2:00PM Water Cooler 2/19/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Kinglet Manakin, PE da Serra do Conduru, Bahia, Brazil. Call; Non-vocal; Song.:

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

The Constitutional Order (Insurrection)

“Wisconsin Trump elector on 2020 election docs: ‘It was not a safe time'” [Axios]. “After the Wisconsin Supreme Court in December 2020 rejected Trump’s lawsuit seeking to disqualify over 221,000 ballots in two Democratic counties, [Former Wisconsin Republican Party Chair Andrew Hitt] said he met with nine other Republican electors because he was advised the former president’s campaign would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. ‘We got specific advice from our lawyers that these documents were meaningless unless a court said they had meaning,’ Hitt told CBS’s Anderson Cooper during the ’60 Minutes’ interview. ‘And if I didn’t do that [sign the documents], and the court did throw out those votes, it would have been solely my fault that Trump wouldn’t have won Wisconsin,’ said Hitt, who emphasized he was ‘absolutely’ scared. Cooper asked if Hitt was scared of Trump supporters in his state. ‘It was not a safe time. If my lawyer is right, and the whole reason Trump loses Wisconsin is because of me, I would be scared to death,’ said Hitt, who noted he felt ‘terrible’ about what happened.” • Hmm.


Less than a year to go!

* * *

Trump (R): “Trump’s high-top sneakers sell out hours after launch” [Axios]. “Former President Trump’s high-top sneakers sold out hours after their launch Saturday at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia. The shoes, called ‘The Never Surrender High-Top Sneaker,’ sell for $399. The pair, along with two low-top sneakers, and a $99 bottle of ‘Victory47’ perfume and cologne were available for purchase on a new website. ‘I just want to tell you, I’ve wanted to do this for a long time,’ Trump said Saturday when unveiling the sneaker line…. Only 1,000 pairs of the gold shoes were available, per the sneaker website, which described the sneakers as ‘Super Limited.'” • Only 1000? Were they gilded by hand? Probably not. Terrific thread from one of my guilty pleasures, Derek Guy:

Only this account would segue from Trump’s sneakers, to the economics of the sneaker industry, to offshore manufacturing generally, and then back to Trump, all the while considering aesthetics. Complete thread here.

* * *

Trump (R): “Meet the former organized-crime prosecutor now overseeing the Trump Organization” [MarketWatch]. “Following a ruling by a New York state judge Friday barring Donald Trump and his two eldest sons from having any role in running the real-estate empire that was founded in 1927 by the former president’s father, the company has been placed in the hands of a court-appointed monitor. Barbara Jones, a lawyer and former federal judge, will now have total oversight of the real-estate conglomerate that played a central role in shaping the public image that helped Trump win the White House in 2016. Jones, 76, has been serving as a monitor at the Trump Organization since November 2022, when she was appointed by New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron to oversee certain financial matters at the company. The appointment came shortly after New York Attorney General Letitia James brought civil fraud charges against Trump and members of his family, accusing them of ripping off banks and insurers by routinely misstating the value of their properties. Following Jones’s initial appointment, the company was required to inform her of any financial move it made after the fact. But now it will need her approval before taking any steps involving financial disclosures to third parties — primarily meaning loan applications to banks. The judge’s ruling also ordered that an independent compliance officer, who will report to Jones, be hired within 30 days.” • Hmm.

Trump (R): “The exhausting fight over what jurors will see in Trump classified documents trial” [Washington Examiner]. “Smith has stressed that the law favors “the public’s right to a speedy trial.” In December, he sought to have a jury questionnaire procured by a proposed Feb. 2 deadline, a time frame that Cannon found could not be met, and set a Feb. 28 deadline instead. The questionnaire’s completion is crucial to the special counsel’s urgency to adjudicate the case, as no trial can commence without it. Since then, government and defense counsel have debated at length the extent of classified discovery materials that Trump’s attorneys should be able to witness, while prosecutors oppose such efforts and seek to redact certain records before they are introduced at trial. The forefront of the fight surrounds Trump’s January motion to compel discovery, which requests presiding U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to compel prosecutors to turn in additional information they believe to be helpful to the three defendants in the case. A Washington Examiner review of hundreds of pages of court filings from the past two months paints a picture of a brewing battle over the extent of the case’s discovery filings currently under seal that could potentially become part of the court’s record ahead of a trial…. Cannon has already been overturned once at the 11th Circuit in relation to the Trump classified documents investigation. Before the indictment, she was overturned by the appeals court after she allowed a special master to examine nearly 100 files with classified markings that were seized from Mar-a-Lago during an FBI raid in August 2022… Trump’s efforts to seek dismissal of the case on multiple fronts, his pursuit of additional records from the government to fortify his defense, and scheduling conflicts due to his three separate criminal cases can and likely will pose risks to the trial schedule in Cannon’s court, though it’s unclear whether it will ultimately delay the trial until the November election, where Trump is seeking to regain the Oval Office and could pardon himself from at least his two federal indictments.” • It would be hilarious if one of the documents in question turned out to be “The Binder” (unlikely).

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Biden (D): “Biden’s allies are stepping forward to vouch for him amid age questions” [NBC]. “Perhaps no official spends more time with Biden than his chief of staff, Jeff Zients. Press aides did not make him available for an interview. Instead, they released a statement from Zients that compared Biden favorably to much younger presidents — including Barack Obama, for whom Biden served as vice president.” • Odd.

Biden (D): “Kamala Harris has stepped up on campaign trail — but leading Democrats fear it’s not enough” [Washington Examiner]. Or too much. “Harris’s active efforts in coordinating with and listening to her fellow Democrats have reportedly been well received. But a feeling of stagnation remains, with leading Democrats worried it will lead to their downfall in November. Whitmer, at a meeting last Saturday, blasted Biden and Harris for how they’ve been talking about abortion rights, according to more than two dozen sources to whom the outlet spoke, while Pritzker aired his frustrations over the Biden campaign not attacking Republicans and Trump enough on working against the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill. But perhaps most troublesome is Biden and Harris’s regression with young voters. Both the president and vice president have been targeted for not doing more to protect Palestinians in Gaza, as well as other problems that young voters often prioritize. As Harris has reportedly said on occasion, she doesn’t worry much about Biden losing outright to Trump, but she does worry about losing ‘to the couch.'” • What does “losing to the couch” even mean? Low turnout? As opposed to the psychiatrist’s couch?

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Kennedy (I): Ah, the “lanyard class”:

Overlapping The Blob, but not identical to it.

* * *

“No Labels still pursuing third-party candidates after Manchin’s decision not to run for president” [FOX]. “”We’re talking with several exceptional leaders. We have our own internal process,” No Labels national co-chair, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, said Sunday on MSNBC’s ‘The Weekend.’ ‘In the next couple of weeks or more, we will probably make an announcement whether or not we will give the ballot access to a unity ticket,” Chavis, a longtime civil rights activist and former executive director of the NAACP, added. ‘A unity ticket means a Republican and a Democrat. And we are talking to Republicans, Democrats, and independents.’ Chavis said that No Labels has qualified for the ballot in 16 states so far ahead of the 2024 election and is still working to qualify for all 50, pushing back against co-host Michael Steele’s argument that it would be challenging for No Labels or any third-party ticket to win come November.”

Democrats en Déshabillé

MI: “Rep. Rashida Tlaib urges Michigan Democrats to vote against Biden in the primary” [NBC]. “[Tlaib] joined growing calls from progressive activists in Michigan to vote ‘uncommitted’ in the state’s Democratic presidential primary on Feb. 27 instead of voting for Biden. dThe video of Tlaib was posted to the X account of ‘Listen to Michigan,’ a group urging voters to vote ‘uncommitted’ in the primary. Tlaib, who is Palestinian American, cited her dissatisfaction with the Biden administration’s role in the war between Israel and Hamas as her reason for urging people to vote. ‘It is also important to create a voting bloc, something that is a bullhorn, to say, ‘Enough is enough. We don’t want a country that supports wars and bombs and destruction. We want to support life. We want to support life. We want to stand up for every single life killed in Gaza,'” Tlaib said.” And: “On Wednesday, Our Revolution, a progressive political organization founded by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also urged Michigan Democrats to vote ‘uncommitted’ in the primary. (Sanders has distanced himself from the group’s position, saying he supports Biden’s re-election bid.) The group did make clear, though, that while it’s pushing its members to vote against Biden now, it will back him again in November. ‘Our Rev supporters can push Biden to change course on Gaza now and increase his chances of winning Michigan in November — because we MUST defeat the right wing Trump agenda!’ an email to supporters from Our Revolution said.” • Well, that’s pathetic. If genocide isn’t part of the “right wing agenda,” doesn’t that mean I should give those lunatics it a second look?

MI: “Michigan progressives angry over Gaza urge voters to ditch Biden in primary” [The Hill]. “The Abandon Biden movement is focused on withholding votes from Biden in primaries in battleground states including Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, and Florida to empower pro-Palestine Americans to protest via ballot box. The White House has tried to engage with Arab American groups, particularly those in Michigan, but has been met with canceled meetings, largely failing to change any minds. Officials traveled to Michigan to engage with leaders on the ground earlier this month but, when Biden was in Michigan himself, he didn’t meet with any leaders. He also didn’t visit Dearborn, the Detroit suburb where Arab Americans make up the majority of the population. A Michigan official, who asked to remain anonymous while talking about sensitive issues, said Biden’s visit was ‘too late’ and that the ‘community was too angry. Nothing would have come from that discussion.’ The Abandon Biden movement knows what’s at stake in November, when Biden is likely to face Trump, the GOP front-runner who has vowed to reinstate and expand his Muslim ban if elected. ‘We found the previous president distasteful,’ Salam said. ‘The previous president prevented our family and our friends and our colleagues from entering the country. But Mr. Biden killed them..'”


“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!

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Look for the Helpers

“How Brisbane Independent School prevented outbreaks of COVID-19, despite Omicron wave” [ABC Australia]. From 2022, still germane: “A small primary school in Brisbane’s west has done what many others have been unable to achieve during COVID-19’s Omicron wave in Queensland: remain outbreak-free…. And it’s all a result of a group of dads at the Brisbane Independent School in Pullenvale getting together with the principal and using science and engineering knowledge to prevent SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — spreading through classrooms….. Using a smoke machine, they studied airflow patterns in the school’s five classrooms and administration areas. Carbon dioxide meters were also used to identify low-ventilation areas or ‘dead spots.’ They then purchased air purifiers — known as high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters — to mitigate the risk from SARS-CoV-2 particles [sic] that might be circulating in classrooms and other indoor areas of the school…. Although one teacher and up to two students in most, but not all classes, have had COVID-19 during Queensland’s rampant Omicron wave, no in-school transmission has been identified. ‘Our goal in creating clean-air classrooms at the school was to minimise this risk of transmission within the community,’ Dr Roff said.” • The “dads” behaving that way is what I would call “normal”; apparently not. And one has to ask why their efforts — and the happy result — weren’t widely publicized in the media and by the public health establishment. Also, notice this: “circulating in classrooms and other indoor areas of the school.” They understood that with aerosols, the entire facility must be considered, making them much smarter than those sociopathic nimrods at HICPAC, who seem to have no notion that SARS-CoV-2 could spread out into the hallway from an open door. And also from Australia, this year–

“Resources to help schools keep students and staff safe” [Covid Safety for Schools]. Registration is free; yes, there’s an aerosol scientist. “Module 5: How COVID Spreads.

Airborne transmission, short-range vs long-range transmission, impact of ventilation and other mitigations.” “Module 6: How to Prevent COVID Spreading in Schools

Layered mitigations including ventilation, physical distancing, cohorting, CO2 monitoring, HEPA filters, masks, testing and isolation.” • If the “ZOMG they closed the schools!!!!” GBDers had a shred of intellectual honesty, they’d be pushing this material. But no, of course now.


“COVID-19 vaccines and adverse events of special interest: A multinational Global Vaccine Data Network (GVDN) cohort study of 99 million vaccinated individuals” [Vaccine]. From the Discussion: “This multi-country cohort study was conducted in the unique setting of the GVDN. To date, the number of such large systematically coordinated studies across diverse geographical locations and populations is limited…. We investigated the association between COVID-19 vaccination and 13 [adverse events of special interest (AESIs)] comprising neurological, haematological, and cardiovascular conditions across 10 sites in eight countries including Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania. In this study including more than 99 million people vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the risk up to 42 days after vaccination was generally similar to the background risk for the majority of outcomes; however, a few potential safety signals were identified.” • Hmm.

Censorship and Propaganda

“COVID: there’s a strong current of pandemic revisionism in the mainstream media, and it’s dangerous” [The Conversation]. “Containing COVID was an imperfect and difficult task that required weighing health, social, ethical, psychological, economic and political interests in the face of a rapidly spreading novel virus in 2020. Yet, with increasing distance, the thorny, difficult issues tend to be flattened to false narratives and a history of simple choices. In other words, ‘pandemic revisionism.’ To learn from how communities and governments responded to this pandemic crisis is important. With the benefit of hindsight, established accounts of successful interventions and stories of failure often take on new shades. Investing in a ramp-up of antigen testing probably was worthwhile. Trusting Tory peers with the production of hospital gowns was not…. as the lockdown sceptics believe their long-held concerns were justified given the rising mental health concerns, the risk is not for an extreme public health intervention to lose popular support – lockdown was at best the least worst option. The real risk is that this false allocation of culpability, in hand with misremembering of the past, continues to erode a principle of solidarity at the heart of public health. It is the voices of those lost to the pandemic, of those most vulnerable to the virus, past and present, of those most affected by the debilitating effects of long COVID and of those advocating for a pandemic response based on principles of equity, that are written out of this increasingly popular, populist and revisionist picture.”


Readers, have you noticed this?

“Long-term risks of respiratory diseases in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2: a longitudinal, population-based cohort study” [eClinicalMedicine]. N = 502,368. From the Discussion: “This research found that the occurrences of respiratory disorders among patients who survived for 30 days after the COVID-19 diagnosis continued to rise consistently, including asthma, bronchiectasis, COPD, ILD, PVD, and lung cancer. With the severity of the acute phase of COVID-19, the risk of all respiratory diseases increases progressively. Besides, during the 24-months follow-up, we observed an increasing trend in the risks of asthma and bronchiectasis over time, which indicates that long-term monitoring and meticulous follow-up of these patients is essential.” Figure 2:

Number go up (and a potential oddity in the captions…).

Morbidity and Mortality

“Many excess deaths attributed to natural causes are actually uncounted COVID-19 deaths, new analysis reveals” [Science Daily] “Nearly 1,170,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States according to official federal counts, but multiple excess mortality studies suggest that these totals are vastly undercounted. While excess mortality provides an estimation of deaths that likely would not have occurred under normal, non-pandemic conditions, there is still little evidence into whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus contributed to these additional deaths, or whether these deaths were caused by other factors such as healthcare disruptions or socioeconomic challenges…. For the study, Dr. Stokes, Dr. Paglino, and colleagues utilized novel statistical methods to analyze monthly data on natural-cause deaths and reported COVID-19 deaths for 3,127 counties over the first 30 months of the pandemic, from March 2020 to August 2022. They estimated that 1.2 million excess natural-cause deaths occurred in US counties during this time period, and found that roughly 163,000 of these deaths did not have COVID-19 listed at all on the death certificates.” • I skimmed this and the original twice, and I can’t find what a want: A percentage to multiply reported deaths by so I can draw a new line on my charts. Readers? Commentary on original:

“The pandemic’s true death toll” [The Economist]. The lead:

Looks like The Economist has the number I want: A factor of 4. Of course, that’s global and the United States is a First World country MR SUBLIMINAL [snicker] and so 4 is probably too much. Make it 2. So, 1,170,000 * 2 = 2,340,000. That’s a lot.

“The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on life expectancy in 27 countries” [Nature]. From 2023, still germane. “The results show that life expectancy in 21 of the 27 countries was expected to increase in 2020 had COVID-19 not occurred. By considering the expected mortality changes between 2019 and 2020, the study shows that, on average, the loss of life expectancy among the 27 countries in 2020 amounted to 1.33 year (95% CI 1.29–1.37) at age 15 and 0.91 years (95% CI 0.88–0.94) at age 65. Our results suggest that if the year-on-year intrinsic variations/changes in mortality were considered, the effects of COVID-19 on mortality are more profound than previously understood. This is particularly prominent for countries experiencing greater life expectancy increase in recent years.” • Handy chart:

There seems to be a common pattern.

Celebrity Watch

Sure is odd no celebrities do this:

Elite Maleficence

“Washington Post: CDC to drop five day Covid isolation guidelines in April” [Celebitchy] (“Celebitchy is a daily gossip and entertainment blog, started in 2006, which also focuses on liberal politics, royal coverage and fashion.”) “I don’t know how I feel about all of this. While I do think that all of the data that shows that we as a collective society probably have reached a point where the virus is not life-threatening to most of the population, I still feel uneasy about these new guidelines. The results in Oregon are promising, though. But, let’s be honest: not requiring people to stay home for five days means that most businesses are going to pressure people with Covid to come to work anyway, and just like with RSV and the flu, this sucks for their coworkers who are in high-risk situations. For various reasons, a lot of people either can’t or won’t stay home anymore because pre-pandemic, most people were forced to go to work or school while sick. I was hoping that one of the lessons we learned coming out of the pandemic would be to normalize staying home when we’re sick and wearing masks to protect others. I can’t help but think this will just signify a return to the status quo.” • The comments are all knowledgeable and scathing. The second one:

The CDC, facing intense backlash from people pointing out that we’re currently losing over 2000 Americans per week to covid (and countless more are developing Long Covid) is already waffling on this idea, and I hope they rethink it. “People weren’t listening anyway!” is a TERRIBLE reason to water down medical guidelines. Imagine if they’d do that with, say, seatbelts? (“We only recommend wearing a seatbelt when you’re accelerating.”) Covid is not the flu or RSV. While the acute phase of the virus is (in many cases, but not all) milder, your risk of developing Long Covid goes *up* with each reinfection, and Long Covid can damage nearly every system in the body. I highly recommend this BBC interview from about a week ago:

People want Covid to be “over” because it’s bad for the economy, and it depresses people, and I get that. But if we willfully ignore its long-term risks just because we don’t like wearing a mask to Target… well, the wave of disability and misery and lost productivity isn’t gonna be a ton of fun for anyone, either.

I find that encouraging. The comments on the Times coverage of the same story are also encouraging. Here is the number one reader pick:

Milder than I would put things, but still not discouraging. No doubt the minimizers and denialists didn’t read the story to begin with, but at least the Covid conscious readers are getting the attention of the newsroom.

The Jackpot

Filing this here because of the sheer scale:

There’s a lot to like in this explanation. I think there are two issues: The account (1) lets the oligarchs (see NC here) off the hook; responsibly goes “higher up” than “leaders and their parties”; and (2) doesn’t give an account of China. How is it that the ruling class of the world’s number one manufacturing power, who were aware that #CovidIsAirborne, didn’t combine Zero Covid with ventilation? As it turned out, when Xi abruptly abandoned Zero Covid, at least a million people died, mostly working class, comparable to the United States, and surely just as bad as the Five Eyes generally. And yet the CCP’s ideology is hardly libertarian (correct?).

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot February 12: Regional[2] Biobot February 12:
Variants[3] CDC February 17 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC February 10

New York[5] New York State, data February 10: National [6] CDC February 5:
Walgreens February 19: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic February 3:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC January 29: Variants[10] CDC January 29:
Weekly deaths New York Times February 10: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times February 10:


1) for charts new today; all others are not updated.

2) For a full-size/full-resolution image, Command-click (MacOS) or right-click (Windows) on the chart thumbnail and “open image in new tab.”


[1] (Biobot) No backward revisions. The uptick is real (at least to Biobot).

[2] (Biobot) Biobot data suggests a rise in the Northeast. MRWA data does not suggest that, as of February 8:

Here, FWIW, is Verily national data as of February 14:

And regional data for HHS Region, the Northeast:

[3] (CDC Variants) “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.

[4] (ER) Does not support Biobot data. “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.”

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) A little slowing of the decrease could be a flattening, consistent with Biobot data. Let’s wait and see.

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC) Still down “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†”.

[7] (Walgreens) 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.

[8] (Cleveland) Lambert here: Percentage and absolute numbers down.

[9] (Travelers: Posivitity) Down, albeit in the rear view mirror.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) JN.1 utterly dominant.

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 77 Extreme Greed (previous close: 77 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 79 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 16 at 6:59:44 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Debt & Trade. “For the first time in many years the trade deficit is down” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most! • Apparently not concerned about the goat sacrificers at all?

“House cleaners find two of the world’s first desktop PCs in random boxes — Intel 8008-powered Q1 PC has 16KB of memory, 800 kHz CPU” [Tom’s Hardware]. “London, UK-based waste firm Just Clear was living up to its name and just clearing another house when tucked under some random boxes, they found two of the first desktop microcomputers ever made: the Q1 PC, from Q1 Corporation, released in 1972 (h/t The Mirror). Fortunately, this piece of computing history was not scrapped, and Just Clear kept its hands on the old units long enough to determine their actual historical value. If you want to see these for yourself and are based in the UK, move quickly! They are now on display at Kingston University in Surrey, England, but only for the rest of February 17th. Afterward, it’s expected both will be either auctioned or sold to a private buyer, so you won’t get many chances to see these artifacts in the flesh.”

“‘When you use a Walkman all the memories come back’: the people still in love with old tech” [Guardian]. “Cassette players and tapes, CDs, video players and VHS seem like relics of a previous analogue era, but on eBay, Etsy or Discogs, among others, there is a brisk trade to be found. As fashion and style has shown us repeatedly, everything and anything will come back into vogue in cycles of 20 and 30 years…. [Alexander Renz, curator of Berlin’s Museum der Dinge] points out that Ikea shelving from the 70s, originally sold at low prices, now goes for high sums. Some of the museum’s early collection was amassed from the streets: in the 70s younger people were throwing out older wooden items in favour of new plastic things, so the museum picked them up. A similar cycle occurred in the early 90s with the fall of the communist world – East Germans got rid of GDR-issued furniture to grab sought-after western products. But furniture from the east was designed to be long-lasting and is now highly desired. A 1960s sideboard desk from the Dresden furniture manufacturer Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau can sell on Facebook Marketplace now for €230.”

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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 Desert Dog:

Desert Dog writes: “Biological soil crust- the dark cover over the soil- a combination of lichens, algae and Cyanobacteria. They help stabilize the soil by holding soil particles together and provide nutrients and moisture. They keep the soil from blowing away but are fragile and break apart when stepped on so, ‘Don’t bust the crust.’ This photo was taken at Canyonlands National Park. They can take hundreds of years to develop to the stage shown in the photo.”

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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. flora

    re” Don’t bust the crust” sounds very like “don’t walk on the grass” above the treeline at the alpine elevation in many national parks. And for a similar reason: trodding on delicate desert soils and alpine plant growths will destroy them if done by too many people. Thanks.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      and dont touch anything in a limestone/karst cave.
      the ones south of me that do tours will have a certain stalagmite that they encourage you to touch…and they are noticeably different from the untouched ones…and feel sort of greasy from all the hand-oil thereby deposited.

    2. Wukchumni

      There is boucoup granite in the High Sierra and when traipsing off-trail we try and stay on hard surfaces as much as possible, in fact it practically dominates your thinking as you are the trail maker.

  2. Bosko

    Regarding Tlaib’s urging Democrats to vote against Biden in the Primary, I wonder how much emphasis should be put on the word ‘Primary,’ given that she’s parroting Neocon talking points when it comes to Syria. I have so little faith in Congress at this point, I suspect she’s going to support protest votes in the primary before urging people to back Biden in the general election. I hope I’m wrong.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Bosko might be referring to this:


        I have wondered about this. I guess I don’t understand how she can be pro-Palestine, and yet support the lies and similar dirty pool being used against a neighboring Arab state. However, I have the feeling that it has something to do with the factionalism present in the Arab world, and how the enemy of my enemy can sometimes become a friend.

        1. Boski

          A million, billion apologies. Yes, I was referring to this, which Aaron Mate and Max Blumenthal discussed recently on the Gray Zone podcast.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            De nada. The moral being in the NC commentariat is not like leaving a message on a board, or Tweeting.

            It’s particularly important to leave links these days, because (a) the volume of news is so great and (b) the volume of propaganda is even greater.

            To put this another way, the original comment did not educate me (or anyone else). Add the link, and education happens. I did not know this about Tlaib*, now I do!

            NOTE * Meaning I can file Tlaib under “opportunist,” sadly. I wonder what Ilhan’s views on all this are. I would hate to be disappointed….

        2. Verifyfirst

          Hmmm. I don’t know what the “Neocon talking points” on Syria are, but Assad is not a war criminal by any reasonable definition?

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Assad is not a nice person at all.

            OTOH, Assad did not invade, say, the Oil Patch in Texas and set up colonial outputs there to protect the world against militant, armed, ideologically-driven religious lunatics (missed opportunity!)

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        i saw it , too…somewhere in my adjacent wandering.
        on the other laptop, way over there in the house.
        there aint no heroes or saviours in our government.
        likely the best we can hope for is somebody like lloyd doggett(austin environs, or used to be)…so, once again, texas exports our idiotic model of something to the whole country.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > there aint no heroes or saviours in our government.

          Nor should there be. I would settle for dull bureaucrats who deliver the mail, send out checks, keep good data and make sane recommendations on public health, etc.

          After the heroes and saviors come the Caesars…

      3. The Rev Kev

        I guess too many people are nostalgic for when AOC and the rest of the squad originally use to talk about medicare for all and a minimum wage and stuff like that. They don’t talk about it anymore. odd that.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          Wife and i learned of AOC’s asscension in the fog, on npr, on the way back to houston to pick up the boys after our drunken weekend debauch, june 2018.
          3 months later, Wife had cancer(she had it then, too), and AOC had already compromised herself.
          whatever…i still have that pic that the RIght was passing around…some selfie thing, topless, dancing in an apartment.
          i think its darlin,lol.
          that was from well before she met the elephant.
          …of course.
          i’d rather have her as my representative than any of the creatures who represent me(sic) at the moment.
          (west central texas)

          i wonder, though…have we anyone i her district, here, on NC?
          for that matter, what about in Vermont?(Bernie)

          it takes some effort to lay eyes on my “representatives”, state and federal, houses and senates.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > AOC had already compromised herself

            Very sad, actually; a great talent lost (destroyed, really, like a good apple in a barrel of rotten apples). I can accept compromise as part of politics. But compromising one’s self beyond all recognition is another thing…

  3. Feral Finster

    NBC: US wants to give Ukraine longer-range ATACMS missiles for attacks on
    from Anti-Spiegel
    February 19, 2024 6:25 p.m
    The US began delivering ATACMS missiles to Ukraine in late 2023, but so far only older medium-range missiles have been delivered

    The US government wants to provide Kiev with a new version of ATACMS missiles with a longer range for attacks on remote areas of Crimea. This is reported by the television station NBC News, citing sources.

    It is noted that the US began delivering Army tactical missile systems known as ATACMS to Ukraine in late 2023, but so far only older medium-range missiles have been delivered. According to a report from NBC News, the US is now leaning toward delivering a longer-range version of the missile that would allow Ukraine to attack remote areas on the Crimean peninsula.

    According to the television channel, the prospects for financing arms sales to Ukraine remain uncertain due to opposition from former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress.

    Defense Department officials told NBC News that the U.S. has a limited supply of ATACMS, so Washington is unlikely to send the missiles to Kiev unless it has money to increase its own arsenal.

    According to US officials, if Congress decides to increase funding for Ukraine, the US could include longer-range ATACMS systems in one of its next military aid packages. “The US also has ammunition and artillery that it can immediately send to Ukraine if funding is approved,” the TV channel’s sources added.

    U.S. officials did not rule out that the U.S. “might ask allies to supply Ukraine with missiles and resupply ATACMS.”
    This should come as zero surprise. The US continues to double down, and Russian people get killed and Russian cities attacked as long as Russia continues to dither.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Remember, they admitted that there is no plan “B”.

      In other news, the Houthis have opened up a 2-1 lead on Russia in US drone shootdowns!

    2. The Rev Kev

      Sure would be a shame if somebody gave Ansar Allah plans and technical advice on how to build better missiles and underwater drones.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The west is trying to escalate things as much as possible with long-range missiles, sabotage groups in Russia itslef, drone attacks on infrastructure and the import of chemical weapons into the Ukraine. Can you imagine the Union reaction during the US Civil war if both France and England was doing this sort of stuff to the Union in their fight against the Confederates? The payback will come at a time of Russia’s choosing but no country can just let this sort of stuff slide forever as it only encourages more future attacks of this nature.

  4. Carolinian

    Re Trump’s sneakers–maybe Ben Affleck will make a movie about them that will be better than his last movie about sneakers. He depicted Michael Jordan’s super enriching deal with Nike as some kind of moral triumph. When it comes to partnerships Affleck is definitely Damon’s lesser half.

    1. Lee

      Perhaps he means to portray Biden as a gentleman weakened by age being manipulated by a nefarious household staff. Quite a clever gambit.

      1. Pat

        Considering the response to that post, it wasn’t clever enough. Rather he portrayed himself as clueless regarding his opponents entire history and a terrible judge of character.

        Although I find myself getting more and more amused how close we are getting to the point where it will be all about how Jill compares as a caretaker, protector and policy translator versus Edith Wilson and Nancy Reagan.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > core decency

      I’ve gotta say, though, that RFK does stick the shiv in (“A decent* guy controlled by his staff” isn’t the portrait the DNC would like to paint of Joe Biden; and it’s very plausible).

      NOTE * I.e. weak.

  5. antidlc

    RE: “How Brisbane Independent School prevented outbreaks of COVID-19, despite Omicron wave”

    From 2020:

    San Antonio hospital could have an answer to the PPE crisis– elastomeric masks
    Amid the coronavirus pandemic, there is a hidden gem in the medical field and it happens to be on San Antonio’s southeast side.

    The hospital could have the answer to the personal protective equipment crisis facing medical workers around the country. They have reusable masks.

    “We are the only center in the U.S. which uses elastomeric masks routinely,” Dr. Annie Kizilbash said.

    In the video, the medical director says the center has never had an employee test positive for TB.

  6. IM Doc

    With regard to the vaccine study above –

    This is NOT historically how any vaccine, indeed medication, is studied with regard to safety and side effect issues.

    The authors even state this in the open as you have nicely placed in your summary – To date, the number of such large systematically coordinated studies across diverse geographical locations and populations is limited

    The problem is that there are no controls on how the patients are selected into these kind of mega-observational studies from cohort to cohort, country to country. There are likely many confounding issues going on. The fact that there are seemingly indeed signals coming forth is at least slightly worrying.

    If we had been serious about following side effects, the original studies would never have been allowed to be broken. IOW, the placebo group being vaccinated after the initial study reports put the permanent kabosh on any accurate safety issues from those studies. And so far, those are the only study cohorts we have – 8 mice here and there are not going to cut it. Having the FDA commissioner smirk through stating that they were not really following vaccine adverse events in his testimony last week was a bit like salt on a wound especially to us on the front line who are dealing with these issues every day. Never mind the vast numbers of patients who do not trust a thing being said from these agencies. It is a very bad position to be placed as a front line HCW.

    I will state again – when these were approved as EUA interventions, the American people, indeed the world, were assured over and over again that safety monitoring would be of the utmost import. That promise was somehow swept under the rug of time. We were then told the VAERS system was not reliable and that they were following the much more reliable V-SAFE system. Unfortunately for years, that data has been unreleased to the public. Over the weekend, the FOIA material has started to come out. I would say what I am reading so far is at least concerning and warrants a much deeper investigation. It is very consistent with what was happening with VAERS and it is also consistent with much of what I and many other colleagues have been seeing with our own eyes.

    As I have stated from the beginning, the first step in any medical intervention is an assessment of the risk benefit ratio with each individual patient. It is very difficult to do that in any way shape or form when data and discussion about the risks are not completely transparent.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The fact that there are seemingly indeed signals coming forth is at least slightly worrying.

      That was my takeaway. There are times when I think we could use “country” and “confouder” interchangeably. Still, any sort of signal is a sign to look deeper.

    2. Jason Boxman

      In many ways, the entire response is a bit puzzling, to the Pandemic by the elite. On the one hand, we have GBD and we know subsequently that Biden, in addition to Trump, embraced this view.

      On the other hand, we get OWS, and huge funding for multiple different vaccines/shots across several different delivery platforms.

      What was that about? Why even bother? And the way the modified RNA vaccines were ultimately approved and rolled out, as you’ve recounted many times, is utterly bonkers and a completely betrayal of public trust.

      I mean, why even bother?

      Was this supposed to provide some kind of veneer of legitimacy to what was ultimately a mass-infection strategy?

      Did they believe that these first generation shots would actually be sterilizing for a corona virus, a feat not yet achieved in history?

      So much of this to this day doesn’t make any sense. The rest of it, the erasure of the Pandemic for capitalism, I get. That makes sense and is not really unexpected.

      But what was the genesis of the initial half hearted public health response? The remnants of a mostly thoroughly atrophied public health culture that died a quick death when confronted with the demands of neoliberal capitalism?

      I just don’t even know.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > But what was the genesis of the initial half hearted public health response? The remnants of a mostly thoroughly atrophied public health culture that died a quick death when confronted with the demands of neoliberal capitalism?

        Vax-only + pharma is the only profit-making approach; given the givens, every decison-maker would have have optimized for them (i.e., a failure by the governing class across the board, unless you regard falling life expectancy as a success). It took Trump to galvanize even the profitable operation by making the market for vax and delivering the product via OWS (and to this day, I don’t see a better alternative at the population level*).

        What puzzles me is the systematic denigration of NPIs. Logically, vax and NPIs could have proceeded in parallel. Trump in fact attempted to assist an on-shored mask manufacturing capability, but this was destroyed (though I don’t recall when the process of destruction began). In fact, erasure of NPIs is brutal and universal; I’ve never seen a propaganda effort like it (worse than Iraq or RussiaGate because it’s across the board and reached the level of social norming). I cannot give an account for the NPI blackout. Apparently, denying NPIs to the population at large was very very important to the ruling class, and I can suggest only the crudest reasons why: Profit from illness, and a depopulation agenda (sh*t that rolled downhill through the whole governing class). But I don’t think reality is so crude.

        NOTE * We did not mandate what we should have (non-pharmaceutical interventions) and did mandate what we should not have (vaccines).

  7. digi_owl

    It is a bit sad that the remaining removable storage formats out here have all shrunk their physical size to the point of impracticality. Something with the size of a cassette, never mind a minidisc, would be grand.

  8. JBird4049

    >>>Looks like The Economist has the number I want: A factor of 4. Of course, that’s global and the United States is a First World country MR SUBLIMINAL [snicker] and so 4 is probably too much. Make it 2. So, 1,170,000 * 2 = 2,340,000. That’s a lot.

    Thank you for the guesstimate. It says something that I do not want to listen to, that our official, designated health organizations are (apparently) disconnected from reality. Edward Bernays and Adolf Eichmann would be proud of them.

    I have been going over the Holocaust. So much of it was bloodless with most of the work being preparatory to the genocide itself or between acts of doing it. The conferences, the propaganda, the legal changes and justifications, the railroads, the construction, the censuses, IBM’s tabulators, the paperwork, even the shipping of units of actual murderers, not all of them knowing just what they were going to do.

    1. JBird4049

      To clarify what I was babbling about, something like a genocide is done more the network of people and organizations that proposed the acts, and those that organized and supplied the doers, than the people whose photographs are taken doing the murders. The einsatzgruppen, the units of regular soldiers, and the camp guards were just the hands of the whole project, not the body, which is a comparison I am making of the spokespersons, the individual administrators, and even the official heads of all those agencies. The virus is also just the hands.

      Many of the people in the Second World War tasked with the actual killings did not handle it well. A few actual refused, and those who did kill often became alcoholics, although there were always those irreducible numbers of happy killers who were just fine with weeks of murder. Places like Sobibor and Auschwitz were built partly to protect the mental health of soldiers being as they were mainly staffed by the SS, volunteers, and inmates given a temporary reprieve.

      It is interesting to see what is left of the formerly functional, competent, even skillful work done by our various governments’ bureaucracies, the administrative state, being used to eugenically cleanse the useless or surplus people from the population.

  9. Wukchumni

    Basketball shoes
    I got a basketball shoes
    I got a basketball shoes, oh baby
    Oh, oh

    Hey, that’s Donald Trump
    (An obsession, a burning desire)
    Donald, will you sign my high-tops?
    (The undeniable passion)
    Aw, you slingin’ stuff
    (The love of someone like you is something)
    You know you want to guilt me into gilt
    (Yes, he was a victim of $399 Basketball shoes)
    In fact, I was the baddest dribbler in the whole world
    (Then one day, his mother bought him basketball shoes)
    And I love that T basketball shoes
    I took that pair of basketball shoes everywhere I went
    You know what that basketball shoes was like an investment to me
    Come on, you sneakerheads

    Basketball shoes
    I got T basketball shoes (happily)
    I got T basketball shoes oh baby oh

    Wait a minute, y’all not Air Jordans
    Where the hell is MJ?
    Somebody told me MJ was gonna be here
    I guess y’all’ll basketball shoes will do (yeah)
    So what y’all doin’ after they’ve sold out, come on

    In fact, better looking than MJ’s high tops
    Didn’t cost me much money, and limited edition too
    After purchase, I always took a shower wit’ my basketball shoes on
    Every now and then, the basketball shoes gonna pinch my ankle
    But I didn’t mind, cause my basketball shoes ought to make bank
    See I am a victim of a basketball shoes
    I’ll take my basketball shoes everywhere
    I’ll even put my basketball shoes in a box under the pillow
    (Maybe that’s why you couldn’t sleep at night)

    Sing it, sing it, sing it, sing it like ya wanna
    (Yeah) eh eh eh, act like MJ is in the audience
    (Sing it out) would y’all shut up
    (Oh, sounds so sweet) Donald, don’t encourage ’em
    They got a basketball shoes
    See I like to play it, I know a thang, yeah, heh heh
    What kinda basketball shoes y’all got (sing it out)
    I see y’all runnin’ after a pair of first edition Air Jordans
    Yeah (yeah)
    I see ya chasin’ a pretty penny around

    Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan
    Ladies and gentleman, the man we came out to see
    Michael Jordan, why don’t you sing about sneakers
    With a limited edition guarantee

    Basketball Jones, by Cheech & Chong


    1. Pat

      Yup. Nice of the Times to notice. The substitute problem has been an issue since the start of school. It is just getting worse as everyone keeps getting sick. Not that it should be a surprise that the people who work day in and day out in one of the biggest germ incubators would be getting sick more often now that there has a been a disease allowed to run rampant that attacks the immune system. Don’t forget there is also a shortage of bus drivers that still hasn’t been solved. (And the teachers I know all expect to be out of paid leave well before the end of the school year and just for the record are getting doctors notes for everything so they have documentation in case they have to be out without pay. It could be a problem even with a union.)

  10. Wukchumni

    “‘When you use a Walkman all the memories come back’: the people still in love with old tech” [Guardian]. “Cassette players and tapes, CDs, video players and VHS seem like relics of a previous analogue era, but on eBay, Etsy or Discogs, among others, there is a brisk trade to be found. As fashion and style has shown us repeatedly, everything and anything will come back into vogue in cycles of 20 and 30 years….

    About a dozen years ago they were draining out Shaver Lake above Fresno for maintenance and I happened upon one of the workers on the project and asked him what the most common item they were finding on the surface, and without hesitation he said ‘Sony Walkmans’, which were pretty vulnerable to being dropped, so I get it.

    I bought my first Walkman around 1980 or 1981, and what revelation it was, a concert for you!

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘The appointment came shortly after New York Attorney General Letitia James brought civil fraud charges against Trump and members of his family, accusing them of ripping off banks and insurers by routinely misstating the value of their properties.’

    Oddly enough the banks testified in Trump’s favour and said that they made money from their deals with him and were happy to do business with him again. Strange sort of crime that he was convicted of then.

    1. Screwball

      I can’t stomach enough of this to really understand what he did. It seems…he got one over on the banks. NY banks, where Wall Street lives, many dollars. When’s the last time a Wall Street bank got hosed? We bail them out. The system is set up so they don’t get hosed. They own us and make the rules.

      If he did – good on him. I want my pound of flesh too.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > he got one over on the banks

        No, he didn’t. The banks did their own due diligence, as indeed Trump’s prospectus or whatever it was told them to do.

        A $330 million verdict for a victimless crime…. That’s some “our democracy” we’ve got there….

        1. Randall Flagg

          >A $330 million verdict for a victimless crime…. That’s some “our democracy” we’ve got there….

          That’s why it’s so important to save it…
          Or so it’s all I hear from the MSM and Democrats. And the Repubs to think about it.
          Sarcasm off…

  12. GC54

    As of 4 months ago only 90,000 Novavax shots had been given. Data such as they are suggest comparable efficacy to mRNA shots on the formulated variant XBB1.5 and some on current dominants.

    So, as I’m looking at a booster (my 4th shot overall, 3 previous all mRNA and no covid detected to date) and no more mRNA because of its grossly inadequate testing, is Novavax any less concerning in the long-term? I recognize its more traditional approach but haven’t found much discussion beyond its less immediate discomfort.

    Local CVS has good supply but gives it weekly in batches of 5 to avoid wastage.

    1. Lefty Godot

      I had to call 4 CVS stores to find one that had Novavax in stock (in spite of their web site saying all stores had it). Then I had to argue with the staff about not needing to make an appointment (when the web site said just walk in for Novavax). So it doesn’t surprise me that so few Novavax shots have been administered.

      1. anonymous

        Moderna and Pfizer come in a single dose vial. Novavax uses a 5-dose multi-dose vial, which should be used within 12 hrs of the first puncture. See pages 107-8 here:
        What GC54’s CVS is doing I would find reassuring, and I would be concerned that a CVS that allows walk-ins for Novavax, unless in an area and time of brisk uptake, might make mistakes about length of storage after puncture.

    2. albrt

      I am not an expert, but I think Novavax is less concerning. I was going to get the updated Novavax, but by the time I found a place that had the new Novavax in stock, JN-1 had taken over and the efficacy had dropped enough that I decided to wait until the next round.

  13. Wukchumni

    Near-record winds over the Northeast push passenger planes to speeds over 800 mph (NPR)

    I’ve been around a long time and until about a fortnight ago had never heard of this happening over millions of flights, and then it happens again.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of the new climate normal!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Near-record winds over the Northeast push passenger planes to speeds over 800 mph

      Here’s the link. That’s 800mph ground speed; the 787 didn’t actually break the sound barrier.

      Still, one does hope enough redundancy has been built into the latest airframes, and that the MBAs did’nt optimize it away.

  14. The Rev Kev

    Readers might remember how last year a Russian pilot flew his transport helicopter to Ukrainian territory and either killed his two crew mates or let the Ukrainians do it for him when they would not join. It was all pre-arranged with Ukrainian intelligence and he was guaranteed money, new documents and “security”. Well he just turned up in Spain – with a dozen bullet holes in him and run over by a car which was found later and which had been burned out-


    When those hard-right nationalists end up fleeing the Ukraine after destroying it, this assassination will not be a source of comfort for them.

    1. Paradan

      I saw some speculation that it was the Ukrainians that did it. I guess to keep a supposed Russian asset safe?

  15. steppenwolf fetchit

    Well . . . voting ” uncommitted” in the MI primary while promising to recommit to Biden for the election isn’t really ” uncommitting”.

    People who were really uncommitting would say that if Biden hasn’t 180’d on supporting the Gazacidal aspects of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, then they will vote “couch”.

    1. Pat

      My cynical brain actually wondered why any Dem politician would take the uncommitted stand so publicly (with or without the caveat). Sure it was a so-called progressive, and someone that would be opposed to current policy logically. But the history of not holding up those stands also exists. And then I realized…they already know that a significant portion of voters are going to vote not Biden anyway they can. The internal polling must be a nightmare. This is getting in front of the story and working to make it seem like a meaningless protest vote.

      IOW, can’t let people who can add cotton to the real story that Genocide Joe has already lost these swing states…and is a long shot to get re-elected.

  16. Rick

    Re: the Oregon “good results” from reduced isolation time – I’d really like to know how this was arrived at given that the state stopped reporting cases in May of 2023. Either they are still collecting those data and sitting on them, or they aren’t and making things up from hospitalizations or some other other easily gamed metric.

    Either option is inexcusably irresponsible. So much for living in a wonderful liberal ‘blue’ state.

  17. bob

    Lanyard class

    Yes. They are strivers. If they join the fan club and wear the pin hard enough…They’ll get the special one

  18. VietnamVet

    The rise of neoliberalism was initiated with the privatization of government started by Jimmy Carter to cut taxes. Basically, this is the belief that profits maximizes markets and efficiency. It is the prime directive of the New World Order. This resulted in the dismantling of public health, public education and public safety. 1.2 million Americans have died with COVID since non-pharmaceutical interventions (i.e. 2-week quarantines, contact tracing, universal N95 masking, ventilation and air filtration) were not implemented. Instead new untested mRNA gene therapies that profit the pharmaceutical corporations were imposed at Warp Speed. It was not just the USA and UK but the EU too. The Omicron Variant that originated in South Africa overwhelmed the Asian and Pacific Island nations public health measures that worked the first year of the pandemic. The politicians including the Communists gave up and to keep their economies from declining, let the virus rip, no matter the death and illness it causes.

    NATO’s War with Russia that started in 2014, the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the Gaza Genocide are all symptoms of a global economic/political system that is at its heart amoral and places profits above human life. Its sole goal is to make the rich richer. The late-stage capitalistic system and the people that serve it deny this; otherwise, they would have to acknowledge that they are evil criminals at heart.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Its sole goal is to make the rich richer

      Well, capital accumulation is a paperclip maximizer. Until quite recently, capital’s drive to exploit for profit dominated the sphere of production (“the workplace”) but had not dominated the sphere of social reproduction (“the family,” predominantly). In the workplace, capital controls (and exploits) the body for producing whatever the firm sells. In the family, capital now controls (and exploits) the body through whatever the family can be induced or forced to buy, especially “health” (I would say that “entertainment”* and “food”* were much earlier, but “health” now dominates). Unfortunately for us all, that means a gravitational pull — can’t think of a better metaphor — toward profitable and individual solutions, like Pharma, as opposed to unprofitable and collective solutions, like NPIs. This can even lead to a dynamic where capital creates the problems it then “solves” (Ozempic being but the latest example; eat a fattening diet, then drug the fat out of yourself). Hence, falling life expectancy as the body deteriorates and a degradation of the quality of labor power generally (masked temporarily in the United States, at least, by the importation of fresh bodies via migration). Hudson points out that our current system, unlike the competitive models of Smith and indeed Marx, tends to raise prices rather than lower them (see, again, health care). I wonder if that’s because social reproduction has been brought within the sphere of accumulation; middlemen upon middlemen.

      NOTE * Which once (?) did not induce destructive yet profitable cycles of reproduction, e.g. High Fructose Corn Syrup -> weight gain/diabetes -> drugs (Ozempic) or for that matter deindustrialization -> depression/angst -> Oxycontin. Hilariously, and of course, there are NGO endpoints/end states for these, e.g. weight loss groups, drug treatment centers, etc. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that the presence of an NGO is an indicator both that the last drop of profit has been extracted from the bodies of the “clients,” and the presence of one of these destructive cycles.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>I wonder if that’s because social reproduction has been brought within the sphere of accumulation; middlemen upon middlemen

        Partially. The other main cause, I think, is monopoly and oligopoly. Too often there is no competition as in my cable, telephone, gas and electricity, and much of my food. There is also the now MBA caused instinctive quality and quantity cutting together with deceptive marketing. The past idea of making the best, or at least very good, quality product and market it as such is gone. The cheapness masked as a good bargain instead of theft, which it really is.

        Not only are customers also conditioned to look for the best (cheapest) buy, they often cannot afford to buy quality. A person can still buy a long lasting boot or shoe starting at about four hundred dollars, but usually more, but many, many people cannot afford them in the short run. I have been in such a position myself. The garbage $100 sneakers compared to the better $400 shoes. I cannot afford the better quality, better fitting, longer lasting with the guarantee, but I can afford the shoes that last only a year. That is if I can find those better quality shoes because the company making them is bankrupt or has moved to China.

        The Paper Maximizer System has remade the economic and social system to favor immediate garbage over long lasting quality, which the people in charge want. It makes for easier profiting by destruction to deny the system the ability to profit by creation. If for no other reason, a growing percentage of Americans no longer remember a system where there was pride in creation and success meant profit over the long term, not the next quarter. The ideas, habits, and goals of the past are mocked, if not forgotten with something like the Apollo Project (remember that?) unthinkable, communistic drivel.

    2. spud

      till the sheeple figure out that the “there is no other way except free trade” that thatcherite TINA type of propaganda, rapacious free trade will consume the world in search of ever more profit.

      Gatt, was not free trade, and under Gatt, countries did not go it alone. under gatt, sovereign countries arranged trade deals to their benefit. to believe that sovereignty means autarky, is to expose oneself as to be a TINA dupe.

      i do not trust the chinese, they are willing to kill there own, to manipulate other markets in their favor.

      that is what free trade really is, profits no matter what, no matter where you get them, no matter how you get them.

      rapacious /rə-pā′shəs/

      Having or showing a strong or excessive desire to acquire money or possess things; greedy. Living by killing prey, especially in large numbers.
      “rapacious coyotes.”
      Taking things by force; plundering.
      “rapacious pirates.”

      The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition • More at Wordnik

      free trade

      Trade between nations without regulatory barriers such as tariffs or quotas. International trade free from government interference, especially trade free from tariffs or duties on imports. International trade free of government interference.

      The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition • More at Wordnik

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