2:00PM Water Cooler 11/15/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Long-billed Thrush, Sandakphu, Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India. “Montane, Evergreen Forest, Bamboo, Scrub.”

* * *


“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

“Conversation With an ‘Insurrectionist’: He Took Nancy Pelosi’s Lectern” [Newsweek]. A must read, not least because it confirms my priors (see The Class Composition of the Capitol Rioters (First Cut) and The Organizational Capacity and Behavioral Characteristics of the Capitol Rioters (First Cut). The whole piece is very entertaining, in a bemused sort of way, but this to me is the key point: “‘I thought it would make a great picture, so I carried it 20 yards to the center of the room, gave a short speech and left it there.’ His speech, he said, consisted of him railing against traitors and treason and his idea that budget items ought to be voted on separately.” Same thing with the Buffalo Horns dude; he made a speech too, and nothing came of it. In other words, no organization whatever. (I can’t find the quote from the Bolshevik Revolution where IIRC a sailor screams at Lenin: “Take power, dammit!” Nothing like that here.)

Biden Administration

“The 40th day of the war Gallant on the release of hostages: Hamas is ready to pay for some peace” (Google translation from Hebrew) [i24]. On Al-Shifa hospital:

Oh. More commentary:

“The Secret Service has been lying to you about the White House cocaine scandal” [FOX]. “Good thing we have the documents from the Secret Service right here. But here’s the thing: The Secret Service redacted where the cocaine was first found. Now, if the cocaine was actually first found in the cubby, and they photographed it in the cubby, why would they redact that? And then at one point, the Secret Service says this suspicious substance is a white powder in a small Ziploc bag on the redacted lobby floor. What? Lobby floor? The lobby into what room? The library. And I thought they found the cocaine in the cubby. Well, the cubby is not on the floor. The cubby’s on the wall. Later on in the night. They said it was in the cubby, and they didn’t redact that. They want us to think it was found in that little locker.” • It’s a game of Clue, isn’t it? Hunter, in the Library. With the spoon.


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Top GOP House Member Hits Engoron With Ethics Complaint” [1945]. “A top Republican congresswoman has hit New York Justice Arthur F. Engoron with an ethics complaint due to alleged politicking for the Democratic Party while being a justice of the New York Supreme Court… Stefanik alleges that Engoron violated these rules. ‘Judge Engoron and his staff are partisan Democrat donors. As recently as 2018, Judge Engoron donated to the Manhattan Democrats – even though Section 100.5 says that judges ‘shall refrain’ from ‘making a contribution to a political organization,” Stefanik writes in her complaint to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. ‘Section 100.5 also stipulates that a ‘judge shall prohibit members of the judge’s staff’ from contributing more than $500 ‘in the aggregate during any calendar year to all political campaigns for political office.’ Allison Greenfield has served as Judge Engoron’s principal law clerk since 2019. … The congresswoman continues, ‘In 2022 alone, Greenfield donated ‘$3,335 in political donations to Democrat candidates and causes.’ She’s already given more than $1,000 in 2023 to campaigns.” • Hmm.

* * *

* * *

“Freeway Disaster Presents Hurdle for Newsom’s National Ambitions” [David Dayen, The American Prospect]. We don’t link to Dayen much, for good reasons I won’t go into here, but in this post he’s so on point I have to quote. Recall that there was also a freeway fire in Philly, so we have a baseline. “The initial assessment in Philadelphia was that I-95 would be closed for months, maybe through Thanksgiving. But [Democrat PA Governor Josh] Shapiro mobilized union construction workers and enabled a novel use of recycled glass to get the highway up and running in less than two weeks… That set a precedent that Newsom is now going to need to live up to. There is no current timetable for reopening the 10. While most of the site has been cleared of hazardous materials and federal emergency funds have been made available, engineers have not yet determined whether they could simply retrofit the existing structure, or be forced to demolish and rebuild it. The message to residents has been to strap in for a long winter of east-west driving either way. That’s not going to fly for Newsom for several reasons. He is not a newcomer in a purple state his first year on the job; in fact, he’s termed out in 2026. But Newsom has national aspirations, which is the worst-kept secret in America. If the 10 closure lingers and construction falls behind, public anger will build. Shapiro came in well ahead of schedule, was completely transparent (he even set up a webcam to track progress), and thrived under pressure. That will inevitably be used as a measuring stick for Newsom. Newsom’s popularity recently sank to an all-time low in California, an across-the-board drop that has an unclear origin.” • Of course, the DNC can force whoever they want to down our throats, especially if (when?) Biden pulls up lame. But skeptical about Newsom, California oligarch and pseudo-Getty scion though he is. First, his hair. Come on. Second, the French Laundry incident. Plenty of grist for oppo there! Finally, his dyslexia. Oppo again — childrens’ books and trauma aside — but for Newsom “a five-minute speech may require six hours of preparation and research.” So what happens with his briefing books? Do staffers read them aloud?

* * *

“Latest Polls Show My Path to Victory” [Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.] “According to a new national poll by Quinnipiac University, I beat Trump and Biden among voters ages 18-34 with 38% of the vote compared to Biden’s 32% and Trump’s 27%…. I am also outpacing Biden and Trump among independent voters, with 36% compared to 31% for Biden and 30% for Trump…. Another recent poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College shows that I am closing the gap on Trump and Biden in six battleground states — AZ, GA, MI, NV, PA, and WI — where I come within single digits of the two-party candidates. In these six battleground states, I beat Trump and Biden among 18-44 year olds.”

* * *

“Q&A with Rep. Dean Phillips” [The Dartmouth (Petal)]. Phillips: “People are screaming as loud as they can that they’re desperate. Life is not affordable. It’s true here in New Hampshire with heating oil, prices are so high for some that there are thousands waiting in line for subsidies, kids going to school hungry, housing out of reach for many people and becoming unaffordable for those who are even in their houses right now, grocery prices through the roof. I voted for many of the President’s policies. My contention isn’t that what we did was bad. My contention is it’s not enough. And my contention is that Bidennomics has become an anchor weighing down the Democratic Party, as it represents to most Americans. I’m not saying that the policies were bad. All I’m saying is we have to do better. How do we do that? Affordability, affordability, affordability. Energy policy, our farm bill and food policy, our housing policy, our education policy and our health care policy, are all elements of how we raise the foundation for hard working Americans.” And: “The path forward is mutual empathy… I intend to be the first Jewish President in American history, who signs documents that help establish a Palestinian state. That to me is the solution. And that’s where the empathy begins.” • Interesting!

* * *

PA: “Democrats’ Big Bucks County School Board Sweep Should Unnerve Republicans Everywhere” [RealClearPolitics]. “There are only a handful of counties in this country that can authentically claim their voting habits are bona fide bellwethers for elections in battleground states. Bucks County, a suburb near Philadelphia, is one of them. What makes it so is the political diversity of voters that is split up into three distinct geographical patches: Lower Bucks, Central Bucks and Upper Bucks…. Lower Bucks has always been filled with working-class voters… Central Bucks are the voters who moved up and out of Lower Bucks as it began to decline as industry did. They generally are upper middle class…. Then there is Upper Bucks, which is part rural, part suburb…. Of the three parts of Bucks County, it is the one that is the most truly conservative…. On Tuesday, voters decided to change the balance of power on the Central Bucks School District’s school board, which previously had a 6-3 Republican majority. This week, voters flipped it to a pending 6-3 Democratic majority…. Apparently, a majority of voters rebelled against the involvement of the national Moms for Liberty, portrayed by the media as extreme, and which was thought by many centrist voters, even those who usually lean Republican, to use rhetoric that was a bridge too far. Bucks County voters are telling Republicans to stop with the overreach. They are also telling the Democrats, ‘We didn’t exactly vote for you as much as we voted against the Republicans.'”

Republican Funhouse

Mitchell on comity:

To be fair, we’re nowwhere near “Caning of Sumner” territory.

“Sen. Markwayne Mullin Stands Up To Fight Teamsters Boss During Senate Hearing: ‘We Can Finish It Here'” [RealClearPolitics]. “‘Well, stand your butt up then,’ said Sen. Mullin. ‘You’re a United States Senator, sit down,’ yelled Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairing the hearing.” • I hate that “your butt” locution. Generally spoken by an authority figure to a child, what does it say about how the authority figure views children?

“Rep. McCarthy: I Did Not Kidney Punch Republican Congressman That Voted To Oust Me From Speakership” [RealClearPolitics]. • If you’re explaining, you’re losing.

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.

* * *

“Democrats Plan to Spend Millions to Weaken Republican Supermajorities” [New York Times]. “Democrats are pushing to break up Republican supermajorities in states with Democratic governors, effectively battling to win back the veto pen district by district. Such supermajorities result when a single political party has enough votes in both chambers of a legislature to override a governor’s veto, often, though not always, by controlling two-thirds of the chamber. The extraordinary political dissonance of having a governor of one party and a supermajority of an opposing party in the legislature is one of the starkest effects of gerrymandering, revealing how parties cling to evaporating power. As gerrymanders built by both parties for decades have tipped the scales to favor the party of the map-drawers, legislative chambers have proved resistant to shifting political winds at the state level. At times, those gerrymanders have locked in minority rule in legislatures while statewide offices, like the governor’s, adhere to the desires of a simple majority of voters. Though both parties employed aggressive gerrymanders during the last round of redistricting in 2021, Republicans entered the cycle with a distinct advantage: In 2010, G.O.P.-controlled state legislatures across the country drew aggressive gerrymanders in state governments. Democrats were caught off guard.” • Thanks, Obama.

“Disturbances In The Discourse” [Eschaton]. FTX poodle Rising Star Sean McElwee is back. “I keep telling about how much of The Discourse was really fucked for a couple of years due (in part) to some FTX money floating around… I won’t say any names, but there are some people who should be indicted for being straw donors who haven’t been!!!” • Dude! Say the names! I mean, we’re not talking Epstein’s Black Book here. Right?


“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!

* * *


Still looking for ways to justify what we should never have to justify in the first place:

Good idea, though!


They just can’t help themselves:

Another PMC superspreading event.

“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.

* * *


“USA – No immunity for prison officers sued for COVID deaths in prison, Circuit Court holds” [Covid-19 Litigation]. “Shortly after the COVID-19 became a national emergency, the Governor of California issued an order suspending the intake of inmates into all state correctional facilities and, soon afterwards, the California Correctional Health Care Services adopted a policy opposing the transfer of inmates between prisons, reasoning that transfers would “carry a significant risk of spreading transmission of the disease between institutions”. In this context, a group of high-level officials in the California prison system transferred 122 high-risk inmates from the California Institution for Men (CIM), where there was an outbreak of the COVID-19, to San Quentin State Prison, where there were no known cases of the virus. Most of the men who were transferred were not tested for COVID-19 and none of them was properly screened for symptoms before the transfer; furthermore, even though some of them exhibited symptoms, they were not put on quarantine at their arrival at the prison; instead, all the transferred inmates were housed in a unit with grated doors. The transfer resulted in a violent outbreak of COVID-19 at the San Quentin prison. Despite this state of affairs, the prison official continued to put in place inadequate protective practices and ignored the recommendations received by both the Public Health Officer and a court-appointed medical monitor of California prison. As a result, many inmates and a guard died. The heirs of the latter filed suit against the prison officials claiming that they had violated their relative’s substantive due process rights by affirmatively, and with deliberate indifference, placing him in danger. Indeed, under the state-created-danger doctrine, state employers – who in principle have no constitutional duty to provide their employees with a safe working environment – are liable when they affirmatively and with deliberate indifference create or expose their employees to a dangerous working environment. Plaintiffs also alleged that defendants breached their right to familial association.” • Very interesting. Oh, and the “the Governor of California” at the time was none other than Gavin Newsom.

However, a similar case in the UK loses:

Elite Maleficence

Eugenicist Biden Administration continues to erase Covid’s airborne transmission, and any mitigations based on it (ventilation, Corsi-Rosenthal boxes/HEPA filters, respirators):

Note that this is a complete repudiation of the views of the White House’s own Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), as expressed in 2022. The then-director of OSTP, Alondra Nelson, is a Black woman. I thought we were supposed to listen to them. Anyhow, the Google discloses no hits on airborne Covid transmission by Nelson in 2023, so perhaps mentioning it would have been a career-ending move. So it goes! (At some point, accident, ignorance, and inattention become implausible explanations, and the best working assumption is that the results of a policy — in this case, mass infection by SARS-CoV-2– are the intended results of the policy. Same with Maskless Mandy, HICPAC, etc.)

* * *

Lambert here: Lots of indicators up, starting with wastewater. (The one I worry about the most is ER visits, since I think that data is hard to game, and who wants to go to the ER, anyhow?) I think it’s time to send the relatives those clippings you saved on brain damage (also, of course, the 2022 clippings: here, here. And the 2020 one).

Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data, November 13:

Lambert here: Cases up, just in time for Thanksgiving (and tinfoil hat time: This is the, er, inflection point CDC was trying to conceal when they gave the contract to Verily and didn’t ensure a seamless transition).

Regional data:



NOT UPDATED From CDC, November 11:

Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: HV.1, EG.5 a strong second, with FL.1.15.1 and XBB. trailing. No BA.2.86 (although that has showed up in CDC’s airport testing). Still a Bouillabaisse…

From CDC, October 28:

Lambert here: I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).

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

Covid Emergency Room Visits

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, November 11:

Lambert here: Slight increases in some age groups, conforming to wastewater data. 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 November 15:

Decline flattens. (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. November 4:

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, November 13:

-1.4%. But bouncing around. (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, November 11:

Lambert here: Increase (with backward revision; guess they thought it was over). 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 23:

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, still from October 23:

Sudden big BA.2.86 appearance. This variant chart has not been updated, which makes me wonder if CDC is gaming the data, and BA.2.86 is worse than we think.


Total: 1,181,963 – 1,181,872 – 1,181,863 – 1,181,620 = 91 (91 * 365 = 33,215 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, November 15:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

• Demographic impacts:

NPIs seems like a reach, though.

• More demographic impacts:

Darwin Awards for everyone. (It would be nice to be able to compare both these datasets with the “Spanish Flu” pandemic.)

The Gallery

“Bringing the painting ‘Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer’ (1888) to life” my sweet Aunt Fanny:

The painting is already alive. The paint + the eyes + the brain (+, I suppose, culture and taste) make the waves, not some tediously literal minded developer.

News of the Wired

“How Stone Walls Became a Signature Landform of New England” [Smithsonian]. • Laws of Correspondence between mentalitiy and landform?

* * *

Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From EJ:

EJ writes: “I saw this today on a tree (on Greenleaf Ave. in Chicago. I think the tree was a type of Maple. The fungus was so pretty and I just hope it is in a cooperative relationship with the tree and not killing it. The tree looked healthy to me).” Can readers speculate? How would one tell?

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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

    “Rep. McCarthy: I Did Not Kidney Punch Republican Congressman That Voted To Oust Me From Speakership” [RealClearPolitics]. • If you’re explaining, you’re losing.
    ‘Kidney Kev’ already announced he was unsure of reelection in 2024, which is to say he’s a goner sooner rather than later, and what is this punch business anyhow?

    …I never saw Ali elbow Foreman

    1. griffen

      Could be worse still in the vaunted halls of DC politics…what if he chomped down on a part of the ear? Mike Tyson infamously chewed on the ear of Evander Holyfield…I suppose Mike was lacking a bit of composure at the time…That ear never “saw” him coming.

    1. Fred

      Is there a Republican out there who doesn’t support cutting those programs? Are there any who really want to cut the debt by raising taxes or cutting benefits to the rich?

      1. jo6pac

        Sadly since the days of Big Dog and then obomber and then joey b. They have all tried to make cuts. Big Dogs girlfriend saved us, the repugs hated obomber so much they wouldn’t give into Grand Bargen.
        joey b. has hated SS since was a congresscritter.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          And the reason the officeholder Democrats blocked George Junior’s attempt to privatise Social Security is because the officeholder Democrats wanted a Democrat to be the President who would do the ” Only Nixon could go to China” on Social Security.

          Obama wanted to be that historic Democratic President. Luckily for us, the officeholder Republicans hated him so much that they decided they would rather deny Obama his place in history than to realize their own dream of privatising and/or abolishing Social Security.

      2. chris

        Or we could just take the actual defense budget down to 750 billion and get another 750 billion worth of room in the budget at current levels. Or we could reduce the debt by almost 1 trillion a year. So many options! No desire among our pols to look at any of them.

    2. Carolinian

      Trump just blasted her for saying on Fox that her first action as prez would be to force all social media users to use their real names cause they might be Russians or Chinese. Nikki replied that she vaguely remembered some talk about the Constitution in her Jr. High School class but she had forgotten all that boring stuff.

      Also when she worked for Trump at the UN she was always going off the reservation and making her own policy and pronouncements that sometimes contradicted his. I seriously doubt he would ever pick her for VP.

  2. Samuel Conner

    > It’s a game of Clue, isn’t it? Hunter, in the Library. With the spoon.

    I always find Lambert’s snark amusing, sometimes in a provocative kind of way. This one merits a deep-ventilation belly-laugh, which I have read is good for one’s health. I think that it reduces the likelihood of developing pneumonia.

    1. tegnost

      I think it was joe, and that explains his unusually brisk behavior in the debates, and that the apple never falls far from the tree…

    2. Acacia

      That cracked me up too.

      With the DemParty in the house, makes sense that the Library would be the go-to place for doing drugs, rather than actually, you know, reading.

  3. DJG, Reality Czar

    When I was still living in Chicago, I used Ravenswood Avenue quite often as a good place to walk as well as to get to one of the yoga studios that I then frequented. I recall seeing two maples just south of Foster Av with the same shelf mushroom. (Greenleaf Av is just a couple of km north of Foster.)

    It appears to “eat” the tree:


    Here in the Undisclosed Region of Italy, I have been eating chanterelles (finferli), which are benign.

    1. curlydan

      I have a maple in my Midwest front yard. It gets the same yearly fungus. I think it’s called Dryad’s Saddle or a Pheasant’s Back mushroom.

  4. Samuel Conner

    Speculating re: the plantidote, it looks like the fungus is growing out of an old “scabbed-over” wound from a broken-off branch. I doubt that this relationship is beneficial to the tree.

  5. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: New England stone walls.

    I’m reminded of a joke. A New Yorker writer stopped and asked a New England farmer why he chose the stone wall look. The farmer said, “what the hell else am I going to do with them?”

  6. nippersdad

    My speculation is that tree is going to be hollow after the bark fills in around the wound the fungus is rooted into. If it is wet enough in there for spores to germinate then that wood is on its’ way to becoming rotten.

    It will be pretty, until it isn’t.

          1. redleg

            I can attest to that. We had a huge oak dropping branches at random because the wood in the middle became like styrofoam due to the fungus. Chicken if the woods is edible. I gave the mushroom to a co-worker once, but the other years people would cut the fungus off our tree (i.e. steal) before i could get around to doing it myself.
            More expensive to take down too, as the tree isn’t structurally sound.

      1. nippersdad

        That heart wood is dead already. The only living part of the trunk and branches in a tree is in the cambium layers that protect it from things like mushrooms.

        Barring an ice storm it should live for a long time, and provide nesting habitat for a lot of critters before it meets its’ doom. Those nesting holes in hollow trees can get quite large, and it is fun to see the little faces sticking out of them…but hopefully not right out over your house.

        We have one at that stage about twenty feet off the back porch that is going to go that way, but I am of the IBG/YBG view about it. That and falling trees are why God invented insurance. Whichever comes first, I am pretty OK about it.

        1. Randy

          If you have fungi growing like that on a tree there is rotting/not just dead wood inside which the fungus likes to “eat”. If as you say all the inner tree wood is dead, and it is, fungi on each and every tree should be common and no cause for concern. That is not the case. There is rot inside that tree and it is dying. The core “dead wood” inside the tree is structurally sound but only before it starts to rot. That tree is not long for this world.

          That tree is a silver maple. It is considered a “weed” among trees. They have an unruly growth habit that is prone to structural instability. When they get damaged the open wound is an entry point for insects, disease and fungus. The damage then spreads. That is why whenever there is a windstorm around here the vast majority of down and damaged trees are silver maples.

          As far as a rotten tree next to your house being the insurance company problem, think again. Most homeowners insurance policies have deductibles, the portion of the bill the homeowner pays for a claim. There is also water ingress to think about when your roof is damaged and problems keeping insects out when the structural skin of your house is damaged and you are waiting for repair.. It is not just an insurance company problem.

          A tree like this, if it can be safely cut and dropped where it won’t cause damage to structures should be cut down as preventative maintenance and not allowed to fall on somebody’s house.

          1. nippersdad

            Will no one think of the baby squirrels!?!

            But you are absolutely right. I have just been lazy, and hate to cut down a tree I planted thirty years ago now that it is nice and big.

            1. Randy

              I’ve had to cut trees I have raised from pups (always storm damage). It’s hard. Replacing them isn’t easy either when you are thirty years older than when you planted them.

              1. nippersdad

                Yep. Friggin’ borers. I have this stuff that has been outlawed for about a century now which does wonders for them, but this time for some reason I failed to get over my qualms and spray it on when I first noticed the hole. Big mistake.

                But the pines down the hill that died of drought and beetle damage are now full of woodpecker holes! When they come down in storms they often have about twelve nests bored into them. Snags are worthwhile, but, as you say, not right next to your house.

            2. steppenwolf fetchit

              If the tree is internally sound and has no trace of rot or fungus or anything . . . might it be possible to cut off all the main limbs which lean or grow “towards” or “out over” the house? So that the tree’s weight and center of gravity would lean away from the house and raise the chances of the tree falling away from the house if something made it fall?

  7. nippersdad

    I see Dean has been doing his homework; he knows what people want to hear. Pity that has never translated into what he does. In that sense he is a paradigm of the American democratic process.

    I am pretty sure his democracy has nothing to fear from him, and he will make an excellent spokes-toad for the Democratic party right up until they need him to change his tune.

      1. nippersdad

        The hoary old chestnut about a two state solution has been priced into the market for seventy years now. They prolly advised him to say that on the assumption it will give them another seventy years to waffle on about it, but get this:

        “Phillips has aligned himself with the mainstream pro-Israel wing of his party. Last year, he was the lead author of a bipartisan letter from about 50 members of Congress urging the Biden administration to defund the United Nations’ investigation of Israel’s actions during its 2012 conflict with Hamas in Gaza.”

        ” Phillips also criticized members of “The Squad” over their rhetoric on Israel. He reportedly demanded an apology from Rep. Ilhan Omar, his Democratic colleague from Minnesota, during a private meeting in 2019 for comments she made about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that some considered antisemitic. The exchange led to an “abrupt end” to that gathering. Phillips also called Omar out for her 2021 remarks comparing the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban, and rebuked New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 for comparing border detention facilities to Nazi concentration camps.”


        I don’t think he is in any danger from that quarter. Interestingly, on his Open Secrets page* he shows no PACs supporting his campaigns, but, IIRC, AIPAC was notable for laundering their donations through individuals to cover them up. They may be hiding in there.

        * https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/dean-phillips/summary?cid=N00041134

  8. nippersdad

    Manchin is making noises like he is going to run:

    “I will do anything I can to help my country, and you’re saying, ‘Does that mean you would consider it?’ Absolutely. Every American should consider it if they’re in a position to help save the country,” Manchin said.

    The West Virginia Democrats stressed that he’s “totally, absolutely scared to death” of another White House term for former President Trump, who is the Republican Party’s front-runner by a wide margin. But Manchin also said he’s worried President Biden “has been pushed too far to the left.”

    “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure, to mobilize that moderate, sensible, commonsense middle,” he said.”


    So Biden ran as the next Roosevelt to put a chicken in every pot, but failed. Dean wants to fix that and get the polis those chickens that they were denied through no fault of Biden or Manchin, but Manchin is there to ensure that all the chickens come home to roost in some public private partnerships that can then be arbitraged into a gas pipeline and some nasty coal contracts.

    Who needs Republicans, Independents or third parties when we have the full range of the Overton Window on full display right there? Democrats are going to be there to play all the angles next year.

    1. Feral Finster

      LOL at any one who actually believed the malarkey about Halfwit Joe being the Second Coming of FDR.
      He’s not even the Second Coming of Obama, and St. FDR wasn’t all that and a bag of chips.

      Then again, I find it hard to imagine that anyone was fooled who was not willingly fooled by that risible nonsense

      1. playon

        FDR may not have been “all that” but more people lined the streets for his funeral than any president since, with the possible exception of JFK.

      2. steppenwolf fetchit

        He was certainly “some of that”. A lot of good was achieved during the FDR period and some of it still remains in existence not yet abolished or entirely repealed.

  9. ambrit

    Former speaker of the House McCarthy: “Yes, I did rabbit punch him, and I’d do it again.”
    For good or ill, that’s the way you do it.
    In politics, if you screw up, apologize once and never again. Congress is like a Shiver of Sharks; keep it moving there!

  10. Amfortas the Hippie

    got a window full of tabs that ive been working through when i stop and sit on this bar stump fer a minute.
    here’s the relevant bit from one of them:

    “As far as I am aware, the concept of the “party-state” was first offered by the Yugoslav minister-turned-dissident Milovan Djilas to account for the divergence between theory and practice in the regime that called itself Communism.3 The state showed no signs of withering away. But it was indeed changing form, becoming instantiated in a “new class” of managers or bureaucrats, just as in the liberal West. Their rule answered to imperatives generated entirely within the party, and treated the larger society as a well of resources to be used while pursuing ends that were sometimes at odds with, even plainly hostile to, that same society.

    The idea of the party-state offers a number of analytical levers that are useful beyond the context of mid-twentieth-century Communism; they can also bring into sharper clarity the divergence between theory and practice in the regime that calls itself “liberal democracy.” The term “party-state” suggests that the state itself is partisan, rather than neutral, with respect to the parts of the body politic. More obliquely, having this concept in hand makes it easier to see that some functions we associate with the state are in fact distributed and devolved to non-state entities that work symbiotically with the state, and that this symbiosis drives them to coalesce into something resembling a party. The result is a system of governing that cannot be held to account by the usual mechanisms known to liberal theory for the purposes of limiting the power of the state. This party-state tends toward “absolute” (that is, unaccountable) power, exercised on behalf of those who are members of the party.”


    i didnt know that detail about Yugoslavia.
    funny to think that theres parallels between them and our current malaise.

    …i mean…i and everybody else have compared the USAEmpire to Rome…then lately i’ve seen a few reflections in that of the Ottomans and various Teutonic statelets and even scots irish clan “states”.
    but Yugoslavia?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Their rule answered to imperatives generated entirely within the party

      Bourdieu says something similar, although for all fields. Imperatives within the field, no matter what field, outweigh whatever larger social purpose the field may have. The Semmelweis Effect is an example of this. Ditto aerosols.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      and to be clear,lol:
      i prolly would not enjoy this guy around my fire, here at the bar.
      i knew before he mentioned him that he is rather fond of de toqueville….
      but one must wander around in strange fields, to further the whole Thinking thing.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        that said, dude made me laugh out loud a few times…which set the 2 tom turkeys off…which set off their 2 guinnea enterage to yelling and carrying on for 10 minutes straight:
        “Defenders of “the free market” have for the most part simply ignored the features of a corporate economy that make it fundamentally different from the imaginary thing they prefer to talk about, and stayed within the dichotomy of private-public that structured economic debate between liberals and socialists during the Cold War. In this counterfactual universe of ideal types, the “free market” was superior to “state planning” for reasons that were ultimately epistemic: market transactions generate and communicate information, in the form of prices. No state planner could hope to survey the whole universe of transactions between butchers, bakers, and their customers, and thereby arrive at an accurate picture of the supply and demand of meat and bread. Lacking such an accurate picture, the planned economy will suffer massive misallocations of resources: rotting, excess meat and not enough bread, or the reverse.”

        i am reminded of the million times some wandering Libertardian intruded into my faceborg space to argue with me about my New Dealism(which is rather mild as compared to the anarchistic socialism i would prefer to yell about).
        those guys'(and yep, they were 98% male) arguments depended on an abstract ideal…and the real world was too messy to accommodate it.
        so they refused to talk about the latter, and stayed within their ideal reality bubble of perfect information and whatnot,lol.

        this guy…while i’m in agreement about a lot of things, has the smell of something of the right…but those agreements point to just how much those old demarcations are withering in their utility to describe what’s actually happening out in the world of minds and thoughts.
        (eg: Compact Mag having people like Branko write for them sometimes…that would never have happened in the 80’s and 90’s)

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          however and to-wit:
          “The existing political frame created by the rise of the party-state has generated its own reality: firms conceived for the purpose of meeting the need of investment managers for someplace virtuous to park their clients’ money. Here is a case of demand (for capital) summoned into existence by supply, an inversion of the usual market logic. But the impact of the Party is much broader than such boutique cases would indicate. As of 2018, $30 trillion in assets were invested in ESG-linked products,13 and the figure is projected to rise to a third of global assets under management by 2025, according to a 2021 Bloomberg analysis.14

          About 70 percent of shares in U.S. firms are held by institutional investors (pension funds, mutual funds, and hedge funds, primarily). Portfolio managers, then, are in a position to enact the coordination between Party and capital that ESG represents. As key nomenklatura, they are sometimes directed to carry out “capital strikes” against firms (or “red” states) that go against the Party.15”

          thats a lot of jack.
          conjured out of thin air, aside.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            and finally, the meat of the nut:
            “For my purposes here, I note only that, whatever its role in inaugurating the moral elevation of the victim, Christianity also offers re­sources for resisting an oligarchy that legitimates itself through victim­ology. Recovery of “the common good” as a regulative principle of politics, the force of which is actually felt, would be easier if elites felt subject to some higher authority—God, in other words. The reason to think so is that such an orientation facilitates awareness of a basic kin­ship among men. In The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart. . . .” We are all fallen, and indeed actively falling from hour to hour. This intuition of unity in fallenness, if recovered, could have a moderating effect on projects of social control, which are so often rooted in a lack of self-awareness about this doubleness in our nature. They proceed by special pleading, attributing moral and intel­lectual incompetence to human beings in general while exempting the elect from these same premises.”

            chickens are finally ready to go nigh-night.
            so, peace! I’m out.

        2. steppenwolf fetchit

          I look forward to the day when starving Liberandians stand by the roadside holding signs saying ” will explain Objectivism for food” .

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        (and i dig de toqueville(sp-2))

        more things that make me stop and wander around the environs and think:
        ” If capitalism requires total purity and noninterference to function as advertised, then it must dissolve all rival systems of value, as Caldwell points out. It cannot admit one chosen by socialist visionaries, but neither can it tolerate culturally specific traditions and heterogeneous human aspirations that resist reduction to a common scalar. All must become fungible through abstraction, made commensurate in the medium of money. This is the critique of capitalism common to Marx and to many European conservatives, cheerfully admitted by the Chicago economist.”

        third track of my mind is ruminating on how…therefore!…democracy is incompatible with corporate feudalism.
        who coulda known?
        ie: the corp(se) feudal machinery needs us to be widgets, cataloged and numbered and interchangeable.
        focus on our commonalities under the rubric of “Consumer” rather than as “Citizen”,lest we relocate our inherent power.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          and this admission:
          “Or perhaps it would be better to say a party-directed economy, since the enforcement of asymmetric civil rights is partially distributed and devolved to non-state actors.11 The wide adoption of ESG standards means that capital markets are now heavily tilted by metrics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Does this violate the implicit duty of investment managers to maximize returns? In 2004, the United Nations concluded that not only was it permissible for investment companies to integrate ESG issues into investment analysis, but it was part of their fiduciary duty to do so.

          This is not as outrageous as it may sound to an American conservative. The irony is that ESG arose, not as conspiracy to place politics over profit, but precisely as an outgrowth of shareholder activism, as refracted through a layer of asset management that stands between shareholders and firm managers. As Julius Krein points out, “ESG frameworks generally define their purpose as simply helping companies avoid various reputational, political, and indeed financial risks.” In fact, “when the original developers of ESG outlined the concept in a white paper in the early 2000s, they expressed the same enthusiasm for ‘profits over politics’ voiced by today’s ESG critics” on the right.12”

          i see the whole woke/cancel thing as a cynical attempt by the erstwhile right who migrated to the demparty beginning in the mid 70’s to infiltrate and undermine the actual Left…instead of shouting “Pinko”, they could moralise about our colorblindness as somehow an affront,lol.
          that this guy seems to agree, more or less(although i think he gets a bit breathless, at times)…is indicative of major changes in the intellectual landscape.

  11. antidlc

    UnitedHealth pushed employees to follow an algorithm to cut off Medicare patients’ rehab care

    The nation’s largest health insurance company pressured its medical staff to cut off payments for seriously ill patients in lockstep with a computer algorithm’s calculations, denying rehabilitation care for older and disabled Americans as profits soared, a STAT investigation has found.

    UnitedHealth Group has repeatedly said its algorithm, which predicts how long patients will need to stay in rehab, is merely a guidepost for their recoveries. But inside the company, managers delivered a much different message: that the algorithm was to be followed precisely so payment could be cut off by the date it predicted.

  12. Karl

    Excellent point. For me this raises a question about the founding principle of Zionism, i.e. to serve as a “homeland” (reservoir) for the far-flung often ethnically cleansed and traumatied Jewish diaspara. The Zionist assumption is that a population of traumatized people can form a reasonably functional society that can live in peace with itself and its neighbors. Perhaps we’re learning that this isn’t possible without a unifying “other” to fear and hate. Without the Palestinians, where would the Mizrahim direct their hatreds?

    Continuing with the “Roe” analogy in the post above, the Israeli “Right” would make a mistake if it completely won the war in Gaza for another reason: Gaza (under the “control” of Hamas) gives all that hate energy a place to go. It’s a “ground” for all the static created by the frictions within Israel and the Settlements. Maybe that’s why Israel played such a strong role in the creation of Hamas in the first place. Seen this way, Israel is this huge van de graaf generator in the middle of the Middle East. That “crackle” you hear in Gaza is yet another high voltage discharge. Unless all of the friction and the static in Israel stops, that crackling — the sounds of war — will get discharged again and again.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “USA – No immunity for prison officers sued for COVID deaths in prison, Circuit Court holds”

    One of the craziest things that happened in the first year of the pandemic was how prisoner transfers were still going on across the entire country and instead of putting them in some sort of isolated wing were just dropped into general pop. I suppose that a calculation was made that this was a good way to help spread herd immunity which is something that those in power really wanted to believe in, no matter how the proof was going the other way. I wondered too about how in the US there is a small fleet of planes dedicated to shipping prisoners from one end of the country to the other and what a great vector that would be to spread this virus.

  14. Jason Boxman

    Russo-Ukrainian War: The Reckoning. Big Serge is up.

    The Russo-Ukrainian War has been a novel historical experience for a variety of reasons, and not only for the intricacies and technicalities of the military enterprise itself. This became the first conventional military conflict to occur in the age of social media and planetary cinematography (that is, the ubiquitous presence of cameras). This brought a veneer (though only a veneer) of immanence to war, which for millennia had unveiled itself only through the mediating forces of cable news, print newspapers, and victory steles.

    Looks like an extensive 10-15 minute read.

  15. nippersdad

    The things people are getting fired for these days! Apparently the fifty billionaire militia we heard about yesterday is wasting no time in maintaining their narrative.

    Wall Street Analyst Fired Over Anti-Semitic Incident…”

    “In the viral video of the incident, the man identified as Mistry is seen taping signs to a lamppost that read “Israel is an apartheid state and commits genocide” and “Occupiers face consequences.” He appeared to be papering over flyers for hostages taken by the Palestinian group Hamas, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization, during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel….During the heated exchange, Mistry also told the man behind the camera, who identified himself as a Jewish American, to “go and live in Israel” and “go back to your country.”

    “According to the Anti-Defamation League, there has been a 316 percent increase in antisemitic incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment in the U.S. in the month since the conflict began.”


    No video provided and we do not know if the Jewish guy has a dual passport, but OK, rude but not hate speech as I understand it, much less vandalism or assault. Odd that it would come from someone from India at the cost of his job. He should make a big stink about that, maybe even sue the investment firm that fired him for enough to buy a state or two. As far as “going back home” goes, the same could be said of him, but if that is exemplary of what the ADL is talking about then there will be a backlash.

    Last I heard we still had a first amendment in this country, and it is sad when it is the Indian national that has to point that out. That Holocaust museum definition of what characterizes real anti-semitism is about to come under well deserved increased scrutiny, and the ADL watering down the concept of what is hate speech, vandalism and assault to come up with that 316 percent rise in “incidents” will do them no favors.

      1. flora

        Good to know that billionaires’ club is no better than high school mean girls and jocks clubs. /oy What a bunch of adolescent marroons.

  16. flora

    re: Republican funhouse in general and historical. (Also applies to the Dems.)

    Ever wonder why the Senate desks are nailed to the floor? Look it up sometime. And as for caning, or for ‘walking stick’ (cane) whipping of opponents, it was once a thing in the US Congress, etc. / heh

  17. Wukchumni

    Watching PBS news hour, the IDF showed off the guns they found in Shifa hospital, and looked to be 6 or 7 rifles-not all that dissimilar from the collection of a zealous 2nd Amendmenter in the USA.

  18. Glen

    Don’t remember if this has been already linked, but thought I’d provide a link.

    Silicon Valley’s worldview is not just an ideology; it’s a personality disorder.

    What continues to astonish me is how I continually bump into managers who seemingly worship America’s tech billionaires without question. I long ago lost all respect for the current crop of SillyCon Valley tech billionaires that have seemingly decided their whole business model consists of data scrapping everything to sell ads.

    Some companies are doing good work with designing and building hardware (like Apple with the M processors), but by and large Silly Con Valley seems to have descended into a dumbed down state oriented towards maximizing profit while watching the core competency required to be a Silicon Valley pass on to other countries that remain more focused on the technology and less focused on becoming even more of a billionaire.


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