2:00PM Water Cooler 6/26/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

American Goldfinch, Tompkins, New York, United States. A woodopecker joins the chorus.

* * *


“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

“US to spend $42 billion to make internet access universal by 2030” [Reuters]. “The White House on Monday divvied up $42 billion among the nation’s 50 states and U.S. territories to make access to high-speed broadband universal by 2030, as it launched a new publicity campaign for President Joe Biden’s economic policies. The funding under the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program was authorized by the $1 trillion 2021 infrastructure law Biden championed. The spending will be based on a newly released Federal Communications Commission coverage map that details gaps in access. Texas and California – the two most populous U.S. states – top the funding list at $3.1 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively. But other, less populous states like Virginia, Alabama and Louisiana cracked the top 10 list for funding due to lack of broadband access. These states have large rural areas with less internet connectivity than their major cities…. States are expected to submit initial plans later this year that will unlock 20% of the funding. Once the plans are finalized, which could take to 2025, the government will release the remaining money.” • 2025?


I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Kevin McCarthy says he’ll start impeachment of AG Merrick Garland by July 6 over bombshell IRS whistleblower testimony that he interfered in criminal investigation into Hunter Biden” [Daily Mail]. “The Republicans plan to take this action following new allegations by IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley, a 14-year veteran of the agency, claiming that Hunter Biden has been given preferential treatment by investigators looking into his tax affairs and lying on a gun permit application. Shapley pointed to a WhatsApp message sent on July 30, 2017, by Hunter to Chinese Communist Party official Henry Zhao, threatening him to follow his ‘orders’ and saying his dad was with him. Shapley alleges he raised concerns about the WhatsApp message to DOJ prosecutors, who rebuffed his concerns. McCarthy said on Fox & Friends Monday that U.S. Attorney David Weiss – who led the investigation into Hunter and charged the president’s son last week for violating federal tax and gun laws after a 5-year probe – must appear before the House Judiciary Committee.” • The Democrat line is that Weiss was appointed by Trump. That doesn’t make him a Trump loyalist, obviously.

“Who is Lying? Merrick Garland or the Whistleblowers?” [Jonathan Turley]. “‘I’m not the deciding official.’ Those five words, allegedly from Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, shocked IRS and FBI investigators in a meeting on October 22, 2022. This is because, in refusing to appoint a special counsel, Attorney Garland Merrick Garland had repeatedly assured the public and Congress that Weiss had total authority over his investigation. IRS supervisory agent Gary A. Shapley Jr. told Congress he was so dismayed by Weiss’s statement and other admissions that he memorialized them in a communication to other team members…. The whistleblowers allege that the Justice Department consistently cut them off in seeking searches or answers related to President Biden. However, the line that stood out the most was this: ‘U.S. Attorney Weiss stated that he subsequently asked for special counsel authority from Main DOJ at that time and was denied that authority.’ If true, that means that Garland was not just hearing from experts and members of Congress calling for an appointment, but that Weiss himself also saw the need for such an appointment. Moreover, the report indicates that others in the investigation believed that there was a need to create such separation from the Justice Department in light of what they viewed as the special treatment given the president’s son. These accounts could explain why the Justice Department took five years to secure a guilty plea to two misdemeanors that could have been established in the first month of the investigation.”

* * *

“Trump’s GOP lead grows after latest indictment, poll finds” [NBC]. Handy chart:

‘It’s just stupid’: DeSantis stumbles in New Hampshire” [Politico]. “DeSantis’ visit to the state Tuesday is being met with backlash from a major Republican women’s group. The New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women released a statement Thursday slamming DeSantis for planning an event at the same time as their annual fundraising lunch — an event Trump is headlining. The group asked him to reschedule. ‘It has always been a New Hampshire hallmark to be considerate when scheduling events,’ the group’s events director, Christine Peters, said in a statement. ‘To have a candidate come in and distract from the most special event [the women’s group] holds in the year is unprecedented.’ DeSantis world was quick to dismiss the group’s complaints, saying their event shouldn’t be a distraction since it’s in a different part of the state and at a different time than when Trump is speaking, and that the federation’s soiree is already sold out. They noted that two of the group’s members resigned over the statement targeting DeSantis, with the PAC blasting out their tweets. One of them, Kate Day, the now-former public relations chair, told POLITICO the federation erred when it ‘broke its neutrality in criticizing’ DeSantis. But DeSantis’ opponents were already weaponizing the exchange. ‘If there’s one thing you don’t do in New Hampshire, it’s piss off the grassroots women,’ said an adviser to a rival candidate granted anonymity to speak freely. ‘Don’t mess with them, they remember everything. Rookie move.’… ‘It’s the worst strategic move he has exhibited thus far,’ New Hampshire-based Republican strategist Mike Dennehy said. ‘It’s just stupid, actually. You don’t take on the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women.'” • Pass the popcorn.

“DeSantis voters: Angry at Fauci, anxious about ‘Cinderfella,’ tiring of Trump” [Seattle Times]. “‘I feel like, you know, [Trump] is more seasoned,’ Anne Marie Lamb, 69, said of Trump at a recent DeSantis event in New Hampshire. ‘I feel like Trump, when he comes out and talks, I mean, where does that energy come from? You feel a little pumped after you listen to him….. DeSantis voters say they are impressed by battles DeSantis has waged and the enemies he’s made – including the media, liberal governors and Disney. ‘He’s taken arrows and it doesn’t stop him from doing what I think is right,’ said Daphne Maingot, 63, who is backing DeSantis and went to see him in Greenville. Other voters still loyal to Trump were also drawn to DeSantis’s combative style. ‘I love the way he fights,’ North Carolina physician Steve Hamstead said at his state’s GOP convention this month, where both Trump and DeSantis spoke. He and his wife argued it just wasn’t DeSantis’s ‘turn’ to be president with Trump in the running. But Hamstead conceded the governor’s fight with Disney ‘almost puts him at the level of Trump, the way Trump is not afraid of taking people on.'”

“Trump and DeSantis are ‘wrong’ on Ukraine policy, 2024 GOP hopeful Will Hurd says” [ABC]. “The latest 2024 hopeful, former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, on Sunday stressed that he stood out in the crowded Republican primary field because of his belief that American needs stronger leadership on the world stage, particularly on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. ‘We’ve seen over the last couple of days that we need people that have a real experience when it comes to national security,’ Hurd told ABC… ‘And look, Donald Trump has some good ideas, but he … lacked an ability to leverage the government in order to execute on those things. People like Ron DeSantis don’t have that experience when it comes to foreign policy.’ ‘It’s unfortunate the two leading Republican nominees for president, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, [their] policy on Ukraine is wrong,’ Hurd said. ‘I wish they would stop fighting with American companies like Disney and be more interested in supporting our allies against attacks against democracy.'”

“Trump sets sights on repeating his 2016 battleground success in Michigan” [PBS]. “Trump’s popularity in Michigan has taken a hit since 2016. ‘By Trump’s calculations, he needs to win Michigan again to be the president. But he’s been very disruptive here,’ said Dave Trott, a former GOP congressman. ‘Trump largely is the reason why the Michigan Republican Party is dead.’ Last year, Trump’s endorsed candidates in Michigan were among the loudest in repeating his unfounded claims that the 2020 election was rigged…. In November, the statewide candidates he backed were overwhelmingly defeated… Michigan Republicans controlled all levels of state government from 2011 to 2019. Now, they are powerless for the first time in 40 years. The shift has been particularly evident in Oakland County, home to the largest number of Republican voters in the state.” And meanwhile: “Under a new plan widely expected to help Trump, Michigan will award just 16 of the state’s 55 delegates based on the results of the Feb. 27 primary. The distribution of the remaining 39 delegates will come four days later in closed-door caucus meetings….”

“Trump claims US does not have ‘real elections,’ calls for paper ballots” [The Hill]. “Trump, who has repeatedly falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen from him, also said he wants same-day voting on Election Day, paper ballots and instating requirements for voter ID.” • Same day voting as long as Election Day is a national holiday; voter ID if at no cost to the voter. Trump, horrifyingly to some, is correct on this. (Too bad he went for election fraud as his method of delegitmizing 2020; he could very well have gone for Hunter Biden’s laptop. Oh well.)

“The Indictment Can Only Hurt Trump” [Peggy Noonan]. Worth reading in full for her views on Trump’s rise. More: “What were Mr. Trump’s motives? Why would he refuse to give the documents back, move them around Mar-a-Lago, mislead his own lawyers about their status and content? Because everything’s his. He is by nature covetous. ‘My papers’ he called them. Because of vanity: Look at this handwritten letter. Kim Jong Un loves Trump. See who I was? Look at this invasion plan. Because he wished to have, at hand, cherry-picked documentation he could deploy to undercut assertions by those who worked with him that he ordered them to do wild and reckless things. My fear is that Mar-a-Lago is a nest of spies. Membership in the private club isn’t fully or deeply vetted; anyone can join who has the money (Mr. Trump reportedly charges a $200,000 initiation fee). A spy—not a good one, just your basic idiot spy—would know of the documents scattered throughout the property, and of many other things. All our international friends and foes would know. Strange things happen in Mar-a-Lago. In 2019 a Chinese woman carrying four cellphones, a hard drive and a thumb drive infected with malware breezed past security and entered without authorization. She was arrested and jailed for eight months. Another Chinese woman was arrested soon after; a jury acquitted her of trespassing but convicted her of resisting arrest. In 2021 a ‘Ukrainian fake heiress and alleged charity scammer’ gained access, according to the Guardian. Who else has? Mar-a-Lago isn’t secure. Those documents didn’t belong there. It is a danger to our country that they were. This story will do Mr. Trump no good with his supporters. It will hurt him—maybe not a lot but some, maybe not soon but in time. I mean the quiet Trump supporters, not big mouths and people making money on the game, but honest people.” • Hmm.

“Virginia jury acquits school spokesman of perjury in probe that was a focus of governor’s campaign” [Associated Press]. ” A jury on Thursday acquitted the longtime spokesman for a northern Virginia school system of perjuring himself during a high-profile investigation of two school-based sexual assaults. The jury took only about two hours to deliberate before acquitting Loudoun County Public Schools Public Information Office Wayde Byard on the sole perjury count lodged against him by a special grand jury. The perjury case was the first prosecution to go to trial from the special grand jury’s probe, commissioned by Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares at the request of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. The grand jury examined the school system’s handling of two sexual assaults at two different high schools in 2021. Youngkin made the assaults a major part of his successful gubernatorial bid that year, and he issued an executive order requesting the investigation on his first day in office. Youngkin’s critics accused him of exploiting the situation for political gain. The assaults garnered widespread attention not only because the boy who committed the assaults was allowed to transfer to another school after the first attack but also because he was wearing a skirt when he committed the first attack in a school bathroom. At the time the county was considering a policy change to allow transgender students to use the restroom of their choice.”

* * *

“2 in 3 concerned about Biden’s mental, physical health: survey” [The Hill]. “The NBC News poll found that 68 percent are concerned that Biden, 80, does not possess the “necessary” mental and physical health to serve as president, with 55 percent saying they have ‘major’ concerns. By comparison, 32 percent said that they have minor or no concerns with Biden’s health. When asked about whether they are concerned about former President Trump’s mental and physical health, 55 percent said they are concerned, including 44 percent who have ‘major concerns. Forty-four percent said they have minor or no concerns that Trump, 77, has the mental and physical health needed to serve as president.'”

A contrast not only with the (visibly infirm, except when juiced up) Biden, but with the cheeseburger-scarfing Trump:

I’m not sure I like President Six-Pack and more than I like President Wakefield. Given me the wheelchair-bound FDR. Or the drunken and paunchy Churchill, for that matter. (That said, I’m sure I’m in a tiny and disgruntled minority. I’m sure Rogan’s audience will eat this up with a spoon.)

“Here’s a Conspiracy Theory: RFK Jr. Is a Tool of Pro-Trump Agitators” [Walter Shapiro, Tne New Republic]. “Kennedy is an environmental lawyer with the most famous name in Democratic politics. He is also a patsy. His candidacy is being promoted by right-wing forces with the single-minded objective of embarrassing Joe Biden in the New Hampshire primary and other early contests. Kennedy has been ballyhooed on Fox News with gushy interviews with Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity. Republican megadonors like David Sacks and Omeed Malik are fundraising for him. He has also been endorsed by the founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, and implicitly supported by Elon Musk, who is driving Twitter into the ground. Both Roger Stone and Steve Bannon have been giddy with praise for Kennedy, even suggesting him as Donald Trump’s 2024 running mate. And Rolling Stone revealed that a pro-Kennedy super PAC was organized by a Georgia-based Republican firm that has recently worked for Marjorie Taylor Greene, Herschel Walker, and George Santos. Kennedy has hit just about every right-wing hot spot with the exception of the dining room at Mar-a-Lago.” • I don’t see the logic. How does RFK fishing for votes in Republican venues — verboten, apparently — affect his standing in a Democrat primary? An awful lot of Republicans would have to reregister…

“J.B. Pritzker Downs Jell-O Shot Tossed by Onlooker at Chicago Pride Parade” [Daily Beast]. “Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) showed up to Chicago’s annual Pride Parade Sunday ready to party—even at one point catching a Jell-O shot tossed his way by an onlooker and downing the alcoholic gelatin dessert in one gulp. A photo provided by the governor’s press team showed Pritzker hoisting the plastic container triumphantly following the interaction, while surrounded by impressed-looking revelers.”

* * *

“Third-party candidate would drag Biden down in Trump rematch: poll” [The Hill]. “A third-party candidate would drag President Biden down in a rematch with former President Trump in 2024, according to an Emerson College national poll released Thursday. In a head-to-head matchup, polls show Biden and Trump in a dead-heat, at 44 percent to 43 percent among voters. Nine percent said they would vote for someone else, while 4 percent said they are undecided. However, if third-party candidate Cornel West appears on the ballot alongside Trump and Biden, he pulls in 6 percent of support, dropping Biden’s support to 40 percent, 1 point below Trump’s 41 percent. Seven percent say they would vote for someone else, and 6 percent say they are undecided. ‘When West is added to the ballot test, he pulls 15 percent of support from Black voters, and 13 percent from voters under 35, two key voting blocs for President Biden,” said Spencer Kimball, the director of Emerson College Polling.'” • Democrats had better give those voters what they want, then.

I just wish Williamson would read the room on Ukraine:

Though if she’s got enough “In This House…” second wave feminists in her camp, perhaps she is reading the room….

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.

* * *

They need a union:

Couldn’t they round up to $11.00?

Obama Legacy

“Five takeaways from Barack Obama’s CNN interview on Biden, 2024, Trump, Ukraine, more” [USA Today]. “Obama also predicted that Biden, his former vice president, will have an easy path to the 2024 Democratic nomination. ‘I do not think that there’s going to be any kind of serious primary challenge to Joe Biden,’ [Obama] said. ‘I think the Democratic Party is unified.’ Obama credited Biden for bringing Democrats closer together after a contentious 2020 presidential primary saw Biden earn the support of more centrist Democrats while Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., found strong support from the party’s progressive wing. ‘The truth is that partly because of how Joe has governed, those divisions have been bridged,’ he said.” • Obama carefully erases his own role in 2020.

“Is Barack Obama Ready To Reassert Himself?” [Politico] Aside from the Night of the Long Knives? More: “Former President Barack Obama has hosted a handful of informal, but lengthy private meetings with groups of next-generation House Democrats this spring, I’m told by multiple attendees. The initial session featured the chamber’s new trio of leaders, but he then held subsequent conversations with a range of lawmakers. Included were progressive members, like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), as well as more moderate lawmakers, such as Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) and Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) The gatherings were Obama’s idea, I’m told, and were designed for the now-61-year-old former president to keep current with his party’s rising stars, more than six years after he left office.”

“Barack is back… to save the Democratic Party he stymied” [The Spectator]. “Emil Jones is famous in Springfield, Illinois. The former Chicago sanitation worker rose from poverty to become the president of the State Senate. He is best known outside Chicago as the anonymous “old ward heeler” that Obama belittled in his memoir, Dreams from my Father. It is fortunate for Obama that Jones wasn’t much of a reader. When Democrats won control of the Illinois Senate, he plucked a little known failed congressional candidate from obscurity and declared to everyone around him, “I’m gonna make me a US senator.” Obama’s name was attached to every major bill that passed, even if it meant trampling the legislation’s authors and activists. Obama then used those “achievements” to neuter attacks on his youth and inexperience back in 2008. Eight years in the Oval Office surrounded by sycophantic aides and an adoring press corps convinced Obama that he truly was a self-made man. Plenty of young Democrats say they have been inspired by Obama, but I can’t recall anyone saying he played the role of mentor outside of the podcaster Obama Bros in his immediate orbit. Emil Jones, born 1935, was a student of machine Chicago politics and used it to build a progressive juggernaut that all but ensured perpetual Democratic supermajorities in the Illinois statehouse. After all these years, Obama may have finally realized that his status as an historic figure will depend on his ability to channel his inner ‘old ward heeler.'” • Are we sure Obama has an “inner” anything?


“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.

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 (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

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“What it’s really like to do gymnastics in a mask” [Fansided]. “The UC Berkeley gymnastics team is making a statement by continuing to compete at the highest level, and doing it while fully masked…. To a fan tuning in through Cal’s free, techno-scored livestream, [Emily] Watterson’s pre-routine jitters were anything but obvious: she mounted the bars with her face hidden behind a surgical mask. Since that routine was streamed, Watterson’s face — masked-up and mid-salto, or uncovered, smiling, above a scoreboard flipper reading “1000” — has appeared in outlets from People to PopSugar. These writeups celebrate her for attaining ‘perfection in a mask,’ as PopSugar Fitness’s Samantha Brodsky put it. Owen, a gymnastics fan who Tweets about the sport as @theegymmdiaryy, told me via Twitter direct message that the routine ‘has become more of a political statement at this point, saying that it is entirely possible to excel in high-level athletics while wearing a mask the whole time.’ Watterson has been happy enough to serve as a talking point for COVID watchers. A native of Brisbane, Australia, she’s been baffled by the persistence and virulence of anti-mask sentiment in the States.”


“A non-transmissible live attenuated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine” [Cell]. Hamster study, sigh. “Live attenuated vaccines (LAVs) administered via the mucosal route may offer better control of the COVID-19 pandemic than non-replicating vaccines injected intramuscularly. Conceptionally, LAVs have several advantages, including presentation of the entire antigenic repertoire of the virus, and the induction of strong mucosal immunity. Thus, immunity induced by LAV could offer superior protection against future surges of COVID-19 cases caused by emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, LAVs carry the risk of unintentional transmission. To address this issue, we investigated whether transmission of a SARS-CoV-2 LAV candidate can be blocked by removing the furin cleavage site (FCS) from the spike protein. The level of protection and immunity induced by the attenuated virus with the intact FCS was virtually identical to the one induced by the attenuated virus lacking the FCS. Most importantly, removal of the FCS completely abolished horizontal transmission of vaccine virus between cohoused hamsters.”


But why are so many kids sick? ‘Tis a mystery!


“Rise in the incidence of severe pediatric blepharokeratoconjunctivitis during the COVID-19 pandemic” [Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus]. From the Abstract: “There was a statistically significant threefold increase in the diagnosis of severe BKC since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 compared to the previous years.” Wait for it…. “We speculate that the increased use of facial masks during the pandemic contributed to this significant increase.” • Because people were wearing masks over their eyes?

“Something Awful”

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.

* * *

Elite Maleficence

“Covid-19 cluster being monitored at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, officials say” [Boston25]. “A recent outbreak of Covid-19 among staff and patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has officials monitoring those cases closely, the hospital announced Saturday. Universal masking has been implemented on the affected unit, hospital officials said in a statement.” Too late for those infected, of course. “BIDMC recently detected a cluster of COVID-19 cases among staff and patients. We promptly isolated the patients and thereafter initiated universal masking on the affected unit in accordance with infection control protocols,” the statement said. “We continue to closely monitor this situation and will adjust this plan going forward as needed, and have reported the cluster to the Department of Public Health and Boston Public Health Commission.’ Major hospitals lifted their mask mandates in May after the end of the Covid-19 health emergency.” • They never should have lifted the mandate in the first place. Where are the lawsuits?

Hospital Infection Control whacking more patients:

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data from June 22:

For now, I’m going to use this national wastewater data as the best proxy for case data (ignoring the clinical case data portion of this chart, which in my view “goes bad” after March 2022, for reasons as yet unexplained). At least we can spot trends, and compare current levels to equivalent past levels.


From CDC, June 24:

Lambert here: Not sure what to make of this. I’m used to seeing a new variant take down the previously dominant variant. Here it looks like we have a “tag team,” all working together to cut XBB.1.5 down to size. 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

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from June 17:

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, June 26:

-1.5%. Still chugging along, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say.


NOT UPDATED Death rate (Our World in Data), from June 21:

Lambert here: Theatre of the absurd. I can believe that deaths are low; I cannot believe they are zero, and I cannot even believe that all doctors signing death certificates have agreed to make it so. Looks to me like some administrative minimizer at WHO put the worst intern in charge of the project. And 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: 1,167,763 – 1,167,614 = 149 (149 * 365 = 54,385 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 June 22:

Lambert here: Still some encouragement! Not sure why this was updated so rapidly. The little blip upward?

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 Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ general business activity index for manufacturing in Texas rose to -23.2 in June of 2023, the highest in three months, and better than forecasts of -26.5. However, the reading continued to point to worsening business conditions, with contractions seen for production, new orders, shipments and capacity utilization. At the same time, labor market measures suggest weaker employment growth.”

* * *

Intellectual Property: So long, paywalls!

Am I the only one who feels that AI entered into the hype cycle without being thoroughly tested? Or tested at all?

The Bezzle: “A messaging app startup that raised $200M from SoftBank and others is shutting down because 95% of its users were fake” [Fortune]. • Oops.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 72 Greed (previous close: 74 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 79 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 26 at 1:31 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most!

The Gallery

Onward to cubism:

Class Warfare

“For Workers, Unions and Public Pressure Get the Goods” [The American Prospect]. “In December last year, a looming freight rail strike was forbidden by the federal government. After months of negotiation, Congress passed and President Biden signed a measure imposing a contract drawn up by a government arbitration panel, which granted substantial raises but no paid sick leave (instead of forcing management to accept the key worker demands, which he could have done). That paid sick leave had been the central demand of the unions. As we at the Prospect have documented in detail, over the past 40 years the freight rail industry has consolidated and reformed itself along maximum short-term profit lines: drastically cutting back on track mileage, rolling stock, and maintenance; and laying off as many employees as possible while making those who remain work as many hours as possible. This was seen as a major defeat for labor, and it certainly was in the moment. But since that time, the unions have kept up the pressure, with some assistance from labor-friendly members of Congress, journalists, and the Biden administration, gradually forcing the rail companies to fold one by one. Now, the large majority of rail workers have at least some paid leave. It demonstrates that even in this notoriously worker-hostile country, unions can still win with determination and outside support.” • “A large majority,” “at least some.” Come on. This doesn’t translate into delivering the goods, and it doesn’t get Biden off the hook.

News of the Wired

“The Paradoxes of Nostalgia” [The Raven]. “By now we are all acquainted with the pandemic’s pathology of feeling. We know about the loneliness, the hopelessness, and the grief. But there are other reactions, less prominent but not rare. In my case, the past two years have been accompanied by a curiously persistent case of nostalgia. I go on little quests of memory, in search of images tediously generic and blazingly specific. Fall leaves brushing against school bus windows, the otherworldly glow of high-school football games at night, the slow crawl of school closures across the TV screen on snowy mornings. … If I am right about this, then the relief we seek in nostalgia is not so different from another kind of respite, memorably described by Schopenhauer. For most of our lives, Schopenhauer says, we suffer under the lash of the will. We need things, want things, and hunger for things. When we get them, we have only a moment’s rest before being tossed off in pursuit of other things. But, Schopenhauer says, aesthetic experience offers an exception to this pattern. When I attend to something of beauty, my will is suspended, and my attention becomes freer and more disinterested. I do not think about what it might do for me. I experience it for its own sake.” • Hmm. “The burden of agency.”

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AM writes: “A profusion of pink! Roger Williams Park, Providence RI.” Wow!

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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. antidlc


    Covid isn’t over, but even the most cautious Americans are moving on

    The mother of an immunocompromised teenager is traveling by plane for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started. A scientist felt safe enough at last to attend a professional conference last week. Members of a meditation group for retirees are ready to doff their masks, even the woman with lung problems.

    Emboldened by the government’s recent lifting of the public health emergency, Americans who have tried to be rule-following pandemic citizens for the past three summers are at last abandoning precautions as the coronavirus fades into a background threat.

    I consider myself one of the “most cautious Americans”, but I haven’t moved on. Still mask, avoid indoor gatherings, avoid concerts and theatre, no airplane flights, etc., etc.

    1. ambrit

      You are part of what the late great liberal politician Richard Milhous Nixon called the “Silent Majority.” That phrase goes way back.
      See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_majority
      What is so disconcerting about the Covid fiasco is that so many otherwise intelligent people fall for the “it’s all over now” Big Lie. Even as cynical as I am, I still hope in my heart of hearts that ‘The People’ will wake up. That sets up a h—acious whipsaw in my psyche.
      The Rolling Stones, “I used to love you.”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVpFf2DmFSM
      Contrast the kids back then with the kids today. Something basic has changed. If I were a cynic, I might theorize that Obama laid ‘Hope” in it’s grave.

    2. Roger Blakely

      It’s not like it isn’t doing anything to me. I picked up some XBB a month ago. I have a rash on my face and chest that just won’t quit. Twice per day I stand over the sink while I brush off all of the dry skin.

    3. Jason Boxman

      Team Biden, mission accomplished:

      Emboldened by the government’s recent lifting of the public health emergency, Americans who have tried to be rule-following pandemic citizens for the past three summers are at last abandoning precautions as the coronavirus fades into a background threat.

      (bold me)

      And shockingly:

      Officials are no longer warning of scary new variants.

      These unnamed officials are, to put it mildly, functionally stupid. I guess we’ll see how stupid as XBB1.16 and XBB1.9 continue to spread, probably aggressively during the 4th holiday weekend and travel.

      I vehemently reject any participation in this experiment. I will not play. Just like Davos Man does not play. The world’s richest demonstrably are COVID safe, as we saw at Davos this year. And can afford that luxury while leaving the rest of the populace to rot… I mean conduct personal risk assessments, without any data. Which always sounded like a ridiculous scam, in any case.

      A recent study, linked in a Tweet posted here, shows that in Japan they’ve found using electric records that average time to reinfection is now down to under 4 months. If COVID really is causing damage with every infection, as it seems to be, this is self immolation, on the scale of the nation-state. American is a shared suicide pact.

      The whole handling of this Pandemic is a manifest evil.

      1. some guy

        I wonder how broadly true that article is. I wonder if it isn’t trying to create a ” bandwagon effect” among its readers. It hopes to convince every reader that ” nobody else is being cautious anymore” in order to get every reader to say ” I surrender. I won’t be cautious anymore either.”

        This article is written for the Typhoid Mary covid spreaders in authority in order to get all its readers to give up and get with the program of accepting covid into their lives and helping to keep it alive and spreading.

        I suspect many NaCap readers are among the WawPoo-reading demographic, even if they themselves are rebel-boycotters of the WawPoo. So how many of NaCap’s reality-based covid-cautious readers have surrendered to the Big Covid themselves? How many of the covid-cautious people they know and see in their own lives have surrendered?

        As against how many ( what percent) are staying just as cautious as before? Every person who is still staying just as covid-cautious as they were right up to the day before that article was written is a standing defeat to the writers of that article.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The world’s richest demonstrably are COVID safe

        The working class, too, especially BIPOC, are also more Covid conscious, since they must “meet the public.”

        It’s the hegemonic PMC who are producing the minimizing propaganda (at the NGOs, in the press, in their workplaces]\), I assume partly to accumulate social capital through “working towards” our eugencist elites, but also because they deeply believe the propaganda they themselves produce: They’re so committed to the bit that they’ll create superspreading events at their own conferences! It’s the craziest behavior I’ve ever seen (and, needless to say, not science-based).

    4. Late Introvert

      Yes, you are in the minority here. I hope for your sake you don’t catch it again, and again. Sigh

      1. kareninca

        It’s not the short term effects of covid that are scary (to me). It is that it affects the immune system long term and forms reservoirs that don’t clear. In the case of AIDS, people initially had cold-like symptoms; then ten years later their immune systems were shot. I’m hoping it is not like that but it well may be.

    5. JTMcPhee

      I am mid-Covid thanks to a close relative who spent two weeks in London, Paris and mostly northern Italy, and my momentary lapse in self-protection. I likely was infected on June 9, symptoms started June 11. Never felt so strangely sick. Fever over 102, cold sweats like feeling ice water being forced out of every pore. My beard has stopped growing. Lost smell and taste. Headache and body aches. That brain fog I hear about.

      I was prescribed Paxlovid on June 14, but could not get it from Walgreens on 6/15 — the pharmacist in her best natsi prison guard voice told me it was because I did not have access to a prescription drug plan. Said I was barred by federal law from even paying out of pocket to have the script filled there.

      Called CVS, just before closing on 6/15, the pharmacist stayed past closing and got the script transferred to her, but had to wait until morning of 6/16 to fill it. Because I have kidney issues I only got the “renal dose,” only half of the newer pair of meds in the script. Felt better a few days later, cold sweats stopped, smell and taste largely restored. The day after the last dose of the 5 day course, back to fever, weird cold sweats, malaise and brain fog. “You’re on your own,” say the PCPs. “Good luck. Stay hydrated. “

      As I understand Paxlovid, it inhibits the development of spike proteins and thus viral reproduction. I guess that give the immune system a chance to catch up with this evil virus. Lots of antibiotics require long courses to treat persistent pathogens. Five days of replication suppression would not seem to be near enough, especially the reduced “renal dose.” I am not surprised that I’m experiencing “Paxlovid rebound,” which is now in that category of “bad shit many of us just have live with (or die with or from).” The doc will not go off label or outside the Deathly Hallows CDC protocols, so no second and longer dose of the antivirals for me.

      I’m doing the FLCCC stuff without iver or hydroxy, but at 77 wondering what long tail I am dragging. Got metformin from a friend, hoping that may help.

      “You’re on your own. Good luck, go die quietly.”

      1. kareninca

        I’m very sorry about this. I hope the FLCCC treatments help; I have read that they may be very helpful. There are a lot of “natural” antivirals out there (like black cumin oil capsules and olive leaf extract); of course you would need to check with your MD before trying them); I have a feeling that ultimately we are all going to need to be on ongoing antivirals (but maybe I’m wrong; I surely hope so). The other thing to look into (absolutely get a doctor’s okay first!!!) is nattokinase to avoid getting a clot from this.
        (It is not that I think that “natural” antivirals are so fabulous; it is that I can get them on my own).

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Covid isn’t over, but even the most cautious Americans are moving on

      Thanks for linking to this appalling piece of dreck. I saw it, but nearly stroked out, and since I was pressed temporally….

  2. antidlc


    Dr. Anthony Fauci To Join Georgetown Faculty as Distinguished University Professor

    Starting July 1, Fauci will serve as a Distinguished University Professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, an academic division that provides clinical care, conducts research and trains future physicians in infectious diseases. He will also hold an additional appointment in the university’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

    The rank of University Professor is Georgetown’s highest professional honor that recognizes extraordinary achievement in scholarship, teaching and service.

  3. enoughisenough

    That RFK video has some real toxic masculinity absurdity going on.

    This isn’t a schoolyard fisticuffs match. This is about policy.

    We have a real idiocracy going on here.

    1. Not Again

      I always choose which candidate to vote for based on how much each can bench press and how large their testicles are. That’s why I voted for Hillary in 2016.

      1. griffen

        Boy am I glad I wasn’t ingesting a glass of water or iced tea on reading that comment ! My precious device might have been ruined beyond repair. Well done !

          1. Lee

            2nd LOL of the day for me. Just hook me up with an I.V. vax drip feed and I’ll be good to go.

    2. IM Doc

      Policy? Policy? –

      Like how many billions we are spending on health care problems in this country because of obesity/DM/and processed foods? Because we have taught an entire generation to look at their phones and video games instead of the real world? To become slouches in their homes instead of getting out and moving their bodies?

      Seriously? You feel RFK’s health is demonstrative of the real idiocracy?

      I can scarcely believe what I hear anymore in this country. As I emailed the brain trust yesterday, I do all I can to emulate this behavior. What kind of MD would I be if I did not role model health and fitness in any way I can?

      I come by it naturally. Most of the men when I was a child looked just like this well into their 50s-70s. It was the common thing. I work hard on keeping myself healthy – I want my patients to understand I take this seriously. We have become so debauched by our extravagant spending on healthcare to care for the complications, and the horrible diets and activity habits that are espoused that we have all simply forgotten what was common just a few generations ago. I remember. I was a young physician back then before the ubiquity of processed foods when this sort of body was much more common.

      Sorry – I want the kids of this country to have a good role model in the White House. We have lacked that for a long time – certainly now. The children of this country are seriously suffering from the diets and bad habits forced upon them. Anything will help. Having a President looking and acting like this would be so much better than the literal dementia patient we now have or the Lounge Lizard from before.

      1. enoughisenough

        I am pro-exercise. Of course.
        I am pro-encouraging exercise.

        This is just childish “look at me! look what I can do!” and does not translate into anything policy-related, or why we should vote for him. Lots of very bad people are in good shape, sorry, this is creepy of him to be doing.

        He’s framing it as if he’s preparing to beat up Biden, and Biden, total narcissist himself, does the same thing.

        I want adults to get real now. I’m sick of this garbage.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m sick of the ‘golfing alone’ Presidents who are a bad example, and long for an outdoorsman in the oval office. What if RFK had a video of him taken walking on a trail with an Ansel Adams-like view, and maybe just maybe-lizards would be doing pushups about 5 feet 11 inches below, with the candidate exhorting them to ‘drop down and give me 20 mister!’

          1. enoughisenough

            Agree. No more golfing bs.

            yes, a hike in the mountains, where he can speak to climate change as well as health benefits of exercise and fresh air, should we have policies ever to help preserve it?

            Now that would be a good campaign ad.

          2. Carolinian

            Dubya was into mountain biking and stupidity. Maybe mental fitness first.

            And convenience foods and takeout are the result of two income families being necessary to pursue that American dream. But certainly smartphones need to take a lot of blame. On my hikes these days it seems like half of those joining me are on their phones. At least they aren’t also smoking cigarettes like Madison Avenue’s outdoorsy Marlboro Man.

            My town is building new walking trails and some of them are sponsored by hosptitals. The public seems to enjoy them.

        2. Martin Oline

          “He’s framing it as if he’s preparing to beat up Biden, and Biden, total narcissist himself, does the same thing.”

          I recall that during the run up to the the 2020 caucuses in Iowa, ‘Crazy Joe’ offered to fight men in the audience on at least two separate occasions. I am not sure what item of policy was under discussion at the time.

          1. Tom Stone

            Brandon’s behavior has been increasingly aberrant over the years and at this point there’s a real chance he’ll start a Nuclear exchange because he wakes up with a case of the Red Ass (Diaper rash).
            I look at him as the classic dry alcoholic with the ” I’m going to get even with the world” variety of dementia.
            The insane recklessness demonstrated by this administration is….insane.
            It’s going to be an interesting next few years.

        3. hunkerdown

          By investing in a secularized religious rite celebrating and reproducing subordination to capitalist relations through the development of parasocial relationships with a figurehead manipulated by one of two corporations representing early modern English power centers.

          Have you got anything suitable for people outside of Sunday school?

        4. Mark Gisleson

          That was an official campaign video? !!!

          People like RFK Jr. and Tulsi Gabbard should only work out while wearing burkas because what? They’re shaming us with their fitness? That’s like saying no American should ever rest easy about whether the POTUS is physically capable of living through their term?

          Btw, no serious weighlifter would be impressed by 105 lbs. Then again, it’s pretty obvious Kennedy could lift more, he was just doing reps.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Oops! I’m referencing a different video I saw earlier today, not the pushups Tweet.

      2. enoughisenough

        Also, as far as overall health, as a doctor, would you be advising RFK to have that amount of sun damage?
        Skin cancer waiting to happen. Would you recommend, for his health, say….a hat and sunscreen?

        Because, again, this is not an ad for health. This is a narcissistic display. It’s embarrassing and gross.

        1. britzklieg

          I might not vote for RFK Jr but it won’t be due to public push-ups.

          I definitely won’t vote for Biden, regardless.

          There’s the rub…

        2. enoughisenough

          Imagine if a female candidate was doing some beauty display as a challenge to a competitor – imagine how THAT would go these days! Like putting on make up as a way to say “I’m preparing for the debate!”

          What RFK is doing is basically that, only worse, because asserting physical dominance is inherently threatening. Which should have no place in our already sick and bellicose society. Talk about modeling good behavior, huh? We need to elevate the discourse. This is all so retrograde and juvenile. We deserve better.

            1. ambrit

              Kari Lake? I’m thinking that Team Biden will respond with a Divine Cosplay Candidate. Team Logo, a Pink Flamingo. Team motto, “The best kind of female trouble!” Team website, ‘GetBent.com’ Team policy director, RuPaul. (To draw in the libertarian voters.)
              Oh, the dives you’ll go to and the things you’ll see!

          1. Pat

            Look I want it to be about policy as much as the next person, but having watched national and local Democratic primaries for many years modeling good behavior is a recipe to be slaughtered. Not by the voters, but by the jerks running the party. If RFK Jr wants to be President he is going to have to hit his opponents both above and below the belt. And frankly, while it may not be policy, Biden’s fitness IS very much an issue. Whether you approve of the presentation or not, this was a shot across the bow of the Biden campaign and done in the manner that Joe will understand very well. “Your doctors report wasn’t good enough, your health and apparent dementia is an issue that is not going away.”

          2. Mark Gisleson

            I clearly remember what happened when Tulsi Gabbard released a video of her doing a serious workout wearing heavy sweat pants and sweat shirt. An avalanche of online fainting ensued, how dare she flaunt her body that way. Even though the only parts of her body showing were her head and hands.

            So yes, I guess it’s fair to go after RFK Jr like they went after Gabbard. Not for being fit, but for making everyone else look bad. [Is being fit a passive-aggressive form of fat shaming nowadays?]

            1. ambrit

              Oh get over it Mr. G. Fat has no shame. In fact, it now has an office on “K” Street. (Some wags say that that end of the thorofare should be renamed “Special K” Street. Kellogg’s should be all in on it.)

          3. jhallc

            Hillary Clinton in a Jane Fonda workout outfit. Thanks… I can’t unsee that.
            Male preening is not something I approve off, particularly in a public figure, but, I’m not going to write him off just for this.

        3. John

          Am I wrong to call the reactions to the video and to IM Doc quibbling. Besides he got your attention and at this very early, absurdly early, stage of what promises to be a mind numbing slog what’s bad about it from a campaign perspective, which is all that really matters isn’t it?

      3. DJG, Reality Czar

        IM Doc:

        I’m a tad more skeptical of the video of RFKJr, which I consider a stunt, like the story above of Gov. JB snarfing down a jell-o shot. This is a form of “retail” campaigning like posing for selfies with constituents and eating deep-fried candy bars at the state fair.

        That written, I agree with you that RFKJr is making a not-so-implicit contrast with Synapse-Troubled Joe and Hamburgered Trump.

        Another area of agreement: Here in the Chocolate City of the Undisclosed Region, men tend to be tall and slim, a tad less muscled, than RFKJr. It is a common body type I see in men even in their sixties.

        In fact, any number of people here won’t take me for American on first glance, because I fit that mesomorph profile. The stereotype is that all Americans are (quite) fat.

        Women here, especially younger women, tend to be tall and slim.

        And it does make me wonder: The Piedmontese can really eat. So where does it all go? The food is better, they don’t eat high-fructose corn syrup, the crap oils like soybean and cottonseed don’t exist, and everyone walks or bikes. Hmmm.

        As for “toxic masculinity,” I’d like to nip that in the bud: Only if we can talk about “toxic femininity.” First, because “toxic masculinity” is non-existent, but a convenient term of abuse. Second, because what’s sauce of the goose is sauce for the gander. Third: I don’t want to be distracted.

        1. hunkerdown

          PMC, like every other Puritan, priest, or other powerful person, has an interest in obscuring their true potential for action. It’s ALL schoolyard fisticuffs and saying it’s not holds up the power structure based on schoolyard fisticuffs.

          Negatively rate charisma, competition, whatever emotion they’re trying to manipulate you with, and nobody whines until everyone eats.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > “toxic masculinity” is non-existent, but a convenient term of abuse.

          If there has been any serious analytical work done on “toxic” whatever, I’m not aware of it, although of course I can’tread everything. As a term of abuse, it’s a very effective earworm.

      4. Hana M

        Thank you, thank you, thank you, IM doc. Sometime along the far too long Covid-years I heard that a US emphasis on exercise and weight loss was nixed because Americans are too fat. How I wish that someone of either party had embraced a new Kennedy Fitness Program rather than cutting off the nature trails, skate parks, playgrounds,and after school sports programs. RFK jr is the first candidate I’ve heard who’s given me hope. Yes, it’s possible to lose 30 LBS and get fit again but we need leaders who can show us the way past fear and lethargy.

          1. ambrit

            Yep. He found out the hard way that what happens in Vegans stays in Vegans.
            To be fair to the man, his promotion of fruits and nuts was just a bit ahead of the Democrat Party Orthodoxy. No Prophet is honoured in his own land.

            1. Wukchumni

              The first car I ever drove was a 1972 Vega, so I lay claim to being an old school Vegan, but am not prone to breaking down, unlike the chiffon colored beast with 4 on the floor.
              I’m formulating my run, BTW

      5. Michael Fiorillo

        Unless I missed it, there was not a word about Big Ag/Big Food’s role in the epidemics JFK, Jr mentioned. Ignoring those (and poverty) while touting health, fitness and personal responsibility is a misdirection the Repugs and neoliberals alike have made bank on.

        Awful as Sundown Joe assuredly is, why shouldn’t Kennedy’s revealing antics disqualify him as a serious person about this kind of thing?

        1. ambrit

          Using “Creepy Demented” Joe as the yardstick sets a very low bar.
          The “plank in our own eye” is that Certainty(TM) is a crock. Roughly speaking, the PMCs are setting themselves up as Tin Gods. That never ends well.
          The present political class now relies on Political Ad Hominem Campaigns to suppress ‘competition’ in the Sphere of Ideas.
          Alas and alack, today’s PMC aligned Politicos are functionally indistinguishable from Authoritarians.

      6. Lee

        One of my guilty pleasures of late is watching the hbo true crime series Murder in the Heartland focusing on homicide investigations in small rural towns across the U.S. I’m a lifelong SF bay area resident. But I’m just one generation from these folks: mother from Weedpatch, CA; father from rural Arkansas; and a stepfather from the backwoods Kentucky. Although I probably disagree with them about many things, I really like these probably conservative, definitely Christian ruralistas. Unfortunately, morbid obesity among young and old alike is rampant.

      7. Lunker Walleye

        “The Soft American” was an article written by JFK in Sports Illustrated. Maybe RFK Jr is alluding to his uncle’s desire for Americans to become fit.

        1. Lee

          JFK promoted the 50 mile fitness test walk. For some considerable period of time I could watch mostly high school and college age groups stalwartly striding down the main drag through my town to points north and south.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            I did more than watch. My Boy Scout troop undertook the challenge: 28 miles the first day and 22 the second. We walked an abandoned interurban trolley line from K. C. to St. Joe.

            My Morton’s toe was screaming that second day, but I made it and received a clear plastic medal hanging by a red, white and blue ribbon.

    3. hunkerdown

      It is schoolyard fisticuffs, and the idea that it (which antecedent I presume you desire us to interpret as certain Calvinist institutions gamified for liberalism) are about policy is, to put it politely, unsupported by evidence at the very least. It is about competitive virtue signaling and celebrating the emotions of the parasite moralist class. Whatever “it” is in your mind is immaterial, certainly in the most literal sense.

      You’re right, we (as in the West) have idiots who believe myths are real, think with their emotions, and believe their mission is to subordinate everything to whichever capitalist gold rush wants to call itself god this week.

      1. Wukchumni

        If it was RFK Jr versus Trump, ‘The Falcon and the Showman’ would be a good description, as RFK Jr is quite the falconer.

    4. CanCyn

      I think the problem is the allusion to a fight with Biden. I think we’d all like politicians to focus on issues for a change wouldn’t we? No one is hating on fitness. And people are right to be leery of some of RFK’s thinking re vaccines and market solutions to everything. Not hate just healthy skepticism. Also Biden and Trump are pretty low bars don’t you think?

      1. some guy

        Trump and Biden are the bars the establishment wants us to settle for choosing between. Doing something like voting for Kennedy in the primary ( if the Dems permit any), and/or then voting for West in the general; is rejecting the script they have handed us to act out.

    5. hunkerdown

      So toxicity is nothing more than a cudgel for Puritan emotional manipulators to pretend as if they own. Well guess what, you don’t. Nothing about your culture is necessary. Please remember that.

      Too bad RFK Jr. is dancing with the same oligarchs, financiers, and Party brass as any other insider pick. Your need to feel things obligates me to nothing. Try again when you are an autonomous adult instead of a spokesperson for an estate.

    6. Matthew

      Also–he does nine pushups! I don’t honestly give a tinker’s damn how many anyone does, but a healthy 69-year-old is supposed to readily do 10-12. Again, stupidstupidstupid, but he’s not even performing up to the national average for a healthy person his age. Looks like he’s been working on that stomach a little too much?

      BTW, those were the muscles that the worms, first terrestrial creatures as the seas receded, used to crawl up off of the ocean floor. Dudes who are obsessed with them are. . . kinda sillypants.

      1. britzklieg

        Look at his physique… do you really believe he can only do 9 and 1/2 push-ups? He clearly states it’s his last set…and the stomach is one of the most important aspects of push ups. I think you protest too much… stupidstupidstupid, indeed. I bet he can do more than you…

        …as if it matters…

        few will vote for or against based on your demand that “a healthy 69-year-old is supposed to readily do 10-12.” On the other hand his impressive and undeniable physical condition could well be a factor.

        Figure it out.

        1. Yves Smith

          He was starting to have difficulty at 9.

          I just did 15 as a test and could have done more except I had my hands in a suboptimal position and one of my wrists started getting unhappy. And women are supposed to be less good at pushups than guys.

          I bet he is using HgH. The usual tell in a gym is someone who is buff-looking but lifting awfully light.

          1. britzklieg

            The point is that he’s in pretty great shape for 69 whether he uses hgh or not. And “lifting light” can be a very prudent and successful health regimen as one ages.

            We’ve been mandated to put that dodgy mrna vaccine (the test results of which were completely misrepresented) into our bodies 4/5 times and counting and there’s no comparison as to which pharmaceutical is worse, imho. HGH is especially useful for AIDS.

            At any rate, I’ll be voting for the person who speaks to my issues…. and it won’t be Biden. Between the two of them, who would you vote for?

            1. Yves Smith

              I was treated from time to time by the top weight training coach in the world. Trained more Olympic medalists than anyone. Wrote four books that are still foundational and used in professional training. Learned German so he could read research in German (he was already fluent in French so read French research too). Worked with a team of MDs on which supplementation and recovery treatments were effective.

              Actually weight training is the single most effective anti-aging measure, with the objective of preserving strength and bone density. It is also the only form of exercise that increases grey matter, in the balance centers of the brains, likely due to the need to engage in stabilization under stress when doing sets and even moving weights in and out of racks.

              The only reason not to do that is prior injury or other joint issues. So I must disagree with “lifting light”. Lifting as heavy as you can without risking injury is the most effective way to weight train.

              “Lifting light” is inefficient and often a waste of time (trust me, I see this all the time in gym, people doing thing with light weights that don’t tax them enough to be productive). You might as well not kid yourself as to what you are doing and do cardio or bodyweight exercises, which have the added benefit of improving coordination.

              And HgH is cancer futures. You need to be even more careful with that than HRT. Taking it on a short-term basis is probably OK, but long-term for anti-aging is another matter. For instance:

              Unique supplement! Guaranteed results! Erases wrinkles! Ads for growth hormone (GH) replacement therapy promise to ameliorate the effects caused by decreases in circulating hormone levels as people age. Although GH therapy appears beneficial by some measures–it seems to tone muscles, for example–possible negative impacts of long-term treatment are unknown. New results suggest that blocking a GH-containing hormone network slows the duplication of tumor cells. The work adds to growing evidence that GH as well as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) stimulates cancer growth, and it supports the notion that people should approach GH therapy with caution.


              The reason this matters is that anti-vaxxer have a strong following representation in the “my body is my temple” crowd that IM Doc calls avocado soy boy man bun types. They are diet and typically also exercise fetishists. It is, as IM Doc pointed out, plausible for a man with the time and means to take care of his body (it does take time) to look like that.

              However, there are also body fetishists who engage in more extreme measures. IM Doc has patients who have California Dr. Moonbeams as their main MDs, and they take so many supplements and drugs that I don’t understand how they can’t be overloading their livers. He has patients who have hired young men to provide blood, and they get plasma and whole blood from them on a regular schedule. So the appearance of health does not mean the practices used to achieve them are healthy.

              They have a saying for that in bodybuilding: “Cadillac outside, Chevy inside.”

              1. scott s.

                I have no authority, just personal experience of lifting for fitness most of my life. At 69 If I try to lift a max weight it is inevitable that I will end up with joint pain before long, and it takes months to recover.


      He did like 10 push ups in one Twitter video.

      I guess that negates 100 hours of long form interviews last week. Or many decades of fighting for public health by suing the worlds biggest polluters.

      1. lambert strether

        I’d put helping to re-establish measles in the general population right up there, though.

  4. Wukchumni

    Been on a bit of a ‘gnosticalgia’ tour in SoCal, drove around to my old haunts, the elementary, junior high and high school more closely resemble prisons with high fences and so far no concertina wire atop the parapets, but give it time.

    Drove by my childhood home and the owners just happened to be there and I related that I grew up in that domicile and after a round of small talk asked if I could see the Giant Sequoia ‘forest’ of 13 trees (he originally planted 30, these are the survivors) my dad planted in the early 1970’s, and it felt good to touch their soft bark and slowly caress them, not being sure if i’ll ever get the chance to go home again.

    With any luck, they’ll live a thousand years…

    1. The Rev Kev

      You’re lucky that your childhood home is still there as are those trees. I’m sure that the present occupants were interested to hear about how those trees came to be. I used Google Streetview to look at my own childhood home – the one that my builder father designed and built himself – and it had been totally revamped. The brick walls were cement rendered and painted grey, the large windows were gone to be replaced by very narrow windows thus requiring air-conditioning and it was not the same anymore. And some of the houses on my old street had been knocked down and replaced by two story ‘mansions.’But it was not good to hear about how your old schools had been made into semi-prisons. Just wait till the towers and gun-turrets go up.

      1. ambrit

        Towers and turrets won’t be needed once it is mandated that all students must “trank up” upon entering the school grounds. Who knew that ADHD was communicable?

    2. Jorge

      Oh, man. My dad planted eucalyptus 50 years ago and 4 of them fell down in last winter’s winds (Sacramento).
      They did their job and grew fast, though.

  5. JustAnotherVolunteer

    On vote fishing and the party line:


    I live in a closed primary state and would have to register with a party to vote ( I’m Independent) but there are only 10 closed primary states – many independent voters can vote in primaries and swing as they choose and there are more independents these days then party line voters in many cases.

    Opportunity knocking.

    1. Not Again

      It’s only semi-accurate. In AZ, for instance, I – a registered “No Party Preference” voter – can vote in the Dem primary for every office EXCEPT president, I’d have to be a registered D to vote for or against Joe Biden but can vote for or against Kristen Sinema. They actually have two sets of D ballots; one with a presidential primary, the other not.

      I had to change my registration to D to vote for Bernie in 2020 AZ primary. Changed it back to independent the day after the primary.

    2. scott s.

      I live in a so-called “open primary” state, but that doesn’t include voting for presidential convention delegates. Delegates are allocated by party caucus voting. Don’t know about other parties, but for the Repub caucus you sign a paper at the door to certify that you are a registered voter and live in the district (in-person single-day voting only) and “join” the party. The main thing being getting contact info for future party use. Per our state party rules each candidate must register with the state party and provide an organization. Based on caucus results, the candidate organizations select delegates and alternates, except for certain ex officio delegates (state chair, national committeeman/woman). The national committee people will be elected at the 2024 state convention. State chair was elected this year (2-year term).

    1. upstater

      4 “short notice” sick days and converting 3 vacation days to sick days is pretty pathetic. How can IBEW brag about this accomplishment? Note that most of the sick pay agreements came after the East Palestine wreck. I was in the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks in the 70s and we had 10 sick days. Use ’em or lose ’em, which most of us did, supplementing vacation time. The operating or shop crafts did not have sick pay, but had considerable freedom to mark off for any reason. Sick pay became a more recent issue for Railroad workers because getting fired for being sick had become standard practice in the industry.

      Once I left the industry and got a degree my 3 employers didn’t even have sick days. If you were sick, you were expected not to work and got paid. Only after lengthy illness (30 days?) did one transition to disability pay.

      1. Screwball

        Thank you for this. I read it the same way but I don’t know the industry.

        Seems to me, after news recently about labor unions endorsing Biden, this is a way to push the narrative he got this big win against the railroads – while the truth is a different story – the workers get crumbs in the big picture. But it sells.

  6. Samuel Conner

    > 2025?

    the thing that struck me about that summary was not the slow pace of developing the plan, but the goal of the plan — “access to internet”.

    How about “universal low-cost internet”?

    I suppose that “access to internet” is another thing the D elites can promise to “fight for.”

    1. Carolinian

      Right. One sniffs out another private business government subsidy as opposed to regulation.

    2. jhallc

      “Access” to the internet will provide “Access” to Healthcare… it’s a two’fer.

      1. ambrit

        Because “Healthcare” will be reinterpreted as ‘Dr. AI?’
        Patient: “Oh Doctor, I have this terrible pain in my liver!”
        Dr. AI: “I see that you have recently been purchasing large amounts of liquors. Cause and effect?”
        Patient: “Dr.! How can you tell that?”
        Dr. AI: “Your spending habits are all here in your Permanent File, courtesy of the CBDC Data Mine.”
        Patient: “So, Dr. what do I do?”
        Dr. AI: “First, you pre-apply for a resource allocation to pay the Health Alliance.”
        Patient: “Pre-apply? Why not just apply directly?”
        Dr. AI: “New guidance from Accounting. Too many deadbeats signing up lately. Exclusivity rules.”
        Patient: “Well, what happens then?”
        Dr. AI: “Next, we wait until the funds transfer is approved. Then you come in for tests.”
        Patient: “OK, sign me up.”
        Dr. AI: “Naturally, there is a slight backlog. A representative will be in touch. Goodbye.”

  7. Carolinian

    Re Who is Lying? Merrick Garland or the Whistleblowers


    Revenge for not becoming a Supreme Court justice is a dish best served cold? Or is it Biden’s uncanny knack for picking poor staff members?

    Hope he gets impeached although I guess that’s unlikely (the removal).

  8. some guy

    . . . ” Are we sure Obama has an “inner” anything? ” . . .

    Obama has an “inner” Vampire Squid ready to jam its blood-funnel down anything that smells like money.

  9. mrsyk

    “This story will do Mr. Trump no good with his supporters. It will hurt him—maybe not a lot but some, maybe not soon but in time. I mean the quiet Trump supporters, not big mouths and people making money on the game, but honest people.” Nooners should lay off the kool-aid now and then. The relentless attack on Trump by (optically) Biden is so blatant it won’t hide. If anything “this story” will increase his support, imho.

    1. Wukchumni

      I asked my brother in law-a retired engineer who voted for Trump in 2016, if he would vote for him again, and he mentioned that he was only going to vote for him in the November election if he got the nod, but was so pissed off with the indictments that he decided he’d vote for him in the primary too.

      He’s a smart guy on the quiet side, you’d never see him playing the part of being at a Trump rally, so not him.

      It explains why Trump’s #’s have gone up~

      1. Pat

        The indictments, double standards and dare I say it the J6 overkill are all net losers for the stop Trump crowd. They really really underestimate clearly politically motivated all of this comes off. (They also deeply underestimate the people they are supposedly trying to convince that Trump is evil.)

        1. britzklieg

          And I’ll add, with no values attached: transgenderism is not a winning electoral agenda.

  10. Pat

    IMO, Obama is too lazy to be a real political Boss. Sure he uses his power base occasionally, but even with Biden he only got into it at the end. A real Boss would have been working to set up and position his replacement from January of 2012. I know Trump was a shock, but I am pretty damn sure Jones would have known Clinton was vulnerable and would have either shored her up or taken her out during the primaries. Obama just zoned out. He continued to zone out until it became obvious it was going to be Bernie if Biden didn’t get a lot of help. I will give him credit that at least this time he seems to have noticed that the Democrats have a problem before election year. But he should have had a viable candidate lined up and been working the system for them (similar to the manhandled legislation sponsorship in his background) and had a serious talk with Joe a couple of years ago. He will do as little as necessary to keep his status and cool image intact.

      1. Wukchumni

        My favorite of Obama’s efforts was bowling and scoring 37 points in a game, circa 2008 in Pa.

        That’s genuinely hard to score that little, he’s no Earl Anthony.

        1. Pat

          That is tough. I don’t think I have ever bowled that low and I have natural curve that could possibly make the bowling ball act like a boomerang if the gutters and curbs were removed.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            I think that for all but a decreasing number of dead-enders, most people find him increasingly less impressive by the day.

  11. JBird4049

    >>>“What it’s really like to do gymnastics in a mask”

    Fanside had a warning about potentially sensitive material and YouTube’s video was unavailable. It’s just a woman wearing a mask doing her gymnastics. Perhaps they don’t like the style of her leotard? And it is only a mask.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Yes, Mercuris said that Prigozhin has apologized and intends to pay compensation to the families. Martyanov thinks that the air force will not just forgive and forget.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks. More here

        Prigozhin confirmed that his forces did indeed fire on the Russian Air Force exactly as was reported, which readers can learn more about in detail here if they aren’t already familiar, but said that they regretted it and only did so after bombs were dropped on them first. This detail discredits the popular conspiracy theory swirling around the Alt-Media Community claiming that the coup attempt was a false flag cooked up by President Putin, which some say was to secretly open a northern front against Ukraine.

        There’s no way that he colluded with Prigozhin to kill their country’s pilots, especially since last weekend’s events attracted much more attention to Wagner than if its fighters quietly dispersed over the weeks and then gradually reassembled at a later date in Belarus and/or on Russia’s pre-2014 borders with Ukraine. It’s everyone’s right to believe whatever they want, but it’s beyond kooky for anyone to still insist on this after now knowing that Russian pilots were killed during the failed coup.


        1. Yves Smith

          Even though none of us has great access to information, I am pretty confident that Prigozhin is making more shit up in saying Russian aircraft bombed him.

          First, the Western press would have been all over any strikes. I’ve seen nada of the kind nor heard any YouTubers mention it.

          Second, I recall seeing (on Rybar?) the very serious upset about the lost helicopters and planes. That is where I read all or all but one of the helicopters was unarmed.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Prigozhin was making some sort of weird power grab. But as the country is in the middle of a war, that is pretty unforgivable. In the end, everybody lined up behind Putin – the military, mayors, governors, the real Wagner commanders and it is even debatable what those Wagner troops that accompanied Prigozhin were told by him of where they were going and why. I would not be surprised to see Prigozhin flee west sooner or later.

  12. Jason Boxman

    Oh, Nooners.

    In August 2015, a second look at his appeal. “When citizens are consistently offended by Washington, . . . they become contemptuous. They see Mr. Trump’s contempt and identify. What the American establishment has given us the past 20 years is sex scandals, money scandals, two unwon wars, an economic collapse, an inadequate recovery, and borders we no longer even pretend to control. They think: What will you give us next, the plague?” Mr. Trump voices their indignation.

    Why, YES. YES they did give us a plague. Which continues to this day!

    We’re still waiting on the nuclear war, but that might come soon enough if Biden misses his latest dose of whatever they’ve got him on.

    This won’t solidify his position with hard-line supporters. Deep down they know “What about Hillary?” doesn’t answer the questions: “Why would Trump do this? Why would he put America in danger? Who did he show those papers to?”

    Yet Trump didn’t get us into Ukraine, nor did he remove strategic ambiguity over Taiwan. Who has truly threatened national security in practice?

    1. JBird4049

      If the Democratic Party actually consistently did things that helped the average poor American, maybe they would not have to worry about the Orange Menace. For instance, I am still waiting for my $600 check. But no, apparently it is much better to scream Orange Man Bad and ignore the wars, diseases, corruption, and insanity that they have wrought to bring us. No, thank you.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Well, it’s not like liberal Democrats are ever real losers. In our two-party duopoly, even out of power, there’s always NGOs, think tanks, private industry, lobbying, and just living big on their monies. As we learned at least back in 2016?18? liberal Democrats specifically target wealthy individuals to run so they can self fund and collect checks from other wealthy acquaintances. These people are doin’ alright no matter what garbage policies they do or do not ultimately put into place, as are the top staffers and political appointees.

        What a broken system of public service. From my readings from The Dawn of Everything, the Tlaxcalteca of mesoAmerica took an approach of inflicting public humiliation and privation upon anyone who sought public service; after this, someone became eligible for serving the people in public councils. This seems a more commendable approach than ours.

  13. Louiedog14

    If DeSantis were serious about beating Trump, he’s have told those N.H. ladies to “Pipe down and get back in the kitchen where you belong.”

  14. LawnDart

    (Almost) Daily Derailment(s):

    Still safe to fish upstream of the Yellowstone River derailment… or do fish ever swim up-river?

    Nothing in the public-eye today, except this little mishap in NYC:

    MTA: L train partially derails in Brooklyn

    NEW YORK — The MTA says an L train partially derailed in Brooklyn on Sunday.

    It happened just before 9 p.m. as the train was leaving the Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway station.

    The MTA says as the train was crossing from one track to another, a single axle with two wheels left the track.

    No injuries were reported.


    1. Pat

      I had just come to see if you got this.

      You are on top of it. I just wish you didn’t have so much to report. Thank you for doing it.

  15. petal

    Hey NCers, received my first piece of presidential primary season mail today from Doug Burgum(sadly not Car Talk’s Doug Berman). It’s a real hoot. I wish I could show you guys. He comes complete with Carhart jacket, requisite rifle/hunting photo in camo and orange, picture of an oil well pump, and soldiers with American flag in background. “Doug Burgum -For America-”
    Hahaha I guess I ought to keep a folder, huh?

    1. ambrit

      Yes, definitely. Then you can pull the folder out one night in the future and show the young’uns around the campfire exactly when America fell.
      (Print out political e-mails also?)
      Stay safe.

      1. petal

        ambrit, touch wood I’m not on any email lists. The regular mail mailers we get are pretty amusing. Feels early for it, though.
        Hi to Phyl for me.

        1. ambrit

          Back atcha. Phyl’s birthday tomorrow. Not sure what to do. No eating out any more. No movies, no dancehalls, definitely no bars (she gave up drink years ago.)
          Be safe!

          1. petal

            I am sure you will come up with a wonderful idea. Ice cream? A poem? Please wish her a very happy birthday for me tomorrow!

            1. ambrit

              Thanks for the idea. She does love pineapple sherbet. Going to get some MacIntosh apples from the grocer out by the Interstate, (the only one locally who carries them.) the sherbet is going on the shopping list right now. I wonder if I could manage an apple pie. I have the other ingredients and she has been trying to teach me how to bake for years.
              Be safe and stay cool.

      2. Hepativore

        Already, I am recalling fables from my boomer parents of an era during the 1950’s when their parents could afford a house, a car, two children, healthcare, go on vacation, and a stay-at-home spouse all on a single low-level blue collar income.

        Then, I heard the sequel to this story from my boomer parents about how busting your a$$ in school, going to college, and “working hard” will get you recognition from your employer and then net you a great and stable career.

        Many millennials and younger generations regard these stories as being akin to classic American tall tales like those featuring Paul Bunyan, John Henry, and Pecos Bill.

        1. ambrit

          Modern American “Tall Tales”:
          Randy Bill Clinton and the Little Blue Dress. Is that a cigar in your vulva, or are you just happy to see me?
          Ronnie Raygun and the Star Wars. “Help me Joan Q. You’re our only Hope.”
          Little B—- Obama and the Republicat. The Republicat ends up as Red, White, and Blue butter.
          The Little Bush Who Could. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. Mission Accomplished!
          How President Gore Invented the Internet. An evocation of the Karl Rove Principle.
          Hillary Agonistes. With reference to Chapter 4 of von Krafft-Ebing.
          There is more but the AI Librarian is telling me it is time for the Two Minutes Hate.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They may want it to happen but none of the smaller nations will vote for it and unless they vote for it, it won’t happen. They have already experienced what happens when the EU takes power from the smaller nations. This story is like the one where US politicians say that they will reform the UN Security Council by booting Russia from it and sticking in another ally instead – forgetting that for it to happen, that Russia would have to vote for it. If you were European, would you like your future decided by people like Scholz, Macron and von der Leyen? It’s bad enough what they do now.

  16. The Rev Kev

    There are calls for a change to sick policies at childcare centres, with frustrated parents being forced to take time off work, to pick their children up when they’re sleepy, sniffly or simply have a hot head on a hot day.’

    For a bit of context, Sunrise is the morning talk TV program on Channel 7 here. Personally I think that they are a bunch of muppets as they follow the establishment line -always. So they were cheering when we opened the borders in the middle of a pandemic so that people could make their tips to Bali once more. And they filmed workers in shops being able to tear off their masks and throw them in a bin in celebration because they weren’t needed anymore. Sunrise is on right now as I type and if I had to describe them, would say that it is one of a bunch of PMCs talking and for other PMCs to watch. I am sure that you have the same in Americaland.

  17. VT Digger

    Full disclosure, I work for a CUD (municipal broadband network) in VT.

    Vermont gets $220m from BEAD. Good, as long as the funds go to our public CUDs and not to Comcast & Friends. The rules are…opaque to say the least.

    Trying to patch together grant applications across 3 major federal programs, each of which must be exclusive of the other in terms of geography, not for the faint of heart.

    CCI and the wireless internet people are lobbying hard for all providers to be “treated equally” after 30 years of bad behavior and broken promises.

    Unbelievable amount of money going into broadband, we in VT created CUDs to prevent it from going to stock buybacks.

    With BEAD there are odd “digital equity” requirements that don’t make much sense in 97% white VT. Interesting to see how that plays out.

    With the ACP likely ending next year there is also no good solution to affordability. Especially in rural areas, cost per customer is extremely high and most people can ill afford $80/mo for internet.

    Suffice to say, it’s a mess but there is hope.

    1. Carla

      @VT Digger — CUDs sound great. I’m wishing Vermont great success with broadband equity. Exhausting and discouraging as it is, we have to resist the behemoths in every way possible. Maybe think of it this way: a tiny little pin, skillfully applied, can burst a lot of balloons.

  18. Acacia

    Am I the only one who feels that AI entered into the hype cycle without being thoroughly tested? Or tested at all?

    You’re not alone. It’s not even quarter-baked. The people who rolled out this tech are not serious at all.

  19. semper loquitur

    The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast presents:

    Professor Ronald Hutton shares his fairy encounter with a Leanan sídhe

    Content warning: These are not fairytales and the content is unsuitable for children. Some episodes may contain details which some may find unsettling or frightening. The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast is designed for listeners 16 years and older.


    I just had to…

  20. chris

    Update for ASHRAE conference where they unveiled Standard 241. Apologies but there is no TL;DR option. I’ve thought about how to do that since this morning and I just decided people would be better off with more writing.

    I attended a great session on this topic today. The one on how to actually make this all work and what building owners, operators, and tenants need to do, as well as who they can apply the new standard too. If you didn’t follow the tweet in links this morning, look up ASHRAE Standard 241 which builds on a lot of the work that they started in 2021. Those people are still involved, including the brilliant (and beautiful) Dr. Marwa Zaatari of GoFundMe fame because faux air cleaning device hucksters are suing her.

    The session I attended had roughly 45 minutes of presentation and then an hour of audience Q&A. I understand the critiques some are levying against ASHRAE but I think they’re actually not understanding the position of the organization or they don’t appreciate what a sea change this all is for the industry. Here are the highlights from the talk for conversation in the commentariat:

    -The committee specifically addressed the CDC guidance, and told the audience that the CDCs focus on air changes per hour (ACH) was not as useful as alleged. The recommendations from ASHRAE standard 241 are almost orthogonal to what the CDC is trying to do.

    -The committee believes the design concept of Equivalent Clean Air (ECA) is both more useful and more applicable to designing engineered solutions for future health crises and current facility needs. The committee also believes that cubic feet of air per minute per person is a useful metric with respect to source loading and sufficient air. The combination of ECA and CFM per person is the intended method to balance risk indoors because it addresses both the building systems and individual rooms.

    -The standard permits flexibility by reducing occupancy and/or giving designer options to meet the standard. There are some spaces and applications where the ASHRAE results will match up with what the CDC recommends, but in plenty of cases it won’t.

    -The General Services Administration of the US Government was at the conference and was asking questions about how to apply 241. Given their adoption of other ASHRAE guidance and standards this year, it seems likely they will adopt 241 over the CDC guidance.

    -The goal of this first edition of the standard is to get this information and design guidance to as many people as possible as quickly as possible. They want this applied by small public facilities, Bodega owners, and building maintenance staff in the swankiest condos in the world.

    -testing and verification features in a huge way in the standard and they give options for addressing test needs.

    -there were interesting discussions about testing during the session. We had researchers who were actively using methods that, while permitted, were not favored by the committee. They wanted to understand why. As part of an example of that, a researcher who is currently involved in testing aerosol dispersal of live, inactivated virus particles in building simulation test chambers wanted to understand why their work was not more highly rated in the standard. What the committee advocated for during the session was the use of specifically graded particles (PM1.0, 2.5, 5.0, 10, etc.) with synthetic DNA tags on the particles. The benefit of this approach were explained as being able to simulate a variety of particle sizes and being able to releases them all into a space simultaneously. Then, you can pick up the particles by sampling downstream and identifying how much of which particles were collected using quantitative PCR. Using this kind of technique, we could create the volume of particles needed to test and commission large multiform buildings quickly, as opposed to waiting for enough virus to grow in a lab. Also, no need to get IRB permission because we’re not dosing any building occupants with anything like a virus. The trade off being this method is new, more expensive than testing with a tracer gas like CO2, and can’t capture pathogenic infectivity because the particles won’t be infectious. The particles also won’t necessarily desiccate and then re-entrain into the air like other infectious particles will. But, this method should provide useful data on upper bounds of infectivity and it’s light-years ahead of where we were pre-2020.

    -all that being said, the current codes and standards are adverse to this standard. For example, it’s hard to meet the guidance in 241 during a pandemic and also comply with the International Energy Conservation Code AND building operator budgets. Running with high air changes per hour and mainly using direct outside air supply systems during the pandemic provided a lot of clean air but also cost owners/operators millions of dollars in additional energy costs and maintenance. This standard is an attempt to bridge that gap with more efficient design options. But, it still means a building my be in violation of other codes if they experience a health challenge and enter “pandemic mode” with their systems.

    -the committee is actively seeking for allowances to existing codes when emergencies and emergent events are identified. There is precedent for this in other codes (like the ASME B31 series) but has not been granted for this kind of purpose for buildings yet.

    -this standard is also incomplete by design. Additional standards are coming out which are intended to coordinate with 241, like 185.3 which covers air cleaning devices.

    -emergency planning is also a requirement in the standard, and I think they did a really good job of that. If your building is simple, the emergency clean air plan will be simple. If your building is complicated… you’ve got some work to do. This is written. So that residences and hone owners can use it too.

    -Combining this standard with documents like Guide 36 and revisions to 62.1 and 62.2 represents a lot of change for the industry and building owners. I’m shocked they were able to get passed what they did.

    -they are still actively seeking comments and consideration from the community on how to make it better.

    There is still a lot of work to do but I feel very good about the people pushing this forward. While I am involved in the industry and I have been accused of being smarter than the average bear, I’ll confess a good deal of the modeling and building science behind all this is not something I’m an expert in. I hope this summary was helpful.

    1. Reader

      Thanks for this excellent, extensive and detailed report on such an important topic. I hope it gets wide exposure here on NC but I fear it won’t due to the late hour of posting.
      I’m sure I’m not the only one who would be extremely grateful for more such reports.

    2. ambrit

      Excellent synopsis. Thank you. We need to know the state of play to know where to apply political pressure.
      NC has the best commenteriat.

      1. chris

        You’re welcome. It’s been a whirlwind couple of days. Lambert and others will probably be interested in a deep dive once this thing has lived in the wider world for a bit. These standards are updated every 3 years. I think the first update for this is going to be a big deal because all the other work will be ready by then too.

  21. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

    Is Barack Obama Ready To Reassert Himself?

    I…I just can’t with this imbecile. Hasn’t he done enough? Hasn’t he “earned” that abominable McMansion out in Napa with all his famous friends? Doesn’t he have another Netflix series to film? One so incredibly vapid that it makes Hillary look dynamic and exciting? Doesn’t he have another 800 pages worth of meaningless Jack Handey bullshit to write up, or has the politician money-laundering scheme told him to back the eff up a bit, since they can’t justify another one of his ‘bestsellers?’ What will it take for him to GO AWAY?

    Maybe I’m just pissed because I voted for him twice (once naively, and once angrily), but I NEVER want to see his face again. Not for anything, and yet, no matter what, every few years, he pops his head out of whatever wine cave he’s been hanging out in, drops a terrible Spotify playlist, and deigns to give us some of his political acumen. And if not that, it’s one of his disgusting toadies doing something awful, like defending child slavery in front of the Supreme Court. No thanks. Fk off back to California where you’re tolerated and leave the rest of us alone. Find me a Grand Bargain that makes it so he’s never given a second of airtime, or a byline ever again. The only good Obama ever did is guaranteeing that I will never vote for his party ever again.

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