2:00PM Water Cooler 11/7/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Kind readers, thank you so much for helping me out with my temporary interruption of liquidity. All is well, now. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Nightingale Wren, Blancaneaux Cave Trail, Cayo, Belize. Terrific night sounds!

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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


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

I read a boatload of stories on Trump’s fraud trial in New York. Here are some headlines, in no particular order, with one exception: “Former President Donald Trump spars with New York judge in civil fraud trial” [NPR], “Chatty Trump, on the witness stand, is a tangent machine: ‘Control him,’ judge begs his lawyers” [Business Insider India], “Trump’s day in court paints a dark preview of the national ordeal ahead” [CNN], “The moments Trump lost it on the witness stand at his NYC fraud trial” [New York Daily News], “Trump fraud trial judge threatens to throw ex-president out of courtroom if he doesn’t stop making ‘speeches'” [New York Post], “Trump’s Combative Testimony in Fraud Trial Spurs Reprimands From Judge” [Time], “Donald Trump Just Really, Really Annoyed His Judge” [Slate], “Judge Tells Donald Trump’s Attorneys to ‘Control Him’ as Former President Lashes Out in Court” [People], and “Donald Trump delivers heated testimony in New York civil fraud trial” [Financial Times] (which is, of course, the exception).

• Lambert here: I have trouble with the whole trial, beginning with the idea that real estate valuation isn’t, well, a complete contradiction in terms. And this is New York real estate, the home, as Yves says, of the “eleven-inch foot.” What kind of sense do fraud charges make in an environment riddled with fraud? Further, Judge Arthur Engoron is an elected Democrat, part of the same political machine that’s doing the prosecution. (Yeah, yeah, impartiality, no doubt true in many cases, and isn’t it pretty to think so. But not when “our democracy” is at stake, of course.)

• Further, readers will recall that when I started coverting Trump back in 2015, the first thing I discovered was that the press never quoted Trump accurately. Never. I always had to go back and check a transcript. In all these stories, the following (an apparent reference to 1 Corinthians 10) appears in the lead, or in the first few paragraphs:

“I beseech you to control him, if you can.” —Judge Arthur Engoron on Monday, speaking to attorney Chris Kise as Donald Trump testified in his New York civil fraud trial.

Engoron seems to be a bit of a drama queen himself, eh? And of course “controlling” Trump appeals deeply to liberal Democrats — that is the goal of their lawfare campaign, after all — so Engoron little (scripted?) “beseech” rebuke generated an enormous jouissance of aghastitude, as listed above. However, I haven’t seen the transcript, and there’s no reason for me to take any of the reporting on trust; in fact, every reason not to. If any readers encounter the trial transcript, will they be good enough to leave a link in comments, or mail me? In any case, I imagine all parties are setting themselves up for appeal (especially given that the real estate business in New York must surely feel its prerogatives threatened).

* * *

“The incredibly shrinking GOP presidential contest” [Stuart Rothenberg, Roll Call]. ” [There are] just four interesting candidates, other than frontrunner Donald Trump, worthy of your attention: South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy…. Scott has raised enough money to appear in Wednesday’s debate, and reporters like his “happy conservative” style and messaging. They keep putting him on TV, but that hasn’t boosted his standing in polls dramatically…. Scott’s biggest problem isn’t Trump. It’s Haley, who in addition to serving as chief executive of the Palmetto State governor was also Trump’s United Nations ambassador…. DeSantis comes across as too stiff, and he doesn’t seem genuine. Of course, he can raise money, and he comes from a state with a lot of delegates at stake. He also echoes Trump’s confrontational style and populist views, giving him an opportunity to step into Trump’s position should the former president leave the race for any reason. But that is not the same thing as saying that DeSantis can overtake Trump. He can’t…. Ramaswamy did have a bit of a boomlet in August. …. The first-time candidate comes off as brash and smug, and while those traits probably are no longer disqualifying, they make him little more than a Trump Mini-Me…. Haley has run an interesting campaign, and her combination of foreign policy experience (as U.N. ambassador) and executive experience (as governor) combine to give her a breadth of experience that few other hopefuls in the race have. Haley and DeSantis could well fight it out for second place in the GOP contest. That might not mean much, but it would be a significant outcome for Haley, who started her presidential bid as a huge question mark. It would also be a disappointing outcome for DeSantis, who hoped to challenge Trump seriously.”

“If Trump wins, more voters foresee better finances, staying out of war — CBS News poll” [CBS]. • And why wouldn’t they?

* * *

“Biden’s stumbles spark concerns about ad strategy and surrogate operation” [Politico]. “In late August, Joe Biden’s reelection campaign announced a massive ad buy to run on television and online in key battleground states….. That bet has so far not paid off. Trump has largely skated through the primary without being attacked by his opponents. And Biden’s numbers have not budged….. Concerns about the Biden campaign’s approach escalated this week among Democrats after a series of polls showed Biden trailing Trump in critical battleground states. Former Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod questioned whether the president is the right person to head the ticket at all. Others said the campaign needs to focus on contrasting Biden with Trump…. ‘Well, we spent all this time trying to explain all the good things he did, the bipartisan stuff he did, and it hasn’t boosted his numbers. So maybe we ought to go to plan B at this point,’ the [major donors or Democrats close to the White House] said, adding, ‘I know a lot of people are pissed’ because the campaign hasn’t hit Trump harder.” • You really don’t want the donors driving the campaign. They don’t know what they’re doing, and think they do. For example, why on earth would “good” and “bipartisan” be in the same bucket?

* * *

An Democrat alternative to Oprah:

“Scoop: Newsom, Pritzker signal White House ambitions in donations to S. Carolina candidate” [Axios]. “California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker both recently cut checks for a candidate in this month’s mayoral election in Charleston, S.C., Axios has learned…. The donations to Charleston candidate Clay Middleton signal White House ambitions for both governors, as South Carolina recently moved to the front of the Democratic presidential primary calendar.” Newsom is well-known, but readers will recall I’ve been muttering about Pritzker for some time. More: “The moves by Newsom and Pritzker are part of a larger pattern of ambitious Democrats upping their national profiles ahead of 2028 or even 2024 in the unlikely case President Biden decides not to run for re-election in the face of poor poll numbers. It’s also a boon for Middleton — a longtime former aide to South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn and Democratic presidential candidates — as he tries to defeat the incumbent Democratic mayor, John Tecklenburg, in the Nov. 7 election.” • Ugh. Gestures of fealty toward Clyburn [my gorge riseth].

* * *

IL: “Questions surround millions meant for Joliet non-citizen care” [The Center Square]. “After the city of Joliet rejected $8.6 million in taxpayer funds to help city officials house and provide food to nearly 1,900 non-citizens, there are questions surrounding what the state should do with the money…. ‘I don’t believe anyone ever expected that their tax money would ever be spent on non-citizen needs in the state of Illinois,’ [State Rep. Martin McLaughlin, R-Barrington Hills] said. ‘As a former mayor, if the state of Illinois would have provided me money for services that were never called for in my charter for non-citizens, I would have rejected it as well.’ … Last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker was asked about the amount of taxpayer funds the state is using to provide care and said it is the state’s duty to help these arrivals. ‘It is an obligation, I think, in a humanitarian crisis for us to step up and make sure that people are not starving and that they have a place to stay and that they get the basic health care that they need,’ Pritzker said. In August, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson also reaffirmed his support for using taxpayer funds for non-citizen services. ‘Here’s what I am committed to doing, honoring the law of being a sanctuary city and building systems of care that provide a pathway with dignity for individuals who are seeking refuge here in the city of Chicago,’ Johnson said.” • I have a bridge to sell you if you think humanitarianism of sanctuary is the driver here. Cheap labor is.

ME: “Maine 2023 Election Ballot Question #6 Fact Sheet” [Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission]. “Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to require that all of the provisions of the Constitution be included in the official printed copies of the Constitution prepared by the Secretary of State? A ‘yes’ vote on Question 6 would restore certain original sections of the Maine Constitution to printed copies. Although these sections have always been part of the Maine Constitution as originally adopted in 1820, an amendment in 1876 prevented those sections from being printed in copies of the Constitution. Part of the redacted material pertained to Maine’s treaty obligations to Wabanaki people…. The only legal effect would be that printed copies of the Maine Constitution would henceforth contain the language redacted in 1876, including the full Articles of Separation. Passage of Question 6 would not change the ‘duties and obligations’ Maine has always had as regards the Wabanaki Nations. Those ‘duties and obligations’, despite the redaction, remained ‘in full force, as part of the Constitution . . . as if contained in said printed copies.’ Although there would be no substantive legal changes, passage of Question 6 would give citizens of Maine easy access to the original language in our Constitution.” • Talk about erasure! NOTE: I take this opportunity to advocate that if you are involved in fighting pipelines, or landfills, or mountaintop removal, involve your local tribes if you can.

VA: “Youngkin has done everything right in Virginia” [Washington Examiner]. “For Democrats, everything is about abortion. Everything. Spend any time here, and it seems as though every ad supporting Democrats claims Republicans will ban abortions if they gain the majority in the state Senate. Outside liberal groups are dumping millions of dollars of ads making that claim…. For Republicans, the race is about layers of bread-and-butter issues that are less cultural and more focused on concerns that affect Virginian’s daily lives. However, through Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), who has been exhaustively stumping for Republican candidates, they haven’t had to play defense on abortion in the way other Republican candidates have found themselves doing in races across the country. Youngkin has been consistent in his stump speeches and in the ad his PAC put out at the onset of the cycle in saying unequivocally, ‘Here is the truth, there is no ban. Virginia Republicans support a reasonable 15-week limit.'” • Repeating the word “reasonable” doesn’t make it so; many women don’t get news about major problems with their pregnancies until 20 weeks (although of course medical science could push that back, at which point I suppose 10 weeks would be the new “reasonable”). Delays also impact the working class disprortionately; money must be raised, time off arranged, etc.

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.

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Weaponization of ‘Disinformation’ Pseudo-Experts and Bureaucrats: How the Federal Government Partnered with Universities to Censor Americans’ Political Speech” (PDF) [Interim Staff Report of the Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government U.S. House of Representatives]. The First Amendment to the Constitution rightly limits the government’s role in monitoring and censoring Americans’ speech, but these disinformation researchers (often funded, at least in part, by taxpayer dollars) were not strictly bound by these constitutional guardrails. What the federal government could not do directly, it effectively outsourced to the newly emerging censorship-industrial complex. Enter the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), a consortium of “disinformation” academics led by Stanford University’s Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) that worked directly with the Department of Homeland Security and the Global Engagement Center, a multi-agency entity housed within the State Department, to monitor and censor Americans’ online speech in advance of the 2020 presidential election. Created in the summer of 2020 “at the request” of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA),3 the EIP provided a way for the federal government to launder its censorship activities in hopes of bypassing both the First Amendment and public scrutiny… This interim staff report details the federal government’s heavy-handed involvement in the creation and operation of the EIP, which facilitated the censorship of Americans’ political speech in the weeks and months leading up to the 2020 election. This report also publicly reveals for the first time secret “misinformation” reports from the EIP’s centralized reporting system, previously accessible only to select parties, including federal agencies, universities, and Big Tech.” • The Committee also published all their data. Good. However:

Dude, the front cover? This is “Gym” Jordan’s Committee, so now we see another reason he’s not Speaker….

“Where We Lost The Thread On Cancel Culture” [HuffPo]. “No one can offer an opinion or ask a question ― however valid ― about cancel culture without risking being just as quickly canceled…. The calls to boot non-criminal offenders off the island, or maybe to just excommunicate them somehow, are just as loud if not louder than the often appropriate calls for criminal justice. But these cases are not the same. This is when a set of procedures on cancel culture would come in handy. Without it, this all just sounds like noise…. But who gets to decide what is the prominent (or correct) perspective is unclear, which makes cancel culture sound more like fanaticism than anything else. Or, as historian E.P. Thompson once described similar behavior in the 18th century, ‘a kind of ritualized hooting or groaning.’ And that’s a shame.” • I’ve gotta say, E.P. Thompson on cancel culture in HuffPo wasn’t on my Bingo card for 2023. I find this very hopeful! (For those who came in late, E.P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class is wonderful, and Whigs and Hunters, about the enclosure movement, is also very, very good.)


“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!

* * *

“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.

* * *


This is Canada, but homeowners everywhere may want to check for this:

And the follow-up question is very good, too. Do any readers know the answer?

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED 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 7:

A definite 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?


NOT UPDATED 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.

Stats Watch

Supply Chain: “United States LMI Logistics Managers Index Current” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index in the United States increased to 56.5 in October 2023 from 52.4 in September, pointing to the third consecutive month of growth in the logistics sector and the strongest performance since January.”

* * *

Tech: “Overheating datacenter stopped 2.5 million bank transactions” [The Register]. “Outages at two banks that stopped 2.5 million payment transactions were sparked by a technical issue with the datacenter’s cooling system, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Monday. DBS and Citibank, the banks involved, experienced outages in the mid-afternoon of October 14, 2023 that resulted in full or partial unavailability of online banking apps for around two days – leaving customers and vendors without a way to make payments in a city-state that is increasingly reliant on digital financial systems. In fact, according to minister Alvin Tan in a parliamentary reply, the outages led to 810,000 failed attempts to access the two platforms while 2.5 million payment and ATM transactions could not be completed. The root cause of the outages was issues in the cooling system that caused the temperature to rise above optimal operating range at the Equinix datacenter used by both institutions.” • Not any kind of foreshadowing, I am sure.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 41 Fear (previous close: 41 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 30 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 7 at 12:48:41 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!

Zeitgeist Watch

I apologize, but….

“It’s true: People do poop, a lot, in ride lines at Disneyland and Disney World” [SFGate]. “Two former Disneyland custodial team workers have also written about this unsavory topic in their book ‘Cleaning the Kingdom: Insider Tales of Keeping Walt’s Dream Spotless.’ In the chapter titled ‘Disgusting Things,’ former ‘cast members’ (as employees are referred to in company parlance) Ken Pellman and Lynn Barron reveal there’s even a name for such happenings: ‘Human Code H.’ A Code H, according to the authors, originally referred to ‘horsecrap.’ A Code H meant a custodial worker needed to clean up after one of the horses pulling a Main Street vehicle did its business. The term was later modified to reflect a bowel movement of the human variety (and in case you’re thinking this is a pandemic-induced phenomenon, Pellman and Barron worked in the park primarily in the 1990s and early 2000s).” • Tell me this isn’t a great country!

“4 Men Finally Charged With Stealing Famous Golden Toilet Worth Nearly $6 Million Once Offered To President Trump” [Forbes]. “The golden toilet was stolen from Blenheim Palace on September 14, 2019, shortly after 5 a.m. local time, according to the BBC. British police arrested seven people in the four years since the toilet was stolen, though only four were identified and charged. The toilet, titled ‘America,’ was created by Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan in 2016, according to the Guggenheim Museum. Cattelan said the artwork was a commentary on the ‘ever-increasing divide between the wealthy and the poor’ in the U.S., according to the museum. The toilet was moved to Blenheim Palace in September 2019 just days before it was stolen. British officials have been unable to locate the toilet ever since.” • I don’t think a gold toilet makes any sense. How do the rich tell their toilet from their sh*t? Which doesn’t stink, either…

The Conservatory

For Beatles stans:

Whaddaya know, Ringo and Paul are really good!

News of the Wired

“Why We Thought Marriage Made Us Healthier, and Why We Were Wrong” [NBC]. “We believe married people ‘have someone’ and single people do not. But research has shown that it is single people who more often maintain their ties with friends, neighbors, siblings and parents. In contrast, couples tend to turn inward after they marry, paying less attention to their friends and parents. Married people have ‘the one,’ but single people have ‘the ones.'” • And introverts chug along exactly as before? Readers?

* * *

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 Oguk:

I don’t know what kind of plants these are, but the photo captures the feeling of sun breaking through leaves very well. Oh, and there’s a surprise.

* * *

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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. Neutrino

    There is an old saying about the groom saying goodbye to his best man at the altar.
    Another old saying is that when a son takes a wife, you lose him for life.

    Those bits of folk wisdom continue to resonate through the ages.

    1. Martin Oline

      “When a son takes a wife, you lose him for life.”
      I have noticed in my genealogy research that married men often cleave to their in-laws much of the time. This may have had more to do with the dowry rights of the wife, but tracing in-laws’ surnames is often rewarding. They are often living next door.

    2. Randall Flagg

      Can’t remember to whom this should be attributed to but:
      Marriage is a 3 ring circus. First is the engagement ring
      Than the wedding ring. And finally, the suffering..,

    3. Late Introvert

      Well, this introvert did just keep chugging along. It helps that my wife finally came to accept me, if grudgingly. And having a kid forced me to get way better at faking it. But I have friends from high school, post-grad, and my 30s. OK, only 3 friends, but that’s about all I need.

    4. johnherbiehancock

      I’ve found this to be true, particularly if you have a partner that has serious trust issues or a behavioral disorder. They’ll consciously and subconsciously work to isolate you from friends and family.

      I think some degree of that is at work in what’s come down as folk wisdom. And it’s not as uncommon as one might think and I’ve learned that by adulthood, a lot of bad potential mates have learned to hide their issues (or come up with plausible excuses for them) until they have the ring and the piece of paper that make it harder to leave them! And if you have kids… heaven help you…

    5. ambrit

      As my Mom told me; “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.”
      I honestly do not know if there are any “pure” reasons for getting married.
      As Joseph Campbell once put it in an interview; “Marriage is an ordeal.” In that sense, marriage is an initiation into a new plane of existence.

  2. tegnost

    I think, in a humanitarian crisis for us to step up and make sure that people are not starving and that they have a place to stay and that they get the basic health care that they need,’ Pritzker said.

    Free stuff for NGO’s, Big Ag, FIRE, and the med/hospital complex. Nothing like a poor person walks in the door (access!) and the .gov shovels money to a corporation. I think there are several choice words that describe this reality so it’s also, eleventy dimensional…as your
    cheap labor comment alludes it’s grift in every dimension. Pritzger has all the bases covered here so qualified democrat.

    1. notabanker

      The unspoken part here is that it’s not a humanitarian crisis to have people living in doorways, tents, campers and cars with zero access to healthcare who were actually born here. I guess because we just don’t have that inside the borders of this sanctuary to the world.

      Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, oh and be careful not to trip over the riff raff on your way in……

      You just gotta be a psychopath to make that kind of statement with any depth of sincerity.

  3. Wukchumni

    Biden probably has a few Members Only jackets from the 80’s he’s fond of that in his mind pair well with aviator glasses, but I couldn’t imagine him wearing a psuedo jacket with fringe, like the one Dennis Hopper wore in Easy Rider.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I was saved from Members Only memories because it actually didn’t have enough straps and pouches for my taste.

      And everyone was selling painter’s pants. The cargo pant was waiting to be born.

  4. nippersdad

    Taylor Swift for president? Literally the only thing I know about her is that She Was With Her.

    There is just a stench of sock puppetry all over that one.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think this speaks to the “West Wing liberal” mush brains. Swift is just so banal. In their minds, its safe. Its not dissimilar to the Virginia election issues story. Team Blue is suddenly running on abortion after months of nothing. Why abortion? Because Team Blue’s positions are popular. As an issue it tends not to motivate year in and year out, but the candidates don’t need to risk saying, “teacher shortage? Its called supply and demand. Pay them more.”

    2. Wukchumni

      Taylor Swift has fans lined up & camped out for months to be able to purchase expensive tickets to see her, and in contrast Mike Pence only got a bakers dozen worth to show up to be with him for free, when he was running for President.

      1. nippersdad

        Wasn’t there a story here recently about the insane prices of the tickets to her concerts? Seems like that would be indicative of a self limiting audience for whatever Hillary she is trying to sell us. Great for her press agents, but will anyone living across the railroad tracks be interested?

        1. John

          Why does whatever it was about Taylor Swift attract comment … even this comment? She sings I am told. She has concerts. She relentlessly promotes herself … her name is ubiquitous on the internet. So what?

          1. nippersdad


            So, rube that I am, I typed Taylor Smith, er, Swift into YT, and they are apparently trying to make a thing out of her. This is an actual thing in the MSM. But, importantly, does she carry hot sauce in her abuela’s bag? Details matter.

            What a sad little group of people.

            1. ambrit

              Oh man! Are you now Kerrying whitewater for her?
              [There is also a Vaughn Bode joke in there somewhere.]

        2. Mark Gisleson

          Extremely very excellent plus good point: celebrity numbers never mean what you think they mean.

          I started digging and google loved me back with claims that there are 180 million Taylor Swift fans in the USA, and that 50 million are Swifties. The “young” population of the USA is 50 million but you can’t subtract all of them from Swift’s voting base. Still, a very significant part (maybe half?) of her base isn’t old enough to vote.

          Based on the “cash on hand for emergencies” data, it’s a safe bet over half the US population cannot afford Taylor Swift tickets. Music sales even in the low 8 digits are meaningless in a general election. Radio claims to reach 2/3ds of all Americans every day. I suspect I’m not the only NC reader who cannot remember the last time they listened to the radio.

          Streaming only reaches fans and people who don’t actually care about music but do what their friends do.

          And that’s it. I’m scraping here for her base and I just keep identifying the same people over and over again. Which is not to say that the neoliberals in charge of the DNC wouldn’t swoon if Taylor Swift walked in the door (not sure how she’d get past their security moat but I’m guessing she has people for that).

          But she could spearhead a support movement for a candidate and in that capacity she could make a very big difference, spoiler wise. Safe bet she draws more votes from suburbia and rural America than from urban centers, which is much the same thing as saying she could really hurt Trump assuming Swift’s supporting someone more credible than Joe Biden.

          Not even Taylor Swift could push Biden’s rotting carcass across the finish line in November 2024.

          1. ambrit

            Now there is an anti-Biden campaign awaiting to be hatched.
            “Beware the Walking Biden.” Do “Creepy” Joe as a zombis in every video.
            Couple that with a “Five Nights at Hunter’s” themed ad campaign.

    3. Pat

      I have to say that out of all the celebrity “saviors” out there Swift is possibly the least offensive to me. Oprah, Michelle really. And after rejecting Bankman Fried and getting around the guy who tried to milk her after he was able to buy her early recordings she clearly has more on the ball than the current resident. Not that I would vote for her.

      All the reaching isn’t just about Trump…or Biden. For anyone with half a brain there is no one running, outright or surreptitiously, worthy of anyone’s vote. Think about, Trump and Biden are out tomorrow, anyone in the wings who isn’t nauseating? And all the independents have got issues as well. Most of the public knows it’s choice is bad and bad, even if it isn’t admitting it out loud.

      1. nippersdad

        No fan of celebrity politics here, but how awesome would it be for Susan Sarandon to run on the Green ticket? That would just punch so many buttons for me that it is irresistible to think about.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          If Susan Sarandon were flat chested, people would treat her exactly like they treated Jane Fonda before Fonda started hanging out with Dolly Parton.

          Not joking, hardwired sexism is as real as the short v tall thing for candidates.

          As famously stated in The Deteriorata, “A walk through the ocean of most souls would scarcely get your feet wet.”

          So yes, Sarandon would get votes.

          1. nippersdad

            I know, right?

            And she has proven to have an ego of steel; no whining for her. She would give as good as she got even as she gave voice to all of the ignored issues and false pieties that led to the downfall of the Democratic party.

            She just needs to let me know where to send my $27.00 and I am there.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        I think we’re missing the chance to draft William Shatner. Yeah, he’s born in Canada, but like that matters any more–John McCain was born in Panama and nobody even mentioned it. The important thing is that the President has to be a good actor. Imagine if normal people looked forward to the debates?

      3. ChrisPacific

        None of that says anything about her politics or possible job performance though. It just demonstrates that she is at least a marginally competent human being (admittedly already a higher bar than most recent candidates).

        She’s also a billionaire who travels everywhere by private jet. Granted, she’s a bit more sympathetic than most billionaires, but I don’t think there is any question about where she would stand on the climate crisis, for example, or her class loyalties.

        I’ll grant that people would be scared to cross her for fear of being immortalized in song. And the propaganda videos would be higher quality.

    4. bdy

      Karma is her boyfriend, or so she says. Her history backs it up. Pooping out hit after hit for nearly two decades is a rare feat and labor of love, billions be damned (Bacharach, McCartney, Prince . . . Tay). That’s enough hardcore yoga to get my vote over the likes of those other guys.

      (although her bf’s gotta have it in for her after all the super spreaders)

    5. SocalJimObjects

      The US at this point is headed to hell no matter who is “in charge”. I remember how Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger was supposed to make California better? I bet very few people even remember what he accomplished if any.

    6. notabanker

      This is brilliant. Something I never could have fathomed, but yet so doable. We can see if Brie Larson can do SecDef or maybe even better, SecState. Put her in front of Erdogan in that snazzy Captain Marvel uniform, whose gonna say no?

      I have to do more research on this. Idiocracy with a new woke lens. It’s the perfect dystopia.

      1. nippersdad

        And they already have a campaign slogan:

        “Brawndo, The Thirst Mutilator: it has electrolytes that plants crave”

        No imagination required.

    7. jonboinAR

      Taylor Swift? What about Taylor Swift?! She’s some country singer, right? Country? I see her picture a lot here and there. Now they’re running her for Pres? Oh, wow!

  5. Wukchumni

    “It’s true: People do poop, a lot, in ride lines at Disneyland and Disney World” [SFGate]
    Got a cross-tie marketing idea… ‘Dopey Depends’.

    I have a few dozen partial Disneyland ticket books from the 1970’s when like most in the SoCalist Movement-our family went every year, and if we were to use Disneyflation, Admission & 11 Adventures in 1975 was $4.75 for a child and $5.75 for an adult.

    It is now tier pricing depending upon demand, and Admission & Adventures are $119 to $194, with 6 pricing tiers in between.

    A house in LA/OC was $50k in 1975 and now worth around a million, a 20x increase, similar to the Disneyland ticket price of $5.75/$119 increase.

    1. Acacia

      Re: “Human Code H” on Disneyland

      Hmm… no mention in that article of the “pixie dust” for “protein spills” in the Happiest Place On Earth.™

  6. synoia

    Who was was fraudulently harmed? Real estate values are are what the buyer an sellers agree.

    If one dislikes the price, one is free not to buy buy sell, Similarly sellers can refuse an offer.

    As for valuations for taxes, the taxing authority has systems to to assess real estate.

    AS do banks.

    Especially for non residential property.

    No one believes the owner, everybody knows that owners ask for the moon and planets, plus a third firstborn.

    1. John

      … and Little Donny behaved on the witness stand no differently than he has for years. He is going for the ferocious pout look that looks scarier with age. Why run all these stories? Simply say same as last time and leave it at that.

      1. Wukchumni

        Isn’t it the way pro wrestlers often go?… they are the good guy-think of Trump as a pudgier Hulk Hogan, and then ~poof~ he’s Rowdy Roddy Piper.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Indeed. No idea what twisted logic was used to bring this nonsense to trial. While some banks may be stupid enough to take a property owner’s valuation at face value (and we’ve seen plenty of dumber-than-a-bag-of-hammers banker types over the years and also very recently), it is the bank’s responsibility to do their own due diligence and not simply take someone’s word for it. If the property was given a value by the bank for the purposes of a loan, that is ultimately the bank’s valuation and not Trump’s. That, plus the fact the the loans were repaid makes it really, really hard to see the fraud here.

      1. nippersdad

        The last time I was in New York, back in the Eighties, the big news was that Trump was blackmailing one of his creditors for for some huge sum of money per month lest he declare bankruptcy on one of his projects that they had underwritten. Hard to believe any NY jury member would not understand how the real estate market works, particularly when it comes to large borrowers.

        There used to be an adage that went something like: Small accounts are on their own, but large accounts are the banks problem. Financial Darwinism has always been the creed there, so it is difficult see how all that would suddenly change just because it was Trump.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I have a recollection, from that period, of some kind of debt restructuring that included a monthly stipend to DJT of ~$300000. That was real money back then.

        2. caucus99percenter

          The double standard is striking when one also recalls that no banker or insurance executive was indicted for malfeasance in the financial meltdown in 2008, or for robo-signing faked mortgage documents in the foreclosure crisis.

          They all even got to keep their huge bonuses.

          1. notabanker

            This is the hypocrisy of it all. Even when Trump does something that most people would say is wrong, it’s still not illegal unless you squint really hard through a copy of the NYT at dawn in NYC. Yet, real, actual corporate crimes, and insider trading, are happening to the tune of billions and people are walking away fabulously wealthy. Or worse, they won’t go away.

        3. LifelongLib

          The adage I heard (with various numbers) is that if you owe the bank $100,000 you have a problem. If you owe the bank $10,000,000 the bank has a problem.

      2. Samuel Conner

        I think that deceiving a lender through overvaluation of proffered collateral does in principal harm the lender by making the loan appear safer than it actually is, which would or could result in lower interest rate terms than were warranted by the actual risk the lender was taking. That there was no default, so that the risk did not eventuate, IMO does not mitigate this.

        But I agree that the lender ought to do due diligence and form an independent assessment of the value of the collateral. I have not closely followed the trial, but if the lender had formed its own opinion of the value of the collateral through independent appraisal (and used its own opinion in setting the loan terms), I would have expected that to come up in testimony — that would be highly exculpatory, I would think.

        If the lender did not do this, that is a bit worrisome. One wonders how many other undercollateralized loans there may be, waiting to blow up.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Several years ago we refinanced our house to do some repairs on it. The credit union we had the mortgage with did their due diligence and sent out an appraiser who decided that our house was not worth what others in the neighborhood were getting for their houses, likely because the local housing market was going crazy, little crapboxes were selling for ridiculous prices and the market was due for a downturn, and so the credit union proceeded with caution and denied our loan. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, and despite us not getting the loan (we wound up getting it elsewhere), I did appreciate their due diligence and financial conservatism, and continue to do business with them.

          If the bank took Trump’s word for it, that’s their problem, not his. And I think you’re spot on with that last bit. I remember being pre-approved for mortgage loans for WAY more than I could realistically afford, and since the banks were never really punished for doing that years ago, I suspect they still are.

    3. Randall Flagg

      That’s just it. With apologies for not providing links but the prosecuting attorney campaigned on going after Trump. If she is to say otherwise I would like to know who she has next in her crosshairs.
      And also the banks loaning money to Trump weren’t exactly little pikers like George Bailey’s Building and Loan. They were the big boys and have been around the block at least once. Maybe twice even. . I would think they wouldn’t have loaned the money if they didn’t feel comfortable. But I’m not super knowledgeable about the world of big time commercial lending so there’s that.

    4. Pat

      I personally want to know what the county valuation on the judge’s properties were versus what he paid for them, especially if he got a mortgage to pay for one or all. If they match, I will eat my hat.

      I’m not saying Trump and any of his business entities didn’t inflate the valuations of the assets. I am saying that 1.) it was the banks’ job(s) to determine the value for any possible financing not Trump’s, and 2.) the judge’s criteria is artificial in real world applications including that of most home sellers and buyers.

      I wish there was a real attempt to clean up excesses of the real estate industry but it is a show trial. And even if all those media outlets won’t admit it, they know it. Because this is NY and is about real estate, no matter how far it goes and how long it goes on (which won’t be long) all of it will be trashed.

  7. Jason Boxman

    Heh, Haley’s big contribution to SC as governor was to encourage those driving up I95 to avoid stopping in SC rest stops. That I recall clearly. I wonder what other public goods she destroyed as governor?

    1. Carolinian

      Don’t forget making every SC state employee answer the phone by saying “it’s a great day in South Carolina.” The woman is dumb as a box of rocks while also being malicious. Rothernberg (he’s still around?) citing her disastrous performance as UN ambassador just shows how the MSM will pretend my snobby statement isn’t true.

      If Haley can be considered qualified to be president of the US then anyone can do it. Haven’t we had enough empty suits including this one who can’t stop talking about her high heels? Sheesh.

      I agree this will be a ‘none of the above’ election.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I’m reading it with a vodka. It’s absolutely a must-read. And it mentions what many of us have known and said for over three years now. We can end this at any time.

      We need to be clear why containment of SARS-CoV-2 was actively sabotaged and eventually abandoned. It has absolutely nothing to do with the “impossibility” of achieving it. In fact, the technical problem of containing even a stealthily spreading virus such as SARS-CoV-2 is fully solved, and that solution was successfully applied in practice for years during the pandemic.

      The algorithm for containment is well established – passively break transmission chains through the implementation of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as limiting human contacts, high quality respirator masks, indoor air filtration and ventilation, and others, while aggressively hunting down active remaining transmission chains through traditional contact tracing and isolation methods combined with the powerful new tool of population-scale testing.

      This could end at any time. But it requires a reshuffling of the social contract, and that ain’t gonna happen.

  8. Jason Boxman

    What’s most astonishing to me is that, SARS2 doesn’t come up at all on entrepreneur Twitter at all; When I got out for walks or groceries, people don’t look ready to drop dead. The world seems _normal_ enough. But then today at an employer I know, three employees all said there will sick today. That’s the most I’ve seen at one time, ever. Sick with what? Who knows!

    Given what we know about the consequences of a SARS2 infection, to say nothing of repeat infections, in perpetuity, either there’s some kind of disconnect here, or I’m not understanding the data and the studies here and there’s nothing to worry about. But it can’t be both. Am I insane, or is the world broken? And how can you tell?

    1. Samuel Conner

      My interpretation of the situation is that things are bad enough to over-excite the “threat detection” brain circuits of those of us who were already “more than typically” sensitive to emergent threats, but not so bad that they excite warning flags among the great majority of the population that is average or below average in such sensitivity.

      If this were SARS1, with 7% case fatality rate, or MERS, with 30% CFR, everyone would be as alert to the danger as we currently are to SARS-CoV-2.

      You’re not insane. You’re “more alert than average” and perhaps “more sensitive to medium-risk threats” than average. (And you’re alert to the fact that low- and medium-probability hazards over time add up to a high probability of some adverse outcome.)

      This is a case of “being different is not a bad thing.”

      Don’t lower your precautions. There may in future be urgent need for a core residual population of unimpaired people to help keep civilization running. Of course, being indispensable, we’ll be poorly paid.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Thanks. My conclusion since about July 2020 is that the death rate for this just isn’t high enough for a concerted response; Of course my original thought was they’d start shooting us on the street if we left quarantine, so I might have oscillated in the opposite direction too much. As you say, my caution meter is stuck on higher-than-average. It’s cost me some victories in life, I have no doubt, but perhaps here I might dodge a bullet, so to speak.

        Of course, being indispensable, we’ll be poorly paid.

        Because the other people left undamaged will be the DavosMan crowd, and they also know two things: that COVID is airborne and the lives of the rest of us have no value.

    2. Michael King

      You are not insane. Our family doctor said the same to me last week. He is fully supportive of our cautious lifestyle (masking everywhere, no travel, and on and on). Another patient of his is also a family physician. This person has long Covid and can no longer practice medicine. The reality of this horror show is increasingly apparent. Thank you Sub-Boreal and agree with you JB: the Snow article is essential reading. F***ing depressing though.

    3. The Rev Kev

      My daughter has just come down sick with it for the third time and it got her boyfriend as well. Meanwhile my wife and I are waiting to see if we get it as well as they live in another part of the house. Damn but this virus is insidious.

  9. Jason Boxman

    Like this. This is otherworldly.

    Now we know how COVID attacks your heart

    Scientists have noticed that COVID-19 can trigger serious cardiovascular problems, especially among older people who have a buildup of fatty material in their blood vessels. But now a new study has revealed why and shown that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, directly infects the arteries of the heart.

    But nothing to worry about? It’s like I’m going to lose my mind with everyone saying the sky really is red, not blue. Huh.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Ah … #TYVM … so it’s not just the spike protein. The virus likes to use cholesterol to camp out in … wow.

      Time for Metamucil (via harvard.edu)!!

    2. tawal

      Thanks for this Jason Boxman. As I suspected.
      Unfortunately, I didn’t find out that I have arteriosclerosis until after I was having shortness of breath and heart racing after “recovering” from a positive Covid outcome with mild symptoms. It has been almost two years and has subsided somewhat from how bad is was for the first six months to a year.

    3. Jason Boxman

      References this landmark VA study from 18 months.

      The mechanism or mechanisms that underlie the association between COVID-19 and development of cardiovascular diseases in the post-acute phase of the disease are not entirely clear11,12. Putative mechanisms include lingering damage from direct viral invasion of cardiomyocytes and subsequent cell death, endothelial cell infection and endotheliitis, transcriptional alteration of multiple cell types in heart tissue, complement activation and complement-mediated coagulopathy and microangiopathy, downregulation of ACE2 and dysregulation of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system, autonomic dysfunction, elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and activation of TGF-β signaling through the Smad pathway to induce subsequent fibrosis and scarring of cardiac tissue11,13,14,15,16,17 …

      And (from study, parent post) we now know that it infects plaque cells:

      The study also found that the virus can survive and grow inside the cells that form plaque—the buildup of fat-filled cells that narrow and stiffen the arteries leading to atherosclerosis. If the plaque breaks, it can block blood flow and cause a heart attack or a stroke. The SARS-CoV-2 infection makes the situation worse by inflaming the plaque and increasing the chance that it breaks free.


      Mounting evidence now shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not only a respiratory virus, but it can also affect the heart and many other organ systems, says Ziyad Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis.

      Of course, if you’ve been reading the life saving coverage here at NC, you knew that SARS-COV-2 is a vascular virus that causes vascular disease as far back as April or May 2020.

      Nice of the rest of the world to catch up, I guess?

      Oh, and, and it screws your immune system:

      The NYU team found that in the arteries, the virus predominantly colonized the white blood cells called macrophages. Macrophages are immune cells that are mobilized to fight off an infection, but these same cells also absorb excess fats—including cholesterol from blood. When microphages load too much fat, they change into foam cells, which can increase plaque formation.

      I’d be curious to see a list of where SARS2 does not infect. It could be a short list?


      “We found that the virus tended to persist longer in foam cells,” says Giannarelli. That suggests that foam cells might act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2.

      This is really seminal work here. And scary.

  10. Glen

    Ouch! One of the old blimp hangers at Tustin has gone up:

    Historic WWII blimp hangar destroyed in fire

    These are massive wooden blimp hangers built during WW2 for the Navy. There were at least two more built at Moffett Field (Hanger 2 and 3) in the Bay Area. I think these are being used to house tech billionaire private jets.

    I was inside Hanger 1 at Moffett Field a long time ago. These things are huge. If you are close, and have a chance, go see one.

    In fact, this scene from the Star Trek re-boot was filmed inside one of the hangers at Tustin:

    Star Trek 1 leaving Earth for Entrprs to “punch it”

    1. The Rev Kev

      That was the film which really threw Star Trek into the dumpster fire. Roddenberry said his stories had to be believable and as an example, he said that one time when the Enterprise was under attack, executives wanted Kirk to hug a pretty Yeoman. Roddenberry said if this was a US Navy ship off Vietnam that was about to be hit by torpedoes, would the skipper of that ship just grab the pretty female member of the crew that was on the bridge or would he be shouting orders to save the ship? Now look at the premise of that 2009 film ‘Star Trek’ as translated into present day terms. You have a rebellious brand new officer not quite graduated from the US Navy Academy who, over the course of events taking place over a matter of a few weeks, is then as a reward placed in command of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford. Sounds legit.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Agreed. That was a disgraceful film, not least for its dystopian outlook. Roddenberry must have turned in his grave.

      2. Glen

        Yeah, it was a $hit film, but it’s still with us while the hanger goes up in smoke.

        Lot’s of speculation in the YT comments that it was arson since the property is worth $$$.

  11. ChrisRUEcon


    > Concerns about the Biden campaign’s approach escalated this week among Democrats after a series of polls showed Biden trailing Trump in critical battleground states. Former Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod questioned whether the president is the right person to head the ticket at all.

    Folks, Biden is family-blog toast … (via TikTok)

    … with apologies for the incorrect “taxes pay for …” framing, but we don’t need the macroeconomics to be correct. What matters more is the sentiment: Biden and the Democrats are not providing tangible, material benefits to the masses, while allowing the warmongers to gorge themselves off the public purse. And more and more people are fed up with that reality.

    Mene mene tekel upharsin

    1. Acacia

      Yep. “David Axelrod questioned whether …”

      Gee… ya think?

      That tax strike mentioned by the dood on TikTok sounds about right.

  12. nippersdad

    Jimmy Dore is reporting that RFK Jr.’s entire field staff, following Kucinich, walked off of the campaign last Friday.


    So long, Bob, we barely knew ye. There are just campaigns imploding everywhere. Now that Kucinich is free I wonder if he is thinking about running again (against Dean Phillips?). That would be an interesting match up. His idea for a Department of Peace may have finally found its’ niche moment. All he would have to do is recite the litany of lost wars, and how much they cost both in dollars and international esteem lost, and he would have a shot.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Ha! Another one bites the dust … All the BiBi stans on the left side of the aisle are gonna get jacked … C’mon Dr. West!

      1. nippersdad

        Dr. West was an early favorite of mine, but I haven’t seen anything from him since he deep sixed Daou. Is he even still in the game? I would hate to think he has flamed out, but it would appear that everyone I send money to ends up getting the electoral kiss of death.

        There must be a song in that, something like: Where Has All My Money Gone, Long Time Passing….

        I may have to stop “supporting” candidates so that they can get some support.

        1. JM

          I followed him on istagram after he announced, and he’s still putting things up there for the campaign. Biggest thing I noticed was picketing with some UAW people from a couple days ago. Not super active as far as I can tell, but I try and limit my time on social media.

    2. britzklieg

      Yay! I’d decided I could vote for RFK if I had to but that was short lived once he doubled down on his support for the genocidal acts and pronouncements of Israel. Bye bye Bobby… we hardly knew ye…

      I even thought I could vote for Trump in a match-up with Genocide Joe but now it’s clear… I probably won’t be voting at all. As a lifelong devotee of George Carlin I am glad to finally take his advice on that worthless, indeed fraudulent, process. Family-blog’em all…

      (I suppose I’d vote for Kucinich, but doubt he’ll enter the fray)

      1. caucus99percenter

        In fact, the latter simply provides a written transcript of the Norman Finkelstein video on ScheerPost.

      2. Carolinian

        Thank you from those of us who don’t care to Youtube. In brief it’s about Bernie saying there should be no ceasefire and Hamas should be destroyed.

        If you look back at NC debates on Bernie even his supporters conceded that he’s not good on foreign policy and so his statements are not very surprising. One has to endorse this from Finkelstein

        Clare Daly, the Irish representative in the European Union, she said, quote, — referring to von der Leyen — she said, quote, “if you have nothing constructive to say, shut up.”

        and I’ve made the same complaint about Turley giving himself away on Israel/Palestine. He’s always highlighting the shutdown of free speech on campuses around the country. I wonder when he will address the same at his own campus.


        Not holding my breath.

  13. Swamp Yankee

    E.P. Thompson’s “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the 18th Century” remains one of my favorite single pieces of historical scholarship. His body of work was critical in my own doctoral dissertation (on the preservation of the commons by Town Meetings in the Towns of early Plymouth County, Massachusetts). Also glad to see him cited — very heartening!

    In a related vein, I have been working with a truly broad coalition of environmentalists, fishermen the Herring Pond Wampanoag, and everyday citizens to prevent an attempted enclosure of the sea (the owner of a decommissioned nuclear power plant seeks to discharge chemically and radioactively contaminated wastewater a la’ Fukushima into Cape Cod Bay, home to a ~$1.7 billion marine economy.)

    The problem for the owners of the plant is that such a discharge violates Massachusetts law (e.g., the Ocean Sanctuaries Act, M.G.L. c. 132A Secs. 12A-16J, and the MA Endangered Species Act, c. 131 in the Mass. General Laws), which are not preempted by any contrary Federal law here (see e.g. Pacific Gas & Electric v. State Conservation Resources Board, 1983).

    We have achieved an excellent tentative determination over the summer from Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection which has adopted our arguments — that discharge of industrial wastewater is plainly prohibited by the MA Ocean Sanctuaries Act.

    It also violates a much more ancient legal principle (I am an academic historian, not a lawyer), contained in both the Code of Justinian and Magna Carta — that the sea is common. As 17th c. English jurist Lord Matthew Hale put it, the Sea is in the Crown for the Nation. Since the Revolution, it has been in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States for the Nation.

    While we are not yet out of the woods, the success of this broad coalition in defense of our commons, including the Herring Pond Wampanoag, has been a heartening development.

    1. Old Sarum

      I had been wondering why Swamp Yankee has not been contributing much to the comments section.

      I hope that someone is closely monitoring the cocks at the poisons facility; “accidents” do tend to happen. Unfortunately history is not on SY’s side, because selling off the commons (in one form or another) seems to be the zeitgeist to rule them all.


      1. Swamp Yankee

        Thank you, Old Sarum!

        You’re correct, I’ve been devoting almost all my free time to this cause, and my commenting here has declined as a result. Indeed, I’ve decided to switch from academia and college history teaching to the law as a result of these last two years of intensive work, and have been learning — really, almost “reading” the law in the 18th and 19th century sense — the law and legal reasoning under the tutelage of a retired attorney, one of the more prominent lawyers in Boston, who lives a mile down the road from me and is married to the foremost activist-watchdog on this issue.

        Re: monitoring. Yes, that is our current struggle. We have found a section of the Mass. General Laws (c. 21E, the Oil and Hazardous Wastes Act) that gives our state government the power to require monitoring of the plant.

        And while the commons were on the losing side of the last 500 years, I think I sense something very significant in the air here in this fairly Red corner of a Blue State: a willingness to lay aside partisan and cultural difference in order precisely to preserve those commons. It’s remarkable how both very hard-right lobstermen, and the crunchiest of Cape Cod hippies, agree that the Commons are something that must be preserved.

        I view that development as something very important in our politics and society that will be critical as this century goes forward.

        Thanks again!

    1. Jason Boxman

      On the other hand this limits liberal democrat appeals on abortion rights. If your state has it, do you have urgency to vote for Biden?

  14. Jason Boxman

    Busy day for bad COVID news.

    People infected multiple times with COVID-19 are more likely to develop long COVID, and most never fully recover from the condition. Those are two of the most striking findings of a comprehensive new 3-year research study of 138,000 veterans.

    This seemed likely to me over 3 years ago. 3. When we first heard of long COVID.

  15. Daniil Adamov

    Re: golden toilet, I am reminded of one of my city’s most prominent oligarchs, Andrey Moiseievich Simanovsky, who famously gifted a golden toilet to the rector of a local university. He later funded and directed the renovation of the humble school at which he once studied, turning it into a gaudy “Versailles-like” palace – complete with gilded toilets. Man cares about education.

    ( https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-49522622 If curious. BBC thinks we’re “Siberian”.)

  16. thoughtful person

    I keep seeing Verily around here in the water cooler, and I think of Tolkien’s description of Frodo struggling to avoid the Eye of Sauron:

    “And suddenly he felt the Eye. There was an eye in the Dark Tower that did not sleep. He knew that it had become aware of his gaze. A fierce eager will was there. It leaped towards him; almost like a finger he felt it, searching for him. Very soon it would nail him down, know just exactly where he was. Amon Lhaw it touched. It glanced upon Tol Brandir he threw himself from the seat, crouching, covering his head with his gray hood.
    He heard himself crying out: Never, never! Or was it: Verily I come, I come to you? He could not tell. Then as a flash from some other point of power there came to his mind another thought: Take it off! Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the Ring!”

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