2:00PM Water Cooler 10/26/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Brown Pelican (Atlantic), Ria Maya Restaurante, Río Lagartos, Yucatán, Mexico. “Soft, grating calls from pelicans begging for scraps. Lots of splashing as they vied for fish thrown into the water. Calls most often given after one of the birds successfully scooped up the fish. Mostly the same birds as in ML80533521, but next to a boat two houses down from Ria Maya.” Most of the Pelican recordings are like this! Lots of splashing!

* * *


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

The Constitutional Order

“Will First Amendment or the 14th prevail in case over Donald Trump’s name on Minnesota’s presidential primary ballot?” [MinnPost]. “The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says no person who has engaged in ‘insurrection or rebellion’ should hold public office.” No, that’s what it says. Not “person,” but “an officer of the United States,” the only part of the clause that could possibly — but, arguably, incorrectly — be applied to a President. More: “The First Amendment gives people the right to associate and form political groups that support political candidates…. On Nov. 2 at 9 a.m. in the Minnesota Supreme Court chambers, lawyers for a group trying to bar Donald Trump from appearing on next year’s presidential preference primary ballot will attempt to have him labeled an insurrectionist…. Facing off against these petitioners will be lawyers for the Minnesota Republican Party and for the Trump campaign, one as a formal intervener and one as a friend of the court. ‘The Petition’s many factual inaccuracies, gaps, and distortions come mostly under one overarching theme: Petitioners have no evidence that President Trump intended or supported any violent or unlawful activity seeking to overthrow the government of the United States, either on January 6 or at any other time,” the campaign lawyers state in their response (more on that below). They say voters, not courts, should decide whether Trump can be elected again. The state party makes a different argument — that it has a First Amendment right to choose its candidates and to run its own process for selecting delegates to the Republican National Committee. Courts have been very protective of the right to association contained in the First Amendment and should do so in this case, the party’s lawyers argue.” • If I were a Supreme Court justice, looking for a way to make the whole case go away and “let the people decide” not only what an insurrection is, but what an insurrectionist is, I would find the “officer of the United States” restriction quite compelling.

“Colorado judge paves way for trial on whether 14th Amendment disqualifies Trump from office” [CNN]. “A Colorado judge has rejected another attempt by former President Donald Trump to throw out a lawsuit seeking to block him from the 2024 presidential ballot based on the 14th Amendment’s ‘insurrectionist ban.’ The ruling Wednesday from Colorado District Judge Sarah Wallace clears the way for an unprecedented trial to begin next week, to determine if Trump is disqualified from returning to the White House because of his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection. This is the fifth unsuccessful bid by Trump to throw out the Colorado case, which is one of several pending suits trying to derail his candidacy based on the 14th Amendment…. In a 24-page ruling, Wallace rejected Trump’s argument that questions about his eligibility should be handled by Congress, not courts. She also rejected Trump’s argument that the Colorado election officials don’t have the power to enforce the so-called ‘insurrectionist ban,’ which is enshrined in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. ‘The Court holds that states can, and have, applied Section 3 pursuant to state statutes without federal enforcement legislation,’ Wallace wrote…. She said the trial will focus on several key questions, including whether the events of January 6 ‘constituted an insurrection’ and whether Trump ‘engaged’ in insurrection.” • Wallace was appointed to the bench by Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat. Jena Griswold, the Colorado Secretary of State who would “disqualify” Trump from the ballot, is a Democrat. So what we have here is a change in the Constitutional order I’ve pointed out from the beginning: The distinctive competence of the modern political party is control over the ballot. And here members of one party would strike the name of another party’s candidate off the ballot. Merits of the case aside, I can’t see that going down well at all.

“Trump files to appear on Colorado presidential ballot” [Colorado Newsline]. “Former President Donald Trump has formally indicated to Colorado election officials that he intends to run for president in the state in 2024. Trump submitted candidate paperwork even as he faces a legal challenge to his eligibility to run in Colorado, and state approval of his candidacy is on hold pending developments in that case. The secretary of state’s office received from Trump on Oct. 11 a ‘statement of intent’ to run in the presidential primary, according to documents Newsline obtained from the secretary’s office. The document attests that Trump is at least 35, has lived in the country at least 14 years and is a natural born U.S. citizen. The home address he submitted corresponds to that of the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Also submitted as part of Trump’s application to run was a $500 check from his campaign to the secretary of state’s office, and official approval of his candidacy from the Colorado Republican Party. No other candidates have yet submitted ballot-access paperwork for the presidential primary in Colorado. Submission of candidate documents to the secretary of state’s office, typically a routine step in the ballot-access process, carries unusual significance in Trump’s case, since a set of plaintiffs is suing Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold in state court in an effort to block him from the ballot next year.”

“Arizona secretary of state: No choice but to put Trump on ballot if he qualifies” [AZ Central]. “Secretary of State Adrian Fontes says he must qualify Donald Trump for Arizona’s presidential ballot if Trump files an application and can show he has been certified for the ballot in at least two other states. Fontes, who in August said it was an ‘open question’ whether a provision of the U.S. Constitution could keep Trump off the ballot, said a state law provides another path to ballot status and he is obliged to adhere to it. That law states that instead of Arizona’s requirements for presidential candidates to file petition signatures, a candidate can qualify as long as two other states already have certified the candidate for their ballots. At least eight states have filing deadlines ahead of Arizona’s Dec. 11 deadline for 2024, according to Ballotpedia. Fontes on Thursday said the law bars him from making an independent decision and instead yokes him to decisions made in other states. ‘It handcuffs me to two other states,’ said Fontes, a Democrat who took office in January. ‘Here’s the bottom line … I’m basically a time and date stamp.'”

“How Those Seeking Donald Trump’s Disqualification From Running For President Will Plunge the Election Into Chaos and Hand Trump the Presidency” [Verdict]. ” The United States Supreme Court will make the ultimate determination whether Section 3 is self-executing, that is, whether a criminal conviction is a precondition to disqualification or whether state officials can make that determination on their own. What if the Supreme Court holds that Section 3 is self-executing, but that it is up to each individual state to determine whether Trump can be on the ballot? What then? …. By leaving it to the states, there are two possible outcomes. If the Supreme Court were to rely on the concurrence in Bush v. Gore, in which Justice Clarence Thomas joined, it is the legislature and not the courts that must decide whether Trump can be on the ballot. Currently, Republicans have control of the legislative and executive branches in 22 states and the Democrats in 17, so it is likely that Trump would be on the ballot in at least 22 states. What happens if the other 17 states decide that he is disqualified and cannot be on the ballot? In 2020, 74 million voters from across the United States voted for Trump. How will tens of millions of voters react if they are denied the opportunity to vote in 17 states? … .f the Supreme Court leaves the decision to the officials in each state who run the elections, usually the Secretary of State, now held by 34 Republicans, the exact same situation could occur. But what if the Supreme Court agrees with the proponents of automatic disqualification and holds that Trump cannot run for President at all. Do you believe that 74 million people will accept that? Forty-one states permit voters to write in their choice for President. What if 88 million Americans vote for Trump as a write-in candidate, and based upon those votes, Trump would win a majority of the electors to the Electoral College?” And: “This issue could have been avoided had the Justice Department’s special prosecutor, Jack Smith, charged Trump with insurrection or rebellion or aiding our enemies, which Congress has made a crime. Despite a recommendation by the House of Representatives’ Jan. 6 Select Committee, Smith chose not to.” • And one can only assume that Smiith did not because he could not. And I’m so old I remember when Bush v. Gore was “good for one time only” (“Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances”). Now it’s being cited as a precedent, like a zombie’s hand reaching up out of grave-soil.

Our Famously Free Press


Time for the Countdown Clock!

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“Donald Trump Gaining Ground in State No Republican Has Won in 40 Years” [Newsweek]. N = 1225. “Donald Trump has slowly gained ground in the blue state of New York, where the margin between the former president and Democrat Joe Biden has significantly shortened between 2020 and now. According to the latest poll by the Siena Research Institute, part of the Siena College in Loudonville, New York, Trump is lagging behind incumbent Biden by as much as 9 percentage points in his home state—much less than what was reported a month ago, when he still trailed the Democrat by 21 percentage points. The numbers, though still in favor of Biden, show that Trump has been gaining support in New York at the same time as the Democratic president has been losing it. When compared to Biden’s victory in the state in 2020, which crushed Trump 61 to 28 percent, the current results speak of the crisis of popularity suffered by the Democratic president.”

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“Biden Has a Youth-Vote Problem. His Israel Policy Is Making It Worse.” [Slate]. “President Joe Biden has a serious age problem, and it’s not that he’s 80: It’s his dreadful standing with youth voters. If he loses reelection next November—even at this early stage, there are many indications that this is a real possibility—it’s likely that his remarkably low marks from voters under 40 will be seen as a major culprit. A recent Quinnipiac poll underscores Biden’s disastrous standing with the youth vote. The president’s favorability rating has cratered out at an almost-unbelievable 25 percent among registered voters under 35 years old. A few weeks prior, a Washington Post–ABC poll had Trump winning voters under 35 by 20 points. (The Post’s story notes that the poll differs from others taken recently, and that it may be an outlier. It’s not the only recent presidential poll that’s made publishers raise an eyebrow.) Liberal commentators have been quick to dismiss these data points, even as they continue to pile up. It’s wise not to overreact to individual polls, especially more than a year from Election Day. And yet, something is clearly awry between Biden and the kids, who are, arguably, the most critical demographic constituency for Democrats. In 2020, 60 percent of 18-to-29-year-old voters, by far the most Democratic-voting group by age, threw in for Joe Biden. It’s likely there are many explanations for the slide since then: Biden, hesitant to even grant interviews to the Sunday shows, has done basically zero communications outreach to any outlets or platforms that millennials and zoomers actually consume. Turning student loan payments back on before actually implementing the promised loan debt cancellation—which never would have happened without an archconservative Supreme Court’s dubious intervention against his initial proposal, of course—probably didn’t help. Now Biden’s Israel policy threatens to deepen that divide even further. Again: It’s wise not to overreact to polls, but the data is not terribly ambiguous on this.”

* * *

“A 2024 frenzy? How RFK Jr. could chip away at Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s strategies” [USA Today]. “[T]here are two small states that have many independents and now use ranked choice voting, which might tip their electoral votes to RFK Jr…. Let’s break down two states where this system could play a major role. Maine: Biden won Maine by 9 points in 2020, and 3 of its 4 electoral votes, due to its congressional allocation. Only 35% of Maine’s voters are independents, but ranked choice voting could change the outcome. Theoretically, if Joe Biden led Kennedy 42%-32% with Trump in third place at 26%, Kennedy could win because Trump voters prefer Kennedy over Biden by a 23-1 margin, according to the poll. In the hypothetical example above, most of Trump’s votes would reallocate to Kennedy who could easily top 50% and end up winning at least 3 of the 4 electoral votes. Alaska: Trump won Alaska by 10 points in 2020, but currently a whopping 55% of The Last Frontier’s voters are independents, 26% Republicans, and 14% Democrats. Alaska just implemented ranked choice voting, and could see results similar to the above, if Trump led Kennedy 40% percent to 31% with Biden at 29%, Kennedy could prevail with more than 50% of the vote – this time taking away 3 sure Trump electoral votes. Here’s an interesting twist: If Biden finished second to Trump with Kennedy third, Kennedy’s voters would break to Trump, and he would win Alaska again. But if Kennedy finished second to Trump with Biden third, Biden’s voters would push over the top and prevent Trump from winning those electoral votes. You may see Biden ‘propping up’ Kennedy in Alaska!” • It would certainly be entertaining if the 2024 election were thrown into the House, and the two states from “The Frozen North,” east and west, held the balance….

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“After Israel visit, Newsom heads to China for climate talks. But can he avoid global conflicts?” [Los Angeles Times (Buff)]. “Gov. Gavin Newsom comforted a mother whose son was kidnapped by Hamas, and visited a hospital where Israelis were recovering from injuries from the Oct. 7 attacks. He met with top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and saw videos of beheadings…. The voyage marks a sudden leap into foreign affairs for the Democratic governor who insists he is not angling to run for president…. In China, Newsom aims to keep his visit focused on areas where California and China can cooperate to fight climate change. His itinerary is filled with events meant to promote electric vehicles, offshore wind energy and other clean technologies. He’s scheduled to sign five compacts with regional governments, tour manufacturing sites and visit a wetlands preserve. In fostering climate-friendly partnerships with local officials, Newsom hopes to steer clear of a slew of international flashpoints.” • Oppo in the making:

Israel (almost) puts Newsom in play (I don’t know about his donors). But I’m not sure whether a China visit means Newsom is running or not. Could be a millstone, regardless of the contracts he brings home.

“Gov. J.B. Pritzker, never shy about criticizing Republicans, calls for ‘common ground’ at national conference” [Chicago Tribune]. “Gov. J.B. Pritzker has gained a prime spot on the national progressive Democratic stage, in part through his history of scathing criticism of Republicans, including labeling opponents as ‘extremists,’ ‘racist’ or ‘xenophobic.’ But on Wednesday, at a national political conference of progressives in Washington, the second-term governor with potential presidential aspirations presented a new political style — conciliator. ‘I’m just saying leadership in this time means putting in check sometimes your emotions about the attacks that are coming and instead trying to find common ground to work with one another because we have to bring the temperature down in this country and talk to one another, whatever party we belong to or whatever ideology we may have, because we have so much to accomplish,’ Pritzker told an audience at the progressive Center for American Progress annual ideas conference.” • That must have gone over big, And it’s quite a pivot for Pritzker. I wonder if he knows something about Biden’s health we don’t know.

Republican Funhouse

“America’s Apocalyptic Cheerleaders” [The Sword and the Sandwich]. “Evangelical ‘love’ of Israel is the love of the consumer towards the consumed, a hungry man for bread. Their fantasy is ultimately one of destruction: the annihilation of the Jewish faith through death, save an elect of 144,000 who convert to Christianity — a number derived from the Book of Revelations. It is a necropolitical fantasy, one that views the tribulation with, as a post from Calvary Chapel—the church to whom Rep. Brian Mast, who has appeared in Congress this week in an IDF uniform, belongs, put it—’excitement, anticipation, and glee’; the end of the world is ‘the highly anticipated kingdom. The apocalypse demands the agony of all but the elect; to the elect it is ecstasy. It is rapture. The conversion and annihilation of the Jews must be preceded by their return to and absolute control of Israel; therefore the lives of Palestinians are worthless and forfeit from the start, a road-bump in this violent fantasy that was never accounted for in the Revelations map. They are an inconvenience to be disposed of, pawns to be knocked off the board so other pawns can be positioned to set up the moment of Christ’s return, the end of history in blood. Palestinians are less than human in this vision; inconveniences at best, instruments of the Antichrist at worst. Either way, their annihilation is necessary. There have been many predictions of the apocalypse and many preludes. In this moment of death and displacement, there is joy for Christian observers from afar, the ecstatic terror of deliverance. What it amounts to is cheering on Armageddon from the cheap seats—and directing funds to ensure it occurs. It’s a grotesquerie of geopolitics and religion, and it carries undue weight in American foreign policy, thanks to the merger of the Christian Right and the Republican Party. A game of chess with eternity at stake.” • My God. Leave the poor goats alone.

“Calmes: Who is House Speaker Mike Johnson? Matt Gaetz’s victory lap says it all” [Los Angeles Times]. “McCarthy in his nine-month reign mostly pandered to the nuts, culture warriors and election deniers in his House Republican majority, ever fearful of the coup that finally came after he twice digressed from the extremist path to actually govern — compromising with the Senate and White House first to avoid a debt default and then a government shutdown. But to the right-wingers, the shape-shifting McCarthy was always a poser. (Again, they weren’t wrong.)… Gaetz and Johnson differ big-time in style: Gaetz is in-your-face, Johnson so amiable and nonconfrontational that he is ‘friend to many and an enemy to none,’ as Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York told the House in nominating Johnson. Hence his unlikely elevation…. But in substance, Johnson is little different from Gaetz and his ilk. Johnson has described his relationship with Jordan, mentor to the far right, as ‘like Batman and Robin.’ But Johnson’s politics are more infused with the conservative religiosity he demonstrated in his remarks accepting the speakership. He told the House of his absent wife, ‘She’s spent the last couple of weeks on her knees in prayer to the Lord. And, um, she’s a little worn out.’… Then there’s his behind-the-scenes legal work after the 2020 presidential election to challenge electoral votes in pro-Biden states. The New York Times, after an investigation of Republicans’ post-election machinations, called Johnson “the most important architect of the Electoral College objections.” He enlisted most of his fellow House Republicans in support of a brief to the Supreme Court, yet the justices declined to take the underlying case.”

“‘I killed him’: How Trump torpedoed Tom Emmer’s speaker bid” [Politico]. • That’s nice.

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.

* * *

“Amy Klobuchar, You Suck” [Matt Taibbi, Racket News]. “Now this person, whose ‘humor’ persona was surely cooked up in part to soften a rep for throwing things at aides, who scored roughly John Blutarsky’s grade-point average with the backing of the national media establishment, who managed less than 6% of Democratic voters in her own state, has the gall to push one of the world’s biggest media distributors to disallow voluntary access to ‘contributors instead of verified news sources.’ Klobuchar wants Jeff Bezos to make sure Amazon’s home surveillance robots don’t spit out even occasional answers from a wider pool of real human beings, including thousands of independent contributors. The information landscape must be a pure monopoly of ‘verified news sources.’ This Senator-to-billionaire communiqué isn’t illegal because she didn’t phrase it as an order or voice the implied threat of regulation, among other things. If Bezos ends up complying, however, I’ve half a mind to sue. Patience is wearing thin with the relentless determination of government figures — whether U.S. Cyber Command or a Minnesota Senator — to weed out independent media from the digital landscape. It’s not enough to have 99% of the informational space? They need all> of it?” • Fun stuff!

Realignment and Legitimacy

Remarkable. Good for the ACLU:

Remarkable. Good for FIRE:


“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!

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Covid is Airborne

“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.

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Elite Maleficence

Hegemonic infection control is rotten to the core:

“Wearing masks to prevent one epidemic may mask another” [Journal of Infection Prevention (!!)]. “Methods: A research-based commentary supported with recent literature review.” • Oh, fine. Commentary:

I think the serious way to think about this is that you want your children, especially, to be exposed to “commensal” germs (i.e., you don’t want a sterile environment). But infections ones? Not at all. (“I always put a little dollop of sh*t in my children’s Frosted Flakes. That way, their immune systems grow up strong!”)

* * *

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.


NOT UPDATED From CDC, October 14:

Lambert here: 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 21:

Lambert here: Flattening? Only a week’s lag, so this may be our best current nationwide, current indicator until Verily gets its house in order (and working class-centric, since I would doubt the upper crust goes to the ER).

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 26:

Leveling out. (I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive, although the hospital-centric public health establishment loves it, hospitalization and deaths being the only metrics that matter [snort]).

NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. October 14:

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 23:

0.7%. Slight increase. (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 21:

Lambert here: Slight increase. 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, October 2:

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers:

Sudden big BA.2.86 appearance.


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: 1,180,288 – 1,180,183 = 105 (105 * 365 = 38,325 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 26:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

GDP: “United States GDP Growth Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The US economy expanded an annualized 4.9% in the third quarter of 2023, the most since the last quarter of 2021, above market forecasts of 4.3% and a 2.1% expansion in Q2, the advance estimate showed.” • Commentary:

No contradiction between enormous capital concentration and working class immiseration.

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 to 210,000 on the week ending October 21st, above market expectations of 208,000. Despite rising above the market’s median forecast, the result remained relatively close to the nine-month low from the previous week to preserve evidence that the US labor market is at historically tight levels, aligned with the Federal Reserve’s stance that interest rates are likely to be held higher for a longer period.”

Manufacturing: “United States Durable Goods Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for manufactured durable goods in the United States surged by 4.7% month-over-month in September 2023, rebounding from a 0.1% contraction in August and significantly surpassing market expectations of a 1.7% rise. This marked the most substantial monthly increase in durable goods orders since July 2020, primarily driven by strong demand for transportation equipment.”

Manufacturing: “United States Kansas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Production index improved to -8 from -13 the previous month, but marking the second consecutive month in negative territory. Durable goods manufacturing saw a more substantial decline compared to nondurable goods, but both sectors contracted at the same rate as the previous month.”

* * *

Manufacturing: “Spirit Air Says Pratt Engine Issue to Ground Jets, Hamper Growth” [Bloomberg]. “Spirit Airlines Inc. said manufacturing problems with engines made by Pratt & Whitney will ground an average of 26 of its Airbus SE A320neo aircraft next year, slowing the carrier’s growth to the mid-single digits or less.” • We used to be able to build airplanes. What the hell happened?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 25 Extreme Fear (previous close: 29 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 29 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 26 at 1:51:26 PM ET.


“Lego’s New Dune Set With a Loooooong Baron Harkonnen Minifig” [Kottke.org]. “it’s coming out in February and the main build is a 1369-piece model of the Atreides Royal Ornithopter with “fold-out, flappable wings, deployable landing gear and an opening cockpit”. Baron Harkooooooooooooonnen. I can’t stop! I, uh, may have pre-ordered this the second I saw it.”

The Gallery

Take out the representation and you’ve got Jackson Pollack:

The Screening Room

Foreshadowing (1):

The foreshadowed (2):

Yes, I checked the original.

Zeitgeist Watch


News of the Wired

“Running the “Reflections on Trusting Trust” Compiler” [Russ Cox]. “The backdoor was noticed because the compiler got one byte larger each time it compiled itself. About a decade ago, Ken told me that it was an extra NUL byte added to a string each time, “just a bug.” We can see which string constant it must have been (nihstr), but the version we just built does not have that bug—Ken says he didn’t save the buggy version. An interesting game would be to try to reconstruct the most plausible diff that reintroduces the bug.” • Annotated version of Ken Thompson’s C code. Perhaps some reader who knows The Great Runes can comment….

“The World’s Writing Systems” [World’s Writing Systems]. We’re still inventing new writing systems in the 21st century!

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wol writes: “We filled in a failed runoff pond and let it return to nature. A welcome result is swamp fleabane (Pluchea carolinensis?). We are thrilled that deer have been avoiding it, as here it’s difficult to find plants for pollinators that deer won’t eat. I haven’t yet been able to identify the bees or wasps with black and yellow striped abs and cobalt blue wings that crowd the blooms.”

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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

    “After Israel visit, Newsom heads to China for climate talks. But can he avoid global conflicts?” [Los Angeles Times (Buff)]. “Gov. Gavin Newsom comforted a mother whose son was kidnapped by Hamas
    Maybe Gav was winning points with Getty for the mother-son hostage reunion, no?

    And in Cali, saving face means something entirely different than in China… SPF 50 minimum, dude.

    1. mrsyk

      Maybe Newsom read Snow Crash. I’d be interested if there are some “in the event of” contracts.

        1. ambrit

          The Pope of Greenwich Village?
          That would be consistent with California Political Funding methods.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I wonder what was going through Newsom’s little brain when he saw all the staff wearing masks there as he was walking down that hall. Probably ‘You’ll never see this in my State’ and unfortunately that is true. And that is why the staff were protecting themselves from a group coming from a hot zone.

  2. griffen

    If we’re going down the narrow path towards the pearly gates, are we going for a deeper dive into the subject of Eschatology ? Not to suggest we pursue a discourse on theology and end times and apocalypse…but hey it is in the air like a fall breeze.

    I say narrow path…wide is the gate that leads to destruction and all that. I’m not up to it I am going to confess that upfront. But I did listen (mostly) to some fire and brimstone sermons, thundered from a church pulpit, as young child and teenager. Just no snakes were being handled.

    1. ambrit

      The ‘snakes’ were handled in the vestry young communicant. Just be thankful that you were not introduced to the “back way of the Lord” by the almoners.

    2. Samuel Conner

      It may be that a necessary (though, of course, by no means sufficient) precondition for the peace of the world that Preterist eschatology* becomes dominant among conservative Protestants.

      “Sorry, folks — Jesus already returned “in wrath”, 1953 years ago, and he isn’t coming a 3rd time. Don’t be so sad; you’re not ‘Left Behind’, you’re just Left Over.”


      * for those interested (and this is not a suggestion to become interested), this idea was popularized in the 19th century by James Stewart Russell, in his The Parousia. I find his arguments a persuasive interpretation of the ancient texts, though it is a bit hard to believe that Revelation chs. 21-22 should be interpreted to apply to the present visible world.


      But it might be a helpful counterweight to futurist eschatologies that excite in some an enthusiasm for things to get worse, imagining that after that they will get much better.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      That whole Rapture discourse was introduced by an English guy named Darby in the 19th century. Its “dispensationalism” is based on Daniel 7, and flies in the face of church and rabbinical interpretation going back centuries. It infected the American church through the Scofield Study Bible, a Bible with interpretative footnotes written by an American Darby follower. It’s often tied to Hal Lindsey Late, Great Planet Earth teachings. It’s quite a nihilistic vision except for the faithful few.

      The whole “rapture” idea is limited to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. Paul’s preaching of Christ’s second coming when he visited Thessalonica was so lively that the Thessalonians were under the impression that Jesus would be back before New Year’s. They didn’t plant crops (hence the infamous “he who does not work”), and they agonized over every person that died because they felt that the deceased had missed out eternally on Jesus’s return. The whole rapture tale was Paul’s way of digging out of the hole he had dug. There’s no basis for it in the Hebrew bible, Paul’s usual source of authority, so he must claim a special vision for this one. It’s caused lots of problems since, especially thanks to Mr. Darby.

    4. Will

      I did not grow up in a religious household so this all very strange to me. Still have not done a deep dive, or a shallow one, but these two podcast episodes seem to fill in the broad strokes from a historical perspective.

      1. The Rapture – In Our Times, BBC


      Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas developed by the Anglican priest John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), drawn from his reading of scripture, in which Jesus would suddenly take His believers up into the air, and those left behind would suffer on Earth until He returned with His church to rule for a thousand years before Final Judgement…Darby helped establish the Plymouth Brethren, and later his ideas were picked up in the Scofield Reference Bible (1909) and soon became influential, particularly in the USA.

      They discuss briefly in the episode, but Darby was the bluest of blue bloods who like others of his class were very concerned with the decline of empire and the implications for the world.

      2. Christian Zionism Pt.1 – American Prestige Podcast


      …to discuss the emergence and rise of Christian Zionism in the United States since 1948. In this first part, they get into the pre-WWII roots of the movement, Evangelical Christians’ relations with Muslims of the region in the early days of the State of Israel, the theological basis of Christian Zionism, figures like Douglas Young and Billy Graham, the concept of Judeo-Christianity, the effect of the 1967 War on the relationship, and more until the Nixon Administration.

      The guest in the 2nd podcast recently wrote a book on the modern history of the relationship between Christian/Evangelical and Israel. Turns out not everyone is in it to speed up the Rapture but because of Christian guilt about the Holocaust.

  3. Wukchumni

    “America’s Apocalyptic Cheerleaders” [The Sword and the Sandwich]. “Evangelical ‘love’ of Israel is the love of the consumer towards the consumed, a hungry man for bread. Their fantasy is ultimately one of destruction: the annihilation of the Jewish faith through death, save an elect of 144,000 who convert to Christianity — a number derived from the Book of Revelations. It is a necropolitical fantasy, one that views the tribulation with, as a post from Calvary Chapel—the church to whom Rep. Brian Mast, who has appeared in Congress this week in an IDF uniform, belongs, put it—’excitement, anticipation, and glee’; the end of the world is ‘the highly anticipated kingdom.
    Evangs such as these are a Dime a dozen in Godzone, and i’m going for a hike with a fellow cabin owner a year older than me who is a fervent believer that is plenty sure that she will be spirited up when the moment comes and live for 1,000 years with the big guy upstairs-as there’s some verse in Revelations that says it coming, and I immediately thought, wow i’ve seen my mom get old in her later 90’s, what’s it like in your later 900’s?

    I’m good with a suggested use-by date, please.

    1. nippersdad

      There are plenty of them here as well.

      Bearing in mind that the other party to the Apocalypse will have seventy virgins per martyr, one has to wonder which is the better fate. Just saying: On the one hand no booze, but on the other lollygagging around on clouds while listening to a Mike Pence lecture and strumming a harp in obligatory appreciation may start to get a little old after a while.

    2. Adam

      I’ve always wondered why the Israelis were so happy to have American evangelical support when what the evangelicals really wanted from Israel was the most war like Israeli government possible so that WW3 could start, all Israelis/Jews could die (except for a handful according to them) and the theoretical return of Jesus. How could the Israeli public not realize how bad of a bargain this was?

      1. Adam

        The evangelicals got what they paid for, which is the most right wing, war mongering Israeli government possible. So with genocide and WW3 now on the table, was it worth it?

      2. Lois

        Religious fundamentalists of all stripes are dangerous. Israelis “know” they are the true chosen ones, so they are using the evangelicals!

    3. ThirtyOne

      “In that same chapter, just two verses prior to the one quoted by Netanyahu, is what most scholars believe is an Old Testament reference to the Lord Jesus Christ: “You shall suck the milk of nations; you shall nurse at the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 60:16)

      The Pentagon is reportedly in the process of sending U.S. military advisers and air defense systems ahead of the expected incursion into Gaza. That effort will be led by Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James Glynn, who led special operations against the Islamic State in Iraq, The Guardian reported Monday.”

      milk of nations indeed.


  4. Mikel

    “…aligned with the Federal Reserve’s stance that interest rates are likely to be held higher for a longer period.”

    Is the “hold” narrative the new “pivot” narrative? That is the question…

    1. ambrit

      So now we’re playing “Taxes Hold’em” here in the Big Casino? This is beginning to look like an episode of “Five Nights at Feddies.” You know the one, where the Consumer gets trapped in a rising rate ‘environment’ and has to battle for their life against Robot Regulators animated by Financial Demons. Talk about “irrational exuberance” in the realm of the Animal Spirits!

    2. griffen

      I’m usually a bit cynical on first releases for big value economic releases like payroll numbers and the quarterly GDP. I suppose it’s green shoots and good times for the economy, and worker wages will continue to rise faster than inflation. Wait…you mean that last item isn’t how it works ?

      I’m sure government deficit spending at the current pace won’t engender inflation next year either, not when all those infrastructure funds started working into the economy. No labor woes to speak of, nope, all the cheap labor for highway construction and building bridges!

      1. Mikel

        The Fed and some economists are still holding on to the idea that labor bargaining power is still too strong for their tastes.
        I think they are committed to getting a higher unemployment rate. That has to be balanced out with the politics around unemployment. So those cards are being held close to the vest.

  5. nippersdad

    That James Woods fellow sounds charming.

    I have never understood the undue influence that celebrity confers. Just do your friggin’ job of entertaining me, James, and then sit down and shut up. Go buy something, but don’t think that your issues are any of my concern. I don’t think that I have watched the Oscars since Sally Field discovered that someone liked her, and I haven’t been to a movie in an actual theater for years.

    This latest performance, and that of the other three hundred Hollywood celebs signing a cocktail napkin last week, are unlikely to incent me to listen to more of that sort of thing or patronize their product. As one person does not a demographic make, I am pretty sure that I am not alone in playing the world’s smallest violin for some bratty millionaire who feels the need to emote in public.

    All too often, I just do not understand the culture that I was brought up in.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Could someone please remind me again of what the definition of “hate speech” is?

      If california has “red flag laws,” I’d like to nominate this guy.

    2. clarky90

      German Vernichtungsbefehl (“annihilation order”) against the Herero and Nama People: “Every Herero Will Be Shot”


      “October 2, 1904. The genocide order, Schiessbefehel, issued by Lieutenant General Lothar von Trotha stated:

      I, the great General of the German troops, send this letter to the Herero people. The Herero people are no longer German subjects . . . The Herero people must leave the country. If the nation doesn’t do this I will force them with the Groot Rohr [cannon]. Within the German borders, every Herero, with or without gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I will no longer accept women or children, I will drive them back to their people or I will let them be shot at.”

      “German Propaganda

      During the genocide of the Herero people, many trade cards and other advertisements were being promoted at the time. ……Trade cards (Sammelbilder) were popularized when given away with the purchase of commodities such as soup powder or chocolate which posed as propaganda for Germans, as many German people, specifically children collected them.[6] The majority of the trade cards displayed Herero women as lewd images and some even portrayed the Herero people as rebellious, and dangerous. These trade cards attempted to legitimize the treatment that Hereros had to endure at the hand of the Germans in GSWA (German South-West Africa) by showing the Herero people in a negative light. ……

      ….The most widely circulated images were on collectible trading cards of companies such as Aecht Frank coffee, Erkel soap, Theodor Hildebrand cocoa, Walser & Schwarz, and Hartwig & Vogel’s chocolate. The card series began with scenes showing Hereros murdering and plundering, at times they showed the German women scared,…..”

    3. The Rev Kev

      In one way he was honest in his twitter name of ‘@RealJamesWoods’. So I guess that this is the real person that James Woods actually is. Noted. The Internet never forgets.

  6. nippersdad

    The bugs in the antidote look like an organ pipe mud dawber and a milkweed bug to me. If that is what they are then neither would be very aggressive.

  7. skippy

    Ref: “Lego’s New Dune Set With a Loooooong Baron Harkonnen Minifig”

    I still remember my eldest sons X-mass Lego TIE fighter … a 6 pack event … too be sure … in the afternoon …

    Oh and the best part is all the complicated bits that fit together just to pack out the core of it and ***never too be seen*** is so reminiscent of over engineered stuff where one asks how do you access/get too stuff to work on it without that one special tool or make your own jig. Other than that I wonder if Lego could be used as a diagnostic tool for those with OCD, big box of random parts and see who can’t stop – snort …

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Removing Trump from the ballot, state by state

    From the blurb at the CNN link:

    So what we have here is a change in the Constitutional order I’ve pointed out from the beginning: The distinctive competence of the modern political party is control over the ballot. And here members of one party would strike the name of another party’s candidate off the ballot.

    As we have been schooled over the last several election cycles, the two main political parties are “private corporations” not government entities. They are under no “governmental” obligation to acknowledge challengers or hold primaries or debates. And even if they do hold primaries, they are under no obligation to choose as their candidate the person who got the most votes–candidates are ultimately chosen at the convention. (It has been speculated that a weak candidate, biden, could be replaced at the dem convention.)

    So how is it that now, government officials–secretaries of state–are empowered to intervene in determining whose name will appear on a ballot? That determination is the sole province of that private corporation, the republican party, or so we have been told.

    Having ceded the role of candidate selection to a “private corporation,” the proper remedy would seem to be to wait to see if Trump is actually elected, and then seek to disqualify him in court for whatever reason they can come up with.

    Hoo Boy, that would be somethin’ wouldn’t it? Takes “election denialism” to a new level.

    1. Feral Finster

      I suspect that the Team D strategy is to let Trump be nominated, then seek to deny him ballot access in one or more key states.

      Because “saving democracy” means controlling ballot access in order to keep the most popular candidate (I didn’t vote for him) off the ballot.

      Sure, it means winning ugly, but if the establishment prefers winning ugly, to losing gracefully.

    2. Carolinian

      Clearly the Supreme Court will have the last word. Meanwhile the Dems run it up the flagpole to see who will salute. Or was that throw it against the wall and see what sticks. One of those. Or both.

  9. scott s.

    Technical comment as regards presidential primary issue. The Republican National Committee is a private entity organized under DC entity law. The Committee is made up of elected committeeman and woman from each of the recognized 56 “states” as well as ex officio chair of each “state” committee. While fund raising is the Committee’s practical priority, from a structural view its purpose is calling a national convention to select its candidates for President and Vice President. RNC Rule 16 in general describes the process by which “state” committees select delegates to the convention. But state legislatures have added various statutes to effectively limit the ability of state committees to appoint delegates. I have never understood the authority of these statutes, but assume that for the most part they are enacted by members of the parties that are subject to them, so there is an assumption of acceptance.

    Side note: I believe the Dems have 57 “state” delegations, the difference being something they call “Democrats Abroad”.

    1. caucus99percenter

      A younger and more naïve me used to be active in the German chapter of Democrats Abroad — I still get e-mails from them. Couldn’t participate now even if I wanted to, since moving to Saxony. Unlike the Rhine-Main region in Hesse where I used to live, DA doesn’t operate here — not enough Americans live and work among the “Ossis” (former East Germans).

  10. Willow

    Increasingly hearing Gen Z & Millennials viewing Israel as being Homelander (‘The Boys’). Has big implications for Dems trying to maintain capture of youth vote & get them to turn out at the next presidential election. Israel/Palestine looks like turning into an electoral black hole for the Democrats (and Labour in UK for that matter). All the Russia/Ukraine narrative gains being lost. Biden’s approval with Dems already down 11% since start of Gaza conflict.

    1. IM Doc

      I am unable to post the photo, but family and I were in the big city over the past few days, and there it was for all to see…….the first indication that we may be approaching the event horizon of the Democratic Party. The circle is now complete.

      Large city parks that were filled with tents and decades old run down RVs. Gigantic homeless encampments that used to be beautiful city parks. And over the old arches that you entered the park on either side of the street were big gigantic signs – one says BIDENVILLE – the other says KAMALALAND. Biden will now be joining the ranks of the Presidents who were feckless blobs before the other major crises of this country’s history – just like Buchanan and Hoover were. And he and his administration have worked very hard for that honor. They deserve every bit.

      It’s the economy stupid. The more they lie about how wonderful things are going – the more they expose themselves to the complete derision of the voters.

      Mind you, the Democrats are nothing like what they were for my elders or even in my youth. I will not be voting for them again until and unless they begin to even lift a finger for the working people of this country. Until then, I am done with them. It appears that a good portion of their base – the youth, the minorities, the forced homeless, – are completely done with them as well. As Lambert says all the time, Buckle up – this is going to be one of the most interesting election cycles of our lifetimes.

        1. Acacia

          True, though that won’t prevent the Securitate party from always campaigning on “a new FDR !!”

  11. Rob Urie

    For those who didn’t care for yesterday’s link tying meat consumption to Type Two diabetes:

    The recent evidence mentioned in that link included unprocessed meat as well as processed meat, and found no difference between them with respect to the link to Type Two diabetes.

    The New York Times reported the findings as such, but I chose the link I did because it didn’t have a paywall.

    Findings of a link between meat consumption and diabetes have been reported since the 1940s.

    The meat industry followed the tobacco industry model with the ‘innovation’ that the meat industry has destroyed the lives of its critics quite beyond giving them Type Two diabetes.


    1. Objective Ace

      I’m sympathetic to the point I think your trying to make. However, I think you may be “losing the forest for the trees”.

      1) is your argument about red meat, meat in general, x servings of meat a day, something else? You’re throwing out a number of studies that say different things. It makes it very difficult to take your argument serious since its not exactly clear what it is
      2) While the data is somewhat mixed, I am personally limiting my servings of red meat per week.. however thats largely based on the precautionary principle and because I have the resources and time to prepare other healthy dishes
      3) Processed foods are a much larger driver of diabetes. Meat consumption has been around for thousands of years. Type 2 diabetes has not. It’s rise has almost perfectly matched the rise in processed foods over the past couple decades (not just in the US, but every country as it has westernized)
      4) If you are going to give up meat and subsist on beans and vegetables like the 7th day Adventists in the studies you link to — that may well be the most healthy diet available, however, I doubt the majority of individuals who are targeted and read the marketing claims stemming from the research you link to will do so. Instead they will replace meat with a box of maccaroni and cheese or some other processed junk. If I were to follow the money I could almost guarantee it is the food industry who is funding this research in the first place

  12. antidlc

    Roll call for Senate vote…amendment passed with 10 Democrats voting YEA, including Tim Kaine who suffers from long COVID.


    Roll Call Vote 118th Congress – 1st Session
    Vote Summary

    Question: On the Amendment (Vance Amdt. No. 1210 )
    Vote Number: 266
    Vote Date: October 25, 2023, 12:31 PM
    Required For Majority: 1/2
    Vote Result: Amendment Agreed to

    Amendment Number: S.Amdt. 1210 to S.Amdt. 1092 to H.R. 4366 (No short title on file)
    Statement of Purpose: To prohibit funds appropriated for the Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2024 from being used to enforce a mask mandate in response to the COVID-19 virus.
    Vote Counts:
    Not Voting


    Someone, please, make it stop. PLEASE???

      1. Pat

        One of the biggest neon signs about Hillary’s real agenda and utter disregard of traditional Democratic Party principles was her selection of Tim Kaine as her running mate.
        I might find Klobuchar to be worse but a race to the bottom is still a race to the bottom.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      The Economy! The Economy! They’re saving The Economy!!


      Bunch o’ family-blogging family-bloggers … UGH!

  13. flora

    re: Boulevard of Capucines, 1883

    Nice touch grounding the viewer’s position with the 2 top-hatted gentlemen looking over their balcony on the right edge of the painting. The viewer is not left floating in space. I like it.

    1. Lunker Walleye

      If you enlarge the lower left quadrant, it looks something like a J. Pollack painting. Monet really had it.
      IIRC, the new photographic technique had an influence on the painters of the day. That has the look of the way a camera crops a scene.

  14. John k

    Reps control 34 States? Meaning dems only 18? Granted dems have the biggies… but didnt Hillary explain the election is scored with electoral votes?
    Anyway, if dems can toss rep candidates they don’t like then reps could toss dems then don’t like, and nobody likes Biden. So wouldn’t trump automatically win?
    Re the frozen north, imo lots of indies hate how dems are trying to railroad trump.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They need more warm bodies to be thrown into the gaps caused by Covid taking out so many workers the past three years. And being old they will be considered easily expendable.

  15. Jason Boxman


    know there’s a lot going on, but the Senate just passed a reckless amendment to ban mask mandates on public transportation for the next fiscal year.

    Shamefully, 10 Democrats voted in favor of a ban:


    1. Acacia

      Betcha none of them would be caught dead ever riding public transport.

      Masks for me and none for thee.

    2. Oakchair

      A dozen plus randomized studies show masks do not have any statistical benefits. Does anyone have any reason why we should reject the high quality randomized studies and instead go with low quality retrospective studies?

      Some of the potential harms masks can causes:
      Increased CO2 levels
      Decreased oxygen levels
      cognitive impairment
      Psychological problems such as Irritability, depression, anxiety
      Bacteria and fungal infections (a study found that most Covid deaths were due to pneumonia which often stems from bacteria infections).

      Is it really shameful and reckless to demand high quality evidence before the government forces people to obstruct their airways?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Does anyone have any reason why we should reject the high quality randomized studies showing masks had no statistical benefits?

          “High quality” is doing a lot of work there, champ, especially in a low value-add rhetorical question. Here is the intevention in the Danish study:

          Encouragement to follow social distancing measures for coronavirus disease 2019, plus either no mask recommendation or a recommendation to wear a mask when outside the home among other persons together with a supply of 50 surgical masks and instructions for proper use.

          So a surgical mask study that doesn’t control for people bringing infection into the home (say, children from school) is “high quality”?

          This study being so ludicrously bad, I’m not going to waste my time on the other which is, in any case, from 2020 and for the flu in China. For a case study in anti-maskers cherrypicking and manipulating studies for the desired result, see here. GTFO.

        2. Acacia

          So, n=3030 on that last study? Quite small for a global pandemic.

          Meanwhile, if we compare WHO data for total recorded deaths attributed to SARS 2 in East Asia — where people wear masks by habit —, versus the US, where many people refuse to wear masks (because ‘muh freedoms, I guess):

          China — 121,764
          Japan — 74,694
          South Korea — 35,934

          U.S. — 1,136,920

          But sure… F around and find out.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > A dozen plus randomized studies show masks do not have any statistical benefits.

        I shiver with antici… pation for (a) link(s) to the twelve. Turns out you cite to two. Quite a letdown. And see below.

  16. Oakchair

    Germany politics:
    10 Members from The Left party have decided to form a new party.
    In polls including one today the party gathers 10-15% of the total vote.
    The party that is hurt the most from the new party in these polls is the AfD.

  17. Acacia

    In Paris, large public demos in support of the Palestinians have been banned by the Préfet de police for this weekend:


    Under international law, the right to demonstrate should not be subject to prior authorization (emphasis on the should), but things are a little different in France.

    Somehow, the gilets jaunes were okay, but the Palestinians are a bridge too far… ?

    1. ambrit

      Oh my. This time the Maghrebis and the Beurs will come out in support of their Middle Eastern brothers and sisters. The “official” response has the makings of an ethnically based pogrom.
      Remember that in France during the Second World War, the ‘average’ people participated in the “removal” of their Jewish compatriots to the camps. This time, xenophobia is added to the basic ‘othering’ of a segment of the population.
      Either the Government falls or the French Arabs are “run out of town.”
      We will be reading one day about “Le Affair Hamas” and how it shifted French politics.

  18. ChrisRUEcon

    #TrumpNYRising #BidenYouthProblem

    These made me laugh out loud! Acela liberals are a far worse echo chamber than the “Fox News” one they are fond of decrying. They have no idea how the horrible war-mongering in playing out for people stretched thin by low wages, COVID sequelae and loss. “The Economy” charges ahead while the (working poor) humans who constitute its underpinnings are being hung out to dry. The tide is turning, though … I can see and feel it in my forays onto social networks – people aren’t “flying flags” in support of war as much … and those crying for more war are getting far less “likes” on their posts. People are silent out of the need to be polite, but in conversations away from their laptop and iPad screens, they’ll tell you – they don’t family-blog understand how the same nation that can’t find money for COVID or education or housing can find plenty for war and suffering abroad.

    Time’s up for #Jo3yNordStre4m

        1. ambrit

          Don’t let “Mike Johnson” fly under the radar. He is a classic Evangelical “Right-thinker.” His effect on the House will be subtle, but profound. Johnson represents the Louisiana Fourth Congressional District, based upon Shreveport. Shreveport is about as small ‘c’ conservative as it gets. The rest of the District is pretty much Rural Southern Gothic.
          That he was elected so easily is sending a signal. Some sort of deal has been made, one which the Ultra wing of the Republican Party authored. How he deals with the Ukraine mess versus how he deals with the Israeli conundrum will point the way.
          Something about Johnson and religion: https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2023/october/mike-johnson-house-speaker-evangelical-congress-bible.html
          We to the Left of Goebbels will have to keep a keen eye on this man.

          1. ChrisRUEcon

            > We to the Left of Goebbels will have to keep a keen eye on this man.


            Looks like theocracy is back on the menu, folks …

  19. The Rev Kev

    The camel’s nose is now officially under the flap of the tent-

    ‘US Marine Battalion to Train in Finland for 2 Months” at


    That’s how it started here in Oz – and now we have nuke bombers and nuke subs coming in and more and more US bases being built while our government spends hundreds of billions on weapons systems that have less than a stellar performance history. Can’t wait to see the Finns eventually realize that they have been had too.

  20. Pat

    I do have to laugh about Biden’s quickly deflating numbers in NY. I kept saying that the migrant buses were brilliant political strategy. I know those aren’t the only reason, but they are also putting pressure on some of the other stress points for voters. None of which the Democrats are addressing. And it isn’t just Biden and DC’s utter lack of interest and desire to confront problems in the US and in NY eroding Democratic support, Hochul and the state’s Democratic controlled Legislature are just as feckless.

    This piece ends with Biden still likely to win NY, but for me that ignores the elephant in the room. It won’t change the Senate yet, but mark my word over the next two years elections are going to show an increase in NY Republican representatives in the House and here in the NY State House. We are going to be increasingly purple to reddish purple. The voters will be voting for change or staying home if they think there is no chance of it.

  21. kareninca

    I know it is too late to post this, but it is the Book of Revelation, not the Book of Revelations!!! I suppose that a periodical called “The Sword and the Sandwich” can’t afford copyeditors, but this leads me to dismiss whatever else they print, since it is such a gross error concerning the primary topic of the article.

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