2:00PM Water Cooler 5/19/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Meadow Bunting, Ilistay River, Primorsky Krai, Russia. “A bird continuously calling.”

* * *


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

Biden Administration

“Freedom Caucus says ‘no further discussion’ on debt ceiling until Senate passes House GOP bill” [The Hill]. “The House Freedom Caucus is calling for ‘no further discussion’ on legislation to raise the debt ceiling until the Senate passes the bill House Republicans approved last month that would pair an increase in the borrowing limit with steep spending cuts. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called the bill ‘dead on arrival.’ The hard-liner conservative caucus said it adopted its official position on Thursday as debt limit negotiations continued behind closed doors between representatives for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the White House.”

“1 big thing: Biden faces bubbling progressive rebellion” [Axios]. “A group of 11 Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), sent Biden a letter today urging him to “prepare to exercise your authority under the 14th Amendment” to raise the debt ceiling, Axios’ Andrew Solender reports…. “[N]obody should assume, including the White House, that House Democrats or the Progressive Caucus or anyone else is gonna go along with something that’s negotiated without us at the table,” Jayapal warned…. Like any compromise, a deal will ultimately have to be made in the middle.” • Some rebellion!

“Let’s Clear The Air On COVID” [Alondra Nelson, WhiteHouse.gov]. From March 23, 2022. Say, whatever happened to this?


I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Pete Buttigieg Loves God, Beer, and His Electric Mustang” (interview) [Wired]. “As Secretary Buttigieg and I talked in his underfurnished corner office one afternoon in early spring, I slowly became aware that his cabinet job requires only a modest portion of his cognitive powers. Other mental facilities, no kidding, are apportioned to the Iliad, Puritan historiography, and Knausgaard’s Spring—though not in the original Norwegian (slacker). Fortunately, he was willing to devote yet another apse in his cathedral mind to making his ideas about three mighty themes—neoliberalism, masculinity, and Christianity—intelligible to me.” • Well, I don’t like Buttigieg much either. But Buttigieg does, in fact, give a much better interview than this expert filleting.

What a shame the Democrats never codified Roe into law:

Republican Funhouse

“Who Is Leonard Leo’s Mysterious Dark Money King?” [The New Republic]. “A Chicago billionaire had gifted anti-abortion Supreme Court fixer Leonard Leo the largest known tranche of dark money in U.S. history: $1.6 billion. The sum is staggering; it will finance at least a generation of extreme right-wing political proselytizing. And almost no one—except for the conservative cabal that bagged the whale—had heard of him. The gift from nonagenarian electronics magnate Barre Seid (pronounced Barry Side) is effective altruism in reverse: a fire hose of cash aimed at destroying American liberal culture through lawsuits and support for politicians challenging gay rights, unions, environmental protection, voting rights, and public education. The money will last a good long while. Philanthropic recipients usually follow a 5 percent rule: They try not to spend more than 5 percent of the endowment per year. Seid’s pile is so large that it could return an average $136 million a year, or north of $230 million on a good year, to influence U.S. law and policy. Without ever having to touch the nut. For a sense of how enormous that is, consider this. The Heritage Foundation and its affiliates spent about $86 million in 2021. Heritage is a huge, and hugely influential, conservative think tank. Leo could create two Heritage Foundations and one more sizable organization on the side—all, again, without having to dip into the principal at all.” • Well worth a read for the deployment of social capital.

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.

* * *

“Tensions flare in ‘weaponization’ panel hearing with sidelined FBI agents” [The Hill]. “The hearing accompanied the Thursday release of an interim staff report from the panel’s Republicans that detailed what it says are abuses by the FBI, as described by what Republicans say are dozens of whistleblowers….. Democrats had already preemptively countered the GOP’s “weaponization” investigation, writing in a 300-page report in March that some of the GOP witnesses were connected to committee Republicans through people with deep ties to former President Trump. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) reiterated and established at the hearing that two of the witnesses had received donations from Kash Patel, a former top Department of Defense official who is a surrogate for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.”

“The McCarthyism Reboot” [Matt Taibbi, Racket News]. • Taibbi’s take on the hearing above. That Democrats are doing this — gleefully, and even egged on by their base — is deeply disorienting to me. They don’t really seem to have hit bottom, either.

* * *

“Feinstein Suffered More Complications From Illness Than Were Publicly Disclosed” [New York Times]. “When she arrived at the Capitol last week after a more than two-month absence recovering from shingles, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, 89, appeared shockingly diminished. Using a wheelchair, with the left side of her face frozen and one eye nearly shut, she seemed disoriented as an aide steered her through the marble corridors of the Senate, complaining audibly that something was stuck in her eye. Ms. Feinstein’s frail appearance was a result of several complications after she was hospitalized for shingles in February, some of which she has not publicly disclosed. The shingles spread to her face and neck, causing vision and balance impairments and facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The virus also brought on a previously unreported case of encephalitis, a rare but potentially debilitating complication of shingles that a spokesman confirmed on Thursday after The New York Times first revealed it, saying that the condition had ‘resolved itself’ in March. Characterized by swelling of the brain, post-shingles encephalitis can leave patients with lasting memory or language problems, sleep disorders, bouts of confusion, mood disorders, headaches and difficulties walking. Older patients tend to have the most trouble recovering. And even before this latest illness, Ms. Feinstein had already suffered substantial memory issues that had raised questions about her mental capacity. The grim tableau of her re-emergence on Capitol Hill laid bare a bleak reality known to virtually everyone who has come into contact with her in recent days: She was far from ready to return to work when she did, and she is now struggling to function in a job that demands long days, near-constant engagement on an array of crucial policy issues and high-stakes decision-making.” • Now do Joe Biden. Commentary:

Maybe Nancy Corrine Prowda and Jill Biden could set up a consulting form for Gerontocratic Management?

Complete collapse of “the left,” part one million:

Obama Legacy

“A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe; Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream”:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“About Those Evil Communists…” (podcast) [The Audit]. “To discuss the persistent misrepresentations and misunderstandings surrounding communism and socialism, they are joined by guest Professor Richard Wolff, a Marxist economist and co-founder of the nonprofit Democracy at Work. Wolff highlights the influence of Marxist ideas on various Christian socialist movements throughout history, and the conversation covers issues like the economics of colonialism, systemic racism, toxic masculinity, and China. Overall, this episode emphasizes the importance of nuanced discussions, critical thinking, and understanding the complexities of different ideologies to foster a more informed and constructive dialogue.” • Scriptwriters Josh and Dave, of “West Wing Brain” fame, are now at Lever News, which speaks well of Lever News. This one of a series examining Prager “University”‘s “curriculum.”

“California Officials Investigating Loss of 30-Ton Shipment of Explosive Chemicals” [KQED]. • Well, er…


“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), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (5), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Look for the Helpers

“Utah launches clean air initiative by providing air purifiers in every classroom” [Cache Valley Daily]. ” In an historic and far-reaching clean air initiative, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) have partnered to place air purifiers in every K-12 school classroom, licensed pre-K child care centers, and early childhood education centers in Utah. The funding for the program comes from a one-time federal grant (the federal Epidemiology Laboratory Capacity Reopening Schools Grant) and will end in July. More than 60% of Utah schools and child care centers have taken advantage of the program so far, with other classrooms encouraged to join the program before the funding ends on July 31, 2023. The initiative aims to improve air filtration, which affects student performance, makes classrooms safer, reduces absenteeism, and improves the overall health of children, students, and teachers. The groups say indoor air pollution can increase the severity and transmissibility of infectious diseases, making air purifiers in schools essential. The health and comfort of students and teachers contribute to learning and productivity in the classroom, which in turn affects performance and achievement. The program offers schools and individual classrooms the opportunity to participate without any additional costs beyond signing up for the program. Estimates indicate that the air purifier would require a filter replacement about once a year, costing anywhere from $60 to $400 depending on the unit purchased. Schools can receive up to six free replacement filters with their order.” • Finally, some good news! (Of course, much depends on the purifiers chosen, maintenance, etc. Nevertheless!)

How to submit comments to ASHRAE on their new ventilations standards:

Templates for filing complaints against state Attorneys General on Hospital Infection Control maleficence, and with hospitals for masking as an accommodation:

Personally, I think infection with Covid as such should be meet the bar for accommodation, given that the effects of reinfection are cumulative. Assuming for the same of the argument that 94% of the American population has been infected with Covid at least once, that’s a lot of accommodation. Cut that figure in half. It’s still a lot, enough to make universal masking the norm, not the exception.

Covid Is Airborne

A new Corsi-Rosenthal use case and design (1). The “air curtain”:

I find the constant, grassroots, DIY innovation in Corsi-Rosenthal boxes very encouraging. A second example–

A new Corsi-Rosenthal use case and design (1). The windows:

Excellent long thread on how covid is airborne in hospitals, with many examples:

Useful when you’re putting together your letters to the Attorney General and the Infection Control Unit of your hospital.


“SARS-CoV-2 transmission with and without mask wearing or air cleaners in schools in Switzerland: A modeling study of epidemiological, environmental, and molecular data” [PLOS One]. “Molecular detection of airborne and human SARS-CoV-2 indicated sustained transmission in schools. Mask mandates were associated with greater reductions in aerosol concentrations than air cleaners and with lower transmission.” • Good job, forcing kids back into death traps. Now let’s build on our success and move on to hospitals!

I took apart MGH Infection Control Unit Director Erica Shenoy’s anti-masking screed here — a screed that was shortly embodied in MGH policy — focusing especially on footnotes 5, 6, and 7. Here is a thread that demolishes those footnotes even more thoroughly than I did:

There are many more mask-wearers than minimizing ghouls would like you to believe:

If shaming works, use it. ACT-UP is the precedent:

No data = universal masking, since how else do we protect ourselves from transmission?

Celebrity Watch

The Giro d’Italia tour, where riders keep dropping out because they’re given Covid:

Celebrity sighting (1):

Celebrity sighting (2):


Keep looking, pal:

Science Is Popping

“In-Person Schooling and Youth Suicide: Evidence from School Calendars and Pandemic School Closures” [NBER]. From 2022, still germane. From the Abstract: “Teen suicides plummeted in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began in the U.S. and remained low throughout the summer before rising in Fall 2020 when many K-12 schools returned to in-person instruction. Third, using county-level variation in school reopenings in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021—proxied by anonymized SafeGraph smartphone data on elementary and secondary school foot traffic—we find that returning from online to in-person schooling was associated with a 12-to-18 percent increase teen suicides.”


But what about Freedom?

Elite Maleficence

The targets of our elite’s depopulation efforts aren’t dumb, and they know what’s being done to them:

* * *

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. Lots of exceptionally nasty sequelae, most likely deriving from immune dysregulation (says this layperson).

Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data from May 18:

Lambert here: Unless the United States is completely, er, exceptional, we should be seeing an increase here soon. UPDATE Still on the high plateau. Are we are the point in the global pandemic where national experiences really diverge?

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.


NOT UPDATED From CDC, May 13, 2023:

Lambert here: Looks like XBB.1.16 is rolling right along. Though XBB 1.9.1 is in the race as well.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from May 13:

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. 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.


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, May 15:

Up 1%. Frequency down to once a week?


Death rate (Our World in Data), from May 14:

Lambert here: Quite a little jump (I assume data-related, this is WHO).

Total: 1,163,871 – 1,163,294 = 577 (577 * 365 = 210,605 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).

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED Excess deaths (The Economist), published May 9:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model. (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 official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Housing: “Out-of-state banks own nearly all of Bangor’s vacant homes” [Bangor Daily News]. “Out-of-state banks or investment holdings own 56 of the 70 total vacant residential properties in Bangor, according to Jeff Wallace, Bangor’s code enforcement director. The remaining 14 vacant properties are owned by individuals…. Maintenance completed on those properties is typically “minimal at best” and often requires prodding from the city’s code enforcement department to get necessary upkeep completed, Wallace said. Large out-of-state companies owning properties also makes it difficult for the city’s code enforcement officers to find the right person to send violation notices to.”

The Dollar:

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 66 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 19 at 1:49 PM ET.

Zeitgeist Watch

“This Is Why You Can’t Wait Until Later” [Ryan Holiday]. “At 6:45pm on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, I got an email from my friend Seth Roberts, the pioneering and peerless scientist. I opened it, saw that it was to be the first of a long awaited column called “Personal Science” for the Observer, where I was then an editor. I assumed it was good–Seth’s work always was–so I marked it as unread and told myself it could wait until Monday. On that Saturday, less than 72 hours later, Seth collapsed of a fatal heart attack while hiking in Berkeley. It would have been so easy for me to reply and and tell him how happy I was with what he had written. … I had left him on hold and now he was dead. Of course, I was familiar with the Stoic concept of Memento Mori. In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius writes ‘You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.’ … This is the one thing all fools have in common, Seneca wrote. ‘They are always getting ready to live.’ They are always thinking that they have plenty of time. They are always saying that they’ll be able to get to it later. They think that opportunities, that other people, that life can be deferred to the future. They cannot. These things exist, as Tolstoy wrote, only in the present. Procrastination is egotistical. It is entitlement, embodied.”

One can only assume this comes from the boardrooms down:

Guillotine Watch

“Peter Thiel Is Latest Billionaire Said to Have Met With Jeffrey Epstein’ [New York Times]. “Even after his 2008 conviction in Florida on a charge of soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl, Mr. Epstein continued to hobnob with top finance executives and investors, scientists, professors, politicians and celebrities.” • This is the key and very obvious point. It must have been entirely clear to Epstein’s milieu what he was and what he was up to. So why did they continue to associate with him? Presumably, the quest for capital, economic and but also social. but also because, in their view, his transgression wasn’t really a transgression. After all, what’s money for if not to have a bit of fun?

Class Warfare

Not knowing what they said, they said it:

“Prices increase because firms raise them.”

“Microsoft exec tells employees to improve its stock performance in lieu of raises” [The Verge]. “Even as Microsoft continues to pour more money into artificial intelligence and its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, CEO Satya Nadella told workers last week that it won’t offer raises for salaried employees this year, citing “macroeconomic uncertainties.” He also stated that he, along with the other members of the senior leadership team, won’t get raises or performance-based bonuses, either. Microsoft also announced layoffs affecting 10,000 employees earlier this year.” • Elon really took one for the team at Twitter.

News of the Wired

“Shakespeare Was Shakespeare” [Slate]. “And this is why trutherism is so pernicious. While doubting Shakespeare’s authorship isn’t nearly as dangerous as climate change denial, or anti-vax beliefs, or questioning Obama’s citizenship, the rhetoric and strategies of all of these forms of trutherism are quite similar: Question the qualifications of the authorities. State some assertions we can all agree with, like ‘We don’t know much about the life of Shakespeare,’ or ‘Some people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 die from the disease.’ Ask an escalating series of questions about the consensus view, shifting ground whenever you would lose the point being debated. Deploy shaky evidence that requires tendentious interpretation. Claim that evidence that disproves your theory in fact supports it. Needle those in power who refuse to engage with you. Use the contempt with which your position is treated as evidence that you must be on to something. Whenever possible, fall back on saying you’re just asking questions. Trutherism abuses the liberal public sphere by using the values of liberal discourse—rational hearing of evidence, open-mindedness, fair-minded skepticism about one’s own certainties, etc.—against it. Once the opposition tires of this treatment and refuses to engage in debate any longer, the truther can then declare victory, and paint the opposition as religious fanatics who are closed-minded and scared of facing the truth.” • And then, of course, there’s RussiaGate….

“Humanity’s First Recorded Kiss Was Earlier Than We Thought” [Smithsonian]. “Cuneiform writing appeared around 3200 B.C.E. and for several hundred years seems limited to humdrum administrative texts. After a while, perhaps inevitably, the subject of amorous relations found its way into the Mesopotamian record—and with them the first references to kissing some 4,500 years ago.” But sadly: “Despite kissing’s long history, it is far from ubiquitous today. A 2015 study of 168 cultures around the globe found that romantic kissing was popular in only about half those groups. And where kissing is common, some people pay a price for the experience. Diseases including herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), Epstein-Barr virus, human parvovirus and the common cold can be spread by saliva, so kissing can propagate them throughout a population. One study suggests that tens of millions or even 1 billion bacteria can be exchanged during deep kissing. Medical records show that Mesopotamians didn’t believe that kissing played a role in spreading infectious disease, Arbøll reports in the paper. But it may well have been happening. It’s hard to diagnose disease by translating ancient descriptions in cuneiform text. Still, the Mesopotamian mouth disease known as bu’sanu may have been herpes, the authors note. At least some figures in the ancient world did seem to suspect that the practice had health impacts. In Rome, Emperor Tiberius tried to ban kissing at state functions, likely because it was thought to be spreading herpes. (His efforts were unsuccessful.) Last year, Houldcroft and colleagues used ancient DNA to sequence genomes of the herpes virus and chart its evolution. They suggested that what’s now the dominant strain, HSV-1, was born 5,000 years ago, during Bronze Age migrations from Eurasia to Europe, and boosted by the rapid rise of a new cultural practice spread among those mixing populations—deep kissing.”

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* * *

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Samuel Conner

    > support healthcare for all, but not health for all. Or what am I missing?


    It’s not the destination than matters; it’s the journey (as in “always fighting, but never actually winning anything useful”).

    We need new terms. Perhaps … “healthgrift”?

    1. IM Doc

      You must realize that the wording for all the healthcare propaganda is very deliberate.

      Obamacare – if you listen to any of the hundreds of interviews of Dems discussing it – is all about ACCESS to health care. Not health care itself.

      Pelosi from 2017 – “We will continue to do great things. Just like we have previously in Congress. We granted every American ACCESS to health care.” Please note again, in her terminology, Americans were granted ACCESS to health care, not health care itself. So, technically, she is not lying.

      So what if the “ACCESS” is only available to those paying hundreds of dollars a month more in premiums than they would have been in the previous system? So what if the “ACCESS” to health care only comes after forking over 10K-15K in deductibles first?

      “You must be kidding, you ingrates…….that’s not our problem!” scream the Congress critters. “Go talk to your doctors, oh sorry, your “health-care providers”……

      Please let me know how to comfort the 28 year old single mom I saw this AM….She has ACCESS to health care, she has OBAMACARE after all.. However, her ACCESS to health care in her case has her paying 20K/year for the drugs she takes for lupus. So she actually does not have health care. There is no way she can afford that and pay for food and shelter for her kids. So she suffers. And I and my office staff get to watch exactly what the natural course of lupus does to people as we see her progress through the disease. And I get to do my job, knowing the farce it is, all the while with 4 little eyes of beautiful kids looking at me in that exam room. Thankfully, I have a few tricks up my sleeve having been a doctor 30 years ago before the modern drugs were around. All of the things I know to do from the before times are not even to be found in UpToDate – only 20K/year drugs need apply for that august publication – but at least they work to some degree. I doubt any docs under age 40 have even heard of some of these things. And we wonder why there is so much “moral injury” among health care workers today?

      I hope Nancy and her ilk enjoy their 20 dollar a can ice cream and SubZero freezers. There will be a special place in Hell for them one day.

      My grandfather always taught all of the kids that the most important passage in the New Testament was in Luke 16:14-31. The discourse is known as The Rich Man & Lazarus. I think about this often as I see what is going on in our world today.

      Again, if I sound mad it is become I am mad. I would worry about myself if I was not.

      1. Pat

        And we can only be thankful for you and the healthcare professionals like you, the people with compassion and wisdom and yes anger. There may not be enough of you, but everyone helps and might just lead to a few others learning from your experience and joining you.

        Thank you.

      2. Samuel Conner

        Thank you, IM Doc, for your kindness to sufferers.

        Just wondering — is there a safe way to communicate with younger physicians about “how to treat conditions for which the current therapies are unaffordable to most patients”?

      3. tevhatch

        is all about ACCESS to health care.

        Tevhatch here on Aisle 7, I’d like a price check on the store brand “health care”. Mam, what’s that? You need me to read the ingredients? Okay, lets see: A large dose of profits, fraud (that’s a suspension agent, it helps froth up the profits), and seller financed research (that’s the opacifying agent).

        While a lot of the front line in medicine are concerned with delivering good, my experience is, like sugar in process food, the profit motive has more or less taken health and separated it from care, then found damaging it is the best way to maxixe profits. It’s the system. It’s why I’ve been interested to go to Cuba to see how the other side really lives.

  2. Mark Gisleson

    Leonard Leo offered a donation to a campaign I worked on but it was a wonky donation where he’d let us use some of his billboards if we went with an anti-abortion message.

    There was no way for us to have anything to do with that. So off the record I gave Leo’s contact information to an R campaign that was primarying the incumbent (another R). A morally reprehensible thing for me to do and a waste of time since Leo had already contacted them.

    I admit to not clicking the link as I already know too much about this stuff. Winning isn’t everything (536 days out from the next election) but come next fall, yeah, winning will seem important (assuming we get a choice).

  3. Not Again

    Mayo Pete getting press for being Mayo Pete.

    This confirms my suspicion that Brandon will withdraw from politics next summer. His “re-election” campaign is merely to stop a free-for-all fight for the nomination. The Durham Report put Hillary in her place and when Uncle Joe withdraws from contention, I guess that makes JB Pritzker the de facto nominee. Obama’s godfather gets his reward at last. Isn’t the Dem convention in Chicago next year?

    Pritzker/Booker 2024.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      We can make the executive branch a family affair if J.B. becomes President:

      – sister Penny has already been Commerce secretary under Obama so promote her to SecTreas;

      – cousin Thomas, who runs Hyatt, the family business, can do Commerce this time around if his Epstein connections don’t derail him;

      – cousin Jennifer, formerly James, can take over Heath and Human Services since she is big into funding gender affirming centers;

      – cousin Rachel (once removed) should get Energy since she’s the author of the Eco-Modernist manifesto.

      It will be better than when Jack was President, Bobby was AG and Teddy was in the Senate.

    2. Louis Fyne

      Susan Rice (drafted/nudged by Barack himself).

      Ticks all the identity, qualification, and credential boxes. Team Obama brings out the rolodex for the campaign cash.

      Now the question is Ms. Rice insane (or egotistic) enough to want the job.

      1. ambrit

        I do indeed suffer from conformation bias. I read your penultimate sentence to read: “Team Obama brings out the rodents for the campaign cash.”
        Where are Sacco and Vanzetti when you need them?

        1. John Zelnicker

          Fun fact: There is a town in Ukraine named Sacco y Vansetti somewhat north of Bakhmut.

          1. ambrit

            Good for them! And, appropriately enough, that town must be in the combat zone sooner or later. Fitting compliment to a pair of old school anarchists.

    3. Will

      Joe is perfect for the DNC. They can fight amongst themselves to do what they want without even the notional oversight of a big guy. Why would they jeopardize that by putting up someone who might delude themselves into thinking their in charge just cuz they have a weird shaped office? Perhaps because they’re worried that Joe might lose the election? Naw. Not with all their PMC superpowers to shape narratives etc etc. They’ll stay ‘loyal’ to their guy.

  4. Carolinian

    It’s a big Epstein club and we ain’t in it–Epstein either, thank goodness. Some jailhouse “suicides” are best left uninvestigated.

    And Scheerpost is out with another full Hersh that is very much worth a read as well as support for Hersh.


    Sy says many Ukraine neighbors now want this to be over and especially supprt for the refugees and offers have been made to Zelensky to leave. However the biological Biden and the Blinken hand operating the simulant (not Hersh’s exact words) won’t agree to Z defenestration. They are happy to freeze the conflict and the refugees along with them.

    Plus—me, now–if t-shirted president retires to his Italian villa he might be spending all his time worrying about Kinzhals. The secret Miami condo (?) might be better.

    Hersh says the spooks are unsure whether Biden even reads their three page intelligence assesments.

    1. Pat

      Or he could read it and forget it all by the end of page three, if he understands it at all. Not that it makes a difference.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Biden always did have a reputation as being lazy. He probably can’t be bothered reading them.

  5. Fastball

    Yes — the return to school suicide increase is a good proxy for the deadliness of bullying. It was omnipresent and extremely pernicious when I was a high schooler. I am guessing nothing has changed. It’s a shame really. The people in positions of power and trust don’t seem to care much about the kids under their care dying from bullying.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The people in positions of power and trust don’t seem to care much about the kids under their care dying from bullying.

      Perhaps that is the lesson school is meant to teach….

    2. bdy

      Here I was fretting about sending my kid into 12 years of forced labor. The forced socialization with the collective RSA brood is the killer.

  6. Pat

    Dan Goldman is a freshman Congressman representing the newest iteration NY10. He is one of the richest members of Congress being one of the heirs to principals for both Levi Strauss and Smart and Fine. He is a product of the Beltway Bubble having graduated from both Sidwell Friends and Yale. He was one of the lead attorneys on both of the Trump impeachments. And the more you listen and watch him, the scarier he is. I would trade My Dan for Wuk’s My Kevin in a heartbeat. (My Dan has more media and political zombie propaganda fueled support than Kevin could ever dream of having.)

    Watch out for him, this will not be the last time he takes a prominent position pushing the worst of the current Democratic agenda. He is presentable, relatively well spoken, good looking in a plastic way, and seriously ambitious. He could easily replace Mayo Pete on DNC bingo cards by the time Kamala needs a VP.

    The one minor blessing about him is that I never have to admit to ever having wasted a vote on him.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m willing to trade My Kevin (since ’07) for Your Dan and a politician to be named later.


      How did we go from ‘freedom’ being verboten 20 years ago, to be embraced by the far far right in the Caucus?

        1. Wukchumni

          He’s a provincial cybercurrency mayor, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

  7. Jason Boxman

    So, as everyone hopefully remembers, Jayapal is a moron. She claimed to be fighting for “Biden’s agenda” — but apparently Biden was not — back in 2021, and then conceded to a “dual track” approach to Biden’s agenda. So, of course, the Manchin approved legislation passed, and the “progressive” bill died, as you’d expect.

    I can’t believe anyone — except what constitutes the left — takes anything she says seriously today. She’s demonstrated quite clearly that she’s a team player. What a joke.

    1. tevhatch

      She’s smart enough to get you to blame her behavior on being a moron. Those are the qualifications that got Bush Jr. elected to office.

  8. Wukchumni

    That baby is in the back of a Corvair it looks like, living dangerously @ any speed.

    I asked my mom if she smoked cigarettes while she was pregnant with me, and she nonchalantly mentioned, ‘oh, about half a pack a day’.

    Somehow most of us survived childhood…

    1. Pat

      Do you still have bruises from the Mom seat belt? I can’t tell you how many times my mother’s right arm swung around and caught me across the chest.

      And my mother smoked and drank while pregnant with me. No one thought much about either at that time. I also survived eating dirt, picking food up that was dropped, kissing numerous animals. That was while living in an environment where there was no hand sanitizer and disinfection was bleach so it only came out for the bathroom or when some one was the throwing up kind of sick. (Bleach damages many surfaces.)

        1. Lee

          All of the above plus starting about age 10 bicycled around town for many hours and miles with parents having no idea nor worrying where I was.

          1. Wukchumni

            Was skiing with a gaggle of 1961 babies and we got talking about our childhoods and all 4 of us from way different parts of the country were all raised free-range, just be home for supper!

        2. Louis Fyne

          I think garden hoses back in “the good ol’ days” were actually rubber, not PVC full of endocrine-hormone-disrupting plasticizers.

          Just saying as a baby that survived sitting in the front seat on my mom’s lap with no seat belts or car seats.

          1. tevhatch

            The babies who didn’t survive are not around to tell on their parents. ;-) My father said his excitement was petal to the metal bare foot running while dodging phosphorus, courtesy of Uncle Sam. I guess I’m lucky, he was good at it.

        3. some guy

          When I was a kid, Dad one day brought in something in a jar. Something that seemed to be sort-of small, black, shiny . . .

          ” Kids, this is a black widow spider. See the red hour-glass mark on its belly? If it bites you, it could make you very sick. You might even have to go to the hospital. They don’t like to bite and they will leave you alone if you leave them alone. We have them all over the yard. We have them under every flowerpot and weeper-hole ( in the retaining wall) in the yard. So don’t put your fingers under any flower pot or into any weeper-hole.”

          Ah yes! Respect for nature. Suburbia wasn’t always boring. Suburbia could be very exciting sometimes.

        4. griffen

          Perhaps this is more idiocy than youth…chasing after the mosquito truck spraying good Lord who knows…in southeastern US during the summer months. And the ice cream truck, which you didn’t fear some Ted Bundy creep or stranger driving the thing.

      1. Jhallc

        One of my earliest memories is of driving with my dad in our 57 Chevy Belair convertible, top down, sitting in his lap holding the steering wheel while he opened it up down a stretch of newly opened Robert Moses Parkway. The roar of the 4 bbl carbs and the rhythmic chunk of the concrete section joints passing underneath will forever be with me. We topped 110.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          They sold a beautiful example of just that in black with white top for about $80,000 at Mecum’s auction in Indy today. Very stock. Beautifully restored. With those memories, you should look up the new owner and make a deal.

          1. jhallc

            Sweet! Ours was a mauve color and had been modified to some degree, so not original. The one I’d like to have was the one he traded it in for, a maroon V8 1966 convertible Cutlass S. After a 10 hour drive from Niagara Falls to Chicago with my two brothers and I jammed into the backseat (me on the hump) my mother pronounced it was time to say “sayonara” to it.

    2. Amur

      My brother still chuckles when he recalls my Dad driving his 1968 Ford Galaxy with me (around 3 years of age) standing on the front passenger seat (no seat belt), side window open, and drinking Coca Cola.

  9. Henry Moon Pie

    Shakespeare is Shakespeare–

    As I was reading through the techniques employed by “truthers,” most seem to be the mirror image of the dishonest ploys used by Establishment propaganda.

    A suggestion for those listening to RFKJ being interviewed about his stand on vaccines: wait for the “then tell me where I’m wrong” line. I’ve heard him use it repeatedly. It’s a lawyer’s trick. It switches the burden of proof from the person questioned to the questioner, then opens up the opportunity for the original interviewee to become the cross examiner. You will see this pattern with Ball’s questioning about the vaccine stance. While I’d agree with Greenwald that Krystal’s “red line” approach was wrong, Kennedy was employing not the most honorable tactics.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      Not the most honourable or honest, but I can see it being an effective debating tactic (especially if not just limited to the topic of vaccines). If, of course, he is allowed to debate in earnest.

    2. hk

      I always thought today’s establishment media (at least) happens to be truthers with access to power.

      1. Alex Cox

        Prove to me that the Stratford bag manufacturer, who left no books in his will, and did not educate his daughters, was the author of Shakespeare’s plays.

        Don’t just assert it, and resort to insulting terms like ‘truthers’.

        Show me the evidence.

        1. Late Introvert

          Ya, that one is never talked about. Or how a guy who didn’t live in London somehow acted in all of the plays and had the time to write them, along with fantastic insights into European royal society, all while living in the country.

    3. some guy

      Well . . . . he is a lawyer. So why wouldn’t he use lawyerly tactics?

      If a non-lawyer ever has to interview or debate a lawyer, that non-lawyer should first read a book about how to interview a lawyer. Or debate with one.

      If there isn’t any such book, somebody should write one.

      1. tevhatch

        Jonathan Swift wrote on interviewing lawyers, Gulliver’s Travels. It’s just his preferred method was naturally made illegal by the lawyers.

  10. Jason Boxman

    So here’s a thought on

    Lambert here: Unless the United States is completely, er, exceptional, we should be seeing an increase here soon. UPDATE Still on the high plateau. Are we are the point in the global pandemic where national experiences really diverge?

    Do we know if the latest strains product as much wastewater data? Maybe this approach stops working for newer variants? Looks like this waste water testing in India went dark. There’s XBB1.16 in WA, so to the dashboards.

    From here, there’s a decrease in waste water particles!

    But supposedly they’re seeing more XBB1.16 in WA:

    In the Washington state area, XBB1.16 is causing about 10% of current COVID-19 cases. It was first detected in the Seattle area in February through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s airport surveillance program.

    The Virology Lab at UW Medicine had its first detection of the XBB1.16 strain in a sample it received in early March 2023.


    Maybe there’s such a decrease in XBB1.5, XBB1.16 isn’t showing up yet in waste water? Puzzling.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Maybe there’s such a decrease in XBB1.5, XBB1.16 isn’t showing up yet in waste water? Puzzling.

      That’s a very interesting question. With testing centralized at a single company (BioBot), however, keeping up to to date with the variants should not be that difficult to avoid.

      Interesting that “escape” from wastewater testing would confer an evolutionary advantage….

  11. LawnDart

    (Almost) Daily Derailment(s):

    After a heady start to the week, things really quieted down: no train derailments in the USA were reported (in US media) since Wednesday.

    However, to end our week, while not “off the rails,” the industry did not leave us totally berift of metaphors coming to life:

    Damaged switch sends train down the wrong track – SAPD investigates

    SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — The San Angelo Police Department is seeking information regarding damage to railway property that is believed to have occurred during the early morning hours of May 19, 2023, which caused heavy damage to the train.


  12. LadyXoc

    Further about babies in the back of Corvairs… my aunt, who had 5 kids in late 50s/early 60s, told me that she always knew she was pregant “when the bourbon tasted off.” Lol!

  13. Mo

    Buttigieg: “apse in his cathedral mind”

    100% sure this is satire. (If not, then OMG OMG OMG). Because besides being one of the slimiest people on earth, he isn’t very smart. That is obvious after listening to him for even a few minutes.

  14. flora

    re: Gerontocratic management?

    The final scene from the 1972 Peter O’Toole movie The Ruling Class, a satire on UK politics. utube. 6 minutes. At the start of the movie O’Toole’s character is sweetly nutty, at the end he was completely mad.

    The Ruling Class (Peter Medak)


  15. hk

    Apparently, Mayor Pete prefers dead Europeans to live Americans. Pity his job is to serve live Americans

    1. britzklieg

      Unstoppable, a human freight train on the gridiron and commanding presence forever after.

    2. flora

      Legend. I remember young boys in my neighborhood starting pickup touch football games on a neighbor’s lawn, and various ones would call out , “I’m Jim Brown!” Another would shout, “No! I”M Jim Brown.” And mind you, these were all little white boys back in the 1960s.

      RIP Mr. Brown.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: “Tensions flare in ‘weaponization’ panel hearing with sidelined FBI agents” [The Hill].

    …some of the GOP witnesses were connected to committee Republicans through people with deep ties to former President Trump. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) reiterated and established at the hearing that two of the witnesses had received donations from Kash Patel, a former top Department of Defense official who is a surrogate for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.

    As the witnesses made clear in the hearing, they were fired / suspended without pay, prevented from taking another job for a year by the fbi, and became dependent on CHARITY.

    Despite the craven, despicable dan goldman’s attempts to suggest otherwise, Kash Patel’s “donations” were CHARITY.

    O’Boyle, who not only lost his security clearance and salary but his home and health insurance, and was characterized by delegate stacey plaskett, whoever the hell she is and whatever the hell she is doing in the position of “ranking member,” was accused with the others of being “traitors” like Reality Winner or Jack Teixeira, had four young children including a two-week-old baby.

    Thank you for your service.

    1. petal

      Plaskett is a real piece of work. She’s been drawing attention to herself lately.

        1. ambrit

          Better yet, fly her to her next Town Hall meeting on a very small plane. You know, the kind that disappear into the Bermuda Triangle.

    2. Lost in OR

      “The McCarthyism Reboot” Paywalled.

      But the photo was worth a thousand words. Would you buy a used car from any of these men? And yet they are seemingly the ones outing the miscarriage of justice. Crazy.

  17. petal

    More train issues: Train stopped in Churchville; smoke coming from train cars

    “Churchville, N.Y. — A CSX train was stopped on the tracks near Savage Road in Churchville early Friday morning.
    In video provided by a viewer, smoke can be seen coming from some cars.
    The fire was under control by around 7 a.m. Friday morning and crews began working to get the train moving again.
    This is a developing story. “

  18. Louis Fyne

    –Nominal wage growth of… 3–4% in the US are compatible with bringing inflation down to within reach of 2% by end-2024,—

    no duh. when headline inflation is 5%, that’s a change of -1% to -2% of real wages….or $500 to $1000 of being poor for a median worker.

    And shocker, people being poorer brings down demand for stuff.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “After all, this was a collective effort. In Washington, the more people involved in a conspiracy, the less culpable it becomes”

      We should call it the Turley rule.

      1. flora

        Murder on the Orient Express. If everyone is guilty then no one is guilty. Or so they think. Hiding culpability in larger crowds of actors is an old ploy. Ergo, if “every ones” surmises the lack of guilt because if a single person can’t be blamed then there’s no blame to assign, then all must be innocent. / ;)

        See also Sherlock Holmes in “The Case of the Purloined Letter.”

  19. Wukchumni

    Nothing more than hurt feelings
    Trying to forget bad feelings of loan

    Rolling down on my Kevin’s face
    Trying to forget hurt feelings of loan

    For all my life I’ll feel it
    I wish I’d never met you, debt
    Here you come again

    Wo-o-o debt ceiling
    Wo-o-o debt ceiling
    Again in a battle over alms

    Debt ceilings like I’ve never lost cost
    And a ceiling like you’ll never see in a dwelling
    Again with My Kevin playing his part

    For all my life there’s always another one
    I wish they’d never thought it up
    Here it comes again

    Ceilings like I’ve never lost track of money due
    And ceilings like what have you
    Again in my life

    Wo-o-o debt ceiling
    Wo-o-o, debt ceiling
    Again with everybody wanting alms

    Wo-o-o ceiling
    Wo-o-o, ceiling
    Wo-o-o, yeah

    Feelings, by Morris Albert


  20. Jason Boxman

    The financial exploitation continues. If you’re privileged enough, you can wait on your deposit. If you are not, well, we can help you:

    Beginning May 19, 2023, when you make eligible deposits through the Laurel Road mobile app, you’ll be able to choose between Immediate Funds or Standard Deposit.1

    Want your deposit available now? Choose Immediate Funds. For a 2% fee, you can skip the processing time and access your money right away. And we’ll show you upfront how much the fee will be – no math required.

    (bold mine)


  21. The Rev Kev

    ‘Bank for International Settlements
    Nominal wage growth of 4–5% in the euro area and 3–4% in the US are compatible with bringing inflation down to within reach of 2% by end-2024, provided that import price growth slows and profit margins stabilise or slightly shrink’

    That bit about ‘profit margins stabilise or slightly shrink.’ Is that an acknowledgment that price gauging is out of control right now and is pushing inflation higher?

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      > Is that an acknowledgment that price gauging is out of control right now and is pushing inflation higher?

      Yes. Every one from Lael Brainard (when she still at the Fed) to some of the other regional Feds to various financial journalists have started coming out in the open and saying this. It’s been the horrible open secret – as evidenced by the “Jani The Giraffe” article from Time magazine that this wonderful family blog shared. The increases in prices that began as supply chain effects never subsided even after the supply chains largely normalized. But the OG on this topic for me is Abba Lerner, whom I referenced in this comment (via NC) on the topic of “seller’s inflation”.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > price gauging is out of control right now

      It’s also an acknowledgement that profit margins and wages are in direct conflict (or, as the Bearded One would say, in contradiction). As the labor aristocrats in Silicon Valley are discovering, to their dismay,* Sort of puts paid to the “we’re all in this together” rhetoric so carefully cultivated.

      * They should have formed their union(s) when they were flush.

  22. Wukchumni

    On April 28, a 25-year-old man went missing after reportedly venturing into the rushing waters of the Kaweah River in Tulare County to save two other swimmers. A 7-year-old child and a man were rescued from a rock in the middle of the river near the Slick Rock Recreation Area, but the 25-year-old man has yet to be found, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said. Before wading into the river, he reportedly told a friend, “If it was my daughter I would want somebody to help her too.” The sheriff’s office subsequently closed large sections of the Kaweah, Kern and Tule rivers due to the deadly conditions.


    Was working down by the river and its a raging, around 5,000 cfs.

    If you fell in, you’d be dead in no time flat, maybe quicker.

    1. rowlf

      Appears to be a noble effort. Why not do it? A coworker saved a child at the cost of his life.

  23. The Rev Kev

    ‘Defund Ukraine
    Democrat politicians gear up for election season by pretending to want Medicare For All’

    Some of the replies are pretty funny too.

  24. thoughtful person

    “No data = universal masking, since how else do we protect ourselves from transmission?”
    Yup, I guess we know can conclude we know the answer to that question about the tree falling in a forrest. It makes no sound.

    The untested covid victims make no sound either.

    So universal masking is the smart choice in an unknown and unkowable risk situation.

    1. some guy

      And since universal masking goes against the elites Prime Directive, which is to get Jackpot going, keep it going, and then speed it up; the elites will obstruct universal masking every way they can, in every country they can. Especially this one.

      So it becomes up to the covid realists to help eachother stay masked and safe in an anti-mask anti-safety greater society.

      1. Late Introvert

        That has been my attitude since early 2020, and nothing since then has given me anything but confirmation that I was right.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the elites Prime Directive,

        I think the Prime Directive is emergent behavior, determined by a sort of summation or aggregation of elite portfolios of all forms of capital. Of course, the incentives are what they are; capitalism is a paperclip maximizer.

      1. ChrisRUEcon


        … under the nose??!! And what looks like a cloth mask?

        C’mon Man!

      2. ChrisRUEcon


        “Funny Girl has been and still is tackling a tremendous wave of COVID with close to a dozen company members currently out,” the Glee alum continued at the time.”

        … sigh … at what point is it reasonable to expect people to realize that this is insane. I am constantly reminded these days of Einsteins witticism on insanity: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > at what point is it reasonable to expect people to realize that this is insane.

          Perhaps the celebrities themselves — not always the sharpest knives in the drawer, I admit — will decide to protect themselves. At that point, two problems might be solved: Proper modeling by public figures, and masks as a fashion item.

  25. Lost in OR

    Obama Legacy

    My strongest memory was election night, 2008. There was such joy and hope to be rid of W.

    OMG. What a bummer trip.

    Following on the failures of the war on the middle east and the banking collapse, he could have changed the course of history. Instead, he stayed the course. So sad. So f’n sad.

    1. communistmole

      My strongest memory was when my girlfriend told me he won the nobel price; i thought she was kidding …

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > My strongest memory was election night, 2008. There was such joy and hope to be rid of W.

      Remember Obama’s first inauguration? Bubbly like champagne. Until he got up and started talking about austerity and belt-tightening.

  26. some guy

    . . . ” Axios’ Andrew Solender reports…. “[N]obody should assume, including the White House, that House Democrats or the Progressive Caucus or anyone else is gonna go along with something that’s negotiated without us at the table,” Jayapal warned…. Like any compromise, a deal will ultimately have to be made in the middle.” • Some rebellion! ” . . .

    It probably feels to Jayapal herself like a very brave and high-risk rebellion. She, like all the others in the Dems and the CaucusProgs believes in the Pledge of Allegiance . . . every word of it , even if they were too cool to ever allow themselves to ever be seen ever having said it out loud.

    So they fear the effects of a default on the One Nation, Indivisible . . . for which the flag stands.

    The Republicans don’t. They don’t care about the One Nation or the Indivisible or any of that. They are perfectly happy to see the US FedGov go bankrupt and if the US divides into several countries in the aftermath, they are happy to see that too. They imagine they would have an opportunity to gain and consolidate total control over what wreckage and rubble emerges from that chain of events. So they do not fear a default, and that is their strength in this Debt Ceiling drama.

    Eventually the Republicans and the Gilead MAGAServatives will get tired of this little drama and all these reruns. When they finally decide its time to “drop the Big One”, they will make the Democrats an offer they cannot accept.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > if the US divides into several countries in the aftermath, they are happy to see that too.

      I think you need to polish your glasses to remove some of the Blue. To pick a random example, there’s plenty of secession talk among liberals, too (of course, in reality, it boils down to “I can’t live with those people,” but in general, they don’t. so talk it stays). See here, here, and here.

      As for the “One Nation… Indivisible” foo-fra, the consequence of the state of exception declared by Democrats after 2016 has been a new Constitutional crder where the upper reaches of the Democrat Party, the intelligence community, and the press have all merged into a single gelatinous Flexnet, as Taibbi’s work has shown and is showing. I find it hard to imagine a system less in keeping with the intent of the Framers, not merely for its erasure of the separation of powers, but for its view of the citizen as a passive consumer of official propaganda.

  27. Wukchumni

    In older movies kissing was quite common, but you don’t really see it all that much anymore, smooching on the silver screen.

  28. samm

    “Biden faces bubbling progressive rebellion,” ha! Regarding the 14th Amendment idea, I’m starting to be convinced the Progressive Caucus is where ideas are sent to die in the dark. “Run with it.”

Comments are closed.