2:00PM Water Cooler 10/10/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

I wish I knew which brain genius at Apple designed the “Magic Mouse” so you can’t use it while charging.

Bird Song of the Day

House Wren, Uplands Farm Sanctuary, Suffolk, New York, United States. “Sang frequently throughout the morning from several song perches. At the beginning, it is singing from the top of a dead snag. In the second cut, it starts out on that perch, then flies to another and continues.”

* * *


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

Biden Administration


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Do Any of These People Stand a Chance Against Trump?” [Olivia Nuzzi, New York Magazine]. I like the kind of campaign reporting where the writer follows the candidates around and writes what they see; this is a good example of that. “Up close, then, the Republican contest is a strange sight. Over the past 13 weeks, I have visited the early-voting states to observe the candidates. They host few events, sparsely attended by the press and moderately attended, at best, by voters. There is no ‘campaign trail’ in the traditional sense. There is instead activity scattered here and there, interspersed with long periods of stillness. Often, it does not feel like the candidates are really running. It feels like they are doing something else… Their essential function is to provide yet more content about the American political media’s favorite subject. Whether the candidates are pretending he doesn’t exist, or flattering him to pander to his fans, or calling him unfit to lead, all of their campaigns have one thing in common: They cannot escape Donald Trump.” • Clearly there are deeper problems than Trump….

* * *

“Investigations are exposing the Bidens’ influence-peddling dynasty” [Jonathan Turley, The Hill]. “The Bidens had only one family business. They did not make furniture or sell groceries. They sold influence and, as Biden associate Devon Archer explained, Joe was their ‘brand.’ As these investigations and prosecutions continue, the public may conclude that it is not empathy but avarice that defines the Bidens.” • The post is a list of bad things Bidens have done (and there are plenty of them). So it’s not very interesting. However, my takeaway is that Biden is the head of a clan (see this discussion of “Biden blood“). So what matters to Biden — no matter how much Democrats fight to limit corruption to quid pro quo — is that the clan benefits, not him personally. Hence the trickles of money into various family accounts. The Biden clan is not the only clan in the game; cf. the Pritzkers. Or the (fractured) Kennedys.

* * *

“RFK Jr. to run as independent in 2024, ditching Democratic primary bid” [Axios]. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced on Monday at Philadelphia’s Independence Mall that he is dropping his longshot Democratic primary bid and instead will run as an independent presidential candidate in 2024…. Kennedy said Monday he was ‘declaring independence’ from the ‘tyranny of corruption that robs us of affordable lives, our belief in the future and our respect for each other.’ ‘People suspect that the divisions are deliberately orchestrated,’ he said. ‘They’re fed up with being fooled and they’re ready to take back power.'” • Good choice of venue. And in a swing state, too.

“Today, I Declared Myself an Independent Candidate for President” [Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Newsweek]. “I declared independence from the two political parties and the corrupt interests that dominate them, and the entire rigged system of rancor and rage, corruption and lies, that has turned government officials into indentured servants of their corporate bosses. If left unchecked, they will commoditize our air, water, food, labor, and children, and turn the American Dream into desperation and dust. I declared my independence from these corrupting powers because they are incompatible with the inalienable rights that our original Declaration of Independence invoked in 1776: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How can we guard life when for-profit corporations have captured the public agencies that are supposed to protect us? How can we enjoy liberty when a surveillance state seeks to hide the truth and quash dissent to preserve its power? And how can we pursue happiness when our nation’s families are imprisoned by debt and hunger and jobs that will never pay the bills?”

* * *

Clinton Legacy

“Hillary Clinton says MAGA ‘cult members’ need ‘deprogramming'” [Axios]. Same headline as The Hill last week. The original quote, from The Hill: “Maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members.” • All the coverage seems to miss the worst of it, that key word: “formal.” How does that happen, institutionally? Credentialled personnel, obviously, but under what auspices? DHS Fusion Centers? The American Psychological Society? Wellness practitioners? And so forth. That Clinton even imagines — takes for granted — that we have the operational capability and technical means to “formally” “deprogram” several million voters — not all Trump voters being MAGA, of course — is more than a little frightening, given the level of delusion exhibited.

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.

* * *

“As 2024 Looms, Democrats’ Campaign Tech Crumbles Under Private Equity Squeeze” [The Intercept]. “In recent years, the privately owned monopoly over the Democratic Party’s voter data has changed hands from one for-profit company to another. Apax Partners, a global private equity firm, currently owns EveryAction and NGP VAN, the firms that house the Democrats’ suite of voter file, compliance, and organizing tools. Apax acquired them from another private equity firm in 2021, creating a new merged entity called Bonterra. Last month, according to current and former employees, Bonterra cut at least 20 percent of its staff, more than 200 employees. Staff members across EveryAction and NGP VAN, which hold the Democratic Party’s most sensitive data, were cut. At least a quarter of the people laid off belonged to the union, 51 of them unit members from EveryAction and NGP VAN. At least half of the developers at ActionKit, a fundraising and customer relations management software acquired by EveryAction in 2019, lost their jobs…. The recent cuts at Bonterra come after layoffs earlier in the year, which preceded a wave of contraction in the Democratic-aligned campaign industry.” Makes you wonder how much was funded by SBF. More: “In the two years since Bonterra’s creation, at least 340 people have been laid off. Cuts in January were followed three months later by layoffs at other Democratic and progressive consulting, media, and polling firms like Middle Seat and ActBlue. Last month, EMILY’s List laid off eight people, including most staff working on grassroots candidate outreach and training, and shut down its national training and recruitment program. The leader of the group who oversaw the cuts, Laphonza Butler, was just appointed to represent California in the Senate on Tuesday.” • Gonna be hard to keep pumping hot air into the balloon….

Realignment and Legitimacy

“1968 Part II: The Center Vaporizes” [3 Quarks Daily]. Part I. If you want volatile, 1968 was volatile. Whether or not you lived through it, this piece is worth a read. I won’t reproduce the timeline, but this seems familiar: “America’s ability to deflect the course of history as it accelerated toward the unknown was disappearing.” And: “There were so many crosscurrents, so many strange alliances, that it’s difficult to trace each causation.”

“I Never Thought I’d Live to See Democracy Die. But Now I Wonder” [Michael Tomasky, The New Republic]. And the deck: “Chaos and corruption are on the rise, the perfect breeding ground for authoritarians to claim control.” • Well, look. It’s not like we have crazypants authoritarians calling for people who opposed them politically to be deprogrammed, presumably by the State. Oh, wait….

“Impeachments and forced removals from office emerge as partisan weapons in the states” [Associated Press]. “As Republicans in Congress begin their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, the process is calling attention to the increasing use of impeachment in the states as a partisan political weapon rather than as a step of last resort for officeholders believed to have committed a serious offense…. It’s not just impeachment. Over the past two years, Republicans also have sought to pry Democrats and nonpartisan executives from office through recalls, legislative maneuvers and forced removals, even when no allegations of wrongdoing have surfaced.” • Politics ain’t beanbag. Surely the Democrats were prepared for blowback from the Trump impeachments?

“Virginia Dems call for probe into expulsions from voting rolls” [Axios]. “Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) is under fire from Democrats who are calling for a federal investigation into why an unknown number of people have been wrongly removed from the state’s voter rolls because they were mistakenly listed as felons…. ‘We have never been able to get a response to just how many people are impacted and how are we going to let those people know,’ [Shawn Weneta, policy strategist at American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia] said. “There is an urgency to this because of the state of this election and the thousands of people this could impact.'” • Hmm. The number shouldn’t be hard to get, so….

“Experts: Every vote matters in municipal elections, so why is nobody voting?” [Chicago Tribune]. “As local officials make decisions impacting development, road repairs, police and fire services, and more every day, municipal elections are arguably those that impact voters the most, experts say. Yet despite the significance, they are also the elections that drive the fewest number of voters to the polls…. Low voter turnout for municipal elections can be attributed to a number of things such as when the local elections are not held during a congressional election year and especially during a presidential election year…. A lack of awareness of local issues can be a contributing factor to the problem of low voter turnout. News coverage focuses on national, state and large market issues, leaving smaller communities without coverage on local issues…. ‘If you think of the power of one vote, one vote means a lot if only several hundred people vote,’ [Dr. Yu Ouyang, associate professor of political science at Purdue University Northwest] said.” • I’m not sure that’s true except in the most trivial sense. In a system where democracy is so decayed, perhaps nobody and nothing important appears in the ballot in the first place. Paradoxically, your vote would mean the most only when exercised with many others.


“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).

t impact voters the most, experts say. Yet despite the significance, they are also the elections that drive the fewest number of voters to the polls…. Low voter turnout for municipal elections can be attributed to a number of things such as when the local elections are not held during a congressional election year and especially during a presidential election year…. A lack of awareness of local issues can be a contributing factor to the problem of low voter turnout. News coverage focuses on national, state and large market issues, leaving smaller communities without coverage on local issues…. ‘If you think of the power of one vote, one vote means a lot if only several hundred people vote,’ [Dr. Yu Ouyang, associate professor of political science at Purdue University Northwest] said.” • I’m not sure that’s true except in the most trivial sense. In a system where democracy is so decayed, perhaps nobody and nothing important appears in the ballot in the first place. Paradoxically, your vote would mean the most only when exercised with many others.

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!

* * *


“Mask mandates are returning to some hospitals. Should they be there to stay?” [Salon]. “‘We may give somebody a powerful medication that takes away their entire immune system and then in order to get medical care, they have to go to a hospital where they sit next to people that are unmasked that could give them a disease that could kill them,’ [Dr. Theodore Pak, an infectious diseases fellow, who has seen hundreds of COVID-19 patients at the hospitals he practices at in Boston, Massachusetts. ] told Salon in a phone interview. ‘We don’t really think about that or weigh that risk anymore.'” • Those Boston hospitals, like MGH and Brigham, that are actually trying to reduce masking, and patient protection generally…


“Multiorgan MRI findings after hospitalisation with COVID-19 in the UK (C-MORE): a prospective, multicentre, observational cohort study” [The Lancet]. N = 2710. From the Abstract: “The multiorgan impact of moderate to severe coronavirus infections in the post-acute phase is still poorly understood.” And the Discussion: “Our study demonstrates the substantial burden of multiorgan abnormalities in patients after hospitalisation for COVID-19, with nearly one in three patients having an excess burden of multiorgan injury. When compared with controls, we noted a higher proportion of lung, brain, and renal MRI abnormalities among patients. Multiorgan abnormalities on imaging were associated with older age, comorbidities, and severity of acute infection, with evidence of both vascular and inflammatory patterns of injury.”

“Something Awful”

Lambert here: I’m getting the feeling that the “Something Awful” might be a sawtooth pattern — variant after variant — that averages out to a permanently high plateau. Lots of exceptionally nasty sequelae, most likely deriving from immune dysregulation (says this layperson). To which we might add brain damage, including personality changes therefrom.

Excellent thread comparing Covid to AIDS:

Immune dysregulation followed by horridly various sequelae is not the only common factor….

* * *

Elite Maleficence

From a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (and contrast “Todd” to Dr. Pak, above):

I know “Todd” might find this hard to believe, but there are some people I would prefer never to interact with, ever, on any account.

* * *

Lambert here: Back to tape-watching mode. It still looks to me like the current surge has some ways to run, given how wastewater flattened, with the East Coast up. Let’s wait and see.

Case Data

NOT UPDATED FFS!!!!! From BioBot wastewater data, October 2:

Lambert here: Leveling out to a high plateau wasn’t on my Bingo card! Perhaps FL.1.5.1, high in the Northeast, has something going for it that other variants don’t have?

Regional data:

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


NOT UPDATED From CDC, September 30:

Lambert here: September 30 is tomorrow, but never mind that. Top of the leaderboard: EG.5 (“Eris“), with FL.1.15.1, HV.1, and XBB. trailing. Still a Bouillabaisse…

From CDC, September 16:

Lambert here: 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, September 30:

Drop coinciding with wastewater drop.

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.


Bellwether New York City, data as of October 6:

Still decreasing. (New York state is steadily rising, but it’s New York City that’s the bellwether.) 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 30:

Lambert here: “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”. So where the heck is the update, CDC?


From Walgreens, October 9:

-1.0%. Still dropping, though less than before. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)

From Cleveland Clinic, October 7:

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, September 18:

Back up again, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers:

Now, BA.2.86 for two weeks in a row. Bears watching.


NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, September 27:

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: 1,178,436 – 1,178,150c = 286 (286 * 365 = 104,390 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease). 

Excess Deaths

The Economist, October 10:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Tech: “How Disney Packed Big Emotion Into a Little Robot” [IEEE Spectrum]. • No, they didn’t. Robots are machines. They don’t have emotions. Who let that headline through?

The Bezzle: Anybody remember Web 3.0? That’s where all the stupid money was before it sloshed over to AI:

This is an advertisement, but what does it say that the product is even being advertised?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 33 Fear (previous close: 29 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 17 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 10 at 1:41:55 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Date Setting. “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most! • I guess the Index closed before Israel/Palestine blew up.

Zeitgeist Watch

“We are our apps” [London Review of Books]. Round-up on Jonathan Crary. This caught my eye: “‘The ends of sleep’ [a Crary title] has a double meaning. The first, clear enough, is that sleep is under threat; a hundred years ago most adults slept ten hours a day, while the average now is six and a half. Neoliberalism has colonised our nightly respite as part of its general operation of ‘bioderegulation’. As with many other military initiatives, ‘the creation of the sleepless soldier’ has moved into civilian life with online producers and consumers attached to global workplaces and markets 24/7…. In a world that never sleeps the old revolutionary call ‘to awaken’ is misbegotten as well: ‘Worker-consumers of the world, zone out! You have only your screens to lose!’ is more like it. This is the second sense of ‘the ends of sleep’: its purposes today. Sleep, he argues, has a newfound role as a site of resistance; it is a ‘natural condition’ that can serve as a final barrier against ‘the theft of time from us by capitalism’. Although he puts the phrase in scare quotes, this critical recourse to a ‘natural condition’ is a new note in Crary. Also new is his ethical appeal to the care of others: ‘As the most private, most vulnerable state common to all, sleep is crucially dependent on society in order to be sustained.’ Since we require others to protect us while we sleep, sleep figures the necessary ‘durability of the social’.” • Hmm. See NC here on sleep, and here on waking.

Class Warfare

“Mapping Turbulence” [New Left Review]. “In his trenchant essay on the 2006 US midterms, ‘Structure vs Conjuncture‘, Brenner argues that the most significant American reforms of the twentieth century – those enacted by Roosevelt and later Johnson – were won through militant social movements, each struggling under different political-economic backdrops. Contra the criticisms levelled by Ackerman (and to a lesser extent Barker), Brenner does not attribute these successes to any simple, automatic relation between such movements and the prevailing economic conditions. Rather, he sees their achievements as the outcome of contingent historical developments. For Brenner, New Deal-era reforms were the result of an ‘explosion of mass direct action outside the electoral-legislative arena’; organizations like the United Auto Workers ‘initially refused to support the Democratic ticket and, at their founding convention in 1936, called for the formation of independent farmer–labour parties.’ Over the course of the ‘second depression’ and defeats in the latter half of the decade, however, ‘CIO officialdom reacted to the fall-off in mass struggles by turning to the institutionalization of union–employer relations, through state-sanctioned collective bargaining and regulation’, which entailed ‘a full commitment to the electoral road and to the Democratic Party’. From this point on, the Democrats and labour officialdom worked in tandem, and came to ‘count on labour’s support’ while delivering less and less in return.” • This whole essay/review is worth a cup of coffee.

News of the Wired

“America does not have a good food culture” [Chris Arnade Walks the World]. “The reality of food in America, outside of a few high-status neighborhoods scattered around the US, is that most people don’t prioritize the varied experiences of eating at bespoke restaurants, and so the median food eaten in the US is not from some well reviewed Indonesian place on the Upper East Side, or from that really cool Bolivian place in Alexandria. It’s far more mundane than that, far more processed, and far less social. The far more common reality of food experience in America is someone eating drive-through alone in their car, or eating wings at the Applebee’s bar while watching the game with friends, or heating up leftovers in a microwave before work. It’s not all a hellscape of lonely meals of processed food, but relative to the rest of the world, it is.” • Well worth a read. Food, especially when accompanied by conviviality, is very important (and I don’t know how to square this with the hash we’ve made o f ventilating restuarants, or tip culture).

“Fair coins tend to land on the same side they started: Evidence from 350,757 Flips” [arXiv]. “Many people have flipped coins but few have stopped to ponder the statistical and physical intricacies of the process. In a preregistered study we collected 350,757 coin flips to test the counterintuitive prediction from a physics model of human coin tossing developed by Persi Diaconis. The model asserts that when people flip an ordinary coin, it tends to land on the same side it started — Diaconis estimated the probability of a same-side outcome to be about 51%. Our data lend strong support to this precise prediction… Furthermore, this lack of heads-tails bias does not appear to vary across coins. Our data therefore provide strong evidence that when some (but not all) people flip a fair coin, it tends to land on the same side it started. Our data provide compelling statistical support for Diaconis’ physics model of coin tossing.” • What. Why?

* * *

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 KC:

KC writes: “Oregon Grape pic from deep in the forest on Orcas Island, WA.” The colors!

* * *

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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. griffen

    Lunch is still being summarily enjoyed and so therefore, I will be averting mine eyes from anything the New Republic’s author has to say. It’s just like in the Star Wars prequels…it dies to the sound of applause !! \ sarc

    No seriously I can’t stomach another article from the author. Minor quibble of my opinion only. “Democracy will die”. “Our Democracy!” Early enough for a drinking game.

  2. anon

    Okay, mystery may be solved. It looks to me like the local sewage data is no longer being collected: https://healthalerts.stanford.edu/covid-19/wastewater-dashboard/. A little note was added to the low flat line at the end of the chart. If someone, anyone, could take a look and see if I’m reading the chart right I would be very appreciative. I will also try to contact the data collecting source to see if that is right.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Dragging along the dynamic chart, I see the last entry is 10/7. A delay of four days is not unreasonable. Biobot data has been delayed (as of this writing) for nine [family blogging] days, which makes me wonder if there’s a shortage of some kind.

  3. Wukchumni

    Two-up is a traditional Australian gambling game, involving a designated “spinner” throwing two coins, usually Australian pennies, into the air. Players bet on whether the coins will both fall with heads (obverse) up, both with tails (reverse) up, or with a head and one a tail (known as “Ewan”). The game is traditionally played in pubs and clubs throughout Australia on Anzac Day, in part to mark a shared experience with diggers (soldiers).


  4. ChrisFromGA

    Dedicated to Wukchumni:

    The Zombie Kev – a ghoulish tale!

    I was working in the swamp late one night
    When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
    For my ex-speaker from his slab began to rise
    And suddenly to my surprise!

    Ya do the Kev!
    (The zombie-Kev!)
    Ya do the Kev!
    (The clown car engine revs!)
    Ya do the Kev
    (A stooge who’s easily led)
    Ya do the Kev!
    (Ya do the Zombie-Kev!)

    From my laboratory in the beltway east
    To the West wing room, where the lobbyists feast
    The ghouls all came from their DC abodes
    To revive his corpse – whoocoodanode?

    (They did the Kev)
    They did the Zombie Kev!
    (The Zombie Kev)
    They need more cash for Ki-ev
    (They did the Kev)
    Freedom caucus recoiled with dread
    (They did the Kev)
    They did the Zombie Kev

    The zombies were having fun
    The party had just begun
    The guests included Mitch and Z-Man
    Biden and his son
    The scene was rockin’, all were diggin’ the sounds
    Fox News babes, backed by their war-cry hounds
    The Wall St. suits were about to arrive
    With their vocal group, “The Crypto-Kicker Five”

    Out from his coffin, Kev’s voice did ring
    It seems he was troubled by just one thing
    He opened the lid, covered in K-Street dough
    And said
    “That animal Gaetz has got to go!”

    The Zombie Kev!
    (He’s now the Zombie Kev!)
    The Zombie Kev!
    (And it’s back to the usual sched.)
    The Zombie Kev!
    Those pesky insurgents are dead
    (You do the Kev!)
    He’s now the Zombie Kev!

    Now everything’s cool, Kev’s back in the band
    And muh Kevin! is now the hit of the land
    For you, the living, this nation is screwed
    When your budget is blown, tell them Mitch sent you!

    The Zombie Kev!
    (He’s now the Zombie Kev!)
    The Zombie Kev!
    (And it’s back to the usual sched.)
    The Zombie Kev!
    Those pesky insurgents are dead
    (You do the Kev!)
    He’s now the Zombie Kev!

  5. Feral Finster

    1. ““Hillary Clinton says MAGA ‘cult members’ need ‘deprogramming’” [Axios]. Same headline as The Hill last week. The original quote, from The Hill: “Maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members.” • All the coverage seems to miss the worst of it, that key word: “formal.” How does that happen, institutionally? Credentialled personnel, obviously, but under what auspices? DHS Fusion Centers? The American Psychological Society? Wellness practitioners? And so forth. That Clinton even imagines — takes for granted — that we have the operational capability and technical means to “formally” “deprogram” several million voters — not all Trump voters being MAGA, of course — is more than a little frightening, given the level of delusion exhibited.”

    So how many political persecutions is “too many” and how many is just “The Tools Needed To Defending [sic] Muh Democracy”?

    Asking for a friend.

    2. This Michael Tomasky doofus needs to get a clue. “Our Democracy(tm)” has been dead for a long time now. We live under an oligarchy, not a democracy, albeit an oligarchy that retains vestigial trappings of a democratic republic, such as periodic voting for one of two carefully curated and vetted corporate imperialist muppets.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      I just wanna know who she thinks is going to do the de/reprogramming, considering they couldn’t sell Russiagate beyond their own true believers. I mean they had most of the media, half the government and the majority of the intelligence community working that story.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        ive spent my life as a libertarian socialist/Anarch among Right Wingers(and a whole lot of right leaning apoliticos).
        this sort of nonsense…”deprogram them!”…is exactly what they have been expecting from the Dems for like forever….i mean, from the very beginning of what became the Counterrevolution and Reagantime, which we still struggle under.
        whats really sad is that all those righties and right leaning apoliticos still insist that the Dems are Communists.
        as, i suppose, are WEF, Davosman, et alia.
        everywhere i look, otherwise rational and even logical righties say “Far Left” and mean Joe Frelling Biden>
        it really, really bothers me.

        Sunday, i cooked essentially Coq Au Vin in the big dutch oven at the bar…6 little roosters and a problematic boy-guinnea that i had butchered the day before.
        and jammed KPFT blues all day…(cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner on the fire)
        Eldest was at the card table in the bar cutting up deer meat he got from one of the canned hunt places hereabouts(“managed kill”–forbidden to sell it, but fresh and delightful(had some deer cutlets while waiting for chickens)) and we talked all afternoon about the state of the world…me, putting Hamas’ Flood in global context, etc.
        i told him at one point: go pick a random person in town and ask them to name a commie…and i’ll bet $5 that they say either Hillary or Biden.
        so he’s actually done this…asked that question…several times since…and sure enough!
        i remain pretty pi$$ed off about this ongoing malapropism and inertial idiocy…because I’m the only Lefty within 50 miles, to my knowledge…and i wouldn’t ever even think of putting anybody in a reeducation camp(“when Gengis Khan shows up at your door, offer him a beer”).
        i might eat a few rich folks if things got dicey, but i wouldn’t pen them up first.

        1. GramSci

          Pen ’em up an’ fatt’n ’em, if you’ve got the feed, I say. They do the same for you, Amfortas!

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > i told him at one point: go pick a random person in town and ask them to name a commie…and i’ll bet $5 that they say either Hillary or Biden.
          so he’s actually done this…asked that question…several times since…and sure enough!

          On the bright side, an opportunity for a serious re-branding effort by real Communists. Will Mitch Courtenay please pick up the white courtesy phone?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Ms wol suggests patches resembling orange Cheetos be sewn on MAGA clothing.

          Maybe we could institute a bounty system of some sort. A tax break for checking a MAGA into a wellness center? Or for just pinning the patches on them?

          1. ambrit

            Adjust the “reward” to the ‘socially positive’ action. Performative actions like the affixing of identifying talismans to the MAGA Zombis (MAGAZ) earn Goodthinkers extra symbolic capital. Your Social Credit Score goes up!
            Physically ‘removing’ MAGAZ to FEMA Re-education camps should earn Goodthinkers concrete material benefits. Said benefits can be defrayed by the “user fees” levied upon the ‘estates’ of the MAGAZ. [Why should the State bear the financial burden of Deprogramming Deplorables? ‘They’ caused the problem by not “getting with the program. Thus, ‘they’ should bear the cost of rectifying the problem.]
            Like the otherwise ephemeral Pokemons, the Goodthink Motto for the FEMA Re-education Camp Replenishment Program should be “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!”

    2. Mikel

      “formal” – They’d probably do it in black tie and with big fake smiles. Red carpets and velvet ropes event.
      It’s all about appearances.

  6. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “Maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members.

    As somebody who does a lot of business writing and editing, I do my best to remove ‘formal’ every time I see it, as it is better replaced by a specific defining term. In this case, I think what HRC meant to say was ‘forcible’.

    1. ambrit

      My take on that is that HRH HRC meant “Officially Defined” by the term “formal.” I take “forcible” to be implicit in anything HRH HRC promulgates. Something like a Neo-liberal Bull.

    2. aletheia33

      thank you, lambert for your attention to HRC’s “formal”.

      i think that by “formal” she really does mean “initiated and carried out under the auspices/as an action of the USG”.

      as so many here at NC recognize, the preposterousness of such a proposal–“surely no sane person could really take this seriously”–is reminiscent of other outrageously depraved proposals initially taken as preposterous that have gained astonishing traction in chaotic times.

      1. ambrit

        Yep. I personally expect the “deprogramming” effort to be a joint effort of Homeland Security and FEMA. FEMA supplies the facilities and Homeland Security supplies the personnel.
        The “Deplorables” supply the ‘test subjects.’

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > In this case, I think what HRC meant to say was ‘forcible’.

      Surely “formal” (symbolic) and “forcible” (social) are intimately connected? After all, isn’t any situation — any political or institutional situation — where “you can’t say no”* ultimately based on force?

      NOTE * Trivially, not being able to say “no” to your cat is not a political or institutional situation, “animal companion” advocates notwithstanding.

      1. ambrit

        It has been argued that “Just Saying No” to one’s feline(s) is grounds for institutionalization.

  7. Carolinian

    re “head of a clan”–so like the Mafia then? True, gangsters do get to be antiheroes in the movies but Michael ends up brooding by Lake Tahoe while Tony Soprano is gunned down in a diner (????)

    And btw Turley says that legally and for impeachment purposes it doesn’t matter whether your illegal acts are for personal enrichment or building a bequest for your family.

    And some of us would say the thousands of dead in Ukraine may weigh into the equation, not to mention Biden’s dictatorial impulses at home.

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Wonderful article by Chris Arnade about food. In my not so humble opinion, this is the kernel: “That is the second major difference between US food culture and the rest of the world: Farm to table isn’t just some marketing ploy for the wealthy, it’s what everyone expects, and it’s often what’s delivered. Sometimes in shocking fashion.” [The first is that food culture isn’t central to U.S. identity.]

    This factor was reinforced for me almost immediately in the Chocolate City, capital of the Undisclosed Region, as I noticed and continue to watch the number of trucks each day delivering milk, dairy products,, produce, bottled water, and many other supplies to restaurants and grocery stores. In Italy, the system of delivering food is elaborate and wildly efficient. Further, the Chocolate City is known for its open markets, where food must be displayed in all of its glory, even the humble potato, bunches of greens, and the gnarly jerusalem artichoke. Unlike U.S. cities, too, there are dozens of groceries stores. Food matters.

    Arnade has intriguing insights at the end about barbecue, including placing a mention on one’s tombstone. My aunt, born four years after the arrival of my Sicilian grandmother in Chicago, was thoroughly Americanized, except when she wasn’t. When she died, and after her funeral mass, my cousin held the traditional funeral lunch at a “different” restaurant from the famous old Polish place that caters to funeral lunches. My aunt had given him instructions that the famous old Polish place for funeral lunches just wasn’t good enough. Food culture: It unites the living and the dead.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      thats what i want my legacy to be, out here.
      “Real Food” it said big and large on the sign in front of my cafe, 22 years ago.
      when i arrived here, these folks had been eating at the one “mexican” restaurant…toxic as it was…for better than 40 years.
      haute cuisine was packaged brown gravy instead of packaged white gravy on one’s chicken fried steak.
      me, and the gay couple who opened the Jaliscero place, changed all that, utterly.
      my current infrastructure endeavors are geared towards doin some speakeasy farm to plate thing…as well as feeding ourselves.
      near as i can tell, the regs are a lot friendlier(and less expensive) for on-farm food service.
      to my knowledge, the regs for serving food in europe(especially france and italy) are a lot more conducive to this kind of thing, than in USA.
      nevertheless, i’ll begin with cooking lessons for the winemoms…and then do speakeasy/word of mouth cheffery and prix fixe.
      work towards being legal,lol.
      redneck hippie trattoria on a working farm is what ive been aiming towards for all these years

      1. GramSci

        We had a great stay at a dike trattoria working farm in France a half-dozen years back, before Covid. Not saying it would be fun to open your doors to the unwashed public, but if you advertise honestly, you’re more likely (> 50/50) to get honest customers, IMHO.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          Emergent Business is what im after.
          i expect the eventual contact with the bureaucrats will be hellish…all the frelling weirdness out here that they ain’t conditioned for: composting toilet(perfectly legal under texas sewage law), graywater lines feeding fruit and nut trees and the pond i’ll put next to the bar extension next year…where the crawdads and minnows…and eventually a few perch…can eat whatever comes out of the dish sink…and on and on.
          regulatory nightmare,lol.
          regular health inspectors ive known would freak the hell out.
          but this…again, since its on farm…looks to be a somewhat different regulatory regime, or category.
          much study is needed….but infrastructure first, because its for our food supply, first…and there aint no regs at all covering that.
          i’ll begin all black market, then move to gray, then…if all works out…to white.
          i know a couple of bank presidents and other, assorted rich folks around here that would love such a speakeasy, exclusive setting for high fallutin food…and they’d help keep the scolds at bay while i get up and runnin.

    2. Stephanie

      The first is that food culture isn’t central to U.S. identity.

      I think food was was and is a part of some American identities. Hunting/processing/cooking venison was/is a religious rite for a lot of working-class men in central Minnesota, as is fishing/mushroom hunting/gardening. Most guys I know who like venison saddle like a decent (not store-bought) tomato as well. Mostly older white or Hmong guys – aside from requiring expensive equipment and a job that will allow time off during the build-up to Christmas, they all, except fishing, require access to land and if you don’t have a relative or a friend with a farm that gets expensive too.

      And that’s where I think food culture in the U.S. languishes, because even people with the money to eat on cool Bolivian restaurants tend to not have access to land* and thus seldom spend Thanksgiving weekend on a deer stand. And if they did grow up fishing and gardening they haven’t taught their children to do those things because now the kids have soccer every weekend and who has the time?

      Obviously there are other ways to develop a food culture but I think it’s difficult to do anything but borrow from other cultures if growing/gathering it isn’t prioritized by one’s own.

      *Bear in mind the time it takes to get anywhere in the Midwest – the land to which one has access may be a 5-hour drive away or accessible only by boat. I don’t know how it works in other parts of the country.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        re:kid’s time…absolutely.
        my youngest is way more busy than my eldest was his senior year…it never ends…all the stuff he all but required to do, or at least be present for…to keep his “resume” in top shape(since we dont have any money)
        the maybe once a week time i get with him and his brother to just stop…have a joint…and shoot the shit…is precious, to me.
        and thats aside from him having any time at all to do things like dishes…let alone help me on the farm.
        he lived out of almost all the laundry baskets for the whole month of september, despite my harping, because he simply didnt have time to put up the clean clothes.
        (i demure from sorting everything except towels and my own clothes…on them to do the rest, as a rule)

        of course, i was never in sports…or any other thing, except band…which, during high school, was mainly so i didnt hafta do PE anymore,lol.
        and i was a total weirdo outcast iconoclast in high school, and thus have nothing to say as to my youngests experience, save that their 1952 hair and whisker policies are stupid and harmful.

    3. thousand points of green

      The article mainly focuses on food and dining experiences available for pay in restaurants. It makes a passing mention of food with a family in a family home in food-culture countries. But since most food in most countries is made and eaten mostly in homes, the state of food culture inside the home must also be considered important and should be written about more.

      So . . . most of mainstream America ” doesn’t have a good food culture”. Did it “never” have a good food culture? Or did it :”used to have” a good food culture and later lost it?

      I once read a very interesting book called The Taste Of America by Karen Hess and John L. Hess. It made the case that America had food cultures during the Colonial period and then into the Independence period and began losing its food culture with the mass urbanization of people and mass mechanization/processing of food beginning in and especially after the Civil War. Food culture hung on longer in the not-yet-urbanized and not-yet-depopulated countryside. They give detailed evidence, history, recipes, excerpts from cookbooks which they name, etc. They identify keypoints at which mainstream America food-life declined more and more. They end with some advice and hopeful observations on how America can get back a food-culture here and there, and then begin internally spreading it.

      Here is a link to the book.
      and . . . https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/a/john-l-karen-hess-hess/the-taste-of-america/

      What per cent of income do middle-class-and-below Americans spend on food as against middle-class-and-below people of other countries? It may be that better food requires more money to buy it as well as more time to make and eat it. Hard to reconcile with time-deprived money-deprived American circumstances, but the effort to do so is worth it if it can succeed. And that, too, is a problem the Hesses touch on.

      Could some of many Americans’ partial indifference to quality of taste in food be due to the crudely mechanistic reason of having a zinc defficiency, given that zinc plays a role in the proper functioning of taste and smell perception enzymes? Here is an article about different things that can compromise sense of taste and smell. One small paragraph is devoted to how a shortage of zinc in the body can do that.
      There is also an intriguing paper suggesting that a physiological response to early stage infection in mouth, nose, etc. by covid is the body’s moving of some zinc away from mucosal tissues in these places leading to reduced amount of ACE-2 in these places, thereby somewhat depriving the corona viruses of as many ACE-2 receptor infectivity sites to enter the cells by means of. Elsewhere in the paper the suggestion is offered, supported by some experiment, that raising peoples’ zinc level may restore some taste and smell function. I include this paper in case it might be valuable, which people more knowledgeable than I can determine. Here is the link.

      What if zinc depleted soil leads to zinc depleted food which leads to zinc-defficiency-caused reduction or loss of sense of taste among hundreds of millions of people who live on that zinc-defficient food, such that they are actually unable to taste a difference between that food and nutrimineral-sufficient food? Could that also explain the public’s acceptance of a decline in food culture to go along with the decline in food quality and food taste? Perhaps bio-available mineral restoration of food-growing soils might be a slow answer over time. Restore food to a quality level worth having a culture around, and a culture may emerge around it.

      Scientific-artisanal food growers and producers around towns and cities big enough to support them might be a start to reviving food culture to a level which used to exist here. Such artisanal food-zones might be thought of as a “thousand points of taste” from which reviving food quality culture might spread.

      1. Acacia

        Thank you for this excellent comment !

        If I can add one small anecdotal point, it strikes me that the decline of taste amongst USians may also stem from a kind of negative feedback loop, such that people have become very accustomed to the taste of industrially-produced “food” — with its emphasis on a limited palette of sugar, salt, oil, and chemical flavorings — and tend to shun the taste of anything that’s too raw, too organic, or too fermented, e.g., raw meat, blue cheese, natto, etc.

        The negative feedback works to reinforce these preferences, even further limiting the range of “acceptable” tastes, and might(?) contribute to phenomena such as avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), i.e., those unfortunate people who can only eat a couple of different types of highly-processed food.

        With meat, USian taste tends towards an odd combination of a strong preference for industrially-sourced meat, together with a distrust of anything that isn’t cooked to at least “medium”, as there is a general suspicion that same industrially-sourced meat may be old (e.g., nitric oxide used to make the meat look red), or might really be contaminated (e.g., something was dropped on the floor in the meat packing plant) and therefore it must be cooked thoroughly before consumption.

        Of course, with the incessant news reports of mass poisonings due to e. coli outbreaks in USian food processing plants, this collective suspicion is hardly unfounded.

        1. thousand points of green

          I remember that during the Reagan Administration the number of USDA meat inspectors placed in industrial meat processing plants was very much reduced, and the industrial meatlords were graciously permitted to speed their production lines up. The result was of course much less actual inspection of carcasses from initial kill to coming down the line to eventual departure from the facility. Sometime after this the USDA and possibly other government outlets began publicising the absolute necessity to “cook meat thoroughly”. We were all instructed to cook hamburger till it was gray all the way through. Any trace of pink meant the threat of food poisoning, and it was your fault for not cooking the hamburger till it was gray in the middle. Plus lots of advice to wash every surface in your home and kitchen and never let raw chicken touch anything else no matter how indirectly, etc.

          I continued ordering hamburgers medium-rare in restaurants if they would still do that. Some claimed they were forbidden to do that anymore. Some just put disclaimers on their menu which people have possibly seen ( “be warned that eating undercooked meat or eggs may lead to food poisoning”). I decided that if the Reagan reforms made meat, chicken, eggs etc. so dangerous that I had to treat them as a Class A biohazard, then I would not eat them at all or bring them into my house. Those USDA warnings were and remain an Information Operation against the American people designed to cover up the food poisonogenic nature of combining Industrial meat processing and raising with radical underinspection, started by Reagan and vastly increased under the Clinton Administration with their HAACP ( https://food.unl.edu/article/haccp-seven-principles#:~:text=HACCP%20%28Hazard%20Analysis%20Critical%20Control%20Point%29%20is%20defined,manufacturing%2C%20distribution%20and%20consumption%20of%20the%20finished%20product. ) which meat inspectors joked stood for Have A Cuppa Coffee and Pray.

          So the American public is exactly right to distrust any mainstream industrial food not cooked to at least medium because of not just the e. killer coli, but also the listeria, salmonella, etc. injected into it by industrial production methods. And vast-scale aggregation of meat for processing in a few places for vast-scale redistribution increases the danger. For example, if one cow in a million has mad cow disease and each cow is ground up separately into a million separate batches of cowburger, a few people will be very unlucky. But if a that one cow and the rest of the million all go to one central place for grinding and mixing, then the mad cow meat is mixed throughout a millions cows’ worth of cowburger, which is then divided into millions of doses for distribution to millions of people. So of course mainstream Americans will be distrustful of it.

          So why the preference for industrial meat at all? Because it sells for a lower money-price.
          So far not too many people will pay a higher money-price for artisanal clean meat. But some will. Gabe Brown’s customer base will pay $20.00 a pound for his beef. And that’s in North Dakota, where the snobs will tell you that there is no food culture, or at least not a good one.

          One could only slowly drown out the negative feedback of bad food made ” good-tasting” with sugar, salt, fat, flavor-chemicals leading to a demand for such by people who have only known such for decades by slowly introducing a positive feedback process of getting people used to the idea of good quality good food with unfamiliar complexity of taste. And that would have to be started from a thousand or maybe a million points of taste and slowly spread out from there.

          People who have never encountered quality should not be blamed for not knowing what quality is. They may have to be introduced to learning about quality ” in theory” before they can learn what it really is ” in fact” and then learn how to find it or produce it. Perhaps 50 million suburban and semiburban houses and yards can become 50 million points of learning what quality can be from quality-oriented fruit and/or vegetable gardens.

          1. Acacia

            Another excellent comment — thank you !

            Wholeheartedly agree with your vision of a “thousand points of green”.

            I’m chipping away at one of them. NC is a fabulous resource for learning and thinking.

      2. DJG, Reality Czar

        thousand points of green: Thanks for mentioning the book by the Hesses. It was very good, and as you write, they were concerned that much traditional U.S. cookery was being made obsolete. Fast-food restaurants and the drive to get women to work outside the house both diminished U.S. cookery.

        And you are right: Many traditional U.S. dishes are quite good. I am thinking of a good U.S. breakfast of eggs, fried potatoes, good toast, and tasty sausages. But one has to find a good diner. Also, U.S. home cooking is usually good–although I come from a family that was always demanding in that regard. No TV dinners, eh.

        1. thousand points of green

          Those traditional U.S. dishes would be even better if/when they are made with hi-nutri-dense ingredients from plants and animals raised on high-mineral-balanced highly bioactive soils. What did meat loaf used to taste like 150 years ago with the beef available 150 years ago? Perhaps we can recapture that taste with artisanly grazed traditional beef, etc.

          Even if we can restore nutridensity and flavaroma quality to food raised in America, we may not get our time back from the time bandits. We may have to invent a needs-less-time approach to food and cooking. Since women will not permit themselves to be driven out of paid work and back into the kitchen, approaches and methods for making good or at least good-ish food under time-starved conditions will have to be found. Faster recipes, timerized crockpots, etc. can help somewhat. And the hours-needed great foods of the past may only be available from restaurants.

          One thing I liked about The Taste Of America was its extensive review of the cooking literature from before the time of the mass urbanization of society and mass industrialization of the food supply.

          Another chapter I liked was titled The Gourmet Plague about all those people who equated fancy-aspirational with good. That chapter kicked axe and took names.

          There are some other interesting books in this vein. Fading Feast by Gary Sokolov.

          Gary Paul Nabhan has written several good books about food, plants-animals, farming, etc.
          One such is called Coming Home To Eat.

  9. Wukchumni

    In the corner of the courtroom there stands a witness box
    With the best of FTX memories, old and new
    You can hear Ellison’s recollections for a starter
    And somebody else’s statement when hers are through

    I got good vegan peanut butter on the counter
    And my meds around to help me ease the pain
    ‘Til some button-pushing juror plays League of Legends
    And here I am just missing playing again

    Sam Bankman-Fried! don’t play until you leave
    It was our video game, it was his video game but it’s over
    Sam Bankman-Fried! if you know what I mean
    I don’t ever wanna play that game again

    If I had a dime for every time I held you
    Though you’re far away, you’ve been so close to me
    I could swear i’d be the richest girl in Nassau
    Maybe even in the kingdom of crypto-currency

    But I guess I’d better get myself together
    ‘Cause when you left, you didn’t leave too much behind
    Just a note that said, “I’m sorry” by your laptop
    And a burden that’s weighing heavy on my mind

    Sam Bankman-Fried! don’t play until you leave
    It was our video game, it was his video game but it’s over
    Sam Bankman-Fried! if you know what I mean
    I don’t ever wanna play that game again

    Please Mister Please, by Olivia Newton-John


  10. steppenwolf fetchit

    The Republican primary candidates are all auditioning to be Trump’s VP running mate, except for Christie. Christie is waging a kamikaze campaign to delete Trump. ( Tulsi Gabbard is also auditioning from the sidelines to either be Trump’s VP pick or to be some kind of Trumpist successor within the Republican Party.
    She hasn’t forgotten how her fellow Democrats doublecrossed her and she probably feels that revenge is a dish best served over and over and over again.)

    1. IM Doc

      Are you sure about that? – it is my distinct feeling that we will be having an announcement in short order that Gabbard will fill the VP slot on the RFK ticket. To see the national debate between her, Harris and (?) Ramaswamy will be one of the highlights of next year, seeing how Gabbard completely nuclear detonated Harris the last time they faced off. I am not sure she has ever recovered.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        I am not sure about it. It is just my purely amateur intuition based on her recent appearances on Fox News, Hannity, etc. Those would be outlets for reaching the Trump base.

        I would prefer to see her run with RFK Jr. That would be a ticket I could vote for. And to see a debate between her, Harris, Ramaswamy and such . . . as part of an RFK Jr/ Gabbard ticket would be very good to see.

        Either way, she will make the current generation of Democrats pay for what they did to her. And that is good too.

      2. steppenwolf fetchit

        And now that I think about it, if a part of Gabbard’s motivation is indeed long-range revenge on the Democratic Party, she may well study with military thoroughness the question of which ticket would draw more Dem-inclined votes away from the DemPrez nominee . . . . a Trump/Gabbard ticket or an RFK Jr/ Gabbard ticket.

        I sort-of think that an RFK Jr/ Gabbard ticket would draw more maybe-Dem votes away from Biden or whomever than a Trump/ Gabbard ticket would. But if that even mattered to her, she would study very carefully whatever evidence exists or could be found. I don’t know how important getting revenge on the Democrats is to her, so my intuition is silent on what she would do with the findings.

        Which would she want more? To win? Or to get revenge? I just don’t know.

      3. GC54

        I supported Lt Col. Gabbard once, but her message so far today is vapid rah-rah

        “This should be a wakeup call to leaders everywhere that Islamist jihadists are the greatest short and long-term threat to the safety, security, and freedom of the American people, and people throughout the world.”

        This hyperbolic statement implies continued aggressive Western policies in the Middle East that amplify the apartheid Israeli government.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          That’s the sort of statement that has struck me as ” auditioning for a future in the Republican Party” at the very least and maybe for the VP spot on a Trump ticket. But again, that is just an intuitive feeling on my part.

          I suppose a major “tell” would be her current and future statements of what she believes global warming to be . . . . real or fake, problem or diversion. If she says nothing about global warming on her own, one hopes somebody asks her about it on camera with a live mike going.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I know I owe you guys a post on Bonnie Henry, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. How is what she is doing even possible?! Especially in the land of “peace, order, and good government”?

      1. Sub-Boreal

        If this is too daunting, we won’t hold you to it. You have plenty of use for your yellow waders closer to home.

        POGG? Where to start?

        The COVID gong-show has shown up one of the great weaknesses of Canadian federalism. Since health care is in provincial jurisdiction, we end up with a multi-coloured checkerboard of varying degrees of awfulness in what gets implemented on the ground. The feds have only minor fiscal leverage via cost sharing (which they unilaterally weakened in order to balance their budget during the mid-90s period of austerity).

        Over the years, I’ve wobbled back & forth as to whether the way that jurisdictions and spending powers are divided federally vs. provincially is better to be more centralized or more decentralized. Split or ambiguous jurisdiction does have the advantage of allowing one level of government to be played off against the other, in times when one’s province has a gov’t which differs markedly in awfulness relative to the feds. My wobbling is mostly in social and health policy; I’m much more certain that provincial primacy in natural resources management has been mostly bad (e.g. inter-provincial races to the bottom in setting royalty rates for petroleum & minerals).

        We have a great example in BC of how split jurisdiction has been able to blunt some of the excesses of provincial resource extraction frenzies: federal jurisdiction over anadromous fish (i.e. salmon) provides a moderate check on the rapacity of logging practices, for example. And to this day, there are no hydroelectric dams on the mainstem of the Fraser River, and that’s only because the province did not have the jurisdiction to allow it trash the salmon runs. (Not to let the federal fisheries authorities off the hook; they have found many other ways to [family blog] up via regulatory capture (e.g. aquaculture) and sheer incompetence (e.g. the demise of North Atlantic cod).)

        On the other side of the ledger, we do have some examples of good policies originating in a single province, and then diffusing across the country, with the feds eventually taking some role in setting standards and sharing costs. Saskatchewan’s medicare program is probably the best example. But this only spread as quickly as it did because of a favourable political environment at the federal level (a minority government for much of ’60s). In contrast, Quebec’s daycare program has been in place for a quarter century, and we’re still stumbling along in getting a coherent national system pulled together. But having a positive example in one or more provinces does allow campaigners in other provinces to keep asking “Why can’t we have that nice thing here?”

        So it depends.

        1. C.O.

          Awesome summary, Sub-Boreal, yours is the clearest and most succinct description of the overall state of play I’ve read anywhere of Canada’s push me, no I’ll pull you federalism.

          1. Sub-Boreal

            (Blushing modestly)

            But, but … I didn’t even mention Quebec once, which would be considered a fatal flaw by actual scholars of federalism.

            1. Sub-Boreal

              Well, OK – once.

              But as someone who lived through the constitutional wars of the 60s-80s as a frustrated bystander in ON and the west, it has been so refreshing to see fed-prov squabbling get down to material rather than identity matters in more recent decades. (IDpol – yet another Canadian invention that the world hasn’t given us credit for!)

  11. flora

    House Wren. Amazingly loud voice for a tiny little bird. Pro tip: don’t place a wren house right outside your bedroom window unless you want to be awakened at the crack of dawn in the summer. / :)

    1. Late Introvert

      And if it’s by your back door you will get a thorough scolding whenever there is hatching and raising going on.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        so they’re like tiny geese?
        my 30 or so geese are currently bivouaced in the alley and big raised bed behind the house…getting that bed ready for spring.
        this is also, as it chances, right outside my bedroom windows.
        once i turn my bedside lamp off, we’re cool…they cant see me anymore in the glare of the blue neon outside light.
        before…all i gotta do is stand up to go pee and they start yelling and carryin on.

        i keep all my birdhouses well away from the egress points.

    2. GramSci

      And with an ego to match their voice! Don’t put a wren house too close to your bluebird house–a single lapse of vigilance, and the little wrens will invade and punch holes in the bluebirds’ eggs. We put one within 100 feet. Learned too late online that we needed to allow at least 300 feet. :-(

  12. flora

    re: “Lambert here: The WHO data is worthless….”

    I know! Lets sign a treaty giving WHO control of our national health response to whatever pandemic the WHO declares on whatever evidence they claim to have. Sounds good, right? / meh

  13. cfraenkel

    Re the coin flip. The theoretical guy observed that people don’t usually hit the coin directly on-axis, the contact point is usually to one side or the other. This imparts a wobble, which causes the coin to face up more than down when in the air. The remarkable thing is that the effect is so big, and that the observations match the theory so well.

    Now, off to rewrite thousands (millions?) of textbooks and tutorials….

    1. Wukchumni

      The key to winning a con flip is to have a two-tailed Quarter…

      What is now determined to be the third known example of a copper-nickel clad quarter dollar struck with two reverse dies for Washington quarter dollars has surfaced.

      Error coin dealer Fred Weinberg, owner of Fred Weinberg & Associates in Encino, California, purchased the coin for an undisclosed sum in an assortment that included other error coins. Weinberg made the purchase during the Sept. 7 to 9 Long Beach Expo in Long Beach, California.

      Discovery of the first two-tailed quarter dollar was reported by Coin World on the cover of the July 3, 2001, issue.

      Bob Wiborg from Gold’n Coins Jewelry in La Habra, California, purchased the mule along with several hundred other error coins in a May 2001 sale by the California State controller’s office featuring unclaimed property from bank safe-deposit boxes.

      The error coins Wiborg purchased had been seized by the Secret Service, then returned to the state of California to be sold as unclaimed property.

      Weinberg, on Wiborg’s behalf, brokered the two-tailed $80,000 sale to New Mexico collector Tommy Bolack, who owns 12 of the 16 publicly known Washington quarter dollar/Sacagawea dollar double-denomination mules.


  14. flora

    “If pandemic were a movie franchise, HIV/AIDS would be “The Godfather” and COVID would be the “better” sequel”

    And Fauci would star in both film series… as the Godfather in both the original and in the sequel. / oy

    See Bactrim vs AZT in the original series.

  15. Rob Urie

    Re: “Mapping Turbulence” [New Left Review], this is a very good article that anyone interested in US politics should read.

    Two quibbles: during the time that Republicans were ascendant, the Democrats were me-too Republicans. While the author kinda sorta makes this point, the question is, had they provided an alternative to Republican ascent, might they have held onto their pre-Reagan dominance?

    For instance, both parties used the explanation that Jimmy Carter lost in 1980 because ‘he moved too far Left.’ But as the author notes, Carter was Reagan without all that crap in his hair in terms of his policies. From the Left, I loathed Carter for his policies at the time.

    Second, in writing on the ‘falling rate of profit’ in the 1970s, the author ignores 1) the serial oil shocks, the last of which tied directly to the Iranian Revolution and 2) that Carter brought in Paul Volcker to murder the economy that, like today, saw high rates of inflation from endogenous (outside) sources.

    So, while changes in material conditions produced a break from the New Deal past, the Democrats ultimately turned hard Right while the interests of their constituents didn’t.

    The article was written in 2007. Little did the author know that two years hence Barack Obama would ‘save’ Wall Street with the largest gift to capital in then recent history.

    The point: the author’s priors led him to the political cliche that the Democrats are reluctant Right-wingers. There was nothing reluctant about it.

    1. jsn

      The era you’re talking about here is the period in which the Powell Memo was being operationalized. Had the Democrat Party of the time recognized what was happening to it, it could have been countered. But the Democrats of the time were starting to look for ways, competitive with the Republicans, to profit from Buckley v Valeo, which was current.

      Part of operationalizing the Chamber of Commerce plan to restore pre-depression politics was institutionalizing bribery, a project the Mt Pelerin Society had been working on since it’s founding hand in glove with Sullivan and Cromwell crowd running the CIA and State Department at the time, and they had enough of their people on the court by then.

      Those Democrats were already unprincipled opportunists and the opportunities were really starting to pay, your last line is dead on.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      as much as i might like Jimmy Carter as a human being, he began the process by which the Demparty became the Liberal Wing of the GOP…completed by Clinton, of course.
      i was pre-teen when Carter was prez, and my memory is coloured by how my people were all for him(because he was a Dem).
      Clinton, in my assessment, is more to blame than Carter…because he was shifty as hell from the get-go….coming out of the DLC/ThirdWay, and all.
      of course, the rot had already began its invasion years before, against McGovern.
      the subtlety of the whole operation is what blazes me…and how easily the Dems, in aggregate, swallowed it all.
      morphing into what they are, today.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > There was nothing reluctant about it.

      The Category Error Police will be after me for this (parties are not people) but this from Byron’s Don Juan springs to mind:

      But who, alas! can love, and then be wise?
      Not that remorse did not oppose temptation,
      A little still she strove, and much repented,
      And whispering ‘I will ne’er consent’ – consented.

  16. pjay

    Re RFK Jr’s announcement: His choice of venue may have been good, but his timing was terrible. Not only was the media coverage completely swamped by events in Israel, but now that media – provided he gets any coverage – will be asking him about Israel. His responses on that topic will undermine those on everything else. And it’s not that I’m a one-issue voter; it’s that his responses on that topic are that bad.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > RFK Jr’s announcement

      RFK Jr’s sure not asking for my vote on Middle East policy, that’s for sure.

      On the timing, I tend to agree but would ask: How long does one have to wait for a slow news day? Best to act now, I would say.

      Ulimately, I think the venue is a plus, both for campaign footage and possible positive effect in the swing state o Pennsylvania. (PA still has many local newspapers, amazingly enough. Do we have any PA readers who can say whether coverage extended beyond national to local?)

  17. GramSci

    Re: Uhuru First Amendment Grayzone in today’s Links

    Late to the party today, but since no one else seems to have commented on the Uhuru prosecution, I risk repeating myself here.

    When, pursued by the CIA, Juana and I were exiled to retirement in Florida ca. 1992, the only hit I found googling “sociali* florida” was in St. Petersburg: the Annual Conference of the African People’s Socialist Party (also, “UHURU: ‘freedom’ in Swahili). So Juana and I went, only to find it was actually more like the annual meeting of the APSP white peoples’ auxiliary. There were about twenty of us WP there in attendance, and three or four (black) officers of the Party, including the same Omali Yeshitela who is standing trial for being a “Russian agent”.

    The other WP at the conference (including Penny Hess, she of the Grayzone photo) stood to pledge their apparently annual contributions in the range of $1,000 to $10,000, typically pledged as “reparations to black Americans”. They had apparently been doing so for a number of years. We did not contribute in that range, as several of my great uncles gave their lives in the Union Army on behalf of black Americans, and because our exile was to care for older in-laws in Naples, two long hours south of St. Pete. As 2012 emigrees, we were unaware of local St. Pete history, esp. the 1996 cop-on-black murders, and the subsequent persecution of Uhuru/APSP. Had we known, we might have become more supportive.

    Perhaps because Yeshitela was only a junior Black Panther in the 60’s, the Feds failed to kill or imprison him. One suspects the leader of such small movements to be malignant ‘cultists’ and megalomaniacs. This was not our experience. Given the small attendance, we had the opportunity to talk with Secretary Yeshitela at some length. We found him to be articulate and savvy. One suspects cultists of graft. The sums pledged in the conference by WP, while individually impressive, were so small in number that they did not leave large margin for graft, given what evidence we saw of Uhuru’s service to it’s immediate St. Pete community. (Uhuru has also been active in Oakland).

    When Yeshitela was first indicted, I tried to send him some dineros, but his website seemed to be blocked. However it seems to work now, and I’m going to send Omali some $$$. It might cut into my pledge to NC, but I like Omali Yeshitela, and I encourage other readers to support his cause. I see from their site that Uhuru is planning a march on DC on Nov 5. I plan to go, broken toe and all.

    It’s a great tragedy, however predictable, that the Dems, who profess to be ‘New Dealers’, are prosecuting Yeshitela and Uhuru in this way, for no apparent purpose except perpetuating Russiagate and the [incessant] ‘Republican’ persecution of the Black Panthers. :-(

  18. southern appalachian

    This called to mind a post from not too long ago. The this:
    “That Clinton even imagines — takes for granted — that we have the operational capability and technical means to “formally” “deprogram” several million voters — not all Trump voters being MAGA, of course — is more than a little frightening, given the level of delusion exhibited.“

    The post was on signaling and quoted Aurelian:
    “But the greatest weakness at all levels in modern political culture is one that I’ve touched on several times in these essays: the modern preference for performative acts and speech in place of actual practical activity, and the tendency to confuse the one with the other.“


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      On performativity: To pick two examples of Clinton’s work at random, I would call neither RussiaGate (as propaganda) nor Libya (as war) “performative.” Nor is the language (“formal deprogramming”) especially so.*(When I think of performative, I think of a genre of Daily Kos post where the author bravely, and emotionally, takes a stand that just happens to coincide with whatever the party line is on that day; there’s an account called “Brooklyn Dad Defiant” that does just the same today; defying what, pray tell?)

      I think it’s more likely that Clinton’s been in some spook briefing session on this. We can’t deliver on it; but they think they can, and Clinton believes them, because of course she would.

      NOTE * If I have my philosophy correct, “performative” originally applied to utterances that in themselves, simply by being pronounced, change reality. The “I do” in a wedding ceremony is an example of this. Somewhere along the line, performative drifted toward performance, and from there acquired the connotation of cheap, manipulative dissimulation, hollow gesturing, “words are wind.”

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Lambert Strether: Thanks for the note. The asterisk propelled me to do some research. You are correct. The original idea of performative act came from a philosopher Austin, who was concerned with speech acts. His definition was the utterances change reality: In the beginning was the word.

        Performativity seems to have been hijacked (metaphorically) by U.S. academics. Now it seems to mean what is called “hand waving.” (And I don’t mean numina.)

        1. Acacia

          Yep. Roughly…

          J. L. Austin How to Do Things with Words (1962).

          Channeled via John Searle, via Jacques Derrida, via Judith Butler, who famously claimed gender is “performative” (also at Berkeley, BTW, Butler’s office being one building over from the one that Searle inhabited).

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          When the intellectual history of “performative” is, if ever, written, I think it will show that, as so much, it originated in 2001- 2003. I don’t have cites, but the seductive aspect of the term at that time, when the Bush Administration’s had full spectrum dominance over the press — the only two dissenting voices, believe it or not, were Paul Krugman and Al Franken* — was that merely speaking out did have a genuinely performative effect a la Moore, in that it communicated that other views than the dominant one were possible. The silence was that loud. (Michael Moore didn’t come along until 2004.) Being “foul-mouthed,” as the late, great David Broder said, was another seductive way to communicate the same. However, both had very local and time-limited causes and effects. That didn’t mean that people didn’t keep doing them, though. Still true today, along with being foul-mouthed as a sign of integrity. (“Family blog” is a joke, but has a serious purpose.)

          NOTE * Honestly, I used to go into the bookstores in Rittenhouse Square and encounter walls of Republican propaganda. And nothing else. I would turn over the books so that the backs showed, not the front covers. It was the least I could do.

  19. SG

    Well, look. It’s not like we have crazypants authoritarians calling for people who opposed them politically to be deprogrammed, presumably by the State.

    Nonsense. It will be a public/private partnership run by the 5 political consultants who collectively set a billion dollars on fire during her 2016 campaign.

  20. Jason Boxman

    Everyone should recognize NGP VAN as the outfit that inundates everyone with garbage liberal Democrat fundraising emails; comical to see some of these people involved lost their jobs. If only that would stop the pain. I did figure out how to get my Google Workspace audit filter to drop, rather than send along, these emails to me after sending them to the NGP VAN CEO. I’ve updated the email target to one of his work emails rather than his school email. I recently had to do the same for Emily’s List; they do their own email servers. The lack of liberal Democrat unsolicited garbage is a notable victory in my life. Take what you can!

    Also, COVID Twitter is aflame about Novavax availability; it is really happening. It seems like it might become widely available at last!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Everyone should recognize NGP VAN as the outfit that inundates everyone with garbage liberal Democrat fundraising emails

      That’s not quite true. NGP VAN rents the list to others, like the evil and appalling Mothership Strategies. They actually send the email.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “As 2024 Looms, Democrats’ Campaign Tech Crumbles Under Private Equity Squeeze”

    Wouldn’t it be ironic is the Democrats got wiped out due to an ill-funded campaign but that the private equity firm that controlled the Democrat’s voter data announced a recorded profit for that year.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Democrats’ Campaign Tech

      If I understand the rational[e|ization] for outsourcing correctly, a firm should never outsource its “core competence.” This implies that the Democrat Party doesn’t regard the voter rolls as part of its core competence (i.e., controlling the ballot, including who is on the ballot and outcomes). That has interesting implications. But I suppose since we are an oligarchy, not a democracy, it makes sense.

  22. Skip Intro

    “Workers of the world zone out, you have nothing to lose but your shackles”
    Shades of the 1999 cult classic Office Space, which anticipated Quiet Quitting by 20 years.

    1. GramSci

      Yea, I’ve often thought the US empire would end like the old Soviet joke: “They pretend to pay us; we pretend to work”.

  23. JBird4049

    >>>Clearly there are deeper problems than Trump….

    The latest insanity in the links and the water cooler is making me insane. I keep reading about the Orange (Authoritarian) Menace, or someone like him, is going seize power becoming the American Il Duce, partly by getting mass popular by giving people what they want. If this is true, why do not the Democrats and/or the Republicans prevent this existential horror of horrors by giving the people want they want? It is almost as if the problem for them is democracy itself instead of the growing poverty, corruption, incompetence, and despair that the American nation is enduring, most of whom seem to be in the Basket of the Deplorables.

    Yes, I know that the Uniparty does not like democracy, but it is axiomatic that you give people what they want to stay in power, and this usually means giving them the means to have a good life. So, the Orange Satan or a disciple of his is going to somehow as if by magic take over a country with a vast security apparatus and a population of over 330 million people by giving them the money needed for food, clothing, and shelter; the Uniparty and its wealthy overlords, which has vast resources, can’t be bothered to supply the increasingly desperate, majority of Americans with the means of mere survival? This, after hollowing out the economy over four decades, partly to destroy the unions and definitely to enrich themselves.

    Is that correct?

    BTW has any one listened to The Anointed One, Hilary Clinton’s podcast You and Me, Both? Its exciting second season of her talking with her favorite people is coming up!

    The ads and her unctuous voice for it keep popping up on my podcast feeds.

    1. flora

      Extraordinary thing haunting our current great-and-good Western folk in their age is that they refuse, imo, to see the altogether human situation they are of course in, refuse to accept that a tad bit of humility might be in order, evan as they demand life in age, as in youth, is in a major key and not in a minor key. This is new and unbecoming them, I think. Well well. Per a goog translation of an English to Latin saying: Vanitas est quam experientia. or… Vanity is more than experience.

      1. flora

        And, going on too long, perhaps this is the thing: I expect our older political leaders would have learned from experience to be more careful about simple assumptions which their younger selves might have embraced without much thought. And yet, I do not see this carefulness or shrewdness or realpolitik evidenced in our current elder politicians. It’s as if they are still college freshmen with that simplistic mindset. This gives me no pleasure to say and I hope I am wrong.

  24. The Rev Kev

    Erdogan brought up an uncomfortable point. Biden sent a carrier to near Israel. What if aircraft for that carrier are taking part in the bombing of Gaza with stand-off weapons. Normally I would scoff at such a suggestion but this is the Biden White House we are talking about.

    1. ambrit

      What if your suggestion comes true, and Hezbollah sinks the carrier, or just “roughs it up” a bit?
      I’m not sure that America’s international reputation as Hegemon of anything survives such an event.
      Somehow, I’m certain that an American sub is loitering off of Tartus now, and a Russian sub is shadowing the Med Fleet.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Biden sent a carrier to near Israel. What if aircraft for that carrier are taking part in the bombing of Gaza with stand-off weapons.

      We could be sending it because we’re stupid and unimaginative and that was all we could think of to do. But maybe that’s not stupid enough. I don’t know offhand the range of carrier-based aircraft, but there could be other purposes than bombing Gaza. The Hamas leadership, for example, is said to be in Qatar. So one might wonder whether there are wet teams on board.

      In any case, at some point we’re going to lose a carrier, I would speculate to an overwhelming drone attack, and that will be that. Better in the Mediterranean than the South China Sea, I suppose.

      1. ambrit

        “In any case, at some point we’re going to lose a carrier, I would speculate to an overwhelming drone attack, and that will be that. Better in the Mediterranean than the South China Sea, I suppose.”
        Better yet, to lose an aircraft carrier in Chesapeake Bay.

  25. Acacia

    Re: Apple “Magic Mouse”

    IME, aside from the stupid charging design, this beastie gobbles battery power such that I found myself swapping them nearly once a week, eventually keeping spare batteries ready to go in a wall charger. If it were those skinny AAA cells, okay, I guess, but two hefty AA cells and it still burns through them? Not to mention that fiddly cover.

    And after it “magically” lost its Bluetooth connection for the 100th time — and this with the computer always sitting just nearby —, I finally threw the thing in the box labelled “functional but POS tech” and went back to using an old skool “Logicool” (not) Microsoftoid mouse with a cable — and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.

    Ditto for WiFi: network performance became much faster and rock solid as soon as I bailed on that sh*t, and went back to using an Ethernet cable direct to the router. Extra Ethernet to USB-C dongle required, but totally worth it for the peace of mind.

  26. Acacia

    @Pat, very scary indeed.

    And it says something about the US that a bona-fide Olympic legend could land in an ICU uninsured at age 55.

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