2:00PM Water Cooler 12/1/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Horned Screamer, Táchira, Venezuela. Short but sweet!

* * *


“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

“Rep. Loudermilk confirms all videotapes from Jan. 6 Committee depositions are gone” [Just the News]. “”All of the videotapes of all depositions are gone,” Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., chairman of the House Administration oversight subcommittee, told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show Thursday night. Loudermilk said he believes under the House rules the videotapes qualified as congressional evidence because some clips were aired at hearings, and all the tapes should have been preserved by the now-defunct J6 committee and its chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss…. Loudermilk also revealed another tantalizing twist in the J6 committee evidence: the Democrat-led House committee sent certain evidence such as transcripts to the Biden White House and Homeland Security Department and now the transcripts have been returned to Loudermilk’s GOP-led subcommittee nearly fully redacted so their contents can’t be read. House Republicans have no records of who the witnesses were, what they said, or why it is being used by the federal prosecutor in their case against Trump, Loudermilk said. The documents ‘belong to the House. They should have never been sent. And second of all, do not send them back to me this heavily redacted. Those are our documents,’ the chairman said. ‘But my question is, why was it okay for a Democrat-run House of Representatives to have unredacted documents but not when there’s a Republican committee that’s looking into this. What is it that the committee and or the White House is trying to hide?'” • And that’s a good question to ask, isn’t it? (And if these depositions are being used as evidence by the Prosecution in any of Trump’s trials, well….)

Biden Administration


Less than a year to go!

Lambert here: 340 days is a long time in politics. In the formulation of stability vs. volatility — that is, the view that the race is a “regular order” of Trump v. Biden, vs. the view that it is by no means certain that Trump and/or Biden will nominated, elected, and allowed to assume office, and further, that the means by which the parties will select their candidates is unknown, and even the nature of victory is unknown — I am firmly on the side of volatility. Hence my grimly detailed and methodical pointillist method; we need to know as much about all the players and fields as we possibly can, because we cannot know who will emerge from the pack, or even, at this point, why. The powers that be can rig the election all they want, but if the dogs won’t eat the rigging, what then? And if they will, what then? So strap yourselves in.

* * *

“The RNC’s rules for the 2024 convention don’t address what would happen if Donald Trump is convicted” [Associated Press]. “The Republican National Committee’s rules for next year’s nominating contest and convention were released this week without addressing a question the GOP could well face next summer: Can the party’s delegates vote for a different candidate if the presumptive nominee is convicted of a felony?” Well, we can always make up the rules as we go along! More: “At next year’s convention, which starts July 15 in Milwaukee, there will be opportunities to tweak the rules when they are adopted or to suspend them, which can require two-thirds of delegates to approve on a vote. ‘It’s a parliamentary body,’ said Benjamin Ginsberg, a Republican election lawyer. ‘It can always work its will if it wants to one way or another.’ Such last-minute maneuvers are difficult to organize and there are few current signs that delegates might look for another option even with Trump’s criminal cases looming.”

“My Father, My Faith, And Donald Trump” [The Atlantic]. At his Father’s funeral: “Now the crowd swarmed around us, filling the sanctuary and spilling out into the lobby and adjacent hallways, where tables displayed flowers and golf clubs and photos of Dad. I was numb. My brothers too. None of us had slept much that week. So the first time someone made a glancing reference to Rush Limbaugh, it did not compute. But then another person brought him up. And then another. That’s when I connected the dots. Apparently, the king of conservative talk radio had been name-checking me on his program recently—”a guy named Tim Alberta”—and describing the unflattering revelations in my book about Trump. Nothing in that moment could have mattered to me less. I smiled, shrugged, and thanked people for coming to the visitation. They kept on coming. More than I could count. People from the church—people I’d known my entire life—were greeting me, not primarily with condolences or encouragement or mourning, but with commentary about Limbaugh and Trump. Some of it was playful, guys remarking about how I was the same mischief-maker they’d known since kindergarten. But some of it wasn’t playful. Some of it was angry; some of it was cold and confrontational. One man questioned whether I was truly a Christian. Another asked if I was still on “the right side.” All while Dad was in a box a hundred feet away.” • Worth reading in full.

“What Would a Trump Administration Mean for the War in Ukraine?” [Russia Matters]. “It is of course a long time until the next U.S. presidential election, and much may happen in that time both in the U.S. and Ukraine, but, at present, opinion polls suggest both that Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential candidate and that he stands a good chance of beating Joe Biden. A second Trump presidency seems likely to mean greatly reduced support for Ukraine, possibly combined with a U.S. push for a peace settlement. Without very high levels of U.S. military aid ($61.4 billion to date), it will be impossible for Ukraine to continue the fight. A second Trump administration is a prospect that European governments dread, but that they cannot influence. Nor do they have the ability, unity or will either to initiate negotiations themselves, or to substitute for U.S. military aid to Ukraine. They are therefore also in waiting mode. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian establishment is in a state of great confusion and division. Awareness is dawning that the chances of complete victory are slight, and time is not on Ukraine’s side; but the government has declared so often and so publicly that a compromise peace is unacceptable (especially concerning even a temporary territorial compromise during a ceasefire) that it will be extremely difficult for them to agree to talks, unless they come under massive public pressure from Washington or suffer a severe military defeat. As for the Russian government, it senses that time is on its side, and also appears willing to wait in the hope that Russia’s far greater reserves of manpower and ammunition combined with Western and Ukrainian war weariness will eventually force Ukraine to accept Russian terms (albeit ones that would probably be far less than Moscow hoped for when it launched the war). Vladimir Putin—who is poised to run for reelection in the spring—also hopes that a Trump administration would promote such a settlement.”

* * *

“Florida GOP Chair, Whose Wife Co-Founded Moms for Liberty, Accused of Sexual Assault amid Ménage à Trois Scandal” [People]. “Christian Ziegler, the head of Florida’s Republican Party, is under criminal investigation following an allegation of sexual battery, the Sarasota County Police Department confirms to PEOPLE. His accuser claims that she’d been in a consenting three-way sexual relationship with Christian and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, for some time leading up to the incident, according to the Florida Center for Government Accountability. While Christian chairs the Florida GOP, Bridget sits on Sarasota County’s school board and co-founded the far-right group Moms for Liberty, an organization that advocates against any mention of LGBTQ rights, race, ethnicity, critical race theory, or discrimination in school curriculum. Though no longer with Moms for Liberty, Bridget was one of the driving forces behind Florida’s divisive ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation. A heavily redacted report provided by the Sarasota PD reveals that an anonymous person accused Christian — whose name is concealed on the document — of sexual battery on Oct. 4 at a home in Sarasota. The word ‘raped’ is included in the report, though its context is also redacted.” • And to think I thought the Florida Republican Party was a well-oiled machine….

* * *

“DeSantis’ Campaign May Have Flunked Its Final Test After Newsom Debate” [Daily Beast]. “Newsom often seemed bewildered at just how clumsy the DeSantis performance turned out, and took every opportunity to hammer home his top gripes with the governor. He also went out of his way to defend President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris throughout the nearly two-hour affair…. Both Newsom and Hannity grew weary of DeSantis’ constant interjections, with the California governor telling him to ‘relax,’ while Hannity asserted he wasn’t ‘a potted plant’ and asked DeSantis to let Newsom speak on a few occasions. ‘Let each other breathe,’ a surprisingly Zen version of Hannity said early on in the debate, to no avail. Beyond the endless crosstalk that ensued, the governors re-litigated their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and even spent almost 10 minutes on the difference between progressive income taxes and flat sales taxes.”

“Top takeaways, real winner of DeSantis, Newsom debate” [FOX]. “Against all expectations, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis absolutely destroyed California’s Gavin Newsom in Thursday night’s Red State-Blue State debate moderated by Sean Hannity on Fox News. Yes, the governor of Florida had a stronger hand – his state has seen a massive inflow of residents attracted to the better quality of life offered by the Sunshine State, while people have been fleeing California. On issue after issue raised by Hannity, DeSantis could roll out statistics that prove the success of the conservative common-sense policies he has implemented in Florida. But the surprise was in his strong and persuasive presentation. DeSantis is generally perceived to be a wooden speaker and campaigner; maybe his run for president has made him more effective. Newsom, on the other hand, is reputed to be the Democrat’s smooth-talking, politically clever president-in-waiting, the likely successor to Joe Biden should the president drop out of the 2024 race. ”

“In debate with Newsom, how could DeSantis lose? Hannity pitched him nothing but softballs” [Miami Herald]. “As for winners and losers? Hard to tell. Newsom, though vulnerable on a few issues, was in there punching and landed some good lines. “Using human beings as pawns is disqualifying to be president,” he said about DeSantis’ migrant flights. Again, the host and the audience — if they stuck around — were ready-made for DeSantis, and he stood to benefit from the uneven playing field. How could he lose? He didn’t have to try very hard. He got all his campaign talking points in without being challenged by Hannity. But it wasn’t fair; with all the raucous interrupting and overtalk, it wasn’t even a debate. No, it was a circus.”

“Republican DeSantis, Democrat Newsom clash in acrimonious debate” [Reuters]. “DeSantis held his own and had a strong showing against Newsom, a skilled debater, but it was likely insufficient to revive his stuttering campaign.” • Although oppo researchers are poring over the tapes right now….

* * *

“Kamala Harris reveals she would ‘of course’ inform the American public if there was a ‘problem’ with Biden” [FOX]. “CNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Harris if she would ever reveal to the American public if there was a problem with Biden. ‘Do you think in your role, that you’re in a position to do that?” he asked during an interview with Harris at The New York Times Dealbook Summit. ‘Of course, if necessary, but there’s no need for that. I don’t, there is a political argument that is being made. That is not based on substance, and you’re asking me to hypothesize around what are my duties to the American people, as vice president of the United States, that are based on ethics and morals and the law. I will always follow those rules, but I am suggesting to you that it is important we not be seduced into one of the only arguments that that side of the aisle has right now,’ she said.” • So Harris appoints herself gatekeeper. Swell. (Also, Harris’s language is like uncanny valley; she’s slightly off, constantly (“hypothesize around what are my duties”). It’s like she’s not a native speaker, though she is.)

“Why Democrats are starting to panic over Biden’s poll numbers” [Washington Times]. “The frightened Democrats are worried that rather than premature predictions of electoral failure, they are seeing early warning signs that Biden is too weak to win. If these numbers don’t soon improve before the polls have better predictive power, it will be too late for a course correction. Given the filing deadlines in many primary states as well as the dual challenges of getting both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to step aside, it may already be too late.”

Republican Funhouse

“Behind the Curtain — Scoop: The Trump job applications revealed” [Axios]. “We told you in a ‘Behind the Curtain‘ column last month that Trump allies are pre-screening the ideologies of thousands of potential appointees and employees in case he wins back the White House. Now we have copies of the exact questionnaires Trump allies are using — and that then-President Trump used himself during his final days in office…. Trump insiders are planning a far more targeted and sophisticated sequel to his haphazard first term, when internal feuding deterred policy wins or permanent changes to government…. The 2020 questionnaire — paired with the application the Heritage Foundation is currently collecting from job prospects for a future administration — points to a top-down government-in-waiting that would be driven more by ideology than by policy expertise or innovation.” • Another way of putting that: The ideology is the innnovation. I wonder if BoJo did something similar?

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.

* * *

“The Rural Challenge for Democrats” [The Liberal Patriot]. “The Democratic Party’s decade-plus-long collapse in rural and micropolitan America stands as one of the great obstacles to strengthening the nation’s democracy. Owing to institutional constraints that limit simple majoritarian rule—the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate in particular—rural regions exert a disproportionate influence on elections, the geographic distribution of political power, and the strength of party coalitions. Gerrymandering by Republican-controlled state legislatures compounds this dynamic by either clustering liberal-leaning voters in a few districts or splitting them across boundaries that favor conservatives. But rather than identify their weakness in nonmetro areas as a problem to be solved through traditional party-building efforts, too many of today’s Democrats regard rural America with a mixture of resignation, denial, and disdain. Beset with a rural reputation frequently described as ‘toxic,’ the party’s inept approach is reflected in maps of partisan control. With the exception of a handful of seats, congressional Democrats draw power from the coasts and large cities (at 40 seats, the California delegation alone makes up nearly 20 percent of the 212-strong House Democratic caucus). Office-holding at the state level similarly tracks the party’s overreliance on the Northeastern seaboard and West coast in presidential elections. Were it not for concerted efforts by local Democrats in Minnesota and Michigan during the 2022 midterms, Illinois would be the only state legislature controlled by Democrats in the Midwest; unsurprisingly, they control none in the South.”

“Cuomo attorneys contend texts undermine Trooper 1’s allegations” [Times-Union (Bob)]. Way down in the story: “Cuomo’s attorneys also allege in the court filing that the female investigator should not have disclosed information to Nevins about her belief that Cuomo had lied about the reason that members of his family had received priority COVID-19 testing in the early stages of the pandemic, when access to tests for the virus was difficult. She also told Nevins that the FBI should investigate the secretive testing program, which involved high-ranking state Health Department officials who facilitated obtaining expedited test results for Cuomo’s family members. Cuomo’s legal team contends the female investigator ‘revealed confidential information to Nevins about Governor Cuomo’s contact with his family members’ when she told him that Cuomo lied when he said his family members, including his mother, sister and brother, had received the priority testing because they had been around him.” • Oh. You can bet Cuomo wasn’t the only one.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“CTIL Files #1: US And UK Military Contractors Created Sweeping Plan For Global Censorship In 2018, New Documents Show” [Michael Shellenberger, Alex Gutentag, and Matt Taibbi, Public]. I Linked to this a few days ago, but I’m linking to it again, because generates insight in the “realignment and legitimacy frame. The subject is the birth (or, if you prefer, Ground Zero) of the Censorship Industrial Complex: “Now, a large trove of new documents, including strategy documents, training videos, presentations, and internal messages, reveal that, in 2019, US and UK military and intelligence contractors led by a former UK defense researcher, Sara-Jayne ‘SJ’ Terp, developed the sweeping censorship framework. These contractors co-led CTIL, which partnered with CISA in the spring of 2020. In truth, the building of the Censorship Industrial Complex began even earlier — in 2018. Internal [Cyber Threat Intelligence League (CTIL) Slack messages show Terp, her colleagues, and officials from DHS and Facebook all working closely together in the censorship process. The CTIL framework and the public-private model are the seeds of what both the US and UK would put into place in 2020 and 2021, including masking censorship within cybersecurity institutions and counter-disinformation agendas; a heavy focus on stopping disfavored narratives, not just wrong facts; and pressuring social media platforms to take down information or take other actions to prevent content from going viral.” Gramsci urges, somewhere, that state and civil society can be separated only as objects of study. That is, we cannot think of the State as a single entity, a la the “Deep State.” Both are aspects of the same governing class of people, all playing their roles (sometimes multiple roles) in parallel and intersecting fields. As for example: “According to the whistleblower, roughly 12-20 active people involved in CTIL worked at the FBI or CISA. “For a while, they had their agency seals — FBI, CISA, whatever — next to your name,” on the Slack messaging service, said the whistleblower.” • Janine Wedel’s model of networked “Flexians” (The Shadow Elites) is far better framework to approach understanding these developments; I should really review it one day. Anyhow, here is Taibbi’s accompanying video:

“Who Are Ready to Rouse Up Leviathan?” [Ed Simon, The Baffler]. “TWO YEARS AGO, in the last year of an ill-fated period of living in Washington, D.C., and pretending that I was interested in what lanyards had to say, I gave a talk about religion and journalism at one of those political magazines with an anodyne name. Founded by a philosopher whom you’ve all heard of (Google “end of history”), the assembled were broadly “centrists,” presumably an assortment of neoliberal Never Bernie Democrats and neoconservative Never Trump Republicans, all of whom I assumed were much further to the right than myself. Despite our obvious policy differences, I found the participants—Zoomed into the little squares arranged like the opening credits of The Brady Bunch on my laptop—to be unflaggingly polite, thoughtful, and intelligent. After all, we were all fundamentally liberals, even if I may define myself as a left-liberal (which is to say that between barbarism and socialism, I’m probably going to opt for the latter). Yet regardless of their commitments to the “free” market that is at best a chimera and at worst a fraud, we had a consensus on principles that can be traced back to the eighteenth-century, which is to say a belief in the dignity of individuals, the equality of all people, and the universality of these beliefs (that last one is more of a useful construct in my mind). The only tenet of liberalism on which we meaningfully differed was in their faith in the inevitability of reason to collectively improve the human condition. For me, that’s a quixotic faith with no empirical backing.” • Ulp! And in a not-unrelated post–

“Eugenics as an ideology” [Chloe Humbert]. “Some of the denial surrounding the eugenics-like decisions in the pandemic has relied upon a narrow unipolar understanding of eugenics. The historically most recognizable concept of eugenics is where active intervention is done to choose the winners and losers, such as forced breeding, sterilization, deprivation, and murderous executions, by the active will and openly admitted choices of the people in power over the scheme, asserting their authority to do so…. The possibly more prevalent, and somewhat more insidious version of eugenics ideology, that has flown under the radar in our modern world, is the variety that spawned grotesque and wholly unscientific ideas like ‘natural herd immunity’ in the pandemic, as pushed by Scott Atlas and The Great Barrington Declaration adherents. To withhold prevention of suffering from those vulnerable. he proponents of this type of eugenics claim that they are leaving it up to ‘nature’ or, alternately, specifically a divine power, depending on their religious or secular orientation. The point is to stop any intervention that would save people they think are ‘weak’ or ‘undeserving’ in some way as inappropriately countering the superior ‘nature’ to do its thing. This includes resistance to all public health measures like masks, vaccines, food assistance, healthcare equity, or even disaster relief and universal education in public schools. Never mind that interventions are natural too, because humans do them, the same way birds build nests, but clearly people draw the line on “natural” wherever it’s convenient to their purpose.” • In practice, “nature” doesn’t do its thing at all, but institutions, differentiallly applied or, in the vulgate, “the luck of the draw.” That’s why I use the term “stochastic eugenicism,” since the happy outcome at the population level may seem random at the individual level.

“Julianna Margulies Says Black Palestine Supporters Have Been ‘Brainwashed to Hate Jews'” [Rolling Stone]. “Discussing the Civil Rights Movement, Margulies noted that ‘the Jews were the ones that walked side by side with the Blacks to fight for their rights. And now the Black community isn’t embracing us and saying ‘We stand with you the way you stood with us’? Jews died for their cause. Where’s the history lesson in that? Who’s teaching these kids? Because the fact that the entire Black community isn’t standing with us, to me, says they don’t know, or they’ve been brainwashed to hate Jews.” • There is, of course, an enormous dogpile going on right now over this. To me, Margulies’s comment reflects the vacuity of Identity Politics. Certainly “not all Jews” “walked side by side” with “the Blacks”; and going unmentioned is the fact that many of those who did, in the 1930s, were — [gasp] — Communists. Adding to the hilarity are coments to the effect that crediting “the Jews” for this makes them “white saviors,” piling a Pelion of idiocy upon the Ossa of a fallacy of composition. We don’t even have to get to, er, identifying all Jews with the state of Israel to see how confused this entire line of thinking is.


“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!

* * *

Immune Dysregulation

On mycoplasma pneumonia (“walking pneumonia”), or whatever it is, reasoning by analogy, I wrote:

I don’t think the case is iron-clad, but it sure seems that way, vs. alternative explanations like seasonality and so-called immunity debt. I think the precise mechanism is under discussion, but IMNSHO “immunue dysregulation” is the right idea at a high level. FWIW!

People who were close to the AIDS crisis may correct this blue sky speculation, but IIRC, AIDS symptons were originally “mild” [***cough***] and only over time did the “ID” (Immune Deficiency”) aspect become clear, what with Kaposi sarcoma, thrush, etc. /p>

So far, SARS-CoV-2’s trajectory is unnervingly similar to AIDS, even aside from the sudden eruption of mysterious diseases. Culturally, condoms = masks; “safe sex” = ventilation. In terms of response, CDC and the political class are now what they were then. I am hawkish on this, and I believe that in a year, “Airborne AIDS” will start reaching the mainstream, and rightly. In effect, we’re collectively opening a market for expensive pharmaceuticals at least an order of magnitude greater than those for AIDS. Silver lining!

Laying down a bit of a marker, here. Now you know my priors!

“Now MASSACHUSETTS says it’s being hit by wave of pneumonia in children as Ohio county issues “white lung” warning – after China and Europe saw surge in cases and hospitalizations” [Daily Mail]. “Doctors in parts of Massachusetts and Ohio are reporting a spike in child pneumonia cases similar to the outbreak spreading in China and parts of Europe. In Warren County, just 30 miles outside Cincinnati, there have been 142 pediatric cases of the condition — dubbed ‘white lung syndrome’ — since August, a figure health officials there described as ‘extremely high’. ‘Not only is this above the county average, it also meets the Ohio Department of Health definition of an outbreak,’ the county’s health department said Wednesday. Meanwhile, in western Massachusetts, physicians are seeing ‘a whole lot’ of walking pneumonia, a milder form of the lung condition, which is being caused by a mixture of bacterial and viral infections. Neither outbreak is being caused by a novel pathogen and not all of the pneumonia cases are being caused by the same infection. Experts say a mixture of several seasonal bacterial and viral bugs are hitting at once, putting pressure on hospitals. It has raised fears that the outbreak that has overwhelmed hospitals China could hit the US this winter. Several European countries are battling similar crises.” • Why now? Why children? Why such a rapid spread? ‘Tis a mystery! This is not directly pertinent, but–

Testing and Tracking

Think “artisanal wastewater”:


This is a very new idea, so even though Marc Johnson is an excellent account, I don’t know if this technique is canon. Readers?

Scientific Communication

Strategies of denial:

Each strategy being a complete failure of scientific communication by the public health establishment.


“COVID-19 ramping up in the Quad Cities, hospital officials say” [KWQC]. ” Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are on the rise in the Quad-Cities, and health experts are again reminding people to take precautions as we head into the holidays. As people move indoors and gather for holidays, a spokesperson for UnityPoint Health-Trinity said there are precautions people can take to stay safe, including regularly washing your hands and staying home when sick.” • [lambert bangs head on desk]. At some point, we have to rule out ignorance as an explanation.

“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.

* * *

Elite Maleficence

Happy Anniversary (1):

Happy Anniversary (2):

The Biden Administration’s policy of malign neglect (“stochastic eugenicism”) is clearly visible in this, our stupid timeline.

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, November 27:

Lambert here: Case counts moving smartly upward (and tinfoil hat time: This is the, er, inflection point CDC was trying to conceal when they gave the contract to Verily and didn’t ensure a seamless transition).

Regional data:

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


NOT UPDATED From CDC, November25:

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

From CDC, November 11:

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

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

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, November 25:

Lambert here: Slight increases in some age groups, conforming to wastewater data. Only a week’s lag, so this may be our best current nationwide, current indicator.

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


Bellwether New York City, data as of December 1:

Steadily up. New York state as a whole looks more like a spike. (I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive, although the hospital-centric public health establishment loves it, hospitalization and deaths being the only metrics that matter [snort]).

NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. November 18:

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


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, November 27:

0.4%. Up. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)

NOT UPDATED From Cleveland Clinic, November 25:

Lambert here: Increase (with backward revision; guess they thought it was over). I know this is just Ohio, but the Cleveland Clinic is good*, and we’re starved for data, so…. NOTE * Even if hospital infection control is trying to kill patients by eliminating universal masking with N95s.

NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, November 6:

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

BA.2.86 coming along nicely.


Total: 1,183,754 – 1,183,664 = 90 (209 * 90 = 18,810 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease). 

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

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED The Economist, November 18:

Lambert here: Gonna have to whack this, too. How does an automated model not update? Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States ISM Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)” [Trading Economics]. “The ISM Manufacturing PMI was unchanged at 46.7 in November 2023, the same as in October, and below forecasts of 47.6, continuing to point to contraction in the manufacturing sector. Companies are still managing outputs appropriately as order softness continues.”

* * *

The Fed: “Fed’s Interest Rate Hikes Are Probably Over, but Officials Are Reluctant to Say So” [Wall Street Journal]. “Monetary policy is at its most economically restrictive setting in 25 years, and it will need to stay tight ‘for quite some time,’ New York Fed President John Williams said at a conference on Thursday. ‘We need to watch,’ Williams told reporters after a speech. ‘I have to assess, ‘OK, how is this playing out?'”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Greed (previous close: 66 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 66 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 1 at 1:28:17 PM ET.

Class Warfare

“Billionaires amass more through inheritance than wealth creation, says UBS” [Financial Times]. “‘The heirs to billionaires are gaining prominence,’ said Benjamin Cavalli, UBS’s head of global wealth management strategic clients. ‘New billionaires minted during this year’s study period accumulated more wealth through inheritance than entrepreneurship. That’s a theme we expect to see more of over the next 20 to 30 years, as more than 1,000 billionaires pass an estimated $5.2tn to their children.'” • Best, I think, to think of capitalal as being owned by families/clans. Not individuals (so “Every billioniare is a policy failure” is not quite right). Seems like a campaign issue…

News of the Wired

“Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars?” [Consumer Reports]. • American manufacturing prowess (U.S. firms highlighted):

I’m a little amazed to see Tesla ahead of Cadillac. I mean, last I checked, Elon still couldn’t run a paint booth, so Cadillac must be really bad.

* * *

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 Desert Dawg:

Desert Dawg writes: “The tree trimmers are back at work this fall.”

* * *

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

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

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

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

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Roger Blakely

    Swabbed their poo, it tested positive.

    I don’t think that it is about being sick with COVID-19.

    On one hand I think that people can feel really awful from COVID-19 without testing positive from a nose swab for a rapid antigen test. On the other hand I don’t think that their poo testing positive means that they are sick. I think that everybody’s poo tests positive all of the time because everybody is being exposed to low levels of SARS-CoV-2 in indoor public spaces all of the time. The lungs clean themselves out and dump the SARS-CoV-2 into the gastrointestinal tract without the individual feeling sick. The immune system rounds up the virus and flushes it out through the gastrointestinal tract.

      1. thoughtful person

        Yes, I think we are infected if anything, any bodily fluid tests positive.

        I suspect that contagiousness may vary, I belive almost all Sars-covid2 transmission is airborne. I believe I have heard of gas in bathrooms being infectious. I think I read that here?

        The Chinese were reported at some point during the first year or two to be taking poo swabs. I think read it here.

        I’m currently testing positive, two weeks so far. I’ll do a couple tests of different fluids tomorrow and if they don’t match I’ll report back.

  2. FlyoverBoy

    The car brand chart is incomplete. It has 30 brands, not 20, so Chevrolet at #20 is not at all dead last as it appears here. OTOH, 6 of the bottom 10 (positions #21 through 30) are US brands too, including last-place Chrysler. The remainder of the chart reads like this:
    21 Dodge
    22 Ford
    23 Lincoln
    24 GMC
    25 Volvo
    26 Jeep
    27 VW
    28 Rivian
    29 Mercedes
    30 Chrysler

      1. digi_owl

        Never mind that say the top two are the same company, but Lexus is Toyota’s the “up market” brand.

          1. John

            I have owned a1992 Honda Civic and a 2015 Honda Fit during 27 of the last 30 years. The other three years? a Mini. The Mini is a fine machine but for me too expensive and small.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m on the very cusp of 200k miles on my 2010 Toyota 4wd Tacoma (now i’ve jinxed it, being @ a mere 198,735) and that’s the first time i’ve ever bought a new car off the lot and got that far, 8 round-trips around the world, please.

      The thing is, that everything behooves me to keep it going as a new one is $40k, and it doesn’t have all of the dents, scrapes and assorted miscues that were all my bad, the crease in the door where I just barely didn’t miss the concrete filled steel post at the gas station, that sort of malady. The truck will never be entered in Concours d’Elegance is the feeling.

      Anyhow, I expect another 200k on my Taco.

      1. truly

        Taco driver here too. Found a neat video on YT several years ago about the vehicle with the most miles ever driven. Taco with well over a million. Turns out the guy does delivery of some nuclear product needed for medical diagnostic equipment. MRIs? Anyhow, he gets loaded up in the morning and drives all over North Carolina making deliveries to hospitals and clinics. 2wd, stripped down, 2 door. Changes his oil once a month. Which often means every 15,000 miles!
        I would love to hear if he listens to Podcasts all day?

        1. Wukchumni

          My Taco was one of the last ones built @ Toyota’s plant in SF, now the Tesla plant.

          It came with a factory equipped anti-theft device-a manual transmission.

      2. skippy

        2006 Toyota Hilux dual cab 3.0 diesel w/ 355klm RWD. Two sets of tires in 6 yrs, one alternator [15 min install at home], front disk pads, natch.

    2. griffen

      Shocking to see iconic American manufacturers so lowly on the totem pole. At one time 8 to 10 years ago, I would have leaned into a Ford model but even now I would second guess. Glad I’ve kept my 2008 Honda rolling along even when there are intervals it holds my wallet at ransom.

      As for high mileage enthusiasts, an older brother has the lead on me in both years on earth and miles on a circa 2002 or 2003 Subaru. He regularly has a new issue of the Consumer Reports review at this time of year, so he’ll upgrade someday….or not. Brother is also a lot more thorough at keeping records, must be the CPA certification applied in real life terms.

      1. Ranger Rick

        Shocking isn’t the word I’d use. Since the malaise era, American carmakers have largely been the budget option to their import competitors, having to compete with subsidies (there are significant auto import taxes and outrageous “safety equipment” bans) when it became clear they couldn’t compete on quality. General Motors and its brands are widely viewed as some of the cheapest and lowest quality automobiles you can get in the US, while Ford and Stellantis (nee Chrysler) suffer through recall after recall. Ford’s sedans were selling so poorly they decided to abandon that market segment altogether.

        The real surprise is Mini being that high up on the list. People still make jokes about British cars. Range Rover didn’t even make the top 30.

        1. dougie

          I absolutely agree with your comment about Mini. I own an auto repair shop and Mini is a steady revenue producer. They are almost as bad as VW. Of course, I won’t be seeing the new models in my shop for 3-5 years. When people ask me about British cars, my standard reply is “I love what the British did with beer!”

          I subscribe to Consumer Reports, but over the years have learned to take many of their recommendations with a huge grain of salt.

          1. FlyoverBoy

            Agree on all counts, Dougie. In this case, I suspect without proof that Mini’s (unusually) high score in a reliability survey is a fluke because all their models are old right now, which has given BMW a longer-than-usual window to debug them. New electric models arrive next year, which should fix that but good.

      1. Glen

        Volvo Car Corp was sold to Ford in 1999, and grouped with Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin which were also owned by Ford. But I’m not sure if that resulted in a loss of manufacturing quality long term.

        1. Ranger Rick

          It was sold in turn to Geely, a Chinese car manufacturing concern. The status of that deal is in flux at the moment. I see news from as recently as a few weeks ago that a proposed reverse takeover (Volvo buying Geely) was rejected. How odd.

          1. petal

            Thank you for the update, Ranger Rick. I knew they had been bought by Geely, but hadn’t heard anything since. Assumed that quality had decreased after the sale. I’m definitely not happy with the direction they are headed in.

            1. FlyoverBoy

              My impression as an amateur car industry junkie is that Volvo didn’t really decline because of Geely. They were in bad shape under Ford’s ownership, which was marked mostly by Ford using a cheaped-out version of its chassis for its last-gen Taurus, Edge wagon and a generation of Explorer SUVs. Geely appeared, if anything, to view the acquisition as a bid for respectability (Chinese car brands being very dimly viewed outside that country) and a learning opportunity, and they appeared to give Volvo an infusion of cash while keeping their hands off the designs — quite the opposite of the meddling with which GM destroyed its old Swedish rival Saab.

              Volvo went upmarket, which is a common move now for makers like Mazda who lack the critical mass to compete with Toyota, Honda and the Koreans at scale. Subaru has gradually overtaken Volvo with the latter’s traditional granola audience.

        2. Luckless Pedestrian

          Volvo was purchase from Ford by Geely in 2010. I think Volvo tried to extract themselves in 2021 by taking ownership of the facility in China where they manufacture. Not sure if that came to pass, though.

  3. Carolinian

    Re Julianna Margulies–if we are allowed to be as reductive as she is can we point out that in the 1960s US Jews as a group were still a discriminated against minority and now they aren’t–despite all the Chicken Little about anti-semitism. So what she is saying is “now that we’ve made it (and you haven’t) please join us in oppressing those you still relate to.”

    Of course one doesn’t expect so so actresses to be political solons but then why are they getting columns in Rolling Stone?

    And speaking of back then, Robert Scheer reprints a piece he did for the LA Times in 1984 where he suggests that Nixon, and not the now departed for the underworld Kissinger, led on all of the good FP acheivements of his administration. Nixon thought we should treat the Russians with respect.


    1. cfraenkel

      The irony is that if anyone is responsible for any brainwashing, it was AIPAC, with their anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism newspeak.

    2. chris

      Seen on my trip to Philly today. The billboards here are incredible, and they sound like they were written by Ms. Margulies. The one I liked the best was: If you think Hamas is only an Israel problem you’re being naive.

      I guess they’re going to try and threaten us with WWIII everytime anything happens to get support for all these military actions? We can’t call them wars because the US doesn’t go to war anymore. Where’s Anne Applebaum to write an article saying if don’t act now Russia will destroy us?

  4. Maya Creedmo

    “Julianna Margulies Says Black Palestine Supporters Have Been ‘Brainwashed to Hate Jews’”

    Ingrates. The Civil Rights movement would not exist without Jews, from the Freedom Riders killed in the south to the billions donated to foundations and legal work.
    They learned a lesson in Nazi Germany.
    Always have a cutout between your people and the majority and do all you can to dilute the majority. Pretty smart strategy.

  5. Reply

    Did the new legislation get passed in the dead of night?
    The one proclaiming that the first day of every month is now Insert-Month-name-here Fools Day?
    How else to describe the spike in lunacy?

    1. Late Introvert

      You devil. Sad to see that Ryan Ken has set his tweets to private, I’m sure he’s got 3-letter trolls.

  6. truly

    Jimmy Dore interviews Catherine Liu, author of the new book “Virtue Hoarders”. A pretty good discussion about the PMC. I imagine it is review material for many readers at NC, but for those unfamiliar with the term PMC and some of our grievances with them this is a pretty good start.
    About one hour, found on You Tube.
    I enjoyed Catherine’s story about what a bad door knocker she is for political campaigns. Turns out she listens to the people who answer the door. And walks away being more impacted by their views than they are of hers.

  7. Wukchumni

    166:34:47 (Kevin Clicker)

    My Kevin (since ’07) has until December 8th to make a decision on reelection for the honor of remaining to be my Congressman, and judging from his diss play (jail for Gaetz!) as of late… he’s not long for my orbit, and I’ll miss him like that feeling when a canker sore inside your mouth finally goes away.

    Anyhow if if comes to pass, Kev, you still have a chance to make a town hall meeting here if you lame duck yourself, where we have patiently waited 18 years as your constituents for you to show up in the flesh and take questions from us.

  8. Wukchumni

    From what i’ve heard based on normally reliable sources, the January 6th Committee videotapes were last seen being stowed on Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra.

        1. John

          I am shocked, shocked, that those tapes went missing. Round up the usual suspects … hold on … Is there a jail big enough to hold all of them.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe they are just stored in the same place that Ursula van der Leyan’s text message exchanges between her and Pfizer are.

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    Fox interview with Kamala Harris and the problems of la supercàzzola.


    Here’s another paragraph of supercàzzola (word salad):
    ‘ “First off, I would say that age is more than a chronological fact. I spent a whole lot of time with our president be it in the Oval Office or the Situation Room and in other places, and I can tell you, as I just mentioned, not only is he absolutely authoritative in rooms around the globe, but in the Oval Office,” she said.’

    That “be it in” and the “not only absolutely” plus “but in the Oval Office” and the rickety structures that they lead to show her rather indifferent legal training.

    Lambert Strether observes: “So Harris appoints herself gatekeeper. Swell. (Also, Harris’s language is like uncanny valley; she’s slightly off, constantly (“hypothesize around what are my duties”). It’s like she’s not a native speaker, though she is.)”

    Yet what I am now reminded of goes beyond Kamala Harris. Her speech patterns and cloaked thinking may be characteristic of a certain kind of neoliberal politician. In short, she’s piling it on with an intent to cover up her bad faith.

    There was a media incident here in Italy recently when crackerjack interviewer Lilli Gruber told Elly Schlein, secretary of the zombie Partito Democratico, that she couldn’t understand what Schlein was trying to convey. Straight out. During a TV interview.

    Other writers used the Italian word supercàzzola, which means word salad with an intent to mislead, to describe Schlein’s style of speech.

    Supercàzzola: I am thinking of the eructations of Annalena Baerbock. Roberta Metsola, head of the European Parliament, also has great difficulty making sense.

    Yet the phenomenon is not isolated: There are also Pete Buttigieg, Josh Hawley, Lindsey Graham (an endless spew of bad-faith goo), Matteo Salvini, and, I’d argue, late-stage Nancy Pelosi.

    It isn’t just Kamala Harris who suffers from this syndrome. Let’s zoom out. Just what is going on here? I’d say, again, bad faith.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “rooms around the globe.”

      It’s like Firesign Theatre:

      Gentlemen, gentlemen, I won’t take anymore credit for this victory than is absolutely necessary. Now, gentlemen, Lord Kitchener did not – nay, will not – die in vain, grid willing. Gentlemen, I as leader will use power like a drum and leadership like a violin. Gentlemen, to make life whole, it’s as easy as a bridge! Now that we have obtained control, we must pull together as one – like a twin! All for one! And all for one!

      Not sure about “bad faith” as an explanation. Surely bullshit (or puffery, or patter) is supposed to be smooth? I suppose Trump would be the exception (but he’s much more comprehensible when you think of him as a riffing Borscht Belt comedian, which Pelosi is not). What is the mechanism by which bad faith translates into “Uncanny Valley”-style speech? Maybe when they talk to each other, they all sound like this too:

      1. Pat

        I think it may be a matter of fluency. First she is parsing what she is saying as she says it, as she adjusts it makes for big syntax jumps. This is probably because she is between language styles. She is trying to be personable and approachable, but avoid legalese and slang. Whatever she is going for she doesn’t “think” in the style she is trying to speak in. She adjustments when something she has said sounds wrong.
        Really good bullshitters in this type of situation, one of confidence, would just go with the original, and find a way to throw in something later if they really needed an adjustment.

      2. The Rev Kev

        That sketch reminds me of how about ten-twenty years ago they were hiring TV news presenters here in Oz that actually had speech impediments, I kid you not. I guess that the intent was diversity or something but seriously?

      3. skippy

        Auspicious moment …. I present – Fast Food – Stevens & Grdnic (Dr. Demento)


        ***IT*** really is the reality we are all moving too …

        Just wow at the talks/discussion I’m having on popular top dating site. Attractive professional woman after a bit of a chat links me to Jim Wolfe: 5 Steps to Attracting Your Ideal Woman And Keeping Her Interested in You As Long As You Want. Hilarity ensues as I unpack how absurd the whole thing is, squillions of people lumped into two groups and a 5 step plan to find happiness[tm]. Responded by saying I just needed[tm] too ***open my mind*** … chortle … then ended by telling me and my patriarchal gang were responsible for all the mess in the world …

        Gets more surreal after that, like long term relationships is on isle 5 next to the submissive male that fleshes out their lifestyle brand image for social media posts and friendship conformity. Half the convos are liked the onset of dementia … or self flagellation … everything is so immersed in Bernays sauce these days.

        Thank goat for my two incredible dogs.

  10. marym

    Capitol Seizure
    The excerpts below are from August. I don’t know what further developments are reflected in the linked post.

    Preservation of records
    House Rule VII “outlines preservation of House records at the end of each two-year Congress and has been used by nearly every Congress…loosely defines what has to be preserved…” Republicans added a new rule demanding all J6 info when they got control of the Congress, but “[I]n essence, the Republicans couldn’t order the Jan. 6 select committee to turn over anything because it no longer existed.”(LAT)

    (Similar to Democrats invoking the Parliamentarian?)
    “…Rep. Bennie Thompson…outlined that according to the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the panel only had to archive “noncurrent, official, permanent records,” which does not include video recordings of interviews or internal work product.

    “Based on guidance from House authorities, the Select Committee determined that the written transcripts provided by nonpartisan, professional official reporters, which the witnesses and Select Committee staff had the opportunity to review for errata, were the official, permanent records of transcribed interviews and depositions,” he added.”(CNN)

    Redacted transcripts
    “White House Special Counsel to the President Richard Sauber told Loudermilk that there are four former Trump administration officials who had testified whose transcripts are still in the process of being redacted “to protect sensitive operation and personal information.””(CNN)

    Info available to the special prosecutor
    “Smith said in a court filing Thursday that he is ready to turn over discovery materials in the case as soon as a protective order is in place, including “unredacted materials…” On Friday, prosecutor Thomas Windom said information not made public by the select committee but provided to the special counsel is among the information that would be marked sensitive in an effort to keep Trump and his legal team from disclosing it publicly during the trial.” (LAT)



    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks, this is great. From the 30,000-foot level, nuking the tapes is just ridiculous, on historical grounds alone. Storage is cheap! From closer to the ground, I’d trust the White House to redact the transcripts as far as I could throw a concert grand piano. In any case, why the redactions? Top sekrit stuff? Smells awful funny.

      NOTE The idea of Republican’s demanding the tapes be preserved when they’ve already been (carefully) destroyed is amusing. Also, I would imagine the spooks have copies anyhow.

      1. Pat

        I am just imagining what Democrats would say if the shoe were on the other foot.

        And ignoring MMT for a moment, the January 6 committee was doing their work on my dime. I consider it to be a huge waste of money, but even so it was done. And therefore those recordings were public records. They should never have been destroyed.
        But then I am one of those weird people that not only think any citizen who wants to should be able to exam every bit of work that Congress and the White House does, but that it should be available totally un redacted after twenty five years. No exceptions. Which means no destruction of any hearings, depositions, testimony, etc not just January 6.

  11. lyman alpha blob

    britzklieg mentioned this late in yesterday’s water cooler but it didn’t seem to get much notice, so again –

    RIP Shane Macgowan.

    My personal favorite from the Rum, Sodomy and the Lash album – The Old Main Drag

    Raise a glass!

  12. Kilgore Trout

    Re: The Florida GOP being “a well-oiled machine”. It is- just with K-Y jelly. Who woulda thought?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Have to admit when I read that, I thought that the problem and cause of that complaint was that one of that threesome was not oiled up enough.

  13. Tom Stone

    Lambert, it is not “Malign Neglect”, it is “Depraved Indifference” which has a specific legal meaning that fits the behavior of America’s misleadership class to a “T”.

  14. ambrit

    “I wonder if BoJo did something similar?” It was called Brexit.
    Now for America. What would Amexit look like? Festung Amerika?

    1. Daryl

      > What would Amexit look like? Festung Amerika?

      Feels like Amexit is the rest of the world exiting America, the dollar, etc… and is already happening, informally and in slow motion ;)

    2. griffen

      Larry Summers circa 2001. It would be great if all manufacturers moved their actual manufacturing offshore. Larry would move on to greater heights and lose a cool $ billion for the Harvard endowment, nice work there Larry !!

      Larry Summers circa 2020. It would be great if all these manufacturers were actually on US soil and manufacturing their wares in this country. Whocouldanode back then ?

      1. ambrit

        My take on this is that, back then, when America considered itself the “indispensable country,’ the “offshoring” of American industry was considered “safe.” Upcoming “Globalist” legal fictions like the ISDS were expected to ensure western corporate control over the “offshored” industrial base. Alas, the American Empire is fraying at the edges and coming apart, albeit slowly. The nations where the industry was moved to are feeling their oats and making some noises concerning thrice dreaded ideas like ‘nationalization’ and ‘profit sharing’ etc. Suddenly, the American Military is no longer able to impose the Pax Americana upon the benighted ‘savages’ in the rest of the world.
        Along the lines of “History at least rhyming,” who will be our Crassus? [Remember that Crassus was known as the “Richest Man in Rome.” Wealth was deified, but fell far short of omnipotence. True then, true today.] There, Rome foundered upon the rocks of Parthian resistance. Today, Parthia is known as Irak and Iran. A similar fate as that which befell Crassus beckons to US.
        Parthia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthian_Empire#/media/File:Map_of_the_Parthian_Empire_under_Mithridates_II.svg

        1. Pat

          I am sure you are right, but even if we were indispensable the idea was delusional.
          I may hate it because it was all about enriching a very small group of people, but even I can think of half dozen things off the top of my head that would be beyond military control. Not to mention military gets expensive over time. That they could not only shows that it wasn’t brilliance and ability that defined who were in that small group.

      2. eg

        I’m still kicking myself for having accepted the premise (taught to me in Grade 9 geography class in the mid-70s and which I didn’t really question much until the Great Financial Crisis) that a move from primary production through secondary production and onto a service economy was a “natural progression.”

        What a load of old cobblers that turned out to be :(

  15. JBird4049

    >>>That’s why I use the term “stochastic eugenicism,” since the happy outcome at the population level may seem random at the individual level.

    From what I understand about diseases, this is more Russian Roulette at the population level especially when the mutations in diseases like Covid happens much more frequently than those like AIDS, the Black Death, Cholera, Tuberculosis, Smallpox and other diseases. While resistance to these diseases probably has increased, they still 20% or more of any population excluding AIDS which has almost a 100% fatality rate. This after having them around from over a century to thousands of years.

    This is not a misunderstanding about eugenics. It is willful self delusion.

  16. Xihuitl

    I am shocked at the cost of car repairs recently. I have been going to the same small shop for years. Okay, the car is getting older. I drive a beloved 2006 Toyota Prius with 96,000 miles plus on it. (Maybe already been around the clock once.) But now labor “diagnostics” is $129/hour and each time I go in for maintenance or faulty headlights it’s thousands of dollars.

    I don’t remember this “diagnostic” thing before. Shop seems to have changed hands recently. I can’t decide if I’m being ripped off or that’s just the cost of car maintenance these days.

    1. NYMutza

      A few months back I discovered (via a dead battery) that the brake lights on my 1995 Honda Accord remained on regardless of whether the brake had been engaged or not, and regardless of whether the automobile engine was running or not. I took the vehicle into the Honda dealer where I have it serviced and was told that they need to do a diagnostic test to determine the cause. The cost was approx. $130 for the test. I had done some homework and learned that the problem could simply be a small part becoming misaligned causing the brake light to remain on. I mentioned this to the service person. I left the car at the shop, and later received a phone call letting me know that the problem was indeed the misaligned part which was a very quick repair. The dealer reduced the test charge by 50% which i accepted without complaint. Generally, for any electrical system issue a diagnostic test is done. It can be a good revenue generator for repair shops. Anyway, owning, operating, and maintaining a motor vehicle is expensive. One has to wonder why so many people prefer to live in car-dependent suburbia.

  17. Wukchumni

    Was thinking about the Sports Illustrated AI generated gaming of the goods-ala whose watching the watcher, and back in the day when physical magazines had mucho gravitas, there was something called the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, in that if you had the misfortune of being on the front cover, things seemed to go suddenly subpar for the subject of acclaim only the week prior.

    I know nothing about high technology, but it strikes me that AI = Fentanyl, in that both are in highly concentrated form, one lethal to jobs, the other merely lethal.

    1. griffen

      Fresh off the press, Sports Illustrated is back at it again. They are really pushing the bounds of how to measure the impact of a marquee player or in this instance a marquee coaching hire. Okay in this instance the program of men’s football was going nowhere and looking for a shovel, so it’s on the upswing. But….alas it was a losing record. A losing record nets you much exposure.

      Vomit inducement may commence. Or just maybe the irrelevance of a once prominent established sports magazine.


  18. Wukchumni

    After being closed for 4 years on account of the pandemic & road damage last year, the Pear Lake ski hut is back in business in the backcountry of Sequoia NP. It’s a 7 mile ski or snowshoe in to the hut @ 9,200 feet constructed in 1941 that has room for 10 snowjourners, and you don’t have to bring too much as beds, heater, cooking gear and stove & toilet are all supplied.

    Not sure who the hut caretakers are this year, but the place has a reputation as a relationship wrecker as its always couples who share a small space among those coming & going. Friends were caretakers there for 5 or 6 years and have a couple of kids and are happily married, so it doesn’t always not work out, but they are the exception.

    Its a backcountry ranger station in the summer, and has been a ski hut a long time. The last time I was there, was reading through the entries of a journal from the year of my birth of skiers who had visited overnight/s back in the day.


  19. Tony Wikrent

    Regarding Lambert’s comment at the end of the linked post “Eugenics as an ideology”

    Lambert writes. “In practice, “nature” doesn’t do its thing at all, but institutions, differentiallly applied or, in the vulgate, “the luck of the draw.” ”

    A focus on institutions is basically true, but framed in this way it obscures the much more important aspect of the philosophy of government. Under the civic republicanism on which USA was founded — but is now largely rewritten falsely by “the right” and ignored or even reviled by “the left — the whole point of government and the purpose of liberty of to enable and protect individuals to inquire into the state and workings of nature and use the knowledge gained to created the technological and institutional means of freeing people and society from being at the mercy of nature by giving people more and more power over the forces of nature. This is the underlying importance of Hamilton December 1791 Report on Manufactures.

    This is all ignored, twisted, and reviled now. but see

    Brown, William H., The History of the First Locomotives in America, From Original Documents and the Testimony of Living Witnesses. New York City, D. Appleton & Co., 1874; Mendham, NJ, Astragal Press, 2003.

    Dupree, A. Hunter, Science in the Federal Government: A History of Policies and Activities to 1940, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1957, reprinted by Harper Torch Books, 1964.

    Kasson, John E., Civilizing the Machine, Technology and Republican Values in America, 1776-1900, New York, Grossman, 1976; Penguin 1977.

    Larson, John Lauritz, Internal Improvement: National Public Works and the Promise of Popular Government in the Early United States, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

    Olmstead, Alan L., and Rhode, Paul W., Creating Abundance: Biological Innovation and American Agricultural Development, Cambridge, U.K., Cambridge University Press, 2008.

    Peskin, Lawrence A., Manufacturing Revolution: The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry
    Baltimore, MD, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

    Sinclair, Bruce A., Philadelphia’s Philosopher Mechanics: A History of the Franklin Institute, 1824-1865, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975.

Comments are closed.