2:00PM Water Cooler 2/28/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

I believe I had a request for the Potoo?

Rufous Potoo, Side road at KM63 of BR-174, Amazonas, Brazil. The extraordinary spectogram is due to everything going on the Amazon jungle. It’s not a quiet place!

* * *


“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

“Biden’s new deficit hawk persona has some progressives feeling some bad deja vu” [Politico]. “Joe Biden spent the last two years pursuing and enacting massive domestic programs meant to remake the U.S. economy. But as he prepares a run for reelection, Biden is trying out a new economic persona: deficit hawk. The president has made a fresh effort to sell his administration as a model of fiscal restraint in recent weeks, casting falling deficits as an increasingly central focus of his agenda. Biden now routinely touts a $1.7 trillion drop in the deficit on his watch as a top accomplishment. When the president releases his new proposed budget next week, he is expected to call for another $2 trillion in cuts over a decade. ‘My economic plan is working,’ Biden said in a speech last week, peppering his remarks with more than a dozen references to the deficit. ‘It’s reducing the deficit. It’s fiscally responsible.'” • Why not try bleeding and purging?

“A bipartisan group of Senators is talking about raising the retirement age on Social Security” [Semafor]. “A bipartisan group led by Sens. Angus King, I-Maine, and Bill Cassidy, R-La. is considering gradually raising the retirement age to about 70 as part of their legislation to overhaul Social Security, Semafor has learned from two people briefed on their efforts. Other options on the table include changing the existing formula that calculates monthly benefits from one based on a worker’s average earnings over 35 years to a different formula that’s based instead on the number of years spent working and paying into Social Security. The plan also includes a proposed sovereign wealth fund (as previously reported by Semafor) that could be seeded with $1.5 trillion or more in borrowed money to jumpstart stock investments, the people said. If it fails to generate an 8% return, both the maximum taxable income and the payroll tax rate would be increased to ensure Social Security stays on track to be solvent another 75 years.

‘This is an example of two leaders trying to find a solution to a clear and foreseeable danger,’ Cassidy and King spokespeople told Semafor in a statement. ‘Although the final framework is still taking shape, there are no cuts for Americans currently receiving Social Security benefits in our plan. Indeed, many will receive additional benefits.'” • “Currently recieving.” So it’s two-tier? Inviting parents and grandparents to throw their children under the bus is bipartisan? Wait, don’t answer that.


“Democrat wants more Biden challengers in the primaries: ‘This is not a dictatorship'” [FOX]. “CNN panelist and former Democratic state senator Nina Turner called on other Democrats to jump in the race on Sunday as President Biden has still not officially announced his re-election bid. ‘I think the problem that Democrats are going to face is that Biden is not without risk,’ CNN political commentator Kristen Soltis Anderson said. ‘He would be the oldest man elected president. There are moments when he seems feisty and ready to fight Republicans, and there are moments that do leave doubts in the minds of voters who are watching.’ She added that Democrats ‘have to be a little nervous’ about if it isn’t Biden. ‘There’s no need to be nervous, I mean, people should just jump in. Let’s jump in,’ Turner said.” • Hmm. Burning a few bridges, here?

“Year three of Warren’s health care plan looks completely ridiculous now” [Carl Beijer]. “Recall that while Sanders insisted on passing the entire program in a single bill, Warren decided that it would be clever to split her agenda in two. First she would begin pass a public option, ‘and then follow up with legislation to end existing employer plans by her third year in office, once the new system has a foothold.’ So if Sanders had won, we the fight for Medicare for All would have already been won or lost. It would have played out in early 2021 when he was still in the honeymoon phase of his presidency, with America still laser-focused on surviving the pandemic, with Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress, and a year before the US started throwing billions of dollars into the war in Ukraine. Now consider where we’d be at with Warren. Best case scenario: in the same situation as Bernie, she would have won an equally ferocious fight, though with just a public option to show for it. Then Russia invades Ukraine and Republicans start complaining about how that, along with the public option, are breaking the budget. Then Republicans win back the House. Then, having spent two years tarring Warren as a big-government communist, the GOP puts forward a resolution denouncing ‘socialism in all of its forms’ and opposing ‘the implementation of socialist policies in the United States of America.’ Over 75% of the House votes for it, including a majority of House Democrats. Do even people who support Warren actually think, in this political environment, that she’s be picking a fight over abolishing the private health insurance industry?” • Not that I’m bitter over that 🐍 Warren sinking her fangs into Bernie’s back in 2020, no, of course not. I’m filing this here because Warren might be nutty enough to think she can run again.

And speaking of 🐍s:

So the concept here is what? To extend the Empire’s life by breaking up defense monopolies?

“The GOP’s Addiction to Culture War May Cost It in 2024” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “The urban, liberal college graduates who dominate the Democratic political class have distinct cultural sensibilities and social-policy preferences when compared to the middle-age, working-class rust belters who often play kingmaker in the Electoral College. Progressive ambition plus right-wing demagoguery has been a formula for electoral backlash more than once in modern history. And yet if hyper-political Democrats don’t always see eye to eye with the U.S.’s ‘low-information‘ normies, the same is at least as true of their counterparts in the GOP. For every Ivy League–educated nonprofit executive who believes in open borders and police abolition, there are two car-dealership owners who think the 2020 election was rigged by a cabal of pedophiles…. Meanwhile, in order to sustain the attention of their ideologically self-selecting audiences amid competition from other journalistic outlets, cat photos, video games, porn, and virtually every movie and TV show ever made, news purveyors have a strong incentive to keep consumers in a constant state of agitation…. As a result, strong partisans can find themselves locked in seemingly epochal political struggles that don’t even register on swing voters’ radar. This state of affairs creates problems for both parties. When your base lives in a distinct informational universe from your persuasion targets, finding messages that animate the former while placating the latter can be difficult. Nevertheless, that balancing act is far more challenging for Republicans than it is for Democrats…. Last week, a group of Democratic strategists released a report on public opinion in working-class, postindustrial counties of Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — areas where Biden will likely need to hold down Republican margins in order to win reelection. The researchers found that while ‘working-class folks find urban and intellectual ‘wokeism’ annoying,’ they are far more concerned with Democrats’ alleged failures in economic management.” • The strategist is Mike Lux.

“Let’s All Do the DeSantis Shimmy!” [David Brooks, New York Times]. “There are two dominant views on Ukraine within the Republican Party. The first one, embraced by, say, Nikki Haley and Tim Scott, holds that Russia’s assault on Ukraine threatens the liberal world order. Helping the Ukrainians push back is in America’s vital national interest. The second view, embraced by the populist wing, is that the United States has no vital national interests in Ukraine…. DeSantis has magically cast himself in between these two positions. In the past, DeSantis was tougher on Russia than Trump was. In 2017, he noted that Putin ‘wants to reconstitute the Russian Empire,’ and chided Trump for being too soft on Putin, saying that ‘you’re better off dealing with Putin by being strong.’ If Putin thinks he can gain an inch, DeSantis argued, ‘he’s apt to take a mile.’ But this week DeSantis went on ‘Fox & Friends,’ where great statesmen have always gone to unfurl their foreign policy doctrines, and he feinted in a Trump-like direction. He said the war wouldn’t have happened if Joe Biden weren’t so weak. He said he didn’t want to give the Ukrainians a ‘blank check’ (as if anyone does). He said Biden should be more concerned with securing the border at home and less concerned with borders far away. He minimized the threat Putin poses to the West, adding, ‘I don’t think it’s in our interests to be getting into a proxy war with China, getting involved over things like the borderlands or over Crimea.'” • Asking for my vote again. I wish they’d stop doing that.

“Trump easily beats DeSantis in GOP primary: poll” [The Hill]. “Former President Donald Trump is still the heavy favorite to win the GOP’s 2024 nomination, according to a new Emerson College poll. In a hypothetical 10-way Republican presidential primary, Trump scores 55 percent of the vote, the poll found, putting him 30 points ahead of his closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who stands at 25 percent support. No other candidate breaks double-digits. Former Vice President Mike Pence takes third place with just 8 percent of the vote, while former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who became the first major Republican candidate to challenge Trump for the GOP nod earlier this month, finishes with just 5 percent support.” • 30 points?!

“Just how big is the Always Trump component of the Republican Party?” [Politico]. “Vivek Ramaswamy, the anti-woke entrepreneur and most recent entrant into the race, went so far as to say he’s ‘not running against President Trump’ at all. He is, of course. Every candidate in the emerging GOP field will be. That they can’t quite acknowledge as much underscores one of the defining features of this very early primary and, more generally, GOP politics over the last six years: Trump’s base remains rigid, and even his critics believe it may be fatal to annoy them. Despite his difficulties since he left office, about a third of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters still consider themselves supporters more of Trump than the Republican Party, according to a recent NBC News poll. Many of them aren’t going anywhere. Fully 28 percent of Republican primary voters are so devoted to the former president that they said they’d support him even if he ran as an independent, according to a national survey last month from The Bulwark and longtime Republican pollster Whit Ayres. Indeed, the ‘Always Trump’ component of the party is so pronounced that it’s affecting how Trump’s opponents operate around him. ‘All these folks are just hoping that Trump’s going to have a heart attack on a golf course one day, and that’s going to solve this problem for them,’ said Fergus Cullen, a former New Hampshire Republican Party chair. ‘Not much of a strategy.'” • Trump’s not dumb. He owns a big plane. He doesn’t go up in small ones.

“With Trump running, nearly all Republican senators say no to a presidential bid” [NBC]. “There’s an old joke that senators look in the mirror and see a president. These days, a whole lot of mirrors in the chamber seem to be broken. Republicans have an open presidential primary in 2024, and the Senate is packed with hyper-ambitious and self-confident politicians, many with national followings and barely concealed presidential aspirations. Yet nearly all of them are taking a pass at a White House bid next year after former President Donald Trump launched his attempted comeback campaign in November… a newer group of Republican senators rumored to have higher aspirations — Rick Scott of Florida, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Joni Ernst of Iowa — are also bowing out or sitting on the sidelines. ‘Every senator has a different reason,’ Conant said. ‘A lot of them are young and have the luxury to wait. In 2024, you’re running against an incumbent president and a former president, so historically it’s a big hill to climb. This isn’t like 2016 when there was an open White House and wide-open GOP race.’ Cruz, Hawley and Rick Scott, whose seats are up in 2024, have chosen to seek re-election rather than roll the dice on a White House run.”

“Trump will have to make loyalty pledge to join RNC debate stage, Ronna McDaniel says” [FOX]. “Republican Presidential candidates will have to pledge support for the eventual nominee in order to be included on the Republican National Committee’s debate stage, RNC chair Ronna McDaniel said Sunday. McDaniel says candidates will have to sign the pledge prior to the first primary debate, which will be held in Milwaukee. Former President Trump has expressed opposition to the pledge, however, echoing his hesitancy to make the same pledge in 2016. ‘We’re saying you’re not going to get on the debate stage unless you make this pledge,’ McDaniel said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ on Sunday. ;Anyone getting on the Republican national committee debate stage should be able to say, ‘I will support the will of the voters and the eventual nominee of our party.’ ‘I think they’re all going to sign it. I really do,’ McDaniel added. ‘I think President Trump would like to be on the debate stage.'”

Republican Funhouse

“Failing at polls, election deniers focus on state GOP posts” [Associated Press]. “Embracing election conspiracy theories was a political albatross for Republicans in states that weren’t completely red last year, with deniers losing every statewide bid in the swing states of Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. But the movement has focused on GOP state party chairs — positions that usually are selected by only dedicated activists and have the power to influence the party’s presidential nominating contest and some aspects of election operations, such as recruiting poll watchers.”

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.

* * *

“The Democrats Are Bad, But We Can’t Leave the Working Class to the GOP” [Freddie deBoer]. “[A]s the Democratic coalition is increasingly defined by the college educated, and in a context where the phrase “white working class” is now often treated as a racist dogwhistle, we cannot allow the fortunes of the working class to be dictated by Republicans. The symbols and rhetoric of elite liberals may be increasingly hostile to those who are not college-educated urbanites with vocabularies carefully calibrated to signal that status. But Republicans are not an alternative; the GOP remains the party of plutocrats, and its populist rhetoric is employed in pursuit of lower taxes and less regulation for the rich and corporations. My argument today takes place against a backdrop of one of the most consequential developments in recent American politics: the rise of educational polarization.” • Paywalled, so leaving us hanging….

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why Has the Left Deprioritized COVID?” [Midnight Sun]. From 2022, still germane. “In the context of this social murder – a form of heightened class war waged by the rich, who are increasing their profits by forcing poor people to continue working, with inadequate protection, through waves of infection – the organized left has failed to show that another pandemic response is possible, and that our lives depend on fighting for it…. In the US, Democrats who are critical of the party’s centrist mainstream, such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have been nearly silent on COVID-19 since Biden took office, allowing the administration and Congress to oversee mass death without serious pressure from the party’s left flank…. Faced with the crises of the pandemic, perhaps the most common intervention by leftist groups across North America has been to start grassroots mutual aid projects, providing food, money, and other essentials to people in need. Kristen Smith, Vice-Chair for Programs of the Democratic Socialists of America Disability Working Group (DWG), has observed this phenomenon proliferating in the DSA…. The left needs to unite against pandemic ableism, not out of goodwill or charity towards disabled leftists, but for our movement’s survival. Organizations limit their potential membership when they romanticize pre-pandemic organizing practices, where everything happened in person and those who couldn’t attend due to disability or illness, lack of transportation, a work conflict, or family caregiving duties simply couldn’t participate. When unions fail to understand – or act on the understanding – that scarce, poverty-level disability benefits and the end of pandemic unemployment supports are political attacks on all workers, whose exploitation happens in relation to the parallel misery of unemployment, they miss an important opportunity to help build power for the working class as a whole…. The left’s job is not to accept the narrative of events that corporate media and government officials give us – “the pandemic’s over” – but to craft our own.” • Well worth a read. I’m not sure it answers the question in the headline, though.

“Everything Is Hyperpolitical” [The Point]. “All the critiques of post-politics recognized the separation between “politics” and “policy.” On the one hand, politics named the formation of a collective will that determines what society would do with its surplus materials. Policy, in turn, relied on the execution of that will. In the 1980s and 1990s, when the politics of crisis steadily turned into a crisis of politics, these two moments underwent a mutual estrangement. The determination of the collective will was relegated to a mediasphere addicted to novelty and run by public-relations experts, while the execution of policy was handed over to unelected technocrats. In the widening of this separation lay the seeds of a transition from post-politics to hyperpolitics…. [T]he mood of contemporary politics is one of incessant yet diffuse excitation. Emotionally, it is related to the crisis of attention characteristic of the age of the internet and smartphone. “Hyper,” in turn, indicates both a state of supersession and intensification: the elongation of a vowel that has already been vocalized but does not yet spell out a new word…. Hyperpolitics comes and goes, like a neutron bomb that shakes the people in the frame but leaves all the infrastructure intact—an awkward synonym rather than an antonym to post-politics.” • An interesting essay, structured around photographer Wolfgang Tillmans’s body of work.

“How big Christian nationalism has come courting in North Idaho” [Religion News Service]. “North Idaho has long been known for its hyperlibertarians, apocalyptic ‘preppers’ and white supremacist groups who have retreated to the region’s sweeping frozen lakes and wild forests to await the collapse of American society, when they’ll assert control over what remains. But in recent years, the state’s existing separatists have been joined by conservatives fleeing bluer Western states, opportunistic faith leaders, real-estate developers and, most recently, those opposed to COVID-19 restrictions and vaccines. Though few arrived carrying Christian nationalist banners, many have quickly adopted aspects of the ideology to advance conservative causes and seek strength in unity. The origin of North Idaho’s relationship with contemporary Christian nationalism can be traced to a 2011 blog post published by survivalist author James Wesley, Rawles (the comma is his addition). Titled ‘The American Redoubt — Move to the Mountain States,’ Rawles’ 4,000-word treatise called on conservative followers to pursue ‘exit strategies’ from liberal states and move to ‘safe havens’ in the American Northwest — specifically Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and eastern sections of Oregon and Washington. He dubbed the imagined region the ‘American Redoubt’ and listed Christianity as a pillar of his society-to-be.” • I don’t think any state in the American Redoubt has nuclear weapons. Fortunately.

“WA lawmakers work to keep public records from the public — again” [CrossCut (PI)]. “This is the untold story about how the Washington Legislature has spent more than 15 years trying to consolidate its power in an effort to make sure it can keep secrets from the public. The way Washington lawmakers are refusing to share the content of their own emails, texts and memos – despite a state law requiring their disclosure – is not a new concept. When questioned about their use of a legislative privilege – which has not yet been granted to them by the courts or in state law – House and Senate leaders go back in history to a centuries-old practice from England. Legislative privilege is a concept in at least 43 other states, they say, and it is grounded in the Washington Constitution’s Freedom of Debate clause.” • “Legislative privilege? Huh? A long and detailed account.


Looks like “leveling off to a high plateau” across the board. (I still think “Something Awful” is coming, however. I mean, besides what we already know about.) Stay safe out there!

• Readers, since the national data systems in the United States are being vandalized, let’s start collecting links to state data, too. If readers would send me links (see Plant below) to their favorite State and local dashboards/wastewater sites, that would be great. Canadians, too! Or leave a link in Comments.

Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data).

Resources, United States (Local): CA (dashboard), Marin; CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NM (dashboard); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OR (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Festoonic, FM, Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JF, Joe, John, JM (2), JW, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, otisyves, Petal (5), RK, RL, RM, Rod, tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White. (Readers, if you leave your link in comments, I credit you by your handle. If you send it to me via email, I use your initials (in the absence of a handle. I am not putting your handle next to your contribution because I hope and expect the list will be long, and I want it to be easy for readers to scan.)

• More like this, please! Total: 1 6 11 18 20 22 26 27/50 (54% of US states). We should list states that do not have Covid resources, or have stopped updating their sites, so others do not look fruitlessly. Thank you!

* * *

Look for the Helpers

If a hospital or clinic tries to force you to take off your N95 and replace it with one of their crap surgical masks, here is a thread that explains what you can do:

I don’t regard the CDC as a reliable authority, but the HCWs might, so for tactical purposes…

Covid Is Airborne

“Thanks to saliva, infectious coronavirus particles linger twice as long in drier air” (press release) [EurekAlert]. “[A]irborne particles carrying a mammalian coronavirus closely related to the virus which causes COVID-19 remain infectious for twice as long in drier air, in part because the saliva emitted with them serves as a protective barrier around the virus, especially at low humidity levels. The study carries major implications for not only the current COVID-19 pandemic, but potentially for all infectious diseases transmitted by saliva-coated viruses. The research also further emphasizes the importance of managing indoor air filtration and ventilation to mitigate airborne disease spread, especially for buildings in arid states such as Colorado, dry enclosed environments like airplane cabins and during dry winter months in temperate climates worldwide.” • Hmm. I’m not sure how to mitigate this. Humidifiers? Do any readers use them? (Wood stoves and steam heat make the indoor air pretty dry too, at least in New England, which is why I leave a lot of water on top of them…).

“Air changes per hour, Flow per person, Flow per area. What is the right metric for clean air?” [Joey Fox, It’s Airborne]. “Measuring the amount of clean air begins with determining a clean air delivery rate (CADR) or non-infectious air delivery rate (NADR). … The danger of any airborne pollutant is related to the inhaled dose, which is directly correlated with the concentration of the pollutant in the air and the length of time spent inhaling it. The concentration of pollutants is influenced by the rate at which they are generated and removed. By increasing the rate at which pollutants are removed, either through ventilation, filtration or UV light, the concentration in the air is reduced, and the inhaled dose is decreased. If the pollutant is an infectious disease, reducing the inhaled dose will lower the risk of infection. The question then becomes, what CADR is required to reduce the concentration of airborne contaminants to acceptable levels? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as different contaminants and spaces require different levels of clean air.” • Well worth a read.

Angst among school parents; see the comments on the thread:

Same angst, but with more angst:

Welcome to the Third World, where you can’t discuss clean air in the schools without being hit by a power failure.


If the poster were not Dutch, I would say this was another example of American-style tinkering:

Again, I think replaceable filter shapes should be standardized, like safety razor blades. That will really help make a market for better masks. Manufacturers can compete on mask design and filter composition, without trying for “lock-in” — it never gets old, does it? — with proprietary filter shapes. After all, if standard filters make switching costs between replaceable masks low, that means you can take business away from your competitors, too!

“LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier (2nd Gen) Reviewed.” [The Technovore]. A powered mask with H13 HEPA graded filters. “I’m going right out and saying that the LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier (2nd Gen) is hands down the best mask I’ve used in the past few years. I’ve tried masks with valves, I’ve tried regular cloth masks, I’ve worn N94-rated masks…Hell, I’ve even work CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear) masks during my NS training. Don’t forget, I also reviewed the Phillips Fresh Air Mask… .The mask is simply in a league of its own. The Face Guard secures your face really well and there’s a LOT of room inside that you’re never left feeling suffocated. Taking in deep breaths is no issue at all as there’s lot of room and the sensors in the mask automatically (more in this later) draw in as much air as you require.” • This (by no means a product endorsement) looks like very interesting technology. The battery works for eight hours, so you’d need three for a really long-haul flight.

Elite Malfeasance

All the elites ultimately did this, globally. China too:

* * *

Case Data

BioBot wastewater data from February 27:

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.

• How many infections are reinfections:


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published February 28:

-1.0%. Still high, but at last a distinct downturn.


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,145,415 – 1,144,368 = 1047 (1047 * 365 = 382,155 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). Big jump because I missed yesterday.

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

Manufacturing: “United States Chicago PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago PMI in the United States fell for a second consecutive month to 43.6 in February of 2023 from 44.3 in January. Figures came lower than market forecasts of 45, pointing to another contraction in economic activity in the Chicago region, which extended for a sixth straight month.”

Manufacturing: “United States Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics].

* * *

Transport: “Union Pacific CEO to leave after push from activist shareholder” [CNN]. “Union Pacific shares jumped 10% in premarket trading Monday after the railroad company announced CEO Lance Fritz, 60, will leave the company by year-end, following a call by an activist hedge fund for his ouster. Union Pacific just reported a record profit for the second straight year. But the hedge fund, Soroban Capital Partners, put out a statement saying that Fritz had lost the confidence of ‘shareholders, employees, customers, and regulators.’ UNP’s total shareholder return has been the worst in the industry,’ said Soroban’s letter to the board. ‘Among all S&P 500 companies, UNP is rated by employees as the worst place to work and has the lowest employee CEO approval rating (ranked 500th out of 500 in both),’ said the letter. And it said that the Surface Transportation Board, one of the regulators of freight railroads, ranked Union Pacific as providing the worst service among the major railroads.” • So the activists like the profits of Precision Scheduled Railroading, just not the inevitable consequences: Bad labor relations and customer dissatisfaction. I guess we will see if the new CEO can square that circle.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 62 Greed (previous close: 61 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 59 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 28 at 12:21 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most!

The Gallery

Musical interlude:

Reminds me of this, for some reason:

Different styles, though!

Groves of Academe

“The End of the English Major” [The New Yorker]. “‘Young people are very, very concerned about the ethics of representation, of cultural interaction—all these kinds of things that, actually, we think about a lot!’ Amanda Claybaugh, Harvard’s dean of undergraduate education and an English professor, told me last fall. She was one of several teachers who described an orientation toward the present, to the extent that many students lost their bearings in the past. ‘The last time I taught ‘The Scarlet Letter,’ I discovered that my students were really struggling to understand the sentences as sentences—like, having trouble identifying the subject and the verb,’ she said. ‘Their capacities are different, and the nineteenth century is a long time ago.'” • Why not just say they can’t read?

Class Warfare

“Hamstrung by ‘golden handcuffs’: Diversity roles disappear 3 years after George Floyd’s murder inspired them” [NBC]. • That didn’t take long.

Class and cultural markers:

News of the Wired

“iPad dispute on train: Man blasts ‘Friends’ sitcom in quiet section, disturbing woman at work” [FOX]. The woman’s tactic: “The woman on Reddit wrote that it ‘was so bizarre and annoying, but my friend just gestured for me to stay calm and leave it. So I closed my laptop and started watching with him. And commenting…. The woman said that as she now watched along with the man, she said to him, ‘Omg, I love this bit!’ She also said to him, ‘Watch the next part, it’s soooooo funny.’ She said she continued her running commentary, also saying to him, ‘Oh, is this the one where X happens?'” • Which worked; the dude flounced off. He got off easy, in my book. The quiet car is the quiet car.

“A Visit to Third Man Records Reveals the Remarkably Analog Process of Cutting Vinyl Records” (video) [Colossal]. “From adding the finicky lacquer coating to etching the matrix number by hand, the undertaking requires at least 14 steps before the album is packed and shipped, and each record passes through numerous sets of hands on the production floor. As the music industry becomes increasingly digital, the cutting process remains remarkably analog. ‘Vinyl is in the real world. It’s not something that exists only on your computer or your phone. It’s three-dimensional,’ says one of the pressing plant’s engineers.”

* * *

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 CanCyn:

CanCyn writes: “Our snow covered vegetable plot. The rain barrel to the left is not a mistake, I included on purpose. We have a little system that pumps water from the rain barrels at the house to this one. At the back you can see my half finished pseudo wattle fence. Iron posts and saplings (from clearing woods for paths) instead of willow.”

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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. RoadDoggie

    Alabama “dashboard”! https://covid19.alabama.gov/#live-updates
    I guess I’d call it better than nothing. It’s an embedded arcgis that tries to crash my firefox tab, but we must take what we can get as we slow walk towards systemic collapse.

    It does seem responsive as you click on a county so that break down is nice.

  2. JEHR

    Lambert, I have found a site that has a dashboard for Canada and the provinces with maps, etc: See here.

    Link does not work from this site.

  3. Jeff Stantz

    When the levels of cholera infection in London became dangerously high, we did everything—and I mean everything—we could to make them low by changing the threshold for what’s considered “high.”

    Water filters and water sterilization is much easier than forcing people to wear masks and not go outside, go to school and work, get experimental vaccinations, and socialize with people! No one is put out by a water treatment plant but for the costs.

    This is such a poor comparison it drive me nuts cause I hear it all the time.

    1. jsn

      Water filters and sterilization assume plumbing: plumbing was invented to solve cholera.

      Properly designed ventilation, as provided at the private school of Walensky’s children and for the Davos facilities would go a long way to solving the COVID problem but would require a comparable public investment to that made to invent plumbing and water treatment facilites.

  4. Judith

    According to one of today’s links (WSWS), Biden is cutting the food stamps of 42 million people. Biden calls this deficit reduction. Otherwise known as mass hunger.

    1. griffen

      He has pronounced thusly, “we have ended the pandemic”. So emergencies are coming to an end, and yeah deficit reduction will be a winning plank to stand upon for his 2024 campaign. \sarc

      Hungry people on the other hand, may have to just line up at the various food banks unfortunately. The book of Matthew, according to Nancy Pelosi, only applies to non-US citizens.

      1. Chelsea

        All I can say to that is MUFUKR!

        MUst FUnd UKRaine!

        And thanks Joseph Robmarionette Biden for doubling our food prices with imposing globalist sanctions on the American people in March ~
        “For as long as it takes to free Ukraine!”

  5. NorD94

    from yesterday, study was for June/July 2022

    Study shows COVID-19 rates were likely forty-times higher than CDC estimates during BA.4/BA.5 dominant period in the U.S. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20230227/Study-shows-COVID-19-rates-were-likely-forty-times-higher-than-CDC-estimates-during-BA4BA5-dominant-period-in-the-US.aspx

    has link to study

    The prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and long COVID in US adults during the BA.4/BA.5 surge, June–July 2022 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743523000415


    * 17.3% or 44 million U.S. adults had SARS-CoV-2 during 2-week study period.

    * Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was higher among Hispanic and Black adults.

    * Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was higher among adults with comorbidities.

    * 21.5% of U.S. adults had long COVID following an infection in the past 4 weeks.

    * Substantial SARS-CoV-2 prevalence has key implications on burden of long COVID.

    1. Raymond Sim

      I used to frequently post comments on the liklihood that prevalence was far higher than generally recognized – early on, when a simple exponential function could be expected to be predictive, it seemed clear to me that here in California we were having ‘asymptomatic’ infection and transmission such that actual cases were roughly 20 times those being counted (30 times for the impoverished rural populations). Subsequently some academics in Indiana did an honest-to-God survey study of their state and that’s just what they found.

      I can’t emphasize enough how very much NOT genius-level work this was on my part. Anyone whose education afforded them an understanding of what exponential growth is, and why it models disease transmission could see what was happening, had it been brought to their attention.

      In short order reinfection joined asymptomaticity as necessary to account for what was happening, and then immune evasion became ever more complex. I think trends have continuously favored undercounting even if the will to count was present. Meanwhile, every time I’ve had a peek at real big boy models, it’s looked as if a typical American’s getting at least a case or two a year.

      All of which is to say, as bad as the numbers look, in my opinion the liklihood that a case right now represents a fourth, fifth, or sixth infection makes them quite a bit worse even than that.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > n my opinion the liklihood that a case right now represents a fourth, fifth, or sixth infection makes them quite a bit worse even than that.

        I agree. A consequence is that those of us who have protocols where the odds are good we will be protected from neurological and vascular damage will have a compounding competitive advantage over those who do not. “Long haul” is not just for those who are ill.

        1. Jason Boxman

          But, consider this: What if the overall societal damage is bad enough that we have effective collapse. Being able to work a job when many can’t, when there’s no functional economy, doesn’t get you very far, if there’s no reliable electricity, store shelves are empty, you can’t get your money out of the bank, whatever. This is perhaps an extreme, but we’ve opened ourselves up to quite a long tail of extreme outcomes. We have no idea just how this virus will ultimately evolve, or just how large a portion of the population will be functionally disabled. The only certainly is continued viral evolution and elite malfeasance. It does seem like suffers of long-COVID frequently don’t recover, so the ranks of partially or complete disabled is likely to grow overtime, at least until people succumb to other diseases or organ failure, or forgetting to stop at a stop sign, or crash an airplane into the ground.

          We’re in uncharted territory.

          1. Samuel Conner

            > the overall societal damage is bad enough that we have effective collapse

            this is my worry.

            I have the uneasy feeling that we are going to discover just how much ruin (in the famous Adam Smith quotation sense) there is in a nation like US.

            I really do need, this year, to become competent at growing potatoes.

            1. ambrit

              Also try sweet potatoes. A slightly different nutrients package from “regular” potatoes and as easy to grow as “regular” potatoes.
              What is truly frightening here is that we in the West, as a result of the incredible improvements in quality of life for society as a whole, have a lot farther to fall than even a hundred years ago. What were basic skills for the generality a hundred years ago are not even memories today.
              For example, a hundred years ago, women made their own sanitary napkins. This would sometimes happen in female oriented group settings. Something similar to, but not as exalted as, a quilting bee. How many women today in the West could manage to adapt quickly enough to the cessation of the public sale of such items?
              Stay safe.

              1. Jason Boxman

                omg love sweet potatoes! I usually avoid potatoes because carb calories, but I do love some sweet potatoes roasted.

              2. albrt

                Many Asian varieties have shorter growing seasons than the traditional southern sweet potatoes. I live in Phoenix so the growing season is long, but I have a purple variety that can produce decent tubers in a little over three months.

                1. JEHR

                  Re: sanitay napkins— I am old enough to remember making sanitary napkins and they lasted a long time and did not fill up the garbage in the end because they were washed and reused. I even know how to clean clothes on a washboard and how to use an outhouse!! My-Oh-My!!

                  1. ambrit

                    I too remember outhouses. In my parent’s first house in Shepperton, London area, UK, there was a real, honest to goodness brick two holer at the back of the rear garden. [The main structure was a little two story house with a cornerstone built in the 1890s.] There, we had recently installed indoor plumbing. [Hilarity ensues.]
                    I do remember actual working outhouses in the out islands of the Bahamas when we lived there in the late 1950s to early 1960s.
                    Don’t let anyone gull you. There once was a Paradise and a Golden Age. Future Terran humans will look back at us and sadly wonder how we let it all go to H—.

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      When growing up in Sydney as a kid, there were a few suburbs that still had outback “dunnies” which meant taking a candle out to them in the dark of a cold winter. Hated them of course. Of course you had to keep watch for spiders, especially redbacks-

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djb57IyjOEc (2:20 mins)

                2. Paua Fritter

                  In New Zealand, the sweet potato (or kumara as it’s known there) was introduced by early Polynesian settlers who had brought it from South America via the tropical Pacific islands. It was the staple crop in New Zealand prior to European contact and remains very popular there, even though growing conditions aren’t ideal, because it’s a tropical plant. That’s one reason why Maori people were highly concentrated in the north of the North Island at the time of European contact.

                  European explorers introduced the potato in the early 18th C and it very rapidly became the favoured crop of Maori cultivators, supplanting the kumara, because it was better adapted to NZ’s temperate climate. The oldest (“heirloom”) varieties of potato grown in NZ today are often called “Maori potatoes” for that reason.

                  Ironically the kumara grown in NZ today are mostly descendants of North American “sweet potatoes” (so-called, they’re actually not closely related to potatoes) that were introduced in the 1850s.

          2. some guy

            Perhaps now is the time for the cognitively undamaged to begin crafting lifeboat-survival economies which will allow them to keep surviving when there is no coherent national-scale society anymore for them to remain fully employed in.

        2. kareninca

          “A consequence is that those of us who have protocols where the odds are good we will be protected from neurological and vascular damage will have a compounding competitive advantage over those who do not.”

          I am seriously expecting to be drafted if there is a war. Never mind that I’m a female and in my late 50s; I haven’t been vaxxed and I haven’t had covid. When I was at the airport in Philadelphia last week I walked rapidly from terminal F to terminal A (not realizing in advance the tremendous distance) carrying two moderately heavy knapsacks (no wheels), and although I was sweating and annoyed at the end I didn’t keel over.

            1. kareninca

              I doubt they’ll give us the option of jail. That will be a nicety from another era.

              1. some guy

                Why not? Convict slavery is legal and constitutional as per the Thirteenth Ammendment.

                ” Welcome to the convict Slave-Labor Battalion. Always room for one more.”

  6. Mikel

    “The End of the English Major” [The New Yorker].

    “Why not just say they can’t read”

    I had an ‘oh sh – -‘ moment realizing it was a Harvard Dean and English professor talking about the challenges.

    1. Wukchumni

      We’ve done away with need for young ones to remember anything, why would we expect them to be able to read books where you have to remember what happened as you’re turning pages?

      1. semper loquitur

        Don’t forget the degradation of writing skills! My retired prof buddy has relayed to me stories of professors advocating for the use of video presentations for research reports and papers. He is enjoying his retirement heartily, I understand.

        1. Stephen V

          Suicide rates for teachers anyone?
          I came across my college blue books from the 80’s recently. I didn’t mind writing for all those exams, but GRADING it all? Mein Gott.

        2. nippersdad

          Hey! I resemble that comment.

          You will have to pull my commas, and anything else that looks like a comma, like an apostrophe, away from my cold, dead, fingers. They are the only form of punctuation that I truly love to use. Semi-colons have commas in them as well, so, of course, they are necessary to every missive left on the kitchen table, and everything else for that matter.

          I think the so-called misuse of commas is highly overblown, and just thought it necessary to weigh in on the topic. I think Harvard would agree; commas, and semi-colons, are essential to the evolution of an English language that is available to all. The democratization of the English language depends upon their liberal use in any and all situations, whether appropriate or not; to include apostrophes where they are felt to add value to any sentence.

          Also, too, Strunk and White were my declared enemies throughout the school years. Punctuation Nazis are mean, and that is my final thought on the matter.

            1. nippersdad

              I am grateful for your help in needling nippersmom. She should be along now any minute……

              There was a sign on the road a while back advertising for “corrections officers”. I thought she should apply, but she did not want to go to the jail to do it.

              1. ambrit

                And here I was thinking that “corrections officers” was a reference to the “rough trade.”
                Pretty Lady: “Madame Assertia will see you now, worm.”
                Gentleman: “But what if I don’t want to?”
                Pretty Lady: “Alas, then Mommy will have to spank.”
                Gentleman: “Oooooh! Me like!”
                Aide: “Minister, sorry to interrupt, but the Cabinet Meeting is starting.”
                Gentleman: “Oh, bugger!”
                Pretty Lady: “Something along those lines can be arranged.”
                Gentleman: “Zounds! A full service establishment.”
                Pretty Lady: “We aim to please Sir.”
                Gentleman: “Oh, good. I shall call again after the meeting.”

    2. OIFVet

      Writing as a high school English teacher in Bulgaria and without overdramatizing, what’s coming in the pipeline is even worse.

      1. Mike Mc

        Please elaborate. Wife is subbing at our rural Colorado small town’s high school and middle school a couple of days a week. The lack of any prohibition against “smart” phones in the high school plus COVID restrictions is crippling many of these kids’ academic and social skills… and most don’t understand that.

        Hearing from overseas – especially from someone teaching English – would be enlightening, i.e. how doomed are we?

        1. OIFVet

          I have a strict no-phone policy in the classroom, though some kids try to be creative in order to get around it. Usually that’s the only creativity most are capable of, it’s like addicts trying to get their fix using any means possible.

          The problem, as I see it, lies not only in the cognitive changes that the combination of smartphones + social media are causing in all of us. The other factors are generally disinterested parents, social environment, almost completely irrelevant educational requirements by the Ministry of Education, the way schools are funded, and teachers and school administrators who basically are loath to rock the boat.

          I have to add influences from the local affiliate of Teach for America, which has infiltrated the ministry and many schools and which hold the teachers responsible for the larger societal issues which have a proven negative effect on educational attainment. I’m talking about enormous inequality (both social and economic), Bulgaria has a very high GINI coefficient, and we have discussed how inequality affects education, health care, life expectancy, etc. here in NC.

          All of these produce unmotivated students and sometimes really bad discipline, and the results on various national tests show a truly depressing failure to create not only reading and writing skills, but critical thinking, problem-solving and creative skills as well. We basically produce functionally illiterate children who lack the necessary skills to be doing much more than stocking shelves in the neighborhood supermarket. It’s not that kids lack the potential, it’s just that societal factors plus government policies combine to kill that potential. As some of my students say, why should they apply themselves in school, when the message they get from the world around them is that one gets ahead in life by cheating, by debasing herself, or by knowing the right people? Given the generally disinterested families, kids also lack basic study skills, sense of appropriate behavior and mental toughness and resilience, yet feel entitled to get good grades and to be treated with velvet gloves no matter how much they cross certain lines. And administrators sometimes encourage them in this. I was replaced as the teacher of a certain grade because I gave most of them F’s on an essay assignment for engaging in truly obnoxious plagiarism. Setting high standards and expectations is, in other words, a problem when it results in lower grades.

          This is my first and, frankly, last year as a teacher. I feel helpless to change anything, I don’t get adequate support in dealing with problematic students and behaviors and since I have been rocking the boat a bit, I have had colleagues try to backstab me in various ways, including telling a problematic 8th grade class that I lack the required credentials to be a teacher. Given that they are truly challenging both in terms of behavior and motivation, you can imagine how many additional issues I am now having with them, and that in a class I have 12 hours with every week. I’ve raised a stink and have forced the administration to admonish the colleague, but that doesn’t solve the larger issues.

          In short, what we have in the educational pipeline here in BG is going to be quite incapable of being the kinds of citizens that are needed to have a halfway functional society. It’s depressing me to no end, particularly when I compare my school (which is actually middle ranked as far as public schools go) to the private Anglo-American School in Sofia’s suburbs. I had met one of its American administrators at an event and she invited me to visit and to observe a class. The school was very much comparable to my own private alma mater in Chicago, which is one of the top-rated schools in the US. The facilities were new and inviting, the teachers truly capable, and the curriculum geared toward developing each kid’s particular interests and potential. The kids themselves are highly motivated and well behaved, and laptops and tablets are part of the educational process without worry that kids will sneak off to Tik Tok land. It all comes at a high tuition cost for the families, more than $25k per year. I dare anyone to tell me that financial resources and family background do not play a role in educational attainment and that we in fact place most children in educational gettoes as a matter of a conscious public policy choices.

          Inequality kills, not just physically.

          PS Pardon the occasional grammar mistake, I don’t have the time to proofread and clean up the comment :)

          1. Mike Mc

            Sending a whole series of thank yous for this in-depth picture. Astonishing in that your description of your teaching situation almost exactly mirrors my wife’s experience as a sub in our small SE Colorado mining town’s public school system. She is a retired pastor with a doctorate (Rev. Dr.) with decades of church management including education, certified to sub or even teach here in CO. You could swap the dismal Bulgarian school system for ours, and the students would benefit from the ban on smart phones. (Are our smart phones making us dumber?)

            Local kids – mostly Hispanic but not all – whose parents can’t afford the white flight schools (two slight out of town and one Catholic in town) are already beat down at 14 or 15. Their parents have been the same since they were that age (many became these kids’ moms as teens). We are retirees from Nebraska, where one of the only institutions the state GOP hasn’t destroyed is public education. So the very laissez-faire approach here is disturbing, though rural public school systems in both CO and NE were struggling before COVID and haven’t really recovered.

            It appears that the elites have decided to abandon the poor while tasking the middle and working class to manage this for them. I saw this growing trend before retirement (30 years in IT, last 20 in Macintosh repair), I see it in my local church congregation, I see it in the news media near and far.

            It’s both depressing and reassuring that what I once thought was a largely American malaise is in fact worldwide, at least in the West. The “money people” are happily destroying the planet and their own societies to further their own interests. The rest of us need to bring them to task and get them to pay their way for a change.

            Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  7. davejustdave

    Anecdata about masking at the NIH Clinical Center: I was there last August to enroll in a pre-treatment “clinical trial” observational study on chronic lymphocytic leukemia. I was told by the study patient coordinator prior to coming that I would be required to wear a surgical mask – but she said that I could wear it ON TOP OF my N95 mask. That’s what I did, and no one hassled me about it.

    Various info about infection control at the Clinical Center is at


    The drawing on the sheet on mask wearing for inpatients and visitors looks like a surgical mask to me, but the directions suggest they are using N95 masks:

    How to wear a mask:
    1. Place the edge with the foam strip over the bridge of your nose.
    2. Pull the loops over your ears.
    3. Gently press the metal strip to fit to the bridge of your nose.
    4. Pull gently at the top and bottom of the center front until it covers your nose and mouth.
    Wear your mask at all times outside your room.
    Wear your mask when anyone comes into your room.
    Always clean your hands before and after touching your mask.
    Wear a new mask every day. Ask your nurse for a new mask if yours is dropped on the floor or if it gets wet or dirty.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > she said that I could wear it ON TOP OF my N95 mask

      Sounds like a reasonable compromise, unless the fit of your N95 is disturbed by the stupid, useless mask imposed by Hospital Infection Control goons like John M. Conly.

      I don’t believe that N95s have ear loops (they have elastic that goes round the head for a better seal). KN95s may, which are still much better than surgical masks.

      1. marym

        Here’s a US company that makes several kinds of masks. N95 currently sold out. Visually their D95 looks similar in construction to their N95 fold-style, but with ear loops. However, some of the specifications for D95 and N95 are different, so someone who understands them can judge the differences in filtration. Fit and seal are described as “strong” for N95 and “firm” for D95.

        Current prices for the lowest volume order are N95 $18.75 for 5; D95 $75 for 20. Q/A section talks about a few size options. The D95’s come in a few colors, and there’s a DX95 version for kids.

      2. Art_DogCT

        All of the KN95 respirators I’ve used over the past 3 years have had elastic ear loops. The 3M and Honeywell N95s have two elastic bands that circle the neck and skull. I have only rarely found 3M N95s in any retail situation; occasionally my local CVS will stock Honeywell. Since I very rarely have to be among others for any significant length of time, I prefer KN95s because they are easier to take off and put on. I am one of the very few people in my apartment building who always masks when I’m outside my apartment, even if it’s only to check on my laundry – literally right next door to my unit – or down 4 floors to the mailbox, on the off chance some else will be in the hallway or on the elevator.

        (This apartment building is operated under HUD regulations for income-eligible people over 55 or on SSDI. 86 units, 75% ‘efficiency’ and 25% 1-bedroom. 90-95 residents.)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > CD’s are better Quality than Vinyl Records & they don’t wear. Jack White is bad news.

      I can’t speak to Jack White.

      However, just as film has characteristics that make some consider it aesthetically preferable to digital, so vinyl records, to some audiophiles, are superior to CDs.

      My listening experience is so degraded that I listen to music from YouTube over Mac or iPad speakers…. I wonder what room-filling music from vinyl would sound like to me now! Certainly, in my green and salad days, that is exactly the music I listened to, but memory does not reconstruct the experience of sound, at least for me, the way it does for taste (Madeleine’s) and smell. Must be different subsystems….

      1. Raymond Sim

        My stepfather, an electronics engineer, explained to me why my perception that CD’s sound “cold” was unlikely to have any basis in physics, and I believe he was right.

        But 40 years on they still sound cold to me.

      2. some guy

        Several decades ago, someone who was an electric guitarist and also a computer programmer gave me an explanation of why CDs might sound different than vinyl. It revolved around something called the “Nyquist Frequency”. This was decades ago. I had trouble understanding it then and I have trouble remembering all the details now. My best memory of it is that the digital sampling of sounds takes a certain number of extremely short samples per second and then “instructs” all the programming to fill the space between the two actual samples with the same sound as the two actual samples sampled. The “Nyquist Frequency” is the number of such instant samples taken and coded per second of sound being sampled. Some frequencies at the far end of peoples’ hearing could not be effectively captured and coded at whatever ” Mister Nyquist’s” rate of sampling was. But that is all I can remember.

        But just in case the answer is somewhere in here about this explanation of “Nyquist Frequency”, I offer a link to a wikipedia article about Nyquist Frequency.

      3. notabanker

        I listened to Steely Dan Gaucho on 5.1 digital disc and it was like being in the room with them. It was impressive.

        I just bought a KingsX album that is a traditional length album but was pressed on 2 45RPM vinyl discs so they could get deeper grooves and more data on it and it has that same feel to it.

        I have lots of other albums that I listen to and they sound great but those two experiences really stand out. But frankly, I think 95% of it is just the quality of the recording. Those two groups are/were absolute expert audiophiles in their field.

    2. aj

      It’s music, so quality is subjective. While it’s true that CDs offer better signal-to-noise ratio and higher dynamic range, Vinyl has its own sound that a lot of people prefer, whether out of nostalgia or trendiness it doesn’t matter. Most people also prefer to go to a concert rather than listen to pre-recorded music even though the sound quality is objectively inferior. Most modern music uses distorted guitars, which is a degradation in sound quality caused by overdriving a tube amplifier (or a digital simulation of one).

      Similarly, most people prefer to watch movies in 24 frames per second instead of 60 (soap opera effect).

    3. Bosko

      The problem with even posing this issue is, it’s going to depend on what you play the CDs on, and what you play the records on. A low end CD player will probably sound better than a low end record player. If the cartridge isn’t properly aligned, even a $200k record player will sound terrible. If someone’s into measurements, and a contrarian self-styled myth-shatterer, they will choose the cd player. I’m what the audiophile community calls a ‘subjectivist,’ meaning that if it sounds good to me, that’s all I really care about; that’s why I like tube amps and record players. My late grandfather was a science-type, a pilot, and I recall him telling me that he ditched his awesome Heathkit tube amp for a crappy 70s Japanese solid state receiver because the latter had “less distortion.” A lot of people in the 70s traded in their classic tube amps for awful-sounding early solid state receivers, and a lot of people in the 80s ditched their lps for terrible-sounding CDs, all because the marketing people lied to them about what sounded better. Anyway I’m not a big fan of Jack White, but Third Man’s Trout Mask Replica reissue is definitely worth picking up!

    4. CanCyn

      My audiophile husband listens mostly to digital music these days. Full quality (lossless?) files, not mp3s. He has a subscription to Tidal(music streaming). They have rights to millions of songs. He can listen to almost anything and still from time to time buys a CD (which gets recorded and added to the digital library). I can’t speak much to his set up but he has high quality gear and a dedicated listening room set up to enhance the listening experience. Floor markings to ensure things get put back in exactly the right spot after cleaning or moving for any other reason. He would totally agree with aj that music preferences are not just subjective but highly so. For every vinyl lover there is a CD lover and more and more are loving digital as my husband does. He is also in the minority in that he prefers well recorded music to a live concert. I find listening in the audio room to be pleasant but am happy with our small speakers that pipe out music in the rest of the house. I am more of a ‘music the background’ person where as my husbands sits and actively listens to music, it is not a background thing for him.

      1. Martin Oline

        I have a set of six Louis Jordan discs on 78. I need to get a pinion gear for the Victrola before they drop the big one or it’ll just be me and my guitar. Maybe that’s the way it should be.

    5. Chris Smith

      I’m with you on this. All the popping and hissing on even pristine vinyl is the audio equivalent of going to the Louvre and looking at the Mona Lisa through a window screen. I’ll take the slightly cold sound of a CD any day, but recognize this is a personal preference.

      1. Señor Dingdong

        Aaah those hisses and pops are what bring me back to listening to my parents records as a kid. There were certain records my sister and I would beg our dad to put on and we would jump and dance around the living room like maniacs.

    6. Art Bender

      Not going to debate sound quality of vinyl versus CD BUT CDs are easily damaged and can become unplayable. One little nick or scratch on the surface of a CD can ruin a track or worse, and you can only polish the plastic down on a CD so much to salvage it before you run out of plastic to grind off. Records can endure massive amounts of surface damage and still play back, albeit at the expense of “fidelity.” Record grooves do wear out over time from repeated listening, but the most worn out, beat up record can still be listened to, its content still digested, while a slightly damaged cd skips off into total incoherence. Also, record players are mechanically simple compared to CD players. The whole format is just so much more Jackpot proof. We should probably go back to windup acoustic Victrolas and 78s, but that’s another topic…

    7. johnnyme

      Another thing to keep in mind with the CD vs. vinyl discussion is the deleterious effect that the Loudness War has had on digital audio. Standard redbook 44.1k/16 bit digital audio can sound gorgeous (I have plenty of well recorded and well mastered CDs that do) but digital audio can be abused in ways that vinyl really can’t which (to me) is one of the big factors in vinyl’s resurgence.

      As a recovering audiofool audiophile who has zero interest in going back to vinyl (or cassette tapes? seriously?), the Dynamic Range Database has been an indispensable resource for helping me avoid the brickwalled versions of the CDs I buy (which sadly include most remasters).

  8. semper loquitur

    Distraction, Equivocation, and Illusion

    “Another survey showed that Black employees represent only 3.8% of chief diversity officers overall, with white people making up 76.1% of the roles. Those of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity make up 7.8% and those of Asian ethnicity make up 7.7%”

    In the recent past, I made the claim that DEI was (X)-face, a cover for corporations to pay lip service to representing minorities. I withdraw that claim, as it is now obvious from these numbers that they didn’t even bother to go that far. Fortunately, for the model-pretty DEI officers featured in the article there are always toothpaste ads to be had.

  9. Wukchumni

    Those northern lights dipping into places where it doesn’t normally happen is the result of a powerful solar storm and we’ll know in 36 to 48 hours if a Carrington Event* is upon us, so people get ready.

    * Northern lights and other odd sky behavior also happened in 1859

  10. clarky90

    Re..”Washington Legislature has spent more than 15 years trying to consolidate its power in an effort to make sure it can keep secrets from the public.”

    1937, 6 Jan. All-Union Population Census (USSR)


    The All-Union population census of the USSR in 1937 was conducted in 1 day-06.01.1937. Its results after 10 days were called “wrecking”. As a result, all those responsible for its implementation were arrested and repressed. The results were never developed, and preliminary data were removed and classified…..

    …..The results that were obtained did not correspond to the previously published data from the current population census. Therefore, on 16.01.1937, a group was formed for verification. The Group identified a large under-accounting of the population. This is considered by many experts to be a pre-prepared result. As a result, the organizers were found guilty of miscalculations……

    and so on

    more info

    1. The Rev Kev

      In Oz, the Cabinet on both the State and federal level have a neat trick. If either bodies review any documents, then they can be classified for about thirty years. So here is how it has worked in the past. The State Cabinet in Queensland was convened in some major town instead of the State capital for some reason. And there were some embarrassing documents that officials wanted hidden. So they flew those documents up to that town, put them on a trolley, wheeled them twice around the table where the Cabinet was meeting and flew them back to the Capital as they were now secret. The best part? The Cabinet Ministers were not even present at that table at the time.

  11. nippersdad

    Using Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter as an exemplar of how bad Harvard students reading skills have become was odd insofar as he is actually one of the Nineteenth century writers that is easiest to read. If they are having problems with Hawthorne, I can only imagine how they would manage to get through some of Henry James’ later works. Those two page sentences are murder on the ability to concentrate.

    However, as I never managed to graduate from such a prestigious institution as Harvard, I can only imagine the problems that they have seen in their short lives which would have made the necessity for reading less than fundamental. To them I dedicate this song for all of their unimaginable struggles with the English language:


    1. CanCyn

      Thanks for the link RK, always good to listen to Louis. In a reminder that big brother is always hovering, the ad that came on before the video was for Grammerly, software that purports to help you improve your grammar, works like spell check and suggestions corrections as you type.

    2. JBird4049

      I was reading the Scarlet Letter when I was about fifteen. I think the only real problem is the lack of reading practice. Sit then in a chair over a summer and have them read everyday for a few hours. That will fix the problem.

    3. LifelongLib

      Years ago I looked at a Henry James novel my grandmother was reading and couldn’t make any sense of it. I asked her how she was able to read it and she said “I just skip everything inside the parentheses”.

  12. ambrit

    The picture of that paint spattered denim jacket could be put in a gallery with the title: “Jackson Pollock’s Work Wear #3” ca: 1950. [On loan from the Guggenheim Closet Collection.]

  13. LaRuse

    I have a similar “worker’s jacket” story I am in the mood to share. I spent two months in the late autumn/early winter of 2018 working in Merrimack Valley (if you know, you know, and I want to leave it at that). I was not working in the outdoors like so many others, but I was inside a “cozy” construction trailer “directing traffic” – in other words, pure, bottom rung, administration type work. I was pointing inspectors to homes to greenlight reconnects; managing housing for the restoration workers, tracking time sheets for auditing, etc. If you have ever done any kind of emergency recovery, it is chaotic and it burns out people, but I lasted the entire “emergency phase” that ended in December 2018. For reasons I don’t fully understand, I was beloved by the field worker crews and was gifted with ubiquitous High Visibility black/yellow reflective coat emblazoned with our team name – the only “indoor” worker to get one. It also helped that I am a Virginia resident and came to Massachusetts with a Virginia-rated winter coat, and all the locals found my little wool peacoat hilariously below New Englander standards. Anyway, I love that coat and the work and respect it symbolizes to me. The memories and hard times it embodied. The “Please God, never ever again” reminders. But when I wear that coat anywhere today, as a early 40s, female, obvious office worker walking around it in, its incongruous and draws serious blue-collar side eye and comments about “hard work.” No, I don’t park cars (I get asked that a lot) and no, I don’t spend 40 hours a week in the field. But when VA occasionally warrants a coat cold enough for that one, I wear it regardless of the snarky comments.
    Why tell this story? I don’t know other than to say, sometimes a coat is more than just a coat, I guess.

    1. Old Sarum

      This reminds me of a fellow bird-watcher here in Qld who wore trousers with military-type camouflage patterned trousers. I just could not resist from asking him whether he thought it was going to be dangerous.

      Since then I have come across the term “gear-queer”.


      ps I used to see hunters in France wearing military-surplus gear but a high-vis orange hat to deter the trigger-happy.

      1. ambrit

        Down here in the North American Deep South, the bright orange or yellow vest is mandatory on public land during hunting trips. It is a safety issue. No more, “He looked like a deer in murder trials.” Try to argue that: “He looked like a deer tangled up in a hunting vest Your Honour.” Even a jury of relatives wouldn’t believe that one.

  14. Carla

    “I discovered that my students were really struggling to understand the sentences as sentences—like, having trouble identifying the subject and the verb,’ she said. ‘Their capacities are different, and the nineteenth century is a long time ago.’” • Why not just say they can’t read?”

    And this is at Harvard! Can you imagine what it’s like at, say, Cleveland State University?

    1. lambert strether

      Maybe Cleveland State is better? After all, the Harvard-bound get “the best” of everything. Lots of screens, no tiresome old books?

      1. nippersdad

        “…the Harvard-bound get “the best” of everything. Lots of screens, no tiresome old books?”

        In the form of opera, perhaps? On Lully’s Atys *:

        “Lully’s prologues normally served to comment on current events at the court of Louis XIV in a way that flattered the king. When the opera was premiered in 1676, France was at war with the Netherlands, and the French winter campaign had resulted in the tragic death of Henri de la Tour. Louis XIV was waiting for the fairer spring weather to arrive so that he could invade Flanders.[6…..]”


        I would like to see the Lully treatment at Harvard of the Ukraine war.


        1. ambrit

          Oh, like the preamble to “Orpheus and Nemesis?” The original case of “always look forward, never back.”

          1. nippersdad

            Orpheus and Eurydice? I was just playing with the idea of Handels Agrippina as metaphor for Obama’s near political assassination of Bernie Sanders in order to get Biden into office. Biden as Nero sounds appropriate, but Sanders is still hanging around just off-stage in the wings.

            In this case it might be even more apropo to cite Nemesis and Narcissus. In the one only Eurydice dies, in the other we all may share her fate due to the ruling classes apparent inability to read Greek tragedies. They, like Borrell, prolly think they live in a garden, invulnerable to the message that the drums are beating just outside of their walls.

            Speaking of narcissists, I wonder if Larry Summers, as a former president of Harvard, has an opinion on how well the women there stack up against their male counterparts when it comes to reading skills. It has to have been several months now since he has put his foot in his mouth.

            * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agrippina_(opera)

  15. Jason Boxman

    So on the “COVID-19 Variant Dashboard” I’m seeing some about 1% XBB variants. CH1.1 continues to be under 1%, about 0.60% right now. Perhaps XBB won out? XBB1.5.3 (1.68%) XBB1.9.1 and XBB1.5.1 are at about %1. I see BQ1.1.32 at 1% as well, for a week or two now.

    Tune in tomorrow as the war of the variants continues to feast upon our population.

  16. LawnDart

    First, the insurance companies ask us to install an app in exchange for a “safe-driver” discount, now Ford brings us this:

    Future Fords Could Repossess Themselves and Drive Away if You Miss Payments

    It explicitly says the system, which could be installed on any future vehicle in the automaker’s lineup with a data connection would be capable of “[disabling] a functionality of one or more components of the vehicle.” Everything from the engine to the air conditioning. For vehicles with autonomous or semi-autonomous driving capability, the system could “move the vehicle from a first spot to a second spot that is more convenient for a tow truck to tow the vehicle… move the vehicle from the premises of the owner to a location such as, for example, the premises of the repossession agency,” or, if the lending institution considers the “financial viability of executing a repossession procedure” to be unjustifiable, the vehicle could drive itself to the junkyard.


    We see where this is going– just wait until you miss one of your health-insurance premiums!

  17. upstater

    The Grey Lady weighs in on the Norfolk Southern disaster in East Palestine:

    Ohio Train Derailment: Separating Fact From Fiction
    A breakdown of what’s known, and what’s not, about the incident and its aftermath.

    Lambert will have fun! The words hot box, axle, bearing, ECP brakes, precision scheduled railroading, etc do not appear. Once again Trump is cited for canceling lame regulations for hazardous cargoes on freight trains, but NYT admits:

    But the train that derailed was a “general merchandise freight train,” according to the initial N.T.S.B. report, and did not qualify as a high-hazard flammable train, even though it was carrying hazardous cargo. And while the regulation was meant to address the speed of trains, speed does not appear to have been the issue in this case.

    Nothing about the root causes of the disaster!

    1. upstater

      Trains magazine this evening:

      FRA makes safety recommendations for hotbox detector warnings

      Specifically, the FRA safety advisory recommends that railroads:

      Evaluate the temperature thresholds for inspections based on hot bearing detector data.
      Consider real-time use of trend analysis of detector data for stopping a train for inspection.
      Ensure proper training of crews responsible for calibrating, inspecting, and maintaining hot bearing detectors.
      Ensure proper inspection of rolling stock that trigger hot bearing detector alerts.
      And improve safety culture, particularly regarding operational decisions that are based on hot bearing detector data.

      The advisory notes that since 2021 the FRA has investigated five derailments that were suspected of being caused by burnt journal bearings. Three of those derailments occurred on Norfolk Southern, while the other two were on Kansas City Southern.

      Two of the NS wrecks – in Warner Robins, Ga., and Sandusky, Ohio – occurred after hot bearing detectors warned of overheated journal bearings. In both instances, the train crews stopped and inspected the problem axles. But they then were instructed to continue on their way without setting out the problematic car in Georgia or the locomotive in Ohio. Both trains later derailed.

      In the East Palestine wreck, a pair of hotbox detectors recorded increasing bearing temperatures on the car suspected of causing the derailment. But the temperature readings never reached the critical threshold that would have tripped an alarm and required the crew to stop the train – until moments before the derailment, when train 32N passed the detector at milepost 49.81 in East Palestine.

      Amazing light touch regulation… Obviously these “recommendations” need to be regulations, with severe penalties for noncompliance.

      Wondering if MSM is going to cover this outrageous behavior of the class 1 railroads?

  18. The Rev Kev

    ‘Elizabeth Warren
    In the 1990s, America had 51 major contractors bidding for defense work. Today, there are only five massive companies remaining. Defense contracting should be reworked to break up the massive contracts awarded to the big guys and create opportunities for firms of all sizes.’

    Not going to happen now but I do wonder why this urge to have industries combine back in the 90s which was encouraged – demanded actually – by the Clinton government. The same happened with the media to which has left only about six major ones left.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It was trendy. The ceo of the insurance company my dad worked for gobbled up small companies. Eventually he overextended, but efficiency was the buzzword. He was the kindest, most generous person, and maybe smartest I’ve ever met. He was a mentor, but he was dazzled by dollar signs. If it could happen to him, it could happen to anyone.

      The employees were loyal. The old company people came from all over for funerals and my dads retirement. Im worried my godfathers wife will “gift” me the sign from the headquarters.

      I think the attitude was everywhere. Dad was merely skeptical but he’s usually the most negative guy on the planet.

  19. Bart Hansen

    ‘I think the problem that Democrats are going to face is that Biden is not without risk,’

    Especially if by Summer 2024 he has “lost Ukraine”. In the meantime we will continue to send people over to kiss elensky’s ring and leave money.

  20. CanCyn

    Thanks for featuring my photo Lambert. I know it is not the most aesthetically pleasing photo ever taken. I am generally a fan of winter but had a just had a wave of ‘when will it end?’ seeing everything covered in snow the day I took it. We‘ve been here for three years now, the little garden set up came with the house. I am finding gardening much different here than in our former abode. Soil quality was great there, I just stuck stuff in the ground and watered occasionally and rarely lost a plant. Here, a little farther North than we were, the soil quality isn’t so great and everywhere I dig there are rocks. We’re right on the northern edge of a limestone shelf that gives way to the Canadian Shield. I have grand plans to expand the veggie garden and have slowly been building up compost to help with the soil. I am nowhere near where I thought I’d be 3 years in but it’s all about the journey.

    1. barefoot charley

      We feel your pain here in far Northern coastal California, CanCyn, where we’re about to achieve an unprecedented week under sloppy snow, and our sprouts will have to be transplanted before they can get in the ground they were ready for the day the snow unleashed. A foot and a half of snow later, who is this Voltaire guy, anyway?

  21. Revenant

    Hi Lambert, we used a humidifier during the official pandemic. Water plus 10 drops of 15% Lugol’s iodine solution. It mists the room with a nice seaweed smell. We didn’t catch coronavirus despite the children having it. Gathering dust now….

    On the 1goodtern post, I draw a different conclusion. There is no scaling by absolute case numbers of those charts.

    My guess is that reinfections are low in very old and young because the former died or got vaccinated or are still careful (so most cases are first infections but these effects are wearing off so the rate is rising) and the latter have not caught it yet.

    The rest of us are going around catching it but my guess is that a susceptible population (exposure? general health?) is catching the brunt and/or being tested more systematically, generating an artefact of a high reinfection rate when most people are not being reinfected at all or at not being tested so there is under-ascertainment of cases.

    I don’t believe I have caught it a second time. I have had flu and some bad colds since but I tested negative each time I think some people out there are just getting it like some attract mosquitoes!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Hi Lambert, we used a humidifier during the official pandemic. Water plus 10 drops of 15% Lugol’s iodine solution. It mists the room with a nice seaweed smell. We didn’t catch coronavirus despite the children having it. Gathering dust now….

      That’s very interesting, and when we recall that Covid spreads better in dry air, I bet the humidifier did help!

  22. flora

    “The plan also includes a proposed sovereign wealth fund (as previously reported by Semafor) that could be seeded with $1.5 trillion or more in borrowed money to jumpstart stock investments, the people said. If it fails to generate an 8% return, both the maximum taxable income and the payroll tax rate would be increased to ensure Social Security stays on track to be solvent another 75 years.”

    Sure. Suuurre. Now pull the other one. / ;)

  23. The Rev Kev

    ‘The president has made a fresh effort to sell his administration as a model of fiscal restraint in recent weeks’

    They must have been laughing about that one in private together.

  24. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Durants jacket

    Eff the attitude, I have a coat like it, and it’s great. We should all dress more sensibly.

  25. Jason Boxman

    From Depoliticizing Social Murder in the COVID-19 Pandemic

    That these activities are obligatory means capitalist societies are market dependent: market participation is not optional, but mandatory. As Beatrice Adler-Bolton has put it, in capitalism “you are entitled to the survival you can buy,” and so people generally do what they have to in order to get money. The predictable results are that some people don’t get enough money to survive; some people endure danger due to harmful working, living, and environmental conditions; some people endure lack of enough goods and services of a high enough quality to promote full human flourishing; and some people inflict the above conditions on others. The simple, brutal reality is that capitalism kills many, regularly. (The steadily building apocalypse of the climate crisis is another manifestation of the tendency to social murder, as is the very old and still ongoing killing of workers in the ordinary operations of so many workplaces.)

    And this is before we even get to COVID. This is where that overwhelmingly oppressive feeling that you better get to work, or else, comes from. Or else is death from starvation. This is how capitalism disciplines the working class.

    Worth reading in full, if only to further calibrate what you feel is true in your heart.

  26. Wukchumni

    There was an avalanche today in Olympic Valley near Lake Tahoe that hit a 3 story building with snow up to the 3rd floor, and all access roads in and out of Tahoe are closed.

    This is not a time to go out and play in the higher climes of the Sierra Nevada, Darwin awards notwithstanding.

  27. Anthony K Wikrent

    Actually, there are plenty of nuclear warheads in the “American Redoubt.” The USA land-based ICBM force consists of Minuteman III missiles located at the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, with 150 ICBMs in 3 states; the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, with 300 ICBMs; and the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

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