2:00PM Water Cooler 8/18/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Bobolink, 450 Fort Warwick Passage,Pocahontas, West Virginia, United States.

* * *

Look for the Helpers

MWB writes:

HRH and I drove to Prospect, NC to view Shangri-La, a folk art village labor of love fabricated of local white rock blasted by a retired tobacco farmer. He and his wife were childless and he built this for children. Sometimes I think we’re not so bad.

Shangri-La village:

Nice marigolds, too!


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

The Constitutional Order

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
–William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare says the two households are “alike” in dignity, but he doesn’t say how much dignity they actually have. If Verona’s households are like our parties, the answer is “not much.”

* * *

“The Sweep and Force of Section Three” [William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, University of Pennsylvania Law Review]. I highly recommend this piece (and the ensuing discussion at NC, starting here). As a former English major and a fan of close reading, I’m not averse to “originalism,” of which Baude and Paulsen provide a magisterial example, in the sense that understanding the law as a text must begin with understanding the plain, public meaning of the words used when the text was written. That’s how I read Shakespeare, or Joyce, so why not the Constitution? Just as long as understanding doesn’t end there! In any case, I’m working through it. One thing I notice is that there do seem to have been rather a lot of rebellions and insurrections, not just the Civil War. To me, this is parallel to one lesson I drew from Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast (episode 1): There are rather a lot of revolutions, too. Alert reader Pensions Guy summarizes Baude and Paulsen as follows:

The authors go through an exhaustive textual and originalism analysis of Section Three, and their Federalist Society leanings do not deter them from reaching their conclusion that officials in every State who are charged with determining candidate qualifications should conclude that Donald Trump is disqualified from being on ballots because of the oath he took on Inauguration Day 2017 and subsequently violated through his role in the insurrection that took place on January 6, 2021.

Taking “insurrection” as read (I need to do more reading), here is another aggregation on Section Three.

* * *

“This Week Inside the Big Tent” [Brian Beutler, The Big Tent]. “Less than a week after the insurrection, the appellate advocate Deepak Gupta and I published an early article in the New York Times on the promise of the 14th Amendment option and suggested a few remedies—an act of Congress, or clever litigation, or a combination of the two.” Yes, the events of January 2 were instantly framed as an “insurrection.” More: “In January of 2021, before Trump had faced his second impeachment, those options weren’t yet ripe. Two-and-a half-years later, Trump is the runaway favorite to win the GOP presidential nomination for the third time, one of his best-polling challengers, former Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, has demonstrated a rare willingness among Republicans to confront Trump over his corruption and lawlessness; he and many other leading Republicans have publicly committed themselves to the view that Trump is uniquely positioned among candidates to lose the 2024 election, secretaries of states will soon have to make determinations regarding who is eligible to run for president, and who is not. The issue is suddenly very ripe, and plucking it sooner than later would serve the interests of all Americans, including the former president, whose very freedom may be at stake.” • Need to find the calendar on this…. 

“The Constitution bars Trump from holding public office ever again” [Donald K. Sherman, The Hill]. Last September, three New Mexico residents represented by my organization, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, won the first case in more than 150 years removing an elected official from office based on participation in an insurrection. The court ruled that then-New Mexico County Commissioner Couy Griffin had violated Section Three of the 14th Amendment by recruiting men for battle to join Trump’s “”wild”” effort to overturn the election Jan. 6, normalized violence and breached police barriers as part of the weaponized mob that allowed others to overwhelm law enforcement and storm the Capitol. Griffin’s removal marked the first case at the federal or state level concluding that what occurred Jan. 6 was an insurrection. In Griffin’s case, the court found that disqualifying officials under Section Three of the 14th Amendment does not conflict with the First Amendment right to protest. It also rebuffed attempts by Griffin to conflate Jan. 6 with Black Lives Matter protests… The Disqualification Clause has already been used successfully to promote accountability for the insurrection, and, in the coming months, it will be used again to prevent Trump and others from serving in public office.” • Appparently, this particular NGO has been laboring in the vineyard for some time. See also 2023’s “DisqualifIed: The Case for Donald Trump’s Disqualification under the Fourteenth Amendment” (PDF).

Biden Administration

“Biden’s fall Covid vaccine rollout for the uninsured won’t include pharmacies at first” [Politico]. “The Biden administration’s effort to provide free Covid-19 vaccines to the uninsured will not start at retail pharmacies until mid-October, weeks after the government plans to make an updated version of the shot available to the broader public. The gap in timing, which comes as Covid hospitalizations have ticked up in recent weeks, means that millions of Americans without health coverage will not be able to immediately get a no-cost vaccine at popular places like CVS and Walgreens, even as it will be widely available for those who have insurance.” • Stochastic eugenics, good job. See Rule #2.


Time for the Countdown Clock!

“Donald Trump calls off press conference where he said he would share report on Georgia election fraud claims” [Politico]. “Former President Donald Trump will no longer hold a news conference nor release a supposed extensive report that he previously said would clear him and his allies of wrongdoing in the wake of his latest indictment by a Georgia grand jury, he said on Thursday. ‘Rather than releasing the Report on the Rigged & Stolen Georgia 2020 Presidential Election on Monday, my lawyers would prefer putting this, I believe, Irrefutable & Overwhelming evidence of Election Fraud & Irregularities in formal Legal Filings as we fight to dismiss this disgraceful Indictment by a publicity & campaign finance seeking D.A., who sadly presides over a record breaking Murder & Violent Crime area, Atlanta. Therefore, the News Conference is no longer necessary!’ Trump wrote in a Truth Social post on Thursday evening.” • Hmm. This implies that Trump’s lawyers were able to stuff him back into his box. There’s a first time for everything! (And, if so, Trump has the lawyers he needs.)

“Trump requests April 2026 start for election fraud trial” [Axios]. “Lawyers for former President Trump requested an April 2026 start date for the trial on his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election, according to a Thursday court filing. Why it matters: The request in the case brought by special counsel Jack Smith comes as the Republican presidential primary front-runner faces a collision course between his mounting court cases and his 2024 campaign.”

“Americans are divided along party lines over Trump’s actions in election cases, AP-NORC poll shows” [Associated Press]. “The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which was conducted before Monday’s charges in the Georgia case, also shows that about half of Americans — 53% — approve of the Justice Department indicting Trump over his efforts to remain in office after losing the 2020 election. The poll finds 85% of Democrats approve of the criminal charges brought Aug. 2 by Special Counsel Jack Smith, compared with 47% of independents and just 16% of Republicans. Overall, 3 in 10 Americans disapprove, including about two-thirds of Republicans.”

“Election workers who face frequent harassment see accountability in the latest Georgia charges” [Associated Press]. “Tonya Wichman has overseen elections in a rural Ohio county for eight years and hasn’t experienced any significant problems with voting or counting the ballots. But that doesn’t mean no big worries at all. What does concern her is the frequent harassment, intimidation and even physical threats she and her staff have been receiving since the 2020 election. It got so bad ahead of the 2022 midterms that her staff got police protection when leaving or coming to the office…. Election worker intimidation is one key element of the conspiracy alleged in the Georgia case. Tuesday’s indictment alleges that several of the defendants falsely accused Fulton County election worker Ruby Freeman of committing election crimes and says some defendants traveled from out of state to harass and intimidate her.”

“Trump’s Toast, Folks” [CATO Institute]. The Georgia indictment is a bombshell—the equivalent of a Texas Hold’em poker player shoving their entire stack of chips into the middle of the table and declaring, “”All in.”” In sum, the Georgia indictment alleges that Trump orchestrated a sprawling criminal conspiracy (or “”enterprise,”” in the language of the indictment and Georgia’s state RICO statute) involving more than 20 named and unnamed co‐​conspirators ranging across half‐​a‐​dozen states for the purpose of unlawfully changing the result of the November 2020 presidential election. There is nothing subtle or nuanced about this indictment—in effect, it accuses Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, Sidney Powell, and a dozen others of staging an unsuccessful coup. If the case goes to trial, which seems likely, the jury will either believe that characterization or they will not. I think they will, for three reasons. 1. Trump’s disdain for truth. America has seen its fair share of lying politicians, but Donald Trump is in a class of his own…. 2. Trump’s disdain for process. Again, Donald Trump doesn’t see the world the way normal people do. Instead of institutions to be respected and rules to be followed, he sees marks to be gulled and systems to be gamed—emphatically including elections and trials.” • And this is the interesting argument:

3. Complexity. The third reason Trump will be convicted in one or more of the cases against him is this: complexity. Litigation is a complicated process featuring an often mind‐​numbing interplay of procedural rules, substantive laws, court filings, documents, discovery, fact witnesses, expert witness, and a constant procession of unforeseen twists and turns that evoke the maxim that no plan survives contact with the enemy. And that complexity multiplies geometrically with the number of related proceedings going on at the same time, which means that Trump’s legal teams will find it nearly impossible to coordinate across all four of the ongoing prosecutions in New York, Florida, DC, and now Georgia. But it’s even worse than that. Litigation complexity is hard enough to manage with a client who plays it straight, both with the court and with their own counsel. But Trump doesn’t play it straight—he never has, and it appears he’s constitutionally incapable of doing so. So he will lie: in court, in public, on social media and—fatally—to his own lawyers. Simply put, Trump’s defense teams will not be able to keep track of all the different positions their client has taken (or directed his various lawyers to take in different proceedings), and eventually things will come completely unraveled.

Hubris, meet nemesis?

* * *

* * *

“Then-VP Joe Biden used PSEUDONYM ‘Robert L. Peters’ in emails to Hunter about Ukraine business: GOP ramps up Biden family corruption probe and demands National Archives hand over records” [Daily Mail]. “Republicans are seeking records revealing Joe Biden’s use of pseudonyms to discuss his activities related to Ukraine with his son Hunter during his time as vice president. They specifically want an un-redacted document that indicates that then-Vice President Biden took a call with the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, on May 27, 2016. Republicans say the document was emailed to ‘Robert L. Peters’ which is ‘a pseudonym’ the House Oversight Committee has ‘identified as then Vice-President Biden,’ a letter obtained by DailyMail.com states.” • The record request:

“Column: An unlikely solution to the problems with Harris and Feinstein” [Los Angeles Times]. “Biden apparently selected Harris largely because of an expected comfort level based on her close working relationship with his late son, Beau, when they were both state attorneys general.” • Ah. Since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, perhaps Beau saw in Harris what Willie Brown saw in Harris.

“Trump’s (Still) the One” [John Nichols, The New Republic]. “Even allowing for the unlikely possibility of jury verdicts and jail sentences before next summer, the Republican National Convention is shaping up as one big Trump rally. If anything, Trump’s troubles with the law have solidified his grip on a Republican Party that he’s remade in his own image—complete with a persecution complex that sees criminal complaints as evidence that the ‘deep state’ is ‘weaponized’ against ‘the greatest of all presidents.'” Will Christopher Steele please pick up the white courtesy phone? More: “Biden and his allies must lead with attention-grabbing plans to make health care a right, raise wages, guarantee abortion rights, cut education costs, and save the planet—and to tax the rich to pay for a strengthened social safety net. Unfortunately, that’s not the president’s natural inclination. So he needs a push. The good news is that the State Democratic Party Progressives Network and a coalition of groups such as Progressive Democrats of America have begun organizing to elect progressive delegates and to write a visionary platform for the 2024 Democratic National Convention.” • Oh, come on.

* * *

“DeSantis debate memo urges him to ‘hammer’ Ramaswamy and defend Trump” [Axios]. “[The memo] was posted to the website of Axiom Strategies, which works for the DeSantis-aligned Never Back Down super PAC, “[It] lists four ‘overarching goals’ for DeSantis during the debate. • Attack President Biden and the media • ‘Hammer’ Vivek Ramaswamy, with ‘Fake Vivek’ suggested as a nickname • Share his own ‘positive vision’ • Defend former President Trump.” • Hilariously, super PACs aren’t allowed to co-ordinate with campaigns, so it looks like Axiom leaked the memo instead. I agree Ramaswamy is a problem for DeSantis, but imitate Trump by inventing an insulting nickname? Voters want the real Trump, not an imitation. Anyhow, if DeSantis wants to go the “Fake Vivek” route, he’d better put on his elevator shoes, because otherwise he’ll look dumb.

* * *

Asking for my vote:

And my six hundred bucks.

“Hawaii’s Broken Heart” [Marianne Williamson, Transform]. “Hawaii is ground zero for a form of economic imperialism. Hawaii did not come begging to become a state in the Union; she was made a US protectorate via a coup staged against her. How many Americans have sought refuge and healing in the enchanted land of Hawaii, only later to discover the historical shadows that lay beneath. Hawaii is a deeply sacred land – some say it’s the heart center of the planet – and her heart has been wounded by the soulless economic overreach of everyone from Dole to Monsanto. Today, after the largest wildfire recorded in the U.S. in the last 100 years completely destroyed the town of Lahaina on the Western shores of Maui, shots were fired from the bow of the new colonialism – over gentrification. Real estate developers swooped in barely 24 hours after the fire to offer people who have lost everything – who are being given a mere $700 stipend per family plus assistance with filling out FEMA forms (from Katrina to East Palestine and now to Lahaina, it’s clear our emergency disaster response systems are themselves a disaster) – to offer them enough to survive in the short term, but probably too little to ever return to where they lived before.”

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.

* * *

“An Insurance Policy for Democrats” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. “States of Change simulations show that, all else equal, a strong white working class surge in 2024 would deliver the election to the GOP. Even a small one could potentially do the trick. In an all-else-equal context, I estimate just a one-point increase in Republican support among the white working class and a concomitant one-point decrease in Democratic support (for a 2-point margin swing) would deliver Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin (and the election) to the Republicans. Make it a 2-point increase in GOP support and you can throw in Pennsylvania too. So an insurance policy to prevent such a swing is in order. The problem: these are very unhappy voters.” Says the consultant whose practice did more than any other to enable Democrats to abandon them. Be that as it may, Teixeria is a pro: “When you look at the actual population of voters and how racial resentment was distributed in 2016, as Grimmer and Marble did, it turns out that the racial resentment explanation simply does not fit what really happened in terms of voter shifts. A rigorous accounting of vote shifts toward Trump shows instead that they were primarily among whites, especially low education whites, with moderate views on race and immigration, not whites with high levels of racial resentment. In fact, Trump actually netted fewer votes among whites with high levels of racial resentment than Mitt Romney did in 2012… So much for the racial resentment explanation of Trump’s victory. Not only is racial resentment a misnamed variable that does not mean what people think it means, it literally cannot account for the actual shifts that occurred in the 2016 election…. Such understanding was nowhere to be found, however, in Democratic ranks. The racism-and-xenophobia interpretation quickly became dominant, partly because it was in many ways simply a continuation of the approach Clinton had taken during her campaign and that most Democrats accepted. Indeed, it became so dominant that simply to question the interpretation reliably opened the questioner to accusations that he or she did not take the problem of racism seriously enough. We are still living in that world…. Democrats desperately need that insurance policy for 2024 and getting rid of these attitudes toward 40 percent of the electorate (much more in key states!) should be part of it. Think of it as a down payment on the ‘de-Brahminization‘ of the Democratic Party.” • I think the Democrats are about as likely to take this well-meant advice as MSNBC is likely to give Thomas Frank his own show.

“Circulation of former Cuomo aide’s deposition sets off firestorm” [Syracuse.com (Bob)]. ” Aides to former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have been circulating a transcript of a deposition last month of Ana Liss-Jackson, who was one of 11 women listed in a searing 2021 state attorney general’s report that accused the former governor of engaging in a pattern of sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace conduct…. Liss-Jackson noted that she had never accused Cuomo of sexual harassment but that she later believed his conduct, which included calling her ‘sweetheart,’ kissing her hand, touching her back and asking about her boyfriend, had been improper. ‘I don’t believe that the governor, to be clear, sexually harassed me,’ Liss-Jackson said last month. ‘It was on the heels of the ‘MeToo’ movement and there was a cultural shift around what was, and was not — what is and what is not — appropriate conduct in the workplace.’ Liss-Jackson said her intention in speaking to reporters two years ago was to help buttress the more serious allegations being leveled against Cuomo by other women. But she also implied that the way her story was reported in the Wall Street Journal and Gothamist had not been what she hoped to convey. She did not say those stories were inaccurate, only that they ‘didn’t fully, accurately characterize what I was trying to get across’ and that in some news reports her comments were ‘taken out of context.'” • Yes, what brought Cuomo down was #MeToo — remember them? — and not slaughtering thousands of elders in nursing homes. It’s a funny old world.

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein claims ‘financial elder abuse’ in lawsuit over husband’s estate” [NBC]. “Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is suing the trustees of a fund set up by her late husband, accusing them of committing ‘financial elder abuse’ by refusing to pay the millions of dollars she’s due. The suit was filed in San Francisco Superior Court last week by Feinstein’s daughter, Katherine Feinstein, who was given ‘a limited durable power of attorney’ over her mother’s affairs in July.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Inside the campaign to cancel sex ed” [Popular Information] • Is there evidence that we’re any better at teaching sex than we are at teaching math, science, and reading and writing?


“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!

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Look for the Helpers

“UConn Road Trip to EPA Launches DIY Air Filter High-Tech Biochamber Testing” [UConn Today (TPH)]. “The national movement urging the use of the inexpensive, build-it-yourself “”Corsi-Rosenthal”” box air purifiers to easily remove unhealthy air particles from indoor community settings like classrooms and homes has been growing from the University of Connecticut to across the country – and now all the way to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)  Homeland Security Division Laboratory for high-tech, advanced biochamber research testing of this device…. UConn is bringing for testing a Corsi-Rosenthal box air filter built specifically for the EPA assessment by a class of fifth graders at Commodore MacDonough STEM Academy in Middletown. It was decorated in June with Pride rainbows and the school’s owl mascot. One of the fifth graders, Eniola Shokunbi, who wants to be the first female African American president of the United States when she grows up, wrote and mailed Creed a letter inviting UConn to her public school, which was built almost a century ago. The student wanted to have UConn’s help to build these air filters to improve her school’s indoor air quality, reduce her fellow students’ risk of illness, and also run her own science experiment testing the effectiveness of the devices across classrooms by tracking sick absences. My class and I were amazed by your invention, and we wanted to see if we could try to make one ourselves,’ wrote the nine-year-old in her letter. ‘My school was built in 1925, and it could use some improvement. Your invention could help us with that. Would you be willing to share the plans of the Corsi-Rosenthal?'” • Hmmm…. 


Beautifully done:

Censorship and Propaganda

“No, you don’t have the ‘August flu.’ It’s probably COVID” [Insider]. “Monitoring wastewater gives researchers a pretty good idea of whether COVID-19 or the flu is circulating in a community. Right now, the coronavirus is still being detected across nearly all of the testing sites in the United States sampled by Sanford and Emory University-backed initiative WastewaterSCAN. Samples of the virus have been gradually on the rise since the beginning of the summer, potentially thanks to the new ‘Eris’ coronavirus variant. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also shows that hospitalizations from COVID-19 are up 12.5% in the past week, and deaths are up 10%. On the other hand, the flu has been almost nonexistent across testing sites since the beginning of June.”

“The psychology behind people acting like everything is normal again” [Health Solutions Group Australia]. “With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, have you noticed people acting like everything has gone completely back to ‘normal’? Or do you yourself get the feeling that COVID-19 is over? Despite knowing that it is definitely far from over, many of us have started to act like there is no longer a threat. Walking down the street now, you might see way more people than before and many of them not social distancing. We all know the pandemic isn’t over, so why do we act and feel this way? One part of the answer to this could be that we are experiencing what psychologists refer to as ‘groupthink’. To put it simply, groupthink is where we end up acting like others without really thinking about whether we agree with what they’re doing or thinking. We do this because we want to ‘fit in’ with the majority and we look at how others are behaving for clues on how we should behave. Research has shown that it’s pretty powerful stuff.  One famous series of studies in psychology known as the Asch conformity experiments, put a person in a room with seven other people (who were all part of the study). The person being tested thought that they were all there to complete a vision test, but really it was to see if that one person would change their answers based on what the group said. They were shown a line and then shown 3 other comparison lines and they had to pick which one matched the length of the first and say it out loud. The thing is, even when it was totally obvious that the rest of the group were wrong, about 75% of people still gave the wrong answer at least once, just because it’s what everyone else was saying.” • I think “groupthink” is simpler than possible (what is a “group?”). But “Asch conformity experiments” is something to file away.

Science Is Popping

“Surprise COVID discovery helps explain how coronaviruses jump species” [Phys.org]. “Unexpected new insights into how COVID-19 infects cells may help explain why coronaviruses are so good at jumping from species to species and will help scientists better predict how COVID-19 will evolve. Throughout the pandemic, there has been much discussion of how COVID-19 infiltrates cells by hijacking a protein called ACE2 found on human cells. But the new research from the School of Medicine reveals that ACE2 isn’t required for infection. Instead, the virus has other means it can use to infect cells…. ‘The virus that causes COVID-19 uses ACE2 as the front door to infect cells, but we’ve found that if the front door is blocked, it can also use the back door or the windows,’ said researcher Peter Kasson, MD, Ph.D., of UVA’s Departments of Molecular Physiology and Biomedical Engineering. ‘This means the virus can keep spreading as it infects a new species until it adapts to use a particular species’ front door. So we have to watch out for new viruses doing the same thing to infect us.’…. 

“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.

* * *


* * *

Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data, August 17:

Lambert here: Happy memories of tape-watching days! Closing in on a Trump-era surge level; Biden’s, of course, are higher. It will be interesting to see what happens when schools open up. I would like to congratulate the Biden administration and the public health establishment, the CDC especially, for this enormous and unprecedented achievement. And a tip of the ol’ Water Cooler hat to the Great Barrington goons, whose policies have been followed so assiduously! A curious fact: All of Biden’s peaks are higher than Trump’s peaks. Shows you what public health can do when it’s firing on all eight cylinders! Musical interlude. NOTE I’m not happy that Biobot can’t update this data more frequently. 

Regional data:

Backward revisions. Interestingly, the upswing begins before July 4, which neither accelerates nor retards it.

Regional variant data, August 19:

EG.5 (the orange pie slice) still seems evenly distributed. Sadly, the Midwest data is not available, so we can’t infer anything about the Midwest surge and any variant(s), one way or the other. 


From CDC, August 19:

Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: EG.5 (“Eris“). I’m not highlighting the BA.2’s because the interactive version shows that these BA.2’s been hanging around at a low level for months.

From CDC, August 5:

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

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, August 12:

Lambert here: Increase is even more distinct. (The black line is “combined”, but it is easy to see that Covid, the red line, is driving everything.)

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.


I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive. Nevertheless, here’s bellwether New York City, August 17:

Could be worse, and doubtless will be. But how much worse?


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, August 14:

-0.7%. A pause here, too? Interestingly, people are citing to this, too, as well as Biobot. Vertical-ish, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say. Interestingly, these do not correlate with the regional figures for wastewater. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)

From CDC, July 31:

Lambert here: This is the CDC’s “Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance” data.


NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, August 9:

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: 1,172,433 – 1,172,148 = 285 (285 * 365 = 104,025 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

The Economist, August 18:

Lambert here:  Back to almost dailiy. Odd when it is, odd when it stops. Based on a machine-learning model. (The CDC has an excess estimate too, but since it ran forever with a massive typo in the Legend, I figured nobody was really looking at it, so I got rid it. )

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Tech: Enshittification: It’s the circle of life!

Streaming is Stage 3 enshittification. Doctorow:

Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 44 Fear (previous close: 56 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 18 at 1:50 PM ET. Mr. Market is starting to chew his hands.

The Gallery

Reminds me of woods in the Midwest in the summer:

And into the woods:

The 420

“Marijuana and hallucinogen use, binge drinking hit historic highs” [The Hill]. “Nearly half of adults ages 19 to 30 reported past-year usage of marijuana, at 44 percent — also the highest level ever reported, up from 35 percent in 2017 and 28 percent in 2012. That same age group reported record-high daily marijuana usage — 11 percent in 2022, up from 8 percent in 2017 and 6 percent in 2012. Hallucinogen use among adults ages 35-50 reached historically high levels, with 4 percent reporting past-year use in 2022, up from 2 percent in 2021 and no greater than 1 percent five or 10 years prior. Among adults ages 19-30, 8 percent reported past-year usage, up from five and 10 years prior. Overall alcohol use trends have been gradually increasing for adults ages 35-50, but binge drinking reached its highest reported levels at 29 percent in 2022, up from 26 percent in 2021, 25 percent in 2017 and 23 percent in 2012. Past-year drinking increased slightly over the past 10 years, from 83 percent in 2012 to 85 percent in 2022.” • “That’s a lot,” as Dima would say.

News of the Wired

“The ancient technology keeping space missions alive” [BBC]. “Launched almost 46 years ago in 1977, the twin Voyager probes continue to send back data from beyond the Solar System. I checked with Nasa, which has assured me that the spacecraft are still being controlled from the same beige cubicle in an annex of its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that I visited in 2017, marked with a homemade cardboard sign reading: ‘Mission critical hardware – PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’.” • Not all heroes wear capes.

* * *

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 Upstater:

Upstater writes: “In 2019, we visited the New York State / USDA / Cornell University Agricultural experimental station’s annual open house in Geneva NY. It has the largest collection of cold climate grapes in the US. Some are table grapes (e.g. Concord), some hardier Vinifera types and hybrids.”

* * *

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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. jo6pac

    “Since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, perhaps Beau saw in Harris what Willie Brown saw in Harris.”

    I can only come up with sex and croupt nothing else.

  2. Samuel Conner

    > Hospitalization

    > I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive.

    it’s no comfort, but the thought occurs that relaxation of infection controls in healthcare facilities might convert hospitalizations into a leading indicator.

  3. mrsyk

    I’m currently auditing Marianne Williamson’s crystal ball searching for the how, as in how did the Taliban make that tweet?
    Edit. Disclaimer. I voted for her once.

    1. mrsyk

      TBF The opinion piece she wrote on Maui provides an excellent perspective as we watch the post-fire part of the tragedy play out.

      1. Pat

        I find her to be thoughtful and intelligent.

        And even her reading of Course in Miracles is less woowoo than one might expect.

        I haven’t voted for her yet, but this might be the primary where it happens.

      2. scott s.

        Williamson in that piece seems to have confused Sanford Dole, member of “Committee of Safety” and later President with Hawaiian Pineapple Co (Dole/Castle&Cooke) started by a cousin from the mainland after annexation. As far as “greedy developers” I’m fairly confident any purchase of land would have to be considered extremely speculative, as I expect there will be years of haggling by “stakeholders” before anything is allowed to be done. Look at Kauai post-Iniki.

        Today is Admission Day holiday.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      That threw me too when I saw it. Surely she must mean that old epithet “the American Taliban.” It was the weakest part of that essay. I was relieved she didn’t bring in the poor, oppressed Ukrainians, who are truly poor and oppressed, but our using them as proxies isn’t helping.

      1. Alex Cox

        Williamson’s out of nowhere focus on the Taliban was perhaps an indication that in terms of her foreign policy, fundamentally nothing would change.

        1. Pat

          Unfortunately, I am of the opinion that until everyone who has had anything to do with foreign policy from Kissinger on is entirely disqualified and ejected from government (however that would be possible) nothing will fundamentally change in it. There will be minor bright spots of change only to be reversed, but the only trajectory is what we have seen.

          And as an outsider with little or no experience in not just this, but in the snake pit that is the Beltway in general, there would be little change anywhere in the miraculous event that Williamson got the nomination and was elected.

          IOW just as RFK Jr is at best a protest vote in the primary a vote for Williamson is even more so. Which means the weakest part of her policies probably isn’t that much of a concern.

    3. nippersdad

      She was answering Biden’s question of what objectives the US has failed to accomplish by listing failed objectives, like getting the Taliban out of power in Afghanistan.

      I know, I had to reread it myself.

    1. LifelongLib

      Dunno. It’s like a weird pyramid scheme where everyone is selling Joe Biden ™ and he gets a cut…

      1. griffen

        Lies and falsehoods…there is no Big Guy or the Celtic…Republican visions and dreams will forthwith produce zero on Joey from Scranton…\ sarc

        It’s like a rejected script for an update to Goodfellas…just no one is getting whacked like Tommy or digging up a hole in the middle of a forest. That said I’d hope Devon Archer isn’t keen on single engine planes.

  4. JM

    There was a comment the other day about Michigan spiking, and it looks like the same is now happening in Wisconsin. Unfortunately the WI dashboard is fairly opaque to me in terms of tracking down details on where the rise is actually being recorded; but it seems things went vertical after August 10th and it’s only updated to the 15th.

    I haven’t noticed significant changes in masking though I did see ~3-4 others wearing n95s on a recent metro bus trip, which is unusual, normally it’s procedure masks if anything.

    1. Cassandra

      Anecdata from northern New England: I had a phone chat this morning with two ladies re an upcoming nonprofit board meeting of which we are all members. One is recovering from Covid gifted by a visiting family member from Chicago, who learned that his mother there was positive upon his arrival here. The other lady spoke of her son, whose children are all sick with Covid. Both ladies are very good doobies, healthy, active, vaxxed. Both had covid last summer. Both getting on with life. I am continuing to keep my head down and mask when out and about.

      My Aura has been the *only* mask on display my last two visits to a large, popular grocery store.

    2. Randy

      OK, I am from Wisconsin and on the Wisconsin Dashboard I see levels rising in sewage. The site I look at says it was updated today, 8/18/23.

      Here is the link: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/wastewater.htm

      I’m curious, what are you looking at that was last updated 3 days ago? The only info I can find now in Wisconsin is the above wastewater site and that is updated every day. I haven’t seen anything go vertical but covid levels and cases are increasing.

      1. Mara

        Bringin’ it on home. Thanks Gavin, you are doing such a great job!
        In July, it was revealed that an unlicensed Chinese-owned bio lab had been operating inside an abandoned warehouse in the small California city of Reedley. According to The Epoch Times, federal and local authorities began investigating the property in March, but the revelations of what had been found were not shared with the public for another four months.

        A disturbing collection of chemicals, hundreds of infected mice, and numerous bacterial, viral, and parasitic solutions and samples were discovered inside. 900 mice had been infected with the Covid-19 virus.


  5. Pat

    It was increasingly clear that a full investigation of Cuomo and his policy choices would, as Lambert might say, break too many rice bowls. He needed to get out. The MeToo charges were always small potatoes, but suddenly became THE story. The party hack AG took on the investigation and Cuomo was forced out. The real story of the massive corruption and the atrocity of many of his Covid policies, the worst of which resulted in the death of so many nursing home residents got buried.

    Surprise surprise, as if it was a plan/s, AG Letitia James drops the harassment case against Cuomo and he tries to rise from the ashes. Oops, the public isn’t buying.
    Now we are getting the you didn’t hear the real story PR push. Sadly for him as bad as things are in the state, I don’t think people are as nostalgic for Cuomo as he and the state DNC might wish. Unfortunately the push to return the Mario C. Cuomo bridge officially back to the Tappan Zee hasn’t happened before his continuing resurrection.

  6. Lambert Strether Post author

    This sounds like a really bad idea:

    Though perhaps Mush will backtrack. Apple:


    1. Henry Moon Piee

      That went about as well as Elon’s moon rocket launch. I love this video with all the cheering as the rocket goes KABOOM! Must be Disney fans. Clap louder! Quite a metaphor for ‘Murca’s technical genius. Can’t even get the old Nazi’s design right.

    2. Randy

      “Muck” would be a better substitution for Elon’s last name than “Mush”. Then we would have “Muck” and “Zuck” to disparage. They also rhyme.

  7. Wukchumni

    Hilary has me really sketched, we’re calling it quits on tent camping at the beach in San Clemente, the fetch goes far into Godzone with 5 inches of warm rain expected at Farewell Gap in Mineral King!

    There is still 10-20 feet of snow in the higher climes, this could be epic-rhe potential for flooding in the state.

    1. Daryl

      I’m on the Cali side and driving back a day early to avoid it. I thought I left this garbage in Texas, if there’s one thing I learned from participating in a few hurricanes firsthand, don’t trust the forecast. Good call skipping the camping trip.

    2. scott s.

      Went through one of those years ago when I was living in Monterey and was backpacking in the Ventana Wilderness in Los Padres NF when I was hit. Nothing dangerous, but very miserable and I ended up hiking out early in the rain.

  8. Mikel

    Streaming is Stage 3 enshittification. Doctorow:

    “Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.”

    At the moment, with that framing in mind, I think the grandaddy of them all will still reign.

  9. Darthbobber

    Biden pseudonyms. If accurate (hard to say, since this committee does a lot of characterizing documents that are not themselves released for anyone to judge) then the very use of aliases in this context obviously implies an effort to hide.

    1. Pat

      Just put it on the list with so many other things. The unnecessary phone calls when there was a hook on the line, Hunter’s high rent, etc. There are so many things that logically don’t make any sense unless it is to add plausible deniability to actions that are clearing pay offs or proof of access.

      Unlike the Supreme Court I actually recognize corruption without it having a quid pro quo in capital letters lit by a spotlight.

  10. flora

    re: Hubris, meets nemesis?

    Late in life Agatha Christie wrote a mystery novel titled “Nemesis.” Many people disregard Christie’s mysteries, yet I think she had a clear understanding of human nature.

  11. thump

    re: Section Three of the 14th Amendment stuff
    I worry less about the people who invaded the Capitol and more about the elected officials who later voted against certifying the election (or whatever it was exactly), something like 2/3 of Republicans, IIRC. Can these people also be denied qualifications for being on a ballot, since they were also clearly supporting overturning an election?

    1. JBird4049

      When we start looking for ways, any means at all, to disqualify people with out running a decent campaign that offers what most Americans want (just saying healthcare for everyone, regardless of income is a winner) is an extremely dangerous tactic.

      It is obvious that 1/9 was not going to be successful; there were police agitators inside the crowd egging them to go to the Capitol Building and the Chief of the Capitol Police was deliberately kept ignorant; instead of getting at much broader issues it’s all Trump (and his personal minions) all time using Section Three when the Emoluments Clause has a better case, but most major politician, the leaders certainly, could also be removed because of that clause.

      The whole thing stinks of corruption by all the major players with those who are best at lawfare most likely to win. If this goes through, and it probably will, the next election will be worse with more desperate people fighting just to save their posteriors and get revenge on their opponents. At least we are not quite to the level of the Gracchus Brothers

    2. Sam

      That is actually legal for any congress member to do. In fact democrats used the procedure during both of Bush’s elections and no one said that they were insurrectionists.

    1. JBird4049

      Why, that’s just fabulous! /s

      I will have to get a resupply of the Drug That Dares Not Say Its Name.

    2. albrt

      The Wife tested positive for Covid earlier this week. I have not been able to convince her to take the same precautions I do, but she did go along with the iodine nose drops. Here’s hoping it’s mild.

  12. Val

    Those grapes are amaze balls. To say nothing of Van Gogh’s Undergrowth.

    Wishing everyone historically high levels.

  13. LaRuse

    Bad news on the COVID data front in Virginia – while I was away for a couple of weeks, the long awaited “change” to the data presentation hit. Virginia is no longer tracking case counts, only COVID related ED visits and admission numbers, both of which are soaring. But those numbers are not useful to the general public in deciding their “risk tolerance.”
    I came home from a camping vacation ill this week, but was negative for COVID on every test, and my illness did not seem anything like COVID (I could still think this week, unlike during my COVID bout). Schools go back into session next week. I think things will be ugly by October.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Use a nasal spray if possible. IMNSHO, it’s the the main thing (along with masking) that has kept yours truly COVID-19 free since my only infection las April.

      My potion of choice is HOCL (hypochlorous) – before and after excursions in public. But there are others like Enovid, Xylitol, Betadine w/Iota-Carrageenan.

      I finally found a couple decent nebulizer that last – well, either that or I finally realized that cleaning them with distilled water is key to longeivity!

      Naweti or Auglam Portable Ultrasound hand-held nebulizers. They both have self-cleaning mechanisms as well!

  14. Pat

    Well I was sort of enjoying the notion of Hurricane Hillary flattening California, but now must offer me a culpa to the gods.

    May the predictions not be so accurate and the results not as dire for California and neighboring states. If only damage could be limited to the wealthiest, but that just isn’t possible.

  15. Randy

    I have a question about Covid antibodies.

    Last fall I caught Covid on a Monday. When I got it, it started as a throat tickle/irritation that I couldn’t get rid of all day, similar to the typical cold/flu. About 3-4 days before I got those symptoms my wife was hacking for a day with what seemed like the same symptoms. For her that was it, done. I went on to 5 days of fever, sore throat, etc. Similar to severe cold, mild flu.

    The only other place where I could have picked up the bug was at a grocery store on the previous Saturday. Brief visit, not crowded, 3 items, checkout took 10 seconds. IIRC Covid has a 3-4 day incubation period. Saturday morning to Monday morning is only 2 days.

    I haven’t told her but I blame my wife for infecting me. I asked her to get tested for Covid antibodies on her next visit to her Nurse Practitioner and said I would pay for the test. Her NP said she would only have Covid antibodies for up to 3 months after an infection. I say that is BS. IIRC if she had Covid, she has antibodies for it.

    Is the NP correct? I don’t think so. Where can I get her that test?

    If she has antibodies she is the culprit. She is a very social animal. She doesn’t take Covid at all seriously. She believes what she sees on the Tuh-Vee. Whenever I say anything about Covid she just rolls her eyes. If she manages to bring Covid home again and infects me or not that will be Strike Two. If she still can’t learn a lesson from an infection and all the info that I have provided her about Covid and continues her bad behavior and brings it home again, Strike Three. I will divorce her. I love my wife but she is not worth getting long Covid or a worse outcome.

    1. MaryLand

      I don’t know the answer about the antibodies, but I think you should tell her how you feel about this. Let her know how serious you are about it. Make it specific to behaviors, like no more eating at indoor restaurants with friends, no shopping without a mask, etc. Even if she follows the precautions you want she could still get it at a doctor’s or dentist’s office. If she changes her behaviors and still gets it you might consider that it was not her fault. Or you could live separately or divorce now if that’s the only thing that will give you peace of mind. You could get Long Covid after one infection. Do you want to cancel your marriage over that possibility? Lots to think about.

    2. Samuel Conner

      I think that the antibodies produced in response to viral infection do decline over time; “3 months” sounds like the time-frame that I have heard in years past (think of the frequency that CV vaccine boosters were being suggested — multi-times per year, IIRC — the reason that boosters are considered to be useful is that the “humoral immunity”, the antibodies circulating in the blood, does weaken with the passage of time after an infection or a vaccination or booster shot).

      The thing that is durable after a viral infection is the “cellular immunity”, the memory cells that “learned” about the virus during one’s infection and that will proliferate in response to a future infection with the same pathogen, I don’t know whether there is a routine test for the presence of memory cells targeted at CV.

    3. Frank Dean

      Spending thousands on indoor air filters–or hundreds if you DIY a few super quiet PC-fan Corsi-Rosenthal boxes–is a lot cheaper than a divorce. And of course you can wear an N95 yourself indoors when it makes sense to do so.


      Note that it doesn’t matter whether your spouse infected you last time. The behaviour isn’t going to change, so you face a continuing risk, but it is one you can mitigate.

  16. Jason Boxman

    And so it begins: https://twitter.com/RajlabN/status/1692550476779208848

    Welcome to #Pirola!

    #VariantHunters have nicknamed BA.2.86 (aka BA.x)

    This variant has already received a #VUM status from

    It’s Pi(rola) after all!

    Maybe this won’t be a big deal, I don’t know, but I do know we absolutely are going to find out, because the Biden Pandemic Policy is mass infection without mitigation.

  17. nippersdad

    I spent a minute or two mindlessly looking for bobcats in those paintings before I realized that there prolly weren’t supposed to be any.

    What have you done to me, Lambert?

  18. ChrisRUEcon



    > I think “groupthink” is simpler than possible (what is a “group?”). But “Asch conformity experiments” is something to file away.

    I’d also throw politics-as-sport on the pile here. Too many people in this country have picked a team and basically spend their lives defending their team and vilifying the other, regardless of what “fouls” either team commits. When I got COVID-19 last April, I knew it was going to happen … first the masking indoors at businesses dropped – ahead of ST. PATRICK’S DAY, no less! Then the masking in schools dropped. I will never forget the sinking feeling I had watching a bunch of smiling parents dropping their kids off to school maskless. Two weeks later, I was +ve … it came from school.

    We’ve bemoaned on here how Trump spake the “I bet if we stop testing …” quote into a conveniently placed microphone and liberals lost their freaking minds. Three years later, #J03yCOV1D basically did the same, and liberals celebrated by giving themselves “summer colds” … because they not only refuse to mask, but are eating indoors in crowded places like never before. They have wholly bought into the vax-only strategy.

    All I can say is that I’m thankful for all I’ve learned here, and wish everyone stays safe during the oncoming wave.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “The ancient technology keeping space missions alive”

    Pretty cool story this and this part stood out-

    ‘We’ve developed a complicated setup where we have modern Linux servers running a virtual environment with an emulator of the old operating system’

    And this is the same problem with preserving digital files. So maybe one day you will need an emulator to read all those stored Microsoft Word files that are on servers all around the world.

    1. albrt

      Computer files preserve very poorly by nature, and the more everyone believes the files are available on the internet the less effort anyone will make to preserve them. Most early 21st century knowledge and culture will disappear much faster than indigenous oral traditions.

      So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

  20. dommage

    “Trump’s lawyers were able to stuff him back into his box. There’s a first time for everything! (And, if so, Trump has the lawyers he needs.)”

    Close friend, active in NACDL (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers), experienced (Chelsea Manning, Guantanamo cases, also won injunction against criminal prosecution for sacramental use of a hallucinatory substance – ayahuasca/DMT – & sustained it 8-0 before the Supremes) knows Drew Findling, Trump’s chief lawyer in the Georgia case, well, and agrees Trump finally has the lawyer he needs.

    She says there is no better today. Drew Findling started out as a public defender. Check out his bio at the NACDL page https://www.nacdl.org/People/DrewFindling .

  21. B Flat

    I’m getting over what I feared was covid but after several negative tests is likely the flu. I have thoughts. First, my protocol has been enovid and masking. The only time I forgot to mask was last week on a short bus ride. Someone sneezed in a movie theater I was in. Both times I’d dosed up beforehand with enovid. So if not covid, then my immune system must be weaker due to lack of exposure–it’s been almost 4 years since I had a cold bc of the lockdowns? Another thought is about enovid–if it doesn’t protect against cold, how can it protect against covid?
    A friend who works at a small medical facility mentioned this past Monday two doctors were out with covid; by Thursday the office had nine cancellations by sick patients.

    1. JBird4049

      I am so not a doctor. With this said, even with Covid predominant, there are still the same old colds and flu as well. Also, the amount of dose of whatever got also influences the outcome. The more germs or viruses, the greater chance that they can overwhelm your immune system. Then there is fact that they mutate like crazy and learn how to sidestep all of the stuff used on them, but the different diseases with their different strains are also different from each other.

      TL;DR Think of it like a game of Russia Roulette with your job being to remove as many rounds as possible wearing as much armor as possible, but the size of the gun and where it aims is always changing, and you never get advance warning of what changed.

      1. Revenant

        Flu and other respiratory infections vanished during Covid. I don’t believe the rates have returned to historic levels yet. The latest UK surveillance report noted Sputhern Hemisphere activity below the seasonal norm.

        At this point, if you hear hooves, it is reasonable to think Covid zebras rather than horses.

    2. Daryl

      > if it doesn’t protect against cold, how can it protect against covid?

      IIRC most of the clinical studies around enovid are actually as a treatment (wherein it reduces viral load) vs. a prophylactic. Looks like phase 3 trials on enovid as a prophylactic only started earlier this year.

      If one buys the marketing material, it should be non-specifically viricidal… but even assuming that is true, it doesn’t mean it is a perfect preventative as there are other means of entry than the nasal passages, variables at play. For me, it’s part of defense in depth.

    3. Utah

      Did you do PCR or rapid tests? How were they taken? I always do the oral swab followed by nasal swab for rapid tests. Test every day I’m sick. (Still haven’t tested positive) and then if I really think I’m sick I’ll get a PCR at my PCPs office. So far post COVID becoming a thing I’ve gotten a cold every year and the flu once this past year because I didn’t get the flu shot. Every time it’s my girlfriend bringing home a bug from work. I can’t imagine enovid is a cure all. Its likely another layer of protection like a mask or an air purifier. But things still get through, especially if you weren’t wearing a mask.

  22. Bim

    Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom proclaimed in 2004
    “In ten years…there will be no more homeless.”

    Since he became governor, state homeless spending has increased by 28 times.

    New reports show California spent $20 billion on homelessness only to see the situation get much worse. And we’ve further learned that “Project Roomkey,” a Newsom initiative to put the homeless in hotels, wrecked total havoc. One hotel suffered $11.5 million in damage.

    House member Kevin Kiley

    In the Legislature, I proposed an audit of all state homelessness spending. Newsom intervened to kill it by one vote, but my successor Josh Hoover re-introduced the audit and it was recently approved. In the coming months, we’ll finally get the results – and perhaps some accountability.


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