2:00PM Water Cooler 11/6/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Kind readers, I’m having some cash flow problems for the next week or so. If you had a winning day at the track, or found some change under the couch cushions, and could throw a little my way, I would greatly appreciate the de-stressor. This is not a fundraising post, so don’t go overboard!! The Tip Jar is below. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Common Nightingale., Fonte Benémola, Loulé, Faro, Portugal. “Vocalização noturna.” I like the night insects, too.

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

Capitol Seizure

“Barring Trump from office could bring closure for Jan. 6 riots, former officer says” [The Hill]. • Closure?!


Time for the Countdown Clock!

Today is the day! Only one full year to election day!

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“Trump fraud trial live updates: Former president takes the stand to testify in N.Y. legal case” [NBC]. “As questioning continued about Trump’s properties, the former president said he thought several valuations were ‘too high,’ including of his Trump Tower triplex in 2014. Asked why the valuation was too high, Trump said a broker assessed the total area as 30,000 square feet, ‘and I have access to the roof, and when you add the roof, you’re not that far off.’ He said, ‘I see how it was done,’ telling the court that ‘they took 10,000 per floor’ and ‘times three’ and didn’t take out the elevator shaft and other things. He added, ‘There’s a disclaimer clause, so if there is a mistake … you don’t get sued by the attorney general’s office.’ In his earlier deposition, Trump referred to a disclaimer clause in the company’s financial statements ‘that says, don’t believe the statement, go out and do your own work. This statement is ‘worthless.’ It means nothing.’ But in his late-September ruling ahead of the trial, Engoron shot down Trump’s claim. ‘The clause does not use the words ‘worthless’ or ‘useless’ or ‘ignore’ or any similar words,’ Engoron wrote. ‘It does not say ‘the values herein are what I think the properties will be worth in ten or more years.'” • OTOH, I remember alert reader DCBlogger saying, many years ago, that Trump’s financials would take him down. OTOH, we’re taking him down on real estate valuation? I grant that New York real estate is renowned for probity, but given Trump’s reputation for puffery, would even a child of six be taken in by him? (Granted, I may be oversimplifying complex legal issues…. It would be irresponsible not to speculate, but if Trump goes down for this, how many other real estate tycoons will start feeling sketchy, especially in this climate? (“Use every man after his desert, and who should ‘scape whipping? –Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2. Could it be that the best outcome for James would be convicting Trump for 2024, then losing on appeal, preserving the real estate industry? Readers?

“Trump leads Biden in 5 battleground states in New York Times poll” [Just the News]. “Trump leads Biden by 10 points in Nevada, 6 in Georgia, 5 in Arizona, 5 in Michigan and 4 in Pennsylvania, according to new polls by The New York Times and Siena College. He is down by 2 points in Wisconsin. Biden carried all six of the states in 2020, but now, 59% of voters in those states say they disapprove of Biden’s job performance, while 38% say they approve. Meanwhile, 71% of respondents said Biden is ‘too old to be an effective president,’ compared to 39% who said the same about Trump. Additionally, 62% of voters said Biden does not have the mental sharpness to be an effective president, while just 35% said he does. As to Trump’s mental acuity, 54% of voters said he is sharp enough to be an effective president compared to 44% who said he is not. More than half of all registered voters surveyed (53%) also said Biden’s policies have personally hurt them, while 51% of voters said Trump’s policies have personally helped them.” • That “personally hurt them” question is interesting. Assuming it’s not a proxy for inflation/unemployment, Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks. Meanwhile, Trump abolished the stupid ObamaCare mandate penalty, saving me six hundred bucks. Not that I’m completely trivial-minded. Nevertheless.

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“It’s very late to change horses….” [David Axelrod, Threadreader]. “The greatest concern is that his biggest liability is the one thing he can’t change. Among all the unpredictables there is one thing that is sure: the age arrow only points in one direction. The @POTUS is justly proud of his accomplishments…. But the stakes of miscalculation here are too dramatic to ignore. Only @JoeBiden can make this decision. If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?

Yes, there also is risk associated with changing course now, as there is little time left for a primary campaign–and campaigns are how we test candidates. (Re @RonDeSantis.) But there is a lot of leadership talent in the Democratic Party, poised to emerge.” • Totally! Take Big Gretch — please! (And you can bet Axelrod and Obama talked first; see below.)

“Why Biden Is Behind, and How He Could Come Back” [New York Times]. “The poll contains considerable evidence that it shouldn’t necessarily be daunting for Democrats to reassemble a coalition to defeat Mr. Trump, who remains every bit as unpopular as he was three years ago. But even if Mr. Trump remains eminently beatable, the poll also suggests it may nonetheless be quite challenging for Mr. Biden himself…. The deterioration in Mr. Biden’s standing is broad, spanning virtually every demographic group, yet it yields an especially deep blow to his electoral support among young, Black and Hispanic voters, with Mr. Trump obtaining previously unimaginable levels of support with them.” • Handy chart:

Only identity, never class.

“Opinion: Why Democrats shouldn’t despair over concerning new polls about Biden” [CNN]. “Let’s start with the Times/Siena polling that is likely causing many in Biden world to reach for a handful of antacids. It’s not just the top-line finding that the president is trailing in key battleground states including Nevada, Arizona and even Michigan, where Biden is down by 5 percentage points to Trump in a state he won by nearly 3 points in 2020. According to the Times, the multiracial coalition that powered Biden to victory is ‘fraying,’ with support falling among Black and Hispanic voters. Biden also is seeing a drop in support among voters under 30…., You might be asking then: Why not panic? There are a few reasons. First, President Barack Obama faced high disapproval ratings the year before the 2012 election (although not as high as Biden’s). …. We all get that Obama and Biden are not the same candidates. But what is instructive is that Obama won in large part by way of a superior ground game in terms of ensuring that voters who supported him actually did cast a ballot. Biden — who was Obama’s vice president — is obviously well aware of this.” • And then of course there are the issues: Abortion and “democracy.” But that’s not what Biden’s team believes, at least not completely–

“Biden spent weeks of auto strike talks building ties to UAW leader that have yet to fully pay off” [Chicago Tribune]. “[E]ven as Biden’s sympathies publicly shifted toward union workers during the standoff, there are few signs that the UAW fully warmed to the Democratic president. Biden has yet to receive the union’s endorsement as he seeks reelection with the message that he has delivered for blue-collar workers. The UAW declined to talk about its relationship with the White House. No final decision on the endorsement is expected to come until after contracts with the automakers are finalized [smart], which probably will happen later this month. The relationship between Fain and Biden could be crucial to the outcome of the 2024 election. More than 380,000 UAW members are scattered in states that include Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, places where narrow margins have decided the overall winner of the past two presidential contests.”

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“Nikki Haley Cannot Beat Trump” [The American Conservative]. “The strategic argument for a Haley win looks like this: Ron DeSantis cannot beat Donald Trump. Therefore, Nikki Haley must…. [Haley’s] temperament is optimistic and her foreign policy is radically interventionist, as evidenced by her cast of every recent conflict, from Ukraine to Israel, as ‘a fight between ‘good and evil.” As Haley herself said last week in a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition, ‘It’s nice to have so many Israel supporters in one room. Lord knows we need more in America right now.’ In other words, Haley is the woman for the job because she is a Republican of an era that the good old boys in Washington would do almost anything to bring back to life. Of course, pining for the 1980s is an all-but-guaranteed way to lose the presidential contest, as we saw in 2008, 2012, and 2016. Whatever the good old boys in Washington want, it is not what the majority of American people want today.”

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“How Newsom’s China trip could boost climate change research — and his political profile” [The Hill]. “Newsom’s visit to China — which followed a brief stop in Israel — was the first such trip made by an American governor in more than four years and in part served to thaw tensions between the countries, his office stated. The trip, according to Newsom’s team, prioritized three goals: advancing climate action, promoting economic development and tourism, and strengthening cultural bonds. It also involved meetings with high-level officials, including President Xi Jinping. Newsom, who is widely believed to harbor presidential ambitions, refrained from addressing whether the trip has bolstered his image on the national stage — noting during the press call that these considerations were not a reason for the trip. But from an outsider’s perspective, Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the University of California San Diego, told The Hill he believes the trip offered Newsom the opportunity ‘to be taken seriously as a presidential contender.’ ‘The image of you sitting next to the leader of the second most powerful country in the world elevates your image,’ he continued.”

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PA: “Why Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court Election Matters” [Wall Street Journal]. “Pennsylvania next week will elect a new Justice to its state Supreme Court, and the race is worth watching well beyond Harrisburg. The winning jurist could be the tiebreaker in litigation over the state’s 2024 voting rules. The result could also show whether the end of Roe v. Wade is still powering Democrats to the polls…. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court is split 4-2, with one vacancy and Democratic jurists in the majority. Tuesday’s election, which will replace the late Justice Max Baer, can’t flip the partisan balance, though it would put the GOP one step closer toward a possible takeover in 2025. For more immediate implications, look at the high court’s most recent mail-ballot blunder, a 3-3 stalemate last fall that was made possible by Baer’s death. Whoever replaces him could cast a pivotal vote. That 2022 dispute involved whether to count mail ballots with missing dates. State law tells voters to ‘fill out, date and sign,’ but the argument was that tossing undated ballots would violate federal law. Seven days before the November election, the Justices announced they were ‘evenly divided.’ They ordered counties to ‘segregate and preserve any ballots contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes.’

That could have prompted a partisan meltdown, if a candidate losing by a hair had begged the judiciary to count disputed votes and give him victory. Pennsylvania is lucky it didn’t become a national recount circus in 2020 or 2022, but it’s still a risk for 2024.”

PA: “Are we really going to let Pa.’s richest man buy a state Supreme Court seat?” [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer]. “the real high-stakes players — like Jeff Yass from the Philadelphia suburbs, whose bets that started with his college poker game and led to a major investment in TikTok have made him the richest man in the state — know where the real action is: state courts. The power wielded in places like the Pennsylvania Supreme Court — over important things like drawing congressional maps, funding schools, punishing polluters, rewarding tax evasion, or crimping worker power — is enormous. And those justices are elected here, as in other key states…. I doubt that Yass cares much about the issue making the most noise in this election — abortion rights — but I imagine he cares quite a bit about having a court that won’t rule for organized labor or against Big Oil and Gas. ProPublica recently chronicled how Yass aggressively fought to lower his taxes by an estimated $1 billion, even suing the IRS in federal court. If Yass’ tax strategies are ever litigated in Harrisburg, does he really desire judges “who apply the law as written” — or something else?”

VA: “Biden offers over a dozen endorsements in Virginia days before election” [The Hill]. “President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced nearly [23 endorsements for swing-district Democrat in] Virginia legislature seats on Saturday, just days before the state is set to vote in critical elections. Every seat of the Virginia legislature is up for grabs in 2023, with Democrats hoping to hold onto their tight state Senate margin and Republicans aiming to keep the state House… The election is also seen as a referendum on the leadership of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.), the popular governor who is rumored to be eying a future presidential campaign. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the group organizing state legislature races for Democrats, was grateful for the endorsements.” • We’ll know tomorrow!

Obama Legacy

If I were Biden, I wouldn’t want Obama muscling in:

After all, Obama gifted Biden the Presidency; who better than The Wizard of Kalorama to put his arm around Biden, stick a shiv in his side, and gently urge him from the stage?

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.

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“Their Prophecy of Enduring Democratic Rule Fell Apart. They Blame College Grads.” [Politico]. “Once upon a time, Judis and Teixeira’s The Emerging Democratic Majority was hailed for having foreseen the rising minority and college-grad demographic combo that powered Barack Obama’s wins. But the political realignment that Democratic Beltway insiders simplistically took as a matter of faith never happened [see NC here]. And now the pair are back with [Where Have All the Democrats Gone?, ] a book grappling with what went wrong….. What happened? In Judis and Teixeira’s account, the 21st century party under-delivered on populist economics for working-class voters. But at the same time, it over-indexed for the cultural style that has jumped from campuses into the sorts of professions where expensively degreed folks predominate — including the constellation of Washington organizations, businesses and advocacy groups that help define a party’s public image.” • I’ve always wanted to use this meme:

Hey, now that Judis and Teixeira have totally flip-flopped on this, do you think the Acela Corridor will allow Thomas Frank back into the fold? Seeing as how he got it right first with Listen, Libera! in 2016, seven years ago? I’m guessing no, one reason being that Frank is a much better writer. (Sadly, Where Have All the Democrats Gone? is not yet up at Amazon, so I can’t search it for a mention of Frank.)

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Dump truck crashes into ballot box near Aurora church, sparking community concerns about voting rights” [Colorado Sun]. “The questions began Oct. 27 when a fully loaded dump truck struck and damaged a ballot box outside of a church in Aurora. The truck hit the ballot box so hard that it was ripped out of the concrete pad it was bolted into. The ballot box will not be replaced before Election Day, Nov. 7. ‘Is this a coincidence that shortly after the ballots are dropped, the ballot drop box gets damaged and removed and I’m a candidate for City Council at large, and it’s at my church with my name on the outside of the church and you can’t tell me who hit it and you cannot replace it until after the election?’ said Thomas Mayes, the pastor at Living Water Christian Center Church, where the box was removed…. The ballot box at the church has been an important part of his campaign messaging. He’s stated many times that he fought hard to have it placed there in 2019 to encourage people who don’t normally vote — such as people of color, older adults, Spanish-speaking community members and people who are homeless — to participate in elections.”

“Senate Judiciary Committee stalls amid partisan firestorm over Supreme Court subpoenas, court nominees” [Courthouse News]. “Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin announced he would seek authorization to subpoena a trio of prominent conservative figures who Democrats say have had unethical relationships with justices of the Supreme Court. The committee has for months been investigating reports that some of the high court’s jurists failed to disclose high-dollar gifts from wealthy benefactors, including billionaire megadonors Harlan Crow and Robin Arkley, as well as conservative legal activist and Federalist Society founder Leonard Leo…. Graham, the panel’s ranking member, rehashed an argument now familiar among opponents of Democrats’ Supreme Court ethics inquiry: that any attempt to regulate business of the court would violate constitutional separation of powers.” • A transaction has two sides; I don’t see why we can’t regulate the “gift” giver without regulating the recipient. Now, if they subpoened Thomas, say, that would indeed be a bridge too far.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe out there!

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Testing and Tracking

I apologize for the width, but that’s the only way to get everything on my screen. Detecting Long Covid with eye tests:

The links to the screen shots, in order: [1], [2], [3], and [4].


“Ondine Biomedical’s Steriwave nasal photodisinfection platform now used across Canada” [Yahoo Finance (Carla)]. “The Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, affiliated with Dalhousie University, has adopted Steriwave, Ondine Biomedical’s infection prevention method, for use in orthopedic surgeries. This technology is designed to reduce the risk of post-surgical infections, a critical concern in healthcare settings. The company’s research highlights its ability to combat extensively drug-resistant microbes (XDR), an alarming threat to patient safety. Ondine’s platform effectively kills these microbes, creating a barrier against antimicrobial resistance. The implementation of Steriwave is particularly crucial as healthcare institutions worldwide grapple with concerns about antimicrobial resistance.” • True, the selling point isn’t SARS-CoV-2, but we know it kills that virus too.

“Something Awful”

Lambert here: I’m getting the feeling that the “Something Awful” might be a sawtooth pattern — variant after variant — that averages out to a permanently high plateau. Lots of exceptionally nasty sequelae, most likely deriving from immune dysregulation (says this layperson). To which we might add brain damage, including personality changes therefrom.

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Elite Maleficence

Remember that you can still submit comments to HICPAC by 5PM today!

From this morning’s Links, here is a comment from alert reader Kael with a sample:

Just a reminder that you have until 5pm EST to submit public comments by e-mail the the CDC’s HICPAC regarding their draft masking guidance for healthcare settings [see yesterday’s Links]. The email address is: hicpac@cdc.gov. You are supposed to include your name, address, intuitional affiliation (“concerned citizen” or similar is acceptable).

Here is what I sent them:

Dear HICPAC Members and Staff,

Public Comment – HICPAC guidance on SARS-CoV2 infection control in heath care settings

I applaud the section of your draft guidelines that recommend N95 (or better) masks in some cases, e.g. for emerging pathogens. I have worked as a researcher for many year with clinical samples from patients and animals with idiopathic disease and unknown virological content. In these settings, my fellow researchers and I recognize that aerosol control is essential. We know this without any randomized trial that would expose randomly selected co-workers to novel viruses. I am sure that if you were working with an unidentified aerosolized virus, you would take precautions to ensure the safety of yourself, co-workers and ultimately your community. You would not cut corners, ignoring the solid aerosol science that our Personal Protective Equipment and laboratory equipment incorporates.

I am appalled that your recommendations, as applied to SARS-CoV2 aerosol controls, will fail to reduce SARS-CoV2 infection in healthcare settings. Available COVID vaccines to not effectively stop transmission of SARS-CoV2, are not utilized by large segments of the US population, and may not maintain their current efficacy given the rapid mutation of the virus and the proven fact that SARS-CoV2 persists and evolves in some patients for up to 18 months.

Similarly, the fact that there are pharmaceutical treatments available for acute-phase COVID, is not a reasonable basis to abandon sound infection control for this aerosol-transmitted virus. The CDC acknowledges that 19% of infected people have Long-COVID. Over the long haul, Long-COVID is likely to be a more significant burden on individuals and society as a whole than acute-phase COVID. There are no pharmaceutical treatments available for Long-COVID. It has been clear for years that each SARS-CoV2 infection carries a risk of Long-COVID. This risk is not mitigated by prior infection, vaccination or acute-phase treatment. Hence it is the duty of the healthcare community and HICPAC to reduce SARS-CoV2 transmission.

You obviously know that airborne transmission of pathogens is reduced with proper use of N95 masks. This is clear in your “extended air precautions” guidance. Therefore your guidance as it applies to SARS-CoV2, is clearly insufficient, and dare I say: negligent. If your draft guidance is approved without a strong recommendation for universal N95 use in healthcare settings it will result in a long-term burden to the healthcare system and the health and wellness of Americans.

Thank you for your attention,

Kael Fischer, PhD.

Department of Pathology, University of Utah – School of Medicine (retired)

For due diligence, I must say, even though every reader must know this: Don’t copy and paste this! Use it for inspiration.

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Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data, November 6:

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

Regional data:


NOTE I’m so happy to see that Biobot is back. I confess that I have not made a serious comparison of Biobot’s sample sets pre- and post-Verily. Nor to my knowledge has anyone. Readers?


NOT UPDATED From CDC, October 28:

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

From CDC, October 14:

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

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

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, October 28:

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

NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections.


Bellwether New York City, data as of November 6:

Could be a slight decrease. Should be up in two weeks, though! (I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive, although the hospital-centric public health establishment loves it, hospitalization and deaths being the only metrics that matter [snort]).

NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. October 28:

Lambert here: “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”. So where the heck is the update, CDC?


From Walgreens, November 6:

-1.4%. But bouncing around. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)

NOT UPDATED From Cleveland Clinic, October 28:

Lambert here: Slight increase. I know this is just Ohio, but the Cleveland Clinic is good*, and we’re starved for data, so…. NOTE * Even if hospital infection control is trying to kill patients by eliminating universal masking with N95s.

NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, October 16:

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

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


NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, September 27:

Lambert here: Dunno why no updates. I may have to drop this one, with great reluctance; I like my sources non-CDC.

Total: 1,181,531 – 1,181,289 = 242 (242 * 365 = 88,330 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease). 

Excess Deaths

The Economist, November 5:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

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“Maersk cutting 10,000 jobs in face of ‘worsening market conditions'” [Freight Waves]. “Maersk began the year with 110,000 global employees. Year to date, it has cut 6,500 jobs, which it has not previously disclosed. It has now decided to cut a further 3,500 jobs, including 2,500 by year-end and 1,000 in 2024. The total reduction — 10,000 layoffs — will reduce global headcount by 9%. ‘This is not a diet. This is a reset of the baseline,’ said [Vincent Clerc, CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk]. Job cuts will lead to restructuring charges of $350 million this year (up from the $150 million guidance announced in February) followed by $600 million in cost savings from lower compensation next year. It’s not just job cuts. Maersk said it is ‘considering all options to preserve cash.’ Capital expenditures (capex) will be slashed both this year and next year, and share buybacks could be halted next year.” • Hmm.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 42 Fear (previous close: 41 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 30 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 6 at 12:23:16 PM ET

Rapture Index: Closes up two: Anti-Semitism up one, Persia (Iran) up one, and Date Settings down one [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! • The goat sacrificers are going to defile the Al Aqsa mosque, and the Rapture Index is down? I hardly had them in the contrarian box! UPDATE I guess the indexing lags. I can’t recall a jump of two, and if Date Settings hadn’t been down one, it would have been three!

The Gallery

A lovely Klimt:

I wonder if these are naiads.

Our Famously Free Press

News of the Wired

“Science reveals how not to spill your coffee while walking” [NBC]. “Coffee drinkers often attempt to walk quickly with their cups, as if they might manage to reach their destination before their sloshing java waves reach a critical height. This method is scientifically flawed. It turns out that the faster you walk, the closer your gait comes to the natural sloshing frequency of coffee. To avoid driving the oscillations that lead to a spillage, walk slowly.”

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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. Lambert Strether Post author

      From the article:

      “Scott and Theresa Cianciolo, the godly couple at the helm of Agape Ministries, punctuate sentences with “amen.”

      No doubt! Is irony illegal in Vermont, or something?

        1. SocalJimObjects

          For people using Paypal, I would suggest utilizing the Family and Friends option to avoid any fees.

        2. Christopher Fay

          I was going to send my pet parrot, but the post office person said I can’t put dead parrots in the mail.

          1. ambrit

            My Post Office asked if there were any fjords in Maine?
            “No? Then why is Polly pining for Maine then?”
            [Sending a few bucks via PayPal.]

  1. Samuel Conner

    re: Maersk: “Capital expenditures (capex) will be slashed both this year and next year, and share buybacks could be halted next year.”

    I noticed the difference in “mood”; declarative regarding investment cuts, but conditional regarding share repurchases.

    Good to know that they have their priorities straight!

  2. Samuel Conner

    re: Rapture index, I’m still trying to figure out where they’re going to find pure-blooded Levites. Will the office of High Priest remain vacant until they can find someone of Aaronic lineage?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Hey, in the Indiana Jones movie, a Nasi-symp archaeologist was happy to stand in for the Aaronites, all dressed up per the instructions in Exodus. Right up to the point hellfire spewed out of him and burned the Wehrmacht and SS guys to ash. So maybe there’s hope of a repeat of that performance? Nuclear reactions might appear as hellfire, and they produce nice pillars of smoke for the Chosen to follow…

      1. ambrit

        “We” are not entertaining this. A coterie of truly Millennial Loonies of various factions of the Abrahamic Dispensation are entertaining this.
        If ‘they’ get their way, we might all be literally “blown away.”

  3. DJG, Reality Czar

    Lambert Strether:

    Mythology watch: I wonder if these are naiads.

    If you are referring to the fir trees in the Klimt painting, no.

    They would be dryads.

    I’m glad that I cleared that up in these overly dynamic times.

  4. Wukchumni

    If you had a winning day at the track

    Haven’t gone to the racetrack in years, like everybody else.

    Its the fastest sport out there, but suffers from it taking about 30 minutes before the next race.

    It’d be as if you were playing blackjack in a casino and the dealer dealt 1 hand to everybody and that was it, come back in a half an hour for another hand!

    And compared to the nuttiness of online sports betting where you can lay your money down while the game is being played, horse racing seems glacial.

  5. steppenwolf fetchit

    @Lambert Strether,

    If you have an analog meatspace address or post office box or safe-place or a friend’s post office box or something where I could send a check or a money order or a cashier’s check, I would be happy to do that.

  6. notabanker

    I’m a simple guy with no background or “expert qualifications” in politics or elections, so maybe some of you can help me out.

    If Trump remains as “unpopular as he was three years ago”, and he is leading Biden in all of the key polls, how can Biden be less unpopular than Trump?

    It’s been a while since I was in High School. Perhaps ‘popular’ has a new meaning these days?

    1. digi_owl

      Nah, it still has the same “we make it up as we go” meaning as it had back then.

      It is how the monkey-brains that run this circus has always operated…

      1. ambrit

        My first thought in reading that phrase, “as unpopular as he was three years ago,” was, unpopular among which circles? That formulation has ‘tribalism’ written all over it.

  7. Jason Boxman

    Because it’s elections time, I looked and NC now requires a valid photo ID to vote. You can, however, fill out the ID Exceptions Form; If this form is “properly” completed, the vote must be counted by the county elections board. A lot turns on what would be considered proper and how many ways you can screw it up. Even absentee ballots require sending along a photo ID or including this exceptions form. (So people have a photo copier or printer now? At what resolution is the photo acceptable? How well do modern IDs copy with all these security holograms, ect.?)

    So what kind of lossage might we expect from this kind of law? You can vote whether or not you have an ID, but you must complete the exceptions for if you do not have an ID. Your vote is with a provisional ballot for the latter, however. So did you actually vote if you voted with a provisional ballot?

    Fun times.

    Meanwhile electronic voting systems that are potentially hackable are in use throughout NC. When I raised this issue with one of the volunteers a year ago, he was extremely arrogant at my suggestion that there could be any discrepancy with electronic systems; he assured me he was present when they were tested. Any suggestion on my part that the bar code might not match what is recorded in plain text on the ballot were met with derision. The most offensive and angry encounter I’d ever had in my life with a local elections worker, and my wearing a respirator likely added to the sense that I obviously must be some kind of crank.

    Stay safe out there!

    1. John

      I seem to recall when selected persons would have to interpret of the state constitution to prove literacy before being allowed to vote. My first thought was, “define valid.”

      It has always been the case that political parties see to it as best they can that only the right people get to vote. The more complicated it is the more likely will be a decrease in the totals. So this could be a harbinger that we are headed back to the pre-voting rights act days. John Roberts and the Court have done their job well. That pesky law got in the way of keeping guv’mint in the hands of the righteous … and it is true most everywhere. North Carolina may be a lap or two ahead.

  8. Sutter Cane

    You have to read “Their Prophecy of Enduring Democratic Rule Fell Apart. They Blame College Grads” article a ways down before you get to the punchline:

    Both writers, bred in the old left that venerated labor unions and the New Deal, have some personal experience with this disconnect. A longtime staple of the liberal Center for American Progress, Teixeira, 71, left last year to take a perch at the American Enterprise Institute, the bastion of pro-market conservatism.

  9. Tom

    Apologies if this has already been linked, but this is a great/must listen interview with Dr. Norman Finkelstein. Refreshing to hear his perspective on Palestine. They discuss the fact the he is one of the preeminent scholars on the topic and the MSM has no interest in talking to him, largely because he will not say what they want him to say. I’ve included two different links to the show, but if you want to find it another way it’s the TrueAnon podcast, episode 327.

    The Gaza discussion begins around 30 minutes in.




    Reply ↓

  10. Carolinian

    I had read that American Conservative and it does make me vaguely apprehensive. If they can push genocide (the press) could they push Haley? She’s all for “killing them all” in her recent Fox appearance.

    Of course this could only happen if Trump behind bars. The press wouldn’t mind that either.

    1. ambrit

      I still see Trump being “behind bars” as a positive for him politically. A Republican Eugene Debs.

  11. Bsn

    According to my mom, and moms know everything, when walking with a cup of coffee, to avoid spilling it – don’t look at it. She was a waitress for many, many years. Moms know these things. Mom is always right.

  12. Matthew G. Saroff

    So once again, we find that Covid attacks the blood vessel linings, like the Andromeda Strain.


    1. The Rev Kev

      Look at the bright side. Like Andromeda, it too might mutate into a non-lethal form that degrades synthetic rubber and plastic. Now wouldn’t that be something?

  13. DG

    IIRC: Biden said he was going to be a ‘caretaker’ president. I thought he was going to be a one term president. His job was to defeat Trump and hold the space for the next generation. But once you got the power and perks…….

    1. nippersdad

      By “next generation” he may have meant an even older one. As of the last report they are still having difficulties getting the stake out of Strom Thurmond’s heart, so they may need to go onto their plan B and revive Barry Goldwater.

      1. Tom Stone

        Pick up a copy of “Pure Goldwater” , it’s entertaining and he was well to the left of today’s Democrats.
        I’m reading “Planta Sapiens” by Paco Calvo at the moment, which I am greatly enjoying.
        Highly recommended.

        1. nippersdad

          Interesting. I may need to look back into him, but my memories are largely of things like him wanting to use nukes to defoliate trees in Viet Nam; hardly promising.

          1. Carolinian

            And Strom mellowed out a bit as he approached 100. I believe he even acknowledged his daughter with an African American family servant from his youth (keeping up the plantation tradition).

            However I still have cooties from that childhood encounter when my family rode with him on the Capitol subway.

            We lost Strom and got Lindsey as his successor. Thinks aren’t exactly progressing.

            1. nippersdad

              I can commiserate. I still remember my Grandfather introducing me to Lester Maddox at the brand new Governor’s Mansion.

              It was just a whole ‘nother world back then, but I cannot say I am particularly nostalgic for it.

          2. caucus99percenter

            After leaving the Senate, Goldwater became supportive of homosexuals serving openly in the military, environmental protection, gay rights, abortion rights, adoption rights for same-sex couples, and the legalization of medicinal marijuana.

            (Wikipedia) And re 4 out of 6 of those topics, long before any other national figure.

            And also from the Wikipedia article:

            In response to Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell’s opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court, of which Falwell had said, “Every good Christian should be concerned,” Goldwater retorted, “Every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.”

      2. The Rev Kev

        Why revive Barry Goldwater when you have one of the Goldwater girls still around – Hillary Clinton.

    2. Tom Stone

      Joe is on his way out (When Obama has your back…) and Kamala was kneecapped when Newsome bought Butler with a Senatorship.
      Butler has a nice mailing list . courtesy of Emily…Emily’s list gave Ms Harris $10MM last time around and that won’t be there for Kamala this time.
      It will be Pritzker or Noisome Newsome, Newsome did both Dr Jill and HRC a solid by kneecapping Harris and Penny Pritzker has long adored dear Gavin.
      Take a look at the pics of Penny and Gavin together if you think “Adores” is too strong a word.
      We’ll see who the Fibbies and Spooks like better soon and that will be the deciding factor.

      1. Maitland Man

        Pritzker had connections to the corrupt South Shore Bank. Penny Pritzker was Obama’s campaign treasurer, later appointed Commerce Secretary.


        Most African Americans who did and likely will vote again are largely unaware of how Penny Pritzker fleeced African Americans. “[Penny]Pritzker’s net worth is listed in Forbes as $1.8 billion, which is one hell of a heavy magic wand in the world of politics. Her wand would have been heavier, and her net worth higher, except that in 2001, the federal government fined her and her family $460 million for the predatory, deceitful, racist tactics and practices of Superior, the bank-and-loan-shark operation she ran on the South Side of Chicago.

        Superior was the first of the deregulated go-go banks to go bust – at the time, the costliest failure ever. US taxpayers lost nearly half a billion dollars. Superior’s depositors lost millions and poor folk in Sen. Obama’s South Side district lost their homes… Instead of public service, the tradition in the Pritzker family seems focused on economic exploitation of others, skirting the law as much as possible, and shady dealings. There is a strong tradition in the Pritzker family of outright money laundering and offshore tax evasion.”

    3. NYMutza

      Blinken, Sullivan, and Nuland don’t wish to be kicked to the curb if Biden were to be a one term president, so they are pressuring him to run again. if Biden is re-elected, but can’t complete a second term Ms. Harris will be the caretaker POTUS. Nothing will fundamentally change for the three Stooges.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        If it plays out that way, then Ms. Harris would agitate her hardest for Biden to last in office exactly 2 years and a day.

        That way, she could dream of having his remaining term minus a day, and then two more full terms of her own.

    4. Enter Laughing

      I assumed he meant he would employ caretakers as needed to help him with daily chores — bathing, dressing, initiating wars by proxy and so on.

  14. Samuel Conner

    If I understand the situation, there are multiple billable procedures that could be used to diagnose Long COVID, but none of them have been implemented.

    That would seem to imply that the $$$ value of not knowing how widespread Long COVID is is greater than the $$$ value of billing people widely for the tests.

    It would seem that ignorance is not only “bliss”, it’s also “money”.

    1. John

      To your list I would add bewildered and out of his depth. I go back to Cordell Hull as secretary of state … true I was a boy… but I remember him. He and many of his predecessors … even one or two successors … must be rolling in their graves at the thought of this… this … person being in their company. At the risk of being held for moderation, I stop here.

  15. The Rev Kev

    Say, whatever happened to Nancy Pelosi? Oh, that’s right. She is still causing trouble wherever she can. This time she was saying that Hungary shouldn’t be in the EU. She actually said in an interview with an Italian daily-

    ‘There are other EU members who don’t do so well with one thing or another. I don’t think Hungary should be in the EU today, but once they are in it is difficult to get them out.’

    She used to criticize Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni but now that Meloni has gone in full neocon, she is one of the good people now.


  16. steppenwolf fetchit

    Obama Legacy

    “If I were Biden, I wouldn’t want Obama muscling in:” . . . .

    The problem is that if Biden were seen to be expressing displeasure at Obama muscling in, or were even suspected of feeling such displeasure, millions of Black voters would treat that as disrespect for Obama whom they love and worship.

    And they would get revenge for that appearance of disrespect at the ballot box.

    So if Biden feels like Obama is muscling in and doesn’t want it, he will have to swallow his “doesn’t want it” and grind his muffled teeth in silent pain.

    1. ambrit

      Obama’s ‘reputation’ among the less than bougie black people here in the North American Deep South is not stellar.
      One older black woman I speak with on occasion once described Obama as a “House N—-r.” The class component of that description should be obvious. As the English learned years ago, there are no bigger snobs than the senior servants.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        Interesting. And potentially hopeful.

        And yet, how did/does this older black woman feel about Clyburn?

        1. ambrit

          If her opinion about local “African American Thought Leaders” is any guide, she would be dismissive of Clyburn as just another grifting politico.
          [Locally at least, Afram ‘elites’ are often the head groups in the local Baptist churches. Those institutions have great both social and financial influence. In this, the Afram elites are standard power elites. Everyone gets a turn.]

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