2:00PM Water Cooler 9/20/2023

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Rusty Mouse-Warbler, Mt. Hagen; Baiyer River Sanctuary, Western Highlands, Papua New Guinea. “I have heard this species mimic during territorial disputes. The species mimicked in this are: Coracina morio, Coracina boyeri(?), Dicrurus hottentottus, Merops ornatus(?), Cacomantis variolosus, Halcyon sp., Rhipidura rufiventris, Eudynamis scolopacea.” From 1975!

“Showcasing the spectacle of bird migration” [BirdCast]. • I’m not a stone birder, so I don’t already know about this. Cornell Lab of Ornithology involved, which is nice. Includes maps and many charts.

* * *


“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

“States Can Enforce Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment without Any New Federal Legislation” (PDF) [Free Speech for the People]. From Section IV (citations omitted):

In 2022 a New Mexico state court applied Section Three, pursuant to the state quo warranto statute, and removed Couy Griffin, a county commissioner, from office for engaging in the Capitol insurrection. See New Mexico ex rel. White v. Griffin… No special federal legislation was needed. Similarly, Georgia adopted Worthy’s approach in addressing a Section Three ballot challenge against Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. See Rowan v. Raffensperger… .While the administrative law judge overseeing the state proceeding (like the Louisiana Supreme Court in Downes) ultimately concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish that Representative Greene engaged in insurrection on January 6th, 2021, he specifically followed Worthy and adjudicated the Section Three question on the merits. Neither the administrative law judge, nor the state courts on appellate review, nor the federal court that rejected Greene’s efforts to enjoin the state proceeding… ever questioned the state’s authority to enforce Section Three—let alone suggested that the challenge could not even be adjudicated absent a specific Act of Congress authorizing the challenge. See, e.g., Greene, 599 F. Supp. 3d at 1319 (“”Plaintiff has pointed to no authority holding that a state is barred from evaluating whether a candidate meets the constitutional requirements for office or enforcing such requirements””). The actions of these courts comport with the holding of Judge (now Justice) Gorsuch that “”a state’s legitimate interest in protecting the integrity and practical functioning of the political process permits it to exclude from the ballot candidates who are constitutionally prohibited from assuming office.”” Hassan v. Colorado, 495 Fed. App’x 947, 948 (10th Cir. 2012) (Gorsuch, J.) (rejecting challenge to state’s exclusion of a naturalized presidential candidate from ballot).13 Nothing materially differentiates Section Three from other constitutional qualifications for office, or from other questions under the U.S. Constitution that state courts routinely adjudicate without a special act of Congress instructing them to do so when the question properly arises in a state law proceeding.

Quoting Gorsuch. Cheeky!

* * *

“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), this has been more of my continuing coverage of Section Three.

Biden Administration

“Biden, Lula to launch partnership on workers’ rights amid labor strikes in U.S.” [The Hill]. “President Biden and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will launch the U.S.-Brazil Partnership for Workers’ Rights on Wednesday, with the goals of advancing workers’ rights and stopping worker exploitation. The focus on workers’ rights from Biden comes as the United Auto Workers began its historic strike against the Big Three automakers Friday, when the sides failed to successfully negotiate a new contract. The Biden administration has been involved with pushing both sides to reach a deal, and Biden has deployed officials to Detroit to help with a solution. When asked about the timing of the announcement with Brazil amid the automaker strike, as well as the ongoing writers strike, a senior administration official said, ‘nothing about this initiative should be interpreted as discouraging or limiting the right to strike.'” • Interesting idea, though don’t we have the ILO and the AFL-CIO (granted, infested by spooks) for this?  


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“What the Polls Say Today: Trump’s Rivals Need a New Strategy, Fast” [Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine]. “So today, four months before the voting phase of the contest begins, Trump’s level of support in the national RealClearPolitics polling averages has reached an all-time high of 56.6 percent. DeSantis is at an all-time low of 12.7 percent in the same averages, and nobody else is above the mid-single digits (Trump’s trusty wingman Vivek Ramaswamy is third at 7.2 percent). The increasingly compelling question, then, is how, exactly, do Trump’s rivals think they’re going to bring him down? All the ways in which he was supposed to have self-destructed by now have turned out to be illusions. And nobody other than the increasingly feeble DeSantis has ever been in a position to serve as anything other than a minor nuisance to the 45th president.” And: “[A]t this point, GOP primary voters actually believe Trump is their most electable candidate, and the polls don’t contradict that assumption, either. All in all, the candidates hoping to supplant Trump need to quickly come up with new and direct criticisms of the front-runner that primary voters can buy, or find ways to make themselves incandescently appealing. The time for hoping Trump will defeat himself has passed.” • Hilarity ensues. Do you see any “incandescently appealing” Republican candidates?

* * *

“There’s a simple answer to questions about Biden’s age. Why won’t Democrats say it?” [Perry Bacon, WaPo]. The lead: “The answer to questions about Biden’s age is simple: ‘Yes, there’s a chance Vice President Harris becomes president — and that would be fine.'” No, it very wouldn’t, though Bacon gives it the ol’ college try: “If you are talking to a friend who is undecided or probably voting for Biden, but worried about him being so old, try something like this: “”President Biden is flying around the world, giving long speeches and making tons of complicated decisions. He’s very up to the job right now. I hope and expect he will be able to serve his full four-year second term if reelected. That said, he’s 80 — so no one can promise he will be in great health in 2028. But Vice President Harris of course could step in if needed. She has plenty of experience — and the presidency isn’t a single person anyway. All of the people helping Biden would be by her side, too. And a President Harris would be much better than a President Trump.” • So, summarizing, we should vote for Biden’s staff? Really? The same people who got us into a losing proxy war with Russia and killed more people than Trump with Covid?

“Spinning the Press on Hunter Biden” [Lee Fang, RealClearInvestigations]. A very good review. “During President Obama’s second term, then-Vice President Joe Biden was the administration’s point man on the nation’s policy toward Ukraine, a perch he used to urge the country to resist ‘the cancer of corruption’ and enact sweeping ethics reforms. At the time, some American journalists began to question whether the vice president’s stern message was undermined by his son Hunter Biden’s employment at the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, which was owned by a notorious local oligarch. Emails on Hunter’s laptop reveal that the inquiries sparked an internal debate within his team of consultants and public relations agents. Ultimately, they devised a series of responses about Hunter’s work with Burisma that were, at best, misleading and, at worst, outright falsehoods. The Biden team has constructed a careful image of Hunter Biden’s business ventures, sometimes employing a sophisticated myth-making operation aided by allies in the media who rarely challenged or investigated their false claims. The laptop emails show that the team closely monitored critical reporting and pushed to shape coverage with reporters from the New York Times, Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press. Their spin informed much of the ensuing coverage in the mainstream press, defusing the issue, even as President Trump and other Republicans insisted that Ukraine was a hotbed of Biden family corruption. Although he had no background in the energy field and little experience in corporate governance, Hunter Biden, who had a law degree, was appointed to the board of Burisma in May 2014. It was revealed later that he was paid about $1 million per year – as was his business partner Devon Archer.”

* * *

“Oliver Anthony’s Remedy for the ‘Rich Men North of Richmond'” [Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., RFK, Jr.’s Policies + Politics]. “Oliver Anthony’s anthem captures the overwhelming sense of despair among our working poor as they watch the American Dream disintegrate along with any hope that their children will lead better lives. ‘I’ve been sellin’ my soul, workin’ all day / Overti me hours for bullshit pay / So I can sit out here and waste my life away / Drag back home and drown my troubles away.’ Oliver’s song is an anthem of angst representing hitherto invisible men in a declining empire whose dream has become a nightmare. His song vividly depicts the nexus of state and corporate power that resides inside the D.C. Beltway, 110 miles north of Richmond. Oliver understands how this power complex has systematically strip-mined Americans of their equity, their hope, even their sanity. Those in power have made a mockery of our claim to being the world’s exemplary democracy, and Oliver calls out the totalitarian flavor of economic oligarchy: These “”rich men north of Richmond”” who are steadily shifting wealth upwards want, in his words, ‘total control,’ these men who ‘wanna know what you think, wanna know what you do.'” That’s the stuff to give the troops! And: “Oliver sees America’s crisis as a class war, and he is distressed by the identity politics that keep the working poor locked in orchestrated conflict with each other: Left vs. Right, Republican vs. Democrat, Black vs. White.” Then again: “Oliver described this project during his recent podcast with Jordan Peterson.” • Oy. I guess you have to meet people where they are, but oy,

* * *

“How to Think Like a Philosopher” [Cornel West (Amfortas the Hippie)]. The deck: “Cornel walks you through his personal philosophy, explaining how applying critical thinking can help you navigate your everyday interactions and become a deeper thinker.” Sounds like West — this is not an endorsement — would be looked on with favor by NC readers! From the sample transcript:

Socrates is a figure that the Greeks call a tapos. A tapos Means unclassifiable, unsubsumable. There’ll never be one label that fully accounts for who he was. Socrates exemplified a way of being, a way of living in the centrality of questioning, interrogating, scrutinizing in a quest for truth. The mentor, the master– he used to have masterclasses right there in the public space. He used to have the young folks sit, and he would ask, what is justice– as in ‘Republic’; what is courage in the ‘Laches;’ what is knowledge in the ‘Theaetetus’– these elenchus forms of inquiry– what is, what is, what is?

So he went around and asked these questions of the people he thought were the wisest…

(Elenchus is the Socratic method.) West’s students must have been very, very lucky to have him as a teacher. (And if I were West’s campaign manager — Yo, Peter Daou! — I’d be getting testimonials from some of those students and running them as a campaign ad.()

* * *

* * *

* * *

Republican Funhouse

“Why McCarthy’s margin matters” [CNN]. “McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican members on a House vote, depending on how many overall lawmakers are voting. To pass most Republican priorities, he needs to win the support of both far-right Republicans as well as the moderates in districts President Joe Biden won in 2020.” • Handy chart:

“House GOP bridge-burners are eyeing the exits” [Axios]. • “Exits” like: To CNN, as state AG, governor, Senator, as Trump’s VP, or in his cabinet.

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.

* * *

“Where Has All the Left-Wing Money Gone?” [Michelle Golderg, The New York Times]. “Panic is setting in among some progressive groups because the donors who buoyed them throughout the Trump years are disengaging. ‘Donations to progressive organizations are way down in 2023 across the board,’ said a recent memo from Billy Wimsatt, executive director of the Movement Voter Project, an organization founded in 2016 that channels funds to community organizers, mostly in swing states, who engage and galvanize voters…. As both big and small donors pull back, there have been layoffs across the progressive ecosystem, from behemoths like the Sierra Club to insurgent outfits like Justice Democrats… This isn’t just about political operatives losing their jobs: It means that organizations that should be building up their turnout operations for next year are instead having to downsize. And it speaks to a mood of liberal apathy and disenchantment that Democrats can’t afford ahead of another grueling election.” Interestingly, I’m not the only one that hates Mothership Strategies: “One small, characteristic piece of this problem — and perhaps the easiest part to solve — involves the way Democrats use email. If you’re on any progressive mailing lists, you surely know what I’m talking about: the endless appeals, sometimes in bold all caps, warning of imminent Democratic implosion. (Recent subject lines in my inbox include, ‘We can kiss our Senate majority goodbye’ and ‘This is not looking good.’) In the short term, these emails are effective, which is why campaigns use them. Over time, they encourage a mix of cynicism and helplessness — precisely the feelings leading too many people to withdraw from political involvement.”

“Lawsuit Unearths Link Between Dem Megadonor SBF, Parents, and Democratic Dark Money Behemoth Arabella Advisors” [Washington Free Beacon]. “The father of disgraced cryptocurrency kingpin Sam Bankman-Fried sat on the advisory board of the liberal dark money behemoth Arabella Advisors and likely had access to the group’s funds, a federal lawsuit filed against Bankman-Fried’s parents on Tuesday charged….. The suit also reveals that FTX had a special arrangement with the largest Arabella affiliate, the New Venture Fund, through which the crypto trading firm and its donors could contribute to ‘select charitable causes.’…. Arabella’s network of five nonprofit funds, which do not have to disclose their donors, have spent billions of dollars operating a vast array of left-wing advocacy groups that present themselves to the public as grassroots initiatives…. Arabella claims it only provides back-office administrative support to New Venture Fund and the other nonprofit funds in its network. But documents obtained by the Free Beacon show Arabella wields centralized control over the funds, which hauled in a combined $3.3 billion in 2020 and 2021 and used those resources to operate hundreds of Democratic projects across the country. Each of those projects is managed by a team of Arabella employees, including an account manager and a managing director.” • You have to wonder if the “panic” described above by Michelle Goldberg is being caused by the SBF debacle (and it would be rather pleasing if all those Democrat NGOs were in fact financed by fraudsters).

“Major Progressive Donors, Including Swiss Foreign National Hansjörg Wyss, Funded Press Herald Purchase and Are Funding Yet Another News Outlet in Maine” [The Maine Wire]. “The majority of daily news outlets in Maine are now bankrolled by some of the country’s largest donors to the Democratic Party and left-wing interest groups. Mega donors George Soros and Swiss foreign national Hansjörg Wyss are among the uber wealthy progressives that are bankrolling a new ‘non-partisan’ news outlet in Maine, the Maine Morning Star, through the left-wing nonprofit States Newsroom…. Wyss, who grew a billion dollar fortune in the medical device industry, and Soros, who became a billionaire through currency speculation and other investments, are now financially involved with the Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel (now combined as CentralMaine.com), the Lewiston Sun Journal, and the Brunswick Times Record…. States Newsroom, like dozens of liberal political groups in Maine, has been funded by progressive donors, including major contributions from the Wyss Foundation as well as the North Fund and the Hopewell Fund, two funds managed by Arabella Advisors.” • [family blogging] out-of-staters.

The Bush Legacy

There was discussion in Links this morning on Florida 2000, the election that gave us George W. Bush. There were a lot of moving parts to this story, which continued after Bush was inaugurated:

“So, who really won? What the Bush v. Gore studies showed” [CNN]. A good review. “Months after the United States Supreme Court delivered its ruling to stop the statewide hand recount in the Sunshine State, media and academic organizations conducted their own studies of the disputed ballots in Florida. Taken as a whole, the recount studies show Bush would have most likely won the Florida statewide hand recount of all undervotes. Undervotes are ballots that did not register a vote in the presidential race.” And: “The studies also show that Gore likely would have won a statewide recount of all undervotes and overvotes, which are ballots that included multiple votes for president and were thus not counted at all. However, his legal team never pursued this action.” • The 60,000 figure is the number of undervotes. CNN summarizes several studies. One factoid unremarked by all sides: 300,000 Democrats who voted for Bush cost Gore the election (and not Nader, either). Unfortunately, to the best of my recollection, the 300,000 figure came from Jim Hightower, and he didn’t quote a primary source,

Realignment and Legitimacy

“‘Sound of Freedom’ Producer Felt the Naked Breasts of Apparently Underage Trafficking Victim” [Vice] • At this point, I feel about the word “freedom” the same way I feel about “innovation”: Whoever is using it is a con artist of some kind.


“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

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

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

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3). 

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Look for the Helpers

“Dear Colleagues”:

The conclusion:

We ask the Medical Associations to advocate for the development of long-term strategies to manage this health crisis. We ask that you reinvigorate the idea of prevention! It is also critical to increase collaboration within the medical community and to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and data related to COVID-19 and its sequelae. Now is the time to demonstrate leadership, unity, and an unwavering commitment to the well-being of the general population. By applying a comprehensive, strategic, and sustained approach, we can effectively control the transmission and impact of SARS-CoV-2 through simple means. We are confident that you will show dedication to our profession and promote the highest  standards of patient safety and care. We hope to hear from you soon, and look forward to working with you.

I hope this is legit, because as usual the Google finds nothing on it.


It’s hard to read this thread without concluding that both Administrations destroyed the domestic mask industry, which is a tough business:

(I should really do a screen dump of the whole piece, but I’m not at my big screen just now.)


More on BA.2.86:

It would be nice if CDC’s traveler’s genomics project weren’t weeks behind. After all, plenty of flights from Switzerland to the US.

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, September 18:

Lambert here: The national drop is due exclusively to the South. Other signals — scattered and partial though they be — also converge on a drop: ER visits, positivity. We shall see. (I would include CDC’s wastewater map for comparison, but it’s eleven days old.)

Regional data:

The same regional variation also appears in the Walgreen’s positivity data. Interestingly, the upswing begins before July 4, which neither accelerates nor retards it.


NOT UPDATED From CDC, September 16:

Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: EG.5 (“Eris“). Still BA.2.86 here, not even in the note, but see below at Positivity.

From CDC, September 2:

Lambert here: Not sure what to make of this. I’m used to seeing a new variant take down the previously dominant variant. Here it looks like we have a “tag team,” all working together to cut XBB.1.5 down to size. I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).

CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, September 16:

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 Bellwether New York City, data as of September 19:

Drop continues. I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive.

NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. September 9:

Note the slight drop, consistent with Walgreens. At least now we now that hospitalization tracks positivity, which is nice. Even if we don’t know how many cases there are.


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, September 18:

-8.3%. An enormous drop (so not Labor Day data). However, I cannot recall seeing the map so polarized; so much deep green, so much deep red. The absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say. Interestingly, these do not correlate with the regional figures for wastewater. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)

NOT UPDATED Cleveland Clinic, September 16:

Lambert here: I know this is just Ohio, but the Cleveland Clinic is good*, and we’re starved for data, so…. NOTE * Even if hospital infection control is trying to kill patients by eliminating universal masking with N95s.

NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, August 26:

A drop! And here are the variants:

No BA.2.86 for two of the long-delayed collection weeks. I have highlighted the two leaders: EG.5 and FL.1.5.1. Interestingly, those are the two leaders within the United States also, suggesting the national and international bouillabaisse is similar. Or we’re infecting the world.


NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, September 13:

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: 1,175,395 – 1,175,354 – 1,175,172 = 41 (41 * 365 = 14965 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

Stats Watch

* * *

Tech: “Franzen, Grisham and Other Prominent Authors Sue OpenAI” [New York Times]. “More than a dozen authors filed a lawsuit against OpenAI on Tuesday, accusing the company, which has been backed with billions of dollars in investment from Microsoft, of infringing on their copyrights by using their books to train its popular ChatGPT chatbot. The complaint, which was filed along with the Authors Guild, said that OpenAI’s chatbots can now produce ‘derivative works’ that can mimic and summarize the authors’ books, potentially harming the market for authors’ work, and that the writers were neither compensated nor notified by the company. ‘The success and profitability of OpenAI are predicated on mass copyright infringement without a word of permission from or a nickel of compensation to copyright owners,’ the complaint said.” • The Silicon Valley maxim that “it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission” can be translated, in this context, into “Hey, what’s wrong with a little “original accumulation”?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 48 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 51 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 20 at 1:40:21 PM ET

Groves of Academe

“How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Elite Parents Enabled His Crypto Empire” [Bloomberg]. This should be read in conjunction with the material on Arabella under Democrats en Déshabillé. The whole piece is well worth a read for detail on the Bankman-Fried milieu, but this on Stanford itself: “And then there’s Stanford itself. Bankman-Fried’s arrest came just a month after Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to 11 years in prison in connection with fraud at her medical device company, Theranos Inc. She’d founded the company on campus as a student and had recruited well-known faculty members to serve as employees and directors. The Holmes case—coupled with the resignation of Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne over allegations of manipulated data in several academic papers—has caused some professors and students to ask why the university hasn’t been quicker to identify cases of misbehavior.” • There’s no such thing as “misbehavior” in a house of ill-fame, which is what Stanford — home of the Great Barrington Declaration — has become. Donald Knuth, were he dead, would be rolling his grave.

Class Warfare

“Electric vehicle jobs are booming in the anti-union South. UAW is worried” [CNN]. “While all of the Big Three’s plants are unionized, not a single plant in the South is unionized…. Automakers’ transition to electric vehicles is accelerating these regional trends. Ford and GM are building battery plants below the Mason-Dixon Line, where states have laws that make unionization much harder than in the traditional working-class bastions of the Midwest. UAW leaders and union supporters worry the shift will lower compensation and cut out unions from the auto industry’s future, and they are seeking to address these concerns in talks with the Big Three. Almost as alarming for the UAW is that EVs require fewer parts and, accordingly, less labor to assemble than gas-powered cars. Jobs at nonunion EV battery facilities pay less than the roughly $32 an hour that veteran UAW workers make. ‘The balance is shifting in favor of the Southeast over the Midwest,’ S&P Global Market Intelligence said in a recent report on auto industry jobs. ‘The South is poised to take a greater portion of US vehicle production in the years ahead.'” • Not “the South.” Capital, invested in the South.

News of the Wired

I am not wired today.

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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 EMM:

EMM writes: “Hollies are pound for pound the toughest trees I’ve come across. They seem to thrive in areas where you wouldn’t expect plants to grow and they can take a pasting.”

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. antidlc

    Opinion: The mistake hospitals made on Covid-19

    We must push hospitals to put safety first. Public health guidance should be made with transparency and in partnership with impacted patients and health care workers. Vulnerable patients like John should be able to access health care without being exposed to Covid or other serious infections. We should apply our knowledge from the last three years to protect patients and health care workers from Covid-19 and future pandemic pathogens. We all deserve better.

  2. Reply

    Cornel needs an image consultant to gain any screen time. Get some grooming tips and an eyewear upgrade, along with a better wardrobe. He can still get across his message, and retain more of an audience. All the philosophy won’t keep people from changing channels, even if it is on point, thoughtful and interesting. After all, remember to consider the audience.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I thought the whole point of going into academia and getting tenure was to avoid such deprivations, and humiliations, and revel in non-conformity.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I am concerned by the people West has gathered to support his candidacy. A President is much more than one person. A President brings along an entire administration. Who does West bring with him and who is his Vice President? I hope for movement … something much more than a one-of-a-kind candidate.

    3. Michael Mck

      I really do not know what West’s message is. I keep hoping for a barrage of policy concepts to widen the Overton window. All I hear are homilies and beware of the fascist Trump. I want an analysis of why we got Trump and some ideas about how to move on. Sadly, he will probably be the only human worth voting for in Nov..

  3. Screwball

    A couple of things of note, IMO.

    From a Tweet by Hillary Clinton; Hillary Clinton

    For nearly two years, the world has stood in awe of the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people.

    This conflict, and efforts to rebuild Ukraine when the fighting stops, will be a years-long project. That’s why @ClintonGlobal and our community are proud to once again announce Commitments to Action to support Ukraine, its people, and its future. #CGI2023

    Maybe it’s just my cynicism, but someone smells money?

    This one was from last night which I posted late in Water Cooler;

    Secretary Mayorkas Announces Establishment of Homeland Intelligence Experts Group

    The first three names;

    John Bellinger, Partner, Arnold & Porter (Former Legal Advisor, Department of State and National Security Council)
    John Brennan, Distinguished Fellow, Fordham University School of Law and University of Texas at Austin (Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency)
    James Clapper, CNN National Security Analyst (Former Director of National Intelligence)

    The link is directly from Homeland Security .gov.

    I can’s say I’m surprised.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      A slush fund to rebuild a country still at war, with no end in sight. The perfect abuse-case for grifters.

      The war looks to go on for many years, with no actual funds being deployed to rebuild anything. Lots of indoor swimming pools to be built in donors’ yards, and those college tuitions don’t pay themselves.

      Did someone look at the statute of limitations on fraud?

    2. Pat

      The Clintons wanting in on that sweet sweet rehab money is no surprise, think how much they got for doing nothing but damage Haiti.

      It isn’t just that Brennan and Clapper are liars, it is how unsuccessful their efforts have ever been in the past. They are among the many people that should be relegated to the dust bin of history never to be heard from again. I’m not familiar with Bellinger off the top of my head, but considering the stellar qualities of the other two members, it is likely that liar and needs to be round filed apply to him too.

    3. Tom Stone

      Bellinger, Brennan and Clapper are all reliable, none has a problem lying to Congress or anyone else under Oath or no.

    4. Victor Sciamarelli

      The key word here is “efforts” to rebuild which merely suggests the attempt to do it.
      Then again, Clinton Global is about selling access; not doing the work. They can open doors for others to do the rebuilding, for a sizeable fee, of course. Expect any rebuilding in UA will be shoddy and very expensive.

  4. IM Doc

    About the Cornel West video and philosophy and Socrates…..

    Yes, yes, yes and yes.

    Dr. West is just an example of what teaching in the classics used to be like. I know because I was there. Only one generation ago. I have to admit I had tears welling up in my eyes when I was listening to this just now. Not only were the lectures like this back in the day; the even more profound pleasure was away from class in bars, restaurants, private homes, wherever when a handful of these old curmudgeons would get together and just let it rip.

    Profoundly important for my development and all of those kids around me back then. I am doing all I can to emulate this with my own kids. It is my goal in front of my kids and all of my students and colleagues to be “the happy warrior”. So different from what they are getting in their education environments with anger and hostility and grievance spewing from every mouth.

    It is hard to express how profoundly grateful I am that I was born when I was and got to experience “the before times” in not just the classics but also medicine. What is going on now on our college campuses and medical schools is an absolute disgrace. I have repeatedly tried to attend conferences in person and Zoom. Things immediately and instantly degenerate into angry and defiant pretzel twisting trying to make these old classics say what the usually angry speakers are making them say about gender, race, intersectionality, etc etc. It is so so sad. I cannot go anymore. I just sit and think about how horrified my old professors would be. I feel every time I try to attend that I am watching a book burning.

    Extreme wokeness/Maoism/DEI/ whatever you want to call it, like it always has in the past, is destroying the very fabric of this nation. It is enthralling to see someone like Dr. West demonstrating previous methods. It is very clear to me that he understands the “happy warrior” concept. I wish him well, but I feel we have crossed the Rubicon long ago.

    1. Stewart Umphrey

      Linguistic note: In the Cornel West transcript, *a tapos* should be *atopos*, a word meaning placeless or out of place.

  5. John Easton

    I have a couple questions regarding the Cleveland Clinic positivity test graph that’s been on my mind for a while.

    It shows the total number of positive tests (blue bars) increasing since some time in June, with a recent dip but still at a high level. Meanwhile, the percent of positive tests (black dots) has been dropping for around a month. It seems to me that the only way to have a lot of positive tests, but dropping test positivity percentage, is to be giving a lot of tests. Is this a reasonable interpretation? What other causes am I missing (almost a guarantee there are some!).

    And if there are a lot of tests being given . . . why are they being given?

  6. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: The holly plantidote: “They seem to thrive in areas where you wouldn’t expect plants to grow…”

    Would be useful to know where these are.

  7. Carla

    Michelle Goldberg in the NY Times on progressive funds drying up: “it speaks to a mood of liberal apathy and disenchantment that Democrats can’t afford ahead of another grueling election.”

    Well, this is what happens when Democrats can’t afford to buy food. Guess what. When it’s a choice between making a political contribution and buying the ingredients to make your family’s dinner, dinner’s gonna win.

    I really don’t know what planet these bluer-than-blue pundits live on.

    1. Tom Stone

      Ms Goldberg knows that the Biden Administration has done more for Childhood Poverty than ANY other President!
      It’s more than doubled so far…

  8. pjay

    “Where Has All the Left-Wing Money Gone?” [Michelle Golderg, The New York Times]. “Panic is setting in among some progressive groups because the donors who buoyed them throughout the Trump years are disengaging…”

    LOL. So much in just the title and this first sentence, let alone the rest of Lambert’s quote, let alone the entire article. First, it’s Michellle Goldberg, so there’s that. Second, and related, “left-wing money” is an oxymoron, unless this is referring to the type of money from a large number of small donations that Bernie Sanders received in his Presidential runs. Something tells me that this is not the “money” to which Goldberg refers. Third, and also related, “left-wing” is used here to refer to liberal Democrats – just like the term is used by right-wing Republicans. Not too surprising since if there is one thing on which liberal Democrats and right-wing Republicans agree, it is on the value of making the *real* left disappear.

    There is so much more, but Lambert and other NC commentators are quite capable of deconstructing what Goldberg means by “progressive,” and the type of “organizations” about which she is worried. I certainly agree that there is “a mood of… apathy and disenchantment” with the Democrats. But I don’t think Goldberg has a clue about their actual source.

    1. GramSci

      I don’t move in the circles of Michelle Goldberg’s ‘money’, but I suspect the ‘left-wing donors’ she knows about are plutocrats who are reluctant to place their bribes on a dead horse like Biden.

    2. Adam Eran

      This left winger has ceased donating to the turncoat “progressives” who continue to vote for ever larger budgets for the Department of Attack, and do not require negotiations to end the Ukraine war as part of that vote.

      …Oh yes, and those “lefties” like George Soros–a capitalist’s capitalist–are guiding policy to the extent that Soros wrote a paper suggesting the US let Ukraine fight Russia long before the actual conflict. When the Overtone Window (yes, I know it’s “Overton”) is between Soros and Kochs, there’s no chance anything resembling un-capitalist solutions will be considered respectable public policy.

  9. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Do you see any “incandescently appealing” Republican candidates?

    Do you mean candidates people would want to vote for, or candidates they’d like to set on fire? Because if it’s the latter, I think we could come up with a bunch.

    1. Ranger Rick

      “Is not Trump or Biden” is an incredibly low bar to jump over. The only problem that is none of them are willing to run against the status quo.

      1. Pat

        Not Trump or Biden is a high bar if you have to find funding for the campaign. Although for Dems your second point absolutely applies. But most of the others have no policies, no charisma, and few patrons.

        Sadly if someone of conscience with anti war, worker friendly anti globalization policies ran, they would be fighting for funding, media recognition and trying hard not to get shived by the DNC and the GOP. Oh wait…

  10. Screwball

    Sometimes the things happening around us make us sad, depressed, and even angry. But sometimes you see something that warms your heart, and gives you hope there are still good things happening in this world. This is one of them, so I must share. I ran across this just a bit ago, and even though it was originally from 2015, it made me happy. Plus, I always liked the song. Enjoy (I hope);

    Donald Gould aka ‘The Homeless Piano Man’

  11. Tinky

    Mask data point:

    Flew from Lisbon to Dublin and back recently. Two others masked (out of ~200) outbound, and one on the return.

    I feel like the Covid Contrarian™, given that I refused to be vaccinated when it was all the rage, and am now in an even smaller minority.

  12. Wukchumni

    In this age of truly awful recreational drugs, how come somebody hasn’t figured out how to handle Datura*?

    Must have 2 dozen plants blooming with white trumpets blaring silently within 100 feet of the house, they’re everywhere.

    Driving around Tiny Town they stick out like a sore thumb as nothing else is blooming and white as the driven snow in the late summer, that is until the purple veins show up later in the fall.

    Native Americans knew how to utilize them, along with many other cultures, but for us its perhaps the most poisonous plant, without other possibilities.

    *Thornapples or jimsonweeds, but are also known as devil’s trumpets. Other English common names include moonflower, devil’s weed, and hell’s bells**.

    ** ok, so none of those names are very appealing, I get it


    1. Dezert Dog

      The Teachings of Don Juan a Yakui way of Knowledge
      I remember reading back in my Height St days when I was in San Francisco. Only met one person who had connections with someone that took it. A very bad report but hope the person finally came out of it.

  13. hamstak

    On a related note to the “Where Has All the Left-Wing Money Gone?” piece, I had been receiving occasional text messages from various Dem parties, and at the same time numerous calls from unknown numbers, many flagged as Potential Spam by my provider. Last week I received one such text from Act Blue (whom I believe I had used to donated to the Sanders campaign in 2020). It featured a selfie of Biden and Obama smiling together in the back of a limousine, and said something to the effect of “The only thing better than seeing Obama and Biden smiling together is them smiling together with you!” Through some miracle of self-restraint, the cellphone did not end up smashed to bits. Instead, I replied with the following:

    The corporate DNC is an anti-democratic crime organization. I don’t want to go anywhere near these two grifters. By virtue of this spam message, I am going to vote for Trump in 2024*. I guarantee I am not the only one. You brought this upon yourselves by canceling debates, annointing fraudulent candidates, and otherwise acting in an authoritarian fashion. Buzz off.

    Since sending that, I have received no similar texts and maybe one spam call. Might be useful to somebody going forward.

    * In case you were wondering, this was an idle threat. Most likely.

    1. ambrit

      It’s a real problem. When you have Cthulhu, Yog Sothoth, or Nyarlathotep to choose from, a very close perusal of their Policy statements is crucial.

      1. albrt

        Are you hoping their policy statements include an encoded sphere of protection spell? They don’t.

        You’d have better luck reading the Archdruid.

    2. britzklieg

      I can’t print the responses I sent to a stream of similar money grubbing moves by the DNC and also assume they got my name, e mail and number via my significant financial contributions to Bernie. I was not kind to say the least. The last one I received was from Alan Grayson and my reply was along the lines of “if you support the Nazis in Ukraine like you do those in Israel genociding Palestinians you can be sure I would never vote for you.” Grayson – another liberal poser…

      Katie Porter had been sending me e mails, so too Ilhan Omar, but I didn’t respond and recently blocked both of them.

      1. Jason Boxman

        When he was in Congress, Grayson was serious about going after financial fraudsters. Whatever else might be true about him, he did walk the walk on that. I’m no longer near any district he might run in, or even that sad state of Florida, so I don’t pay any attention anymore. That’s a shame that he sucks on foreign policy.

    3. notabanker

      Ha! I have also received two of those texts in the last week and responded with very similar replies…. I will never vote for another Democrat as long as I live, this party is corrupt beyond redemption. I doubt anyone actually sees them tho.

      1. hamstak

        They may not be seen by human eyes, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they are being algorithmically analyzed for hostility and “appropriate” actions automatically taken: removal from contact/donation plead lists, IRS audit triggered, name added to Myrotvorets hit-list…

  14. John

    Left wing Money? Progressive organizations? I detect no left wing in the DC Bubble to whom left wing money might be directed. The greatest number of those who call themselves progressives or on the left look to me more like Eisenhower Republicans. What do so-called progressives stand for? Who are they? Perhaps I am myopic. Please enlighten me.

    1. Adam Eran

      Two words: Dennis Kucinich. (Now managing RFK Jr.’s campaign since he was gerrymandered out of congress)

  15. Jason Boxman

    “McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican members on a House vote, depending on how many overall lawmakers are voting. To pass most Republican priorities, he needs to win the support of both far-right Republicans as well as the moderates in districts President Joe Biden won in 2020.”

    Remember when we saw similar graphics depicting the power of The Squad ™ to push for the policies that they ostensibly support? Yeah, lol, no.

  16. Jeff W

    “I hope this is legit, because as usual the Google finds nothing on it.”

    Here’s an article in German on the online version of Österreich (a conservative newspaper according to Wikipedia) referring to the letter (which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legit—OE24 is just the source reporting it).

    (And finding that had really nothing to do with Google—it was a matter of clicking twice, once to open the embedded tweet, three tweets down from the featured one, entitled Öffentlicher Brief an Ärztekammer and then again on Weiterlesen [Continue reading].)

  17. Carolinian

    Re The South–as already noted here BMW will be building a battery plant not too many miles from where I live. And before the end of the decade their giant local assembly plant will be making EVs. But there are already car factories around the South so unclear whether a few battery plants will change the national picture.

    Articles elsewhere suggest the real threat to the UAW may come not from Dixie but from China which is offering much cheaper EVs given their battery advantage. That’s assuming we don’t start bombing them first (kidding??).

  18. flora

    re: “Biden, Lula to launch partnership on workers’ rights amid labor strikes in U.S.” [The Hill].

    er… um… tell it to the US railworkers striking last year. (By their actions will you know them… or something.) / oy

  19. flora

    re: Tech: “Franzen, Grisham and Other Prominent Authors Sue OpenAI”

    About time they did do so, too, imo. “The dog ate my homework” becomes “the dog plagiarized your original copyrighted work, not me. It was the dog”! …uh…riiight. / ;)

    1. Pat

      He hasn’t sued yet, if at all, but Stephen Fry has discovered that doing the audiobook narration for seven Harry Potter novels gave AI plenty to work from so his voice narrates a Documentary that he’s had nothing to do with.

      Business Insider


      Both articles are essentially the same although Business Insider gets more general at the end, while Deadline has more Fry quotes.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘so his voice narrates a Documentary that he’s had nothing to do with.’

        Can we call it what it is? Fraud. Just plain fraud – with a strong streak of plagiarism. Can you imagine the effect of Walter Cronkite’s voice selling stock market tips to older people for example?

        1. flora

          Ah thanks, Rev. You say better than what I tried to say and couldn’t. The idea that a trusted voice – as a ‘voice’- can be used as a confirmation of a narrative, even if the ‘voice’ is only a digital mimic of the real speaker. / oy

  20. The Rev Kev

    ‘The 60,000 figure is the number of undervotes’

    Must respectfully disagree. I remember that election well and the shenanigans that went on and not just those “butterfly ballots”. There was that women Katherine Harris who was removing thousands of people’s names from the electoral rolls because their names were similar to a convicted felon’s name somewhere. But I am sure that I was reading how votes were being shifted to other parties and just now found what I was remembering. It was called the Volusia error-


    In the years after this I saw the rise of Diebold voting machine and got an interest in this new form of cheating in elections which led me to this site by Bev Harris-


  21. Tom Stone

    Here in California if I register as having “No Party Preference” my vote may or may not be counted.
    It wasn’t in the 2016 Primary, along with 3,000,000 other votes by others who had no party preference.
    I can register Dem and align myself with the corrupt one party State that is California,
    I can register as a Republican and align myself with a party with too many batshit crazy representatives that is equally corrupt but essentially powerless in most of California.
    I can register “Green” and went to several of their events in West County, I never met a a more Morally upright group anywhere, at first I thought they were passing gas, but it was merely the odor of sanctity.

    The only Parties I really like are on Thanksgiving.

  22. Jason Boxman

    How Sam Bankman-Fried’s Elite Parents Enabled His Crypto Empire

    Other ex-employees say that, especially compared with Bankman-Fried—who sometimes struggled to make eye contact and could be blunt, bordering on cruel, when dealing with employees—the father had a way with people. Training as a psychotherapist had made him an excellent listener, and he was an energetic conversationalist. He asked employees about their personal lives, joined in for games of padel (a pickleball-like sport that employees were crazy about) and showed up at company dinners. Fried also attended FTX dinners but appeared less frequently in the office. They both served as mediators between staff and their child. If Bankman-Fried said something mean or indecipherable, his dad would try to translate or simply say he understood his son could be difficult. He was seen, another employee recalls, as a “cute old man,” a capable but nonthreatening figure who was there to keep his son from losing control.

    Wow, this kid was a sick f**k.

    1. Redlife2017

      I would say that the child was a sick f**k partly because his parents didn’t actually parent him. The absolute worst type – the liberal psychologist. Oh – he’s just that way, poor Sam. A child like Sam should have been dealt with in a much more steel in spine manner. He’s “not just that way”, I bet he had ODD as a child, which you basically have to take no crap from the kid in a very level headed way. But the kids aren’t allowed to be pr*cks and act in anti-social ways. The fact that his parents did nothing about his issues (ODD or not) lays some of how he acts right at their feet. They bloody well knew better and did nothing – actually worse. They covered for him and helped him be horrible to people.

      I used to go to a Buddhist Temple in Japan (long story) and one day they had a father discussing in a teary-eyed manner to the whole temple how he was disappointed with his son (in his early 30s) for not doing anything with his life and how mad the father was about it. The Head Priest pointed out that it was the father’s fault for allowing the situation to fester for years. He himself cannot blame his child when he clearly has fault as well. This didn’t mean the kid wasn’t at fault or didn’t need to do something but that father had to lay the anger and blame at himself. He has responsibilities as the parent! When I look at stories like the Bankman-Fried family, I go back to that story and realise how correct they were. Those parents should be removed from society as a message.

  23. Sin Fronteras

    Speaking of covid… The Christians have a thing about you better be RIGHT with God NOW because you never know when he’s coming…

    Well, I had been intending to get some metformin “just in case” but you know, I’ll just wait for my next PCP visit to get an Rx…. but now I’m finishing Day 4 of Paxlovid.

    Well you get the idea: if you’re gonna do this stuff, get it now, you never know when the covid god will come knocking.

    I do use this website for suggestions
    (<a href="https://covid19criticalcare.com&quot;)
    I’ve been doing a number of things on the site, but not metformin or worm paste. I’m “doing fine” but I guess I’ll know for sure if I get “rebound” or the one that scares the shit out me, Long Covid.

    I think I may have got it during a long wait in an eye doctor BIG waiting room, the staff wore surgical masks mostly, the patients not so much.

    Oh gosh, I forgot to contact the Central Covid Contact Center to report my case, anyone know what the number is? Seem like the responsible thing to do to alert others along the contact chain /sarc

  24. Randall Flagg

    >• [family blogging] out-of-staters.
    We’ve been saying that in Vermont for so long it should qualify as part of the State Motto…
    My sympathies.

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