2:00PM Water Cooler 2/6/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Adamstown; Mt. Ephriam Road, Frederick, Maryland, United States. “Filtered at 250 Hz. Other Behaviors: Advertise. Habitat: Forest, Deciduous Forest.”

* * *


“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

Capitol Seizure

“McCarthy breaks with Greene on death of Ashli Babbitt” [The Hill]. “House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) broke with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Thursday when asked about the death of Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by Capitol police during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, concluding she was not murdered, as Greene has said. ‘I think the police officer did his job,’ McCarthy told reporters when asked if he agreed with Greene that Babbitt was murdered.” • RINO.

“Sorry, not sorry: Some 1/6 rioters change tune after apology” [Associated Press]. “Appearing before a federal judge after pleading guilty to a felony charge in the deadly Capitol riot, former West Virginia lawmaker Derrick Evans expressed remorse for letting down his family and his community, saying he made a ‘crucial mistake.’ Less than a year later, Evans is portraying himself as a victim of a politically motivated prosecution as he runs to serve in the same building he stormed on Jan. 6, 2021. Evans is now calling the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 prosecutions a ‘miscarriage of justice’ and describes himself on twitter as a ‘J6 Patriot.’ ‘Some ppl have said I need to apologize and condemn #J6 if I want to win my election as the media will attack me,’ he tweeted recently after announcing his bid for a U.S. House seat in 2024. ‘I will not compromise my values or beliefs. That’s what politicians do. We need Patriots not politicians.’ Evans joins a series of Jan. 6 defendants who — when up against possible prison time in court — have expressed regret for joining the pro-Trump mob that rattled the foundations of American democracy only to strike a different tone or downplay the riot after receiving their punishment.”

“Top Jan. 6 investigator says FBI, other agencies could have done more to repel Capitol mob had they acted on intel” [NBC]. “The House Jan. 6 committee concluded that the FBI and other federal security agencies could have prevented a violent mob from overrunning the Capitol had they acted on the large volume of intelligence collected beforehand, the chief investigator told NBC News in an exclusive interview — a judgment the committee left out of its televised hearings and final report. Former federal prosecutor Tim Heaphy, the committee’s chief investigative counsel, said that while he endorses the panel’s main finding that then-President Donald Trump sparked the riot by urging protesters to go to the Capitol, his probe documented how federal law enforcement failures contributed to the debacle. Trump ‘was the proximate cause. But for his words, and deeds, it wouldn’t have happened,’ said Heaphy, who led many of the key witness interviews conducted by the committee. ‘That said, what happened at the Capitol was also affected by law enforcement failures to operationalize the ample intelligence that was present before Jan. 6, about the threats of violence.’ He added, ‘Law enforcement had a very direct role in contributing to the security failures that led to the violence.'” • If — tinfoil hat time — failures they were.

Biden Administration

Mission accomplished (1):

Mission accomplished (2):

“A fighting chance….” Until (see above) the odds kick in.


Why, the ingratitude:

Still, you can see why Clyburn needs his payoff.

Republican Funhouse

“The 5 Main Factions Of The House GOP” [FiveThirtyEight]. Moderate establishment (Reps. David Joyce of Ohio, Young Kim of California, Nancy Mace of South Carolina); Conservative establishment (Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York, Tom Emmer of Minnesota and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy); Far-right establishment (Prominent members: Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Patrick McHenry of North Carolina); Tea party conservative (Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Byron Donalds of Florida, Chip Roy of Texas); Pro-Trump insurgent (Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia). The “Freedom Caucus” is distributed across the “Far-right establishment” and the “Tea party conservatives.” • I dunno. I notice the reflexive resort to a spectrum rather than a field. What do readers think? I didn’t come up as a Republican, so these taxonomies are not easy for me to assess.

“House votes to remove Omar from Foreign Affairs panel as Democrats cry hypocrisy and ‘racism'” [Roll Call]. “‘Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted?’ Omar said in an at times emotional Thursday floor speech, which was attended by large numbers of the House Democratic caucus who cheered her remarks at different points. ‘Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silenced? Frankly it is expected because when you push power, power pushes back.'” • “It’s alll about the benjamins” is, in fact, true. AIPAC doesn’t slather all that cash around for no reason. That said, “When you push power, power pushes back.” I dunno. Maybe The Squad should try it?

Democrats en Déshabillé

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

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

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

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

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Who’s in Charge of Your World View?” [Matt Bivens]. Bivens helped Taibbi organize data for The Twitter Files. “And, in the initial files we sifted through, I saw evidence for what I’d suspected beforehand, something the Files continue to flesh out: That CIA, FBI and the rest of the U.S. security state — with little to no public discussion, and probably illegally — have become way too comfortable with policing what Americans see, say and hear on the Internet. …Twitter staff could, for example, prevent a person’s tweet from showing up in searches; or prevent an entire Twitter account from being seen by anyone that did not already follow it. The company jargon for this was “visibility filtering”. They could and did filter a person out of visibility, whenever they felt that person’s views should disappear….. Visibility filtering was also applied to politicians. However one might feel about Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, it is startling to see that Twitter, without informing her, labeled her Twitter account ‘not safe for work,’ as if it were some sort of pornography site, and also weighed it down with a ‘do not amplify’ setting, which would decrease its reach on searches and retweets… If you think this is just about “Republicans on Twitter” though, think again. The Twitter Files show Facebook’s approach was no different — and this forces a reassessment of the allegations by Bernie Sanders that back in 2017, Facebook “flipped a switch” to overnight stop engagement between the popular progressive and his supporters. ‘Bernie had this tremendous rise on Facebook. We had a really successful online video program,’ recalls Ari Rabin-Havt, Sanders’ former campaign manager, in this video (start around the 22:30 mark). ‘We saw our numbers rising, rising, rising. And then one day, literally out of nowhere — this is the Senate office page, the Facebook page — it stopped getting followers. It just dead stopped.’ Meetings ensued with Facebook, including with Adam Mosseri, then in charge of Facebook’s newsfeeds and now head of Instagram. ‘During the meeting with Mosseri,’ Rabin-Havt recounted, ;it was revealed that Facebook had changed a setting on its back end that essentially shut off the pipeline of new subscribers to Bernie’s page. They could not come up with a reasonable explanation for the changed setting.’ Probably it had something to do with Facebook joining with the rest of corporate media to keep people from seeing things like this pro-Sanders video — still the best short video ever about politics in America.”

“Congress is set to expose what may be the largest censorship system in U.S. history” [The Hill]. Unless they produce another yarn diagram like Benghazi. “The “Twitter files” revealed an FBI operation to monitor and censor social media content — an effort so overwhelming and intrusive that Twitter staff at one point complained internally that “they are probing & pushing everywhere.” The reports have indicated that dozens of FBI employees worked on the identification and removal of material on a wide range of subjects and that Twitter largely carried out their requests. Nor was it just the FBI, apparently. Emails reveal FBI figures like a San Francisco assistant special agent in charge asking Twitter executives to ‘invite an OGA’ (or ‘Other Government Organization’) to an upcoming meeting. A week later, Stacia Cardille, a senior Twitter legal executive, indicated the OGA was the CIA, an agency under strict limits regarding domestic activities. Twitter’s own ranks included dozens of ex-FBI agents and executives, including James Baker, who featured greatly in prior FBI instances of alleged bias. The Twitter files also show various FBI offices monitoring social media and flagging ‘misleading’ information on various subjects. The dozens of disclosed emails are only a fraction of Twitter’s files and do not include still-undisclosed but apparent government coordination with Facebook and other social media companies. Much of that work apparently was done through the multi-agency Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), which operated secretly it seems to censor citizens. Ironically, during the outcry over establishing a Disinformation Governance Board at the Department of Homeland Security, Biden administration officials had to have known they already were employing an extensive censorship system. When the administration finally relented and disbanded the disinformation board, that censorship work appears to have continued unimpeded through the FITF and agency censors.” • Has Mush purged the spooks? Or are they still infesting Twitter? Readers?

* * *

“The Americans Who Are Fleeing the United States” [The New Republic]. ” I’m a gay man living in a country that I fear is slowly but inexorably backsliding from flawed democracy to right-wing authoritarian rule, turning into a place where the rights and safety of LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups are increasingly under attack by a Republican Party and right-wing majority Supreme Court that, given their way, would not hesitate to erase them entirely. In such a scenario, it makes sense to have an exit strategy—whether dual citizenship, the ability to work abroad, or some other means to escape—in the perhaps not inevitable but no longer unthinkable event that the stuff of dystopian science fiction becomes reality.” • Of course, if you’ve had to deal with our health care system, you’ve already experienced a dystopian science fiction reality.

“Watch the Great Fall” [The Abbey of Misrule]. “Nostalgia is a curious thing. The love of a dead past is, on the surface, pointless, and yet it seems to be a universal, pan-cultural longing for something better than an equally dead but often less enticing present. This is something which its critics never seem to understand. ‘That’s just nostalgia’, they say, dismissively, when you suggest that a high street made up of independent shops might have been better than one giant superstore, or that folk songs around the fire in the pub might be better than Celebrity Love Island. The suggestion seems to be that this thing, ‘nostalgia’, is a kind of sickness, like flu or measles, that just hits you sometimes, with no rhyme or reason to it. Of course, there is a cure: a commitment to Progress. To the future, rather than to the past. There was no Golden Age – but there will be! Keep the faith. Keep going. I would suggest, instead, that nostalgia can be a rational response to a world heading in the wrong direction. Perhaps a practical response too.”

“Congress Members To Wear Barcodes So Lobbyists Can Scan Prices, Self-Checkout” [Babylon Bee]. From 2019, still germane.


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

I am calling a “Something Awful.” It’s gonna be bad, in some new way, and we don’t know how, yet (but see here for immune system dysregulation, which is looking pretty awful).

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

* * *

• “It’s not the COVID economy, it’s just the economy now” [Axios]. “‘COVID is no longer playing an important role in our economy,’ chair Jerome Powell told reporters at a press conference Wednesday. The Fed chair’s comments are a big deal, marking the end of an era — but they don’t mean COVID is gone. Instead, the shocks of the pandemic have reshaped the very fabric of the economy itself. Powell was explaining why the FOMC dropped the term ‘public health’ from the risk factors listed in its post-meeting statement this week. COVID is still out there, it’s worth emphasizing. People are dying from the disease every day, and getting sick. Something Powell understands personally, he said. (He tested positive, with mild symptoms, in January.) But ‘people are handling it better, and the economy and the society are handling it better now,’ he said. It doesn’t really need to be in ‘a post-meeting statement, as an ongoing economic risk — as opposed to, you know, a health issue.'” • In other words, our current high plateau (look at cases, positivity, and deaths) has been successfully normalized (with, let us not forget, mitigation for elites). We have a good blueprint:

Now wait for climate!

• And speaking of normalization:

Normalization, and propaganda.

* * *

• “Reader question: Covid risk at a conference” [Violet Blue]. An excellent wrap-up of what a personal risk assessment really looks like, with tips. Well worth a read. I think most of the individual items will be familiar to NC readers, but here is a tip I have not seen: “Because covid has been allowed to freely mass-infect (and mass-re-infect) communities and populations, it has evolved on a supercharged schedule and we are nearly out of treatments. Paxlovid is currently the last one left that works. Remember that many people have not been able to get their doctors to give them Paxlovid and lots of people can’t take it for a variety of reasons. Find out how the location you’re traveling to deals with Paxlovid; for instance, California has a variety of free, no-contact options. It may be that the hotel you’re staying at could help; find out in advance.” • Good point on the hotel concierge, who could probably also help with sprays, etc.

* * *

• “We Now Face an Army of COVID Viruses” [The Tyee]. “What began as an airborne pandemic driven by a single virus has become a viral cloud roiling around the globe thanks to public policies that have allowed unfettered transmission. As a consequence the pandemic now represents different threats in different regions for different classes of people at different times. The wealthy elite attending Davos may be protected by tests and clean air machines, but the rest of us face contrasting realities. Some virologists have argued that people shouldn’t be concerned by these evolutionary doings, and that the messy world of Omicron subvariants is better left to the experts. But that’s a patronizing attitude. The pandemic affects us all, demanding citizens make decisions individually and together. So the point is not to be complacent or alarmed, but curious and attentive. We have entered an epoch of biological volatility and the risks this entails demand constant vigilance. Here are six observations on viral evolution and how it may shape our lives in this, the fourth year of the pandemic.” The six: “1. One virus has become many…. 2. The new COVID soup is a unique experiment in evolution…. 3. What were viral peaks are now a constant rising sea of infections with high and low tides…. 4. One pandemic has morphed into regional epidemics…. 5. Reinfections rarely happened. Now they are commonplace…. 6. We can do more to blunt the evolutionary threat of COVID subvariants.”

* * *

• “CO2.Click Review – An Affordable CO2 Monitor with Advanced Features” [Breathe Safe Air]. This is a good tutorial on CO2 monitors and a generally favorable review. One positive: The CO2.Click has “a measurement titled ‘RFA’. RFA stands for the rebreathed fraction of air…. I love this small addition because while the parts per million readings are useful, the RFA percentage is also a great stat to share. If I’m with my friends and they ask about the monitor, it’s often hard to explain carbon dioxide in terms of parts per million and their impact, as by the time I’ve explained it, they’ve usually lost interest. On the other hand, if I explain it as ‘you’re rebreathing 2% of your air right now!’ they tend to be far more interested.” One negative: “The build quality of the case also generally doesn’t feel as good as a mass-manufactured product such as the Aranet4. The plastic quality doesn’t feel as high, and the device feels more fragile. While I would still be happy to stick the CO2.Click in my backpack and carry it around with me, I feel more confident in the build quality of devices such as the Aranet4 or Qingping Air Monitor Lite.” • Also, the price is right!

• “I Bought a CO2 Monitor, and It Broke Me” [The Atlantic]. • What is wrong with these people? Helpful advice:

Then again, how indoor air moves isn’t all that easy to understand, is it?

* * *

Look for the helpers:

• Dude, no:

So far, I haven’t seen one single dogpile or moral panic about Corsi-Rosenthal boxes. So let’s not allow the focus to drift from engineering, mkay?

* * *

• “As many as 1 in 10 Coloradans may have been hit by long COVID, a report says” [CPR News]. “State officials have released their first estimate of how many people in Colorado have been hit by long COVID-19. The figure is staggering: Data suggest that between 230,000 and 650,000 Coloradans may have been affected. With a state population of nearly 6 million, the data suggest as many as one in 10 Coloradans have experienced long COVID, according to the report from The Office of Saving People Money on Healthcare in the Lt. Governor’s Office. And many of them have struggled to find treatments and answers about what can be a life-altering illness.” • I love it that there’s an “Office of Saving People Money on Healthcare.” Just out of curiosity, why not single payer?

• An aggregation of Covid’s neurological effects:

* * *

Case Data

BioBot wastewater data from February 3:

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.

• “Unreported SARS-CoV-2 Home Testing and Test Positivity” [JAMA]. “Timely SARS-CoV-2 testing is critical to reducing transmission.” Yes. Biden’s policy is mass infection without mitigation, and hence our ability to test has been nuked. More: “Our findings confirm common wisdom5,6 that official COVID-19 case counts increasingly underestimate the number of people who test positive and vastly underestimate the number of true infections. The percentage test positivity in officially reported tests appears to reflect home test positivity, though these trends may be diverging.” • But who knows? Who cares?


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

The previous map:

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


From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published February 6:

0.2%. Still at a high plateau, equal to previous peaks.

• “Almost 1,000 people wait up to 13 hours for COVID-19 testing in Maryvale” [Arizona Central]. • Over, totally over.


Wastewater data (CDC), January 30:

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

January 30:

And MWRA data, February 2:

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


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

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

Lambert here: XBB overtakes BQ. CH not moving too fast, reassuring, because a Tweet in Links, January 11 from GM drew attention to it (“displays such a high relative growth advantage”) and in Water Cooler, January 18, from Nature: “CH.1.1 and CA.3.1 variants were highly resistant to both monovalent and bivalent mRNA vaccinations.”

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

NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (CDC), January 14 (Weighted Estimates Only*):

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

CH.1* appears, but slightly below the national average. XBB utterly dominates, making clear that Region 2 (New England) varies greatly from the national average.

Here are all the regions, in a series of uncaptioned, legend-free and confusing pie charts:

It almost looks like, with respect to variants at least, there several pandemics, not one. The Northeast, where XBB (blue) dominates, and the other regions, with different proportions of other variants, but XBB not dominating. Odd. (Yes, I know the colors are the same as on the bar chart above. However, there are two charts, one bar, one pie, and on a laptop one cannot see both at same time. Just another example of CDC blithering at the level of the smallest detail.)

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

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

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

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

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

• “CH.1.1 ‘Orthrus’: How Concerning Is This New Covid-19 Subvariant?” [Forbes]. “Guess what. Yet another new Covid-19 coronavirus subvariant has been spreading. This one’s called CH.1.1, and it’s a descendant of the BA.2.75, you know that lovely Omicron subvariant that I wrote about for Forbes in July 2022. The CH.1.1 has a mutation that was present in the Delta variant, you know that lovely variant that turned what some prematurely thought would be the Summer of Sex in 2021 into the Summer of Surge. Since CH.1.1 may not be the easiest name to say, some have been calling this the ‘Orthrus’ subvariant, which is by no means an official name. Orthrus is the two-headed dog in Greek mythology who guarded Geryon’s cattle, as opposed to your everyday run-of-the-mill two-headed dog that you see near the local Starbucks. It’s not surprising that the CH.1.1 has emerged because mutate is something that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has proven that it can do. The big question is how “ruff” will this “Orthrus” subvariant be on everyone.”

As a check, since New York is a BQ.1* hotbed, New York hospitalization, updated February 4:

Hospitalization data for Queens, updated February 3:


Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,136,313 – 1,135,341 = 972 (972 * 365 = 354,780 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease).

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

Stats Watch

There are no officials statistics of interest today.

* * *

Tech: “When Does Elon Musk Sleep? Billionaire Speaks of Limits to Fixing Twitter and His Back Pain” [Wall Street Journal]. “His schedule has become part of the man’s myth. Last month, a fan on social media marveled at Mr. Musk’s single-day itinerary: He testified in a lawsuit that morning, attended a Tesla event in Nevada that evening and then met with Tesla’s artificial-intelligence team late into the night.” • Good luck on the AI thing. Let me know how it works out.


I was about to argue that crypto isn’t represenational, but then… NFTs. No pr0n NFTs. Hmm.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75 Extreme Greed (previous close: 76 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 6 at 1:16 PM EST.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (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 Conservatory

Lovely guitar intro, and possibly the best segue in live rock and roll:

“Why Did the Beatles Get So Many Bad Reviews?” [The Honest Broker]. “I think it’s more valuable to ask how these critics, specialists in their field, not only missed the mark, but in such an absurd way. They literally were handed the greatest recordings of their era to review, and blew them off. Every classic song on these albums was not only attacked, but actually mocked…. I now realize that the Beatles were getting punished for how quickly they were pushing rock music ahead. If you read enough of these hit pieces, you keep hearing the frustration that the new Beatles album doesn’t sound like the previous one….. The sad truth is the critics typically operate by looking in the rearview mirror. Like generals, they fail on the battlefield because their strategy is built on the last war. And that’s the same reason why jazz critics attacked Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk in the 1940s. Or Coltrane in the 1960s. Etc. etc. And are probably making similar missteps in the current day…. I raise all this primarily to give the Beatles full credit for their achievement. No musicians in history, by my measure, ever worked so courageously to disrupt the very same formulas that they themselves created. Perhaps Miles Davis comes close, but even Miles would only make a major change in his style every two or three years. The Beatles reinvented themselves with every album.”

The Gallery

This, to me, is what a “normal” house looks like (well, maybe not the dog. But the book-cases at right). It’s my baseline:

Which classifies and dates me pretty accurately!

Perhaps if I were French I would feel the same way about this:

Class Warfare

“SEIU Local 1 Lays off 10 Staffers Amid Allegations That Dues Remain Uncollected” [In These Times]. “n January 31, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 — the founding local of the 2-million-member international union — laid off 10 of its 89 unionized staffers after little over two weeks’ notice due to a budget shortfall. Nine of those impacted by layoffs are organizers or grievance representatives, which is nearly a third of the member-facing staff at the union, according to the Chicago News Guild, the union that represents Local 1 staffers. ‘All of us on the ground actually doing the organizing, doing the work, building coalitions — we got laid off,’ says Emily Little, a laid-off Local 1 staffer who helped organize workers in sports stadiums in Columbus, Ohio. Anne Balay, another laid-off staffer who spent three years organizing adjunct professors at four universities in St. Louis, Mo., tells In These Times she is worried about her members, some of whom no longer have an organizer on their campaigns. ‘All of us on the ground actually doing the organizing, doing the work, building coalitions—we got laid off.’ Local 1 staffer Adam Stant (who was not subject to layoff) says that these layoffs come at a moment when the labor movement should be hiring, not firing, organizers. An Economic Policy Institute report presents evidence that suggests 60 million workers would join a union if they could. Some labor observers argue that the bottleneck preventing these workers from having a union is unions themselves. ​’There has been no investment in the army of union organizers necessary to meet demand,’ writes Hamilton Nolan in a 2022 In These Times article, citing a 2022 report showing that unions lost 23,440 organizers between 2010 and 2020, a 19% decline, even as management positions within unions grew by 28%.” • Unions are like universities, then?

“REI, union agree to hold election after Cleveland employees walk out” [Bicycle Retailer]. ” After REI Co-op’s Beachwood suburb store employees walked off the job minutes before their shifts Friday morning, the store agreed to terms with the union to hold an election. According to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), employees returned to work at 1:30 p.m. The agreement came after employees walked out at 9:45 a.m., demanding the right to vote in a free and fair National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election and for the company to stop what the RWDSU called ‘unlawful surveillance’ of workers. The election will include all NLRB-eligible workers at the Ohio store, a reversal from REI’s position last week. It will take place on March 3 from noon-6 p.m. EST at the Beachwood store. The workers walked out as an NLRB hearing was about to begin Friday. The hearing was scheduled because of workers’ demands for the right to vote in a free and fair election and ‘for the company to stop its union busting.’ REI wanted to remove more than half of the eligible members and to dismiss the election at the hearing, the union said. … Previous union elections took place at the New York City and Berkeley, California, REI stores. Beachwood’s unionization efforts have been ongoing for more than a year. On Jan. 11, its employees filed to have a union election and sought RWDSU representation.”

“Ohio union membership on the rise” [Axios Cleveland]. Local Axios bureaus is an intriguing development: “The percentage of statewide workers represented by a union rose from 13% in 2021 to 14% last year. That might seem like a modest increase, but it amounts to 52,000 more Ohioans belonging to organizations designed to advance and protect their rights at work. The increase is further evidence of a growing labor movement involving local workers at Ohio institutions and global companies alike.” • The national story is a little different. Handy map:

It makes perfect sense that the poor can’t cheer-lead:

News of the Wired

“Jury rules in favor of backyard pizza oven owners in Cleveland Heights lawsuit” [WKYC]. “According to the complaint, the situation dates back to May 2017 when the Jones family informed the defendants that use and operation of the oven would fill their residence ‘with smoke and fumes and causes the Joneses significant physical discomfort and emotional distress.’ The complaint also stated that ‘on many occasions’ use and operation of the pizza oven ‘has caused intolerable smoke and fumes at the Jones residence, and has caused significant physical discomfort, mental anguish and loss of use and enjoyment’ of their residence…. The Jones couple admitted to having gone over to their neighbor’s home for pizza, enjoying the food and the visit prior to filing the suit. It makes the attorney for the defendants question, why sue now?” • The first installment for “Feel Good Cleveland Week,” and I had to work harder than with Fresno. Can readers help?

* * *

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 ChetG:

ChetG writes: “Here is an icicle collective, made possible by dense bushes. My wife had a heart attack on November 26, and the shock of it is still with us, especially in terms of present and upcoming doctor visits. So my concentration is none too good, and I’ve only begun going outdoors and taking photos again in January.” I always find that taking photographs washes my mind free of a lot of stressors. Very calming. Probably not true for some, like street photographers, but I take a contemplative approach. And best of luck to ChetG and his wife.

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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. Arizona Slim

    I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven! Why? Because Lambert included a Bicycle Retailer link, that’s why!

    Back in the 1990s, when I was working as a bicycle mechanic and salesgal, oh, my goodness. The arrival of the latest issue was a cause for celebration. We loved that magapaper. Oh, did we ever.

    It was fun to politely ask to be the next person in line to read it and, yes, we all read it from cover to cover. And then the discussions of content would commence. Those were fun too.

    Thanks, Lambert, for sharing this link!

    1. Polar Socialist

      I usually fix my own bicycle (which is why I only have a single speed for my commuting needs), but last summer when I got a flat tire I noticed a co-op bicycle mechanic shop close by, so I took there for them to put a new one and check the spokes, so I can pick it up on my way home.

      Picking it up took longer than I expected, since the young men (who looked like surfer-punks rolled in oil) had made guesses of the causes for all the nicks and bumps on my bicycle and wanted know if any of them was correct. It was fun and I felt they appreciated my old beauty even more than I did.

      I’m pretty sure I’ll take it there again when the spring comes.

      1. albrt

        I spend a lot of time volunteering at a bike co-op that mainly serves very low income people in Phoenix. It’s not fast, but it’s cheap.

  2. Joe Well

    History Podcast: Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 (American History Tellers, Wondery)

    This podcast was made for Lambert and the commentariat. I did a quick search and couldn’t see it mentioned on NC, it’s worth your attention.

    Without mentioning Covid once, the parallels the podcasts makes are striking. The total, unbelievable collapse of government including George Washington abandoning Philadelphia, the nation’s capital, and the antiscientific dogma of Benjamin Rush who bled and purged patients to death. It makes today’s leaders look like leaders and the drama is more compelling than any series on streaming. Spoiler alert: some unexpected heroes rise to the occassion.

    Even though it is by Wondery, the utra-high-funded podcast startup, for that same reason the production values are really high, but also it just is way more critical of the powers that be than anything I would have expected from them. It provides inspiration for today’s activists.

    1. Janie

      “Bring Out Your Dead” is a good read about the plague and is still available. That book and one about Stalingrad have stuck with me for some decades.

      1. Hana M

        What is the name of the book about Stalingrad? I’ll have to check out “Bring Out Your Dead”. Another amazing and moving plague book is Connie Willis’ brilliant “Doomsday Book”.

        1. JustAnotherVolunteer

          Guessing it might be Grossman’s “Stalingrad” or maybe his “Life and Fate”.

  3. petal

    $2300 just to be someone else’s sideshow. As a former roommate(who was also starting soccer goalie at an Ivy) said to me back in the day about cheerleaders. And I’m assuming the $2300 doesn’t include all the makeup and hair spray. smh.

    1. Louis Fyne

      to be fair to cheerleading—-

      (1) seemingly every high school extra-curricular has suffered from rampant price inflation;

      (2) looks like the OP who posted that price list is in Texas. Texas ramps up the insanity that is widespread with high school football to another plane of existence.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Stoller didn’t cut his teeth on cheerleading (not your fault, but what a horrid thought-provoking metaphor), no, but I should have linked to that article. Fifty lashes with a wet noodle for lambert.

  4. Roger Blakely

    Here are some COVID-19 highlights from last week.
    1. Indie SAGE showed that infection rates have bottomed-out in the U.K. The U.K. is starting a new wave.
    2. Los Angeles County Public Health reported that the wastewater concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 have bottomed-out at 30% of the August peak and headed back up.
    3. Dr. Daniel Griffin discussed a paper looking into COVID-19 in children caused Omicron. The paper dispels any idea that Omicron is less severe than other variants of SARS-Cov-2.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Sigh. New COVID wave just what we need. Anecdata: nurses strike meant my latest dermatology consultation was by phone but I’ve perfected art of taking pics of my scalp problems – Dr v impressed. Back onto the steroids but Dr remarked I am getting new hair growth so they’re just too speed it up…. Though alopecia patch largest yet – now OPENLY acknowledges this is a post-COVID problem and when was my last infection (just before Xmas – likely new Omicron variant).

      Heard her typing furiously since I am a patient who gives the info the physicians need. Anyway she has given authorisation for GP to repeat prescribe and go up to stronger steroid…… But acknowledged this is not viable long term solution since it makes me more vulnerable to repeat infection….. But at least “physicians on the ground” now openly admit that such phenomena are unequivocal evidence of a covid infection. Now if I could just get my cardiologist to admit the same…..

  5. tevhatch

    Nostalgia: Spanish, Italian, German, UK, etc. fascism makes use of nostalgia to create unease, so too will new variants.

    “The Americans Who Are Fleeing the United States”. LGBTQ+ABCDEF…. want dual citizenship. This story made me thing of the mostly white, college educated draft dodgers going to Canada (which is why they got pardons). Is there any polling data on how many Black Americans, Native/1st Nation Americans, and other groups have though of immigration as a solution, or is it only PMC lived experience that can grow it? One thing that struck me was reading how few American Black men who served in France in WW1 stayed on. I gave up on trying to join the masses in the USA, but it wasn’t the racism but the unfettered capitalism that did it for me. This could be interesting and revelatory if done with good care.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>Of course, if you’ve had to deal with our health care system, you’ve already experienced a dystopian science fiction reality.

      The more people I have seen sleeping on the streets, the less I read about poverty in the United States and more about bigotry. I think if there was less poverty, there might be less bigotry, but just why reduce the skimming; you can use the bigotry, created partly from the fearful and growing poverty, to control the proles? Aren’t they only deplorable, anyway? A win-win.

    2. LifelongLib

      Re soldiers staying on in France, I believe they would have been brought back to the U.S. to muster out and then have to get passports, ship fare etc. to return. Even if they wanted to, maybe beyond the means of most.

  6. Carolinian

    REI–I once purchased a “lifetime” membership there which seemed to gain me very little when I returned years later and they had forgotten all about it. It can be hard to find an REI in the SE except in the big cities. The products I’ve bought there have been a mixed bag.

    Not that I would complain, given the opportunity (oh wait I just did).

  7. britzklieg

    Not sure if it counts as “nostalgia” but it was great to see the timeless veteran beat the younger generation wannabes: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-11717155/So-Bonnie-Raitt-Blues-singer-beats-Beyonce-Adele-Taylor-Swift-Harry-Styles-Grammys.html

    Bonnie Raitt was a surprise winner of the Song of the Year award at the Grammys on Sunday, prevailing in a star-studded field of nominees that included Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Harry Styles, Beyonce and Adele.

    The 73-year-old singer’s Just Like That staved off competition from Taylor Swift (All Too Well (10 Minute Version), Lizzo (About Damn Time), Harry Styles (As It Was), Steve Lacy (Bad Habit), GAYLE (abcdefu), Beyonce (Break My Soul), Adele (Easy On Me), DJ Khaled (God Did), and Kendrick Lamar (The Heart Part 5) to take home the prize.

    … okay, Adele is the real thing and Beyonce has a great instrument (put too often to mediocre songs) but the rest of the field – big “meh” imnsho

    as for The Beatles, I’m glad I had zero interest in music critics of the time and do not remember any of the “thumbs down” judgements Gioia writes about. What I do remember is how many bands that came after sounded like previous Beatles hits. Here’s the tragically short-lived and celebrated Badfinger (and I don’t mean to downplay its fine songs, just a comparison):




    1. Mikel

      Beyonce concert tickets are starting at $600 and going upwards to about $30,000.
      For $30,000, the seat should be her lap.

    2. TimH

      No musicians in history, by my measure, ever worked so courageously to disrupt the very same formulas that they themselves created.

      I posit David Bowie…

    3. tevhatch

      Many of Badfinger’s songs were written wholly or in part by Paul, I believe some by John but age may fool me. Ham also worked with Paul, Harry Nilsson and that social crew when writing songs.

      1. britzklieg

        I think I knew that once, but thanks for the important caveat. I really liked Badfinger!

        Nilsson – one of the greats, gone too soon.

        1. Joe Renter

          Yes, on Badfinger. I had one of their albums in middle school. I thought I was a rebel for playing it in my household.

      2. barefoot charley

        Your first link, to “Come and Get It” was written by Paul–I always thought it was a Beatles song. The other two, I can tell the difference, but thanks for the memories! I never thought about how many English bands were left behind by their evolution. Maybe I was too . . .

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      Beyonce was clearly better than Destiny’s Child, but at the time, she’s just so dull. It’s fitting she is married to Jay-Z. Obama likes Beyonce and Pearl Jam, celebrations of banality. They play “cool” for wine moms and future wine moms.

    5. Big River Bandido

      I’m a professional musician and haven’t watched that program in years. Let my NARAS membership lapse because it was so worthless.

      Among my professional colleagues, the Grammy Awards are a joke.

  8. clarky90

    Mon, 6 Feb 2023, 9:27AM


    Kaumātua (Maori Elder) Paumea McKay has been removed from a morning service at Waitangi NZ, after interrupting official proceedings………

    ……..“Therefore you know, there is a difference between statute and law. Law is made by the atua (god/ancestors). The law of gravity was not made by man.……..there’s three groups of people assembled here today…..

    (1) There is the elected public servants and
    (2) there is the appointed public servants – with the emphasis on public servant – and there is
    (3) the public.”

    The battle, he said, is not between Māori and Pākehā, but both against what he described as a “corrupt government”……
    (the “dark forces” in Ephesians?)

    …..The crowd erupts into song, standing together to sing a waiata (a hymn) as the elderly man is approached by the police in a bid to move him away……..

    McKay made reference to police dragging him away from his seat in the service as a “tauiwi way of making you sit down”.

    “tauiwi”,- A Maori term for “other people”, this is a more polite way of referring to europeans …..

    1. juliania

      clarky90, thank you so much for your link, and for your careful explanation.

      There is much that relates to what we discuss here and at other forums in your account, and your link takes us to images of the scene as well as a more detailed factual news item. In far off New Zealand, what the elder is saying has strength and impact, as do your own words. Again, thank you.

      We here discuss the ‘rules based order’ in contrast to international law as enshrined in the United Nations body of law, which has been accepted into the US Constitution by We the People. In the elder’s three points the same trilogy is effectively delineated.

      I am proud(and humbled) to have seen your message. Thank you, Lambert, as well.

  9. agent ranger smith

    As I look at the ” majority of Americans died from covid under Biden’s watch” chart, it seems to me to be plain to see that the reason more died under Biden’s covid watch than under Trump’s covid watch is that Biden’s covid watch has lasted longer so far than Trump’s covid watch did.

    The rising straight line during the Trump watch stays rising at the same rate without any bend at all under the Biden watch. If the Trump watch had lasted as long as the Biden watch, Trump would have achieved as many “kills” as Biden has achieved.

    The difference is that Biden pretended to care and pretended to offer something different, presumably leading to a lower kill rate. We now see that Biden never intended anything better or different and never intended to bring the kill rate down. Nor did Biden’s people. And Biden and Biden’s people have worked hard and patiently and thoroughly to poison the “liberal” side of the public against public health and mitigation in the same way that Trump and Trump’s people worked hard and patiently and thoroughly to poison the “conservative” side of the public against public health and mitigation. As President Kennedy once said, ” those who make Public Health impossible make Jackpot inevitable” . . . or something like that.

    And if a disgusted electorate re-elects Trump, or elects DeTrumpis or Trumpeo or Cottontrump or whatever other hideous gargoyle the Republicans nominate, the covid kill rate will keep right on rising at the very same rate as before, neither rising nor falling. Because both sides of the aisle share their owners’ and patrons’ commitment to ” Let Jackpot Rip.”

    I hope future people begin referring to this as the BidenTrump Plague.

    Covid caution realists will have to live like Early Christians in the Roman Empire. Helping eachother to survive and keeping their ( our) basic understanding of what to do and why unpolluted by the Typhoid Mary Covid Leper Civilization raging all around us.

    1. Not Again

      Trump now leads Biden in 3 of the 4 national polls for 2024 election. It might be time to impeach him again.

    2. Screwball

      I think you are correct. Sad thing is, this is where we are.

      I’m old and I can’t believe what our world has turned into.

      Stay well and good luck all. Thanks to this website and the great stuff they provide. One of the truly sane places we can rea in an insane world.

    1. clarky90

      Here We Go!
      Feb 7, 2023

      Very astute comments by Russell Brand…


      Apparently, Davos Man has been multitasking in The Ukraine!

      Fedorov…… “Digital for freedom” which lays out 10 steps for The Ukrainian future.

      1. 100% online services
      2. Paperless
      3. Cashless
      4. Digital government
      5. Artificial intelligence in courts and e-notary
      6. Digital education
      7. E-health
      8. Digital customs
      9. 5G
      10. and………Digital literacy

  10. Thistlebreath

    Lou Reed: he got Mitch Ryder’s guitar player and that transformed a NYC pose-rock band into a dynamic, coherent group. ‘Sweet Jane’ live is one for the ages.

    “….Reed subsequently hired Detroit guitarist Steve Hunter for his own band.” From The Detroit Wheels Wikipedia page.

    There’s a bittersweet mention there of the late, great Bill Hodgson who joined Ryder after “Detroit” was founded. Like Jim Morrison, Bill’s dad was a career high ranking military officer. Despite Bill’s phenomenal musicianship and model-looks appearance, parental disapproval dogged him for all his days.

    Former Creem writer here, the rudest magazine that ever wuz.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      In full agreement with Lambert’s description of the live intro to Sweet Jane however listening to a lo-fi YouTube stream had me doubting my memory so I pulled up my copy and yes, this is undoubtedly one of the greatest live performances of a rock song ever but you wouldn’t know it from the youtube stream which thoroughly crappifies the sound of the guitar. Understandable as what makes the guitar great is how it progressively flirts with distortion giving it that classic “raw” rock sound and all that is erased by a lo-fi stream.

      Since I was up on my high horse, I searched. And searched. Every nonYouTube site was streaming from YouTube and the sound was always bad. I know you can get hi-fi YouTube but for the purpose of this discussion I would encourage interested readers to buy that one song so you can hear it properly; even cheap earbuds would be good enough to hear the difference. [pro tip: if you click the link, you can preview the beginning of “intro/sweet jane” at a much higher sound resolution than the YouTube stream but it cuts off before the guitar distortion begins]

    2. notabanker

      Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner. Wrote some of the greatest rock ever. Went on to do all the great Alice Cooper albums, Welcome to My Nightmare, Goes to Hell, From the Inside. Thank God someone recorded that Lou Reed performance. Those were the pre-cell phone lighter days.

  11. britzklieg

    Elwell’s “The Front Door” looks exactly like the entry and front room to the great “Strathgarry” manse where I stayed several summers while singing at the “Music in Blair Atholl” festival outside of Killiekrankie, Scotland, and I mean exactly. Perhaps an architecture scholar would tell me it was a “common” look in its time. Whatever, it was a splendid edifice (and a fine festival – small, intimate and programed with exceptional music by my friend, guitarist Simon Wynberg, who was music director during it’s brief 5 or 6 years of existence). Sadly, after the Thewes’s (Henrietta and Sebastian – founders of the festival) sold it, the new owner basically destroyed it, then went bankrupt and it has since been demolished. Breaks my heart to know that…

    And what a great painting, huh?!

  12. CGKen

    Say my immune system is dysregulated after getting COVID – how would that manifest in my health? I’ve had the same viral respiratory infection for two weeks now. I seem to be getting better finally, but can not remember ever being sick this long (except for the 2-3 weeks when I had COVID last summer). Two of my kids got the same virus and were better in 4-5 days, which I would have expected for me as well.

      1. CGKen

        Yes, I suppose it is similar to the challenge in blaming any one particular hurricane on climate change.

        But over the whole population, should we expect a “normal” cold to last longer or have worse effects?

  13. Swamp Yankee

    Lambert — am I reading the Covid regional weighted estimates map incorrectly, or is New England region 1, not Region 2?

  14. Lex

    Airflow from a fan isn’t easy to calculate, exactly. Adding a second fan could – in some situations – actually reduce flow through a filter. Two fans always have to be balanced if they’re going to work in concert. And the device used to measure flow in the quoted tweet is the wrong device for the task (as another tweet in the thread mentions). HVAC nerds are nerds for a reason.

    One reason the CR box works so well with what’s really an underpowered fan for drawing through a filter is the large filter surface area. (to be fair, woodworkers have long taped a furnace filter to a box fan for general dust collection, it works but it works less well with more restrictive filters).

    CO2 detection costs have come way down at the lowest end. From a professional perspective, I’d probably recommend most to buy the very low cost monitors and treat them as disposable rather than spend hundreds. I say this because good calibration is serious issue with this sort of gas detection tech, and while I haven’t looked closely at the monitors’ calibration procedures, without periodic factory calibration or reference gas calibration I’d end up trusting a $400 sensor after a year (or less) about as much as I’d trust a $40 sensor. Nor is super accuracy the highest priority for the intended usage. Side note: the more accurate a CO2 sensor is the more likely you are to have it bounce a lot and pick up things like your own breath.

    1. square coats

      Lex, do you think CR boxes made to much smaller dimensions aren’t likely to be particularly effective?

      (sorry if you’ve commented on this before and I missed it)

    2. Grumpy Engineer

      For a quick-and-dirty calibration, you can always step outside on a windy day and see what your CO2 meter measures. If it’s working properly and you’re not near some large source of CO2 (like a coal-fired power station, cement factory, major highway, etc.), you should read ~420 ppm. That’s the global average right now.

  15. Jason Boxman

    From the COVID tweet “storm”, author comments this is a well designed study, and it took place pre-vaccination, as well:

    Incident autoimmune diseases in association with a SARS-CoV-2 infection: A matched cohort study

    Results In total, 641,704 patients with COVID-19 were included. Comparing the incidence rates in the COVID-19 (IR=15.05, 95% CI: 14.69-15.42) and matched control groups (IR=10.55, 95% CI: 10.25-10.86), we found a 42.63% higher likelihood of acquiring autoimmunity for patients who had suffered from COVID-19. This estimate was similar for common autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjögren syndrome. The highest IRR was observed for autoimmune disease of the vasculitis group. Patients with a more severe course of COVID-19 were at a greater risk for incident autoimmune diseases.

    Conclusions SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with an increased risk of developing new-onset autoimmune diseases after the acute phase of infection.

    (bold mine)

    Sadly, as this Pandemic continues to perpetuate unabated — accelerated, in fact, as a matter of policy — we’re going to keep learning about the kinds of damage infection causes to people. And now we’ve mostly run out of any treatments, oops.

    I have no doubt deniers will hand waive away such studies as not being representative because of viral evolution, and COVID is mild now, didn’t you know? Yet we’ll keep finding that it causes pervasive damage, year after year.

    Fun times.

    Stay safe!

  16. OIFVet

    The Americans Who Are Fleeing the United States” [The New Republic]

    TNR focuses on those fleeing the rising right. no thought as to what are the conditions which might be leading to its rise, and which perhaps have driven more Americans out. Like me, for example. Things like America having a one-party system, overwhelming propaganda that strains the credulity of those who have two brain cells to rub together, the growing inequality which drives the decline of public services,infrastructure, and quality of life, while also driving the rise in crime and violence. The limited access to health care and the prohibitive costs of it. And on and on, and on.

    Frankly, I love America the country and loath America the state. Thank heavens for dual citizenship and being bilingual with decent education and transferable skills. Not that I have escaped far, living in an empire vassal state, but at least, as other Americans who live here put it, there is still real freedom here for most things.

    The creep of the clueless liberal PMC, self-identified as “the right” here out of desire to distance themselves from the communist past which most of them have as part of their family backgrounds, is rather annoying and sometimes comical. They are a carbon copy of the US Democrats and German Greens and the Macronites. Vacuous centrism devoid of any principles other than personal advancement, and comsomol-like zeal to be more Catholic then the Pope when it comes to performing their filial duties to the Euroatlanticist bright future we will supposedly enjoy some day. Still, they have a hard electoral ceiling and few prospects to form a ruling coalition, so that makes the citation more tolerable than in the US. Their existence is an welcomed reminder of what I fled, but them aside, I can breathe here.

    1. Carolinian

      Blame it on Hollywood? They say one reason comic book movies are now popular with moguls is that action sells well overseas and the studios are dependent on foreign box office. Then there’s the cyber invasion and the Tesla invasion (big seller in Europe) along with the financial ties often discussed here. I’ve been re-watching The Crown S.1–a great show at least in the beginning–and I think part of the pleasure we Americans take in it is the deep dive into someone else’s culture. To be sure it’s hard to see the real queen in the impossibly pretty Claire Foy but then if anything is about illusion it’s surely the British royals. Their family saga give the show a narrative backbone that many flaccid streaming series lack.

      So Europe gives us stories and we give them violence and xenophobia and look who’s winning. I don’t get it.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Frankly, I love America the country and loath America the state.’

      Funny you should put it that way. In Erich Maria Remarque’s book “All Quiet on the Western Front” you had the soldiers in the trenches talking about the very same thing where they loved their country but hated the State. And that was back in WW1. It is an important difference and one that I took care to remember.

  17. Jason Boxman

    Man, sued over a pizza oven. That’s ruff. I gifted an Ooni pizza oven last year, and it changed my life. (For the better.) These things are amazing. I didn’t realize there was a lawsuit risk, though, when I bought it. Maybe I need to get insurance for that? Or is there some rentier I need to pay off?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Pretty sure that this story featured in Links when it happened years ago. And apparently it is still going on.

  18. Bazarov

    I’m probably going to get dog-piled by the Boomer’s here, but those contemporary Beatles critics may’ve been on to something. The band’s early stuff is dreck (“Love Me Do,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand”), and their later stuff sounds to my ear like overproduced British twee. Even as an adolescent when I was listening to whatever I was told was good so as to dissemble “taste,” I couldn’t grasp why my parents were so ga-ga over The Beatles.

    Like the reviewer in links today, my Boomer uncle—God rest his soul; he recently passed and I loved him very much–always argued in favor of the music’s progressive influence (as if when we listen to music, we think to ourselves “Wow! Such influence!”). I find this a lot in modern music apologetics. It seems to me to reflect broader cultural trends in the neoliberal era: something’s value is directly proportional to its market “impact”. How it did it manage to secure such a dominate share? Throw in some buzz-words like “innovation” and “disruptive” and you get the hegemonic aesthetics of the merchant class

    Imagine a soda reviewer who’s shocked that contemporary beverage gourmands hated the taste of Coke when it premiered: “How could they get it so wrong! Coke is the most innovative, disruptive beverage in history. So many competitors would succumb to the influence of its cola sweetness. Modern beverage culture is unthinkable without Coke. What fools were our forefathers!”.

    Coke is disgusting.

    1. britzklieg

      I won’t dog pile but you couldn’t be more wrong about the “band’s early stuff.” But hey, chacun à son goût we’re all entitled to our opinions and preferences and they are always colored by our place in time. Where I’d get dog-piled is in suggesting that most Rolling Stones songs throughout that amazing career sound, to me, basically the same, same chords, same grind, same front man… and I love the Stones, especially in performance. Miracles of longevity, to say the least…

    2. Louis Fyne

      Hot take: The Beatles are going to fade away into Benny Goodman-Al Jolson territory in my lifetime with respect to contemporary pop culture.

      Already happening: How often over the last 12 months have you heard a Beatles song unsolicited?

      Early 2000s, I would consistently hear a Beatles song somewhere in the cultural ether….in the 2020’s, no way.

      Whoever owns the Beatles’ song rights made a very bad move by being stingy with Beatles song availability in the early iPod days.

      1. Carolinian

        i have Beatles songs performed by all sorts of people. Personally I’d say their songs are often better when “covered.” So add them to the great mid 20th century songbook….surely better than Al Jolson. There’s not much elevator music now anyway. Of the places I shop only Lidl plays music. Katy Perry is big along with The Greatest Showman.

        1. britzklieg

          I agree that Louis is selling the Beatles short, whether he hears them or not these days, and I concur about the untold number of great covers. I’d say the Beatles are a dominant presence in the mid-century songbook: 229 songs in the span of about 8-10 years.

          The Rolling Stones wrote 167 songs over more than 5 decades.

          Katy Perry and The Greatest Showman… oy vey!

      2. QuicksilverMessenger

        I think your hot take has already gotten cold. Daughter and my business partner’s daughter (middle schoolers and high school) and their friends are buying turn tables these days to listen to …. The Beatles on vinyl.
        And last year’s Get Back was hugely popular streaming doc. Even at 8 hours!

        And here is from a couple years ago: Still number one seller in 2020 https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/beatles-still-number-one-sellers-22374691

        And finally for comparison, at popularity graph of the Beatles versus the Stones, Elvis, Dylan and Sinatra. Not even close


      3. albrt

        I don’t think the Beatles are comparable to Benny Goodman, but only because Benny Goodman was passe twenty years or so after his heyday. Same with Elvis and basically every other pre-Boomer artist.

        By contrast, the damn Beatles (along with the Stones, the Eagles, and all the other fossil-rock bands) are still being shoved down young people’s throats sixty years later. Clue: it’s not because these artists were so great. It’s pure Boomer cultural hegemony, and it seems to work about the same way in politics – whatever the Boomers like is the center of the universe.

        1. JBird4049

          Cultural hegemony to a point. Much of it of was still created in part by people who wanted to make good music and were quite happy if they got stinking rich during the process; since the 1990s, I notice that most music was created, managed really, usually for the labels to get stinking rich, and if they just happened to make good music, well that’s nice, too.

          It is the same process as the monopolies and oligopolies of the radio, concert, and stage. You can see the same process in classical music and hip hop. Or books. The vampires drained them and the vultures are feeding off the still twitching corpses. Maybe think of them as vulture investment funds.

    3. Fiery Hunt

      This GenXer says…

      Yeah, you’re absolutely wrong.

      The Beatles were/are musical monsters to be revered.
      And Coke is fantastic.

        1. agent ranger smith

          I was a pre pre-teen and then a pre-teen when the Beatles were first getting really famous. ( I was also a strange kid.) I remember just starting to like the Beatles.

          One day Dad took us with him to visit a friend of his. This friend’s kid and this friend’s kid’s friends were just slightly older than me. I heard them playing some ” rokk” music which I didn’t really like too much.

          Me: ” Who is this?”
          One of those kids: ” This is the Monkees!”
          Me: ” Do you have any Beatles?”
          One of those kids: ” BEA-tles!? NOOOO-body listens to the BEA-tles. The BEA-tles are Ob-so-LEEEEEET!!”
          ( The capital letters are to indicate where they placed their emphases in their spoken words).

          I decided that if “modern music” was a world where the Beatles were obsolete and ” EHH-vree-one listens to the Monkees now” . . . that I would never keep up, and I would always be exposed to being made fun of for whatever I said I liked. And also I didn’t like that Monkees very much. And I decided that I would just stop listening to “modern” music altogether. And I did.

          It is only decades later that I learned about some of the music which had been going on all around me at the time.

          Nowadays I rather like the Monkees’s ” I’m Not Your Stepping Stone”. And also I like Bob Dylan’s ” Positively Fourty-Second Street” or whichever street it is. They are both bracing antidotes to all that luuuUUUHHHHhhhhv.

          1. Pat

            Sadly, because I like many of their recordings, I feel the need to point out that the Monkees were a manufactured band and with very few exceptions their songs were the work of songwriters toiling in the 60’s equivalent of Tin Pan Alley.

            Not sure they belong in this discussion…

      1. JBird4049

        >>>And Coke is fantastic.

        And it would be much better if it had real sugar and not corn syrup again.

    4. Rory

      “We love the songs of our youth not because they were great music but because they were temples where our souls dwelled.”

      Don’t know who said that, but I agree.

    5. eg

      Count me among the (late) Boomers that aren’t Beatles fans. I’m too young, and not having older siblings like some my age wasn’t brainwashed about them as a child. I enjoy the occasional song of theirs, but own none of it and couldn’t imagine sitting still for a whole album of it.

    6. Wukchumni

      I’m of the opinion that kds will be singing Beatles songs centuries from now, as they were at the forefront of an impressionist movement that mirrors the impressionist art movement of almost exactly a century before, and you’ll note how often you see those paintings currently but not so many before and after that epoch.

      In the end the Fab Four did something few musical groups can pull off, they exited at the top of their game.

  19. Carla

    Re: Cleveland Week — Lambert, I emailed you something this morning — maybe it wasn’t the kind of thing you’re looking for.

    I will endeavor to do better!

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I got one for Cleveland week. Even though the Browns are home for Super Bowl week (they have never participated), two sons of Cleveland Heights are participating in what some are calling the Kelce Bowl. Jason Kelce is the All-Pro center for the Philadelphia Eagles. His younger brother, Travis, is the All-Pro tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. There is talk that their mother, Donna, will do the opening coin toss.

      This Cleveland.com article traces the brothers’ development as football players on the Cleveland Heights squad. The brothers also have a podcast that’s getting a lot of publicity this week. It’s called “New Heights.” This episode features the pairs’ parents.

  20. Lunker Walleye

    DNC dethroning Iowa.

    Hooray. Especially if they are going to *family blog* the favorite candidate like they have so recently done. Now we don’t have to put up with everything that goes along with the circus. The IA D’s will probably spend most of their time bickering about how to get back to the number 1 position rather than doing something constructive.

      1. Lunker Walleye

        Yes, and I would also say “east”, as in to the “right”. Dad, who was a moderate R would now be a liberal D.

        1. flora

          an aside: anyone noticed one of the newer US 5¢ coins, the nickel, with Jefferson looking to the right, to the East…toward then aristocratic England and Europe on a map, instead of the earlier nickel coin engraving of Jefferson looking (left) West toward the US continental western land mass? Not that I’m sayin’ anything here. (Then there’s the slightly older change in the reverse on the nickel that has the buffalo image, symbol of the great western expanse, changed from facing west (left) to facing east (right). Thank you Ronald Reagan admin.) / oy

          1. The Rev Kev

            I seem to recall how during the Bush regime that the Republicans wanted to get rid of George Washington’s mug off some US currency and put in Ronald Reagan’s mug instead. That was kinda – weird.

            1. flora

              You’d think symbol manipulators would at least understand the generally accepted US history. (Washington had no party affiliation and warned against “factionalism” in one of his speeches.) / ;)

              1. The Rev Kev

                You would ordinarily think so but I think that there is an effort to downgrade the importance and study of history as part of the atomization of the individual. So if a Gen X for example was never really taught much about history, they would accept things as they are while a baby boomer would know how much conditions have been degraded since the 1970s through personal experience

                1. flora

                  Thank you. As I’ve quoted so often before:

                  “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

                  ― George Santayana,

              1. flora

                Yep. No recognition at all of The March of Dimes public funding effort for polio research, aid , and eradication or for FDR’s effort there or his own disability. / oy

                (I still remember my church youth group canvasing door-to-door for dimes for the March of Dimes back in the day. Almost everyone, even the elderly ladies on spare incomes, carefully snapping open the small leather coin purses, would find a dime for us canvassers. They knew it was a good cause that they could contribute to, it was only a dime and they could afford that.)

                1. flora

                  adding, and going on too long: The March of Dimes began as a fund raising effort to combat polio – or infantile paralysis as it was then known. The March of Dimes is still active doing important work in infant disability and health.

                  Back when my youth group was canvassing for a dime , it was nothing to see a man or women who was doing moderately/fairly well to give a dime without a second thought. To see a financially struggling family man or woman, or an elderly person of stretched means give a dime was an education in community caring and generosity I’ve never forgotten.

                  OK, I’ll stop now.

          2. flora

            adding: Pres Thomas Jefferson made the Lousiana Purchase of what is now the central US from France, and also financed the Lewis and Clark expedition of the Missouri River expanse after the purchase.


            But sure, lets have Jefferson and the buffalo changed from facing West (lest) to facing East (to the right) on the nickel. Can you say “historically ignorant” boys and girls? I think you can. / ;)

  21. Huey Long

    RE: SEIU Firings

    It’s embarrassing being a part of the labor movement these days.

    Workers are out there organizing at ginourmous employers like Amazon and Starbucks independently of establishment unions so you’d think that maybe these unions would like, you know, stand up, take notice, bolster the organizer ranks, recruit some salts, etc.

    No of course not. What do they do instead? Fire the organizers.

    That’s what happens when you have a bunch of career quasi-professional Trumka-types in charge instead of rank-and-filers. Union staffers seem to be a class unto themselves, a class aligned solidly with the PMC.

    1. albrt

      Former union organizer here. Trumka is actually decent compared to most of the younger, up-and-coming leadership.

      1. Late Introvert

        I would like them to run on the same ticket against Trump. That is what America deserves in 2024, sorry.

  22. Louis Fyne

    With Dr. Ely’s Covid thread added so late (or maybe I just missed it), it should be reposted again,or have its own article.

    The studies that he cites are amazing, in a horriffic way.

    the media is generally treating Long Covid as a tolerable nuisance when it is more like health version of 9/11, just without the obvious body count

    1. albrt

      Don’t the democrats always abandon their supporters? I thought that was fundamental to the definition of a democrat.

  23. fresno dan

    Speaking of nostalgia – I went to the mall today to get a new battery for my digital watch. There used to be several kiosks that would perform this service for a few dollars. There weren’t any now. There were several jewlerly shops, and I asked them – the few that did, did so only for watch brands that they sold. My cheap internet watch was not one of them, and it would be at a price higher than the cost of the watch.
    So if I want to wear a watch, I have to either buy a new watch off the internet or buy a much more expensive watch….a Rolex would be nice
    of course, my wife tells me if I would carry my phone I wouldn’t need to wear a watch…
    I spent 66 years not carrying a phone and I don’t want to start now.

    1. agent ranger smith

      In my town there is still an old-style watch and jewelry store which will re-battery my battery-fed dial-face watch. It’s an “Eclipse” brand which I bought for $5.00 at a consignment store.

  24. Jason Boxman


    Jolley said the best protection and prevention against long COVID is getting fully vaccinated, including the latest booster. “We know that vaccination lessens the risk of long COVID, lessens the severity of initial disease,” she said, noting the lagging number of people getting the omicron booster in Colorado. Currently, only about a quarter of eligible people in the state have received the omicron booster, according to the state’s vaccine dashboard, far below the uptake for the initial series of vaccines.

    That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard in my f**king life. The shots provide an incredibly modest, minor reduction in long-COVID outcomes, from what I’ve seen. The best protection and prevention is to not breath unsafe air! These people are functionally stupid. And giving out deadly advice.

  25. MichaelC

    Thanks for sharing that insightful baseline painting.
    I especially liked that odd over the doorway transom that throws the rest of the composition slightly off kilter, as you so often do with your take on events.
    The colors in that space are also exceptional, in that they’re of a hue that at first glance appear to be to a New England Yankee standard, yet not quite.
    Agree , the dog should have been let out before the painting was finished.

    1. Janie

      I like the dog. A living creature makes a scene come alive – a couple of birds in a seascape, a cat by a door, a cow in the field.

      1. MichaelC

        Oh my, I meant ‘slightly off kilter’ as a compliment, as the artist’s perspective transformed a normally standard rectangular feature into something else, which made the painting more interesting to me.
        As you often do with your work.

        Apologies for any misunderstanding.

  26. griffen

    I get some low dopamine gratification from the constant prattle off the Twitter, especially that from the official POTUS account. The replies are instantly fun! Fighting for your chance to work a few gig jobs. Fighting for your chance to enjoy a bare minimum of health and wellness benefits. And maybe enjoy a wage increase that still pales against a 6% to 8% annual inflation rate. Great job from Joe.

    In honesty, this recent unemployment report seems far too much a “green shoots” like anecdote for my taste. If memory serves, green shoots were all the rage from Bernanke and the 44th Presidential administration some 10 to 12 years ago. During the magically “jobless economic recovery” that last a good while post 2009. Fun times.

    1. griffen

      So I’m going into the latest payroll report, and gleaned the numbers below from it. Kind of an odd number I pulled about government employment increased partly because university workers returned from a strike. Strange optics that one.

      Average hourly earnings increase, 4.4% from a year ago ( January numbers, February report )
      Average hourly earnings increase, 4.6% from a year ago ( December numbers, January report )

      Plus I found the handy chart with the news release below.

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