2:00PM Water Cooler 1/26/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I apologize that this Water Cooler is so light; I’ve had a tiring couple of days. But you can talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Alpine Thrush, Dhap Kharka, Nepal.

* * *


“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


“Anti-Abortion ‘Abolitionists’ Want to Charge Abortion Patients Like Murderers Now” [Vice]. “Mainstream anti-abortion activists have long insisted they don’t want to punish people who get abortions. Now, that claim is being put to the test. Although many states are only a few weeks into their first state legislative sessions since Roe v. Wade was overturned, legislators in Arkansas and Oklahoma have already introduced bills that would punish abortion patients. In Alabama, the state’s attorney general initially said he could use a state law to punish people for ending their pregnancies, then tried to walk it back. These kinds of tactics are forcing anti-abortion activists to confront a long-simmering tension within their movement: What are they supposed to do with people who get abortions? Typically, abortion restrictions target providers, not patients. Within the anti-abortion movement, patients are treated like victims who have been bamboozled into ending their pregnancies by the predatory ‘abortion industry.’ But now that Roe is gone and states are proposing policies to legally treat fetuses like people, that may not hold water for much longer. ‘I think there are some people, and probably a fairly large group of people, for whom women’s innocence is conditional and they could be persuaded that it’s not real,’ said Mary Ziegler, a professor at the University of California, Davis, law school who studies the legal history of reproduction.”

Biden Administration

“Veterans of the Obama-era debt ceiling standoff on the current one: We may be doomed” [Politico]. “[An economic adviser in the Obama White House, David] Kamin isn’t the only one struck by a foreboding sense of déjà vu. From the White House to Wall Street, a growing number of veterans of the 2011 debt ceiling crisis are again watching a story of bluster and brinkmanship play out — and are terrified this will be the time it ends with the country in financial ruin…. The parallels to the Obama-era stalemate are clear, as House Republican leaders vow to place restraints on a Democratic administration, while also trying to manage their troublesome conservative wing. But unlike in 2011, Republicans are preparing to stare down the White House with no clear consensus on what they want in exchange for keeping the U.S. financial system afloat. The prevailing principle, instead, appears to be extracting a degree of political pain for President Joe Biden. And perhaps most worryingly — Democrats, economists and even some Republicans say — there’s little confidence that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has the influence to successfully steer his conference away from the brink.” • Hmm. The whole article is weird, since although there’s a lot worry emanating from Obama veterans, the situation is also being gamed out, but the games are not described. If you believe that Obama’s hand held the dagger on the Biden document flap, you might well believe that Obama’s pulling the strings of these “veterans.” Perhaps to weaken Biden? To bring about, at long last, the “Grand Bargain”?

Fighting like hell (1):

Fighting like hell (2):

“Fewer.” “A little bit easier.” It’s like the Biden White House has settled on the “minimum viable bullet point” for all its communications to voters…


“OMG. Trump Has Started Texting.” [New York Times]. “The former president has long been constantly on his phone, but only to talk into it — or, before he was kicked off Twitter, to send streams of tweets. (The former aide who helped set up his Twitter account once told Politico that when Trump, who initially relied on aides to write his posts, began to tweet on his own, it was akin to the scene in the film “Jurassic Park” when the velociraptors learned to open doors.) For years, people corresponding with him sent him text messages, which always went unanswered. He was unreachable by email. He sometimes asked aides to send electronic messages to reporters, referring to the missives as ‘wires,’ like a telegram. Now his delayed embrace of what has long been a default mode of communication spanning generations signals not only a willingness to join in the world of LOLs and BRBs but also a small shift from his aversion to leaving paper or electronic trails. People who have worked for Trump in the White House and in his private business say he has prided himself on being “smart” for leaving almost no documentation of his communications and discussions in meetings. That included snatching notes being taken in real time by a junior legal associate in his offices in the 1990s, when Trump spotted the man scribbling, according to a consultant working for him then. Those who have witnessed firsthand his visceral aversion to record keeping said they were shocked to learn about his new electronic habit…. The fact that Trump is now sending texts has caused alarm among some of his associates, who are concerned about what he might say. Still, they have been relieved about another shift: His phone now sends calls that are not from numbers in his contacts to voicemail, according to two people familiar with the change. That shift occurred this month after an NBC reporter called Trump directly during Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s desperate fight to be elected speaker of the House. Trump picked up, giving a brief interview that created some political heartburn for Republicans. Still unclear is Trump’s position on emoji.” • I think Trump will be here for emoji, as he should be.

Democrats en Déshabillé

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

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

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

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

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“To reclaim Ohioans’ historical power, First Energy’s corporate charter should be revoked” [Ohio Capital Journal (Carla)]. “The illegalities connected to FirstEnergy Corporation in its bribery scheme to pass House Bill 6 (HB 6) continue to surface, most recently its improper use of ratepayer money to fund dark money efforts totaling $70.9 million. Several individuals have already pleaded guilty for their role in the largest bribery scandal in Ohio history…. ndependent of further federal action and court cases against responsible individuals, Ohio Attorney General David Yost can and should commence charter revocation (called “quo warranto”) proceedings against FirstEnergy, a legal creation licensed in the state of Ohio as provided by Ohio Revised Code § 2733.02 to § 2733.39. Several Ohio groups are calling for this action, a process that would dissolve the company. Quo warranto is a legal proceeding challenging the continued right of an individual or corporation to possess governmental privilege, be it an office in the case of an individual or charter in the case of a corporation. Corporations should serve the public good. They receive their charter from the government, which grants them certain privileges and powers. Corporations found to break the law and do so with intent should not simply be fined, as FirstEnergy Corporation has been, but have their charters revoked or terminated. Every day we see that monetary fines do not change criminal corporate behavior. Revocation of corporate charter was once common in Ohio in response to corporations acting beyond their authority as defined in their corporate charters. Quo warranto proceedings were once used routinely as a democratic tool by Ohio legislatures and courts to affirm the sovereign power of We the People over corporations, which are, after all, creations of government. The most well-known quo warranto case in Ohio history involved the efforts to revoke the charter of the Standard Oil Company, the most powerful U.S. corporation of the time, for forming a trust… Charter revocation is seen by some as a ‘radical’ act when in reality it only follows a strong historical precedent already set in our state. The truly ‘radical’ act is a rogue corporation blatantly trampling on our democratic process.” • Very interesting!


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).

Stay safe out there!

* * *

“WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing – 24 January 2023” [WHO]. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s “Technical Lead” on Covid Response: “Too few people – especially older people and health workers – are adequately vaccinated. Too many people are behind on their boosters. For too many people, antivirals remain expensive and out of reach. And too many people don’t receive the right care.” • Amazing how Vax-only (plus, to be clear, treatment plus a handwave to healthcare here) has worked like a strange attractor for global elite opinion. They all converge on it. Even Xi. Read Van Kerkhove in full: There’s not a hint of (1) preventing transmission, nothing about (2) airborne, nothing about (3) ventilation, nothing about (4) a layered “Swiss Cheese” strategy. In other words, even though Van Kerkhove must know perfectly well that Davos attendees understood and acted upon (1)-(4), she has nothing to say about that in public. Don’t want to give the dull normals ideas, I suppose.

* * *

“Tonsils Are Major Sites Of Prolonged Sars-Cov-2 Infection in Children” [medRxiv]. n = 48. From the Abstract: “In the present study, we show that SARS-CoV-2 can infect palatine tonsils and adenoids in children without symptoms of COVID-19, with no history of recent upper airway infection. …. SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection was not restricted to tonsils, but was also detected in nasal cells from the olfactory region. In conclusion, palatine tonsils and adenoids are sites of prolonged infection by SARS-CoV-2 in children, even without COVID-19 symptoms.” • I wonder if this “prolonged infection” involves transmission….

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED BioBot wastewater data from January 23:

Lambert here: For now, I’m going to use this wastewater data as the best proxy for case data (ignoring the clinical case data portion of this chart, which in my view “goes bad” after March 2022, for reasons as yet unexplained). At least we can spot trends, and compare current levels to equivalent past levels.


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.


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



Wastewater data (CDC), January 21:

Easing off, though you do have to wonder what’s the point of a national system where half the country has gone dark.

January 21:

And MWRA data, January 24:

Lambert here: Still uptick in the north. However, only some the students are back; BU classes begin January 19; Harvard’s January 22.


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), January 16:

Lambert here: XBB overtakes BQ, but CH is coming up on the outside. That’s a little unsettling, because a Tweet in Links, January 11 from GM drew attention to it (“displays such a high relative growth advantage”) and in Water Cooler, January 18, from Nature: “CH.1.1 and CA.3.1 variants were highly resistant to both monovalent and bivalent mRNA vaccinations.” Now here is CH.1.1 in the Walgreens variant data. Let’s see what CDC does with it tomorrow, if anything. The Covid variant train always leaves on time, and there’s always another train coming!

Lambert here: Wierdly, the screen shot about has been replaced today by data from “10/7/2022.” (It’s clearly not current data; BQ.1* and XBB do not dominate.

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), December 31 (Nowcast off):

BQ.1* takes first place. XBB coming up fast. CH.1, unlike the Walgreens chart, does not appear. (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:

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 26:

• Hospitalization data for Queens, updated January 23:


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,130,962 – 1,129,618 = 472 * 1344 (1344 * 365 = 490,560 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, and now we have some confirmation that whatever we just went through is decreasing.

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. (Though CDC may be jiggering the numbers soon. Lower, naturally.)

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 from the previous week’s downwardly revised value to 186,000 on the week ending January 21st, the lowest since April, and well below expectations of 205,000. The result further consolidated evidence of a tight labor market despite elevated tech layoffs and the Federal Reserve’s aggressive tightening path last year.”

Manufacturing: “United States Durable Goods Orders” [Trading Economics]. “Durable goods orders in the US, which measure the cost of orders received by manufacturers of goods meant to last at least three years, soared 5.6 percent month-over-month in December of 2022. It was the sharpest gain since July 2020 and well above market forecasts of a 2.5 percent increase. Transportation equipment, up four of the last five months, drove the increase.”

Manufacturing: “United States Kansas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Production index rose to -4 in January of 2023 from an upwardly revised -6 in the previous month, pointing to the lowest decrease in manufacturing output in four months. Improvements were noted mostly in durable goods plants, mainly for wood products, machinery, and the manufacturing of transportation equipment.”

Manufacturing: “Boeing to appear in federal court for crime related to 737-Max plane crashes” [WJLA (ChrisFromGA)]. “Airline giant, Boeing, will appear in federal criminal court in Texas on Thursday…. [V]ictims’ families are planning to testify in Texas this week at the arraignment. And in doing so, they hope to encourage the judge to rescind the immunity agreement between Boeing and the Department of Justice because, under the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act, families were supposed to be consulted in that agreement and were not…. If the judge throws out the immunity provision, the attorney for victims’ families, Paul Cassell told 7News that it would be possible for additional charges to be filed against Boeing’s leadership at the time of the crashes. This would make the company criminally responsible for the deaths of 346 people. Cassell said it’s time for Boeing to be treated like any other criminal defendant under United States law.” • Big time!

“The Economy”: “United States Chicago Fed National Activity Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago Fed National Activity Index edged up to -0.49 in December of 2022 from -0.51 in November, indicating a softer economic contraction in the US economic activity.”

* * *

Retail: “Into the Sparkly Heart of Zazzle’s Font War” [Slate]. “Many of us primarily associate Zazzle with the holiday cards on our fridge. But over the past 17 years, the company has grown into a marketplace offering clothing, mugs, clocks disguised as bagels, and thousands of other customizable products. Zazzle is no Amazon, but last February Bloomberg reported that it was expected to soon go public at a valuation of $1 to $2 billion. This is yet to happen. And some Zazzle sellers fear that the site’s best days are now behind it due to a slowly advancing lawsuit, filed last summer, involving “Blooming Elegant,” one of the most popular fonts on Zazzle. Nicky Laatz, who created the loopy, handwriting-style font, says that the company brazenly stole it from her, copying her typeface software onto its servers and making it available to millions of customers without a proper license. Therefore the company owes her a cut of millions in profits, her lawyers argue. Zazzle has pushed to dismiss the suit, arguing, in part, that she’s misinterpreting copyright law. • I’m filing this under Retail in case anybody is long (or short) Zazzle, but read on for the issues of what is and is not licensable on the Intertubes.

The Bezzle: “One of Wall Street’s most feared short-selling research firms just accused Asia’s richest man of a multibillion-dollar fraud” [Fortune]. “In a report published on Tuesday, Hindenburg Research said Adani Group and its founder, Gautam Adani—one of the richest people in the world—had engaged in ‘a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.’… Hindenburg Research has a history of shining a light on corporate malpractice, successfully predicting the demise or exposing the shortcomings of several companies, including Nikola, Riot Blockchain, and China Metal Resources Utilization…. Through its wide-reaching investigations, Hindenburg said it had uncovered a “vast labyrinth of offshore shell entities” being managed by Adani’s older brother, Vinod. Thirty-eight of those shell companies were in Mauritius, the report claimed, with others discovered in Cyprus, the UAE, Singapore, and the Caribbean. ‘The shells seem to serve several functions, including stock parking/stock manipulation and laundering money through Adani’s private companies onto the listed companies’ balance sheets in order to maintain the appearance of financial health and solvency,’ Hindenburg’s report said. ‘This offshore shell network also seems to be used for earnings manipulation.’ One offshore fund had allocated around $3 billion almost exclusively to shares of Adani Group companies, Hindenburg’s report also claimed. A former trader at the fund reportedly said it was obvious the Adanis controlled those shares, but that the fund had been ‘intentionally structured to conceal their ultimate beneficial ownership.'”

Labor Market: “What Is “Core PCE Services Ex-Housing” Anyway?” [Employ America]. “The Fed is worried that inflation will continue until wage growth comes down or unemployment ticks up. As evidence for this proposition, the Fed has been pointing to the continued strength in “Core PCE Services ex-Housing” as the most important metric for the monetary policy outlook. … By using “Core PCE Services ex-Housing”, the Fed is acknowledging that pandemic disruptions have led to inflation in a wide range of sectors, and that inflation in core goods and housing is analytically distinct from wage-driven cost-push inflation. But does this metric actually capture cyclical inflation driven by the labor market? And how much of the inflation that it does capture is actually evidence of wage-driven cost-push inflation? … As we will see, there are ample side-channels through which the very dynamics the Fed is looking to screen out can show up in this aggregate. Even worse, roughly a quarter of this newly preferred price aggregate is directly based on opaque indices of compensation and not market-determined consumer prices, creating a mechanical relationship between compensation data and the Fed’s gauge of inflation. A wage target is not a priori wrong – our flagship Floor Gross Labor Income proposal sits comfortably within the idea of wage targets – but presenting a wage target as though it were a price target is analytically unacceptable.” • Into the weeds… But if you’re a Fed watcher, this is for you.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 69 Greed (previous close: 64 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 54 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 26 at 12:51 PM EST.


“Warning: Commercial Dishwashers Can Damage the Gut and Lead to Chronic Disease” [SciTech Daily]. “A typical cycle in a commercial dishwasher involves circulating hot water and detergent for around 60 seconds at high pressure. Afterward, there is a second 60-second washing and drying cycle in which water and a rinse agent are applied. ‘What’s especially alarming is that in many appliances, there’s no additional wash cycle to remove the remaining rinse aid,’ says Cezmi Akdis, UZH professor of experimental allergology and immunology and director of the SIAF, who led the study. ‘This means that potentially toxic substances remain on the dishes, where they then dry in place.’ When the dishes are used the next time, this dried chemical residue can easily end up in the gastrointestinal tract. This inspired the research team under Akdis to investigate what effect the components of commercial-grade detergents and rinse agents have on the epithelial barrier in the gut – the layer of cells that lines the intestinal tract and controls what enters the body. A defect in this barrier is associated with conditions such as food allergies, gastritis, diabetes, obesity, cirrhosis of the liver, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, autism spectrum disorders, chronic depression, and Alzheimer’s disease… The team used various biomolecular methods to analyze the effect that commercial detergents and rinse aids have on these cells. They diluted these substances to reflect the amounts that would be present on dry dishes (1:10,000 to 1:40,000). The result was that high doses of rinse agents killed the intestinal epithelial cells and lower doses made it more permeable. Researchers also observed the activation of several genes and cell signaling proteins that could trigger inflammatory responses. A more detailed analysis showed that one component of the rinse agent – alcohol ethoxylates – was responsible for this reaction. According to Akdis, these findings have significant implications for public health.” • “Epithelial.” There’s that word again.

Zeitgeist Watch

“I used ‘lucky girl syndrome’ to make more than £1 million from my jewellery brand – and it can help YOU get anything you want too!” [Daily Mail]. “After using the Lucky Girl Syndrome technique ‘for years’, Stephanie admits her biggest ‘gripe’ with the method is its name. ‘It has NOTHING to do with luck,’ she insisted. ‘It’s the law of assumption – when you expect it to happen, it surely will.'” • Dogmatic doxastic voluntarism (DDV). It’s everywhere!

News of the Wired

“Why Corporate America Still Runs on Ancient Software That Breaks” (podcast) [Odd Lots]. “Southwest Airlines had a disastrous holiday season, thanks in part to a software bug that left crews out of place and grounded thousands of flights. But Southwest isn’t alone in having software in the headlines lately. The New York Stock Exchange recently had a software error that caused weird pricing on stocks and the FAA had its own computer issue that grounded planes earlier this month. So what’s the deal with corporate software?”

“New Starbucks coming to area of Fresno that’s never had one, plans to open next year” [Fresno Bee].
Feel Good Fresno Week at Naked Capitalism continues: “The nation’s most popular coffee shop will be going up at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Church Avenue. That’s close to where the new Fresno City College West Fresno campus is being built at Church and Walnut avenues.” • I was living in Palmdale, CA when the first Starbucks came in, part of a ginormous Barnes & Noble dropped by helicopter onto a concrete slab next to a parking lot. I was actually encouraged, not so much at the volume of horrid sticky drinks sold by the Starbucks, but by how much people wanted to read. So I’m pleased that Fresno is getting a new college campus. (And I hope the Fresno Starbucks promptly unionizes.)

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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 IM, who writes: “Some BC rainforest in moody, mossy, black and white…”

“…and color!”

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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. Samuel Conner

    re: the “Debt Ceiling” thingey,

    I wonder whether “Mint the Coin” will get more traction this time.

    I would think that declining to employ this measure to avoid default on Treasury bonds would result in some sort of “questioning” of the “validity” of the “public debt of the United States.”

    OTOH, perhaps the Constitution should be thought of as more an aspirational than a regulative document. To repurpose language from JRB, perhaps it doesn’t mean anything concrete, but is more an expression of the country’s soul.

    1. bdy

      We the people, in order to protect private property and enforce contracts, do ordain and establish . . . yada yada . . .

    2. Carla

      “To repurpose language from JRB, perhaps [a Constitution] doesn’t mean anything concrete, but is more an expression of the country’s soul.”

      People can grow up. So can a country and its soul. Then that country would need a new Constitution. Of course Jefferson said re-write the danged thing every 19 years, which happens to be the average age of constitutions in other countries around the world. Many of those nations appear to be more sane than the U.S. of A., and almost none are more INSANE.

  2. Wukchumni

    I so wanted to have my tonsils taken out with the post-op procedure including copious amounts of ice cream, a boy can dream.

    1. Lee

      I was promised post-operative ice cream and all I got was a melty popsicle. That was 70 years ago and I’m still pissed off.

      1. Randy

        All I got was ice chips. However my dad spent time in my room and taught me to add, subtract and multiply at the age of five (going on 6). He was a good dad.

        1. Joe Renter

          I am not sure if I got ice cream or not. I do remember the bowl covering my face with ether and was told to count backwards from 10. I think I got to 7. I was 4 years old. Tonsillectomies are out of fashion these days it seems, I guess for a good reason.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            I was in a little red wagon going over a cliff into a black void falling falling falling

            and then I woke up and that’s all I remember about my tonsillectomy. I wasn’t that impressed at the time but now that I think back on it, I wonder how hard it is to buy some ether; do you need special equipment, do they sell it by the cubic yard, balloon transport or do you need a tank or what? (Asking for a friend)

    2. John Zelnicker

      I had my tonsils out at 4 years old (1954) and I woke up on the table with a scissors down my throat. According to my parents it took a few people to hold me down until they could get me sedated again. I think they were still working out how much anesthesia kids needed.

      As a result I came out of the operating room with blood all over my face. My father saw me, went into the bathroom, and fainted.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m most disappointed in the lack of ice cream you all experienced and in hindsight am happy to still have my tonsils.

  3. flora

    Today’s antidote pics: I can imagine dinosaurs roaming in that dense greenery, except too cold for dinosaurs in BC winter. Well, then, woolly mammoths roaming there.

    1. ambrit

      Some dinosaur theorists are positing feathered dinosaurs in the snow. Once one accepts that the dinosauria were endotherms, anything is possible. Even the Silurian Hypothesis.

        1. ambrit

          Yep. I wonder if the dinosaurs evolved feathers for warmth before flight or the other way around. Probably both at the same time.
          Nature can ‘evolve’ lots of things given a few hundred million years to work with.

          1. digi_owl

            Flight has taken multiple paths, as there dinos that used skin wings just like bats.

            And evolution never has a goal beyond procreation. So if mutant A gets more food and kids than B, then A wins. But if then conditions changes to the A lineage detriment, there will be mass death. And something completely different take over their feeding niche.

  4. Fred

    Oh please someone in the administration should suggest we ban dishwashers. I just love to see Tucker freak out again.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The gas stove thing, IMNSHO — I didn’t have the inclination to run it down — started with liberal Democrats. AOC was giving little lectures on it like a week before Carlson went nuts about it.

      1. chris

        It seems like it might have been a Davos thing too? Felix Salmon waxed prosaic about his induction stove and how horrible gas stoves were on the Slate Money podcast a month ago. He carries water for the Davos crowd. And I’m sure the NGOs and aligned interests funding the decarbonization movement have money from Davos people to pursue the kind of research that Trumka quoted which got the whole asthma claim going.

        1. playon

          I’ll give up my gas stove when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers. And my copper saute pan, which won’t work with an induction stove.

          1. Jason Boxman

            Pretty much. Induction is useless if your pans are slightly warped. I miss my Boston gas stove. That thing rocked.

      2. MP

        -Study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health on December 21st: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/20/1/75

        -Richard Trumka Jr. gives interview to Bloomberg on January 9th on US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s plan in response to study, “‘This is a hidden hazard,” Richard Trumka Jr., an agency commissioner, said in an interview. ‘Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.'” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-01-09/us-safety-agency-to-consider-ban-on-gas-stoves-amid-health-fears?leadSource=uverify%20wall

        -AOC’s one tweet on the matter in response to Rep. Ronny Jackson: https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1612973043583696897?s=20&t=rNepJ4P82mqn9jY6nyVnjQ

        -Tucker’s segment is January 11th: https://www.foxnews.com/video/6318485569112

        -Just figured I’d add as a kicker, Emily Oster wrote an article in response on January 11th: https://www.parentdata.org/p/gas-stoves-and-asthma

      3. Pat

        And in my not so humble opinion it was an attempt by Democrats to ‘do’ something about Climate change without really doing anything about it. But it would cost a lot of middle class people a lot and would make appliance manufacturers a bundle. But it was a not ready for prime time idea. It didn’t really fly with the public even before Tucker. Not the supposed health hazards, not even the help to climate change. And because it would essentially put most restaurants out of business, it was shown to be about selective enforcement even before Hochul was stupid enough to let her fancy gas range be seen in her social media.

        Oh and it didn’t really get the focus off jets, private or otherwise, either.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          cooking is the only thing we use gas for these days(propane is whats available out here)and i’m happy with my carbon footprint.
          i figger there should be some complicated credit mechanism so’s i can keep cooking with gas since i put so much homemade charcoal in the soil, etc.
          oh, and cast iron cookware doesn’t work well with those hot coil things…and cant even use it at all on the glass top coil models(dad had one of those)
          what i really worry about is the eventual war on woodstoves, campfires and barbque pits.
          again, i’ll appeal to the offset rigamoarole,lol.
          but like you said, them people will still be flying around in jets all the time.
          (and, on that note: lots and lots of high altitude military traffic lately…all headed east.
          cant see them. sounds like c-130’s and c-5s, but i’m almost certain ive heard a few b-52’s, too(nothing else really sounds like them))

          1. playon

            Apparently propane is much more energy efficient and it does not have the dangers associated with natural gas. We’ve been looking to buy a place and I’ve generally been crossing off houses that don’t have natural gas but after reading about propane (which is generally found in places that aren’t in town) I’m coming around to it.

            1. Duke of Prunes

              My parents have propane. It’s generally much more expensive than gas, but does the trick when you live beyond the gas service.

          2. Bob White

            We recently started using an induction unit to see how we like it compared to gas…
            It is faster and more even heat, takes very little energy, adjusts nicely, and works with cast iron skillets (anything magnetic).
            So far, seems to be cheaper than gas, too.

            1. Lexx

              We’ve been using induction for six years. Had to buy a few new pans and as you’ve said, cast iron works well. But recently we had a wee accident and something happened we didn’t know could happen…

              … my husband was heating water (he is a tea drinker) and in the habit of only heating enough in the kettle to make his one cup. He uses the burner with the highest BTU’s because he’s always ‘between meetings’. At the same time he was doing the dishes in that focused way when he really wants to scrub out something stubborn, and he’s slightly hard of hearing.

              Suddenly there was a loud pop behind him. All the water had boiled out of the kettle very quickly and the kettle had superheated on that glass top to the point the enamel exploded off and took a chunk of the burner directly underneath with it. It didn’t fracture the top and render it unusable, but it isn’t pretty anymore.

              It’s only six years old, but supply chains being what they are, a replacement top from China is on back order. Who knows when or if it will show up?

            2. agent ranger smith

              Does it emanate carcino-propellant electrosmog? Does anyone know? Has this even been studied?

            3. sharron2

              You can’t get near an induction stove if you have a pacemaker. The magnets in the stove screw up the pacemaker. So watch out for Grandpa or Grandma.

              1. Bob White

                According to this pub:

                “The induced voltage could always be reduced to </=60 mV by maintaining a distance of 35 cm. The most sensitive pacemaker reacted at 90.5 mV"

                It seems you have to be really close to have an effect, or hold the pan for a "long period of time"… risk is similar to microwave ovens?

      4. bacon

        My n=1 based on a household air quality monitor is that running the gas range for more than a few minutes definitely tanks air quality in the room, so now we open a couple windows whenever it will be on for a while. I’ve got no kids to give asthma but I still like breathing clean air.

        1. albrt

          I was surprised how much it increases CO2 from two rooms away. But we are keeping the gas stove, just opening windows more.

    2. CanCyn

      Since everyone has been eating so much take out during the pandemic, that rinse agent residue could be less if a problem these days. Also explains, perhaps, the dull, weird finish I sometimes notice on restaurant dishes. I can also report that a friend’s daughter’s first job was at a winery – she was a wine glass bus girl. She collected the used wine glasses and washed them in a separate dedicated dishwasher. The belief being that if the glasses were washed with food dishes there would be a residue that could ruin tastings. That never made sense to me until now, I wonder if the wine glass dishwasher has an extra rinse cycle.
      Also know more than a few people who have switched from gas cooktops because of the supposed health hazard. It has been a thing in Ontario for a while now. No legislation yet. We moved from a house with a gas a cooktop to one without. I missed the heat control and was happy when the oven started having problems and need to be replaced (repairs too expensive, sigh). We debated about trying a propane cooktop (natural gas not available hereabouts) But decided to try an induction cooktop. It is controllable like gas was and much easier to keep clean.

        1. Lexx

          I have a wok. Being able to use it on an induction top was one of my concerns. It must be flat bottomed of course. Mine works fine for the few uses I put it to but I have to think I’m not getting quite the same quick crispy seared effect to vegetables.

      1. Objective Ace

        I have to assume a propane gas grill have the same issues, although I would love to be corrected as that’s what I’m currently debating getting rid of

      2. Joe Renter

        I work at a restaurant, and I can tell you that to worry about the dishwasher is one of the last things to be concerned about. Going out to eat is a roll of the dice for food poisoning. The cost of the entree doesn’t reflect the risk.

        1. agent ranger smith

          It sounds like a slow-building cumulative worry over time. Combined with covid-mediated GI tract damage and Roundup Residue-mediated GI microflora derrangement or wipeout over time;
          could it be one more force-multiplier for chronic intestinal disease?

        2. griffen

          This is said by every customer of the Waffle House entering the restaurant during daylight hours. Just a second, I am sober and alert; and this is the choice for today’s meal or possibly the single choice so to eat breakfast for lunch ?

          Slight sarcasm, but with Waffle House not much is really hidden. Including if the guys cooking have a lit cigarette whilst manning the stoves.

    3. Tim

      PMC may not use gas stoves, but they sure as heck use a dishwasher. No way this would happen anywhere except in the Onion.

  5. Wukchumni

    It wouldn’t be FGFW if I didn’t mention Forestiere Underground Gardens, which when you consider that most of the Central Valley is flat as a pancake, why wouldn’t you just grow stuff above ground? but no dice in Fresno… Baldassare didn’t play that game.


  6. ambrit

    I think that the poster child for “Lucky Girl Syndrome” should be Kamala Harris; her or Megan, Duchess of Bling.
    Both are prime examples of “Style Over Substance.”

  7. Watt4Bob

    “So what’s the deal with corporate software?”

    After thirty years in the IT trenches I believe I can diagnose the problem.

    Corporations like committees, give everyone a chance at presenting their opinion.

    It’s inevitable that when budgets for IT maintenance are discussed a bunch of someones are going to object to the cost, and or, maybe the wisdom of spending money on something that is currently working.

    These voices, and these opinions are considered by 80% of those at the table as being “serious” opinions voiced by “serious people” as opposed to the cluckings of the “chicken-littles” asking to “waste” money on fixing things that aren’t broke.

    So maintenance is put off, and it keeps working until it doesn’t.

    The problem with corporate software is, more often than not, that it is owned by corporations.

    1. digi_owl

      It is simpler than that, management see computers like just another assembly line machine. And those machines often run for 60+ years before being retired (and then sold off to some third world place where they run until they disintegrate into component atoms).

      And this comes back to software because invariably replacing the software means replacing the hardware it runs on, and good luck getting that hardware purchase past the beancounters.

      In the end everything “evil” in the world seems to come back what column someone in accounting write the numbers, CAPEX or OPEX.

      1. Paul

        Its even simpler. AS400 doesn’t require a subscription that changes cost every year. Nor is it very open to external attack. It backs up to tape and you just erase any issues. You can pay some guy a flat rate to expand it.

        Its also a durable mainframe system that can survive all sorts of stupid on the terminal and is a “cloud solution” without paying for any of the cloud nonesense.

        The whole Microsoft gambit was to try and pry you off of mainframes with personal Pcs, but those things are their own pain points and cost. Just wait till your flight attendent has to use an Ipad!

        The old stuff IMHO actually often works better. Barney Stinson’s “newer is always better” doesn’t always work.

        1. digi_owl

          Funnily Microsoft was late to the office network. Windows for Workgroups didn’t ship until 1992. And by the Novell Netware had been on the market for a decade.

          1. The Rev Kev

            ‘Funnily Microsoft was late to the office network’

            There may be a reason for that. Bill Gates was convinced that the new-fangled internet thingy was just a fad that would never last. His engineers were screaming at him to pay attention (screaming at each other was normal for them back then) but he reckoned that he knew better. Finally he gave in a bit and went home one weekend to try this new internet thing and by Monday was a true believe. But it put Microsoft behind the ball for a very long time.

            1. digi_owl

              Gates likely looked at the primary use of the internet at the time, email, and figured they had that in the bag with Exchange.

              Instead Microsoft was busy going after AOL with MSN.

              Only for both of them to be blindsided, and MS going on the warpath, when Netscape made a big entry with its Navigator web browser.

              Likely what got Gates to sit up and take notice, was that Netscape was pushing for using web sites on office networks as well as the internet. End result was Internet Explorer, IIS bundled with every Windows install out there, and the browser wars.

        2. Watt4Bob


          When our company was forced to abandon our in-house AS400, and go to the cloud, our new host refused to allow the migration of some very important custom code. When we asked if we could pay them extra to host this unique sub-system, they said sure $850K.

          I purchased a small AS400 for $25K and payed a programmer another $25K to modify the code to allow us to continue working as we had before.

          Our little AS400 was connected to the cloud system with the only connection that they allowed, ODBC, and ran flawlessly for the entire life of the relationship.

          I’d get a call about once every 12-18 months from a system admin for the cloud, asking what I was doing with the constant ODBC connection to their system. When I explained the situation to the last admin to call, he told me that he would have allowed us our custom code if he had been in charge.

          We no longer use that cloud provider, but that little AS400 keeps ticking, and I use it for data mining on our customer base because the canned reports available from our current cloud provider don’t cut it.

          That AS400 is nearly twenty years old, and so far, not a single hardware failure.

          It’s still hard for me to believe that businessmen hand their books to the cloud without local back-up.

  8. semper loquitur

    What I Saw as a Fake Billionaire | Fakes, Frauds and Scammers

    Andi Schmied pretended to be a billionaire to infiltrate NYC’s most exclusive and expensive homes, which only cater to the unbelievably wealthy and privileged.

    Touring homes up to $85 million, she wanted to see and photograph how the 1% of the 1% lives in one of the most iconic and expensive cities in the world.

    To do so, she had to transform herself from an artist into a convincing billionaire almost overnight. But while snapping 25 penthouses she discovered a world of high rise apartments sitting empty in a city facing a housing crisis.


    In addition to the lunacy of their mere existence, the knock-on effects of these buildings is absolutely toxic. From jacking up the price of adjacent real estate to casting hundreds of meters of shadow across the city streets, these buildings are monuments to hubris and greed. I used to work near the Flower District in Manhattan and a building went up a few years back that darkened one of the loveliest sections of the City.
    The video also provides a glimpse into the bubble mindset of the billionaire wherein everything is the “best on the market”, from the oak floors to the marble toilets to the Michelin starred restaurants in the lobby. Bottom line: while homelessness explodes in the City and around the nation, most of these buildings sit empty, I assume they represent a kind of tax write-off for their owners until they sell.

    1. Pat

      Some of the ones that were completed more than five years ago are empty but not really empty as far as the books are concerned. There is a bunch of expensive real estate in NYC owned by foreign companies and wealthy. Russian, Chinese, Saudis and other rich Arabs, etc have purchased a whole lot of apartments but rarely if ever live in them.

      Even better some of those buildings do have ‘affordable’ housing in them as a section of the apartments had to be used for that. But matching the income requirements to the so-called affordable rents is almost laughable it is so delusional.

      But even better is the glut of office buildings that are now empty. Also ugly, light blocking eyesores, they would require extensive renovations to allow people to live in them, but the demand for office space is practically nil. And in many cases buildings with housing were torn down to build these monstrosities.

      1. Ranger Rick

        If you’re looking for a search term to start from, the trend was known as “pied-à-terre” back when it was at its height during the 2010s. Once short-term rentals got popular it faded from view, but those properties are all still around collecting dust.

      2. digi_owl

        It is their safety hatch for when the sewage starts flying back home.

        Quite often the people that do DC’s dirty work in those places.

        In the Chinese case, often it is the kid going abroad to “study” that buy them with daddy’s backing.

    2. agent ranger smith

      I wonder if drone hobbyists could fly high-speed drones into the windows of these stand-empty super-rich apartments. Let in the elements . . . air, water, etc. Maybe start a black mold process going.

  9. SteveD

    “Minimum viable bullet point” – soooo perfect. Thanks for introducing that into the lexicon, Lambert.

  10. TMoney

    First Energy…..

    What we need….Quo warranto
    What we get…Deferred Prosecution Agreement.

    $60 Million in bribes.

  11. Carla

    Re: Revoking First Energy’s corporate charter — Although Greg Coleridge’s article was published last March, it is still germane because former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder is being tried for racketeering right now in connection with First Energy’s $60 million scheme to bribe him and other statehouse politicos. The whole Ohio Republican party is filthy with this stuff, and at least one individual has already committed suicide over the scheme.


  12. TimH

    Southwest Airlines had a disastrous holiday season, thanks in part to a software bug that left crews out of place and grounded thousands of flights.

    It wasn’t a bug. It was simply unsuitable for the scale of the operation. Calling it a bug brings to mind incompetent engineering, when the inadequacy was known for years by SW management and they refused to invest in a suitable scheduling system.

    1. Glen

      This is true. It’s expensive to get the people and equipment to modernize systems like this. Where I work we have highly specialized systems used to develop, make, and test product, and it’s extremely difficult to get corporate to both staff, and make capital investments to keep the equipment up to date and reliable.

      This has been made much worst for the last couple of decades where corporate is much more likely to bleed money of the company, where too large management bonuses distort internal decisions, and every new management strategy boils down to lay off and out source.

  13. Bazarov

    Some scholar one day will write an intellectual history of “living with”–usually a disease or disorder. Like “I’m living with cancer” or “This is what it’s like to live with heart disease,” as if it were a roommate. In the old days, we used to “have” these things. My grandmother “has” breast cancer; my grandfather “has” heart disease.

    Eventually “has” would escalate to “dying from” and finally to “died of”. In that sense, it was the first in a reasonably honest sequence. One lived in spite of these conditions, not “with” them.

    “Living with” has happy, gregarious connotations. Oh, it’s cancer’s turn to do the dishes. Long Covid and I are hosting a game night at our place–everyone’s invited!

    Then all of a sudden your roommate up and kills you.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You bring up an interesting point with that phrase “living with.” Not that long ago the phrase would be “suffering from.”

    2. Jason Boxman

      I know it maybe wasn’t the intent, but I actually laughed. This puts things in perspective. This really is the stupidest timeline.

  14. Carla

    Re: Boeing 737-MAX — “If the judge throws out the immunity provision, the attorney for victims’ families, Paul Cassell told 7News that it would be possible for additional charges to be filed against Boeing’s leadership at the time of the crashes. This would make the company criminally responsible for the deaths of 346 people. Cassell said it’s time for Boeing to be treated like any other criminal defendant under United States law.” • Big time!

    So yes, if found guilty, the individuals responsible should go to prison for life without parole. But what about the company itself?

    If a corporation gets the death penalty for murder, guess what that would be? Yanking the corporate charter.

    No reason on earth corporations should be immortal, except that “we” (that’s the human race “we”) have allowed them to be.

    1. nippersmom

      If corporations want to be “people” for the purposes of political donations, they should be people for the purposes of criminal prosecution as well.

      1. digi_owl

        I seem to recall that corporations are people is a very US shorthand that some judge came up with back in the early days in order to make a ruling, and it stuck around since.

        In the end a corporation exist first and foremost to perform a task. Some of the earliest ones where set up to build and maintain bridges from what i recall. And they exist as a legal entity in order to shield “investors” from liability come bankruptcy.

        This so that a group of rich dudes could come together to fund a venture of dubious nature, without fear of their personal wealth beyond what they put into the venture in the first place.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      So it appears that today’s hearing concluded without resolution of the immunity question. The judge only took Boeing’s “not guilty” plea and ruled that Boeing could not break the law for another year, or the deal would be broken, which is nothing considering that the original joke of an agreement specified this.

      Although, my guess is that Boeing has broken the law multiple times since 2021.

      The best coverage of the hearing I have found so far is here, from the Yakima Herald


      Boeing sent their Chief Safety Officer to face the judge and enter a plea on behalf of the corporation.

      The judge withheld ruling on any of the other motions, such as revocation of the immunity agreement and imposition of further conditions on the defendant.

      As the Justice Department is hopelessly compromised and unable to do its job of protecting US citizens from criminal corporations, I hope he rules soon to revoke that immunity.

    3. digi_owl

      Nothing will happen. Boeing is a massive military contractor. It supplies Pentagon with all manner of tanker and surveillance aircrafts, based on the same airframes as their civilian models.

  15. Jason Boxman

    So on CH samples, “OVID-19 Variant Dashboard – USA”, which my links to always eat my comment, shows that CH1.1 is actually most detected the past 14 days in NC, at 13 samples. CA and VA are at 5 each. NY and TX at 3. Interesting. But we’re greatly crippled by small sample sizes, so it might be some aberration, or it might be this is most prominent in NC right now. It isn’t showing up in 2-week-lagging NC COVID dashboard. Because who needs recent data? Instead, BQ1.1 at about 46%, and XBB1.5 at 15%.

  16. Amfortas the hippie

    re: that poor woman writing in the tyee:
    invisible illness sucks.
    i have arthritis from hell…including a weather related version that medsci continues to dismiss(ask me about my years long citizen science,lol)
    my doc says i likely also have “fibro”…due manly to the pressure point test(!?).
    people used to say, when i first quit working(retired, at 36), “you dont look so bad, to me…”
    i’d say, “but you only see me at all on good days”
    winter is the worst.
    i make hay while the sun shines, and you do learn to live with disability…if you allow yourself to acknowledge limits, etc.

    i’ve worried about the implications of widespread LC disability since i first heard about it.
    but like this woman…how many are ever seen out in the world?
    and even canada simply not counting cases?
    we have no idea how bad this is.

  17. Joe Well

    >>Region 2 (New England)

    Am I reading the graphic wrong? It says Region 2 – New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

  18. Old Sarum

    Stats Watch:

    Does any one keep a watch on the word-count in corporate law as opposed to non-corporate law?


  19. The Rev Kev

    I really am starting to hate the media here in Oz. In the tennis world you have the Australian Open being held in Melbourne. But right now there are calls to have Novak Djokovic’s dad thrown out of Australian Open because he committed a horrible act. Did he flash the ball girl? Moon the referee? No, it was because he was filmed posing with Russian fans that had Russian flags, one of which had – gasp! – Putin’s image on it. And he also called out in Serbian ‘Long Live The Russians.’ Did he do this on the front court line? No, it all happened outside the damn venue. And on that basis, four of those Russian fans were banned from going inside. They have already banned Russian flags being displayed inside but the same day they did that I spotted at least one Ukrainian flag being displayed. It’s like our media are taking orders from the Ukrainian Embassy on what we should do and which freedoms to ban-


  20. kareninca

    That is why I have never owned a dishwasher. I have never trusted that the weird detergent stuff would really be rinsed off. When we moved into our condo I got rid of the ancient dishwasher that came with the place, and that space is occupied by two giant buckets of cleaning rags. I have suspicions about regular dish detergent, too, but the Oasis version is expensive and you have to use a lot of it.

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