2:00PM Water Cooler 7/6/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Cayenne Jay, Reserva Forestal Imataca–Sector Rio Grande – La Tigra, Delta Amacuro, Venezuela.

* * *


“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

“Former U.S. officials have held secret Ukraine talks with prominent Russians” [NBC]. “A group of former senior U.S. national security officials have held secret talks with prominent Russians believed to be close to the Kremlin — and, in at least one case, with the country’s top diplomat — with the aim of laying the groundwork for potential negotiations to end the war in Ukraine, half a dozen people briefed on the discussions told NBC News. In a high-level example of the back-channel diplomacy taking place behind the scenes, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with members of the group for several hours in April in New York, four former officials and two current officials told NBC News…. Sitting down with Lavrov were Richard Haass, a former diplomat and the outgoing president of the Council on Foreign Relations, current and former officials said. The group was joined by Europe expert Charles Kupchan and Russia expert Thomas Graham, both former White House and State Department officials who are Council on Foreign Relations fellows.” Maybe a belated recognition by Blob CFR factions that those irrendentist Ukro-Nazi freaks at State and in the White House are going to upset the applecart for everybody? More: “The discussions are known in diplomatic parlance as ‘Track Two diplomacy,’ a form of unofficial engagement involving private citizens not currently in government — or in the case of the Lavrov meeting, ‘Track 1.5,’ meaning current officials are involved on one end of the conversation.’… The Lavrov meeting in April took place during a rare and brief visit by the Russian diplomat to the U.S. to chair the U.N. Security Council, which has a rotating presidency. Around the same time Haass and Kupchan wrote a lengthy article in Foreign Affairs, which is published by the Council on Foreign Relations, laying out what they described as ‘a plan for getting from the battlefield to the negotiating table.'” • I don’t see any overlap. Big Z can’t compromise on territory, or the Azovs will string him up by his heels. After Minsk, the Russians would be idiots to trust the West to keep an agreement. And if Russia wants (a) to incorporate the maximum number of Russo-Ukrainians into its territory and (b) really make Ukraine a powerless rump state, they need to take Odessa and deny Ukraine access to the Black Sea (crippling that lunatic Intermarium scheme, as a bonus). I grant that we need to move along to China, so we can lose another war there, but is Russia likely to accomodate us? Why would they?

“What we know about the situation at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant” [ABC]. Quoting the actual reporting: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Telegram Tuesday that Ukrainian intelligence has information that Russian troops ‘have placed objects resembling explosives on the roof of several power units of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant’… Satellite imagery of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from June 30 obtained by ABC News does not appear to show any objects on the roof of the plant…. The American Nuclear Society has cautioned that even if bombed, the effects would be limited. ‘Our experts have carefully considered ‘worst case scenarios,’ including bombardment and deliberate sabotage of the reactors and spent fuel storage canisters,’ the American Nuclear Society said in a statement. “They cannot foresee a situation that would result in radiation-related health consequences to the public.'” • But nothing has happened in time for Vilnius*, so — touch wood — no nuclear stunts will happen in the forseeable future. I know it’s too much to hope for, and heaven knows I don’t want to glorify the CFR types, but maybe they managed to stuff some sunflower-seed cookies down Nuland’s throat and jam her back into her coffin, hence recent lack of lunacy. NOTE * It has occurred to me that the Zaporizhzhia propaganda could be a feint, designed to make us take our eyes of an operation (offensive, stunt, whatever) taking place elsewhere. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. Perhaps because Ukraine doesn’t have the capacity?

* * *

“White House cocaine culprit unlikely to be found: Law enforcement official” [Politico]. • What? Really?


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Trump’s basement campaign” [Axios]. “Former President Trump is not campaigning at the pace of previous cycles, preferring to spend most of his days at Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster rather than grip-and-grinning in Iowa and other early primary states…. Top Trump campaign officials have said part of the reason he is not holding many rallies is because they are expensive…. Trump is also being taken off the trail by his legal issues and his younger rivals can likely keep up a tougher schedule than the 77-year-old former president…. Trump may not need to campaign nearly as hard as his rivals to win the nomination.” • Trump is lazy, but a happy warrior when he bestirs himself. Right now, he doesn’t have to. Why should he? Handy map:

Note especially Vivek Ramaswamy in Iowa.

“Trump Judge’s Controversial Injunction Against Biden Hands Disney ‘Open and Shut’ Case Against DeSantis: Legal Expert” [New Civil Rights Movement]. “[C]ivil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill, the former President and Director-Counsel of NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), a Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation, and a professor of law at Howard University, sees one bright spot in [Judge Doughty’s ruling in Missouri v. Biden]. The injunction could be a boon for The Walt Disney Company. Disney is suing DeSantis, alleging the company’s First Amendment free speech rights were violated as the Florida governor repeatedly attacked and retaliated against the entertainment giant, ultimately rescinding its 50-year old ‘indepenent special district’ tax and governing status after the company quietly opposed and then spoke out against his extreme ‘Don’t Say Gay” law. ‘The evidence cited by the judge doesn’t add up to govt [government] censorship,’ Ifill writes on Twitter, about the social media injunction.” Yes it does. More: “‘I hope that Disney is reading the decision carefully,’ she adds. ‘Cause by this analysis they have a solid First Amend[ment] claim against Ron DeSantis. Open & shut.'” • I think the Democrat hive mind has decided on 2016’s Pied Piper strategy all over again. Trump is the opponent they want.

* * *

* * *

* * *

“Q&A: Dr. Cornel West” [Sacramento Observer (mrsyk)]. West is from Sacramento. “Now, we had the Black Panther Party that was right down the street in Oak Park, and the Black Panther Party had a tremendous influence on me because I learned from the West Family and Shiloh Baptist Church that greatness is better than success…. Greatness is defined biblically: “He or she who is the greatest among you will be your servant.” You can’t be great if you’re a coward. You can be successful and still be a coward. You can’t be great without courage. You can be highly successful and have very little courage. So from the very beginning, I had that shaping and molding, and I’ve tried to be true to that, tried to be true to mom and dad, and tried to be true to the Shiloh Baptist Church. The rich Black Baptist tradition goes all the way back to the slave days. Mom and dad took all of us to see Martin Luther King speak at the Memorial Auditorium [in Sacramento]. I was 10 years old in 1963 and [King] only had [about] four years left to live. Never forget that. I didn’t understand anything, but I knew he was real. I knew he was the real thing in terms of spiritual and moral greatness. Then, of course, he gets shot down like a dog in Memphis.”

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.

* * *

“The Mayor Had a Photo of a Fallen Officer. Was His Story About It True?” [New York Times]. “A week later, Mr. Adams posed for a portrait in his office, holding a wallet-size photo of Officer Venable after The New York Times had requested to see it. Mr. Adams has since repeated the moving anecdote in media interviews and at a Police Academy ceremony last June, where he again displayed Officer Venable’s picture. But the weathered photo of Officer Venable had not actually spent decades in the mayor’s wallet. It had been created by employees in the mayor’s office in the days after Mr. Adams claimed to have been carrying it in his wallet. The employees were instructed to create a photo of Officer Venable, according to a person familiar with the request. A picture of the officer was found on Google; it was printed in black-and-white and made to look worn as if the mayor had been carrying it for some time, including by splashing some coffee on it, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.” • I won’t moralize about the lying. But this story comes from Adams’s staff, which means he’s obviously not ready for the national stage (and might not ever be. What a waste of a million-dollar, cop-loving smile…).

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Slaying the Censorship Leviathan” [The Tablet]. All correct: “My co-plaintiffs, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Martin Kulldorff, and I were censored for content related to COVID and public health policy that the government disfavored. Documents we have reviewed on discovery demonstrate that government censorship was far more wide-ranging than previously known, from election integrity and the Hunter Biden laptop story to gender ideology, abortion, monetary policy, the U.S. banking system, the war in Ukraine, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more. There is hardly a topic of recent public discussion and debate that the U.S. government has not targeted for censorship.

Jacob Seigel, Matt Taibbi, and other investigative reporters have begun to document the anatomy of the censorship leviathan, a tightly interconnected network of federal agencies and private entities receiving public funding—where much of the censorship grunt work is outsourced. The “industrial” in censorship-industrial complex should be understood literally: censorship is now a highly developed industry, complete with career-training institutions in higher education (like Stanford’s Internet Observatory or the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public), full-time job opportunities in industry and government (from the Virality Project and the Election Integrity Partnership to any number of federal agencies engaged in censorship), and insider jargon and euphemisms (like disinformation, misinformation, and “malinformation” which must be debunked and “prebunked”) to render the distasteful work of censorship more palatable to industry insiders.” • Bhattacharya et al.’s eugenicist project should be allowed to fail on its own. (There is, I might add, a good deal of sentiment on the Covid-conscious portions of the Twittersphere that anything with the word “Covid” is being metered down, and so there are various ways to spell it: “C0vid” with a zero, and more sophisticated, er, variants. I’ve never seen any news stories or posts on this, but they would, wouldn’t they?)

“With End of Affirmative Action, a Push for a New Tool: Adversity Scores” [New York Times]. “In the Davis scale, first used in 2012, eight categories establish an adversity score for each candidate. Factors include family income, whether applicants come from an underserved area, whether they help support their nuclear families and whether their parents went to college. The higher an applicant rates on the disadvantage scale, the bigger the boost. There is no set formula on how to balance the scale with the academic record, Dr. Henderson said, but a simulation of the system revealed that students from underrepresented groups grew to 15.3 percent from 10.7 percent. And the share of economically disadvantaged students tripled, to 14.5 percent of the class from 4.6 percent…. The Pacific Legal Foundation, a libertarian activist group, has already sued a selective school, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., for using economic factors as stand-ins for race in admissions.” • On this article:

I “identify as” a media professional, or a university administrator, or an oligarch…. Those examples of “identify as” would be laughed out of court. Why? They are all “sociallly constructed,” as we say. Could it be that — work with me, here — the tropes permitted by identity politics don’t threaten the established order in any way?

“Conservatives go to red states and liberals go to blue as the country grows more polarized” [Associated Press]. “One party controls the entire legislature in all but two states. In 28 states, the party in control has a supermajority in at least one legislative chamber — which means the majority party has so many lawmakers that they can override a governor’s veto. Not that that would be necessary in most cases, as only 10 states have governors of different parties than the one that controls the legislature. The split has sent states careening to the political left or right, adopting diametrically opposed laws on some of the hottest issues of the day…. The states’ swings aren’t simply due to transplants, of course. The increasing clustering of Americans into like-minded enclaves — dubbed “The Big Sort” — has many causes. Harvard professor Ryan Enos estimates that, at least before the pandemic, only 15% of the homogeneity was due to people moving. Other causes include political parties polarizing on hot-button issues that split neatly on demographic lines, such as guns and abortion, and voters adopting their neighbors’ partisanship…. The switch might have been flipped during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, which created a class of mobile workers no longer bound to the states where their companies were based. Those who are now mobile are predominantly white-collar workers and retirees, the two most politically engaged parts of the national population.” • Hmm.


“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; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); 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: anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), 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!

* * *

Look for the Helpers

Constructing Corsi-Rosenthal boxes seems to call forth the impulse to help:

More like this, please.


Can we please get some consistency here:

“Stability of Aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 on Masks and Transfer to Skin” [Environmental Science and Technology]. From the Abstract: “The potential for masks to act as fomites in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been suggested but not demonstrated experimentally or observationally. In this study, we aerosolized a suspension of SARS-CoV-2 in saliva and used a vacuum pump to pull the aerosol through six different types of masks. After 1 h at 28 °C and 80% RH, SARS-CoV-2 infectivity was not detectable on an N95 and surgical mask, was reduced by 0.7 log10 on a nylon/spandex mask, and was unchanged on a polyester mask and two different cotton masks when recovered by elution in a buffer. SARS-CoV-2 RNA remained stable for 1 h on all masks. We pressed artificial skin against the contaminated masks and detected the transfer of viral RNA but no infectious virus to the skin.”

Covid is Airborne

“First major survey of doctors with Long Covid reveals debilitating impact on health, life and work” [British Medical Association]. “Infection control guidelines are fundamentally flawed: SARS-CoV-2 is airborne. It is outrageous that three-and-a-half years into this pandemic, staff and patients are still, knowingly and repeatedly, being exposed to a level-3 biohazard – a virus known to cause brain damage and significantly increased risk of life-threatening blood complications even in those recovered. Healthcare workers must be provided with respiratory protection and the air quality in hospitals be monitored and improved through the installation of ventilation systems and air filter units.”

“Analysis of a super-transmission of SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant BA.5.2 in the outdoor night market” [Frontiers in Public Health]. “Methods: In this observational study, we collected data from market customers and stallholders who had been exposed to the virus in the Qingkou night market on July 31 and were subsequently infected. We analyzed the possible infection zones of secondary cases and aerosol suspension time in ambient air. We described and analyzed the characteristics of the secondary cases and the transmission routes for customers. Results: The point source outbreak of COVID-19 in Qingkou night market contained a cluster of 131 secondary cases. In a less-enclosed place like the Qingkou night market, aerosols with BA.5.2 strain released by patients could suspend in ambient air up to 1 h 39 min and still be contagious. Conclusion: Aerosols with viruses can spread over a relatively long distance and stay in ambient air for a long time in a less enclosed space, but shorter than that under experimental conditions. Therefore, the aerosol suspension time must be considered when identifying and tracing close contact in outbreak investigations.” • Handy diagram:

Immune System Dysregulation?

“Some patients in fungal meningitis outbreak have surprising complications” [NBC]. “‘It looks like a stroke where they suddenly can go unconscious,’ said [said Dr. James Castillo, the health authority for the Cameron County], who was surprised by how many patients are having this problem. ‘For some reason, the aneurysms and the spasms are all happening around the brainstem but nobody knows why it’s happening.'” • ‘Tis a mystery!

“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.

* * *

“Rapid Progression of Dementia Following COVID-19” (press release) [NIH]. N = 14. “In a small study supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), researchers examined the cognitive impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia. The researchers found that having COVID-19 rapidly accelerated the structural and functional brain deterioration of patients with dementia, regardless of the type of dementia being experienced…. The researchers tested various cognitive functions and conducted brain imaging, comparing results from assessments within three months before their cases of COVID-19 and then one year after infection. A year after contracting COVID-19, all of the patients with dementia had experienced a significant increase in fatigue and depression, as well as worsening attention, memory, speech, visuospatial capabilities, and executive functions. All the patients also had cerebral atrophy, which is the loss of neurons and connections between neurons, and lesions deep in the white matter of their brains.” • You say “culling the herd” like that’s a bad thing….

Elite Maleficence

Doctors are supposed to know this stuff:

We do. They (excepting some exceptional doctors, some of whom are here) don’t.

Actuaries sharpening their pencils:

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, June 29:

Lambert here: Slight uptrend, confirmed by airport wastewater (and local wastewater samples in California). Absent a new variant to race though the dry tinder, I don’t see an oncoming debacle even with July 4 travel. But plenty of people will still get sick (again).=


NOT UPDATED 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.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, July 1:

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, July 5:

5.7%. Big jump, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say.

NOT UPDATED From CDC, June 12:

Lambert here: This is the CDC’s “Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance” data. They say “maps,” but I don’t see one….


NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, June 28:

Lambert here: The WHO data is worthless, so I replaced it with the Iowa Covid Data Tracker. Their method: “These data have been sourced, via the API from the CDC: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Conditions-Contributing-to-COVID-19-Deaths-by-Stat/hk9y-quqm. This visualization updates on Wednesday evenings. Data are provisional and are adjusted weekly by the CDC.” I can’t seem to get a pop-up that shows a total of the three causes (top right). Readers?

Total: 1,168,414 – 1,168,113 = 301 (301 * 365 = 109,865 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), July 6:

Lambert here: This is now being updated daily. Odd. Based on a machine-learning model. (The CDC has an excess estimate too, but since it ran forever with a massive typo in the Legend, I figured nobody was really looking at it, so I got rid it. )

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States ADP Employment Change” [Trading Economics]. “Private businesses in the US unexpectedly created 497K jobs in June 2023, the most since February 2022, and well above forecasts of 228K.”

Employment Situation:

* * *

Tech: “Threads passes 30M sign-ups in less than 24 hours” [TechCrunch]. “Zuckerberg also tweeted for the first time in more than a decade on Wednesday to celebrate the Twitter knockoff, which is likely to attract a ton of engagement as Twitter flails and other potential successor apps fail to consolidate its users in one place.” • This advocacy journamalist doesn’t seem to have used the platform, which is horrid.

Tech: “Meta launches Instagram Threads, its Twitter rival” [TechCrunch]. “Meta has achieved massive success buying up and borrowing ideas from elsewhere. Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram are its most notable successes. Now the playbook is being used to claim a potentially lucrative market from Musk, who’s severely annoyed both users and advertisers since taking ownership of the platform in late 2022. Meta’s move is both an admission of defeat — it’s not a metaverse play, after all — and a product with a high chance of business success. Twitter was for a few years the global town square. But those days are over. Whatever business success Threads achieves, it’s unlikely to capture that old Twitter zeitgeist.” • Hmm.

Tech: “RIP Twitter. Meet Threads” [The Spectator (KLG)]. • Zuck rhymes with “suck.” There’s a reason for that.

Tech: So far, Threads is everything we would expect an app from The Zuckerberg™ to be. Zuck wants to monetize all your data:

Zuck built a roach motel (into which all the “smart”people immediately rushed. Naturally):

In addition, the timeline is solely algorithmic, so it doesn’t matter how you curate your accounts, and although threads is available on iOS, Zuck didn’t bother to make a version for the iPad, so a tiny little phone-sized rectangle floats in the middle of the iPad screen. Somehow, I’m getting the feeling the project was rushed. Commentary:

Tech: “Lessons From the Catastrophic Failure of the Metaverse” [The Nation]. The deck: “Did the ‘creative class’ learn anything from buying into a product that was obviously destined to flop?” That’s a no. “The whole thing was bullshit. Far from being worth trillions of dollars, the Metaverse turned out to be worth absolutely bupkus. It’s not even that the platform lagged behind expectations or was slow to become popular. There wasn’t anyone visiting the Metaverse at all. The sheer scale of the hype inflation came to light in May. In the same article, Insider revealed that Decentraland, arguably the largest and most relevant Metaverse platform, had only 38 active daily users. The Guardian reported that one of the features designed to reward users in Meta’s flagship product Horizon Worlds produced no more than $470 in revenue globally. Thirty-eight active users. Four hundred and seventy dollars. You’re not reading those numbers wrong. To say that the Metaverse is dead is an understatement. It was never alive.” • These are brain geniuses are the people we put in charge of the important social function of capital accumulation.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 78 Extreme Greed (previous close: 79 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 75 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 6 at 2:01 PM ET.

Class Warfare

“The $500 billion ‘Office real estate apocalypse’: Researchers find remote work’s effect even worse than expected” [Fortune]. “In a paper published last year, researchers from New York University and Columbia University estimated a 28% decline in New York City office values by 2029, totaling to a $49 billion loss. And in their model, that equates to a $500 billion “value destruction,” nationwide. The researchers—Arpit Gupta, Vrinda Mittal, and Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh—revised their estimate this month in the latest version of their paper, titled: “Work From Home and the Office Real Estate Apocalypse.” They now see a 44% decline in New York City office values by 2029, and a nationwide value destruction, as they put it, of $506 billion in just a three-year period from 2019 to 2022. The reason behind their revised, yet bleaker assessment? In their paper, the authors argue that remote work has led to significant drops in lease revenue, occupancy, lease renewal rates, and market rents in the office sector within commercial real estate. All of which has affected cash flow, at a time when the Federal Reserve has aggressively raised interest rates. Although, interestingly enough, they found that lower quality office properties were more susceptible to the shocks listed above, and were at a greater risk of becoming a “stranded asset,” they wrote. Still there is an underlying uncertainty in their model, which they note, the future of remote work.” • Hence all the stories one sees about how bad — and bad for you! — remote work is.

News of the Wired

The subject matter does not accord with my normally sunny temperament, but this is a brilliant, brilliant example of what close reading can be:

In fact, McKellen’s analysis better than I like his delivery (but he gives the soliloquoy in a movie; I bet it’s much better on the stage).

* * *

Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From TH:

TH writes: “This bearded iris was a gift from my friend, Susan. She and I met back in 1996 when she transferred to the Children’s department and I got hired to take her previous position in the Technical Services department of the Huntington Beach Public Library. These many years later, we now both work at West Los Angeles Community College’s library where she is the Chair, and I do part-time Reference Desk work. She bestowed the plant in March of 2021, and while it didn’t bloom until this June, it’s been busy single-handedly pro-creating. There are now about 5, maybe 6 stalks. They are so crowded together that it’s hard to be certain. They all budded at once, but this, the original, was the first to blossom.”

* * *

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

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

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

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

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Carolinian

    What’s a Metaverse? No really. Sounds like others are asking the same question.

    But I’ve never been a gamer other than MS Flight Simulator which had cool airplanes in it.

    Turley weighs in on the big free speech ruling.


    He wonders if it will survive appeal but says the disinfecting sunlight is the real advancement.

    1. hunkerdown

      re: $470 in global revenue, that’s about par for the course of any monetization initiative. The last dotcom I worked for opened a gift shop; nearly two hundred employees working the main site and the whole business, but one $83 day was something to feign real excitement about!

    2. Acacia

      It’s that cyberspace place where your legs get cut off.

      Kinda like the horror comedy movie Aquaslash (2019), except maybe even less entertaining. /

  2. LawnDart

    (Almost) Daily Derailment(s):

    None made the news today, but there’s always the repercussions…

    Lac-Megantic marks 10th anniversary of rail disaster that killed 47 people

    The community of Lac-Megantic, Que., gathered for a commemorative mass on Thursday to mark the 10-year anniversary of the rail disaster that killed 47 people and destroyed parts of the town centre.

    Federal and provincial politicians attended the ceremony at the Sainte-Agnes church, promising that a long-awaited rail bypass would be built to divert trains carrying dangerous goods through centre of the 6,000-person town.



    The fiery Ohio train derailment is turning into a finger-pointing legal fight as Norfolk Southern slaps supplier with lawsuit

    Norfolk Southern says the owner of the rail car that caused the fiery Ohio derailment in February failed to properly maintain it in the years before the crash, and the railroad wants to make sure that company and the owners of the other cars involved help pay for the costs.

    The problem Norfolk Southern identified with the plastic pellet car is that it sat idle for more than a year and a half in 2017 and 2018 and again for more than six months in 2018 and 2019. The manufacturer says railcars need to be moved at least one car length ever six months to keep the grease on the bearings from degrading, which can happen over long periods of time or during extreme weather. The railroad said the car was based on the Gulf Coast near New Orleans, which experiences hurricanes and flooding.


    1. mrsyk

      “The problem Norfolk Southern identified with the plastic pellet car is that it sat idle for more than a year ……”
      Apparently Norfolk Southern can perform due diligence. It would be good of them to incorporate a little of that into their standards of operation.

      1. LawnDart

        Their record keeping/maintenance logs is probably similar to what they were using in the 70s-80s… the 1870s-1880s.

        This is a promo-piece but is a practice common for years to airlines and others– it’ll get the idea across: digital (or electronic) maintenance logs.

        Why a digital maintenance log is key to equipment maintenance

        Many maintenance managers rely on a massive collection of paper logs or books and then use index cards, whiteboards, or excel spreadsheets to plan and track maintenance schedules.

        As a result, most feel like they just can’t be proactive and forward-looking. Rather, they’re reactive to issues, inadvertently missing service milestones, trying to respond to breakdowns and chasing down equipment locations to service them quickly.


        The recent Ohio derailment was 100% preventable. If the tools are out there, why are they not using them?

  3. tongorad

    Military flyovers are not an uncommon sight/sound here in “Military City, USA” aka San Antonio TX. However, there seems to be an uptick in the past couple of days, especially today.
    Time to go to war again?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      in san antonio, what to watch for is a bunch of C-5 Galaxy’s lumbering eastwards.
      Kelly Field.
      the whole 3 1/2 years of Wife’s cancer adventure, i watched those things suspended in the air…generally headed west, in those days, to move equipment around, i suppose.
      i never got familiar with that part of town, so i have no idea what street we were on…but we were once more or less in the approach path when one of those came in for a landing.
      amazing that they can fly at all.
      they carry tanks and other materiel, so when they start heading towards europe, you know somethings afoot.
      during teh run up to iraq, our own US87(back way to SA from fort hood) was filled with convoys of troops and gear…and Kelly is one of the places they were headed to get on a plane.

    2. ambrit

      Add it to the trainload of “surplus” military vehicles I saw being railroaded to the Coast Monday.
      I’ll keep an ear cocked for “excess” air traffic here.

  4. some guy

    When I heard news bits last night on BBC about Zuckerberg setting up a twitteresque service or platform or whatever that thing is called, my first thought was .. . . ” Twitterface? Zuckertwit? How useful or popular will this be over the long term for the kind of people who use Twitter the way that Lambert Strether and the people he curates-to-follow use Twitter?

    How to create a twitteresque platform-thing which is immune to takeover by any passing narcissist tycoon?
    I don’t know. Some kind of subscription-based at-cost non-profit foundation?

    1. griffen

      Hey look guys, we found another application to tap into that dopamine surge everyone has been missing! See how many millions have already flocked to our new app! Twitter is so over, it’s only for the losers with an L. \sarc

      Watching CNBC mid day, lots of otherwise smart folks seem to be behaving like fan boys, or dare I say it, Swifties, who earned a free pass into the cool section. Meh it just ain’t for me.

    2. dj knuckles

      Check out this thing called Nostr. You may have heard something about it because there are some social media sites built within that ecosystem that do exactly that. They are not about to censor anyone / there is no owner. It’s decentralized & censorship proof. If you want to yell into the abyss about whatever you want, you can. The best thing a user can do is mute you. No powers that can white / blacklist you & no one there to regulate / censor you.

      Dorsey is putting a lot of money into it for a reason. It’s a very early ecosystem but it has a lot of features that many people complain about when it comes to social media.

    3. The Rev Kev

      He tries to replace Tik Tok too with something called Reels but I haven’t heard anything about it since it launched.

  5. antidlc

    “Doctors are supposed to know this stuff.”

    Aren’t any of these doctors seeing problems in their patients from cumulative reinfection damage or the damage from individual infections?

    There was an article posted on NC (sorry, I cannot find the link) that mentioned an oncologist who was seeing an uptick in cancer diagnoses.

    Aren’t doctors seeing complications from COVID in their patients?

    1. antidlc

      I think this was the article mentioned above:


      Since March 2020, the longtime community oncologist has seen multiple patients in his Rock Hill, South Carolina, based-clinic with cholangiocarcinoma, and these patients are developing the rare cancer 20 to 30 years earlier than the typical age at presentation, which is usually 65 years or older.1 In the past year alone, physicians in Patel’s practice saw 7 patients with this cancer, and 3 have died.

      It is not just a single cancer type, either. Patel and his colleagues, both in the United States and those he knows overseas, have seen patients with rapidly progressing cancers of several types, such as breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma. During an interview with Evidence-Based Oncology™(EBO), Patel said several did not even have time to receive treatment and died within weeks of diagnosis.

      Among these was a patient aged 26 years with rapidly progressing triple-negative breast cancer. Another patient developed systemic inflammatory response syndrome, which can be caused by an infection, inflammation, or pancreatitis, and is often seen in patients with lung cancer.2 The patient was 51 when he died 4 weeks after receiving a diagnosis, making him 15 years younger than the typical patient with this condition.

    2. Jason Boxman

      I’m waiting to see reports that substantiate the increase in cancer risk, although I’ve heard anecdotes for years now. Because this population level experiment is ongoing, the only sure thing is that we’re gonna find out one way or another. How exciting.

      1. albrt

        I am not confident we will find out. The capacity of the United States to figure anything out has been degraded in uncountable ways. It’s not just that government, media, and interpersonal communications are corrupted, the ability of individuals to put 2 and 2 together seems to be disappearing. Not sure if it’s Covid brain fog, PMC groupthink, Stockholm sydrome, or all of the above plus more.

    3. Late Introvert

      I don’t think they care at all, and since anyone with a brain understands the deep failure of American Medicine at this point, why would we bother even looking to them for anything but getting ripped off? We got a bill for $256 worth of Covid and other tests from our doctor who recently got bought out by the local University Medical Center. Thanks Joe! I reminded by wife who voted for him that he was the one who called off the free tests.

    4. ambrit

      I get the feeling that many doctors are overworked by the Vulture Capitalists who bought up their hospitals and practices. Thus, they miss a lot in the hurry to meet the ‘metrics.’
      Of some importance might be the guidance sent out by the Official Medical Thought Leaders. A harried and hurried doctor might well take the advice of the Medical Industrial Complex propaganda machine at face value.
      Thus, if a doctor was not ‘officially’ told that there were issues related to Covid infections and reinfections, he or she would tend not to look any further. The “Official Narrative” wins by default.

  6. Jason Boxman

    Corruption continues:

    The F.D.A.’s approval on Thursday was based on a large trial indicating that patients receiving Leqembi declined 27 percent more slowly over 18 months than patients receiving a placebo. The difference between those receiving drug and placebo was small — less than half a point, on an 18-point cognitive scale that assesses functions like memory and problem-solving. Some Alzheimer’s experts say that for slowing of decline to be clinically meaningful, or noticeable to patients and families, the difference between the groups must be at least one point.


  7. cnchal

    Other data has to have the most sinister symbol. Can someone ask a smart person what it means, because the previous thirteen data types sum them up already?

  8. FreeMarketApologist

    RE: “Could it be that — work with me, here — the tropes permitted by identity politics don’t threaten the established order in any way?”

    I’ll buy in. The tropes are one step removed from the actual thing. I might identify as ‘gay’, and many won’t care or pay much attention – it’s my personal definition. But the actual “Silence = Death.” protests, marches, and public actions taken by gays in the years of the AIDS epidemic did threaten established orders, and caused change. Nobody protested about their identity, they protested about specific injustices and behaviors. That’s how change happens.

  9. Amfortas the hippie

    re: backchannel talks with Lavrov, etc.
    interesting that all the pooh-poohers quoted in the article appear to be neocon warmongers and imperialists.

    neither of whom i’d heard of, but who will now join my stable of pronukewarmonger twits(for balance, like i said this am)

    and the odious McFaul.

    weird that there’s nobody who’s ever been on the old amy goodman(pre-naked litebulb session) referenced.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They aren’t there to talk about negotiations for this war. They are there to try to find any cracks in the Kremlin that they can exploit and split the Russian leadership with. They can only tell so much with signal intelligence so need to have people talking with them on the ground to get a handle on what is happening in the Kremlin.

  10. Carolinian

    Satellite imagery of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from June 30 obtained by ABC News does not appear to show any objects on the roof of the plant

    Contradicting Z on ABC? Things must be getting shaky for Kiev. Perhaps it’s American television and the print press that seek an exit strategy.

    Meanwhile Lindsey is stamping his little foot. He’s still getting over being booed in Pickens, SC for having ever criticized Trump. If the Palmetto State turns against him it’s all over.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I saw a video of Lindsey Graham getting booed and it was good, especially since that place is where he came from. They did not let up on him and probably they see him as one of their own who went away and turned his back on them. If he announced that he was going to send another coupla billion to the Ukraine, I think that they would have chased him off the stage.

      1. Pat

        I have sometimes wondered about the on the ground services provided by various elected officials. Obviously state wide officials have a different scope than ones in smaller districts. But in some ways it is still the same. Constituent service can keep you in office despite the media and the odds. A good congressional example of this was NY’s Charlie Rangel, and for senators I give you Alaskan Ted Stevens. Clearly if you provide enough good for those at home, they will ignore a lot. Many times it isn’t just political philosophy that keeps people in office.
        I am obviously going to be more familiar with NY than Lindsay’s stomping grounds, but I think of him as more Schumer than Bernie in regards to where he chooses to focus his constituent services. (Schumer focuses largely on the most populous and better off of NY, Sanders appears to be less directed and more broadly population based.) But I think both the economy and changing demographics are going to hurt Schumer sooner rather than later, and I wonder if this isn’t hitting Graham now.
        Or it could just be he has been in office too long and has forgotten the constituent services aspect of his job entirely. Either way his Ukrainian support and Russian overthrow obsession does nothing for them. And at this time it has no acceptable trade off. Something they have no problem letting him know.

    2. ChrisPacific

      Well, duh. Of course the sneaky Russians are going to move them off the roof when the satellite flies over for a photo. Just like the Iraqis moved the WMDs when the inspectors came calling.

      Those are not satellite photos showing nothing on the roof – those are satellite photos showing suspiciously blank spaces on the roof!

  11. Amfortas the hippie

    in wandering around, looking for news of Lvov(is that the Rus name for Lviv?)…came across this, from a Greek intellectual.

    apparently bad machine translation, but there was this towards the end:

    “What alternative to the present model?
    In the light of the great and manifold problems of the Soviet and of all the ultra-centralized economic and political models, one cannot, of course, deny the usefulness of market mechanisms, at least for a very long period, both for economic, and psychological and cultural reasons. However, the function of the market must be bounded by the existence of the plan, where the “market” will be allowed to function insofar as it contributes to the increase of productivity, but, at the same time, it will be “corrected” and “limited” by the existence of a general national, regional and global plans, which will give priority to the achievement of basic social needs, at the national and the international level, and to the protection of the natural environment without which, at the stage that the productive forces and the technology of humans have reached, there is no point in any discussion. Without humanity there it makes no sense to discuss economics or politics. Therefore the markets and their propelling fuel, the profit and the perpetual accumulation of capital, must be replaced from the role of ruler, which they now enjoy and be reduced to that of conditional and limited supporter of humanity in the difficult and dangerous road ahead of us.”

    less than good translation aside, the message is clear…and i’m fully on board with it.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      and more, esp the second ppg quoted here:
      “Ownership in these sectors must pass into the hands of the states and societies and, as far as possible, in perspective, be controlled internationally. But also management itself must move away from the classic model of state control, which creates a class of managers who ultimately operate for their own and not for the social benefit. Moreover, the effectiveness – even at the purely economic level – of classical strict state control has been shown to be limited by both the Soviet experience and the experience of the state sectors of capitalist states and former colonies.

      In order to do this, the simultaneous application of methods of self-management and social control is necessary, in order to take into account the general interests of society as a whole and not only of workers in a production unit or industry. The management of new productive forces and technologies by a hyper-centralized system is neither possible or desirable, in the long run. The problems humanity is facing require and are better addressed in the long term by an overall raising of the level of diffuse intelligence in society, people who are increasingly conscious and also responsible, and to be conscious and responsible they have to be involved actively in decision-making at all levels.”

      gels perfectly with why i like Habermas…what we need is MORE Enlightenment…rather than abandoning the Enlightenment altogether because it was hijacked by the former manorial class.
      take it back from them, instead.
      of course, for any of this to occur, the american empire must be put back into its box, somehow.(i hesitate, as an american, to use the word “we”…and have so hesitated for most of my adult life)

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and for those(like me!) who chafe at the idea of social engineering and nudging etc….go re-read the thing from Lapham that Carolinian linked and quoted this morning in links.
        such engineering(what i have called “the Mindf&ck” for a long time, now) is exactly how we got to where we are.
        a better exegesis than many.

        remember, Socrates’ crime was corruption of the youth…turning them against the ruling oligarchy.
        we should all aspire to such crimethink.
        i corrupt the youth whenever they come around.
        reckon its a kind of duty.

    2. Daniil Adamov

      Lvov is in indeed the usual English rendering of the Russian name for Lviv. (L’vov technically, to get closer to the pronounciation with the soft sign, but that does admittedly look awkward.)

      As for the rest, it seems like common sense. Worth noting, of course, that “the market” and the private sector economic activity that comprises it didn’t go away under the Soviet model. It was just made illegal and therefore even more opaque and difficult to regulate, except with occasional crackdowns that usually just got less powerful players with poor connections. Kinda like the Prohibition or the War on Drugs but extended much wider.

    3. digi_owl

      That is the “nordic model” that was in operation into the 70s, but was replaced by neoliberal doctrine as the war generation retired and the ivy educated came to power.

      And the neolib switch was sold to the public as a good thing, as now they would be getting the same life of luxury as they had only seen glimpses off in Hollywood movies and other US cultural exports.

  12. Pat

    I would take your bet about McKellen being better on stage. I’ve seen him onstage a few times and was distinctly underwhelmed. His technique was brilliant but he was going through the motions of the character’s emotion. I’ve ended up watching and studying his technique every time.
    McKellen is a very smart actor, but that can also be a disadvantage. He thinks, he plans. This isn’t a bad thing but it can lead to technique without passion. He tells you this when he talks about using the pause to catch the audience’s eye. This isn’t a character response, it is an actor’s and without emotional impetus. Incorporating something like that in the right way also means finding the character’s impetus. IMO, McKellan, when he hasn’t found a character reason, will jettison the character for the intellectual moment rather than the other way around. None of this should make his film work better, but the piecemeal method of filming and editing appears to improve his work. But that’s me.

    1. Steve H.

      > will jettison the character for the intellectual moment rather than the other way around.

      Comment has merit. Harold Bloom described Macbeth as having more imagination than intelligence.

      _With Tarquin’s ravishing strides,
      _towards his design Moves like a ghost.

      Lots of playables, not many percussives. Just sayin.

  13. Wukchumni

    My Kevin (since ’07) is Don Quixote to Marjorie Taylor Greene being his Pancho Sanza, and now it turns out MTG was on double secret probation and voted off the Freedom Caucus member roll a month ago, only revealed today. She’s out of the gang!, ‘Melba Marjorie Toast’.

    When I couldn’t source heroine after our doyen Sarah said sayonara south of the North Pole, instinctively I latched onto MTG in the fashion of a English Bulldog humping your leg while the embarrassed owner makes pithy excuses for the cur’s behavior.

    This leaves me with Boebert as the last politrix.

  14. eg

    the Zaporizhzhia propaganda could be a feint, designed to make us take our eyes of an operation (offensive, stunt, whatever) taking place elsewhere. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. Perhaps because Ukraine doesn’t have the capacity?

    It’s a feint designed to make us take our eyes off an operation all right — the catastrophic failure that is the much ballyhooed Ukrainian “offensive.”

  15. John k

    …’Trump is the opponent they want.’
    TDS can raise a lot of money, not just for pols but msm etc. not so sure re cia/deep/msm.
    He’s the one they all love to hate. But I wander how many voters might be seduced with ‘I never started a war.’
    Bar goes lower every cycle.

    1. Acacia

      I doubt many will be swayed by this.

      Every time I speak with liberal friends who are freaking out about the return of Tump, I have pointed out that he didn’t start any new wars, whereas Hillary made it quite clear that she intended to start something with Russia. Had she won, we would have very likely been in a proxy war with Russia three or four years earlier.

      They always say: “but Trump bombed Syria!!” and then they stick their fingers in their ears “la la la” and ignore anything further said about the Ukraine conflict. After all, the MSM has told them that Ukraine is all the fault of big bad Vlad, and they can’t be bothered with any of the history there — even recent history like the 2014 coup — so then they just go back to freaking out because “Trump means fascism is coming !!!”

  16. albrt

    It seems like Twitter is definitely a walled garden now. It did let me access the page where I could reduce the permissions for Twitter to track me even further than I already had, but that is the only thing I can access.

    Only a fool would sign up for Zucktwitter and none of the alternatives seem to be scaling well. The basic concept of everybody communicating in sound bites seems designed to encourage coke-addled members of the PMC to envision themselves issuing godlike Neitszchean aphorisms. This is not healthy.

    Can we all agree to go back to blogs?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Can we all agree to go back to blogs?

      I wish. I do think that’s the ultimate solution. That doesn’t mean we’ll arrive at it, of course.

    2. digi_owl

      That will not happen, sadly.

      Basic problem is that running a self-hosted blog is a big undertaking.

      And that is why Facebook and Twitter became popular, as it placed the burden of administration on the company rather than the individual.

      That said, one may ponder a “common carrier” model for these things. Where for a recurring fee a company would take on the maintenance job of the hosted blog. But they would not be liable for anything the blog itself posted. This similar to how a teleco is responsible for maintaining the network, but is not liable for what the customers use the network for.

      1. Acacia

        That said, one may ponder a “common carrier” model for these things.

        Blogger / blog spot still exists. It’s free. The issue I see is: it’s owned by Google.

        There are others, as well.

  17. sharron2

    My 70 yro sister with Alzheimer’s has been a part of the Alduheim study for a year and a half. While she has a few days of improvement after each monthly infusion, her short-term memory continues to deteriorate. I spoke with her 2 days after her last infusion, and she did not remember she had her treatment. Medicare has agreed to pay for this.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > ‘Missing’ Biden corruption case witness Dr. Gal Luft

      Luft is well connected in intelligence circles in Washington, DC, where he ran a think tank, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, with former CIA Director James Woolsey and former national security adviser Robert McFarlane as advisers.

    2. Acacia

      Again, makes ‘ya wonder what the Chinese govt knows about the Bidens, and whether there might be ‘leak’ of some bank receipts one of these days.

  18. pretzelattack


    any thoughts on why GG ignored MMT in pushing his points? that said, if the US had used all the labor wasted on forever wars in rebuilding our infrastructure and fixing our broken society instead of for supporting endless wars the whole world would be far, far better off. i strongly agree with the thrust of his argument, and maybe that’s the best way to sell it politically in the current climate.

  19. kareninca

    “A year after contracting COVID-19, all of the patients with dementia had experienced a significant increase in fatigue and depression, as well as worsening attention, memory, speech, visuospatial capabilities, and executive functions. All the patients also had cerebral atrophy, which is the loss of neurons and connections between neurons, and lesions deep in the white matter of their brains.” • You say “culling the herd” like that’s a bad thing….”

    Does it count as culling when it is everyone?

    Really, the only thing one can infer from this is that this is happening to everyone who catches covid but it just shows up sooner in demented people. How could it be otherwise? Are we supposed to think that demented people somehow have a little door into their brain that the non demented lack, that covid can waltz through? That we demented don’t have that door, no way, or our door is nicely locked. Haha, good luck with that.

  20. SG

    “The $500 billion ‘Office real estate apocalypse’”.

    $500 billion is chump change for the Federal government. Buy them out on the cheap and convert some of them to low-cost public housing. Knock down the ones that are left over and plant diverse trees and wildflowers, converting them into urban park space. Everyone wins except the speculators.

Comments are closed.