2:00PM Water Cooler 4/19/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

More soon! –lamnbert

Bird Song of the Day

Hermit Thrush, 1118 S Coyote Trail, Woodland Park US-CO 38.98781, -105.10087, Teller, Colorado, United States.

* * *


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


“Biden’s the favorite for reelection despite bad polls. How come?” [Los Angeles Times]. “Sometime soon, perhaps as early as next week, President Biden will officially announce what’s been clear for months: He’s running for reelection. Only slightly more than 4 in 10 Americans approve of the job he’s doing — a number that basically hasn’t changed since early September — yet there’s strong reason to think he’s currently favored to win a second term. That might seem like a contradiction: How can he be the favorite when a majority of the public thinks he’s not doing a good job? The answers tell us a couple of important things about American politics today…. That’s one reason Biden remains the favorite: Presidents who have lost reelection bids mostly faced serious nomination challenge. Trump, of course, did not have a nomination challenge. Like President Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression, he lost during an extraordinary national trauma that many voters thought he worsened. Biden has neither liability.” • Trump, in my view, actually did a Good Thing for once in his life with Operation Warp Speed. But his base won’t let him run on it (even if it would totally own the libs). Biden, on the other hand, slaughtered 700,000 people after having squandered “the tool” Trump gave him. But in Biden’s base, denial reigns, and Covid is over.

“Rich GOP Donors Want a Trump Alternative. DeSantis Has Them Worried” [Bloomberg]. Somebody call a wh-a-a-a-m-bulance! “Just a few months ago, DeSantis loomed as a Trumpslayer — a conservative culture-warrior who had nonetheless won over independent voters in his landslide re-election, with none of the baggage of the former president…. But a series of missteps since the start of the year have given some big donors pause. DeSantis has stumbled with his position on the war in Ukraine, continues to battle the Walt Disney Co. — one of Florida’s most important employers — over his education policies and made a clumsy attack on Trump for allegedly paying hush money to a porn star. The former president, meanwhile, used his indictment by Manhattan’s Democratic district attorney for the alleged hush-money payments to rally the party around him, juicing both his polls and his fundraising. … DeSantis has yet to officially enter the race, and his political allies have only just begun efforts to undermine Trump’s popularity among Republican voters. Nevertheless, there is a sense among some large GOP donors that the Florida governor has already peaked, and that he doesn’t have whatever it takes to knock off Trump, who has effectively dominated Republican politics for a decade.” • Bigger lifts in his shoes?

“DeSantis Meets With Republicans on Capitol Hill, to a Lukewarm Response” [New York Times]. “[DeSantis’] journey to Capitol Hill failed to spark much momentum in his expected presidential bid among Republicans in Congress, an important group for White House aspirants. Representative Dan Meuser, who attended the gathering of about 100 people and who remains undecided in the race, left with the impression that Mr. DeSantis was close to announcing. ‘It’s a big decision,’ he said. ‘It’s up to him.’ And another attendee, Representative Dan Crenshaw of Texas, said, ‘I’m staying out of it.’ Representative Lance Gooden of Texas, meanwhile, sent out a statement endorsing Donald J. Trump — during Mr. DeSantis’s event.”

“Ron DeSantis Ends Disney Feud After Being Given Guest Role On ‘The Mandalorian'” [The Onion]. “‘I couldn’t be more excited to let bygones be bygones and announce my one-episode stint as Imperial Moff Rego Thalcyon,’ DeSantis said of the guest appearance, which consists solely of him delivering the line ‘Yes, most acceptable’ with his arms crossed behind his back as he dispatches an imperial guard to attack a gang of intruders.”

“EXCLUSIVE: Prominent DeSantis ally who shot himself dead last year was under investigation for using sold out Taylor Swift tickets to lure teen to his office and show him her breasts – then trying to buy family’s silence” [Daily Mail]. “Stermon was an immensely powerful behind-the-scenes figure in DeSantis’s rise, having had a major impact in catapulting him to the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee in 2018. The following year DeSantis appointed his friend to the Board of Governors which is responsible for Florida’s public university system. DeSantis also put him on his transition team and for a while DeSantis rented a condo co-owned by Stermon, according to Politico.” • Yikes. What I want to know: Who planted the story in the Daily Mail?

“Pritzker stirs White House speculation as Chicago gears up for Democratic convention” [The Hill]. “Though the billionaire and his campaign have so far sidestepped questions about his ambitions beyond the governor’s mansion, Democrats in the Prairie State believe the self-described ‘pragmatic progressive’ would be a formidable future White House challenger. ‘He’s got a very progressive agenda, but he’s also fiscally conservative. So I think even his harshest critics have to admit that he’s been a good manager of the state’s taxes,’ said political operative Victor Reyes. Indeed, in less than two years, Illinois has seen seven credit rating upgrades. The latest was an upgrade from S&P Global Ratings, which adjusted the state’s credit rating from a BBB+ credit rating to an A-. Since taking the helm of the blue state in 2019, Pritzker has also enjoyed a slew of legislative wins that’s been aided by a Democratic supermajority in the state legislature. He’s signed legislation to legalize marijuana for recreational use, to raise the minimum wage by 2025 to $15 an hour and, more recently, to help legally shield patients coming from outside of Illinois to receive abortion access. Recent moves by the Illinois Democrat have encouraged speculation about possible presidential aspirations, including travels last year to the early presidential primary state of New Hampshire and Florida, home to at least one White House contender so far — former President Trump.”

“How some WH hopefuls inflate their fundraising success” [Associated Press]. “Getting donors to part with their money is a key measure of viability, especially in the early stages of a White House campaign. Those who raise ample amounts of cash will have the resources to pay for ads, travel and hold events deep into the primary. Those who struggle, or run out of cash, often drop out. Facing such high stakes, candidates often have an incentive to essentially juice their numbers to make themselves appear more competitive than they might be in reality. That’s especially true in the opening phase of the 2024 Republican presidential primary, where contenders are aiming to prove they can raise enough money to pose a threat to Donald Trump, a former president who has a reputation as a prolific fundraiser and is eager to retain his status as the GOP’s dominant figure…. Case in point is Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and onetime United Nations ambassador who became the first major Republican challenger to Trump in February. She avoided disclosing how much her campaign raised in its initial days, bypassing what’s typically an early bragging point for candidates. Notably, her campaign declined to detail her receipts even when her fundraising appeals capitalized on sexist and ageist remarks CNN anchor Don Lemon made about Haley, seeking to turn outrage into sympathetic dollars. But last week, as the deadline loomed to file the first quarterly fundraising reports, Haley’s campaign blasted out a press release touting an $11 million fundraising haul – an impressive number for any candidate in a race that has been dominated by Trump. ‘In just six weeks, Nikki Haley’s massive fundraising and active retail campaigning in early voting states makes her a force to be reckoned with,’ Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney said in a statement. But once her fundraising reports were made public Saturday evening, some of those claims crumbled as it became clear Haley, who started her career as an accountant, and her campaign used a series of accounting gimmicks to artificially inflate her fundraising haul. In reality, she raised just $8.3 million, substantially less than her campaign claimed.”

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

“Fox, Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems reach $787M settlement over false election claims” [Associated Press]. “Fox News agreed Tuesday to pay Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems nearly $800 million to avert a trial in the voting machine company’s lawsuit that would have exposed how the network promoted lies about the 2020 presidential election…. “The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” Dominion lawyer Justin Nelson told reporters outside a Delaware courthouse after Superior Court Judge Eric Davis announced the deal.” • Some lies have consquences, indeed. Others — WMDs, RussiaGate, Ukraine and pro-infection Covid propaganda — obviously do not. (I haven’t given this story any attention because I can’t stand how the effect could be to cement electronic voting machines into our electoral system.)

“An Oklahoma Newspaper’s Secret Recording Prompts Calls for Officials to Resign” [New York Times]. “A small newspaper in rural Oklahoma secretly recorded what it said was an illegal public meeting where a county official talked about hanging Black people and several officials spoke of hiring hit men and digging holes for two of the newspaper’s reporters. Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma said on Monday that four officials in McCurtain County — the sheriff, jail administrator, a sheriff’s department investigator and a county commissioner — should resign. But the sheriff’s office has argued that the recording violated state law because it was made without the consent of at least one of the parties involved. The office also claimed the recording had been ‘altered,’ although it was not clear how. Clips of the recording released on Friday night by the newspaper, The McCurtain Gazette-News, have touched off shock and anger in the county of about 31,000 residents in the southeastern corner of the state, bordering Arkansas and Texas. The Gazette-News, which was founded in 1905 and does not have a website, published a QR code on its front page that linked to transcripts and audio clips of what it said was a long and meandering discussion that took place after a regularly scheduled county commissioners’ meeting on March 6.” • The reporters at the McCurtain Gazette-News has more courage than the spooks and sycophants in the newsrooms, so-called, at the Times and WaPo!


“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

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

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. We are now up to 50/50 states (100%). This is really great! (It occurs to me that there are uses to which this data might be put, beyond helping people with “personal risk assessments” appropriate to their state. For example, thinking pessimistically, we might maintain the list and see which states go dark and when. We might also tabulate the properties of each site and look for differences and commonalities, for example the use of GIS (an exercise in Federalism). I do not that CA remains a little sketchy; it feels a little odd that there’s no statewide site, but I’ve never been able to find one. Also, my working assumption was that each state would have one site. That’s turned out not to be true; see e.g. ID. Trivially, it means I need to punctuate this list properly. Less trivially, there may be more local sites that should be added. NY city in NY state springs to mind, but I’m sure there are others. FL also springs to mind as a special case, because DeSantis will most probably be a Presidental candidate, and IIRC there was some foofra about their state dashboard. Thanks again!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); 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).

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

Hat tips to helpful readers: Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (9), JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, otisyves, Petal (5), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).

* * *

Look for the Helpers

An intervention:

Key point: “[Public health] was ok with an unmasked bus drivers catching #covid19, he was not ok with it.” The driver’s firm was ok with it, too. Of course, personal intervention doesn’t scale, but it’s still a good deed. Let’s save some lives!

“How a rural school teacher became a top COVID sleuth” [Nature]. “In late January, a team of scientists reported an ominous discovery: the widely used COVID-19 drug molnupiravir might be spurring the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants1. Four of the authors work at prominent UK universities. But one has neither attended graduate school nor stepped foot in a research laboratory. The outlier is Ryan Hisner, a school science teacher from rural Monroe, Indiana. He has attracted the attention of prominent virologists from all over the world for his uncanny ability to detect unusual mutations to the SARS-CoV-2 genome — mutations that might be a harbinger of the next variant to sweep the world. Hisner is just one of a motley crew of self-taught ‘community scientists’ from around the globe who spend hours poring through genetic sequences to track SARS-CoV-2’s evolution. Among the ranks include science enthusiasts such as Hisner, retired researchers and anonymous sleuths who go only by their online usernames. Most do this work for no pay. They might be amateurs, but their work is indispensable, says Jesse Bloom, an evolutionary virologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington. SARS-CoV-2 spawns variants at an exceptionally fast pace, leaving scientists such as Bloom scrambling to keep up while managing their research programmes.” • This is wonderful; readers know I stan for citizen science. This is disturbing: Note that as I show here GISAID, Pango, and NextStrain — the entire system of genomic surveillance — is dependent on grad students and volunteers. Here is another example of systemically vital work being done for free. OK, socialism, I guess, but that’s not the system we live under. This is no way to run a railroad….


“Airborne protection for staff is associated with reduced hospital-acquired COVID-19 in English NHS trusts” [Journal of Hospital Infection]. A professional journal published for the Healthcare Infection Society, so presumably an appreciable percentage of the hospital infection control administrators who are gleefully demasking their hospitals have read it, and decided to ignore its findings. From 2022, still germane. From the Abstract: “This study assessed rates of hospital-acquired infection (HAI), comparing NHS hospital trusts using airborne respiratory protection (e.g. FFP3 masks) for all staff, as a marker of measures to reduce airborne spread, with NHS hospital trusts using mainly droplet precautions (e.g. surgical masks). The use of respiratory protective equipment was associated with a 33% reduction in the odds of HAI in the Delta wave, and a 21% reduction in the odds of HAI in the Alpha wave (P<0.00001). It is recommended that all hospitals should prioritize airborne mitigation." • But... what about the smiles?

Fit-testing the Aura. I should probably emphasize more than I do that differently shaped faces require differently shaped masks. Here is a useful tip:

“Dog Shit Politics” [Eschaton]. “I regularly think about how once upon a time no one cleaned up after their dog shit. More than that, suggestions to implement laws requiring it were met with a lot of scorn. People would rather live in a world of dog shit than have someone ask them to clean it up.” • The analogy is obvious.

For example:


“Association of COVID-19 Infection With Incident Diabetes” [JAMA]. N = 629,935. From the Abstract: “In this cohort study, SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with a higher risk of diabetes and may have contributed to a 3% to 5% excess burden of diabetes at a population level.”

“Severe COVID-19 linked with 16-fold risk of life-threatening heart rhythm within 6 months” [European Society of Cardiology]. “Patients with severe COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation are 16 times more likely to develop ventricular tachycardia within six months compared to their peers without severe infection, according to research presented at EHRA 2023, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1 Risks of other heart rhythm disorders were also elevated.” • OK, ventilators are bad. Try to avoid needing one.

“COVID caused 4.6-year drop in NYC life expectancy” [The Journal of Family Practice]. “Life expectancy in New York City fell to 78 years from 2019 to 2020, a 4.6-year drop mostly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, NYC Health said in releasing its annual summary of vital statistics. Non-White demographic groups had the highest drops. Life expectancy fell to 73 years for Black New Yorkers (a 5.5-year drop from 2019) and 77.3 years for Hispanic/Latino New Yorkers (a 6-year drop.) For White New Yorkers life expectancy only fell to 80.1 years (about a 3-year drop.)” • Everything’s going according to plan!

“SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection and Severity of the Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” [Viruses]. From the Abstract: “In this systematic review, we summarize the results of 23 studies addressing SARS-CoV-2 reinfections. A total of 23,231 reinfected patients were included, with pooled estimated reinfection rates ranging from 0.1 to 6.8%…. No significant differences of clinical pattern were observed between primary infection and reinfection. No significant differences in the severity of infection were observed between primary infection and reinfection. Being female, being a patient with comorbidities, lacking anti-nucleocapsid IgG after the first infection, being infected during the Delta and Omicron wave, and being unvaccinated were associated with a higher risk of reinfection.” • Second verse, same as the first!

Science Is Popping

“A ferritin-based COVID-19 nanoparticle vaccine that elicits robust, durable, broad-spectrum neutralizing antisera in non-human primates” [Nature]. “Here, we describe DCFHP, a ferritin-based, protein-nanoparticle vaccine candidate that, when formulated with aluminum hydroxide as the sole adjuvant (DCFHP-alum), elicits potent and durable neutralizing antisera in non-human primates against known VOCs, including Omicron BQ.1, as well as against SARS-CoV-1. Following a booster ~one year after the initial immunization, DCFHP-alum elicits a robust anamnestic response. To enable global accessibility, we generated a cell line that can enable production of thousands of vaccine doses per liter of cell culture and show that DCFHP-alum maintains potency for at least 14 days at temperatures exceeding standard room temperature. DCFHP-alum has potential as a once-yearly (or less frequent) booster vaccine, and as a primary vaccine for pediatric use including in infants.” • Big if true.


Elite Malfeasance

“In-person schooling is essential even during periods of high transmission of COVID-19” [BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine]. “Throughout the pandemic, data suggest significantly lower risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19 among children than adults, although the impact of rare severe cases remains relevant.29.” • Gee, I guess Newton, MA wasted a million bucks protecting Jha and Walensky’s spawn kids with decent ventilation. Bad show! Hilariously, footnote 29, the sole source for the claim, is from China. But kids. The same everywhere, right? This is the sort of article that gives evidence-based medicine, so-called, the bad name it has.

“How Hospitals and Clinics Keep You Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic” [Kaiser Permanente]. “Many hospitals and clinics now are treating people who are infected with COVID-19. So if you’re in the hospital or clinic for any other reason, this may be an unsettling time. It’s common to be concerned about becoming infected with the virus. But hospitals and clinics have policies to prevent the spread of infections. For example, doctors and nurses are trained to wash their hands before they treat you. Health care centers have stepped up these policies now. They are taking further steps to protect their patients. As long as COVID-19 remains a public health problem, things are going to be different when you go to a health care facility. They may have new rules for your safety. These could include having you wear a cloth face cover, meeting you outside the clinic, and having you sit away from others in the waiting room.” • Fomite transmission and cloth masks (er, “face cover,” the horrid non-term of non-art being “face covering). What a farce. Imagine somebody reading this, treating Kaiser as authoritative, and believing they were protected! Hospital Infection Control whacking more patients….

“Cleveland Clinic drops mask mandate, cites dropping COVID cases” [19 News]. Note the picture of “baggy blues,” the most ineffective mask after cloth. Whichever PR genius got baggy blues into all the stock photographs for “mask” instead of N95s really earned a bonus. “If a patient prefers a provider wear a mask, the caregiver will do so, officials say.” Since Covid is airborne, all patient areas should be masked, without exception. Remember how Osterholm got infected during a thirty-second elevator ride? You could get infected while trying to cajole some grinning sawbones into doing the right thing. More: “The release says the hospital will continue to adjust policies to best serve its communities, including requiring masking again in the fall to help limit the spread of influenza and other respiratory viruses.” Which CDC’s green map guarantees, by design, will happen to late to prevent exponential spread.

* * *

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!

Lambert here: I’m getting the feeling that the “something awful” might be a sawtooth pattern — variant after variant — that averages out to a permanently high plateau (with, of course, deeper knowledge of the sequelae “we” have already decided to accept or, rather, to profit from). That will be the operational definition of “living with Covid.” More as I think on this. In addition, I recurated my Twitter feed for my new account, and it may be I’m creating a echo chamber. That said, it seems to me that the knobs on Covid had gone up to 13, partly because science is popping, which demands more gaslighting, and partly because that “Covid is over” bubble maintenance is, I believe, more pundit-intensive than our betters believed it would be.

Case Data

BioBot wastewater data from April 18:

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.


From CDC, April 15, 2023. Here we go again:

Lambert here: CDC has redesigned its chart to combine actual data with NowCast model projections (which readers will recall I refused to use, because CDC’s models have a wretched track record. Worse, the press always quoted the projections, not the model). Because the new chart design makes it clear what’s data and what’s projection (though that “weighted estimate” gives me pause) I’m using it. Looks like XBB.1.16 is rolling right along.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from April 15:

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. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections.


I’m afraid the Walgreen’s positivity tracker has shut down, since it hasn’t updated since April 11, and all without any announcement. It’s as if we’re heading into a storm, and the first thing the captain did was order the sextant, compass, log line, sandglass, and ship’s clock thrown overboard. Then they detached the wheel from the rudder. “We have the tools.” No, we don’t. We have also decided not to know what the job is, even.


NOT UPDATED Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 1,158,347 – 1,158,255 = 92 (92 * 365 = 33,580 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease).

Lambert here: WHO turned off the feed? Odd that Walgreen’s positivity shut down on April 11, and the WHO death count on April 12. Was there a memo I didn’t get?

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED Excess deaths (The Economist), published April 2:

Lambert here: Big jump from the last reading in the “Central Estimate.”

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model. I”m not sure how often this updates, and if it doesn’t, I’ll remove it. (The CDC has an excess estimate too, but since it ran forever with a massive typo in the Legend, I figured nobody was really looking at it, so I got rid it. )

Stats Watch

There are no officials statistics of interest today.

* * *

Mr. Market: “Nurse Shortage Pushes Hospitals Into the Gig Economy” [MarketWatch]. “For a decade, Andrew Beal waited for market conditions to change. With interest rates at rock-bottom levels, year after year, and other small and regional banks taking big risks to generate a little bit of income, Beal mostly did nothing. He sat on his hands while the assets of the bank that he ran decreased over a ten-year period. Then, a year ago, Beal pounced. As the Federal Reserve was about to embark on a rapid series of big rate hikes to fight inflation, the sole owner and chief of Beal Bank, based in Plano, Texas, started buying. He didn’t buy mortgage or Treasury bonds that had for years been popular with regional banks desperate for yield. Instead, Beal bought Treasury inflation-protected securities, mostly with durations of up to three years. He bought a lot of them. By the end of 2022, Beal Bank’s assets had more than quadrupled to $32.6 billion, up from $7.5 billion at the end of 2021. The asset rise made Beal Bank the nation’s 61st biggest bank. Beal has essentially made a massive bet on inflation, buying $21.2 billion of Treasury bonds, Beal Bank’s filings with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation show. Just about all of those bonds are TIPS, says a person familiar with the trade who was not authorized to speak publicly. The massive trade is the latest move by one of the nation’s most successful contrarian investors and provides some insight into what the nation’s richest billionaire banker thinks could be ahead for the U.S. economy. It suggests Beal believes inflation is here to stay for at least several years.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68 Greed (previous close: 65 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 59 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 19 at 1:50 PM ET.

Zeitgeist Watch

“Meet the ‘elite’ couples breeding to save mankind” [The Telegraph]. “The new focus of Babu’s career is a philosophy known as pronatalism, literally meaning pro-birth. Its core tenet is deceptively simple: our future depends on having enough children, and yet life in developed countries has become hostile to this basic biological imperative. Linked to the subcultures of rationalism and ‘effective altruism’ (EA), and bolstered by declining birth rates, it has been gaining currency in Silicon Valley and the wider tech industry – especially its more conservative corners. ‘I’ve been in various text threads with technology entrepreneurs who share that view… there are really smart people that have real concern around this,’ says Ben Lamm, a Texas biotech entrepreneur whose company Colossal is developing artificial wombs and other reproductive tech (or ‘reprotech’) that could boost future fertility.'” • Combine this with eugenics from Covid, and you get a version of replacement theory for tech bros. Nice!

“‘I Hate You, Kathie Lee Gifford!’ Ozempic Users Report Bizarre Dreams” [Wall Street Journal]. “Ozempic and other similar medications are doing more than helping people tighten belts and fit into old outfits. Many users are reporting bizarre, vivid and eerily realistic night visions that bear no resemblance to their past dreams. … The TikTok account ‘ozempicdreams’ posts brief videos of text describing dreams submitted by followers, setting them to music to match the mood. ‘Spent the night at Home Depot ordering new cabinets and appliances for my kitchen. My salesman, Clint Eastwood, helped me pick out everything I would need,’ read one, accompanied by a sped-up version of the song ‘Escapism,’ by the singers Raye and 070 Shake.” • Maybe the same thing has happened before with, say, Sears catalogs in the 1890s. But I doubt it. Doesn’t seem like a healthy development, especially if you believe the dreams perform an important, if unknown, biological functionl.

Our Famously Free Press

“Mehdi Hasan Plagiarized Pro-Spanking Column” [Lee Fang]. Brutal. And correct. Don’t make Lee Fang mad! After the thorough demolition job on plagiarism, Fang gets down to it: “The Hasan July 2010 application letter to the Daily Mail is worth reading in its entirety. There are many other examples of Hasan either using his columns to ingratiate himself with a future employer, or turning the page on his old views the moment they become professionally inconvenient…. When called out on his flaws, Hasan tends to invoke his status as a non-white Muslim immigrant to silence critics, while lashing out at every political opponent as a bigot…. In fact, while Hasan’s parents were Indian immigrants to England, he is far from the marginalized character he plays on television. The son of a doctor and engineer, he was raised in London, and attended Merchant Taylors’ School, an elite prep school that costs as much as £23,600, or roughly $30,000 per year. He went on to receive his college degree from Christ Church at Oxford, which is famous for training the upper echelons of the UK’s banking and political class. Hasan conveniently omits his privileged upbringing when routinely describing himself as ‘a brown, lefty, Muslim immigrant.'” • All I want to know: Why did it take Hasan so long to arrive at MSDNC?

Class Warfare

“Nurse Shortage Pushes Hospitals Into the Gig Economy” [Wall Street Journal]. “Some of the nation’s largest hospital systems including Providence and Advocate Health are using apps similar to ride-hailing technology to attract scarce nurses. An app from ShiftKey lets workers bid for shifts. Another, CareRev, helps hospitals adjust pay to match supply, lowering rates for popular shifts and raising them to entice nurses to work overnight or holidays. The embrace of gig work puts hospitals in more direct competition with the temporary-staffing agencies that siphoned away nurses during the pandemic. The apps help extend hospitals’ labor pool beyond their employees to other local nurses who value the highly flexible schedules of gig work. … ‘We’re still short,’ said Elaine Zemel, business analyst for nursing administration at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, a Los Angeles-area hospital that offered gig workers at one point $106 an hour for a 12-hour intensive-care shift on Easter Sunday. ‘Nurses know that the ball is in their court.’ Many nurses retired or left the field after the pandemic made their jobs far harder [or they got sick. Or died]. Others switched hospitals for jobs with higher pay or more flexible schedules. Nurse employment dropped by more than 100,000 workers between 2020 and 2021, the largest decline in four decades of available data, a study in the journal Health Affairs showed.” • The terrific thing about gig work for nurses is that nurses will tend to work at more hospitals. With masking requirements vanishing, that means one infected nurse has many more opportunities for transmission than they would, if they worked at a single institution. (I believe a similar dynamic operated in nursing homes.)

“Why U.S. vacation policies are so much worse than Europe’s” [CNBC]. “The United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee paid time off. ‘You have entire cultures like France … where pretty much everybody takes August off, and it’s just part of the culture there,’ said Shawn Fremstad, director of law and political economy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. ‘You don’t really see that here in the United States.'” Not exactly, no. More: “Even though a majority of Americans do have some kind of paid time off, nearly half of workers report not using all of those days. About half worry they might fall behind on their work if they take time off, with close to 20% thinking it could hurt their career growth and 16% saying they fear losing their job, according to data from the Pew Research Center. ‘There’s a certain fear we don’t have any legal protections and people have been fired for taking vacation time,’ said John de Graaf, author of the book ‘Take Back Your Time.'”

News of the Wired

“Offline Is Just Online With Extreme Latency” [Jim Nielsen’s Blog]. • Great title!

* * *

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 TH:

TH writes: “Our bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) patch is looking mighty good this year. It’s in a sheltered spot, underneath the pawpaw canopy which is under a giant maple canopy. The blue blossom in lower right is vinca. Next up in the succession planting, bluebells.”

Readers, I’m running a little short on plants. So if you could send me some, that would be great (drop me a line for directions if you are new — and I hope you are!). And isn’t it about time for the first gardening shots to appear? I know it’s six weeks to Memorial Day, but in more temperate climes…

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated:

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. johnherbiehancock

      Don’t want to jinx anything, but I didn’t see the popup just now, and I did this morning.

      I’m on an iphone and didn’t install anything to block it or change any settings. Hopefully that means it’s fixed

        1. s.n.

          getting constant popup “we value your privacy”, which we only saw once a month or so, now
          almost constant, multiple times a day. i’m, in nw euroland if that has any bearing on the matter

    2. ChrisPacific

      Fixed for me as well, apparently, but it seems to have landed in ‘reject all’ mode as I don’t see any ads. Normally I would have no problem with this, but NC is one of the few sites that I’m willing to enable ads for.

      As an aside, I’m losing patience with all the sites that complain about my ‘ad blocker.’ I haven’t used an ad blocker in years. All I’m doing is blocking third party cookies, and preventing you from placing a tracker on my device. You can still show me ads to your heart’s content if you like. How about coming clean and admitting that what you’re really selling is detailed knowledge of my browsing history for ad targeting? Maybe you’re worried everybody would opt out if they knew that’s what you were doing? Instead I get nagged constantly to turn off my nonexistent ad blocker.

      (NB: ‘You’ in the above refers to the ad provider, not NC).

  1. ambrit

    We have gone from “When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed…” on to “No Marigolds in the Promised land…” in less than 110 years, such is the acceleration in the tempo of history.
    Up until roughly 100 years ago, the world was mainly rural. Now, here in the West, it is urban, and much more fragile than before.
    Spin the prayer wheel. Send sweet scents up to heaven. Prepare for the rest of your life.

  2. Carolinian

    Biden has neither liability

    Oh please. The LA Times has no idea what Biden may be up against a year from now. Even assuming he gets past the war mess and the economy mess and the personal corruption mess there’s his mental capacity mess which is getting worse all the time. But I guess political reporters have to write something to justify their salaries.

    The truth is that by nominating Biden the Dems will be doing everything in their power to give Trump a second term. But then maybe that’s what they want–four more years of distraction.

    1. Katty

      No, they don’t want to be in charge when the BidenDepression kicks into full gear and the U.S. quickly loses a war started by Biden.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      The longer the Dems cling to Biden, the less chance there is of an outsider nabbing the nomination. This is important because it’s hard to call it politics when you get indicted by an Attorney General from your own party.

    3. flora

      They have to make the right noises until the estab can settle on a replacement. Newsom? Harris? Buttigieg? Warner? You can bet there’s fierce jockeying behind the scenes in Dem estab-land right now.

      And speaking of Dem estab-land: Krystal and Saagar interviewed Ro Khanna.

      Ro Khanna RESPONDS To Pelosi’s ‘Sexist’ Smear | Breaking Points


        1. chris

          Why would that matter? Feinstein is totally gone and she’s not being asked to step down. Characters like Strom Thurmond and Mo Udall were complete sock puppets and no one complained. Their corpses could probably run for office and get elected. If Biden becomes less mentally capable (a frightening thought) it just means the people who are really in charge will have an easier time. Who knows? With deepfakes being what they are, by 2024, Biden could run the best campaign of his life…

    4. some guy

      What they want most of all is to make sure that no Renew-the-Deal-er ever gets nominated. They are prepared to see Trump or DeSantis or any other Republican win the election rather than allow a Renew-the-Deal-er get the DemPrez nomination and pose a risk of winning the election. After all, if such a person won the election , he/she would be “Party Leaders” and might well move to pump out the septic tank.

      Now . . . if the Dems end up winning the election with Biden or Harris or some other Clintobamacrat, they would feel even better.

      But they’ll take Trump again as the price of No Sanders No Kucinich Never Ever.

      ( Of course since I have seen the Trump Show already, and I don’t want to see it again, I will vote for Biden or Harris or whatever to try raising the chances of defeating Trump or DeSantis or whatever other Republicanon is nominated. Real Change will be pursued through other channels and methods.)

    5. The Rev Kev

      As for the question ‘How can he be the favorite when a majority of the public thinks he’s not doing a good job?’ I would say how did he get the nomination as the Democratic Presidential nominee when he failed so badly during the Debates and even got himself eviscerated by Kamala Harris of all people. The conclusion as to the voters? They don’t get a say.

  3. ambrit

    That piece in the ‘Telegraph’ about the Silicon Valley eugenics program mentions proposed tech eerily similar to Bene Tleilax “Axolotl Tanks,” i.e. “artificial” wombs. What could go wrong? We already have a form of “face dancers.” They’re called Politicos.
    Next up, bought to us by our sponsors at Neo-lib LLC; God Emperor of Doom.

  4. Tom Stone

    I had to go by the eye doctor’s today and the new sign on the door stated that masks were “Strongly encouraged but not required”.
    Of 15 patients I was the only one masked (P100) and of the staff and Doctors 4 out of @ 20 were wearing surgical masks.
    We have more than 15,000,000 Americans who are experiencing “Long Covid” and damaged immune systems, one nasty ‘Flu that would normally make these people seriously ill for a few weeks will now likely Kill or send a LOT of these people to the Hospital where they are likely to pick up an HAI.
    And the nasty little bugger is continuing to mutate in every host…

    1. LawnDart

      Last month I travelled to the North Shore of Chicagoland (staunch PMC and Old Money territory) to take someone in to Evanston Hospital/NorthShore University Health for cancer surgery: 100% masking, and very little of the blue bs.

      An instructer/attorney from the Public Defender’s office once asked me while bumming a cigarette during a smoke break, “you know how you always see those rich old guys in their jogging suits and running shoes shuffling-along all the time and getting exercise? They want to keep living longer so they’ve got time to enjoy their money.”

      They know…

      1. some guy

        Some very effective “peoples propaganda” could be made with cell-phone footage of “those who know” all being very masked up, keeping their own social-class-exclusive spaces very well ventilated, etc. Anyone who is in a position to take such video and spread it around all over social media with the appropriate ” see? They know. . . ” commentary.

        Get the unprotected masses to start saying ” we want what they have. And we know they have it because we see it on the video”.

        1. LawnDart

          Well, I gave the location… it was an overnight/two-night trip for me.

          Any North Side Chicago, Evanston, or North Shore readers up to the task? Enter the parking-garage from Ridge Road or Central– I believe that parking is free for the first half-hour.

          Or take the L (Purple Line) from Howard/Chicago and get off at Central/Evanston walk east (or Linden/Wilmette and walk south a mile).

          Keep in mind, no health-care facility wants to see anyone openly-filming: patient-confideniality, but I’m sure it can be shot while respecting that.

          Guy, I like your thinking.

    2. Lunker Walleye

      This year I’ve had a number of physical therapy appointments, eye surgery, tests and doc appointments and there is NO masking by the clinics. A very few patients masks. I wear the N-95. Maybe I’m just lucky.

    3. antidlc

      Precisely why I cancelled my yearly appointment.

      We are forced to decide whether to risk COVID from checkups and treatments or go without the checkups and treatments.

      I really wish someone would wake me up from this nightmare.

  5. Musashi Matsu

    I wrote to Walgreens and asked if they discontinued their dataset. The good news is that they did not! They have switched to a weekly frequency.

    Here is the exact response: “Thanks for reaching out regarding the COVID Index. There has been a sharp decline in COVID testing activity. For this reason, we are now updating the Index on a weekly basis. We have no plans to discontinue the Index unless we get to a point that there is simply not enough data available, but for now the cadence will be weekly.”

    So – we still have a compass, ship’s clock, etc…. we just are not looking at them as often as before.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Slowly all sources are going dark, in this case by dint of a simple lack of data rather than malevolence. Sigh. Most dangerous year yet.

    2. some guy

      So Walgreens is not an active part of or collaborator with the Jackpot Conspiracy? Maybe we should start switching some of our business to Walgreens and tell them we are doing it to express our gratitude.

      1. JBird4049

        Those in charge can do a lot to manipulate, hide, or even destroy information especially statistical, but I see some really awful spikes in deaths. Just as how some people were slapped out of their complacency or ignorance by the waves of deaths of people that they know, if the 2020 NYC levels of death suddenly hits the entire country, people might get punched out of it.

        With the way our ruling fools are steadily degrading anything related to healthcare, I am thinking that “bring out your dead” Black Death levels of unpleasantness could happen. Even if we are far more knowledgeable in general, and there plenty of places where those deaths only got 10-20-30 percent of the European population instead of combined 50% that seems to be the latest accepted number.

        Just how does anyone hide the horrors of even a 5% death rate? Even 1% over a single month? You can censor the internet much as China has with the Tiananmen Square Massacre, but snail mail, phone calls, and meals are a bit harder. Once people truly, like a physical gut punch, they are being lied to at such a level, it would be bye bye government. Honestly, I could see the government not knowing in time due to the restrictions on both collecting information and in its dissemination.

        I just have to wonder if our foolish elites realize that it is easy for a disease to develop a way to avoid the treatments for it, and to become even more infectious and lethal. The chances of this happening increases the more the disease is uncontrolled. It is called evolution.

        Fudge. They probably think they are special being chosen by the Universe not to die.

  6. Tom Stone

    I saw my first “Biden Era” shoplifter’s at a Safeway yesterday, a pair of teenagers in hoodies and baseball hats.
    The first was holding a basket at waist level which was full of meat, it was so overloaded he was holding it in place with his chin, the second had a 24 pack of drinks on each shoulder and they walked out of the store bold as brass.
    I asked a clerk if it was common and she said “Oh, yeah, 3 or 4 times a day.”.
    There”s no jail time for non violent crime in Sonoma County, so the stores don’t bother to call the cops.

    1. jefemt

      Meat and prepared drinks. The neo-paleo diet?

      You know, with all the food that gets tossed in industrial food America, this may be a balancing workaround. Probably depends on how the accountants treat it. All morality aside (in this day and age…)

      Kids are just emulating the powers that be, adapting the rules to the game they are playing?

    2. Watt4Bob

      My Mom is 89, her youngest brother once told me that he and his 5 other brothers and sisters wouldn’t have had anything to eat if not for my Mom’s big baseball jacket.

      My Mom told me that on her way to work in the late forties, she would pass an empty lot on the south side of Chicago where a family had been living for years, in an abandoned semi trailer.

      All these were the hold-over effects of the Great Depression.

      My point is that the most under-appreciated facet of our current economic reality is the vast, and growing portion of the population living in deep poverty, for whom petty crime is a survival skill.

    3. Kattie

      Safeway? Send over to Bezos’Foods A.K.A AssWhole Foods, they’ll get the advantages of even more apathetic clerks and if they can actually locate something organic, better nutrition.

    4. Lee

      Trader Joe’s has a similar policy. At the store in north Oakland, CA where my friend works there’s a shoplifter with a pit bull who comes in periodically to stock up on high priced tequila. My friend challenged him once and was reprimanded by management.

      1. ambrit

        I am going to have to “shop” at Trader Joe’s more often! [Now to find one within a day’s drive of here.]

        1. MT_Wild

          How long before this becomes a tourist activity?

          Locals could take out of towers on “shopping” expeditions.

    5. ashley

      youre seeing kids stealing food? no you dont.

      corporate greed is going to be fought one way or another. if our politicians work for the corporations then its up to us to fight for us.

      i doubt you give a rats ass about wage theft, far more common than petty theft.

      1. LawnDart

        Are you seriously telling the guy what he didn’t see? You’re putting some wild presumptions and accusations out there, ashley– and getting personal without a reason to do so.

        You gotta point to argue, or you just going to attack the person?

  7. Hepativore

    I think that the reason why Biden will win the primary, is that a lot of people vote “out of habit” for whomever the most prominent Democrat or Republican is. The people that hate Biden the most, tend to be younger, such as Millennials and zoomers, both of which are unlikely to even vote at all, so Biden will simply win the primaries by default.

    There is really no strong like of Biden even among the boomers, but as they tend to get their news from major cable networks or conventional publications, they will never be exposed to any outlet that will be critical of Biden, the job he is doing, his corruption, or his obvious cognitive decline. There are many non-establishment news services that do highlight how much of a disaster the Biden presidency has been, but they might as well be shouting into the void as far as the boomer voting bloc is concerned as they would just dismiss them out of hand as being “not serious” news sources. While Naked Capitalism is both run by, as well as commented on by many boomers, I have a sinking feeling that our community is but a small group of outliers in a sea of neoliberal DNC groupthink.

    I do not mean to tar all boomers with the same brush, just that I am trying to point out that presidential reelection campaigns often win by inertia rather than anything policy-based and many people lack the degree of introspection or wherewithal necessary change their minds when it comes to voting. One glance at the PMCs on Balloon Juice will show what any sort of prospective primary challenger to Biden would be up against in terms of Democratic voter mentality as that is what their party base is mostly like, now.

    1. some guy

      What if all the millenials and zoomers who ” would not vote at all, let alone for Biden” , were to all come out and vote for some vanity Third Party candidate? Their votes would at least be seen and counted in their millions or tens of millions. Would it start anything into motion? Who will know if the experiment is not even run?

      1. Pat

        Since you are talking third party, you mean in the general. No it wouldn’t start any thing in motion we haven’t seen before. There would be more effort discouraging people to vote third party amid the ongoing effort by both parties to make sure most people don’t vote. And if Biden lost they would just get blamed for Trump or if by some unlikely chance of fate the GOP has a different nominee that wonderkind by the Dems and the PMC media. We have seen it before. I am sad to say that the only way it finally gets taken seriously is if it either elects a third party candidate OR even more unlikely pisses off those millennials so they vote third party in even bigger numbers in every election that comes for the next few decades.

        Just look at the Nader being blamed for Bush, or the various actions excising third parties from the ballot in down ticket races over the last few years. People giving up on voting IS the goal.

        1. some guy

          If the normal nonvoters voted out of Revenge, and they saw that they had gotten effective Revenge, they might be motivated to keep voting Revenge.

        1. some guy

          Well, could the establishment pretend it never happened if Mr. Beardface Q. Boothead won 20 million or 30 million or 50 million millennial and zoomer votes?

          The first step towards finding out would be getting Beardface Q. Boothead on the ballot in just enough crucial must-have Electoral College Treasure Chest States to wreak legal havoc on the biparty election.

          ( Maybe not many, but maybe just enough Trump voters voted for Trump as the Beardface Q. Boothead candidate without the beard or the boot.)

    2. notabanker

      The notion that a ticket nominee is going to be ‘elected’ is a farce. Biden was the presumptive nominee with 10 million votes. 3% of the population. The Bernie campaign was toast months before my state primary. The shenanigans in Iowa and Nevada have never been explain and accounted for.

      If they want Biden on the ticket, he will be on the ticket. If they want someone else, it will be someone else. And even in the extremely remote event that some other candidate wins the primary, they’ll use convention rules to nominate whomever they want.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > If they want Biden on the ticket, he will be on the ticket.

        Controlling the ballot line is the key “distinctive competence” of any political party.

    3. ashley

      you just described me (millennial, hates biden) and my mother (boomer, gets all her news from cable tv, loves biden).

      i dont know who im gonna vote for, because i doubt anybody is going to primary that old POS geezer who never met a war he didnt support and made it impossible to discharge the student loan scams through bankruptcy and wrote the 1994 crime bill.

      i really dont want to vote for him, and honestly given that im in a safe blue state, i probably wont.

      most progressive president since FDR!!!!

    4. spud

      i get sick of its the boomers fault. largest group by far that put another clintonite biden into office,


      62% of the 18-29 year old crowd helped put him in. baby boomers voted more for trump.

      and the youth put in another sorry clinton retread in 2008,


      In the last three general elections – 2004, 2006, and 2008 — young voters have given the Democratic Party a majority of their votes, and for all three cycles they have been the party’s most supportive age group. This year, 66% of those under age 30 voted for Barack Obama making the disparity between young voters and other age groups larger than in any presidential election since exit polling began in 1972.

  8. Jeff Stantz

    RE: “Offline Is Just Online With Extreme Latency”

    The title does not translate to those of us in the non-tech world, sorry. They are referring to offline use of apps, not offline interaction between people. I was about to get mad at that article if that was the case. :)

    He talks about changing the paradigm we’re currently in where a program runs in the cloud and we look at it when we’re online, to one where the program runs on the device in our hands and we send data to the cloud for “durability or accessibility”.

  9. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added some orts and scraps.

    There’s a ton of Covid news right now. Hospitals getting rid of masking (and trying to justify it) plus a lot of science coming to fruition right now plus anecdotes plus — it seems to me — increasingly shrill and desperate propaganda. It’s a lot to cover. I have like 60 tabs in my browser that I had to blow past, and that’s a small sample of what I actually read.

    I feel like I’m giving other material short shrift, but OTOH if you want a close-up look at the collapse of civilization as Americans know it, than Covid is a very good place to be.

    1. some guy

      If the covid material is more life-saving than the other material which is getting short shrift for now, then perhaps one could justify giving the other material short shrift for now. The lives saved by covid coverage can always circle back to read the short-shrifted-for-now material at a later time. The covid dead will never see that other material anyway.

      So I appreciate your efforts to assemble and make available life-saving counter-covid information in the teeth of a Global Establishment which is determined to kill as many millions of people as it can get away with killing by keeping the covid pandeminc going and going and going . . . . just like the Terminator Bunny.

    2. Verifyfirst

      I will never read a word about Ukraine (for example) because it does not affect me in any way and I don’t have spare bandwidth. Covid, on the other hand, affects every decision I make every day–I read every word of that coverage, even in the comments.

      Btw, anybody notice there has not been any news about how Covid is going in China? Kind of important, given their size.

      1. Verifyfirst

        Oops–and a question about fit tests for masks for Covid–it seems to me that I could pass a fit test with my mask one day, and maybe fail the next, then pass, then fail, just depending on his the mask sits on my face–I am not able to get it to sit exactly the same way each and every time (the current mask is an elastomeric GVS Elipse P100). It does not have an exhalation valve, but they have models that do–been wondering if I should get one with an exhalation valve, since nobody else out there gives a damn anymore, would be more comfortable for me. Then when someone asks me why I’m wearing a mask, I can say “the better to infect you with”. Hah.

        1. Yves Smith

          A surgeon demonstrated that layering six procedure masks on his face did not change his blood ox levels, and that was on a hospital blood ox monitor.

          I work out in a N95 (strenuous weight training) and have no difficulty except it can get awfully moist in there.

          I find the GVS Darth Vader P100 to be easier to breathe through than a 3M Aura.

          1. Clark

            I just ordered some 3M Auras with a valve to try out. They are costly — about $2.75 USD each including shipping. I think this is a fairly new 3M product. … I, too, have used the Auras (9205+ and 9210+) for some time, and while they are ‘comfortable,’ they do tend to get ‘moist’ and uncomfortable after prolonged wearing. (Can’t imagine exercising in one — but I’ll have to try it now!) … Since almost no one in my workplace wears masks (except by choice) and my CO2 monitor shows that my office reads by midday >1100 ppm, it might best to be more diligent about wearing one. People show up sniffling / coughing and assure me that they took a rapid test. …. Just a cold, or allergies.

          2. skippy

            It went poof, comment, arbitrarily, knowledge and experience with masks over decades in the field.


            As an old person with experience/s its just one more screw backing off from all the vibrations. Sorry everyone but the past is not coming back.

        2. tevhatch

          I’m not sure for GVS, but with Northfield you can get parts, including valves. If GVS has parts available, you can just remove the plug and put in the valve.

      2. Yves Smith

        Huh? Ukraine most assuredly affects you. $100 billion of spending and counting means less for social programs. Worse, our failure in Ukraine is triggering a doubling down on military spending, which means more guns, less butter, and even more CO2 emissions, since the military is a huge source. We are turning countries that are not our military protectorates against us. We are baking in inflation by turning many commodities producers, most of all the biggest, Russia, against us, and assuring higher energy costs among other things.

  10. LawnDart

    Re; Citizen Science– I’ve got two for you:

    5 citizen scientists of the 18th and 19th centuries

    A look at some of America’s earliest citizen scientists

    April 19, 2023 — Today’s citizen scientists are volunteers who gather data and pass it along to researchers trying to answer big scientific questions. But in the 18th and 19th centuries, many people working to answer those questions were citizen scientists. In fact, some of the most recognizable names in U.S. history collected data in the name of research…



    Citizen scientists wanted: Put your powers of observation into action


  11. Pnwarrior_womyn

    Been on Ozempic since February 2022 for diabetes. This medication has not caused me any weird dreams. It also fixed a serious spinal disc inflammation episode, (MRI, spinal surgeon visit) – first ever for me – in 6 weeks. My ARNP is fabulous.

    1. Bugs

      Can I ask how it’s working for your general well-being? I.e.percentage lost, energy levels, and insulin levels? I’m very interested because I’ve been _this close_ slipping into type II (diagnosed pre-diabetes) a couple times in my life and I’m thinking of asking for it. If you prefer to keep it to yourself, fair enough.

  12. petal

    HIMSS23: Verizon, Cleveland Clinic to build new Ohio hospital, first in US to be embedded with 5G from get-go

    Snip: “CHICAGO—Verizon Business and Cleveland Clinic are teaming up to develop ways to use 5G technology at a new hospital in Mentor, Ohio.

    The facility, Cleveland Clinic Mentor Hospital, is expected to open in July. It is said to be the first hospital to be built from the ground up with 5G embedded. The two companies plan to find ways to use the tech to enhance patient care, provide caregivers with greater connectivity and elevate the patient experience.

    The hospital will include inpatient and observation rooms, an emergency department, operating rooms and imaging facilities. Some potential use cases that can be built atop the private 5G network include patient check-in kiosks, enhanced digital displays, in-room infotainment for patients, asset tracking and augmented reality or virtual reality adoption.

    “When you’re caring for people’s health, moments matter and the network infrastructure of a healthcare facility is critical for everything from patient care to facility operations,” Kyle Malady, CEO of Verizon Business, said in an announcement. “The team at Cleveland Clinic is a global leader in healthcare with a clear understanding of the impact technology can have on the overall experience at their facilities.”

    Verizon argues that 5G enables greater security and speed at a time when cyberattacks and demand for care are rising.

    “This collaboration supports our long-term vision for a fully digital hospital infrastructure,” said Matthew Kull, Cleveland Clinic’s chief information officer. “If we can provide 5G high bandwidth to our facilities, we can become more efficient, ensure better continuity of care as patients transition home and enhance the overall experience for our caregivers and patients.””

    1. ambrit

      Oh boy. Now the hospitals themselves are to be cancer instigators.
      “Verizon argues that 5G enables greater security and speed at a time when cyberattacks and demand for care are rising.”
      Uh, wouldn’t greater “connectivity” insure greater access to malefactors electroniques?
      This is just trying to create rationales for deploying a more expensive and more intrusive system.
      I’ll wager that patient bills go up because of this “greater connectivity.” Any ‘savings,’ assuming that there will be any, will mainly go to shareholder ‘returns.’
      Oh, and I did read that right; “…in room infotainment for patients.’ That should be “marks” there.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Europe may not have this problem. Apparently 5G is very energy intensive overall so they may not have the energy to spare to set this up EU wide.

      1. ambrit

        Take the cue from the Military Industrial Complex. If something is couched in terms of “National Security,” no limits are imposed.

  13. davejustdave

    I went to Kaiser MidAtlantic yesterday and a barefaced nurse told me to my N95ed face that she was not required to wear a mask – if I asked her to wear one she would be doing me a favor to do so. Instead I left. Here is something I wish her employer would tell her instead:

    Free advice for health care workers: when your patient and their family members are wearing masks, it is most likely that they are trying to avoid getting infected, or perhaps are worried that they may be infected and trying to protect others. In either case, the courteous thing to do is simply put on a mask. Don’t ask patients if they want you to mask. Patients already get that you don’t want to or you would be wearing one. They already feel vulnerable. Don’t put them on the spot. They are likely to say no, it’s okay, even though they really wish you would mask, because they don’t want to risk upsetting or angering the person they feel dependent upon.

    This is a quote from recent tweets by Dr David Pate, co-author of Preparing for the Next Global Outbreak – published yesterday, well-blurbed, 400 pages, paperback list price $39.95

  14. IM Doc

    I found the Ozempic article fascinating.

    Interestingly, I have had this same conversation with multiple patients in the past year. At least in my panel, it seems to affect about 15-20% of the patients. The more healthy/athletic and younger they are, the more likely they seem to be to have this occur.

    Long vivid dreams often involving very sexual overtones and interestingly enough, a few have reported having celebrities in some kind of subservient role just like the Clint Eastwood reporting in the article.

    Not sure what this means. I have not had a single patient wish to remove the medication for this problem. Some find it entertaining. So far, this side effect does not seem to diminish over time, nor has it deteriorated into nightmares or other sleep problems for anyone.

    I only wish I was making this up.

    Unfortunately, this may end up being a huge market, probably illicitly. We have to remember that VIAGRA was initially tested as a BP/heart drug and then had its current approved use emerge as a side effect. This is not uncommon at all in medicine.

    1. flora

      Using Ozempic only to lose weight, not because you have diabetes, seems like ‘quick fix’ run amok to me.
      Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist, has some good utube lectures on the role of insulin and the causes of insulin resistance and how to eat, (don’t eat 6 times a day), to reduce insulin resistance and lose weight. It’s not a quick fix. It is free with no unwanted side effects outside of a little hunger every so often. It makes sense to me. I am not a medico.

      1. IM Doc

        I have not given this to a single patient for weight loss – I am not at all sure we have a handle on the long-term issues. Strictly for DM-II.

        You are right – there is no quick fix for weight gain.

      2. britzklieg

        I never understood the “eat 6 times a day” idea for the insulin challenged, since eating is where the problem begins and if one eats frequently it seems to me one is encouraging more, not fewer, insulin challenge moments. My reading suggests this advice is no longer one of the go-to instructions. When will sugar be broadcast loudly as the principle evil in our diabetes-prone western diet?!

        1. JBird4049

          I think that it is the idea of six smaller meals instead of three large ones to smooth out the need for insulin that might cause those dips and rises that are dangerous.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Long vivid dreams

      I now recall that during 2020-2021, vivid dreams were one of the effects of Covid.

      Perhaps it’s not Ozempic at all, but their bodies and more specifically their brains are still loaded with the virus? Pure speculation, of course.

  15. Kyle

    We have about a 150(ish) foot tall Tulip Tree in our backyard – was planted in 1920 when our house was built and its HUGE – that will be blooming soon. It is one of my FAVORITE spring things at our house. Back in 2021, we had a late snow/frost on April 20th that killed all the flowers so it never bloomed….that was a super sad year.

    I will snap some photos when it starts popping!

    1. some guy

      Tulip tree wood is very brittle. Is it far enough away from the house that if big branches facing the house where to fall off, they would not reach the house?

      If the whole tree fell over in a global warming superstorm, would it reach the house? If so, it might pose a future problem to be pre-solved in the present.

  16. some guy

    About Trump’s Good Thing of Operation Warp Speed . . . . I don’t know enough to know whether or not “Novovax” may be considered an actual legitimate vaccine or not. Same for Johnson and Johnson’s offering. But the rest are not vaccines. They are mRNA para-vaccinoids, with all the weaknesses that new technology is manifesting. They don’t stop the spread, they may be allowing for accelerated selection and emergence of new mutants, they may be injuring people on their own account. They did keep many of the infected people from becoming even sicker at the time of their infection than they otherwise would have gotten. I myself took Moderna X 2 and then Pfizer Booster X 1, given my age and co-morbidities.

    WHO, CDC, Fauci, and Trump himself got the entrenchment of covid and the high death rates underway. Trump made the refusal to mask into a display of patriotic American manhood and freedomhood, and he obstructed every governor’s effort to impose public health cautions in their states. ( As in Michigan where Trump did his best to incite the threats of violence against our Governor for trying to impose some counter-covid controls).
    So Biden got a very good strong start from Trump on high death rates, which he and the Liberal Neo-AntiMaskers and anti-Public anti-Healthers then took and made worse.

    So the condemnation due for Biden’s own performance here should not be an occasion for Trump-friendly apologetics. ( Well . . . it can be, but that don’t impress me much).

    1. Yves Smith

      Novavax is based on less “innovative” vaccination methods, and by virtue of having much more of a track record tech wise, it’s a more conservative choice. Sadly of course being discouraged in use.

      But no vaccine would ever be that effective against a coronavirus, where immunity is not lasting. Having said that, nasal vaccine look to be better at preventing contagion…and yet getting them approved and distributed is just not a priority.

  17. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: Pritzker stirs White House speculation…

    Sigh. The Michael Bloomberg of the central states. Rich people with an over-inflated sense of their own capabilities and belief that they know how to run a country.

    1. pjay

      Back in the day billionaires used to buy politicians. Today, the role of money is so open and uncontested that they can just skip the middle-man and run for office themselves. The New Feudalism is wonderful!

      1. FlyoverBoy

        To my surprise, Pritzker has been a terrific governor. Took a ballsy stance early in the pandemic until it became simple untenable to continue it, pushed hard for a referendum to raise income taxes on the rich that was beaten back with great difficulty by $80 million from billionaires Ken Griffin and Richard Uehlein, and did several other endearing things of substance. I wish he’d run, and I’d vote for him over the usual Dem suspects.

        1. marym

          I agree. My first vote for him was just a vote against his predecessor. The second time was because he’s been a good governor.

          I like to check his official twitter feed sometimes – just a constant series of accomplishments, goals, and appreciation of Illinoisians and their accomplishments. I’d definitely vote for him for president.

      1. ambrit

        I heard that Gender Studies will be hosted in the Engineering Departments of American Academia. It was explained to me that Gender Rectification is properly a subset of Fluid Dynamics.
        I would try and Triangulate this but I really did not do so well in Analytic Geometry.

  18. orlbucfan

    Lambert: I know I’m turning into a headache, but please let me know when you get my donations. Many thanks!

  19. Jason Boxman

    From the world of I loathe automobiles with the fire of a thousand suns: I had my Hyundai Elantra 2017 towed 30 miles to the dealer, because rural America, because the check oil light flickers. No one could tell me for certain what was wrong, but it was suggested non-OEM oil filters are the culprit. Was also given a laundry list of service items that I could do, $1,500 worth!!, although only the breaks seem critical.

    Moreover, there’s an almost $300 SOFTWARE update that’s recommended, not covered under manufacturer or after market warranties. What kind of outrage is that? It fixes some issues that might lead to unnecessary check engine lights, so it ought be provided FREE. Disgusting.

    Also impossible to get anyone to answer phone at service center; It’s all via a web page, text, and emails. Office was full of people, however, so it isn’t like there’s nobody home.

    That’s more money that I’ve spent on car maintenance in a year in my entire life, for very old and recently used cars.

    I hate cars.

    I asked and was told it’s still as busy as it was 12 months ago, cars come onto and off the lot. So business isn’t flagging yet. It’s also the only Hyundai dealer for like 100 miles.

    I only saw one other person wearing any kind of respirator or mask during my times into the dealer. I also visited a few other places, basically I was the only person masked, except at the Asian speciality market, where two other people had cloth masks, as I recall.

    What a dire situation.

    1. t

      Get an OBD2 reader and clear pointless codes. Annoying, time consuming, but not particularly expensive.

    2. FlyoverBoy

      Sorry you bought a Hyundai, but car junkies know they’re not built to last despite that famously long (and famously often dishonored) warranty they advertise. There’s a reason there’s a wait for Toyotas and Mazdas. Again, sorry.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Last one was fine. Cheapest I could get during carmegeddon in 2021. Was gonna be 25+ for anything else, used. Outrageous. I hate cars. Hate. Really hate.

        So Hyundai is unique in charging for software updates?

        1. ambrit

          Just about all of the Dealer Repair shops charge for auto computer “updates.” Sometimes known as “flashes.”
          Around here, even the small local auto repair shops now charge $150 and up just to hook the car up to a diagnostic computer device. Any repairs ensuing are added on top of that initial charge.
          I am looking at spending around $400 to $500 USD for a low end auto diagnostic device, actually a small self contained computer that “talks” to the car’s computer. This to work on a ’98 Dakota and the dreaded ’01 PT Cruiser.
          Just about everything on the newer cars is run by the on board computer now. Some even send updates to the Dealer shop over the air, like a very mobile wi-fi. The auto makers now send out almost yearly “flash updates” to fix problems that have been solved over the years and actually improve performance. The ‘improve performance’ part is also in pursuit of increased fuel mileage so as to meet the Federal Cafe standards. Those fuel efficiency targets are vital to determining the mix of big profitable gas guzzlers and less profitable ‘economy’ cars in a company’s product line-up.
          Cafe Standards: https://www.nhtsa.gov/laws-regulations/corporate-average-fuel-economy#:~:text=NHTSA's%20Corporate%20Average%20Fuel%20Economy,heavy%2Dduty%20trucks%20and%20engines.
          The latest figures: https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/usdot-announces-new-vehicle-fuel-economy-standards-model-year-2024-2026
          Real money is involved, with a side hustle of environmental “protection.”

      2. Clark

        I’ve had a 2008 Sonata V6 that I bought used with 72k on it in early 2011. It’s now got around 187k. No serious issues. Of course, this is an old car with a low-rpm engine that doesn’t have nearly as many electronics that’s on the newer ones. So, there’s a trade off. I don’t have blind-spot alert lights, etc., and the car has a lot of road noise. But will I get to my 250k goal? I’ll have to check out what FlyoverBoy said.

        1. ambrit

          We are dealing with a pair of over twenty year old vehicles. When I see how much even ten year old vehicles are costing now, I am mightily incentivized to continue tinkering and repairing what we have.
          As a reality check. Back in 1967, my parents bought a “fixer upper” house in the Miami Area for under twenty grand. Today, I can barely find a decent vehicle for that price.
          The Cynic in me imagines that having the “working masses” revert to low mobility is a goal of The Jackpot. That would leave a lot more resources available for the “deserving” elites.

  20. Lee

    Pleased and surprised when PBS Newshour host Amna Nawaz used the term “pseudo post-pandemic world” on a segment regarding more boosters for the elderly and immune compromised.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Ron DeSantis Ends Disney Feud After Being Given Guest Role On ‘The Mandalorian’”

    Could it be that DeSantis holds a grudge against Disneyland because he married there and it hasn’t worked out that great? If asked which Disney character DeSantis resembles most, I would be split between Donald Duck or Goofy.

    1. Hepativore

      You can put the Iron Heel, and the television series, Continuum on that list as well for what the corporate elites have in mind for most of the world’s population in the future…

      Possibly even the Most Dangerous Game. This is because as automation disposes of more jobs and the unemployed underclass increases, I would not be surprised if the elites that own all of the algorithms, capital, and machines, start making it legal for people with a high enough financial station to actually hunt said underclass for sport or institute regular culling runs periodically like they do with deer.

          1. ambrit

            Blu Ray puts out a version with both dubbed and sub-titled versions. {I do not have any recommendation here. Such discs can be hunted up through the usual channels.}

  22. will rodgers horse

    “Big if true”
    Maybe, maybe not. as we know, Antibody levels are a poor correlate of good protection. Even Pfizer admitted this a year or more ago.

  23. some guy

    Here’s a citizen-anecdote report on Chicago Police already refusing to intervene in obvious crimes in progress as revenge for Chicago electing Brandon Johnson for mayor. To me it shows that the Police Union should be broken and abolished and Police who refuse duty should all be fired. If that leads to crime going up as much as the police would like it to, perhaps Mayor Johnson can get the Governor of Chicago to send the National Guard into Chicago and keep it there for as long as it takes to get a whole new batch of non-contaminated police for Chicago with no Union being allowed.


Comments are closed.