2:00PM Water Cooler 1/12/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

European Turtle-Dove, Tata, Morocco. “In palm tree in oasis.”

* * *


“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

Capitol Seizure

“Exploring the top donors to GOP Electoral College objectors” [Open Secrets]. From 2021, still germane. “Below are the top PAC donors to the 147 Republican lawmakers who objected to states’ election results [in 2020’s Electoral College vote]. They include PACs connected influential trade associations, major corporations and current and former politicians.” Not your father’s bankers?


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Donald Trump defies judge, gives courtroom speech on tense final day of New York civil fraud trial” [Associated Press]. “Barred from giving a formal closing argument, Donald Trump wrested an opportunity to speak in court at the conclusion of his New York civil fraud trial Thursday, unleashing a barrage of attacks in a six-minute diatribe before being cut off by the judge. In an extraordinary move for any defendant, Trump not only sought to make his own summation but then brushed past a question from the judge about whether he would follow rules requiring him to keep his remarks focused on matters related to the trial. ‘I am an innocent man,’ Trump protested. ‘I’m being persecuted by someone running for office, and I think you have to go outside the bounds.’ Judge Arthur Engoron let him continue almost uninterrupted for what amounted to a brief personal summation, then cut him off for a scheduled lunch break. Trump’s in-court remarks, which were not televised, ensured a tumultuous final day for a trial over allegations that he habitually exaggerated his wealth on financial statements, deceiving a bank and insurance companies into giving him plum deals.” • The banks who lent money to Trump didn’t care. No harm, no foul.

“Trump II: How Bad It Could Be” [David Corn, Mother Jones]. “[Trump] has repeatedly indicated that he’s out for revenge against all his detractors (real and imagined) and that he will consider using the Justice Department to prosecute his enemies. In fact, a group of conservative think tanks under the auspices of what they benignly call Project 2025, has been drawing up plans for how Trump could do this.” • So, translating, Trump will use lawfare, and his transition team is on board?Quelle horreur!

“Georgia prosecutor’s meeting with Biden officials the latest evidence of WH hand in Trump cases” [Just the News]. “The special prosecutor in the Fulton County, Georgia case against former President Donald Trump sent an invoice to the district attorney which included charges for meetings with the Biden White House officials, according to court documents, raising questions about the White House’s involvement with criminal cases against Trump…. ‘Travel to Athens; Conf with White House Counsel,’ the invoice reads. Wade charged the DA’s office $2,000 in attorney’s fees for the work. The invoices provided in the suit show at least one more meeting with Biden White House staff, on November 18, 2022, that appears to have taken place in Washington, D.C., though there is no record of a visit by Wade in the White House visitor logs.” One can only wonder why. More: “‘Interview with DC/White House,’ the invoice reads. Wade charged another $2,000 in fees for this meeting.”

* * *

“Vibes poll: Biden’s key voting blocs stressed about money” [Axios]. “Half of millennials and Gen Z say they’re staying up late worrying about money. Women in particular don’t feel like they’re getting ahead financially. And nearly 60% of Hispanics say they’re more stressed about their household budgets than they were before the pandemic. The findings in the new Axios Vibes survey by The Harris Poll show several of President Biden’s crucial voting blocs are plagued by financial stress — despite data that point to an improving economy. Their uneasiness is an important warning sign for Biden less than 10 months before the 2024 election. Reports of low unemployment and steadying prices suggest Americans should feel 🙏 but many Americans, including those ages 18-42 feel 😬 about their finances. 49% of Americans overall said their household budget today brings more stress than their pre-pandemic budget, the survey says. Asked whom they blame for today’s high prices, a plurality (34%) of respondents said ‘the current administration.’… About 40% of millennials and Gen Z have asked family or friends for money to help with bills in the past month, compared with just 20% of Gen X and boomers.” • Yikes! Maybe if Biden… gave ’em like six hundred bucks or sometning.

“Joe Biden Called David Axelrod a ‘Prick.’ It Won’t Shut Him Up.” [Politico]. Kick against the pricks, or stumble at a straw (for The Wizard of Kalorama™)? More: “The thing I found aggravating is when you have people out there calling people who have concerns ‘bedwetters.’ I think that’s deeply, deeply unhelpful, because sometimes there’s reason to be concerned. And there are a lot of really smart and committed supporters of Biden who have concerns. What you need to do is contemplate what it is that is concerning people, and decide what is legitimate and what needs to be done. There are people who are really, really committed to Joe Biden who felt a sense of concern and urgency — particularly because Donald Trump is on the other side of this race. So I thought it was extraordinarily tone deaf and unhelpful.”

“Biden campaign beefs up battleground operations with new leadership team” [USA Today]. “The Biden campaign has hired three veteran Democratic operatives to lead efforts in battleground states, which includes coordinating with Democratic candidates running for other offices…. The team will oversee campaign operations in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina.”

* * *

IA: “How the Iowa caucuses work, why they’re first — and why they’re significant” [NPR]. “A dollar out of every $2.50 that has been spent on TV ads so far in the entire 2024 Republican nominating contest has gone toward 30- and 60-second spots in places like Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Sioux City, the latter of which is a very conservative part of Iowa and a key area for Republicans to mobilize voters….. the candidates think it’s pretty important. Why so? It’s all about momentum. Candidates, especially those who aren’t front-runners, have used Iowa as something of a launching pad for attention, earned media (having their names mentioned for free in the news) and money. Barack Obama famously won in Iowa in 2008, which catapulted him in the primary race against Hillary Clinton. On the Republican side, George W. Bush showed his strength there in the 2000 race when he was locked in a tight battle with Sen. John McCain. But Iowa hasn’t always proved predictive of who the nominee would be. Joe Biden broke precedent, losing both Iowa and New Hampshire but becoming president. And the last three eventual GOP nominees all lost the Iowa caucuses…. Still, it’s hard to be too far out of the top three slots and become the nominee — seven of the eight Republican nominees since 1976 finished in the top three in Iowa (the exception being McCain in 2008). For Democrats, it’s eight of the last 10. (Biden in 2020 and Bill Clinton in 1992 both finished fourth.)”

IA: “Two Iowa counties an hour apart show America’s growing political divide [WaPo]. “Trump’s ascent has helped transform Iowa — where he is polling far ahead of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of Monday’s caucuses — from a swing state into a GOP stronghold. He carried the state by more than eight percentage points in 2020 — a 14-point swing since Obama won Iowa in 2012. No other state has shifted as hard toward Republicans in the same period…. While Iowa’s largely White small towns and rural areas have turned redder and redder, Des Moines’ prosperous, educated suburbs have moved toward Democrats. The divergence between Decatur County, where DeVore lives, and Dallas County, where Judge lives, has been propelled by the same forces reshaping the rest of the country’s political terrain, with voters increasingly divided along socioeconomic and geographic lines. The shift toward Democrats in well-off Des Moines suburbs such as Waukee, Clive, Ankeny and Johnston mirrors Democrats’ newfound strength in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Phoenix, which helped Biden win in 2020 and allowed the party to retain control of the Senate in 2022. Republicans’ growing dominance of rural Iowa, meanwhile, resembles changes across the Midwest and the rest of the country that helped Trump win in 2016 and cost Democrats Senate seats in Missouri and North Dakota and House seats in Minnesota and Wisconsin. For a long time, Dallas and Decatur counties voted alike. They have backed the same presidential candidate in each election since 1988. As recently as 2012, rural Decatur County tilted slightly more Democratic than suburban Dallas County: Republican Mitt Romney carried it by only four points in 2012. But the two counties veered in opposite directions in 2016 and split even further in 2020.”

IA: “Trump’s Hold on Rural America Is Key to His Resilience” [Wall Street Journal]. “The most recent Wall Street Journal poll showed Trump had the support of 71% of rural Republican primary voters, well above his backing of 59% among all GOP primary voters. One reason is that rural America has a higher concentration of non-college-educated white voters, a demographic that Trump helped pull into the Republican Party when he first sought the presidency in 2016. Rural areas are also aging faster than the rest of the U.S., and Trump outperformed his last two Democratic opponents among Americans age 65 and older.”

IA: “Inside the Run-Up to the Iowa Caucus” [The American Conservative]. “‘People generally assumed the caucus is made up of a subset of primary voters—not all primary voters go to the caucus but all caucus-goers vote in the primary. This is in fact not true,’ the Republican strategist Luke Thompson told TAC. ‘Each caucus, about a third of the caucus is entirely new. There’s considerable drop-off caucus to caucus, and that’s not just because people move and die but because you’re being asked to go sit in a high school gymnasium for an extended period of time in some of the worst weather imaginable.’ In 2024, campaigns are also faced with another problem: The last contested GOP primary was eight years ago, making it difficult to predict voter behavior. ‘Somebody may have gone to the last ten caucuses, but that person is probably pretty old and might not come out to this one. Likewise, if somebody didn’t go to the 2020 caucus, because there really wasn’t one, does that make them a less reliable caucus voter? Statistically, it’s not meaningful. So, you have to go back eight years to predict their behavior,’ Thompson explained. ‘Eight years is a long time in the lifecycle of a human being.'”

NH: “New Hampshire Presidential primary preference” [American Research Group]. Everything is confused, since Biden isn’t actually on the ballot at all, and ARG does not have a good track record. So FWIW:

If this is anywhere near true, Phillips is a very happy warrior, Biden is a lot more shaky than we thought… Or both!

NH: “The Elusive Promise of a Real 2024 Republican Race Against Donald Trump” [Susan Glasser, The New Yorker]. “Christie’s exit clears the way for the one long-shot scenario that anyone can realistically imagine derailing Trump’s candidacy before he becomes the Party’s de-facto nominee: a strong showing by the former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley in Iowa and, a week later, in the first primary, in New Hampshire. Haley, already within striking distance of Trump in the state in some polls, might even have a shot at beating him there, if she can secure most of Christie’s staunchly anti-Trump voters; Christie had twelve per cent in New Hampshire, according to a CNN survey released the day before he dropped out.

There are, of course, many flaws in this hypothetical, which ignores eight straight years of the Republican Party failing to take the many opportunities that presented themselves to break with Trump.”

NV: “Top election official tries to get ahead of caucus-caused confusion – without criticizing caucus” [News from the States]. “Nevada Secretary of State Francisco Aguilar on Wednesday offered little direct criticism of the Nevada Republican Party for rejecting the state-run presidential preference primary in favor of hosting their own party-run caucus. But he defended the state’s primary election system, calling it more accessible to voters than a caucus held over less than three hours on just one specific day…. The Nevada State Legislature in 2021 passed legislation requiring presidential preference primaries. The legislation was championed and supported by Democrats, who were pushing for the Silver State to become first on the presidential nomination calendar. The Nevada Republican Party, which opposed the legislation, announced they would hold a presidential caucus despite the 2021 law, and that they would not consider the results of the presidential primary when awarding delegates at the party’s national convention. The state party also forced candidates to choose which to participate in, adopting rules that blocked caucus entry to any candidate who filed for the primary. Many see the rules as tailormade to benefit former president Donald Trump.”

* * *

For what shall it non-profit a man:

“How Tax-Exempt Nonprofits Skirt U.S. Law to Turn Out the Democrat Base in Elections” [RealClearInvestigations]. “More than 150 progressive nonprofits spent $1.35 billion on political activities in 2021 and 2022, according to data compiled by Restoration of America, a conservative political action committee. Although there are no readily available estimates of comparable conservative efforts, observers say they are overmatched. ‘The liberal nonprofit sector is much bigger than the conservative nonprofit in the political arena,’ said Bradley Smith, a former commissioner with the Federal Election Commission and founder of the conservative Institute for Free Speech. The progressive nonprofits include faith-based groups, ethnic activist operatives, and colleges and universities, which have taken on an outsized part of the Democratic party’s election strategy. The groups work around legal restrictions on nonprofits that accept tax-deductible donations by selectively engaging in nonpartisan efforts including boosting voter education and participation. But, like the estimated $332 million that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated to public elections offices to help run the 2020 elections, much of it winds up in the hands of groups that operate in liberal strongholds and work with reliably Democratic constituencies.”

“‘Tectonic shift in power’: How MAGA pastors boost Trump’s campaign” [Axios]. Lots and lots of names here. “[I]n Iowa and across the country, MAGA pastors are among Trump’s most loyal backers…. Faith leaders who’ve endorsed Trump include hundreds of traditional conservatives a lot like Bob Vander Plaats — the influential Iowa evangelical leader who’s backing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. They also include MAGA pastors who, in speeches and podcasts, offer an apocalyptic view of U.S. politics — casting Democrats as demonic, promoting Christian nationalism and touting Trump as chosen by God to save Christianity…. They include Joel Tenney, a 27-year-old Iowan primarily known for his Armenian advocacy work, and Jentezen Franklin, pastor of the 25,000-member megachurch Free Chapel in Georgia. Franklin has 1 million followers on X and has been a spiritual adviser to Trump…. Trump has an easier time reaching evangelicals now than in the past two election cycles, in part because of changes in the evangelical world, Tim Alberta, author of ‘The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory,’ told Axios. ‘He once needed the name-brand Christian conservatives to vouch for him,” Alberta said. But thanks partly to the demand for content on social media, ‘Trump benefits today from a decentralized cast of less-established, more-online influencers.'”

* * *

“The Voters Finally Get Their Say” [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal]. “Democrats on the ground are making a mistake in not rebelling against the inevitability of Joe Biden. He’s no longer up to the job, the vice president never was, and this doesn’t go under the heading National Security Secret Number 379, everybody knows. The problem isn’t the Biden campaign, however lame it may or may not be. It isn’t that the president’s most important advisers are in the White House, not the campaign. It’s him, and it’s not only his age… we have a president who, in an election year, has no way of communicating effectively, in person, with the American people…. Republicans similarly shouldn’t accept the inevitability of Donald Trump. On the debate stage Wednesday Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis were the Bickersons, and seemed smaller. … More seriously—most seriously—deep down a lot of hard-core Trump supporters, and many not so hard-core, think it’s all over. They love America truly and deeply but think the glue that held us together is gone….. [T]hey figure if we’re at the end times, he’s the perfect end-times president, a guy who goes boom…. Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley would come in with the whoosh of the new, aim at conservative legislation, know how to use the levers of power, and get things done. Mr. Trump would come in a lame duck (provided he accepts Constitutional proscriptions), do his crazy-man antics, say his crazy-man things, and proceed with a mad blunderer’s imitation of sophistication. If your intention is to stand and fight and make things better he’d be the least effective choice.” • When Nooners decides to stick the shiv in, she makes MoDo look like Pollyanna. (I left out the juiciest bits to capture the main theses.)

* * *

“What America’s Relocation Boom Means for Election 2024” [Bloomberg]. Handy chart:

Republican Funhouse

“In rare move top Republicans back Biden’s airstrikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen: ‘overdue but welcome'” [FOX]. “Even rank-and-file Republicans have been issuing cautious and rare praise for the move. Rep. John James, R-Mich., a military combat veteran who served in Iraq, told Fox News Digital, ‘The Houthis are a terrorist organization. They have been striking at U.S. military personnel since late last year and must be destroyed.'” • Real men go to Teheran….

Democrats en Déshabillé

“I Resigned From the DNC in Protest of Biden’s Backing of Palestinian Slaughter” [The Intercept]. The deck: “Biden’s proposed immigration crackdown in return for Israeli military funding is the epitome of Democrats’ hypocrisy and groupthink.” • Former Sanders delegate, worked to reform the Florida Democrat Party from within….

“The Progressive Youth Chimera” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. “Data from the Split Ticket analytics site, based on an average of December cross-tabular data, show Biden carrying 18-29 year olds by 11 points, a 12-point pro-Trump shift relative to Catalist estimates from 2020. Similarly, pollster John Della Volpe collected a number of mostly December 18-29 year old crosstabs on his site. These crosstabs average out to a 6-point advantage for Biden among voters under 30, a 17 point shift toward Trump relative to 2020…. there’s no free (demographic) lunch. The boring, tedious, difficult task of persuasion is still the key to building electoral majorities. So maybe instead of blowing off these polls that show poor support for Democrats among young voters, they should take them seriously and get to work.”


“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 (wastewater); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, 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, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Elite Maleficence

Mandy’s got a hashtag:

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, January 9:

Lambert here #1: Still going up. As a totally “gut feel” tapewatcher, I would expect this peak to meet or exceed the two previous Biden peaks; after all, we haven’t really begun the next bout of holiday travel, or the next rounds of superspreading events celebrations. Plus students haven’t come from from school, and then returned. So a higher peak seems pretty much “baked in.” And that’s before we get to new variants, like JN.1. The real thing to watch is the slope of the curve. If it starts to go vertical, and if it keeps on doing so, then hold onto your hats.

Lambert here #2: Called it. Impressively, the Biden administration has now blown through all previous records, with the single exception of the Omicron, the top of the leaderboard, a record also set by itself. Congratulations to the Biden team! I know a lot of people think the peak will come in the next two weeks or so; I’d like to hear at least some anecdotal evidence of that beyond the models (because recall JN.1, whose peak this is, is extremely infectious).

Lambert here #3: Slight decrease in slope, due to the Northeast and the West (unless it’s a data issue). Personally, I wouldn’t call a peak, based entirely on the anecdotes I’m scrolling through, which are not encouraging, particularly with regard to the schools. Very unscientific, I agree! Let’s wait and see. Note that I don’t accept the PMC “homework” model, whose most famous exponent is Sociopath of the Day Bob Wachter, where you adjust your behavior according to multiple sources of (horrible, gappy, lagged) data about infection levels (ignoring “risk of ruin”). Just stick with your protocol day in and day out, my advice. K.I.S.S. However, tracking these trends, besides having intrinsic interest, is pragmatically useful for major decisions, like travel, cruises (surely not, readers), relocation, family events, communication with recalcitrant HCWs, etc.

Regional data:

Regional bifurcation continues. The slope of the curve in the Northeast got less steep, which is good news (although, as ever, Biobot data is subject to backward revision).


NOT UPDATED From CDC, January 6:

Lambert here: JN.1 now dominates. That was fast.

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, January 6:

Lambert: Down, but New Year’s reporting?

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 January 12:

Lambert here: Very slight decrease, again. Note that NYC data only lags by a day.

Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. January 6:

Now a decrease in the rate of growth.

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?

• This is the UK, but obviously applies to the US, too:


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, January 8:

0.5%. 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, January 6:

Lambert here: Percentage and absolute numbers down.

NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, December 25:

Up, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, December 25:

Note the chart has been revised to reflect that JN.1 is BA.2.86.1 (the numbers “roll over”).


NOT UPDATED Here is the New York Times, based on CDC data, January 6:

Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States Producer Prices Final Demand Less Foods and Energy YoY” [Trading Economics]. “Core producer prices in the United States, which exclude energy and food goods, rose by 1.8% from the previous year in December of 2023, slowing from the 2% decrease observed in November and below market expectations of 1.9%. It was the lowest reading since December 2020, extending the disinflation trend in producer prices. ”

* * *

Manufacturing: “US regulator considers stripping inspection authority from Boeing employees” [Financial Times]. “Mike Whitaker, FAA administrator, said the agency was “exploring” its options for using an independent third-party to oversee inspections of Boeing’s aircraft and its quality controls. ‘It is time to re-examine the delegation of authority and assess any associated safety risks,’ he said. ‘The grounding of the 737-9 and the multiple production-related issues identified in recent years [at Boeing] require us to look at every option to reduce risk.'” • An “independent third party”? Wny not — hear me out — the FAA itself? Why outsource this?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 72 Greed (previous close: 72 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 12 at 1:45:59 PM ET

Sports Desk

“The River Finally Came for Bill Belichick” [The Ringer]. Not paywalled! Excellent essay, hard to excerpt. So I’ll quote the Sun Tzu quote: “If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

One more good reason to hate the 1619 project:

News of the Wired

“psst: Paper-based Secret Sharing Technique” [Sjlver, Github]. “psst is a system for storing secrets without a single point of failure. psst helps the user to split a secret into up to four parts. Each part in isolation reveals nothing about the secret (except its length). Any two parts combined allow the secret to be restored. The main goal of psst is simplicity. It is a system that can be used with just pen, paper and a six-sided dice. psst is great for people who want to deeply understand what they do and verify every step, and for anyone who has fun with information theory and cryptography.” • Here’s the worksheet. Interesting the author assumes a six-sided die is a common household gold. The effects of gaming?

* * *

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: “What caught my attention when I took this, was three lovely colors (aside from green of course) on one bush; yellow, orange, and pink.”

• Kind readers, I think I’m OK on plants for awhile, though it never hurts to have more!

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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. Tom Stone

    I’ve been thinking about TDS and the first two times I encountered something similar.
    The first was when told my older sister that there was no Santa Claus, at age six.
    And the second was the reaction to the terrifying front page photograph of a handful of black American Men standing on the steps of the Courthouse in Oakland.
    That explained the meaning of the Second Amendment very clearly, just as watching National Guard Helicopters spraying military grade teargas on an American City explained the meaning of the First Amendment to me in no uncertain terms.

  2. Mac

    “Half of millennials and Gen Z say they’re staying up late worrying about money.— despite data that point to an improving economy.”

    I hope none of them expect pay raises to keep up with inflation, or the availability of welfare or private charity since Biden’s policies have ushered in 3.8 million competitors for inexpensive housing, medical care, food, used cars and places in food lines.

    From October, a year ago:

    “Learn to Code” has replaced with “Learn to Speak Spanish” since
    “¿ Habla Español?” is a new job requirement in many new service and manufacturing jobs.

    Combine that with new DEI hiring requirements in public and private jobs and our pampered Gen Z and Millenials are about to get a nice dose of demographic reality, good and hard.

    1. flora

      A small quibble:

      “Pampered” ? Some people are. Most people aren’t. These generational names – millenial, boomer, gen Z – come from advertising firms looking for ways to market to a particular segment of a demographic. The names have been taken up by others as a way to divide us with stereotypes of people either older or younger than ourselves, imo. This is a surprisingly unexpected ad in that regard.

      I promise, you absolutely can’t predict the plot twist in this ad. 10/10, no notes.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Half of millennials and Gen Z say they’re staying up late worrying about money

      This is the stat that got me: “About 40% of millennials and Gen Z have asked family or friends for money to help with bills in the past month.”

      I did that when when I was very young, in a(n otherwise great) workplace where “Got any money?” was a routine question we asked each other on Thursday, the day before payday. And family after the dot com bust.

      But routinely? Yikes.

  3. antidlc

    Private equity firms are gnawing away at U.S. health care

    By Ashish K. Jha
    January 10, 2024 at 8:36 a.m. EST

    My colleague is not alone. The number of private equity firms has exploded in health care in recent years, spending hundreds of billions of dollars to buy physician practices, hospitals, laboratories and nursing homes. It’s a trend that should have everyone’s attention, from politicians to patients, because it can significantly increase costs, reduce access and even threaten patient safety.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      The same thing is happening in the pet care industry.
      As the old timers retire, they are bought out by PE firms and what used to be a $100 dollar procedure is now $500 or more.
      Of course, there is insurance offered…

  4. digi_owl

    Best i understand FAA has long been so underfunded they can’t afford to hire the people to do the inspections themselves. Though one would think that would also preclude them hiring a third party, i suspect sub-contractors or consultants show up differently on the spreadsheets.

    1. tegnost

      01.11.24 press release
      Cantwell Demands Answers on FAA Oversight of Boeing & Spirit AeroSystems Safety Audits
      “In reviewing FAA orders on how FAA conducts the oversight processes, it appears that there may be ways for manufacturers to avoid audit accountability,” Cantwell writes in letter to FAA Administrator

      Nothing a poor senator getting lobbied and lunched by boeing could do about that, nosiree.

    2. Glen

      There are on site FAA inspectors in all major American aerospace factories. I don’t doubt that there are on site inspectors at both Spirit and Boeing Renton, but it’s no where near enough to assume all the inspection duties. They are performing a surveillance function. Here’s what Leeham News is reporting:

      FAA boosts oversight of Boeing; undelivered MAX 9s have discrepancieshttps://leehamnews.com/2024/01/12/faa-boosts-oversight-of-boeing-undelivered-max-9s-have-discrepancies/

      Alaska 1282 isn’t a “737 MAX” story; it’s about quality assurance at Boeing or Spirit

      I’m not sure how this will all shake out, but given all the news we have seen; it seems that something like this was the next logical step that the FAA had to take.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The inspectors are hired somewhere on the labor market (the only market :-). I don’t see that private enterprise has some magical hiring power that government does not have.

        Glad to see people quoting Leeham. I like trade publications; they’re one of the last bastions of actual journalism. I dug them out, IIRC, back when the Boeing 787 batteries were catching on fire (a problem Boeing “solved” by putting a bigger box around them so the fires burned out inside the box [pounds head on desk].)

  5. Mark Gisleson

    Two Iowa counties an hour apart show America’s growing political divide [WaPo]

    Iowa may have changed since I lived and worked there but not that much. Iowa has eight counties with sizeable urban populations (by Iowa standards). Those are the Democrat counties. The other 91 counties are Republican. The large counties contain half the state’s population. You now understand Iowa politics better than the Washington Post.

    1. Screwball

      I live in rural Ohio, and I think we are the same way.

      What I find interesting, in this melting pot of Americana; it’s nothing like what the narrative wants us to believe and think. For example; I go to a local watering hole around 3:30 a few times during the week. At that time, the local factory workers are getting off and want a beverage, a conversation, and a laugh or two.

      I look across the bar and see a guy with a “Let’s Go Brandon” hat on, while sitting with his black wife. Beside him is a pink haired girl who works in one of the factories, who is also gay, and nobody cares. Then you have a couple local business men, a couple of college students, a black guy who is also a DJ on the side (while working is one of the local factories), a women of Mexican decent, and a couple of old gay guys, one who used to be an industrial sales/engineer type guy, and his pardner who was a college professor in a very high dollar local liberal arts school. Then us retired guys who are just glad to get out of the house and talk to people.

      The strangest thing; they all get along. They talk, they laugh, they buy each other drinks. One thing they have in common, if the conversation turns to politics, they don’t much like what we have, and know nothing is going to get any better. Even the guy in the Brandon hat will tell you that.

      They are also tired of being called stupid red neck hicks from the sticks. Our main product in this part of Cornhole is farming. We have farmers markets in the town center all through the summer. We have some of the best farmland around. This is where your food comes from.

      If something bad happens, I’m glad to be here in the sticks, where people don’t hate each other, and know how to survive without Kroger and a cell phone. Maybe we aren’t as dumb and stupid as so many think we are.

      Given what we are seeing today from our so called leaders, I don’t see how we don’t avoid some kind of “event.” Supply chains, 200 dollar oil, world war, who knows? Plan accordingly.

      Sorry for being a Debbie Downer. My two cents from the sticks.

      1. flora

        You’re not a Debbie Downer at all. My 2 cents: in the so-called sticks, the people around you might save your life if your car slides into a ditch on a bitterly cold night on an icy road, say. You might save their life. Life is first. Politics is second. Or third.

        1. Screwball


          Without a doubt. I’m so tired of the perception about “us.” So many good and caring people. I might live in Trump country as some like to think, but our people are not what they think we are.

          Maybe those who call us all these names should stop in for a visit. That might be fun. They could enlighten us, and we could laugh at them.

          1. flora

            And after we gently and kindly laughed with them for believing the “big city” stereotypical ideas about us, we might invite them to the local church potluck to meet more of the locals or might take them to a Little League kids’ baseball game to help us root for the home team, for some local entertainment. And they might drop stereotype ideas about “the sticks” and help root for the “home team.” / ;)

              1. The Rev Kev

                Thanks for that, flora. The mob that does that ad does one based around lamb every year around Australia day and they tend to be very inventive. Speaking of which. We have two main food chains – Woolworths and Coles. Woolworths have just announced that they will not be carrying any Australian themed goods for Australia Day as, you know, it is really Invasion Day for a minority. Aldi said good idea and they will be doing the same. Coles, who see their main competition making a massive mistake, are saying that they will be still carrying Australia themed goods for Australia Day. To translate this to an American setting, it would be like just before the July 4th holiday, that Walmart announcing that they will not be carrying any American-themed goods like American flags because it might offend a tiny minority of people. But you know, it could just happen.

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    Maybe Woolworths can invite Dylan Mulvaney down here to be their spokesperson. What could possibly go wrong?

                1. Pat

                  It is amazing to me how often so-called smart people couldn’t find their hand in front of their face on a sunny day.
                  I am shocked at Aldi though. I can see them having a smaller inventory of Australian themed goods because of their business model. But to opt out entirely and announce it, also seems contrary. That is exactly the kind of thing that should be their weekly get them in the door specials.

            1. Screwball

              Imagine… I think someone wrote a song called that.

              Our owners wouldn’t like that. We must hate each other.

              Unrelated, the war pigs don’t like that song. I’m worried about war more now than I’ve ever been, and I’m almost 70. These people are nuts.

              1. Daniil Adamov

                Indeed, that’s the one. I thought he was with Die Welt until I looked it up again… but according to your link, he wrote for them as well. “World-class fact-checking” indeed.

  6. Feral Finster

    ““Trump II: How Bad It Could Be” [David Corn, Mother Jones]. “[Trump] has repeatedly indicated that he’s out for revenge against all his detractors (real and imagined) and that he will consider using the Justice Department to prosecute his enemies. In fact, a group of conservative think tanks under the auspices of what they benignly call Project 2025, has been drawing up plans for how Trump could do this.” • So, translating, Trump will use lawfare, and his transition team is on board?Quelle horreur!”

    The concern is that Trump will use lawfare, not on declasse types but on PMC members in good standing.

    Almost by definition, the values of the hegemonic class are deemed to be normative.

    1. Lefty Godot

      Yes, when reading that phrase “to prosecute his enemies”, which I knew was supposed to horrify me, I immediately thought, “But, wait, how many of them are also our enemies?”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Yes, when reading that phrase “to prosecute his enemies”, which I knew was supposed to horrify me, I immediately thought, “But, wait, how many of them are also our enemies?”

        You say “prosecute his enemies” like that’s a bad thing…

    2. pjay

      I just can’t imagine anyone using the Justice Department, or states’ Attorney Generals, in a lawfare attack on one’s political enemies. Surely that could never happen in America!

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Given how Trump tried to lock up Hillary after 2016, I’m terrified. /s

      It also needs to be recalled that David Corn was among the first media brayers honking about Russiagate, and is completely unreflective/unrepentant about his role to this day.

      1. Feral Finster

        I am not a Trump fan, but the man could not get a Team R Congress to repeal Obamacare.

        If we must have an “authoritarian” or a “dictator”, please let it be such an incompetent.

    4. Lee

      I’m guessing the folks in this video will be near the top of Trump’s enemies list. From 2016 but as timely today as it was then in portraying fear and loathing of Trump. Famous actors inciting at the very least a constitutional crisis and perhaps a civil war. I’m sure there’s a prosecutable offense in there somewhere.


  7. digi_owl

    Assuming a six sided die may be a sign of someone growing up before the ubiquitous smartphone, though board games have had a resurgence of late. That said, you can find a number of apps that can produce the output of an arbitrarily sided die. If you trust the phone’s PRNG that is.

  8. flora

    re: IA – WaPo

    “The shift toward Democrats in well-off Des Moines suburbs such as Waukee, Clive….”

    DesMoines has huge insurance and financial/banking business centers in DesMoines and surrounding areas, employing huge numbers of residents in the PMC world of, as above, insurance, finance, and banking. It’s a natural fit for the financialized Dem PMC estab, imo. The rest of the state? Not so much. The Mississippi River valley counties that once hummed with light manufacturing and voted Dem? Those jobs went away to China or Mexico. With those went reliable Dem votes. The rural areas depending on farm subsidies and crop insurance, New Deal program, have seen those programs whittled away and competition from Big Ag put more and more family farms out of business. With that went more reliable Dem votes. imo. So, no surprise to me.

    Look at the map of pres race wins in the industrial heartland, along the Mississippi and Ohio river valley states, by the Dems in 1992 and 1996. B talked New Deal on the campaign trail and dismantled the New Deal once in office. Thomas Frank wrote a whole book about it: “Listen, Liberal!” Then look at the Dem state wins in 2000 and 2004, after NAFTA kicked in and the results became clear to blue collar voters. “Learn to code” was an insulting response to laid off workers from the Dem estab. imo.


  9. Lakisha

    “The Progressive Youth Chimera” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot].

    These kids are realizing that they, including women, may be drafted and perhaps their entrails will enrich some Middle East shithole sand, they may be reluctant to vote for Biden, who is now on his THIRD war, Ukraine, Palestine and now Yemen = WW III?

    At best, they’ll get a few years removed from home, but force vaccinated, exposed to toxins, lose hearing, PTSD, at worst, perhaps blinded by tactical nukes, or just plain old dead. And for what?

    “Defending democracies?” Puuuulllleezzze.

    1. flora

      Ruy Teixeira is a perfect weathervane for showing the way the Dem estab’s received wisdom is blowing, imo. Take his 2004 book (please), The Emerging Democratic Majority. Kevin Phillips (RIP) he is not. / ;)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Ruy Teixeira is a perfect weathervane for showing the way the Dem estab’s received wisdom is blowing

        The Emerging Democratic Majority drove the Democrat Party for at least a decade (though Teixeira claims his ideas were bastardized). He established, I would speculate, a permission structure for NGOs to do what they already wanted to do (see Reed on “voices”).

        I don’t think his current incarnation is a weathervane of anything at all. If it were, Biden would never (for example) have stiffed the railroad workers.

  10. Wukchumni

    “Joe Biden Called David Axelrod a ‘Prick.’ It Won’t Shut Him Up.” [Politico]. Kick against the pricks, or stumble at a straw (for The Wizard of Kalorama™)? More: “The thing I found aggravating is when you have people out there calling people who have concerns ‘bedwetters.’ I think that’s deeply, deeply unhelpful, because sometimes there’s reason to be concerned.

    I was a serial once a week bedwetter until I was around 10, and had no control whatsoever over nocturnal emissions which was terrorizing in it’s own right, and there’s 7 to 1 odds on the outcome kid, better get a wager down on Fan Duel or Draft Kings.

    My parents could get rid of me for a week once a year by sending me to YMCA camp in SoCal, and first went when I was 8 or 9 to one @ Big Bear Lake where you shared a cabin with 3 other campers, er complete strangers. I pissed out twice that week, and standard procedure was to take the offending mattress and air it outside, leaving no doubt who was the offending party for the whole 144 in attendance there, or at least narrowing it down to 1 of 4 suspects.

  11. Mikel

    Vibes poll: Biden’s key voting blocs stressed about money” Axios

    Now the worry is about having a pot to piss in at all rather than the gender designation on the bathroom door.

    1. notabanker

      I just saw the first Biden Harris ad on eviltube 15 minutes ago. It start off with Obama saying they need my help to save their democracy. Not sure what the rest of it is, as a few choice words later I deleted the tab.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Well he came out and said the truthful bit. That it is to save ‘their’ democracy – not everybody else’s democracy.

  12. Pat

    Nooners is a very good writer. She is also writing for people who read the Wall Street Journal. And I think she has grasped a big part of Trump’s appeal. I also think she has gotten that acceptable Republicans to her could very well be part of problem for many past but not settled on Trump voters. And her real prayer is that she is wrong.

    She may be trying to goose that along but It is up to the counter candidates to make their case that they represent the right kind of change for Republicans not entirely set on Trump. There are going to be part of that group that will naturally gravitate to DiSantis and Haley, but they are going to split that part. The ones who don’t want to blow them and the rest of our current elected government up, but desperately want major changes aren’t going to be as easy a sell.

    Republicans in New Hampshire and Iowa might surprise me, but I don’t think Nikki and Ron have made enough of a case to that portion between McConnell is okay Pubbies and the they are all worthless, but Trump tramples them Pubbies to seal the deal. And unlike Peggy, I don’t think it is about faith determining their decisions, but about previous experience with so-called committed conservatives.

      1. Pat

        Yes, my bad. I was just playing and using the big club aspect of her analysis to allow for a diminutive nickname version similar to Cubbies for the Cubs.
        It didn’t really work.

        Something that bugs me about political commentary is that too common premise that all members of our two political parties hew to certain basic ideas. This usually means “conservative” for Republicans and “liberal” for Democrats, but the reality is something different. Neither the terms or the parties are that monolithic. But the limitations of having a two party system is an advantage for ignoring the range of attitudes and positions that the populace can have, and do have within each of the parties. And then dismissing contrary ones. Team may be an easy shorthand, but a better sports reference might be leagues with a large number of teams. Whatever the shorthand, I am searching for a far less verbose way of saying Republicans, or Democrats, are not as politically lockstepped philosophically as whichever commentator is assuming for their analysis.

  13. Wukchumni

    Stay warm my friends in Siberia, or what we here in Cali are comparing ourselves to you, not being in quite the predicament, er ice box, as much of the rest of the country.

    Seeing as there are 400 million guns in these not so united states, we are certainly ready to shoot it out with Mother Nature if she goes toe-to-toe, mano y woman on us with her frigidity and don’t get me started on her wind chill, which is hard to take out even if you have an old German 88 acquired from an army-navy store in Düsseldorf.

    A Steely Dan with accessory strap, 30 bullet clip, and some amount of ammo would set you back around $666, here’s what you could have spent it on instead for a couple of people, in preparation for Mr. Freeze paying a visit and shutting down the grid on you.

    7×7 gallon water containers, to keep about 50 gallons on hand, or easier yet, 20 x 2.5 gallon 1-time use rectangles.

    1x Coleman 2 burner stove & 10x 1 pound propane canisters. To be used outside only.

    2x hot water bottles & cozies, you can have continual warmth-old school style.

    20x Freeze dried meals & coffee, lots of coffee, creamer, sugar, Bailey’s, etc.

    2x headlamps (much more useful than flashlights, as you’re hands free)

    1x multi-band am/fm weather radio dual battery/hand crank powered

    1/2 cord of firewood

    1x box of Fatwood fire starters

    1x box of 300 matches

    1x dozen Bic lighters


    NFL, Look, we don’t want to encourage fans to sit for 3 hours not moving mostly in under 0 degree temps in the stands, let alone the players.

    Couldn’t you just call off the playoffs until next week, everybody will be understanding.

    1. flora

      The Chief’s playoff game this Sunday will be played in 0 F degree, -17 F degree windchill cold. Bundle up, folks. Adding: this is dangerously cold windchill. I hope no one takes their small children (small bodies) to the game. The so-called Polar Express of bitterly cold arctic weather and temperatures has arrive on schedule to the Midwest.

    2. petal

      Wuk, Rich Stadium has put out the call for shovelers. They are paying $20 an hour plus food and a spot to warm up.

    3. ambrit

      Hey Wuk. The Sierras are only ‘defensible’ with some sort of “Steely Dan,” including the modern equivalent of the old reliable FLAK 88, a Milan manpad. (As the ‘Boys in Gaza’ have shown recently, a RPG can do a job on a “SWAT Box” (a ‘transferred’ to the domestic Organs of State Security armoured car.))
      We have most of the supplies you list. Alas, we have not a fireplace, (not a big item down here, often just for show.)
      Our big question is; how far “back” will social conditions go during the “Crisis?”
      Back in the Great Depression, “Systeme D” generally meant Democrat Party affiliated.
      Now, “Systeme D” still means Democrat Party affiliated, along with Raytheon, Boeing, and Bombs ‘R’ US.
      Add a fire extinguisher to the list. All of that open flame can get stroppy from time to time.
      Be safe and warm.

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘Derek Franks
    Jan 12
    Replying to @aftab_usa
    The CDC Director hasn’t been seen or heard from in 15 days during the 2nd largest COVID surge of the entire pandemic.’

    So where is Mandy? Cowering in fear and working from home I expect. She knows what’s out there.

    1. Cassandra

      She is dealing with complications from prostate surgery. Or on vacation in the Caribbean. One or the other of those…

      1. ambrit

        I heard that she was touring the remaining American Biolabs in the Ukraine and “had an accident,” and is thus still in quarantine. /s

  15. The Rev Kev

    Re Christie’s exit and Neocon Nikki. I understand that Christie was told to stand down in order to give Nikki’s figures an artificial boost to make her seem more popular than she actually is. Maybe they promised him an ambassadorship or something. Can only imagine an eventual debate between Nikki and Trump as both would get nasty to the extreme. Personally I hope Nikki flames out. The world does not need a younger, female version of Joe Biden.

    1. Glen

      So the real irony to me is how little the neocons understand about the current state of America’s industrial base and how completely unready it is to support a war with even a near peer country like Iran. And just forget about going up against Russia or China.

      And money will not fix the problem. In fact, in our current system, the DoD has for all intents and purposes an unlimited budget. And aside from the fact that they routinely cannot account for trillions of dollars, today’s military is much less capable than the same military of forty years ago.

      Watching Nikki go all neocon is like watching the boomer yell at the kids on the lawn. OK boomer…

      1. camelotkidd

        I keep waiting for one of the more influential neocons to have a Greenspan moment where publicly declare that they have found a flaw in their ideological model–in that they never thought that their neoliberal soulmates would loot the defense base

        1. ambrit

          My money’s on a movement being “manufactured” to ‘outsource’ American defense matters. You can see the outlines of the scheme in the recent calls to “guarantee citizenship” for “illegals” who serve in the military. Hiring the Outlanders to defend the Homeworld. Yeah, that always works out well.

  16. kareninca

    My husband’s cousin has a daughter who is 46 years old. She had been having digestive problems for a couple of years; her doctor suspected IBS so she tried changing her diet. She just had a colonoscopy, just in case. They found 9 polyps:

    one 6 mm polyp in the cecum
    one 8 mm polyp in the ascending colon
    three 5 to 18 mm polyps in the transverse colon
    two 6 to 7 mm polyps in the descending colon
    two 5 mm polyps in the sigmoid colon

    One of the larger polyps had minor bleeding when it was removed.
    So, my husband’s cousin is waiting in terror for the biopsy results; it will take about five days to get them.

    I have read a lot over the past few years about the increasing rate of colon cancer in young people. This person did not have any risk factors. So if you know someone with even trivial symptoms, urge them to get a colonscopy. You may have to help them shop around and pay out of pocket since UnitedHealthcare is now cutting back on what they cover, at the worst time (https://www.statnews.com/2023/05/15/united-colonoscopy-insurance-cost/#:~:text=The%20change%2C%20which%20the%20health,to%20pay%20out%20of%20pocket.)

    1. kareninca

      Phew. Results in, none of them truly bad, just on their way to bad. Just a recheck next year, and her kids need to get scoped starting at age 36. But if she’d had it done a few years from now, it might not have been such good news. So the moral is definitely don’t delay if you have symptoms!!!

        1. Michaelmas

          ambrit: Makes the news about Pfizer ‘pivoting’ to developing treatments for “Turbo Cancers” more understandable.

          Personalized cancer therapies was actually the original proposed purpose for the mRNA vaccines, which they’re pivoting back to.

          So: not really. COVID was only an immensely profitable detour.

        2. kareninca

          Well, my husband’s relative is a big Pfizer lover; she has had every booster available. So I’m sure she’ll be in line for any product they offer for her polyp issue.

  17. chris

    What in the hell is happening? Biden bypasses Congress to give Israel weapons AND he follows it up by not consulting Congress about starting a war? And the DNC is removing opportunities to even rubber stamp his candidacy?

    At this point I have to ask what it would take for someone to remove this president from office. He’s become the tyrant they always accused Trump of threatening to be.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      I saw a tweet from a “bellweather” Dem X/Twitter account that basically conceded that the Biden campaign already knows they’re going to lose and they’re basically making a complete shit show hay while the sun shines.

      I’m inclined to agree.

      The end of his presidency can’t come soon enough.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I saw a tweet from a “bellweather” Dem X/Twitter account that basically conceded that the Biden campaign already knows they’re going to lose

        Got a link?

    2. NYMutza

      The 25th Amendment exists for cases like Biden, but if he were removed Kamala Harris would be sworn in as POTUS. It is for this reason that Harris was chosen to be Biden’s running mate in the first place. 25th Amendment insurance.

      1. Hepativore

        I think the entire point was for Harris to eventually replace Biden in 2024 because Biden originally said he wanted to be a one-term president. However, Harris has a popularity rating on par with an abscessed hemorrhoid with the voting public. Plan B for the DNC might have been to drag Biden’s senile corpse across the 2024 election finish line and have him resign so Harris could be brought in through the back door.

        Now that Biden has largely blown a hole in his reelection chances, Biden and the Democrats are quickly moving to start WW III ahead of schedule to secure steady business for the MIC while they still have time for the rest of Biden’s term.

        1. Late Introvert

          Thanks for that metaphor. I’ll never be able to see her stupid face again without thinking “abcessed hemorrhoid”. LOL

  18. Jason Boxman


    The United States carried out another strike against the Houthi militia in Yemen, the U.S. Central Command said on Friday night, bombing a radar facility as part of an effort to further degrade the Iran-backed group’s ability to attack ships transiting the Red Sea.

    It was the second straight day that the U.S. military fired on a Houthi target, after an American-led barrage of military strikes early Friday local time that was aimed at securing critical shipping routes between Europe and Asia. The strikes come amid fears of a wider escalation of the conflict in the Middle East.


      1. Pat

        More tantrum than securing, but this is a warmonger in his second childhood and his enablers. It must be enraging to Biden and his admin that they might be sending the limited arms and military supplies they have left to be blown up before reaching Israel after having to decide between Israel and the Ukraine.

  19. Daniil Adamov

    “Some feel our problems are so deep that a democratic republic is maybe at this point just another form of governance, one of a variety, including various forms of autocracy, that might be adopted. Ours is the preferred one, to be sure. But different eras demand different governmental forms, and we don’t exist to serve the form, the form exists to serve us.”

    Things have gotten so incredibly bad that some Americans have even started thinking that the purpose of a government system should be to serve the population’s interests? Do I understand Noonan correctly here?

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