2:00PM Water Cooler 10/17/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Barn Swallow (American), Jena Wildlife Management Area, Dixie, Florida, United States. “Song and calls at nesting site under concrete bridge; same colony and location as 96-05-08.”

* * *


“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

“World crises sound alarm, but Biden’s foreign policy delivers shaky response” [Washington Times]. “‘The United States is in a far weaker position today than it was under previous administrations,’ said Nile Gardiner, a foreign affairs analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. ‘Biden has projected weakness. You see it in the Middle East, where Iran has gained a lot of ground. You see it in Asia with growing Chinese aggression. The Biden administration is flailing on the world stage.'” • A country that can’t manufacture enough ammunition wants to fight a two-front war. Three, if you throw China into the mix. And to be fair to Biden, that didn’t start with him; it took decades of bipartisan decision-making.


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Trump and Biden Seek Historic Combined Sweep” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “[I]t is possible that Biden and Trump will, combined, put up the strongest performance in the nominating season in modern history. There has never been a nominating season where both major party nominees went undefeated in the nominating season. But that is a possibility in this Biden versus Trump matchup. In national polling (this time, aggregated by FiveThirtyEight), Trump is up roughly 40 points over his nearest rival, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), 55%-14%, with other candidates lagging behind DeSantis. Biden, meanwhile, has not attracted any mainstream opposition and is currently leading 61%-17% nationally over vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who reports indicate is poised to leave the Democratic race in favor of an independent bid [which he did]. Biden’s polling lead is not very impressive for a sitting president, but he also has no strong opposition to capitalize on this soft support. Trump’s leads in polls of Iowa and New Hampshire are not quite as robust as his national lead, but he’s still been up roughly 30 points on his nearest rival in recent surveys of both leadoff states. We have to be on guard for the possibility that something changes in either or both races. What if there’s a formidable late entry on either side? What if Donald Trump’s seemingly strong support is a mirage, and the combined weight of his legal and other problems opens the door to one of his opponents? What if Joe Biden’s age and poor approval ratings prompt him to retire? But another what if, more plausible than any of the mentioned above, is this: What if nothing changes? And that’s where the possibility of a historic, modern sweep comes into play.” • Firmly on the side of stability (not volatility).

* * *

“Trump sues ex-spy over dossier, citing ‘shocking and scandalous claims’ [Associatiated Press]. ” A lawyer for Donald Trump told a London judge Monday the ex-president plans to prove that ‘shocking and scandalous claims’ about him in a largely discredited report by a former British spy were false and harmed his reputation. Trump has sued the company founded by Christopher Steele, who created a dossier in 2016 that contained rumors and uncorroborated allegations about Trump that erupted in a political storm just before he was inaugurated. Trump is seeking damages from Orbis Business Intelligence for allegedly violating British data protection laws…. Trump said in his witness statement that he was not trying to harass or seek revenge or drive Orbis into financial ruin but wants to establish that the information in the dossier was false. ‘Until there is such a judgment, I continue to suffer damage and distress as a result of people wrongfully believing that the data in the dossier is accurate,’ he said. In two previous High Court cases, a judge ruled Orbis and Steele were not legally liable for the consequences of the dossier’s publication.”

* * *

“Trump Tells Iowa Crowd: ‘I’m Willing to Go to Jail … for Our Country to Win'” [The Messenger]. • That’s a pitch that’s hard to beat!

“Inside Trump’s Backroom Effort to Lock Up the Nomination” [New York Times]. “As Mr. Trump dodges debates and is regularly seen on his golf courses in branded white polo shirts and red MAGA hats, it can seem that he is bypassing the 2024 primary fight entirely. He has done relatively few public campaign events until recent weeks. But Mr. Trump and his political team have spent months working behind the scenes to build alliances and contingency plans with key party officials, seeking to twist the primary and delegate rules in their favor…. The maneuvering is the type of old-school party politics that Mr. Trump, who cut his teeth in the machine politics of 1970s and 1980s New York, relishes and knows best: personal calls and chits, glad-handing, relationships and reprisals. Advisers say that in contrast to some tasks, getting him to make those calls is a breeze. Plus, the seemingly arcane issue of delegate accumulation — tallying up formal support in the states to secure the nomination at the party convention next summer — is deeply personal to Mr. Trump after he was outflanked in exactly this fight in 2016. Then, a better-organized Senator Ted Cruz of Texas worked Trump-skeptical state parties to win more delegates even in some places where he had lost at the ballot box…. Now, surrounded by a more experienced team and the authority of a former president with loyalists entrenched nationwide, Mr. Trump is doing to Mr. DeSantis exactly what he once accused Hillary Clinton of doing to Bernie Sanders: bending the system in his favor. Mr. Trump’s backroom campaign reveals the extent to which he has become the establishment of the Republican Party.” • Interesting. Do we have any Republican, or Republican-adjacent readers who can comment? (It does seem to me that this is a pattern with Trump; behind the puffery and the bluster is very often a disciplined and effective backroom operation; true in 2016, when Jared set up a data operation in Texas; and IIRC during his Presidency, where some lawyers nobody ever heard did a great job on his impeachment defense. Why this pattern was not true for Trump’s election denial scheme in 2020, and why he had to rely on lawyers both bent and incompetent, is still an open question. I mean, it’s simply not prima facie that our elections are clean.)

* * *

“Alex Marlow on ‘Breaking Biden’: Hunter Biden, Art Troll: President’s Addict Son Paints with Cocaine Straw, Alcohol-Based Paints” [DNYUZ]. “Most people think they know the Bidens all too well. One of the reasons I wrote [Breaking Biden] is because I believe, in general, people know relatively nothing about the Bidens. Hunter is as misunderstood as any of them. I note in the book that despite his grifting, drug use, and reluctance to perform basic paternal responsibilities, sometimes ‘I think he might be the only cool Democrat and one of the few ‘fully realized’ Americans who are openly living their lives as their true selves.’ My colleague Emma-Jo Morris, who knows Hunter’s true self better than almost anyone in journalism, has been making the same point for some time.” • Dear Hunter! I agree; Hunter has lived! I would vote for Hunter Biden over Pete Buttigieg any day of the week.

* * *

“DeSantis greets Floridians on first chartered flight from Israel” [Politico]. • Hoo boy.

“‘That decision cost lives’: Covid data case further deflates Ron DeSantis’s campaign” [Guardian]. “A courtroom settlement over withheld Covid-19 data that critics say cost thousands of lives has deflated Ron DeSantis’s campaign trail persona as a courageous freedom warrior who kept his state open during a deadly peak of the pandemic… The settlement ends a two-year legal battle between the DeSantis administration and a coalition of Democrats, open government advocates and media outlets that began in June 2021 when the Florida health department ended daily updates of Covid cases, deaths and vaccinations on its online dashboard. The department will pay the plaintiffs’ $152,000 legal bill and resume regular posting of the data that DeSantis’s communications team insisted at the time was no longer necessary because cases

had ‘significantly decreased’ and that Florida was ‘returning to normal’. In reality, as DeSantis dismissed reporting on the pandemic as ‘media hysteria’, the Delta variant of the virus was just taking hold, and cases and fatalities spiked, to a record 385 a day in Florida by September 2021. Simultaneously, Florida led the nation in pediatric Covid hospitalizations…. ;Twenty-three thousand Floridians died during the Delta surge, and not only did the DeSantis administration restrict information on Covid during that time, they repeatedly downplayed the severity of the outbreak to fit their political narrative and help DeSantis run for president. That decision cost lives,’ said Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democratic former state congressman who filed the lawsuit against the Florida health department, later joined by the Florida Center for Government Accountability.” • Fine, but DeSantis was just a little ahead of the entire political class, very much including the Biden Administration. So is what he did so wrong?

* * *

“Glenn Youngkin thinks he has a Republican response to Democrats’ abortion attacks” [Politico]. “The Virginia GOP is trying to flip the script on an issue that has dogged Republicans for a year and a half. So far, Republicans have been doing their best to not talk about it. But now Youngkin is going after Democrats as extremists who don’t support any restrictions. Republicans, the new campaign says, are the reasonable ones who back a ban after 15 weeks with exceptions for cases of rape, incest and life of the mother. They are betting big on this new tactic: Republicans have recently launched a major $1.4 million ad buy to make that case in the final stretch of the campaign for control of the state Legislature. ‘The only issue that Democrats are running on is abortion,’ David Rexrode, the executive director of Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia PAC, said in an interview at the organization’s offices in Richmond earlier this month. ‘And so since they’re running attack ads on abortion, we’re going to respond on abortion.’ Republicans’ goal is to neutralize Democrats’ most powerful line of attack, even while focusing on topics like crime and the economy to try to win. If successful, it could provide a blueprint for a party that has struggled electorally since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.”

* * *

“Phillips is considering a New Hampshire presidential primary run. Here’s how he could beat Biden” [MinnPost]. The deck: “Phillips faces an Oct. 27 deadline for deciding whether to run for president in New Hampshire’s primary.” And: “In his third term representing the Twin Cities’ western suburbs in the U.S. House, Phillips injected himself into presidential politics in July of last year, when he became the first congressional Democrat to suggest Biden, 80, should not run again, citing the president’s age. Phillips, who considers himself a centrist, initially indicated he would only run for president if Biden were to drop out. Then he said his role was to try to convince other moderate Democrats to challenge the president. But that hasn’t happened. So now he’s considering an effort to topple his party’s leader. Despite his limited time in government, Phillips, 54, could become the most prominent Democrat running against Biden. And he could actually stand a chance of winning an important presidential primary if he runs in New Hampshire. The only candidates currently challenging the president in that state are self-help author Marianne Williamson, who is struggling with her campaign, and media figurehead Cenk Uygur, who has welcomed Phillips to join him in challenging Biden. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said recently he’d run as an independent instead of a Democrat. Because New Hampshire is defying the DNC and Biden’s decision to have South Carolina host the first presidential primary on Feb. 3, the president won’t be on the ballot in the Granite State. ‘Biden has very clearly said South Carolina should go first,’ said University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala. So, without Biden on the ballot, Phillips could conceivably win. But there is also a chance he would not, Scala said.” • I dunno. “Dean Phillips” sounds like a firm; “Dean Phillips,” “Dunder Mifflin.” If Phillips were the senior partner, “Phillips Dean.”

“Window is closing for any surprise 2024 candidates, but they could still emerge” [ABC News]. “Politicians who are floated as late-breaking candidates — including Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., or Virginia’s Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin — could theoretically still declare they are running for the White House and even, on paper, go on to win their party’s nominations even if they miss the cutoff for the early primary and caucus dates, experts told ABC News…. Experts said that missing filing deadlines or joining the 2024 presidential race after some key benchmarks pass in early voting states would make it very challenging but not impossible to earn a presidential nomination….. Success as a late-entry candidate would depend on building momentum among voters despite not campaigning and gaining traction in the early states or being able to win any of their delegates, the experts said. ‘If you have a lot of popularity … oomph you can still get the nomination, even though you missed the early primaries,’ said Richard Winger, a ballot access expert and political analyst…. There is some precedent for candidates joining the race without qualifying to be on the ballot in early or key states. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg formally entered the 2020 presidential race as a Democrat in late November 2019 but did not file in New Hampshire. Former Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick also launched an unsuccessful bid that month, missing deadlines to file in Alabama and Arkansas.” • Wow, Deval Patrick. Whatever happened to the backup Obama?

* * *

“The Democrats Savior? Why Pete Buttigieg Could Be President” [1945]. “Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg remains highly popular among Democrats – and a possible presidential candidate someday. He could be a strong contender for the top job in 2028. A poll taken in January showed him more popular than his boss, Joe Biden, among 2024 Democratic New Hampshire primary voters. Twenty-three percent told a Granite State poll taken by the University of New Hampshire that they preferred Buttigieg. He had a 69% approval rating among Democrats compared with 49% for Biden.”

“Buttigieg Chased Off Stage By Protesters at Maryland Event” [The Messenger]. “limate change protestors on Tuesday chased Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg from a stage as he was being interviewed at an event hosted by the Baltimore Banner. The protestors appeared to be criticizing a Texas petrochemical project Buttigieg’s office is considering, according to the outlet. Buttigieg left the stage briefly while security officers were unable to immediately clear the stage and asked the audience to leave the room.” • Whoops! (“Appeared to be” because the protesters didn’t “appear to be” interviewed!!)

* * *

Republican Funhouse

“House speaker vote live updates: Jim Jordan appears to lack enough votes in first round to lead the House” [NBC]. Live coverage. “Several House Republicans oppose Jordan, who needs 217 of the 221 GOP caucus members to vote for him.” • Jordan takes it to the mat, and gets pinned. What a shame.

“Give the speaker pro tempore speaker power” [Washington Examiner]. • I love this concept. It’s so late Roman Republic!

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.

* * *

The party left me:

Kristol’s not wrong, is he? Bless his heart.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Mollie Hemingway: People Can Not Trust Intelligence Agencies Because Of Their Actions, Inability To Repent” [RealClearPolitics]. • Screamingly obvious. So why do I have to hear this from The Federalist, for pity’s sake?

“Allum Bokhari: Meet Michael Hayden, Deep State Spy Chief Turned Media Blacklister” [RealClearPolitics]. • Screamingly obvious. So why do I have to hear this from Breitbart? Gawd, I need a shower. I feel all icky.


“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!

* * *

Covid is Airborne

I remember the old college tune: “What’s the color of horse-sh*t? Brown! Brown! Brown!” Still true today:

Brown has a lot to answer for, in the person of Leana Wen; not as much as that house of ill-fame, Stanford, but still a lot.


“#Novavax vs mRNA vaccine” [Jeff Gilchrist, Threadreader]. “This thread explains how @Novavax is different from the #Moderna and #Pfizer #mRNA #vaccines and describes some of the benefits such as broadened #variant recognition, more durable #immunity, and fewer side effects.” • Well worth a read, for those considering Novavax.

Immune System Dysregulation

“New York City struggling to contain rising tuberculosis cases” [Politico]. “The city has confirmed about 500 cases of active tuberculosis so far this year, an increase of roughly 20 percent from the same time last year.” • Huh. ‘Tis a mystery!

Censorship and Propaganda

“Changing nature of Covid: Is it just a regular winter bug now?” [BBC]. • By Betteridge’s Law, no. BBC complaint line:

Scientific Communication

Stochastic eugenicism from CDC:

#VaccinesWork, but no mention that #MasksWork, which is odd, since both the (Asian) clinician and the (Black) patient are wearing them; what for? CDC doesn’t say. Of course, they’re modeling a baggy blue and some gormless earlooper, instead of N95s. And there is, naturally, no HEPA filter in the background…

“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.

* * *

“Enumerating Exceptional Properties of SARS Cov 2” [Anthony J Leonardi, Easy Chair (AntiDLC)]. “There is a huge lobby for normalization of SARS Cov 2. Entire industries depend on the public’s return to normal consumer and working behaviors. As such, the rationalizations and reassurances to the public that SARS Cov 2 is a normal seasonal Coronavirus are relentless. These are constructed like homilies and catch-phrases, such as ‘we must learn to live with it,’ and, ‘it’s endemic,’ with the implication of its endemicity referring to the abandonment of efforts which acknowledge its existence, such as testing…. It is a complete misconception that introduction of a virus to the immune system makes subsequent infections like a common cold, and that virulence is due to novelty. If nerves, organs, and immune systems could speak, they would tell a tale of exceptional inflammation, aging, and death, which we must turn to science to hear. Here, I will give you, the reader, clear enumerations where SARS Cov 2 is unlike a common cold.” And:

  1. SARS Cov 2 triggers a unique, long-lived inflammatory overreaction unseen in Sepsis and influenza….
  2. SARS Cov 2 sends T cells into the brain while lethal influenza does not.
  3. SARS Cov 2 directly causes autoimmunity by reprogramming a special type of T cell called the T regulatory cell, which has never been observed before.
  4. The human genetic line has not propagated any sarbecovirus elements therefore never has faced Sarbecovirus infection to the extent to evolutionarily adapt, except in the unlikely theoretical possibility of extremely negative selection (meaning infected humans did not create progeny.)

Elite Maleficence

* * *

Lambert here: No point watching the tape; the CDC snarled it, by (mixed metaphor) decapitating the national source of wastewater data, without which we have no current case data at all (although we can always check our local sewage plant). All the lagging indicators are down (except, of course, for deaths and excess deaths, which are up). That might mean the current surge is trending down. But it might not! Mandy, good job!

Case Data

NEVER TO BE 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.

• Biobot Analytics Awarded NIDA Funding for Nationwide Wastewater-Based Monitoring Program for High Risk Substances and Others Associated with Health Risk” (press release) [Biobot]. From September 23. “Biobot Analytics, a global leader in wastewater epidemiology, was awarded a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health to conduct anonymous, population-level wastewater-based monitoring on drugs and overdose reversal agents. This program is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at evaluating the distribution of substance use and misuse on a national level. Over 100,000 overdose deaths occurred in the United States last year and more than two-thirds of all overdose deaths in 2022 involved a synthetic opioid, according to provisional data. Biobot’s work is a vital step forward in the country’s collective efforts to address substance use and misuse. …. The program will provide wastewater analysis of methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, xylazine, naloxone, and their metabolites to 70 communities across the United States. The SBIR Phase III contract represents the continuation of Biobot’s work supported by NIDA’s SBIR Phase I and Phase II grants.” • So I’m happy that Biobot is still in business, albeit now a party to the drug war. Still, the implication of the headline is that SARS-CoV-2 is not a “high risk substance… associated with health risk.” Really?


NOT UPDATED From CDC, October 14:

Lambert here: September 30 is tomorrow, but never mind that. Top of the leaderboard: EG.5 (“Eris“), with HV.1 a strong second, and XBB. and FL.1.15.1 trailing. No BA.2.86. 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, 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 17:

Still decreasing. (New York State is now falling, too.) I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive.

Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. October 7:

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 16:

-0.3%. 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 14:

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 25:

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

BA.2.86 shrinks. Flash in the pan?


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: 1,179,271 – 1,178,851 = 420 (420 * 365 = 153,300 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 13:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

Retail: “U.S. Retail Sales” [Trading Economics]. “Retail sales in the US advanced 0.7% mom in September 2023, following an upwardly revised 0.8% rise in August and beating forecasts of a 0.3% advance. The data continues to point to robust consumer spending despite high prices and borrowing costs.”

Manufacturing: “United States Manufacturing Production MoM” [Trading Economics]. “Manufacturing production in the US rose 0.4% from a month earlier in September 2023, beating market expectations of a 0.1% increase and following a revised 0.1% fall in August. The index for motor vehicles and parts moved up only 0.3%, as motor vehicle assemblies were held down by the ongoing strike against three automakers. Elsewhere in manufacturing, gains of 1% or more were recorded by wood products, primary metals, and plastics and rubber products, and declines of 1% or more were recorded by apparel and leather as well as printing and support.”

* * *

Gentleman Prefer Bonds: “Geopolitical volatility returns to the financial markets” [The Editorial Board, Financial Times]. “The Vix index — a measure of expected volatility — has averaged notably higher since 2020 than in the decade before. The World Uncertainty Index, which measures the prevalence of the word “uncertain” in analysts’ reports, has been trending upwards for years and has jumped significantly since 2021. The more uncertain future is altering the playbook of market participants, from investors to central bankers. First, quantitative models used to price assets and assess trends are less meaningful…. Looking beyond charts, balance sheets and ratios has its own implications. Markets do not have a great record of pricing geopolitical risk and assessing low-probability, high-impact events, or ‘tail risks’ … The difficulty of measuring geopolitical premia also raises the reward for those that can get it right. There is a growing demand for professionals who can combine political and macro knowledge with financial fundamentals.” • Hmm.

The Bezzle:

The Bezzle:

Tech: Well, so much for formerly-kwown-as-Twitter-alternative BlueSky:

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 35 Fear (previous close: 35 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 31 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 16 at 8:00:00 PM ET.

Groves of Academe

“More than a third of Nevada students chronically absent, continuing pandemic-era trend” [Nevada Independent]. “Ignacio Prado has noticed a change at Futuro Academy in East Las Vegas ever since the pandemic: More parents are keeping their kids at home if they are sick….. ‘When I have conferences with families, they just sort of say back to me a lot of what we said to them during the pandemic around not wanting to get other people sick,’ he said. ‘Before the pandemic, coming to school with a cough wasn’t that big of a deal.'” A ray of hope that our citizenry is not completely depraved? More: “While there are many reasons why a student may miss school, state education officials say the pandemic has spurred exponential rises in absenteeism rates. They’ve noticed greater health consciousness and emphasized how significant time away from in-person learning fostered a general decrease in student engagement that schools are still reeling from.” And: “The state’s primary way of addressing absenteeism is through the Multi-Tiered System of Supports Project at UNR, [Christy McGill, the state’s deputy superintendent for educator effectiveness and family engagement] said. The project provides schools and districts with monthly training on how to best identify the causes of chronic absenteeism. The state education department is responsible for finding the funds for the program. The program outlines a list of interventions, ranging from offering a school refusal assessment and academic catch-up opportunities to monitoring the student’s attendance for 20 days and creating formal plans with families.” • NOTHING ABOUT VENTILATION!!!! [lambert bangs head on desk]. Could it be — follow me closely, here — that there’s a significant proportion of parents who don’t want to pass on, or catch, an airborne Level 3 Biohazard that could damage their children’s brains for the rest of their lives? (Of course, school administrators would be the very last to detect that official propaganda is wearing thin….

Zeitgeist Watch

“The Techno-Optimist Manifesto (parody) [“Marc Andreessen,” Andreessen Horowitz]. Redacted by Grosser:

Rule #1.

“The Baloney Detection Kit: Carl Sagan’s Rules for Bullshit-Busting and Critical Thinking” [The Marginalian].


“Driving 100 miles in labor; giving birth in the ER: Fears rise as 3 maternity units prepare to close in Alabama” [NBC]. “‘Nobody wants women and children to do poorly, but you also can’t lose money year over year on a service line,’ said Dr. John Waits, CEO of the nonprofit Cahaba Medical Care, which runs medical clinics that take patients regardless of their ability to pay. Several of Cahaba’s physicians deliver babies at Princeton Baptist and Shelby Baptist. ‘There’s something broken about the funding stream that helps us take care of our women and children,’ Waits said.” • Rule #1 once more.

“Medicare Advantage keeps growing. Tiny, rural hospitals say that’s a huge problem” [NPR]. “Private plans now cover more than half of those eligible for Medicare. And while enrollment is highest in metropolitan areas, it has increased fourfold in rural areas since 2010. Meanwhile, more than 150 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, according to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina. States such as Texas, Tennessee and Georgia have had the most closures. Medicare Advantage growth has had an outsize impact on the finances of small, rural hospitals that Medicare has designated as ‘critical access.’ Under the designation, government-administered Medicare pays extra to those hospitals to compensate for low patient volumes. Medicare Advantage plans, on the other hand, offer negotiated rates that hospital operators say often don’t match those of traditional Medicare.”

Class Warfare

“Turk Wars: How AI Threatens the Workers Who Fuel It Edit comments” [Stanford Social Innovation Review]. The deck: “The much-hyped AI tools of the future are being built by a globally dispersed army of data workers.” And: “In August 2022, a company called AI Insights issued a huge request for services on Amazon Mechanical Turk, an Amazon-owned marketplace where a globally crowdsourced pool of individual data workers can accept small digital tasks for pay….. [M]aking a living through Mechanical Turk requires working in volume…. And so, last year, when AI Insights posted a request for more than 70,000 HITs during what is typically a slow season on the platform, it represented a bonanza of opportunity for “Turkers,” as Mechanical Turk’s workers call themselves. But as they got to work, in some cases completing hundreds of HITs, the Turkers soon realized that AI Insights was rejecting all of their work en masse, without explanation. According to the platform’s guidelines, that meant the Turkers wouldn’t be paid, but that AI Insights would get to keep their work all the same. Also, since individual Turkers’ approval ratings are affected anytime their work is rejected—and since most requesters on the site won’t accept bids from Turkers with less than a 99% approval rating—the mass rejection also sent many Turkers’ ratings tumbling downward, effectively blacklisting them through no fault of their own. When Turkers contacted Amazon, asking them to intervene, the tech giant washed its hands of the situation, saying they can’t ‘get involved in disputes between workers and requesters.'” • Not nice people at all.

News of the Wired

Analog FTW:

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IM writes: “Some Icelandic moss and mother-of-thyme perched on the edge of a cliff in Thingvellir national park, where the Atlantic rift pokes above sea level. This is on the North American side.”

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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. Wukchumni

    “Trump Tells Iowa Crowd: ‘I’m Willing to Go to Jail … for Our Country to Win’”
    The Debbs you taunt is the Debbs you want to be.

  2. petal

    Isn’t Ashish Jha associated with Brown University?
    Trying to remember what our chant was for the hockey games when Brown visited. Long time ago.

    1. Tom Doak

      Wow, I went to look up the famous alums of Brown University and it is quite the roster:
      JFK Jr
      Ted Turner
      Andrew Yang
      Janet Yellen
      Bobby Jindal
      Ken Starr
      Tom Perez
      Victoria Nuland

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        One hopes students grabbed them back out for personal dorm-room use and free-lance use elsewhere. One hopes the students were not so pro-actively compliant to authority’s wishes that they left them in the dumpster because rescuing them might make the covid-zombie plague-spreader authorities of Brown feel bad or sad.

        1. ambrit

          I have found out the hard way that anything in a dumpster is “legally” the property of the dumpster company. Yet another artifact of End Stage Capitalism.
          Whoever gave the order to dumpsterize the air purifiers should have a seriously infective person ‘invited’ into their living quarters.
          There should be visible and palpable consequences for stupidity. Targeted Darwinism? Let the Elites know that they aren’t the only ones who can apply eugenics to “target” populations.

  3. Jason Boxman

    Stochastic eugenicism from CDC:

    It’s also clear from the photo that the Asian woman is smiling, despite protests from eugenicists and extroverts that you can’t see authentic smiles behind a respirator.

  4. Wukchumni

    Dear Hunter! I agree; Hunter has lived! I would vote for Hunter Biden over Pete Buttigieg any day of the week.
    I get it, Mayo Pete is a phony’s phony-a well spoken young man in the vein of a certain cunning linguist who broke the Presidential color line just like Jackie Robinson did in baseball, and after 8 years in the bigs had the equivalent of a .201 batting average, 31 attempted steals-caught stealing 22 times, 27 home runs, and led the team in strikeouts for 3 years in a row.

    Unanimously voted into the Presidential hall of fame on such strong numbers, in the first ballot.

      1. nippersdad

        Plan B, as in a Democratic party electoral abortifacient? Vet(eran)s everywhere would approve that message, especially right about now when we are facing the potential for three or four different wars.

        It would certainly change the conversation, wouldn’t it?

      2. griffen

        The Redemption of Hunter, coming soon to a Lifetime premiere movie channel on your small screen. He lives, he laughs and occasionally snorts but no longer. You see it’s like Andy in the prison movie, Hunter finds hope in his painting. Oh and indirectly he finds buckets of money but no matter.

        Yeah without question Hunter has lived. Absent the laws most have to live under or abide by when it comes to business or commerce, it’s a good living.

      1. Hepativore

        The primary goal for the Democratic Party is not to win, but to fundraise. Winning the presidential election is a distant second priority, as all that really matters is how much money they can drum up from their corporate donors along the way. In fact, winning might be a hindrance to many of them as it puts their inaction malfeasance in the spotlight without any Republican Party to hide behind if they are the majority party in Congress or control the presidency.

        Anyway, the Democratic Party has basically locked itself into a paradigm that goes as follows:

        If they win an electoral seat then it is a sign that neoliberalism is working and the answer is more neoliberalism. If they lose an election, it is because they were not neoliberal enough and so the answer is more neoliberalism. No matter what happens the answer is neoliberalism.

        1. Acacia

          Yes. This. They just want to maintain the system by which they can get money from donors.

          It’s influence peddling in large-scale corporate form.

          This is why the DNC can front Biden/Harris as their chosen candidates. They have run the numbers and they think TDS is prevalent enough that they’ve got the fear vote mostly in the bag.

          If they lose this hand, no biggie, the money still rolls in.

          1. steppenwolf fetchit

            Well . . . they also want to occupy the space in which a better party might emerge if that space were vacated. They only get donor money as long as they can keep that space successfully pre-empted.

            If the DemParty can’t be declintaminated . . . . or exterminated . . . . then people wanting something better may have to leave national-level electoral politics altogether and focus on growing a Separate Survival spatially distributed CounterCulture.

            1. Hepativore

              But they can easily stop non-neoliberal candidates from emerging by changing the rules mid-primary, or even deciding to not have primaries at all if they felt that there was a chance that their chosen candidates could not win the primary. It does not matter to them if they commit political suicide by sabotaging primary challengers who would fare better in the main election, as long as they can prevent any leftward movement in the party.

              Unfortunately, both parties also determine what the election laws are as well polling locations, appointing election judges, etc. If there really was a threat of a third party candidate posing a serious challenge, both parties would try tying them up in lawfare suits to stall them which would probably not be resolved until after the election, or pass new legislation that would ban third parties outright and dissolve existing ones.

            2. Acacia

              Steppenwolf, yes, absolutely that too. To maintain the system — essentially a cartel with the GOP —, some anti-competitive business practices must be employed to kneecap any potential competition. As Hepativore notes, they have lots of tools for this, e.g., to ensure the “vendor lock-in” found in other industries.

              My feeling now is that the DemParty is clearly corrupt to the core, beyond reform, and at this point it is a fools errand to even try. Lambert has explored this in depth (see “standing remarks on the Democrat Party”), and it’s pretty persuasive to me. The metaphor isn’t a patient on life support that might recover, it’s a corpse in the morgue that needs to be buried, but all the relatives are in shock and denial. This situation rather points us towards other party options, or the separate survival you mention, like the kind of autarky that Amfortas is working on.

              Hepativore may be right about how the cartel is working day and night to lock out any competition (e.g., RFK jr. or Dr. West), but I continue to think something might be possible, if only because the number of registered Independents is so much greater than the duoparty cultists. I’ve looked at the electoral college numbers, and if you flip even a few decisive states to a third-party candidate, the big picture looks kinda interesting.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can you run a Presidential campaign by not being seen and hiding from evrtyone? Biden ran his from his basement but he used the Pandemic as an excuse there.

  5. IM Doc


    Thank you for the RSV vaccine tweet. Rest assured, my office is being bombed by questions from patients.

    At times, I am not even certain what to say to people.

    The RSV vaccine is currently a one time only immunization. It is not currently an mRNA product. We have no idea how long the efficacy will remain, and indeed on everything I have seen on it as regards to advertising to the public, that fact is made clear. There are all kinds of references to possible future boosters.

    My feeling about this respiratory virus (RSV) is exactly the same as the COVID virus. RSV is quite capable of mutating. It may not be nearly as adept as COVID, but adept it is. Therefore, there is no such thing as herd immunity as we are programmed to think of that concept. We just have no idea how long this will last.

    I would also like to point out the basic data points that are being given to the public. The RSV vaccine in our area is known as Arexvy. This is the website for health care workers. As you can see, the efficacy rate of prevention in all patients is listed at 82%. The efficacy rate of prevention in patients with one co-morbidity is listed as 94.6%……..I want to reiterate again as I did repeatedly with COVID vaccines, this is a RELATIVE RISK REDUCTION number. This is NOT what the normal human brain thinks when they see 82 or 94.6. As you can see in the N number – there are about 25,000 subjects in both arms – and only 33 out of those 25,000 were prevented from getting the disease. The pharmaceutical industry has been abusing this Relative Risk Reduction number for as long as I have been a physician. 82% sounds so much more sexy on their advertising than 0.03%.. but they are allowed to do it – so I feel obligated to point these things out.

    I am deeply concerned about another issue that I have discovered in doing research for my patients. I hope that we all remember the absolute ABUSE that was given to the VAERS system during the early days of the COVID vaccine. Well, please look right here at the official prescribing information for this new vaccine Arexvy at the very first page. There you will note, without a hint of irony, that all adverse events to this vaccine are to be reported to the VAERS and to GSK. To my knowledge, there has been no change in VAERS – it is the same old system. If it is so crappy as we were screamed at for 2 years, why on earth would this be the system for reporting? Especially given that there does appear to be some signal, however small, for severe neuro issues in these trials? 3 patients in the trials were reported as having Guillan Barre or encephalitis after vaccine administration. It appears one of them died from this. Exact details are not available – other than these issues appear to have happened in patients given the flu shots at the same time. WHY OH WHY IS THIS DUAL VACCINATION BEING ALLOWED AND EVEN ENCOURAGED GIVEN THIS FACT? I can no longer even believe what I am seeing some days.

    Here is the latest ad. Lots of happy people bragging about being protected. And as you can see, the 82% and 94% numbers are blasted at your eyes and ears. But please note, since this did not go through on an EUA – they are required to spend half the commercial time going through all the adverse event issues.

    I am not a pediatrician – so I do not have kid numbers from my career. For my entire more than three decade career in adult medicine, I have actually admitted only 17 patients with proven RSV pneumonia through the year 2020. Of those 17, every single one was over the age of 65 – most over 80, and 14 were nursing home or end of life patients. Since 2020, I have had 3 admitted in their 30s-40s. All three of them presented with very severe asthma like presentations, but this had never been the norm before 2020. I have been puzzled by this anomaly since it began to happen.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Worse, what the last 4 years have taught us is that if we deploy robust, defense in depth non-pharmaceutical interventions, we can eliminate flu transmission (and I’d guess RSV as well).

      So naturally we’ve completely discredited universal masking, even in healthcare settings.

      Being able to practically vastly curtail airborne transmission is clearly not something anyone in positions of authority in “public health” has any interest in advocating for or putting into practice.

      This is the stupidest timeline.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Masks are commodities; no profit there. Arguably (this is only part in snark), promotion of low-cost NPIs could be regarded to be “bad for business”.

        Of course, NOT. One would think that promotion of population health through NPIs would be considered “good for business” in terms of increasing the number of “consumption years” one gets out of each person. Shrinking or debilitating the population of consumers, not to mention workers, ought to be alarming to anyone who cares about the long-term health of the US economy. Even if they don’t care about people as people, the elites ought to care about population health.

        Maybe everyone is already COVID brain-damaged.

    2. turtle

      Can you please clarify the part about relative risk reduction, so I can understand your argument better?

      Why should that not be the number we think about? Doesn’t that mean that people with the vaccination had an 82% lower risk than people without vaccination?

      1. IM Doc

        Certainly –

        I will work out one example for you given the time involved – but enough that you will get the idea.

        If you look at the website, they have kindly given you the very basic numbers for the calculation. Look right under the big and bold 82.

        In the vaccinated arm – there were 7 patients out of 12,466 who became infected. My quick calculations are telling us that would be a 99.943% chance of not being infected. Great – way way better than the 82% – how is that?

        Well – look at the placebo arm – 40 patients out of 12,494 – imagine that – the placebo has a 99.68% chance of preventing infection.

        So in absolute terms – or absolute risk reduction – the vaccine is effective 0.26% more often than the placebo. Actually, in the more complicated statistical terms, the actual absolute risk reduction would be 7/12,466 – 40/12494 or 0.056-0.003202 for an absolute risk reduction of 0.052798%.

        The relative risk reduction is a complete statistical contrivance to compare these two groups. You take the control reduction ( 40/12,494 or 0.0032) and compare it to the experimental reduction ( 7/12,466 or 0.00056). You compare the two groups by subtracting the experimental from the control ( 0.0032-0.00056) and then dividing that number (0.00264) by the original control reduction (0.0032) or 0.00264/0.0032 is 82.5%.

        I tried to make that as simple as possible. It is virtually impossible to do this well in text format. When I am with students – we have a big white board and all kinds of colored pens.

        To put it bluntly again – the relative risk reduction is not very helpful in studies when the N is this large and the number of affected subjects is so small. It can really get skewed – I use the example of Greenland on a flat map. In reality, there is very very little distance between the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. Pharma has used these RRR numbers in their ads for decades – and it has been and continues to be profoundly misleading. This is the exact same issue with regard to the 95% issue with the COVID vaccines. Americans thought they were “95% protected” – This is not at all what this number means – and again, it is profoundly misleading.

        1. Ed S.

          I can’t thank you enough for the explanation of absolute vs. relative risk reduction. You provided a similar explanation in a comment a few years ago about COVID: it was one of the most powerful explanations I’ve ever read. I saved it a text file to save for future reference.

          And for what it’s worth, your explanation is crystal clear. I’ve taken several graduate level statistics courses and most instructors were so muddled that it was nearly impossible to understand what was being explained. Any physician who had you as an instructor is a lucky individual.

        2. Janeway

          Tip of Greenland to the ‘bottom’ = Tip of Continental US to Guatemala.

          Maps efficiency of 95% doesn’t capture that reality.

        3. turtle

          Thank you for the detailed explanation! I understood the concept of relative risk, but wanted to understand why you thought that absolute risk numbers were more important. It seems to me that the relative risk reduction figure is still a very important figure to keep in mind, but perhaps it’s just as important to be aware of absolute risk. What I mean is that I do very much care about if I were exposed to whatever pathogen and would otherwise be negatively affected by it, how much protection would the vaccine afford me. However, it’s also important to understand the overall, absolute risk to know whether taking the vaccine is worth it to reduce the chances of negative outcomes from a small percentage to an even smaller percentage.

          The other thing is that this type of statistic doesn’t seem to be limited to vaccines, as it seems that every mainstream article out there about almost any health related risk headlines the relative risk reduction (or increase) numbers, rather than absolute numbers. Typically in the form of “X doubles your risk of heart disease!”, etc.

      2. Jason Boxman

        There’s Understanding the Risks of Medical Interventions

        The concept of risk has not been well taught in medical education, but the growing interest in evidence-based medicine is starting to change this. There are essentially three ways of reporting risk in a study, and they are all derived from the same statistics:

        Relative risk reduction (RRR) refers to the percentage decrease in risk achieved by the group receiving the intervention vs. the group that did not receive the intervention (the control group).

        Absolute risk reduction (ARR) refers to the actual difference in risk between the treated and the control group.

        Number needed to treat (NNT) refers to the number of people who need to be treated to prevent one undesirable outcome.

        If a control group has some characteristic at 2%, and the experimental group with an intervention gets it at 1%, you can say there’s a 50% relative risk reduction; sounds good. But the risk was already low.

        1. turtle

          Thank you. I had some idea of what IM Doc was talking about, but wanted to make sure I really understood his point, and wanted to hear why he thought that ARR was a more important figure than RRR.

        2. curlydan

          If I’m doing the math right (?), I’m getting 379 people need vaccination to prevent 1 case of RSV. 1/.00264=379

  6. Will

    re Florida Covid data case

    This itty bitty bit of the excerpt caught my eye:

    The department will…resume regular posting of the data that DeSantis’s communications team insisted at the time was no longer necessary

    Reading the article, we get this:

    Public health analysts, meanwhile, welcomed the resumption of publication of Covid data

    Does this mean Florida will be the source of the best Covid data in the US? Yes, a low bar, but also, if they have to publish the type of data deemed important before brunch service resumed, perhaps reason to hope?

  7. John Steinbach

    This just in moments ago. “An attack on the al-Ahli Hospital in the middle of Gaza City is believed to have killed hundreds of people, a spokesman for the Palestinian Civil Defense told The Washington Post.”

    Major hospital. GPS Coordinates known by IDF.

      1. nippersdad

        Here is one that is not paywalled:


        “Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said there were no details on the strike.“We will get the details and update the public,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “I don’t know to say whether it was an Israeli airstrike.”

        Pretty sure that an Israeli Rear Admiral would be aware that Gaza has no air force.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      My Lord, may the cycle of violence/escalation stop. I think this is the point at which events spiral out of control. I can’t see Iran or Hezbollah not reacting.

      I also just read that Israel is telling all its citizens to leave Turkey immediately. It is from Telegram, @LordOfWar so take it with caution.

    2. SG

      There are now conflicting reports (NY Times) that the hospital was actually struck by a misfired Palestinian missile. It’s probably not going to be possible to confirm which account is true unless a neutral investigator has access to the site.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I’ll go with common sense … when has Hamas shown the capability to have the kind of ordinance to achieve that type of kill level?

        To be fair, best to wait 24-48 hrs before jumping to any conclusion.

      2. MT_Wild

        Past results says otherwise. Never been a comparable rocket attack with anywhere near as much damage. This was orders of magnitude more powerful. I could only easily find numbers for
        2001-2015, for that time span there were 12,338 rocket attacks resulting in 33 deaths (373 rockets per death). Assuming only 10% get passed the Iron Dome and explode where people could be injured, you still need 36 rockets per fatality.

        2022 rocket attack numbers had approx. 1,100 rockets launched over three days for zero fatalities. Seems unlikely that an errant rocket leveled a hospital and killed 500 people.

        But a JDAM…..



      3. The Rev Kev

        C’mon man. Even the US has deliberately attacked hospitals and claimed afterwards that it was all an accident – oops!


        But nobody is going to buy that failed Palestinian missile story. Everybody knows – everybody. And no investigator is going to access that site as they know that any team would be attacked too. Message to Israel – you can’t talk your way out of a situation that you behaved your way into.

    3. Daryl

      The narrative around this horror show seems to be evolving by the hour.

      I’ve seen:
      – The hospital was full of Hamas terrorists
      – A Hamas rocket misfire flattened the whole hospital
      – The most horrifying, implicitly acknowledging that the IDF did it but saying it’s OK

      The most recent thing they are trying on is “both sides are blaming eachother.”

      I failed to find a headline in popular media assigning clear blame to the IDF. Lots of passive language.

      1. Carolinian

        Of course.

        As some have pointed out the Israeli leaders were already promising war crimes in advance with their threatening talk so why deny it now? You have to wonder what the European governments are thinking by, say, projecting the Israeli flag onto the Eiffel Tower. These countries have large numbers of Muslim immigrants.

  8. Jason Boxman

    But the main bottleneck remains manufacturing capacity.

    “We need an industrial base that meets these requirements,” said James Hursch, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign military sales along with the State Department. “Everyone involved — allies, partners, industry — all know this is a major challenge.”

    Biden, the War president.

    Middle East War Adds to Surge in International Arms Sales

  9. nippersdad

    It is like they never even consider polling Buttigieg south of the Mason Dixon line, where his ability to mumble out poems in bad Danish is not even a thing. I would like to see a match up between Pete and my favorite proboscis monkey (Dean Phillips) in South Carolina. Pete got all of about four votes over there the last time, and that may have been the high point of his electoral career here in the South.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      I love how none of the accounts remember to mention that Phillips’ money comes from his family owning what I believe to be the largest liquor distributorship in Minnesota.

      He might be this cycle’s upscale version of ‘Ironstache.’ Massive online fundraising would be the tell. How he does in his own Congressional primary will say a lot about how angry Minnesota Democrats are with the DFL, my state’s weird and seemingly liberal but not really version of the Democrat party.

      Also, I keep meaning to ask: are you related to nippersmom? (sorry, I’m sure this is in the f.a.q.)

      1. nippersdad

        In all honesty, I do think they have been hiding the bill of particulars for members of the “Problem Solvers Caucus” for a very long time. What worked for McCain (marrying into a Budweiser (?) distributorship) may not fly for someone that has to run elsewhere. Kerry was pilloried for his relationship with the Heinz fortune, for example. We know where they get their campaign money, they are all but indistinguishable from the “No Labels” types, after all, but their backgrounds always remain hazy. There has to be a reason for that.

        But the high flyers (Pelosi, AOCIA, etc.) are always taking the heat off of the virtually invisible back bencher hacks, and their virtual invisibility makes for much more flexibility when it comes to house keeping chores like burying the better parts of the BBB. That is my theory, anyway.

        And, yes, nippersmom is my nicer half. Would something like that be in a FAQ? I’m not reliable at reading instructions, so if I have missed something then please do tell me.

      2. Darius

        I Biden were any more moderate, he’d shrink to the size of a flea. But Phillips says he should be even more wishy washy. Maybe Phillips is the stealth Obama play here. I could see Obama nursing a grudge against Biden over people like Lina Khan and Rohit Chopra.

        1. nippersmom

          If you think the warmonger in chief is moderate, you clearly have a different definition of the word than I do.

  10. nippersdad

    That antidote makes me feel like I am seeing things. Is there really a house cat inspecting a box with, presumably, surveillance equipment in it in the middle of that picture or am I just being paranoid that Ursula is watching me out of my computer?

    But otherwise that is one awesome photo. Very Ansel Adams looking!

  11. steppenwolf fetchit

    About DeSantis suppressing release of real-time covid data in Florida . . . ” • Fine, but DeSantis was just a little ahead of the entire political class, very much including the Biden Administration. So is what he did so wrong? ”

    I am hoping that this question is satirical at some level. Because if what DeSantis did is ” not so wrong”, then when the entire political class did the same thing, that is not so wrong either.

    If we want to get the majority masses to consider what the political class did to be highly wrong, such consideration will have to start somewhere. If it is decided that what DeSantis did was indeed so wrong, perhaps that decision can be extended to the entire political class. Especially if DeSantis were to note that he was merely ahead of the curve on covid denialism.

  12. Ranger Rick

    Speaking of Buttigieg, and train derailments, I-25 through Colorado is shut down on the southern end of the state by a train derailment that also killed an extremely unfortunate truck driver who was passing by at the time.

  13. Feral Finster

    “Alex Marlow on ‘Breaking Biden’: Hunter Biden, Art Troll: President’s Addict Son Paints with Cocaine Straw, Alcohol-Based Paints”

    If Young Hunter were one of Trump’s spawn, nobody would be praising him as some kind of Enfant Terrible or a Child of Nature, just living his best life.

    They’d rightly be calling him a grifter.

    1. notabanker

      Other than the foreign corruption, coke freebasing and lack of “basic parental responsibilities” he’s an alright guy.

      Lambert needs to file this under “How could AI be worse?”

        1. Lunker Walleye

          Truth be told, it would be fun to know who the artist really is for the paintings alleged to have been done by H.

        2. Lunker Walleye

          Truth be told, it would be fun to know who the artist really is for the paintings alleged to have been done by H.

  14. Wukchumni

    I designate December 10th as the kick-off to the Feel Good Fresno Week, mainly on account of one of my favorite artists playing that day @ the Tower Theatre in Cali’s 5th largest city.

    Guess i’ve been to 4 or 5 Tommy Emmanuel concerts and not only an immense talent on the guitar, but also an entertainer without peer.

    Tears For Jerusalem, by Tommy Emmanuel


  15. Camelotkidd

    At Moon of Alabama B says that the US is massing a strike force to attack Syria, overthrow Assad and kick the Russians out of their naval and air bases.
    That should end well

    1. ambrit

      I can see the “Syrian Government in Exile” in Teheran running ‘interference’ for all of the resulting “Jihadi” ‘activity’ aimed at American “assets” throughout the world.
      “We regret the loss of life on the USS ‘Pacific Princess’ in Sydney Harbour. We must note that the floating barracks for Imperial Occupation Troops was a legitimate military target.”

  16. clarky90

    The Most Delicious Mushroom in Eastern Forests


    “Crime Pays but Botany Doesn’t”

    Joey and Al arguing over olive oil vs. Irish butter for cooking “Hen of the Woods” mushroom (Grifola frondosa) …..

    Al’s poetry…..

    Joey’s ongoing diatribe against monoculture grass lawns..

    A wonderful little youtube video…


    1. Chuck Harris

      Thanks for posting this. Here in SW Virginia they tend to grow around Red Oak trees, and come back year after year on the same tree. They usually appear when cool weather arrives in the fall. They are my favorite mushroom. They also freeze well and most years it’s possible to find enough to last through the winter.

    1. nippersdad

      Much like McCain and Graham, he has never seen a war he didn’t want to get into. Also like them, he has been a part of the bi-partisan war consensus since they personally witnessed Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, but were too busy selling concessions to pay much attention.

      1. albrt

        Overheard on a pirate version of twitter as Biden headed out for his cancelled mideast summit:

        “Could we get the Biden deep state false flag assassination + President Kamala comes on TV and blames Hezbollah + US marines invade Lebanon parlay up on Draft Kings?”

  17. Wukchumni

    The local Texaco gas station owner liked pinball and back in the early 1970’s, you might have been able to buy 3 kinds of Wrigley’s chewing gum and a like amount of Life Savers in the ‘store’, but that would have been it, nothing compared to today’s ‘convenience’ gas stations.

    The only coin operated computer game you could play @ the time was Pong, and truth be said it was pretty lame compared to playing pinball, with copious body english needed in the course of your 2 plays for 2 bits.

    We soon learned that on one of the pinball machines ‘Duotron’, that if you rapped on the side about halfway up the panel, it would give you as many points as you wanted, so we’d play normal for 4 balls and then be rap stars before the 5th ball came calling, The owner was fairly convinced we were genuine pinball wizards, as it only took 1 Quarter to play all day, and we did.

    One last thing about inflationary pressures & pinball.

    When I was a little kid, often you’d need 1,000 points for a replay, and then it was 40,000 when I played as a teenager, and it isn’t uncommon to need 300 million for a replay now.

    1. Old Sarum

      Pinball Wizzardry: See Technology Connections on the internals of old-style machines (the mind boggles)



      ps My own first exposure to pinball was on a trip to France in the ’80’s from the UK. I recall that it was a Kiss machine and I had no idea what THAT was about at the time or whether it was even real.

    2. Acacia

      A pinball memory returns in two words: Bally Fireball.

      As seen near the end of Linklater’s rotoscoped film Waking Life, as the story takes a deep dive into Dickian gnosticism.

    3. Amateur Socialist

      The most recent thing in pinball is the rise of the museum or gallery type operation. All the games on free play, guests just pay an admission fee. The games still make the knocker sound for a replay but it is essentially meaningless. There is a big one north of us in Manchester VT, Past Time Pinball that has about 65 machines including some beautiful electro mechanical ones.

      I am post retirement having turned my own collection of machines into a small gallery type space in downtown Brattleboro. 16 machines on free play open every weekend. It’s covering the rent, even if I can’t get a paycheck out of it. Best job I’ve ever had, it’s fun seeing people jump into their muscle memories of pinball past. Gravitate Pinball is open every weekend come in and say hi if you’re in the neighborhood.

      And yes one of the machines is a Bally Fireball Classic, the first pinball machine I ever bought back in the early 90s. It has survived 2 interstate moves and still plays great in the gallery. Planning to do a complete playfield restoration on it over the winter.

    4. eg

      I recall with particular fondness the Williams Upper Deck Baseball arcade game — not really pinball, I know.

  18. nippersmom

    I came to D.C. to work in the Reagan Administration because (to oversimplify) it was pro-Constitution, pro-U.S. global leadership, pro-military, pro-Israel, pro-democratic capitalism, and pro-American dream. And that’s why I now support the Biden Administration and Democrats.

    I don’t dispute at all the the Democratic Party now embodies Reaganism. However, in my opinion, that in no way correlates to being pro-Constitution or even pro-American Dream (at least not for the average American).

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      yeah…that got my gorge up a bit, as well…although it shouldn’t have, since Kristol is one of those people(sic), like Thom friedman, who are always wrong(save by happy accident…and then only very rarely, and through no fault of their own).

      I remember watching Carter and Reagan debates in fifth grade math class(teacher was an eraser throwing nightmare woman…recorded these debates on the newfangled betamax machine so as to educate us younguns as to the new Goodthink then abornin).
      Reagan gave me the creeps, that first time i had ever heard of him(mom and dad were carter dems, but didnt bring it home, for some reason,lol)
      the rest of my schoolin was dominated by Reaganism all around me—-southeast texas pineywoods around houston, which was one of the spawning grounds, the decade before, of the footsoldiers(chistofascist and other assorted revaanchists) of the Movement(in this case, actually involving “elimination”, like a bowel movement) that would eventually bring that guy into power.
      in Houston’s Far Exurbia and beyond, this took the form of a sort of hokey puritan fantasy palingenesis(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palingenesis)..which one could, if paying attention, see in the zealot gleam in the eyes of almost everyone around.
      Thats where i grew up…first 20 or so years were spent all around that place.
      I frelling Hated Reagan…and still do,lol.
      so when Clinton, and then Obama, endeavored to finish what he started, i despaired.
      from being even more draconian, re: drug war, incarceration, killing unions, eviscerating the “helping state”…to starting even more wars and shady “interventions”….
      and thats how i got to here…i’ll no longer vote…because there are no choices that matter…and i hate my country, because its Reagan’s Country, and it hates me.
      let Bill Kristol run out in front of my truck, some day.
      because he’s been at the heart of the above enumerated rot forever.
      Fie! Fie! Fie!

    2. The Rev Kev

      My take away from that is the the present Democrat party has now become Reagan’s Republican party of the 80s. Progress!

  19. GC54

    Thank you Lambert for the unrolled X thread on Novavax! Most useful info for spouse & I as we track it down locally. No more mRNA for us.

    And thank you IM Doc for your numbers and commentary on RSV. Agreed, CDC bundling flu+RSV+covid into one session & seasonal is beyond stupid = par for that organization.

    1. Daryl

      https://www.vaccines.gov/ has been updated and seems to be somewhat accurate as to finding specific vaccines. CVS claimed they had it on there and then wanted me to call the local pharmacy, Costco actually had it and I have an appointment soon.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        thanks, Daryl.
        surely that finder site will be useful for many people.
        but, since i live way the hell out here, it doesnt help me much,lol.
        closest novavax…with appointment, no less(are they thronged with vax seekers?) …is kerrville, texas….60 miles, one way.
        at a CVS.
        my doctor in fredricksburg…a mere 45 miles, one way…says he cant get it, for some reason.
        i can at least justify a trip to fred, sometimes.(“real” grocery store…heb…that has the high fallutin cool cheese i like to keep around, veggies and fruit that keep in my fridge for more than 2 days, etc)
        local clinic still only has the moderna…and that, in short supply.
        school nurse has plenty of flu vax, but no covid vax at all.
        are we still certain that we’re a First World nation?

        1. Daryl

          I hear ya on living out in the sticks. When I lived in rural TX, I was fortunate to have a very good and helpful locally run pharmacy nearby. But that is pretty rare. And with the way CVS operates, you could be stuck in there for an hour or two before getting vaccinated, making it an all day trip…

          As for HEB, well that’s the thing I miss the most of all after moving out of TX.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            i’ve been in love with the cheese lady at the fredericksburg heb for some time.
            and it is most certainly not a physical attraction,lol.(she’s pretty old and grandmotherly)
            bakery manager gets my love, as well.
            cant get any of that out here…although, our local, much smaller corp grocer, has recently started carrying brie and a variety pack of salami and other fancy charcuterie, here lately.(ie:not oscar mayer)
            i can, however, find grits easily out here…but not so much at heb.

  20. notabanker

    Thanks for the baloney kit link, much appreciated. That will get much forwarding.

    I must say though, I read this over and over and then again and I’m still stumped by the point here:
    Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle — an electron, say — in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof?

    Anyone care to explain to a simpleton the point, or analogy here?

    1. caucus99percenter

      That scientists too succumb to the lure of, “It’s OK when we do it” ?

      “It” being, in this case, serving up speculative, impressive-sounding, untestable baloney, to amuse and comfort themselves while beguiling the marks and rubes?

    2. Tom B.

      Well, a competing theory might be that the Universe is resting on the back of an infinite stack of giant cosmic turtles. Prove me wrong!

  21. Matthew G. Saroff

    I will leave you with this 10 year old BBC blog post on why intelligence agencies are not toe be trusted:

    It doesn’t matter whether you hate the spies and believe they are corroding democracy, or if you think they are the noble guardians of the state. In both cases the assumption is that the secret agents know more than we do.

    But the strange fact is that often when you look into the history of spies what you discover is something very different.

    It is not the story of men and women who have a better and deeper understanding of the world than we do. In fact in many cases it is the story of weirdos who have created a completely mad version of the world that they then impose on the rest of us.

    Whether Allen Dulles or Lavrentiy Beria, what has characterized the the minds of spies is their perverse view of the world.

    I think that it is a requirement of the job.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Trump sues ex-British spy over dossier containing ‘shocking and scandalous claims’ ”

    I can see that the discovery process is going to be a hoot and a half. May even lead to charges of deliberate slander as well. The real fun and games would start if Trump was allowed to follow up on how Steele’s original report was disseminated across the US and who was responsible for it. Lots of big names will fight that one to stop ending up in prison themselves becuase now you are talking about election interference by US officials.

    1. c_heale

      If Trump goes down the libel route he may well be successful. The UK has extremely strong libel laws.

  23. LawnDart

    Only surprised that it’s Politico that’s reporting it:

    Israel floods social media to shape opinion around the war

    Since Hamas’ attack, Israel has pushed dozens of online ads, including graphic videos, to millions of people to drum up support for its actions.


    Hint to propagandaists: no one gives a s#!t about dead babies, children or any civilians– show us dead puppies or kittens and we’re all yours!

  24. The Rev Kev

    ‘Time for the Countdown Clock!’

    Anybody notice that it is now less then three weeks before the 1 year countdown to the Presidential election?

  25. caucus99percenter

    The engineering in electro-mechanical racetrack totalizators was even more impressive than that in pinball machines.

    One of my favorite computer history “what-ifs” concerns what might have been, if American Totalisator company founder Harry Strauss had not died in a plane crash. A tote-board maker might have become the leading computer company, beating both IBM and Remington Rand to the punch.


    1. ambrit

      Curious, but as the saga of the late Hale Boggs shows, semi-flighted aircraft have always been a godsend to political and economic “influencers.”

  26. digi_owl

    That bit about the Amazon “turk” service got me thinking of when computer was a work title, most of then done by young ladies, that basically meant sitting at a desk all day doing math for various companies and universities.

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