2:00PM Water Cooler 12/9/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I got wrapped around the axle on the New School strike. More Politics in just a bit. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

Lazuli Bunting, British Columbia, Canada. “Singing from the top of a Ponderosa Pine.”

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

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

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

Biden Administration


“Fear Was More Powerful Than Anger This Year” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. “As veteran Republican consultant Bruce Mehlman put it to me this week, “Voters were angry at Democrats and Biden, but afraid of Republicans and Trump. … They went with the folks who pissed them off rather than those who scared them, especially given the past three years.” Yes, many were upset about the inflation that spiked under Democratic rule. But as powerful an emotion as anger is, fear is even stronger. Anger is about the past; fear is about the future…. One does not have to be a Democrat or a liberal, an independent or a moderate, to see that things have taken a turn in this country. Now, Republicans are seeing it as well, albeit reluctantly. They know there’s a problem, but they remain hesitant to file for divorce, to end a relationship that’s costing them not only elections, but their very identity as a party. Voters seemed to realize this and acted on it, in almost every case. The specific choices of Republican nominees, coupled with the more general convergence of the Republican brand and that of the MAGA movement, may have cost them winnable Senate contests in Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, not to mention at least a half dozen gubernatorial seats, dozens of congressional races, and a slew of contests for attorney general and secretary of state in any number of states. It is far too early to write former President Trump’s political obituary, but judging by signs from some of the party’s biggest donors, some of his traditional allies on Fox News, in the New York Post, and the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, something seems to be happening. The mostly winner-take-all nature of the Republican presidential nomination process works to his advantage, but he has to get from here to there, and that path looks anything but clear. Maybe the MRNA (“Make Republicans Normal Again”) movement will give MAGA a run for its money.”

“How Democrats won the midterms” [The Hill]. “While Republicans are blaming the GOP’s losses on former President Trump and poor GOP candidates, many Democrats argue that their candidates’ wins came down to their party’s messaging.” • Rather, controlling the messaging. Neither Biden’s Covid record — where he killed more people than Trump, despite having the advantage of vaccines — nor Biden’s confrontation with a nuclear power were issues in the campaign at all. Granted, Republicans never made them issues, not even Trump, suggesting some deep dysfunction on that side of the aisle as well. All in all, an extremely self-satisfied piece, as the reporter simply emptied their Rolodex of Democrat sources.

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“‘Worth the wait’: Georgia run-off result cements Democratic Senate gains” [Financial Times]. “Walker’s defeat by Warnock means that from January, the Democrats will now control the Senate by a 51-49 margin — an increase from the current 50-50 split, where vice-president Kamala Harris is often required to cast a tiebreaking vote.” • Not any more, thanks to Sinema.


“Has Sam Brinton’s story always been too good to be true?” [LGBTQ Nation]. “Sam Brinton, a nonbinary LGBTQ+ activist and outspoken opponent of conversion therapy, has been charged with felony theft. They allegedly stole a woman’s suitcase worth $2,325 from a carousel at the Minneapolis Airport…. The criminal case against the activist is damning. Brinton had no checked luggage, precluding this being a case of accidentally taking the wrong bag. Video surveillance captured Brinton removing the suitcase from the carousel and putting the bag’s tag in their handbag before leaving ‘at a quick pace,’ the police complaint read.. Brinton should never have been given a platform by national LGBTQ+ organizations without having crucial details of their story confirmed. LGBTQ+ groups were sloppy, ethically negligent, and shockingly unprofessional, choosing expedience over prudence in turning Brinton into a national spokesperson. They were warned but didn’t listen.” • But why a woman’s suitcase? One theory. NOTE I’m filing this story here because it seems to me that one or another, successor ideology will be a 2024 issue, and it’s gonna get ugly.

“Donald Trump allies aim to capture his philosophy in policy book” [Florida Politics]. “[A]llies have translated [Trump’s] often loosely defined philosophy into a 246-page policy plan released Thursday — the ‘America First Agenda’ — that they hope will codify what has already become the party’s dominant ideology and serve as blueprint for lawmakers at the state and federal level, whether or not Trump wins another term….. “How do we capture that set of ideas? And how do we create a movement that will last for the next 100 years?” said Brooke Rollins, president of America First Policy Institute, the group behind the effort. ‘This book, in a way, is really a culmination of the last bit of policy work we did in the White House and the policy work we did in the last 500 days to really build out the substance of what an America First policy looks like.’ The plan focuses on 10 key areas, ranging from the economy to health care along with voting issues and government corruption. It calls for measures such as requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote, finishing construction of Trump’s border wall, opening new federal land to drilling, and prioritizing ‘working with nations that contribute their fair share to our alliances,’ while expressing skepticism toward multilateral institutions.” Not seeing that working class appeal. Nor Trump’s gift for saying that which cannot be said. More: “The America First Policy Institute, which is headed by Rollins, Trump’s former domestic policy chief, is often described as an ‘administration in waiting’ should Trump be successful in his bid to win a second term. The group is made up of 20 former senior Trump White House officials, as well as eight former Cabinet members and dozens of others who worked in the administration, and has spent the two years since the former president left office building on the policy agenda Rollins and others had begun to map out in 2020 for Trump’s second term.” • Since Trump faced a professional services strike in his first term, an “administration in waiting” would be a useful thing this time around.

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.

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“Sinema switches to independent, shaking up the Senate” [Politico]. “‘In a 45-minute interview, the first-term senator told POLITICO that she will not caucus with Republicans and suggested that she intends to vote the same way she has for four years in the Senate. “Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,’ she said. Provided that Sinema sticks to that vow, Democrats will still have a workable Senate majority in the next Congress, though it will not exactly be the neat and tidy 51 seats they assumed. They’re expected to also have the votes to control Senate committees. And Sinema’s move means Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — a pivotal swing vote in the 50-50 chamber the past two years — will hold onto some but not all of his outsized influence in the Democratic caucus.” •

“The winners and losers of Democrats’ primary shakeup” [Politico]. “The early consensus is that Kamala Harris, the first woman and first Black woman vice president, stands to benefit most from South Carolina going first. Despite her collapse in the 2020 primary, she has a favorable approval rating among Black voters, who make up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate in South Carolina. By virtue of her office, she is now inextricably tied to Biden, who is all but royalty there…. But if there is a real loser in South Carolina’s big win, it would seem to be Pete Buttigieg…. The Democrats’ discarding of Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state that launched Buttigieg’s 2020 campaign, wipes away a favorable state for him. And its replacement, South Carolina, could hardly be worse. Buttigieg, who suffered in 2020 from his failure to make inroads with Black voters, finished fourth in South Carolina that year, not only behind Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, but also billionaire Tom Steyer. The early state order is not yet set in stone, and its significance can be overestimated. First does not necessarily mean decisive, as Ryan Lizza pointed out the other day. And regardless of which state goes first, any candidate lacking Biden’s years-long relationship with Black voters — whether Buttigieg or anyone else — will have to find a way to appeal more to the party’s most reliable voting bloc to win a Democratic nomination.” • That’s a damn shame about Buttigieg.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“America’s shipwrecked working class” [Edward Luce, Financial Times]. “In 1981 Ronald Reagan showed he meant business by firing striking air traffic controllers. Here was Biden’s chance to make an equally robust statement in the other direction. ‘Our nation’s rail system is literally the backbone of our supply chain,’ Biden said. Not enough of a backbone to treat its workers with dignity, it seems. Railroad companies have been making enough profits to carry out regular share buybacks. By contrast, Biden took a big risk to forgive student debt — roughly $400bn of which will be cancelled in the coming years…. Why would Biden do that?…. The larger answer for such a sweeping cancellation is that Democrats are the party of graduates. Regardless of your ethnicity, the more letters you have after your name, the likelier you are to vote Democratic. Just as Republicans repay their donors with tax cuts, Democrats repay their base with debt forgiveness.” Sounds like Luce has been reading Thomas Frank. More: “The only ones missing out, it seems, are the “poorly educated” whom Donald Trump famously proclaimed to love. Though Republicans offer blue-collar America only trickledown economics, that is only slightly better than the promises Democrats struggle to keep. As a result, working classes of all colours have been steadily drifting towards the Republicans. This trend is deeper than whether Trump or Biden is on the ballot in 2024. It spells a future in which Democrats are the party of the campus with a cultural agenda that alienates a rising share of uneducated whites and non-whites, and Republicans who are skilled at harvesting blue-collar resentment of elites who pay little more than lip service to their needs.One party is dangerous. The other does not really seem to mean what it says. America is ripe for a third party — and a fourth. Maybe one day US democracy will offer a better choice.” • It takes the pink paper to write this. And Luce isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, either; it would be nice if events were outrunning punditry.


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

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

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• ”Fact Sheet: Departments And Agencies Commit To Cleaner Indoor Air Across The Nation” [The White House]. This is, more or less, the case for the defense. Frankly, it looks like an interagency process, to me, with all that implies about cumbersomeness, infighting, speed, etc. For example:

Under the Biden-Harris administration, Departments and Agencies collectively commit to:

1. Establish the Federal buildings portfolio (approximately 1,500 federally owned facilities across America) as an exemplar of innovation, implementation, and standards for indoor air quality through the following actions by the General Services Administration (GSA):

  • Established MERV-13 filters as minimum filtration efficiency requirement in Federal building Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems….
  • Advancing a national program to verify proper ventilation in federally owned buildings and to align with current CDC recommendations and EPA’s Clean Air in Buildings Challenge. GSA has completed verification in approximately 20% of its federally owned physical footprint and will now begin a second phase of the program which will increase that to 60%.
  • Partnering with Federal experts and researchers to conduct a real-world implementation study on how the design and operation of ventilation systems relate to indoor air quality for building occupants….
  • Convening a working group of subject matter experts to suggest further improvements to the P100 facilities standards related to the design and operation of ventilation systems in GSA-controlled Federal buildings based on lessons learned from the verification and implementation research efforts.
  • Sharing leading practices from research and indoor air quality improvement programs as a training resource for Federal and non-Federal building managers.

Weird flex on “collectively,” but that’s OK. I don’t see who or what is in charge of this effort. If Nixon had decided to clean the water or the air with this structure, if structure it be, I don’t think much would have been done.

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Lambert here: I think this material is important, so I’m leaving it up for today

• Still in humble tapewatcher mode, let’s assume that wastewater is a good proxy for real case numbers (see next link). Here is Biobot’s chart of wastewater and clinical cases from the beginning of the pandemic:

(NOTE I don’t run Biobot regularly because I don’t like their unexplained backward revisions. But “assume”). If we look only at wastewater (the blue curve) we see would assume that clinical case numbers are now, and have been for some months, more or less at a plateau, and in fact at the same level as every peak before Biden’s climactic, Omicron-driven peak of December 2021, as the grey “Fauci line” shows. And now the curve is rising.

• For all the peaks up to March 20, 2022, clinical case numbers and wastewater tracked very closely. Now they no longer do; they have radically diverged. I’d need to dig into why, but I’m not sure it’s home testing, because home test kits were available in 2021. It might be that Administration messaging changed. “Airlines, travel groups ask Biden administration to drop Covid testing before international flights” (CNBC, February 2, 2022). “States Lead the Way to ‘New Normal’ With Biden Administration Mum on Coronavirus Guidance” (US News, February 10, 2021). “The politics of getting to the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic” (NPR, February 17, 2022). “Are we really done with masking?” (CNBC, March 2, 2022). “National Nurses United ‘outraged’ over CDC’s rolled-back mask guidance” (May 17, 2022). Perhaps, in their totality, the administration’s move to “Let ‘er rip” messaging also conveyed to the public that Covid was, indeed, “just a flu.” Hence, no clinical cases. (It’s also expensive and dangerous to get involved with the health care system.)

• And still in humble tapewatcher mode, another CDC chart I don’t run regularly because it’s confusing. CDC explains how to read it: “If more area on the chart is shaded light or dark blue, it means virus levels were decreasing at more sites at that point in time. If more area on the chart is shaded red or orange, it means virus levels were increasing at more sites at that point in time”:

(The data is smoothed over 15 days.) At the bottom of the chart, you will notice that the number of sites in red — those with large increases in virus levels — has the kind of accelerating curve I’m concerned about. However, at the top, you will notice a black line dropping precipitously: This is the number of sites sampled. So, just when we need to have the best data, our sample is going bad (thanks, CDC). If you go down to the map in the Wastewater section, you will also see that the large number of sites — grey dots — that are not sending data at all (thanks again), as well as vast swathes of the country in the South, the border states, the plains states, and the mountain states that are not sending data at all (thanks once more).

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• ”‘Heartbreaking’ and ‘Pathetic’: US Obstructs Patent Waiver for Covid Tests and Treatments” [Common Dreams]. “Experts have long argued that pausing enforcement of the corporate-friendly TRIPS Agreement for the duration of the pandemic would remove the intellectual property barriers standing in the way of increased generic manufacturing. However, in June, Big Pharma-aligned policymakers—most of them from highly vaccinated rich countries—defeated a popular proposal to waive coronavirus-related patents to boost the global supply of jabs, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Instead, the WTO, which operates on the consensus of its 164 members, adopted a watered-down alternative pertaining only to vaccines—described by critics as worse than the status quo—and vowed to decide whether to extend the decision to cover tests and treatments within six months. The Biden White House’s new demand for a delay—in which they joined the European Union, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Switzerland—comes just days before the December 17 deadline.”

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• Eradicating an infectious disease! Are such things possible?!

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• Australia’s cabinet down the tubes:

Covid is not “like any other respiratory illness,” given its endothelial effects.

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• Maskstravaganza:

Williamsburg, VA.

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• ”Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health and Brain Maturation in Adolescents: Implications for Analyzing Longitudinal Data” [Biological Psychiatry]. n= 163. From the Abstract: “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant stress and disruption for young people, likely leading to alterations in their mental health and neurodevelopment. In this context, it is not clear whether youth who lived through the pandemic and its shutdowns are comparable psychobiologically to their age- and sex-matched peers assessed before the pandemic…. We found that youth assessed after the pandemic shutdowns had more severe internalizing mental health problems, reduced cortical thickness, larger hippocampal and amygdala volume, and more advanced brain age. Thus, not only does the COVID-19 pandemic appear to have led to poorer mental health and accelerated brain aging in adolescents, but it also poses significant challenges to researchers analyzing data from longitudinal studies of normative development that were interrupted by the pandemic.”

• “Discriminatory Attitudes Against the Unvaccinated During a Global Pandemic” (unedited manuscript) [Nature]. “We quantify discriminatory attitudes between vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens in 21 countries, covering a diverse set of cultures across the world. Across three conjoint experimental studies (N=15,233), we demonstrate that vaccinated people express discriminatory attitudes towards the unvaccinated, as high as the discriminatory attitudes suffered by common targets like immigrant and minority populations3,4.5. In contrast, there is an absence of evidence that unvaccinated individuals display discriminatory attitudes towards vaccinated people, except for the presence of negative affect in Germany and United States. We find evidence in support of discriminatory attitudes against the unvaccinated in all countries except Hungary and Romania and find that discriminatory attitudes are more strongly expressed in cultures with stronger cooperative norms. Prior research on the psychology of cooperation has shown that individuals react negatively against perceived free-riders6,7 including in the domain of vaccinations8,9. Consistent with this, the present findings suggest that contributors to the public good of epidemic control (i.e., the vaccinated) react with discriminatory attitudes against perceived free-riders (i.e., the unvaccinated). Elites and the vaccinated general public appealed to moral obligations to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake10,11 but the present findings suggest that discriminatory attitudes including support for the removal of fundamental rights simultaneously emerged.” • And we ended up mandating what should never have been mandated (the vaccines), and not mandating what should have been mandated (non-pharmaceutical interventions). Thanks, elites, good job on the “moral obligations.”

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Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission (the “red map”). (This is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you.)

Lambert here: The powers-that-be don’t even see transmission as a problem, obviously. But you might!


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published December 5:

0.2%. Distinct slackening (remember, this data is smoothed). Perhaps now that the holidays are over, people don’t feel such a need to get tested? Then again, as the grey Fauci Line shows, we are at the same level today as we were in the last peak (except of course this time the pandemic is “over”).


Wastewater data (CDC), December 5:

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

December 4:

• California data point:

And MWRA data, December 7:

Lambert here: Still falling.


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), November 28:

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

Variant data, national (CDC), November 19 (Nowcast off):

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

• As a check, since New York is a BQ.1* hotbed, New York hospitalization, updated December 9:

Lambert here: I see a continuing increase, but not acceleration.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,109,394 – 1,108,815 = 579 (579 * 365 = 211,335 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

Inflation: “United States Producer Price Inflation MoM” [Trading Economics]. “The Producer Price Index for final demand in the US rose 0.3% month-over-month in November of 2022, the same as an upwardly revised 0.3% increase in October and above market forecasts of 0.2%. Cost of services went up 0.4%, the biggest gain in three months, led by securities brokerage, dealing, investment advice, and related services, which jumped 11.3%.”

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Tech: “Google, ChatGPT and the challenge of accuracy” [Charles Arthur, Social Warming]. “what’s that misleading bilge going to be used to do? Creating partisan anger, for sure. My recommendation?” But wait for it: “Donate to Wikipedia. At least they’re sticking with humans. Who knows, the LLMs might prefer that content over their own. As Google already does.” • Oh no. Not Wikipedia. See Michael Olenick at NC here and here. AI is bullshit:


And much, much more.

Tech: Oh no, not Raspberry Pi:

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 57 Greed (previous close: 57 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 9 at 1:50 PM EST.


“Arrest affidavit unsealed in Club Q shooting case” [Colorado News Online]. Final paragraphs: “Documents pertaining to that case remain under seal. There is no record that any member of Aldrich’s family or law enforcement agency filed for an extreme risk protection order under Colorado’s ‘red flag’ law following the 2021 incident. A spokesperson for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis told the AP that the details of the 2021 incident made clear that the state’s red flag law ‘could have and should have been utilized, which would have removed the suspect’s firearms and could very well have prevented this tragedy.'”

Our Famously Free Press

“Taibbi Agonistes” [Ross Barkan]. “I told Taibbi I disagreed with his decision to publish the Twitter files as a tweet thread and not as a full-fledged story on his Substack. I told him what I’ll tell you here: no source should dictate to a reporter where the story is placed and what form it takes. All reporters make compromises when information is leaked and the leaker can have significant influence over how a story appears in print. Though Taibbi did not confirm this publicly, the conditions placed on his reporting were clear enough. Musk wanted the story as an exclusive for Twitter. Taibbi complied. His own reward seemed to be massive engagement on the platform, with his initial tweet liked almost 400,000 times and retweeted more than 150,000 times. Each tweet racked up tens of thousands of retweets and Taibbi’s own Twitter following soared. He added hundreds of thousands of new followers in less than a day and quickly surpassed 1 million on the platform…. I told him the problem, again, was that the source had the power to dictate the form and venue of publication, and his explanation to his readers was too vague. He said it was vague because he was honoring an agreement with a source. We agreed to disagree and moved on.” • I think it was worth getting the story out. Was Taibbi really supposed to insist that the story go to the Times?

Class Warfare

The New School:

“Students Occupy the New School After Administration Cuts Off Pay and Health Coverage for Striking Faculty” [HellGate NYC]. “At 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, on the 23rd day of the New School’s part-time faculty strike, now the longest adjunct faculty strike in United States history, a throng of people—part-time faculty, full-time faculty, alumni, and, overwhelmingly, students—packed the block of Fifth Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets in front of the University Center building, banging on drums, cans, pots and street signs, chanting, “If we don’t get a contract now / We’re gonna shut the school down!”… At 3:14 p.m., that’s exactly what the students did…. The occupation comes the day after the school’s administration announced that it would be suspending pay and health coverage for faculty that refuse to cross the picket line. The move affects faculty, said Cooper Sperling, a New School sophomore and member of the Alliance, ‘many of whom are caretakers primary insurance holders, some even pregnant or have upcoming surgeries. And this is all happening in New York City to the COVID-19 surge with over 40,000 cases as of the last few weeks.”” • Immediately after the negotiation, the administration mailed out this offer:

“12/9: Progress, But No Deal Yet. The Strike Continues!” [New School Part-Time Faculty Union]. “Last night, the New School’s lead negotiator presented our bargaining committee with an updated “last, best, final offer”. We were encouraged by this movement and worked through the night reviewing management’s offer. This morning, we are meeting with the university to share our response. President McBride’s email, sent just moments after we received the university’s updated offer, used the word “compensation” to mean salary. While we are encouraged by these gains, under the latest “last, best, final offer”, some of our members would still lose healthcare, and those who are on the healthcare plan might see all their raises wiped out by increases in the plan’s costs. We hope to resolve this as soon as possible, but until we have a deal that ensures members’ access to affordable healthcare, we remain on strike.”

The New School administrators are fully-paid up members of the Black Misleadership Class:

(See Adolph Reed’s brilliant essay, “The Trouble with Uplift” if you have not already.)

“We Are The New School” [Verso]. “Like many full-time faculty, I’ve had a lot of interactions with the administration over the years, and watched it slowly expand and take over more and more functions from us. It also seemed be become, over time, less and less efficient, less and less accountable, less and less reality-based. One of the jobs of senior full-time faculty is assessing the scholarship, teaching, and service of colleagues as they come up, and that review is rigorous. Meanwhile, we interact with a revolving door of administrators who seem accountable to no one. Their positions, titles and supposed responsibilities pop up like mushrooms after rain and disappear as quickly. There’s plenty of administrators I like personally and respect professionally, but the thing is that it is up to the administration to structure their work in an efficient and accountable way. This they have not done. It doesn’t help that the current leadership of the New School hardly interacts with its faculty, even its full-time faculty. I’ve not even met the current president and provost. I know many others who would say the same. They live in a bubble.”

“Blue Collar/White Collar” [The Offing]. “The New School administration has emailed several threats to part-time and full-time faculty alike to stop the strike using the well-being of students as the reason. But the protests are the greatest lesson for students living in a democratic society. It shows them that they too have a voice, and that the campus and education they entrusted us with is led in good faith, and with equitable working conditions for all. And if not, they too can ask for and reimagine the university they want to see and believe in.” • Indeed–

“New School Strike: Students Occupy University Center Over Longest US Adjunct Strike” [Teen Vogue]. “The New School is making headlines as its part-time faculty, after going on strike on November 16, now comprise what they say is the longest adjunct strike in US history — and the conflict is consuming the institution as a whole. This is one of several groundbreaking academic-labor moves to conclude 2022, including the ongoing University of California strike involving more than 48,000 workers, and actions at other colleges like Rutgers…. On Thursday, December 8, Teen Vogue reported from 13th Street and 5th Avenue, where a group of university students aligned with striking workers announced an indefinite occupation of TNS’s University Center. A crowd of roughly 100 students, workers, and employees rallied at the University Center’s doors, as passing cars honked their horns in solidarity. When students announced their occupation, the crowd erupted…. ‘In light of recent attacks by the New School administration on all school employees including faculty and students, as well as the blatant refusal to meet [the union]’s demands or even negotiate in good faith, the students have decided it is the time to escalate direct action,’ reads a statement from Student Faculty Solidarity. The group plans to occupy the University Center ‘until the administration resumes pay, full health-care protection, and retirement benefits to all striking employees and a fair contract is reached with part-time faculty.'” • The whole thing is worth a read. I continue to be so amazed and pleased by Teen Vogue’s coverage of the labor beat. Who would have known?

* * *

“Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt on why in-office work is better: ‘I don’t know how you build great management’ virtually” [CNBC]. “Schmidt says it’s not just a matter of nostalgia: There are practicalities to working together in person. For example, he says that conversations about professionalism — which might be particularly necessary at companies full of young employees — are much harder to have virtually. When Schmidt started at Google, for example, the company had ‘an awful lot of college students who were behaving as though the workplace was like college,’ he says. ‘And I used to say to them, ‘This is not college. This is a professional thing, you can’t do that. And, or, it might be illegal. So please stop, now.’’ Younger employees, particularly those between the ages of 25 and 35, can also use in-office settings to more effectively develop their management styles, Schmidt says. For him, that includes learning about meeting etiquette, presentation skills, workplace politics and dealing with competitors, both internally and externally.”

News of the Wired

Readers, I think I need to settle in for the long haul on boosting my immunity. Mindful of Michael Pollan’s injunction to “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants,” can any of you make food suggestions for boosting immunity, based on your own experience plus a mechanism? CAVEAT: No pills, no powders, no supplements. Food, as Pollan says. Maybe plants. Meat — perhaps as a condiment, meat’s best use — possibly. But nothing processed. Thank you! (I have, so far as I know, no allergies or history of any kind, although I have recently lost some weight, mostly through avoiding sugar and substituting water for milk. Also, I am an inveterate coffee drinker.)

* * *

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 howard:

Howard writes: “Symphiotrichum ericoides or white Heath aster. After a brutally hot and dry Texas summer, we just stumbled across this pollinator magnet growing on a never-watered berm. Sorry the resolution isn’t better, but it’s covered with dozens of bees, wasps, and butterflies. We have no memory of planting this: the map of its native range extends from Mexico to some of the arctic islands of Nunavut.” Really awesome. For any of you designing a garden over the winter, do think of being pollinator-friendly. It’s nice to have all these living things buzzing and flapping about, and also to help them.

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

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If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

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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. petal

    Lambert, you might want to include carrots(Vit A) in your diet if you aren’t already. They are good for your immune system(retinoic acid).

    1. tegnost

      My own personal weird habit is to have a carrot liberally drenched with mustard… yellow (mmm turmeric), or dijon, with slices of one raw garlic clove while making dinner. I like to think it’s good for me…

      1. petal

        Wow! At least it will keep the vampires(and others?) away? However you get your Vit A is good-it metabolises into retinoic acid and it’s really good for your immune system. We were working on it in the lab several years ago. Interesting to read about.
        I like my carrots sliced into coins, boiled, drained, then with a little melted butter mixed in. Boring but tasty and it gets the job done. They (w/o butter)reheat well in the nuker through the week in case one is pressed for time.

        1. ambrit

          Phyl likes carrots along with yellow squash and the occasional clove of garlic cut up and steamed. I use the resulting juice in my ramen preparation.
          Another fave of Phyl is beetroot. The leaves are good in salads. An excellent source of iron I’m told.
          Bon appetit!

        1. Joe Renter

          This is second hand info, so take it with that in mind. I grew up not far from Gilroy CA, know as the garlic capital of the world (now?). Anyway those who made a career in the processing of garlic had a lifespan of over 8 years the norm. Caveat was you had the order of garlic after your shift and who knows how long after that.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Anyway those who made a career in the processing of garlic had a lifespan of over 8 years the norm

            That’s interesting, but I can’t find a link. I did find this from Nutrients (2019):

            It was found that the habit of garlic consumption was inversely associated with mortality among 27,437 participants aged over 80 years in China. The oldest old who consumed garlic more than five times a week had a 11% decrease in the risk of mortality, compared with those who consumed it less than once a week. The association was consistent across different age groups (octogenarians, nonagenarians, centenarians), for different sex, and in different participant subgroups defined by various baseline characteristics…. Among 92,505 person-years of follow-up from baseline to 2014, we documented 22,321 deaths. The participants who often consumed garlic survived longer than those who occasionally or rarely consumed it: the median of survival time was 3.2, 3.0, and 2.7 years respectively.

            Of course, we don’t know why aging happens, so we can only speculate on a mechanism.

        2. Bart Hansen

          I thought it was: An apple a day keeps the doctor away, an onion a day keeps them all away.

          It must be a regional thing.

          1. millicent

            To boost immunity: garlic, onion and apple (mainly skins), the latter two because they have quercetin, a strong antiviral; any food that can be considered a prebiotic (sauerkraut, kefir…); wheat germ or spermidine because they support autophagy; flavonoids (berries, dark chocolate…), mushrooms (lion’s mane, shitaki). Don’t forget the importance of spices such as turmeric, which is only activated if heated or taken with black pepper, also black cumin seed. You said no supplements but especially being from Maine, you might consider vitamin D or at least vitamin D fortified foods.

      2. Thistlebreath

        At the risk of invoking the Freedom Fries hysteria, garlic has often been called “Russian Penicillin.”

        We’ve been selecting for size and taste in our garden for ~30 years. Heads the size of field polo balls. We earned an orange interdite bar in a circle symbol on vampire nav charts.

        And yes, I once dressed in a foam full upper body suit made to look like a head of garlic and marched with fellow heads in the Pasadena Doo Dah parade. Breathe Tall!

        1. thousand points of green

          How many inches of space do you have between each planted clove? If you plant them in “rows”, how many inches of space do you leave between each clove in a “row” and how many inches apart is each “row” from the “row” to either side of it?

          How many inches deep do you plant each clove of garlic?

          What do you find is the very best time of year to plant them? Does it make a difference which part of which month? Or is “sometime in fall” good enough?

          Do you feed or fertilize the planting holes with anything before planting the cloves?

          1. John Steinbach

            About 6″ apart. 3″ deep. Mid-late November in Northern VA. Bone meal-based fertilizer. Harvest mid-summer when leaves begin to turn. Hang in hot shed for a month out so to cure.

            1. thousand points of green

              Thank you for replying and for the information. I am going to guess that the lower Michigan equivalent of mid-late November in Northern VA would be something like mid-late October in Southeast Michigan. So that’s what I will try for next year to be better on track than I have been this year.

              If Thistlebreath does anything different in detail and feels like describing it, that would also be welcome.

          2. upstater

            Make sure to buy cloves for planting at a local garden store or farmers market. Supermarket garlic mostly comes from China and big box chain store garlic come from who knows where.

            1. thousand points of green

              Thanks for this. From a farmers market specifically might best target and capture garlics which have been proven to do best in one’ own region.

        2. thousand points of green

          And now that I consider the implications of your living in a California growing zone, I should probably ask . . . are you working with Hardneck garlic or Softneck garlic?

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > garlic has often been called “Russian Penicillin.”

          From “Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds,” Journal of Immunological Research (2015):

          The complex biochemistry of garlic makes it possible for variations in processing to yield different preparations with differences in final composition and compound proportion. In this review, we assess the most recent experimental results, which indicate that garlic appears to enhance the functioning of the immune system by stimulating certain cell types, such as macrophages, lymphocytes, natural killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells, and eosinophils, by mechanisms including modulation of cytokine secretion, immunoglobulin production, phagocytosis, and macrophage activation. Finally, because immune dysfunction plays an important role in the development and progress of several diseases, we critically examined immunoregulation by garlic extracts and compounds isolated, which can contribute to the treatment and prevention of pathologies such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disorders, gastric ulcer, and even cancer. We concluded that A. sativum modulates cytokine secretion and that such modulation may provide a mechanism of action for many of their therapeutic effects.

          I’ll take that as a yes, although the piece ends by (naturally) calling for further study.

          Aged Garlic Extract Modifies Human Immunity,” Journal of Nutrition (2016). This is an RCT:

          After 90 d, although the number of illnesses was not significantly different, the AGE group showed reduced cold and flu severity, with a reduction in the number of symptoms, the number of days participants functioned suboptimally, and the number of work/school days missed. These results suggest that AGE supplementation may enhance immune cell function and may be partly responsible for the reduced severity of colds and flu reported. The results also suggest that the immune system functions well with AGE supplementation, perhaps with less accompanying inflammation.

          From the Cleveland Clinic and Mount Sinai.

          These are from a cursory search. Do we have a garlic maven who can provide some really robust studies?

  2. Roger Blakely


    It is worthwhile to make a comment about the transmission maps that Lambert posts daily. As someone who looks at the map every day, I note that today’s US transmission map looks much different from yesterday’s transmission map. CDC updates transmission levels on Thursdays. Yesterday’s transmission map had much more blue and yellow. The only solid red states in yesterday’s map were Arizona and New Mexico. Today the map is virtually wall-to-wall red.

    The wastewater map has a majority of red dots today. A few weeks ago the majority of the dots were blue.

    It might be worthwhile posting the CDC’s US map for COVID-19 community levels. We called it the green map. Well, even that map isn’t green anymore.

      1. JohnM_in MN

        I hadn’t clicked on the LadyG twitter link in a while and I wanted to refresh my memory on the difference between the maps, and I see that you now have to follow her in order to see her tweets. So no green map.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          For those who came in late, here’s a good discussion of the difference between the Green Map (so-called “community levels”) and the Red Map (transmission, which I use). Here’s another.

          The CDC launched the “Green Map” in March 2022, so perhaps that is the inflection point I was seeking.

          I would include a link to and an image of the “community levels” green map, but the CDC is down, preventing millions from performing their personal risk assessments.

    1. CanCyn

      Here is the latest Ontario wastewater data, published weekly. https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/Data-and-Analysis/Infectious-Disease/COVID-19-Data-Surveillance/Wastewater
      Up, up in several regions and overall, and we wait to see if it is away. A neighbour is hosting a holiday gathering tomorrow, children will be in attendance. A few weeks ago when the invitation was made, it seemed doable. Now I’m not so sure. Another neighbour who was also invited was talking to her doctor just the other day. He apparently said that COVID is less prevalent but recommended masking because of the other flu and respiratory viruses out there. Hospitalizations and deaths are trending down (that data is over a week old) so I guess that’s what he is looking at. I’m with Lambert, cases and positivity are still important IMO. Like many, I have more acquaintances who have recently had COVID than at any time in the pandemic.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Like many, I have more acquaintances who have recently had COVID than at any time in the pandemic.

        Starting to get a lot of chatter on Twitter, never a good sign.

  3. Sub-Boreal

    Sweden’s handling of the pandemic gets a pretty thorough thrashing in this open-access volume of essays.

    Excerpt from the introduction:

    Why this fall from grace? This book’s chapters explore the causes of Sweden’s
    Sonderweg. They show that incompetence and a national narcissism bordering on
    arrogance stand out among the most general sources. The Swedish public health
    authorities ignored the science as it developed, deliberately failed to implement
    most useful preventive strategies, and hooked their wagon to a quixotic hope for
    “natural” herd immunity achieved via unchecked infection. Massaging the numbers,
    they waited in vain for the protection that would supposedly result as disease
    spread widely. Most striking about the chapters here is their relentless drumbeat of
    examples of how wilfully ignorant, misleading, and inept the public health authorities
    were, above all Tegnell and Giesecke.

    Aggravating their technical shortcomings, they were also utilitarian to the point
    of moral obtuseness. No nation outside Asia did well in protecting the old, but few
    authorities elsewhere – backed by their court ethicists – dared speculate openly, as
    did the Swedes, that the elderly were less worth protecting than the young. Indeed,
    they went so far as to triage some elderly, practicing involuntary euthanasia by providing
    end-of-life palliative care rather than treating Covid symptoms.

    1. Carolinian

      they went so far as to triage some elderly

      Oh gosh we’d never do something like that here. /s

      Meanwhile according to some accounts Canada is promoting assisted suicide for the mentally ill.

    2. digi_owl

      That said, Swedes were informed enough to take measures themselves.

      And much like in Canada, the worst scandals early on where from privatized elder care facilities where staff were overworked and underequipped to properly protect the residents.

  4. Jason Boxman

    More crapification. Looks like every word in the dictionary is now available as a TLD (top level domain). Remember when we had .com .org and .net for example? I wish I was kidding, but it does look like there are hundreds of basically junk TLDs available.

    It’s just printing money. I haven’t been following this, so I don’t know how it works, but I’d guess domain registrars certainly stand to benefit. But there’s seriously no reason for .vet .loans .auction .fish, yes, .fish.

    Seriously just a blatant money grab. Talk about Internet commercialization.

    Looks like I’m 10 years late on this: Tim Berners-Lee: We Don’t Need Arbitrary New TLDs (login required)

    1. thousand points of green

      If someone wanted to be a digispherian social satirist, they could register the following top level domains for themself . . . .top .level. domain. topleveldomain. TLD. and etc.

    2. digi_owl

      The whole TLD situation is nuts.

      FBI have in the past demonstrated that they see .com for example US turf, but having registrars redirect addresses to their “seized by FBI” billboard. This even though the content on the site was legal according to the the law were the owner was residing, as well as where the servers were physically located.

  5. Jeff W

    “Happy Smallpox eradication day”

    There are actually two Smallpox Eradication Days—9 December and 8 May.

    From here:

    On 9 December 1979, the members of the Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication signed their names to the statement that “smallpox has been eradicated from the world.” At the 33rd World Health Assembly, 8 May 1980, smallpox was officially endorsed as eradicated.

    (I didn’t know that one “endorsed” something as being eradicated.)

    Obviously, neither date pinpoints exactly when there ceased to be smallpox virus in the wild but, since the World Health Assembly was “just” accepting the conclusion of the Commission, I’d be inclined to go with the earlier (December) date.

  6. Pat

    Lambert two of my favorite additives are garlic and ginger. They have both been alternative medicine for centuries, and are damn tasty. Garlic is easy
    So I am going to focus on ginger. I am going to suggest you look into both ginger tea and particularly golden milk using fresh ginger. Tea is also simple, although brewing your own with fresh ginger is better. But despite it being the big thing a few years ago there is a fair bit of evidence of golden milk being beneficial in several areas, but most particularly reducing inflammation. And to make it easy, so far there is little about powdered turmeric significantly reducing the effectiveness of the curcumin benefits, so you don’t have to find and process fresh turmeric.

    1. outside observer

      Raw fermented kimchi will have the added benefit of probiotics. Personally have become addicted to the wildbrine brand. Natto, if you can stomach it, available in the freezer section of asian grocery stores, some studies seem to show benefit wrt covid.

      1. garden breads

        Agree – garlic is easy using norther varieties and ginger can be grown in pots but I have had more success with turmeric. Fedco good northern source for turmeric, ginger and garlic.

        Grow astragalus – not pretty plant but mix it in with other useful plants. Supposedly zone 6 but can overwinter colder if cover with tree leaves in fall then use slices of roots in soup/broth. This is the best immune builder.

        Grow elderberry shrubs easy to make syrup from berries.

        Grow goji berry bushes and use leaves when young as pot herb as Asians do – the berries are just a bonus.

        Second others suggestions of fermented foods – can use garlic, ginger, turmeric, goji etc. to flavor.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > So I am going to focus on ginger.

      Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence” International Journal of Preventive Medicine (2013). This is a metastudy:

      The health-promoting perspectives of ginger are well known. It can treat a wide range of diseases via immunonutrition and anti-inflammatory responses. As a result of anti-inflammatory effect of ginger, it can reduce muscle pain after intense physical activity. Likewise, the anticancer potential of ginger is well documented and its functional ingredients like gingerols, shogaol, and paradols are the valuable ingredients which can prevent various cancers, angiogenesis and metastasis, induction of apoptosis, and inhibition of cell-cycle progression. Besides these, it improves cardiovascular disorders, diabetes mellitus, and gastrointestinal health.

      Ginger on Human Health: A Comprehensive Systematic Review of 109 Randomized Controlled Trials,” Nutrients (2020):

      In general, ginger has been found to indicate a beneficial effect on high dosage and long-term treatment in metabolic diseases. However, an obvious limitation is that all studies were performed in a sample size of fewer than 50 participants. Further investigations should be conducted to validate the effect of ginger on metabolic syndrome.

      Ginger in traditional Chinese medicine, against Covid. A refutation, concluding: “There are no foods, drinks, or supplements that will protect you from COVID-19.” I’m not sure I believe that, although I’m sure there’s no magic formula (i.e., something commoditized and sold in a bottle) because the human body is nothing but a network of confounders. But it does seem to me that a properly “bespoke” diet (food, food only) can add a regulatory function to the immune dysregulation prompted by Covid. It remains only to find it and then make the dreaded life-style changes…

      Again, a maven welcomed…

    1. thousand points of green

      He may be scared that she will change Party if he punishes her in any way. The fact that she called herself Independent indicates to me that she is silently hinting to the Republicans that she will join them if they reward her well enough.

      Schumer has just forced the Republicans to have to raise the price they will have to offer to buy Sinema with.

  7. flora

    Dems moving the first in the nation primary(or caucus) to SC – with the movement of millions of dollars in MSM/pundit/national ad spending previously spent in Iowa as the ‘first’ to SC as first as a “reward” is open patronage politics. Machine politics. They aren’t even trying to hide it now. We’ll see.

    1. Carolinian

      Take our millions, please! I’ll have to get an unlisted phone number.

      I don’t even understand how this works. New Hampshire says they are first by state law. Will the Dems boycott New Hamshire? It’s like yet another “rules were made for somebody else” gesture on the part of Biden. He thinks doing stupid things proves he has the power to do them. Or something….

    2. earthling

      Well, that’s correct, but I for one am deliriously happy that cornfed state full of gullible white folks does not get to pick the next Bill Clinton conman to come down the pike. The Iowa & NH always-first thing has been a ridiculous distortion, and arguably has helped feed the decline of our democracy into a kleptocracy.

      And, it’s not like Iowa was a clean playing field last cycle, or for who knows how long.
      IIRC, Buttigieg ‘won’ with shenanigans played with the tabulating app written by DNC friends, pressure put on the Register to hold back the final poll, etc.

      1. agent ranger smith

        Do gullible Black folks having vetoed the last Sanders and sure to veto the next one make you happier? And was Obama any less bad than Slicky Bill?

        The next Sanders-figure, if there is one, might make a special point of boycotting the primaries of every state which does not vote Democratic in the election anyway, at least the early ones.

  8. lyman alpha blob

    RE: How Democrats won the midterms

    Still looking for an explanation of how losing several seats in Congress and the Republicans now being in the majority constitutes a “win”. Maybe it’s similar to how $1,400.00 = $2,000.00?

  9. Mark Gisleson

    Barkan is right about one thing:

    It is no great coup to secure a “scoop” from a politician, either. The politician chooses you because you’ll be the best person to disseminate their point of view. That is all. Politicians don’t scout for talent. They scout for marks.

    I’ve often wondered if the lapdog media had any clue how much contempt political folks have for them. I’m sure DeepState views the politicans they own with similar contempt. Are there any good apples left in the barrel? It seems unlikely.

  10. skippy

    Ref … “Fear Was More Powerful Than Anger This Year” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report].

    So basically the far right got censured as well the traditional left, as it were … as if the Clinton/Obama party had some leftie thingy. Now its going to be a game of MRNA (“Make Republicans Normal Again”) vs. MAGA whilst simultaneously both paint the DNC Democrats as socialist/commie lefties … its like really really really bad dinner theater …

      1. skippy

        Its definitely at Gottfrieds level on one hand, but simultaneously not funny in anyway, because in this version you get sucked[tm] into the dynamic against your will …

        I don’t know – ???? – Idpol as a post marketing study conducted by some outsourced political PR guru that switches teams for big bucks between election/political cycles meets its inevitable conclusion – ????

          1. skippy

            Oh you made me look damn you … there is another brain scar now …

            Ugh … brings flash backs to way back in the 90s when the State University system was being privatized. What was once a University for State kids, educating the next gen for the State, became a balance sheet driven enterprise and high skirt investor asset buffing.

            So I see the whole argument about impaired GPA is trotted out and how paying customers … cough … students might suffer if the staff fights back against crapification of the assembly line of widgets and cogs for their working rights. The same rights these kids one day will be contending with.

            Yet at the end of the day the whole GPA thingy blows my mind, very fish climbing a tree and thinking itself stoopid Einstein thingy. Better yet after the market treatment State Unis went from a maximum of 60% in state – 40% out of state, it inverted, better yet when the ratio was at the cusp of balance sheet dynamics an out of state student with say a 3.2 GPA would get in whilst a in State student with a 3.8 would be denied. Roll those bones for awhile and see what pops out the other side for all to enjoy.

            Worse how many Unis sold themselves as a lifestyle choice or a network buffer. Best bit is all this out of state student influx brought with them their cashed up parents that then saw the potential for the student RE market and jacked up rent prices as their kid would live in the accommodation they bought for the kid and then evermore … self licking feed back loops … which sadly I have to say even here in Oz is now a huge thing with international investors and students … its just so DEVO … Duty to the Future …. ack …

  11. thousand points of green

    About MRNA versus MAGA . . . . in a beautiful world future, maybe enough MRNAs would try moving the Republican Party left hard enough for long enough that the Democratic Party would be forced to move even further left; just as (according to a theory held by a few ) the Democratic Party has been moving to the right and forcing the Republican Party even further to the right.

    Maybe if enough Newish Deal minded people can disguise themselves as Republicans to infiltrate the Republican Party and push it to the left for real, they might be able to force the whole Overton Pendulum to swing to the left.

    Anyway, I suspect the Hill is wrong in its analysis. The Democrats have little of any value to offer anyone besides emotional validation to those who bask in their own Wokeness. It did offer the promise of freezing-in-place the process of Deconstructing The Administrative State and perhaps even shoring it back up some. And that would attract some people who want a few years of being able to tread water in place without fear of immediate growing while they look for somewhere better to swim to. And it offered a chance to change the channel to those who voted for Trump once and decided they didn’t want another four years of The Trump Show.

    1. thousand points of green

      . . . . fear of immediate ‘growing’ just above should be fear of immediate ‘drowning’. This hotel computer is so user hostile as to have deterred me from commenting very much. I think the hotel wanted it used mainly by business guests for business so they made it hostile to the recreational user. In fact, they made it so user hostile that I have not seen a single other person even attempt to use it at all for any purpose whatsoever. It is the most hateful spiteful obstructive computer I have ever seen in a hotel.

  12. flora

    Thanks for all the links to articles about The New School strike.

    (Wonder if the striking NYT’s workers/writers will begin to understand the importance of economics when reporting on politics and candidates. Must be a shock to the strikers realizing they’re part of the working class after all.)

  13. petal

    Oops I did it again?
    Department of Energy REFUSES to fire nonbinary energy official Sam Brinton despite SECOND airport luggage scandal and growing Republican fury

    “The Department of Energy is refusing to fire the nonbinary official Sam Brinton despite them being accused of a second airport luggage theft.

    Brinton, who was appointed in June, is now accused of stealing suitcases from airports in Minneapolis and Las Vegas.

    They are due in court in Minnesota on the first charges, relating to an incident in September when they were on their way to a conference.

    On Thursday night, it emerged that a second warrant for their arrest had been filed, this time in Las Vegas, over a separate alleged theft.”

      1. semper loquitur

        I do too. I held a top secret, special background clearance at one point in my life and it was made clear to me in the initial interview that anything in my personal life that could be used against me (gambling problem, criminal activity, excessive debt) would lead to it being removed. This freak has a much higher clearance than that, I can assure you, if I’m not mistaken DOE employees have some of the highest clearances in government.

        A guy I knew in the Army had started his career as an intel analyst in a nuclear missile unit. Probably had a top secret, compartmentalized. His uncle got tangled up with the Mob and had gambling debts and they jerked the guy’s clearance. He was relegated to frying hamburgers in the mess hall after having hob-nobbed with generals and admirals at our brigade headquarters.

        The link to Jon K. Uhler’s Tweets was a real eye-opener. The vicious circle of pedophilia, sexual deviancy, grooming, and pornography makes a lot of sense, as does the vicious reaction of these perverts when their deluded fantasies and fake identities are challenged. The photos are beyond words. Good to see Genevieve Gluck get a mention too.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Some kind of waivers from above. Feds disregard any rules they like when it comes to personnel, the most gamed aspect of our government.

          The government has been corporatized and I shudder to think how many executive promotions are done without regard to merit and how this can’t be fixed short of decapitating leadership ranks. Not just political hires, the govt needs to clean out all the careerist enablers who eagerly do whatever is asked of them without regard as to their department’s mission.

          And in this light, those who identify with and support movement politics are classic examples of how embeds’ influence policy. Weaponized ID theory is a huge sword but it’s being wielded by a very small demographic. Who tend to hire, promote and watch out for each other. This has been done by women in government, gays in government and of course by white supremacists and Nazis. Everyone helps their allies/axis members and the government/people’s needs get what’s left over after the sausage is made.

          When we discover why Sam Brinton is untouchable, we’ll find someone else who needs to be fired. Cronyism is one of the greatest evils in capitalism and from the outset perversely administered affirmative action has been a perpetual cronyism machine.

    1. The Rev Kev

      If the guy is stealing luggage when he has no need to, it sounds like he still has a lot of unresolved issues in his life. This is like those royal Saudi wives in London that would, in spite of being immensely wealthy, would go to Harrods and do some high level shoplifting. Harrods staff would keep an eye on them and have the items quietly charged to their accounts but that was not an option with Brinton. To his community the guy may be a pioneer but I remember the saying that it was the pioneers that got the arrows in the back.

      1. Berny3

        The item about shoplifting Suadi wives might be true, but note that this was a side story in of Lawrence Durrell’s 4 volume Alexandria (one of my favorite novels of all time), written in the 60s if not earlier. So I’m not sure if he based it on real life or if people’s memory of it is based on the novel.

      2. Ana B

        Like most of those elevated by liberals to be “representatives of the LGBTQIAWXYZANDALSOSTRAIGHTS community” Brinton is absolutely no pioneer nor is he even a known entity by most LGBT people outside the beltway. He’s just another clown trying to build a career off the NGO complex and putting a massive target on our backs. Most gay and trans people are working class (at best) and the last few years have been especially rough for many (increasing violence + economic precarity + criminalization). People like Brinton prancing around in what amount to clown outfits (there’s really no other word for that look) are simply showing off their privilege. And I say this as someone who was actually put through conversion therapy as a child: when you’ve been treated as a freak your whole life the last thing you want to do is advertise your “queerness” to the world. Democrats are elevating weirdos like Brinton just so they can justify joining with Republicans to attack us when it actually matters.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>Democrats are elevating weirdos like Brinton just so they can justify joining with Republicans to attack us when it actually matters.

          This is like when the Blob decides who is authentically black enough. Weaponized identity politics with the determinate being the right class and able to say all the right buzz words, wearing the right clothes, and having the right degrees. It is class warfare disguised as identity politics or anti bigotry.

          The best part for them is that actual black, gay, lesbian, trans, etc usually being of a low economic class do not have the resources to resist the misframing. I think that it helps TPTB to feel that the only real people are those who are in the 10%. It might be unfair to say that, but I often wonder if they actually see the poor, the disabled, the homeless as real people with real feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and hopes.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > He’s just another clown trying to build a career off the NGO complex and putting a massive target on our backs. Most gay and trans people are working class (at best) and the last few years have been especially rough for many (increasing violence + economic precarity + criminalization).

          I think you can substitute any identity for the “voice” in Reed’s “The Trouble with Uplift.” The elevated voice aggregates, in their person, all the social capital of those they are charged with “representing.”

          1. JBird4049

            >>>I think you can substitute any identity for the “voice” in Reed’s “The Trouble with Uplift.” The elevated voice aggregates, in their person, all the social capital of those they are charged with “representing.”

            Thanks for this statement. I have been looking at the individual bits and not the essence of what is being done; focusing on separate individual identities of victim and victimizer and not the method.

    2. Wukchumni

      Sam ‘Sonite’ Brinton really ought to know the real money is in high end purses, not luggage.

    3. griffen

      WTH….I’ve not completely read up on this individual, but what I observed thus far leaves me just a little unsympathetic to the plight of them / they. Or however I should be referring to a nonbinary human American in 2022, apologies for being late to understand the how and why it all works. Yes I understand that may be an unpopular or an unwelcome excuse.

      What I read earlier was about their conversion therapy, which is no cakewalk either. This is batsh*t crazy territory, but that is just my two cents.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      The key point, missed by the Mail: Brinton took women’s luggage:

      According to Las Vegas police, a person was taking a United Airlines flight from Dulles International and had checked three bags. The woman was able to find two of her bags, but couldn’t locate the third.

      The female traveler reportedly checked with lost and found multiple times, but the luggage wasn’t located. She filed a police report on July 10.

  14. Gulag

    Significant portions of the Republican and Democrat parties are into a type of full spectrum ideological dominance in both foreign and domestic policy which leaves out the interests of more and more Americans,

    Luce nicely captures the essence of these two parties attitudes toward the working class when he states “It spells a future in which Democrats are the party of the campus with a cultural agenda that alienates a rising share of uneducated Democrats, whites and nonwhites, and Republicans who are skilled at harvesting blue collar ressentment of elites who pay little more than lip service to their needs.

    All readers of Naked Capitalism should seriously consider joining/agitating within the Republican camp (particularly among their increasing number of blue collar voters) who have experienced, deep within their social beings, the type of anger, envy and hatred which Trump radiates and which makes up the dynamic of ressentment.

    Maybe a possible first step emotional linkage between the populist right and ourselves could be the articulation of our own experiences of a growing sense of ressentment toward the liberal Democratic establishment–especially our personal reactions to their arrogance and condescension.

    1. marym

      Maybe the non-elite “populist” right should also consider a possible first step linkage with those sectors of the working class against whom they so often direct the resentment harvested by the “populist” elite.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Indeed. The Republicans really need to purge themselves of the personnel and lines of thinking that came from Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” (and of course a lot of history, too, going back to the Reconstruction “redeemers.” But since we can’t solve everything, unhire the the political operatives*).

        NOTE * Remember that billions of dollars of Democrat party campaign funding flows (to the media) through only four consultants (see Nomiki Konst at the DNC). Did in 2016, does today.

        In “Know Your Republicans” mode, does that party have the same structure? Only four or five consultants?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > full spectrum ideological dominance

      I was reading a bunch of stuff that falls into that category this morning. The phrase that popped into my mind was “rules-based domestic order.”

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Isn’t that what they mean by “the rule of law”? Also, “a government of laws, not men”?

      2. Gulag

        Nicco Soldo recently wrote an essay about the U.S. transition from mercantilism (business of American business is business) to what he calls a full spectrum ideological state, where there is no longer much of a line between foreign and domestic policy with racial equity now being a whole of government domestic and international effort. Soldo argued the following:

        “For the first two centuries of its existence, the U.S. was White and Christian in composition as well as culturally and philosophically. (US Blacks, though numerous, were at first slaves, then segregated, and then only de-segregated much later on). You became an American, not a hyphenated American. Your elites where white, your faith Christian, largely Protestant, your understanding of what America was supposed to be was crystal clear.” Soldo calls this the old skin.

        “Now, what it meant to be an American has completely changed. No longer is one expected to conform to a White and Christian majority. Diversity is celebrated, difference elevated, social mores turned on their head.” Soldo calls this the new skin

        “With Biden saying that the lines between foreign and domestic policy continue to blur and with the USA still the global hegemon, why shouldn’t domestic crusades become international ones?”

        “Biden is kicking into high gear the internal transformation of America from a White and Christian state into a multi-ethnic, multi-racial and secular global empire. Racism is the greatest sin of this new theology–ideology and slavery its original sin.”

        “Now the USA has found a new religious fervor in its post-Christian character, a fervor that is fanatical and that serves its imperial interests rather well. One can’t help but think back to the early days of Bolshevism, particularly that of Lenin and Trotsky, in which communist revolution was inevitable.”

        The U.S. on the international level also seeks to confront and reduce the power of both Russia and China simultaneously to preserve its own hegemony.

        As Julius Caesar once said “It’s only hubris if I fail.”

  15. Pelham

    Re Eric Schmidt and working in offices: I did that for 32 years before I was laid off. There was value in developing friendships with co-workers that mainly centered on subject matter that had nothing to do with work, other than the unifying fact that we were all in the same boat. But that’s it.

    These interactions were pleasant interludes offering welcome relief from the grind. Hence, as far as business was concerned, they were counterproductive. Working from home for the past 12 years has been a good deal more intense, and thus productive. And it kind of stinks, though I do appreciate not being subjected to the inevitable repeated bouts with Covid.

  16. Michael McK

    Kale and Blueberries. I keep seeing them near the top of the lists of many health associated compounds like Carotenoids and Vitamins. I really like eating one, the other is easy to grow lots of, even in a small yard.
    Lots of fiber in the Kale and both are surprisingly low in Potassium which is good for those with declining kidneys on a Potassium restricted diet. Dietary Potassium for the rest of us is easily found elsewhere.

    1. MichaelSF

      Kale is on the list of things to avoid if you suffer from certain types of kidney stones (due to the oxalates). I always have to reply that I’ve only eaten kale a few times in my life when questioned about it by doctors, so there’s no smoking gun. But if LS doesn’t have to worry about that he’s free to eat my share of those greens.


        1. MichaelSF

          Kale is what has been mentioned to me, but it may be that the medical people don’t have much vegetable knowledge. A web search seems to show kale being either not a problem or something to avoid, all depending on which site is being looked at. I’ll continue to avoid it because I don’t care for the taste!

      1. Ana

        There are different kinds of kale. Please check the oxalate levels for each variety. I have kidney disease and do fine with the low ox variety. Swiss chard, spinach and almonds among other plant foods are very high in oxalate levels.
        Ana in Sacramento

        1. thousand points of green

          Are some Swiss chard varieties lower-oxalate than most? Oxalic acid/calcium oxalate is supposed to give a somewhat acrid-metallic taste-moutfhfeel to at least some of the greens over-rich in it.

          Fedco Seeds sells seed for a type of chard which it claims to be low in the telltale oxalate aftertaste compared to other types of chard.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Kale

      Does kale assist the immune system, or is there a putative general health benefit?

      NOTE I hate kale. I know myself well enough that I will never get in the habit of eating it.

      1. thousand points of green

        Kale is supposed to have specific immune benefits and general health benefits both. The problem is that kale is distasteful to many people. It is very tough ( only collards are tougher) and very chewy. It can be bitter ( which comes from the wonderful anti-cancer chemicals in it).

        The challenge is: how to make it good enough to eat for people who hate it? Whoever used tough sometimes-bitter kale leaves raw in salad did kale’s reputation a major disservice through such misapplication and misuse.

        Southern cooking, both Black and White, makes kale and collards good enough to eat through very long cooking at a high-simmer barely-boil with smoked or salt-cured meat ( usually pork) and other flavor agents.

        I asked a couple of Black co-workers how they cooked kale and/or collards. One told me she slow-cooks kale with a little baking soda in the cook-water to make the kale softer. ( I wonder whether calcium hydroxide, the so-called “pickling lime” used in Mexican cooking to nixtamalize corn for better taste and digestability, would also soften kale). Another told me that he cooks kale for about 20 minutes before adding the collards to cook them both together. “The kale makes the collards more tender”. I don’t know how that would work, but I am not the expert.

        I read somewhere that massaging and kneading cut kale with a little vinegar and letting it rest for a while can pre-soften it some. I wonder if lemon juice would do the same and leave it tasting a little better than vinegar would.

        A few kinds of kale are supposed to be inherently a little more tender and less tough and chewy than the rest of them. Black Lacinato is supposed to be one of those more-tender kales. Here is a bunch of Black Lacinato kale images.

        Here is how I make black lacinato kale good enough for me to eat. I cut the center ribs out of the leaves first and mince them as fine as I can. I then slow-boil them for 20 minutes or so. While I am doing that, I mince up the de-ribbed leaves as fine as I can. I then put them in the pot and slow-boil or slow-steam them all for another 20 minutes or so. I then put in whatever else I want to mix in with it cut up into small pieces and slow boil-or-steam it all. Then I put in my flavor agents of choice, fill the pot with enough water to make it a thick soup and cook it some more. The longer I cook it the more soft and tender the kale gets. And the flavors come together nicely.

        But that is a lot of time, attention and work. One way around that might be putting the kale in a set and forget crock pot for a couple of hours or so. If it tender enough when you get back to it, then put in the other ingredients and crock-pot it some more.

        Or one could experiment with ways to make the kale soft and tasty enough for one’s own satisfaction, and once one has settled on a method, then cook a huge amount of it that way. And then divide it into meal-sized doses for putting in the freezer and taking back out one-at-a-time for convenient use as desired.

  17. Pelham

    Re kids’ development deficits during the pandemic: This makes me wonder how humanity managed to flourish for centuries without a mass system of cramming 30 or so kids into one room governed by one adult for 6-7 hours a day, five days a week.

    1. Tom Doak

      It functioned more smoothly when one of the kids’ parents was home to take care of them, instead of pursuing a career.

    2. Bugs

      It functioned by having a hereditary elite educated by their personal scientific, religious and intellectual quasi nobility, while the rest of humanity toiled in slavery or servitude.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Surely there’s a third alternative? (Clean air, of course, but that’s resisted so strongly that there must be other factors than mere expense. So clean air + whatever political arrangements are needed to create it.)

  18. Pelham

    I highly recommend the link that Lambert provides for “successor ideology.” This Wesley Yang essay available on Substack has been around for more than a year, but I hadn’t run across it. One question I have, though, is whether there’s any overlap with “replacement theory.” Seems to me there is, but I’d like to hear some debate.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > there’s any overlap with “replacement theory.”

      In my view, “replacement theory” is a reflection, in the conservative funhouse mirror, of Democrat’s “coalition of the ascendant.”

      There may be some formal similarities, but IMNSHO “replacement theory”/”coalition of the ascendant” is developed by the political class for use in elections, whereas “successor ideology” operates in the NGO world, branching out from there to HR departments and educational institutions — PMC territory — starting in colleges and universities working downward to grade schools.

      I may be too cynical, but I regard “successor ideology” as being wholly careerist (“predatory precarity”). As I say, when you encounter a successor ideologue, that means they plan to be your successor.

      I highly recommend Yang’s essay.

    1. Harold

      On the subject of what makes leadership, I have been listening to the really excellent podcast series, The Age of Napoleon, which makes it clear that Napoleon had been fascinated with and immersed himself in the study of battle tactics and (particularly) the minutia of logistics since at least the age of eight. No aspect of warfare was too trivial for him. He was a hard student of mathematics and also widely read in history and he always took along a small library on his military campaigns. He did become afflicted with megalomania as he grew older, however, an occupational hazard in leaders, particularly military generals, so they say.

  19. The Rev Kev

    ‘This is what they released after (Australian) National Cabinet today.’

    Unbelievable. What is this natural protection that they talk of? Herd immunity? Moo! We are three years into this pandemic and yet our political masters are still playing these medical games for the sake of the economy. The same one being ravaged by people falling sick all the time and I would hate to guess what the cost of long Covid is going to be annually. They won’t be able to ignore that one and it is only going to get bigger. Seems that we have adopted the American system where it does not matter what party is in power, most of the policies stay the same. This one could have been written by Scotty from Marketing himself. Worth reading the comment to those tweets though there are one or two idiots. One wrote-

    ‘All you need to know is the millions of scientific experts have done everything they can to protect people, there’s no cure, get vaccinated to lessen the impact.
    NEVER think for one moment you will every know better then the experts or the governments they advise!’

    Well in this case I can honestly say that yes, I do know better than the experts or the governments they advise. Those very same experts or the governments they advise are ignoring the evidence whereas I am listening to it.

  20. curlydan

    OK, I didn’t think the propaganda surrounding China’s zero Covid could get worse, but leave it to the NYT (via Yahoo) to go overboard.

    “[Recent protestors] are gratified that the Chinese public is being freed from the constant tests, quarantines and lockdowns that have become fixtures of their lives. Yet they’re angry that the government hasn’t apologized, and probably never will, for its misstep — one that caused much unnecessary death and hardship.” Unnecessary death? Huh?

    “But [protestors] are now even more motivated to take their destiny into their own hands. They realize that because they cannot vote, the government is free to impose more policies like “zero COVID,” just as it caused disasters like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution in their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.” OMG…


    1. skippy

      It is such a contrived hangover that China is still some anti property/religious nation bent on stealing[tm] peoples ***Natural*** freedoms and liberties … especially when western corporatists would like to install a Corporatist shareholder value friendly political system.

      That this is all driven by the atomistic individualism of consumer[tm] choice in a market place and then attacks a national public health approach just informs me of the ethical and moral framework these people are working with e.g. life does not matter, just the cookie cutter deductive ideology behind it all.

      Yet at the same time in the western nations pushing this agenda the wheels are falling off and then some, but yeah, China and Russia bad~~~~~

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        If I were Xi — who I guess is a much nicer guy than I am — I would regard the “Let ‘er rip” policies of the West, and especially of the Anglosphere, as an act of war.

  21. enoughisenough

    Re. immunity – people are really into “fire cider” these days! Seems pretty medicinal:

    apple cider vinegar infused with ginger, horseradish, garlic, onion, stuff like that. recipes vary.

    I’m going to make some! Even if it’s a placebo that makes me think I’m doing something good, I’ll take the benefits of that – whatever works.

      1. BlakeFelix

        It’s not any kind of great secret, but lacto pickled vegetables like saurkraut get a shout out from me. You can make your pickle higher calorie with beets or rutabaga or lower calorie with cabbage and onions. I like celery and fennel for crunch and flavor. I try to have a bucket or two of kraut around, and then I take some out and put it in half gallon Mason jars in the fridge for convenience. It makes a good bed for food like pasta does almost, or I will use it instead of rice for some curries, or fill a bowl and put whatever soup I have on top. I can’t recommend most canned soups although there is nothing wrong with canning necessarily, but most are tastier and much healthier over saurkraut. Wild Fermentation is a book on fermentation, it said you can replace some(like half maybe) of the salt with ground seeds, and it seems to work well enough.
        I don’t hate fire cider, but saurkraut has been keeping starving Germans and Koreans strong and hangry for thousands(hundreds, anyway) of years, it protected Captain Cook from scurvy, and it’s low calorie filling and delicious and good for your biome(I guess). Cheap and long lasting also, especially if you freeze it. Throw your garlic and ginger and pepper in a kraut and eat your honey in something else IMHO.

  22. Screwball

    More dumps from Taibbi and the Twitter files tonight.

    I hope he has good security.

    Disclosure to cover my behind; this is some really powerful stuff IMO. Some “you ain’t in the big club” people are not going to like it.

    1. griffen

      Holy crap on a box of crackers. That is some legitimate, fun time to be had kinda stuff. Worthwhile reading, and now I am wondering who is the crack team working with, or for, MT on all these breaking news and data compilation stories. There has to be reams and reams, or more correctly for 2022 serious terabytes of data being sifted and collated.

      This was interesting and grows ever more interesting.

    2. Bugs

      Fifty-seven tweets to find out that a bunch of overeducated young tech execs were running a …erm, circus, that went out of control. Not a deep state conspiracy anywhere to be found. Maybe someone else can parse something interesting out of that.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Not a deep state conspiracy anywhere to be found.

        Straw man much?

        Adding, the [“fifty-seven”|”57”] + “tweets” aghastitude looks like it’s a dogpile template*, similar to “world’s richest man,” so GTFO. Do try to add value instead of regurgitating predigested talking points. (Note that a 57 paragraph story would not be considered long, except to somebody like SBF, idiot, who thinks that any book could and should be reduced to six paragraphs.)

        * Here, here, here, here, here, and here.

    3. Aumua

      If Musk is gonna put this stuff out, then why not release it publicly for everyone to go over? Because, you can’t control the parameters of the discussion that way. Can you?

      1. Basil Pesto

        It’s a bit much to expect Bari Weiss to write up the details of the obvious twitter moderation of Palestinian activists, of course, despite said activists’ demands to noted Palestinian Solidarity Mensch Elon Musk to disclose those discussions in full, something Musk could easily arrange. But maybe Matt will pick up the slack (unless not writing this up was a Certain Condition – as yet, we have no way of knowing). Doesn’t everything feel so wonderfully transparent!

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I’m pretty sure I wasn’t algorithmically soft blocked for being too conservative. As sure as I am of the fact that no human was involved in blocking an account with only 1k followers.

          I’ll be curious to see if anything from Twittergate results in my getting my account back without giving up a phone number.

  23. Daryl

    > “Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt on why in-office work is better: ‘I don’t know how you build great management’ virtually”

    Google was a legendary holdout on remote work pre-covid despite being better equipped than just about everyone to enable it. Also known as an unproductive culture in which the company, powered by the golden goose of advertising revenues, is effectively treated as a resource by the people within it to lever up their pay and careers on dead-end projects before bouncing somewhere else, or just coast. So y’know, probably not the best glass house to throw stones from but that never stopped any of these C-suite types.

  24. Lex

    Does it matter if a party has 51 votes? It generally seems to require 60 to actually do anything. But if you don’t want to actually do something it may be the Goldilocks majority. What will they do if Trump really is the turd in the GOP punch bowl? They might win enough to have no more excuses.

    I did an IAQ assessment at our main county building and got CO2 concentrations inside the building that were barely above the exterior. When I mentioned it to the maintenance guy he told me the facilities manager (previous) at the onset of Covid did some research and they’d been running HVAC for that level of ventilation ever since. There weren’t any studies, he just did it. I always liked that guy.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > When I mentioned it to the maintenance guy he told me the facilities manager (previous) at the onset of Covid did some research and they’d been running HVAC for that level of ventilation ever since. There weren’t any studies, he just did it. I always liked that guy.

      People like that guy should be running the country.

    1. lambert strether

      From that thread:

      ChatGPT is the closest model we have that looks like AGI, but still suffers from hallucination and tends to write plausible-looking bs with uncanny confidence. It could be misleading and even dangerous. Can we fix it? There is a simple & intuitive remedy:🧵 pic.twitter.com/LtzgxLbnGf— Jim (Linxi) Fan (@DrJimFan) December 5, 2022

      Fascinatingly, the writer then goes on to focus only on hallucination and ignores “plausible-looking bs [as I keep saying] with uncanny confidence” entirely.

  25. square coats

    Lambert, I have a recommendation which is not exactly what you asked for, as it’s not a food but it is a plant. My recommendation is GABA oolong tea, which has plenty of caffeine, while the GABA content of it (which is produced totally naturally, I can’t explain the process but there are tons of excellent explanations out there to be found easily if you’re interested) has a calming effect. Oolong teas I think can generally have a variety of health benefits, and while some stress is definitely good for us, it’s my understanding that too much can wear down the immune system.

    I say this as a previous inveterate coffee drinker, but I totally dig that this can make someone opposed to becoming an inveterate tea drinker.

    If you’re interested, I recommend looking for single batch loose leaf teas. There is a subreddit for tea that has a dedicated list of people’s recommended sites for buying tea, which is how I found some really great regular tea sources. Although maybe you’d be lucky enough to find a local store too..

    1. Mac na Michomhairle

      If tea is included, I’ll mention (Japanese) Matcha. It is the full young tea leaf, minimally processed and ground, so you get all the good stuff, more so than with other teas, as far as I know. It is also delicious! though you need water that is not quite boiling: boiling wrecks it. You also need good quality, which you won’t find in most stores. Even the local co-op’s brand is absolute dreck, as is any Chinese Matcha I have tasted, unfortunately. There are several good sources. It it’s allowed to mention a brand, I will mention Grace and Green, which is one guy in Japan. There’s also Encha, and so on. It’s unnecessary to get Ceremonial grade.

      My wife used to make fun of my frequent declarations that I was going to stop drinking Irish Breakfast tea, brewed so strong a mouse could dance on the surface. Matcha is what finally did the trick, and my stomach is much happier now.

      And here’s another vote for garlic.

  26. Acacia

    Of possible interest: “Skip Woke Movie Player

    Automatically skip woke scenes out of your movies!

    Movies are magical. But people who control everything know that.

    That’s why most mainstream movies come stuffed with propaganda. Good values are shown as boring and bad values are shown as cool.

    1. Basil Pesto

      And another thing, I’m sick of all the hippity-hop in the motion picture soundtracks these days! Is there anything we can do to get rid of that? Gangsterism and thuggery that these rappers love have no place in my home which is my castle sanctuary of Good Values. Furthermore, is that Bart Simpson still around? Can we do something about him finally?

  27. thousand points of green

    Immune support without supplements? Hard to do in today’s world of nutrient-depleted fruits and vegetables grown in mineral-depleted soil. One will have to eat vast amounts of the nutrient-depleted fruits and vegetables of today to hope to get a meaningful amount of immune-supporting nutrition. So the “not too much” part of Pollan’s advice has been rendered obsolete by events.

    Joan Robinson wrote a book called “Eating On The Wild Side” which discusses which varieties of fruits and vegetables are higher in various nutrients than which other varieties of those same fruits and vegetables,relatively speaking. In the back of her book, she published the names and authors of every single study she read and used in writing the book, in case the reader wants to read these studies oneself.
    Here is a link to a lot of information from and/or in-parallel to the book.

    Better taste, aroma and shelf life of fruits and vegetables is supposed to indicate more nutrient content and better metabolic cellular health of those fruits and vegetables. One could try buying samples of “the same kind” of fruit or vegetable from different sources and see which one shelf-live longer without rotting or molding. And then get those fruits and vegetables from those sources.

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