2:00PM Water Cooler 12/6/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Highland Tinamou, Huila, Colombia.

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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

Biden Administration

“White House interns demand a Middle East cease-fire in letter to Biden” [NBC]. “A group of White House interns joined the growing list of administration officials applying internal pressure to President Joe Biden to call for a permanent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, sending him a letter late Tuesday that accuses him of having ‘ignored’ the ‘pleas of the American people.’ The letter, first shared with NBC News and addressed to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, is supported by more than 40 interns who work in the White House and other executive branch offices, according to the text. ‘We, the undersigned Fall 2023 White House and Executive Office of the President interns, will no longer remain silent on the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people,’ the interns wrote.” But: “The writers, like those at other agencies who have sent similar missives in recent weeks, declined to sign their names to the letter. Instead, they identified themselves by offices — including the Executive Office of the President, the Office of the Vice President and the Domestic Policy Council — and as ‘Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Black, Asian, Latine, White, and Queer.’ Last month, more than 500 political appointees sent Biden a similar letter. They also declined to make their names public.” • Latine v. Latinx.


Less than a year to go!

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“Biden tells donors: ‘If Trump wasn’t running I’m not sure I’d be running. We cannot let him win'” [Associated Press]. “The president was using a trio of fundraisers to caution against what might happen should his predecessor again claim control of the White House, noting that Trump has described himself as his supporters’ ‘retribution’ and has vowed to root out ‘vermin’ in the country. ‘We’ve got to get it done, not because of me. … If Trump wasn’t running I’m not sure I’d be running. We cannot let him win,’ Biden said, hitting the last words slowly for emphasis.” • In Biden’s mind, apparently, he’s the only Democrat who can beat Trump. He could actually be right….

“House Democrats ditch ‘Bidenomics’ messaging” [Axios]. “The Biden team is largely dismissive of critics within their own party — a confidence forged by proving such doubters wrong in the past.”

“First brother James Biden ducks impeachment deposition — for now” [New York Post]. “President Biden’s brother James won’t appear for questioning Wednesday as specified in a House Oversight Committee subpoena — after his legal team argued there was ‘no justification’ for the demand. House Republicans believe James Biden ultimately will comply with the subpoena, but it’s unclear when that might happen — while first son Hunter Biden’s legal team has yet to say if he will appear for a scheduled Dec. 13 interview. ‘It’s not happening tomorrow, but we are in communication with his attorney about scheduling a time for him to come in,’ a committee spokesperson said of James Biden. The first brother’s attorney Paul Fishman, however, did not specifically commit to complying with the subpoena, telling The Post in a terse statement: ‘We have been in contact with the Oversight Committee staff about their requests.’ In a Nov. 8 statement, Fishman argued that ‘there is no justification for this subpoena’ and that ‘Jim Biden has never involved his brother in his business dealings.'” That’s what cut-outs are for! More: “The White House has argued that the impeachment inquiry has no legal authority because of the lack of an authorizing House floor vote — prompting Republicans to consider retroactively taking that step as soon as this week.”

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“These Democrats could be contenders for their party’s nomination in 2028. But first, they must boost Biden in 2024” [CNN]. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Rep. Ro Khanna, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “CNN’s conversations with two dozen people close to the speculated candidates and many of the Democrats themselves detailed what many of them say is the core struggle, in the words of an adviser to one of the people whose name often gets mentioned as presidential material, ‘how to sell Joe Biden better than Joe Biden is selling himself,’ while also not selling themselves too hard – as several of Newsom’s potential future primary opponents privately gripe he is doing. Biden aides are also keeping tabs and keeping score – with megadonor and Biden campaign co-chair Jeffrey Katzenberg chiding a number of the Democrats directly that the best way to get powerful fundraisers and other top leaders in their corner for 2028 is to be what he calls the ‘MVP’ of getting the president re-elected in 2024, according to people who have heard him. Biden aides are reinforcing this point. Aides tell some of the Democrats to take note of how much money Newsom has raised for Biden’s reelection campaign already. Or they nudge some of those who have been less active to do more cheerleading for Biden on cable news. ‘You want to lead the Democratic Party, you better pay your dues in helping the Democratic Party – especially at a time like this that is so existential,’ said Rep. Ro Khanna, who is open about eyeing his own run for 2028. He has already had conversations with top Biden adviser Anita Dunn and aides in Wilmington about where he will deployed, beyond his own debate with Republican presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy last month.”

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“We Have to Strengthen the Gig Economy and Its Workers in 2024. Here’s How” [Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. & Michael Bernick, Newsweek]. “Yet there is a darker side to the gig economy. Because they must cover their own expenses, those who rely on the gig economy as their main source of income can struggle to even earn minimum wage. Usually, they have no access to health coverage, pensions, workers’ compensation, or unemployment insurance. Because at times they offer employers a lower-cost alternative to traditional employees, they can undercut wages and undermine labor unions. Some contend that the gig economy threatens the grand bargain of the 20th century between labor and capital, which depended on labor unions to press for a robust share of industrial profits and a strong social safety net. The gig economy has hastened the widening of the gap between the haves and the have-nots, which threatens the stability of our democracy. But there are several things we can do to strengthen the position of gig workers in 2024.” • Interestingly, co-author Bernick was the former director of the Department of Labor in Newsom’s home state.

“Presidential candidate RFK Jr. admits he flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s jet TWICE and went ‘fossil hunting’ with him in South Dakota – then says ‘My wife had some kind of a relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell'” [Daily Mail]. “Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Tuesday night that he’d flown twice on pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet and that his ex-wife was friendly with his infamous madam Ghislaine Maxwell…. Speaking to Jesse Watters on Tuesday, he admitted his allegedly brief connections to Epstein, a pedophile with extraordinary power and influence that has connected him to politicians in both parties, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump…. He claims that he’s been ‘very open’ about this from the beginning of his campaign and said this was long before Epstein became known for his multitude of sex crimes. ‘It was before anybody knew about Jeffrey Epstein’s, you know, nefarious issues. And I agree with you that all of this information should be released.'” • Get that out the way.

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* * *

“FL:‘No conspiracy.’ Florida Democrats explain cancellation of state presidential primary” [Miami Herald]. “The Florida Democratic Party is standing by its decision to scrap its presidential primary after it submitted only President Joe Biden’s name for the 2024 ballot…. [Marianne] Williamson and [Cenk] Uygur said they sent a letter on Friday to the Florida Democratic Party asking that their names be submitted to the Florida Secretary of State’s office so they can be put on the primary ballot. Another candidate, Democratic U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, is preparing to send his own letter to the party, a spokesperson for his campaign said. Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Phillips, said that the campaign was looking at a range of options to try to get the Minnesota congressman’s name on the Florida primary ballot, including a potential lawsuit or an effort at the 2024 Democratic National Convention to challenge the credentials of Florida’s delegates…. But the Democratic party says the decision was made weeks ago, and its hands are tied…. The party chose its roster of candidates at a meeting of its state executive committee in October — a decision that went under the radar. Eden Giagnorio, the Florida Democratic Party’s communications director, said that Biden was the only candidate nominated for the ballot and was consequently the only one whose name was submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office. She said that the process by which the party determines which names to submit for the primary ballot was routine and had been made available on the party’s website months ago. ‘It was posted for months. It wasn’t a secret. There was no conspiracy,’ Giagnorio said. ‘They didn’t get any votes. It’s not our responsibility to whip for them.’ The party’s delegate selection plan, however, doesn’t give candidates a deadline to ask the party to be placed on the ballot.” • Anyhow, Florida Democrats seem happy:

IA: “Why Ron DeSantis Doesn’t Have a Prayer in Iowa” [Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker]. “DeSantis’s task in Iowa has always seemed straightforward: he just had to be Ted Cruz. In 2016, Cruz had campaigned in the state relentlessly, drawing on its deep evangelical tradition, and had beaten Trump by five points. Cruz’s chief strategist in that race, Jeff Roe, is now one of DeSantis’s most prominent advisers, and the Florida governor has followed the same blueprint, taking a very hard line on abortion and other social issues and campaigning so relentlessly across Iowa’s small towns that Jasper County had been, until Saturday, the only one of the ninety-nine counties in the state that he had yet to visit. Even for those political observers unimpressed by DeSantis’s stump presence or underwhelmed by his indecisiveness about how to take on Trump, the 2016 example seemed to set an appealingly reachable bar. We weren’t talking about Ronald Reagan. Even if you were a pretty run-of-the-mill retail campaigner, surely it wasn’t too much to ask of an aspirant to the Presidency of the United States that he match Ted Cruz…. In Iowa, DeSantis has a clear opportunity: an electorate that has always been skeptical of Trump, no religious-right alternative, and a local political establishment that is in his corner. But they still need a candidate who can provide some contrast with the former President.”

IA: “Joe Biden is the grinch of Iowa” [Unherd]. “And here is why the Democrats’ difficulties matter in the Republican race: there is not much to do in Iowa; it gets dark early in the winter. If you are an Iowan Democrat, you really do look forward to the jamboree coming to town every four years. So if this time, you know your opinion doesn’t count. So how about… whisper it… becoming a Republican for a night? You can: Iowa has same-day registration rights. Your nice neighbours are already voting for Trump: maybe go with them to the church hall and pay a small dollar sum and take part. Cast a ballot. And remember these are Midwesterners with no sense of wickedness or irony: they will take it seriously and vote not for Trump (who, if they are Democrats they will think is evil), but for someone they can approve of, probably Haley, even if she might go on to win the nomination and beat their man Biden next November. Might the result of the Iowa Republican caucus be significantly affected by disaffected Dems? It’s not beyond the realms of the possible.” • Amusing! This is a nice wrap-up of the zeitgeist in IA and NH since Biden nobbled them in favor of SC, the state whose Democrat machine gave us Obama, Clinton, and Biden.

Republican Funhouse

Business as usual:

Democrats en Déshabillé

Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

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“State-level Democrats are raking in small-dollar cash” [Axios]. “The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which heads the party’s efforts to win control of state legislatures, is smashing records for off-year grassroots fundraising. For decades, Republican have trounced Democrats at the state level — helped by their ability to control the redistricting process in key states. The record $5.5 million DLCC has brought in from small-dollar donors this year will be key for flipping seats in 2024. The fundraising numbers come after a series of special elections in which state-level Democrats have outperformed President Biden’s 2020 results. Democrats also managed to take control of the Virginia General Assembly this year, despite significant effort and spending by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin to gain state control. DLCC has already raised 145% of their total grassroots haul from 2019, the last comparable cycle, according to their stats provided to Axios.” • DLCC sent out that mailer I savaged yesterday. So what do I know….

“MoveOn Carries Out Layoffs as Liberal Groups Struggle to Raise Money” [New York Times]. “The liberal activist organization MoveOn laid off at least 18 employees this week, in the latest sign of a slowdown in donations from small donors to left-leaning causes and candidates…. Democratic candidates and liberal organizations have been struggling to keep up the fund-raising pace they enjoyed during the presidency of Donald J. Trump and even in the early years of President Biden’s administration. Officials at liberal groups and Democratic campaigns have attributed their cash crunch to changes in how tech companies like Google and Apple filter fund-raising solicitations, as well as to dampened enthusiasm for Mr. Biden and an economy that has left donors less willing to fork over money.”

“Nobody Wants Your RBG Candle Anymore” [Politico]. ” According to Leah Kenyon, the [buyer at Politics & Prose, the highbrow Connecticut Avenue bookstore,] sideline items — the refrigerator magnets and coasters and bobbleheads that tempt customers from a high-profile display near the front entrance — sales of politics merchandise is down in 2023 after a long boom. On the first weekend of the holiday shopping season, the store’s main line of political novelty socks was off by 36 percent compared with the same span last year….. Trump, meanwhile, supercharged the liberal desire to advertise loyalties, spurring into being an entire resistance economy of clever (they hope) content creators who set out to turn the 45th president’s antagonists into real-time heroes. ‘We had a ‘Nevertheless She Persisted’ T-shirt for sale within 24 hours,’ of the Senate silencing Warren over her speech against Trump’s attorney general nominee, said Draper. Like any consumer trend, it wasn’t going to last forever. A few years back, ‘there were a lot of individuals you could make product for,’ Draper told me. The fall-off ‘almost gets back to the mystery for Democrats’ flummoxed by sagging poll numbers. ‘I think everything on the progressive side of things kind of peaked last summer with the overturning of Roe,’ he said of the T-shirt market. ‘That was the last big thing. It had been one big run kind of starting with the Women’s March.'” • So “Our Democracy” doesn’t translate into merch.

“‘She got so mad at me’: book on the ‘Squad’ details AOC-Pelosi clashes” [Guardian]. “[AOC and Pelosi’s] first ‘live meeting’, [Ryan] Grim says, came in July 2018 at a restaurant in San Francisco, which Pelosi represents. Then 76, Pelosi had been in Congress since 1987, Democratic House leader since 2003 and speaker from 2007 to 2011. The older woman spoke for nearly the entire lunch, dishing out her trademark looping, run-on sentences to her bewildered companions. ‘She just keeps talking; it’s a fascinating thing,’ Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC’s chief of staff, recalls. ‘We were eating, and she just talked the entire time without even taking a break. And I wasn’t sure exactly what she was saying, but I was like, ‘Huh, OK.” ‘Getting Pelosi’s unfiltered thoughts was both eye-opening and disturbing,’ Grim writes. ‘Ocasio-Cortez, who had made the slogan ‘Abolish Ice’ [US Immigration and Customs Enforcement] central to her challenge to Crowley, was particularly perplexed to hear Pelosi say that the phrase had been injected into American political discourse by the Russians and that Democrats needed to quash it. ‘AOC wondered, ‘This is how the leader of the party thinks?'” • Pelosi’s “looping sentences.” Narcisssism?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe out there!

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Look for the Helpers

“Detroit family tackles asthma with DIY air filters — and measures the results” [Outlier]. Fascinating because the impetus for the project was a workship to build Corsi-Rosenthal boxes, but that name isn’t used, meaning the concept is now out there “in the wild,” which is very good news. Air quality monitoring in real time: “At the workshop, Aiden and five other kids were also outfitted with a shiny new backpack and a portable air quality sensor roughly the shape of a TV remote. The kids can strap these to their backpacks, and the monitor connects to a smartphone app. Aidan and Dominique can see on the app what he’s breathing in real-time. The monitors track particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5), nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds.”

Covid is Airborne

“Short-term exposure to indoor PM2.5 in office buildings and cognitive performance in adults: An intervention study” [Building and Environment]. N = 60. “This on-site experimental trial examined a wide range of cognitive functions and their relationship with short-term indoor exposures to PM2.5 within workplace settings. A comprehensive analysis covering five cognitive domains including 16 cognitive skills was presented. We found office workers had significantly lower reaction times for a correct response indicating higher cognitive performance in 9 out of 16 skills when working in comparatively lower PM2.5 concentrations. Within those 9 skills, the accuracy in 3 of the 9 skills (where available as the metric) was also statistically significant different (better) in the intervention. The effect sizes ranged from small to moderate, with the largest effect sizes found for ACC and IES in Contextual Working Memory and Visual Short-Term Memory.”

“Nukit Torch Far-UVC Lights (Set of Four) [Naomi Wu’s Cyber Night-Market]. “Far-UVC is a useful layer on top of masking, and adds a measure of safety, but it should never be considered justification to unmask in situations you normally would wear one. Early on in the pandemic, it was hoped that a single, small Far-UVC device could offer ‘near-field’ protection- create a zone of light around a person that would destroy pathogens before they were inhaled. Devices- including wearable ones, were made and tested, but in the end, the math for a single small emitter, providing any near-field protection, just does not work.” • Pricey, and I’m skeptical, but still Wu is in there punching, and that’s good. (The device should be no closer than 50cm/~19.7″ to the person, so I’m not sure whether it would work on a plane.


Followup on German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach’s remarks on Long Covid:


“Evolution and neutralization escape of the SARS-CoV-2 BA.2.86 subvariant” [Nature]. “Overall, our results indicate that, although the Omicron BA.2.86 subvariant has evolved extensive escape from neutralizing antibodies, it is recognized by convalescent plasma to a similar degree as the XBB.1.5 subvariant. This similarity in recognition might explain the comparatively slow spread of this variant.”


“Tracing the footprints of SARS-CoV-2 in oceanic waters” [Science of the Total Environment]. “The study reveals the existence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 16.3 % of samples, including remote oceanic waters. The Omicron variant was detected in samples from the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.” • The conclusion: More research needed.


“Remission of severe forms of long COVID following monoclonal antibody (MCA) infusions: A report of signal index cases and call for targeted research” [The American Journal of Emergency Medicine]. N = 3. “These index cases provide compelling clinical signals that [monoclonal antibody (MCA)] infusions may be capable of treating long COVID in certain cases, including those with severe debilitation. While the complete and sustained remissions observed here may only apply to long COVID resulting from pre-Delta variants and the specific MCA infused, the striking rapid and complete remissions observed in these cases also provide mechanistic implications for treating/managing other post-viral chronic conditions and long COVID from other variants.”


“Dose matters: HIV drug could prevent coronaviruses, study finds” [Medical Xpress]. “New research by the University of Bristol has shown how an HIV drug could stop many coronavirus diseases, including the SARS-CoV-2 variants, when given to infected cells at the right concentration. The findings could strengthen the arsenal of antiviral drugs available to combat current and future coronavirus outbreaks….The research, using automated image analysis for a screening and parallel comparison of the anti-coronavirus effects of cobicistat and ritonavir, found cobicistat and ritonavir both act against all eight VOCs of SARS-CoV-2 that were tested as well as against other human coronaviruses, including MERS-CoV. The findings indicate that cobicistat is more powerful than ritonavir. Both drugs displayed anti-coronavirus activity in vitro at dosages that are well tolerated, but higher than those currently used for booster activity of anti-HIV drugs and in Paxlovid.” • The original.

“Something Awful”

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

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“Negligence Cases Against Hospitals for Negligent Transmission of Coronavirus” [Arnold and Smith Personal Injury Lawyers]. Maybe this will get the hospital’s attention:

Persons infected in a hospital with COVID-19 may pursue claims against the facility for the following potential breaches of the duty to exercise reasonable care:

  • Failure to adequately train staff on how to properly deal with patients exhibiting virus symptoms;
  • Failure to test employees and patients for the virus;
  • Failure to screen employees and patients for symptoms;
  • Failure to enact reasonable safety protocols such as mandating the use of protective clothing and requiring social distancing measures to protect patients;
  • Failure to quarantine patients exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Failure to screen hospital guests for symptoms;
  • Failure to enact disinfectant and social distancing guidelines for employees;
  • Failure to close facilities to guests, to protect patients.

If a hospital failed to take reasonable steps to protect patients from exposure to COVID-19, a person injured by the facility’s negligence may be entitled to bring a claim against the hospital. The professionals at Arnold & Smith, PLLC can assist hospital patients or guests who believe they contracted COVID-19 at a hospital.

Consulations are said to be free. Any NC readers in North Carolina game?

Elite Maleficence

.Failure to protect: COVID infection control policy privileges poor-quality evidence” (preprint) [Mark Ungrin, Matthew Oliver, Julia M. Wright, Jonathan Mesiano-Crookston, Malgorzata Gasperowicz, David Fisman, and Corinna Nielson]. A brutal takedown of “Loeb M, Bartholomew A, Hashmi M, Tarhuni W, Hassany M, Youngster I, et al. Medical Masks Versus N95 Respirators for Preventing COVID-19 Among Health Care Workers. Ann Intern Med. 2022 Dec;175(12):1629–38” (“Loeb”):

The failure to immediately recognize the urgent need to control airborne spread of COVID-19, including use of adequate personal protective equipment for an airborne pathogen, represents a major medical error that cost “an enormous number of lives”. Made in the face of significant scientific evidence and a clear requirement to adhere to a precautionary approach, it has still not been fully remedied. To understand the substantial, ongoing gap between science and policy, we carried out an in-depth investigation of an illustrative publication authored by prominent authorities in the fields of Public Health and Infection Prevention and Control, describing a trial of medical masks and N95 respirators for the prevention of COVID-19. Although it was portrayed as among the highest quality evidence available within the Evidence-Based Medicine decision- making paradigm, we found this work to be deeply flawed to the extent that it does not meet basic standards of scientific rigour. Extensive prior work in the respiratory protection field – sufficiently well-established to be incorporated into both national standards and specific recommendations made to address infection control failures in SARS – was ignored. Randomization was compromised, with a statistically significant correlation between female sex and allocation to the higher-risk arm of the trial. Significant conflicts of interest in favour of the reported finding that medical masks are noninferior to N95 respirators in preventing COVID-19 transmission were not disclosed. Prespecified analyses were omitted, and the finding of noninferiority is entirely a product of inappropriate alterations to the trial that were not prospectively registered. Despite numerous flaws biasing the outcome towards a finding of noninferiority, re-analysis using the prespecified approach and noninferiority criterion unambiguously reverses the reported outcome of the trial.

Wouldn’t you know it, that darn “Loeb” study is referenced in footnote 6 of HICPAC’s “Healthcare Personnel Use of N95 Respirators or Medical/ Surgical Masks for Protection Against Respiratory Infections: A Systematic Review and MetaAnalysis” (see NC here). Footnote 6 is the sole support for this claim by HICPAC:

Despite the evidence that N95 respirators are better than medical masks at filtering particles, the evidence of effectiveness of surgical masks relative to N95 respirators to prevent transmission of viral respiratory infections in actual use, has been less conclusive.6.

BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!! The intern cleaning up the “Systematic Review” is going to have even more work!

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Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data, December 4:

Lambert here: Biden’s doing great. His Omicron spike is, of course, incomparable, but now he’s beaten Trump’s case count for both January and September 2021. In 2023! 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). Only 19 superspreading days until Christmas!

Regional data:

Those near-vertical curves in the Midwest and the Northeast are 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

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, December 2:

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 6:

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 25:


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, December 4:

0.2%. 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, December 2:

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 13:

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

BA.2.86 20% of the the total last week, 25% of the total this week.


Total: 1,184,189 – 1,184,159 – 1,183,754 – 1,183,664 = 30 (30 * 365 = 10,950 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease). 

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

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED The Economist, November 18:

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

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States ADP Employment Change” [Trading Economics]. “Private businesses in the US hired 103K workers in November 2023, below a downwardly revised 106K in October and expectations of 130K.”

* * *

Tech: “Electric vehicle miles traveled per 1,000 residents” [Axios]. Handy map:

Tech: “Governments spying on Apple, Google users through push notifications – US senator” [Reuters]. “Apps of all kinds rely on push notifications to alert smartphone users to incoming messages, breaking news, and other updates. These are the audible ‘dings’ or visual indicators users get when they receive an email or their sports team wins a game. What users often do not realize is that almost all such notifications travel over Google and Apple’s servers. That gives the two companies unique insight into the traffic flowing from those apps to their users, and in turn puts them ‘in a unique position to facilitate government surveillance of how users are using particular apps,’ Wyden said. He asked the Department of Justice to ‘repeal or modify any policies’ that hindered public discussions of push notification spying.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 65 Greed (previous close: 66 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 64 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 6 at 1:31:08 PM ET.

Zeitgeist Watch

“Doomsday community wants people to live in 575 bunkers for ‘when all hell breaks loose'” [Metro]. “A doomsday community is in search of residents to live in its 575 bunkers which can reportedly fit up to 10,000 people. In the Black Hills mountain range in South Dakota, a former army base which stored munitions has been repurposed into bunkers. The base has since been transformed into liveable bunkers aimed at providing an ‘epic humanitarian survival project’ – not just for the top 1%. Dante Vicino, the executive director of Vivos, who runs the doomsday bunkers, told AbsolutelyBusiness.com: ”Average people’ can now reserve their spot for when all hell breaks loose. ‘Vivos, now known as an epic humanitarian survival project, is fully prepared for whatever and whenever events may unfold.’ Mr Vicino said members of the doomsday group are not ‘preppers’ or the ‘elite’, but ‘well-educated, average people’ who want to protect their families during uncertain times.”

Class Warfare

“Long life billionaires – Part 1” [Alan Neale, When we are Real]. “There are a number of tech billionaires who invest in innovations which they believe to have life extending potential, including” Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Sam Altman, Vitalek Buterin, Bryan Johnson, and Martine Rothblatt. I wonder whether the “innovations” will be available to everyone, or only the very wealthy?

News of the Wired

“An Open Letter to the Python Software Foundation” [Python Africa]. • Yikes.

“How I rewired my brain in six weeks” [BBC]. “Over time I found I was able to keep my mind more restful – I was better able to zone out busy thoughts. It was quite, if you will excuse the pun, mind-bending to see these results to my brain on a big screen in front of me. Just by being mindful, I had managed to increase a part of my brain that prevents my mind wandering too much.” • Before you dismiss as woo woo — and PMC woo woo at that — do consider that if one of the more pessimistic outcomes of the Covid pandemic comes true, we’re going to need to heal rather a lot of brain damage.

* * *

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 GD:

GD writes: “Desert Thorn-Apple says Wikipedia. Seen at sunrise in Baja. Wikipedia also identifies this member of the Nightshade family and as an annual that only blooms one night and, the following day, shrivels into a seed pod for the next generation. Guess my timing was pretty good for this one.”

* * *

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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. skippy

      Yet suicide rates was a old argument of the Free Market posse – not so long ago – commie Sweden [chortle] or any other quasi socialist [public social goods] is higher than in the Free Market nations [maximizing utility thingy] …

      Mumbles something about opportunity …

  1. lyman alpha blob

    The US is finally charging someone for war crimes. Got my hopes up for a brief fraction of a second when I saw the headline that it might be some US neocon or other, but of course it’s Russians – https://www.yahoo.com/gma/justice-department-announces-war-crimes-151249992.html

    Do note that they don’t even know the last names of two of those being charged, the alleged “victim” isn’t named, and the evidence seems to be this unnamed person’s say so. And of course these four are not in US custody, so there’s no way they’ll ever appear in a US court. We are truly ruled by [family blog]ing clowns.

    But I’m quite sure this is in no way an attempt to distract from the ongoing US-sponsored, well documented, actual war crimes and genocide currently ongoing in Gaza, which are causing support for the US to crater globally, along with GenocideJoe’s domestic poll numbers.

    1. digi_owl

      Nothing new. FBI basically created Al-Qaeda by coaching an “informant” about what to say on the stand, all so they could prosecute Bin Laden in absentia under RICO.

      1. nippersdad

        I was always under the impression that AQ was created by the CIA when they sent Bin Laden into Afghanistan to further radicalize the Mujahadeen (who later turned into the Taliban) because they just weren’t getting the job of attacking Russia done fast enough in the Eighties. But it wouldn’t surprise me to find that they later turned on their own creation. That is just how we roll.

        1. The Rev Kev

          That is why they killed him instead of just taking him prisoner. On the witness stand he would have been a ticking time bomb of embarrassing information about the US government. He had to be silenced.

          1. nippersdad


            The law required that he be put on trial, and their actions were always something that they had trouble explaining. In addition to the lie that they found him through our intelligence services when he was actually ratted out at the embassy, they could never explain why it was “less dangerous” for a team of special servicemen to shoot an elderly diabetic, drag him off to a Navy ship and feed him to the sharks than to just take him alive and put him on trial.

            Just one more example of how hard the Obama Administration had to work to renovate the shrub (and his father’s) reputation.

    2. Carolinian

      Some history of war crimes and Israel as well.


      The British Empire, upon which “the sun never set,” the largest of the Western colonial enterprises, transformed itself into a commonwealth. This act created many new independent states and allowed free movement of labor within the commonwealth. In an unprecedented fashion this transformed England into a multi-racial, multi-ethnic country.

      Simultaneously, the horrors of World War II, ranging from the Holocaust to the use of nuclear weapons, encouraged an effort to put limits on the behavior of nation states. As a consequence, international law was rapidly expanded:

      Treaties and “universal declarations” were drawn up, outlawing the behaviors of the Nazis. By treaty, genocide was outlawed and eventually made a crime against humanity.

      The Fourth Geneva Convention was created to “deal with humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone.”

      An International Court of Justice at the Hague was established. Now complemented by the ICC.

      Finally, there was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, according to Eleanor Roosevelt, represented “a great event in the life of mankind.” It guaranteed, among other things, the right of every individual to “live their lives freely, equally and in dignity.

      Before that says Davidson it was an international system of the strong do what they can. Some want to go back to that.

    3. Pat

      Wag the dog. Most certainly a distraction from the ongoing disaster that is Israel going all evil empire with help from the US, willing, purchased or blackmailed.
      I must add that it is more importantly meant to deflect from a growing realization that the real foreign influence that undermines US elections and governance is Israel.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Indeed. Israeli lobbying groups can openly proclaim to the whole world and interwebs that they will spend millions to unseat US elected officials who don’t toe their line, and yet we don’t hear a single peep from the corporate media about Israel interfering in US elections. Ever.

      2. nippersdad

        I just saw earlier today that Guterres is calling a special session of the Security Council, citing Article 99, to get a cease fire in Gaza.


        If the US vetoes something like this again then they are going to be exposed as sockpuppets for Israel for the whole world to see. As far as deflection goes, they may be about at the end of the road.

  2. Wukchumni

    “Doomsday community wants people to live in 575 bunkers for ‘when all hell breaks loose’” [Metro]. “A doomsday community is in search of residents to live in its 575 bunkers which can reportedly fit up to 10,000 people. In the Black Hills mountain range in South Dakota, a former army base which stored munitions has been repurposed into bunkers.
    You have to say that the ancient Egyptians among others, did bunkers better than us, what’s some intrepid explorer gonna find in 4026 when they stumble upon the ‘Troglodyte Arms’ condos in South Dakota?

    No chance @ King Tut-like booty, tut-tut.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just wait until those 10,000 people discover that there is no signal in that part of South Dakota for their mobiles. And the organizers forgot to order can-openers for all the tinned food that they have in storage.

      1. curlydan

        I was going to say just wait until all hell really breaks loose, and anyone who actually bought a spot finds the owners have been killed or moved aside and their bunkers have been taken by someone else who says to hell with the law and contracts.

        1. Acacia

          And even if they convert one of those bunkers into a court, who is going to leave their bunker to perform jury duty? It’s going to be the law of the jungle.

        2. LifelongLib

          Several years ago on various prepper sites there was an essay by someone IIRC who claimed to have lived through the siege of Sarajevo. He said known preppers were the first to be taken down, because everyone knew they had stuff. After that it was people who tried to make it through alone. Those who survived did so as part of a group of trusted family and friends. They lived in a defensible location, kept a low profile, and cultivated skills they could use in trade for supplies. The only alternative to that was to acquire enough guns and ammo so you could rob people to get what you needed.

          1. Late Introvert

            Make friends far and wide. Be trustworthy. Do favors. We bought chickens this year. Most of the eggs will be given away.

      2. JBird4049

        >>>And the organizers forgot to order can-openers for all the tinned food that they have in storage.

        In the nineteenth century, when they first came out with canned food, can openers were not yet a thing and the first ones that did come were scary. Soldiers sometimes resorted to gunfire to open their cans.

        I get that storing edible food long term that wasn’t salted pork or hardtack was an exciting thing, but when reading the history of canned food, I got the idea that being able to get to and eat the food was not considered. Then there is the fact that the first cans were much more durable than modern aluminum cans.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The first cans may have been durable but they were also hazardous to your health. To seal the cans they used lead which of course leached into the contained food poisoning it. There was a British expedition to the Arctic in the 1840s whose members went crazy and all eventually died because they took tinned food with them. As it was the Arctic region, buried bodies were perfectly preserved and an analysis of them showed that they were suffering from extreme lead poisoning-


      3. steppenwolf fetchit

        Well, if the organizers have recruited some economists among all the other recruits, those economists can assume enough can openers to open all the cans.

        And if they forgot to recruit economists, maybe they can assume some economists who can assume some can openers to get the problem solved regardless.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Saw that. Also saw Whitney Webb being interviewed and she was asked about this and said she’d been reporting on much of this for years which wouldn’t surprise me. It wouldn’t surprise me if I’d seen her talking about it but simply lack her encyclopedic memory.

      The Mt Trashmore of kicked cans is about to start unraveling.

      OK, I got that one from AI. Not sure it’s worth the subscription fee when all I use it for is to cheat at online Scrabble.

      1. FreeMarketApologist

        Certainly not worth it if you’re just going to get clunky mixed metaphors: fabrics and sewn things unravel, mountains erode, cans rust (or otherwise decompose).

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I gave the magic eightball AI another spin and this time got “it is decidely so.” Your wise words have been confirmed.

      2. Screwball

        Whitney Webb is amazing. I’m reading her book. Each chapter has several hundred citations. She must have a huge whiteboard.

    1. Wukchumni

      No, you’re thinking of the bunkers in NZ when the trusted staff turns out to be not as advertised.

  3. Tom Stone

    Gas prices have dropped below $5 per Gallon for the first time in many Months ($4.799 Cash price) here in the Wine Country, which is a help for both Tourism and Agriculture.
    Unfortunately Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza has been hitting the bird flocks hard, with 250,000 destroyed so far…
    At least the Pandemic is over except for the people still getting sick and dying, so it’s all good.

    1. jo6pac

      In Tracy, Calif. we are now at $3.99 down .30 in 2 weeks. I need to fill up my little truck this Sat.

    2. steppenwolf fetchit

      Well, the WHO, the CDC and etc. were able to transition the Pandemic into being Endemic, as in Permanent, all over the world. So . . . Mission Accomplished.

  4. Carolinian

    The party chose its roster of candidates at a meeting of its state executive committee in October

    But was the meeting room full of the smoke from premium Havanas? If you are going to go old school then go full bore.

    And re the Trump (terrorist?) threat–didn’t Biden announce before Trump? And even if that’s not true would Trump–who is clearly out for revenge above all else–be running if Biden wasn’t? Can’t they shake hands and both step down?

    TINA is annoying.

  5. nippersdad

    Re: Abolish ICE being a Russian idea.

    Always given these people think at all, one has to wonder what they think the transfer mechanism for Russia implanting all of these thoughts into the body politic must be. Everything they do not like is always featured in some disfavored other country’s propagandistic playbook after the fact, but they never tell us how it is beamed into our brains.

    The ADL’s Greenblatt, on a leaked video, is now saying that the pro-Palestinian youth and Jewish groups are subject to propaganda from Iran, but to the best of my knowledge there is no means for them to have been indoctrinated. It is really looking like those who approve such messages are the ones in need of tin foil hats, but no one ever comes out and says it to their faces. The day that happens, though, I would love to see the looks on their faces. It is just going to be priceless.

    1. ambrit

      If they are anything like the JDL types I encountered as a teen, their first move will to order the person confronting them shot.

  6. Margo

    Buy food now, pay later. Welcome to some people’s Bidendepression.

    Every deliveryperson and retail clerk I talk to is struggling. That includes women working in nice department stores. They are terrified of having to live in their cars, most of which they are making payments on.

    Some have 3 jobs. Those all count as new jobs created.


    Emptying out the closet of clothing that has not been worn in the last year and pantry of canned goods not likely to be used for people who can only afford to buy in Goodwill.

    Let’s bring this to a head before the election, because it seems like they’ll stall it until collapses afterwards.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Nice department stores? Those still exist?

      I guess Nordstrom and maybe a few higher end places still exist, but lately every time I walk in a department store (which isn’t much) it feels like TJ Maxx: no customer service, shambolic aisles, clothes on the floor, etc. Lines around the understaffed checkout area.

      Nice department store to me means a salesperson, well dressed, asking if they can help you in any way, and maybe try on a pair of nice shoes. Well kept, with merchandise displayed in an organized manner and not strewn over the place like my basement.

      1. NYMutza

        A new IKEA opened recently in SF near Union Square. All of the checkouts are self-checkout. Every single one. And…being San Francisco, there were more security staff than customers in the store. I’m considering placing bets on how long the store will remain open. It’s somewhat odd that a big box retailer would open a new store in the heart of San Francisco’s darkness.

      2. flora

        Yep. One still exists in my flyover state’s uni town. A very nice department store, locally owned, been here over 100 years. (Don’t tell the PE ghouls.) / ;)

        1. Objective Ace

          I wonder if they own the building then? That may be the only way to make the business work in many areas

  7. Ranger Rick

    Re: Python dollars for Africa
    First, pretty awesome that they pulled off an entire conference for nine thousand bucks.
    But the letter is mainly about people trying to make this a “are we sending the right message” issue by giving money to people hosting an event in Tanzania. The reaction isn’t an isolated occurrence; just look at all the people who canceled events and moved business out of Florida because of objections to DeSantis. Ideology is very much interfering with people’s spending decisions, overriding even primary issues like promoting your business as a going concern, or helping people who happen to be ranked lower in intersectionality. As the letter notes, the moral and ethical concerns of the foundation are not held in the same esteem worldwide.

    1. scott s.

      Well I suppose the Python Foundation has to get its funding somewhere, and those donors call the shots on ESG.

  8. Benny Profane

    Funny/sad how DeSantis is at 13% to Trump’s 60% and he’s following the playbook of, gulp, Ted Cruz. Good lord.

    1. Wukchumni

      Seems more akin to the Jeb! playbook, fade early and leave a quickly forgotten political career behind.

      1. Late Introvert

        It’s also super weird how muh guv’ner, Kim Reynolds hitched her short-skirt wagon to that high-heeled loser.

        I was hoping Trump would appoint her his VP and thus give my home state a break from her cruelty.

  9. Mark Gisleson

    “State-level Democrats are raking in small-dollar cash”

    Noted and saved but until I see the money in each successive reporting period it’s hard to know what this means. In 2015 it meant HRC was raising all her money upfront to get headlines but it maxxed out her core base’s ability to donate.

    That’s what got me to go all in on Bernie. Once I saw how the Clinton folks were mismanaging their money it was a sure thing they’d tap out long before the race was decided. That didn’t happen because they decided that only they got to decide the rules ; |

    This is that same party. I’m betting they’re tapping out their ‘whales’ early in a show of bravado — “$$$$ you! we still got it!!!

    Crystal ball time: low budget campaigns start winning, Democrats brainstorm how to invisibly raise/spend money while appearing low budget)

  10. Wukchumni

    Oh mano y mano!

    “Biden tells donors: ‘If Trump wasn’t running I’m not sure I’d be running. We cannot let him win’”

    1. The Rev Kev

      So what will Biden’s campaign motto be? “I’m Not Trump” or “At Least I Am Not The Other Guy.”

      1. FlyoverBoy

        Personally, I don’t believe for a millisecond that someone with Biden’s crushing negative numbers and nonexistent campaigning ability is the only person who can beat anybody. I’d say that with Trump’s high negatives, Biden may be the only Democrat except Kamala who can lose to him.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>I’d say that with Trump’s high negatives, Biden may be the only Democrat except Kamala who can lose to him.

          There is always Gavin “Goodhair” Newsom, the smarter, slicker male version of the Kamaleon. I say this because I don’t see Biden lasting that much longer and Harris is pitiable. So far, the only likely party approved Democrat who might plausibly replace them is Newsom, but the King in Orange would verbally eviscerate him.

          The only real reason to suggest that My Governor might be better than Biden or Harris is because he knows on a first name basis much of the American Elites, can (metaphorically) orally pleasure the remainder, and is heartthrob material for the shallower members of the Professional Managerial Class. However, he would be repellent to many Americans, just as Ron DeSantis is.

          I guesstimate that there a few hundred thousand loyal, right thinking Democrats who would stay bought or blackmailed to do as they are told as president who are also qualified, telegenic, and verbally adept. Yet, somehow, our beloved, better educated, betters seem incapable of using the past several years to get ahead of this plot.

        2. Dr. John Carpenter

          “Biden may be the only Democrat except Kamala who can lose to him.”

          Hey now. Let’s give Hillary some credit.

          1. ambrit

            Sorry Dr. John. Hillary is a cash only grifter, (preferably in unmarked tens and twenties in a brown paper sack.)

  11. lambert strether

    I added some orts and scraps. Do note the personal injury lawyer who inviting clients to sue hospitals for giving them Covid.

    1. Wukchumni

      I probably have close to 100 datura plants growing on the all cats and no cattle ranch, they’re everywhere in the Sierra foothills.

  12. Pat

    Right now there is little or no chance that any of the Republicans will take out Trump, and barring a smoke filled room at the convention the Democrats have locked in Biden.

    If the only Democrat that can beat Trump is Biden get ready for Trump’s second term. (Sadly I think the next best bet is Clinton, and besides her own issues the dismal Democratic administration hits her as well.) back to the big guy, Biden is a goner unless the economy massively improves. That means on the ground deflation, as in food and housing becoming significantly cheaper. If there is a different type of significant event like a death or they manage to take out Trump either legally or in a small plane that might change, but I don’t think the usual October surprises such as a natural disaster or war can rally people enough to save Biden.

    My other bet is that this will be the Presidential election that tops the charts for lack of voter participation and undervotes for President. Between people who don’t see the point and people who don’t like either candidate this number is going to be huge.

  13. Wukchumni

    “Presidential candidate RFK Jr. admits he flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s jet TWICE and went ‘fossil hunting’ with him in South Dakota – then says ‘My wife had some kind of a relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell’”
    Eight miles high, and when you touch down
    You’ll find that it’s stranger than known
    Signs in the island, that say where you’re going
    Are somewhere just being their own

    Nowhere is there warmth to be found
    Among those afraid of losing their ground
    Little Saint James town, known for its talent newfound
    In places, small faces unbound

    Round up the known knowns, huddled in sync
    Some laughing, some just shapeless group think
    Bedroom screams and lack of peeping camera screens
    Some high living, some debauchery scenes

    8 Miles High, by the Byrds


    1. Mark Gisleson

      As a fan, I kinda feel like giving you the Byrd for this one (it’s my favorite Byrds’ song damnit ; )

      RFK Jr doesn’t hold up well under scrutiny at all. No matter where you start from, you end up finding out that his first wife killed herself.

      Most people stop at that point, unsure they want to know more but just as certain that if they’re going to support RFK Jr, they need to know more about that. Knowing more is always good. I’ve never understood people who vote without examining all the legit allegations against their chosen candidates.

  14. marym

    Fake electors

    “A Nevada grand jury on Wednesday charged six Republicans who claimed to be presidential electors in 2020 and submitted certificates to Congress…”

    There’s also an overview of the status in several states.
    WaPo 12/6/2023 no paywall

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I’m sure Nevada will go after Clinton next for her “alternate” electors from 2016 next.

      I’ve seen the “debunkings” of how what Clinton and Trump did were completely different, and I’m not buying it. It was dumb when Clinton tried it, dumb when Trump tried it, I’ve never seen how either attempt was ever going to result in in changing the will of the voters in this day and age when these post-election get togethers are largely procedural formalities. So why is only one of these clowns being charged for it, when neither of them should have been?

      But if they want to go after Trump on this nonsense, I’m all for going after Clinton for it too. In a just world, she’d have been in the slammer a long time ago.

      1. marym

        The 2016 effort by Clinton and her supporters was reprehensible. For states with laws against faithless electors, maybe there’s also an argument that it was illegal to try to persuade them.

        Of the few (Clinton and Trump) electors who were “faithless” in 2016 those from WA (where there was a legal requirement for electors to be faithful) eventually paid a fine. The litigation went as far as the SC.

  15. Wukchumni

    Oh sure, i’ll miss My Kevin (since ’07) and when I think of all the things he has done, mainly coming this (holds thumb and index finger together parallel to one another) close to the Presidency, were the dynamic duo above him to be suddenly not with us.

    ‘the 25 Days of Kevin’

    On the first day since he announced retirement
    My Kevin said to me
    By New Year’s eve

    On the second day since he announced retirement
    My Kevin said to me
    You’ve seen the end of McCarthyism
    By New Year’s eve

    On the third day since he announced retirement
    My Kevin said to me
    No more unforced errors
    You’ve seen the end of McCarthyism
    By New Years eve

    On the fourth day since he announced retirement
    My Kevin said to me
    I’m not my Donald’s keeper
    No more unforced errors
    And you’ve seen the end of McCarthyism
    By New Years eve

    On the fifth day since he announced retirement
    My Kevin said to me
    Gaetz will get his
    I’m not my Donald’s keeper
    No more unforced errors
    And you’ve seen the end of McCarthyism
    By New Years eve

    On the sixth day since he announced retirement
    My Kevin said to me
    I look good in Lamé
    Gaetz will get his
    I’m not my Donald’s keeper
    No more unforced errors
    And you’ve seen the end of McCarthyism
    By New Years eve

  16. notabanker

    Good for those interns, and I don’t blame them one bit for not publishing their names. These are neocon fascists they are dealing with running the good ole USofA. Lord knows what kind of black car, black suit agents would be visiting their homes unannounced.

  17. Roger Blakely

    From BioBot wastewater data, December 4

    OMG. Lambert pointed out that the current peak is already higher than the March 2020 and January 2021 peaks, which were pre-Omicron. Lambert highlighted the fact that it is early December and that the Biobot curve is headed straight up.

    I expect the that the January 2024 peak will end up being slightly lower than the January 2023 peak. What it tells me is that this is the new normal. SARS-CoV-2 isn’t going away. SARS-CoV-2 will never go away.

    What am I going to do? Will I wear a respirator and avoid social interaction for the rest of my life? Yes.

  18. Wukchumni

    The Rebels were scheduled to play a basketball game in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday, but the contest was called off after a shooting on UNLV’s campus. (LV fish wrap)

    See, the USA can respond to mass murders and quickly change things. It wasn’t as if a shooter in LV has anything to do with a basketball game in Dayton, but there you have it. It’s all about the small victories.

  19. antidlc


    Taiwan Urges Elderly, Young to Avoid China Visits Due to Respiratory Illnesses

    Taiwan’s health ministry on Thursday urged the elderly, very young and those with poor immunity to avoid travel to China due to the recent increase in respiratory illnesses there, a move some experts said was ineffective to manage public health risks.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) last week requested China provide detailed information on the spike, which a WHO official said was not as high as before the COVID-19 pandemic and that no unusual or novel pathogens had been detected.

  20. MacDougal Dean

    “Yet there is a darker side to the gig economy. Because they must cover their own expenses, those who rely on the gig economy as their main source of income can struggle to even earn minimum wage.”

    Just wait until the tens of millions of “migrants” following the open borders ‘Bidenvenido’, get work permits. Every unionized job without very high levels of skills will be reduced to minimum, or sub minimum wage levels, if for cash. Already happening without papers. Just try and buy a can of paint without being mobbed by desperate day laborers.

    Already seeing carpentry, plumbing, electrical, painting, car mechanics going the way of mow and blow gardening. And you can forget food pantries. The niños are planted in line at dawn so the alleged parent(s)can show up at opening time. Already near riots and fistfights between locals and rencently arrived on the buses in Chicago as seen on youtube. FJB and his replacement lizard woman.

  21. Stephen V

    Nooz youse can use.
    I joked to a friend that we need to shadow Congress critters (Pelosi) and mirror their investment strategies if we’re serious.
    Wife pipes up from the backseat Im already doing it.. THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT:

  22. Wukchumni

    Twenty eyes for every eye

    IDF let loose with big guns all over the cloistered hood, eh
    (Gaza City, here we come)
    You know it’s not innovative, it’s a Warsaw Ghetto like oldie but a goodie
    (Gaza City, here we come)
    Well, the residents really have no where to go
    Everybody is waiting for Godot

    And we’re goin’ to Gaza City, ’cause it’s twenty to one
    You know we’re goin’ to Gaza City, gonna have to expunge
    You know we’re goin’ to Gaza City, ’cause it’s twenty to one
    You know we’re goin’ to Gaza City, gonna have to expunge, now
    Twenty eyes for every eye

    They say we’ll roll the streets and get some settlements goin’
    (Gaza City, here we come)
    You know they’re out sufferin’ with indignation growin’
    (Gaza City, here we come)
    Yeah, and there’s two kinds of Semitic guise
    And all you gotta do is use the kill-ratio, 20 eyes for an eye

    And we’re goin’ to Gaza City, ’cause it’s twenty to one
    You know we’re goin’ to Gaza City, gonna have to expunge
    You know we’re goin’ to Gaza City, ’cause it’s twenty to one
    You know we’re goin’ to Gaza City, gonna have to expunge, now
    Twenty eyes for every
    Twenty eyes for every eye

    And if my Merkava breaks down on me somewhere on the invasion route
    (Gaza City, here we come)
    I’ll strap my Uzi to my back and hitch a ride in my Kevlar armored suit
    (Gaza City, here we come)
    And when I get to Gaza City I’ll be shootin’ everything but a squirrel
    And checkin’ out the civilians for a dirt nap curl

    And we’re goin’ to Gaza City, ’cause it’s twenty to one
    You know we’re goin’ to Gaza City, gonna have to expunge
    You know we’re goin’ to Gaza City, ’cause it’s twenty to one
    You know we’re goin’ to Gaza City, gonna have to expunge, now
    Twenty eyes for every lost Israeli eye

    Surf City, by Jan & Dean


  23. Jason Boxman

    From Boardwalk Empire, season two episode 9, Margaret’s daughter gets polio. We apparently took this very seriously. Burned all her things. Quarantined in hospital.

    Today we let kids get infected by SARS again and again. No one cares.

    What the actual f–k.

  24. Acacia

    Regarding the statement by German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, 3% change of Long Covid per infection sounds a bit on the low side, compared to what the WHO has stated and what I’ve read elsewhere.

    In any case, Michael Osborne, who retweeted Lauterbach’s statement, and who has apparently spent a number of years working on probability theory, adds:

    3% is roughly the probability of rolling two six-sided dice and getting a double 1, which, in my experience, happens ALL THE TIME

    …which appears correct (2.77%), according to a handy online Dice Probability Calculator.

    Otherwise, Lauterbach’s statement is very clear and hits on a number of important points. He laments the extremely low rate of uptake with the latest shots, but given all the deliberate obfuscation of Covid numbers and putative VE and potential side effects that nobody wants to talk about, whose fault is that?

    Whenever Covid comes up in conversation now, I generally find the people I know are resigned to repeat infections and don’t really want to change their behavior much, by seriously masking, seeking outdoor venues to socialize, etc. But simultaneously, they don’t want to “get” Long Covid, even while I can tell from the way they talk about it, they don’t seem to fully understand what it entails (e.g., brain damage, cardio issues).

    So there is a pretty clear disconnect — classic denial, even —, and the question I keep mulling is how to make this clear to others using very simple terms. This is where an example like throwing dice is very useful, because most everybody has some experience with dice and can easily imagine rolling “snake eyes”. It’s just pure probability, which also helps to surface that people don’t want to be reminded about “cold” things like numbers or physics, especially when considering a series of dice throws.

    Combining these two points may be effective rhetoric, as it is already established in the typical conversation with friend/co-worker/family member that “I’m resigned to getting Covid twice a year”, which means rolling the dice twice a year, every year, but hoping that somehow it will never come up snake eyes. And again, 3% may be rather a low estimate.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I’ve seen it liked to winning the lottery. With those odds you’d play daily. Or driving. With those odds you’d never get behind the wheel.

      1. Acacia

        Heh… if you’re playing to win, yeah, though getting Long Covid isn’t exacting winning.

        The comparison with driving is interesting, as the usual statistic I’ve seen is that you have 1 in 366 chance of getting into a car accident for every 1000 miles that you drive. Converting 1-in-X odds to a percentage gives us (I believe) 0.273 %, meaning your changes of a Covid infection becoming a Long Covid condition are slightly more than 10x greater than your chances of a car accident for every 1000 miles driven.

        Again, that’s if we go with Lauterbach’s 3%. As mentioned, the WHO has said “around 10–20% of people infected by SARS-CoV-2 may go on to develop symptoms that can be diagnosed as long COVID”:


        If we choose the WHO low stat of 10%, that is almost 37x the chance of getting into a car accident per 1000 miles, which really doesn’t sound very good.

        1. Jason Boxman

          If we choose the WHO low stat of 10%, that is almost 37x the chance of getting into a car accident per 1000 miles, which really doesn’t sound very good.

          True story. And that’s why I quit the world. After it was clear the shots were not sterilizing, I knew I’d never go back out in society again. I also knew anyone with long-COVID is screwed. Sadly that seems to be true.

  25. VietnamVet

    Jake Sullivan, Antony Blinken, Victoria Nuland, Liz Cheney, Lloyd Austin, and NATO’s Generals believed that Ukraine would take back Crimea; notwithstanding Russia’s declaration that it would use nuclear weapons to defend it and building defenses in depth, with tank traps and minefields on the Line of Contact that rivaled the defense works in 1943 at the Battle of Kursk that defeated and turned back the Wehrmacht to its inevitable defeat.

    The Senate briefing on Ukraine broke up in acrimony with the Ukrainian President sudden cancelling his virtual presentation. Funding for the Ukraine War is now up in the air. The Uni-War Party’s delusions have splintered it apart.

    Joe Biden has told Israel to get the War in Gaza over by January; likely due to the election next year.

    World War III is suddenly turning into a repeat of the hasty 2021 retreat from Afghanistan. If viable new candidates aren’t selected next year but instead are Joe Biden and Donald Trump, once again, the USA will be no longer a united Union by the January 2025 Inaugural.

  26. Pat

    It explains so much that the person in charge of Biden, and seemingly the Democrats political outlook, was a film producer. Considering that he brilliantly chose to partner with Meg Whitman and lost a billion and a half on the short lived streamer Quibi in less than a year I think we can safely say that he cannot pick people, doesn’t understand the market, and has long since leapt past his level of competence. No wonder it is all about appearances.
    While he is giving advice I wonder if any of those 2028 hopefuls will bother to ask him what happens if I tie myself to Biden, he gets elected and things continue to get worse for most Americans? I realize that would mean one of them would need to be aware of things outside their day to day existence unlikely as that is. You would think the various polls and declining approval ratings of both Biden and Congress would niggle some unease about the state of things and whether Biden is a dead weight for more than just being old. But I just have to accept that the donor approval process will weed out even that minor of a rebellious position much less one that thinks the American public deserves better representation than mega donors do.

    1. Acacia

      No wonder it is all about appearances.

      Yeah, Katzenberg, from Disney, to “indispensable to Obama” to being a producer of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie … the dude’s bio is majorly cringe.

      “President Biden’s age is, in fact, his superpower,” Katzenberg claims. O-K, Jeffery.

      Given that Katzenberg was very much involved in The Lion King, and given some of the other illustrious names that project recalls, this brings us back to a theme from yesterday’s edition of NC — Thomas Kinkade, of “This one’s for Walt!” fame lol — as Katzenberg kinda seems to cinema what Kinkade was to painting.

  27. steppenwolf fetchit

    Here is someone’s little video of a “tour” through a newly built house ( done yet?) from the ” Construction” subreddit, titled: “1.3 mill! And a new build was everyone drunk?”

    I am just an ignorant layman but it looks to me like the videographer found some bad stuff. If so, is this exceptional or normal and usual? Or is it not as bad as it looks to me?


  28. Gully Foyle

    Picards second season was a time travel event set in 2024.
    The spot chosen was a homeless wasteland and there were even comments by two of the main characters about how bad society was.
    Consider it took at least a year for the show to be made and released someone either expected Trump to still be in office or was signaling how badly society will become.
    When I posted that observation on Reddit stating it would be a Biden election year I was booted.
    It is still funny and an excellent observation of the future.
    As long as I’m on social nudging, television and film managed to become more “foul languaged” and socially deviant, more murder and outside the norm sexual expressions during the Trump years.
    Now it is a little restrained. But the door has been opened.
    The Social and Technological churn is way too fast to be controlled anymore.
    I see strange combinations of die hard conservatives who hated Muslims now defending Palestinians and Gays accepting Islam.
    The Doors
    Strange days have found us
    Strange days have tracked us down
    They’re going to destroy
    Our casual joys
    We shall go on playing or find a new town
    Strange eyes fill strange rooms
    Voices will signal their tired end
    The hostess is grinning
    Her guests sleep from sinning
    Hear me talk of sin
    And you know this is it
    Strange days have found us
    And through their strange hours
    We linger alone
    Bodies confused
    Memories misused
    As we run from the day
    To a strange night of stone

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