2:00PM Water Cooler 10/12/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

House Wren (Northern), Walla Walla; Frog Hollow, Walla Walla, Washington, United States. “This bird was singing every morning before dawn, outside my home.”

* * *


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


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Many GOP anti-Trumpers are throwing in the towel” [Axios]. “Win It Back, a political action committee (PAC) affiliated with the conservative group Club for Growth, says it burned through $6 million creating 40 anti-Trump messages — none of them effective, the New York Times reported. Republican Accountability PAC — a group of former Trump voters dedicated to moving beyond the former president — is giving up on the primary after spending $1 million on ads in Iowa. “We have stopped spending money in the primary,” the PAC’s leader, Sarah Longwell, told Reuters…. Much of the Republican field will be in Las Vegas for the Republican Jewish Coalition at the end of the month, and later will head to Miami for the third GOP debate.” • Hmm.

* * *

19,335 emails is a lot:

“Democrats wrestle with the Biden conundrum” [NBC]. “Amid all of the news and issues on the top of political minds, there is one non-versation that continues to dominate: Can Joe Biden do this again? I call it a ‘non-versation’ because the folks wringing their hands the most about whether Biden is up to the task of winning in 2024 are people who, in many cases, have already endorsed him for re-election. A few even work directly for him — and are still having the same uneasy feeling as they watch Donald Trump methodically consolidate Republican support while a right-wing information ecosystem turns the Biden brand into the Clinton brand circa 2016.” Which won’t be that hard, will it. More: “In the real world, concern about Biden’s age is an issue, and the voters are screaming it. Every reputable pollster who has asked has found more than 50% of registered Democrats want a primary campaign. The numbers stem from a simple fact: A number of Biden supporters were never enamored with him but saw him as the safest way to get rid of Trump. When you look at these numbers, it’s as if Democrats are ready to hand Biden a gold watch and thank him for beating Trump, making Congress slightly more functioning and expanding NATO — and call it a legacy. So what will it take to fire up Democrats for Biden? The best elixir for him could well be a primary challenge. The best way to disprove the age and ability issue is to run an active campaign, something Biden has yet to do. This advice may be easier to give than receive.” • And worth what we paid for it?

“Why Democrats aren’t far ahead heading into 2024” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. “[T]he pattern set in that new insurgent Republican leaders would seize power and promise great conservative victories, only to find their troops eventually turning on them. John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and now Kevin McCarthy have all succumbed to the pattern. (Ironically, the only Republican Speaker to surrender his post peacefully during this period was Dennis Hastert, who later turned out to have sexually abused boys.) A natural consequence of this pattern has been to drive House Republicans to constantly employ more extreme methods: shutting down the government, threatening to default on the national debt, impeaching Democrats with or without evidence. McCarthy used all these methods against Biden at the behest of his right-wing rivals. When they inevitably failed to produce the expected victories, the radicals preferred to get rid of him rather than admit that their own strategy was misconceived.” • It’s the Circle of Life….

* * *

“100 days until the Iowa caucuses. What could possibly go wrong?” [USA Today]. “What could possibly go wrong? Actually, a lot could change. Three months is plenty of time for an expanding United Auto Workers strike to take a toll on the economy, for Ukraine’s fortunes to shift on the battlefield, for courtroom revelations and health scares, for front-runners to hit turbulence and challengers to gain momentum. Enough time to upend what now seems all but certain. Though the candidates who are ahead at this point often do end up being nominated for president, that doesn’t always happen. At this point in the 2008 race, a CNN poll showed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani leading the Republican field as former senator Fred Thompson was fading. On the Democratic side, Sen. Hillary Clinton had built a 30-point lead that seemed almost indestructible. But on Election Day, it was her then-distant rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who faced off against Arizona Sen. John McCain for the White House.” • Volatility from the courtroom, abortion, “A slip, a fall, a bad cold” (Trump’s 77, let us not forget), impeachment, the GOP field. And, of course, unknown unknowns. Meteor strike, alien landing….

* * *

“Three Cheers for RFK Jr.’s Candidacy” [Jeffrey Sachs, The Kennedy Beacon]. “As of today, I’d vote for RFK Jr. over either Joe Biden or Donald Trump. Yet the beauty of RFK Jr.’s independent run is that voters will have more than a year to decide, after listening carefully to the candidates. My bet is that the national debate will break strongly in RFK Jr.’s favor.”

“RFK Jr. to Hannity: ‘Do You Want To Talk About My Positions Or Read Talking Points From The Trump Campaign?'” [RealClearPolitics]. I could almost like the guy:

KENNEDY: Do you want to talk about my positions?

HANNITY: Yes, sir.

KENNEDY: Or read these talking points from the Trump campaign?

HANNITY: Excuse me. These are not talking points, these are called Hannity points. I do my own research.

KENNEDY: Yeah but I saw that same list published this morning by the Trump campaign. It was the exact same list. And, again, if you want to know what my position is on any issue, I’m happy to talk to you about it.

In a perfect world, I wouldn’t to depend on RFK Jr.’s word, though.

“Crackpot fight! Trump is worried about RFK Jr. running for president — and he should be scared” [Amanda Marcotte, Salon]. “[T]he slice of voters Trump and Kennedy could be competing over aren’t defined by political beliefs that map neatly onto concepts like ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative.’ Instead, they’re fighting over the crank vote: People who are addicted to gobbling down kooky, bizarre and above all, false information. The QAnon crowd, in other words.” • Wow, Marcotte is still writing. Wow.

* * *

“Pritzker, scientific leaders announce launch of Chicago biohub named for Mark Zuckerberg, wife” [ABC7]. “Gov. JB Pritzker and scientific leaders on Thursday announced the launch of a groundbreaking hub for research in the heart of Fulton Market: The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Chicago.” • Fulton Market? Let’s hope they don’t have a vat spill!

“‘Young Turks’ host Cenk Uygur announces primary bid against Biden” [Fresno Bee]. “‘The Young Turks’ founder Cenk Uygur announced on his show Wednesday that he will run for president as a Democrat, directly challenging President Biden. ‘[Biden] is not going to win,’ Uygur said during the announcement. ‘It should not have been me, it should have been somebody else, but unfortunately it was not anyone else. There’s only four months left. We must change course. He has at best a 10 percent chance of winning. I’m running as a proxy. I am running to win. But I am also running as a proxy for any other candidate.'” • Hold up:

Anyhow, if I were doing oppo on Cenk, I’d start with the comments section on his site, which when I last looked — I grant, years ago – was a cesspit of bro ridiculousness.

Republican Funhouse

“Lobbying World: Former EPA official joins American Chemistry Council” [The Hill]. “Ryan “RJ” Jackson will join the American Chemistry Council as its new vice president of federal affairs. Jackson most recently led government and political affairs for the National Mining Association and previously was chief of staff for the Environmental Protection Agency. He was also staff director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee under its former chairman, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who retired at the end of the last Congress.”

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.

* * *

“Sen. Bob Menendez charged with acting as foreign agent for Egypt” [Axios]. “The new charge comes after Menendez, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was indicted last month alongside his wife, Nadine Menendez, in an alleged bribery scheme…. In a superseding indictment Thursday, prosecutors charged Menendez under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires those working on behalf of foreign governments, companies, and other entities to register with the U.S. Department of Justice….. Menendez conspired with his wife and Hana to perform ‘a series of acts on behalf of Egypt, including on behalf of Egyptian military and intelligence officials,’ the superseding indictment said.” • Hmm. On point for the Middle East mishegoss?

“Slotkin on Tlaib statement: ‘It shouldn’t be hard to condemn terrorism'” [The Hill]. • Hilarity ensues; Slotkin is a CIA Democrat.

“Political forces begin to move on new California Sen. Butler as she mulls a run” [CNN]. Laphonza Butler, D-NGO. “Butler’s new temporary spokesperson keeps providing the same statement about how she has not made a decision yet. But Butler is well-known among California insiders, with top Democrats in the state telling CNN, ‘She does not do things that she cannot be successful at – so my guess is she would not have put herself in this spot if she didn’t think she had a shot at winning an election.’ According to CNN’s conversations with nearly two dozen officials and operatives deeply involved in the appointment and the Senate campaigns, they are all left guessing. That includes Gov. Gavin Newsom himself, according to a spokesperson; he doesn’t know what her decision will be, though he has said publicly that he offered the appointment to Butler with no strings attached. ‘It’s uncomfortable and weird waiting this out,’ said an operative working on one of the campaigns who asked not to be named. ‘I just don’t see how anyone in the next five months is able to mount a campaign that can work.'”

Realignment and Legitimacy

The border. Handy map:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Celebrity Watch

“Chinese celebrities’ Covid deaths subvert propaganda push to minimise outbreak” [Financial Times]. Missed this when I posted on Covid and celebrities. From January 2023: “China is mourning a growing number of public figures lost to Covid-19, from academics to opera singers, whose deaths have complicated the government’s efforts to minimise the scale of the unfolding outbreak sweeping across the country. Since authorities last month scrapped most restrictions instituted to keep the virus at bay, coronavirus has rampaged through China’s vulnerable population with unparalleled speed, leaving hospitals inundated with the sick and elderly and crematoria overwhelmed with demand…. Students at Tsinghua and Peking universities in Beijing and other academic institutions have been tallying deaths among retired professors, while other internet sleuths have counted at least 16 deaths among the 1,831 top figures at China’s sciences and engineering academies.” • Using whatever the Chinese equivalent is of GoogleDocs, no doubt, just as we do.

Censorship and Propaganda

Is it possible these parents are using the (pissant, sloppy, and not-at-all long) lockdowns as an excuse?????

Testing and Tracking

A word from the New York City Comptroller:

Champ, that test is not negative. Faint the line is, but it’s there….


Multiple infections as a mark of pride? Toughing it out? Sucking it up?


“Incident autoimmune diseases in association with a SARS-CoV-2 infection: A matched cohort study” [medRxiv]. N = 641,704. From the Abstract: “[W}e found a 42.63% higher likelihood of acquiring autoimmunity for patients who had suffered from COVID-19 [confirmed by PCR]. This estimate was similar for common autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjögren syndrome. The highest IRR was observed for autoimmune disease of the vasculitis group. Patients with a more severe course of COVID-19 were at a greater risk for incident autoimmune diseases…. SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with an increased risk of developing new-onset autoimmune diseases after the acute phase of infection.

“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.

* * *

Elite Maleficence

Intelligence test at IDWeek:

More like an integrity test. Not to preen, but:

Intelligence test in Canadian hockey:

A “little bit of a bug.” I wonder what bug?

* * *

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 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.

Seriously, what gives, Biobot? Nine days with no update and no announcement is CDC-level scientific commnication. Is there a problem at the lab? A funding issue? A supply chain debacle? “Covid is over,” so no data? What? Now we have the answer–

• “CDC taps Verily for wastewater surveillance” [Becker’s Hospital Review]. “Verily, the healthcare unit of parent company Alphabet, has won its first CDC contract to support national wastewater monitoring, the company said Oct. 2. Under the deal, Verily will test wastewater samples from up to 400 sites nationwide for the presence of COVID-19 and mpox. The findings will help health departments better understand disease trends and respond promptly to any outbreaks. Verily and CDC did not disclose the price of the contract, though STAT reports it’s $38M.” Commentary:

Reality of how monopoly works, more like it. Putting our wastewater data in Google’s hands makes me shudder. First, you know they’re going to monetize it. Plus, given “The Twitter Files,” you know they’ll censor it. Does anybody really believe that Google would give us good data on the next pandemic, especially if the current Administration wanted to “prevent panic”? I don’t. And third, why the hell isn’t this a government function?

Lambert here: Patient readers, I should have spotted the Biobot news earlier, for which I apologize. It does seem, then, that Twitter, even Covid Twitter, has deteriorated; I would have expected to see this from my follows, which include Biobot (perhaps Elon is flooding my timeline; I don’t know). Which is too bad, because I don’t see an alternative (other than restarting the blogosphere). Does any kind reader have a spare BlueSky invite?

• Verily’s horrid dashboard, and I had to click around for about five minutes to get a national view (below). Why, it’s almost like they’re trying to hide something! Note the minimization built right into the design:

(The top, large portion of the chart is data between the left and right gray slider bars on the bottom part (the timeline of the entire pandemic, to which the red arrows I drew point.)

• Biobot data v. Verily data:


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

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, October 7:

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 11:

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?


NOT UPDATED 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.)

NOT UPDATED 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: 1,178,638 – 1,178,490 = 148 (148 * 365 = 54,020 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 12:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

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* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 33 Fear (previous close: 31 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 23 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 11 at 1:42:38 PM ET.

The Conservatory

“Why Rappers Stopped Writing” [Kottke.org]. “These days, instead of writing down lyrics and bringing them to the studio to record, many rappers are using the improvisational “punch-in method” to craft songs during the recording session.”

Zeitgeist Watch

“The monkey’s got the locomotive under control”:

I certainly hope so!

Our Famously Free Press

“Washington Post slashing 240 jobs” [The Hill]. “The Washington Post says it has plans to do away with more than 200 jobs as a cost cutting measure after prognostications for online readership and subscriptions proved “overly optimistic” heading into 2024…. The Post is one of several media and tech companies to conduct layoffs and hiring freezes in the face of a tough ad market, news fatigue and other economic hardships in recent months.” • Bullshit fatigue, more like it.

Imperial Collapse Watch

“MBTA eliminates Green Line extension slow zones, reopens Union Square branch early” [Boston Globe]. “To eliminate the Green Line extension speed restrictions, T officials said crews had to widen the distance between the rails at hundreds of points along the tracks…. The T has said that the Green Line extension, the first expansion of the T’s subway system since 1987 which fully opened last year, ‘has always been narrow, but somehow became so narrow in recent months that it was dangerous for trains to travel at full speed, prompting more than a dozen speed restrictions along the tracks. Track experts say it is nearly impossible for track gauge to narrow over such a short period of time At a MBTA board of directors meeting last month, the T’s top infrastructure official told members of the agency’s oversight board the Green Line extension — which was decades and billions of dollars in the making — ‘didn’t meet construction standard.'” • How do you spend a billion dollars on rail and not get track that’s in gauge?

Class Warfare

“Whitehall Study” [Wikipedia (DD)]. “The Whitehall Studies investigated social determinants of health, specifically the cardiovascular disease prevalence and mortality rates among British civil servants. The initial prospective cohort study, the Whitehall I Study, examined over 17,500 male civil servants between the ages of 20 and 64, and was conducted over a period of ten years, beginning in 1967. A second cohort study, the Whitehall II Study,[2] was conducted from 1985 to 1988 and examined the health of 10,308 civil servants aged 35 to 55, of whom two thirds were men and one third women. A long-term follow-up of study subjects from the first two phases is ongoing. The studies, named after the Whitehall area of London and originally led by Michael Marmot, found a strong association between grade levels of civil servant employment and mortality rates from a range of causes: the lower the grade, the higher the mortality rate. Men in the lowest grade (messengers, doorkeepers, etc.) had a mortality rate three times higher than that of men in the highest grade (administrators).” • So Case-Deaton not so new?

News of the Wired

“Why Eat Like a Caveman?” [JSTOR]. “A central narrative of the Paleo concept is that humans evolved for the conditions of the Paleolithic era and are unsuited for life in the modern world, with its abundant agricultural and processed foods. Paleo systems call for avoiding grains and sugars and instead eating mostly meat and vegetables. Many Paleo manuals discuss the diet in distinctly masculine terms, throwing around words like virile, warrior, and protector. Yet, as with most diets, the majority of practitioners are women. Johnson suggests that the masculine framing may actually be a draw for some women who object to typical gendered narratives about food and health. Many Paleo women assert their desire for steak, muscle building, and a type of fitness that isn’t solely about losing weight (though weight loss and fighting the ‘obesity epidemic’ is an unavoidable part of Paleo discourse). [Cultural critic Adrienne Rose Johnson] argues that the vision behind Paleo is much bigger than just weight loss, or even just individual health. Advocates often paint a picture of a pre-agricultural life of varied physical activities, ample leisure, and strong communities. And some Paleo dieters go beyond their food choices in attempting to emulate people from the distant past. Some avoid artificial light, eat raw meat, practice polyamory, and avoid wearing shoes.” • Sounds harmless enough. I had a steady diet of coffee, steak with pepper, and red wine for a couple of years. It wasn’t bad, though I didn’t notice any health benefits. And I kept wearing shoes….

“How to Read a Compass” [Field & Stream]. What it says on the tin. Detailed and clear. Conclusion: “Knowing how to read a compass is invaluable for all—from adventurers to weekend hikers. It’s a reliable method for ensuring your navigation is accurate and your journey safe, whether exploring a new trail or finding your way back to civilization. GPS is a great tool as well, but having solid map and compass skills helps you to use a GPS more efficiently.”

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SR writes: “First fruit of my first bitter melon vine! Bonus: blossoms smell delightful. Thriving on a very hot deck in Northern Virginia.”

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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. Matthew

    Because he can’t…

    “The best way to disprove the age and ability issue is to run an active campaign…”

  2. lyman alpha blob

    It shouldn’t be just Biden’s age that’s an issue for Democrats – the rampant corruption would be an issue too if only the “left-wing information ecosystem” would cover it. It isn’t just the Fox crowd living in an info silo despite NBC’s rather transparent attempts to insinuate that that’s the case.

    The mind boggles as one corporate media and/or government hack after another continues to say there is no evidence for Biden family corruption, despite there being reams of it. Or is it just my own lying eyes making me think this?

  3. Hepativore

    I would still like to know how Cenk Uygur plans on getting around the requirement that a presidential candidate has to have been born in the US. This is not a trivial requirement that could be easily changed as it would require a Constitutional amendment. Plus, I think that many people would be uneasy about removing this requirement, because of a historical undercurrent of anti-immigrant/nativist sentiments in many aspects of American culture, for better or for worse.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I would still like to know how Cenk Uygur plans on getting around the requirement that a presidential candidate has to have been born in the US.

      Whoops, Twitter embeds stupidly don’t show community notes. So I replaced the tweet with an image. See the highlight.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Running for office is serious business. I doubt that Cenk could show that he’s made any kind of serious effort to get on the ballot anywhere since he’d be disqualified instantly. Viewed from any angle his fundraising is bogus and a straight up prison-worthy con.

          In a perfect world there would be serious consequences.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Is Cenk going to run on an anti-union platform? And didn’t the guy fund-raise to write a book – which he never end end up writing?

            1. JohnA

              Boris Johnson was born in New York and at a loose end right now, apart from trousering mega fees for speeches, a newspaper column, and book advances.

    2. Chris Smith

      Reminds me of my maternal grandmother, who was a displaced person after the war. Back in 2005, when people were talking about changing the constitution so that Arnold Schwarzenegger could run for president, she said “you never let an Austrian be your leader.”

    3. truly

      Several years ago Cenk and co host Ana got in a big kerfuffle with Jimmy Dore. Around the time of “Force the Vote”. It turned personal and Ana made some horrid accusations against JD. What will take Cenk out of running is the response video from JD. I had watched the Young Turks years ago but had forgotten that they were trying to compete with Howard Stern. In JD’s response videos there are many many clips of some of the most horrid body shaming, misogyny, and general crass behavior by Cenk and crew. They had a segment they did they called something like “Celebrity Camel Toe” where they would show a close up of a (famous) woman in yoga pants and see if they could guess who she was while staring closely at her zoomed in on privates.
      My guess is that would end any hope of a serious presidential run.

      1. Pat

        I was going to remind you that the Democratic Dream Team that flushed a billion down the toilet in 2016 were sure their smoking gun of Trump telling Billy Bush that he could just go up and grab women’s privates would destroy Trump’s candidacy and result in their landslide victory.
        But the truth is that would probably work. Not just because Cenk is a jerk, or that the voters he is ostensibly courting with this publicity stunt no more care about his base issue than Trump’s did, but that he doesn’t fulfill the most important issue for Democratic tribal voters…He has no chance of beating Orange Man Bad.
        Still it has gotten his name out there again.

      2. lambert strether

        That is the kind of oppo I meant. Took me about thirty seconds to cross Cenk off my list, though I had to look at the Justice Democrats effort (and in retrospect AOC hopping into bed (metaphorically) with that dude was not a good look, and a harbinger).

  4. Phenix

    RFK Jr sucks on Israel. His talking points are from 10 years ago but he has demonstrated that he can change his mind.

    My family (wife and young kids) went to his Philadelphia rally. 3 people in the crowd including my wife and I yelled during “America’s Rabbi” speech. The guy called him a warmonger and we went with Free Palestine…. no one in the crowd was mad at us or attempted to quiet us….we may be able to move him on that issue.

    He is running against corruption and has dozens of podcasts on this topic.

    Once he releases his economic policies I’d really appreciate a breakdown by this site.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > he has demonstrated that he can change his mind

      I don’t know if he’s changing his mind or if he’s just a weathervane. Yes, it will be interesting to see if there’s any bite to his economic proposals, when he makes them.

      Interesting about the crowd. It sounds non-tribal.

      1. t

        I wouldn’t say a weathervane. Grift hound with a nose for scamming. He had 24 years to show me any evidence of basic morality. Bogus charities, comical misrepresentations of published works, whining about being treated worse than Anne Frank….

      2. Objective Ace

        Staunchly anti vaccine (against those besides Covid) does not poll well. Its pretty tough to pin him as a weathervane when that one position allows 90 percent of dems to write him off as a quack.

        1. Hepativore

          A lot of “crunchy” types on the political left as well as upper-middle class suburbanites in “blue” political areas have also been traditionally the loudest antivax voices in the room when it comes to MMR and the like and these are the people who often think that Andrew Wakefield is some sort of martyr.

          The whole antivax phenomenon has been painted as a MAGA phenomenon by the media in the wake of COVID, but it has been traditionally espoused by rich liberals and neo-hippies or new agers.

          One look at the people who shop at Goop, or send their children to Waldorf schools turns up a lot of antivax PMC types that would fit right in with the Democratic Party brand.

          1. Greg

            Very much this. In our part of the world antivaxxers were a mix of mommy-blogger types and crusty old hippies until covid.

    2. Chris Smith

      They are all terrible on Israel/Palestine, except maybe Cornell West, so it’s not like you or I can really vote on this issue.

      1. mrsyk

        Any candidate that’s financially supported by the R/DNC will be toeing the AIPAC line. Also any candidate compromised by Epstein.

    3. nippersdad

      In addition to the Mellons et al of yesterday, I wonder if the Adelson’s will show up tomorrow as some of the funders of his super pac. It is hard to believe that he would be this proactively rabid on the subject were he not paid to be.

  5. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Why Rappers Stopped Writing

    So that’s why so much hiphop these days is terrible. That and the recent infatuation with including samples that sound like they were taken from a Casio keyboard circa 1982. I’m sure there’s some decent new stuff out there but until I hear it, I’ll stick with Chuck D.

    1. ambrit

      My view is that “real” rappers are ‘Street Poets.’ True poetry takes time and work. Seldom is the initial version the “right” one. Works are taken “back to the drawing board” and reworked, tested and reworked yet again. Anything less is a cheat.
      This “one shot and we’re done” method of rapping reminds me of the horrible Hollywood method of “Mumblecore.” Basically, forget talent and training, just wing it and publish the results.
      Mumblecore: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumblecore

      1. Mark Gisleson

        It’s musically challenging but the energy and creativity you’re looking for seems to have been channeled into afrofuturism which at times seems to be a fusion of spiritual jazz and hip hop but I think it’s something more than that. I like Moor Mother and Irreversible Entanglements as they are an excellent example of how evolved this format has already become.

        Afrofuturism tbf is tangled up with academia and it’s not uncommon to see new releases made possible by grant funding. Money is being spent to shape and control this format but the real energy comes from serious people. I routinely check out anything tagged as afrofuturism because when it’s good, it’s almost always politically/culturally interesting.

        There has been a general trend towards denser more layered music in this century. A lot of political and cultural commentary gets slipped into that ‘noise’ especially as samples. The wall of sound you hear these days could be secretly programming you ; )

        1. ambrit

          Ah, I’ll have to look into this. I already enjoy “Juju Music” from Nigeria. I once stumbled into a concert in Miami by King Sunny Ade and an exceptionally talented group, almost an African Big Band sound. Horizons were expanded.
          Academia entanglements can be both a blessing and a curse.

    2. ChrisPacific

      Chuck D was always my favorite as well. The best Public Enemy tracks (like this one) were powered by a healthy core of rage. Flavor Flav never had it for me – he was obviously having too much fun.

  6. DJG, Reality Czar

    In which Cenk Uygur proves that he is a distinctly unserious man, even in this deeply shallow era:

    Lifted from Wikipedia: “Although he is not a natural-born U.S. citizen and thus is ineligible to serve as president, Uygur has announced his candidacy in the 2024 Democratic presidential primaries. Uygur was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and immigrated with his family to the United States when he was eight years old.”

    He’s like Hillary Clinton, just one more dopey-ass liberal, just building the résumé.

    When does their formal deprogramming begin?

  7. Jason Boxman

    I’m not sure that is Verily’s web site? The domain name registry contact information is all marked private, and there’s this:

    Content on this site is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0. All results are understood to be based on inputs that are experimental in nature, and are not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. The results are provided “as is” and without warranty of any kind. Stanford is not liable for any claim arising out of or in connection with the disclosure of these results. By accessing or copying any part of the database, the user accepts the terms of this license. Anyone seeking to use the database for other purposes or for research is required to contact Alexandria Boehm (aboehm@stanford.edu).

    From: https://data.wastewaterscan.org/about

    Not that I trust Google will report honest data, but I don’t think this is them.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I got there from the Verily site after some clickthroughs. Perhaps they will change/upgrade now that they have the contract.

      They are Stanford affiliated (not a confidence builder) but so is Verily. I’ll have more tomorow.

  8. Jason Boxman

    So this web site is actually useful; I learned how to enable the national trend. On Respirator tab, make sure SARS-CoV-2 is selected. View by Location. Under Chart display, ensure that the eye is for “All Selected Locations” is not crossed out, by clicking on it once. Also, there’s a gear icon by Chart display. Click it, and select Show Trendlines. The slider should turn black. Now I think you get All Selected Locations under Chart display. Click the eye so it isn’t crossed out. Now you get a big black line showing national trend.

    That, or something close to that, worked for me. Doesn’t help with the mini-graph showing tiny blips when the are surges, though.

    Good luck!

  9. ambrit

    About the American ‘potty training’ deficit.
    Does this phenomenon play out overseas as well? If so, can there be some physiological connection between Covid related cognitive abilities damage and said “fundamental” training? After all, continence is not an innate skill. It must be learned. So, does Covid damage the parts of the developing brain responsible for ‘learning’ this skill?
    I fear that someone has created a real monster.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The tweet is about England. It seems like there have been all kinds of disruptions such as children not getting checkups. Covid is out there, but austerity is likely the problem as guardians are stressed.

      1. ambrit

        My question is; how is a fundamental home based learned skill affected by austerity? Theoretically, austerity would free up more labour for the “Homes Front.” More Moms and Dads “free” to spend time at home with the children. Which should end up with much more parental “quality time” with the kiddies. Which should boost positive outcomes for children.
        Playing Advocatus Diaboli here, during the Blitz in WW-2, there was no reporting of children suffering from developmental deficiencies, and that time was a point of major stress in England.
        Something else is quite possibly the causative agent. One major “new factor” arising alongside the newly reported “deficiencies” in child development is the Coronavirus 2019.
        At least worth investigating. If my theory is anywhere near right, then we are in for a major disruption in Terran human ‘evolution.’
        Tying this into related events of recent note; this happening will be ‘spun’ as a reason for outright terminating “useless eaters” and other types of “deplorable.” HRH HRCs recent remarks about “deprogramming” MAGAZ can be easily propagandized into a program of “social and species cleansing.”

          1. ambrit

            True enough. America is seeing the mid range results of basing the socio-political system on precarity.
            I can attest from first hand experience that raising children is hard work.
            Maybe the general population today in the West is just lazy, by design.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its a lonely austerity which is key. Even though the blitz happened, there was community. The British weren’t tearing each other apart then. Now they are.

          They aren’t collectively planting gardens or collecting scrap. The kids are just left to their own devices. The parents don’t have anyone watching their back.

          1. ambrit

            I hope that The Adversary gives Maggie Thatcher an Executive Position, (those are all exceptionally painful,) in the Department of Infernal Affairs.
            These are conditions that are perfect for the development of a True Labour Party. That we see no one even trying to form such a party is a disgrace.

        2. albrt

          Maybe the parents (like every previous generation of parents) have no idea what they are doing, and Grandma wasn’t able to drop by to set them straight?

          1. ambrit

            Or, and bear with me here, these recent “generations” are the first truly “atomized” family units. Traditionally, Grandma and or Granddad lived with the eldest offspring and fulfilled the role of ‘Institutional Memory’ for the extended family.
            Couple that with the end of “traditional” village life and we are in uncharted waters.

    2. petal

      I remember reading about this problem in the UK several years ago, way pre-covid, and being astounded.

      1. ambrit

        This problem predates Covid?
        In that case, it would be a sign of massive societal breakdown. Raising children is ‘supposed’ to be a society’s main task. That breaking down suggests the social bonds are dissolving. Once social bonds are dissolved, is Civilization even possible?

        1. petal

          Yes, def predates covid. Will try to find articles when I get a minute. People were sending their little kids to school in diapers because they couldn’t be bothered to potty train them, the teachers didn’t have time to potty train them or were spending all of their time on it because there were so many, kids didn’t know how to use a knife and fork, all the basics.
          Hi to Phyl for me!

          1. ambrit

            Thanks and a hearty wave back. Get ready for Winter early this year. Many of the “traditional” signs of an early and harsh Winter are showing up.
            Be safe.

    3. Shellbay

      Actually continence is sort of an innate skill. If you are interested research elimination communication – there’s loads of information out there. Basically babies from a few weeks old don’t like to soil themselves and give a sign to their carers when they want them to remove their clothing and hold them somewhere suitable (like over a potty). I’ve done this with my 3 and it was quite straightforward once I’d heard of elimination communication.

      If Covid really is hindering potty training we’ve got a lot to worry about. Most likely Covid is damaging carers’ abilities to read their children’s expressions which would be v bad.

      1. ChrisPacific

        Depends on the baby. Ours was not in the least bit bothered, and would happily run around all day in a full nappy even when he was older. He also enjoyed a stealthy dump in his nappy at night right before dropping off to sleep, so we became paranoid about checking on him. If you ever missed one, it wasn’t fun cleaning it up in the morning.

        I read the original article and it was more about the collapse in public services for childcare needs in the UK. The pandemic only rated incidental mention.

    4. Objective Ace

      Is there any actual data for a potty training defecit, or is this just typical pattern searching behavior identifying something based on anecdotal observations when no such pattern actually exists

    5. Utah

      I’ve read and heard from my fellow 30 something peers that some people don’t want to potty train too early because it could be considered abusive if the kid isn’t ready. Can’t make this s*** up. In our feeble attempt to avoid abuse, we cause it. I wouldn’t be too quick to blame COVID. I was potty trained at 2 and my sister trained her children at 3 or 4. I’ve got friends who waited until nearly 5. I don’t have kids, but I can’t imagine waiting until 4 or 5.

  10. ChrisFromGA

    Politico: “Time is running out for GOP to pick a Speaker”

    What’s that I hear stirring from his coffin? Could it be, Zombie-Kev?

  11. ambrit

    Concerning Google and wastewater testing: “And third, why the hell isn’t this a government function?”
    Turn this one “on its head.”
    Google is now a part of the Government. Or is it the other way around?
    To paraphrase John Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask how you can die for your country.”

      1. Pat

        Do not forget cleaning supplies. For something I worked at I did a lot of ironing and some painting. Along with the problems paint and lungs a study I read over twenty years ago talked about spray starch coating the lungs and causing respiratory complications. That was when I thought about all the things we blithely spray without thinking about it.While we know there have been lots of strides in supposedly clean and non toxic cleaners, but let’s think about the deceptions played with natural and organic labeling. Plus we really don’t know much about the supposed safe replacements in many cases. There is probably more, but I would be surprised if in time we don’t add cleaning supplies to the not so good modern advancements.

  12. Tim

    My 12 year old daughter got hit pretty hard with COVID the first week of school this year.

    She now has allergies (dust, pollen, and who knows what else). She never had the slightest bit of allergies before.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      my cousin in houston is getting over covid right now…self diagnosed, did the whole vitamin cocktail thing.
      he reports that after the first covid infection, his allergies got a whole lot worse, and have remained so.
      i’m in the same boat, after my second covid infection(tested negative both times, with rapid and pcr)…allergies worst in my life…not limited to Cedar Season.
      and today, i had a telemed thing with my doctor buddy of 25 years…and i asked him about what he’s seeing, re: covid.
      he reports that he’s seeing some…but that its all like a bad sinus infection…lungs, etc not involved.
      then he recced the free gooberment home tests.
      and getting the experimental vax.(he’s a True Believer in big pharma, sadly…but i love him, anyways…and he tolerates my idiosyncrasies)
      (novovax not available within 80 miles of me…let alone one of the Cuban Vaxes,lol)

      i called school nurse about getting a flu shot…and asked her the same thing(we have had a relationship over local disease surveillance for years and years—she actually makes special trips to the pharmacy and grocery store to look at whats missing from the shelves)
      she says the same as Dr Dave…a few confirmed cases(she admits that the tests are fer shite)…but like a bad sinusitis.
      on the scanner, however….ongoing culling of old folks…a handful where “covid positive” is mentioned…but mostly just things that could be related(tis a mystery, etc)…trouble breathing, a marked uptick in heart problems(notably, a bunch more than usual for heart trouble in folks that are in their 50’s)..and just a lot of things that, while they certainly are not surprising in 70+ year olds….are way up from prior baseline(not scientific, at all…since i cant hear the scanner from everywhere)…and fall under the covid umbrella, based on what we’ve learned on NC.

      1. ambrit

        From the very beginning. We watched his career in Louisiana with distaste for years.
        He is a bit far Right even for Louisiana.

      1. ChrisPacific

        I propose the following interim measures:

        1. Assemble volunteer gangs to track down poor people and beat them up
        2. Arrange for regular shipments of cash from government to big businesses

        These should be sufficient to ensure the country continues to function normally while this is resolved.

  13. Carolinian

    Hersh has a new post talking about his long ago book The Samson Option. Maybe Scheer will liberate it from the paywall although he seems to have stopped doing that.


    Pat Lang used to talk about how a very well known Hollywood producer conducted an on the side operation that acquired materials for Israel’s first bomb. I doubt this is in Hersh’s post, which nevertheless must have some interesting info.

  14. caucus99percenter

    Love that plantidote! Way cool. Whenever I’m in Philadelphia, I make a point of having lunch at Ting Wong in Chinatown at least once, and always order a bitter-melon dish as part of the meal.

  15. nippersdad

    That metaphor used by the coach for his team staying in the game despite being ill was particularly ill chosen. “Suck it up” should never find itself in the same conversation as one in which one of the team members just vomited in his mask.

    That is just gross.

  16. mrsyk

    My wife and I are seeing a significantly higher number of family, friends, and colleagues with or having recently had Covid than any point earlier in the pandemic. This population centers around NYC. Anecdotal for sure but that’s what we’ve got these days.

    1. Daryl

      It’s frustrating. I’ve also had a lot of colleagues call in sick, across both the US and Europe. But it’s hard to tell whether it’s just covid being as virulent is as it normally is or a true upsurge, due to all the reporting infra being dismantled. I am guessing return to school is making things worse though (now that I write it… everyone I know who has been sick has kids)

    2. albrt

      Seeing the same thing in Ohio – more cases for people I know personally within a few weeks than any point in the last three years. Not quite as much in Arizona.

  17. diptherio

    I’m surprised you hadn’t heard of the Whitehall study. I came across it years ago in connection with Sapolsky’s work on the health affects of stress. That’s probably another set of findings that do to support Case-Deaton (although he was working in primates, not humans).

  18. DeAndre

    Thousands of migrants in Chicago — many of whom have been bused there from Texas — are waiting for a spot in one of the city’s overcrowded shelters.

    Meanwhile, black Chicagoians are almost rioting as their scant resources and parks are turned over to “migrants”…Many of whom are camping in police stations

    while homeless Americans, single men, sleep outdoors. Predict huge wave for Trump in Chicago.

    “City of Chicago officials were booed and shouted down at a South Shore meeting on respite housing for migrants arriving in Chicago, which has reached a crisis point.”


    Jump ahead to 20 second mark.

    Word is, once Biden gives them work permits, they’ll work cheap and obediently and will displace African Americans who won’t.

    1. Rip Van Winkle

      The migrants arriving in Chicago will be better served when they take the CTA Red Line to Howard and continue north. The stuff of John Hughes movies. The south and west sides may be worse than what they left behind.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>Word is, once Biden gives them work permits, they’ll work cheap and obediently and will displace African Americans who won’t.

        For decades, there have been illegal brokers of undocumented laborers being sent by van, bus, or whatever to meat packers, farm labor, and other (often illegally) low paying, dangerous jobs across the country. The operations get shut down very occasionally by the feds, maybe even the local states, but those businesses just set up again nearby. The laborers get underpaid and overcharged in fees under threat (or their family members down south) of real violence if they do not do and pay what they are told.

        Honestly, the whole lot needs to be deported, but do not ever say that they are not victims as well. They usually need that work because of even worse conditions back home. However, it is they, not the people brokers, nor the American businesses that get hurt when ICE makes their raids. For the businesses, it is just the cost of doing business.

        What those Southern governors are doing is merely more open about the whole thing, and again, it is not the governors who suffer, but the laborers who do. As well as the American workers.

        I just worry about what will happen will the economy tanks again in the Second Great Depression or Recession, and we have all these people getting resources, which while still grossly inadequate, is being taking away from American citizens. Again, it will be the laborers who will likely be the ones being beaten or shot.

    2. MannieMotaplus

      Better yet, Lori Lightfood, and New York Governor Hochul INVITED them to come to Chicago and New York State, now six months later they are damning Biden, as is Mayor Adams, demanding the wall get built. This is getting really funny. https://www.manchestertimes.com/news/national/hochul-tells-migrants-not-to-come-to-new-york/article_14cb5bd2-9a05-59b8-8418-be7c4bababc3.html

      I’m printing up Spanish language instructions on how to get services in Chicago and handing them to any desperate looking Hispanic met anywhere on our travels around the state. Invite New Jerseyites and New Yorkers to do the same for NYC.

      Search for “Immigrant services Chicago”, or “Immigrant services New York City”;-)

  19. turtle

    This story about BART was making the rounds on Mastodon yesterday. I’m not sure if it has been posted to NC before (published 2020), but I thought it might be of interest:

    The little-told story about the BART seat-slashing gang that was part of an upholstery racket

    “Apparently there was a racket at one point where gangs would slash seats with knives so they’d have to be re-upholstered, generating overtime pay for BART workers and extra orders for materials suppliers. Specific patterns would be cut in so they’d know who to pay for the ‘favor,’”

  20. McWatt

    My wife took the Moderna Covid shot on Monday noon. Two hours later she was vomiting with diarrhea. She had all the other shots, boosters, all Moderna. By Wednesday morning she was feeling better.

    Anyone else have this problem?

    1. rowlf

      Must mean it is effective, as the believers say. /s

      Coworker was laid out for three days with covid like symptoms after his x booster. I accused him of being a slow learner as he had the same reaction to the original shots and then boosters.

      “You are not a lab rat. You are not a test primate. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

  21. Amfortas the Hippie

    Marcotte:” The Democratic party has become a haven for reality-based people, including some former Republicans who want a politics based on reason and evidence. ”

    hmmph…i had forgotten she was there….
    still writing the same article.

  22. Glen

    So is it OK for a US Senator to take bribes from foreign countries if they have registered as foreign agents?

    Maybe SCOTUS can rule that bribes are just more “free speech” goodness, and countries, like corporations, have more rights than citizens. I’m sure that SCOTUS has been on enough “free speech” vacations to see this clearly by now.

    1. Allison

      Grant Smith has spent a lifetime investigating FARA as it pertains to Israel and their foreign lobby activity inside the Unites States. Grant’s summation of the situation in the United States:

      “US Middle East policy continued its downward spiral in 2022. The president and Congress aided and abetted illegal Israeli objectives over better policies preferred by overwhelming majorities of American voters.

      In poll after poll, Americans have signaled they would like to cut U.S. foreign aid to Israel. Sanction Israel over apartheid practices. Hold it responsible for being the Middle East’s leading state sponsor of nuclear proliferation and not recognize Israeli territorial annexation.

      Americans also oppose Israel’s U.S. surrogates attempting to curb their 1st Amendment rights to boycott Israel in response to its perpetual human rights violations.

      None of these popular and noble objectives were translated into U.S. policy in 2022. Americans are instead likely to be further undermined in 2023.

      At the close of 2022, the United States continues to push for the illegal annexation and recognition of 105,709 square miles of territory on Israel’s behalf. This is over ten times the amount of Ukrainian territory that Russia illegally annexed through 2022.

      While Israel and its lobby isn’t the only driver of disastrous U.S. Middle East policy, it plays the critical role. The Israel lobby mostly escapes scrutiny from even staunch critics. Many prefer to advance canards that Israel is merely a U.S. “client state”, America’s “unsinkable aircraft carrier” and that Israel’s lobby is both legitimate and not a major factor in policymaking.”


  23. Reply

    First the Big Dig with falling ceiling panels and other construction problems to go with a gigantic budget overrun.
    Now some Bostonians need to deal with the silly train gauge problem.
    Seriously, who was inspecting that job, the Peter Principals?

      1. skippy

        ZOMG I went through this entire process back to ex Mayor and Sec of Transport Federico Peña and then the whole DIA – airport Clinton thingy, big construction, affirmative action scam … hello _ ????? …

        Starting to think some like it …

    1. scott s.

      Fortunately, Honolulu hired Dan Grabauskas based on his great success in Boston to run our rail project. He successfully turned the $4 billion rail into $10 billion. Rail currently will take you from a suburb to the stadium, which is closed due to state neglect but you can visit a swap meet.

      We don’t have a gauge problem, but the wheels were the wrong size for the rails and they had to fly in welders (apparently they needed some sort of certification no one in Hawaii has) to fix the rail frogs so trains weren’t limited to 10 mph.

  24. Amfortas the Hippie

    al mayadeen:
    “According to the source, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and occupation officials are skeptical they could manage a ground attack in Gaza since they have not been trained for warfare and are primarily utilized as security guards in the West Bank.”

    also from them…free speech icon meta:https://english.almayadeen.net/videos/meta-bans-pro-palestine-content

    and some anecdata:
    my Eldest’s best buddy is in the Navy…texted my boy and said that Hamas has declared war on the US….and he’s likely being “put on a ship” to deploy somewhere near Iran.
    repairing to the tarpaper shack on the moon for a broader view: likely to satiate people(sic) like Lindsey Graham in their aniti-Iran fetish….i told eldest that the real action will be towards china….and later.
    ie: the Eye of Sauron is shifting East, stopping for a time in Rhun, before moving on to the unknown areas beyond.

    1. The Rev Kev

      As we have seen, fighting in rubble-strewn buildings is on of the toughest tactical problems in the book. Doubly so if you are using troops that are basically mall cops. Where is Paul Blart when you need him?

  25. Acacia

    “CDC taps Verily for wastewater surveillance”

    more like:

    “CDC double-taps Verily for wastewater surveillance”

    Everything they touch turns into …

  26. flora

    re: House Wren.
    “This bird was singing every morning before dawn, outside my home.”

    Oh yes. But amplify the sound here online by at least 2 or 3 times. A tiny little bird smaller than a sparrow with the lungs of a Pavarotti. The tiny bird *will* wake you up in the morning. / :)

  27. Another Scott

    Re: Green Line in Boston
    How do you not get the gauge right?
    The answer’s easy, the MBTA is Massachusetts’ answer to CALPERS and PG&E rolled together.
    The FTA has issued numerous letters and warnings over the authority’s lack of attention to safety, it’s threatened a takeover, but that hasn’t happened.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        ChrisRUEcon: Did you notice the reference to Club for Growth?

        From the Club for Growth’s free-market-adoration platform:
        Policy Recommendations:
        Repeal Obamacare.
        Enact Medicare reform that utilizes a premium-support function to replace the current system.
        Block-grant Medicaid to the states.
        Create Social Security personal retirement accounts that workers would own and could use to build nest eggs for retirement.

        “Nest eggs.” Yeah, like in Lost in America. Come on, 22!

        Trump or Club for Growth, Scylla or Charybdis?

        I’m voting for Mothra.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          > Trump or Club for Growth, Scylla or Charybdis?

          DJG: to be fair to #OrangeManBad, he’s consistently chided the GOP for threatening people’s #SocSec … and he did the same with respect to extreme abortion positions. Trump wants to win, but he’s not a win-at-all-costs dude. He can still “read the room” better that the establishment kleptocrats on both sides of the aisle.

          My vote would go for West, who in the spirit of Halloween probably most evokes a Yeti … :)

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      #100DaysToIowa #WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong

      Is there going to be an “October surprise”? Biden ain’t stepping down, and Kamala ain’t getting anointed. The people who can make things happen on purpose are caught between a rock and hard place … it all becomes increasingly too clumsy the closer to Iowa we get. Trump’s in pole position …

    2. ChrisRUEcon


      “People who are addicted to gobbling down kooky, bizarre and above all, false information.”

      Oh … you mean like #RussiaGate?!!!

      These people …

    3. ChrisRUEcon


      $25M from the state is probably just the beginning … tax breaks will come, especially if one assumes that “Lab Workers” have to come into the office and not WFH. Fulton Market foot traffic is probably still a bit pandemic-depressed.

  28. Randall Flagg

    >• Bullshit fatigue, more like it.

    Great line. That pretty much sums up media today, to which I suggest adding in Big Business practices, Big Government, etc., etc. You just get worn out from all sides all day.
    I think that term may also be used as a clinical diagnosis, like Long Covid ?
    Sarcasm off.

  29. Matthew G. Saroff

    Is it possible these parents are using the (pissant, sloppy, and not-at-all long) lockdowns as an excuse????

    Is it possible that there are subtle, and not so subtle cognitive impairments that are associated with repeated Covid infections of children?

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