2:00PM Water Cooler 1/19/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Dark-eyed Junco (cismontanus), Belleau Woods Forest Preserve. “Distinct separation between hood and body coloring. Photos and audio recording of 1 individual, another was nearby partially obscured in brambles.” What an ensemble! Even the white noise…

* * *


“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

“Nearly 200 congressional Republicans urge SCOTUS to keep Trump on the ballot” [Politico]. “Nearly 200 congressional Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have joined a Supreme Court brief urging the court to side with former President Donald Trump on the question of if he is eligible to be on Colorado’s ballot in the 2024 election…. The brief from congressional Republicans does not weigh in on whether the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 was an insurrection or not, even though that determination was at the heart of the Colorado court’s decision. Lawmakers spent much of the 37-page filing questioning whether Trump bore responsibility for the violence that day. ‘It is hard to imagine an actual insurrectionist quickly asking for peace and encouraging disbandment,’ the group writes, focusing on one of many actions Trump took that day to direct the crowd. McConnell’s signature is particularly notable because he has repeatedly stood by comments he made in the weeks after the Jan. 6 attack, squarely blaming Trump for stoking the violence.” • Republicans consolidating rapidly….

“Lawyers for Trump urge the Supreme Court ‘to put a swift and decisive end’ to ballot removal efforts” [Associated Press]. “Trump’s Supreme Court team is led by Texas-based lawyer Jonathan Mitchell, who devised aspects of the anti-abortion legislation that largely shut down abortions in Texas months before the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision in June 2022.” Interesting; finally Trump has a competent, or at least a clever, lawyer? More: “And the court has said that it intends to hear an appeal that could upend hundreds of charges stemming from the Capitol riot, including against Trump.” • Hmm. If the Court overturns those “hundreds of charges” — the charge of interrupting an official proceeding comes from Sarbanes-Oxley, weirdly — that should dispose of the insurrection charge by the back door. What is an insurrection without insurrectionists?


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Hunter Biden agrees to private deposition with Republicans” [Associated Press]. After the stunt of refusing not to! “The House Oversight Committee announced Thursday that the two parties have agreed for Hunter Biden to sit for a deposition on Feb. 28. ‘The president’s son is a key witness in this investigation and he’s gonna be able to come in now and sit down and answer questions in a substantive, orderly manner,’ Rep. James Comer, chair of the Oversight Committee, told reporters. He added that Hunter Biden will be able to testify publicly sometime after his deposition.” And: “Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, wrote in a letter Friday that his client’s cooperation is dependent on the committee issuing a new subpoena, which they will now do given the updated deposition date. They had argued that the two subpoenas sent in last year were not legitimate because they were issued before the full House authorized the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.” • Well, fine. Nothing wrong with a fig leaf, I suppose.

* * *

“Nikki Haley DID cheat on husband Michael – had affairs with her comms consultant and a MARRIED South Carolina lobbyist before she became governor, sworn affidavits and new witnesses claim” [Daily Mail]. “Presidential candidate Nikki Haley falsely denied cheating on her husband when she was accused of engaging in two extramarital affairs during her gubernatorial campaign, multiple sources who worked with her claim. New witnesses have come forward telling DailyMail.com that Haley’s denials of two alleged 2008 affairs are false, and that the supposed trysts were brazen and widely known among South Carolina politicos. Will Folks, 49, and Larry Marchant, 61, both signed affidavits in 2010 alleging they had a sexual relationship with the then-South Carolina lawmaker, before she went on to become governor. While the contents of the affidavits were described by major news outlets at the time, this is the first time they have been published outside of Folks’ own document which he published on his blog…. But multiple GOP insiders told DailyMail.com that they were intimately aware of Haley’s infidelity as a South Carolina lawmaker – including tales of steamy liaisons in the back of her Cadillac SUV, ‘canoodling’ in her lovers’ laps at bars, and nights spent together in a Columbia, South Carolina duplex…. Sources spoke to DailyMail.com about Haley’s alleged affairs after noticing her rosy references to her relationship with her husband, a major in the National Guard who is currently deployed in Africa, on her presidential campaign trail.” And what the hell are we doing in Africa? Don’t we have enough on our plate? More: “A fourth source, a senior political official in South Carolina, claimed Folks confessed to him he had sex with Haley in her car in a restaurant parking lot. ‘In the South Carolina legislature, there are two types: the people who believe not enough gets done because there aren’t enough lawmakers and lobbyists sleeping together; and the people who are holier than thou and say that having an affair violates the Ten Commandments,’ the political official said.” • “South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.” Anyhow, the Daily Mail posts copies of the affidavits. Hopefully Nikki does better on the Seventh Commandment than she did on slavery. And you’ve gotta wonder why this oppo didn’t come out well before this.

* * *

“Trump Wants Revenge—And So Does His Base” [The Atlantic]. “Much like Trump himself, these voters are unable to accept what’s happened over the past several years. Trump, in so many ways, quickly made fools of them; his various inanities, failures, and possible crimes sent them scrambling for ever more bizarre rationalizations, defenses of the indefensible that separated them from family and friends. If in 2016 they suspected, rightly or wrongly, that many Americans looked down on them for any number of reasons, they now know with certainty that millions of people look down on them—not for who they are but for what they’ve supported so vocally.” • Clinton did all that with one word: “Deplorables.” It’s pieces like this that make me wonder if all the “hate” is on one side….

“Trump’s closing argument to New Hampshire voters pushes misinformation suggesting Democrats would ‘infiltrate’ GOP primary” [CBS]. I hate the pseudo-profundit of that “closing argument” trope. The “story arc,” as it were, of a political campaign is not that of a lawsuit. Anyhow: “Former President Donald Trump’s closing message to New Hampshire voters contains falsehoods about the upcoming primary election, including a baseless claim that Democrats are planning to ‘infiltrate’ the primary to support former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley…. By law, undeclared residents may vote in New Hampshire’s GOP primary, along with Republican voters. Registered voters may only vote in one party’s primary, and the deadline to switch party registration expired in early October. Of the state’s more than 873,000 registered voters, just 3,542 voters changed their registration from Democrat to undeclared before the state’s Oct. 6 deadline, and just 408 Democrats changed their registration to Republican.”

* * *

“Do You Remember the Ecstasy of Electing Joe Biden?” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine]. No. Chait writes: “The only way to stop an authoritarian-minded candidate from winning is for a coalition of anti-authoritarian voters to unify behind another presidential candidate. That coalition very conspicuously failed to materialize in 2016 for a variety of reasons…. In 2020, the dynamic changed. The central issue on the public’s mind was Trump, and Biden managed to assemble a majority against him, ranging all the way from Bernie Sanders supporters to disillusioned Republicans in the Atlanta suburbs…. At the moment, the state of the anti-Trump coalition looks far more grim than it did in 2020 or even 2016. Biden has an anemic approval rating, far worse than Trump, Barack Obama, or any other incumbent at this stage.” • At which point Chait goes in for an extended round of hippie-punching. The word “coalition,” to me, recalls the FDR “coalition,” which — being based on the material interest of voters — lasted for forty or fifty years. In reality, what Chait’s calling a “coalition” is the Democrat’s solid base in the PMC — itself, just like MAGA or Bush the Younger’s Christianists, too small to govern on its own — cobbled together with whatever free-floating demographics seem appropriate for the given election (true since 2008, when Obama’s “coalition” putatively formed).

* * *

“Dean Phillips drops DEI from campaign website” [Politico]. “Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips removed a reference to promoting “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” on his campaign website after one of his top financial backers, a leading DEI opponent, prodded Phillips publicly on the subject. That donor, the hedge fund investor Bill Ackman, has at different times called Phillips’s language about DEI a ‘mistake’ and said the candidate was ‘getting educated’ on the issue. Writing on X, he said several times that he expected Phillips would revise his campaign website’s reference to DEI. Earlier this week, the Minnesota representative’s campaign took out the term DEI from the platform section of its website and replaced it with ‘Equity & Restorative Justice.’ The language under the header remains the same, with Phillips’ campaign saying he believes, ‘We are a rapidly-diversifying country, and it is that diversity, which makes America great.’ But the decision to drop reference to DEI — an decades-old initiative in academia and government to promote fairer representation among groups which have faced historic discrimination — stands out for its timing. Phillips’s super PAC recently received a commitment for a $1 million donation from Ackman….” • Oh.

* * *

IA: “Let’s Look at the Iowa Results With a Cold Eye” [Esquire]. “[L]ook at the results with, and you will pardon the expression, a cold eye. This is the first time that a candidate ever broke 50 percent of the caucus vote, and the former president* won by the largest margin in Iowa caucus history. In 2016, his campaign at this stage was the mere semblance of a campaign. (On the day of the 2016 New Hampshire primary, his headquarters in downtown Manchester was an empty storefront.) Somebody in that operation this time knows their onions about field organizing this time around. This, I find unsettling.” • Let us recall that PA, the most delegate-rich swing state, can be won with field organizing. That’s what Fetterman — bless his heart — did (that and a brilliant media campaign).

* * *


“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!

* * *

Covid is Airborne

“Ultraviolet light can kill almost all the viruses in a room. Why isn’t it everywhere?” [Vox]. “These advocates imagine a world in which far-UV lamps are set up in most large indoor spaces where people gather, emitting rays that kill airborne viruses and bacteria while leaving humans unharmed. If all goes according to plan, day cares will stop spreading around noroviruses and flus; hospital infections will plummet; elderly and immunocompromised people can gather openly, unmasked, without fearing they’ll catch something. In a world where the flu alone imposes an average of $11 billion in economic costs per year to the US and Covid has cost the United States on the order of $14 trillion, it’s a nearly utopian vision. The next Covid would be strangled in the crib, unable to reach the billions of people SARS-CoV-2 did because it’s deactivated at every turn. Unlike a vaccine, which needs to be formulated anew for every emerging pathogen and then proactively taken by everyone at risk, far-UV would be a passive defense against respiratory viruses of all sorts, existing ones as well as those to come. Pandemics would go from a regular threat to a thing of the past. That’s the plan, anyway. But there’s still a lot we do not know, not least about what shining these lights does to the air it touches and what that could do to humans who breathe that air. It’s a technology with incredible promise, but one where getting the details right could hardly be more crucial.” • I’m all for layered protection, and Far-UV could be one layer. That said, I like simple and rugged, which ventilation and masking are, and which Far-UV is not.


“7 of the Very Best KN95 Masks Authentic, high-quality KN95 masks as recommended by doctors and Strategist editors” [New York Magazine]. I confess that The Strategist is a guiltu pleasure of mine, so it’s good to see a mask review there. And: ” Like many thousands of other people, I prefer wearing KN95 masks: Their foldable beaklike shape and ear loops (as opposed to the hairdo-ruining head straps found on N95 masks) make them a more convenient and comfortable everyday choice for me.” • Sigh, but I guess that translates into a design challenge for the N95 manufacturers, a paradigm shift for them: 3M sees the N95 as a medical appliance for the workplace, not a fashion item for public spaces.


“‘I’m an oncologist – this is the nasal spray I use to prevent viruses attaching to me'” [Express]. UK. “But oncologist Dr Yussef Gaffar has another hack to fight off infections – using a nasal spray. Dr Gaffar uses BioSURE PRO nasal spray which includes a “silver bullet” ingredient, ethyl lauroyl arginate hydrochloride (ELAH).” • In a UK tabloid!!

Origins Debate

From over the transom:

Restriction enzymes are used to cut sequences at specific sites-they recognise a specific sequence and that tells them where to cut (like scissors cut). Restriction enzymes have funny names like BamH1, EcoRI, etc. Each one recognises a different sequence, so depending on where in your sequence you want to cut, you look up the restriction enzyme that’ll cut that specific spot. If you’re designing something, you stick in a sequence that’ll allow you to cut later at a specific spot, and use that particular restriction enzyme. It’s very, very specific. So, if this virus has a site that matches a very particular restriction enzyme target, and that specific target was listed in the EcoHealth Alliance grant or paperwork, meaning they had inserted it in the sequence during design, it’s essentially being caught red-handed. It’s like a one in a gazillion fingerprint that was inserted during the design for production purposes. Hard to explain, and I probably didn’t do it very well. What you end up with is a sequence map, and you can identify that site and sequence. Map usually even has the cut site marked.


I f-ing knew it from the beginning. I hate being right about this, but damn. Have run a lab for too long and knew right away.

To be fair, the EcoHealth grant was not approved; that does not mean another version did not get approved, and the EcoHealth grant application process was a veritable cesspit (Vanity Fair article, too lazy to find the link). But the bottom line is that documents generated by Ecohealth contemplated making cuts that would fashion a virus with distinctive features similar to SARS-CoV-2, as shown by the enzymes named and to be purchased. This story has not yet made it into the mainstream AFAIK, but yikes.

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, January 16:

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.

Lambert #4: Looks like I was too pessimistic! (Of course, half the cases under the curve take place after the peak….)

Regional data:

Big decline in the Northeast!


From CDC, January 20:

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 13:

Lambert here: Consistent with Biobot data.

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.


NOT UPDATED Bellwether New York City, data as of January 17:

Lambert here: Decrease for the state, decrease then increase for New York City. (This has been updating daily for a long-time, suddenly it’s intermittent [snarl].

Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. January 13:

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, January 15:

-0.7%. (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 13:

Lambert here: Percentage and absolute numbers down.

NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, January 1:

Up, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, January 1:


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

Stats Watch

There are no statistics of interest today.

* * *

The Economy: “Americans Are Suddenly Upbeat About Economy. Sentiment Just Logged Its Biggest Jump in Decades” [Wall Street Journal]. “Consumer sentiment leapt 13% in the first half of January from December, the University of Michigan said Friday. That came on the heels of a sharp rise in December, causing the index to surge a combined 29% from November, the biggest two-month increase since 1991. The pickup in sentiment was broad-based, spanning consumers of different age, income, education and geography. The recovery in sentiment ‘is likely to provide some positive momentum for the economy,’ said Joanne Hsu, the Michigan survey’s director. Persistently high inflation, the lingering shock from the pandemic’s destruction and fears that a recession was around the corner had put a damper on feelings about the economy in recent years, despite solid growth and consistent hiring. Now Americans are bucking up as inflation cools and the Federal Reserve signals that interest-rate increases are likely behind us. And with the solid labor market putting money in the bank accounts of freely spending consumers, recession fears for 2024 are fading. Despite the recent sentiment gains, the measure is still about 20% lower than before the pandemic took hold in 2020 and nearer to levels consistent with an economy just emerging from a downturn—not one that recorded surprisingly strong growth last year.” • Hmm. I keep reading about layoffs….

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 71 Greed (previous close: 66 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 71 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 19 at 12:45:47 PM ET.

Zeitgeist Watch


The Gallery

Lord of Misrule:

News of the Wired

“Don’t look back: the aftermath of a distressing event is more memorable than the lead-up, study suggests” (press release) [Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign]. “A new study from psychologists at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology suggests that we remember the moments immediately following a distressing episode more sharply than the moments leading up to it. Clarifying the relationship between trauma and memory can improve how we evaluate eyewitness testimonies, inform therapies to treat PTSD, and help clinicians combat memory decline in brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. This study appears in the journal Cognition and Emotion….. This is unintuitive, the researchers say. ‘You might imagine that humans evolved to have a good memory for what led to negative things,’ Bogdan said. ‘If you got bit by a snake, what foolhardy thing were you doing beforehand?’ One explanation is that negative emotional spikes (for example, upon sustaining a snake bite) cause a rush of focus and alertness, telling our brains to take exhaustive notes about what happens next and squirrel them away for future use. But the prelude to trauma employs a much less diligent notetaker. This casts a dubious eye on scenarios like witness testimonies, where contextual details are paramount… Taking back control over traumatic memories, then, requires reattaching them to their context — their original place and time. The researchers hope to incorporate this strategy into cognitive therapies for people with PTSD.” • Hmm.

“The geometry of other people” [Aeon]. “Why do social relationships form distinct geometries in our minds? In the past few decades, research has shown that these metaphors are not merely idiosyncratic uses of language. Instead, they reveal something fundamentally spatial about how we experience our social lives. And this leads to a radical possibility: if we make sense of our friendships, acquaintances, colleagues, families and societies through spatial relationships, could architectural concepts – the intentional design of space – become tools for creating new metaphors for social and political thought?” • Like “upstairs, downstairs”?

* * *

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, lichen, 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 Angie Neer:

Angie Neer: “These tiny plants (at least I assume they’re plants) are growing inside the top end of a rotting-out fence post. The photo shows an area about 4 inches across. Shot Dec 12, 2023 in a park near Seattle.”

* * *

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. Wukchumni

    Let us recall that PA, the most delegate-rich swing state, can be won with field organizing. That’s what Fetterman — bless his heart — did (that and a brilliant media campaign).

    Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what a Kanamit can do to it?

  2. nippersmom

    Maybe it’s just because I have a rather round face, but I get just as good a seal from the “ear loop” KN95 masks as from those with elastic bands. The elastic band/hair issue isn’t merely aesthetic, either. I’ve had the bands tangle in my hair and yank it out of my head when trying to remove the mask.

    1. lambert strether

      > not just aesthetics

      The point is to get people to wear them, which is why I’ve consistently urged masks be reframed as fashion items.

      And surely there’s an engineering solution for tangling the hair — broader straps?

      1. Judith

        Lambert, it is not a question of width. It is the bare rubber itself. The stretchy hair thingies they sell at the drugstore are covered with some sort of smooth fabric that does not catch, for example.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > stretchy hair thingies

          Then there is an engineering solution, which 3M, for whatever reason (monopoly?) has not sought out!*

          Thanks — it’s been a long time since my hair was long, and scrunchies were after my time.

          I should post on this, it’s moronic.

          NOTE * Even worse, the cover for the strap, presumably fabric, can be in different colors, printed, even branded, so automatically opens the door to a fashion-driven** approach [bangs head on desk]. A door that 3M seems to be deliberately leaning on to keep closed.

          ** “Why get sick when you can be beautiful?”™ or some such.

          1. ashley

            is it better for a mask to have 95% efficacy and be worn occasionally because it is too uncomfortable for practical use daily, or a mask with ~80% efficacy (pulling a number out of my ass for a ‘less perfect’ version of a mask) designed comfortably enough that its worn daily?

  3. Wukchumni

    We hear you’re not leaving him, that’s okay
    I thought our little wild time had just begun
    I guess you kind of scared yourself, you turn and run
    But if you have a change of heart

    Nikki don’t lose my number
    You don’t want to call nobody else
    Send it off in a letter to yourself
    Nikki don’t lose that number
    It’s the only one you own
    You might use it if you poll better
    When you get home

    I have a married lobbyist friend in town, he’s heard your name
    We can go out driving on Slow Hand Row
    We could stay inside and play games, I don’t know
    And you could have a change of heart

    Nikki don’t lose my number
    You don’t want to call nobody else
    Send it off in a letter to yourself
    Nikki don’t lose that number
    It’s the only one you own
    You might use it if you poll better
    When you get home

    You tell yourself you’re not my kind
    But you don’t even know your mind
    And you could have a change of heart

    Nikki don’t lose my number
    You don’t want to call nobody else
    Send it off in a letter to yourself
    Nikki don’t lose that number
    It’s the only one you own
    You might use it if you poll better
    When you get home

    Nikki don’t lose that number

    Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, by Steely Dan


      1. Wukchumni

        My bad…

        Been thinking about that Steely Dan song and Nikki, but the original lyrics were kinda unworkable until yesterday’s news of her extra-marital affairs, and then the tumblers on the combination safe all clicked into place, and it didn’t need much reworking, ah ha!

      1. Luckless Pedestrian

        Lichens are indeed an interesting lot. In addition to the usual algae/fungus symbionts, it looks like there is a single additional type of fungus always present:

        Dr. Spiribille then asked other lichenologists around the world to look for the Basidiomycetes fungus. Amazingly, they found it in every lichen they examined – i It has now been found on every continent on earth. Moreover molecular evidence indicates that it has been part of lichen symbioses from the start of this partner’s evolution. Unnoticed for almost 150 years, this single species of fungus appears to play an important role in the lives of lichen everywhere. Dr. Spiribille’s remarkable discovery now points the way to a whole new area of research, one which we didn’t imagine just a few years ago.


        1. PlutoniumKun

          Years back an Irish schoolgirl won a major scientific award for working out how to measure lichen growth over centuries – she measured their diameters on dated gravestones.

  4. JustAnotherVolunteer

    That plantidote looks like a liverwort but I can’t say which of the thousands it might be – gorgeous color!

  5. Sub-Boreal

    Ian Welsh is very good today: The Second Most Important Story in the World.


    But Covid is a real story. It’s probably a black plague level story. A virus that badly damages immune systems and which leaves many people crippled but alive. That matters, because it’s changing the cycles. Empires rise and fall, tech breakthroughs happen, are clustered and give an advantage then disperse, and military tech changes in ways which change war, often for centuries, but major major plagues, well, they’re hardly unknown, but it’s been a while and Covid is a big one.

    1. Lee

      Thanks for the link, a fine piece of writing. He conveys so much in so few words. Putting aside that I heartily agree with him on all points raised.

  6. Feral Finster

    “Trump Wants Revenge—And So Does His Base” [The Atlantic]. “Much like Trump himself, these voters are unable to accept what’s happened over the past several years. Trump, in so many ways, quickly made fools of them; his various inanities, failures, and possible crimes sent them scrambling for ever more bizarre rationalizations, defenses of the indefensible that separated them from family and friends. If in 2016 they suspected, rightly or wrongly, that many Americans looked down on them for any number of reasons, they now know with certainty that millions of people look down on them—not for who they are but for what they’ve supported so vocally.”

    I have long maintained that Trump’s principal selling point, in 2016, in 2020 and today in 2024, is that voting for Cheeto Doofus is one of the few ways that ordinary Americans can give the Establishment the Double Bird, or at least in a way that is both lawful and that the bigwigs will pay attention to.

    1. IM Doc

      I just got through watching last night an inpromptu lecture on my television from a Biden pundit.

      He informed the world that the reason the MAGA crowd had given Trump the nod in Iowa and the reason this criminal was still even a candidate was because there were no “college-educated” people in the MAGA crowd.

      First of all, that is simply a lie – I see college educated MAGA people every day of my life as patients. PhD’s MA’s you name it. Just a complete and total fabrication. But it may be truth to him – he probably never leaves the confines of DC or NYC.

      But secondly, and more importantly to me, I cannot think of a better way for these pundits to broadcast to the entire world that the Dem party is no longer the home for the working people of this country, nor the minorities, nor any of their previous base. And I am seeing that every day as well. The frustration headed their way especially from the Latino groups is impossible to ignore at this point. But also from many other minorities. The Dem party has become in the past 10 years or so exactly what my FDR New Deal Dem forebears warned me about – the ignorant educated, the corporatists, and the bankers. I will not be voting for any Dem at this point. I will not even consider it until there is some kind of realization of the working people they have left behind and a purging of the creators of the mess they are in now. It is the Dem party itself which is going to make me, a Dem my entire adult life, actually hold my nose and vote for Trump. And I hope with everything I have that if elected, he will be very generous with the handcuffs, indictments and jail time. It increasingly is looking like the only way to salvage anything of worth in this country for my kids.

      The harder they try, the more Trump seems to gain support. I am reminded of the last decades of the Roman Republic. One strongman after the other warping the political rules, conventions, and culture beyond all recognition for gaining short term goals. Could the USA be getting to learn the lesson doled out by Genghis Khan millenia ago? – “If you had not committed great sins, a vengeance like me would not have been visited upon you.”

      I have often wondered “what were the people thinking?” when pondering the eras of demise in the past – Thucydides, the Roman Republic, the Weimar Republic among many others. I no longer ask myself that question, it is easy for all to see just looking at the New York Times.

      1. Feral Finster

        I said nothing about “uneducated Americans”. I did mention “ordinary Americans”.

        And I also have precisely zero intention of voting for Genocide Joe, nor will I vote for Trump. I have the luxury of living in an entirely safe state.

        Anyway, speaking of the Roman Republic, expect to hear more and more open calls for Trump’s assassination. Because the assassination of Caesar, or the Gracchi Brothers, did so much to save the Republic, LOL.

        1. Roger Boyd

          They were the good guys, attempting to break the power of the oligarchs and redistribute wealth to the rest.

      2. Lee

        Trump: the cat among the pigeons or the monkey wrench in the gears, but probably not either of those to the degree necessary to directionally alter the course we’re on as a nation. I believe it is a somewhat risky but an unavoidable necessity to well and truly trounce the current leadership of the Democratic party. It is interesting times we live in when citizens opt for institutional instability rather than the status quo. Alas, there is no better option is on offer.

      3. Hepativore

        How can you have a “coalition of anti-authoritarian voters” line up behind a candidate and a party that is perfectly happy to shut down its own primaries and rewrite the order of the state primary schedule just so they can keep party challengers off of the ballot and cram a deeply unpopular candidate down our throats no matter how loud we yell?

        Biden and the DNC do not have a leg to stand on when it comes to combatting “authoritarianism” as the Republican primaries actually seem like they are more fair to Republican voters when it comes to the will of their base, and Trump does seem like he is somewhat responsive to national sentiment.

        Compare this to how Biden keeps sending money and weapons off to Israel and got us involved in the Ukraine mess and broke practically every policy promise he made on the campaign trail, particularly how he lied about student loan relief.

        A lot of people would rather choose an honest a$$hole like Trump, vs. somebody like Biden or the DNC proper who regard most of the populace as uppity serfs and will stab you in the back every time you turn around.

        1. Jason Boxman

          The Times had a story today, the top one online I think, that Biden’s greatest foreign policy success — Ukraine — is not being recognized as such.

          It boggles the mind.

          Although Europe is now reliant upon American LNG and deindustrialization is well underway, so in that sense, perhaps it is a foreign policy victory, but that isn’t what the Times was getting at. These people are truly functionally stupid. No ability to introspect. Tribe first, last, always!

      4. Pat

        The utter lack of self consciousness on the part of most of the top Democrats and their supporters is breathtaking in its scope. They completely ignore all the anti-Democratic and authoritarian moves made by their politicians and organizations. And they have so little respect for voters that they think none of them understand that they exhibit more of these tendencies than Trump has or is doing. There utter contempt for most Americans is gob smacking.
        The sad part of this is that the base is made up of so many who cannot see beyond their own anger and/or fear to realize this. Sure there are some powerful people who just don’t want their gravytrain upset. But most aren’t that,they are just dupes who honestly believe Russia stole the election. I blame a lot of things for their ignorance, for the mote in their eye. But knowing how they got here won’t help them, they have a lot of rough lessons to learn. And I think that is coming, but the jerks at the top will delay this to prolong their stay as long as possible.

      5. John k

        I thought in 2016 the dems would have to continuously lose until their stint in the wilderness and desire to win caused them to abandon corps/banks and return to their roots. I saw Biden as a disaster, but he has been much worse than I expected.
        However, I’m in a blue no matter who state, so I’ve been free to waste my money on Bernie and my vote on frivolity.

      6. John D.

        IM Doc, if I thought Trump would seriously go after his enemies in the Dem party, I’d consider that a perfectly legitimate reason to vote for him. (Not that I could as I’m not an American, but, you know, hypothetically.) If I thought for a second he’d genuinely try to nail the Clintons, the Bidens, the Pelosis, et al for their many, many crimes, I would indeed vote for the man myself – if I could – and it would be an enthusiastic vote.

        But he’s not going to, any more than he “drained the swamp” during his first term. He’s a lazy, sloppy narcissist who only really cares about being the center of attention. He’s not going to put in the effort. Maybe, just maybe, his anger and need for revenge for all the sh*t he’s been put through will come to the forefront once he’s back in the White House (if indeed he makes it that far), but I doubt he has the ability or the wherewithal to pull off something like that and he’ll be sandbagged at every turn if he tries. I’d love to be proven wrong here but I just don’t see it happening.

      7. Carolinian

        Thanks as always. I’m sure many of his supporters see Trump as our escape hatch from Biden. Almost anyone would be better than Biden (not Haley though).

        It’s really all about money and that’s what made the Dems Oligarchy2. The Dems have been gradually abandoning the New Deal since Carter. Perhaps television had a lot to do with making campaigns more expensive.

      8. Gumbo

        Had the same thought. I’ve never voted for a Republican above the county level (in a very red county where dems weren’t a factor), but if the dems keep it up I just might vote for Trump as a protest. I am however in a very safe for blue state.

    2. NYT_Memes

      Cheeto Doofus is the Trump take by Matt Taibbi. I like it.

      With the media, the military, the PMC and the insider establishment against him he will never be a dictator.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > With the media, the military, the PMC and the insider establishment against him he will never be a dictator.

        You forgot the spooks. The military (except for their spook fraction) is passive. The spooks are active and aggressive. Of course, there’s considerable overlap* between media, spooks, and “insider establishment,” Flex Nets, >90% of which PMC subclasses.

        NOTE * See, e.g., “CIA Democrats,” spook electeds. There are probably CIA Republicans, too, WSWS just hasn’t made a list.

      2. Nikkikat

        That’s correct. To really do any butt kicking he would actually need more members of Congress that aren’t “bought” puppets of some billionaire, bankster, corporate enemy of the people angling to stick it to us. That would NOT be the Republican Party.
        Where were these bozos when thousands of people lost their jobs because they wouldn’t submit to being shot up with an experimental drug? Oh yeah, I remember they seemed to be all running into stores without masks to make a statement about their freedoms while fighting for the right of some wealthy couple to bear arms to keep black protesters out of their fancy gated community. They haven’t shown up with any articles of impeachment for any of Biden’s crimes as far as I know.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > voting for Cheeto Doofus is one of the few ways that ordinary Americans can give the Establishment the Double Bird

      As I wrote in December 2015 (and thereafter, Google is just becoming impossible):

      “73% of Republican voters say Trump would win the general [Quinippiac]. Rubio: 63%; Cruz: 59%; Carson: 55%. So, not only a gigantic upraised middle finger to their own party establishment and the entire political class, but pragmatic, too.

      [lambert blushes modestly]

  7. Jason Boxman

    I’m all for layered protection, and Far-UV could be one layer. That said, I like simple and rugged, which ventilation and masking are, and which Far-UV is not.

    I’ve skeptical of Far-UV, from the links that have been posted here, but I think we ought to have a moonshot project for this, not the least of which, because for better or worse, we need to meet people where they are, and wearing respirators is not, and with public health poisoned, likely will not be in the immediate future where people are. I wish it weren’t so, but that’s the truth.

    So what remains is better air filtration, ventilation, long-shot tech like Far-UV, and for better or worse, any kind of treatments or actually sterilizing vaccines, and any proven effective prophylactics, such as nasal sprays if we ever had robust, large scale population testing for them.


    Of those, we know air filtration and ventilation work, and it would be nice if progress were made on that issue; you’d think telling parents that, with upgrades at schools, children would be less likely to get sick from not-COVID and other airborne pathogens, and do better academically at school, and we should aggressive pursue this, but for whatever reason, this isn’t an approach taken. I hate the erasure of COVID, but if most people reject that it’s real, you gotta approach solutions with whatever currency you might have.

    Someone should do a study of absence at Newton, MA public schools versus, say, Dorchester or Chelsey schools, and see what the results look like.

    If long-COVID is going to disable the population as badly as might be possible, we don’t have much time on this front.

    1. TrashyDoctor

      I recently toured an under construction Class A office space building that is seeking the US Green Building Council’s WELL Standard Certification. I asked about building ventilation and how it would be controlled or if any additional measures were being taken particularly to ensure some number of maximum air exchanges for the benefit of occupants. As I recall the response from the builder was that they were including an Ultraviolet system which according to him is “supposed to remove viruses and things”.

      Looking at the US GBC’s Well standard there are requirements to do “Microbe and Mold Control” which does appear to be one of the optional points companies can select. Per WELL:

      “The growth of microorganisms and mold can be prevented and mitigated through a combination of regular mold inspections and placement of microbe inactivation techniques, such as Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) systems… UVGI has been shown to dramatically reduce mold and bacteria growth on cooling coils and destroy microbial films that accumulate on their surfaces.8 Studies have also associated the implementation of UVGI systems with a simultaneous reduction in viable microorganisms and respiratory disorders in the workplace.9” (for the complete reference in WELL https://v2.wellcertified.com/en/wellv2/air/feature/14)

      This doesn’t mean all new buildings are using far-UV but I got the impression from the builder that the UVGI systems are becoming common practice. Assuming they are actually effective, it would be good for new high-end buildings. Sadly it is still useless for any existing infrastructure or new construction that aren’t trying to achieve the WELL standard, which is probably the majority of infrastructure. In terms of meeting people where they are, if these are more easily implemented compared to better ventilation it could be a path forward at least…

    2. Acacia

      Regarding that existing infrastructure…

      I mentioned this over a year ago (09/2022), but Daikin, the big Japanese manufacturer of air conditioners, already sells units that include far-UV air purification, they also include HEPA and carbon filters, e.g.:


      Daikin also offers something they call “streamer technology” that uses electrostatic precipitation to capture viruses in a HEPA filter. Daikin has the reputation of an industry leader in Japan, but probably other manufacturers use this tech as well.

      However, I would agree with Jason’s statement, above:

      I hate the erasure of COVID, but if most people reject that it’s real, you gotta approach solutions with whatever currency you might have.

      This, IMO, is the real problem. How can you convince your school or office to pay for UV-C tech if they don’t think it’s necessary, because they remain squarely in denial about the long-term health consequences of SARS 2?

      1. ChrisPacific

        I feel like it’s a bait and switch. We have the technology already to efficiently filter COVID via ventilation systems. HEPA filters work very well – if they didn’t, every airplane would be a superspreader event.

        The problem that remains is from breathing air that hasn’t been filtered yet, and that’s a function of the volume of air that the ventilation system can move relative to the building size (air changes per hour). Building codes generally set the required value way too low here, and older buildings may not even meet that standard.

        The result is a situation that is probably good enough to stop superspreader events from infecting everyone, but not good enough to stop infection in close quarters or among large numbers of people. We can do better, but it would cost money, and the public isn’t asking for it, since they all think COVID is over.

        1. Acacia

          Agree on all points. I’m not getting the bait and switch angle, tho.

          What is the bait and what’s then being offered instead?

      1. Jason Boxman

        Not that I was assigning any homework myself, I meant more in the epidemiological scientific journal study kind of way. :)

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Sheesh. It’s bad enough that Nikki Haley was tooling around in an “off-white” Cadillac “SUV”–which has to be an Escalade, probably the ugliest car ever put on the market.


    “Will Folks, 49, and Larry Marchant, 61, both signed affidavits in 2010 alleging they had a sexual relationship with the then-South Carolina lawmaker, before she went on to become governor.”

    Affidavits? Maybe I’m being too “cavaliere” today, but what kind of jamoke gives an affidavit about his sexual habits? I’m detecting some cads here. Or, worse, scoundrels.

    My favorite quote (Marchant): “‘We went back to her room where we had sexual intercourse and I spent the remainder of the evening. I left her room at approximately 6 a.m.”

    Next up? A more productive affidavit from Marchant would indicate how after said verified sexual intercourse they managed to purloin the really expensive bottles of macadamia nuts out of the hotel mini-bar.

    Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy election year in the US of A.

    1. Wukchumni

      A philander and a Phyllisander vying for a his & hers Presidency?

      …stay tuned for the next episode of As Their World Turns

              1. ambrit

                Time for a Demo-scene Conversion?
                What would help here is a new Road to Damascus Steele Dossier. Known as, along with Baghdad Bob and Creepy Joe, one of the Unholy Trinity. All traipsing off to seek the Wizard, who they would be best served in seeking out on Karen’s old stomping grounds, “K” Street. (“K” Street, the home of the infamous ‘Limbo Lobby,’ “How low can you go?”)

      1. John

        Haley glimmered. She glowed. She has yet to burst into flame. It will not happen in New Hampshire. I could extend the metaphor, but it is bad enough already.
        Au revoir, Nikki.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Her nocturnal habits are really pretty insignificant as far as what sort of leader she would make. It is her corruption and extreme war-wongering that should rule her out in any position that has power. They don’t call her Neocon Nikki for nothing.

      1. Carolinian

        I looked back at some of the 2010 governor race coverage where she denied everything and got away with it. The Daily Mail story says that others have come forward because she denied it yet again during the current campaign.

        The relevance is that it speaks to a major theme of Haley opponents–her lack of authenticity. She’s always overselling herself and perhaps her virtue as well. Campaign wise it probably merely boils down to whether she is done next Tuesday or after she loses in SC.

        1. Pat

          While I would prefer her gone sooner rather than later, an embarrassing loss in SC would be more likely to mean the end of her political career. (Even if Kamala didn’t.) So I am going to chant, pray, and generally wish my brains out for that.

          (I might want most of the “candidates” to disappear into history, but unfortunately this may be the most that is possible.)

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’m detecting some cads here. Or, worse, scoundrels.

      Among South Carolina political operatives? Surely not

      * * *
      this from “nine hours ago” which turns out to be 2010, updated 2017: “Merchant says the political night of passion happened at a 2008 school-choice conference in Salt Lake City, when Haley was a state representative on the insurance subcommittee and he was the insurance industry’s chief lobbyist.” Seamy details! More current? Nope. From the same day the Daily Mail story appeared, January 19: of WBUR, New York Magazine, the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Newsweek, only Newsweek mentions the Mail story, in “Nikki Haley’s Old Affair Rumor Gives MAGA New Ammo.” I agree that South Carolina conservative politics is a bucket of snakes, but it’s not a rumor when their are affidavits!

      Pragmatically, we’ll see how the Haley campaign punches back (or if they do).

      1. lyman alpha blob

        One wonders if this has something to do with the recent hot mic gaffe where Christie got caught saying Haley wasn’t up to this and everyone knew it. One also wonders if Christie might be the one who helped get this into the news cycle…

  9. ChrisFromGA

    Lots of consternation and such over Mike Johnson playing the role of turd in the punchbowl … can he be rolled? “Glitch” Mitch is applying whatever feeble pressure an octogenarian can. Then, there’s this:


    Dude looks like muh Kevin!

    (Sung to the tune, of “Dude looks like a lady” By Aerosmith; hat tip Wukchumni)

    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin

    Cruised into a brawl on the floor
    His picture graced Congressional doors
    He’s the new boss a-slingin’ sound bytes
    Baby, maybe I’m wrong
    But you know he won’t fight (that’s right)

    Freedom Caucus having the time
    Of their lives until somebody said
    Forgive me if I seem out of line
    Then he whipped out a CR, and tried to blow them away!

    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin

    So never judge a speaker by diction
    Or bet against a sellout prediction
    Hey, Marge put me wise, to this clown in disguise
    He had the backbone of a starfish
    Lawd, imagine my surprise!

    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin

    (Fiscal sanity going down) Goodies we’ll sneak in, dear
    (Fiscal sanity going down) Do the needful spending all night
    (Fiscal sanity going down) Turn the other cheek, dear
    Margie, Margie, Margie, do it!

    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin

    What a funky folder
    He’s like Kev, like Kev, like Kev, like Kev
    Ooh, motion to vacate

    Ow …. acka-acka-acka-acka-acka-pow!

    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin
    (that, that) Dude looks like muh Kevin

      1. Wukchumni


        {…from the political district that has been Gerrymandered 9 ways to Sunday and my place in the map that resembles a toilet more than a throne, would be in the upper tank. You could drink that water in a pinch…}

        You have no idea what it is like to be rudderless at the political helm, adrift and bereft of a boffin, and when I wasn’t looking they let that Fong ghoul in to feast on his predecessor’s remains, he’s on the ballot now.

  10. Jason Boxman

    Checking “COVID-19 Variant Dashboard – USA by Raj Rajnarayanan” (Google, I can’t link for some reason) you can see that the Summer of Variants has indeed given way to JN.1 dominance. We seem to be back into an era of this new variant and its lineage wrecking havoc. Last I read on Twitter from more knowledgable people, we’d been in a period of multiple competing variants, but lately this seems to be overshadowed entirely by JN.1. Maybe we’re back to an era of one variant to rule them all, like the original Omicron?

    I guess we’ll see, in this year’s episodes of The Pandemic in Neoliberal America!

    It’s somewhat heartening to see that, indeed, wastewater is still viable as a method of tracking what’s going on; Last summer, I was beginning to wonder if there was a disconnect between wastewater reporting and what’s happening on the ground. But I guess not really. If we lose this signal, we’ll have nothing left.

    1. Roger Blakely

      For the past two weeks my face, chest, and arms have been almost completely clear of COVID rash. The rash started in June. June was when we started to see the proliferation of XBB subvariants. I am convinced that my immune system was protesting the twenty different subvariants of XBB. It seems that BA.2.86 was not quite the cluster bomb that was XBB. I hope that BA.2.86 holds itself together better than did XBB.

  11. Frank Dean

    Like many thousands of other people, I prefer wearing KN95 masks: Their foldable beaklike shape and ear loops (as opposed to the hairdo-ruining head straps found on N95 masks) make them a more convenient and comfortable everyday choice for me.”

    Unfortunately as testing by Dr. Satoshi Akima and others has shown, earloop masks are far less effective. About as useful as a blue baggie. To reduce the risk of infection, an N95 (or better) respirator is advisable.

    1. Angie Neer

      Last night I happened across the PBS Nova episode about the James Webb Telescope. A lot of the story took place early in the pandemic, and showed groups of highly-educated and well-funded people talking to each other, or in mission control-type big rooms, where masking was apparently mandated. Most people seemed to be at least trying to take it seriously, but clearly many didn’t understand what it takes to get a good seal. I especially saw a lot of KN95s with the nose wire folded to a sharp point (“foldable beaklike shape”) which guarantees at least a small gap, or with the whole mask not sitting snugly over the nose and/or chin. My personal experience with KN95s is that they don’t really accommodate talking the way a 3M Aura does, at least not on my face.

    1. Wukchumni

      errand boy, errant ploy.

      No way that cartoon would be allowed up over under AIPACkage deal rules or being ever reverent to all things Israel. Shalom me the way!

    2. The Rev Kev

      Just wait until the local Lawyers for Israel get on their case. They were already responsible for getting a pro-Palestinian journalist fired because she was not sufficiently loyal to Israel.

  12. XXYY

    “7 of the Very Best KN95 Masks Authentic, high-quality KN95 masks as recommended by doctors and Strategist editors”

    This seems really lame. It’s all variations of ear-loop-style disposable masks. These are generally disparaged by people who do mask fitting amd testing for a living as the kind that don’t form a good seal on most people. They also cost a lot over time, are uncomfortable to wear for long periods, and create a tremendous waste stream.

    What people should be buying and wearing is elastomeric n95 masks that have a replaceable filter element. These cost enough that they can include good engineering and materials, not to mention accessories and variations in straps and harnesses.

    I’ve been wearing this guy for about three years, but there are many other examples available.

    1. Sub-Boreal

      I’m interested in the kind of mask shown in your link, but the problem that I’ve run into with any that I’ve tried is that the top of the rigid filter holder always bumps into the bottom of the frame of my glasses, in a way that is really annoying and distracting i.e. pushes them up enough to cause some loss of focus. And I don’t have unusually large lenses, so it’s puzzling that this is happening.

      I’d be curious to know if any glasses-wearing readers have found a satisfactory version of any Darth Vader-style masks that avoid this problem.

      1. Verifyfirst

        I use the Elipse P-100 with source control and it does not cause any problem with my glasses.

        1. Jason Boxman

          Been using the Elipse for a year and a half now without issue. Might try one of the 3M half-face elastomeric soon, just for an alternate approach.

          A full face 3M would be kind of hilarious to show up to the supermarket with. People mostly ignore me in the Elipse, but I do wonder what the looks might be with an actual Contagion-style respirator.

          1. Sub-Boreal

            Thanks Verifyfirst & Jason, I’ll give that one a try. Appreciate the recommendation from actual users.

    2. desert

      I have a full beard and it’s damn cold here in the north with temps way below zero. what kind of mask is recommended?

      1. chris

        Do the best you can with an N-95 that fits around the back of your head, not the ears. But if you want a good seal, you’re going to have to at least trim the beard to a goatee. Or you can go for a full face mask.

      1. Late Introvert

        Nobody’s perfect. He also hates the West with a passion, but reports on Ukraine war from perspective of Russia. You really can’t trust anyone, you just choose your sources and take it all with skepticism. Isn’t that why we are all here?

  13. Wukchumni

    Sports desk:

    Biggest game of the year complete with Swift boding as she comes to the Queen City in the rematch of a playoff game a couple years ago where KC prevailed in a quite thrilling contest where both teams kept scoring late in the 4th quarter, maybe one of the best football games i’ve ever seen.

    It has been an interesting season for la Cosa{beef-on-weck}Nostra, er Bills Mafia. Josh Allen has been brilliant at times, and almost like a journeyman QB once in awhile throwing awful interceptions.

    Which Jekyll will show up on Sunday?

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Hopefully the same version who made the Steelers defense look ordinary.

      Maybe Taylor can get some community service hours in helping shovel out the stands for the commoners who’ll no doubt be throwing snowballs.

      1. Wukchumni

        Steelers were low on Watt’age, with a yeah whatever QB.

        The game was too close for comfort after leading 21-0, we kinda limped to victory after dominating the 1st half.

        Mahomes ain’t no yeah whatever QB…

        New from Ronco!

        …the Swift Shovel

        It attracts crowds by merely leaning against a snowdrift @ the Ralph

      2. griffen

        With so much of the country in winter weather lockdown aka it is cold nearly everywhere even without any snow or sleet, expect record setting audiences to tune into the games broadcast both today and tomorrow.

        Interested if the Bills can finally punch that ticket and defeat the king of January football these past few years, the Andy Reid and Mahomes combination being quite prominent. Much like Ricky Bobby, all they do is seemingly win.

        I can’t predict the future but may the odds be in Buffalo’s favor.

  14. antidlc

    FAR UV in Arkansas Air National Guard campus buildings


    FAR UV light system upgrades for wing

    Due to the high success rate of the initial FAR UV installation throughout the Department of Defense, AFWERX recently awarded an additional $1M to the FAR UV company’s production program, enabling them to engineer an updated version of the FAR UV light system. The new system now features replaceable bulbs, motion sensing, built-in startup checks and end-of-life indicators.

    Over the past few years, UV lights have been installed throughout the Arkansas Air National Guard campus buildings as well as in the 19th Medical Group as another way to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. In April, the 189th Airlift Wing and Joint Force Headquarters were included in the $1M contract to receive new light systems throughout their campuses, lowering sustainment costs for the lamps and decreasing the need for regular maintenance. The new bulbs last for 9,000 hours and auto shut off after 30 minutes of inactivity in a room.

    (bold mine)

  15. Screwball

    The Dow and S&P hit new all time highs today with the NASDAQ not far behind. Quite interesting considering what has transpired over the last few years, including rate hikes, COVID, wars, political chaos, and a nation with many people not so happy about the economy.

    I’m sure the markets have made some very rich and happy, but others not so much. I’ll bet the congress clowns portfolios did very well, as well as the bankers and Davos men. Joe Six pack of Cornhole, maybe not so much.

    Looking at the S&P chart, other than a few dips here and there, it has been a rocket blast upward ever since the 666 low in March of 09. I think I read the other day our debt has passed 34 trillion. Makes one wonder how much of that money ended up in the bucket shop? And benefits who?

    1. SocalJimObjects

      Rate hikes and Quantitative Tightening which did anything but tighten economic conditions. The market was also able to swallow a huge issuance of new bonds without indigestion and we are looking at a repeat performance for this year. When people are not happy about the economy, they spend more, just look at retail sales from last month.

    1. Joe Well

      Thank you.

      I recently started using Covixyl. It sometimes gives me the urge to sneeze but no other issues.

      Interested in anyone else’s experiences.

  16. Lee

    I’m seeing a lot of less pro-Israel sentiments expressed in the MSM. Albeit much of it is indirect in the form of in detail reporting of the suffering in Gaza. Perhaps it is dawning on the PTTB that support of Israel is a whole lot more trouble than it is worth. Perhaps they felt a prick of conscience. Ever the giddy optimist, me. Sunk costs are hard to walk away from.

    1. wol

      Monday night I was half-listening to WCPE (The Classical Station) as I cleaned up the kitchen. Monday nights they feature one orchestra or group, this one the Israel Philharmonic. I thought the announcer said it was previously the Palestine Philharmonic but when Israel ‘gained their independence’ in 1948 they renamed it. Did I dream that? Anyone?

Comments are closed.