By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Bird Song of the Day
American Robin, Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge; Deadman Lake, Alaska, United States. “Song.” Spring approaches.
“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
“Crisis Pregnancy Centers Like Problem Pregnancy Disguise Anti-Abortion Stance With Pro-Choice Messaging” [Teen Vogue]. “Google ‘pregnancy services Worcester MA’ and on the first page you’ll find a link to the website for a place called Problem Pregnancy. It may even be the first result. On its homepage, you’ll find a seemingly inviting message: ‘Unplanned pregnancy? The choice is yours. We can help you navigate your pregnancy decision.’ But this messaging is vastly different from the organization’s roots. Even in Massachusetts, where abortion is a protected right, access in the past was far from the settled business we perceive it to be today. Problem Pregnancy is a crisis pregnancy center — the anti-abortion movement’s answer to Planned Parenthood clinics and other abortion-providers. Crisis pregnancy centers, which currently outnumber abortion clinics more than three to one, are places that may be perceived as medical clinics. While some do offer medical-seeming care, they are heavily focused on discouraging abortion, and may not give patients medically-accepted information about their sexual and reproductive health. According to Planned Parenthood, many of these centers are not legitimate medical clinics. Problem Pregnancy is not listed as a licensed medical clinic in Massachusetts.”
“DHS has a program gathering domestic intelligence — and virtually no one knows about it” [Politico]. “For years, the Department of Homeland Security has run a virtually unknown program gathering domestic intelligence, one of many revelations in a wide-ranging tranche of internal documents reviewed by POLITICO. Those documents also reveal that a significant number of employees in DHS’s intelligence office have raised concerns that the work they are doing could be illegal. Under the domestic-intelligence program, officials are allowed to seek interviews with just about anyone in the United States. …. The inner workings of the program — called the ‘Overt Human Intelligence Collection Program’ — are described in the large tranche of internal documents POLITICO reviewed from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis. Those documents and additional interviews revealed widespread internal concerns about legally questionable tactics and political pressure. The documents also show that people working there fear punishment if they speak out about mismanagement and abuses. One unnamed employee — quoted in an April 2021 document — said leadership of I&A’s Office of Regional Intelligence “is ‘shady’ and ‘runs like a corrupt government.'” • Do tell. How much you wanna bet that the Democrat response will be to point to 1/6 and expand the program?
“Biden reelection bid faces resistance from some Democrats” [Associated Press]. “Steve Shurtleff was at Joe Biden’s side in 2019 when he filed papers in the New Hampshire State House to run for president. He repeatedly trekked across the state with Biden to court primary voters. And when Biden ultimately won the presidency, it was Shurtleff, then the Democratic state House speaker, who proudly sealed the envelope that carried New Hampshire’s four electoral votes — including his own name — to the U.S. Senate. But on the eve of a new election season, Shurtleff, like a majority of Democrats across the country, feels that one term is enough. ‘In my heart of hearts, no,’ Shurtleff said when asked if he wants Biden to run again. ‘I think a lot of people just don’t want to say it.’ Democrats across New Hampshire are upset with the Democratic president for trying to end the state’s status as home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. But their concerns about Biden run much deeper, in line with a majority of Democratic voters nationwide, who question the 80-year-old president’s plans to soon launch his reelection campaign. Just 37% of Democrats nationwide want the president to seek a second term, according to a poll released last month by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That was down from 52% in the weeks before last year’s midterm elections.”
Marianne Williamson asks for my vote:
"Why do you want to be president?" pic.twitter.com/GGPOSSD1im
— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) March 5, 2023
“Newsom shouldn’t run for president, California voters say” [Politico]. “Seven out of 10 said they would not like to see him make a bid for the White House in the next election, per a new Quinnipiac University poll of registered California voters. Even a majority of Democrats (54 percent) still say he shouldn’t run next year. ‘A resounding thumbs down from the home team as California voters tell the governor: if you have designs on the big job beyond Sacramento, we’re not on board,’ said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy. The poll didn’t ask voters to give a reason for their decision, but we have a few ideas as 2024 starts to come into focus. First, President Joe Biden’s stock is up…. Furthermore, a 2024 bid for Newsom would mean he’d have to abandon his job halfway through a second term. Of course, there’s always the chance that some voters just don’t like Newsom, and don’t see him as presidential material. The polling on that front, however, isn’t conclusive. The same Quinnipiac poll gave the governor a 44 percent approval rating among California voters. A separate poll, from the U.C. Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, reported 54 percent approval for the gov — the highest among six of the top California politicians.”
“The Democrats’ SOS Candidate Keeps His Options Open” [New York Times]. “Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois sat comfortably in an office board room high above the Loop on Monday and halfheartedly batted away the notion that he was preparing a run for the White House. The billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune may be seen by some Democrats as the “in case of emergency break glass” candidate, one of the few prominent politicians who could stand up a White House run at a moment’s notice. …. Politicians hate hypotheticals, or say they do to dodge questions, but if Mr. Biden cannot or will not run, the Democratic Party would have 3.6 billion reasons — Forbes’s most recent estimate of Mr. Pritzker’s net worth — to turn to the Illinois governor…. And while Mr. DeSantis has created a conservative bastion in Florida over the wishes of millions in his diverse state, Mr. Pritzker’s policies have rankled much of Illinois beyond Chicagoland. Under his leadership, the legislature has approved a $15 minimum wage, legalized recreational cannabis, ended cash bail, guaranteed access to abortions and gender-affirming care and banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines…. [Pritzker] is open about his political ambitions. He is not the Illinois Democratic Party’s chairman, but he sees himself as its head and his political organization as its muscle. His money travels well beyond the state lines, but with strings attached. He intends to shape the party in his image.”
“The Billionaire Family Pushing Synthetic Sex Identities (SSI)” [The Tablet]. From 2022, still germane: “One of the most powerful yet unremarked-upon drivers of our current wars over definitions of gender is a concerted push by members of one of the richest families in the United States to transition Americans from a dimorphic definition of sex to the broad acceptance and propagation of synthetic sex identities (SSI). Over the past decade, the Pritzkers of Illinois, who helped put Barack Obama in the White House and include among their number former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, current Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and philanthropist Jennifer Pritzker, appear to have used a family philanthropic apparatus to drive an ideology and practice of disembodiment into our medical, legal, cultural, and educational institutions…. The creation and normalization of SSI speaks much more directly to what is happening in American culture, and elsewhere, under an umbrella of human rights. With the introduction of SSI, the current incarnation of the LGBTQ+ network—as distinct from the prior movement that fought for equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, and which ended in 2020 with Bostock v. Clayton County, finding that LGBTQ+ is a protected class for discrimination purposes—is working closely with the techno-medical complex, big banks, international law firms, pharma giants, and corporate power to solidify the idea that humans are not a sexually dimorphic species—which contradicts reality and the fundamental premises not only of “traditional” religions but of the gay and lesbian civil rights movements and much of the feminist movement, for which sexual dimorphism and resulting gender differences are foundational premises. Through investments in the techno-medical complex, where new highly medicalized sex identities are being conjured, Pritzkers and other elite donors are attempting to normalize the idea that human reproductive sex exists on a spectrum.” • Like I’ve been saying, 2024 is going to be ugly.
Trump asks for my vote (1):
Trump: “I will totally obliterate the deep state.”
Crowd goes wild. Many Americans now understand the enemy isn’t Russia or China. The enemy is the US deep state oligarchy that weaponizes intelligence services, bribes politicians and controls the media.pic.twitter.com/t8UluiBi2t
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) March 5, 2023
I don’t know if he will, or is able to… but this is a bell — a firebell in the night, if you will — that, once rung, cannot be unrung. I know Trump has his own plane, not a small one, and I hope he knows his mechanics and pilots personally (and none of them have suddenly acquired any expensive toys from unknown sources).
Trump asks for my vote (2):
Trump: "The Republican Party was ruled by freaks, neocons, open border zealots and fools. We're never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush." pic.twitter.com/tA4h6lgExj
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 4, 2023
“Trump will stay in 2024 presidential race even if indicted, tells CPAC crowd: ‘I am your retribution'” [ABC]. • I’d love to see Trump running from jail. I think he’d win.
“Trump wins CPAC straw poll as Republican 2024 frontrunner in a landslide” [New York Post]. “Trump was the preferred candidate of 62% of attendees who voted in the right-wing confab’s annual poll. As he has in past years, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in second place with 20% percent support. Two other declared GOP candidates, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, garnered 3 and 1 percent of the vote respectively — and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson, who ran a Super Bowl ad for his long-shot campaign for the GOP nomination came in third with 5% of the vote.” • CPAC is not the CPAC is was during its glory days; OTOH, maybe those who stayed away did so because they knew Trump would thrash them?
Trump doing what he does best:
NEW: Trump is spending days at Mar-a-Lago golfing, bemoaning 2020 elex, his lack of cable news coverage + workshopping nicknames for DeSantis ('Tiny D' has come up).
But w/GOP field potentially large + DeSantis untested, he could be nominee again: https://t.co/gc7WSzOiFB
— Nancy Cook (@nancook) March 4, 2023
“Tiny D” works for me!
“CPAC 2023: Conservative conference suffers from low attendance and lack of sponsors” [Washington Examiner]. “The Conservative Political Action Conference’s return to the nation’s capital has proved to be less than triumphant, with the mainstay political conference suffering from lower attendance and fewer high-profile sponsors. The conference, once a mandatory stop for aspiring Republican presidential candidates, saw several notable Republicans such as former Vice President Mike Pence, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), and numerous other governors skip the high-profile convention. Meanwhile, longtime attendees noted a sea-change in the number of attendees and sponsors. Vickie Froehlich, an attendee who said she had attended the conference multiple times, noted the lower attendance and said the absence of Fox News in the media hub and the exhibit hall likely contributed to the event’s inability to draw presidential aspirants. ‘It’s been a huge difference that Fox is not here,’ Froehlich said. ‘Fox helped get the candidates out here to be interviewed, so it’s noticeable to me that they’re not here.’ Several other attendees the Washington Examiner spoke to similarly noted the smaller crowd. The absence of high-profile attendees was exacerbated by the Club for Growth’s donor retreat, which is drawing many of the notable figures who skipped out on CPAC. And further complicating the conference’s image are sexual assault accusations leveled against its Chairman Matt Schlapp by a former male staffer of Herschel Walker’s Georgia senate campaign. Schlapp has denied the allegation.” • Hmm. FOX. What’s up with FOX?
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!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“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 trope of liberal timidity or “spinelessness” has been around since I started blogging in [sighs wearily] 2003:
Liberal timidity is one of the biggest, most consistent problems I’ve seen in American politics for nearly three decades of personal observation, and the historical record is even longer. The right is willing to fight and fight dirty. We haven’t stepped up.
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) March 6, 2023
But I don’t think Willis, a Democrat partisan, is being fair to his Party. Just look at the achievements! Obama normalized torture, domestic surveillance, and kept Gitmo open. He also brought back the FIRE sector, just like it was before, after the Great Crash. And Biden has not only destroyed public health as an idea, he’s slaughtered 700,000+ people with his policy of mass infection without mitigation, without causing any riots or, indeed, any political reaction at all. And that’s before we get to Biden fomenting war with two nuclear powers at the same time! These are not the achievements of timid people!
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Political and Social Drivers of COVID-19 Prevention and Climate Change Behaviors and Attitudes” [Climate]. “The measures of COVID-19 skepticism, antipathy toward political correctness, the belief that COVID-19 vaccination should be a personal choice, vaccine hesitancy, COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs, the proportion of Republicans in one’s social network, and antipathy to Democrats were all strongly positively correlated with each other, and all were negatively correlated with concerns about climate change. Although the associations were attenuated when controlling for political orientation, all correlations remained statistically significant, which suggests that these associations are not simply a result of political ideological orientation. These correlated factors can be viewed as reflections of a hegemony that centers on individualism and reinforces distrust of governmental institutions . These factors are not only aspects of people’s political ideologies; they also influence ideas about how society should function (i.e., individualistic or communitarian), the sources of information to which people are exposed, and the type of people with whom they interact. Aligning with Gramsci’s work, these findings suggest that acceptance of particular ideas around skepticism, conspiracy beliefs, individualism, and political conservativism may reflect hegemonic ideologies in the United States that influences both COVID-19 and climate change attitudes and behavior.” • Which all sounds great, until you look at what liberal Democrats actually did; Biden’s policy of mass infection without mitigation is completely compatible with the Great Barrington Declaration, the worst of the worst, and relentlessly platformed by the so-called liberal media.
“The New Anarchy” [The Atlantic]. “What happened in Portland, like what happened in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, was a concentrated manifestation of the political violence that is all around us now. By political violence, I mean acts of violence intended to achieve political goals, whether driven by ideological vision or by delusions and hatred. More Americans are bringing weapons to political protests. Openly white-supremacist activity rose more than twelvefold from 2017 to 2021. Political aggression today is often expressed in the violent rhetoric of war. People build their political identities not around shared values but around a hatred for their foes, a phenomenon known as “negative partisanship.” A growing number of elected officials face harassment and death threats, causing many to leave politics. By nearly every measure, political violence is seen as more acceptable today than it was five years ago. A 2022 UC Davis poll found that one in five Americans believes political violence would be “at least sometimes” justified, and one in 10 believes it would be justified if it meant returning Trump to the presidency. Officials at the highest levels of the military and in the White House believe that the United States will see an increase in violent attacks as the 2024 presidential election draws nearer.” • Hmm. See on DHS under “Biden Administration”; I can see this article circulating there. I’m interested in what readers think of this. What I notice is that “social murder” is, apparently, not a category of “political violence.”
“A Random Group of People Could Solve Seattle’s Problems Better Than Its Politicians” [The Stranger]. “Seattle voters are staring down the barrel of a big shake-up on the City Council. But does anyone believe that a new group of inevitably self-promoting individuals, each scheming against the others to try to win the empty seats, can deliver the solutions the city needs? As a former journalist and Congressional staffer who’s had a close view of the electoral machinery, I’d like to propose a novel solution: Take Seattle’s political class out of the equation. And, as a corollary, no more hand-wringing from citizens about whoever they voted for not fixing everything for them. What do I mean by this? While ranked-choice voting might be a modest improvement on the existing system, there’s a deeper, truer form of democracy that we should consider, one that is rapidly gaining traction in Europe and elsewhere. While some might try to cast this proposal as a radical change, it’s really a return to democracy’s roots. Among its greatest strengths is that it is extremely easy for anyone to understand. It guarantees interest groups cannot secretly influence outcomes; it contains no bickering politicians or parties; it does not favor the telegenic, rich, well-connected, or highly-educated. Votes cannot be bought or sold, and big piles of campaign cash have no place in it. The potential for corruption is massively reduced. If this sounds too good to be true… well, it isn’t. The idea is called a Citizens’ Assembly—also known in political theory as sortition, democracy by lottery, or deliberative democracy. Citizens are chosen by stratified random selection, creating a miniature representative sample of our society without bias or favor, to rotate into lawmaking bodies, in much the same way as they are selected for juries in our court system. We are given the chance to represent others, and to be represented in turn. It is democracy by your peers—and if selected by chance—by you. In fact, this is what ‘democracy’ actually is.” • Intriguing, but I’d need to be shown it scales. Vermont town meetings are pretty great, but Vermont towns are small towns in a small state.
• Readers, thanks for the push. We are now up to 38/50 states (76%). Could those of you in states not listed help out by either with dashboard/wastewater links, or ruling your state out definitively? Thank you! (I think I have caught up with everybody I missed.)
Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); 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); MN (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (
wastewater); WY ( wastewater).
Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).
Hat tips to helpful readers: Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, Joe, John, JM (6), JW, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, otisyves, Petal (5), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (4), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3). (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 28 38/50 (76% 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
Lambert here: Everybody knows the word Schadenfreude; joy in another’s misfortune (for which neoliberalism provides many occasions). But why don’t we have the word Freudefreude? Joy in another’s joy? Assuming that’s proper German, of course.
“Do You Have Coronaphobiaphobia? Ask Your Doctor if Notmybizumab is Right for You.” [Science-based Medicine]:
Are you a doctor who has written multiple articles saying “now is the time to stop living in fear?” Did you say cautious people were not “truly not actually living right now“, months before anyone had been vaccinated? Are you engulfed with white hot rage by the handful of people who still wear masks in crowds? Have you relentlessly mocked them on your podcasts and Twitter feed? Have you called them “idiots“, “STUPID“, a “bunch of fools” “total morons” “delusional” and “off their rocker“? Did you mercilessly shame anyone who wanted a booster just weeks before the Omicron variant ripped through the population? Do you actively encourage strangers, whose lives you know nothing about, to repeatedly expose themselves to a new, mutating virus with unknown long-term consequences? Do people who are still trying to avoid SARS-CoV-2 remind you the pandemic didn’t end in 2021 as you said it would? Have you coined new terms to stigmatize anyone who doesn’t want to repeatedly get sick with COVID for the rest of their lives?
If so, you may have coronaphobiaphobia, an inexplicable fear of and inappropriate obsession with total strangers who want to avoid COVID.
Notmybizumab™ can help you adjust to a painful, challenging world where people you’ll never meet don’t want to get COVID over and over again. Doctors who take notmybizumab™ are 75% less likely to meltdown after seeing a stranger with a mask, and they are 87% less likely to berate them on social media. Even though society has adopted 100% of your preferred COVID policies, hearing about someone who is still trying to avoid the virus may make you feel as if all your podcasts and YouTube videos were for naught. Notmybizumab™ will allow you to finally relax! You’re free to get COVID as many times as you want, and unvaccinated children are still getting really sick with COVID exactly as you intended.
* * *
Finding like-minded people on (sorry) Facebook:
Thought I'd add this here in case anyone is interested. Places to find people who "Still Covid" in your area & online: https://t.co/T4ND4XbrpF & https://t.co/sP5wq4fAw5 You can also search on FB "Still Coviding ____" & see if there's a specific group on your area.
— Adriel Rose (@adriel_rose) March 1, 2023
“Covid Meetups” [COVID MEETUPS (JM)]. “A free service to find individuals, families and local businesses/services who take COVID precautions in your area.” • I played around with it some. It seems to be Facebook-driven, sadly, but you can use the Directory without logging in. I get rational hits from the U.S., but not from London, UK, FWIW.
Covid Is Airborne
This ad is from Australia. Has anyone seen the equivalent in the United States?
Double page ad in today’s newspaper for air purifiers. All about removing pollens, pet hairs, odours and other gases, smoke, dust. No mention of removal of viruses, let alone COVID #DiseaseThatMustNotBeNamed pic.twitter.com/6XWvJAXfW6
— Prof Deborah Lupton MPH PhD (@DALupton) March 4, 2023
“Opinion In a crowded place, a face mask or respirator keeps the virus away” [Editorial Board (!), WaPo]. Amazingly, WaPo attacks the piece-of-garbage Cochrane study: “But the Cochrane study has been criticized for several big flaws. A commentary published by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota noted that it used the traditional definition of virus transmission through symptomatic coughing or sneezing that spreads larger droplets, and suggests it did not focus sufficiently on the key risks of small-particle, airborne transmission. The Cochrane authors also “incorrectly combined studies where people wore masks or respirators infrequently with those where they were worn all the time,” the commentary points out. There has also been separate criticism [wrong] of a Bangladesh study on masks that comprises more than half the population data in the new trials examined by the Cochrane review. Here is the bottom line: Loose-fitting face masks and surgical masks have a purpose, but when it comes to covid transmission, they are like wearing goggles with holes. Respirators are far superior in a viral pandemic, given what is now clear about airborne particles and the role that asymptomatic infection has played in transmission. Wearing face masks — but especially respirators — in crowded public enclosed spaces with poor ventilation is undoubtedly better than nothing. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that ‘consistently wearing a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings reduces the risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection.’ .” • And WaPo accepts aerosols and airborne transmission! Sure, they accept CDC as an authority, but baby steps.
Greenhalgh’s nuanced position on masks:
Yesterday someone told me what I believe should happen with masks. Apparently I believe that everyone, including small children, should wear them all the time. I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS!!! 1/
— Trisha Greenhalgh (@trishgreenhalgh) March 4, 2023
I have repeatedly argued for a FLEXIBLE approach to public health measures. We should Jack them up when risks are high and wind them back when risks recede. 12/
— Trisha Greenhalgh (@trishgreenhalgh) March 4, 2023
Greenhalgh is fighting the good fight, but I disagree with her on this point. (1), the idea of public health administrators turning the mask knob down to zero and then up to eleven when needed just isn’t going to work, certainly not in the United States, even assuming CDC is acting in good faith (the infamous “Green Map” shows its not). There will always be time lags between the spread of the virus and turning the knobs, and people will suffer and die in those lags. And since a pandemic when it’s getting going exhibits doubling behavior, lags are something you really don’t want. (2) the goal should be a cultural norm: Universal masking, as in most of Asia. A system with public health adminsitrators twiddling knobs won’t do that; in fact, it’s the very reverse of that. A goal of universal masking may seem quixotic now, but it’s going to seem a lot less quixotic when the next respiratory virus rolls along (pandemics every seven years or so). Just make masks the default in 3Cs settings. Simple and easy.
From the The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, some maslk data, stopping in July 2022, sadly:
Imagine somebody looking at this chart in January 2021 and thinking there’s a problem….
Mosquitos keep coming in my house!
Maybe put screens on your open windows.
— cmacs (@Leafer1) March 4, 2023
Everybody knows some mosquitos get past the screens. So why do them at all? And speaking of screen doors:
Next up on Cochrane Reviews, do submarine doors really work? We compiled studies comparing the use of screen doors to airtight doors used for 3 hours and then openned whilst underwater. Results were inconclusive! #ControversyGeneratesClicks
— A Lone Mask (@CdrHBiscuitIII) March 4, 2023
Somebody call a wh-a-a-a-m-bulance:
Again, techs & engineers working in semiconductor cleanrooms wear masks for more hours in a day than anyone on the planet. I used to work 12 hour days 7 days a week on some projects that got behind sched. So the mask thing always gets a good laugh from me.
— Call Me J.R. (@WisdomOfGonzo) March 6, 2023
So much for “herd immunity” (1):
109,480 deaths in Wave 1
104,942 in Wave 2
390,407 in Wave 3
400,996 in Waves 4 and 5
118,072 deaths so far in the forever endemic phase
12,000 new deaths every month going forward pic.twitter.com/VcguNONHoR
— Gregory Travis. Make schools #DavosSafe (@greg_travis) March 4, 2023
“Herd immunity” being, in its own way, another form of “scientific communication.” Sorta like “based on a true story,” except not.
So much for “herd immunity” (2):
There are folks who see this and think "Yay! Decreasing amplitude! On the way to endemic!".
There are others who think "Yikes! That's a helluva high equilibrium level it's heading to, with a whole lot of area under that curve". pic.twitter.com/dymMtdzhQr
— T. Ryan Gregory (@TRyanGregory) March 4, 2023
As readers know, I’m very much “a helluva high equilibrium level” guy. I see it in case counts, positivity, deaths, and in the ER. I might not see it in hospitalization, but there are so many confounders there (like hospitals being bankruptcy-risking death traps, for example).
The damage is cumulative:
“Why it’s so hard to get answers on long Covid” [Vox]. “In the last few months, the first in a series of studies from the Inspire group (Innovative Support for Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infections Registry) have been published, and offer painstakingly collected data aimed at answering big questions about long Covid…. Inspire — a CDC-funded collaboration among eight US academic medical centers — is in many ways better designed than many other long Covid studies…. The Inspire study originated in 2020 as an effort to understand the lived experience and broader impact of Covid-19…. rather than using data gathered from electronic medical records, the study uses data gathered from surveys administered directly to participants. “Electronic health record data is often relatively restricted,” said Michael Gottlieb, an emergency medicine doctor at Rush University who co-led the study. Information about key symptoms is often missing, depending on what questions clinicians asked each patient and what each patient reported to their provider.” Yes, because electronic health record data tracks profit, not health. So it goes. More: “Results the group published in January showed that while more people with Covid developed persistent symptoms if they were infected before the delta variant emerged, it wasn’t because of differences between variants. Rather, it was because of social or demographic factors, like preexisting conditions, hospitalization for Covid, and race and ethnicity. Additionally, they found vaccination was protective against developing long Covid after infection. Researchers had suspected that preexisting conditions and vaccination played into long Covid risk. So this all made sense…. In the January study, people who tested negative for Covid actually had higher rates of severe fatigue three months after testing than people who had Covid. They also experienced many other symptoms — like fever, headache, runny nose, and sore throat — at rates comparable to or higher than Covid-positives. Also confusing were findings detailed in an earlier publication by the study group, which reported poor well-being more often among Covid-negative patients than among people who tested positive — 54 percent compared with 40 percent. What to make of this?”
Another victory for Hospital Infection Control:
Aren’t there enough Hospital-Acquired infections already? For example:
I don’t understand why there haven’t been lawsuits against hospitals who force people to discard protective masks, and replace them with less protective ones:
If you have appointment at Mass General Brigham, you have to, in your online check-in, consent to wear the blue baggie. So I put it over an N95 but it diminishes efficacy & then talk to MD/provider so I can take it off. While waiting , I sometimes take off surgical but dicey.
— Patty Tobin (@email@example.com;https://post.news/ (@PRPAREXCEL) March 4, 2023
Ah, the ol’ argument from authority:
— I Brake 4 Ants (@ibrake4ants) March 4, 2023
Not to trash the exceptional physicians that we know, but the answer to “What do you know that hundreds of doctors don’t?” is “How to protect myself from Covid.”
* * *
Such tender care for the “strong”, “recovering” market; one might almost think it’s a living thing:
Would be great if economists clarified that occupational risk at many low-wage jobs increased considerably. Hundreds of thousands of workers died, millions were disabled, many quit working to avoid risk. This undoubtedly played a role, and is among the worst ways to raise pay. https://t.co/GVIlB72Q95
— wsbgnl (@wsbgnl) March 5, 2023
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!
NOT UPDATED BioBot wastewater data from March 2:
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.
• “COVID call centers and testing sites close in further sign US is moving past the pandemic” [ABC]. The deck: “Several COVID data trackers have also recently shut down.” More; “Hospitalizations and deaths, both of which are traditionally lagging indicators, have also been trending downward. Over the same period, weekly deaths have fallen from 4,448 to 2,407, according to CDC data.” • 2,407 * 52 = 125,164, not worth tracking, so the eugenicists have added another tranche of normalized lethality on top of deaths of despair, etc. Mission accomplished, and only good ol’ Scranton Joe could have done it. I wonder where the next tranche will come from?
☆ NW ☆ Covid Emergency Room Visits
NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from February 25:
NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Anyhow, I added a grey “Fauci line” just to show that Covid wasn’t “over” when they started saying it was, and it’s not over now.
From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, published March 6:
-2.2%. Still high, but at last a distinct downturn.
Death rate (Our World in Data):
Total: 1,146,740 –
1,146,630 = 110 (110 * 365 = 40, 150 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).
Mr. Market: “This Department-Store Stock Has Trounced Apple, Amazon and Tesla” [Wall Street Journal].
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 54 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 60 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 6 at 1:47 PM ET.
Rapture Index: Closes up one on Floods. “It has been very wet in the US” [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!
“Scientists find that people use emojis to hide, as well as show, their feelings” (press release) [NewsWise]. “Liu recruited 1,289 participants, all users of the most-downloaded emoji keyboard in Japan, Simeji, to investigate how emojis were used to express or mask emotions. Previous research had established that people use emojis as functional equivalents of facial expressions, but not the relationships between emotions expressed and experienced. This is when display rules can prove problematic: if the dissonance between the emotions that you experience and the emotions that you can express is too great, emotional exhaustion can develop, although members of different cultures experience this differently…. Liu found that people chose to express more emotions with emojis in private contexts or with close friends. Respondents expressed least emotion towards higher-status individuals. Intense expressions of emotion came with matching emojis, unless people felt the need to mask their true emotions: for instance, using smiling emojis to mask negative emotions. Negative emojis were used only where negative feelings were very strongly felt. Expressing emotions with emojis was associated with higher subjective wellbeing compared to masking emotions. ‘With online socializing becoming ever more prevalent, it is important to consider whether it is causing us to become more detached from our true emotions,’ said Liu. ‘Do people require a ‘shelter’ to express their genuine emotions, and is it possible to break free from pretense and share our true selves in online settings?'” • Hmm. Lot of assumptions there.
Here is a Van Gogh I have never seen:
Vincent van Gogh – (1853 -1890) – A Road in Auvers after the Rain, 1890 pic.twitter.com/rbFDX2w4Nk
— Olga Tuleninova 🦋 (@olgatuleninova) March 5, 2023
Vincent van Gogh – (1853 -1890) pic.twitter.com/cDle4wPddP
— Olga Tuleninova 🦋 (@olgatuleninova) March 5, 2023
I really like the first one, the way the patchwork fields seem to be trying to align themselves with each other, but not quite succeeding. It’s nice to look at a Van Gogh as a painting, as opposed to “a Van Gogh.”
“Of Innocence and of Experience” [TANK Magazine]. “I’m now a writer publicly associated with ‘family abolition,’ a centuries-old anti-capitalist idea that aims to create a grass- roots-led deprivatisation of care, childcare and education.” • There are some details to address, however.
Bourdieu sighting in the wild:
the real answer is sociological. as Bourdieu pointed out, standards for "good taste" were set by upper-crust elites in the early to mid-20th century, and this is simply the knot they used. wearing a fat knot marked you as a rube.
— derek guy (@dieworkwear) March 5, 2023
News of the Wired
one thing i'm working on is remembering how to be playful- and as Bateson said, play is the message that "this is safe" if you are creating a meta-context of safety then you are playful. and generating that safety is like the single most powerful step we can take to support.
— BUILD SOIL; Plant Chestnuts! (@BuildSoil) March 6, 2023
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