2:00PM Water Cooler 8/21/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, no orts and scraps today. This is a complicated RL week for me… –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Striated Wren-Babbler, Rajah Sikatuna National Park, Bohol, Philippines. “A pair whistling a duet. Elevation: 380 m. Date added to IBC: June 22, 2016.”

* * *

Look for the Helpers

“After Maui’s deadly fires, one doctor hits the road to help those in need” [NPR (Reify99)]. 

KIHEI, Hawaii — Doctor Reza Danesh is known around Maui as just Dr. Rez.

He spent two decades in emergency medicine — a dozen on Maui. A few years ago, Dr. Rez opened a storefront clinic and outfitted a van as a mobile office.

His clinic is called MODO which stands for Mobile Doctor. The specialty – urgent care. He makes house calls and offers free medical care through his nonprofit MODO for the People. He and a volunteer load up the van with food and water to give away in addition to the free medical care.

“I designed this little Ford Sprinter myself. Ambulances are set to see multiple people so it doesn’t seem homey. This thing just feels like home. I have a Persian rug even.”But at the shelter Dr. Rez gets a very different reception than the one he was expecting.

“I wanna find out, who are you guys? What are you doing?,” asked volunteer manager Vesta Sung. She’s helping at this shelter and says the Red Cross has taken over and is clamping down… Frustrated, yes. But not deterred. He tries again the next day. And he’ll try again tomorrow. Because Dr. Reza Danesh makes house calls to wherever his patients need him.

The Red Cross can’t even interface with local NGOs?


“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), more on my continuing coverage of Section Three.

Some have urged that invoking Section Three violates due process. This is how Baude and Paulsen addressed the issue in their paper (I apologize for the inconsistently sized screen dumps).



* * *

“The disqualification of Donald Trump and other legal urban legends” [Jonathan Turley, The Hill]. Turley weighs in. Finally. The key question: “Despite the extensive research of Baude and Paulsen, their analysis ends where it began: Was January 6 an insurrection or rebellion? I have previously addressed the constitutional basis for this claim. It is, in my view, wildly out of sync with the purpose of the amendment, which followed an actual rebellion, the Civil War. Democrats have previously sought to block certification of Republican presidents and Democratic lawyers have challenged elections, including on totally unsupported claims of machines flipping the results. If we are to suddenly convert the 14th Amendment into a running barrier to those who seek to challenge election results, then we have to establish a bright line to distinguish such cases…. despite formal articles of the second impeachment and years of experts insisting that Trump was guilty of incitement and insurrection, Special Counsel Jack Smith notably did not charge him with any such crime. The reason is obvious. The evidence and constitutional standards would not have supported a charge of incitement or insurrection. Yet these experts still believe that Trump can be barred from office without any such charge even being brought, let alone a conviction.” • One could argue (indeed, Baude and Paulsen, above, do) that election officials can make their own determination of what an “insurrection” is, and whether Trump engaged in one, irrespective of what the Courts determine. I suppose it’s true that a Blue State’s Secretary of State (say) could do what Jack Smith was not willing to do, though it seems odd (except, I suppose, when one considers the donations, the book deals, etc.). I raise again the issue that the election officials will want cover, and that the Censorship Industrial Complex will be only too willing to give it to them. Which is, needless to say, very dangerous.

“The Constitution Prohibits Trump From Ever Being President Again” [Michael Luttig and Laurence H. Tribe, The Atlantic]. Larry! How is the “incomparableLouise Mensch doing? More: “Having thought long and deeply about the text, history, and purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment’s disqualification clause for much of our professional careers, both of us concluded some years ago that, in fact, a conviction would be beside the point. The disqualification clause operates independently of any such criminal proceedings and, indeed, also independently of impeachment proceedings and of congressional legislation. The clause was designed to operate directly and immediately upon those who betray their oaths to the Constitution, whether by taking up arms to overturn our government or by waging war on our government by attempting to overturn a presidential election through a bloodless coup.” • So, Jack Smith and Fani Willis actually have weak cases? (Tribe and Luttig’s language is amusingly orotund. Really rolls off the tongue.)

“Legal scholars increasingly raise constitutional argument that Trump should be barred from presidency” [CNN]. I don’t know about “increasingly.” Disqualifying Trump has been in the works for some time; the “insurrection” was adopted instantly, right after the dude with the furry hat and the buffalo horns proclaimed a provisional government. Oh, wait…  (One does wonder whether the “insurrection” framing was gamed out.) Anyhow: “Previously, advocacy groups used the 14th Amendment to contest the ability of Republican members of Congress Marjorie Taylor Green and Madison Cawthorn to be ballot candidates in 2022 because of their vocal support of the Capitol rioters [“rioters,” note well]. But judges decided neither could be disqualified. However, one convicted Capitol rioter, Couy Griffin, was removed by a judge from an elected county office in New Mexico.” • Taking the legal theorizing out for a test drive….

Biden Administration


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Trump says he won’t attend first GOP presidential debate” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump confirmed Sunday that he will not attend the first Republican presidential debate next week and left open the possibility that he would skip future primary debates, citing his sizable lead in national polls as a primary reason. In a post on Truth Social, Trump cited a CBS News poll released earlier Sunday that showed him leading the next closest candidate by 46 percentage points. ‘The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more,’ Trump wrote. ‘I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!'”

* * *

“Editorial: Gov. DeSantis starts changing his tune on Disney. Trump made him do it” [Miami Herald]. “DeSantis, in a Monday interview with CNBC amid a struggling presidential campaign, suggested that he and his allies had ‘basically moved on’ from his fight with Disney, a battle against the Mouse that, up until now, he’s been shouting about from the mountaintops. ‘They’re suing the state of Florida. They’re going to lose that lawsuit. . . . . So what I would say is, drop the lawsuit,’ he said, adding that Florida is a ‘great place to do business.’ Just a few short months ago, in May, the governor was still calling Disney ‘a multibillion-dollar company that sexualizes children.'” • Oh well. Turns out “anti-wokeness” wasn’t the royal road to the White House after all. Alas, DeSantis can’t pivot to populism, either. Walt Disney World’s governing district is a corporate fiefdom in a country where everything is a corporate fiefdom of one sort or another. I’d guess what works in the fever swamp of the Florida Republican Party doesn’t play well on the national stage.

* * *

“Hunter Biden’s lawyers threatened to put president on the stand: report” [New York Post]. “Hunter’s lawyer, Chris Clark, wrote a letter to prosecutors last October after news leaked that federal agents had enough evidence to charge the first son with illegally buying a firearm while still using crack cocaine. Clark said that if the Justice Department charged Hunter, the defense would be forced to put the commander in chief on the witness stand. ‘President Biden now unquestionably would be a fact witness for the defense in any criminal trial,’ Clark wrote in a 32-page letter obtained by Politico…. In exchanges in the months prior, Clark and his team often told prosecutors during private negotiations that they were worried about the intense political atmosphere surrounding the case, according to Politico.” • Which they then go on to muscle the prosecutor with? For a simple story about a father who loves his son?

“Pseudonym Joe: How Biden used personal email to share some government business with son Hunter” [JustTheNews]. “In late November 2014 — before the rest of the world knew that American Martin O’Connor was about to be released from detention in Turkey — the U.S. embassy in Istanbul sent an email to the State Department that was then forwarded to senior advisers to then-Vice President Joe Biden, the Obama White House point man for many foreign policy crises…. State Department officials forwarded the information to the vice president’s office, where Biden aide Colin Kahl (now President Biden’s Undersecretrary of Defense for Policy) sent it to the private email account robinware456@gmail.com. It wasn’t just any private account. It was one of three pseudonym accounts used by Joe Biden. Soon after the then-vice president would forward the information to his globetrotting son Hunter Biden with the subject line ‘Fwd: Mr. O’Connor Being Released from Detention today…. Comer’s inquiry was prompted by an email quietly released in January as part of the Obama presidential archives. In it, a White House staffer writes Joe Biden on a personal pseudonym email account named Robert L. Peters about a planned call with then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The staffer copied Hunter Biden’s email address at Rosemont Seneca Partners. At the time, Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company called Burisma Holdings that was deemed to be corrupt by the Obama-Biden State Department. ‘Boss–8:45am prep for 9am phone call with Pres Poroshenko. Then we’re off to Rhode Island for infrastructure event and then Wilmington for UDel commencement,’ the staffer wrote the then-vice president. ‘Nate will have your draft remarks delivered later tonight or with your press clips in the morning.'” • Hmm. 

* * *

Republican Funhouse

“The Rise of the Young, Liberal, Nonwhite Republican?” [Eric Levitz, New York Magazine]. “In a new analysis of survey data, the New York Times maps the contours of the contemporary Republican electorate. Some of its findings give conservatives cause for concern. The new GOP coalition has considerable internal ideological tensions. The party now derives 12 percent of its support from a group that the paper dubs “blue-collar populists”: a mostly northern, socially moderate, economically populist contingent whose attachment to Republican politics derives primarily from their rightwing views on race and immigration, and personal affection for Donald Trump. In the Electoral College, this constituency punches above its weight, as it is disproportionately concentrated in the Rust Belt’s battlegrounds. A majority of this group supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage. This aversion to bible-thumping moralism helped tie a segment of these voters to the Democratic Party before Trump’s emergence. To the extent that the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade increases the salience of reproductive rights, and Trump’s eventual exit from GOP politics weakens blue-collar populists’ emotional identification with the party, Republicans could lose ground with them. Indeed, in last year’s midterm elections, Democrats performed better in heavily blue-collar Midwest states like Michigan and Pennsylvania than they did nationally. But the New York Times-Siena College poll also gives Democrats some cause for anxiety. The survey suggests that nonwhite, working-class Americans are starting to vote more like their light-skinned peers. In 2020, nonwhite, non-college-educated voters backed Joe Biden over Trump by a 48-point margin. Today, this group backs by Biden by merely 16 points, according to the survey. This erosion in the Democrats’ support among nonwhite voters leaves Biden and Trump tied at 43 percent nationally.” • Maybe it’s not a good thing to owe six hundred bucks to “nonwhite voters”?

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


“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!

* * *

Elite Maleficence

“The CDC Works to Overhaul Lab Operations After Covid Test Flop” [KFF Health News]. “An independent panel of laboratory researchers, public health and policy experts, and doctors say the CDC’s flawed diagnostic test was one of the ‘most consequential’ of the agency’s pandemic missteps because it stymied national efforts to contain covid-19 as the disease spread. They blame the test’s shortcomings on a series of problems rooted in how the CDC operated its laboratories: a lack of unified leadership for the labs developing the test; insufficient planning and quality control systems for producing tests for novel pathogens; and ineffective governance that sometimes placed clinical laboratory decisions in the hands of ‘non-laboratory experts’ without diagnostic testing expertise. The CDC says it’s working to address its liabilities, using the findings of that advisory committee as a guide. It’s a big job — one further complicated by new leadership at the agency, constrained resources, and continued antagonism and threatened budget cuts from members of Congress.” • Still waiting for that report on CDC’s own superspreading event…..

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED 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. 


NOT UPDATED 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, data as of August 18:

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


Walgreens sh*ts the bed, August 21:

First login screen:

Second login screen:

Now I need Github account to get Covid positivity data? How does this make any sense? Musical interlude.

NOT UPDATED 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: 1,172,458 – 1,172,433 = 25 (25 * 365 = 9,125 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.

* * *

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 45 Fear (previous close: 69 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 63 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 21 at 12:31 PM ET. Mr. Market is still chewing his hands.

Rapture Index: Closes up one on Date Settings. “There is a growing interest in the rapture occurring on one of the Jewish fall feasts” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) Oh, swell. Bibi gives Big Z some nukes, hilarity ensues. NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most! 

Class Warfare

“Health care CEOs hauled in $4 billion last year as inflation pinched workers, analysis shows” [STAT]. “The health care industry didn’t just provide a safe haven for jittery stock investors in 2022, a year defined by inflation and higher interest rates. It also provided a stable stream of wealth for top executives, who collectively pocketed billions of dollars in what was otherwise a rough patch for the economy. By almost every measure, 2022 was a bad year for the stock market. But health care stocks fell significantly less than other companies as the amount of care received and prescriptions filled returned closer to pre-pandemic norms. As a result, the CEOs of more than 300 publicly traded health care companies combined to make $4 billion in 2022, according to a STAT analysis of financial filings. That amount of money could buy Costco memberships for more than 66 million people, and it’s equivalent to the entire economic output of Sierra Leone. That CEO haul was down 11% from the $4.5 billion recorded in 2021. But the sizable paydays highlight how every niche of health care — from Covid-19 vaccines and obscure technology to orthopedic implants and providing coverage to the nation’s poor — continued to supply its leaders with substantial sums of money even as more people struggled to afford food, housing, and, yes, health care. ‘No matter how you slice it, the people at the top — the CEOs of these companies — are making enormous gains every year compared to ordinary Americans,’ said John McDonough, a health policy professor at Harvard who has studied health care for nearly four decades. ‘This is the bitter fruit that we [who?] reap from telling the health care industry to act more like a business.'” • One reaps grain, not fruit. What the heck are they doing at Harvard these days? And who’s “we”? Always a question that answers itself, once asked.

News of the Wired

Periodically, advice columnist Ann Landers would run a letter that was the 1950s – 1960s equivalent of clickbait: The question of which way toilet paper should be hung: Over the top of the roll, or not? Passionate discussion ensued. So herewith:

Although perhaps the message isn’t only about garbage bags?

* * *

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 RM:

RM writes: “I was doing ok with all the trees and flowers in bloom, but WOW, when the grasses kicked off, my eyes just about shut down.” I put up the Cezanne and the Van Gogh the other day because they reminded me of RM.

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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. Sub-Boreal

    Another nail in the coffin of “hybrid immunity”? Some seniors infected with Omicron variants were more susceptible to reinfection, not less: McMaster study

    Here’s the original paper.

    Excerpt from summary:

    Counterintuitively, SARS-CoV-2 Omicron infection was associated with increased risk of Omicron reinfection in residents of long-term care and retirement homes. Less robust humoral hybrid immune responses in older adults may contribute to risk of Omicron reinfection.

    1. kareninca

      Oh, I looked for mention of this before I posted below. I somehow missed your post.

      These elderly people were 20 TIMES more likely to catch covid if they’d had Omicron in the past!!!! 20 TIMES!!!!!! That is huge!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Almost everyone I know caught Omicron. What is going to happen???

      1. Acacia

        Out of curiosity, where did you find the figure of 20x in this paper? Not doubting, I would just like to understand it.

        1. kareninca

          “In a sign that scientists still don’t fully understand how some COVID-19variants manage to evade the immune system, a new Ontario study has found that retirement- and long-term-care home residents infected during the first Omicron wave were 20 times more likely to get reinfected by the virus than those who avoided a prior infection.” (https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/some-seniors-infected-with-omicron-variants-were-more-susceptible-to-reinfection-not-less-mcmaster-study/article_8d2e8c17-9587-508c-b37f-d68c997f1322.html)

          I guess I shouldn’t rely on the Toronto Star to get the number right and that I should try to find a link to the actual study.

          1. Acacia

            Thanks. I found your later comment and checked that article from the Star (paywalled, btw, but archives to the rescue here: https://archive.li/gR9E9 ;)

            I skimmed the original study but I’m not good at parsing its language. Agree with you that 20x is yuge and, if true, it sorta sounds like what AJ Leonardi has been talking about.

            So, again, some confirmation would really be welcome.

    1. urdsama

      Maybe I’ve missed something, but how is this even possible?

      The lies just get bolder with every passing day…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        That’s the promise of mrna treatments. Memory is the original vaccines were basically worked out back in February 2020.

        Coronviruses are one thing, but long term, cancer treatments will go like this: diagnosis, lab specimen collected, trip to a special hospital for a tailored mrna vaccine, and then back home. You won’t have athletic trainers giving vaccines.

        The issues were production and distribution for a fast acting virus. And we didn’t have data from mrna vaccines too when they were produced this go around. The inane nature of the US health care system means we get terrible data.

        1. urdsama

          Thank you for the information.

          I thought that had already been proven not to be as effective as advertised, most likely due to the reason you described. In any case, a wing and a prayer, I guess.

          The modern health care system collapse continues apace…

      2. Lee

        They can get away with it because the collective I.Q. of the gen pop is dropping due to repeated Covid infections. I’m of an age and my general state of health is such that no matter how many times I’m vaccinated there is a good chance that Covid might still kill or further disable me. Therefore I have been able so far to avoid it like…..well….the plague. Even though age has to some degree diminished my cognitive capacities, I find on almost a daily basis that the persons I read about in the news or that I have to deal with personally seem dumber and dumber. Either that or I’m just getting crankier.

  2. Wukchumni

    A peck of pickled peppers Peters Piper picked. If Peters Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where’s the peck of pickled peppers of Petro Poroshenko that Peters Piper picked?

    1. Peter Pan

      Petro Poroshenko bribed Joe Biden with ’em. Joe has ’em. Peters Piper was the intermediary.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Stupid to have an email account that led straight back to old Joe. No cut out organization (*cough*Clinton Foundation*cough*) or even a trusted ally that is a lawyer who could claim legal privilege. Then again, old Joe always did like to go into the weeds himself like when he had that prosecutor sacked.

  3. JBird4049

    I raise again the issue that the election officials will want cover, and that the Censorship Industrial Complex will be only too willing to give it to them. Which is, needless to say, very dangerous.

    I do wonder if these people have ever heard of Aaron Burr? No, not the duel, but the Aaron Burr Conspiracy and his trial for treason.

  4. ChrisRUEcon

    #COVID19 #Walgreens …

    Looks like they fixed it … I’m in … sans login.


    MOAR Red

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    Due process and Section 3 of the 14th Amendment–

    In his most recent article, Turley refers to an earlier piece he wrote about the application of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. In the earlier article, Turley cites a case in which Chief Justice Salmon Chase was sitting as a circuit court judge. Turley’s summary of the case:

    Indeed, not long after ratification in 1869, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase ruled in a circuit opinion that the clause was not self-executing. He suggested that allowing Congress to simply bar political opponents from office would be a form of punishment without due process and would likely violate the prohibition on bills of attainder.

    The most directly relevant precedent, decided in a time close to the enactment of Section 3, ruled that Section 3 was not self-executing, and if it was, it would violate Section 1 of that same amendment. Do Baude and Paulsen distinguish the case decided by Case? Do they discuss the Berger case in which the anti-war socialist Berger was elected to Congress after a conviction under the Espionage Act? Congress refused to seat him, citing Section 3. After the Supreme Court reversed Berger’s conviction, he was again elected to Congress. This time, either the Congress had decided they liked anti-war socialists, or they realized they could not bar him again because the conviction had been reversed.

    I agree with Turley that this is a Hail Mary that, if it succeeded, would be entitled to the same degree of respect and stare decisis as Bush v. Gore.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The issue is popularity. Like high crimes and misdemeanors, it’s really are you popular enough to make it stick. What is interesting isn’t Trump but the efforts of Team Blue to be that unpopular where they are holding up relatively arcane arguments to assure themselves. These were basically people who didn’t understand the electoral college less than 7 years ago.

    2. Bazarov

      It is discussed in the article (around page 37). The authors, Baude and Paulsen, think the Chase opinion was wrongly decided or rather that the outcome might’ve been correct but that Chase’s reasoning is not. Anyway, the problem is that these two guys are modern scholars published in a fancy magazine while the Chase document is an actual, factual legal opinion with the strength of A.) Coming after the Civil War when all the language regarding Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was current and contemporary, B.) Hailing from a time when “insurrection” was much more of a scary thing than today, C.) Having been written by a Chief Justice nominated by Abraham Lincoln, and D.) Having been written by a Chief Justice close to the Radical Republicans.

      Moreover, I read through Baude and Paulsen’s rebuttal to Chase and found Chase to be mostly reasonable or at least as “reasonable” as other Supreme Court decisions I’ve read (they’re mostly tendencious arguments, let’s be honest; the Court regularly rules contra to the plain language of the Constitution, perhaps most egregiously in cases involving the 4th Amendment, for expedients far less compelling than those that Chase brings to bear). Here’s a bit of it:

      “Now it is undoubted that those provisions of the constitution which deny to the legislature power to deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, or to pass a bill of attainder or an ex post facto, are inconsistent in their spirit and general purpose with a provision which, at once and without trial, deprives a whole class of persons of offices held by them, for cause, however grave. It is true that no limit can be imposed on the people when exercising their sovereign power in amending their own constitution of government. But it is a necessary presumption that the people in the exercise of that power, seek to confirm and improve, rather than to weaken and impair the general spirit of the constitution.”

      Even Baude and Paulsen, in their way, concede some sympathy with what Chase reasons above (I find the tone of their article bizarre, coming off rather, uh, passionate–their tendentiousness really comes through; they obviously despise Trump): “Now once again, the interpretive rule Chase is formulating here is not totally crazy. But it is a warped version of the real thing.”

      To me, it seems like if indeed the language and spirit of the amendment was such that it was supposed to be “self-executing,” as per the meaning of the text when it the 14th Amendment was proposed, then Chase would’ve ruled much differently. Given the composition of the Supreme Court, I think there’s little chance they’ll agree with the arguments raised in the recent paper concerning the disqualification of Trump from office.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Agreed. Chase is doing what interpreters of statutes or constitutional provisions are supposed to do: read the whole in a way that preserves harmony and consistency as much as possible. If he interprets Section 3 to be self-executing, then it would directly violate Section 1, so he reads Section 3 as requiring some adjudication somewhere finding an “insurrection” and aid thereto. I think the way Berger developed supports Chase’s reasoning. Once the judgment was gone, Congress didn’t try to bar him.

        And the 13th Amendment analogy doesn’t work. The 13th Amendment was enacted well after the 5th, and the qualified amendment of the 5th is the natural implication. Section 1 and Section 3 were enacted at the same time, and Section 3 cannot be implied to repeal or limit Section1. They must be read together as comprising the single and rational will of Congress (very optimistic rule of interpretation, it’s true). Chase has done that as best as could be done. Baude and Paulsen try to make Section 3 supreme over everything. That argument is swimming against a strong current.

        One thing is pretty certain. If Trump does end up in the White House again, I don’t think he’ll be rubberstamping the Federalist Society’s judicial recommendations any more. Fox and the Federalist Society have joined the Neocons and Bushies in joining with the Dems and the Blob.

    3. David in Friday Harbor

      Hey, I’ve got an idea.

      Instead of counting-up how many insurrectionists can dance on the third clause of the 14th Amendment if we simply abandon that cumbersome old Due Process of Law thingy and cancel Trump, how about the political parties run candidates who can actually win an election by delivering something to non-billionaire-adjacent voters, such as concrete material benefits and a decent quality of life?

      1. some guy

        We would need a new party for that. And it would take decades to grow it to power, especially in the teeth of biparty and establishment obstruction. And decades may not remain.

        Perhaps civic minded people should still lift a finger towards sincere uplift politics and electionics . . . a ” good citizenship” tithe. But they should probably lift the other nine fingers towards Separate Survivalism at whatever appropriate level.

  6. Zephyrum

    Reading the 14th amendment section 3:

    No person shall…hold any office…who…shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

    Biden stands accused, in some circles, of accepting bribes from foreign governments. If we accept:

    The disqualification clause operates independently of any such criminal proceedings and, indeed, also independently of impeachment proceedings and of congressional legislation.

    One might think that a rational (red-state) Secretary of State might exclude Biden from the ballot, on the basis that he violated XIV 3 — being bribed to provide “aid and comfort”. It would be most interesting if this became a battle of the ballot qualifications next year.

    1. JBird4049

      In any American county or city jail that I can think, pepper spray is nothing. In some places, being being beaten by the police and having broken bones is normal. Being put into solitary, maybe for years, is another.

  7. Pat

    The more local stories in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy didn’t just slam the Red Cross for using it as a Fundraiser, they reported numerous ways that it was more of a problem for people seeking help rather than providing capable and functioning emergency services.

    Yet another reason I say seek local groups to donate to if you wish to send help. For instance maybe Dr. Rez.

      1. semper loquitur

        I love the notion that if you haven’t done anything wrong, you shouldn’t worry about a total lack of privacy.

        1. Darthbobber

          Strom Thurmond took that line in a speech at my college in the early 80s. But openly taking that line was then associated almost exclusively with those like Thurmond.

          1. flora

            Ah yes, reminding readers that Sen. Thurmond was once a Democrat, or a Dixiecrat it you prefer.

        2. Amfortas the Hippie

          in east texas 1980’s, that was the bog standard rebuttal to any long haired radical(ie: me) complaining about whittling down the Fourth Amendment so they could more effectively harass long haired radicals.
          “if ya got nothing to hide…”…as time went on, i learned that many of these same folks had lots to hide,lol…ive mentioned the party my band played where judges, principals and other worthies were snorting coke off of painted naked girls….

    1. flora


      “About to hit the road for vacation, I wanted to highlight something that Walter Kirn brought up in the most recent America This Week, and popped up repeatedly as a never-published theme of the Twitter Files: the shameful, dystopian corruption of the noble word transparency. “

        1. Mark Gisleson

          That was a nice bit especially as I hadn’t picked up on govt using transparency so duplicitously. I’ve kind of stopped listening to our govt as much as possible and so far that’s really working out well for me.

          Have a fun vacation : )

  8. Wukchumni

    For what its worth dept:

    The entire length of Hwy 99 in both directions from Bakersfield to Visalia which snakes through the beating heart of Godzone, sports NOT 1 Trump placard along the highway, although there is still a Devin Nunes ‘Say no to socialism’ banner wrapped around a poor portly pillar.

  9. Wukchumni

    Harm me-McCarthy hearings are concentrated around the red scare group: Freedom Caucus, whose members swell beyond proportion of percentage.

    Will they shut down the government to show My Kevin (since ’07) who’s boss?

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    I always thought Trump was “a none of the above” candidate who pulled team Blue into a state of complacency. It’s just the GOP is a southern rump party. The former big business side has a home in team Blue, and conservatives don’t have much to rail against. They never cared about women’s sports before last year, so they don’t care now.

    Until he’s the guy, there will always be doubt, but the GOP attracted the ilk of DeSantis for years. They don’t have upright people they can run.

    1. Pat

      I could rewrite most of that to say something similar about team Blue.

      The truth is that essentially both the parties are rump parties. Not area or region, but two sides of the same propaganda distraction from the fact there is one fully owned party servicing a minuscule part of the population. Each side of a single coin supposedly has a different face but it is really all to distract the populace from the fact that they are royally screwed.

      1. ChrisRUEcon


        I am reminded of (Gary Oldman’s) Smiley talking to (David Dencik’s) Toby Esterhase on the airstrip …

        “You’re just the messenger … running between them all … anything to serve Witchcraft.”

        Buying into team-blue vs team-red politics turns you into a headless chicken like Esterhase who is unwittingly made to serve that which he opposes.


    1. John

      Now or twenty five years ago, it was pointless. If that is representative of Tik Tok, ignorem it to oblivion.

  11. TimH

    A couple of thoughts for CA dwellers to comment on, based on the state law prop. 13 that limits resi property tax rises to 1% PA:
    1. The new ADU law mandating permissions for resi to stuff in an Additional Dwelling Unit means that properties undertaking same will be reassessed for PT after completion
    2. Wouldn’t take much to compare satellite pics from Google against the current permitting for houses pre about 1965 in higher value areas, and reassess mismatches

    1. Keith Howard

      I don’t know about CA, but in Denver ADUs may be either detached or attached, the latter likely less discernible from above.

  12. Jason Boxman

    With all the liberal Democrat bedwettting/concern trolling over Trump skipping the debate, it’s worth noting that liberal Democrats are… not having any debates between Biden and candidates running on the D ticket line; Amazing, no?

    1. albrt

      Not amazing. It is as predictable as the blank stare you will get if you mention this to a Democrat.

      1. Hepativore

        What is the DNC going to do when Trump dies/leaves office/etc? In 2028 when there will be no Trump presidency to fearmonger over. Plus, news agencies, political blogs, and mainstream news outlets rely heavily on 24-hour Trump coverage for viewership. With Trump gone, they will have to find another political antichrist to sensationalize.

        Both the DNC, corporate news sources, and PMCs need Trump to clutch their pearls over and to distract from the fact that the DNC is less like a poltical party, and more like a national yacht/country club the purpose of which is to entertain wealthy clients/donors at.

  13. Mikel

    “Now I need Github account to get Covid positivity data? How does this make any sense?”

    Middle men bringing in other middle men friends who bring in other middle men friends who…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe it should have been a requirement that you have a Pronhub account first as at least you would get something out of your visit online, if not the data that you wanted.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Just acquired a bag of something called Sailor Moon. All my search efforts got me were pictures of long legged teenaged girls.

        Sometimes bad search results aren’t so bad.

  14. kareninca

    I just read a very interesting piece on the reinfection of the elderly in a nursing facility in Canada. It sure looks like there might be something like ADE, although I defer to NC experts on this. It does make it clear that it is really best to avoid catching the virus. And so much for that large and lovely and “mild” Omicron wave.

    Then I reread this paragraph and wondered what I was reading:

    “In a sign that scientists still don’t fully understand how some COVID-19 variants manage to evade the immune system, a new Ontario study has found that retirement- and long-term-care home residents infected during the first Omicron wave were 20 times more likely to get reinfected by the virus than those who avoided a prior infection.” (https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/some-seniors-infected-with-omicron-variants-were-more-susceptible-to-reinfection-not-less-mcmaster-study/article_8d2e8c17-9587-508c-b37f-d68c997f1322.html)

    I would think that those who had avoided a prior infection, were not capable of being reinfected. They could be infected, but not reinfected.

    I admit the overall info in the article is more important than this oddity, but it does make me wonder about the rest of the article.

    1. Cassandra

      The relevant question is, had they avoided all prior Covid infections, or had they caught the OG wild type, alpha, beta, delta, etc and only avoided BA1 and BA2. One assumes that, being in residential care facilities, the patients had received two initial doses of vaccine, the original booster, and last fall’s bivalent booster, so that would be four exposures to wild type + a mix of BA4 and BA5.

    2. Raymond Sim

      Early on in the first Omicron wave it was observed that Omicron was pulling some tricks that looked as if they might have just this sort of effect. The one I can recall involved displaying nucleocapsid, or perhaps fragments thereof, on the surfaces of uninfected cells.

      20 sure is a big multiple, but I guess nursing homes would be an environment where you might see maximal effect.

  15. Darthbobber

    An aside on the Feinstein thing. These articles seem to keep referencing 1.5 million in medical expenses?
    Is it actually possible for a United States Senator to incur 1.5 million in uncovered medical expenses?

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Even Congressional coverage doesn’t include blood transfusions from 18 year-old virgins drawn under a full moon. Even though it’s a lot easier to find these days than 25 years ago, it’s still pretty expensive.

  16. Jason Boxman

    Airline Close Calls Happen Far More Often Than Previously Known

    They were part of an alarming pattern of safety lapses and near misses in the skies and on the runways of the United States, a Times investigation found. While there have been no major U.S. plane crashes in more than a decade, potentially dangerous incidents are occurring far more frequently than almost anyone realizes — a sign of what many insiders describe as a safety net under mounting stress.

    No mention of COVID, except this:

    Yet that enviable record masks what pilots, air traffic controllers and others say are growing holes in the layers of the safety system — especially as the volume of air travel returns to its levels from before the Covid-19 pandemic. The result, they said, was an increasing risk of disaster.

    I’ve certainly been long expecting a disaster, although I thought it would be from pilots not flying for months and losing experience, not to mention the recent automation systems where pilots increasingly don’t have to do as much to actually fly.

    But with widespread evidence that any SARS-COV-2 infection damages, among other things, the neurological system, impaired cognition is another reason for concern here.

    But the most acute challenge, The Times found, is that the nation’s air traffic control facilities are chronically understaffed. While the lack of controllers is no secret — the Biden administration is seeking funding to hire and train more — the shortages are more severe and are leading to more dangerous situations than previously known.

    Gee, no one knows why this might be. What a mystery.

    “The staffing shortage is beyond unsustainable. It has now moved into a phase of JUST PLAIN DANGEROUS,” one controller wrote to the F.A.A. last year in a confidential safety report that The Times reviewed.


    When back-to-back planes nearly smashed into the Frontier jet whose nose was edging onto the San Francisco runway in July, one of the underlying problems was the shortage of air traffic controllers.

    A shortage, you don’t say?

    1. ambrit

      Another ‘enterprise’ ready for another round of “disruption.” Air Traffic AI Controllers?
      Someone had better ask the Reagan Archives for all the documentation on the Air Traffic Controller’s Union ‘busting’ operation.

    2. divadab

      How many air traffic controllers were fired for refusing the vax? This fascist policy is affecting safety and security all over the country, especially in Dem States who bought in to the fascist vax policy.


  17. The Rev Kev

    With all the ways that they are trying to use lawfare to keep Trump from running by entangling him in hundreds of legal cases, I am now waiting for the following announcement-

    ‘The Department of Justice, after intense research, has determined that Trump is actually an illegal alien. When Trump’s grandfather – Frederick Trump – arrived at the Castle Garden Immigrant Landing Depot in New York City on October 19 1885, he had not yet served the mandatory military duty of two years in the Kingdom of Bavaria so this immigration was illegal under Bavarian law. As the United States always respects the laws of other countries, this would mean that his entry into the United States was thus illegal and would mean that he and his progeny would also be illegal. The steps for his extradition to Germany have already commenced.’

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      ahem…”Birthright Citizenship”…from one or the other of the very same amendments Team Blue is trying to use against him.
      All grandad’s “progeny”(are we gon start in on blood quanta, next in demland?) are Citizens.

      recedes back under his rock….

  18. Wukchumni

    An unexpected skirmish in the War On Cash!

    Visiting foreign football fans who mock Argentina’s crippling inflation crisis by burning banknotes will be punished with up to 30 days in prison.

    Fans from neighbouring South American countries – primarily Brazil and Chile – have been burning and ripping up peso bills to taunt home teams about the value of the Argentinian currency.

    Foreign fans caught tearing up a peso bill will now face up to 30 days in prison.

    A video posted on Twitter on Wednesday night shows Corinthians fans, from Sao Paulo, burning bills and making offensive gestures.


    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      few times, i burned a dollar during a late night, drunken, argument/discourse over money as a religious fetish object.
      almost got my a$$ kicked on each occasion…akin to dissing football, or peeing on a cross.
      …or suggesting that we might be the bad guys,lol…
      gets all and sundry riled up.

      1. Wukchumni

        Before computers took over for paper money back in the 80’s & 90’s, countries went bankrupt all the time vis a vis hyperinflation, and before a trip to Europe i’d pick up a 100 consecutively numbered brand new bundle of the failure d’jour, a fiat accompli, for around $10-15, it might be Polish 10,000 Zloty banknotes or Argentine 1,000 Pesos, it doesn’t matter anymore, game so over for them in their usual capacity.

        America sucks for people watching for the most part compared to the old country, because we have no choo-choos and thus no railroad stations to ply my traits of clandestinely spreading money and watching the reaction anonymously in the midst of the hubbub, people wanting to get in on floor levels, if you will.

        Its fun watching us with money, if it was a rectangular piece of trash, we wouldn’t give it a second thought, but money has an attraction of its own.

      2. Robert Gray

        When I was an expat working in the Middle East, there was a story (apochryphal, of course, but anyway) that went around in several versions. One was set in Turkey, where a minor public official was trying to extract a bribe from a Western businessman who resisted paying the official anything extra for simply doing his job. Finally, in exasperation, the Westerner took some money out of his wallet and slapped the bills down on the counter. The minor official looked aghast and shook his head slowly. ‘Oh, mister’, he said. ‘Look at that banknote. That is Ataturk, the Father of our Country, whom you have just insulted’.

  19. dave

    Is there a name for the TikTok voice? That cute female voice that seems like it’s sped up just a bit?

  20. Wukchumni

    Hunter’s for sale or rent
    Bound to get, 5 million Cents
    No outward laptop regrets
    He gets a deal on reservation cigarettes

    Ah, but, two hours of pushin’ Ukrainian oil boom
    Buys an eight by twelve West Wing room
    He’s a man of means by no means
    King of the road

    First Son, daddy trained
    Destination: the Ukraine
    Old, worn out addiction and blues
    He don’t pay no rehab dues

    He keeps gotten gains he has found
    Short, digital entries not too big around
    He’s a man of means by no means
    King of the road

    Joe knew every engineer on every Amtrak train
    All of their children, and all of their names
    And every stop in every town
    Every influence peddling possibility, that could be found

    I sing, Hunter’s for sale or rent
    Bound to get, 5 million Cents
    No outward laptop regrets
    He gets a deal on reservation cigarettes

    Ah, but, two hours of pushin’ Ukrainian oil boom
    Buys an eight by twelve West Wing room
    He’s a man of means by no means
    King of the road

    King of the Road, by Roger Miller


    1. Mark Gisleson

      Sung through your nose to a swaying beat. As kids we always made dad crank that one up when it played on the radio (radio being an early form of streaming).

      Kudos for keeping cigarettes in your version. Wouldn’t be the same song without ’em. [reaches for the sailor moon]

  21. Joe Well

    I found another garbage bag life hack for when the sides are stuck together and you can’t get it to open: put a piece of tape on each side and pull on the tape. This was the most valuable skill I acquired last week.

  22. Valiant Johnson

    Just reading this on the 22nd.
    It has been my experience after many contacts with the Red Cross/ Red Crescent in disaster zones around the world that they never coordinate well with anyone.
    The American Red Cross in particular are a laughing stock to other NoGos everywhere.

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