2:00PM Water Cooler 5/31/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I think by the time the countdown clock hits 500 I will have done something of an editorial redesign once more. The difficulty is that Covid, as a story, is popping everywhere but the mainstream (especially as the studies funded one or two years ago become published). But election 2024 is popping as well, and although 500 days is a long time in politics, it’s a short time editorially. And in both cases, I’m leaving more on the cutting room floor than I would like. So I have to do some thinking. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Oriental Turtle-Dove, Yusmarg, Budgam, Jammu and Kashmir, India. “Songs from one bird, and then very quiet calls from the same individual after it flew to another tree. A second bird flies in, and the first bird gives extremely quiet growl song. That second bird then flies off, and the original bird resumes normal song. Note especially the quiet calls from 0:29 to 0:46.” I tried several recordings. They really do growl!

* * *


“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

“House GOP prepares for final procedural drama before expected debt deal passage” [Politico]. • What drama?

“McConnell to face off with conservative opponents on debt ceiling bill” [The Hill]. • I would bet on McConnnell, aged though he is.


I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Bidens offer ‘safe harbor’ to Hunter as he flails over scandalous reports, new messages show” [New York Post]. “It appears that Hunter was in a free fall and his uncle Jim Biden reached out in newly discovered messages to offer him a ‘safe harbor.’ … As revealed recently by the House Oversight Committee, the Bidens constructed a labyrinth of corporations and accounts to transfer millions from these deals to various Biden family members, including grandchildren.” They did indeed, from bank records. More: “[Hunter] was the firebreak between the money and any scandal. This was made evident in a recent and rare sit-down interview; MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle delicately broached the scandals involving Hunter by emphasizing that it is a ‘personal’ matter and assuring the president (and the viewers) that the still-unknown charges involve ‘no ties to you.’ Hunter increasingly looks like the designated defendant of the Bidens — the sin-eater who may have to take one for the team in the form of a couple of tax charges…. As made clear by Jim Biden, there is always a plan in the Biden family. Back in 2018, he assured his nephew that ‘as usual just need several months of [your father’s] help for this to work.’ ‘Let’s talk about it. It makes perfect sense to me.'” • It’s hard to see this as anything other than a yarn diagram with a story hook. Sadly!

“Can Republicans Hope To Outrun Trump In 2024 House Races?” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. “In 2020, Republicans found success with candidates who were female and/or people of color. These candidates didn’t look, sound or act like Donald Trump or the stereotype of the GOP. Even so, almost all of the gains Republicans made that year were in districts that Trump had also carried. Only five challengers — David Valadao (CA-21), Young Kim (CA-39), Michelle Steel (CA-48), Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27) and Beth Van Duyne (TX-24) — won in CDs carried by Biden. Another four incumbents — Mike Garcia (CA-25), Don Bacon (NE-02), John Katko (NY-24), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) — won re-election in Biden-won districts. In 2022, Republicans narrowly won control of the House thanks to the fact that 18 Republicans won in districts Biden had carried in 2020. However, Republicans’ failure to flip other high-profile seats that Biden narrowly carried two years earlier (like MI-08, MI-07, PA-07, CO-08, NM-02 and OH-13) cost them a more robust majority. To hold the House in 2024, Republicans first have to limit their losses in Biden-held districts. The most vulnerable Republicans are the five freshmen who outperformed Trump’s 2020 showing in their districts by double digits: John Duarte (CA-13), George Santos (NY-03), Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04), Mike Lawler (NY-17) and Lori Chavez DeRemer (OR-05). For example, Biden won the Central Valley-based 13th District by 11 points. Freshman Rep. John Duarte carried it by just under one point. The next tier of vulnerable incumbents are the four freshman Republicans who outperformed Trump by five to nine points: Tom Kean Jr. (NJ-07), Marc Molinaro (NY-19), Brandon Williams (NY-22) and Jen Kiggans (VA-02). Why did I single out the freshmen members? They are the least established, and as such are likely going to have the hardest time overcoming the pull of the national environment. ”

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.

* * *


“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

Look! You can socialize without creating a superspreader event!

The whole thread is commonsense (which doesn’t mean I would have thought of it all). I thought the two best tips were making sure the bathroom was well ventilated, and organizing matters so people didn’t hang out in the kitchen.

Look! You can organize a conference without creating a superspreader event!

To be fair, you probably can’t if you’re a brain genius from CDC, or from Infection Control generally. But if your ***cough*** not a professional ***cough*** you can!

* * *

“COVID-Conscious Therapist Directory” [Covid Conscious Therapists]. “Your mental health provider shouldn’t tell you that continuing to take safety precautions to lower your risk of infection is irrational.” • For the US, Canada, and internationally. All info submitted by the providers.


“Perceived Influence of Incentives on COVID-19 Vaccination Decision-making and Trust” [JAMA]. “This survey study found that although there has been substantial policy attention around incentivizing COVID-19 vaccination, fewer than 1 in 10 vaccinated individuals in a nationally representative sample of US adults reported receiving an incentive.” • There was “substantial policy attention” because our elites think everybody and everything can be bought. With some justification, I might add.


More frightening than Darth Vader?

Still, self-expression is what gets masks out of the medical box and into the fashion box, so…..


“Long COVID: a review and proposed visualization of the complexity of long COVID” (review article) [Frontiers in Immunology]. “Post-Acute Sequelae of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus – 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, or Long COVID, is a prevailing second pandemic with nearly 100 million affected individuals globally and counting. We propose a visual description of the complexity of Long COVID and its pathogenesis that can be used by researchers, clinicians, and public health officials to guide the global effort toward an improved understanding of Long COVID and the eventual mechanism-based provision of care to afflicted patients. The proposed visualization or framework for Long COVID should be an evidence-based, dynamic, modular, and systems-level approach to the condition. Furthermore, with further research such a framework could establish the strength of the relationships between pre-existing conditions (or risk factors), biological mechanisms, and resulting clinical phenotypes and outcomes of Long COVID.” • To this layperson, this visualization is far superior to NIH’s lamestream “12 symptoms,” not least because it seeks to visualize the complexity, not manage it. Here is the entire visualization:

The authors explain:

The strength of the association between any two [of the round-cornered] nodes [e.g, age, an ancedent, and autoimmunity, a mechanism] based on a qualitative synthesis of the current evidence by the authors, is represented by the thickness of the connecting lines. It is apparent that a single pathway is unlikely to explain the genesis and evolution of this complex post-viral phenomenon and that multi-hit, multi-mechanistic pathways are more likely.

I’m also a big fan of putting biological mechanisms front and center (green middle column) Here is the visualization focused on the autoimmunity mechanism:

My only quarrel with the “thickness of the lines” indicating the strength of association — aside from the fact that it should be captioned — is that it’s simply not intuitive to me; I just see, well, yarn. They might darken the tone of the lines to indicate strength, or even add numerical weights to the lines. That aside, this is a truly noble effort to visualize and conceptualize a very hard problem.

“Viral persistence, reactivation, and mechanisms of long COVID” [eLife]. This is, in essence, a plea for “more study.” But this nugget was interesing: “Reactivation of latent viruses has been linked to the dysregulation of the host immune response during acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, that is, by disabling the host type I interferon response via autoantibodies (Acharya et al., 2020), resulting in decreased control of these latent pathogens.”

* * *

“Persistent Exhausted T-Cell Immunity after Severe COVID-19: 6-Month Evaluation in a Prospective Observational Study” [Journal of Clinical Medicine]. “Severe COVID-19 can result in a significant and irreversible impact on long-term recovery and subsequent immune protection…. The immunological activation in the SARS-CoV-2 group during hospitalization is reversed at the follow-up time point. However, the marked exhaustion pattern remains over time. This dysregulation could constitute a risk factor for reinfection and the development of other pathologies. Additionally, high SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cells response levels appear to be associated with infection severity.:

“Something Awful”

Lambert here: I’ve been muttering about Covid and brain damage for some time, but with Topol’s article immediately below, the topic should reach the mainstream, or at least that portion of our mighty media stream not clogged with gaslighting, denial, and service provision for those with cash in hand.

“The Brain and Long Covid” [Eric Topol, Ground Truths]. Important. Here is the lead: “Ever since the UK Biobank study that showed brain atrophy, loss of grey matter, and cognitive decline in about 400 people who had Covid compared with matched controls, via baseline (pre-Covid) and subsequent (~3 years later) MRI scans, there has been significant worry about the impact this virus has on the brain. Two new studies, both from researchers in Germany, illuminate the mechanisms for inflammation of brain tissue which is persistent and occurs even in patients with a mild Covid illness. Importantly, these were studies of people with Covid, not specifically individuals who were suffering from Long Covid.” The Munich Study stained tissue (n = 20). The Hamburg Study used MRI (n = 223). I have helpfully outlined and highlighted the lead buried in this lovely graphic:

“The functional and structural changes in the hippocampus of COVID-19 patients” (review article) [Acta Neurologica Belgica]. “COVID-19 activates microglia in the hippocampus and induces a CNS cytokine storm, leading to loss of hippocampal neurogenesis. The functional and structural changes in the hippocampus of COVID-19 patients can explain neuronal degeneration and reduced neurogenesis in the human hippocampus. This will open a window to explain memory and cognitive dysfunctions in ‘long COVID’ through the resultant loss of hippocampal neurogenesis.” • Maybe. There are a lot of laborers in this particular vineyard…..

“Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease after COVID-19: infection-induced prion protein misfolding? A case report” [Prion]. “We describe a young patient developing CJD two months after mild COVID-19. Presenting symptoms were visuospatial deficits and ataxia, evolving into a bedridden state with preserved consciousness and diffuse myoclonus. Diagnostic work-up was suggestive of CJD. The early age of onset and the short interval between respiratory and neurological symptoms might suggest a causal relationship: a COVID-19-related neuroinflammatory state may have induced the misfolding and subsequent aggregation of PrPSc. The present case emphasizes the link between neuroinflammation and protein misfolding. Further studies are needed to establish the role of SARS-CoV-2 as an initiator of neurodegeneration.” And: “A diagnosis of probable sCJD was made based on current diagnostic criteria.” And: “Our patient developed the first symptoms of sCJD two months after COVID-19. Four previous cases of sCJD after COVID-19 have been reported, highlighting a possible causal relationship [4–6]: our case shows relevant features suggesting a causal link between infection and neurodegeneration, notably the early age of onset and the two-month-long latency between COVID-19 and onset of neurological symptoms. The young age at onset and the limited familial history prompted us to perform genetic testing.” • Hmm.

Elite Maleficence

Elites on masks (1):

In retrospect, Walensky was quite right. Under current conditions, a masked population is not gaslit, and is not in denial. That’s a problem for elites, who know there’s a pandemic — #DavosSafe — but don’t want you to think there is, because otherwise how would the capital accumulation bandwagon keep rolling?

Elites on masks (2):

McIntyre, a member of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts of WHO, kicking down against a professor whose only sin is wanting to avoid getting infected by her students in the classroom. McIntyre is also an immunologist, so perhaps he should stay in his lane.

* * *

Dull normals on elastomerics:

From Canada. For more on Canada, see below.

“Nosocomial COVID-19: A Nationwide Spanish Study” [Gerontology]. From the Abstract: “This is a nationwide, retrospective, multicenter, observational study that analyzed patients hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 in 150 Spanish hospitals… [=Nosocomial COVID-19 (NC) infection] was defined as patients admitted for non-COVID-19 diseases with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test on the fifth day of hospitalization or later. The primary outcome was 30-day in-hospital mortality (IHM). The secondary outcome was other COVID-19-related complications…. Of the 23,219 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 1,104 (4.8%) were NC…. . IHM was significantly higher among NC patients.” • Hospital Infection Control whacking people in Spain, too!

* * *

Oy, Canada! (1): IPAC Canada erases non-pharmaceutical interventions. Cute, cheerful, friendly poster, though!

IPAC is, as you probably guessed, Infection Prevention and Control (Canada).

Oy, Canada! (2):

From IPAC’s conference.

The Jackpot

“Speech Sounds” [Octavia E. Butler]. • The Last of Us, but from 1983 and without SARS-CoV-2 Cordyceps. Genuinely frightening, so consider yourself warned, but also a classic.

* * *

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). To which we might add brain damage, including personality changes therefrom.

Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data from May 30:

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 27, 2023:

Lambert here: XBB.1.16 and XBB.1.9.1 still on the way up, eating into XBB.1.5. I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).

CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell. Looks like the Walgreens variants page isn’t updating.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from May 27:

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 30:

-1.8%. Frequency down to once a week.


NOT UPDATED Death rate (Our World in Data), from May 24:

Lambert here: Zero deaths, for three days in a row. Not possible. Thanks, Johns Hopkins of the $9.32 billion endowment, for abandoning this data feed and passing responsibility on to the clown car at WHO.

Total: 1,165,317 – 1,165,281 = 36 (36 * 365 = 13,140 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 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

Employment Situation: “The number of job quits in the United States decreased by 49K from the previous month to 3.79 million in April of 2023, the lowest level since March of 2021 and falling further from the record peak of roughly 4.5 million quits reached in November 2021” [Trading Economics].

Manufacturing: “United States Chicago PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago Business Barometer, also known as the Chicago PMI, fell to 40.4 points in May 2023, down from an eight-month high of 48.6 in April and below market forecasts of 47. The reading marked the ninth consecutive month of contraction in business activity in the Chicago region, but one that was the softest since November last year.”

* * *

Tech: Twitter’s “For You” feed is a poisoned chalice:

Tech: “Electric vehicles have an efficiency problem” [Axios]. “Car batteries are like wine fridges: They’re never big enough. That’s a real problem for anybody who hopes that electric vehicles will help decarbonize the planet and reduce pollution. EVs are extraordinarily heavy, and the larger their batteries, the heavier they become. That makes them more dangerous, increases pollution, minimizes decarbonization, and locks in a geopolitically fraught reliance on China.” • Oops.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 64 Greed (previous close: 65 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 59 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 31 at 2:16 PM ET.

News of the Wired

“Ask HN: Is it just me or GPT-4’s quality has significantly deteriorated lately?” [Hacker News] • That was fast. Interesting thread.

* * *

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 JG:

JG writes: “I discovered a charming public path which I had always thought was a private drive. The oak trees are plentiful in this neighborhood and it has been a lovely spring for blooming plants and shrubs. Here is an oak tree stump.”

* * *

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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. The Rev Kev

      Zelensky has his eye on some South American mansions and needs the money up front.

      1. synoia

        More likely they are around Mayfair in London or or west of London in a large estate.

  1. some guy

    @Lambert Strether,

    If there isn’t enough time and energy to cover all of covid and cover all of the election at the same time, and something has to end up on the cutting room floor, I personally hope the decision will be made to cover all of covid and let the election go substantially less covered, because covid information is vital survival information and one never knows which seemingly tiniest covid-fact might be the crucial survival keystone fact to one or another person. And every corner of the MSM is devoted to keeping this information secret in order to prevent as many people surviving as the MSM and its owners can prevent from surviving.. Whereas the election is somewhat pre-engineered by the upper class for its preferred outcomes in any case, and knowing all the horse-race minutiae is not so very survival-critical for individuals or communities.

    I don’t know if a single other reader feels the same way, however.

    1. LawnDart

      (Almost) Daily Derailment(s):

      Canadian Pacific train derails in McHenry Co.

      McHENRY CO., N.D. (KNOX/KFGO) – Canadian Pacific (CPKC) railway company emergency response teams and hazardous materials experts are on the scene of a train derailment that happened in McHenry County Tuesday evening.

      Six cars jumped the tracks around 5:15 p.m. A locomotive operating toward the rear of the train also derailed. Three of the derailed cars were carrying mixed goods that included small quantities of products classified as hazardous materials. One contained lithium batteries, another carried air bags, and the third held four small drums of methanol.


      Lithium batteries, air-bags, and methanol… if the goal was to cook-up something that goes “BOOM!” I believe that there are many here who could work with those ingredients… there’s certainly more satisfaction found when detonating personally crafted IEDs than normal, store-bought fireworks– especially around holidays or on occasions where good judgement and decision-making only get in the way of a good time.

    2. Steve H.

      It is difficult and potentially unnecessary to analyze the path of each droplet emitted from two firehoses of bs directed at each other.

      At least with Covid there is an underlying object of inquiry, upon which to critically think. There’s still a firehose of bs, but the splash pattern has additional information.

    3. davejustdave

      I am another reader who feels the same way – however, my marital status is married.

    4. MaryLand

      I for one agree, but our intrepid writers must do what they feel is needed. The usually well informed commentariat can continue to contribute Covid info as they find it as well. I don’t know of a better place to find Covid info that is up to date and understandable. I appreciate all the contributions of Yves, Lambert, Connor, and the commentariat to the understanding of Covid and other issues.

    5. Sub-Boreal

      As a foreign reader, the COVID coverage is more useful to me, and it less frequently duplicates info that I see elsewhere.

    6. bassmule

      I’d like at least keeping track of the shenanigans. It’s why I keep a subscription or two to Major National Media operations. Know thy deceiver, etc.

    7. Tom B.

      If it comes to a choice, I’d say the Covid stuff is far more important since there is very little regular, informed mainstream coverage and millions of people are still at risk of serious disability if not death. Lack of current data is a real problem and the antics of the various public health agencies in shutting down reporting, etc. deserve scathing exposure.

      U.S. pre-election horse race blather is widely available elsewhere and, except for particularly juicy scandals, mostly boring fluff.

      1. lambert strether

        I like to think [lambert blushes modestly] that when I write about elections it’s not “blather.” #JustSaying

        1. Tom B.

          I was referring to stuff elsewhere. Your election blather is unparalleled in its insight and incisive wit re the whole kafabe spectacle of Dempublicans vs Republicrats :)

    8. lambert strether

      > I personally hope the decision will be made to cover all of covid and let the election go substantially less covered

      A few issues–

      1) The Covid firehose is, just now, too much even for me. I wish I could say I was covering “all of” it, but I am not.

      2) I am not without skills on the election beat, as readers will recall from 2016 and 2020. I hate to let those atrophy — especially when, as I argue elsewhere, the US is transitioning to a new Constitutional order. That’s important too!

      3) They overlap. They call it “political economy” for a reason. One way or another, Covid will be on the ballot in 2024, as DeSantis has already signaled by bringing a GBD shill on board.

      1. barefoot charley

        I find your political dredgings and commentary far more valuable than the minutiae of covid killing us whether I read it or not. That’s just me and I respect the covid info too, but I dote on your political blather!

      2. Jorge

        American electoralism is waiting for the Boomer gerontocrats to die off. There aren’t enough Gen-Xers to be a viable force (Harris? DeSantis? Haley?).

        The only wild card is that the country formerly known as “The Borderlands” is doomed and how our support of its collapse will play out during the election.

        There, it’s covered.

    9. The Rev Kev

      Damn hard question that. By next year there will be some cross-over however. Like when they have all those mass rallies and people get sick by the thousands. Or when they gather together to go vote.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Adding, processing the Covid material is also very stressful for me, because our reaction to it, as a nation, a political economy, a culture, and a civilization has fallen so short of anything resembling basic morality. I don’t claim “moral injury,” as an HCW could and should do, writing is not like working on a ward. Nevertheless, there is an element of self-care, here, too.

        1. some guy

          Your writing about covid, and your gathering of covid information to re-spread it from a single findable point, is part of how an emerging Counter-Covid Counter Culture develops, spreads and entrenches itself.

    10. kareninca

      It is late to post here but I agree.

      The elections are interesting, but covid is a matter of life or death.

  2. Roger Blakely

    Over the summer we had a pax BA.5. Then in winter XBB.1.5 arrived. Up until now XBB.1.16 and XBB.1.9 have not been different enough from XBB.1.5 to wreak too much havoc. But immunity is waning. I am hearing people talk about getting sick. They don’t know that it is COVID-19, but those are the symptoms that they are describing. Once we get to the Fourth of July and the summer travel season, many will find out the hard way that the pandemic is not over.

  3. some guy

    About Peter McIntyre lecturing a professor against asking his/her students to mask up for the professor’s safety . . .

    Does Peter McIntyre sign the professor’s paycheck? If yes, then the professor will have to lawyer up before rejecting McIntyre’s recommendation. If no, then the professor is free to tell the McIntyre to go f*ck itself.

    The McIntyre reveals itself to be an active part of the WHO conspiracy to spread covid to everyone on earth, over and over and over again. Perhaps this McIntyre should be Nuremberg-tried, along with every other Typhoid Mary coronavampire plague-spreader in authority, if Nuremberg trials are ever set for their covid crimes against humanity.

    ( And if someone objects to one’s own personal mask, one can say the mask is for colds and flu, which in my case is also true. People who can’t handle the masks-against-covid truth don’t deserve to be informed of that truth, and deserve to get the covid they work to spread on purpose to everyone else.).

    And if someone still objects to your mask against colds and flu, well . . . God made bear spray.

    1. Acacia

      Regarding that lawyering up against people like McIntyre… I wonder: have there been any workplace injury lawsuits filed/won, w.r.t. unsafe working conditions under the epidemic?

      E.g., if Professor X has students in class who refuse to mask, who show up to class maskless and coughing, and the university refuses to take a stand on this, which in this case would be supporting Prof. X’s authority in his/her classroom to request that students mask, and then let’s say Prof. X gets long COVID… aren’t these sort of all the necessary ingredients for a lawsuit?

      Schools vary, but at least formerly they would generally support a faculty or even part-time lecturer if they decided to eject a student from class for any reason. Students can be disruptive, and it can come to the lecturer halting the class and telling them to leave. The other students can often be pressed to comply, as they will see the non-compliance, and meanwhile they need to pass the course for credit, they’re paying, it could be a specific required course to graduate, whatever, and at a certain point any non-compliant students are jeopardizing their academic progress.

      This could perhaps be a way to push back against institutions which are trying to normalize unsafe work conditions, i.e., by slamming them with lawsuits.

  4. ambrit

    Mini Zeitgeist Report for the North American Deep South.
    Biked on down to the Downtown to the bank and the “Faith Based” Thrift Store.
    No masks anywhere. After the bank, I started paying close attention to this. Literally no masks in and around the Downtown of this Half Horse County Seat Town. None at the bank. None at the Thrift Store. None at the Post Office. None around the Courthouse Square. None at the Public Library.
    So far, I have had no pushback to my wearing the “Face Hugger.” (That would make a neat facemask prank. A mask designed and coloured to look like a “Facehugger” from the Alien films.)
    At the Library, i encountered one of the younger librarians wheeling a book cart out to the dumpster. Upon questioning the lady, I was told that this load of books had failed to sell in the “For Sale” room, hidden away in the back of the Library building. After a few weeks, I was told, those tomes that do not sell are dumped. So, I looked and found a few that I would probably read. A copy of Faulkner, some O’Brian sea stories, an old paperback of American ghost stories, an old hardbound copy of Animal farm, and some Kids

    1. curlydan

      That library story is sad. Think of the prisons or school libraries that could have used those books. But from what I’ve heard, we can’t let prisoners have good books anymore. Too dangerous!

      On the masks, I’m sometimes in rural areas for a weekend, and I get some long looks due to my mask–and I’m seeing these even though I’m trying not to make eye contact usually. No comments so far, though, so that’s nice.

    2. griffen

      Library books for sale, my late mother must’ve bought the ones no one else really wanted. I have never seen so many books they lined a bookcase the length of her garage. I don’t recall exactly what we wound up doing with them all. I have a few keepers from her collection however, most of these were the hardbound “collectible” types from Jack London or Hawthorne I think.

      I’ve noticed more mask wearing at restaurant drive thru lanes, by the attendant staff inside the store. Not quite the NADS here, but south Carolina for what it’s worth.

    3. Carolinian

      Ours closed the used book store inside the library but they have a rather large version that sells both library and donated books at a storefront just outside of town. There are always people in there when I go.

      We do live in a different era than the one most of us grew up in when physical libraries were so very important..For that matter it once was quite difficult to see the world’s classic movies and now it is quite easy. To me at least the coming of the digital age is a great benefit even if it has victims.

  5. Pat

    I didn’t think I could ever feel sorry for Hunter Biden, but that is one seriously family blogged family. It was only a fleeting thought but what a toxic cesspool to be born into, especially if you weren’t the chosen one.

    1. flora

      I understand what you’re saying. However, I’ve come to think the current left’s or progressive left or whatever you call it greatest failing is sympathizing with the people trying to crush the left because gosh, nobody could really be so awful or if they are it must be someone or something else’s fault. Maybe Kissinger’s mommy didn’t love him enough. Call it the therapeutic-izing, lobotomizing of the left. As you see it’s gotten us nowhere. The left has been de-spined. See the so-called Progressive Caucus in Congress. / my 2 cents.

      1. notabanker

        IMHO, the right is ruthless to the competition. The left is ruthless to itself. There is not enough numbers in the center, by design.

        1. digi_owl

          While the “right” is sadistic, the “left” is flagellant.

          What is lacking on either side is straight up solidarity.

      2. Pat

        Oh, I can feel like he was royally screwed and still know think he and the world would be better off if he were in prison. My sympathies might mean I would want it to be one with a decent rehab program, but that’s about it. I want Dad and Uncle in prison. While I don’t want Joe to be President now or ever again, I am really more interested in ending the greased palms and donor services and making sure it’s ROI is so low that no one does it. But influence peddling is SOP for DC, so Republicans also usually pull their punches, or did. The goal is to get them out of office, not hamstringing donor service. So they usually make sure the Dem being investigated is thoroughly embarrassed and then let the voters decide.

    2. The Rev Kev

      At least dear old dad will be able to issue Hunter a Presidential pardon when it comes time and thus secure his financial cutout. Can’t have any court trial investigations leading back to him.

    3. some guy

      The way more and more information about Huntergate keeps coming out makes me wonder whether a hidden leadership cabal wants Senior Biden out of the way and is beginning to send louder messages to that effect.

      If so, the more Senior Biden doesn’t get the point, the more Huntergate material will come out.

      1. digi_owl

        I suspect they want him gone for two reason:

        First is to give Harris a go at the presidency.

        Second is to end that quagmire in Ukraine so that they can refocus the nation on China.

        1. some guy

          Harris . . . wonderful.

          As a decelarationist, I will vote for Harris to keep the accelerationogenic Trump out of office.
          If I were an accelerationist, I would vote for Trump. Any Anarchists out there might consider voting for Trump in order to accelerate collapse and burndown and make it so total that Anarchists might become the One Eyed Kings in the Kingdom of the Blind.

          Of course the Anarchists would have to vie for power with the White Power Fascists and the Gilead Republicans, but maybe the Anarchists are up for the challenge.

          1. Acacia

            I recently asked myself: which candidate is more accelerationist — Biden or Trump —, and concluded that Biden is it. Four reasons: war; the epidemic; the blob; and global trade agreements.

            The Democrats have supported war with Russia — which would have happened 4 years earlier if HRC had been elected. Trump stymied that, while Biden green lighted it. We can thank Biden for all of the death and destruction in the Ukraine, and for all of the worry about nuclear escalation with Russia.

            Regarding the epidemic, while the vaccines and their rollout have been problematic, Trump at least supported OWS. The Democrats have done pretty much nothing except oversee the end of data collection and to support a large-scale disinformation campaign about COVID being “mild”, “over”, etc.

            Regarding “the blob”, Trump didn’t deliver on his promise to drain the swamp, but he at least repeatedly called it out, while the Democrats have been and are swamp-adjacent, if not fully embedded with the swamp. Their basic stance has been: “swamp? what swamp? I don’t see a swamp, do you, Joe?” It’s now clear from the Durham report that the “Clinton plan”, the Intel agencies, and their Democrat enablers launched Russiagate, yielding 4+ years of insufferable media gaslighting the public about Russia Russia Russia, Hunter’s laptop being “Russian disinformation”. etc.

            Regarding global trade, Trump sh*tcanned the TPP. And the Dems…? Biden: “TPP wasn’t perfect,” but, “the idea behind it was a good one…”. ‘Nuff said.

            So, you want acceleration? Vote Dem. Less acceleration? Trump. Voting “lesser evil” for either Dem or GOP is just a vote to continue the status quo. It’s a way to help ensure acceleration, either more or less.

            Or, if you want to put in a vote for an end of the duopoly, i.e., for deceleration: vote for somebody else, anybody, really.

  6. notabanker

    Re: The Twitter for you algo – This is a big reason why I quit twitter. Not only does your feed get polluted with narrative garbage, but the people you follow also do and it inevitably leads to a downward spiral of drama crap. So you follow, say, sports reporters to get game info and it turns into a discussion on the latest Trump outrage. You can’t avoid it, so c ya later.

    1. Acacia

      I now look at Twitter less often because of all the unwanted junk in my TL.

      Methinks there could be a substitute client app to filter this out, but… is there?

      1. some guy

        Perhaps someone could start one that worked just differently enough so as to be able to defend itself against lawsuits from Elon Stench.

        It could be called Cricket and its ” tweet-equivalents” could be called chirps. It could work sort of like twitter at its best worked or works or could work.

        Then again, if Stench-Twitter still allows members or subscribers or whatever to consruct a feed of only their chosen non-troll, non-trash sources, that could still work even for Stench-Twitter. Since I have never been on Twitter, I just don’t know how these things work.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > It could be called Cricket and its ” tweet-equivalents” could be called chirps

          This is brilliant, in fact. And “chirp” is far superior to Mastodon’s “toot,” as something I would want to do.

          1. some guy

            Well, I have given the name away. In fact, I hereby copyleft the name and word ” Cricket” and “chirp”. If anyone out there wants to try turning this into an actual Business . . . ( Cricket! all of the treasure and none of the trash!”) . . . I promise not to sue.

            Of course, if such a thing actually happened, I would love it if any future Cricket Billionaires were to give me some free money. But if they don’t, that’s life.

        2. Acacia

          I replied to this but Skynet ate it.

          Briefly: there are various browser plugins to nuke ads and some other unwanted junk in the TL. Depends on your platform. You can also fiddle around with your Twitler settings to eliminate certain junk coming into the TL. Last time I did that, the “Interests” setting appeared to be the worst. Twitter had ‘auto-suggested’ tons and tons of stuff based, I guess, upon my activity. 99% of it I didn’t want, and disabled.

      2. digi_owl

        I think the official app has a tab for showing only tweets from those you directly follow.

        And on the web there is tweetdeck.twitter.com.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I think the official app has a tab for showing only tweets from those you directly follow.

          It does. But the app defaults to the algorithmic “For You.”

  7. Tim

    Ask HN: Is it just me or GPT-4’s quality has significantly deteriorated lately?” [Hacker News] • That was fast. Interesting thread.”

    Shall we call this the crapification half life? How long before a particular functionality proves to be half as helpful as it was originally. Took Google roughly 10 years, It’s taking Chat GPT 10 weeks.

    Maybe humans were right that crapification is the way to go in meeting their corporate objectives. AI is just capable of coming to that realization much, much quicker.

    1. Acacia

      Additionally, I wonder if people are sobering up a little after that 10-week bender with generative AI, getting tired of all the false positives they get, the endless fiddling with prompts, beginning to wonder if the “holy prompt” is unobtainium, and are now realizing that the ‘output’ they thought was sooo awesome, isn’t exactly red hot after all.

      1. Late Introvert

        This. The breathless nature of the “roll-out” was the tell. No, I doubt it. Prove it.

      2. Duke of Prunes

        There was a very telling comment after that article. Someone was complaining about all the erroneous information that was generated, and the reply was (paraphrasing) “it’s not designed to answer objective questions, it’s only good at answering ambiguous subjective questions”. If true, I wonder how many people are aware of this. Might explain all the complaints of it making stuff up.

        1. Acacia

          My impression is that while many people may “know” there is something off about the output of generative AI, their desire for a shortcut to knowledge (a.k.a. laziness) can easily outweigh this, and they want to believe that some kind of big important tech revolution is happening now, such that they really don’t have to read Tolstoy, etc., and can now just get a perfect AI-generated summary of anything (again, Gibson was prescient, with the moment in Neuromancer when Case asks the Hosaka for a “five minute precis” on the Panther Moderns, and then cancels it when the text gets complicated).

          A number are questioning how bad it actually is, e.g. (posted in today’s Links):


          …but when/whether we reach a point where the general public really understands the extent to which Generative AI = BS and we ease back into another AI winter is very unclear.

          Certainly, corporations are really keen on leveraging this AI tech for “disruption”, i.e., as a way to fire millions of workers and in that way boost profits. Sadly, I fear there will be a lot of this before things settle down. E.g., remember when every company with customer service tried to outsource their call centers to South Asia and the Philippines? It could be like that all over again.

  8. Mark Hessel

    Experimental Decoy Protects Against SARS-CoV-2 Infection


    From the article:
    It employs a version of ACE2, the surface protein to which the virus attaches, which, unlike the natural, cell-bound version, is untethered from the cell surface. The free-floating decoy binds to the virus by its spikes so that it can no longer attach to ACE2 on cells in airways.

    The decoy lowered the virus load in the mice by 100,000-fold, while mice exposed to a non-active control treatment died.

    1. Tom B.

      The decoy ACE2 idea sounds appealing, but I wonder what the normal function of the ACE2 receptor is and if flooding the system with fake spam ACE2 would interfere with this.

      Some ACE2 info here which doesn’t seem to answer the second question:

    2. WRH

      What is remarkable about our study is that we delivered the decoy using a harmless, adeno-associated virus, or AAV, vector, a type of gene therapy that has been found in previous studies to be safe for use in humans,” said senior study author Nathanial R. Landau, PhD, professor in the Department of Microbiology at NYU Langone Health. “The viral vector instructs cells in the body to produce the decoy so that the mouse or person is protected long-term, without the need for continual treatment.” Administered with the vector, said Dr. Landau, the treatment caused cells not only to make the decoy, but to continue making it for several months, and potentially for years.”

      Is it just me or does this sound like bringing rabbits to Australia?

  9. polar donkey

    The company that I work for doesn’t do anything with Amanita. We sell spores. I don’t suggest anyone take anything from an unregulated headship or some dude at the Phish concert.

    1. ambrit

      Oh man. Watch out for the Amanita mushrooms. A lot of toxics there. Preparation is the key.
      Red heads from next the lazy flowing stream.

      1. Late Introvert

        Watch out for the [wild] mushrooms. Fixed it.

        I had a crop of psilocybin grow in my back garden about 5 years ago for about 3 days. So cool. No idea why or how, and it hasn’t happened again. I did spore tests, visual tests, I was sure of it.

        I still didn’t eat any, I was too scared.

  10. Acacia

    Re: “Ask HN: Is it just me or GPT-4’s quality has significantly deteriorated lately?”

    From the discussion:

    one of the board members of OpenAI, Will Hurd, is a former government agent. He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for nine years, from 2000 to 2009. His tour of duty included being an operations officer in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. After his service with the CIA, he served as the U.S. representative for Texas’s 23rd congressional district from 2015 to 2021. Following his political career, he joined the board of OpenAI. […]
    One is never former CIA, once you’re in, you’re in, even if you leave.

    Why am I not surprised?

  11. semper loquitur

    The War on Reality, Mary Harrington & Paul Kingsnorth

    Apr 23, 2022

    “This is like The Matrix written from the point of view in which Agent Smith is the good guy, isn’t it?” — Paul Kingsnorth

    Mary Harrington and Paul Kingsnorth are two of the most intriguing thinkers we’ve featured on Rebel Wisdom. Despite substantial overlap between Paul’s concept of “the machine” and Mary’s idea of “luxury Gnosticism”, they have never been in dialogue with each other.

    This was a fascinating and wide ranging conversation where Paul and Mary pushed back against the modernist fervor for transcending the limits of the natural world — they want to remind you that meatspace is not going away, and that it can be quite lovely!


    This talk hits so many targets it’s hard to know where to start. At the heart of it all is the notion that limits don’t apply to (certain) people, that nature is to be conquered or at least ignored, and that notions of fixity or concreteness in the world are “essentialism” which is in turn fascist adjacent. The guests nicely outline the trans industry’s war against women, the lunatic dreams of the tech-lords and their transhumanist prophets, the “instrumentalisation” of the human body, and how commodification rushes in wherever authentic human meaning and identity are compromised. As I’ve said countless times before: when nothing means anything, power will define meaning.

    “Twitter both is and is not the real world.”

    1. Ghost in the Machine

      Paul Kingsnorth of the Dark Mountain Project? I have read some of their essays and stories. John Michael Greer wrote some things for them. Sounds interesting.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Thanks for the link. It was wonderful. Some thoughts:

      While Paul called it Modernity, I think we could also say that the Enlightenment project has not left us very enlightened. It really shouldn’t surprise us that when “Reason” overcame a religion that had already put a human in charge of the Universe, it would take on the project of making humans into gods directly.The creator(s) of that Adam and Eve myth were damn perceptive. Lao-Tzu sees the dangers too.

      When Mary is talking about the centrality of the relational and taking care of animals, it reminded me of Thomas Berry’s

      The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.

      And Mary’s Fully Automated Luxury Gnosticism reminded me of why I think Grace Slick was a prophet (still alive, just not writing songs anymore):

      Because he’s just had his hair done and he wants to use your wig
      He’s going off the drug thing ’cause his veins are getting big
      He wants to sell his paintings but the market is slow
      They’re only paying him two grams now
      For a one-man abstract show
      Don’t ever change people even if you can
      You are your own best toy to play with, remote control hands
      Made for each other
      Made in Japan
      Woman with a greasy heart, automatic man
      Don’t ever change people
      Your face will hit the fan
      Don’t ever change people even if you can
      Don’t change before the empire falls
      You laugh so hard you crack the walls

      Greasy Heart” Grace Slick, Jefferson Airplane

      And the host is right. There are people coming from the Left who are alarmed by this transhumanism and Gnosticism, and there are lots of people on the Right who are already focused on it. Rumble is full of talk about this. They don’t make the connection to Nature. It’s all about their understanding of the Christianity with which they identify, but they do share the alarm with Paul and Mary.

  12. Tom Stone

    I recieved my first negative comment about masking today “You don’t HAVE to mask anymore”. When I told him to mind his own business ( 40’s nicely dressed W/M) he was affronted and said “You don’t have to be rude”.
    The look I gave him made him back away in a hurry, it’s the one that says it’s a shame horsewhips have gone out of style.
    I’ve been out and about on foot today and masks are few and far between, mostly worn by the lower orders as they were in the Hospital.

    1. flora

      The busybodies have enjoyed themselves during the pandemic. Time to remind them it’s rude for them to butt into our lives. It’s funny they seem so affronted when reminded. (And this works for both sides of the debate.)

    2. some guy

      What happens when the Typhoid Mary covid zombies don’t back away in a hurry? Or at all?

      When they decide to move in and tear off your mask and cough in your face, is it time to already have your bear spray all ready to go? To be ready for them?

      1. flora

        Has that ever happened? I doubt it. Busybodies are with us always, they are real, but they are not zombies. / ;)

        1. Acacia

          Heh, I was just thinking of @kareninca’s comment, from a few months back:

          this is the point in the zombie movie where the zombies try to infect those who are not yet zombies.

        2. some guy

          Not yet. But when you consider the wholesale evil of those in authority who did their best to spread covid on purpose to billions, how unlikey is it that some day a retail level individual might not try to do his/her part to advance the WHO-CDC agenda?

    3. outside observer

      I happened to go into a Whole foods and a thrift store on the same day recently. I think I saw one or two other masks in the whole foods. In the thrift store however, it was about 75% masked. Me thinks the lower orders correctly realize that no one has their back.

  13. square coats

    Octavia Butler, Speech Sounds

    I’m not sure I would call it scary. I did cry a little at the end though.. It leaves a lasting grim effect cast over everything else.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      She tries to imagine how things could ever be put together again in Parable of the Sower. The calamity is not a debilitating disease but an unraveling imagined off the Rodney King riots. Her picture of California in the 2020s is worse than the current reality, but not by much.

  14. J.

    Cop City update:

    Last week it came out that Cop City was projected to cost more than double the $30 million initially stated.


    Apparently that was embarrassing.

    So this week, some organizers of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which has been bailing out Cop City protestors, got swatted by the Atlanta police and GBI, supposedly for “money laundering”. Since when does money laundering rate a SWAT team?



    The mayor is gaslighting the citizens as hard as he can and pretending that locals want Cop City to be built, but at the City Council finance meeting where project funding was proposed there were 200+ (local) people speaking against the project and none supporting it.

    The governor, GBI and Atlanta police are straight up attempting to criminalize protests by arresting people on extremely flimsy pretexts and holding them without bond. Some in this jail:


    The lawsuits are starting:


    Strange times.

    1. Carolinian

      From your WSB link.

      Construction on the new training facility is already in progress.

      Sounds like this battle has already been lost.

      1. J.

        No, the city council still has to fund it. The vote is scheduled for June 5.

        The mainstream media in Atlanta is spinning it as a done deal. As usual, there is no disclosure in the WSB article that WSB (along with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) is owned by

        Cox Enterprises, whose CEO Alex Taylor is chairing the fundraising campaign to raise over $60 million in private and “philanthropic” funding for Cop City.

        For some back story see the quote source here: https://aas.princeton.edu/news/cop-city-and-prison-industrial-complex-atlanta

        1. Carolinian

          I lived in Atlanta for many years and know all about it. I do not support your efforts and frankly doubt that a significant number of non activist citizens do either. If the city power structure including the black power structure are for it then 200 activists showing up at a council meeting aren’t going to have much sway.

          Which is to say if your organization had the clout to stop it then it would already be stopped.

          So I do believe construction has started and it’s pretty much a done deal. But do get back to us on June 5.

          1. J.

            I don’t actually belong to any organization. Look around and see if you can find any support for Cop City beyond the Atlanta and state power structures. I’m not seeing any.

            There are two things about Cop City that are relevant to the NC commentariat:

            1. Criminalization of protest and domestic terrorism charges against protesters.

            2. News suppression, caused by Cox Enterprises backing the project while owning or influencing all the mainstream media outlets in Atlanta.

Comments are closed.