2:00PM Water Cooler 11/30/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Wastewater stans, there’s an extensive review of CDC’s new NWSS site in the Covid Cases section, under the Biobot charts. Enjoy! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Northern Screamer, Sucre, Colombia. Lots going on!

* * *


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

Biden Administration

“Bombenomics: Biden admin circulates map showing states that benefit from Ukraine aid” [Politico]. “Battleground states Pennsylvania and Arizona are reaping billions of dollars from Washington’s efforts to arm Ukraine, according to a graphic the Biden administration has circulated on Capitol Hill…. POLITICO reported last month that the White House was switching up its messaging after running into continued resistance on Capitol Hill, after determining that selling the war funding effort based on national security wasn’t changing minds.” •

The Supremes

“The new SCOTUS Code of Conduct” [SCOTUSblog]. “There are things to like about the Code of Conduct that the Supreme Court promulgated earlier this month. It is a bona fide code of conduct—one that, in the main, tracks the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. It follows the same structure, features the same five canons, and includes most of the same provisions that are worded in the same way…. And it is not fair to condemn the new code as toothless because it includes no enforcement mechanism. That said, there are some problematic differences between the new SCOTUS Code and the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges…. The new code does not impose a duty to ‘be faithful to…the law,’ as required by Canon 3(A)(1) of the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. It is possible that this duty was thought redundant of the Canon 2(A) obligation to ‘respect and comply with the law’ (which the court retained). The obligation to respect and comply with the law, however, concerns the duty to abide by the law in a judge’s daily life, while the duty to be faithful to the law concerns a duty to uphold and apply the law when deciding cases. For justices under increased fire for ideological, partisan-seeming decision-making, the optics of the court exempting itself from a duty to uphold and apply the law is unfortunate….. The new SCOTUS Code qualifies the statutory duty to disqualify when a justice’s ‘impartiality might reasonably be questioned’ by adding language interpreting it to mean that ‘an unbiased and reasonable person who is aware of all relevant circumstances would doubt that the Justice could fairly discharge his or her duties.’ While consistent with interpretive precedent, this clause is cherry-picked to omit guidance that the ‘reasonable person’ is not a judge but an outside observer, who is less inclined than a judge to credit the judge’s impartiality. ”


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Appeals court reinstates gag order that barred Trump from maligning court staff in N.Y. fraud trial” [Boston Globe]. “A New York appeals court Thursday reinstated a gag order that barred Donald Trump from commenting about court personnel after he continually disparaged a law clerk in his New York civil fraud trial. The one-sentence decision from a four-judge panel came two weeks after an individual appellate judge had put the order on hold while the appeals process played out. Trial judge Arthur Engoron, who imposed the gag order, said he now planned to enforce it ‘rigorously and vigorously.'” • I don’t know if you’ve read Frank Herbert’s wonderful The Dosadi Experiment, where the legal system constructed by the frog people, the Gowachin, permits anyone in “the Courtarena” to be killed, including judges, lawyers, and, of course, clerks. Trump seems to think he’s on the planet of the frog people, not planet Earth. Leave the staff alone, ffs. They shouldn’t be players!

“Judge and clerk in Trump civil fraud trial have received hundreds of ‘serious and credible’ threats” [CNN]. “Since October 3, when Trump posted on social media a baseless allegation about Judge Arthur Engoron’s law clerk, threats against the judge ‘increased exponentially’ and were also directed to his clerk, according to Charles Hollon, a court officer-captain in New York assigned to the Judicial Threats Assessment unit of the Department of Public Safety, who signed a sworn statement. Hollon said the threats against the judge and his clerk are ‘considered to be serious and credible and not hypothetical or speculative.'”

“Bid to hold Trump accountable for Jan. 6 violence stalls at appeals court” [Politico]. “A federal appeals court mulling Donald Trump’s legal liability for Jan. 6 violence is approaching a conspicuous anniversary of inaction. Nearly a year ago, the court considered three lawsuits brought by Capitol Police officers and members of Congress accusing Trump and his allies of inciting the attack that threatened their lives and the government they were sworn to protect. But their efforts to hold Trump accountable have languished. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals typically decides cases within four months of oral arguments, but the trio of Trump lawsuits has been sitting on the court’s docket with no ruling since they were argued last December.”

“Genius or Suicide” [Judith Butler, London Review of Books (Acacia)]. From 2019, still germane. “I have offered no more than a dream sequence of my own. It may be that shame and guilt has suffused all he has ever felt. The jury is out. My wager/dream is that he would rather die than pause to feel the shame that passes through him and is externalised as destruction and rage. If he ever registers shame, it may be only in that briefest moment just as it turns outwards, to be expelled into the world around him. It can never properly be lived as his own, because his psychic structure is built to block it – a gigantic task. If in the end shame ever turns back on him, it would – according to the rules of his psychic playbook – be a suicidal submission. Expect then a very long and loud howl, as he launches a climactic accusation against the whole world. Let us hope that by then he has been deprived of his access to military power.” • Wild stuff, especially considering that Trump started zero (0) wars, and Biden started at least one (1).

* * *

“Can the Anti-Trump Coalition Hold?” [The Bulwark]. “A lot can change in a year but the electorate is shifting, and the anti-MAGA coalition is splintering. Trump leads Biden in national polling and swing state polling. Biden’s overall approval hovers around 39 percent, nowhere near what is required for an incumbent to win a second term, and the numbers on his management of the economy—the number one issue—are worse… So who are the voters being newly persuaded by Trump? These potential new swing voters are not MAGA, they aren’t pumped for the release of the J6 tapes, and they don’t give a passing thought to the outrages of Hunter Biden. They are nonwhite, young, and independent, and they trust Trump more on the economy, foreign policy, and immigration. While a second term of Trump will destroy democracy and potentially destabilize the entire world, these Americans either don’t know that, don’t believe it, or don’t care.” In word: Deplorables. More: “[T]hus far, it doesn’t appear the need to protect democracy is keeping together the voting bloc Biden needs to block Trump. Pollster Stanley Greenberg concluded the Democracy Corps Battleground Survey findings show those issues won’t bring Democrats home. ‘That is a dangerous strategy when the base of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, LGBTQ+ community, Gen Z, millennials, unmarried and college women give Trump higher approval ratings than Biden,’ he wrote.” • Yikes!

“Black Voters Are Drifting Away from Democrats. Will That Hurt Biden in SC?” [Politico]. “Three years after Donald Trump pulled about 8 percent of the Black vote nationally, polling this month by The New York Times and Siena College of six battleground states found his support had bumped up to 22 percent of the Black electorate if the election were held today. Other polls looked even worse for the Democrats; a national poll by CNN registered Trump’s support among Black voters at 23 percent, while an earlier Fox News poll put it at 26 percent. Those are jaw-dropping numbers for a demographic that, traditionally, has been the Democratic Party’s most reliable voting bloc. And it’d be bad enough for the Democratic Party if the erosion of Black support was strictly about Biden or the likely Republican nominee, former President Trump. Among the Democrats meeting here, there was general and disquieting agreement that Trump’s appeal is only part of the reason for the erosion of Black support. Jeremy Jones, a Democratic Party official from Lexington County, said some Black people who saw Trump’s name on stimulus checks in 2020 tell him, ‘At least he got something done for the Black community.’ …. [Jay Parmley, the executive director of the state party’s] concern, shared by many Democrats, is not so much that Black voters will migrate to Trump in significant numbers, but that, when November 2024 comes around, some might simply not turn out to vote. And there’s a lot of evidence to back that concern. Turnout among Black voters in the midterm elections last year dropped off nearly 10 percentage points from 2018.” • Hmm. The same erosion was evident in 2016. Democrat being Democrats, nothing has been done.

* * *

“Team Biden’s great double quarter pounder ‘misinformation’ campaign” [Washington Examiner]. “On Sept. 20, Politico published an article headlined ‘Biden’s campaign set to counterpunch on misinformation.’ The story reported that President Joe Biden’s 2024 reelection campaign is ‘overhauling’ its strategy to fight ‘misinformation’ on social media. The new effort includes ‘recruiting hundreds of staffers and volunteers to monitor platforms.’ To supervise the work, the campaign hired a former Biden White House staffer named Rob Flaherty, who was described as a ‘bulldog’ and a ‘controversial figure’ whose ‘combative emails to social media firms have become part of a Republican-led federal court case and a congressional investigation.’… The federal court case is Missouri v. Biden, a landmark COVID-era case involving government censorship of social media. Discovery in the case brought revelations that the Biden White House and other Biden administration officials, working with outside activist groups, ‘held biweekly meetings with tech companies over how to curb the spread of misinformation during the pandemic,’ with Flaherty ‘in constant contact with social media executives,’ in the words of the Wall Street Journal editorial page…. An important fact to remember is that Flaherty and his colleagues weren’t just targeting misinformation. Many of the postings they sought to ban were “scientifically debatable,” in the Wall Street Journal’s words. What Flaherty and the Biden team really wanted to do was ban speech that was contrary to or inconvenient for Biden administration policy. And now Flaherty has a new role at the Biden 2024 campaign.” • Flaherty got a promotion! That’s nice. (Fascinating to imagine that the efforts described in Missouri v. Biden are the PMC’s operational definition of “scientific communication.”

“Hunter Biden Art Buyer Advocated for Her Grandniece’s Release From Hamas Captivity” [RealClearInvestigations]. “The American kidnap victim released by the terrorist group Hamas during its ongoing ceasefire with Israel is a great-niece of Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali, a major Democratic party donor who paid handsomely for Hunter Biden’s art and won an appointment to a plum cultural post from President Biden…. While noting that the Biden administration has worked with Qatari and Egyptian mediators to free all the hostages, a senior administration official told RealClearInvestigations that ‘U.S. officials insisted that Abigail be included on an early list as well as the other two Americans in this category [of women and children].’ ‘The President raised Abigail in nearly all of his phone calls with counterparts as well as with the Amir of Qatar on Saturday,’ the official said, adding that ‘U.S. officials have also remained in close touch with Abigail’s family members including those the President spoke with on Sunday,’ the day Abigail was returned from Gaza to Israel…. Republican House members have been investigating possible connections between Hirsh Naftali’s art buying and her government appointment to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad since July. In a letter that month to Hirsh Naftali, Oversight Committee chairman James Comer of Kentucky said, ‘Your position on the Commission is particularly suspicious because of Hunter Biden’s previous actions to elevate his business partner—Eric Schwerin—to the same post while his father was Vice President.'” • Lovely. A cheap grift, right in the middle of a hostage negotiation. ‘Twas ever thus?

“Biden’s polling is in more dangerous territory than Obama’s in 2011” [NBC]. “There’s one big problem with all the talk comparing President Joe Biden’s standing in the 2023 polls with Barack Obama’s in 2011. Biden’s current numbers are in more dangerous territory for an incumbent than Obama’s ever were at this same point in time. For one thing, Obama held a consistent lead over GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney in the polls — minus a few exceptions immediately after the debt-ceiling crisis — until that first general-election debate…. What’s more, our same November 2011 poll had Obama ahead of a generic Republican, versus our November 2023 poll showing Biden trailing a generic Republican by double digits.”

* * *

“Top Ramaswamy aide leaves to join Trump campaign” [CNN]. “Brian Swensen formally resigned from his role as national political director for the Ramaswamy campaign over the weekend and has joined the Trump campaign, a source familiar with his departure told CNN. Swensen is expected to be working on the campaign’s political operation in the early-voting states, specifically in Nevada, two Trump campaign sources told CNN. Swensen’s departure is the latest indicator of Ramaswamy’s stagnating campaign, which has struggled to gain momentum even as the candidate closely aligns himself with Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 GOP nomination. Earlier this month, Brandon Goodyear, the Ramaswamy team’s videographer, stepped away from the campaign, a source familiar with the departure told CNN.” • So, videographers are leading indicators?

* * *

“DeSantis to debate California Gov. Gavin Newsom tonight” [Axios]. • Can’t they both lose?

“Haley and DeSantis are relying more on outside campaign groups with time running out to stop Trump” [Associated Press]. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley are increasingly outsourcing central parts of their campaigns, drawing on the growing urgency of Donald Trump opponents to find a single alternative to the former president. Struggling to energize his campaign, DeSantis this week privately encouraged his donor network to support a newly formed super PAC that’s taking over advertising responsibilities. That’s after a leadership shakeup at the pro-DeSantis super PAC that for months has been handling the bulk of both his advertising and his get-out-the-vote operation. At the same time, Haley’s self-described ‘scrappy’ political campaign, which has never enjoyed the same level of funding or manpower as DeSantis’ operation, won the support of the the Koch network, the largest conservative grassroots organization in the nation. By week’s end, scores of Koch-backed activists are expected to begin advocating on Haley’s behalf at the doorsteps of tens of thousands of Republican primary voters. The extraordinary reliance on independent groups for the two Republicans who increasingly appear to be Trump’s closest challengers is testing the practical and legal limits of modern-day presidential campaigns.”

“Nikki Haley’s home-state strategy faces a hitch: South Carolina is Trump country” [NBC]. “Nikki Haley sees her home state as a launchpad. It could become her campaign’s crash site…. So far, she hasn’t made the sale. That’s at least in part because Haley has yet to give voters a reason to abandon Trump — the dominant political figure in the state for almost a decade — a recurring theme that emerged in interviews with almost two dozen Republican voters, current and former elected officials, county party chairs and Republican strategists. The same can be said for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the rest of a field that Trump leads by more than 30 percentage points in recent polls of the state’s Feb. 24 primary…. Haley is looking to reconnect with voters who haven’t seen her on a ballot since 2014. She hosted a well-attended town hall meeting Monday in Beaufort, her first event in the state in almost a month. It came on the heels of Trump’s highly-publicized visit to Saturday’s marquee football game between the University of South Carolina and Clemson, a free media bonanza for the former president. Even though Trump received a mix of cheers and jeers, the dueling appearances served as a reminder of his ability to block out the sun — or the state’s favorite daughter — at a moment’s notice. For Haley to win, she’ll have to sway a large portion of voters who find her appealing even though they currently back Trump.” • I keep coming up to stature. Love Trump or hate him, he seems built to a different scale, even a gargantuan one.

* * *

“Scoop: No Labels abandons its in-person presidential convention” [Axios]. “No Labels — the bipartisan group plotting a third-party presidential bid — is pulling the plug on its Dallas convention next spring and will instead conduct its ‘selection process virtually,’ Axios has learned… No Labels’ previous plan was to use the period between Super Tuesday on March 5 and the Dallas convention that had been set for April 14-15 to listen to supporters and then make a final decision on whether to launch a third-party ticket.” • So they’re pushing the decision off, putting them on the volatility side of the stability v. volatility dichotomy.

* * *

“West says third party critics have ‘good reason to be afraid'” [The Hill]. “Independent presidential candidate Cornel West said Tuesday critics of a third-party ticket have a ‘good reason to be afraid.’ ‘I think they have good reason to be afraid because anybody who wants to speak the truth, when you have a regime in power that denies the truth, anybody who seeks justice, who runs away from justice, they ought to be afraid,’ West said on Fox News on Tuesday. ‘But that’s for the Republican Party and that’s for the Democratic Party.'”

2020 Post Mortem

“Court filing reveals Rep. Scott Perry’s vast web of contacts in bid to reverse 2020 election” [Politico]. “The newly disclosed documents reveal an extraordinary web of communications between Perry, who is now the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, and key figures in Trump’s orbit…. the exchanges with DOJ’s [Jeff] Clark — described in Smith’s federal indictment of Trump as one of six unnamed and unindicted co-conspirators in an effort to subvert the 2020 election — are perhaps the most revealing. Clark, then a low-profile figure who oversaw the Justice Department’s civil litigation in the final months of the presidential term, was introduced to Trump by Perry amid Trump’s effort to remain in office. Trump came close to appointing Clark as acting attorney general in the early days of 2021 before backing down amid a mass resignation threat by senior DOJ and White House officials. During this time, Clark pressured top DOJ officials to send a letter to state legislatures urging them to consider sending alternate slates of presidential electors to Congress, and he obtained a security clearance to review intelligence about potential foreign efforts to interfere in the election. Perry indicated in one newly disclosed exchange that Trump had personally approved a ‘presidential security clearance,’ a comment that followed Clark asking Perry to ensure that Trump was aware that CIA Director Gina Haspel needed to supply him with ‘security clearance tickets’ to access intelligence related to the 2020 election.'” And: “Many of the documents connected to the case had been kept under seal. But on Wednesday, the D.C. Circuit unsealed them — including a lower court’s opinion that described and quoted from a large volume of the very text messages that Smith has been seeking. By Wednesday evening, the unsealed opinion appeared to have been removed from the court’s public docket, suggesting it may have been posted inadvertently.” • Oops?

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.

* * *

“Hollywood Goes Home: How Celebrity Endorsements Are Helping Dems Win Down Ballot” [The Messenger]. “In towns across the nation, there is that person – the kid who made it big, starred in some movies, became an action hero, maybe even won some awards. What if that person told you about an upcoming local election? Or a candidate who you should consider supporting? They are famous, sure, but they are more than that: They are your town’s famous person, someone with local credibility because they know what it’s like to grow up where you did. That’s the theory behind The Hometown Project, an progressive effort that looks to pair celebrities with candidates for state legislature, school board, or other local offices from the areas they grew up in. The goal is to use their local celebrity to increase voter engagement, educate voters on the upcoming election, and support Democratic candidates in often overlooked and underfunded campaigns. The theory is simple: The Hometown Project works with local organizations to find competitive races in key states, then uses its network to ask celebrities from those areas to tape short videos either urging people to vote or endorsing a specific candidate. The group then runs those videos as digital ads targeted to key voters in the district it is looking to win.”• What is is with “progressives” and celebrities?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Anthony Fauci to Testify in House on Covid-19 Pandemic’s Origins, U.S. Response” [Wall Street Journal]. “The arrangements for Fauci’s testimony are extensive. They will begin with two days of transcribed interviews behind closed doors in January. A public hearing, which is expected to be contentious, will be held at a later date…. In a letter to Fauci today, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R., Ohio), chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, said the committee and Fauci’s team had agreed Fauci would give a transcribed interview on Jan. 8 and 9 for seven hours each day. The letter states that two government lawyers and two personal attorneys can accompany Fauci at those sessions, which won’t be public. The date for the public hearing hasn’t yet been set. Wenstrup and other House Republicans, citing email exchanges, have charged that Fauci worked with other scientists to play down the possibility of a lab leak in a seminal March 2020 scientific article, “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2,” in the journal Nature Medicine.” • And the spooks worked right alone with Fauci (said Kristian Andersen; too lazy to find the link). I wonder if they will be questioned too? Or whether Fauci will try to drag them in?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Covid is Airborne

Novid success:

Takes discipline.


I’m all for probiotics, garlic, ginger, etc., but holy moley! #CovidIsAirborne!

Some ventilation people really ought to evangelize the Mommy Blogs…..

“Habitual Mask Wearing as Part of COVID-19 Control in Japan: An Assessment Using the Self-Report Habit Index” [Behavioral Sciences]. N = 2640. “Although the Japanese government removed mask-wearing requirements in 2023, relatively high rates of mask wearing have continued in Japan. We aimed to assess psychological reasons and the strength of habitual mask wearing in Japan…. A regression analysis examined the association between psychological reasons and the frequency of mask wearing. The habitual use of masks was assessed in the participant’s most frequently visited indoor space and public transport using the self-report habit index. The principal component analysis with varimax rotation revealed distinct habitual characteristics. Among the 2640 participants surveyed from 6 to 9 February 2023, only 4.9% reported not wearing masks at all. Conformity to social norms was the most important reason for masks. Participants exhibited a slightly higher degree of habituation towards mask wearing on public transport compared to indoor spaces. The mask-wearing rate was higher in females than in males, and no significant difference was identified by age group. Daily mask wearing in indoor spaces was characterized by two traits (automaticity and behavioral frequency). A high mask-wearing frequency has been maintained in Japan during the social reopening transition period. Mask wearing has become a part of daily habit, especially on public transport, largely driven by automatic and frequent practice.”

Immune Dysregulation

“What we know about risk of a ‘triple-demic’ this respiratory virus season” [National Post]. “One recent study suggested COVID-19 infections may have been a driving force for the 2022 surge in RSV infections among children five and under, possibly because of the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on a child’s immune and respiratory systems.” • Remarkably, no mention of so-called “immunity debt.”

Testing and Tracking

A very long thread on testing:

“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.

* * *

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED 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.

• “CDC revamps wastewater COVID data reporting” [Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy]. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently unveiled new wastewater data tracking dashboard to make it easier to track local and national trends, even by variant. Wastewater tracking is one of the early indicators health officials use to gauge the activity of SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses. Called the National Wastewater Surveillance Program [NWSS], the main page says that, nationally, wastewater viral activity of COVID is high. On Twitter (X), Niall Brennan, MPP, senior adviser to the CDC’s director, said the makeover was done over a 4-week period by a team informally called “Poo’s Clues.” He added that the goal was to reimagine how to present the data and improve the visualizations, which were previously underwhelming. Wastewater tracking users can now see national trends in 1-year, 6-month, and 45-day increments and examine regional and local trends. The new portal also has maps showing wastewater viral activity levels and shows shifts in variants over time. ‘It was fun and fast paced and my thanks to the incredible team at CDC who willingly ripped up the rule book in the process of making this incredible resource more accessible to a wider audience. Much more to come!,’ Brennan said.” • Hopefully. CDC being CDC, the old wastewater page does not refer to the new. Confusingly, CDC being CDC, the main NWSS page (updated November 29) has a near-useless chart (compare to BioBot’s). I’ll start with the national data, then regional (Midwest, because levels are high there), then Minnesota. I have helpfully annotated and added notes to each chart. At the national level:

“Near useless,” as I said. NOTES [1] “FromDB”? Who let that slip through? [2] The color scale doesn’t seem to relate to anything. [3] The chart truncates the course of the pandemic, beginning only in January 2022, which is flat-out ridiculous.

The clickthrough regional page chart (updated November 25) is more useful, and shows the concerning spike in the Midwest:

NOTES [1] There is no color scale. The national and regional charts should be consistent. [2] “Select a geography” isn’t English; replace with “Select a region.” Also, explain which region, using (one assumes) the same terminology as the CDC variant chart.

The second level of clickthrough (updated November 25), for national, state, and regional data, is even more useful, and shows a really concerning near-vertical in Minnesota:

NOTES [1] The gray shading is a good feature! [2] Presumably an oblique reference to the Biobot lawsuit. [3] There is no Level indicator (“High”, or whatever), whether accompanied by a color scale or not.

Lambert here, overall comments: (1) Three clickthroughs is dumb. Ideally, consolidate to one chart on the main page (defaulting to the simplest set of filters). (2) Institutionally, it looks like three teams were at work, one per chart, and their work was incompletely integrated, as shown by inconsistencies in the Level indicators and color scale, and the massive typo on the national chart. If that’s correct, whatever management-layer debacle produced that result should be fixed. (3) The cadence with which the data is refreshed is nowhere documented. (4) Regional names should be consistent with across CDC. (5) “All Results” should mean just that: Data for the entire course of the pandemic (so integrate the [family-blogging] Biobot data ffs, if that’s what it takes). As matters stand, CDC gives the appearance of trying to erase the first two years of the pandemic — including the Biden Administration’s enormous Omicron spike — and that’s not a good look. (Also, I checked the Verily site, and it seems as horrid as ever. But perhaps they were part of the CDC NWSS development team, I don’t know.)


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 25:

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.

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. And of course, we’re not even getting into the quality of the wastewater sites that we have as a proxy for Covid infection overall.

• Here is a completely unserious review from Mother Jones (you just read a serious review [lambert blushes modestly]).


Bellwether New York City, data as of November 30:

Up. 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 18:

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 27:

0.4%. Up. (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 25:

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, November 6:

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, November 6:

BA.2.86 coming along nicely.


Total: 1,183,664 – 1,183,455 = 209 (209 * 365 = 76,285 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: Gonna have to whack this, too. How does an automated model not update? Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose by 7,000 to 218,000 in the week ending November 25th, an increase from the revised number of 211,000 reported in the previous week but slightly below market expectations of 220,000. Meanwhile, continuing claims surged by 86,000 to 1.927 million in the prior week, marking the highest level since November 2021 and hinting at a softening labor market. ”

Personal Income: “United States Personal Income” [Trading Economics]. “Personal income in the United States increased 0.2% month-over-month in October 2023, the least in four months, and matching market forecasts.”

* * *

Tech: Zuckerberg is not a nice person at all:

Tech: “Google to pay Canada’s ‘link tax,’ drops threat of removing news from search” [Ars Technica]. “Google has agreed to pay Canadian news businesses $100 million a year to comply with the country’s Online News Act, despite previously saying it would remove Canadian news links from search rather than make the required payments. Google and government officials agreed to a deal that lets Google negotiate with a single news collective and reduce its overall financial obligation. Facebook owner Meta is meanwhile holding firm in its opposition to payments. ‘Google will contribute $100 million in financial support annually, indexed to inflation, for a wide range of news businesses across the country, including independent news businesses and those from Indigenous and official-language minority communities,’ Minister of Canadian Heritage Pascale St-Onge said in a statement today. The $100 million in Canadian currency is worth about $74 million in US currency. Before today’s deal, the federal government estimated that Google would have to pay $172 million a year.” • Chump change! What Google should be paying is whatever the newspaper industry made before Google gutted it.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 64 Greed (previous close: 63 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 66 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 30 at 1:32:29 PM ET.

News of the Wired

“On Pneumatic Tires” [Scope of Work]. “The invention of the wheel is often put forward as a pinnacle of human ingenuity, but it strikes me that the defining characteristic of modern transportation systems is not the wheel but the pneumatic tire. In the United States, vehicles with tires carry twice as much freight as vehicles without them. Tires have an outsized role in individual transportation: The vast majority of Americans commute on tires, outweighing all other modes by about fourteen to one. Tires are on our lawnmowers, those iconic symbols of twentieth-century middle-class independence, and they’re on our e-scooters, perhaps the zenith of twenty-first century globalization and consumerism. The tire’s meteoric rise might have surprised nineteenth-century observers of the wheel, which took millennia to penetrate (and shape) human culture. Wheels emerged in various forms between 3000 and 4000 BCE. Yet even in spite of its obvious utility, wheeled transportation remained expensive, uncomfortable, and relatively rare well into the early modern period. Richard Bulliet writes that as late as 1570, the number of four-wheeled carriages in Britain ‘could be counted on one hand,’ and even in 1814 there was only one carriage for every 145 British inhabitants. By comparison, today Britain has about one car for every 1.6 people – and roughly half of Brits own or have access to a bicycle. Wrapped in leather and riveted to an iron ‘tyre,’ the first pneumatic tire came about fifteen years before the velocipede – the first widely successful bicycle. The tire was patented, evaluated positively by engineers, and then promptly forgotten. The popularity of bikes, cars, and wheeled transportation generally has much to do with the tire – and the popularity of the tire owes a lot to bikes and cars.” • Being able to fix punctures in my bicyle tires all by myself was a big step forward in autonomy for me as a child (as was the bicycle itself, of course).

* * *

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 SC:

SC writes: “Photo taken in the drought stricken riparian woods of Buffalo Bayou in Memorial Park in the middle of Houston, Texas. Edible and medicinal. Berries have a peppery, somewhat bitter taste.”

* * *

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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. Roger Blakely

    In today’s podcast for the Center for Infectious Diseases and Research Dr. Michael Osterholm is reporting that Canada has more COVID-19-related hospitalizations than it did during the reign of Delta. Hospitalizations are up throughout Scandinavia. He said that It is hard to tell what is going on. It may be related to BA.2.86.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The only Five Eyes country doing at all well is New Zealand. The UK is horrid, and Australia and Canada are both bad, and there’s plenty of yelling about it, especially on the Twitter. Not as much yelling here, and our data is awful, but I have a queasy feeling we’re doing no better than Canada.

      I agree on BA.2.86. The rise in the traveler statistics, though super-lagged, is really concerning (and IIRC was visible there before it was visible in CDC’s variant statistics, so thank you, globalization). The people who were yelling about BA.2.86, based on what I would call its formal characteristics (not a virus maven), even though the absolute numbers detected were very low, deserve a lot of credit.

      1. Tom Stone

        If you want to increase mask wearing keeping bringing up E.D..
        Mental retardation or dropping dead from a heart attack due to PASC doesn’t seem to motivate people, but telling them that the little blue pill won’t work any more might.

      2. Greg

        There’s still not really a good reason for New Zealand to be doing so “well”, that I’m aware of. Everyone here is just as “over it” as reported elsewhere in the western world, and I haven’t heard about anyone sick bothering with testing in months.

        Back in the dark ages of 2020, when NZ was doing unusually well despite much the same approach as elsewhere in anglo-world, I wondered if it was something to do with the crazy high UV levels here (thanks persistent and revived ozone hole!). And of course we’re further away, which almost certainly acts as a stronger filter on the people travelling here (they’re in the air long enough to get noticeably crook).
        Something geographical or environmental anyway. Not a social or behavioural driver as far as I can tell.

        Our trend is still concerning in some regions, based on wastewater (the only useful tracking we still do) – https://www.poops.nz/
        Auckland, main entrance point for international travellers, looks like it’s ramping now. If we’re a month behind the UK/US, that probably tracks.

  2. nippersdad

    That is a pretty picture of a beautyberry stand. Hard to tell, but they look like the Asian variety.

      1. nippersdad

        This is true, but the native should have been fine in Texas. Reminds me of a very angry big box yard center manager I know, who is constantly complaining that all orders are now made by someone in Orlando Florida. So they get all of these very expensive things that cannot survive north of the Piedmont and she has to field the customer complaints.

        But the good news, maybe, is that we recently just moved up a growing zone, so there may be less of that in her future.

  3. Lou Anton

    “Wild stuff, especially considering that Trump started zero (0) wars, and Biden started at least one (1).” I’m with you on the general sentiment, but which war did Biden start?

    I definitely count two (2) that Biden has kept going and/or accelerated in Israel/Hamas and Ukraine, and then one he ended in Afghanistan. Agree on Trump starting zero but did turn that one Iranian general into pink dust (but no reprisal on that one yet, yay).

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Trump should get credit for ending the Afghanistan war. He set up the deal, with US withdrawal scheduled for May of 2021. Biden of course delayed that, and I have to wonder if he would have nixed it completely if the Taliban hadn’t run out of patience and run the US out of the country.

      That doesn’t make up for assassinating Soleimani though. Were it not for that war crime, and the Juan Guy-Doe nonsense in Venezuela, I might be tempted to vote for the Donald just to spite the loathsome, warmongering Democrats. So it’s either Brother Cornell, or I sit this one out.

      1. Max Perry

        Look at latest charts of debt defaults, inflation, shortages, inability to buy a house, real wage stagnation when facturing inflation, Americans inability to come up with $400 and soaring national debt.

        Notice where the lines start a 45 degree or more climb? After Biden’s inauguration.

        Correlation isn’t causality, but with this many data points, it’s a hell of a coincidence.

        FJB and the Demodonkey he rode in on.

      2. Lou Anton

        Thanks for the reminder on the real timeline for Afghanistan, we’ll give that one back to Big D.

        As for 2024, I’m in the “Events!” camp that Lambert mentions. Who will be on the ballot, and what the issues are a year from now are complete unknowns. Just probably won’t be anything we’re all hearing about today.

      3. Lefty Godot

        Trump had to resist the attempt to sabotage the withdrawal, fomented via the usual CIA and Pentagon mouthpieces (WaPo, NYT, etc.), when they came out with the “Russians are paying a bounty on American soldier deaths to the Taliban” story. Which led to several Democrats in Congress that I had donated to in years past baying for Putin’s blood in full cry and calling for us to “make him pay” and not “show weakness” by pulling out. This was during the 2020 election campaign.

        An obvious fake news story that even the CIA expressed low confidence in. It also seemed to betray a stunning lack of knowledge of what a “bounty” even is (where, to collect it, you have to bring back dog tags, ears, hands, or some other body part as evidence for each pay-out).

        It’s mindboggling the lengths some depraved people will go to in order to maintain their lofty job titles, fancy offices, and invitations to Beltway cocktail parties, at the expense of multitudes of American and foreign lives.

      4. GramSci

        Sorry, I’ll vote for Brother Cornell if the only other options are D and R. I really didn’t care for how he hired the Harlan Crow episode. Omali Yeshitela is my true brother. Jill Stein is my sister.

    2. lambert strether

      NATO expansion caused the Ukraine war. That’s down to the administration whose current policy that is: Biden.

      1. britzklieg

        Lawrence Wilkerson has something to say about that. In a remarkably sobering, indeed frightening talk with Glenn Diesen and Alex Mercouris he pronounces Joe Biden “stupid, not unwise, stupid” then adds Blinken to the mix. It’s around the 37 minute mark.

        But don’t start there…. listen to the whole program. Wilkerson is on fire with contempt for US foreign policy (over decades) and the puppets who are allowing their strings to be pulled by the dangerous, corrupt and failed hegemon which Biden has piloted into a fatal face plant for the whole world to see.


      2. Yves Smith

        Specifically, the proximate causes were:

        1. Ukraine clearly preparing for a big assault on Donbass. Troops had massed as of early-mid Feb and shelling increased greatly per OSCE reports (IIRC Feb 17)

        2. On Feb 15, Zelensky said he wanted nukes at the Munich Security Conference. No one walked that back.

        The fact that we imposed the economic sanctions on Russia BEFORE Russia attacked (merely based on Russia recognizing the breakaway regions) says the Collective West had that ready to go and was looking for any excuse to launch them.

        Also, Gonzola Lira said his sources had told him Victoria Nuland had visited the Kremlin in October 2021 and in the most sailor-like Russian that the Ukraine was going to retake the Donbass and if Russia did anything to interfere, the US would ruin Russia. I’ll have to find the mention (probably in his long show on Victoria Nuland) but I took it to strongly allude to economic sanctions.

        1. The Rev Kev

          That would be Nuland telling the Russians ‘in your face and there is nothing that you can do to stop us.’ Sort of putting the boot in before the fact. If ever the Russians needed a heads-up as to what to expect, that was it. When this war is over and the defeat obvious, I would expect Nuland to get a nice cozy job in some think tank somewhere. Did Henry Kissinger have a sinecure that she could take over? :)

    3. eg

      As I recall Ukraine was in Biden’s portfolio going back to the Obama administration, so I’m comfortable putting starting that war on his list of cock-ups.

  4. Samuel Conner

    > Habitual Mask Wearing

    It’s encouraging that high levels of self-protective behavior are possible without mandates. (Not that I’m opposed to mandates; just looking for reasons for hope in US, where individual freedom from social constraints seems to be more important than individual freedom from medical constraints imposed by CV sequelae). Perhaps the culture of US can change.

    It is my experience, and others I know report the same, that decades of driving with seatbelts so habituates oneself to this that one feels uneasy or unsafe if not belted.

    3+ years of masking have had that effect on me; I feel unsafe if not masked when near people of unknown CV status. It has even influenced (or should that be “infected”?) my dreams — a pandemic era version of the timeless “forgot to put on trousers” nightmare.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I wish I could become habituated. Growing up before they were mandatory, if it weren’t for the incessant dinging I probably wouldn’t wear a seatbelt half the time, as dumb as that might be.

      I still want a cigarette every single day too even though I quit ten years ago. I’m probably just a bad seed and a contrarian. When too many people start agreeing with me, it makes me nervous.

      1. Yves Smith

        This is the best you can do? A completely bogus write up at a crap publication?

        The academic study said ONLY hypoxia can cause blood clots. It said nothing about the effect of masks on blood ox levels.

        The idea that masks have a negative impact has been repeatedly debunked. In 2020, a surgeon put on masks, and got up to 6, while connected to an ER blood oxygen monitor. His blood ox levels didn’t budge. I tests my mother, who had COPD, with a retail blood ox monitor and a KN95 mask. No impact.

        For a more rigorous treatment, see:

        Published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society on 2 October 2020, the research found that wearing a face mask has a negligible negative effect on oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

        The study was performed by examining 15 physicians without lung conditions and 15 veterans with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

        Each participant performed a six-minute walk test while wearing a surgical face mask, with arterial blood analysis performed before and immediately after the walk.

        The researchers also tested the participants’ blood oxygen levels at five and 30 minutes while resting with a face mask on, and found there were no changes of clinical significance in either end-tidal CO2 nor oxygen saturation at rest.


        And for N95s:

        Scientists have actually made people wear N95 masks and measured their blood oxygen.

        Data shows even during moderate exercise, randomized studies have found no evidence that N95 masks decrease oxygen levels in people’s bodies.

        Wearing N95 masks during moderate exercise does not starve us of oxygen, but it does modestly increase blood CO2.


        Confirming the article above, I weight train hard wearing an N95 and have seen no negative impact on my workouts.

        I trust you will find your happiness on the Internet elsewhere.

    2. Acacia

      I am loathe to note this but my impression in Tokyo now is that at least in this part of Japan people are not masking as much as they were earlier in the year. The cited study on habitual mask wearing in Japan was conducted from 6 to 9 February of this year, and that was before the govt started telling people it’s okay to stop wearing masks from 13 March. It would be interesting to run the same study again now and compare the results from 02/2023.

      At present, anecdotally, I’d say on average half of the people I see on public transport are not masking. I’ve also encountered strangers who are clearly sick with something but are not wearing a mask in a shop, on a train, or in some other indoor establishment. I had thought the general social rule in East Asia was that if you feel even slightly sick, you mask up out of consideration for the health of others, but it now feels rather like that rule is under some stress, and all the “you do you” messaging is having the desired effect of wearing it down.

      Meanwhile, the Japanese government is slowly following the Western playbook of stochastic eugenics, w.r.t. data collection, policies for schools, etc. I hope the old ingrained habits of masking will endure at least to some extent, and that people will begin to see more clearly that the current policies are really not about protecting their health.

  5. Wukchumni

    Aurora chasers around the world are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a super-hot plasma eruption — known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) — that will slam into Earth tonight.

    The rapid Earth-bound CME left the sun on Nov. 29 during a powerful M9.8-class solar flare eruption. But it isn’t alone. The speedy plasma outburst will merge with several slower upstream CMEs that left the sun a day earlier (Nov. 28), creating a “Cannibal CME” that will likely trigger a strong geomagnetic storm.


    Comeuppance CME sometime, Cannibal.

    Cali doesn’t look to be in the picture in terms of Auroras up in the sky, but the northern tier of states ought to be sitting pretty.

    This solar storm just missed being a Class X, the kind that Carrington witnessed in 1859. That said, what will be the effect of 3 storms converging as one?

    …stay tuned

    p.s. If this solar storm was strong enough and knocked out the grid and then some, one item would still faithfully work, there being no electronic guns.

    1. GramSci

      Thanks for this. Odds are low here in Outer Pentagonia, but my last aurora was back in the noughts, a great display (plus Saturn!) when I climbed up into the “mountains” of the Blue Ridge. Gonna take a drive tonight.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I’d be more apt to believe he’s serious with that comment if he hadn’t just been publicly sucking up to Bibi Netanyahu and censoring his platform at Israel’s request.

      It’s always about the Benjamins with these squillionaires.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Loved that. No one advertises at that level because they like the owner, they do so because they like the results.

      I cannot imagine how many ads you have to run in legacy newspapers to reach average consumers.

      Elon’s still a unionbusting so and so, but he’s making America fall in love with him again.

      I suspect our next generation of leaders will be whoever f-bombs the loudest in the weeks and months to come.

      1. GramSci

        More korporate kabuki. The man said, “I know half of my ad dollars are wasted; I just don’t know which half.” All the big advertisers have a Brand A and a Brand B. They’ll pull Brand A for a few months and run an A/B test.

        They won’t learn anything, but WTH, it’s a deductible business expense.

  6. Carolinian

    Flaherty got a promotion!

    Vicki Nuland got one too. Take that misinformers, Russians. Nobody f*cks with Joe according to Joe. Ok Bibi does but he’s the only one.

  7. TomDority

    “You know, just as in World War II, today patriotic American workers are building the arsenal of democracy and serving the cause of freedom.”

    Guess we are full-on fascist MIC. Orwellian, doublespeak…. peace through military might. Helps to prepare are arsenal for China….. WTF
    Who makes this BS up. Guess it just indicates that their will be no turning this ship around to avoid the approaching reef – just plow right on through …. for democracy and freedom

    1. TomDority

      During WW2 – it was dept of war – after war it changed to Dept of Defense – easier to fund defense instead of belligerence

    2. The Rev Kev

      Pennsylvania is doing among the best and I think that it may be down to that place in Scranton that manufactures 155mm artillery rounds. Not only have the expanded production and will be expanding more, they are setting up a new facility in Texas as well.

  8. ChiGal

    Cornel West

    Finally! Something to do besides send $. The first volunteer call is scheduled for 8p Eastern today and I am so looking forward to being connected with some positive energy! The link they sent me said it can’t be shared so if anyone wants to participate I guess they have to sign up as a volunteer for the campaign.

  9. Hepativore

    At this stage of things, I see many eerie parallels between the increasing madness of King George III, and Biden’s cognitive decline. The DNC and DNC-aligned media apparatus still largely insist that everything is fine or are trying to clap louder to drown out the ramifications of Biden’s disastrous presidency.

    Israel is openly thumbing its nose at any degree of human rights observations and Biden continues to lick Netanyahu’s boots to give him more money and weapons as our country is openly disrespected by Israeli leadership.

    Our country does not actually work like civics classes say it does…

  10. Wukchumni

    UFC* 86

    Ron (de ron ron run) DeSantis versus Gavin (pompadour & circumstance) Newsom

    2 master debaters go into the octagon, its entirely possible both of their hopes are dashed…

    $49.95 PPV
    $39.95 PPV HD

    *Ultimate Fallback Candidate

  11. Feral Finster

    ““Bombenomics: Biden admin circulates map showing states that benefit from Ukraine aid” [Politico]. “Battleground states Pennsylvania and Arizona are reaping billions of dollars from Washington’s efforts to arm Ukraine, according to a graphic the Biden administration has circulated on Capitol Hill…. POLITICO reported last month that the White House was switching up its messaging after running into continued resistance on Capitol Hill, after determining that selling the war funding effort based on national security wasn’t changing minds.” •”

    If only there were things that the government could invest in such as healthcare, education or infrastructure, things that didn’t generate a net negative ROI.

    Anyway, if “aiding Ukraine” is so great for the economy, why not aid Russia and do it bigger and better?

    This is a seriously cynical argument, even by Biden standards.

    1. John

      Bombenomics: As Finster said, :seriously cynical” to which I add disgusting, reprehensible, and murderous. And another thing: if the states benefiting were electorally insignificant column or lined up with ‘that person’ were ahead in these-very-early-polls would have even been so privileged as to be told about it?

      1. Feral Finster

        I find it interesting that nobody dares publicly state the obvious about Ukrainian Keynesianism.

        If Team R really were serious about opposition, they could have a field day with this. “So, does the Fed print some kind of Extra Special Money that has an additional multiplier when it’s used to finance the killing of Ukrainians?”

  12. Feral Finster

    ““Can the Anti-Trump Coalition Hold?” [The Bulwark]. “A lot can change in a year but the electorate is shifting, and the anti-MAGA coalition is splintering. Trump leads Biden in national polling and swing state polling. Biden’s overall approval hovers around 39 percent, nowhere near what is required for an incumbent to win a second term, and the numbers on his management of the economy—the number one issue—are worse… So who are the voters being newly persuaded by Trump? These potential new swing voters are not MAGA, they aren’t pumped for the release of the J6 tapes, and they don’t give a passing thought to the outrages of Hunter Biden. They are nonwhite, young, and independent, and they trust Trump more on the economy, foreign policy, and immigration. While a second term of Trump will destroy democracy and potentially destabilize the entire world, these Americans either don’t know that, don’t believe it, or don’t care.” In word: Deplorables. More: “[T]hus far, it doesn’t appear the need to protect democracy is keeping together the voting bloc Biden needs to block Trump. Pollster Stanley Greenberg concluded the Democracy Corps Battleground Survey findings show those issues won’t bring Democrats home. ‘That is a dangerous strategy when the base of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, LGBTQ+ community, Gen Z, millennials, unmarried and college women give Trump higher approval ratings than Biden,’ he wrote.” • Yikes!”

    What democracy? The United States is in no wise a “democracy” nor is it a “democratic republic” but an oligarchy featuring unlimited political bribery for those who can afford pricey lawyers. To be fair, the United States retains some vestigial trappings of a democratic republic, but functionally, that is long gone and never coming back.

  13. LawnDart

    “Bombenomics: Biden admin circulates map showing states that benefit from Ukraine aid”

    Time for Russia to re-target their missiles: let those who profit from the war pay for the war, and with additional restitution… …and interest. I’d love to see SARMAT ICBMs adorned with names like “Spirit of Pittsburgh” and “Fire of Pheonix,” show these off during parades through Red Square… or maybe they should name them after our elected officials?

    1. Roger Blakely

      This story makes sense to me. We don’t focus on the power of SARS-CoV-2. How many times more contagious are these variants of XBB than was the original Wuhan strain? We are talking about a virus that is coming to be the most contagious virus that we’ve ever seen, something on par with measles. It came from bats. It hits minks, cats, and deer. Dogs have been spared for the most part up to now. If a poor dog is living in a soup of XBB variants, the dog might eventually get sick.

    2. Tom Stone

      I suspect it’s the Flouride in the water that dog drank, every one knows that Flouridation was and is a SOVIET PLOT!
      The Bolsheviks are even going after our dogs, which proves that their evil knows no limits.

      1. ambrit

        The dastards are even going after our Moose and Squirrel!
        What does ‘Fearless Leader’ have on ‘Orange Hair Hot Air?’

    3. petal

      To follow that up: UNH researchers find possible cause to mysterious dog illnesses reported in New England
      “There may now be a clue as to what’s causing a mysterious illness in dogs nationwide.

      Researchers at the University of New Hampshire used genetic sequencing using samples from dozens of dogs in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island and found a piece of a previously uncharacterized bacteria.

      They said that bacterium may possibly already be part of a dog’s microbiome and recently developed the capacity to cause disease in canines.

      New Hampshire is just one of the at least 10 states across the country with reported cases.”
      Tis a mystery! hmmm…

  14. nippersdad

    “[T]hus far, it doesn’t appear the need to protect democracy is keeping together the voting bloc Biden needs to block Trump. Pollster Stanley Greenberg concluded the Democracy Corps Battleground Survey findings show those issues won’t bring Democrats home.”

    I wonder when TPTB in the Democratic party will recognize that the threat to their democracy is entirely a self-own? Bomb-O-Nomics is no replacement for (for example) the child tax credit allowed to lapse so that the ragged remainder of Build Back Better could be turned into a property tax cut for coastal elites. If Stanley Greenberg needs a primer on what is behind his findings, this oldie but goodie might help him out:


    It is really not that hard, and the version of “democracy” that he feels the burning need to save has everything to do with it.

    1. flora

      Indeed. Thank you. I remember when my very agreeable to the hosts comments began with their blogsites commentary, and when I drifted away from them and their agreeable comments, for example de Kos and de Talking Points Memo and de Empty Wheel. Who knows why I drifted away, but drifted away I did.

  15. Roger Blakely

    This afternoon Los Angeles County Public Health issued its first press release in four weeks. “Current levels are not a cause for increased concern for rapid spread, yet the trend indicates that people should be thinking about increased protection for this winter.” The press release mentions that wastewater is at 24% of the winter peak and that BA.2.86 is at 5%.

    Well, I’m concerned.

  16. communistmole

    Covid-19 in Switzerland:


    Switzerland is sick in bed – now there’s a threat of public transport failures

    Many people across Switzerland are currently ill. As a result, employees are absent due to illness.
    These sickness absences are causing particular problems for public transport. This can lead to increased delays or cancellations.

    “In the past few days, the situation has worsened to such an extent that the responsible department at VBL has had to cancel various courses at short notice because staff were not available for all services,” says Sämi Deubelbeiss, spokesperson for Public Transportation Luzern.

    Sniffles, sneezes and coughs on public transport and in the office clearly show that many people in Switzerland are ill. The reason for this: flu, coronavirus and RSV – cases of infection are on the rise.

    This also means that more and more people are absent due to illness and are unable to work – with consequences. In combination with the widespread shortage of skilled workers, some companies are facing challenges.

    Public transport services, for example, are struggling with staff absences. Due to a large number of short absences and a staff shortage, the Lucerne public transport company (VBL) had to suspend line 5 between Emmenbrücke and Kriens until further notice.

    “In the past few days, the situation has become so acute that the responsible department at VBL has had to cancel various services at short notice because staff were not available for all services,” says spokesperson Sämi Deubelbeiss. There is no sign of the situation easing in the coming weeks.

    The Basel public transport company (BVB) is also reporting a similar situation. “The situation in the transport service is tense, but manageable,” says spokesman Matthias Steiger. If additional driving service staff were absent due to illness, there would be cancellations. “At the moment, all employees with a driving license, including those from other departments, are being deployed more frequently where possible,” says Steiger. 

    The number of coronavirus infections has been rising steadily since July. According to data from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the virus is detected in 32% of all nasopharyngeal swabs every week. The rhinovirus is close behind at over 21 percent. According to the statistics, the flu season and the RSV wave have only just begun and the number of detected cases is rising. This week, the RS virus was detected in 3.9 percent of samples.

    The staff situation at Zurich’s public transport company (VBZ) is already generally tense. Now they are also experiencing an increase in sickness absences. With the timetable change on December 10, there will therefore be temporarily fewer streetcars and buses on individual lines in the evening, according to spokeswoman Daniela Tobler. In this way, VBZ hopes to avoid short-term cancellations and offer passengers more planning security.

    The situation at SBB is somewhat better: According to spokesman Moritz Weisskopf, the company is currently recording an increase in sick days, but rail operations can be maintained as planned. 

    The University Hospital in Basel has also seen a significant increase in short-term absences in recent weeks. According to spokeswoman Caroline Johnson, other employees are suffering as a result. Although operations can still be managed normally, the university hospital has already taken measures: masks have been compulsory again since Monday.

    Expert: Overcrowded emergency wards and further public transport disruptions

    According to infectiologist Andreas Widmer, it was to be expected that the rate of staff absences would be higher this season than in the last two years. “During the pandemic, the number of infections with common pathogens such as influenza viruses or RSV fell sharply due to the hygiene and protective measures,” says Widmer. Since the lockdown was lifted, the number of infections has risen again, as immunity has decreased due to the increased measures, the viruses have continued to mutate and people have become much more susceptible to infection as a result.

    Some restrictions in various areas of life are to be expected as a result of the absences due to illness. “The emergency wards will be overloaded due to both the lack of staff and the infections. There may be more cancellations or delays in train services.” Widmer believes the only solution is vaccination, which is recommended by the Federal Office of Public Health.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that report as it is very revealing. This is what living with the virus looks like which our leaders across the world have been pushing for. Looks like they got their wish but they have discovered it is more akin to the dog catching the car.

      1. communistmole

        A neighbor of mine is a bus driver in the canton of Zurich (the most populated in Switzerland). He is actually already of retirement age and was only doing the job part-time and on call for financial reasons.
        Since the outbreak of the pandemic, however, there has been a permanent shortage of staff, which is why he is now basically working 100%. He has to work the night shift again today …

        1. The Rev Kev

          I made many visits to Switzerland when younger and would have imagined it to be better prepared for a pandemic. Guess things have changed too much in the past decades and now would not be surprised to see CH apply to both the EU and NATO to join them, even though they are both sinking ships.

    2. JM

      Sobering story, thanks!

      I appreciate how they snuck immunity debt in at the end, “as immunity has decreased due to the increased measures”. I wonder how long the “immune debt” story will have legs, the lockdowns and more stringent interventions are starting to get pretty distant by now.

      1. communistmole

        TeleZüri, a TV station owned by the NZZ (Neue Zürcher Zeitung), ran a lengthy report yesterday on the “flu epidemic” that is sweeping through Zurich. After reporting on the shortage of teaching staff and public transport employees, a pharmacist had his say, attributing the current problem to people’s weakened immune systems – weakened by protective measures during the Covid pandemic. This in a country where virtually no one has worn a mask since the protective measures were lifted in February 2022 …

    3. Tinky

      I was recently in Switzerland for a few days. Mask wearers were exceedingly rare, even under the riskiest conditions (e.g. dense crowds indoors).

  17. Wukchumni

    Ran into the packer for the park for about 15 years, that is until she hightailed it for the PNW a few years back, and is spending the holidays in Tiny Town.

    We reminisced about the past, and the last time our paths crossed was a chance meeting @ Saline hot springs a few years ago, which has been closed since Hurricane Hilary came calling in August and laid waste to Death Valley NP roads.

    Here’s a picture in Sequoia NP with her stock…


    There’s a few ways in via the South pass & North pass and apparently the South pass is wrecked-pretty much, but yesterday the North pass got opened again, and its a 45 mile mostly dirt road where you are playing dodge ’em with rocks on the roadbed, and a number of miles are pretty washboard-y, in seeking the treasure of long soaks & conversations.

    4wd helps but the main thing is clearance, and the road in is notorious for being a known tire-killer as the surface is lava & whatnot, so I always carry 2 extra tires on rims, along with the spare-can’t be too careful, and a tow out is around $1500.

    In our coven of those who like the water temperature to be that of an oven, we’ve all been rather anxiously awaiting news of the grand reopening of our favorite drive-to hot springs, its in our collective dreams often.

    Our last visit, we had a couple of pretty high up JPL rocket scientists in our camp and it turned out some burner friends were there also, a couple of dominatrixes-1 from LA & 1 from Cleveland, and dinner & campfire talk topics were interesting to say the least.


    Spa for the Unpretentious


  18. The Rev Kev

    “Hollywood Goes Home: How Celebrity Endorsements Are Helping Dems Win Down Ballot”

    I can just see Sean Penn in Santa Monica right now. He would be demanding donations to help old Joe Biden in order to save his good buddy Zelensky and then he would ask for a donation of spare bullets so that they could be sent to the Ukraine to kill Russians with. Some Hollywood celebrities are the worse people in the world and when you stop to think about it, their job is really based on pretending to be other people that they are not.

    1. Carolinian

      In Casualties of War Penn plays a Vietnam villain and quite convincingly! Don’t think he’s ever been around any real fighting although perhaps Z set off the air raid alarms for him as he did for Biden. Penn did do some kind of film about Iraq I believe so perhaps he got a baptism of fire there.

      I was never a big fan.

      Of course Trump himself is a TV celebrity with a career more current than Sean Penn’s. So it’ll be showbiz versus showbiz.

      War and peace wise it probably won’t make much diff whether the Repubs or Dems run Congress. Both are warmongers. But we’ve got to get rid of Biden with someone other than Haley.

  19. The Rev Kev

    Judith Butler

    ‘If someone you know or love suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome, then please have them seek urgent medical care before their conditions get worse.’

  20. Googoogajoob

    “Wild stuff, especially considering that Trump started zero (0) wars, and Biden started at least one (1)”

    Not for a lack of trying – when he ok’d the assassination of Soleimani i recalled how grim the situation looked. Had the Iranians not shot Ukranian Flight 752 down shortly after it’s a real what-if for me if that could have escalated into something real.

    (He also appeared to have caved in to the beautiful Generals when he was pushing to get out of Afganistan)

  21. Anthony K Wikrent

    From the meta filing:

    8. Fifth, adjudication of these issues by the Commission in a proceeding that affords Meta no right to a trial by jury—and pursuant to a statutory scheme that provides for the potential future imposition of civil penalties, see 15 U.S.C. § 45(l)—violates Meta’s right to a jury trial under the Seventh Amendment.

    I almost hope Meta wins on this point. Because then we peasants can than sling the same claim against the arbitration proceedings mandated in the Terms of Use of Meta and all the other big companies out there.

  22. Trogg

    “And it is not fair to condemn the new code as toothless because it includes no enforcement mechanism.” Am I reading that right?

  23. Victor Sciamarelli

    If Scranton Joe was willing to embrace his origins rather than running away from it, he might have a better chance of defeating Trump.
    My own prejudice is that nobody should ever vote for a billionaire for president. Imo, in order to reach billionaire status you must be addicted to money. And unlike addictions such as drugs or gambling which bring personal destruction, addiction to money can wreck the whole country.
    If Biden went after billionaires and talked the damage caused by private equity, stock buy backs, predatory healthcare, and a long list of other problems caused by grotesque wealth inequality, he can avoid blaming immigrants and medicaid recipients as the cause of our problems.
    Trump is not a fascist but, if elected, he’s going to pave the way for fascism. Besides, he’s too old. What he says gets him free publicity but his speaking style is rather dull. One needs some youthful energy like you just drank 30 espressos before going on stage. Hitler was 45-years old when he took power and Mussolini was 39; Trump is pushing 80.
    As to losing the Black vote and SC from Politico, SC has never voted DP since the 1960s except once—1976 for Carter—they voted Trump in 2020 and will do it again in 2024.

    1. Yves Smith

      Scranton Joe and his blue collar origins are a myth. The only part that is true is being from Scranton.

      Biden’s grandfather was white collar, and the third employee hired at Aramco. He did well with the company until he didn’t, which coincided with the start of the Depression. But the cousin of Biden’s grandfather, Bill Sheene, Sr., did very well, at least for a while, and got Biden Sr. well acquainted with the high life. From the New Yorker:

      The Sheenes began to live lavishly, and Biden, Sr., benefitted from their newfound wealth. After his family left Baltimore, he returned during the summer months to stay with the Sheenes. He began leading something of a double life: in Wilmington and, later, in Scranton, he lived modestly—the purse strings drawn tight by his bitter, cash-strapped father—but in Baltimore he lived large, bankrolled by his spendthrift uncle. Every few years, Biden wrote, Sheene, Sr., bought new Cadillacs for himself and his son, and for Biden, Sr., he bought a Buick roadster. There were also horses, airplanes, and yachts. According to Sheene III,
      Biden, Sr., and Sheene, Jr., were allowed to participate in fox hunts in Maryland’s countryside because of their lineage. (The Robinettes traced their roots from England to the Pennsylvania Colony.) “We were aristocrats,” Sheene III told me.

      Biden, Sr.,’s country-squire tastes caused tension with his soon-to-be in-laws, the Finnegans, a well-educated family of modest means. Jean’s father had a “bit of a chip on his Irish shoulder about the Scranton elite,” Biden wrote. Jean’s brothers ridiculed Biden, Sr., who, Cramer wrote, “talked about golf, shooting skeet, jumping horses, and racing cars that no one had ever seen.” One brother, Biden wrote, would tell him that the “Bidens have money,” but the “Finnegans have education.” Despite her family’s reservations, Jean married Biden, Sr., in 1941, a few months before Joseph Harry died….

      In June of 1942, Biden, Sr., helped equip three vessels with plastic armor [in a new WWII company created by Sheene, Sr. and Jr.). The work was time-consuming, difficult, and sometimes dangerous, in part because the armor needed to be applied at an extremely hot temperature. By August, Biden, Sr.,’s salary was a hundred dollars a week. At twenty-six, after working for the Sheenes for barely two months, he was earning more than his father had after twenty-nine years at Amoco….

      Biden, Sr., didn’t have nearly as much money as the Sheenes or Briscoe did. But, as Valerie Biden wrote in her recent memoir, the family “had more money than ever before.” In Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, they bought a Dutch Colonial house—the grandest home they’d ever own. They also splurged on fur coats and fine china. Biden, Sr.,’s status as a war contractor gave him clout with the nation’s airlines, and, according to Cramer, “that meant he could bump a general, if Jean fancied a weekend in Scranton”—assuming the Bidens were flying commercial. Biden wrote in his memoir about the joyrides that his father and Sheene, Jr., would take in the Sheenes’ planes, piloting them “up and down the eastern seaboard” and then “over to the Adirondacks to hunt elk.”…

      Still, after the war, Biden’s parents “lost everything they had built,” as the President later put it. Biden, Sr., told his children that he’d tried to go into business with a friend in Boston, but the friend ran off with the money and Biden, Sr., declined to press charges….

      In November, 1945, shortly before the birth of Valerie, their second child, Biden, Sr., and Jean sold the house in Newton. The family ended up in Old Westbury, Long Island, where Sheene, Jr., owned a mansion that, according to a 1945 item in the Times, had twenty rooms, a garage with chauffeur’s quarters, stables, a squash court, and a tennis court. Sheene III said that his father continued to live like Jay Gatsby, even as billing notices from the government arrived. If he wasn’t out drinking on his new yacht, then he was hosting boozy gatherings at home, where he would play the piano or the banjo for his guests.

      There’s a lot more where that came from. Biden is from a nouveau riche family that fell on hard time.


      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe a very young Joe Biden was so effected by the fall in his family’s finances after the war that, like Scarlett O’Hara, he swore an oath-

        ‘As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill.’

        It would explain a lot.

      2. Victor Sciamarelli

        Fair enough, but I did not mean to say that Biden was poor working class or that his youth was a struggle.
        Biden, Sr., was in and out of business, and when he moved the family to Delaware he first worked as a sales manager for an auto dealership and in real estate condominium sales. These are middle class titles that in the rarefied air of the US Senate, Pelosi stock trading Dems, and especially Trump, are bullshit jobs.
        What I meant to say is Biden will inevitably face Trump in a debate and once Trump starts ranting about criminals crossing the open border, a failed economy, and caving to the Marxist, Biden will remain on defence.
        He can, however, legitimately accuse Trump and the billionaire class of serving their own interests rather than the American people. It might be the only issue that puts Trump on the defensive. Unfortunately, unlike FDR, I don’t think Biden has the inner strength to stand up to these people.

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