2:00PM Water Cooler 5/23/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Magpie-lark. Piesse Park (Katanning), Katanning, Western Australia, Australia. “Pair duet. Female woo-loop call in flight @ 0.17. 2nd duet- male lead. Near end- Male few out no call. Female called, followed male.” Woo-loop!

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

Biden Administration

“Biden says he’s offered $1 trillion in spending cuts but GOP won’t budge on debt limit” [Ohio Capitol Journal]. “President Joe Biden said Sunday his administration has offered $1 trillion in spending cuts as part of the ongoing talks with Republicans around a budget agreement, but he said no deal has yet been reached. Biden, speaking from Japan during a press conference following the G7 summit, said his administration wants House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to consider changes to the tax code in addition to spending cuts. ‘It’s time for Republicans to accept that there’s no bipartisan deal to be made solely on their partisan terms — they have to move as well,’ Biden said.” • Sounds like… a Grand Bargain? Scranton Joe, the people’s friend!

“The Wall Street Grumble” [American Economic Liberties Project]. “The American Economic Liberties Project has been tracking the number of editorials, op-eds, and letters to the editor published in the pages of the Wall Street Journal that raise concerns about the antitrust enforcement record of FTC Chair Lina Khan. In total, as of May 2023, the elite voices of the Wall Street Journal have published 63 pieces since the beginning of Khan’s tenure, all of them intending to undermine the FTC’s enforcement actions. In our view, that means Chair Khan is on the right path. According to our analysis, the Journal is publishing a screed against Chair Khan once every 11 days!”

“IRS Processing Updates Include Up To 20-Week Wait For Amended Tax Returns” [Forbes]. “According to the IRS, all paper and electronic individual returns received before January 2023 have been processed. Additionally, the agency claims it is opening mail within normal time frames. This means, they say, that all returns received for the tax year 2021 or earlier have been processed—if those returns had no errors or did not require further review. As of May 13, 2023, the IRS had 4.2 million unprocessed individual returns—yes, that number is higher than reported just a few weeks ago. That number includes tax year 2022 returns, 2021 returns that need review or correction, and late filed prior year returns. Of the unprocessed individual returns, 2 million returns require error correction or other special handling, and 2.2 million are paper returns waiting to be reviewed and processed, nearly 3/4 million more than two weeks ago. These returns require special handling by an IRS employee, so in these instances, it will take the IRS more than 21 days to issue any related refund.” • News you can use!


I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Tucker Carlson Hits ‘Draft Carlson PAC’ With Legal Complaint” [The Messenger]. “A recently unveiled super PAC that is urging former Fox News host Tucker Carlson to run for president in 2024 was hit with a cease-and-desist letter on Monday, according to reports. Carlson’s lawyer Harmeet Dhillon sent ‘Draft Tucker PAC’ the letter—obtained by The Daily Beast — saying the PAC is using Carlson’s ‘name, image, and likeness’ to raise money, despite the fact that he ‘will not run for President in 2024 under any circumstances.'”

“Marianne Williamson Loses Two Campaign Officials” [The Messenger]. “Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson lost two of her main campaign officials in back-to-back resignations, including her campaign manager, Peter Daou, and deputy campaign manager, Jason Call.” • Hmm.

“A ROCKSTAR JOINS FORWARD” [Andrew Yang]. “Some huge news came out this week – Krist Novoselic has joined the National Board of the Forward Party! Krist co-founded Nirvana with Kurt Cobain – he’s the tall, good-looking one playing the guitar toward the back…. Krist is no stranger to political activism. He was the chairman of Fairvote, an org championing Ranked Choice Voting, for 9 years and was the former chair of his local county Democratic Party. He even wrote a book, ‘Of Grunge and Government: Let’s Fix this Broken Democracy.’…. ‘The only way you do anything is to become really active,’ Krist says. He also said, in another context: ‘I kind of discovered my voice for the first time, and the more I did it, the better it got.’ That’s a pretty good summary of what Forward is about. Can we change the face of American politics? Krist thinks we can – and he’s done it once already.” • If that’s a good summary, the Forward Party is content-free.


Republican Funhouse

“Tim Scott’s Uphill Battle To Win The Republican Nomination” [FiveThirtyEight]. “Going into this piece, though, I wrestled with the question of why Scott, the lone Black Senate Republican, first appointed (by Haley) to the chamber in 2012, doesn’t share DeSantis’s presumed front-runner status. He’s got a lot going for him, at least on paper: He’s an unapologetic and unceasingly affable conservative whose Christian faith has informed his politics and personal journey. His vision is relentlessly optimistic, an implicit rebuke of the grievance politics that have taken over the Republican Party — though it’s unclear if the party wants to pivot in his direction. And, unlike DeSantis, Scott has managed the impressive feat of staying on the good side of both the Trumpist and non-Trumpist wings of the party. Scott’s advisers argue that his middle-of-the road disposition makes him more electable — specifically in a general election. So why isn’t Scott entering the race with the same stature as DeSantis despite his conservative record and political resume? One reason for this dynamic could be because DeSantis has had a chance to pursue an “anti-woke” agenda as Florida’s governor with actual outcomes, whereas it’s harder to make the same kind of name for yourself in the Senate minority. Republican voters might also just want a Trumpian-type candidate that’s not Trump himself, or may rebuke the possibility of a Black party leader. These factors could help explain why Scott is just barely on the map as a presidential candidate while DeSantis is largely viewed as Trump’s top opponent.” • Nominating the Black guy would totally own the libs. Oddly, nobody’s saying that.

“‘A Tim Scott Nomination Would Be a Nightmare for Joe Biden’: Our Columnists Weigh In on the G.O.P. Candidate” [New York Times]. “Tim Scott is the most serious candidate who isn’t Trump or Ron DeSantis. That may seem like faint praise. But Republican primary voters have been eager to consider Black candidates in recent cycles: Herman Cain in 2012, Ben Carson in 2016. That eagerness gives Scott an opening.” • Trump’s VP. That would cause a few heads to explode…

“‘Blood in the water for DeSantis’: Trump world embraces Tim Scott’s candidacy” [Politico]. “‘The more the merrier,’ said one Trump adviser of Scott’s announcement. ‘Tim Scott doesn’t have to write ‘Be Likeable’ at the top of his notepad,’ referencing a video from a 2018 DeSantis debate prep where he was advised to be ‘likeable’ to the audience.” • Ouch!

“No More Losers” [The American Conservative]. “Since the time Nixon initiated a generation of GOP dominance in 1968, the Republican nominee had won, on average, thirty-seven of the fifty states in each presidential election. Twice—in 1972 and 1984—a Republican incumbent carried all but one. Bob Dole pulled nineteen, scraping together just 159 electoral votes against Bill Clinton’s 379. Bob Dole, that is, was the last massive loser put forward by either major party. What does it say, then, when his campaign manager returns from the grave to foist another candidate on a divided GOP? Scott Reed, who led Bob Dole and the party to electoral humiliation 27 years ago, was announced this week as co-leader of “Allies of Mike Pence,” a Super PAC set up to fund the former vice-president’s long-shot candidacy for the 2024 nomination. Since the bungling of 1996, Reed has slinked from swamp role to swamp role, among the most recent of which was political director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (He was terminated for cause in 2020 after “an internal review…revealed that Scott repeatedly breached confidentiality, distorted facts for his own benefit, withheld information from chamber leadership and leaked internal information to the press.”) The choice is poetic, if not much else. Who better to lead a failing campaign than a man with an ironclad track record? Who better to force out the last gasp of the dead consensus than an alumnus of Dole/Kemp?” • Fun stuff. However, Pence didn’t “get in the car.” That speaks well of him.

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.

“Maverick Joe Manchin on shaky ground in coal country over climate” [Financial Times]. “Democrats hope that the Inflation Reduction Act, which contains nearly $370bn in subsidies, can unleash a wave of green jobs across America, bringing prosperity to the faltering economies of the country’s depressed Appalachian region. But shortly after Manchin backed the plan, his approval rating in West Virginia — one of the regions likely to benefit from the green spending splurge — plummeted… A Morning Consult poll in October showed 51 per cent of West Virginia voters disapproved of Manchin’s job performance, compared with 38 per cent in the second quarter of the year, placing him among the country’s least popular senators… ‘No politician in West Virginia can win statewide office by saying that the climate is changing and we need to do something about it,’ said Hoppy Kercheval, a longtime radio show host based in Morgantown. ‘That is a political non-starter.'”

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“Back in hoodies and gym shorts, Fetterman tackles Senate life after depression treatment” [Associated Press]. “These days, he’s back to wearing the hoodies and gym shorts he was known for before he became a senator. Male senators are expected to wear a jacket and tie on the Senate floor, but Fetterman has a workaround. He votes from the doorway of the Democratic cloakroom or the side entrance, making sure his “yay” or “nay” is recorded before ducking back out. In between votes this past week, Fetterman’s hoodie stayed on for a news conference with four Democratic colleagues in suits, the 6-foot-8 Fetterman towering over his colleagues. People close to Fetterman say his relaxed, comfortable style is a sign that the senator is making a robust recovery after six weeks of inpatient treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where his clinical depression was treated with medication and he was fitted for hearing aids for hearing loss that had made it harder for him to communicate. His hospitalization came less than a year after he had a stroke during his Senate campaign that he has said nearly killed him, and from which he continues to recover.” • I say good for Fetterman, and may his suffering be expressed in humane policy. (We don’t know that it will, of course; but what impressed my about Fetterman was his “every county, every vote” strategy, which arguably carried him to the Senate after a stroke (not that the dog-torturing charlatan Oz was any great shakes as a candidate).

This is just sad:

Democrats didn’t pass single payer during a pandemic; they’re certainly not going to pass it when the pandemic is “over.”

Realignment and Legitimacy


“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!

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Look for the Helpers

If you are going to fly, read this excellent long thread from Jose-Luis Jimenez (an aerosol stalwart since before the beginning):

If you’re drinking coffee, put it down. Here is a long thread on “Bob” Wachter’s current Covid protocol (Wachter being the dude who infected his wife with Long Covid by chivvying her to go to a superspreader event, and got away clean with no reputational damage:

You can read the whole thing if you want to indulge your sense of grim fascination; notice in this first tweet that (A) Wachter assumes up front that he can judge risk when the public health establishment has carefully erased all the data he needs (though to be fair he later admits this, so why is point 1) even there? Further, he has nothing on CO2 metering, which would help him assess risk in real time, or sprays, which mitigate it. (B) it’s all about him (unsurprisingly). Surely the question of whether others (say, his wife) can live with Wachter’s behavior also matters? Even more offensively, Wachter wraps up this steaming load with hedonistic rhetoric about “joy” and “pleasure.” What a piece of work.

NOTE I’m filing Wachter here as a parallel to Jimenez, a genuine helper. For Wachter I need an antonym for helper, like harmer, or hurter. Perhaps anti-helper.

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“Toward a Values-Informed Approach to Complexity in Health Care: Hermeneutic Review” [The Milbank Quarterly]. “[R]eal-world complexityis not only (or even primarily) a mathematical phenomenon; it is a human, social, and political one characterized by strongly held values, contested meanings, and stakeholder conflicts. It requires not merely generalizable, abstract, and formal knowledge but also what Polanyi and Tsoukas have called ‘complex knowledge’—including embodied, intersubjective, collective, and distributed elements.The human and political dimension of complexity is illustrated by what have become known as ‘grand challenges,’ such as the climate emergency. These are often presented as grand in difficulty (multiple interacting components), grand in scope (extended temporal or spatial scale), or both and as requiring a heroic, all-out collaborative effort. Such framings emphasize the mathematical (or structural) complexityaris-ing from the sheer number of components and interactions in a system and resulting logistical challenges. However, another key feature of grand challenges is that they are grand in wickedness—that is, putting scale and logistics aside, they resist definitive description or clear solutions, they are inherently unpredictable, and efforts to address them often generate conflict among stakeholders. In other words, they also exhibit value(or normative) complexity, which we define as complexity that arises from differences in world views, interests, and values, leading to mistrust, misunderstanding, and conflict among stakeholders.” • A little turgid, perhaps, but worth some study (as is anything in which Trisha Greenhalgh is involved). Anyhow, I’m a sucker for hermeneutics. On “wicked,” see “wicked problems.”


Fashion-forward masking (1):

I clicked through: “As seen in People.” Good! Ear loops: Gaaah!

Fashion-forward masking (2):

Fashion-forward masking (3):

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“Emily Landon: Ending masking requirements in hospitals and clinics is a step backward for health care” [Chicago Tribune]. “A universal source-control masking strategy is a harm reduction approach that asks everyone to wear at least low-quality masks to reduce the amount of COVID-19, tuberculosis, influenza, rhinovirus, adenovirus, metapneumovirus, measles, mumps, etc. in the air around them, whether they know they have infection or not. It works much like the myriad other things we do in health care to protect you even if we may not know for sure that you need it, like hand washing, gloves, and cleaning rooms with bleach. We can’t easily tell when these things are needed and when we can safely skip them, so we do them for everyone, every time.

These kinds of interventions have reduced spread of multidrug-resistant organisms, decreased device related infections, and generally made health care safer, paving the way for more complex medical treatments and procedures. Without progress in infection prevention, many of the things we are able to do today (cancer treatments, transplants, complex surgeries) would not be possible because the risk of infection would be prohibitive. Unmasking in health care in order to ‘give health care workers a break from masks’ or ‘keep up with what others are doing’ is like saying we are going to provide the best health care 2019 has to offer. Yes, masks can be annoying and uncomfortable and there are definitely a few situations where we should ditch them for the sake of good communication. But they aren’t much different from gloves, electronic medical record best practice alerts, hand washing, bar code medication administration, fall precautions, medication reconciliation, or pharmacy verification — and you deserve every single one of them.” • Excellent piece. Circulate!

“Regional Healthcare Organizations Adopt Joint Consensus Statement: Continuation of Masking in Healthcare Facilities” [Northwest Healthcare]. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic healthcare organizations and local health jurisdictions throughout our region have maintained a strong commitment to collaboration with one another to ensure a coordinated approach to the healthcare system’s pandemic response and caring for patients. This collaboration continues as many of the region’s major medical institutions have again committed together to continue masking in their acute care and outpatient clinic facilities in advance of the removal of the Secretary of Health Mask Order on April 3, 2023. This decision is timely as the region continues to face a burden within the healthcare system and the risk for severe disease associated with infection amongst vulnerable populations is ongoing. This regional consensus provides a consistent and clear message that these healthcare organizations continue to prioritize the health and safety of both their patients and employees. This consensus statement informs each organization’s individual policies and procedures related to the continued protection of employees and patients through masking in patient care areas and public spaces.”

ACT-UP used shaming too:

“Highly regarded”:

Celebrity Watch

“Paul Simon opens up about his ‘sudden’ hearing loss: ‘Nobody has an explanation for it'” [Yahoo News]. “Tis a mystery!


“Potential Prion Involvement in Long COVID-19 Neuropathology, Including Behavior” [Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology]. “Prion disorders exhibit, in part, incubation periods, neuronal loss, and induce abnormal folding of specific normal cellular proteins due to enhancing reactive oxygen species associated with mitochondria energy metabolism. These agents may also induce memory, personality and movement abnormalities as well as depression, confusion and disorientation. Interestingly, some of these behavioral changes also occur in COVID-19 and mechanistically include mitochondrial damage caused by SARS-CoV-2 and subsequenct production of reactive oxygen species. Taken together, we surmise, in part, long COVID may involve the induction of spontaneous prion emergence, especially in individuals susceptible to its origin may thus explain some of its manesfestions post-acute viral infection.” • I’ve gotta admit, this “potential” induces fear. I’ve seen other articles on Covid and prions, but this is the first one to propose a mechanism, so I included it. Readers?

“Yes, you’re tired. But are you hungry tired, angry tired, resignation tired, stupid tired …?” [Guardian]. “A new tiredness has dropped. According to the market researchers Mintel, 2023 is the year of ‘hyperfatigue‘ – which seems to describe a state of continual physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. It’s nice of them to enrich our weariness one-upmanship with this concept, even if it sounds like something a French teenager would have said in the 90s; my computer even keeps trying to add an accent. But they aren’t wrong: tiredness – possibly, yes, hyperfatigue – is the malaise of our age. Everywhere is too light and too loud to sleep properly, and our animal brains are overwhelmed by rolling news of hundreds of global atrocities and dangers, TikTok, deepfakes and monitoring 48 WhatsApp groups. In a recent survey, 35% of people said they were too tired to make healthy changes to their diet and activity levels, suggesting many are in a vicious circle of fatigue-induced self-sabotage, leading to more fatigue. We’re too tired to tackle our tiredness, basically.” • I wonder if there could be some common factor. ‘Tis a mystery!

Elite Maleficence

Infection Control whacking more patients (1):

Infection Control whacking more patients (2):

“Dr. Bonnie” (!!!).

“Column: These ‘experts’ sold the U.S. on a disastrous COVID plan, and never paid a professional price” [Los Angeles Times]. “They’ve held credentials from some of the world’s most elite universities — Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Oxford. They’ve been welcomed into the highest government policy councils. They became fixtures on television news shows and were quoted incessantly by some of the nation’s leading newspapers. They’re a cadre of academics and scientists who pushed a discredited solution to the COVID pandemic, shunning masks, school closings, even vaccines, all in the name of reaching the elusive goal of ‘herd immunity,’ resulting in what may have been hundreds of thousands of unnecessary American deaths. That’s the contention of ‘We Want Them Infected,’ a painstakingly documented new book by Jonathan Howard, a neurologist at New York University and a veteran debunker of the pseudoscience contaminating our efforts to fight the pandemic.'” And: “In his book, Howard reserves his deepest scorn for the promoters of the “Great Barrington Declaration,” a manifesto for herd immunity published in October 2020 and signed initially by epidemiologists Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford; Martin Kulldorff, then of Harvard; and Sunetra Gupta of Oxford. (Thousands of other academics and scientists would later add their signatures)…. As Howard documents, the declaration was little more than a libertarian fantasy.” • Needs a copy editor. “Libertarian fantasy” is redundant.

“Might “Vitriolic Attacks” Against Emily Oster Rival COVID’s Carnage?” [Science-Based Medicine]. “Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in a New York City hospital throughout the pandemic, but I’m not too worried that vitriolic attacks against a famous, sheltered economist will soon rival COVID’s carnage. To be honest, I can’t even conceive of a ‘vitriolic attack’ that compares to tens of millions of dead people, especially considering so many of them should still be alive. The Delta and Omicron variants arrived shortly after Professor Oster published her article in the spring of 2021, proving that being a child wasn’t always a really great vaccine. However, even before this, there was already evidence that not all children were ‘naturally protected.’ Sadly, the fact that we did an OK job of protecting children early in the pandemic was used as ‘evidence’ they didn’t need protecting at all. It’s not a ‘vitriolic attack’ to point any of this out to Professor Oster- though assuredly, someone who pretends to value ‘debate and discussion,’ will frame it that way in the hopes of dissuading me and anyone else from making pointed criticisms in the future.”

The Jackpot

Catch ’em young:

Of course, I can’t be sure we didn’t have “Executive Functioning” camp for children before Long Covid was a thing. Nevertheless. Readers, have any of you spotted anything like this in the wild?

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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 22:

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.

• “Bay Area doctor believes COVID-19 to become endemic this year” [ABC7]. “As health emergencies end across the country and in the Bay Area, UCSF Infectious Diseases Expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong can finally say with confidence that society can collectively breathe a maskless sigh of relief… ‘I think this is a critical year because this is the year that COVID will become endemic,’ Dr. Chin-Hong said. Dr. Chin-Hong believes COVID is becoming predictable thanks to the amount of immunity in society as well as tools like treatment and vaccines. On top of this, he thinks yearly vaccines may only be needed by the most vulnerable and people over 65. ‘We as a society have to be prepared for as much as 100,000 to 250,000 people a year dying of those vulnerable groups,’ Dr. Chin-Hong said. ‘But, in general for your average person, it will probably fizzle out.‘” • So that’s alright then.


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.


From Walgreens, May 22:

-1.1%. Frequency down to once a week? UPDATE Apparently so!


NOT UPDATED Death rate (Our World in Data), from May 14:

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

Total: 1,164,351 – 1,163,871 = 480 (480 * 365 = 175,200 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

Excess deaths (The Economist), published May 21:

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

Manufacturing: “United States Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Manufacturing Activity Index in the Richmond area fell to -15 in May 2023 from -10 in April, the lowest in three months and below market expectations of -8.”

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Banking: Handy chart:

War on Cash: “Paper Money Diehards Refuse to Fold” [Wall Street Journal]. Damn straight. “Brett Scott, author of “Cloudmoney: Cash, Cards, Crypto and the War for our Wallets,” says a power struggle is set to grow over how people pay for stuff. McKinsey projects the digital-payments industry will be worth $3 trillion by 2026, much of it generated in Asia, particularly China. Cash, Scott argues, provides freedom, anonymity and security. Others say it can help track their spending. ‘It’s easier to stick to your budget when you’re at the supermarket,’ said Jenny Whittaker, out shopping with her 2-year-old. ‘If I’m using my card or phone, it would quickly get out of control.’ In Ireland, lawmakers took up the cause after the overseers of Gaelic football introduced cashless ticketing. Many older fans have been unable to figure out how to buy tickets, some relying on their children to do it for them. The British parliament is considering moves to make sure people are always within reach of an ATM or bank to withdraw cash. In the U.S., Congress is mulling legislation that would require businesses to accept cash, as is already the case in some cities, such as San Francisco. The bigger question is whether bills and coins make a comeback or, on the flip side, insisting on them amounts to little more than a protest against the speed with which the world is changing.” • Lots of quotes meant to discredit cash advocates that I didn’t include. Why on earth would I want my every transaction in some database? Also, in my view, cards processing is slower than handing over cash, even when making change is included. Since standing in line can mean sharing air, I want lines to move as fast as possible, and I don’t want to wait while cashier and customer struggle to pair phone and device, or while the customer hesitates over whether to use the electronic coupons on their screen. One of these days I’m going to lose a tooth, grinding it.

War on Cash: “Billions of banknotes are missing. Why does nobody care?” [The Economist]. “Since the lockdown started, my local shops switched to only accepting electronic payment, like others across Britain, worried about the possibility of transmitting the virus through physical money.” Fomite transmission is not a thing (but propaganda works). More: According to the National Audit Office, which scrutinises public-sector accounts, the value of all the sterling-denominated notes in existence has tripled in the past 20 years. It now totals around £75bn. If you’re looking to public records to see what’s driving this demand you won’t have much luck. Only a third of that £75bn is being circulated in the kind of day-to-day transactions that officials can monitor. The remaining £50bn is out there somewhere, being put to unknown uses. “The Bank of England doesn’t know where, who by or what for, and doesn’t seem very curious,” said Meg Hillier, head of a parliamentary committee that recently investigated the future of cash.” • Good. Great!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70 Greed (previous close: 69 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 57 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 23 at 12:29 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged[Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most!

Zeitgeist Watch

Little torment nexuses everywhere:

This is the sort of thing upper management would find funny, no?

Class Warfare

“They say that money can’t buy happiness, but it can sure take the sting about of being unhappy.” –John D. MacDonald

News of the Wired

“MICROTIMING IN A RIFF FROM METALLICA’S “MASTER OF PUPPETS” [Metal in Theory]. “Metallica’s song “Master of Puppets” has extremely powerful and driving momentum, which is especially impressive given that it is riddled with meter changes and thrashes on for almost nine minutes. … Every time I get up and headbang to “Master of Puppets,” I get a sudden burst of adrenaline when I hear this riff. This kind of visceral reaction entirely depends on the “inexact” timing Metallica uses, and the way it upsets with the movement of my headbanging body, for its effect.” • I left out the nerdy stuff, but I’m sure metal fans and musicians will appreciate it!

* * *

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 IM:

IM writes: “Overexposed for that silvery look!”

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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. Angie Neer

    Dr. Lisa Iannattone tweet: the sentiment is fine, but she’s using the rhetorical technique, which I despise, of calling anything that harms people “violence.” English has enough other words to express the seriousness of various harms without diluting the meaning of “violence.”

      1. Angie Neer

        Call me old-fashioned (or just old), but my understanding of the word “violence” is that it inherently refers to a physical act. Of course, I also understand that language changes. I’m just frustrated that it seems to always change in the direction of ambiguity. To repeat: I’m old. “Hey you kids! Get offa my vocabulary!”

        1. Diogenes

          Yeah, but (in support of your first point) there’s an important difference between language evolving organically, and having it pushed in self-serving directions by propagandists.

          I’m thinking of Carlin’s classic hunk on euphemisms.

          “There’s a condition in combat. Most people know about it. It’s when a fighting person’s nervous system has been stressed to its absolute peak and maximum, can’t take any more input. The nervous system has either snapped or is about to snap. In the first world war, that condition was called shellshock. Simple, honest, direct language. Two syllables: shellshock. Almost sounds like the guns themselves. That was seventy years ago.

          Then a whole generation went by and the second world war came along, and the very same combat condition was called battle fatigue. Four syllables now. Takes a little longer to say. Doesn’t seem to hurt as much. Fatigue is a nicer word than shock. Shellshock! Battle fatigue.

          “…the war in Vietnam, which has only been over for about sixteen or seventeen years, and thanks to the lies and deceits surrounding that war, I guess it’s no surprise that the very same condition was called post-traumatic stress disorder. Still eight syllables, but we’ve added a hyphen! And the pain is completely buried under jargon. Post-traumatic stress disorder. I’ll bet you if we’d have still been calling it shellshock, some of those Vietnam veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time. I’ll betcha that. I’ll betcha that.”

          1. digi_owl

            Funny how the change in terminology so nicely map with the rise of Freudian psychology…

      2. Tim

        Let’s get real. Nobody thinks the harm they inflict is deliberate. If it causes harm it is an accident with slightly higher probability then speeding through traffic. It is just a calculated risk assessment you make on behalf of somebody else’s survival. It happens all of the time.

        Commercial aircraft could be designed to be safer, but they would weigh more, burn more fuel, and cost more to build, all of which makes the ticket price much higher. So we are happy with the level of risk.

        The primary problem with the current situation is people are perceiving the risks to themselves and others as being much lower than it actually is. Fix that, and people will mask appropriately.

        Failing our arms with harsh accusational words of malicious intent won’t make anybody change, it will just make them blow you off as nuts.

    1. nippersmom

      She’s referring to actions (such as exposing vulnerable people unnecessarily to a potentially lethal disease) that inflict physical harm. How is that not violence?

      1. LawnDart

        I’m with Angie on this– it’s not physical coersion or force directly inflicted, it’s in the action itself: issuing an order to drop bombs on brown or yellow folk (or Russians), this is not the same as being the person who physically actuates the bomb-release mechanism.

    2. tevhatch

      I considered fences and walls a form of violence, as they exert a physical force which impacts human behavior, but then I’m more concerned with the purpose of violence, the dirty details than the act itself.

  2. Samuel Conner

    RE: something awful,

    to “immune dysregulation” you can add amyloidosis of clotting-related proteins and, now, neurological disorders due to prior disease.

    I suppose one can hope that the clotting disorders do in our ruling elites before they go insane from the prion disease.

    1. chris

      You’d think they’d suffer from all that but they’re much more likely to control the situations they’re exposed to and if they’re people like Feinstein or Pelosi they can just hang on to their positions until they’re dead.

  3. Hepativore

    Speaking of metal, Electric Eye by Judas Priest has been oddly prescient in predicting omni-survellience state of the future.


    So, it looks like the Biden administration is going to try and turn Ukraine into the Israel model for the long-term future…a place where we can store excess military hardware and will serve as a permanent aid recipient for the forseeable future, or as long as we can keep the war with Russia going.


      1. Late Introvert

        Ding Ding Ding, it’s all of the above. The shameless people need to be mocked, it’s the only thing that works.

  4. griffen

    Adding onto the metal comment, Queensryche has a quite layered concept album which also features the ever seeing surveillance. Operation Mindcrime. Highly recommend! It is difficult to match any vocalist like Halford, although I’m mostly familiar with the more popular tunes by Judas Priest.

    Master of Puppets is a work of art for the ears. It is excellently performed live, on their 20 some years back performance on the S&M album.

    1. notabanker

      I super admire Chris Degarmo for knowing when to walk away. Some People Fly kinda says it all. They’ve never been close to the same since he left. But wow, what a band from Mindcrime through HITNF.

      1. griffen

        I was probably 18 or 19, and bought their Empire on cassette. Every song was worthwhile, every time I played it. Okay yeah I focused mostly on the big hits from that album, but even the ones receiving less airplay were just remarkable. “Is There Anybody Listening?!?” I also tended to lose sight of these bands as they gradually became less popular, and honestly I transitioned to Soundgarden and Alice in Chains by my early 20s, FWIW.

  5. Jason Boxman

    ‘We as a society have to be prepared for as much as 100,000 to 250,000 people a year dying of those vulnerable groups,’ Dr. Chin-Hong said.

    Casual murder, in a nutshell. This guy is a doctor of stupidity? There is no immunity. What a quack.

    1. vao

      So Covid has become endemic.

      Just like malaria, endemic in many countries (mainly African and Asian ones). Or sleeping sickness, endemic in large parts of Africa. Or Chagas disease, endemic in large parts of South America. Or tuberculosis, endemic in many countries around the world. Or Chikungunya, or dengue, or Zika, or…

      As the meme goes: this is fine.

  6. Angie Neer

    IM, I’m reminded again that when I see a photo here and say “D’oh, I wished I’d made that one,” it’s often yours. Same was true for the Vancouver Island one last week. I appreciate all the photos here, but your aesthetic seems the closest match to mine (which means it’s the best, ha ha).

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Marianne Williamson staff shakeup: It is interesting that Peter Daou was her campaign manager, although I’m not sure that he’s the best at management of groups. Yet Daou’s tweet is about taking care of sick parents, and I wouldn’t question his motives.

    It isn’t as if Daou is Joe Biden lying about his stutter (nonexistent) to get some vague kind of “awwww, disability” sympathy. Dealing with the illness and the eventuality of death of a parent is serious business, something only Bill and Hill would find it opportune to lie about.

    According to Sabrina Salvati (a k a Sabby Sabs), Call is more complicated. He wants to run for Congress as a Green.

    So? Non-event? Or the beginning of some pile-on? “Oh that daffy, New-Age-inflicted Marianne just can’t keep staffers… How will she be able to attract talent like the ultra-talented-licious Jake Sullivan and Pete Buttigieg?”

  8. Jason Boxman

    I’ve given up trying to understand what’s happening — all the data is gone at this point — but “COVID-19 Variant Dashboard – USA” does show XBB1.5 takes a continual dive at 38%. Looks like XBB1.16.* is still hovering around 10% and XBB1.9.* is around 6.5%. No idea what this means. XBB1.5 was much higher earlier in the year, so it must be getting displaced by a lot of somethings. There’s a long tail.

    Lack of any movement in wastewater makes me suspect XBB1.5 receding is masking uptake of other variants, as we’ve seen before; but who knows? We know mostly nothing now!

    1. griffen

      Demolition Man? Okay it’s a film title from the mid-1990s but I think it works. When I’ve watched that film again, it seems oddly appropriate for our times and a seemingly bifurcated existence in modern America.

  9. Henry Moon Pie

    “Anyhow, I’m a sucker for hermeneutics.”

    You should go to seminary. They talk about hermeneutics a lot there. ;)

  10. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “Paper Money Diehards Refuse to Fold

    My complaint about electronic money is the same complaint that I have about paying by credit card: The intermediation fees. Everybody who touches the transaction along the way from the store to the bank collects their little percentage, ultimately increasing the price for me, the end consumer.

    The number of places places offering a ~3% discount for paying with cash is increasing, and I’ve started asking for it.

    1. Stephen V

      FMA: You disintermediationist, you!
      But seriously, a friend sent me a link to Brett Scott’s substack, and there’s a lot to like there.

    2. flora

      But but… if I use cash then I’m not creating digital data for credit cards to sell to any public (including govt) or private corporation that will pay good money for the data. I’m literally taking money away from the Wall St. banks credit card issuers.
      Oh, the humanity!

      Hmmm… imagining the big Wall St. banks as the Hindenburg? / ;)

      1. flora

        adding: my locally owned shops like cash. They don’t have to pay a transaction fee to the cc companies. They’re up against tough competition from the big box stores.

    3. Mikel

      The big picture problem seems to be this: too many people trying to make a living getting your attention and information to sell. Too many people working on the platform plantations. FFS. Diversify into the actual world…with EVERYTHING.

    4. Jen

      Not so long ago one of our local gas station conglomerates offered 6 cents off per gallon if you used their “debit pay.” Now it’s up to twenty cents per gallon, which tells me all i need to know about the value of intermediation fees.

    5. Wukchumni

      …every Federal Reserve Note has a unique serial number and yet nobody keeps track of any of them that way… how refreshing in a world where if they aren’t prying on what you’re buying-they aren’t trying.

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    Masking in hospitals–

    As long as they don’t close the gyms. They can’t close the gyms. We’ll all die if they close the gyms.

  12. antidlc

    Observations from my corner of the world…

    Prior to 2020, I was active in the local theater community. I volunteered, was a theatre representative at a non-profit, had season tickets to theatres and the opera, and went to see a lot of people I knew who were cast in shows. I haven’t been to any performances since COVID broke out, but I try to see what is going on by following the Facebook pages of the local theatres. I have noticed more and more theatres offering discounts and BOGO tickets to performances (which indicates to me that tickets are not selling.)

    In the comments for one of the theatres someone remarked that audiences just have not come back since the theatres re-opened after shutdown. One performer remarked that he gives concerts for free at colleges and still cannot get many people to come.

    When I look at the cast listings for shows, I do not recognize many of the people who are currently doing shows. It used to be that a lot of the same people would show up in the cast lists, but now I recognize very few names.

    1. ForFawkesSakes

      I’m seeing the exact thing in North Florida/ Southern Georgia. Absolutely everything you described. None of the veterans I worked with in years past are as motivated to take gigs because of the fear of COVID. I’ve heard of two full show casts wiped out with majority injections during Tech week, causing the run to be scuttled entirely.

      The theatres are doing nothing to mitigate this, plodding along with thirty year old scripts with large casts, hoping to appeal to the long gone blue hair audiences of the 90’s. Pointing to the article posted last week about how boring culture has become, theatres have become safe places, with moralizing plays. There’s nothing sexy or fun to tempt anyone into the venue.

      Very small casts, no singing, and edgier work is my idea of a potential life line, but I don’t see it happening before it’s too late.

      1. ambrit

        Hmmm… A small cast drama about a crook deceiving the nation about, something or other.
        “Springtime For Fauci.” Have a holographic Dick Shawn play Doctor Death.

    2. Jen

      From my corner of the world – our college has frequently hosted training camps for national team rowers and the feeder system for same, namely the under 23 group. Supporters have always asked members of the community to host a rower in their home and have had no problem finding volunteers. This year, not so much.

  13. Carolinian

    Re Tim Scott–Isn’t likely that most of the pollees have barely even heard of him? He’s one of my senators and I barely hear about him myself.

    And any opposition is going to be Biden’s nightmare IMO. Even Trump although they are no doubt counting on TDS to win them yet another election.

  14. Ed

    Fetterman is such a fraud that he can’t acknowledge his own ability to get treatment for his stroke with the right of all people to receive first rate health care. He refuses to support M4ALL. He also was AWOL as Mayor of Braddock when hospital empire UPMC. shut down the town’s hospital taking 300 jobs. He’s for all the wars and militarism too but guess his support for legalizing weed is all that’s needed to cheer him on.

    1. Benny Profane

      Did anybody see the press conference when he stood there in a white hoodie, towering over two senate colleagues to the left and right, and painstakingly read a written statement calling for the use of the 14th amendment to do something or other. It was awkward to watch. He sounded like a 11 year old straining to read the big words. But, hey, just like Feinstien, his vote counts!
      The present Dem party is way beyond clown show status.

      1. Phenix

        He had a stroke. His mind still works but he has trouble communicating.

        Feinstein and Biden have obvious cognitive decline. They are not the same.

        Fetterman would have lost to a decent Republican candidate. Oz was/is a horrible candidate that moved to Pa to run. I do not know who thought he could win after moving from New Jersey to Pa. Pennsylvanians especially Philly burb residents hate Jersey and Jersey hates us.

        1. Benny Profane

          Fine, but, then, don’t put someone in front of media who has trouble communicating for the sole purpose of communicating and advocating a position. In a hoodie. I may be old school, but, c’mon, wear a suit and look like an adult. That part is simple.
          Same as Zelensky wearing a stupid quasi military outfit as he travels the world with his hand out, lecturing people about right and wrong. We aren’t THAT stupid.

          1. tevhatch

            The hoodie is communicating. Everyone gets a message from it, but just like words meanings change in the progression from the speaker’s mind to the listener’s mind, so to the visual communication. Canada has one ex-CIA contractor famous for his academic work on media and communications who must have something in one of his books that explains this better than I can.

              1. tevhatch

                Pete Townshend use to wear a boiler suit when he performed. I’d like to see people not dressed like FIRE sector parasites piloting the country and moar boiler suits.

            1. Jen

              It was Bernie Sanders’ press conference, and he could have sidelined Fetterman, but he didn’t.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Sanders also defended Feinstein’s right to still be in the Senate in an interview on TV. And that was only a few weeks ago when she was still MIA.

                1. ambrit

                  Curious that. And there I was, silly old me, imagining that being in the Senate or the House involved representing the people of your State or District. If you are “not all there,” then you are not fulfilling your duties.
                  How about a 25th Amendment for Senators and Representatives?
                  I’ll defend Fetterman because he is recovering. The gerontocrats are not.

  15. LawnDart

    (Almost) Daily Derailment(s)

    Quiet on the reporting-front for 24-hours: can we make it 48?

    But this is good– almost like real reporting: the short video begins with a local scope and broadens to include some of the goings-on at the national-level:

    Train derailments in Washington have more than doubled in the last ten years

    “Everything runs on the American Railroads,” said Herb Krohn who is a train conductor and the Washington State Legislative Director for the transportation union, SMART-TD. “We keep America’s freight moving and the commodities moving,”

    “What people don’t realize is that no one is monitoring the freight on a freight train,” said Krohn. He said employees are concerned for their safety specifically because of workforce cuts in the maintenance department.

    “Forty trains pass through Seattle every day. During the last three months, over 8,000 cars filled with crude oil have been transported through King County,” said Andy Collins who is the battalion chief of the Seattle Fire Department.


      1. LawnDart

        Thanks for the thanks!

        One of the few things that still has power to move TPTB is bad PR, general knowledge or awareness that can damage the social image of themselves that they have crafted and present– the image-consciousness is a weakpoint.

  16. Mo

    I see Fetterman dressed in his disrespectful slacker clothes and I instinctively turn away. What’s next? Body odor noise hairs and farting? So phony and pointless.

    I’ve known full fledged communists who wore (rumpled) jackets and ties to church in order to organize the working class. Also had no problem saying the pledge of allegiance when trying to organize veterans. But then they were serious people.

  17. JBird4049

    >>>lunchbox, so she “didn’t know if it was her food” eventhough it was in her lunchbox in her book bag and she saw her Mom put it there.

    Sweet Jesus. This is institutional memory care territory only sixty or seventy years early. The only good(?) thing is that the younger you are the easier and greater the recover from such is possible, assuming the poor girl does not get more infections, but what is the likelihood of that?

  18. Jason Boxman

    I missed Looking Back on the Sadism of the Covid-19 Shaming Campaign video this morning; I wish I hadn’t gone back and watched it. It’s 10 minutes of the media saying every incorrect, stupid thing that’s been reported on NC since the very beginning. These people really are functionally stupid herd animals.

    After watching that I’m tempted to go get blasted. Hopelessness doesn’t begin to describe it. Absent a miracle, we’re doomed. Period. This country is run politically and socially by morons. That doesn’t even cover it adequately. It is casual murder.

    1. Acacia

      Agree with flora. Think of all the time you’ll save. Every channel shown in that video can now be totally ignored. And this video will serve as a handy rejoinder to anybody you know who repeats any state media talking points at you in the future. Bookmarked.

      Personally, I have laughed pretty hard each time I’ve watched this video. It really doesn’t get much better than a close up of Gene Simmons in a black hat and shades saying: “you are the enemy”.

  19. chris

    Link to bill that just passed in Florida a few weeks ago limiting foreign nationals, especially anyone associated with China, from owning real estate or farm land. Interesting stuff.

    I know from family members squawking about it they think this applies to immigrants but that appears to just be spin. It pretty clearly mentions foreign nationals. I’m sure this will do nothing to help US/China relations. I’m sure this will do nothing to help all the racist attacks Asian Americans have experienced the last several years. I’m not even sure it’s a good way of accomplishing any policy goals. But as an example of economic nationalism and what DeSantis might support as president? It’s interesting to read.

  20. Stephanie

    “Executive Functioning Boot camp” – betting that’s populated by kids diagnosed with ADHD. A lot of the ADHD self-help/parental help I’ve run across focuses on improving executive functioning.

  21. Milton

    There is not 173k US Covid deaths so far in 2023. The number from the CDC is 36,544 with a new update tomorrow. Deaths have dropped like a rock the past 2 months with the latest weekly number at around 150. Looks like total May deaths will be right around 1500 total.

  22. The Rev Kev

    ‘Just with @SenSanders and some other friends re-introducing #MedicareForAll.’

    I saw that tweet in a video a day or two ago. Medicare for all? Sanders announced back in April of 2020 that he was abandoning that for some ‘future time’ – just as the Pandemic was going into overdrive and the bodies were starting to stack up in New York. That was when I lost all respect for the guy as who abandons M4A when it had the best chance to succeed in a generation? So here is the thing. Is this some sort of trial balloon of his popularity so that he can announce his being a candidate for President next year?

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Yes, you’re tired. But are you hungry tired, angry tired, resignation tired, stupid tired …?”

    Should it be mentioned that over a decade of austerity for a people will have the same effect? The Duran says that the decade of austerity has taken out a lot of the fire of Greek politics which explains a lot about the recent Greek election.

  24. Carolinian

    This is very interesting

    The F-16, by contrast, is definitely not suited for this style of airfield. The bottom of the intake lip sits approximately 30” from the ground with no provision of alternate intake. In addition, all the suction flow of that air comes from the sides, fore, and ground since no air can be ingested from above the engine (that’s where the fuselage is). With no provision for FOD protection or alternate, high-mounted intakes during the entire time spent on the ground, this calls for rigid and inflexible FOD control measures from the location of engine start, to taxiing routes to the runway.

    In the USAF, this meant hundreds of maintainers walking at arms-length intervals two to three times a day with eyes on the ground looking for any and every piece of debris that could be ingested by the multi-million dollar vacuum cleaner with only ONE engine we were charged with maintaining. In addition, an almost constant procession of street-cleaners rumbled up and down the flightline, taxiways and runway. Everything had to be spotless lest we risk the aircraft, or worse, the pilots.



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