and the devil and how the devil behaves to get his way into our lives. He wrote The Screwtape Letters in a manner to be understood by all about how evil works to gain entrance into our lives and affairs.

      He wrote the following in one of his many essays about the devil. I like to think of it not so much as the devil but evil……

      The Devil always sends errors into the world in pairs…..pairs of opposites…..he relies on your extra dislike of one to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no concern than that with either of them.

      As I get older, the more dumb I realize that I have been. So much wasted time and effort. This former avid political person of the Left, myself, who could not get enough of dailykos.com, et al has now realized what a critical error I was making for decades. I wish I could get all that wasted time back. At this point, I take no sides other than the side that appears to be correct for ALL of us going forward. I listen to and process all good ideas for the common good no matter the source. That was the America I remember when I was a kid. And I have begun to do all I can to get that America back for my own kids. We all had better start listening to one another. If we do not, it will be the death of us all.

      1. Hank Linderman

        YES. This is the price of division. As a D candidate in a deep R district, I made it a point to go to R events and took the approach of “I know there’s lots we disagree on but can we start with something we agree on? How about this: it seems like neither one of our parties is doing a great job for the people…” This got 100% agreement. Fwiw, a R county party chair has been removed pending an investigation for allowing me to speak at their meeting the night before the election. Finding common ground at the grassroots is a dangerous idea to the current party structures.

        I’m *progressive*, whatever that means – if Bernie says it I probably agree, but that’s just where I start. My experience in the creative arts means I’m quite used to solutions that aren’t obvious and that require getting all ideas on the table. I don’t give a fig if a conservative idea works best to solve a problem.

        I usually find it a little harder to get folks on my D side of the fence to moderate their opinions of the R *opposition*.

        Perspective defines our morality and determines what we believe to be right or wrong. IMO, YMMV…


        1. Charger01

          William O Douglass paraphrased that idea regarding the national forestry system and “the land of many uses”

      2. Screwball

        Thank you IM Doc, and thanks to the people who run this website. Conversations like this are hard to find, and we are lucky it happens here.

        We all had better start listening to one another. If we do not, it will be the death of us all.


        It’s not that hard either. I can talk to people about issues and we can agree – but once it turns political – it’s over. There is no longer a conversation. I don’t have the answers, but I think we, as a country, are in a very bad place.

        Learning to know one another, and listening to what others have to say would be a great start IMO. Seems that can’t happen.

        So sad.

    2. John

      Yet more examples for those who would have all persons meet all of their standards, moral, behavioral, speech, semiotic, etc. , all of the time or be banished to outer darkness. People ain’t perfect. Even those you might otherwise loathe are quite capable of brilliant insights and correct judgements on occasion. Be thankful that they get it right to your satisfaction every now and then.

  8. semper loquitur

    The Radical Center host Leslie Elliott interviews Christine Sefein, a former professor of counseling at Antioch College who left because of the pernicious effect that social justice ideologues had on the school. A key point is that the students were being told rank people’s suffering, in other words the pain of a white, straight male wasn’t as valid as say a gay black female. This is the antithesis of how Sefein, a specialist in grief counseling, was trained to work with her patients:


    What’s especially interesting is that Sefein relays that she was told by a higher-up at the school that they had to go along with the Woke lunacy even though many of the professors and administrators disagreed with it. It was tied to their funding. I’d love to see someone trace that money back to it’s origins. Is it all just elite social contagion or are there darker forces at work? You cannot ask for a more divisive ideology re: the 99%.

    1. Acacia

      It may not be difficult to trace the money. Here’s how I would read it…

      As colleges and universities have increased tuition (to pay for the administrative bloat), more and more students take out loans. Around 70% in the US now complete a bachelor’s degree with some student loan debt. This is all familiar, but what it means is that higher ed is getting a lot of its operating revenue via these loans. Now, federal (Stafford) loans come with certain conditions, such as Title VI, the federal law that prohibits them from discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Similarly, Section 504 and Title II prohibits them from discriminating against persons with disabilities, and Title IX from discriminating based upon sex (now called “gender”). In June of this year, the Dept. of Education proposed extending Title IX to sexual orientation or gender identity, to “strengthen protections for LGBTQI+ students”. There are a bunch of other requirements being proposed as changes to Title IX.

      Speaking from personal experience in a USian university, my sense is that the people running these schools know very well where the money is coming from, and are deeply concerned about being on the receiving end of a lawsuit that finds their school to have discriminated against a student. They see the writing on the wall and connect the dots from race, sex, disability, to the newly-proposed changes to Title IX. Faced with the choice between embracing woke and fighting lawsuits that could jeopardize their institution being a recipient of Stafford loans, they have embraced woke.

    2. hunkerdown

      Elites need priests and strata, and the woke religion and the intersectionalist theory of property are as good as any others for keeping the leisure class’ flag aloft.


    MWRA data shows a doubling (1000->2000) on North and South Shore in the last week.

    Not a good sign.

  10. SteveD

    Releasing the former guy’s tax returns to the public, even redacted, sure seems like something that’s gonna set a really ugly precedent. I’m scratching my head trying to determine why his tax returns are ‘in the public interest’. Seems to be strictly about trying to keep him from running again.

    As in “this guy isn’t as successful as he says he is.” This is what I want my congress spending time on? I don’t think so.

    1. nippersdad

      Spending several years wailing about how Trump took advantage of the tax code that Congress wrote for people like him may not work out as well as they think it will.

      Trump told his base from the outset that he took advantage of the opportunities that pay for play gave him. This merely proves his contention.

    2. griffen

      Older brother has a cynical take on such circumstances around supposed successful businessman. Some people are just lucky instead of actually good at their chosen profession. Older brother should know BS when seeing it, given a 30+ year track record in the accounting track as a CPA.

      Trump is sooo successful at avoiding taxes because his business interests are not so profitable after all, well that is the angle I can buy.

      And to be truthful what is actually worse in the end. Our esteemed 44th president could use his silver tongued eloquence to successfully evade or avoid tough questions about the financial industry after 2009. And miracles upon miracles, the Obama’s now have a nice retirement plan and homes across the country.

      Its enough to evoke my new favorite terminology, which is to vomit.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        44’s retirement isn’t a secret. He was getting $400k post bribes from corporations for speeches, and millions as post bribes for book deals. As long as those are all legal, a President that plays ball during his tenure will always make out in the end.

        1. griffen

          I was not precise in my wording, exactly, but I would make a clarification. The Obama presidency makes one aspect perfectly clear; standing in front of the angry mob with pitchforks, he was well compensated for doing so.

          I do not think I am alone in thinking this way. The foreclosure crisis after 2009 is a good example of why he was not to be trusted.

    3. albrt

      I am concerned about the instances of Democrat overreach for the same reason as Lambert – the Democrats are pretty clearly developing a method of removing opposition party officials from office by endless investigation and dogpile.

      That said, I am not overly concerned about the release of Trump’s tax returns. Most high level candidates have been preemptively releasing their tax returns for decades. It is somewhat humorous that the returns are being released right as the House Democrats lose the ability to use them for anything.

  11. griffen

    SBF donated ill-gotten funds (seems all too likely) and also got invited into meetings with some high and mighty persons. I love the high potential blowback this whole FTX crypto saga portends in the near future.

    Must’ve thought he was arrived after doing such little actual work.

  12. Paradan

    Ok so I didn’t read the Babylon article, but I’m gonna guess that they simply took the ratio of a square’s diagonal to one of it’s sides. This is like high school geometry stuff.

  13. Not Again

    Sam Bankman-Fried had four White House meetings THIS YEAR:

    Maybe Hunter invested the “Big Guy’s” money in crypto?

    1. Wukchumni

      ‘Look dad, I know i’ve been a {family blog} up all my life and its the reason you keep bringing up Beau, as a bulwark against the bad apple, but I think we should bet the house on Crypto, er the White House, dad. I’ve got an in with the Major Major Major Majordomo marketmaker.’

  14. ChrisPacific

    Sounds like the Newton-Raphson method might be somewhat misnamed, if the Babylonians knew about it.

  15. Jason Boxman

    TNR unhinged on Trump:

    Only a few days later, Donald’s December got much worse. Sure, the NFTs sold out, but even some of his most ardent supporters (e.g. white supremacist media personality Baked Alaska), who have stuck with him through the Big Lie, an insurrection, and the deaths of over a million Americans as the direct result of his malicious mishandling of the pandemic, were beginning to question their loyalty. And then came the final January 6 committee hearing.

    (bold mine)

    Biden’s Winter of Death commenced with full force almost a year after Trump left office. It is beyond a stretch to claim Trump owns every COVID death, and Biden is somehow blameless.

  16. KD

    The hypotenuse of a right triangle per Pythagorean theorem is A^2 + B^2 = C^2, so if you have a square of one unit in length, the diagonal of the square (or the hypotenuse of the 2 right triangles forming the square) will be the square root of 2 units. You could measure it with ruler, and probably would be useful for constructing/checking the construction of a square structure if you wanted to make sure you laid two walls at 90 degrees.

    This would apply even if you didn’t know the Pythagorean theorem, as it would be a property of the length of the diagonal of a square.

    1. britzklieg

      I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical
      I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical
      About binomial theorem I am teeming with a lot o’ news
      With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse”

    2. LilD

      A physical measurement isn’t going to be accurate to 6 decimals. Maybe 3 at best, which is 1000 times larger error

  17. Pat

    The Russian roulette tweet has set me off again. I hated it the first time I read it and scrolling through saw it again only to have the same reaction.

    I believe the author meant people to realize it is an absurd statement. If you play your odds of biting it are much better than of hitting a natural blackjack. The only way it works for most people is that they are safe because they don’t play. It becomes a statement about a situation where personal responsibility does have a great deal to do with your odds of survival. But the State’s handling of Covid has guaranteed that everyone has to play “try to avoid getting sick” thus severely lowering your odds of succeeding. The better pointed sarcastic critical analogy takes parsing out. It angers me that it wasn’t crafted well enough that you have to work at it.

    The Southwest/Covid joke is more effective. You don’t have to logic it out. It also spreads the word that Covid is airborne, even if misspelled.

  18. Mark Gisleson

    re: legal weed, I’ve never tried any but you can’t judge a product by one or two varieties. It would be like walking into a bar, ordering absinthe because you liked the color but then never drinking again because you didn’t like the taste.

    Unlike booze, pot doesn’t just come in different flavors, individual strains can vary far more widely than say the difference between beer and gin. There are strains that can make a dying patient on chemo want to get up and eat breakfast. I know of no alcohol product that can pick you up like that. And cannabis, obviously, can calm you down or blow your mind and/or energize your spirit or even help you achieve zen IF you pick the right strain.

    Or not. It’s not for everyone and in that regard it’s the same as booze. Leafly.com can help you find a strain that does what you’re looking for, but then of course you have to be able to find that strain and that’s the tricky part. Some day before I kick, I’d love to visit a cannabis store. Not to buy anything but just to laugh at the prices.

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