2:00PM Water Cooler 12/8/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Variegated Tinamou, El Palmar; Río Grande, Bolívar, Venezuela. Male/Female duet with whistled imitation by human.

* * *


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

The Constitutional Order

“NY lawmakers ask state Board of Elections to boot Trump from 2024 ballot” [New York Daily News]. “In a letter to the state Board of Elections shared exclusively with the Daily News, New York Senators Brad Hoylman-Sigal, Liz Krueger, and others cited Trump’s alleged efforts to overthrow democracy in violation of the Constitution’s ‘Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause‘ in outlining why he shouldn’t be featured on the ballot. The effort mirrors one already underway in a closely watched case before Colorado’s Supreme Court…. Asking BOE co-chairs Peter Kosinski and Douglas Kellner to fulfill their ‘weighty responsibility’ and exclude the current Republican front-runner as they would a candidate who’s underage or isn’t a natural-born citizen, the senators said his role in the deadly storming of the nation’s capital renders him ineligible to hold public office until he’s relieved of the disqualification by two-thirds of both chambers of Congress…. A spokesperson for the BOE, which determines candidates’ eligibility, did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.”

“Oregon Voters File Lawsuit to Bar Donald Trump From Ballot” [Yuba.net]. “Free Speech For People (FSFP), along with Oregon co-counsel Jason Kafoury of Kafoury & McDougal and Daniel Meek, filed a lawsuit today in the Oregon Supreme Court on behalf of individual Oregon voters challenging Donald Trump’s candidacy. The lawsuit follows a letter sent to Secretary of State of Oregon, LaVonne Griffin-Valade, urging her to issue a temporary rule (and subsequent declaratory ruling) that Mr. Trump, according to Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, is constitutionally ineligible to appear on any Oregon future ballot for nomination of election to federal office. ”


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Donald Trump returns to court, lauds his defense expert who sees no evidence of accounting fraud” [Chicago Tribune]. “[New York University accounting professor Eli Bartov] testified that financial statements are just starting points for lenders, and that the documents’ value estimates are inherently subjective opinions. Differences in such opinions don’t mean that there’s fraud, the professor said. He called Trump’s financial statements transparent and uncommonly detailed, with caveats that Bartov claimed ‘even my 9-year-old granddaughter’ would understand. So did major Trump lender Deutsche Bank, Bartov maintained. Deutsche Bank executives have testified that, while expecting clients to provide broadly accurate information, they often adjust the numbers. Internal bank documents pegged Trump’s net worth substantially lower than his financial statements did. But if the bank adjusted the figures that Trump reported, ‘what if the reported values are incorrect?’ the judge asked Bartov. He responded that the bankers didn’t necessarily work from Trump’s original numbers. ‘So then why get them in the first place?’ Engoron asked. Noting that the figures came with pages of notes, Bartov said the package ‘allowed them to compute the numbers on their own.'” • Still reeling from the revelation that New Yorker Engoron believes there’s such a thing as a “correct” number in New York real estate. Is he a little child?

“Trump appeals ruling rejecting immunity claim as window narrows to derail federal election case” [Associated Press]. “Lawyers for the 2024 Republican presidential primary frontrunner filed a notice of appeal Thursday indicating that they will challenge U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s decision rejecting Trump’s bid to dismiss the case headed to trial in Washington, D.C., in March…. The appeal had been expected given that Trump’s lawyers had earlier signaled their plans to pursue all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary, what they say is a legally untested question of a former president’s immunity from prosecution. It’s part of a broader strategy by him and his lawyers to try to postpone the criminal cases against him until after next year’s presidential election, averting trials that could unfold in the heat of the presidential campaign. The appeals court is expected to schedule dates for written briefs and oral arguments, though it’s not clear when those would be. The argument that Trump is immune from prosecution for actions taken within his role as president has for months been seen as perhaps the most weighty and legally consequential objection to the case made by the Trump lawyers ahead of trial. No former president has ever been prosecuted before, a lack of historical precedent Trump’s team has seized on in trying to get the indictment tossed out.”

* * *

“Biden’s campaign will not commit yet to participating in general election debates in 2024” [Associated Press]. Supply chain problems with the juice? ” President Joe Biden’s campaign is not yet committing to general election debates next year, the latest sign that a staple of modern White House campaigns may not be in play in 2024…. Trump has skipped all GOP primary debates, including Wednesday’s gathering at the University of Alabama, citing his wide lead over his Republican rivals as justification. Yet he has said a general election campaign would be different. ‘We have to debate,’ he told Fox News host Bret Baier in a June interview. ‘He and I have to definitely debate. That’s what I love. The two of us have to debate.’…. The [the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates] schedule calls for three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate next fall.” • I hate the whole system of Presidential debates and think we should give it all back to the League of Women Voters. That said, if Biden won’t — and by won’t, I mean can’t — debate, he might as well just throw in the towel right there.

“Biden says he is not the only Democrat who could beat Trump” [New York Times]. “Biden’s reelection campaign appeal to his fellow party members has been predicated on the argument that he is the Democrat best equipped to keep his impeached and indicted predecessor out of the Oval Office. But the president was asked Wednesday whether he believed any other Democrats could prevail over Trump… ‘Probably 50 of them, Biden said. ‘I’m not the only one who could defeat him. But I will defeat him.”” • I don’t think 50. Anyhow, if you can’t give a good reason why you and nobody else, why are you running?

“Trump takes center stage at Biden fundraisers” [The Hill]. “Biden, who early in his presidency would tip-toe around referencing his predecessor by name, has now made Trump central to his pitch to donors…. Biden mentioned Trump’s name 28 times at a Denver fundraiser last week, according to a White House transcript, and roughly a dozen times at each of his three fundraisers in Massachusetts this week… He has zeroed in on the threat Trump poses to democracy, building on a core theme of the 2020 campaign and the 2022 midterms. Biden has called Trump an ‘election denier in chief’ who is ‘determined to destroy American democracy.'” • But the dogs aren’t eating the dog food; see Teixiera below.

* * *

“House Republicans to move forward on formalizing Biden impeachment inquiry next week” [ABC]. “The House Rules Committee announced Thursday it will consider a resolution next week to formalize Republicans’ ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, and the White House called the move a “baseless stunt.”… Even moderate GOP impeachment skeptics who represent districts that Biden won in 2020 are coming around in support of the resolution. House Speaker Mike Johnson previously told reporters he believed Republicans would have the necessary support for the resolution to pass…. Rep. Don Bacon, who had previously said he would not vote to support the impeachment inquiry resolution, has also changed his mind… ‘We have to vote for an inquiry to get the information that’s being subpoenaed,’ Bacon, R-Neb., said…. ‘Even the Republican lawyers in the conference doesn’t think we’ve met the [threshold] for high crimes and misdemeanors. We’re not impeaching his son, right?’ Bacon said. ‘But there is information that the two committees, in particular, want and the president is not handing it over, and it’s important. And so that’s why we’re having an inquiry.'” • If the decimal point in $1380 could be moved a couple of places to the right….

* * *

“Nimarata the Piñata” [The American Conservative]. “‘Foreign policy experience is not the same as foreign policy wisdom,’ Ramaswamy interjected. ‘I think those with foreign policy experience, one thing that Joe Biden and Nikki Haley have in common, is that neither of them could even state for you three provinces in eastern Ukraine that they want to send our troops to actually fight for.’ The camera panned to Haley. Her chin was tilted down, her eyes locked on a 1,000 yard stare…. ‘Look at that,’ Ramaswamy said. ‘This is what I want people to understand.… She has no idea what the hell the names of those provinces are, but she wants to send our sons and daughters and our troops and our military equipment to go fight it. So reject this myth that they’ve been selling you that somebody had a cup of coffee stint at the U.N. and then makes 8 million bucks after has real foreign policy experience.’ … For four minutes and five seconds, Haley could not name three provinces in eastern Ukraine America’s sons and daughters would be forced to defend. Eventually, she said ‘Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea.’ That’s the wrong answer. The right answer would be Donetsk, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia. The only scenario in which Crimea is part of the answer is if you fantasize leading the U.S. into WWIII.” • Well, it is a gotcha. It’s entertaining to watch Ramaswamy, who is clearly Give Zero [Family Blog]s mode.

* * *

“Utah loosens ballot access rules after RFK Jr. sues” [Deseret News]. “Utah extended its deadline for unaffiliated presidential candidates to get on the state’s ballot, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson announced Thursday. The decision came after Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an independent presidential candidate, filed a lawsuit against Henderson. The lawsuit claimed Utah’s deadline for candidates to file for ballot access in Utah — Jan. 8, 2024 — was ‘clearly unconstitutional’ and ‘the earliest deadline on independent presidential candidates in the history of the United States.’ Henderson announced Thursday that candidates would be permitted to file through March 5, 2024, nearly two months after the original deadline.”

* * *

“The Democratic Coalition Is Falling Apart” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. “Let’s face it: the Democratic coalition is in poor shape. It’s springing leaks everywhere—young voters, Hispanic voters, black voters, women voters, working-class voters, moderate and independent voters. …. Two recent data releases document this ongoing decay of the Democratic coalition. First, looking at the national picture, Adam Carlson at the excellent Split Ticket data analytics site, has produced a compilation of cross-tabular data that allows us to compare average current Democratic performance with Democratic performance from 2020 to estimate shifts in preference since that election by key group. The second data source is a major survey of battleground states and districts by Democracy Corps/PSG/Greenberg Research (DCorps) that provides some rich demographic breakdowns of vote preference and opinion where the 2024 election will almost certainly be decided…. It no doubt seems odd to Democrats that voters in the center—independents and moderates—aren’t flocking to their banners because surely they all know and believe that chaos agent Trump and his anti-democratic Republican Party represent everything that is immoderate and super-partisan in American politics. But here’s the problem: these voters don’t necessarily see Trump and the Republicans as clearly being the worst in these areas. In the DCorps poll, battleground voters prefer Trump and the Republicans over Biden and the Democrats on ‘opposing extremism’ (by 3 points), ‘getting beyond the chaos’ (by 6 points), ‘standing up to elites’ (by 8 points), ‘protecting the U.S. Constitution’ (by 8 points), and ‘putting country over party’ (by 8 points). These voters see the parties as tied on “democracy being secure”and give Biden and the Democrats negligible leads of 2 points on ‘presidents not being able to act as autocrats’, and one point on ‘protecting democracy’. So while partisan Democrats may think these issues are not even close when comparing Biden and the Democrats to Trump and his ‘semi-fascist‘ Republican Party, there are clearly huge numbers of less partisan voters who disagree…. Something’s clearly not working here for the Democrats. Despite turning it up to 11 on the threat posed by Trump to democracy throughout Biden’s presidency, and now perhaps to 12 as the probability of a Biden-Trump rematch looms ever larger, actually-existing voters don’t seem to be stampeding in their direction. The big lead that Democrats feel should be naturally theirs is not appearing.” • I loathe Teixeira, but he’s got this right. Also on Greenberg–

“‘This Is Grim,’ One Democratic Pollster Says” [New York Times] “The predictive power of horse-race polling a year from the presidential election is weak at best. The Biden campaign can take some comfort in that. But what recent surveys do reveal is that the coalition that put Joe Biden in the White House in the first place is nowhere near as strong as it was four years ago. These danger signs include fraying support among core constituencies, including young voters, Black voters and Hispanic voters, and the decline, if not the erasure, of traditional Democratic advantages in representing the interests of the middle class and speaking for the average voter…. In an email, Greenberg summarized the results: ‘This is grim.’ The study, he said, found that collectively, voters in the Democratic base of ‘Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, L.G.B.T.Q.+ community, Gen Z, millennials, unmarried and college women give Trump higher approval ratings than Biden.'” And: “Biden and the Democrats led on six: women’s rights (ahead by 17 percentage points), climate change (15 points), addressing racial inequality (10 points), health care (three points), the president will not be an autocrat (two points) and protecting democracy (one point). There was a tie on making democracy more secure. Donald Trump and the Republicans held leads on the remaining subjects, including being for working people (a seven-point advantage), standing up to elites (eight points), being able to get things done for the American people (12 points), feeling safe (12 points) and keeping wages and salaries up with the cost of living (17 points).” • Funny how Covid isn’t even an issue, but that’s where we are.

“Young voters may be disenchanted with Biden, but they still oppose Trump, poll finds” [Los Angeles Times]. “[I]t’s Republicans and independents, not Democrats, who are most likely to express doubts about voting, according to the latest biannual poll of young people conducted by Harvard’s Institute of Politics. Those disenchanted independent voters include large shares of Black and Latino young people, especially men, the poll found….. [W]hile many young Americans are disenchanted with Biden, there’s no sign of movement toward former President Trump. Instead, independent candidates, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., attract unusually high levels of support.”

* * *

IL: “Pritzker tells Chicago to fold its tents — governor rejects toxic migrant shelter site in Brighton Park” [Chicago Sun-Times]. “Citing ‘serious environmental concerns,’ Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that the state is ending development of a proposed migrant camp in Brighton Park. The decision follows the city of Chicago’s release of an environmental report Friday night that showed the location at 38th Street and California Avenue required cleanup of heavy metals and toxic chemicals. The state halted construction Sunday.”

IL: “Matthew Pritzker, billionaire cousin of Illinois governor is dumped from glitzy L.A. Biden fundraiser as the Dem mega-donor prepares to appear in New York court to face sex assault charges” [Daily Mail]. “Matthew Pritzker, the Hyatt scion accused of sexual assault, has been dropped from a glitzy fundraising shindig for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. The 41-year-old billionaire was one of dozens of wealthy Biden supporters who paid $100,000 to be named as a co-host of the event at a secret location in Los Angeles on Friday. But his name now has been quietly dropped from the lineup after a woman filed a lawsuit on Thanksgiving Eve alleging that he raped her in New York in May 2009. The fundraiser for the commander-in-chief’s re-election bid, dubbed An Evening With President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, will also feature a performance by Lenny Kravitz and an appearance by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pritzker’s details have been scrubbed from the official event page, where uber-rich Hollywood Biden backers can stump up $25,000 to attend the dinner and get a picture with the president.” • Hmm.

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.

* * *

“House censures Rep. Jamaal Bowman for pulling fire alarm” [NBC]. “The House voted Thursday to censure Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., for pulling a fire alarm in a congressional building while the chamber was in session in September to consider a vote to fund the government…. But Bowman maintained that his actions were unintentional. ‘I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote. It was the exact opposite — I was trying urgently to get to a vote, which I ultimately did and joined my colleagues in a bipartisan effort to keep our government open,’ he said in a statement at the time. ‘I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door,’ he added. ‘I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused.'” • Bowman is being ridiculous. “The bright red alarm is clearly marked with the word “FIRE’,” per DC code. If Bowman had been a beardo with a Confederate flag, he would have been charged and convicted with interrupting an official proceeding, and jailed, probably for several years.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“A deluge of violent messages: How a surge in threats to public officials could disrupt American democracy” [CNN]. Handy chart:

This is ugly and bad, and the numbers are for prosecutions only; apparently the number of threats is an order of magnitude larger. Still, the absolute numbers are relatively low. And Trump is the the number one recipient! That wasn’t on my Bingo card.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Covid is Airborne

Festival of Far-UVC:

“Far-UVC light (222 nm) efficiently and safely inactivates airborne human coronaviruses” [Nature]. From 2020, still germane. From the Abstract: “A direct approach to limit airborne viral transmissions is to inactivate them within a short time of their production. Germicidal ultraviolet light, typically at 254 nm, is effective in this context but, used directly, can be a health hazard to skin and eyes. By contrast, far-UVC light (207–222 nm) efficiently kills pathogens potentially without harm to exposed human tissues. … As all human coronaviruses have similar genomic sizes, far-UVC light would be expected to show similar inactivation efficiency against other human coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2. Based on the beta-HCoV-OC43 results, continuous far-UVC exposure in occupied public locations at the current regulatory exposure limit (~3 mJ/cm2/hour) would result in ~90% viral inactivation in ~8 minutes, 95% in ~11 minutes, 99% in ~16 minutes and 99.9% inactivation in ~25 minutes. Thus while staying within current regulatory dose limits, low-dose-rate far-UVC exposure can potentially safely provide a major reduction in the ambient level of airborne coronaviruses in occupied public locations.”

“Type of ultraviolet light most effective at killing coronavirus is also the safest to use around people” [The Conversation]. From 2021, still germane: “Different wavelengths of UV light work better than others for inactivating viruses, and this depends on how well the wavelengths are absorbed by the virus’s DNA or RNA. When UV light gets absorbed, the photons of light transfer their energy to and damage the chemical bonds of the genetic material. The virus is then unable to replicate or cause an infection. Researchers have also shown the proteins that viruses use to attach to a host cell and initiate infection – like the spike proteins on a coronavirus – are also vulnerable to UV light. The dose of light matters too. Light can vary in intensity – bright light is more intense, and there is more energy in it than in dim light. Being exposed to a bright light for a short time can produce the same UV dose as being exposed to a dim light for a longer period. You need to know the right dose that can kill coronavirus particles at each UV wavelength. Traditional UV systems use wavelengths at or around 254 nanometers. At these wavelengths the light is dangerous to human skin and eyes, even at low doses. Sunlight includes UV light near these wavelengths; anyone who has ever gotten a bad sunburn knows just how dangerous UV light can be. However, recent research has shown that at certain UV wavelengths – specifically below 230 nanometers – the high-energy photons are absorbed by the top layers of dead skin cells and don’t penetrate into the active skin layers where damage can occur. Similarly, the tear layer around eyes also blocks out these germicidal UV rays. This means that at wavelengths of UV light below 230 nanometers, people can move around more freely while the air around them is being disinfected in real time.”

“Ultraviolet light and indoor air disinfection to fight pandemics: A technology long overdue—Part 2” [WSWS]. “On several recent occasions, photographs of White House COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha giving lectures with Far-UVC devices in the background have circulated widely on social media. However, at the recent White House Indoor Air Summit held on October 11, 2022, neither Jha nor any other speaker delved into the technology, other than a brief reference under the heading of ‘New Technologies.’ One must ask why, if Dr. Jha depends on this technology so much, did he choose to remain silent on it?” • As usual, the elites don’t want us to understand how they protec themselves.

Lambert here: There are a lot of UV solutions running around: There are some for public spaces, like Upper Room UV. There are others for disinfecting surfaces, like cellphones, with UVC. (Because this is the stupidest timeline, I worry that UV will be treated as a substitute for air filtration; I picture restaurants, say, buying a UV bulb, sticking it in a socket, and calling it good. I also have a personal crotchet in that I don’t like radiation.) My focus will be on whether I should add some sort of Far-UVC (222 nm) solution to my personal protocol as another layer of protection, along with masks, nasal sprays, mouthwash, etc. So I’m looking for something portable, for use on transport (especially airplanes) or in restaurants/cafés, where I need to demask. There are products on the market, but there are no standards; there’s no Underwriter’s Laboratory for Far-UVC.

“Intro to Far-UV” [Joey Fox, Medium]. “There are products that have come out like the Lily (2 W), X-One (3 W) and Mobile Shield (10 W) which are portable and designed to be placed close to a person and disinfect the air before it is inhaled…. [T]hese devices are not primarily designed to disinfect the whole room. The goal is to only disinfect the air close to the occupant with a short exposure time. I’m unsure about the irradiance values for the Mobile Shield, but I have done tests on the Lily (also sold as Hexagon) and X-One. At 40 cm away, which is a typical distance between a table and your nose, the irradiance values can be between 10–50 μW/cm². Assuming a 90% inactivation dose of 200 μJ/cm², a SARS-Cov-2 virion would need to be exposed for 4–20 seconds. I think you would inhale the virus within 4 seconds of it coming in contact with the far-UV light, so I don’t think there is enough contact time to inactivate the virus effectively. If there are computational fluid dynamics models showing a high rate of inactivation using personal far-UV devices or if an experiment is performed showing these devices are effective, then they can considered as one of the methods to provide non-infectious air and protection from airborne diseases.” • Inhalation is indeed 1-1.5 seconds. I would want to see more modeling on this. I’d also like to know if upping the wattage makes a difference. Here is another approach–

“Far-UV: An Early Adopter Lay Person’s Pespective” [Pandemic Enclave]. “So, distance (combined with power) matters a LOT when considering whether a given far-UV device will work for a particular use case. Exposure always has to be taken into consideration, but in general closer is better: more power on target kills viruses faster…. At 50 cm (19.6″), 15 seconds or so [to neutralization] is a lot better than 31.5, but still isn’t great. When you get down around 25 cm – half the distance, quadruple the power, remember? – things start looking better. Remember, this is the time to inactivate 90% of the pathogen/virus. So 4-ish seconds is a lot better than 10.5…. Now, would I trust it to protect me at a restaurant? No. Would I use it on a plane? Yes, as an extra layer of protection, or if I needed to eat (keep in mind some people MUST eat at periodic intervals), it would provide some protection by keeping my face low toward the tray table, especially if I coordinated it with low(er) CO2 readings from a monitor.” • Something to watch. Comments from engineers welcome!

* * *

“COVID-19 in Workplace Settings: Lessons Learned for Occupational Medicine in the UK” [Raymond Agius, La Medicina del Lavoro]. From the Abstract: “n spite of good prior research and statute, the necessary resources to protect workers’ health were seriously lacking when the pandemic struck. Weak public health guidance, which did not recognise dominant airborne transmission, was applied to workplaces, leaving workers and others unprotected, especially in respect of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE). The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as regula-tor was lacking, for example, in not producing guidance to protect HealthCare Workers (HCW ) who were amongst the most at risk. The UK COVID-19 Public Inquiry should address shortcomings such as these, but recommendations must be accompanied by robust means to ensure appropriate implementation. These should range from substantial measures to improve indoor air quality, to a permanent pandemic management organization with adequate re-sources. The enforcing authority has to be obliged to publish more specific workplace guidance than the public health authorities. Occupational Medicine as a discipline needs to be better prepared, and hence to assert its responsibility towards high standards of workers’ health protection. Future research has to include investigating the best means of mitigation against airborne infection and the management of post-acute covid sequelae.” • The UK COVID-19 Public Inquiry where BoJo is currently disgracing himself.

“Something Awful”

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

* * *

Case Data

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.


From CDC, December 9:

Lambert here: JN.1, shown on the NowCast for the first time, coming up fast on the outside, while BA.2.86 fades.

• “Update on SARS-CoV-2 Variant JN.1 Being Tracked by CDC” [CDC]. ” The continued growth of JN.1 suggests that it is either more transmissible or better at evading our immune systems. At this time, there is no evidence that JN.1 presents an increased risk to public health relative to other currently circulating variants.” Bold in the original. But then: “The rapid growth of JN.1 compared with other variants raises the question of whether this variant might drive an incremental increase in infections.”

• “New COVID Variant JN.1 Could Disrupt Holiday Plans” [WebMD]. “No one planning holiday gatherings or travel wants to hear this, but the rise of a new COVID-19 variant, JN.1, is concerning experts, who say it may threaten those good times…. JN.1, an Omicron subvariant, was first detected in the U.S. in September and is termed “a notable descendent lineage” of Omicron subvariant BA.2.86 by the World Health Organization. When BA.2.86, also known as Pirola, was first identified in August, it appeared very different from other variants, the CDC said. That triggered concerns it might be more infectious than previous ones, even for people with immunity from vaccination and previous infections. … While some experts say a peak due to JN.1 is expected in the weeks ahead, [Eric] Topol said it’s impossible to predict exactly how JN.1 will play out. ‘It’s not going to be a repeat of November 2021,’ when Omicron surfaced, [Rajendram] Rajnarayanan predicted. Within 4 weeks of the World Health Organization declaring Omicron as a virus of concern, it spread around the world.”

• “What to Know About the New Covid Variants” [New York Times]. “Another variant that scientists started watching closely this fall is BA.2.86, nicknamed Pirola. … BA.2.86 did not take off like scientists initially feared, but just like EG.5 evolved to produce HV.1, JN.1 has recently emerged from BA.2.86 and is spreading quickly. According to preliminary research released in November, JN.1 carries a mutation that gives it extra immune-evading capabilities…. The preprint paper testing how the new vaccines performed against HV.1 also showed that they produced antibodies effective against JN.1, but not as many…. More than the risk conferred by any individual variant, it is the rapid rate of virus evolution that is most concerning to Trevor Bedford, a professor in the vaccine and infectious disease division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. ‘No single variant has been that impactful,’ he said, ‘but the overall accumulation of these mutations is having significant impact.'” • Well, that’s what “Let ‘er rip” does…

From CDC, November25:

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, 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 8:

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: 1,184,559 – 1,184,345 = 214 (214 * 365 = 78,110 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.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Unemployment Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The unemployment rate in the United States fell to 3.7% in November of 2023 from 3.9% in the previous month, the lowest since July, and firmly under market expectations that it would remain unchanged at 3.9%. The result marked a slight backtrack from the near two-year high recorded in October, pushing back against recent trends of a slowing labor market in the United States. ”

• “US Labor Market Defies Slowdown Forecasts in Broad Strengthening” [Bloomberg]. “The solid labor-market figures shift focus to inflation numbers as Fed officials gauge how long to maintain interest rates at this cycle’s peak. A further cooling of price gains would likely help push the central bank toward rate cuts as long as the job market averts a more sustained re-acceleration.”

* * *

The Bezzle: “AI-Powered Drive-Thru Is Actually Run Almost Entirely By Humans” [Bloomberg]. “Presto Automation Inc. pitched a restaurant industry desperate to combat rising wages on a talking chatbot that could take orders with almost no human intervention. The firm touted OpenAI’s Sam Altman as an early investor. And it has used the firm’s technology to improve its system as it aims to triple deployments to 1,200 locations next year. But disclosures in recent filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and changes to marketing suggest that the technology is less autonomous than it first appeared. The company, which went public last year, now says ‘off-site agents’ working in locales such as the Philippines help during more than 70% of customer interactions to make sure its AI system doesn’t mess up.” • Lol, just like the robot cars and everything else. Anybody reading this, I make you a free gift of the premise for a science fiction short story: An AI does indeed take over the world, just as the doomsters feared, but as it turns out, the AI is really just a warehouse-full of wage slaves in the Phillipines. NOTE * William Gibson’s Agency, already shockingly bad, looks even worse now.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Greed (previous close: 64 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 8 at 1:47:17 PM ET.

Class Warfare


“Archaeologists unearth ‘most shocking example of Roman slavery’ at Pompeii” [Guardian]. “The cramped bakery with small windows barred with iron was part of a home that emerged during excavations in the Regio IX area of the Pompeii archaeological park in southern Italy. The discovery provides more evidence on the daily life of Pompeii’s enslaved people, often forgotten about by historical sources but who made up most of the population and whose hard labour propped up the city’s economy as well as the culture and fabric of Roman civilisation…. Markings used to coordinate the movement of enslaved workers and blind-folded animals were found on the bakery’s floor. The home was divided into a residential part adorned with lavish frescoes, and the bakery, where enslaved people were forced to grind the grain needed to produce bread. The bakery was cut off from the outside world, with the only exit leading to the main hall of the house. ‘It is, in other words, a space in which we have to imagine the presence of people of servile status whose freedom of movement the owner felt the need to restrict,’ said Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the director of Pompeii archaeological park. ‘It is the most shocking side of ancient slavery, the one devoid of both trusting relationships and promises of manumission, where we were reduced to brute violence, an impression that is entirely confirmed by the securing of the few windows with iron bars.'”

News of the Wired

“The Right Chemistry: Reflections on the manufacture of mirrors” [Montreal Gazette]. Quite a lead: “The Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles is magnificent. Commissioned by Louis XIV, the Sun King, it was designed to pay tribute to his political, economic and artistic successes with paintings, sculptures and of course, the famous 357 mirrors. Louis had stipulated that everything in the hall must be made by French artisans, which presented a difficulty when it came to the mirrors. At the time, the Venetian island of Murano had a monopoly on mirror-making and the secrets of manufacture were so tightly guarded that any glassmaker who was suspected of disclosing them was dispensed with by hired assassins. As a result, Venetian mirrors were literally worth their weight in gold.” • And speaking of chemistry–

“Microbiota from Alzheimer’s patients induce deficits in cognition and hippocampal neurogenesis” [Brain]. From the Abstract: “To understand the involvement of Alzheimer’s patient gut microbiota in host physiology and behaviour, we transplanted faecal microbiota from Alzheimer’s patients and age-matched healthy controls into microbiota-depleted young adult rats…. Our findings reveal for the first time, that Alzheimer’s symptoms can be transferred to a healthy young organism via the gut microbiota, confirming a causal role of gut microbiota in Alzheimer’s disease, and highlight hippocampal neurogenesis as a converging central cellular process regulating systemic circulatory and gut-mediated factors in Alzheimer’s.” • Break out the Probiotic Yogurt?!

* * *

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 TH:

TH writes: “This is an exterior photo taken at Hollyhock House, a house in East Hollywood that is one designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. As everyone probably knows, he was famous for integrating interiors with exteriors and visa-versa. So, here he’s got a cast concrete planter atop a wall that surrounds a courtyard on the south side of the house. The ornamentation is said to have been meant to evoke Mayan motifs. My first thought was Aztec, but I’ll go with Mayan 😊.”

* * *

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. Mo's Bike Shop

      Doesn’t the Florida decision on Biden kill any thought of down ticket coattails? I thought you wanted to bring people to the polls?

  1. Carolinian

    Re Nimarata–I haven’t watched any of these debates but apparently when Nik is stumped she offers some variant of “I refuse to demean myself by responding.” Seems when it comes to debating her’s is not the most nimble of minds. Or perhaps she really is too overwhelmed with indignation to speak.

    It’s quite the tightrope–on the one hand saying the Defense Dept should be renamed the Offense Dept and do more bombing while at the same time claiming to be the cure to “chaos” and above the fray. She may at least need to hire some writers to punch up her quips. Seems money will be no object.

  2. nippersdad

    It actually doesn’t surprise me that Trump would lead the field for threats. Seems like with how hard the media went after him there would be a jump in threats after every Maddow segment. Possibly why she went on air with Lynn Cheney the other day; they have a lot to lose from a vengeful Trump presidency.

    1. Screwball

      Liz has a book for sale I guess, and Maddow was interviewing her about it. My PMC friends said it was a great interview. Because they love Lizzy cause she says bad things about Trump. Slate has a book review that I skimmed. It’s all about Trump and how much she hates him and how he’s a threat to democracy and all that…

      We can expect 333 more days of the same stuff. Of course with the Hunter stuff coming out (which my PMC friends say proves the Biden Justice department isn’t biased) I expect a few dozen more Trump charges.

      1. nippersdad

        I have a PMC type friend that watched that interview, and even he was talking about strange bedfellows. I have to wonder what the thought processes were behind that pairing. Of course there was the hour hate against Trump angle, but adding Cheney into the mix really doesn’t add value. It was her father, after all, that pioneered the concept of a unitary executive that they are all freaking out about Trump taking advantage of.

        I doubt that featured in Maddow’s interview, but he still caught it.

        1. Screwball

          The stuff we are fed today has taken gaslighting to an entirely new level. We don’t know what the next absurd thing we will be fed will be, and expected to believe. Many do and will.

          When we have people who think an interview with Maddow and Cheney is great stuff…

          It gets worse, crock pot liners can substitute for barf bags, and they are now over a buck a piece.

  3. Roger Blakely

    “Something Awful”

    One one hand it is bad that JN.1 shows up on the board for the first time at 21%. It is not good that a new super-contagious variant shows up just in time for Christmas.

    On the other hand JN.1 is not an entirely new variant. JN.1 is a subvariant of BA.2.86. Both of these variants have been circulating in airports and airplanes since October. A good percentage of the population has already gotten sick from BA.2.86/JN.1.

    Things will get ugly over the holidays because travelers will deliver BA.2.86/JN.1 to every holiday gathering. Older loved-ones who show up at these gatherings will get hit with BA.2.86/JN.1, and they might not handle it well. We can expect the hospitalization numbers spike during the last week in December.

  4. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: “Louis had stipulated that everything in the hall must be made by French artisans,…

    For political reasons: they wanted to show that France was the center of power, of culture, of luxury…

    A recent Curious Objects podcast talked about the 93 carpets that were made for the Grande Galerie at the Louvre by the Savonnerie manufactory (just before Louis moved the court to Versailles in 1682). Astounding artistic and technical works for their period and you can see one at the Met Museum in NYC:

    Say what you will about the French, they certainly know luxe.

  5. Hepativore

    Once again, it is plainly evident that the Democratic Party really does not seem to be all that bothered by the prospect of losing the presidency to Trump, despite the alarmism they present in public. Trump will be a fundraising boon to them from 2025 to 2028 just like he was from 2017 to 2020 because then the McResistance can goad its donors and PMC base into donating huge gobs of money for more empty and symbolic opposition to Trump.

    Biden is not going to budge on Israel or anything else because it is more lucrative for Biden and the DNC to strategically lose and not bite the hands of their corporate donors, rather than win by doing what people want as that does not bring in the soft money gravy train.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I think most of the people you’re talking about would pull lever for Haley if they could just get the Republicans to nominate her. After all, when things sour from any of the dozen different looming disasters, who wants to be part of Hoover II’s administration? Even before TSHTF, how much is a Biden job worth on a resume?

  6. Camelotkidd

    I’ve come to believe that the commentariat at NC are largely disgruntled members of the PMC, or as Peter Turchin says–” the overproduction of elites inevitably leads to frustrated elite aspirants, who harness popular resentment to turn against the established order.”
    And with the extreme disfunction of our feral elite that we are observing in real time it’s pretty easy to be disgruntled

    1. Melinda

      But at least the Bubies can recycle their old TDScripts if Trump gets reelected.

      Day 6 of buying zero discretionary purchases to protest potential nuclear war, genocide and growing national, state and personal debt, as suggested by the NC commentariat who are not all PMC.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      Well, the typical commenter I’ve run into here seems about 50 IQ pts higher than the likes of Blinken, Austin, and other bright lights of the PMC, so maybe it’s their loss.

          1. ambrit

            Glad I’m not alone in thinking that as well.
            This is the Limbo Administration; “How Low Can You Go!”
            It most certainly is not an Administration of virtuous pagans.

    3. Amfortas the Hippie

      to an extent, perhaps.
      we also skew older, i would bet.
      we’re people who have time to rummage around in long comment threads/conversations….and obviously ruminate on them.
      that implies a level of comfort/leisure, fer sure.
      it also implies a level of education…whether formal, or self, like myself…and quite a bit of experience in disparate fields.
      whatever,lol…it seems to work rather well…and makes for a pretty good distributed thinktank.

      i definitely do not consider myself PMC…but i admit that i come from that cohort(they just failed to pass on the lucre, generally…to me, at least(i’m considered quintessentially heterodox and weird and hard headed, so i was passed over/written off…while my brother is pretty much the opposite—and therefore, PMC)
      so a PMC apostate?
      theres a middle finger on my flag.

    4. Wukchumni

      I sometimes feel grunted being a grunt who is secretly a Major Major Major Majordomo on here. Heck, truth be said I rule the world in my spare time. We have some nasty tricks planned, you don’t think the everybody will eat bugs hints, and taking away gas stoves is indicative of anything now, do ya?

      1. griffen

        Majordomo leads me into the off topic direction of a “classic rock” choice of death by a thousand cuts, aka the Styx musical release of “Mr Roboto”. Hey we’re popular and our fans will love this concept album !!

        Domo, Domo Arigato Mr Roboto…Thank you very much…for doing the job nobody wants to

        1. Bugs

          The only good rock group to ever come out of Illinois was Cheap Trick.

          And please don’t bring up Steve Albini.

      2. ChrisFromGA

        Don’t forget this line from the Grateful Dead:

        Majordomo Billy Bojangles
        Sat down and had a drink with me
        Said “What about Alabama that keeps
        A-coming back to me?”

        Alabama Getaway

    5. Benny Profane

      Oh, really. Why exactly do you think that? The proles aren’t learned enough to understand?

      I wanted asked for my resume and transcripts before entering the comment arena.

    6. Steve H.

      This is rhetorically a very interesting comment: the first sentence ends with a quote and citation from a quality source, backlinked by equating PMC with elites {plausible}, but starts with a generalization about the commentariat which reads like a dis but actually isn’t, and begins by acknowledging that the comment is an opinion or belief, which grounds out the pseudoslander by making it an unassailable fact. [: You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.]

      The comment then closes like a salesman, with a statement likely to be agreed with by the reader.

      I won’t argue the PMC/elite part, since despite known exceptions, it may be the case that the majority of commentaters have got their papers, and anyway we have zero evidence.

      But I will object to the disgruntled part: disgruntle (v.) “disappoint, offend, throw into a state of sulky dissatisfaction,” 1680s, from dis-, here probably meaning “entirely, very,” + obsolete gruntle “to grumble, utter a low grunt” (Middle English gruntelen, early 15c.), frequentative of grunt (v.); hence “to complain” (by 1560s).

      I don’t get low grunts here, I get howls of facts argued in a coherent manner. Ain’t no sulky dissatisfaction, rather an informed fury coupled with discussion about change and adaptation.

      If NC was just grumbling, it would not have been attacked by mainstream media.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        esp the OED stuff.
        how many of us here have an OED?
        i have the Shorter, that one needs a magnifying glass to read(mine says “made in occupied japan” on the bakelite handle…i suppose that could seem somewhat elite(ist),lol))

        but we butchered a goat yesterday…and i cut him up into cookable bits this afternoon…and will vac-seal him manana.
        and thats how we live.
        and that sort of thing—lifestyle, as it were…should be factored in to decisions about who is PMC, i figger.

        1. Late Introvert

          Yes, we only have chickens here so far, but the NC commentariat is only PCM-adjacent, so therefore in the know about the pestilence on display. And who better to bring it down then insiders?

    7. eg

      Maybe recovering PMC or apostate PMC? I mean, I filled some of the roles, but those days are over and even while I was there I was always something of an oddball, not least because of my ongoing support and friendship with the union (and friends of mine in it) where I spent the first 11 years of my working life.

  7. griffen

    So is Rep. Bowman deploying the Urkel defense..”did I do that?…” Don’t pull the Red Alarm is a bit like hey don’t “accidentally” push the launch button on the nuclear submarine.

    I did need a valid reason to laugh though!

    1. The Rev Kev

      The video came out a few weeks ago showing him pulling that alarm and it was as deliberate as. As soon as he did it, he took off at high speed. There was nothing “accidental” in his movements.

      1. Pat

        He is indicative of much of the Democratic Party over the last several decades. From Bill Clinton parsing the question, to Obama faking drinking water, to…. We have multiple examples of stupid lies that they get away with. He might not have been as balls to the wall about it as recently ousted Santos, but our current President has lied about his resume repeatedly. Why wouldn’t an idiot like Bowman just brazen it out?

  8. Jeff W

    “…if you can’t give a good reason why you and nobody else [can defeat Donald Trump], why are you running?”

    Couldn’t it be that, while other Democratic candidates could defeat Donald Trump, President Biden has the highest likelihood of doing so? (I’m merely stating the argument, not endorsing it.)

  9. nippersdad

    They renovated the Hall of mirrors at Versailles back in 2007*, and they managed to restore seventy percent of the 357 mirrors in there. I thought that was just astonishing. I have mirrors in the house from the 1850’s to around the 1870’s, and without exception they all have those cool corroded areas on the back. The process sounds nasty, but they certainly did withstand the test of time.

    * https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna19418708

  10. t

    I’m all for mitigation but UV light seems expensive and difficult and exactly the kind of thing that could be half-assed as an excuse to stop even lip service for masking and ventilation and expecting and allowing sick people to stay home.

    1. Late Introvert

      That was my reaction too. No quality control will lead to all kinds of expensive and not effective setups, and there will be no follow-up on measuring the results. I stans for ventilation, masks, and gargling/nose-spray.

  11. Raymond Sim

    Regarding JN.1, the CDC says it’s not driving cases and hospitalizations, and Covid modeler JP Weiland is all but straight up calling them liars for it.

    He has a good track record and is usually measured in his pronouncements.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      i no longer have the bandwidth to scrutinise all the covid stuff(but im glad Lambert persists!)
      when they come out with these “what you need to know” things regarding the latest variant soup, they never seem to focus on severity…how sick are they making people, given the myriad individual variables?
      just seems like that would be part of the headline…but i find it difficult to even find such information in the body of whatever article.

      i feel like i’m relatively safe out here…except for my 2 vectors(sons), who venture into the world each day.
      but we’re all long accustomed to limiting hugs, etc between october and march anyway…and, like with youngest’s recent influenza B experience, are quick with slamming it all shut for quarantine, etc. at the first sign of infection.
      most of our close interactions are out at the bar, anyway(which is why we built it in the first place, altho it had been in the Plan for a long time…wife and i wanted somewhere for eldest and his buddies to congregate…outside, but blocked north wind, etc.)
      and the house is pretty drafty,lol…due to my self-taught construction skills….and i dont know how to measure it, but i know for a fact that the woodstoves suck indoor air in, and send all of it through the flames….and a lot of it up the stovepipe.
      i imagine that a comparatively inefficient open fireplace would suck even more air.

      1. Raymond Sim

        I don’t know how much longer my strokified brain is going to be able to keep up just with reading the headlines, let alone passing useful information along to anyone. Recent news from Europe prompted me to check out HCW anecdotes on Twitter, and things look ominous enough to rouse me.

        I think the increases in hospitalizations mean that JN.1 is causing more cases and/or making people sicker. Taken with the epidemic of pneumonia I’ll be pleasantly suprised if this wave doesn’t cause levels of severe disease unseen since the advent of the Omicrons.

        It seems to me that, aside from the high case numbers, the common thread in accounts of the pneumonia pandemic is presentations doctors are unfamiliar with. “Fast progressing” has come up at least a couple times. I don’t like the sound of that at all.

        A drafty bar with a fireplace sounds nice.

      2. Steve H.

        > i no longer have the bandwidth to scrutinise all the covid stuff(but im glad Lambert persists!)

        Systemic polycrises do swamp the channels, don’t they? Water Cooler is by far the finest baleen of covid information I’ve found. I focus on the pragmatics (two orders of magnitude safer with the N95), and the physiology/immunology for broader implications. Janet hones in more on the variants, for me they wash over as the Ainulindalë.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          i realise that i am very fortunate, in that i’m not required to go muggle up with random coughing people.
          aside from the first and second of every month, i dont really leave the farm.

          i do my bandanna and quick and done when i go in places like grocery stores.
          (they dont make a n95, to my knowledge, that accounts for full beard, long hair, etc…..i’m almost Ghan-Buri-Ghan wooly, these days…)

  12. nippersdad

    I thought that Guterres’ article 99 address at the UN today* was actually pretty powerful. It had a lot of references to things that are not presently in evidence, and no reference to the occupation laws involved or the Hannibal Directive angle, but given the degree of parsing it will inevitably receive that was prolly necessary. The vote will be coming up around four, so we should find out today if the US or UK is going to try to veto anything.

    * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71qismgyE98

    1. nippersdad

      US has vetoed the UN resolution with the UK abstaining:

      “Resolution ‘divorced from reality’: US
      The US engaged in good faith on the text, said Deputy Permanent Representative Robert A. Wood, that would increase opportunities for hostage release and more aid to reach Gaza.

      “Unfortunately, nearly all of our recommendations were ignored” leading to an “imbalanced resolution that was divorced from reality that would not move the needle forward on the ground in any concrete way. And so, we regretfully could not support it.”

      He said the US still could not understand why the resolution’s authors declined to include language condemning “Hamas’s horrific terrorist attack” on Israel, of 7 October.

      It killed people from a range of nationalities, subjecting many to “obscene sexual violence.”

      He said he had explained earlier in the day why an unconditional ceasefire would simply be “dangerous” and leave Hamas in place, able to attack again.

      It was “a recipe for disaster for Israel, for Palestinians and for the entire region”.

      Any ceasefire leaving Hamas in control would also deny Palestinians the chance to build something better for themselves, he added.”


      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        like i needed any more reasons to hate my country, and/or its ruling class.

        to me, it looks more likely that whatever atrocities israel says hamas is guilty of, …in reality, israel is guilty of in spades.
        its who they are, at this point in frelling documented history.
        Zionist is an anagram for Nazi.
        and fuck nazis.
        and, ergo, fuck israel.
        let the zionists go to saini. and live in the frelling desert.

      2. John

        “Hamas’s horrific terrorist attack…” It was pretty bad. 1,400 or is it 1,200 died. Who is responsible for their deaths?Some of them Hamas for sure. Hamas has no tanks. Hamas has no gunships. I keep seeing these statements from Israeli military persons of indiscriminate firing that killed who knows how many. First it was babies and other recycled atrocity stories. Now sexual violence. Did I miss it or is this something only being mentioned in recent days?

        How many dead in the systematic bombardment that is making the Gaza strip uninhabitable. !5,000? !6,000? More? How many under the rubble. What is the goal? it is quite clear from the statements of Israeli government ministers that driving the Palestinians outside the borders of Israel is the goal. Settler colonial states remove, by one means or another, the previous population. See the history of the Americas, of Australia, of New Zealand. Would that it had been different?

        So yes, Hamas committed a cruel act and yes, Israel is committing a cruel act. By my reading of the Genocide Convention what is happening in Gaza fills the bill in every particular.

        Nations supporting the actions of the Israeli government are complicit in those actions. Yet they persist.

  13. Synoia

    I have concluded that the template for Israeli objectives ab be called the BBC Doctor Who Darlek Process.

    The Darlkeks battle cry was :Exterminate Them, Exterminate Them.

    It is amazing how fiction can become a recipe for real events.

  14. Lunker Walleye

    Enjoyed seeing the FL Wright decorative details on the Hollyhock House planter. He did work in Japan (Imperial Hotel and others) and the details on the pictured planter remind me of details at the hotel.

  15. Feral Finster

    Regarding The Liberal Patriot, his prescription here actually makes sense:

    To me, this raises the question: where is the popular front against Trumpism? If he is indeed as bad as most Democrats seem to believe—i.e., we’re one step away from fascism, it’s Weimar Germany 1932 all over again—shouldn’t Democrats be casting the net as wide as possible, compromising on anything and everything to make their party maximally accessible to persuadable voters? After all, we’ve got to stop fascism here!

    But that’s not what’s happening. Despite their dire assessment of the threat posed by Trump, moves to compromise on contentious issues that persuadable voters care about are few and far between. Look what’s happening with the immigration issue that has come to the fore in the negotiations over aid to the Ukraine and Israel. Instead of eagerly embracing a deal to move the aid forward that would include fairly modest reforms to the asylum system and other changes to tighten border security, Democrats are evincing the greatest reluctance to make such a deal. And this is despite the reality that voters, including most persuadable voters, view the Democrats as absolutely abysmal on the issue of border security.”

    But not only does Team D refuse to compromise on anything, they’re doubling down on everything, on increasingly unpopular wars, on refusing to make a deal on border security, on scolding voters for being concerned with inflation, on the most extreme forms of gender wackiness.

    Because anything else is Compromise With Fascism and therefore Anstrengendes Verboten.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      and dammit! what happened to healthcare as an issue?
      or the price of groceries?
      hard to tell which party is less fascist these days.
      but at least a handful of gop make noises about unions, etc.
      but nobody’s really making any effort to earn my vote…just yelling at and pointing at the other guy.

      what a mess.

      1. Lost in OR

        It would be interesting to reframe a poll by posing questions as a negative. Such as… Given the historic policy successes for each party, which party has had the worst outcomes for America for:
        Public Health
        Health Care
        World Peace
        Defense Spending
        Environmental Degradation
        Climate Change
        Foreign Policy
        Economic Policy
        Fiscal Policy

        I’d have a hard time answering that question.

        1. Late Introvert

          It’s obvious that both parties would get an F.

          But the question is, when has there ever been a collection of humans who could do any better?

  16. Seth Miller

    Re: Young voters’ disenchantment

    It sounds to me like the polling suggests Biden may be the second or third choice of a large number of voters. So instead of vote shaming and guilt-tripping third party voters, a better strategy for him would be to get ranked choice voting adopted as widely as possible. Which in turn would be proof positive that if Biden loses, it won’t be “because” of third party candidates, but instead because the DNC once again failed to seize the moment and get the reforms passed that would have gotten their guy his victory.

  17. Tom Stone

    Thank goodness there’s no possibility Covid might mutate into something really nasty, after all it’s only a cold…

  18. Michael Hudson

    regarding the attempt to ban Trump from running because he was a revolutionist, what about the American rebels who created the constitution?
    How many countries elected heads of state who had been in prison?
    South Africa’s Nelson Mandela?
    Russia, with Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin, all sent to Siberia for their revolutionary actions.
    Or Latin American and African presidents from the Global South?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I believe that most of the leaders of former British Empire countries had been imprisoned by the British at one time or another. Look at the Israeli leaders though they carried it to extremes by being imprisoned for being terrorists. It was a way of burnishing your credentials for those opposing British rule so those British opponents saw it as a plus to have a brief stint in a British prison and a chance to bond with fellow travelers.

  19. Wukchumni

    25 Jun 1965
    Bolívar, Venezuela

    To put things in an awful 40 years of hyperinflation perspective, a Venezuela Bolivar coin from 1965 contained 1/8th of an ounce of pure silver and is now worth a little over $3 in silver value, but it would take around a trillion Bolivars to equal $3 after all the currency machinations & devaluations since Viernes Negro in 1983.


    My sister-in-law was a school teacher in Atlanta in the 1970’s, and got lured to Caracas in 1979 by the offer of nearly double what she was paid in the states, and loved being a teacher there and would have stayed probably and then Black Friday came calling and before you knew it she was making 1/4 of her salary in the states and then 1/8th, and then exit stage north.

    1. skippy

      This perception always needs to be reconciled with the divergence of wages from productivity in the 70s, and what drove it Wuk. The same could be said of the LatAm FX dramas as Hudson has unpacked many a time.

      Human decisions, based almost entirely on – shaping society – proceed everything else. Tokens are just a reflection of that process.

      1. Wukchumni

        Financial basket case countries such as Argentina & Venezuela are extreme, and its nice to have some yardstick to show just how far they have fallen…

        A silver Quarter (similar to said 1965 Bolivar) from 1964 or before is now worth about $4 in metal value-a whole 16x its face value, not quite a trillion bucks like down under in Venezuela.

        If I used the price of gasoline or a Big Mac instead as a Baedeker, would that assuage contempt for something that happened to be money for thousands of years?

  20. Mark Gisleson

    Time left to Election Day, 2024
    New York

    So if, just for arguments sake, we were to set the Wayback Machine to 333 days ago (thanks Wolfram-Alpha!) we would arrive on January 9, 2023. On which date, according to Wikipedia, nothing happened.

    Maybe it’s just me but when Wikipedia says nothing happened on a certain day, I figure something must have happened that day. Something in this case that triggered the 666-day end times countdown to election day 2024.

    After considerable research I finally found a website dodgy enough to suggest some culprits. January 9th of this year was [drumroll] Play God Day. That might be a joke site but January 9 was also a “Day” for word nerds, hot air balloon enthusiasts, choreographers, gluten avoiders, static electricity, desk organizers, and apricot growers as well as National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Tie-ins to 666 stuff? Numerous (the apricot growers alone would shock you).

    My thanks to Hamilton96 for much of this data. /sarc

  21. Michael Hudson

    Regarding the attempt to exclude Trump from the ballot because he participated in a revolution (without even having been jailed for that), look at the precedents:
    The American authors of the Constitution led a rebellion against England.
    In South Africa, Nelson Mandela became president offer leadingthe ANC.
    In Russia, Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky were sent to Siberia for revolutionary acts.
    throughout Africa and South America we have more examples.
    Jail and exile were the universities of the revolution, and of future governments.
    then there were all those European warlords who became kings.
    I wonder if Trump will make these points.

    1. skippy

      Amends Prof, but it does seem that Trumps sin is challenging the dominate narrative shared by both the GOP and Dem parties.

      Both seem to believe reality would just go poof if that was allowed to happen.

    2. Tom Stone

      If Trump is imprisoned come election day I will be seriously tempted to vote for him.
      I doubt I am alone in that regard.

      1. ambrit

        Yes to that. If Trump is lawfared out of the election, than anyone who is elected in November will be seen as illegitimate by a half of the population. That is an ingredient for civil unrest.
        I’m waiting for the first example of Homeland Security Troops to open fire on a domestic demonstration.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>I’m waiting for the first example of Homeland Security Troops to open fire on a domestic demonstration.

          I have decided not to vote for the King in Orange or for the Doddering One, but if Trump is somehow lawfared out of the election. The thing is most Americans, even those like me who think he is a genuine danger, would not approve of such underhanded means of getting Trump off the ballot… It almost seems like they want to have an excuse to do so just as Netanyahu’s government is using Hamas’ actions on 10/7 for their crimes.

    3. Kfish

      Not to go Godwin’s law on here, but Hitler also spent some time in jail, where he wrote Mein Kampf.

      Trump’s not even the first person to campaign from jail – that would be Eugene Debs, socialist, in the 1920 presidential election.

  22. antidlc


    Why Drugs Are Disappearing From Your Insurance Coverage

    Powerful companies are removing hundreds of medicines from insurance plans — and they’re spending millions to stop attempts at reform.

    For the millions of Americans that take one or more prescription drugs, having a health insurance plan that covers their medications is crucial. The list of covered medications — called a drug formulary — can mean the difference between a $10 copay at the pharmacy and paying thousands out-of-pocket for a vital medication.

    Yet unbeknownst to many patients, insurers can change their drug coverage throughout the year, thereby removing medications that enrollees were promised. When this happens, those who lose access to their medicines are usually barred from immediately moving to a different insurance plan. The problem is widespread and growing: In the last nine years, the number of medications being eliminated from many insurance plans skyrocketed by around 1,584 percent.

    I would refer to this as a bait and switch.

    1. Adam

      Don’t worry. Our Democratic leadership will create a committee of experts to study this seriously and maybe in 5 or 10 years make sure you have access to these drugs even though buying any of them will bankrupt you. :-)

    2. Tom Stone

      It’s thinning the herd for profit, just like the Covid response.
      That’s the ugly reality.
      It’s quieter than Gaza, but it ts already double the number killed in the American Civil War with a lot more dying soon.

  23. MT_Wild

    The link to the rat alzheimers study was exceptional. Causal links like that are far and few between. Without NC I may have missed that, thanks.

    Just another reason to eat your fermented and cruciferous veggies and try to avoid as much glyphosate as you can.

    I’ll put a plug in for the River Cottage book on pickling “Fermentation”, as recommended on NC by other readers in the past.

    Be kind to your gut, and it will be kind to you.

    1. Lost in OR

      Please be aware that “pickling” using vinegar and “fermenting” using fungi, molds, or yeasts are very different processes with very different outcomes. In addition to the Katz book, I recommend “The Noma Guide to Fermentation”, Rene Redzepi & David Zilber.

    2. outside observer

      Indeed a great link. This gives me hope for prevention! And possibly reversal?
      Intererstingly the paper noted that the changes in behavior preceded any formation of amyloid plaques. I recall that the ridiculously priced, rushed through approval, and ineffective alzheimers drug Aduhelm targeted the amyloid plaques. I guess we know now why it is ineffective.

  24. digi_owl

    The drive-thru story reminds me of a similar one where cash machines in a Canadian fast food chain were operated via video call from South America.

    And yeah, Gibson seems to be one of those that lost it with the wombo combo of Trump and brexit. Or maybe something has come loose all the way back in 2008.

    1. R.S.

      Those stories were regular. I vaguely remember at least one where “AI-driven security software” in fact used (or at least was “augmented” with) human workers from Eastern Europe. And platforms like UHRS, clickworker, MTurk etc. were a big deal for the so-called third-world countries.

      1. digi_owl

        At least Mechanical Turk was up front about it being humans doing it, but looking back it may well have been the proof of concept of the “gig economy”.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “‘This Is Grim,’ One Democratic Pollster Says”

    Clueless. Totally clueless. Biden started his Presidency by cheating Americans of their owed $600 – and it has gone downhill from there. He has pulled all support for them from the effects of the Pandemic and whenever there is a disaster like in East Palestine or Hawaii, he has abandoned them. Actually he puts the boot in by denying them Federal help while at the same exact time arranges tens of billions of dollars for a foreign country that few Americans had heard of two years ago. Under his leadership the economy is stalling out and nobody believes him when he says that times have never been better. And now with a Federal election coming into sight, Democrat pollsters are saying ‘woe to us, why won’t people vote for us?’ As a party, you have to pretty bad when Trump is seen as a viable opponent. They learned nothing from 2016 at all.

    1. nippersdad

      “They learned nothing from 2016 at all.”

      He went in with a rep, too. How the Democratic party thought the demographics he is presently having trouble with would respond to the guy who was famous for saying he had no empathy with younger generations* would make an interesting article in itself. They got exactly what they ordered, so their buyers remorse is just a little late.

      * https://www.newsweek.com/joe-biden-says-millennials-dont-have-it-tough-780348

    2. ChrisRUEcon

      > Biden started his Presidency by cheating Americans of their owed $600 – and it has gone downhill from there.


      1. Jason Boxman

        Except miraculously antitrust. More than I expected. Not a trade I’d make versus WW3. But whatever.

    3. eg

      Remember “nothing will fundamentally change”?

      Yeah — like that’s supposed to be a good thing …

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wouldn’t it be funny if all those countries started substituting local brands like happened in Russia when all those firms pulled out. All that money would be staying in their own country and the new franchises would probably thrive, again like happened in Russia. None of those firms that you mentioned are vital and only sell junk foods and junk drinks so it would be no loss to those countries.

  26. ChrisRUEcon

    #COVID19 #Ohio

    “Today: ED overwhelmed again. More patients in their teens, 20s & 30s than 60s, 70s & 80s. Many coming in with serious respiratory symptoms, high WBC counts & neutrophilia. Bacterial bronchitis, pneumonia & sepsis & plenty of covid. There’s a helluva lot of reasons to #Maskup.”

    (via X/Twitter)

  27. Pat

    Adding to the anecdata for NYC. Besides the rising number of people out in schools friends work in, I heard about how bad it was for a company that I know from my job. Besides the person I work closest with hacking throughout our phone call, there was the person in the hospital with pneumonia, the person who was at the ER after being out for most of the week, the three people who were out new today from those departments. In his area, they say everyone still working is having to cover at least one person and in a few cases two.

    Nothing has been said of Covid, but this is more than a “cold”.

  28. Greg

    Assuming a 90% inactivation dose of 200 μJ/cm², a SARS-Cov-2 virion would need to be exposed for 4–20 seconds. I think you would inhale the virus within 4 seconds of it coming in contact with the far-UV light, so I don’t think there is enough contact time to inactivate the virus effectively.

    Not at all my area of expertise (if I can claim to have one), but I am curious whether low-dose UV can cause mutation without disabling viruses, leading to an increase in evolutionary pace. Sure, most mutations are disadvantageous, but the same is true of the mutations at replication that feed our new variants.
    Ie, like the antibody treatments, I’m wondering if half-assed UV could make things worse.

Comments are closed.