2:00PM Water Cooler 1/11/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Loggerhead Kingbird, Artemisa, Cuba.

* * *

Politics

“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

Abortion

“Virginia Democrat Holds Small Lead In State Senate Race To Decide Fate Of Abortion Rights” [Huffington Post]. “Democrats appear to have flipped a critical Senate seat in the Virginia legislature on Tuesday — likely safeguarding the state from enacting a 15-week abortion ban. Aaron Rouse, a former NFL player and Virginia Beach councilmember, holds a narrow lead over Republican Kevin Adams, a Navy veteran, as of Wednesday morning. The special election was held to fill a swing-district seat vacated by Republican Jen Kiggans after she was elected to the U.S. House in November. It was a tight race, with Rouse taking 50.41% of the votes and Adams 49.51%, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.”

Biden Administration

I haven’t had a chance to look at the sekrit documents Biden stashed, naturally under a completely different scenario than the former guy, but this is interesting:

Working the grift ’til the last possible moment?

“Biden’s documents drama gives Republicans a fresh narrative to use against him” [CNN]. “‘Let me get rid of the easy one first,’ Biden told an American reporter who asked him several questions, including one about the documents, in Mexico City. He said he was surprised when he learned about the discovery, that he didn’t know what was in the files, that they were in a locked closet and that his lawyers immediately turned them over to the National Archives and Records Administration. ‘People know I take classified documents, classified information seriously,’ the president said, drawing an implicit contrast with Trump’s fight to keep many more documents that he hoarded at his Mar-a-Lago resort after leaving office. Biden’s response was notable and his words were carefully chosen, apparently evidence of an acknowledgment by the White House that the president couldn’t ignore the increasing noise over the documents but also of a desire to avoid offering Republicans new political ammunition.” • If there was no camera on the “locked closet,” then Trump’s security was better than Biden’s….

“New Biden student loan proposal could cut some borrowers’ payments” [Axios]. Wow, enthusiastic headline! ‘It’s unclear when the changes will be implemented, though they will be subject to public comment for 30 days after being published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.”

2024

What an irony it would be if the Democrats stashed Mayo Pete at the Department of Transportation because nothing could really go wrong for him there, and then it turns out our infrastructure starts really collapsing on his watch:

“Air travel across US thrown into chaos after computer outage” [WTOP]. ” The world’s largest aircraft fleet was grounded for hours by a cascading outage in a government system that delayed or cancelled thousands of flights across the U.S. on Wednesday. The White House initially said that there was no evidence of a cyberattack behind the outage that ruined travel plans for millions of passengers. President Joe Biden said Wednesday morning that he’s directed the Department of Transportation to investigate. Whatever the cause, the outage revealed how dependent the world’s largest economy is on air travel, and how dependent air travel is on an antiquated computer system called the Notice to Air Missions, or NOTAM. Before commencing a flight, pilots are required to consult NOTAMs, which list potential adverse impacts on flights, from runway construction to the potential for icing. The system used to be telephone-based, with pilots calling dedicated flight service stations for the information, but has moved online. The NOTAM system broke down late Tuesday, leading to more than 1,000 flight cancellations and 7,000 delayed flights by midday Wednesday, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.” • How much you wanna bet Mayo Pete singlehandedly discovers this was all a Russian plot?

“Promotions, not job cuts, follow Southwest’s holiday chaos” [ABC]. “Southwest Airlines announced a number of executive promotions on Monday, days after announcing that last month’s service meltdown will cost the company up to $825 million, but none of the changes involved the highest ranking officers…. A Southwest spokesman said no one was demoted or left the company in connection with Monday’s moves.” • Of course not! Nice to see Mayo Pete jawboning the heck out of this. Oh, wait…

Republican Funhouse

NY: “NY Republican leaders call on GOP Rep. George Santos to resign over campaign lies” [NBC (Furzy Mouse)]. “‘George Santos’ campaign last year was a campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication,’ Nassau County GOP Chairman Joe Cairo said at a news conference with other party officials. Cairo took aim at Santos for having ‘disgraced’ the House and made clear that the freshman congressman is ‘not welcome here at Republican headquarters.’ ‘We do not consider him one of our Congress people,’ Cairo said. Moments later, Santos told reporters that he would not resign. He ignored further questions from reporters.” • Pass the popcorn.

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.

* * *

“Bernie, on his agenda for the Senate health panel” [WaPo]. “You might not have guessed this: As Sen. Bernie Sanders takes the gavel of the chamber’s prestigious health panel, a hearing on Medicare-for-all isn’t at the top of his list.” • Surely we can do better than this. Though I confess I’m unsure how. And speaking of useless Democrats:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Black Political Incorporation under Neoliberalism: The Routinization of Interracial Urban Regimes” [nonsite.org ]. “After more than fifty years of black urban governance, black politicians and managers have successfully navigated a contradictory terrain to maintain power and accrue benefits for themselves and their class. Of course, their own personal and political success has nothing to do with how well they have served their constituents. Otherwise working-class residents would have a chance at gaining quality public schools, affordable housing, living wage jobs, adequate health care, beautiful parks, and reliable public transportation systems. Success has everything to do with the staying power of African American professionals and managers in the positions of mayor, city councilors, housing authority directors, budget and planning directors, and school superintendents. Their longevity speaks to the postwar expansion and continuity of the black professional and managerial class delivering a seemingly unending supply of pedigreed candidates for municipal office.1 More than any other reason, their sustained run is a testament to the role this class continues to play in urban governance. They have continued to promote a developmental agenda for downtown expansion and investment, diverting public capital away from addressing deteriorating housing and infrastructure, dwindling job prospects, chronically under-resource public schools, and the violent character of making ends meet in the informal economy.” • Yep. (This by Reed (recommended by Flora) is great, too. Eviscerating reparations entrepreneur Darity en passant is typical Reed…

#COVID19

Lambert here: I am but a humble tapewatcher, but unlike Eric Topol, I’m not calling a surge, because the last peak was Biden’s Omicron debacle, and after an Everest like that, what’s left? Topol’s view is the establishment view: Hospital-centric. Mine is infection-centric. I do not see the universal acceleration or doubling in cases that I would expect to see based on past surges.

I am calling a “Something Awful.” It’s gonna be bad, in some new way, and we don’t know how, yet (but see here for immune system dysregulation, which is looking pretty awful). Wastewater has taken off in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, right on time, two weeks after Thanksgiving. Those are not only in themselves large cities, they are all the sites of international airports (reminiscent of the initial surge in spring 2020, which emanated, via air travel, from New York). Wastewater is a leading indicator for cases, which in turn lead hospitalization (and death). In addition, positivity has reached its highest level ever, at least at Walgreens, and BQ.1* has taken over, closely followed by XBB, and both are immunue escape variants. UPDATE The rise of XBB in the Northeast is very concerning. The effects of all our holiday travel should be playing out in the next two weeks, and we are one week in.

Stay safe out there!

* * *

• “Endothelial dysfunction in COVID-19: an overview of evidence, biomarkers, mechanisms and potential therapies” [Nature]. From October 2022, still highly germane: “Mounting evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 infection leads to multiple instances of endothelial dysfunction… Direct SARS-CoV-2 infection or indirect effect arising from SARS-CoV-2 infection leads to endothelial dysfunction in pan-vasculature, which results in the development of multi-organ tissue injury.” • It’s just a cold! Handy graphic:

* * *

• Taibbi on Bill Maher (sigh). Worth a listen:

* * *

• “The New Yorker Goes All In on Our Precious Bodily Fluids” [Gregg Gonsalves, The Nation]. The deck: “Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the virus.” More on Emma Green’s horrid New Yorker article: “A flurry of pieces in mainstream, prestige media outlets like The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Washington Post—followed by some admiring posts on social media from clinicians who should know better—took things a few steps further at the end of 2022. These commentators suggested that those who refuse to forget, move on, and stop paying attention to the pandemic are ‘holdouts,’ ‘hardliners,’ adherents to a ‘fringe politics‘—and, an appellation almost too silly to write, ‘communists.’ The implication is that people who still care—or care too much—are beyond the pale, and also, perhaps, harboring a touch of danger in what they represent…. But you also have to wonder: Why target this small group of progressive scientists and activists? I suspect it’s because Green wants to make an example of them. She has no interest in challenging the government’s response to the pandemic; instead, she wants others to see how The New Yorker can marginalize you for speaking up.” • Sounds like Gonsalves has been reading Bourdieu.

* * *

Maskstravaganza: “The best masks to protect you from the newest XBB.1.5 ‘Kraken’ COVID variant” [New York Post]. “Want to tame the beast? We know we are a broken record, but the best way to do so is with a mask. However, not just any mask will do anymore, especially for this current XBB.1.5. strain, now nicknamed Kraken…. No matter what, masking up is still the way to go, even three years after the pandemic’s start…. • This is, amazingly enough, in the Shopping section, and there seems to be a promotional tie-in with Armbrust American. But this is America….

* * *

• “Peter Hotez on new COVID XBB1.5 variant: ‘People are saying this will be mild. It’s not mild'” [Houston Chronicle]. “People”? Which people? More: ” I was hoping 2022 wouldn’t be as bad as 2021, and unfortunately it turned out to be almost as bad. That first omicron wave a year ago, the first months of 2022, was a disaster with a huge number of deaths. That was disturbing and disappointing. After the terrible delta wave in 2021, I didn’t think it could get worse, and it almost did. I’m hopeful 2023 won’t be as bad as 2022, but it’s not starting out great…. As we’re speaking, we’re seeing XBB1.5 become the dominant variant…. It’s starting to smell like another traditional winter wave like we had in 2021 with alpha and 2022 with omicron. We don’t have those proportions in Texas yet, but we probably will. So it might be rough the next couple of months. Because so many people were infected or vaccinated or infected and vaccinated, there may be some mitigating effects.” • I like “smell like.” Seems like Hotez is a tapewatcher too! (The best proxy we have now for cases is wastewater. Unfortunately, CDC’s wastewater tracking network is going grey just at the critical time. What about my personal risk assessment?

* * *

• “New Chinese mRNA Covid vaccine shows positive early results” [Financial Times]. “A Chinese vaccine maker has announced positive early results for its messenger RNA jab, as Covid-19 spreads rapidly across a population that has been inoculated with more traditional vaccines. CanSinoBio on Friday said its vaccine had elicited 23 to 29 times more antibodies than an inactivated jab when given as a booster to people who had already received three shots. The ‘phase 2b’ trial of more than 400 people — which usually comes before a gold-standard phase 3 trial — showed positive results against the Omicron variants BA.1 and BA.5.” • So now we having a big natural experiment on mRNA. If we can ever get good data out of China — or the United States.

• “Exclusive: China in talks with Pfizer for generic COVID drug” [Reuters]. “China is in talks with Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) to secure a licence that will allow domestic drugmakers to manufacture and distribute a generic version of the U.S. firm’s COVID-19 antiviral drug Paxlovid in China, three sources told Reuters. China’s medical products regulator – the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) – has been leading the talks with Pfizer since late last month, one of the sources with knowledge of the matter said.” • Late to the party, see below.

* * *

• “COVID drug Paxlovid was hailed as a game-changer. What happened? [Nature]. Among other things: “Paxlovid relies on a robust COVID-19 testing infrastructure and access to primary-care physicians and pharmacies, she notes. This amplifies pre-existing disparities resulting from race and income. For example, Black and Hispanic populations were about 36% and 30% less likely to be prescribed Paxlovid, respectively, compared with white populations, according to an analysis5 of almost 700,000 people who sought COVID-19 care across 30 US sites. Fears about hesitancy, says Sosin, provide an excuse to blame individuals rather than policymakers and to deflect ‘attention away from the system that needs to be in place to deliver the drugs.'”

* * *

Transmission

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission (the “red map,” which is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you.) The map is said to update Monday-Friday by 8 pm:

The previous map:

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

Positivity

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published January 11:

-2.1.%. Still going down.

Wastewater

Wastewater data (CDC), January 7:

Still too much grey. New York city down. Really? And MWRA isn’t updating either. Some debacle in the lab? Not unknown at CDC?

January 6:

NOT UPDATED And MWRA data, January 5:

Lambert here: Both North and South are down. However, not all the students are back; BU classes begin January 19; Harvard’s January 22.

Variants

Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. Does nobody in the public health establishment get a promotion for tracking variants? Are there no grants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everybody gets the results from them? [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk]. UPDATE Yes. See NC here on Pango. Every Friday, a stately, academic pace utterly incompatible with protecting yourself against a variant exhibiting doubling behavior.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), December 23:

Lambert here: BQ.1* dominates, XBB moving up fast. Note all the BQ subvariants; it’s almost like something’s encouraging them, like maybe a policy of mass infection. Sure hope none of ’em get lucky, like XBB.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), December 17 (Nowcast off):

BQ.1* takes first place. XBB coming up fast. (For BQ.1/XBB and vaccine escape, see here.) Here is Region 2, the Northeast, where both BQ.1* and XBB are said to be higher, and are:

Holy moley, XBB.1.5! (Makes clear that Region 2 (New England) varies greatly from the national average. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we ended up with different variants dominating different parts of the country.

• As a check, since New York is a BQ.1* hotbed, New York hospitalization, updated January 10:

A retreat from the steady rise I have found so concerning.

• Hospitalization data for Queens, updated January 8:

Backward revision, down.

Deaths

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,121,725 – 1,121,298 = 427 (427 * 365 = 155,855 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).

Lambert here: Deaths lag, so we have a nice little jump here as a consequence of whatever it is we’ve been going through.

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.

• Here is a long thread on calculating Covid deaths in the UK. The methodology is important, even if it turns out the causality for excess deaths (ED) is different from the US:

Long story short:

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

The Bezzle: “Silvergate Bank loaded up on $4.3 billion in Home Loan bank advances” [American Banker]. “When depositors began pulling money out of Silvergate Capital Corp. following the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, the California bank shored up its liquidity by tapping a quasi-government agency not typically known as a lender of last resort. Silvergate received $4.3 billion from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco late last year, company filings show. The billions in liquidity provided by the FHLB in the fourth quarter alone helped La Jolla, Calif.,-based Silvergate stave off a further run on deposits. The crypto-friendly bank now holds roughly $4.6 billion in cash — the bulk of which came from Home Loan Bank advances, according to select financial metrics that Silvergate released last week. The lifeline that Silvergate got from the Home Loan Bank System shows one way in which the crypto industry has managed to find its way into the mainstream banking system. It also comes as the Federal Housing Finance Agency is reviewing the mission of the Home Loan banks. Critics have questioned the system’s hybrid public-private business model and whether the banks are engaged in the primary mission of supporting housing. Though the banks were created during the Depression to support housing finance, some experts suggest the funding to Silvergate is an example of mission creep.” • Well, er. Let’s hope this contagion hasn’t spread very far!

The Bezzle: Quite a pile-up:

I’m wondering what the threshold is for self-driving deaths to lead to abolition. One death? 10, in a big pile-up? 100, in a national study? More?

The Bezzle:

“Tesla hopes having large numbers of people training up the algorithm will solve these problems.” Running experiments on the general population without their informed consent seems to be a thing these days. It’s tiresome.

Tech: Elon crapifies Twitter (1): Images no longer cropped on the timeline on mobile:

The full image:

Social media managers everywhere tearing their hair out just now….. In addition to creators, of course.

This abomination seems not to have been rolled out on the desktop (yet) but if it is:

Tech: Elon crapifies Twitter (2): “Twitter’s Algorithmic ‘For You’ Feed Becomes Default Timeline on iOS” [MacRumors]. Not on the desktop, fortunately. “Twitter has made the algorithmic “For You” timeline the default feed that users see when they open the iOS app, a controversial change that the company has tried previously before rolling it back due to a pronounced backlash. In a change that is sure to draw the ire of some users, Twitter has removed the sparkle-shaped icon from the top-right of the app’s interface that let users switch between ‘For You’ and ‘Latest’ and replaced it with two tabs called ‘For You’ and ‘Following.’ ‘For You’ still shows users tweets from people they follow out of order, sprinkled with algorithmically suggested tweets from people they don’t [which is a problem, since the algo is garbage], while ‘Following’ shows tweets in pure reverse chronological order. While the change technically makes it easier to switch timelines [although why on earth anyone would want to do that escapes me] – users can now just swipe between them instead of tapping the star icon – users on iOS will now always see the algorithmic ‘For You’ tab when opening the app, whether they want to or not.” • The gall, calling the algo timeline “for you,” when the timeline that’s really for me is the one I carefully curated, ffs. The gall, in fact, of both forcing the algo on users and rolling back cropping to 2020, when those were the two misfeatures most complained about by users (after the lack of an edit button). The difficulty here is that Twitter’s current chief competitor, Mastodon, is dominated by child pr0n and ped0.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 50 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 41 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 11 at 2:23 PM EST.

Groves of Academe

“The Consolidation-Disruption Index Is Alarming” [The Atlantic]. “We should be living in a golden age of creativity in science and technology. We know more about the universe and ourselves than we did in any other period in history, and with easy access to superior research tools, our pace of discovery should be accelerating. But, as I wrote in the first edition of this newsletter, America is running out of new ideas. ‘Everywhere we look we find that ideas … are getting harder to find,’ a group of researchers from Stanford University and MIT famously concluded in a 2020 paper. Another paper found that ‘scientific knowledge has been in clear secular decline since the early 1970s,’ and yet another concluded that ‘new ideas no longer fuel economic growth the way they once did.'” • No need for new ideas when everybody has just one idea: Profit (or, in the case of academics, symbolic capital if they don’t have what it takes to become a star and pick up some patents).

“Performance of ChatGPT on USMLE: Potential for AI-Assisted Medical Education Using Large Language Models” (preprint) [medRxiv]. “We evaluated the performance of a large language model called ChatGPT on the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE), which consists of three exams: Step 1, Step 2CK, and Step 3. ChatGPT performed at or near the passing threshold for all three exams without any specialized training or reinforcement. Additionally, ChatGPT demonstrated a high level of concordance and insight in its explanations. These results suggest that large language models may have the potential to assist with medical education, and potentially, clinical decision-making.” • I’m not sure that’s what the results suggest at all.

News of the Wired

Finally, somebody agrees with me on “smart.” Granted, an Australian Senator:

* * *

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 CM:

CM writes: “The sunlight catching the powdered snow drifting off the pine trees created a magical effect. Taken in Grey County, Ontario.”

Readers, puh-leeze send me more plants!

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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.

98 comments

  1. Watt4Bob

    WRT Biden visiting Ukraine.

    Working the grift ’til the last possible moment?

    A friend used to be fond of telling me this;

    “Bob, you have to remember, a politician is a person who would try to steal a red-hot stove with his bare hands”.

    Reply
    1. Stephen V

      What is it with stoves today? Ours blew up (220V) on New Years, New one was just delivered, enviros tell us we’re killing the planet with stoves and now this.
      Wish the big guy would grab a hot stove.
      .

      Reply
  2. Mikel

    The Consolidation-Disruption Index Is Alarming” [The Atlantic]. “We should be living in a golden age of creativity in science and technology. We know more about the universe and ourselves than we did in any other period in history, and with easy access to superior research tools, our pace of discovery should be accelerating…”

    Maybe the first step forward is admitting that what allegedly is “known” is over-hyped.
    That’s the idea that has to be entertained.

    Reply
    1. jsn

      How many autopilot deaths to make it an issue?

      Based on COVID experience, seems like it’s well into the millions.

      Not apples to apples, but no better mechanisms exist at Transportation than at CDC. Personnel is clearly from the same muddy pool.

      Reply
      1. Foy

        I posted this link in today’s daily Links but since there is also a reference to a Tesla stopping in the middle of the tunnel in today’s Water cooler I’ll put it here as well. I have been following this Twitter account for a fair while, every day he posts new photos and videos of Teslas doing really weird things, swerving suddenly and crashing, stopping, accelerating in things (scary), windows cracking, engineering failures, catching fire, or various functions stopping and needing to be towed. It’s incredible in my mind that people buy them and that they are still on the road. And people keep saying “I love my Tesla and Elon but please Elon, do something and fix my problem”. The cognitive dissonance is interesting to see.

        It’s a Japanese account but the pictures explain themselves.

        https://twitter.com/TeslaqJ

        Reply
      2. agent ranger smith

        Autopilot deaths are more spectacular. If they cause multi-car pile-ups and especially hours-long traffic jams on PMC-frequented roads and highways, a few thousand deaths should be all that are needed to raise some Congressional eyebrows.

        Reply
  3. Jason Boxman

    Promotions, not job cuts, follow Southwest’s holiday chaos

    Like AIG paying out bonuses after getting bailed out. Under Obama.

    These people have no shame, and should be in jail.

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      Sounds like SW Air is going to be where Pete lands after his stint at Transportation.

      A few years there and then he can run for the presidency on his business expertise.

      Reply
      1. Tom Doak

        Oh, don’t kid yourself. Pete’s next job is Secretary of State in the 2024 Biden Administration. It’s in his contract. Plus, by that point, nobody else will want the job!

        Reply
  4. flora

    re: “Black Political Incorporation under Neoliberalism: The Routinization of Interracial Urban Regimes” – [nonsite.org ]

    Thanks for the link.

    Reply
        1. flora

          Yep.

          “Of course, their own personal and political success has nothing to do with how well they have served their constituents.”

          So, bowwing in Kente cloth isn’t comparable to something like Medicare for All? Who could’a know’d. / ;)

          Reply
          1. agent ranger smith

            When the people who want Medicare for All keep not getting it, and decide they don’t want any more Kente cloth waved in their faces instead, then things might happen. Maybe.

            Reply
  5. curlydan

    Well, the Paxlovid article in Nature was fairly bland besides calling out why poor people can’t get it. The real question on everyone’s mind (especially for future re-infections) is what the [bleep] is the deal with the rebound?

    It’s annoying and saying (1) some famous people get it or (2) some non-Paxlovid people also rebound isn’t satisfying. What percent of people get it? It seems really high, but Pfizer lackeys are always talking it down. In my experience and my step-father’s experience, it literally knocks the disease down for 4-5 days giving a false sense of security, then comes roaring back to make the whole process not a week of hell but 3 weeks of on again-off again hell. My step-father stopped masking because he was testing negative before his rebound, only for my mother to get infected a couple days after he rebounded and began re-masking.

    Also, many studies say Paxlovid reduces Long Covid. Is that true for the rebounders? Basically, every Paxlovid study needs to include some conditional probabilities for those who rebounded. Are the benefits only for those without the rebound?

    I can pretty much say that most people who rebounded with Paxlovid probably aren’t taking it again.

    [fortunately, neither of us dealt much with the metallic taste although I know it drove some people crazy]

    Reply
  6. Wukchumni

    I have to admit having George CoSantosza is quite Seinfeldian, he’s essentially a politician about nothing, the bare bones My Kevin (since ’07).

    Reply
    1. Not Again

      This should be rich. If they decide that you can’t be seated in Congress just because you lied, there won’t be anyone eligible to serve.

      Reply
      1. John Beech

        There’s a sitting Senator who lied about being native American to steal a benefit. That’s low. What’s next, stealing from cripples? Santos a big fat liar? Yawn.

        Reply
  7. Bart Hansen

    Biden should recuse himself on the Ukraine war. He may not be running it, but he is able to go nuclear on us all by his lonesome. Intervention needed.

    If Elaine Chao can survive two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX, Pete can handle the FAA computer problems.

    First they came for the gas stoves, but I did not have a gas stove……

    Reply
    1. Not Again

      Pete is struggling in the same job that Ray LaHood worked at part-time. He’s definitely presidential material.

      Reply
    2. nippersdad

      With gas prices in the North East what they are due to having to supply Europe with LNG, he may be trying to bring down the competition here in the US one stove at a time. This is a problem that he thinks he can sink his dentures into, and I can’t wait to see pictures of the results.

      Reply
    1. Lupana

      Aside from the no masks in this image, I came away from his interview even more confused. He claims the variants have all developed in the unvaccinated or in low vaccine areas – Is this true? Can’t mutations happen in anyone who gets COVID regardless of vaccine status? And since the vaccinated can also spread it … ??

      Reply
      1. Jorge

        Other speculators claim that variants develop in the immunosuppresed, since they can keep a culture fermenting for a long time.

        Reply
  8. agent ranger smith

    I’ll give up my gas stove when you peel my cold dead fingers from around the burner knob ( or whatever that turnable dial-thing is called).

    Actually, it was a PMC Democrat-Liberal in agency-authority who propose a “ban on any more gas stoves”.
    The trumped-up excuse is ” indoor NO2 emissions”. If that was the real concern, which it is not; then indoor ventilation would be suggested, which it was not. If AOC were a little less science-illiterate, she might have wondered how true a problem ” indoor NO2 emissions” suddenly was and why.

    No doubt the Head PMC In Charge in that agency decided this for all the right meddlesome progressive busybody reasons. Why would our pro-fossil carbon Administration not immediately stamp this idea out?
    Because they think this serves a stealth agenda of suppressing gas use in America in order to liquify every last puff of that gas and sell it as LNG to overseas buyers.

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      “Because they think this serves a stealth agenda of suppressing gas use in America in order to liquify every last puff of that gas and sell it as LNG to overseas buyers.”

      Exactly.

      Reply
  9. Hepativore

    They are coming for your urine…wait until employers start installing these sorts of toilets as a standard practice, or for landlords to do this with the toilets in their apartment bathrooms to see if employees or tenants are pregnant or using drugs, the latter as a backpocket pretext for eviction…plus, I am sure that the data brokers that want to collect this information would gladly sell it to your HMO so your insurer can use it as an excuse to raise your rates or drop you because of what health conditions it might reveal about you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTy8GbRZjLI

    Reply
    1. agent ranger smith

      There will probably be 24/7 videocams mounted over the toilets aimed back at the user to make sure the user is not pouring ” something else” into the spy toilet. A first step towards pouring “something else” into the toilet would be to find and destroy the hidden spycams. Including the hidden spycams watching to see if anyone tries to find and destroy the hidden spycams.

      Here is a song about that general sort of thing. There used to be a video version but it seems to be gone.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXzIvy-Q9Ko

      Reply
    2. Questa Nota

      In addition to that clever heat pump to extract precious BTUs?
      It ain’t over until the fat lady sings pees, and then only when the energy offset calculation has reduced her remaining owed rent.
      Surely, there must be an NFT application for that? /s

      Reply
  10. synoia

    Gas stoves are commonly installed with vents forr products of combustion. I believe that is a building code requirement.

    Are the publishers of this fear mogerimd ignorant, dishonest, or stupid?

    Reply
    1. agent ranger smith

      I vote ” dishonest” .

      They are working to create a whole new diversionary and divisive moral panic about gas stoves for any number of deceitful reasons, including – I hypothesise – to divert all American natgas into the compressors for selling overseas.

      Reply
      1. JL

        The primary driver of a regulatory replacement of gas appliances over the past few years has been CO2 reduction targets passed by governmental authorities. Toxic contaminants and by products of gas appliances in addition to possible Carbon Monoxide emissions have been well known for decades but hitherto not taken very seriously by regulatory agencies in part because buildings used to leak air so much that it was not quite as high a concern and because toxins and irritants in building materials as a whole are, along side greenhouse gas emissions, being taken more seriously than in the past.

        California, for example, has been gradually increasing energy efficiency standard for new buildings for over a decade (the first go was back in the 70’s which helped California keep total electricity consumption relatively flat in comparison to large increases in the rest of the country over the years) and they have reached a level that very little more efficiency gain can be squeezed out of building methods given standard industry wide building techniques.

        At this point they have determined that further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are to be primarily found in plugin loads (electrical gadgets used in the home) and more so in heating and cooking. And corllarily, cars and trucks. As said, along with energy efficiency, the “Green Building” component of building codes also emphasis indoor air quality, so a wider awareness of natural gas by products in the home goes along with this. The vision is to replace gas stove with induction ones, not the old electric resistance coil ones bytw. For whatever its worth in my bit of experience the induction stoves are kinda ok, but certainly not as controllably used as a gas one. But like all else, stepping back on planetary destruction may just entail such changes.

        The overarching concept in this approach hinges on an expectation that electricity production will evolve towards ‘renewables; in more or less step. There is much that can be doubted about in that regard and much has over the months on these pages. But, nonetheless, that is the reasoning. Rationality, well who knows. The unstated premise in all of this, however, is that nothing fundamental in the relations of power nor wider mode of life is to be questioned. Technological tweekage required (and poorly enforced) and all else stays the same; with great investment opportunities perhaps.

        Reply
        1. nippersdad

          “The primary driver of a regulatory replacement of gas appliances over the past few years has been CO2 reduction targets passed by governmental authorities. ”

          Meanwhile on the Gulf coast:

          “Federal and state officials are backing plans to build a fleet of new liquified natural gas export terminals across the Gulf Coast — 11 of them with construction already underway or soon to begin, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…In Cameron Parish alone, two new plants are under construction, with two more proposed, and several others, including the Venture and Sempra plants, have big plans for expansion. ”

          “Cameron LNG, for example, now produces 14 million tons of LNG each year. It plans to expand its capacity by 150 percent by 2026. That would see the facility, which currently has the fourth-largest LNG export capacity in the country, potentially exporting 21.2 million tons of LNG per year.”

          ” But while liquified natural gas may burn cleaner once it reaches a German power plant, the emissions required to get it there can substantially reduce those carbon benefits, according to the International Energy Agency.”

          “These include the energy to liquify it, the gasses released from flaring and the particularly potent raw methane that spills from wellheads and pipelines or from malfunctioning equipment. Since 2019, Cameron LNG has had an average of two accidental releases per month, many due to failures of devices that burn off methane to form less damaging carbon dioxide.”

          https://thehill.com/policy/equilibrium-sustainability/3809121-group-warns-liquefied-gas-expansion-could-hurt-louisiana-coast/

          Seems like if the primary driver of this regulatory change is co2 reduction discharge targets, there is lower hanging fruit right there in front of their noses.

          Reply
          1. JL

            Yup, you are not wrong about that. The little one overshadowed by the absolutely contrary and bigger other. Governmental powers are not monolithic, acting in lock step common. Groups within the panoply of jurisdictions and bureaus work independently and at counter purposes, and within their own dis-proportionality influential spheres. There isn’t a completely unified command. Certainly, there is an overarching systems logic that drives the general trends of government policies and an uneven weight and power of the actors and their interests within the larger governmental structures that pretty much determine what and who wins the major pitches and the larger direction of things–and the green building guys, while they have their small corners of influence and authority, ain’t them.

            BYTW, I ain’t giving up my gas stove either. Though I should probably trade my crummy old gas heater in for a heat pump, its chilly in here, but will never get around to it.

            Reply
            1. nippersdad

              I’m not actually a huge natural gas fan; the only thing I use it for is the furnace. That said, I just find it an unlikely coincidence that a week after there is a spike in prices for the New England electric grid due to the high cost of LNG, suddenly banning gas stoves is a thing.

              If you will forgive the pun, something about that just smells like rotten eggs.

              Reply
        2. agent ranger smith

          Do the modern induction stoves give off deadly fields of carcino-accelerant electro-smog?

          Should someone be asking this question now, before modern induction stoves are crammed down the throat of a hundred million dwelling units?

          And the gas to be saved in theory by cooking with electro-induction will not be saved as in ” not used”. It will be saved as in “saved for compression and sale to Europe and Asia”. Every last puff of it will be sold and burned under this scenario.

          Reply
        3. Nigel

          Tens of thousands of people have lost power temporarily across the west. Add to that the programed power outages from corporate criminal PG&E worried about lack of tree trimming and people will be learning how vulnerable they are living in all electric homes.

          Cold food, cold showers and runny noses and cold nights. Meanwhile their next door neighbor with a gas line is taking hot showers, eating hot food and heating his house with a gas fireplace.

          It’s not about emissions, it’s about controlling people’s lives. Electricity can be shut off at the speed of light, deliberately or accidentally. Gas remains in buried pipes and tanks for a long time during a disaster and keeps working.

          Reply
          1. Pat

            Yet another thing that was available to people in a power outage they want gone. I still resent the loss of copper based land lines.

            And I still prefer gas ranges to electric, and yes I have used induction cooktops. Perhaps the massively expensive ones are different, but the ones I have used were better than coils and glass tops but gas was as responsive and immediate. And it is really good to be able to boil water if nothing else.

            Reply
            1. agent ranger smith

              I still have a real telephone on a copper land line. I will keep my telephone till they peel my cold dead copper landline from out of the wall.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                Count your blessings. The telecoms have abandoned the copper land lines in many parts of the North American Deep South already. Now we have a plethora of 5G boxes up on telephone poles, which returns those dead trees to their original function, supporting communication.

                Reply
        4. Jorge

          “very little more efficiency gain can be squeezed out of building methods given standard industry wide building techniques” – there are a lot of white buildings in North Africa which disagree.

          Reply
    2. LY

      My apartment (which gets regularly inspected by the town) has a natural gas stove. I open a window and put a fan in it every time because I don’t have a vent, nor a proper hood. The hood recirculates through a flimsy metal filter, and is probably more for capturing oil droplets. I usually keep the window open a crack anyway, since there’s the pilot light.

      Even places with ventilation usually have an under powered fan, and how often is the design coordinated with the HVAC system? If I was to redo the range top, my ideaI setup would be a powerful hood over modern induction, with one natural gas burner for use with a wok.

      Reply
    3. tevhatch

      Maybe the quality of the gas is getting worse. One thing present in natural gas is radon gas, perhaps frack gas has more of it? However I suspect it has more to do with an “easy” (in their minds) target for enforcing electrification and the green agenda, plus distraction by outrage from other issues.

      Reply
      1. Harold

        Don’t they know that millions of New Yorkers have gas stoves and that they are much, much cheaper than electric?? I simply can’t believe it. I have always tried to give A O Cortez the benefit of the doubt. Now I I’m ready to believe she is an idiot.

        Let them enforce existing ventilation laws and really save some lives.

        Reply
      2. chris

        I’m not sure where you heard that natural gas has radon in it. Here’s a helpful reference for components of pipeline quality natural gas. This is what is transported to distribution centers and has the odorant added to it for consumer use.

        Reply
        1. tevhatch

          Hi Chris: From here, for one:Radon-222 Content of Natural Gas Samples from Upper and Middle Devonian Sandstone and Shale Reservoirs in Pennsylvania: Preliminary Data That was 5 seconds or so of internet searching with the term “radon gas in natural gas”.

          Anything coming out of the ground, even drinking water, contains radon, the question is how much*. Many sources of well water need hard processing to reduce (not eliminate) radon to tolerable levels, which isn’t difficult with water (a liquid). Natural gas always has radon in it, no exception, and it is difficult and expensive to reduce it. Different sources of natural gas contain differing amounts, but what I don’t understand is why you imply natural gas never had radon gas (or other potentially hazardous contaminants). What one does not look for is seldom seen.

          *Alle Ding sind Gift und nichts ohn’ Gift; allein die Dosis macht, das ein Ding kein Gift ist.

          Reply
      1. chris

        Excepting that the CR study was funded by the Climate Imperative Foundation (an organization committed to eliminating fossil fuels), there’s some problems with it. The problems are instructive and one of the reasons why there may really be problems with using gas stoves indoors.

        First, they mention using the burner setting on high but they don’t mention if the vent fan was at its highest setting or not. They don’t discuss the temperature of the flames being produced in their tests – which directly effects what products of combustion you create and the quantities of those products. They don’t mention if the stoves were even running properly before they tested. They also don’t report the volume of the space they tested their range tops in, but they do say that they tested oxygen levels. It’s important that any gas burning appliance have the correct amount of combustion air. If they installed these appliances in a small enough space that oxygen level monitoring was a concern then they may have been using these appliances in too small a volume.

        A reasonable response to everything I wrote above might be, “But are most people checking all that before they use their gas stoves?” And the answer for an overwhelming majority is no, of course they’re not checking that. Nor do most people have formaldehyde or benzene sensors in their kitchens to detect if dangerous combustion products are accumulating. So could these appliances be operating in a way that decreases the quality of the indoor air? Yes, they could be.

        What happens next is the market and science need to work for a bit. Gas stove tops and ovens are very much cheaper than induction units. Not to mention you have to completely upgrade your cook ware to work with an induction cook top. And you need to make sure that the power supply to your kitchen is “clean” and you’re not dropping a phase or allowing the voltage to vary too much. In that case your new appliance is going die soon due to dirty power.

        The article goes on to suggest public subsidies for many people to replace their gas cooking appliances. I don’t think that will happen any time soon. If ever.

        Reply
      2. Harold

        People don’t run their stoves continuously. They use microwaves to heat things up, though those probably emit things also.

        Reply
    4. chris

      The claims are that even with the vent on during use, these appliances are emitting problematic levels of NO2 and other by products of combustion.

      From all of the papers I’ve seen on this, the testing conditions aren’t clearly explained. Also, all of the organizations supporting this research seem to be advocates for removing natural gas from service. It’s also odd that they seem to focus on natural gas and not propane, which based on stoichimetry alone emits more NO2 than methane.

      I’m sure ASHRAE will weigh in on all this sooner or later. But I actually doubt we’ll see a lot of movement on this topic. There’s no way all the landlords in this country will put up with standards for indoor air quality.

      Reply
    5. Harold

      It looks like the 2022 Harvard study only said that gas stoves were “potentially” dangerous, especially if they had microscopic leaks. Something we already knew.

      Reply
    1. skippy

      The political path[tm] is just so Grandin in the way it effects anyone on it regardless of the idpol they wrap themselves in ….

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Trying to remember when AOC talked last about public health care but nothing comes to mind since she was first elected. Well, except for that ‘ruckus’ about force-the-vote which she was against because it meant not giving Nancy her vote and would be totally useless – until those 20 Republicans proved that yes, withholding your votes in return for something substantial actually not only works, but once upon a time was how politics was always carried out.

      Reply
  11. Nick

    Did you know that ongoing exposure to NO2 from gas stoves is linked to reduced cognitive performance?

    AOC

    You mean like becoming a democratic or republican politician?
    I’ll take the gas please as in cook me now.

    Reply
  12. FreeMarketApologist

    RE: “I’m wondering what the threshold is for self-driving deaths to lead to abolition.

    How many deaths before seat belts were mandatory?
    How many Corvair accidents before they were pulled? (after ~100+ lawsuits)
    How many problems before the CSPC / FDA / NHTSA recalls the product / food / vehicle?

    Generally, not many. So where is the NHTSA on this?

    (I will leave it to our resident poets to set this to Dylan’s well known tune from 1962.)

    Reply
    1. Watt4Bob

      IMO, there are two constituencies pushing the whole self-driving vehicle thing;

      Transportation companies salivating at the prospect of getting rid of driver/employees, and;

      PMC types wanting a way to avoid DUIs.

      Neither ‘problem’ really needs fixing, the funds wasted on this dangerous ‘solution’ could could just as easily be successful if applied to driver pay or UBER/TAXI fares.

      And probably still saving a lot of money, not to mention lives.

      Reply
  13. fresno dan

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/biden-aides-find-second-batch-classified-documents-new-location-rcna65371
    Aides to President Joe Biden have discovered at least one additional batch of classified documents in a location separate from the Washington office he used after leaving the Obama administration, according to a person familiar with the matter.
    ======================================
    This made me re double check my screct underground lair/mom’s basement, where lo and behold, I found several secret Biden documents, including the date and location of the locker at the bus terminal where the Steele dossier was to be dropped off and the codes for the cryto currency to pay the courier…

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I checked mine and it only had more mundane documents talking about who shot the Kennedy brothers, snaps of J. Edgar Hoover in drag, J. F. Kennedy’s little black book and the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body. You know, old stuff.

      Reply
      1. agent ranger smith

        Hoffa disappeared somewhere in the Greater Detroit Metropolitan Area. ( My uncle pointed out the restaurant he disappeared from once, but I can’t remember its name.)

        Rumor has it that the hamburgers in that general area started tasting ‘different’ for some time after Hoffa’s disappearance. And then went back to tasting the same as before.

        Reply
        1. RA

          Restaurant was The Red Fox in Bloomfield Hills. Around Telegraph and Maple I think. Not there now.

          In 1975 Hoffa was to meet someone in the parking lot but a no-show. He vanished after leaving there.

          Reply
  14. Cat Burglar

    Emma Green’s pro-covid transmission article in the New Yorker was well taken down by epidemiologist Greg Gonsalves. Green’s tradecraft was so poor — she had to know what she was doing — that it left me wondering what it takes for a writer to commit journalistic suicide right on stage. My hunch is that it takes a request from someone with the power to advance your career. Things like this — Russiagate was an example, too — they light up the networks of patronage, the flow of the power through the system. Editors must have been having some deep talks at the holiday parties, and this is what they put in the trough for us.

    Hats off to Gonsalves for bringing forward Green’s pose of faux naivete: he quotes her attacking public health group People’s CDC for “willingness to make eye-popping claims about the motivations of politicians, corporations, or anyone in power.” It is eye popping Green could write this, but lives and is a journalist in New York City!

    Reply
    1. Procopius

      There are still many people who believe fully in Russiagate. See the blog Baloon Juice for example. They also believe Ukraine is winning.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        An aside: WTF has happened to formerly feral Team R messaging? They used to be brutally effective. It should have been branded “Russiagate hoax” long ago. Why the loss of nerve?

        Reply
  15. KD

    ‘George Santos’ campaign last year was a campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication,. . .

    . . . since when has that disqualified a politician? At least he didn’t plagiarize Neil Kinnock’s speeches. “I never had sexual relations with that woman” . . . “I am not a crook”. . . “Read my lips, no new taxes”. . .

    Getting kicked out of Congress for lying is like being fired from a whorehouse for moral turpitude.

    Reply
    1. Jorge

      I think NC pointed out that Santos’s success is obviously a failure of Democratic apparatchik’s failure to do opposition research. Part of a having a two-party system is that they try to tear each other down, keeping each other honest.

      However, the local Republican party can take some blame for putting up a loser, if the loser can’t be effective for the district.

      Reply
  16. Mikel

    “COVID drug Paxlovid was hailed as a game-changer. What happened?”

    “Paxlovid is a combination of the oral antiviral drugs nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. It reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in high-risk individuals who took the drug within three days of experiencing symptoms, according to a clinical trial2 sponsored by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which produces the drug and is based in New York City….”

    Maybe people are thinking the same thing regarding reducing hosipitalization or death was said about Pfizer’s shots and boosters. Now people are supposed to take an unknown amount of boosters forever AND the drug which has issues of its own other than not enough blacks and hispanics taking it.

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      Calving from Greenland glaciers would still produce the same kinds of icebergs that sank the Titanic. There are just a lot fewer of them. If one wants confirmation of global warming in the Arctic, one need only read the kinds of books written about the Franklin Expedition and then look at a satellite picture of the Arctic Ocean right now.

      Had those types of expeditions happened today they would have made it back.

      Reply
    2. thousand points of green

      The language of the article is less than absolutely clear and unambiguous. I suspect the authors did not mean that the very same exact actual icebergs which the old explorers saw have individually and personally lasted unto this very day. I suspect the authors probably meant to mean that the ever-refreshed supply of new icebergs calving off of glaciers and/or ice shelves still float the same way in the same currents to the same places as their far-distant predecessors did ever so long ago.

      But I can only think that is what the authors meant. I can’t be sure for sure, because they did not come right out and say, in so many words, that ” we are talking about the modern icebergs of today. We are not talking literally about the actual Icebergs of the Grandfathers.”

      And since the authors did not overtly come right out and make that totally and utterly clear without any chance of any ambiguity creeping in whatsoever, people reading this may well think that the Ancient Icebergs of the Grandfathers are still right there, still unmelted, right where the early explorers saw them.
      And any reader who thinks that is what the authors meant can quite reasonably say . . . . ” The very same icebergs have lasted for 300 years and counting? Well . . . where’s the warming?”

      Reply
  17. Jeff W

    I liked the Preston Smith piece in nonsite.org but it was a bit difficult to read. There were lines in it posing as sentences that were impossible to parse, at least for me, e.g.,

    The loss of federal funds which were applied to working-class neighborhoods bypassed by the regular allocational patterns that bias middle- and upper-class enclaves.

    I don’t think there is an actual predicate for the noun phrase “the loss of federal funds.” (The phrase beginning with “bypassed by” seems to be modifying “working-class neighborhoods.”)

    Reply
  18. Greg Taylor

    When you compare these with the historic trend, you see that indeed, there is no real major excess deaths in 2022 not explanable by covid

    Jean Fisch’s Charts 8 and 9 show excess non-Covid mortality virtually every week for the last 6 months of 2022. The gray “non-Covid” portion of the bars are roughly 5-10% above the pink expected mortality line during this period. The black “Covid” portion of the mortality bars are very short during this period and only appear to explain 1-2% of deaths.

    Twenty-six consecutive weeks of 5-10% excess non-Covid mortality seems inconsistent with “no real major excess deaths in 2022 not explanable by covid.”

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      I think he is disagreeing with the classificaiton but should have unpacked that. A big study using VA data found that six month mortality rates were much higher after a second case of Covid, and higher after a third.

      Generally, the data related to Covid is absolutely atrocious.

      Reply
  19. Pat

    I have to admit that I expected a Democrat to be discovered with the classified documents. I did not expect for the fan to get splattered quite this quickly. People who live in glass houses and stones applies here. Mostly because there is too much evidence that most of our political class aren’t really interested in classified material except as a tool to cover their own behinds. I have no doubt that almost ever major political leader would be discovered to have classified material in there homes or private offices.

    Sadly the same people who were outraged over Trump’s stash will mostly be there is nothing to see here about Biden. But truth is if one gets prosecuted, they all should. And the same for convictions.

    I would care more if we could have a comprehensive discussion on what should be classified AND most particularly how long things should be classified.

    On a side note, there is another possible reason for that end of term Ukraine trip. Biden might have been a bag man, but maybe not to line his own coffers. Trump’s election was going to put a wrench in the plans for the proxy war I have no doubt Joe was part of. There probably needed to be some last minute pay offs, assurances and even possibly contact information for their Ukrainian counterparts.

    Reply
    1. rowlf

      Didn’t Lt Col Vindman’s reaction to President Trump validate that Donald Trump wasn’t in on the Ukraine plans?

      Jeez, this is like watching foreign policy developed in a trailer park.*

      *The back corner, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

      Reply

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