2:00PM Water Cooler 11/27/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Horned Screamer, Hato El Milagro, Cojedes, Venezuela. ” Neotropical Institute Cut # 6. Bulk reel: 09 Weather: Fair. This may be same pair but now in a different tree. (Note the speed of this may be slightly off as @ end I started to get the warning signal.) (Scardafella squammata in background.)” I couldn’t resist the name of the bird….

* * *


“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

“Challenges to Trump’s eligibility are murky at best. But there is a clear way to stop him” [Editorial Board, Boston Globe]. “A number of legal scholars and experts from across the ideological spectrum, from the Federalist Society’s William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, to Harvard Law professor emeritus Laurence Tribe, to conservative retired judge J. Michael Luttig have argued that this provision in itself bars Trump from ever returning to the Oval Office. Yet so far, the challengers have been winless. Courts in Michigan and Minnesota have refused to order that Trump be removed from primary election ballots, either because Congress has failed to speak on the matter or because the decision to place nominees on the ballot is up to political parties, not courts. But in Colorado, the challengers’ loss was even more potentially disastrous. While District Judge Sarah B. Wallace ruled that Trump did ‘engage in an insurrection,’ because Section 3 does not clearly and unmistakably refer to the office of the presidency, she wrote, she could not ’embrace an interpretation which would disqualify a presidential candidate.’ This theory — that the presidency is exempt from the disqualification clause — has been embraced by a growing number of legal experts, including Northwestern University law professor Steven Calabresi…. Even if a host of constitutional scholars and respected legal leaders believe the issue is clear cut, as the three rulings that have been issued so far prove, it is anything but. With the novel questions that these legal challenges present, it would be foolhardy to believe that this is the most surefire way to keep Trump out of office permanently. There is a definite way to do so: at the ballot box.” • Yep.

“President Trump Can Not Be Disqualified” [Steven G. Calabresi, Wall Street Journal]. From September 14, still germane: “Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s op-ed “Was Trump ‘an Officer of the United States’?” (Sept. 8) has caused me to change my mind about an argument that I have had with Prof. Seth Barrett Tillman for 25 years. Mr. Mukasey is right: Looked at in the context of the Disqualification Clause of the 14th Amendment, the president is neither an ‘officer of the United States,’ nor, obviously, a ‘member of Congress.’ That must be why the Constitution prescribes a separate oath for the president. As a result, former President Donald Trump isn’t covered by the Disqualification Clause, and he is eligible to be on the ballot in the 2024 presidential election.” • A novel argument, and some heartburning on it (see here and here). Calabresi is President of the Federalist Society.


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Experts weigh in on whether DeSantis’ Iowa strategy will be enough to topple Trump: ‘Hail Mary'” [FOX]. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently earned two key Iowa endorsements as he continues to push campaign resources into the state, a move that political experts tell Fox News Digital is an ‘all in’ strategy as he looks to upset former President Trump in an uphill battle that could make or break his presidential ambitions next year. Shortly after receiving the endorsement of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, DeSantis was endorsed by influential Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats who said ‘there’s definitely a shot that the former president can be beat here’ despite Trump leading DeSantis by at least 30 points, according to the Real Clear Politics average, with just over six weeks until the Iowa caucus…. DeSantis and his primary Super PAC, Never Back Down, have poured a vast majority of their resources into Iowa in a strategy that GOP strategist Alex Conant, founding partner at Firehouse Strategies, told Fox News Digital is a strategy born out of ‘necessity’ and that recognizes the ‘political reality that if Trump wins Iowa’ it is ‘hard to see how he is stopped anywhere.'” • Meanwhile, back in Florida:

I suppose this will play in the pulpits?

* * *

“Sure, Joe Biden is pretty old: Listen, could you do what he’s doing?” [Salon]. “Would it be ideal to have someone younger than 80? Sure it would. But that’s not reality this time around. And that imaginary 45-year-old wouldn’t have the extensive institutional and foreign policy experience that Joe Biden has. The Democratic Party has quite a few truly worthy (and perhaps even charismatic) future candidates for the highest office waiting in the wings, gaining more experience in governing and serving all the citizens in their districts or states, not just the ones who voted for them. But those candidates will need a liberal democracy in place (i.e., basic rule of law, support for voting rights, willingness to compromise on policies and acceptance of the peaceful transfer of power) for us to find out what they can do to move us forward. If you think 80 is really old — well, in some cases it is. People sometimes die much younger than that. In the two months since I retired, I’ve lost two close friends. But let’s list just a few older people who are still out there killing it: Paul McCartney is touring again and puts on vigorous three-hour concerts (without breaks). He turned 81 in June. Mick Jagger is still doing that chicken-strut thing he learned from Tina Turner, and celebrated his 80th birthday in July. At 97, Mel Brooks is sharper (and a lot funnier) than you or me. So is the amazing Norman Lear, at 101. Many notable scientists, philosophers, poets, artists and people in other demanding fields function at a high level, mentally and physically, deep into their lives. Moreover, emotional well-being tends to increase in old age, as personal ambitions drop away and we allow ourselves the time to just be. (These findings do not apply to people who never grow up, by the way.) Biden stays active, eats a good diet, has social intelligence and awareness of others’ needs, has varied interests and solves complex problems daily — those, it seems, are the habits and characteristics of ‘super agers.’ He is buoyed by a loving wife and family [dear Hunter!], because he’s earned that love. (The Beatles would approve.)” • As an old codger myself — though not nearly as old as Biden — I’m not unsympathetic. But in Biden’s case, and leaving the long list of concerning incidents aside, I’m deeply suspicious of this “With age comes wisdom” narrative in Biden’s case. Exhibit 1: Ukraine, a war we are about to lose. Exhibit 2: Gaza, a war we will never win. Besides, a dog that bites people says something about the master, and what it says is not “social intelligence.” Anyhow, Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks.

“Biden’s mishandling of documents, his family’s business schemes threaten our national security” [James Comer, FOX]. “The House Oversight Committee has obtained financial records revealing the Biden family members, their business associates and their related companies received significant payments from individuals and companies in China, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Romania. President Biden has repeatedly lied to the American people about his knowledge of and participation in his family’s business dealings. Not only did Joe Biden know about his family’s business dealings, but he was also involved and financially benefited from them. Based on witness testimony, then-Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Hunter Biden’s business associates by phone at least 20 times, dined with foreign oligarchs and a Burisma executive who collectively wired millions to the Bidens, and had coffee with Hunter Biden’s Chinese business partner in Beijing. The House Oversight Committee also has traced bank records revealing that Joe Biden received $40,000 in proceeds from China in the form of a personal check from his brother, James Biden and sister-in-law, Sara Biden. Even if this check was loan repayment from James Biden as the White House asserts, it still shows how Joe Biden benefited from his family cashing in on his name – with money from China no less.” • In this article,Comer mixes up his excellent work on bank records with the separate track on classified documents (which excite nobody outside the Beltway. And I don’t care that Trump’s been charged with the same stupidity, so this might even the score. Please can we for once keep our talking points clean). Stick with the [family blogging] bank records and hammer on the timeline, my advice. At the very minimum, Hunter traded on his Father’s name, with his Father’s knowledge, with the result that the tributaries of the Biden clan were periodically refreshed with cash. Granted, none of this has the eerie, complex beauty of the Clinton Foundation, and it’s all mind-bogglingly petty and sordid, but how can it possibly be OK? It’s a very simple story: The Pastor’s family have their hands in the collection plate. Sell that, ffs, and keep it simple!

“The polls keep getting worse for Biden” [Politico]. “The president’s standing in head-to-head matchups with Trump is falling: Among the latest surveys this month from 13 separate pollsters, Biden’s position is worse than their previous polls in all but two of them…. And while polls suggest most of the movement comes from voters abandoning Biden — who might become undecided but not swing to supporting Trump — the Republican has also started to gain steam. Trump’s vote share in the national polling average is higher now than at any point in the past year. The state-level data are just as striking: In addition to those New York Times/Siena polls, within the last week and a half, other surveys have shown Trump ahead by 8 points in Arizona and 5 points up in Michigan.” • Handy chart:

* * *

“Senate rankings: 5 seats most likely to flip” [The Hill]. • West Virginia, Montana, Ohio, Arizona, Pennsylvania. Arizona and Pennsylvania are swing states too, interestingly.

CA: “Race in open California district could be pivotal to House control” [Roll Call]. “The 47th district includes a swath of southern California stretching along the Pacific from the retirement villages of Seal Beach to the conservative enclaves of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. It reaches to Irvine, the region’s fast growing and increasingly diverse biotech and education hub…. Democrats are fighting to hold on to the southern California battleground — which is likely to play a key role in determining which party controls the House — and are split between state Sen. Dave Min and community activist Joanna Weiss. Under California’s rules, the top two finishers — regardless of party affiliation — in the March 5 primary will appear on the November ballot… [T]he GOP has its sights on the open seat in the 47th. The party’s hopes rest with Scott Baugh, a former member of the state assembly, who came within 3 percentage points of ousting Porter in 2022, despite being outspent $26 million to $3 million.”

* * *

“Democrats Race To Get Abortion on Swing State Ballots To Blunt Biden’s Sinking Poll Numbers” [New York Sun]. “Democrats are racing to put abortion on the ballot in 2024 after seeing victories on every state ballot it’s been on since the overturning of Roe v. Wade…. In addition to Ohio, state ballot measures have been successful in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Vermont since 2022’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. … New York and Maryland already have questions on the ‘24 ballot to determine if each state will enshrine abortion into its constitution. A series of similar pro-abortion ballot efforts are underway in states ranging from Arizona and Colorado to Florida and Missouri, with traction coming in some states more than others.” • Good thing we never codified Roe into legislation!

Republican Funhouse

“The Blueprint” [Harold Myerson, The American Prospect]. “Earlier this year, Project 2025 published a 920-page manifesto called Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise, laying out its agenda for Trump or any other Republican who should win the White House. The book consists chiefly of the world’s longest enemies list, with detailed instructions on how to target them, oust them, and reverse their policies, both real and imagined.” Another way of saying this is that Republicans have always been a more serious party than Democrats, at least in my lifetime. Contrast Obama, who, for example, rationalized and legitimized Bush’s felonious program of warrantless surveillance, and looked forward and not backward on torture. To be fair, Obama probably didn’t consider spooks “enemies.” More: “This is not the first time Heritage has sketched out a blueprint for a conservative presidency. In 1980, the think tank aided another neophyte politician with revolutionary aspirations—Ronald Reagan—with a report, also called Mandate for Leadership, that stretched to 1,100 pages and covered virtually every nook and cranny of government…. A subsequent edition of Mandate for Leadership has been produced for every presidential election since 1980. This iteration, very much in the spirit of Trump, is lighter on policy and heavier on retribution…. Heritage’s knowledge of the federal vacancy process becomes useful. Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, for most federal agencies, a vacancy at the top means that the next available deputy becomes the acting head. Project 2025 sees a path to manipulating this law to ensure loyalists take control. ‘Where a career employee holds a leadership position,’ explains Ken Cuccinelli, the former acting deputy homeland security secretary under Trump, ‘that position should be deemed vacant for line-of-succession purposes, and the next eligible political appointee in the sequence should assume acting authority.’ Other authors call for political appointees to be put into the line of succession directly, ‘selected by the President-elect’s transition team’ and ‘in place the first day of the Administration.’ This gambit would hand over the administrative state to those dedicated to crushing it. That would combine with the restoration of Trump’s October 2020 ‘Schedule F’ order, which would reassign up to 50,000 civil service workers with a designation that robs them of employment protections, making them easier to terminate. So the leadership of executive branch agencies would be ideologues, and many bureaucrats under their care could be fired at will.” • I’m imagining a CDC run by Great Barrington types, here; Jay Bhattacharya dousing a dumpsterfull of mask in gasoline and tossing a match, instead of Maskless Mandy breathing bioeffluent all over everybody. I dunno. If he did that, maybe America’s college towns would mask up, 100%, overnight…..

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.

* * *


“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!

* * *

Look for the Helpers

Gracious in victory:


Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble:


You may not be interested in variants, but variants are interested in you. T. Ryan Gregory:


“Covid linked to deadly diseases, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, bowel disease” [News.com]. “As Australia enters its eighth Covid wave, researchers are warning of a possible link between Covid and a range of devastating diseases such as Parkinsons, Alzheimers as well as auto-immune conditions like bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. More than 10,000 Australians reported contracting the virus in the last seven days but the true figure could be much larger as it is no longer a requirement to lodge a positive test with a person’s state. Added to that new data revealed only 1.9 million Australian adults have received a Covid vaccination in the last six months, and many of these will be approaching six months since their last infection. But researchers are now suggesting Aussies should be worried not just about the impact of the virus in the short term — they should consider how it might impact them long-term.” • Nothing NC readers don’t know. But significant that this message, at least, has reached the mainstream.

“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.

* * *

Airborne AIDS?

“Immune deficiency,” after all….

Elite Maleficence

“Moderna is Spying on You” [Lee Fang, Unherd]. “[A]s demand for [Moderna’s] vaccinations has diminished, inevitably, so too have its earnings. This year, its only marketable product lies unused and the company has recorded steep losses…. The most important thing for Moderna is that people keep having their jabs. Smart ads are part of that. But more important is to push back aggressively against any prevailing anti-vax narrative and engage where possible in any discussions around vaccine policy. That’s where the Moderna disinformation department comes in. Behind the scenes, the marketing arm of the company has been working with former law enforcement officials and public health officials to monitor and influence vaccine policy. Key to this is a drug industry-funded NGO called Public Good Projects. According to documents we have seen, PGP works closely with social media platforms, government agencies and news websites to confront the ‘root cause of vaccine hesitancy’ by rapidly identifying and ‘shutting down misinformation.’ A network of 45,000 healthcare professionals are given talking points ‘and advice on how to respond when vaccine misinformation goes mainstream’, according to an email from Moderna…. Despite the growing backlash against social media censorship, the network of fact-checking nonprofits has grown at an industrial pace, providing opaque opportunities for private and public interests to take subtle control over the public discourse. Such sophistication in blending public-health messaging and corporate advertising should concern anyone with an interest in how government controls free speech.” • A parallel effort:

“US Department of Health official who conspired with Anthony Fauci to downplay COVID lab-leak theory reveals ‘agonising’ over his actions” [Sky News]. “he former Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the US Department of Health, Dr Robert Kadlec, has told Sky News he feels obligated to reveal confidential discussions he had with Dr Fauci, America’s top infectious diseases adviser, about diverting attention away from the lab leak theory…. Dr Kadlec, who worked for presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump and lead American efforts to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, said his intention in initially downplaying a lab leak was to encourage co-operation from China in the early days of the outbreak….. Dr Kadlec felt that Fauci had other reasons for wanting to divert attention away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He said Fauci was likely worried about his reputation if it eventuated that his agency had funded the gain-of-function research that sparked the outbreak. ‘That would be a natural reaction of him or anybody, particularly I think, for him saying, what could this do to me and to our institute as a consequence if we were found to have some culpability or some involvement in this?'” • Cf. Proverbs 28:1.

* * *

Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data, November 27:

Lambert here: Case counts moving smartly upward (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:

That Midwest near-vertical curve is concerning, although as ever with Biobot you have to watch for backward revisions.


NOT UPDATED From CDC, November25:

Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: HV.1, EG.5 a strong second, but BA.2.86 coming up fast on the outside.

From CDC, November 11:

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, November 18:

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 27:

Level-ish, but I bet hospitalization drops over the holiday weekend. Let’s wait and see. New York state as a whole looks more like a spike. (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 11:

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 20:

0.5%. Decline arrested. (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, 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 30:

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, October 30:


Total: 1,183,396 – 1,183,379 = 17 (17 * 365 = 6,205 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). 

Lambert here: This number is too small no matter what. Iowa Covid19 Tracker hasn’t been updated since September 27, 2023. I may have to revert to CDC data. Yech.

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED The Economist, November 18:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

There are no officals statistics of interest today.

* * *

Manufacturing: Tern is a bit of a doomer. Nevertheless:

Does make you wonder how many other, well, PMC have similar “briefs.”

Tech: “Meta Designed Products to Capitalize on Teen Vulnerabilities, States Allege” [Wall Street Journal]. “An internal 2020 Meta presentation shows that the company sought to engineer its products to capitalize on the parts of youth psychology that render teens ‘predisposed to impulse, peer pressure, and potentially harmful risky behavior,’ the filings show…. ‘Teens are insatiable when it comes to ‘feel good’ dopamine effects,’ the Meta presentation shows, according to the unredacted filing, describing the company’s existing product as already well-suited to providing the sort of stimuli that trigger the potent neurotransmitter. ‘And every time one of our teen users finds something unexpected their brains deliver them a dopamine hit.’ Well-being concerns were especially pronounced for younger teens, some Meta executives involved with youth well-being issues internally acknowledged. ‘It’s not ‘regulators’ or ‘critics’ who think Instagram is unhealthy for young teens—it’s everyone from researchers and academic experts to parents,’ Karina Newton, Instagram’s head of policy, wrote in a May 2021 email cited by the attorneys general. ‘The blueprint of the app is inherently not designed for an age group that don’t have the same cognitive and emotional skills that older teens do.’ Meta says it didn’t design its products to be addictive for teens. ‘The complaint mischaracterizes our work using selective quotes and cherry-picked documents,’ said Stephanie Otway, a spokeswoman for the company.” • Uh-huh [nods vigorously].

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Greed (previous close: 68 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 64 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 27 at 1:36:08 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged. Again!! [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most! •

Zeitgeist Watch

This account is one of my guilty pleassures:

Nevertheless, well-made, well-cut men’s clothing lasts for years. If you can afford the initial outlay, it’s well worth it.

Class Warfare

“Wealth Systems in RPGs” [Troy Press]. “Clearly there are a wealth of ways to handle currency in tabletop role-playing games.” • The idea of “wealth” seems a little… constricted.

News of the Wired

“The Weight of New York City: Possible Contributions to Subsidence From Anthropogenic Sources” [Earth’s Future]. “As coastal cities grow globally, the combination of construction densification and sea level rise imply increasing inundation hazard. The point of the paper is to raise awareness that every additional high-rise building constructed at coastal, river, or lakefront settings could contribute to future flood risk, and that mitigation strategies may need to be included. The subsidence mapping concept helps to quantify the hazard and adds specificity to soil types and conditions. We present satellite data that show that the city is sinking 1–2 mm/tr with some areas subsiding much faster.”

Thesis, antithesis:

What about synthesis?

* * *

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 Sub-Boreal:

Sub-Boreal writes: “I passed these large half-barrel planters full of zinnias on my daily bike ride recently. We haven’t had a killing frost yet this fall at lower elevations in this part of central British Columbia, so flower gardens are getting an extended blooming season. And I’m getting a lot more tomatoes than usual to ripen on the vine!” I’ve always used Zinnias for borders, or simply scattered about. I’ve never seen them in pots before!

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated:

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Randall Flagg

    In the US, tomorrow, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving is National Day of Giving. Get started on it today, dial back any internet purchases and send it to NC and Water Cooler. Along with funds to many other worthy charities of course.

    1. Maria Cardenas

      Don’t forget to support the poor, or smart, people’s department store–thrift shops.
      Empty those closets of wrong size or surplus clothing, as well as no longer used furniture that can be gratefully reused by young couples and people who can’t afford new.

      “Nevertheless, well-made, well-cut men’s clothing lasts for years. If you can afford the initial outlay, it’s well worth it.”

      You can often find those items, often of higher older quality in your local thrift store for 1/20th the price of new. Look there first.

      Avoid Goodwill, as they mistreat mentally challenged employees, paying them .50 an hour under special tax laws and their CEO makes huge amounts. https://themighty.com/topic/disability/goodwill-exploits-workers-disabilities/

      If you can’t find a local thrift store, Salvation Army does more with what you donate than any other national organization. Rather than hire a hauling company to clear clutter, hold a free garage sale. Amazing what people will take and reuse.

  2. Carolinian

    Re NYC sinking–like the House of Usher? Just kidding!

    One of my recent books was on the 19th c Chicago Great White City world’s fair and it said everything there has to be built on piles topped by a concrete raft foundation. Very few cities have NYC’s glacial granite to depend on.

    1. ambrit

      That reminds me of the old “Six Flags” amusement park out in New Orleans East. That is the place where the “Jurassic World” theme park scenes were filmed. Everything there is built on piles with concrete slab streets, etc. Now most of it is undercut by years of rain. New Orleans, another coastal city, sinking into history.

  3. Tom Stone

    I’m sure the reason Fauci downplayed the possibility of a Lab Leak had nothing to do with NAIAD and WHO’s funding of GoF research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in cooperation with the Chinese MoD…
    Heavens no, it was about avoiding the blame game in order to deal with the Pandemic fairly and effectively, disclosing that the first three cases were in three people who worked on GoF of Bat Corona Viruses would have been a distraction and might well have interfered with the ability to respond scientifically and appropriately to a public health emergency.
    As it is, the President of the United States was able to declare that the Pandemic was over and done with at an unbelievably early point.

  4. Mikel

    “The polls keep getting worse for Biden” [Politico].

    Well, the latest elections around the globe (Argentina, New Zealand) show a trend – riding the culture war wave.

  5. Big River Bandido

    Wow. Salon was always crap, but since the start of the pandemic they have chugged the blue Kool-Aid. The article on Biden’s age can be reduced to “CLAP LOUDER”. (As we here at NC note frequently, Biden’s mental and physical deterioration are the LEAST of his problems.)

    I note, too, that Salon led the smear campaign against the Nobel prize winning drug that has been administered billions of times and which is impossible to procure in this hole country.

    1. Screwball

      Amazing, isn’t it?

      There are two realities out there, this is a good example of one of them. Biden’s age isn’t a problem according to the dude from Salon (I’m guessing their other BS spewer in Amanda Marcotte would agree). A post I saw going around says Trump is already 77 and showing signs of dementia, while another going viral is one by Business Insider/MSN saying he mixed up Obama and Biden’s name, and the headline;

      Trump claims he mixed up Obama and Biden in speeches on purpose and got a ‘perfect score’ on a cognitive exam

      So he’s the one who’s losing it.

      Another example of the two realities; the Gaza War. A guy tells me if someone cannot see the moral difference between IDF actions during warfare and Hamas, they are lost and not worth arguing with. Then goes on to say if Israel wanted Palestinian genocide they would have already done it. Then adds we have Nazi’s among us and are reliving WWII. They think Oct 7 never happened and Hamas is the good guys. The cause has morphed into Jan 6. election denialism, and these people are brainwashed.

      Alrighty then.

      Our astute media is doing quite the job. Well, after reading about one third of Whitney Webb’s “One Nation Under Blackmail” it seems this is a feature, not a bug. Buckle up, it’s gonna be quite the ride.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Salon is really coming on hard with the bs. Biden was already showing signs of dementia before he was elected President and it was lucky for him that because of the pandemic that he could run his campaign from his basement. Now that he has long ago declared the pandemic over he has to go out in public again. Salon may say that ‘he’s just doing the job’ but the truth is that both domestically and internationally it is a train wreck no matter how much spin they put on it or any whataboutTrump.

    3. chris

      It’s been an effective technique for them. You see these articles and the logical thread everywhere these days. If you criticize Israel’s policy, you are an anti-semite. If criticize Ukraine’s actions, you are pro-Putin. If you remark on how Joe Biden compares to other elderly, you are ageist. There’s no room for nuance or subtlety. You are only allowed the choices we give you. And you have to evaluate those choices according the context and rubric we provide. Which may ignore history and facts.

      Like you said, CLAP LOUDER!

      1. c_heale

        If you ever read Reddit ‘That happened’, where people laugh at unbelievable “true” stories on the Internet, ‘Everyone clapped’ is a sarcastic meme. One I think is highly appropriate here.

  6. Socal Rhino

    Re playbooks for Trump admin: American Compass is another effort at creating a conservative policy handbook. Who knows effective these could be, but some lessons were learned from the first Trump presidency and failure to fill roles in the exec branch.

  7. griffen

    Black Friday shoe sales…News that one can use !! I still have an older pair of Rockport (best I can recall) black dress shoes from circa 2008 I think…have had them resoled more than once.

    Comfortable shoes are hard to order online as one grows older, I am finding…

    1. Screwball

      Resoled – I haven’t heard of that in a long time. I’m old enough to remember when we used to do that, and even went as far as putting “heel plates” on them so they lasted longer. Of course they also made neat clicks on the floor when walking in the hallways at school. Times were much simpler then.

      1. Janie

        Shoes were rationed during WWIi. Dads cut the front crescent from the uppers of outgrown shoes so they could be worn as play shoes.

        1. JBird4049

          The increasing crapification of everything continues as fewer companies make shoes that can be resoled. It seems a pair of shoes has to cost at least $500 before there is a possibility of it, and you have to check before you buy to be sure. It has something to do with changing the style of stitching soles to the shoes to make it easier, faster, and cheaper.

          Even jeans are getting thinner and unpatcheable. Shoes, socks, shirts. If a person wants to be frugal, he will find it much harder than before.

        2. Screwball

          Compared to today…

          There’s an app for that.

          I’m old enough to remember my West Virginia hillybilly grandma cooking on a pot belly stove using wood from the woodshed. Ice was delivered by truck to keep the fridge cold. You made due with what you had. Everybody survived, and ate pretty good. Should have seen the gardens. Might be a good thing to know going forward.

    2. wol

      Suede chukkas are an abomination, this generation’s Hush Puppies.

      Puh-leeze when wearing boots don’t cuff your pants, tyro.

    3. Jak Siemasz

      See the NYT recommendations for “thick soled” mens boots….all in excess of $1K, one pair nearly $2K!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    4. Jason Boxman

      There was a shoe thread on Twitter of derek’s and I couldn’t help but ask about scratches and scoffs; From what I gather, even the most expensive leather shoes scratch and scoff, so I could never justify $350 for Allen Edmonds seconds, no matter how well made they are; Thankfully with the Pandemic I haven’t bought clothes in over 3 years. Why bother?

      1. katiebird

        I’ve started wearing a couple of party dresses just around the house. What was I saving them for?

    5. Randy

      Years ago we had a local shoe store and it was run by a cobbler. He sold Red Wing shoes and boots, also other brands. I had boots resoled there. His shop closed long ago and he is long dead. Red Wing still makes good boots that can be resoled but they have to go back to the factory for that.

      I am all in favor of quality footwear made with quality leather that can be repaired however cobblers are scarcer than hen’s teeth. Most people given the choice of making a living as a cobbler or putting on a tin beak and picking shit with the sparrows would choose the tin beak.

  8. notabanker

    Just curious here, does anyone know any dead people that are “agonizing” over their decisions regarding the mysterious batpangolin virus?

  9. Feral Finster

    Re: Lawfare and the Ballot:

    Seems that the Great And Good have given up on trying to beat Trump at the ballot box and have resorted to not allowing the voting public to vote for their preferred candidate.

    Coke or Pepsi?
    I don’t drink colored sugar water!
    You can have Coke or you can have Pepsi!
    I don’t want either one!
    You have to have Coke or Pepsi!” Meanwhile, the masses chant advertising slogans in favor of their respective brand of sugar water with the glassy-eyed fervor of two bitterly competing bands of Holy Rollers, each about to hit the trail.

    Then when you finally accept a can of Coke in order to stop holding up the line, when you vote Imperialist Corporate Muppet Team D Tweedledee or Corporate Imperialist Muppet Team R Tweedledum, The Great And Good declare with one voice that The Voice Of The People Has Spoken.

    I hate how this is making me sound like a Trump fan. I did not vote for him in 2016. I did not vote for him in 2020, and I have no intent to vote for him in 2024.

    1. chris

      I do not want to vote for either Biden or Trump. But if the Democrat party continues to supress democracy in this country then I may have to swallow my integrity and vote for Trump out of spite. Let the Schedule F wave come. Until these fools get kicked out on the butts they’ll refuse to listen to voters over their donors.

    2. LifelongLib

      So far I haven’t found any info on whether Cornel West or RFK Jr will be on the 2024 ballot here in Hawaii. There is a notice that the state Office of Elections is moving to disqualify the Green Party (and a couple of other “third” parties) from the ballot, in the Green case because it was below the minimum of votes in 2020 needed to stay on.

  10. Roger Blakely

    I spent Thanksgiving Weekend suffering from exposure to SARS-CoV-2. I picked up a variant at work on Wednesday. I have a horrible backache. I had a horrible backache just like this at this time last year when I got hit with BQ.1.

    I do not have data to back up my idea, but this is what I think is happening in Los Angeles. I think that BA.2.86 and its subvariant, JN.1, have arrived by commercial aviation. I have seen several people hit hard. One friend of mine went to urgent care and tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. She was quite surprised. She thought that COVID-19 was done.

    I don’t think that EG.5, HV.1, or HK.3, all of which are variants of XBB, would have done this. I think that we are getting hit with a variant that is different enough from XBB to give us a good whack. I think that BA.2.86 and JN.1 are doing this.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I think that BA.2.86 and its subvariant, JN.1, have arrived by commercial aviation.

      BA.2.86 jumped (finally) in the CDC traveler’s positivity chart, which has a month’s time lag (!!!). So I can well believe that it’s worse now. It’s also come up on the CDC’s variants chart (new today).

      1. Jason Boxman

        On COVID-19 Variant Dashboard – USA JN1 is up to 3.71% from zero four-whatever weeks ago, so it is on the move. It is more assertive than BA2.86 proper which never made much of any appearance. HV1 is at 25%, FL1.5.1 at 7%, HK3 at 6%, XBB1.16.6 at 5.35%.

        The situation has really progressed in the past 6 weeks, in a bad way. As always.

    2. chris

      I’m so sorry to hear that. You reported that you had Covid earlier this year/late last year, too, right?

      1. Roger Blakely

        I have bad genetics. SARS-CoV-2 sticks to me like glue. I don’t even get it from inhalation. I wear an industrial-type respirator in all indoor public spaces. I get knocked down from just what virus particles drift on to my eyeballs and wash down into my eyelids. I catch every variant that comes down the pike.

    3. Random BSN Student

      My parents were infected with Covid the week before Thanksgiving by a houseguest. All three have preconditions that make Covid infection a terrible idea. There was a previous round of Covid among other family members back in September. Nobody masks. They all live in Florida.

      “Just like the flu”: At this point in my nursing program, I’ve completed about half the required clinical hours. I’ve been assigned to several patients who were in the hospital with pneumonia and Covid positive. So far I’ve never had a patient hospitalized with pneumonia for flu. Maybe I’m just lucky?

  11. RoadDoggie

    Hello Lambert, quick thank you for posting the full or at least more full screenshot of T. Ryan Gregory thread. I don’t have a Twitter and I can’t figure out a way to unroll or see comments without one, so I appreciate it!

  12. t

    Just random anecdotes – family member home after just three days on a bed in a hallway being treated for Covid on a full hospital, work stall from college in hospital, work stall from client contact on medical leave of unknown duration….

    1. LilD

      One of my tennis buddies dropped out of today as he’s in the ER with “some mysterious chest issues”. Pain and difficulty breathing. No diagnosis after six hours, will be overnight at least.

      One of my guitar buddies had 30 people for thanksgiving and today tested positive.

      Accumulate enough anecdotes and we can start to call it data

      1. Wukchumni

        One of my tennis buddies dropped out of today as he’s in the ER with “some mysterious chest issues”. Pain and difficulty breathing.

        I had the same thing happen to me when on tour on the piste de la resistance in Utah with the Dartful Codgers skiing last year after getting Covid a 2nd time a few weeks before, it was so not me, and a little frightening to say the least.

        It went away and hasn’t been an issue since~

      2. curlydan

        I went to a Thanksgiving event with 20-25 people. Of course, I was the only masked person, looking a bit like a freak. But I’ll carry on as best I can. I did have to unmask to chow down, but I do the best I can.

  13. ambrit

    Re. “I’ve always used Zinnias for borders, or simply scattered about. I’ve never seen them in pots before!”
    I have been lucky enough to have dwarf zinnias thrive in hanging pots on the porch and in the kitchen. They will get a little ‘leggy,’ but don’t we all?

  14. Wukchumni

    In every single war that America has fought, we have never asked for land afterward—except for enough to bury the Americans who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.~My Kevin (since ’07)

    Kev ain’t the sharpest blade in the block, seeing as California, Guam, the Philippines, Cuba & Puerto Rico are all war spoils, aren’t they?

  15. chris

    Re: death of the humanities.

    This seems to be a somewhat perennial topic. I think we’ve heard people swear that the humanities aren’t dying and I recall being on the side of they’re not that useful at least once. But given what we’re seeing in Ukraine and Gaza, I think we can all agree our culture could do with more humanity in general.

  16. XXYY

    Good thing we never codified Roe into legislation!

    Are you kidding? The Democrats got about 50 years out of humping the abortion thing. And they may still get a few more. How stupid would they have had to be to put legislative protection into place?

    This is like asking why makers of acne cream never devised a cure for acne.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      It looks like various state-level Democrat groups are trying and sometimes succeeding to code more-or-less-Roe into law at the level of various states.

      So if those state-level Democrat groups are willing to see and accept that the National Democrats had zero intent of codifying Roe into law . . . . in order to keep milking it as an “issue” and a “threat”, they might become ready to defect from the Democratic Party and become separate and free standing State Democrat parties or Real Democrat parties or Real State Democrat parties, or some such thing.

  17. Adam

    Re the tweet on the dirty mask after a play; too bad they don’t make a mask that turns color after being exposed to Covid. My choice of color would be blood red.

  18. Pat

    It appears the word has come down that Biden is bright and shiny as a new penny. I expect we have more articles talking about Biden’s amazingly youthful and energetic antics as President all because he eats right and exercises, oh and has a loving family.
    We had a comment to that effect in the links earlier today. I will lay odds that any video or social media post that indicates Biden showing increasing mental and/or physical deterioration will be getting this kind of pushback.
    There is no charismatic Democrat waiting in the wings doing an amazing job in a non Presidential position. Anyone looking at Congress, most of the governments of the various states and the Cabinet can figure that out. But right now denial is all they have. Denial that they don’t have any back up, denial that their policies are doing harm, and yes denial that Biden is failing, physically and in the job.
    But it is still going to be a long almost year. Daily bouts of who am I going to believe you or my lying eyes is not going to be fun.

  19. Big River Bandido

    Re: “gracious in victory” (Dr. Noor Bari’s tweet)

    I see no grace in action here. The substance of the tweet is “I told you so” — preached to the choir, natch, while informing/helping precisely no one else. It’s a perfect example of the Professional Management Class, its use of Tone Police, and why they are so hated and distrusted. Even when they say things that are substantively correct, they do so in ways that offend people, that destroy rather than build empathy and trust. What do you suppose will happen when the woman who was the subject of the tweet is told about it and sees it herself? (Because she *will*.) Of course, she will latch on to the gossipy, passive-aggressive nature of the tweet and how the doctor went around her back to tell the world what a fool she was, all the while claiming a certain moral superiority for “saying nothing”. And the woman would be perfectly justified in that conclusion.

    A more general thought about this: the public “dialogue” has become so debased and so depraved, and language itself so distended and distorted as to be meaningless, that some displays of courage, outrage, and ruthlessness in defense of truth and justice (to say nothing of common sense) would be salutary. There is no way to “graciously” critique government, finance, pharma, the public health establishment, the national security establishment, etc. — their very acts are so heinous and so profane as to defy “polite” description. But honest description is what is so desperately needed today. The use of the Tone Police to suppress legitimate outrage and criticism is itself an outrage. And while it’s all done all in the name of protecting “decency” (and the PMC’s precious, brittle, and easily-triggered feelings), the only real purpose of it is to protect the current monopoly on power.

  20. The Rev Kev

    ‘Michael Tracey
    By what authority does the State of Florida have the ability to forge an “alliance” with a foreign country?’

    Personally I would have said that 1865 settled the matter of Federal vs States right’s. But if you want to get finicky about it, it actually says in the US Constitution in Article I Section 10 Clause 1 that Florida can’t do it as –

    ‘No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.’


    The trouble is that nobody is thumping down hard on De Santis doing stuff like this or telling him where to get off.

  21. Vicky Cookies

    I’d badly like that… dialecti-colon on a keyboard. It would make for some fun and informative quoting-with-brackets.
    Speaking of writing which could use some editing, did anyone else catch the infamous Liz Truss painting by numbers in today’s WSJ? Shockingly inane, even for her. I’d rather read an op-ed by a head of lettuce.

  22. thump

    re: “Covid linked to deadly diseases, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, bowel disease”

    The article immediately after what you quoted reads (my emphasis):

    While Prof Bennett said everyone experiences inflammation to some degree, in a certain number of cases the inflammation is more severe and may persist for some time.

    “We will have a certain number of people develop diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes and we don’t know yet whether Covid might accelerate disease or be associated with additional people developing these conditions,” she said.

    She admitted it was difficult to speak concretely about it saying it may be a case of “shifting thresholds”.

    So it sounds much like what’s been discussed earlier, that many viral infections tend to increase chances of long-term effects such as Parkinsons. The article later compares post-covid effects to increases in Parkinsons cases after the 1918 Flu pandemic.

  23. upstater

    Another derailment with toxic clouds of burning molten sulfur, due to failed bearing, like East Palestine. This time CSX in Kentucky. The PR department and MSM have successfully buried this one.

    Failed wheel bearing caused Kentucky derailment, CSX says

    Amazing (or not) how this one gets buried by MSM. The class 1s have learned their lesson at manipulation of MSM since East Palestine.

    Failed bearings on rail cars is easily preventable with sensors on individual cars at a cost of a couple of thousand dollars each. Apparently paying 9 and 10 figure claims are cheaper. It will take a few scores of deaths for action. Implementing automated Positive Train Control required 30 years and the deaths at Chatsworth California before CON-gress acted.

    1. JBird4049

      Cleansing the land of people and making a profit while doing so. That is the American Congressional-Corporate-Complex. Just as in a war.

    2. Screwball

      If this isn’t the most blatant example of railroad ignorance I don’t what is. This isn’t difficult. Thanks for posting.

      I live in a railroad town with a history of derailments. Fortunately, none were toxic. Our rail goes over a river, which feeds lake Erie.

      Tick, tick, tick…

      ON EDIT; *This was as a reply to upstater*

  24. John

    The president is neither a “member of Congress” nor an “Officer of the United States.” Well now, glad that is cleared up. Pray tell … what is he? An elected and term limited absolute monarch or an elected and limited constitutional monarch? Something else? First magistrate? Wasn’t that term used early on when the United states was still a republic? Could someone please define what the presidency is and stop lawyering what it is not.

    If, as we say, the president is not above the law how can that be since he seems, to some, to be above or beside or behind the insurrection act. Need I add that the opinions expressed appear to often to reflect the political leanings of the person with the opinion. Please correct me if my cynicism is showing no bounds.

    Mr Trump was a president who had lost an election and, on January 6, 2021,was busily engaged in efforts to show that he had not lost the election even though he is reported to have said at earlier dates that he knew he had lost the election. What was then the purpose of telling the crowd listening to his speech to go to the Capital and that he would be with them? We know what they did: some were irregular tourists, some advocated hanging the vice president, some committed vandalism and/or assault. It looked serious to me. It also looked shambolic, disorganized. It was reported that Mr. Trump wanted to go to the capital but was prevented from doing so by his Secret Service detail. Did he really intend to be physically present? For what purpose? We know he watched the disorder(?) riot(?) insurrection(?) for hours before issuing a grudging statement, or so it seemed to me at the time. Perhaps he only meant that he would be with the crowd in spirit. He certainly had no intention of walking to the Capitol. He doesn’t even walk on the golf course. It is a puzzlement and partisans on all sides want it their way.

    I saw an item on the Huff Post website that said Mr. Trump planned to use the insurrection act to call regular troops into the streets to combat crime in cities he says are crime ridden. He seems to be well aware of the uses to which the insurrection act might be put. I see reports that his minions are busily preparing a, for want of a better term, play book for his return to office. This time he will be prepared with goals and procedures. I have no doubt that Mr. Trump plans, expects, to conduct himself in office as if there were few if any restraints on his power to act as pleases him. He has also said he has not forgotten those who thwarted him and he will have his satisfaction.

    But what could you expect? Mr. Trump is behaving and speaking as he did before he began campaigning in 2016, as president, no change, out of office, no change, campaigning again, no change.

    We would very likely not be in this mess had Congress not pusillanimously handed decision making to the president or allowed presidential power to be interpreted in such a way that they were off the political hook. I have war powers in mind. I remember Pearl Harbor. I do not recall the actual declaration of war by Congress. I was too young for that. It lacked sufficient drama to be impressed on my young child’s mind. What do we have today? An Authorization to Use Military Force. That is weaselly and lawyerly enough to allow members of Congress to talk their way clear of any political fallout most of the time. Nothing like dodging responsibility and allowing what was designed as a constitutionally rather weak office to swell until it is out of control. Yes, I know, politics.

    Was it Laurel or Hardy who so often said, “Well this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.” I do hope that as Bismarck said, “God looks after fools, drunks, and the United States of America.” This time I think we really need it.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>Pray tell … what is he? An elected and term limited absolute monarch or an elected and limited constitutional monarch? Something else? First magistrate? Wasn’t that term used early on when the United states was still a republic? Could someone please define what the presidency is and stop lawyering what it is not.

      To be pedantic, President Biden is the chief (or head) of the executive branch of the federal government as well as the commander in chief of the armed forces. He is both head of the state and head of the government.

      There are three branches of the government. Legislative, executive, and judicial. The executive runs the government and enforces whatever laws Congress has passed.

      In theory and in practice for the first century, Congress was the first among equals of the three branches. The Presidency and the Supreme Court have only gotten as powerful as they have because the Congress critters just do not want the responsibility and exposure that comes with doing their jobs.

    2. Late Introvert

      I have no doubt that Mr. Trump/Biden plans, expects, to conduct himself in office as if there were few if any restraints on his power to act as pleases him. He has also said he has not forgotten those who thwarted him and he will have his satisfaction.

    3. lambert strether

      > The president is neither a “member of Congress” nor an “Officer of the United States.” Well now, glad that is cleared up. Pray tell … what is he?

      A President, elected to the office as no other officer is, hence different in kind from appointees, which is why his “oath of office” is different.

  25. Jason Boxman

    Biden stays active, eats a good diet, has social intelligence and awareness of others’ needs, has varied interests and solves complex problems daily

    (bold mine)

    LOL. Like keeping a dog around that mauls people, and touching women’s and young girls’ hair, I’m sure with their permission.

    1. c_heale

      If ever I read damned by faint praise, that description of Biden is it.

      A mouse can do all those things!

  26. Carolinian

    That Alastair Crooke that was linked over the weekend today appears here


    and itself links up this old John Michael Greer that is definitely worth a look. Israel and the Medieval crusader conquest of Palestine, compare and contrast.

    To begin with, Israel, as Outremer did in its time, depends for its survival on very large subsidies from the major Western powers. In the case of Israel, those mostly come from the United States. The US government spends many billions of dollars a year on direct and indirect aid to Israel, while America’s large and relatively wealthy Jewish community—which comprises the largest number of Jews in any single nation on Earth—engages in a great deal of fundraising for Israel on its own behalf. Many synagogues and other Jewish community instititions in America serve just as effectively to channel resources to Israel as, say, the European properties and chapter houses of the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller did to keep wealth and weapons flowing to the kingdoms of Outremer. Without that aid, governmental and private, the large and well-equipped Israeli military would be far too great a burden on the economy of what is, after all, a very small and resource-poor country, and the balance of power in the region would shift dramatically to Israel’s disadvantage.[…]

    The crucial point just now, it seems to me, is Israel’s dependence on a constant inflow of funds from the United States. If that goes away, the military balance of power shifts irrevocably, and so does the Israeli government’s capacity to afford the unproductive but politically necessary payoffs that maintain such social cohesion as there is; these shifts, in turn, promise an outcome as unwelcome to Israel, at least as currently constituted, as the equivalent was to Outremer



    So yes it’s all about us the US. Unfortunately the “hinge of history” can swing both ways. But swinging it is?…..

  27. Randy

    My wife is a member of a large tribe (family) that feel they have to get together for a family reunion every year on Christmas eve. When Covid started they paused but now that Covid is over they are planning another 70 person superspreader event for this Christmas. She refuses to listen to anything I say about Covid. I am getting a Novavax shot Wednesday. I’m not too keen on Covid vaccinations but I have to do the best I can to protect myself from her.

    She will be sleeping in the spare bedroom, the Corsi-Rosenthal box will be running 24/7 and I will be masking in my own house between Christmas eve and January 1st.

    Covid seems to be picking up around here. Her family are not exemplars of good health so what happens in January could be interesting. They might have to learn some lessons the hard way.

Comments are closed.