2:00PM Water Cooler 2/20/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I got wrapped around the axle on Trump’s fraud case in New York, so the rest of Water Cooler is a bit thin. More shortly. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Walla Walla; Lewis Peak Rd., Washington, United States. “Song. Chatter call.”

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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 (Eighth Amendment)

I hate to add another topic to the Constitution Order section, but here we are…

The Eighth Amendment:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


In 1998, however, the Court injected vitality into the strictures of the clause. “The touchstone of the constitutional inquiry under the Excessive Fines Clause is the principle of proportionality: The amount of the forfeiture must bear some relationship to the gravity of the offense that it is designed to punish.” In United States v. Bajakajian, the government sought to require that a criminal defendant charged with violating federal reporting requirements regarding the transportation of more than $10,000 in currency out of the country forfeit the currency involved, which totaled $357,144. The Court held that the forfeiture in this particular case violated the Excessive Fines Cause because the amount forfeited was ‘grossly disproportionate to the gravity of defendant’s offense.’ In determining proportionality, the Court did not limit itself to a comparison of the fine amount to the proven offense, but it also considered the particular facts of the case, the character of the defendant, and the harm caused by the offense.

NOTE See the material below. Engoron’s penalty seems so obviously excessive it could be grounds for appeal, but IANAL and no appeal has actually been filed. If in fact no Constitutional issues are involved, I’ll move this story to the Trump section under campaign 2024, with the rest of the lawfare stuff.

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“New York vs. Donald Trump, et al.” [New York Times] (PDF). • The Times annotates the full text. I can’t find a proper citation for the case, so that title is my best attempt.

“Here’s a look inside Donald Trump’s $355 million civil fraud verdict” [Associated Press]. “Engoron ruled that Trump engaged in a yearslong conspiracy with top executives at his company, the Trump Organization, to deceive banks and insurers about the size of his wealth and the true value of such properties as Trump Tower in Manhattan and his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida…. Engoron decided the case because state law doesn’t allow for juries in this type of lawsuit, which sought what’s known as “equitable relief” and has different rules than other cases with big-money penalties. Also, he noted, neither side asked for a jury.” More: “Engoron found that Trump’s phony wealth claims were critical to his success, affording him lower loan interest rates [see Engoron’s opinion, starting at page 46, the “Expert Witnesses” section]. and allowing him to build projects he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to finish. The judge determined that those savings and windfall profits were ‘ill-gotten gains’ and ordered him and his co-defendants to cough them up to the state, with interest.” And: “Trump and his lawyers have said that outside accountants that helped prepare his financial statements should’ve flagged any discrepancies and that the documents came with disclaimers that shielded him from liability. They say Trump never told anyone to inflate the value of assets and that, if there were discrepancies, no one was harmed. ‘There were no victims because the banks made a lot of money,’ Trump said Friday, echoing his trial testimony in November. Trump testified that regardless of what his financial statements said, banks did their own due diligence and would’ve qualified him for the loans anyway. He said there’s no evidence that the terms or pricing would have been any different.” • Good to see that New York Real Estate has been purged of its one bad actor! At least, that’s Governor Hochul’s theory–

“Hochul tells NY businesses not to fear about Trump verdict: ‘Nothing to worry about'” [The Hill]. Hochul: “I think that this is really an extraordinary, unusual circumstance that the law-abiding and rule-following New Yorkers who are business people have nothing to worry about, because they’re very different than Donald Trump and his behavior.” • So this is kinda like a bill of attainder? Aimed at one individual?

“Obscene award against Trump is testing the New York legal system’s integrity” [Jonathan Turley, The Hill]. “The one hope for New York businesses may be the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite the deference afforded to the states and their courts, the court has occasionally intervened to block excessive damage awards. For example, in 1996, the justices limited state-awards of punitive damages under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In that case, BMW was found to have repainted luxury cars damaged in transit without telling buyers. An Alabama jury awarded $4,000 in compensatory damages for the loss of value in having a factory paint job, but then added $4 million in punitive damages. Even when the Alabama Supreme Court reduced that to $2 million, the U.S. Supreme Court still found it excessive. Even liberals on the Court such as John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer agreed that such ‘grossly excessive’ awards raise a ‘basic unfairness of depriving citizens of life, liberty, or property, through the application of arbitrary coercion.’ The court may find almost half a billion dollars in damages without a single lost dollar from a victim to be a tad excessive.”

“Explainer: How will Trump pay his $355 million civil fraud judgment?” [Reuters]. “The former president’s finances are opaque, but Forbes estimates his net worth at $2.6 billion, most of it tied up in real estate. Trump testified in an April deposition that he had roughly $400 million in cash. Though he could sell parts of his portfolio to satisfy the judgment, it is unclear how much his property holdings are worth, given the headwinds in the commercial real estate sector…. [Engoron’s] ban on applying for loans from banks registered or chartered in New York could severely restrict Trump’s ability to raise cash…. Trump’s portfolio could see a major windfall if he were to sell his stake in his social media platform Truth Social, the value of which has soared as his bid to return to the White House gathers steam. Trump’s stake in the company, Trump Media & Technology Group, is now worth about $4 billion, based on trading in the shares of a black-check acquisition vehicle that has agreed to merge with it. If the deal closes, Trump would be able to sell his shares in the combined company six months later.”

“Trump ruling explained: How the $355M judgment might affect his businesses” [ABC]. “Trump is expected to appeal the judgment. He has two avenues to do so. First, at the Appellate Division and then at the New York State Court of Appeals. That will take time and could mean the case won’t be put to bed until 2025 at the earlieBut he can’t put off paying the $355 million plus interest. It will essentially need to be kept in escrow during the appeals process to ensure the plaintiff gets the money Engoron ordered if his full judgment is upheld. It’s not clear where it will come from. Trump, who claimed last year to have $400 million in cash, could put it up himself if his assertion is true. But it’s also the case that he is facing another hefty $83.3 million verdict in the civil trial he recently lost to E. Jean Carroll. So he could seek to borrow money and use a big asset (e.g., one of his buildings) as collateral. Given that Engoron’s ruling bars him from getting a loan from any financial institution registered in New York – which likely rules out most major international banks with offices in New York, Thomas noted – that may mean he would need to get a personal loan from a non-financial institution or an unregistered financial company. Or he might need to get help from a very high net worth individual, who also may seek a Trump business asset as collateral to secure the loan.”

“Exclusive: Donald Trump To Challenge Judge Engoron’s Fraud Definition” [Newsweek]. “The appeal hinges on the definition of fraud used in the case. Professor Greg Germain of Syracuse University of Law told Newsweek that on appeal, Trump will have to show that the New York attorney general does not have the power to punish him ‘without showing the traditional elements of fraud: (1) scienter—basically intent to defraud, (2) false statements of fact rather than opinion or trade puffing, (3) reasonable reliance by the victims, (4) materiality, (5) causation, and (6) damages.’ ‘I think he has a strong argument that when the attorney general seeks to punish for past use, rather than prevent future use, she would have to show all of the traditional elements of fraud,’ he added. However, James’ team will argue that, under New York executive order 63.12, which gives the attorney general her power to prosecute fraud, she doesn’t have to show that all six elements are present. Executive order 63.12 was established in 1956 and provides the attorney general with broad authority to issue subpoenas and pursue civil fraud allegations with relatively low legal hurdles. ‘Judge Engoron ruled in the summary judgment order that, under 63.12, the attorney general does not have to show any of those elements—a showing of falsity is enough, Germain said. He said that, had the court applied the full six-part definition of fraud, it would have found very little evidence that the banks had a ‘reasonable reliance’ on Trump’s statements. ‘The evidence of reasonable reliance [on Trump’s financial statements] by the ‘victims’ is very weak’ and may be grounds of appeal,’ Germain said. A banking official told the trial that he did not not solely rely on Trump’s statements when assessing a loan application and that the bank made its own calculations.” • So, all that’s required, according to Attorney General James, is “a showing of falsity.” Is Hochul really claiming that the “law-abiding and rule-following New Yorkers who are business people” have never made any false statements when making real estate deals?


Less than a year to go!

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Trump (R): “The Big Thing About Trump’s Presidency That Team Biden Needs to Get” [Michael Tomasky, The New Republic]. “For me and for most of my friends—and I’m guessing for you—the Trump presidency was daily hell for four years…. The pain and outrage never let up until shortly before noon on January 20, 2021. That was life inside my bubble. And that was life inside the bubbles of virtually all loyal Democrats and/or committed members of the broad left for those four-plus years.” Love the framing, “loyal Democrats.” More: “Outside our bubble, though, things looked different. I’m not talking about MAGA America. Those folks, we know all about. I’m talking about the people in between. They’re the people who’ll decide this election. And this election year, those of us inside our bubble need to go put our heads inside theirs. Because where they live, incredible as this may seem to you and me, the Trump years were good, and he was a pretty capable president.” Trump got rid of the ObamaCare mandate, saving me — coincidentally enough — six hundred bucks on my taxes. More: “[W]hy would people carry a fond memory of a presidential term that many of us consider to have been far and away the worst in American history? Because the economy dominates people’s thoughts along these lines, and until the pandemic, the economy under Trump was pretty good, at least in the ways we measure these things. One more statistic: the median household income number in 2019. Median household income rose steadily during the Obama years after the meltdown. A thousand here, three thousand there. That’s how it usually goes, historically. But from 2018 to 2019, median household income jumped from $63,100 to $68,700—the biggest single-year increase going back 30-plus years. And more than that: It rose more in the lowest quintile than in the highest. A lot more.” • Then, of course, there was the CARES Act, which put a significant dent in poverty during the pandemic, and which Biden promptly dismantled. And say what you like about Trump, he wasn’t a warmonger.

Trump (R): “Rightwing mega-donors drift back to Trump as election rematch looms” [Guardian]. “Donald Trump’s efforts to court and cajole rightwing billionaires into financing his presidential campaign are bearing fruit as even sceptical conservative mega-donors face up to the prospect he will again be the Republican candidate…. Trump’s campaign is pushing the inevitability of his victory over the former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, the last remaining challenger in the Republican primaries, in order to shift the focus to the general election as he pursues Wall Street and Silicon Valley money. Trump successfully wooed the biggest donor to the Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s failed presidential campaign during a visit to Las Vegas last month, the billionaire developer Robert Bigelow. After meeting Trump and then joining his motorcade through Las Vegas to a political rally, Bigelow pledged $20m to the former president’s campaign – the same amount he gave to DeSantis – along with another $1m toward the mounting costs of his myriad legal problems. Trump also won commitments from other well-heeled donors on the Las Vegas trip while the billionaire investor John Paulson held a dinner for the former president and major Republican party contributors earlier this month, according to Politico.” • Reversion to the meanest…..

Trump (R): “Trump allies prepare to infuse ‘Christian nationalism’ in second administration” [Politico]. “An influential think tank close to Donald Trump is developing plans to infuse Christian nationalist ideas in his administration should the former president return to power, according to documents obtained by POLITICO. Spearheading the effort is Russell Vought, who served as Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget during his first term and has remained close to him. Vought, who is frequently cited as a potential chief of staff in a second Trump White House, is president of The Center for Renewing America think tank, a leading group in a conservative consortium preparing for a second Trump term…. One document drafted by CRA staff and fellows includes a list of top priorities for CRA in a second Trump term. “Christian nationalism” is one of the bullet points. Others include invoking the Insurrection Act on Day One to quash protests and refusing to spend authorized congressional funds on unwanted projects, a practice banned by lawmakers in the Nixon era…. Vought, who declined to comment, is advising Project 2025, a governing agenda that would usher in one of the most conservative executive branches in modern American history. The effort is made up of a constellation of conservative groups run by Trump allies who’ve constructed a detailed plan to dismantle or overhaul key agencies in a second term. Among other principles, the project’s ‘Mandate for Leadership‘ states that ‘freedom is defined by God, not man.'” • An, “Mandate for Leadership.” In 2004, Bush the Younger prattled about his mandate. Google bombing was still possible, back in the day, so I arranged for Mandate magazine to be the top hit for a search on “Bush Mandate”; a gentleman wearing a sailor’s cap, if I recall. I hope the same thing happens to these guys, except a lot worse.

Trump (R): “The Real Challenge of Trump 2.0” [Foreign Affairs]. “while out of power, Trump’s team has done the transition work it did not do the first time around; they will be empowered by a transformed Republican Party and come equipped with a very detailed list of friends and foes—and thus be better positioned to bend bureaucratic politics to their will…. in the few areas where slow-rolling and end-running and other normal bureaucratic gimmicks were used to thwart a determined Trumpian policy flourish, the paucity of true-believing MAGA warriors at every level of the bureaucracy made it difficult for Trump to have his whims fulfilled. It is far from clear that there will be such guardrails this time around.” • Yeah, thank God the adults in the room stopped Trump from removing our colonial outposts in Syria!

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Biden (D): “Joe the Rainmaker? Payments, deals followed key Biden meetings with son’s foreign associates” [Just the News]. “Evidence including sworn impeachment inquiry testimony, confirmed emails and financial records increasingly show that President Joe Biden’s meetings with his son’s foreign clients were closely followed by payments and agreements that advanced his family’s business deals. House Republicans on Thursday subpoenaed new financial records belonging to Hunter Biden, his associates, and companies in a growing effort to find evidence that Joe Biden benefited personally from his son’s foreign dealings. Rep. Greg Steube agreed on the ‘Just the News, No Noise’ television show on Thursday that Joe Biden played a “rainmaker” role in Hunter Biden’s business ventures. ‘We’ve known that all along and now we’re getting corroborating witness testimony,’ Steube said. ‘Thankfully, for the subpoenas that have been issued to the financial institutions, we now have financial evidence of the money that was laundered from the Chinese Communist Party or Russian oligarchs, or the Ukrainian government and entities through the Biden family members, his brother, James Biden, and Hunter Biden.’ ‘And we know that obviously, Joe Biden was the impetus behind all of that,’ Steube claimed.” “Claimed,” indeed. “Obviously” is doing a lot of work, there. Personally, I think all that’s needed is to show that the Biden clan benefitted, not Biden personally. All those bank accounts, all those loans; a big river of Biden cash, with many tributaries, some quite small.

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IL: “Boy, 5, dies after contracting COVID, Strep and 2 other viruses: ‘Too much for a little body'” [Today]. “A 5-year-old boy in Chicago who was staying at a migrant shelter has died of sepsis, which developed after he contracted COVID-19 and Strep A.” • Filing this here instead under Immune Dysregulation in Covid, because Chicago is in Pritzker’s patch, and it sounds like his migrant shelters are hellholes.

IL: “City releases statement after boy dies, others hospitalized following illness at migrant shelter” [NBC Chicago]. “Monday, a spokesperson with the Chicago Fire Department said that ‘several’ other individuals at the shelter, where about 2,000 people were staying, required hospitalization, including a 1-year-old girl and a 4-year-old girl. An 18-year-old woman was also hospitalized early Monday, fire officials said. According to a Chicago Department of Public Health spokesperson, there have been reported cases of Varicella, commonly known as chickenpox, in both children and adults at the Pilsen shelter.” • Nothing about measles. Yet. Better fix this before the Democrat National Convention August 19!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“6 Rules for Actually Changing People’s Minds” [Strong Towns]. “We all know on some level that there’s a big difference between being right and being convincing. Yet in practice, a lot of us are confident in the former but unstrategic about the latter. When we find that being right in a public forum is not enough to bring people around, we respond by trying to be right more forcefully, aggressively, or exasperatedly. Results are predictably poor…. 1. People are persuaded by stories, not by facts… 2. The spread of beliefs is a social process, not an individual one…. 3. Our minds are changed by trusted messengers…. 4. Nobody trusts a jerk (except the jerk who’s already on their side)…. 5. Our fundamental beliefs are changed bit by bit, not all at once…. 6. Social consensus is less solid than it seems.” More on point 6: “What appears to be a monolithic consensus often isn’t: rather, it’s a handful of loud voices in a feedback loop with each other, and many others who fall somewhere between passive mild agreement and choosing to just stay quiet. Arguing directly with the loudest and most demagogic participants in such a community—and thus with the apparent social consensus—doesn’t work very well. So what does? How do you start to shift that social consensus if you think that there’s a whole community that has got something basically wrong? You start to crack open some doors. Point out things that aren’t at 180-degree odds with the majority view, but that complicate it or introduce nuance. Point out a perspective that isn’t usually heard (those of renters in a conversation dominated by homeowners; those of people who walk or use wheelchairs or strollers in a conversation dominated by drivers). Don’t be preachy or obnoxious about it. Don’t act like you’re trying to win a debate. Do it with an awareness of the core narratives of the space you’re in. Do it in a way that one or two of the group’s trusted messengers—those who are prominent voices but also appear amenable to nuance and disagreement—will hear you as a basically friendly countervailing voice.” • Hmm.


“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

“Data analyst Greg Travis speaks on COVID pandemic-related excess deaths in the US” [WSWS]. “One of the critical byproducts of the ‘forever COVID’ policies implemented by the ruling elites, abandoning any fight against the pandemic and even dismantling monitoring of COVID cases by public health agencies, has been the emergence of a layer of principled health care experts, data analysts and researchers who are providing real-time information on the actual state of the pandemic. The COVID-19 infection trackers maintained by Dr. Mike Hoerger and data scientist Jay Weiland, with modeling based on wastewater levels of SARS-CoV-2, have documented the massive scale of infections that have been sweeping across the United States and the rest of the world. Their weekly reports underscore the continuing high rates of daily infections, giving a glimpse into the public health catastrophe that is taking place under a complete media blackout of the pandemic. Viral sleuths like Ryan Hisner, Raj Rajnarayanan and others have turned to their social media channels, which function as information hubs to accumulate information on the latest subvariants and their mutations. Many of their initial reports, such as on Pirola in August and then JN.1 in September 2023, were critical in giving the world a substantive alert on the massive wave of infections that has since washed over the globe, while national public agencies like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were taking pains to cover up these developments.” • This is absolutely terrific and a must read (although I think “layer” is, analytically, the wrong word. Ditto “by-product”; hardly dialectical).


“Transmission of Viruses from Restroom Use: A Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment” [Food and Environmental Virology]. From the Discussion: “Restrooms have been implicated as a source of hepatitis A, norovirus, and SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks, and contamination of restroom fomites has been documented in several studies (Abney et al., 2021). Multiple routes of exposure during restroom use can occur, such as accumulation of pathogens on the body and clothes of the user through aerosolization during toilet flushing, direct inhalation of aerosols, or indirect transmission following deposition of aerosolized pathogens on various surfaces throughout the restroom (from use of face towels, contaminated soap bars, or other high-touch surfaces, such as toilet lid, flush handle, faucets, door handles, etc.)” Note that the Abstract does not mention “inhalation” (!). But restrooms are 3Cs spaces, so that’s an obvious route of transmission:

They even mix “inhalation” and “hand contamination” in Figure 1. Dudes, fomites aren’t like aerosols!

“Who We Are” [Global Handwashing Partnership]. “The Global Handwashing Partnership is a coalition of international stakeholders who work explicitly to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health.” • Proctor and Gamble, Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive… Soap makes and a gaggle of NGOs (not including Pontius Pilate or Lady Macbeth. Too bad). Now, I’m all for handwashing. Handwashing is good! But the contrast to clean air is really heartbreaking.

Elite Maleficence

Tedros is a lying weasel on airborne, and this thread has him dead to rights:

“Governor Hochul proposes ending COVID-19 Sick Leave Law” [ABC]. “Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed getting rid of the state’s COVID-19 sick leave law in her proposed state budget. The law went into effect in 2020. It requires employers to provide COVID sick leave for employees under mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine. It could end July 31st. The Governor’s proposal says one of the reasons is because quarantine requirements have changed. Her office released a statement saying, ‘New York State has one of the nation’s strongest paid sick leave policies, providing most employees with up to 56 hours of paid sick leave each year, and Governor Hochul’s FY25 executive budget includes additional expansions of medical and disability leave.’ The Business Council of New York supports the proposal. ‘We understand the pandemic is still with us,’ said Frank Kerbein, Director of the Center for Human Resources at the Business Council of New York State. ‘There’s still individuals who suffer from COVID. At the same time in 2020 the state passed a new mandatory paid sick leave that all employers have to provide 40 or 56 hours of pay time off for employees. This is enough. We feel this is enough now to help employees who are still impacted by COVID.'” • CA gives 40 hours

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot February 19: Regional[2] Biobot February 19:
Variants[3] CDC February 17 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC February 10

New York[5] New York State, data February 16: National [6] CDC February 5:
National[7] Walgreens February 19: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic February 17:
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) Again, no backward revisions. The uptick is real (at least to Biobot). Note this anomaly:

Looks like Covid might not be seasonal? Who knew? Hoerger comments:

[2] (Biobot) Here, FWIW, is Verily regional data as of February 20. CDC Region 1:

And Region 2:

Verily data, then, shows no anomaly. Presumably, Biobot sewersheds and Verily sewersheds do not overlap.

[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 more decrease, consistent with Biobot data, but not much. 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) Flattening, consistent with Biobot data.

[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.

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Manufacturing: “‘A horrible, perfect storm’: Frustrations rise as shortage of Adderall, other ADHD medication continues” [Chicago Tribune]. “In October 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally announced a nationwide Adderall shortage, leaving millions scrambling to obtain prescription stimulant medication. Over a year later, there’s no end in sight, and a tangled network of causes has made for no clear solution.” More: “Access to prescription stimulant medications first began to unravel at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Physicians started reporting a significant jump in ADHD diagnoses. Research compiled by FDA-affiliated scholars indicated that prescriptions for stimulant medications among people aged 20 to 29 rose 30% from April 2018 to March 2022. There are multiple theories on why that’s the case, including the ease of telehealth, increased ADHD awareness and the added stressors of remote work, experts say.” Not to mention friends and family getting sick and choking to death on the bloody mush in their lungs! WTF is wrong with these “experts”? More: “Meanwhile, a major drugmaker began to experience an Adderall manufacturing delay, according to the FDA. When patients turned to alternative prescription stimulant medications, those too became scarce. Although the manufacturing delay has since been resolved, its long-lasting effects are exacerbated by unprecedented demand. Many pharmacies nationwide still have unpredictable inventory. ‘It was just a horrible, perfect storm that really has trapped our patients from getting what they need to work, to perform at school, to be able to live their lives,’ [Julie Carbray, a clinical professor of psychiatry and nursing at the University of Illinois Chicago] said. Another hurdle: Because stimulant medication is a controlled substance, most people with ADHD can obtain only a 30-day supply at a time.” • Hard for me to identify, because I’m so old I wasn’t drugged in school for being a boy. That said, it seems remarkable to me that the magic of the marketplace is unable to solve a supply issue, so WTF? However–

Manufacturing: “The Empty Adderall Factory” [New York Magazine]. “There’s been a national shortage of ADHD medication for more than a year and a half. According to the government and industry experts, there are multiple overlapping causes: manufacturing problems, labor issues, supply-chain failures, and a huge rise in demand during the pandemic. But Ascent claims there’s another factor exacerbating the shortage, one that’s completely sui generis: the fact that it’s been shut down by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agency has accused Ascent of shabby recordkeeping that might have allowed millions of pills to go unaccounted for. Ascent makes painkillers in addition to stimulants, and, amid the ongoing opioid epidemic, the DEA has been under pressure to show it is aggressively policing the industry. (The agency did not respond to requests for comment.) Ascent has said that its paperwork is in order and has sued the Department of Justice to get its assembly lines working again. A resolution doesn’t seem likely anytime soon. In the meantime, the company is producing zero ADHD meds. If its claims are true, that’s 600 million doses per year missing from the market. As Ascent says in its lawsuit, ‘Turning off that supply is making a grave situation infinitely worse.'” • A drugmaker named “Ascent.” That’s too much!

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 75 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 71 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Last updated Feb 20 at 1:31:21 PM ET.

The Gallery

“As Seen on ‘Blade Runner 2049′: A Turner Canvas Reflecting Technological Dystopia” [Artnet]. “Hidden away in a crucial scene is nothing other than a painting by English Romantic painter J.M.W. Turner that echoes the scene’s misty atmosphere and may even have been intended to reinforce the film’s presentation of the threat of the superiority of the technological over the natural…. [K, the replicant protagonist,] tracks… Deckard (played by Ford as in the original) to the ruins of Las Vegas… Deckard inhabits the abandoned Vintage Casino, surrounded by antique-looking objects: paintings hang on the wall…. If you blinked, you might miss it, but Turner’s painting Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway (1844) hangs on the wall over Ford’s shoulder; the dark lines of a viaduct leading into the distance are unmistakable…. In the painting, a steam engine crosses a railway bridge in the rain. Turner depicted a hare along the train track to highlight the difference between the speed of the animal, a product of nature, and the train, a technological advance. (According to the National Gallery in London, where the painting resides, ‘The animal is now invisible as the paint has become transparent with age, but it can be seen in an 1859 engraving of the painting.’).” • Here it is:

(The hare is or would be at bottom right; I’m glad for the National Gallery note because I was going nuts trying to find it.) One more reason for Blade Runner 2049‘s superiority over the original [ducks].

Guillotine Watch

“The gloves are off among Silicon Valley CEOs” [Business Insider]. “It’s far from clear who the winners and losers of these new open rivalries will be. What’s more certain, according to Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham at least, is that innovation could happen faster than it has in some time.” • That’s too bad.

News of the Wired

“Why is no one making a new version of old Facebook?” [12 Challenges]. “Either: billions of people who used to find old Facebook useful have changed their preferences in the last few years, and no longer need something like that, Or: a huge unmet demand currently exists for a social network which is based on the social graph, instead of the content graph, and which is pre-enshittification. Yes, the social graph has moved elsewhere, mostly to messaging platforms. But as Toby points out, these lack many of the features that we used to take for granted on Facebook — for instance, creating events, inviting friends, setting up groups (non-messaging ones, which were more like forums), and the serendipity/utility of a high-quality feed which included people you cared about.” • I haven’t used Facebook in over a decade, and it won’t let me create a new account because it still remembers me, somehow (ugh). But surely the same applies to Google? A Google that used PageRank? A pre-evil Google?

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CK writes: “An Oregon meadow in June all done up as pointillism, or so it seems to my eye.” Lovely!

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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. KieselguhrKid

    Re: “A Google that used PageRank? A pre-evil Google?”

    I switched to DuckDuckGo years ago and never looked back. At the time friends would complain to me that it wasn’t as good as Google, though it often seemed better to me; nowadays I hear so many complaints about Google enshittification, that I’d wager DuckDuckGo is objectively better.

      1. cfraenkel

        It’s mostly Bing’s crawl data and algorithms, with some “special sauce” on top for specific cases. IMHO it says more about how actively BAD monetization has made Google than anything special about DDG.

      2. DavidZ

        DDG uses results from Bing, they have their own web crawler too.

        I personally find DDG great for 99.9% of my searches, the other obscure 0.01% I go to google.

      3. Jason Boxman

        It’s just Microsoft Bing in disguise.

        kagi.com is one of the few independent search engines left; after the trial it’s $5-10 monthly, but no ads or tracking.

        No one would pay for Neeva, so that killed that independent search engine; the pivoted to business AI tools or whatever.

    1. cfraenkel

      Also, unfortunately, a “Google that used Page Rank” is no longer possible. The network of meaningful links that made Page Rank work have been so polluted by SEO spam that teasing the useful signal out of the noise is a lost cause.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The network of meaningful links that made Page Rank work have been so polluted by SEO spam that teasing the useful signal out of the noise is a lost cause.

        Good point…

    2. FlyoverBoy

      When I don’t want to be tracked, I use anonmized Gibiru. There’s also BraveSearch for this purpose.

      1. RA

        The search engine Opera uses is configurable, like in most browsers. I just looked at that parameter option and it has a drop-down list with the usual suspects to chose from.

        It was set to DuckDuckGo but I don’t remember if I selected that or if it was the original configuration.

  2. Sandhill Man

    ‘gloves are off among Silicon Valley CEOs’

    Here’s a hint. Look who donates to Newsom and who he serviced:

    After Years of Lobbying and Donations, Gavin Newsom Stepped In To Sell Biden on Silicon Valley Bank Bailout. Failed bank has funneled cash to top Democrats

    “Newsom personally solicited the donation to his wife’s nonprofit through a California program that allows public officials to raise funds from corporate backers for their favored charities. Silicon Valley Bank executive John China sits on the board of Siebel Newsom’s California Partners Project, which pressures corporations to appoint women to their boards.”


  3. Feral Finster

    ““Here’s a look inside Donald Trump’s $355 million civil fraud verdict” [Associated Press]. ”

    TL:DR banks and insurance companies are incapable of doing due diligence, and no real estate developer ever would inflate the value of his holdings, no sireee!

    Seriously, is that really all they’ve got?

    1. ChrisFromGA

      It would be just dessert if Trump liquidates a big chunk of his empire at fire sale prices.

      Though he could sell parts of his portfolio to satisfy the judgment, it is unclear how much his property holdings are worth, given the headwinds in the commercial real estate sector

      Hmm, nice little CRE market you have there in NYC, Kathy. It would be a shame if somebody dumped properties at Crazy Eddie prices, and every other landlord in NY got an instant property tax appeal case handed to them on a silver platter.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Good point. However, commercial real estate is a very illiquid market, and values are set at the margin.

          Currently, banks and landlords are playing “extend and pretend” games to avoid a market clearing event where true price discovery happens. Even though Trump’s RE holdings may be a small part of NYC, just a few properties sold at “fire sale” prices go on the record as fair market transactions and set price.

          I’m sure NYC won’t go down without a fight, though. I have personal experience with how nasty boards of equalization can be when I fought my property taxes years ago. How it works in the commercial property realm is another question. I have always been under the impression that the big guys get a lot of breaks, compared to us little guys.

      1. flora

        re: “Hochul tells NY businesses not to fear about Trump verdict: ‘Nothing to worry about’” [The Hill]. Hochul: “I think that this is really an extraordinary, unusual circumstance that the law-abiding and rule-following New Yorkers who are business people have nothing to worry about, because they’re very different than Donald Trump and his behavior.”

        Sure, sure. If any real estate or biz person of note in NYC believes this they’re too naive to be in NYC biz for long. I mean, that’s what “they” said when A. Jones was booted from the tubes and social media because bad person him, but don’t worry it won’t affect anyone else. Turns out that was the starting bell for a whole heck of a lot of purging by ‘right-thinking’ people in various agencies.

        Maybe someone will do a remake of the movie The Gangs of New York.

      2. Rip Van Winkle

        I’ll raise the ante. Trump ‘donates’ all of his New York real estate holdings to a his newly-formed migrant charity group and gives Abbott a week heads-up to start the buses. A twist on The Fire Of Moscow 1812.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Seriously, is that really all they’ve got?

      Yes, and the enormous penalty gave rise to a liberalgasm so fulfilling the usual suspects were silent for at least a news cycle.

  4. Carolinian

    As I mentioned this morning Trump is in our sister city today. I encouraged my brother to check it out and got a rude rejoinder.

    Meanwhile not much to report about Saturday’s upcoming vote. Not a single campaign sign spotted.

  5. Ranger Rick

    I did a double-take when reading the Strong Towns excerpt. That reads like counterinsurgency strategy. The war really did come home.

    1. Jeff H

      It really hit home for me. Growing up in a strongly working class environment but being distinctly outside the normal viewpoint, it’s been the only working strategy for building real relationships. It can be seen in people like Ben Burgis or Brianna Joy Grey. They turn off more people by trying to win an argument or demonstrate their superior intellect than trying to achieve some more positive social outcome.

          1. Randall Flagg

            Who was it that said:
            Better to be silent and thought of as a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
            Words to live by…

      1. none

        The strong towns approach probably works, but it seems like instructions in how to manipulate. I prefer to say what I think is true.

        1. albrt

          But you don’t always have to say everything you think is true. Telling the person you are talking to that you think they are stupid is rarely a good idea.

          1. Lee

            Never call a person a “deplorable” unless one is in an unassailable position. Vulnerability makes one mindful, unless one is really, really stupid no matter how well educated.

          2. JBird4049

            >>>it’s been the only working strategy for building real relationships.

            True, having relationships has come to mean being prepared for war, which is nuts. As with IdPol, politics has been deliberately weaponized and mixed into everything. Then there is the demand for “safe spaces,” with merely disagreeing has been equated to physical beatdowns; ignorance is also acceptable because to not to be so is too much work or is for the nerds and geeks.

            I also think people have overly long exegesis or extrapolations to control the chaos caused by the lack of shared knowledge. The twisting of the meaning of words like liberal, left, right communism, and so on also requires saying what you think they mean to have that discussion, which people become insulted by.

          3. Procopius

            When I was in rehab, the counselor one day told us, “There is no rule that, when someone says something to you, you are required to reply. It’s not written in stone. Sometimes not replying to something that angers you is the best approach.”

            It was a revelation to me.

            Then I learned, “Nothing is often a good thing to do, and always a witty thing to say.”

    2. Wukchumni

      Aren’t ‘Strong’ towns in the USA typically so-named in the aftermath of a mass murder shooting spree of country-western enthusiasts, or a bomb going off during a marathon?

  6. Wukchumni

    Trump (R): “Trump allies prepare to infuse ‘Christian nationalism’ in second administration”

    ‘Left behind’ might just be the Donkey Show slogan in 2024… Biden (…the Anchurian Candidate) is gonna get beat as bad as Jimmy Carter in 1980, you get the inkling.

    Feeling the election had been stolen from him, Joe starts an insurrection in early January 2025, with party adherents in canes & walkers doing a march on the Capitol, most getting there before sundown-a number stopping for a nap along the way.

    1. Lee

      Alas, Joe is in thrall to younger whip cracking whipper snappers. They’ll be helping the aged, pushing the wheel chairs, virtue signaling all the way.

  7. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding the Tomasky article:

    “…daily hell for four years… the pain and outrage never let up…”

    Ooh, Trump… it hurts so good!

    #McResistance types just love to scratch that nervous rash bloody, publicize it as a kind of moral currency hoarding, and present it as a substitute for actual politics.

      1. Carolinian

        The old saying was never talk about religion or politics–implying the two are somehow related. And how. Thank goodness for NC where we can talk about these things without fist fights. If only RL was like that. I’m not sure it ever was.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        I was thinking more along the lines of a psychosomatic skin inflammation resulting in compulsive scratching, but saw that article at the time and… yeah, that too… and further confirmed by my storm-sewer-drain-of-a-mind remembrance of the line as a tag to a porn film showing around Times Square in the Bad Old Days of the ’70’s.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > in compulsive scratching

          A dopamine loop?

          UPDATE I’m trying to invent the name of a pr0n move incorporating “dopamine” but failing. The best I can come up with is “Rope-a-Dopamine” with, I suppose, a BDSM theme. But’s not very good. Readers?

          1. ambrit

            How about; “The Erotic Adventures of ‘Dopey’ Disney in Hollywood.”
            It has been observed that ‘creatives’ write about themselves. Walt though, he contained multitudes. Plus, he had the Fundamental Fetish. ‘Steamboat Willie,’ we hardly knew ye.

          2. Michael Fiorillo

            Howzabout the TDS Hope-amine Loop? I’ve found it to be characterized by magical thinking – that Russiagate, Stormy Daniels, et al, will bring Trump down – that Lawfare and #McResistance psy-ops will rid us of this bothersome character. it is also typical that sufferers are likely to only to be disappointed and further frightened by his persistence.

      2. Lee

        From your linked article”

        Unlike in the non-fetish world, where most Biden and Trump supporters have few friends who vote for the opposing candidate, in the fetish world, political opposites mingle. And if you are into political fetishes you may become, ironically, more open-minded to the opposing side’s views…

        Thesis, antithesis, synthesis: Romeos and Juliets may yet save us from our foolish selves.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > in the fetish world, political opposites mingle.

          In other words, the fetish world accurately reflects what some call “the uniparty.” The cruelty is stop words are the point, one might say.

          Am I right in thinking that the Virginia burbs are filled with dungeons? (“Those comfortably padded lunatic asylums which are known, euphemistically, as the stately homes of England” –Virgina Woolf)

          1. ambrit

            “Am I right in thinking that the Virginia burbs are filled with dungeons?”
            Probably not. I have it on good authority that ‘Dungeoning’ has been offshored, to sites on the US Virgin Islands.

  8. steppenwolf fetchit

    It is well to remember that if Trump wins the next election and we get a National Christianist Administration, the National Christianists won’t mind, or even notice, how badly we might feel about them after they have consolidated their power. And excercise it to their hearts’ delight.

    1. Randall Flagg

      I’m more afraid of things getting so bad in the next collapse that we come out of it with something like the NFFA, or the New Founding Fathers of America. Straight out of the Purge movie franchise. Lord knows how much of our society is tracking plenty of scenarios imagined in science fiction movies of the past.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > much of our society is tracking plenty of scenarios imagined in science fiction movies of the past.

        Silicon Valley certainly is. Hence Mars, AI, the general triumphalism.

      2. Wukchumni

        Lord knows how much of our society is tracking plenty of scenarios imagined in science fiction movies of the past.

        We tend to live vicariously through our movies, fantasy turns into our expectations of reality.

  9. jhallc

    “Boy, 5, dies after contracting COVID, Strep and 2 other viruses: ‘Too much for a little body’” [Today].

    This is so sad. More anecdotal evidence supporting IMDoc’s comment of a few days ago, regarding the recent increase in viral and bacterial (TB) sickness and its potential relation to an increasing migrant population. The pictures of migrant housing facilities I’ve seen suggest these very crowded facilities are just a super-spreader disaster waiting to happen. I very much doubt our Public Health Agencies are going to be able to cope. If only there was someway to find say, 90B $$ to help improve our Public Health system.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Finding a way to mitigate disease among soldiers was a central aim of the US army after the first world war, in fact. Disease had historically killed more soldiers than combat. And mixing people in close proximity from all over the place is a great way to promote spread of pathogens.

      So to we have that here. It’s almost like we want to have additional epidemics and Pandemics of disease!

      1. Late Introvert

        Hospital Admins want to slowly kill us rather than cure us, after first infecting us.

        I mean, is there a better explanation? Follow the money.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The pictures of migrant housing facilities I’ve seen suggest these very crowded facilities are just a super-spreader disaster waiting to happen.

      Combine that with homelessness.

  10. none

    The court may find almost half a billion dollars in damages without a single lost dollar from a victim to be a tad excessive.”

    IDK. Shooting at someone is a pretty big crime even if the shot misses and the intended victim doesn’t notice it. Same with drunk driving if you don’t actually crash into anything, etc. In Trump’s case there are other factors of course, as the cited SCOTUS case implies.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Shooting at someone is a pretty big crime even if the shot misses

      True enough, although your two examples are criminal, not civil.

      But I think your analogy is false. We’re talking a population of New York real estate speculators here. If we equate funny numbers from real estate speculators with firing a gun, dubious in itself, the gun humpers are firing their weapons in all directions all the time, lying about the calibre of their guns (“Mine’s bigger than yours”), people are selling fake guns all the time, sometimes to people who want to buy fakes for reasons of their own, and the banks are happily financing it all with no complaints, because they make money at it, like everyone else is.

      So when one gun humper gets singled out and hit with a ginormous fine because all the other gun humpers are legit, as honest as the day is long, and wouldn’t know how to jigger a number even if somebody forced a pencil into their hands, you’ve gotta wonder.

  11. digi_owl

    Facebook is just the best monetized and marketed attempt in a long line of same.

    Myspace anyone?

    In the end i expect they are expensive to run at scale and hard to monetize while being a magnet for controversy.

    As such i suspect VC is skittish of throwing money at such a project, unless there is little else to get their minimum ROI from.

    Never mind that tech in general has hit the plateau of the S curve, and there is little chance of getting another reboot (mainframe to PC, PC to mobile) unless there is a massive development in energy tech.

  12. SteveD

    IANAL either, but the Eight Amendment argument seems abundantly common sense. And the, um, shall we say laxity of cause to prosecute fraud, is something that invites “political” prosecutions.

    Thanks again for your coverage here, Lambert. It’s top-notch.

  13. Roger Blakely

    Re: National Biobot February 19; Yes, it’s real.

    Is there something special about JN.1? Have we ever seen a subvariant utterly dominate for this many months? The CDC Nowcast has JN.1 at 96.4%. It seems to me that there is some connection between the fact that we have seen no other subvariant dominate and not split into a cloud of additional subvariants that way that JN.1 has and the fact that we have never seen SARS-CoV-2 wastewater concentrations bounce back up in February.

    1. Cassandra

      Would we know if JN.1 is evolving new subvariants? Is anyone testing, and if they are, would the results be made public? It seems unlikely, given an estimated 100 million infection during this surge in the US alone, that there are no new significantly mutated spike proteins with similar infective to JN.1. Perhaps the hope is that the new variants will stop registering on the OG tests, at which point the powers that be can declare victory…

  14. Paradan

    Adderal , so 600,000,000 doses is kind of a meaningless measure, but if my guesstimette is close, then that’s about 5-10% of the total prescriptions in the USA.

    1. Wukchumni

      In a perverse sort of fashion, the Wehrmacht ran on speed (Pervitin) in WW2, and apparently Wall*Street runs on Adderal, an upbeat speed.

  15. Smith, M.J.

    The CNN Wire report on Trump’s appeal of the civil fraud judgment is baloney. He will not have to put the entire $355M in escrow during his appeal. He will only have to post a supersedeas bond to avoid execution on the judgment pending appeal. The actual cost of such bonds is a fraction of the bond amount, typically between 1%-10%, depending upon what other collateral is used. At least that is true for Texas, where I did appellate work for 25 years. I doubt the situation is any different in New York.

  16. antidlc

    RE: “Tedros is a lying weasel on airborne”

    Just for the heck of it, I went to the CDC website to see what it said about how TB spreads and how COVID-19 spreads:

    .How TB Spreads

    TB bacteria spread through the air from one person to another. When a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, or sings, TB bacteria can get into the air. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

    TB is NOT spread by

    shaking someone’s hand
    sharing food or drink
    touching bed linens or toilet seats
    sharing toothbrushes

    When a person breathes in TB bacteria, the bacteria can settle in the lungs and begin to grow. From there, they can move through the blood to other parts of the body, such as the kidney, spine, and brain.

    TB disease in the lungs or throat can be infectious. This means that the bacteria can spread to other people. TB in other parts of the body, such as the kidney or spine, is usually not infectious.

    People with TB disease are most likely to spread it to people they spend time with every day. This includes family members, friends, and coworkers or schoolmates.

    The page includes a video:
    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKV8Zn7x0wM&t=36s
    (Partial transcript: TB is spread through the air from one person to another. When someone with pulmonary TB disease coughs, TB bacteria are expelled into the air in tiny water droplets. These droplets can remain floating in the air for several hours making it possible for someone nearby to inhale them.)

    This what the CDC says about COVID-19:

    How COVID-19 Spreads

    COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch.

    Anyone infected with COVID-19 can spread it, even if they do NOT have symptoms

    No video for COVID-19.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Just for the heck of it, I went to the CDC website to see what it said about how TB spreads and how COVID-19 spreads:

      I’m starting to get worried about both TB and Measles. Both depend on a functioning public health system (unless the function of public health be depopulation, of course). Both airborne, but we are systematically dismantling non-pharmaceutical interventions, even in hospitals. There are protective vaccines for both, but the anti-vaxers began their assault on public health with MMR, so…

  17. notabanker

    I make this comment without one iota of sarcasm or cynicism. If your life is a daily hell for four years straight because of who was elected POTUS, you really, really need to seek psychiatric help.

  18. antidlc

    Ziyad Al-Aly, MD
    📢🚨🚨🚨New paper dropping Thursday.
    Embargoed until 2:00 PM ET Thursday February 22 .
    Interested journalists, email me.
    No DM please.

  19. upstater

    Ukraine’s railways enter third year of war Trains magazine. Sympathetic to Ukraine, of course. Good photos, the most interesting part,

    17.5-mile-long railcar barrier assembled by Russians

    In the occupied Donbas region, it was reported in mid-February that Russian forces have constructed a 28-kilometer (17.5-mile) barrier of railcars on the mainline between the cities of Donetsk and Melitopol/Mariupol. Specifically, the barrier is between Olenivka, southeast of Donetsk, and Volnovakha, which is the junction station for the 78-kilometer (49-mile) branch line serving the port city of Mariupol, which Russian forces occupied in May 2022.

    The barrier is reportedly made up of over 2,000 former UZ cars found all over the region after it was occupied. There has been media speculation it may be the basis of a new Russian defense line; the front line is only 6 kilometers to the west, and the internationally recognised border between Ukraine and Russia is only around 40 kilometers to the east. The use of one track for this barrier on a double-track electrified line reduces capacity on what is the only Russian-controlled railway connecting Donetsk with occupied Crimea. While it may be a defensive line, it may also exist to make it harder for Ukrainian drone pilots to see trains moving on a line completely in range of Ukrainian artillery.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks for this link. The railcar barrier is fascinating (I wonder if it confuses robot drones?)

      This, too:

      UZ carried 25 million passengers in 2023, with a record 2.1 million travelling to the European Union.

      One wonders why…

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Governor Hochul proposes ending COVID-19 Sick Leave Law”

    Hochul is just channeling her inner Calvin Coolidge as in ‘The business of America is business.’ Of course she seems to have forgotten how New York was ground zero for the worse of the pandemic with bodies stacked up in vans but that was then and this is now. Look! Covid is as good as gone.

    1. Pat

      Oh she hasn’t forgotten. She wouldn’t be governor without it (sure it got shifted to sexual harassment but it was Covid deaths in nursing homes that really did Cuomo in).
      But Hochul during the time she has had any power has figured out that being a kept politician is the way to go. Her current owners want special Covid leave gone. It is on top of any other sick leave, and they don’t want to do that even.

      1. Late Introvert

        But am I wrong that NY state still has 40 hours (8×5, so 5 days) sick pay? Did I not read that? Even after you remove the C19 sick leave? I was jealous of that. CDC will get that down to one and done.

        1. Pat

          Believe me if she could find a way to jettison that she would even though there are some very big loopholes on it. Not only did it add to the leave, there were far fewer loopholes around the Covid leave. Business and school districts really hate it. (One of the reasons they needed the CDC to make a fool of themselves with the one day isolation recommendations.)

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Business and school districts really hate it

            If labor were not the source of all value, firms wouldn’t be trying to force people back to work, even at the cost of sickening and killing them.

            “Sure, take all the time you need to recover,” said no capitalist ever.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > sure it got shifted to sexual harassment but it was Covid deaths in nursing homes that really did Cuomo in

        Which nobody could admit at the time. And now of course it’s all erased. How convenient.

  21. John Beech

    Burning the candle at both ends recently so very late to 2PM Water Cooler, today. Anyway, article, 6 Rules for Actually Changing People’s Minds, was simply fantastic from my perspective. Thank you!

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