2:00PM Water Cooler 2/1/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

House Finch, Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona, United States. “The male song is heard.” Talkative little chap!

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

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

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

Biden Administration

Democrats are authoritarian followers:

Honestly, I’m ready to outlaw political parties and go with deliberative democracy for policy and sortition for electeds. Or something distinctly lateral like that. How could anything possibly be worse?


“Inside the House of DeSantis” [Politico]. “Gov. Ron DeSantis, a former star baseball player at Yale, clapped back at former President Donald Trump today with a classic taunt straight from the playing field — he pointed to the scoreboard. Following a weekend where Trump referred to him as ‘disloyal’ and sought to dismiss DeSantis as a potential 2024 rival, the Florida Republican responded with a subtle dig that’s all but certain to get under Trump’s skin. Asked during a press conference about his one-time ally’s recent criticism, DeSantis pointed to the fact that he had been reelected to a second term — unlike, say, the former president. He didn’t mention Trump’s name. But he didn’t have to. ‘The good thing is, is that the people are able to render a judgment on that whether they reelect you or not. And I’m happy to say — you know in my case — not only did we win reelection, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has had in the history of the state of Florida,’ he said.” • Oh gawd. DeSantis, man of the people, vicious small-town auto dealer, went to Yale. Just like Bush. We’re doomed, aren’t we?

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.

* * *

They’re still at it!

Since there’s so much yellow highlighting already, I drew attention to the membership pitch by drawing red boxes. Oh, and note the “fighting for” language. This is direct mail. “Fighting for” has been A/B-tested, for sure. They wouldn’t be using “fighting for” if it did not trigger the Democrat mind into sending money!

“Since the 2016 election”:

CIA Democrats, CIA moderators, CIA executives, CIA talking heads…. As soon as the “state of exception” was declared, they were everywhere!

Our Famously Free Press



“The press versus the president, part one” [Jeff Gerth, Columbia Journalism Review] (and two, three, and four).

CIIA asset

Realignment and Legitimacy


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).

Lambert here: Looks like “leveling off to a high plateau” across the board. Stay safe out there!

• Gates on China:

Worldwide Covid deaths:

Without commenting on Gate’s theory of the case, it does seem that, with respect to deaths per capita at least, not every country or region must undergo the mass infection without mitigation debacle embraced by the ruling class of the Anglosphere. Europe, for example. Note especially the Southeast Asia grouping: Thailand, India, and SIngapore are very different political economies. And yet there they are, bunched together. Culture? Equatorial location? Common public health measures? Capsaicin? Unknown. But it would be nice if China ended up in the Southeast Asia bracket, rather than the Angloshore bracket. Perhaps they will get lucky, and that will happen! Not that the CCP won’t try to jigger the numbers, just like we do, but presumably some reasonable proxies can be developed to get a ballpark figure.

Of course, Gates is not without flaw as a thinker on Covid….

• “Beijing reaches ‘temporary herd immunity'” [Bangkok Post (Furzy Mouse)]. • If only there were such a thing, but never mind:

BEIJING: Beijing has reached “temporary herd immunity” and its Covid outbreak is nearing an end, a city health official said on Tuesday, in another sign China’s unprecedented virus wave is waning.

A torrent of cases has cascaded through the world’s most populous nation since the ruling Communist Party abruptly ended its zero-Covid policy last month.

The surge packed hospitals and crematoriums in major cities including Beijing, though the scale of the outbreak is hard to verify given that official data is believed to represent a tiny fraction of the true number of cases.

But there have been indications that the surge has started to tail off, with authorities saying last week that the number of daily Covid deaths nationwide had fallen by nearly 80% since the start of January.

Wang Quanyi, deputy director of Beijing’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told local media on Tuesday that the city of 22 million had “established temporary herd immunity protection”.

“This wave of infections in Beijing has already peaked and is now coming to an end,” the Beijing News quoted Wang as saying.

The capital was “currently in a state of sporadic infections” with the virus exhibiting “relatively low risk of transmission”, Wang said.

The number of people seeking treatment for flu-like diseases at major Beijing hospitals fell by over 40% between Jan 23 and 29 compared to the previous week, the newspaper reported, citing official data.

A nationwide decline in the number of infections suggested that the end of the Lunar New Year holiday would “not have too much of an impact” as people returned to Beijing from other parts of the country, Wang said.

• “‘It was all for nothing’: Chinese count cost of Xi’s snap decision to let Covid rip” [Guardian]. “By the end of the year, zero-Covid was gone. Sunny says she felt instantly ‘relieved’ that lockdowns were over but her feelings soon turned to anger as it became clear China’s government had opened up the country, knowing it wasn’t ready. ‘I felt it was all for nothing,’ Sunny says. Over the last two months, the virus has rapidly spread through the country. Up to 10,000 critical cases were registered in hospitals every day. Morgues were overwhelmed, pharmacies reported shortages of basic medications, and supply of antiviral drugs was held up by protracted negotiations with foreign suppliers. Online and in the streets, people spoke of almost everyone they knew having caught Covid, and of elderly relatives dying. Sunny’s grandfather was among those who died in that wave. ‘It was the morning, and my mum walked into my room and said: your grandpa is in the emergency room,’ she recalls. ‘A few hours later, he passed away. My grandmother was in tears, saying he had left her behind.’ Xi’s extraordinary backflip left analysts alarmed and confused. China was not the only country to choose a zero-Covid strategy, and certainly not the only one to ‘let it rip’ once it dropped it. But it was the last, and global health experts say there were plenty of lessons it could have heeded – primarily, making sure vaccinations and health resources were high before the tsunami of cases hit. ‘All governments had to decide to open up at some stage or risk the consequences of lockdowns far outweighing the problems of Covid,’ says Professor Emma McBryde, an epidemiologist at James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.” • The great unasked and unanswered question: Why did Xi and the CPP never adopt a policy of mitigating airborne transmission? Of all the countries in the world, China was best equipped to require and manufacture ventilation equipment, testing equipment, CO2 meters, etc. Yet this was never done. And Xi, from Woodward’s book on Trump, told Trump that Covid was airborne very early on. What happened? Can’t some China watcher figure this out?

* * *

• Ashish Jha, who made sure his children went to schools with good ventilation, but not yours, on Biden ending the Covid national emergency:

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• Rosenthal with the PC fan!

* * *

• America used to be able to do stuff:

Frankly, I don’t understand the “Everyone’s going to get it” mentality at all. There’s no logic to it at all. What’s wrong with putting it off? Everybody will die, too, but as Arya says: “Not today!”

* * *

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED BioBot wastewater data from January 30:

For now, I’m going to use this national 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 February 1:

-0.2%. Decreasing again (though still at a high plateau).


Wastewater data (CDC), January 28:

Again, the [family blog] is the [family blogging] use of a national wastewater map where nearly all the collection sites are [family blogging] greyed out?

January 26:

NOT UPDATED And MWRA data, January 26:

Looks to me like New England’s regional surge is winding down. No bump from the students returning. Readers?


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), 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), January 7 (Weighted Estimates Only*):

BQ.1* takes first place. XBB coming up fast. (For BQ.1/XBB and vaccine escape, see here.) CH.* now appears, a week after Walgreens. Here is Region 2, the Northeast:

CH.1* appears, but slightly below the national average. XBB utterly dominates, making 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.

NOTE * CDC used to have a “Nowcast Off” radio button, which I used because of my bad experience with CDC models like Nowcast. CDC explains (I think) the change in the following note:

Weighted estimates (provided for all weeks except the most recent three weeks) are variant proportions that are based on empirical (observed) genomic sequencing data. These estimates are not available for the most recent weeks because of the time it takes to generate the unweighted data, including sample collection, specimen treatment, shipping, analysis, and upload into public databases.

Sublineages with weighted estimates less than 1% of all circulating variants are combined with their parent lineage. When the weighted estimate of a sublineage crosses the 1% threshold and has substitutions in the spike protein that could affect vaccine efficacy, transmission, or severity, it may be separated from its parent lineage and displayed on its own in the variant proportions data.

Nowcast estimates (provided for the most recent three weeks when the “Nowcast on” option is selected below) are model-based projections of variant proportions for the most recent weeks to enable timely public health action. CDC uses the Nowcast to forecast variant proportions before the weighted estimates are available for a given week.

Someone who can interpret The Great Runes can look at this; but I don’t have time today.

NOT UPDATED As a check, since New York is a BQ.1* hotbed, New York hospitalization, updated January 31:

Not as high as Biden’s ginormous jouissance, but still high.

Hospitalization data for Queens, updated January 28:


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,132,935 – 1,132,719 = 216 (216 * 365 = 78,840 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease).

It’s nice that for deaths I have a simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job. (Though CDC may be jiggering the numbers soon. Lower, naturally.)

• Country comparison of excess deaths:

For the Five Eyes, notice the unfortunate dips in New Zealand and Australia, while the US and the UK go on from strength to strength!

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States ADP Employment Change” [Trading Economics]. “Private businesses in the US created 106K jobs in January of 2023, well below an upwardly revised 253K in December and market forecasts of 178K. It is the lowest reading since January of 2021.”

Employment Situation: “United States Job Openings” [Trading Economics]. “The number of job openings in the United States increased to 11.0 million in December of 2022, the most in 5 months and above market expectations of 10.25 million. Over the month, the largest increases were in accommodation and food services (+409,000), retail trade (+134,000), and construction (+82,000). On the other hand, the number of available positions decreased in information (-107,000).”

Employment Situation: “United States ISM Manufacturing Employment” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Manufacturing Employment subindex in the United States decreased to 50.60 points in January from 50.80 points in December of 2022. Figures beat market forecasts of 49, as companies are indicating that they are not going to substantially reduce head counts as they are positive about the second half of the year.”

Manufacturing: “United States ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)” [Trading Economics]. “The reading pointed to the third consecutive contraction in factory activity as companies slowed outputs to better match demand in the first half of 2023 and prepare for growth in the second half of the year.”

Manufacturing: “United States Manufacturing PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The S&P Global US Manufacturing PMI was revised slightly higher to 46.9 in January of 2023 from a preliminary estimate of 46.8. The reading continued to point to a third consecutive month of falling factory activity, albeit the contraction eased compared to December (46.2). The downturn was driven by a sharp contraction in new orders, a further drop in output and ongoing efforts to reduce inventories. Weak demand conditions stemmed from subdued sales across both domestic and export markets.”

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FInance: “‘Colossal’ central bank buying drives gold demand to decade high” [Financial Times (Furzy Mouse)]. “Demand for gold surged to its highest in more than a decade in 2022, fuelled by ‘colossal’ central bank purchases that underscored the safe haven asset’s appeal during times of geopolitical upheaval. Annual gold demand increased 18 per cent last year to 4,741 tonnes, the largest amount since 2011, driven by a 55-year high in central bank purchases, according to the World Gold Council, an industry-backed group.” • A Keynsian gold bug contest….

Tech: “Elon Musk pushes forward with Twitter payments vision” [Financial Times]. “Twitter has begun applying for regulatory licences across the US and designing the software required to introduce payments across the social media platform, as Elon Musk searches for new revenues to turn round the business. Esther Crawford, a fast-rising lieutenant to Musk inside Twitter, has started to map out the architecture needed to facilitate payments on the platform with a small team, said two people familiar with the company’s plans. The nascent moves to allow payments through the site are a critical part of Musk’s plan to open up fresh revenue streams.” • I applauded this move when Musk first mentioned it, and I still think it’s a good idea; it could really help NC (as well as small creators, assuming AI doesn’t destroy millions of livelihoods and lives). With the caveat that this is not a good idea of it enables crypto loon fraudsters (sorry for the triple redundancy).

The Bezzle: “Instagram’s co-founders are mounting a comeback” [Platformer]. “Their first product is Artifact, a personalized news feed that uses machine learning to understand your interests and will soon let you discuss those articles with friends.” • Sounds like they’ve got their dopamine loops fully optimized already!

The Bezzle: “Justice Department seeks Tesla automated driving documents” [Associated Press]. “‘When you get the car, it really can’t do everything that’s been promised,’ [Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety] said. ‘Tesla is putting a vehicle out on the road that is unable to perform to the capabilities claimed. Yet we have drivers relying on those promises and esentially not paying attention to the drive because they think it is more capable than it is.'”

The Bezzle: “Cheaters beware: ChatGPT maker releases AI detection tool “[Associated Press] “There’s really not much we could say at this point about how the classifier actually works.” • Nor will there ever be!

The Bezzle: AI = BS:

Same issue as ChatGPT: Fabricated citations.

The Bezzle: AI = BS, or SBF would never have invested in it:

The Bezzle: AI = BS:

The Bezzle: “Extracting Training Data from Diffusion Models” (PDF) [arXiv]. From the Abstract: “In this work, we show that diffusion models memorize individual images from their training data and emit them at generation time. With a generate-and-filter pipeline, we extract over a thousand training examples from stateof-the-art models, ranging from photographs of individual people to trademarked company logos. We also train hundreds of diffusion models in various settings to analyze how different modeling and data decisions affect privacy. Overall, our results show that diffusion models are much less private than prior generative models such as GANs, and that mitigating these vulnerabilities may require new advances in privacy-preserving training.” • Or, instead of futzing around with training, we could kill them wirh fire. Or lawsuits. For example:

Note that the BY-SA 3.0 Creative Commons license requires attribution and redistribution under the same license.

The Bezzle: Speaking of training data:

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70 Greed (previous close: 70 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 66 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 1 at 12:47 PM EST.

The Conservatory

“Smokey Robinson, ‘King of Motown,’ to release new solo album” [Associated Press]. “Robinson will release the nine-track album ‘Gasms’ on April 28, the music legend behind hits like ‘My Girl” and ‘The Way You Do the Things You Do’ announced Friday. ‘Gasms’ features new songs produced and written by Robinson himself. The former vice president of Motown Records released his last collaborative album nine years ago, ‘Smokey & Friends,’ which featured musicians like Elton John, John Legend, Steven Tyler and Mary J. Blige.” • Well, I hope this album has rootsier musicians. Steven Tyler?

Zeitgeist Watch

“The Meme That Defined a Decade” [The Atlantic]. “Memes rarely endure. Most explode and recede at nearly the same moment: the same month or week or day. But the meme best known as “This Is Fine”—the one with the dog sipping from a mug as a fire rages around him—has lasted. It is now 10 years old, and it is somehow more relevant than ever. Memes are typically associated with creative adaptability, the image and text editable into nearly endless iterations. “This Is Fine,” though, is a work of near-endless interpretability: It says so much, so economically. That elasticity has contributed to its persistence. The flame-licked dog, that avatar of learned helplessness, speaks not only to individual people—but also, it turns out, to the country.” • Indeed:

“Can’t say no to sweets and snacks? It could be a sign of food addiction.” [NBC]. • Well, nobody’s gonna get addicted to eating bugs, so this problem will be sorted quite soon.

News of the Wired

“‘Nasty’ Geometry Breaks a Decades-Old Tiling Conjecture” [Wired]. “‘There does seem to be this emerging sort of principle that higher-dimensional geometry is just nasty,’ Tao said. ‘That pathologies can show up, and that the intuition that we get from two and three dimensions can be misleading.'” • Perhaps we have some geometry mavens who can comment.

“Is the psychedelic industrial complex evil?” [Unherd]. “The ‘altered states economy,’ now generating as much as $4 trillion worldwide [really?], offers a range of techniques to tap into the Real, or at least muffle the Unreal. There’s alcohol and disposable vape pens, video gaming and high-intensity sports, breathwork, meditation apps — and now, the legal psychedelic drug, perhaps the most significant launchpad to sacred states yet…. The faith we once put in transcendent states has been swiftly industrialised…. The industrial boom has happened in tandem with an enormous amount of research, much of it funded (with likely biasing effects) by profit-driven entities…. Perhaps it is worth heeding what acclaimed psychonaut Aldous Huxley said, while lying on his deathbed in November 1963. He requested a dose of 125 micrograms of LSD to ease his passage to the afterlife, and while it’s said that his passage was uniquely peaceful, his final words are telling: ‘It is never enough. Never enough. Never enough of beauty. Never enough of love. Never enough of life.'” • Or capital.

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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 AM:

Winter lights on the intricate scaffolding of trees at the World Financial Center in Battery Park City. A cheery sight on my evening walk.

AM: “Winter lights on the intricate scaffolding of trees at the World Financial Center in Battery Park City. A cheery sight on my evening walk.” There are two types of cities: Those which, like Manhattan, tightly wrap Christmas lights lights the trunk of limbs of their trees, and those which, like Boston (on the Common, at least) just randomly throw the lights over the branches.

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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. Ranger Rick

    Water update: it’s California(n agribusiness) vs. the entire Southwestern United States. Who will blink first?

    Mark Squillace, a water law professor at the University of Colorado, was less complimentary.

    “It’s all well and good to say that six of seven states agreed,” Squillace said. “But what they’ve agreed to is to dump most of the responsibility on the state that didn’t agree.”

    Squillace said he doesn’t consider Monday’s announcement a serious proposal. Any realistic assessment, he said, must include major changes to the agriculture industry, the biggest water consumer in the West. In addition, upper-basin states should accept cuts to their water use as well to more equitably spread the pain, he said.

    The path forward is narrow, Squillace said, and if the basin falters it risks a cascade of lawsuits over proposed water cuts, which would be expensive but also time-consuming and the region doesn’t have time to spare.

    Larson once feared that legal entanglement but faced with such slow progress, he reversed course.

    “We should sue each other,” he said. “At least a lawsuit is a structured way in which we talk to each other. It would force us to disclose information, force us to have conversations.”

    1. John

      A lawsuit would be a terrific idea. So complex it would take 5, 10 , 15 years to even get to trial. By then it would be moot as the water would be gone. The golf courses burned up and the swimming pools empty.

      On the other hand perhaps the rains and snows will return to “normal” and all can live happily until the drought comes again.

    2. vao

      “It would force us to disclose information, force us to have conversations.”

      There we go again with “conversations” — what he means is, in superannuated diplomatic language, “frank and constructive debates”, or in everyday parlance, “man-to-man disputes”.

    3. agent ranger smith

      Civil lawfare beats civil warfare when those are the only last two choices which a bunch of people leave themselves.

    4. skippy

      Too think about a 100 years ago this was all set into motion by bad maths [think we all know how this works] where 20X acre foot of water was delegated to all in concern wrt Colorado river water in perpetuity. Originally envisioned for Ag, but then modified some by the advent of the big cities in the region.

      Problem was that 15x acre foot was a more mathematically accurate at the time and now below 13X acre foot. So basically before one even considers seasonal factors moving forward the problem was baked in from onset, even without the persistent drought.

      How do you satisfy contracts built on bad maths from about a 100 years ago ….

  2. Wukchumni

    Poor Aldous, his death went largely unnoticed as some other fellow hogged the limelight on November 22, 1963.

    1. ambrit

      Ah, but Aldous strove mightily to shape his end. Poor Kennedy had his end imposed upon him.
      C S Lewis died that same day. November 22 1963 really did mark the end of an era.

  3. petal

    That DSCC membership email is written like a scammy infomercial. Do people really respond positively to that? Get yours NOW! Time is running out!
    I really picked the wrong field. People must get paid a decent amount to come up with that stuff.

      1. ambrit

        I see it as a “New and Improved!” multi level marketing scheme. The new and improved part is that, no matter how long you ‘participate’ in the program, you never move up in the pyramid.
        As someone is supposed to have said: “There’s a Democrat Party member born every minute.”

        1. agent ranger smith

          And it may be that the “proletariat education prevention” program may have been highly succcessful over the past few decades, combined with wear-out-the-masses with barely subsistence wage-price mismatches, ‘wear ’em out’ time and attention taxes and brain-depleters like annual Obamacare sighnup derby, etc.

          Suckers? Or too tired to care and too burned out to know?

          And the DemLords and DemMasters carefully tilt and shape the battlespace by carefully exterminating any “leftish” alternative ( Operation Smash OWS, etc.) while leaving the various
          fascist and fascistarian groups free to grow and flourish. When a hundred million proles snap and run amok at the same time, the fascist and fascistarian groups will be the only places to go aside from End of the World Christian Rapture Churches.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      This is what you get when you crony hire nepo babies to write your copy. They will also change the shade of blue every election and worst case scenario have been known to change it in successive mailings. They’ve all read Lakhoff and we’d be amazed at how many really smart things they did in that piece to make us want to give them money. Srsly, our pysops are super deep and come with cup-holders, a significant upgrade to the Dole campaign’s original version which did not have cup-holders.

      1. ambrit

        “…and is a real improvement over the Medes and Persian’s campaign design that had ‘Cup Bearers.’ “(Some will argue that this development is a reversion to the mean, as in Imperial Administrations deserve Imperial Social Norms.)

    2. Thistlebreath

      Rule o’ thumb in ad copywriting: Hard sell’s a tell.

      Whenever the second person is invoked in a pitch, the faint odor of desperation wafts off the page.

      IMHO if Trump wants to make a serious run, all he has to do is declare

      1. Hands off Social Security
      2. Hands off Medicare
      3. End the war in country 404 ASAP

      If he adds Tulsi Gabbard to his ticket, the Clinton cabal’s gonna face a tough challenge.

      1. lambert strether

        > If he adds Tulsi Gabbard to his ticket, the Clinton cabal’s gonna face a tough challenge

        The resulting intracranial splatterfest would be a joy to behold.

        1. Screwball

          The resulting intracranial splatterfest would be a joy to behold.

          Thank you for the laugh of the day Lambert, but you owe me a keyboard. :-)

          You do have a way with words.

        2. agent ranger smith

          Given what Gabbard has to be perceptive enough to know about Trump, I would be amazed and surprised if Gabbard consented to be Trump’s running mate or Trump’s anything else.

          She is in the military and she understands loyalty. She surely has to see that Trump has zero loyalty to anyone who supports him or fellow-travels with him over anything ever at any time.

          If Sanders hadn’t passively betrayed her at several key points, she might consider running on a ticket with Sanders. ( Some people would vote for Sanders just to get Gabbard positioned a single stented hearbeat away from the Presidency). But alas, Sanders is not a revolutionary like that. Or even a mischevious troll.

  4. BeliTsari

    Don’t see, why we even bother. Just guess or IMAGINE what nauseating, intentionally blatant BS “our” party will pull, to authenticate our worst suspicions of sneeringly blatant kleptocracy, before you read that its already been done, to those of us repeatedly re-infected essentials who’d MUCH worse inflammatory side-effects than anything experienced during acute or PASC symptoms. Curious, how many of us will be kicked off Twitter (as anti-vax!) for citing this.


  5. Samuel Conner

    > What’s wrong with putting it off?

    I’ve been counseling everyone in my (admittedly rather sparse) social circle that for years to come, one needs to try to maximize the amount of time that elapses until one’s next infection.

    Unfortunately, a surprising number of people seem to think that it’s OK to get sick sooner, since that will confer a measure of protection for a while. Instead of “getting sick as late as possible”, it seems to be “it’s better to get sick sooner so that you won’t be as likely to get sick later.”

    What I suspect is going on in at least some people is that they simply don’t want the inconvenience of the needed protective measures, and “getting sick sooner” allows them to feel justified in not adopting such measures after they recover. Of course, after some months, the immunity boost will decline. But at that point, the same logic would apply — get sick again (and hopefully recover) so that you can feel justified in not embracing the inconveniences. I can’t imagine that will end well for most people who practice this principle.

    I have no idea who is going to do the work of caring for what I expect will be a tidal wave of people with problems ranging from “impairment” to “incapacitation”.

    1. agent ranger smith

      caregiver medical/nursing robots.

      Meanwhile, the people you referrence may believe the hype about individual immunity, covid makes you covid immune for a while, etc.

      One might well interview them to see if that is what they think, as against merely not caring and giving up altogether.

  6. Cameron

    Our guv not only went to Yale, but Harvard, too. And then went on to serve honorably as a JAG – in Guantanomo. I’m sure he was there to defend prisoners’ rights.

  7. Mildred Montana

    Ron DeSantis: “‘And I’m happy to say — you know in my case — not only did we win reelection, we won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has had in the history of the state of Florida,’ he said.”

    You can bluster all you like Ron about your wins in the minor leagues but history paints a bleak picture of your chances in the bigs. Florida joined the union in 1845. Since then no governor of Florida has been elected President.


    Now I will admit there’s always a first time Ron, but you’re bucking the odds. Go have a chat with 2016 contender, then pretender, now has-been and forgotten former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush before thinking about wasting more of your supporters’ money.

    1. Ranger Rick

      What is ol’ Jeb up to these days? I imagine after that disaster of a run he retired from politics.

  8. thousand points of green

    House finch memories from my youth . . .

    Long long long ago, when I was still a child, Dad took us kids to visit our Grandparents in Queens ( NYC).
    In the little asphalted “play area”, I heard a bird song I had never heard before. I kept watching for the singer and I think I remember finally seeing it in sillhoutte at a distance, but had no clue what this small perching bird was.

    Long long ago, when visiting NYC area again, and visiting the Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge, we saw a bunch of “purple” finches which didn’t look quite right. But since I knew nothing of the “house” finch at the time, I decided that “purple” finches was what they had to be. Later that day, the Ranger on Duty told us to look out for a new bird, the ” house finch”, which had begun to invade the adjacent mainland from its Long Island bases.

    Long ago, after I had come to Ann Arbor to go to U of M, and kept living here ever after, I began seeing large and then huge numbers of house finches. They had apparently been spreading west over the whole country from their first point of introduction in/around Long Island. They were so numerous and aggressive as to begin displacing the English sparrows from their usual places and habits. After a few years of this, the house finch population must have risen so high as to be able to support some kind of house finch plague, whereby the housefinch eyes welded shut with dried mucus and the house finches could not see to feed and so they starved and died out.

    After a few more years the house finch is again reasonably common in our area, but it has never regained its peak population numbers.

    Meanwhile, I saw a purple finch 20 years ago, and saw another one 10 years before that. Long long long ago, they used to be common in winter.

    ( The house finch is native to the Pacific coast rangers of California and Oregon, maybe Washinton too?
    Somebody caught some and sold them around the NYC area as ” Hollywood finches”. Some got loose and began reproducing. And as an introduced bird in the East, they have been spreading back West.)

    1. LifelongLib

      House Finches were introduced here in Hawaii from California, before 1870.

      They’re in Washington State too.

  9. wendigo

    And a fine job he did ensuring the torture was applied legally.

    Seems to be obvious he will bring the same level of honorable service to the role of President looking after Americans’ rights.

  10. Jason Boxman

    So the NC COVID dashboard is showing BQ1.1 receding and XBB1.5 increasing. And there’s starting to be an uptick in wastewater particles. Perhaps the XBB1.5 wave is in progress here. No sign of the latest VOC here yet.

  11. Terry Flynn

    Frankly the “making up a fictitious paper” phenomenon is one of the least surprising things the “AI” does. It uses statistical rules without humans telling it “you can’t just put together part A from that study with part B from that study….. They disagree because the humans have very different views and/or have experienced very different things”. Mathematically you have two completely different likelihood functions and the AI wants a single peak. If the single peak is an average of an apple and and orange it doesn’t know or care.

    Us choice modellers typically spent weeks getting an intense education from experts about “what combinations were stupid” (amongst other things) in learning how to model a SINGLE topic. Yet again I point out why statistical criteria will always fail….. But we are in the stupidest timeline so they will be used and ultimately make an awful decision.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The “making up a fictitious paper” phenomenon? ‘The Russian State University for the Humanities (RGGU) has called for restricted access to ChatGPT after a student successfully presented a diploma thesis written by the program.’ The guy had his thesis knocked out in a day whereas the other students spent several weeks on theirs. They may not cancel that thesis as it has already been passed but personally I think that it should have been awarded to the ChatGPT-


      1. Acacia

        Of course, it would be an embarrassment to admit their faculty passed a student who submitted a bogus thesis, but IMHO probably the best thing the university could do is ignore the deputy head of the State Duma Committee on Science and Higher Education, Aleksandr Mazhuga, if possible, retroactively annul the thesis, and bounce the guy out of the program for good measure. Otherwise, what sort of message does this send? Do they want to keep dealing with this kind of cheating over and over? Trying to “restrict access to ChatGPT”… heh… good luck with that.

        Some years ago, there was a series of scandals in Germany, when several high-level ministers in Merkel’s administration were found to have plagiarized parts of their PhD dissertations. The worst one was Annette Schavan, who served as Minister of Education. Needless to say, it’s not a good look when the Minister of Education is found out for such a thing. At first, Schavan tried to deny it, but after the University of Düsseldorf annulled her doctorate, she was forced to resign.

        Going forward, I would expect universities will treat so-called AI-generated text in a similar fashion, i.e., that submitting material generated by apps like ChatGPT is basically plagiarism, and can be handled in the same fashion.

  12. Jen

    Re COVID wastewater data. I happened to take a gander at the NH COVID 19 website for the first time in a long while, and lo and behold, it now includes wastewater data. Interestingly, there are several wastewater collection sites on the NH website, that are not included in the CDC’s data including our small liberal arts college town of Hanover.

    I’m sure everyone will be stunned to learn that the readings from that site are the highest in the state, and have gone vertical since the return of the undergrads. Meanwhile reported cases on the college’s website are about 100 all in.

  13. JTMcPhee

    So Central Banks, those hives of rapacity, are using what, depositors’ “money” to buy huge amounts of gold. While preparing to convert the stored wealth of the rest of us, mopes at least, from assigned ones and zeroes over which we mopes have ownership rights (however unenforceable those are) to Central Bank Digital Currencies over which THEY will have dominion.

    When does the reaction start? Or is it even possible any more?

    1. Wukchumni

      Wonder why the Central Banks aren’t buying up all the myrrh & frankincense if they claim to be wise men?

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘Arnaud Bertrand
    Bill Gates: “China will have about a third the death rate of rich countries, including the US.”
    He explains: “They deferred infections out into the period when we had vaccines [and when we had] the Omicron variant that kills about 40% as much as the original variant.”‘

    On the other hand-

    ‘Jordan Schachtel
    Bill Gates secured hundreds of millions in profits from mRNA stock sales before suddenly changing tune on vaccine technology
    Once an mRNA
    evangelist, Gates now dismisses the technology as inferior, after banking a 15x return on investment.’


  15. Wukchumni

    Oh gawd. DeSantis, man of the people, vicious small-town auto dealer, went to Yale. Just like Bush. We’re doomed, aren’t we?
    DeSantis means ‘The Saint’ if my pidgin Latin is correct, and if he runs against Mayo Pete or Gavin’s hair, he ought to go marching in, so yeah-doomed, but we might catch a break if a neo-Nagasaki happens.

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