2:00PM Water Cooler 8/25/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I’m sorry I’m a bit light on Covid today, but I’m pressed temporally. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Black-throated Wren-Babbler, Danum Valley Field Centre (DVFC), Sabah, Malaysia. “A bird singing.”

* * *


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


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Opinion: He’s been booked. His mug shot has been taken. And incredibly this might not end Donald Trump’s race for the White House” [CNN]. “The legal system is now at work, holding Trump to account in many cases where the political world failed to take meaningful action. However, without a serious shift in public opinion, Trump might just learn that it is possible to do almost anything and still retain immense influence in politics.” • Incredibly. I read it twice. Not one ounce of self-reflection to be found.

“Trump Booked In Georgia: “We Have Every Single Right To Challenge An Election” (video) [RealClearPolitics]. 

TRUMP: This is a really sad day for America. This should never happen. You should be able to challenge an election. I thought it was a rigged, a stolen election and I should have every right to do. As you know, you have many people you’ve been watching over the years do the same thing whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Stacey Abrams or many others.

When you have that great freedom to challenge, you have to be able, otherwise you get dishonest elections. What has taken place here is a travesty of justice. We did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong and everybody knows it. I never had such support and that goes with the other ones too. What they’re doing is election inference — they’re trying to interfere with an election. There’s never been anything like it in our country before. This is their way of campaigning. This is one instance but you have three other instances. It’s election interference. So I want to thank you for being here. We did nothing wrong at all and we have every single right to challenge an election that we think is dishonest and we think it’s very dishonest. So thank you all very much and I will see you very soon.

“Trump surrenders to authorities in Georgia” [The Hill]. “In a departure from prior court appearances, he arrived at the jail after standard business hours, making a prime-time entrance just after 7:30 p.m. a day after skipping the first Republican presidential debate. Trump is the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination. The Fulton County sheriff indicated that Trump did take a mug shot, which would be the first in any of Trump’s pending legal matters. Trump also surrendered at a jail, rather than a courthouse, and he is not set to be arraigned until a later date. Trump’s jail record indicates that his height was recorded at 6′ 3″ and his weight at 215 pounds. He was also given a prison identification number — P01135809 [musical interlude] — just like his co-defendants in the case who have already turned themselves in at the local jail. He was released a little over 20 minutes after a massive motorcade delivered him to the facility from the Atlanta airport. He is now traveling back to New Jersey where he spends the summers [ouch!].” • And speaking of motorcades, Yves flagged this video before it hit my feed. This looks like the original on Twitter (though not on Tik-Tok, where I do not, yet [sigh], have an account:

I’m not super-happy about the sourcing. But I can’t imagine a Republican operation would allow that yellow “Tax Service” sign in the background. And the teenagers sound pretty real. So maybe something interesting and real is going on here — “They arrested him, so he’s one of us” — disconcerting to the Bougies who run “the city too busy to hate.” Plus the Third World ambience looks legit. (When looking at a ton of Black Lives Matter videos back in the data, the decay of our infrastructure was evident in the background of every shot.) it would be irresponsible not to speculate! And–

“Black Voters Saved Biden in 2020. Democrats Now See a ‘Red Flag’ in Slipping Support” [The Messenger]. “A Quinnipiac University national poll released last week found Biden receiving 73% support from Black voters, compared to 20% for Trump in a hypothetical 2024 rematch. A poll conducted for Fox News released this month showed 61% of Black voters favoring Biden, compared to 20% for Trump. August surveys from Emerson College, Harris X/The Messenger, and YouGov/The Economist also showed similar results. That’s a significant shift, given exit polls found Biden won 87% of Black voters in 2020, compared to only 11% for Trump. Biden’s 76-percentage point margin, though ostensibly large, was still low for a Democratic nominee by recent standards. And for a party that needs outsized support and turnout from Black voters, it kept the 2020 Electoral College results close. Biden edged Trump then – as well as in most of the polls cited above – because he has relatively strong white voter support for a Democrat.”

* * *

More Trump’s interview with Tucker Carlson:

I whinged about the lack of a transcript yesterday, so I don’t do that again, save to note that it’s ridiculous that there’s no transcript of a newsworthy interview. It’s almost as if there’s some sort of censorship going on. In any case, I alluded to Trump’s comments on other candidates. Here he is on Biden (all transcription errors mine):

10:23 [CARLSON:] You don’t think he’s going to make it to November.

[TRUMP:] Well, I think he’s worse mentally than he is physically and physically he’s not exactly a triathlete, or any kind of an athlete. You look at him, he can’t walk to the helicopter, he, he walks — he can’t lift his feet out of the grass. You know it’s only two inches at the White House, right, it’s not a lot, but you watch him and it looks like he’s walking on toothpicks, and then you see him in the beach where he can’t lift a chair. You know those chairs are meant to be light, right? They’re like 2 ounces; lift them up, he can’t lift the chair, he can’t walk to the chair… I think he looks horrible at the beach, plus the beach doesn’t represent what a president’s supposed to be doing. You’re supposed to be working. You’re supposed to be getting us out of that horrible, horrible warl

Harsh, but fair. I think I overpunctuated the transcript; the best way to punctuate Trump is to follow James Joyce’s practice in Molly Bloom’s soliloquy: Nothing at all. Notice the amazing stream of consciousness shift from Biden’s walk to ending the war (!). NOTE I can’t find how long the grass on the White House lawn really is. If in fact it is two inches high, I don’t know whether Trump knows that because he’s a golfer, or because he had the lawn resodded.

* * *

“Transcripts (CNN News Central)” [CNN]. Van Jones: “I think people are concerned about Joe Biden. They really are. I mean, Democrats, they talk behind their hand. Nobody wants to go on TV and say it because we all like to be able to go to barbecues and house parties. But people are concerned. And I do think that anybody but Trump going up against someone like Biden, given some of Trump’s challenges recently, probably might have a good shot and could make that age an issue. The problem is, when you put Biden up against Trump, Trump has so many other issues, he’s not that much younger, that it becomes a little bit of a wash and then people just kind of go back to their respective corners.” • Well, what “adult in the room” doesn’t like to go to barbecues and house parties? C’mon, people. Let’s be reasonable.

* * *

“Newsom Ups Ante in Clash With School Boards” [RealClearPolitics]. “In Temecula, an area in southwest Riverside County, the school board adopted another policy, drawing deep opposition from the Newsom administration. In a 3-2 vote, the board approved a policy that requires the school district to quickly notify students’ parents if their children want to be identified by a gender other than what is shown on official records, which can entail using sports and locker-room facilities of their chosen gender. The policy mirrors one adopted earlier this month by nearby Murrieta Valley Unified School District and a policy that the board governing Chino Valley Unified School District approved last month. The school district must inform parents within 72 hours if their child requests to participate in gender-based sports or use a restroom that doesn’t match their previously declared gender. Monday’s move drew fire from California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who has launched civil rights investigations into several actions Temecula’s school board and others have taken over the last year. ‘The rise in school districts adopting policies that target LGBTQ+ student populations is of grave concern,’ Bonta said Wednesday. ‘My office is closely monitoring the situation and will not tolerate districts compromising the safety and privacy of transgender and gender nonconforming students. We will remain committed to ensuring school policies do not violate students’ civil rights.’ School board members and parents who back the measure reject the argument that they are targeting LGBTQ+ students for discrimination or privacy violations. They contend that they are standing up for parents’ rights to know what is happening with their children at school, especially regarding a major identity transformation such as a gender change.”

* * *

Pritzer keeps quietly checking boxes:

“Gov. Pritzker Addresses Food Deserts In Communities” [The Times Weekly]. “‘The Illinois Grocery Initiative is the latest expansion of our holistic approach to ensuring Illinois families can reach the big building blocks of a good life,’ said Governor Pritzker. ‘When our residents struggle to keep a roof over their head, can’t put food on the table, or have to choose between paying for basic medical care and keeping the lights on—that’s a failure of the system. That’s why I’m proud to sign—a first-of-its-kind $20 million investment to open or expand grocery stores in underserved rural towns and urban neighborhoods.’ Every community deserves fresh, nutrient-dense food.'”

“Illinois heat wave is the latest of several weather extremes in the state” [WGEM]. “A series of severe storms and flooding between June 29 and July 2 also drew the attention of the federal government, with President Joe Biden approving federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This assistance will go to individuals and businesses in Cook County and can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-interest loans to cover property losses. ‘Residents and businesses, especially those on the West Side of Chicago who were most brutally hit, are now able to access additional resources necessary to rebuild and revitalize, and I know Cook County will build back stronger than ever,’ Gov. JB Pritzker said in an August 15 news release.”

Then again:

“Following Tim Mapes’ conviction, lawmakers condemn his conduct, GOP renews call for reform” [Chicago Tribune]. “A spokesman for Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Mapes’ conviction ‘advances the cause of cleaning up state government and sends a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated in Illinois.’ Since taking office more than four years ago, Pritzker ‘has been clear about the need to root out corruption and instill transparency and honesty at every level of state government,’ spokesman Alex Gough said in a statement. But some good-government groups, along with a former legislative inspector general and some GOP lawmakers, have highlighted what they view as weaknesses with the Democratic-led measures, including that the changes don’t give the legislative inspector general enough independence to pursue allegations of misconduct by legislators.”

“Bally’s to test gaming operations at Medinah Temple after Labor Day, the final step before opening Chicago casino” [Dubai Tech News]. “Bally’s Chicago has scheduled practice gaming sessions at Medinah Temple for the Illinois Gaming Board after Labor Day. If it passes muster, the first Chicago casino — an idea decades in the making — may be open for business soon thereafter. The test run, which includes a gaming operations assessment on Sept. 5…. Earlier this month, Gov. J. B. Pritzker expanded the talent pool, signing legislation allowing convicted felons to apply for hospitality positions at the state’s soon-to-be 14 casinos, including Bally’s Chicago. Previously under state law, anyone with a felony conviction was ineligible to work at a casino in any position.” • Oh.

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.

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“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!

* * *


Handwashing dinosaurs:

Censorship and Propaganda

“Vulnerable Children Really Count” [Science-Based Medicine]. “One zombie myth spread by misinformation doctors is that COVID had a “”mortality rate of zero among children without a pre-existing medical condition such as leukemia.””  While deaths of children with “”no prior health issues”” are mercifully extremely rare, nearly every child in the US has contracted COVID.  A small percentage of a big number can be a big number, especially when it comes to largely preventable deaths of children. Moreover, most children felled by COVID had common, non-fatal conditions, namely obesity and asthma, not leukemia, though even this is not always a death sentence today. The tragic truth is that nearly all children who died of COVID were robbed of many decades of life, and of course, death is not the only bad outcome from COVID. So why were some doctors so eager to spread the easily-refutable fiction that only vulnerable children died from COVID? Why did they say this was “”good news“”? [Because they’re eugenicists.] I’m not a mind reader, but none of them seemed motivated to raise awareness about the conditions that left millions of children particularly vulnerable. They never launched a campaign to vaccinate children with obesity, or even leukemia for that matter. That would have been laudable. So would have an editorial titled “”The Importance of Protecting Vulnerable Children.”” Instead, it seemed the purpose of error-filled editorials titled “”The Flimsy Evidence Behind the CDC’s Push to Vaccinate Children“” was to convince parents: Your child has no risk. They don’t need the vaccine. COVID only kills children who are about to die anyways.” • Same with the anti-mask brigade; nothing about ventilation, or clean air.

Elite Maleficence

Filing this here for future reference. CDC was just as bad in 2009:

The fulsome congratulations remind me of Thomas Frank’s brilliant “Nor a Lender Be,” the opening salvo of Listen, Liberal!, which you should go read if you haven’t read the book,

* * *

Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data, August 24:

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. As we can see, the national flattening is due to the Midwest downward swoop:

There haven’t been any backward revisions so far. I thought I’d try to doublecheck the Biobot data, so I looked first at CDC’s wastewater map. (After CDC gamed the infamous “Green Map” so badly, I don’t trust them, but needs must*. In any case, I like Biobot’s graphs). As of August 21:

If I read the caption correctly — readers? — there would have to be a lot more blue in the Midwest to confirm Biobot’s downward swoop. I thought I’d look at Illinois, since it’s a large state, and Cook County, because it’s a big city:

But in Cook County, a downward swoop. So CDC neither confirms nor disconfirms Biobot. Readers? 

And just for grins, I thought I’d look at the Stanford Wastewater Scan project:

But it’s useless for my purposes; only two towns, out in the sticks.

NOTE * CDC’s traveler’s positivity data is less political; a voluntary program at airports, seemingly designed for post facto papers.

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 19:

Lambert here: Steady increase. (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.


NOT UPDATED I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive. Nevertheless, here’s bellwether New York City, data as of August 24:

Still getting worse. But how much worse?


NOT UPDATED Walgreens, August 21:

So, Walgreens is back in the game (and how the heck did that debacle happen? We breathlessly await the news coverage). The percentage of positives is the highest ever, though absolute numbers are still small relative to past surges.

From CDC, August 7:

Lambert here: This is the CDC’s “Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance” data, confirming the current surge, only two weeks late. Sure would be useful to know if there were any BA.2.86 in those samples, though!


Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, August 23:

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: 1,173,081 – 1,173,137 = -56 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). 

Lambert here: First negative number (!). Optimism?

Excess Deaths

The Economist, August 25:

Lambert here:  Back to almost daily. 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: “All hail the new EU law that lets social media users quiet quit the algorithm” [TechCrunch]. “Internet users in the European Union are logging on to a quiet revolution on mainstream social networks today: The ability to say ‘no thanks’ to being attention hacked by AI. Thanks to the bloc’s Digital Services Act (DSA), users of Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, ByteDance’s TikTok and Snap’s Snapchat can easily decline ‘personalized’ content feeds based on ‘relevance’ (i.e. tracking) — and switch to a more humble kind of news feed that’s populated with posts from your friends displayed in chronological order.” • I’m sure there are other issues with the DSA. But this is good. It’s amazing it took regulation to accomplish something so sane.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 43 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 45 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 25 at 12:59 PM ET. C’mon, Mr. Market! One way or the other!

Guillotine Watch

“The Titan Submersible Disaster Was Years in the Making, New Details Reveal” [Vanity Fair]. “As the world now knows, Stockton Rush touted himself as a maverick, a disrupter, a breaker of rules. So far out on the visionary curve that, for him, safety regulations were mere suggestions. ‘If you’re not breaking things, you’re not innovating,’ he declared at the 2022 GeekWire Summit. ‘If you’re operating within a known environment, as most submersible manufacturers do, they don’t break things. To me, the more stuff you’ve broken, the more innovative you’ve been.” • Well, capital seems to be doing pretty well at the breaking part.

Class Warfare

“Etiquette expert: The No. 1 place people still tip 20%—even though they don’t have to” [CNBC]. “Sure, most Americans report feeling negative about tipping, but service workers are earning exponentially more in gratuity than before the pandemic, according to payroll provider Gusto. From March 2020 to May 2023, hourly wages only rose 18%, compared with a 42% increase in tip earnings, the company found.” • They’re risking their lives in ill-ventilated death traps, so…. 

News of the Wired

“How to Drill Your Own Water Well” [Drill Your Own Well]. “You can drill your own shallow water well using PVC and household water hoses.   It is a cheap and effective way to dig your own shallow water well.  Water well drilling isn’t just for the pros with huge commercial drilling rigs.  Digging a water well yourself is both interesting and fun.” • Readers?

* * *

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 desert dog:

desert dog writes: “Award winning grasses at the county fair. They can really grow grass here. I think some of mine would have placed well but I keep my eyes closed.” This accords rather neatly with my fantasy that we should actively revert the Great Plains to prairie, and pay the inhabitants to take care of it.

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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. Random

      The proposed solution would ironically enough be better than elections.
      Randomly selecting officials is almost guaranteed to lead to better and more representative leaders.
      Of course it depends how the eligible candidates are selected…

      1. flora

        I think they’ll be selected from the WEF adjacent educated classes, right? If they were willing, (metaphorically speaking) to club Bernie like a baby seal in the regular selection process, they will never let a regular person near the levers of power, imo. Or, shorter, the PMC class becomes the PMA class: The Private Managerial Aristocracy. / ;)


      2. flora

        Elections done with hand marked paper ballots, counted in public, sounds like a better answer to me. / ;)

          1. flora

            What if we had more than 2 national parties allowed on all states’ ballots? This is another way of saying monopolizing the ballot by 2 parties should end, instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. / ;)

            Who, for instance, would be empowered to decide who is eligible to be included in a sortition process? And how democratically would they be chosen if not by election? / ;)

            1. Polar Socialist

              Then get rid of the plurality voting, it leads inevitably to a two-party system. Proportional representation would split up the two parties into 6-8 overnight.

            2. rowlf

              Every candidate that applies should be on the ballot. Most presidential elections have several hundred applying.

              1. scott s.

                My state is in the “national popular vote” compact, which, if it were ever to into effect, would make voting for president pretty much meaningless here.

        1. Random

          If you think that accurate counting of ballots is the issue with elections, sure.
          But that seems like the last thing to be worried about.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Voting important any more?

              Sure seems to me that small private clubs (the effing Major Political Parties) decide who actually ever gets on those sacred ballots, appointed from a minuscule pool of “sortition” candidates who are guaranteed by serial bribery to serve the interests of a tiny rotten destructive corrupt tranche of the polity. AOC is AOK, am I right?

              Voting, in the Empire, by whatever method, is just the anus at the end of the large intestine of the faux political legitimization bowel. Whatever comes out is just different colors and consistencies of excrement. All of it stinks and is full of pathogens.

              When I think of all the crap I learned in high school, the stuff in Civics and American History was the stinkiest of it all.

              1. flora

                Is the problem the law or in the corruption of the law? If the problem is in the corruption of the law then why trust the ideas of those who declare the law (and not the corruption) is the problem? / ;)

                (And I’m as frustrated as you with the current state of things.)

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Thanks doubly. Good read on sortition and I now have a backdoor link into the Web Archive which for some reason puts me into a perpetual captcha loop when I try to access their site.

    3. PelhamKS

      Harry Truman was, in a sense, almost picked at random through his political career. He distinguished himself in the Senate and did pretty well as president. Of course, he had a good deal of humility coming to high office, even as a county official, and as a result worked his behind off. But wouldn’t that tend to be true of citizens picked by sortition?

      I’ve always thought that various friends and colleagues I’ve known over the years (certainly not all of them, but still quite a few) would be far better in public office than the candidates I’ve generally voted for, or against.

      1. flora

        Truman was an interesting character. Kansas City’s Pendergast machine picked Truman and expected him to remain loyal to the machine. Pendergast, imo, never expected Truman to be an honest broker when he got into office. (An aside: in WWII, Japan surrendered to the US/Allied forces in Tokyo Bay on Sept.2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri. Truman was the Senator from Missouri before elevation to the VP slot.)

        1. flora

          adding: it must have come as a surprise to the machine when ol’ Harry turned out to have an honest streak and some gumption. /my 2 cents.

          1. flora

            adding, and going on too long, I know: Few Americans now alive remember the rule of machine politics in the US. It’s left to history buffs to remember the written history of that time.

            It’s my considered opinion that the WEF’s “elections are bad for democracy” is a seduction to return to the machine politics, the anti-populism of the early 20th century, on a much larger geographic scale. / my 2 cents.

            per Tom Frank, “The People, NO!”:

            “The backlash against populism typically comes down to us from the citadels of higher learning—from think tanks, university presses, and academic conferences—but it is not a disinterested literature of social science. Although they don’t like to acknowledge it, the anti-populists are combatants in this war, defending themselves against a perceived assault on their authority. Which is to say that anti-populism is an adversary proceeding. Our thought leaders relate to populism not so much as scholars but as a privileged class putting down a challenge to itself.”
            ― Thomas Frank, The People, No: The War on Populism and the Fight for Democracy

  1. Jason Boxman

    What’s interesting about hand washing is how programmed that is. I recall at the beginning — wow, I need a drink — of the Pandemic, being up in Boston, at networking events, on the subway, ect. and everyone stopped shaking hands or touching anything. It simply became verboten. And it seemed legit.

    Imagine if the CDC presented a truthful depiction of how SARS-COV-2 spreads, back when it had any public health legitimacy left. It might have made a difference.

    I washed my groceries for months. Months. Until July, at which point NC had been pointing out that it’s airborne probably for months, and I realized washing groceries isn’t useful.

    1. mrsyk

      Those were good times. I never washed the groceries, but after returning home from the weekly food shopping I would head straight to the basement and strip in front of the clothes washer.

    2. Tim

      Washing groceries and your hands is still useful to prevent infections. Contact is still a vector, it just isn’t the only one.

      If COVID is airborne (and it is), then it is also in droplets, on peoples hands and the surfaces they touched recently. Those things are not mutually exclusive.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > If COVID is airborne (and it is), then it is also in droplets, on peoples hands and the surfaces they touched recently. Those things are not mutually exclusive.

        With the exception of some possibilities in Chinese toilet facilities, I cannot recall a good study on fomite transmission. Certainly not on groceries, doorhandles, etc.

        1. mrsyk

          Studies or no, washing hands is a good practice considered common sense. Droplet goons have managed to weaponize it, wrapping their dogma around something your mom told you to do. “Do a good job and everything will be alright.”

          1. Objective Ace

            >washing hands is a good practice considered common sense.

            Not when doing so gives you a false sense of confidence and convinces the public things can return to normal

            1. JBird4049

              Could we not have accept that with Covid airborne transmission is key as is wearing a mask

              and fomites are still a possible means of transmission,

              along with all the many other older infectious, occasionally lethal, diseases still around, suggesting washing one’s hands is a good recommendation

              despite some people using other peoples’ prudent behavior to downplay the current, effectively endemic, pandemic affects

              all at the same time?

              Honestly, people who push hand washing over masks or air purification in order to stop mask wearing are not good, but to push against washing your hands because of their tactics is not good either. It is more difficult to push for masks first while still supporting hand washing, but it is the better choice, I think.

              1. JTMcPhee

                I got fully indoctrinated as a nurse in the correctness of hand washing and surface cleaning for infection control. Too many godlike MDs either disdained the precautions or ran a few drops of water over their fingertips. A few would glove but that was rare. Hospital-acquired disease and doctor-caused mortality are very big elephants in the room.

                Eugenics has become the master science.

                1. JBird4049

                  Ignoring 150 years of the settled, deeply researched medical understanding of infectious disease is a indication of the biological superiority of the upper class over the weak, degenerate lower classes, who are often called patients?

                  I would have it called examples of the Reverse Darwin Award or perhaps Reverse Social Darwinism.

                  Really, I am not sure that all of the superior ones are aware, forget self reflecting, enough to understand that they are practicing eugenics.

  2. Norwegian Batchelor Farmer

    re: restoring prairie,
    have you read Dr. Wes Jackson on this topic? (’94 Mac Arthur grantee!).

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      This is a video of Wes Jackson and Bob Jensen talking about their recent book, An Inconvenient Apocalypse. Wes is 90 or so, and is a regular Energizer Bunny.

    2. thousand points of green

      Wes Jackson wrote a book about that, called New Roots For Agriculture. Though his project was/is/remains finding perennial grain/seed/bean yielding plants which can be grown together as a man-made prairie analog and could be machine-harvested in one pass with the different beans, seeds and grains being sorted from eachother by being passes through a series of different mesh sized screens.

      Anyway, here is a link.

      and here is another.

      and here is a free download of the whole book.

      and for those who want to go url diving, here is a whole bunch of images of Wes Jackson and related things.

      1. Desert dog

        Another way of farming…. the back to the land method by healing it after abuse. I remember him and his ‘new’ ways back when I was starting my organic farm in the high desert of Nevada. He sure has expanded and his teaching is wonderful. check out the short video and get an idea of what is possible on land.

  3. Ranger Rick

    Sure, digging the well itself might be interesting and fun, but the permits involved are not. In Colorado for example the state has an interest in any movement of water, the quality of well construction, and even what that water is ultimately going to be used for.

    1. nippersdad

      Colorado sounds like it is extraordinarily strict about water resources. I seem to recall a post here a few years ago that said the state retained rights to all groundwater, and that you couldn’t even have water barrels from your roof. It sounded like a strange set-up then, and I doubt it has gotten better with the ensuing years of drought.

      1. thousand points of green

        If I lived in Colorado in a real detached house-and-yard of my very own, I might try getting around that law forbidding you to collect your own roofwater by directing all the roofwater into a little gardenscape pond. Make it look like a garden feature and stealth-dip water from it for your garden at night when hopefully no nosy neighbors are watching, and you might not be persecuted for it.

        1. nippersdad

          Also, too, using a graywater system to recharge your pond might work well, and avoid all of the regulatory and/or neighbor issues that might arise. But, really, what kind of regulatory system would allow for only owning property above the soil level? What is to prevent the state giving out licenses in your neighborhood for fracking your own ground?

          I’ve just never been able to wrap my head around buying land you have no real control over.

          1. Janie

            In some states mineral rights are reserved by previous owners. Oklahoma is one where I have experience .

      2. The Rev Kev

        There was a French water corporation in South America that forced a government to change the laws so that any water that fell from the sky onto a roof and into a barrel essentially belonged to them as if it had been pumped in by a water pipe. It did not end well for that government.

        1. Hoody

          In the early 2000’s drought in my part of Oz the main weir dropped to 2%. One of the farmers had many years before dug multiple small dams, so when the weir fell some water was left. When the water board found out they issued him a fine. He said he was more than willing to pay as soon as the water board paid him a fee for storing the water….funny how the water storage fee was the same amount as the fine. No further action was taken.

      3. Retired Carpenter

        The issue is addressed quite well in:

        Under House Bill 16-1005, rain barrels can only be installed at single-family households and multi-family households with four (4) or fewer units. A maximum of two (2) rain barrels can be used at each household and the combined storage of the 2 rain barrels cannot exceed 110 gallons. Rain barrels can only be used to capture rainwater from rooftop downspouts and the captured rainwater must be used on the same property from which the rainwater was captured, for only outdoor purposes, including to water outdoor lawns, plants and/or gardens. Rain barrel water cannot be used for drinking or other indoor water uses.

        It is important for rain barrel users to understand that the capture and use of rainwater using rain barrels does not constitute a water right. HB16-1005 includes language that could result in the State Engineer curtailing the use of individual rain barrels if a water right holder can prove that those rain barrels have impacted their ability to receive the water that they are entitled to by virtue of their water right.”
        Very interesting reading.

    2. Steve H.

      > It will almost definitely work if you live near the coast and will likely work if you live in a flat inland area

      Technique selects for sedimentary soils, not so much through bedrock. Ranger Rick’s point is a good one, though soil type can be non-independently associated with regulatory style.

    3. Bsn

      Yes, be careful. Digging a well “under the table” can become costly if done without permits and you are found out. The local water board can put you on a list and just drive by keeping an eye out for: improper carport; tree trimming needs around power poles; wastewater and drainage they don’t agree with; garage conversions, etc.
      Be subtle and keep your voice down. Reminds me of the days when weed was illegal. Also, when you get the water tested (it may taste good but, ahem) don’t give away where your source is. Often engineers know the region and can tell where the water being tested is from just by its characteristics.

    4. scott s.

      Here in Hawaii you can withdraw water from a well or catchment for domestic use without a permit, but you do need a permit to drill a well. Any other water use requires going through the water commission.

  4. nippersdad

    Not about drilling wells per se, but the last time we had a water line put in they used a hydraulic drill that wasn’t all that much different to the process described here. It was remarkably efficient and fast with none of the disturbed roots that one usually sees in such installations. I could see it working, but part of having an efficient well is it also having a large reservoir to draw from. I don’t know how one could create that kind of reservoir this way, much less line it so that it would not ultimately collapse.

    1. Steve H.

      Many soil types won’t collapse, and a consolidated sandy soil with good hydraulic conductivity can allow refill from a large area. So the techniques usefulness is unevenly distributed.

      1. nippersdad

        I agree. I feel like there should be some caveats in the shallow well idea, because it discusses only going down to the water table. If you live down in a hole that might work because the water table is constantly pressing upon it and you might even end up with some kind of artesian effect, but on the side of a hill, much less at the top of one, you will definitely require a reservoir of some type. At the top of a hill the water table can vary dramatically, and it just doesn’t matter how much conductivity you have if you are limited to what is in the straw without much recharge capability.

        Ours is concrete lined, bored into in red clay on top of rotten granite, goes down fifty feet, is three feet across and yet it is still not very reliable. I can see a lot of people getting all excited about this being a week end project and then having nothing but a big ol mess to show for it.

    2. desert dog

      I dug a well back in the early 80s using a Hydro drill which was a motor attach to the standing drill pipe with a pump that fed water down that 1 1/2#pipe. There were sections of that pipe that are 10 ft long and I would just add more pipe when needed. This was done on flat land in bottom of a big valley. I went down 80ft with water level at 50ft. worked well with a hand pump. I didn’t ask permission just did it and it worked well.
      The motor worked well to turn the pipe but doing it by hand would have worked too, just taken longer.

    3. Carolinian

      Where I live Duke is in the process of burying the electrical lines and they sometimes use a horizontal driller with a big water tank attached. This doesn’t always work though and junctions are needed so they still have to dig a lot of trenches.

  5. nippersmom

    I’d really like to see someone try to dig a well in our hard Georgia clay with PVC pipe and a garden hose. I’m not dismissing it out of hand as impossible, but it certainly wouldn’t be fun.

    1. Wukchumni

      You’re bound to hit a boulder, rock or perhaps 17 of them in the first 50 feet down here, digging to China* with a PVC pipe and garden hose might be easier.

      * got about 3 feet down when I was 5, filled it up with water from the hose and called it good.

  6. fjallstrom

    The argument over the third section of the 14th amendment to the US constitution seems to be losing steam, but figuring it will come back, I went online to read the amendment in question.

    Wikipedia is usually pretty good at historical stuff, as long as it is far back anough to rarely be politically relevant today, so that seemed like a good starting point. I got pretty surprised when I read:

    Section 3 does not specify how it is to be invoked, but Section 5 says Congress has enforcement power. Accordingly, Congress enforced Section 3 by enacting the Enforcement Act of 1870, the pertinent portion of which was repealed in 1948; there is still a current federal statute (18 U.S.C. § 2383) that was initially part of the Confiscation Act of 1862 (and revised in 1948), disqualifying insurrectionists from federal office.[194]

    That doesn’t look like a self-enforcing clause, that looks like an enforced clause. The federal statute 18 U.S.C. § 2383 reads (from Cornell Law School):

    Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    Now I am no scholar on the US constitution, and I can’t claim to have folllowed every argument on this issue, but if the US congress passed an act in 1870 that states fine, imprisonment and barred from office as punishments for rebellion or insurrection, then you need to be found guilty first, no? Then again, it feels odd that I would just stumble upon this doing some light reading on the 14th amendment of the US constitution when there has been a whole deabte raging in US media. Asking fellow commenters, who might know: has this been brought up in the debate in the US, and has it been found irrelevant?

    1. scott s.

      It is interesting if you read the 1870 Act, Section 14 references the Amendment and specifically exempts members of Congress and state legislatures (doesn’t refer to P/VP) from the enforcement, which is an after-the-fact action by the US District Attorney through writ of quo warranto to the US District or Circuit Court. [16Stat.143]

      In Section 15, a person who “knowingly” accepts or hold any office subject to Amendment prohibition can be charged with a misdemeanor.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    Bad weather in Chicago…and Cleveland–

    It doesn’t say if the West side of Chicago was hit by a tornado or just strong winds, but we had a tornado last night on the East Side of Cleveland. Just an EF1, but a tornado nonetheless. It was about a mile away from us to the south and a little east, promenading down the two major streets connecting downtown with the medical centers, Case University and the arts district. The most visible damage was to a church that lost part of its roof and a gable. The tornado pulled up just before it would have hit Cleveland Clinic’s main campus.

    The instance prompted an article about when tornadoes have hit Cleveland previously, and it looks like half a dozen times in the last 50 years. So tornadoes are unusual here unlike where I grew up around K. C.

  8. Lee

    News you could have used:

    Your Guide To Conquering History’s Greatest Catastrophes by Cody Cassidy

    I listened to a 17 minute interview with the author on Science Friday. If the book is half as engaging as the interview, it’s probably worth reading.

  9. chris

    Re: well digging as described in the link…

    First, it matters what you’re going to be using the water for. If it’s for gardening, filling a pool, etc. A lot of what you would have to be concerned about for potable domestic water supply isn’t critical. If it’sfor drinking or supplying appliances you will need more than just a pump. You’ll need well tanks and pressure switches and other important equipment to manage the water in your new system. Figure out what you need it for and how to manage that before you start playing with wells.

    Second, you need to know where you should even start looking to put holes in the ground. If your property is adjacent to industrial areas, farms, downstream of septic fields, etc. you have additional concerns to worry about. Local codes and ordinances will tell you what the required setbacks are and where you’re allowed to site the well. Most of the time following those guidelines keeps you out of trouble. Even with that, I’d recommend getting the water tested for bacteria and heavy metals before drinking it.

    Third, have a plan for where the water will go and what the effect will be from pumping it up. Well collapse, sink holes, all kinds of fun things can happen when you mess with local hydrology.

    Fourth, have a plan for handling contamination. Wells are supposed to be capped to protect against intrusion of nasty stuff. If you see black or brown colored water coming up from the well that could mean your casing has an opening in it or some other source of contamination is entering well. Hopefully no untreated water or sewage is collecting in the well. Depending on how you do it, you can probably drop shock tablets into the well.

    Fifth, permitting is important. As mentioned above, neglecting to engage the local authorities correctly could really cost you. Check all the local regs before you do this.

    I’ve lived in places supplied by well water off and on my whole life. Our current home is supplied by a well with septic for waste. It is not a cheap way to do things because you have to carry enough money or credit to handle the consequences of your well failing. There are multiple points of failure too. It pays to keep at least one extra well pump on hand because they’re not cheap. Expansion tanks for wells can cost $1000+ too with installation. You need to consider having at least 3k$ on hand to handle well and septic emergencies. The last time I had a municipal water bill it was a pittance. Less than $30/month. And if there was an issue on their side of the system they came out to fix it. That’s not a bad deal! Very worrying to hear people may be considering the use of wells to relieve the monthly cost of municipal water utility bills.

    1. scott s.

      Here we are on municipal sewer which is charged based on water use. The big expense isn’t the water, it’s the associated sewer. That’s why HI is no. 1 for cesspools.

  10. ChrisRUEcon

    > Patient readers, I’m sorry I’m a bit light on Covid today, but I’m pressed temporally. –lambert

    Tut, tut, Lambert … stop selling yourself short, good man. Vibes akin to the God of Genesis resting on the 7th 5th day … :)

    Lots of good stuff to comment on nevertheless!

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      #COVID19 #BIOBOT

      > But in Cook County, a downward swoop. So CDC neither confirms nor disconfirms Biobot. Readers?

      Here’s an interesting exercise, along the lines of looking for proxies: Cook County has two major airports: ORD (O’Hare) and MDW (Midway). There’s a lot of in transit traffic that can be accounted for by their presence. My feeling is that the June uptick in the midwest can be viewed as a travel-transit-hub bump. For O’Hare, I found this wonderful website: Statistics For Chicago O’Hare Airport.

      Lots of good data/info:
      • Summer flight travel peaks in June/July and then tapers. Could that explain the Biobot graph?
      • Biggest number of flights come from La Guardia. Can totally see how COVID skips across the pond, and then stops in Chicago on the way to Boulder or some such destination.
      • 80/20 split on Domestic v International … but I suspect that “International” means direct into ORD.
      • Canada (Toronto) is #1 international destination … China (Shanghai) is #2 … found that surprising.

      In any case … perhaps I have made a case that in-transit or arriving passengers who can’t hold it till they arrive at their final destination are contributing to high COVID wastewater levels in Cook County and other mid-western cities/counties that are home to air-transit hubs.

  11. Amfortas the Hippie

    regarding the “third world look” of that trump convoy video:
    i lived in South Austin(trailer park on oltorf, by the tracks, close to lamar) for 3 years, 30 years ago…and spent way too much time in San Antonio, during Wife’s Cancer Adventure.
    parts of town that look like that are where ordinary worker folks live.
    hard scrabbling to get by…and with all their many pathologies, often displayed for all to see.
    honest, in a sense.
    contrast that with the San Antonio Medical Center Area…shining, gleaming, well manicured…but in the vacant lot, where the sign says another doctors’ office is going in…is a young forest…and on my walks to starbucks or Whataburger at 3 or 4 am to get great quantities of real coffee….and not lose my long term parking space…i’d see people camping in there…in that young forested vacant lot.
    i’d bring them pastries and such.
    only noticed them because i was walking at that hour.

  12. Amfortas the Hippie

    in other word, dear lambert, if only that much decay gets yer dander up, you need to take a tour of your country…Blue Highways(Leatheatmoon), and all.
    we are much further down the slope than you infer.
    i could show you things.
    even way out here.
    Arnade has the threads of this great sheet…but he doesn’t go far enough with his…otherwise admirable…safari.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      > Arnade has the threads of this great sheet

      Good call out, Amfortas … I too thought or Arnade w.r.t. Africans Americans supporting Trump. If I recall correctly (abbrevated as IIRC) the African American dude with the dreadlocks featured flipping off the camera here (via americancompass.com) pretty much told Chris he voted for Trump … ;-)

      It’s amazing to see a society inundated in “influencer” culture sorting itself out into bizarre brand associations. “Indictment” is now a brand, and by golly, Trump’s got it! If you think I’m smoking too much sensi’, never forget that Martha Stewart was reborn after her prison stint in a for-the-ages link-up with Snoop-Dogg.


      “Book ’em Danno” never felt so good! LOL (via youtube)

      1. The Rev Kev

        “Indictment” is now a brand’

        Could be. In the old British Empire among the colonial subjects like the Indians, you weren’t considered serious unless at one point you had been imprisoned by the British. That was like a brand that and proved that you were serious, even if it had been only for a short spell. So it got to the point where these young guys were running around looking for ways to get locked up by the British if they wanted a future political career and many of the leaders of postcolonial British countries had a police record with the British.

      2. ChiGal

        or, being kids, they got a kick out of chanting “free ____” for someone as rich, white, and otherwise untouchable as Trump.

  13. Amfortas the Hippie

    in other news:
    So there’s this chick at the feedstore.
    Id guess early to mid 30’s…dark hair, hispanic, slimmish and shapely…but with, what I finally grokked, mannerisms and cheekbones and a nose that reminds me of my late Wife, when we first met,27 years ago..
    Chatty…almost flirty…as she takes my blind ass who forgets his glasses around the inside part to get the shit I need.
    Been thinking about her for some time.
    Made some inquiries,but through networks I am not used to…ie: not Wife’s Familia…which is the only jungle drum/chisme network im really plugged in to.
    So today, I was in there getting a bunch of shit for mom…chattier than usual…giddy, almost.
    So I made an excuse to go back to town…go in there…let her do her thing, leading me around and bantering to whatever I was after…and I asked, “i dont suppose you’re single…?”
    and she didnt bat an eye…turned around and smiled, said, “awwww…”
    and then,”actually, I just got engaged.”
    and I, in Marcus Aurelius Mode, sez,” congratulations, I wish yall well”…her:”yer, sweet…”…and not in that fakey way. dont grok she’s fake, at all,in that manner.
    then I sez,”can’t never could, till try came along”

    the point is not the shooting down, here…it is the having of sufficient Balls to ask a girl 20years my junior her relationship status…the obvious next thing being…”want a steak?”

    and me missing four teeth… front ,bottom, center…between the canines…lol…as well as smelling of goat…and sweat…and being covered in dust….
    And having nothing to offer such a woman, but my wit, my forbearance, my kindness and my frelling Ark.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        “caint never could ,til Try came along” is one of the mantras they drilled into my Youngests” head when he was in Headstart…and it stuck in my brain,for right now, i guess….

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Sweet story, Amfortas. Womanliness – their grace, gestures, laughter, movement – is mesmerizing.

    2. griffen

      Being generally polite and kind on most days, it is said that “nice guys” finish last…Congrats on having the stones to suggest that indeed you have interest…Use em or Lose em…

      Now I’m thinking of the speech from Connery in the Rock…Winners go home with the prom queen. He puts it more emphatically in the unedited film!

      1. The Rev Kev

        To which Stanley Goodspeed shut him down saying: ‘Carla *was* the prom queen.’

        John Mason: ‘Really?’

        Stanley Goodspeed : [cocks his gun] ‘Yeah.’

  14. The Rev Kev

    “All hail the new EU law that lets social media users quiet quit the algorithm”

    Sounds good but it is only a matter of time till Silicon Valley leans on Biden to make them reverse that law under threat of some sort of sanction. It has happened in the recent pass.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘Trump’s mugshot’-

    And already there is some body language expert saying that it ‘indirectly leaks a little bit of fear.’ I look at that photo and it says that I am going after the people that are doing this, no holds barred. The only surprise for me is that Trump’s recorded weight is only a few more kilograms than myself and I am not a beefy guy at all. In videos he always looks big and solid and so you would assume he would be a heavy weighter-


      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        could be… but it doesnt matter
        dudes already won.
        everything “The Left”(sic) does after this, only makes him more powerful.
        it infects everything.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      > … there is some body language expert saying that it ‘indirectly leaks a little bit of fear.’

      LOL … lemme guess, the “expert” is opining from MSNBC/CNN/WaPo/NYT/etal?!

      Consent-manufacturing goons they all are … they’re like the same ones who laughed when Keith Ellison said, “take Trump seriously, he could win” in 201[5|6]; or that woman who showed up on TV one evening to say Bernie Sanders “made her skin crawl” – another “body language expert”.

      They’re all gonna be crying into their Chardonnay November next year …

    2. nippersdad

      I wonder how long it will take him to put that mugshot number on some campaign merch. It would be edgy.

        1. ChrisRUEcon


          Trump’s gonna out-raise the rest of the GOP field in aggregate with this … =)

  16. Tom Stone

    There’ no accounting for Women’s taste in Men and a “Faint heart never fair maiden won.”
    I turned 70 today and if I can get my right hip fixed I’ll be looking for someone in their 40’s who is smart, cute and funny to feed and amuse.

  17. Jason Boxman

    Finally banned from Twitter for commenting on that horrendous video from Mandy about washing your hands to avoid COVID, by mentioning I look forward to hearing about her upcoming COVID infection. Oops. This is apparently hate speech, but I thought COVID was harmless, and over, guess not. I spent too much time doom scrolling Twitter anyway; Somehow I managed to live decades without ever using it, I can somehow manage again.

    It’s absolutely chocked full of ads these days; I’ve never seen so many ads. An annoying Samsung one that won’t go away, lots of sports betting, some Disney movie series? Whatever.

    Can’t use it to harass brands anymore for support either; you have to pay to be able to DM anyone unless they follow you or you pay for a blue check. That was the only real value I ever found in it. Maybe I can do this on Faceborg’s already dead Twitter clone.

    Stay safe out there, and don’t listen to Maskless Mandy!

    1. kareninca

      You can still read tweets by using nitter. And there are no ads. Since I don’t send tweets, but just read them, I much prefer it.

  18. flora

    Wren song. If you need an early wake-up call and don’t like an alarm clock’s buzzing or clanging sound, then place a wren house close to your bedroom window for a spring and summer month’s wake-up call. Those tiny tiny little birds have enormously loud sounding songs. They will wake you up at just before sunrise. / ;)

  19. Acacia

    Another one for the crapification file:

    Reloaded this NC page and the embedded YT vid for “More Trump’s interview with Tucker Carlson”…

    …is now an endless capcha, stuck in a loop, attempting to confirm sentience.

    I can open YT fine in other browser windows.


  20. skippy

    Bawhahhha ….

    Consider South Dakota. It has a Republican supermajority. As one of the most conservative states in the Union, in fact, it has had a Republican supermajority since 1996. Yet it regularly fails to pass bills that oppose gender ideology. HB 1057 would have prohibited sex-change surgeries and drugs for children. SB 88 would have required teachers to inform parents when students express feelings of gender dysphoria. HB 1005 would have required students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex. These and other such bills failed to make it out of the legislature. Why?

    The largest employer in South Dakota (seven times larger than the second) is Sanford Health. The company sells puberty blockers and performs gender-reassignment surgeries. Together with the Transformation Project—a trans-rights advocacy group that boasts donations from a national LGBTQ foundation as well as a famous pop singer—Sanford Health hosted the 3rd Annual Midwest Gender Identity Summit in Sioux Falls. Sanford, the Transformation Project, and the ACLU have successfully lobbied the legislature to block dozens of bills opposing gender ideology. The campaign director of the ACLU boasted: “I think the fact that we have consistently stopped these bills has been a source of hope for folks, like if they can do it in South Dakota, we can do it in our state.” – snip

  21. skippy

    This is just so your patch Lambert …

    II. Competing for Status within the New Civic Religion

    There has no doubt been some money to be made by associating woke politics with the brand of some corporations, especially those whose customers are already woke. But what about Bud Light? Presenting Dylan Mulvaney as the face of Bud Light, one of the icons of Red America, can’t have been motivated simply by profit.

    Something else is going on. In a word, status. The executive who made that decision is not a consumer of Bud Light, let alone a Republican. She is a typical member of theelite class that now manages every major institution in the country, from corporations to universities, from NGO’s to Hollywood, from the media to the civil service.

    To gain status in this class, one must signal its values. The higher the cost of the signal, the more status one achieves in the class. The career of that Budweiser executive is not over because she alienated many of its most loyal customers. On the contrary, she’s being celebrated for her “bravery” and will end up with a corner office, if not at Budweiser, then at some other corporation. Failing that, she’ll land on her feet in an NGO, a school of marketing, or somewhere in the bureaucracy. Ultimately it doesn’t matter where she lands because positions within this class are more or less interchangeable. When members of this class make decisions within their institutions, they are not usually rewarded for accomplishing the official mission of their institution (e.g., selling beer), but instead for demonstrating fidelity to this class and its ideology (e.g., trans rights). – https://www.postliberalorder.com/p/constitutions-old-and-new?utm_source=post-email-title&publication_id=557283&post_id=135916818&isFreemail=true&utm_medium=email

    1. skippy

      Who comes to mind first in the political in that observation and then check the rest of the boxes afterwards … wheeee ~~~~~

  22. CuriosityConcern

    Lambert, with the greatest respect, I would argue that hand hygiene for Healthcare workers is of importance. I’ve seen observational audits and it isn’t what you’d want or expect.
    Is there a chance of error in those audits? yes.
    But there is evidence through other pathways that hospital patients are subject to challenges not of their own volition. There are other nosocomial bugs than COVID.

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