2:00PM Water Cooler 2/22/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I spent most of my time disentangling the issues of Trump’s “supersedeas bond” in the Engoron case. More soon, because unfortunately today there was a lot else going on!

Bird Song of the Day

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Inyo National Forest; near Horseshoe Campground, Kern, California, United States. “Bird was vocalizing from very top of medium sized Bristle-cone Pine tree…” For ten minutes! Grab a cup of coffee…

* * *


“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)

Engoron’s penalty seems so obviously excessive it could be grounds for appeal under the Eighth Amendment, 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.

* * *

About that $355 million (plus interest) fine, how Trump can raise it, and whether he must do that right away, alert reader Smith, M.J. commented:

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.

Let’s juxtapose that with this quote from Engoron’s ruling:

TheCourt hereby enjoins Donald Trump and the Trump Organization and its affiliates from applying for loans from any financial institution chartered by or registered with the New York State Department of Financial Services for a period of three years.

Other non-lawyers have opined that this would prevent Trump from getting a bond; I don’t think so, but let’s clear it up. So, we need to understand what a supersedeas (from Latin, “you must desist”) bond is (in the State of New York), whether Trump can apply one, and the likely amount Trump would have to deposit in escrow. But first a brief overview of the structure of the supersedeas bond business from a podcast by Butler Snow, “How to Get a Supersedeas Bond“:

We specialize in surety bonds. An interesting fact to the readers is surety bonds is a part of the insurance industry. It represents a very small fraction, which is about 1%. We further have a narrower focus than just surety bonds, which is specializing in supersedeas bonds. That’s a tinier sliver, representing about 2% of the surety industry. That’s our whole business. We work with attorneys throughout the country and all state and federal courts. … You’re a bond broker, is that right? That’s right. We represent 35 different surety companies. They’re essentially insurance companies in the industry that provide these types of bonds. Those companies range from household names like Liberty Mutual, Zurich, to more independent companies that are maybe smaller, privately owned, that may focus on that one product.

As you can imagine with a market structure like that, for reasons explained yesterday in two important links (here and here), search queries on supersedeas bonds are utterly polluted by SEO; it’s difficult to come up with anything besides brochureware and Wikipedia. So, not only IANAL, I can only do the best I can with what I can winkle out of the great mass of cruft. Corrections from people who are lawyers welcome! With that caveat–

What is a supersedeas bond? From Surety One’s brochureware, “New York Appeal Bond (Supersedeas Bond ~ New York)“:

An appeal bond is required of defendants and occasionally plaintiffs to a civil lawsuit when the appealing party wishes to stay collection of a judgment. A New York appeal bond, referenced in the New York C.V.P. as an “undertaking”, is the quickest way of staying the enforcement…. Although the statute does not so state the New York “undertaking” is also often referred to in some venues as a New York “supersedeas bond”. The bond is nonetheless the same thing, by ad different name. Sec. 2502, addresses the qualifications of sureties and the New York appeal bond form, to wit; (a) Surety; form of affidavit. Unless the court orders otherwise, surety shall be: 1.) an insurance company authorized to execute the undertaking within the state: AND, (d) a Notary Acknowledgment.

(In the sources I found, “supersedeas bond” and “appeal bond” were treated as synonymous. Note also that there are an awful lot of bond products, from bailbords to bonds for tradespeople. Probably each one of these verticals is regulated differently.) And:

Obtaining an appeal bond quote is simple and immediate. We require a only complete judicial bond application to offer a quote…. A New York appeal bond application submission is reviewed and responded to within one hour of receipt. We are the most agile surety bond underwriter in the United States.

(Not, quite possibly, for $355 million, however (although I suppose a really masterful broker could put together a sort of syndicate or flotilla, Dunkirk-style).

Investopedia gives the rationale:

An appeal bond, or supersedeas bond, is a payment that a court requires from an appellant who is awaiting the appeal of a judgment. The appeal bond is required as a sign of good faith that the judgment will be paid if the appellant loses, and to protect the winning party should the losing party go bankrupt during the appeals process.

The appeal bond is also used to limit frivolous attempts at an appeal, as the appellant still has to pay the judgment upfront in the form of a bond, and may end up paying more ultimately due to interest, fees, lawyers, etc.

Can Trump apply for a supersedeas bond? First, let’s put the general question of whether Trump can apply for a loan at all in context. From Raw Story:

“Since Judge Engoron’s decision, folks have assumed that Trump cannot borrow from any major bank,” [MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin] said. “That’s not the case, according to a finance friend.”

Rubin posted an image from the ruling, in which Engoron outlines the conclusions.

“The order prohibits borrowing from any institution chartered or registered with New York’s Department of Financial Services,” Rubin said. “And that’s not a long list.”…. “To be clear, I am not saying any federally-chartered bank, say, would or should loan to him,” she wrote on Saturday. “But the formal restrictions are not what some folks thought they were.”

This is a useful clarification, but not quite on point for this mini-post. What I did was find a surety bond firm licensed in all fifty states: Colonial Bonds & Insurance. Then I searched the New York State Department of Financial Services website (NYDFS) for that institution. It does not appear. I therefore conclude that the supersedeas bond line of business is not regulated by the NYDFS, and hence Engoron ruling does not forbid Trump from applying for a supersedeas bond.

How much would Trump have to put up? That would seem to be highly subjective (and I would imagine to a degree dependent on the client’s level of desperation). Butler Snow again:

A big part of what we end up working through with clients is understanding, first of all, what assets they have available. What their preferences are. Everybody’s different. You will have one client that may want to use a letter of credit and for another that would not be an ideal situation, even though they might have access to it, because maybe they have a borrowing capacity and they don’t want to impede that borrowing capacity. Stepping in each of those different categories and then also layering that in with the timeframe that they have to post this bond. While they may have a preference, they have to prioritize and make sure that their assets don’t get pursued under the judgment. There’s a combination of factors that have to be considered.

So, 10%? 100%? 100% plus future costs? Unknown. Investopedia:

The amount of money required for the bond is often the actual judgment plus interest and is held while the appeal is being debated.

NNA Surety:

While usually in the amount of the original judgment, the court could require the bond to be significantly larger. Such bonds are intended to cover the judgment, interest, court costs, and attorney’s fees incurred during the appeals process.

Some states have specific rules on the value of supersedeas bonds, like California, which requires them to be 150% of the judgment. In Florida, the amount of the bond may include two years of statutory interest and be limited to no more than $50 million per appellant. Texas requires the amount of the supersedeas bond to be equal to the judgment, interest, and court costs, but cannot exceed 50% of the judgment debtor’s net worth or $25 million, whichever is less.

I can’t find what New York requires. Readers?

I do think, however, that for an aggressive supersedeas bond firm, setting up Trump’s bond would be “the deal of the century.” Who wouldn’t want to be the J.P. Morgan of the surety bond trade? Of course, everybody’s got to eat….

* * *

“‘Who’s going to do that?’: Trump faces hurdles in securing appeal bond for fraud case” [NBC]. “Unless he wants to pay the entire penalty while his expected appeal is considered, Trump will need to post an appeal bond. This is typically up to 120% of the judgment plus the current interest. At that rate, Trump’s original ruling with interest would indicate he will need to secure a bond worth more than $540 million. But it’s unlikely that the real estate baron will be able to use his properties as collateral. It’s ‘not very attractive to take real estate as collateral,’ said Neil Pedersen, owner of New York-based surety bond agency Pedersen & Sons.” Meaning, Pederson has already started to dicker on price; as he should. More: “Those assets are not liquid, so if Trump loses the appeal, the process of converting them to cash could be difficult — perhaps even more so in a case that was centered around disputes about the value of Trump’s properties.” More: “Another complicating factor: Trump’s status as a presidential frontrunner…. ‘No one’s ever had to enforce an indemnity agreement against what could very well be the next U.S. president,’ he said.” • There is, of course, an enormous inverted pyramid of liberal Democrat triumphalism balanced on the tiny apex of this single story…..


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Master and Commander: The Biden Dogs Accused of Dozens of Additional Attacks at White House” [Jonathan Turley]. “We began our discussion of these incidents with Major, who continued to attack staff until the press finally reported on the complaints from staff. Only when it became a public embarrassment did the Bidens send Major to Delaware. Major was adopted in November 2018 from an animal shelter.” So the Bidens replace Major with Commander: “Commander is responsible for at least 24 attacks. The record shows not only a lack of concern by the Bidens for staff, but a bizarre litany of vicious German Shepherds in their care….. In one eight-day period, agents were bitten every day. Indeed, outside of the White House, the Biden dogs would qualify for strict liability under the common law as displaying a vicious disposition…. I have taught torts for three decades, including animal liability. In that time, I have never come across a case with such a long history of dog attacks from multiple animals in one family. There is no question that the Bidens would be strictly liable in these attacks, but have been allowed to escape such liability due to the fact that this is the official residence. Under the common law, the Bidens could claim that Major and Commander were entitled to ‘one free bite.’ They are well beyond that threshold.” • One vicious dog could be an unfortunate accident. Two, no. Major and Commander are vicious because the Bidens are vicious.

* * *

Republican Funhouse

“Mike Johnson invoked God in a GOP presentation on keeping the majority. It didn’t land well” [Politico]. Good. “Speaker Mike Johnson delivered a presentation at a weekend GOP retreat that — although it was billed as a map to keeping the House majority — took on a surprisingly religious tone, according to two people in the room. Johnson’s private remarks to a small group of Republican lawmakers at Miami’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel over the weekend alarmed both people, who addressed the speech on condition of anonymity. Rather than outlining a specific plan to hold and grow the majority, these people said, Johnson effectively delivered a sermon. The Louisiana Republican showed slides to the members of his Elected Leadership Committee (ELC) team in a bid to tout the party’s prospects of hanging onto its two-seat majority in November. Johnson, a devout Christian, attempted to rally the group by discussing moral decline in America — focusing on declining church membership and the nation’s shrinking religious identity, according to both people in the room. The speaker contended that when one doesn’t have God in their life, the government or ‘state’ will become their guide, referring back to Bible verses, both people said. They added that the approach fell flat among some in the room. ‘I’m not at church,’ one of the people said, describing Johnson’s presentation as ‘horrible.'”

“Why are Republicans leaving Congress?” [The Week]. “Some of Congress’ most experienced Republicans are headed for the exits. The 118th Congress has been ‘dominated by deep dysfunction and bitter divisions’ among House Republicans, CNN said. Rather than stick out the chaos, members of the GOP’s ‘governing wing’ are increasingly deciding to leave — nearly two dozen are either resigning outright or won’t seek reelection. This is leading to concerns of ‘brain drain’ among the party faithful. ‘They’ve signed up to do serious things,’ said Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who is also leaving. ‘And we’re not doing serious things.’ The departures include three committee chairs who announced their exits within a few days last week, The Associated Press said. For some observers, the departures are a sign the GOP’s House majority may be lost in November. ‘Who wants to finish your career here in the minority?’ asked Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.).”

Democrats en Déshabillé

Never say Democrats can’t turn on a dime:


“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!

* * *

Immune Dysregulation

“Spike toxicity/SARS CoV 2 viral persistence and its role in Long COVID.” [The Chris Cuomo Project]. • Good to see the pickup, but for paid subscribers only. Sigh.


I hate chasing variants, but:


“Spontaneous, persistent, T cell–dependent IFN-γ release in patients who progress to Long Covid” [Science]. From the Abstract: “We detected persistently high levels of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with Long Covid using highly sensitive FluoroSpot assays. This IFN-γ release was seen in the absence of ex vivo peptide stimulation and remains persistently elevated in patients with Long Covid, unlike the resolution seen in patients recovering from acute SARS-CoV-2 infection…. Our study highlights a potential mechanism underlying Long Covid, enabling the search for biomarkers and therapeutics in patients with Long Covid.” • The biomarkers that the NIH spent a billion dollars explicitly not looking for.

“Cardiovascular disease as part of Long COVID: A systematic review” [European Journal of Preventive Cardiology]. Meta. From the Discussion: “Our systematic review confirms that chest pain, palpitations, dyspnoea and syncope are the most commonly reported symptoms among patients with Long COVID syndrome. … Long COVID has also been implicated in the development of new onset CV diseases in subjects without pre-existing co-morbidities… Furthermore, Long COVID may have a direct impact on the myocardium.”

Of course, these Redditors are getting no help whatever from the public health establishment:

Elite Maleficence

“Joe Biden Fundraiser Co-Hosts Haim Saban And Casey Wasserman Test Positive For Covid; Will Miss L.A. Event — Exclusive” [Deadline]. Biden’s life is much more valuable than yours: “Haim Saban and Casey Wasserman each tested positive for Covid ahead of tonight’s event, forcing them to miss the event, multiple sources told Deadline. The White House still has strict testing protocols in place for anyone who comes in close contact with the president.” • They know; they just don’t want you to know.

Second verse, same as the first:

They know; they just don’t want you to know.

* * *

“CDC advisory committee meeting on public health issues” [Alexander Tin’s notes, GitHub]. Various:

[KATE WOLFF:] And as Mandy discussed this morning, really looking at the next chapter of moving forward to be that strong foundational base of operational excellence across CDC, that will help us really succeed in the priority areas that we’ve identified as an agency.

Good to see CDC staff on a first-name basis with America’s #1 superspreading smiling face. Wolff is CDC’s chief of staff. She doesn’t mask either (and from her bio, she’s been handling political hot potatoes instead of focusing on public health). More:

[KATE WOLFF:] Our website has hundreds of hundreds of thousands of webpages on it. And we have been working really hard to go through every single one of those to make sure that the information that we have available to the public is useful and meaningful and appropriate for that audience.

We are relaunching our website here this spring. And so we’ll keep you all posted as those websites get updated, but we’re expecting that we’ll have a reduction of at least 64% of our current content as part of this process, and to no raise any alarm, we are archiving everything, so we will still have everything available.

And so we can go find anything that we would need, but at least, we expect that this will really enhance the usability of our website for a broad public.

It will be interesting to see how closely Cohen and Wolf reflect HICPAC’s desire to gut patient protections against airborne illness, and whether they go beyond deprecating non-pharmaceutical intervention in their own personal practices and workplace, and craft the website to suppress them. Tin’s notes reflect no awareness of the issues of airborne viruses whatever, and include no self-reflection on CDC’s Covid response.

A good question:

Naked Capitalism would welcome anything CDC whistleblowers want to throw over the transom. We’ve give whistleblowers a platform for their material before, during the financial crisis.

* * *

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 17
New York[5] New York State, data February 20: National [6] CDC February 10:
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 in slope, 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

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the US sank by 12,000 to 201,000 on the week ending February 17th, well below market expectations of 218,000, to mark the lowest claim count since the 16-month low of 189,000 recorded five weeks prior. Additionally, continuing claims fell by 27,000 to 1,862,000 in the earlier period, undershooting expectations of 1,885,000, suggesting that unemployed individuals are having an easier time in finding suitable jobs. The data added to the strong jobs report from January to underscore historical tightness in the US labor market, adding leeway for the Federal Reserve to hold rates higher should inflation remain high.”

National Activity: “United States Chicago Fed National Activity Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago Fed National Activity Index decreased to -0.30 in January 2024, from a revised 0.02 in the prior month, indicating activity contracted during the month. Three of the four broad categories of indicators used to construct the index decreased from December, and three categories made negative contributions in January.”

* * *

Finance: “Bad property debt exceeds reserves at largest US banks” [Financial Times]. “Bad commercial real estate loans have overtaken loss reserves at the biggest US banks after a sharp increase in late payments linked to offices, shopping centres and other properties. The average reserves at JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have fallen from $1.60 to 90 cents for every dollar of commercial real estate debt on which a borrower is at least 30 days late, according to filings to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The sharp deterioration took place in the last year after delinquent commercial property debt for the six big banks nearly tripled to $9.3bn. Michael Barr, who oversees bank supervision at the US Federal Reserve, said on Friday that regulators ‘have been closely focused on banks’ CRE lending’, including ‘how they are reporting their risk’ internally and whether they ‘provision appropriately and have sufficient capital to buffer against potential future CRE loan losses’. Across the wider US banking sector the value of delinquent loans tied to offices, malls, apartments and other commercial properties more than doubled last year to $24.3bn, up from $11.2bn the year before.” • That’s not very much, unless it’s levered up, and there’s no indicator it is. CRE mavens in the readership?

The Bezzle: “Exclusive: Reddit in AI content licensing deal with Google” [Reuters]. • Hence, I would speculate, the moderator purge. The enshittification of Reddit proceeds apace.

Tech: “Google apologizes for ‘missing the mark’ after Gemini generated racially diverse Nazis” [The Verge]. “Google has apologized for what it describes as “inaccuracies in some historical image generation depictions” with its Gemini AI tool, saying its attempts at creating a “wide range” of results missed the mark. The statement follows criticism that it depicted specific white figures (like the US Founding Fathers) or groups like Nazi-era German soldiers as people of color, possibly as an overcorrection to long-standing racial bias problems in AI…. And while a query for pictures of ‘the Founding Fathers’ returned group shots of almost exclusively white men who vaguely resembled real figures like Thomas Jefferson, a request for ‘a US senator from the 1800s’ returned a list of results Gemini promoted as ‘diverse,’ including what appeared to be Black and Native American women. (The first female senator, a white woman, served in 1922.) It’s a response that ends up erasing a real history of race and gender discrimination —”inaccuracy,” as Google puts it, is about right.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 78 Extreme Greed (previous close: 69 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 79 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 22 at 1:41:07 PM ET.

Public Health

“Another pandemic an ‘absolute certainty’, WHO chief warns on visit to Dublin” [Irish Times]. “Another pandemic is an ‘absolute certainty’ for which Ireland and other countries need to prepare, the World Health Organisation’s senior official in Europe has warned during a visit here. ‘We just don’t know when or where it will emerge,’ said Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe. ‘The emergence of novel infectious diseases is a natural condition of living on the planet. Modernity and globalisation [natural, you say] have only sped up the processes whereby they can travel around the world at breakneck speed, as we saw with Covid-19, and will see again,’ he said. The world would have learned nothing from the Covid-19 pandemic if it did not invest in preparedness for future health shocks, he told The Irish Times in an interview.” • I agree. It would be nice if WHO had not completely discredited itself on masking and airborne transmission during the current pandemic (with all those who butchered their tasks so badly still in power).

“The WHO Disease Outbreak News during the Covid-19 pandemic” (preprint) [medRxiv]. “[T]he most frequently used outlet (and the only official public record of outbreak

history curated by the WHO) is the Disease Outbreak News (DON), an online resource that has been curated since 1996 and captures thousands of outbreak reports from around the world. Reports in the DON frequently capture the outbreak location, the causative agent (if known) or symptomology, and other critical information, such as case counts, details on response efforts, or WHO guidance. Between January 1996 and December 2019, a total of 2,789 reports were published in the DON, capturing developments in major epidemics like the 2014 West African Ebola epidemic, unusual events detected by syndromic surveillance, and everything in-between. The DON is generally understood to be an incomplete record of infectious disease outbreaks: the diseases and countries that are represented have shifted through time, reflecting not just the global history of outbreaks, but also the priorities of the WHO and the concerns of Member States. … Reports related to the Covid-19 pandemic accounted for a small proportion (3%) of total outbreak reporting between 2020 and 2023: only 9 reports were published related to Covid-19, all in 2020. An initial cluster of five reports were published between January 5, 2020 and January 17, 2020…. Covid-19 did not reappear in the Disease Outbreak News again until November 6, 2020…. ” And: The most interesting cases may be where WHO breaks from this established process: for example, the Alpha and Beta variants of Covid-19 were recorded in the DON, but the Omicron variant, which not only had a higher impact on human health, but also led to more significant international disruptions of travel and trade, was not.” • “Reflects” “the priorities of the WHO and the concerns of Member States,” eh?

* * *

“Florida official defers to parents on if kids should return to school amid measles cluster” [Miami Herald]. “Although measles is highly contagious among those lacking immunity, [Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo} released a statement Tuesday night saying the Florida Department of Health is deferring to parents and guardians to choose if their children are safe to keep going to classes in the face of what health officials are calling a ‘cluster of measles cases’ at the school…. Ladapo cited the ‘high immunity rate in the community’ and ‘the burden on families and educational cost of healthy children missing school’ as his reasons for making the recommendation.” • Commentary:



Zeitgeist Watch

“LE SSERAFIM Members Talk New Mini-Album Easy & Coachella 2024 Plans” [Teen Vogue]. “… incursions into Latin pop and reggaeton with “Fire in the belly” and “ANTIFRAGILE“… the white swan, black swan concept… ” • Can somebody please explain to me how and why Taleb memes have infiltrated K-Pop? I mean, one doesn’t hear Taylor Swift singing about fat tails, amiright or amiright?

Class Warfare

“Ford’s Battery Flagship Socked by Mold Sickness, Workers Say” [Labor Notes]. “Last fall, Dugan was one of thousands of union construction workers to arrive in small-town Glendale, Kentucky, to build a vast factory for Ford and SK On, a South Korean company. The plant, when completed, will make batteries for nearly a million electric pickup trucks each year. When Dugan walked in, huge wooden boxes containing battery-making machines, largely shipped from overseas, were laid across the mile-long factory floor. Black streaks on those wooden boxes, plus the smell, immediately raised alarm bells for workers. But for months, those concerns were met with little remedy from the contractors hired by BlueOval to oversee construction. Dugan and scores of others now believe they are in the midst of a health crisis at the site. ‘We don’t get sick pay,’ Dugan said. ‘You’re sick, you’re out of luck.’ The BlueOval SK Battery Park, billed to open in 2025, is a banner project for President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, a program of public subsidies and financing to companies moving away from fossil fuels. The Department of Energy has pledged to support the construction of three BlueOval plants in Tennessee and Kentucky with a $9.2 billion low-cost loan. But under all the high-tech green fanfare, several construction workers, including some who wished to be anonymous, say the site has been gripped by mold and respiratory illness—medieval hazards that workers feel managers neglected in the pressure to quickly open the plant.” • Amazing. The Biden Administration gave no thought to air quality in the workplace. Hard to believe, I know!

“Performative Contexts” [nonsite.org]. Holy Lord, did the deconstructionists wreak havoc. “What the analysis of context as performative utterance brings out is the way that both relations of force and relations of meaning are at work in acts of contextualization. These acts produce effects in the material world, but they also function as vehicles for intentional meaning.”

News of the Wired

“The mystery of the garage” [Strange Loop Canon]. “Philo Farnsworth, of television fame, did much of his early experiments in a lab set up in his garage. Lego got its start as a toy company, where Ole Christiansen started building wooden toys in his carpentry workshop…. I don’t know why it is that garages became those spaces so perfectly conducive to outsized innovation origin stories. They are the successor to the old days of crazy innovation, of tinkering on a hydroplane with your fortune and a twinkle in your eye. But I do know we ought to find an answer to how we can create more such spaces, and encourage following the kind of passion that leads people to want to spend all their time tinkering on a problem, and try our damnedest to not let overthinking destroy it at the most nascent stages.”

“Did fermented foods fuel brain growth?” [Harvard Gazette]. “‘Brain tissue is metabolically expensive,’ said [Erin] Hecht, an assistant professor of human evolutionary biology. “It requires a lot of calories to keep it running, and in most animals, having enough energy just to survive is a constant problem.’ … For the larger-brained Australopithecus to survive, therefore, something must have changed in their diet. Theories put forward have included changes in what they consumed or, most popularly, that the discovery of cooking gave them more usable calories from whatever they ate. The problem with this theory is that the earliest evidence places the use of fire at approximately 1.5 million years ago — significantly later than the development of the hominid brain. ‘Our ancestors’ cranial capacity began increasing 2.5 million years ago, which conservatively gives us about a 1-million-year gap in the timeline between brain size increasing and the possible emergence of cooking technology,’ said Katherine L. Bryant… ‘Whatever changed in their diets had to have happened before brains started getting bigger,’ said Hecht, who also noted that during the last few years researchers have postulated other options, such as the consumption of rotting meat. In the new paper, she and her team offer a different hypothesis: that cached (or saved) food fermented, and that this ‘pre-digested’ food provided a more accessible form of nourishment, fueling that bigger brain and allowing our ancestors to survive and thrive through natural selection.” • Hmm. Honey, too, so fermented drink?

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JM writes: “I don’t even know what this is, but it was growing next to the thrift store parking lot, and it was so striking.” Readers?

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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. Camelotkidd

    “One vicious dog could be an unfortunate accident. Two, no. Major and Commander are vicious because the Bidens are vicious.”
    Shepherds are incredibly empathic

    1. Carolinian

      Hitler liked German Shepherds. Nuff said. I believe I’ve read that Trump is dog phobic.

      So if we are trying to avoid the new Hitler what’s the takeaway here? ;)

      1. Carolinian

        BTW that Turley is worth reading in full.

        Then a book came out that detailed these attacks and the President himself seemed to attack an agent.

        The book, “The Fight of His Life,” by author Chris Whipple details Biden’s continued mistrust of the Secret Service and his alleged avoidance of saying anything in front of agents. Biden has long had tense relations with the Secret Service, particularly after female agents complained about his exposing himself to them by insisting on swimming in the nude.

        The book claims that Biden has his own “deep state” conspiracy theories. Biden reportedly views the Secret Service as essentially the enemy within, suggesting that it is populated by “MAGA sympathizers” due to the fact that the service “is full of white ex-cops from the South who tend to be deeply conservative.”

        You can’t make this stuff up.

        1. Lee

          Secret Service as Praetorian Guard, the pointy end of the spear on behalf of the deep state or the anti-deep state. Hopefully, these palace intrigues will not be the death of us.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Doesn’t stop him trying to put blatant moves on their wives and partners at social events however and one time he almost got into a fight with a SS agent for being such a creep to the guy’s partner.

          1. JBird4049

            American presidents and candidates have a tendency for lead poisoning. Five dead and at least six attempts with three injured.

            Making the people who are supposed to risk their lives to keep you alive angry seems… really stupid.

            1. Pat

              Arrogant as well. And arrogant and stupid are two major descriptions of Joe Biden. Along with feral and corrupt.

      2. nippersmom

        My GSD dog was on of the sweetest animals I’ve ever know.

        I don’t find breed discrimination humorous; too many animals (especially, in recent years, bully breeds) have lost their lives because of it.

        1. c_heale

          Unfortunately a lot of dog owners seem to be blind to the danger dogs can pose to other people. A lot of the bully breeds have been bred for fighting and aggression.

        2. Carolinian

          There are no bad dogs only bad owners. But obviously some breeds more people friendly than others.

          And by all accounts Hitler loved Blondi even if he did end up trying the cyanide on her. Didn’t mean to offend with my lame jokes. I’m very much a dog person.

    2. The Rev Kev

      German Shepherds are not vicious by nature as a breed but have to be made that way. We had a German Shepherd that we tried to home with the NSW Police Dog Squad but was refused as they could not make him aggressive. And over the years we have seen photos of other young German Shepherds refused for the same reason. Major and Commander reflect their master for sure.

      1. Wukchumni

        Had a friend with a German Shepherd that had been trained to attack someone if a certain German word was uttered by it’s master…

        I wonder what Genocide Joe’s word was?

      2. jax

        For heaven’s sake, German Shepherds were bred as herding dogs. They are inherently good natured and more than a little bit goofy. Fiercely loyal to their family. It’s rare to see a GS pick one family member and ignore the rest. That they’ve become much of the western world’s military and police dogs is a testament to their intelligence and yes, again, loyalty. The Belgian Malinois, also bred as a herder, is now competing with the GS for top military dog. One reason for this is that the Mals were rarely bred as pets, while during the 1950’s German Shepherds were among the most popular breeds for families. I had German Shepherds as a kid and if I wasn’t old af I’d have another one.

        1. AndrewJ

          They’re the current Hot Dog for anyone that wants a furry accessory for their AR-15. GSDs played that role until popularity caused inbreeding and most of them have hip and spine issues. That’ll happen to Mals too. Just like Rottweilers before either of them.
          Malinois-based social media is a scary place, full of people itching for an excuse to sic their very own military dog on some human being.
          I knew a vet that loved every dog, except that breed.

            1. AndrewJ

              A Canadian city banned pitbulls. Ten years later, dog attack numbers hadn’t changed, but the breeds involved sure did – pit bulls were no longer in the top 10.
              It’s not the breed, it’s the owners. Pits are tough dogs, good at fighting bears, bulls and other dogs because that’s what they’re bred to do, but they’re also cheap because they’re unwanted by all but the lower classes (and those with exquisite taste in canine companions). So they end up in the hands of owners who want an aggressive junkyard dog, or people who don’t have the time, brains, empathy, or capability to train any dog.
              Malinois, on the other hand, those dogs these days are bred to look at humans as targets.

      3. LawnDart

        So my father’s Chihuahua-Corgi mix (Princess Choo-Choo) tried to hump a 2-3 y.o. male German Sheppard. Choo’s a female, definately not confused (she’s fixed, but still likes to f*** for sport (with dogs her size)), so it was obviously a dominance-thing. The GS (a HUGE dog– an easy 120-130 lbs) was taken aback for a moment, then seemed to say to himself, “Oh! She wants to PLAY!!!”

        Game on.

        And, deservedly so, she then got her little doggie butt chased around and around by the sheppard for the next several minutes. With him being at least 10x her size, there was no getting away for Choo: she got pawed, mawed, and absolutely coated with doggie-slobber from snout to tail. Princess Choo-Choo looked at me pleadingly several times, and me, being the pet-sitter that I am, decided it was a perfect Kodak moment: Choo-Choo becomes Chew-Toy.

        She was fortunate that the German Sheppard had a great disposition– and me too (I guess), as I didn’t need to search the local animal shelters trying to find a look-alike that I could present to my father as “his” dog (the guy’s got dementia, so finding a stand-in probably wouldn’t be too terribly difficult to pull-off).

        Choo-Choo’s actually a very sweet dog, and I’m not a little-dog person. She absolutely loves everyone– loves getting pets and attention, loves hanging-out in bars and jumping from barstool to barstool and from lap to lap, and jumping into stranger’s cars… As far as I know, I’m the only person that she’s ever bitten (it was during remedial potty-training– if you know, you know). She’s the first dog that my father has owned that was not a complete neurotic asshole. While personable and affectionate, she is kinda dumb– I’ve got the stories to tell and the pictures to prove it. But she and her antics are kinda amusing, and she handles motorcycle-rides pretty well, so there’s that.

        1. Pat

          Princess Choo Choo sounds like a winner. And probably a great companion for your uncle.

          And while I do think an individual dog here and there can be broken from birth, I am also of the belief that except for those few exceptions bad dogs are the results of people mistakes as in training, abuse, not understanding the dogs needs, etc. It isn’t the German shepherds that should be blamed here individually or as a breed.

          And if you have a history of multiple dogs with similar issues YOU are the problem.

          1. LawnDart

            I agree. An angry, fearful, or mean dog-owner will have an a dog that is the same– the dogs seem to mirror and amplify the owner’s emotions and state of mind.

    3. ChrisPacific

      Author reaches the same conclusion, although it’s buried at the end of the article:

      It also raises questions of whether this family should have dogs. If there was just one dog, it could be discounted as a problem pet. The Bidens how have multiple dogs which developed the same vicious propensity.

      If these attacks were litigated, I have little doubt that the Bidens would be held liable if they were an average family. Indeed, I would expect a court to seriously consider an order barring the possession of dogs in the future or requiring training classes not only for the dogs but for the Bidens.

  2. Mark Bennedetti

    Garages: “But I do know we ought to find an answer to how we can create more such spaces.” Flip it. Too many garages are now turned into housing.


    The 2 bedroom house across the street from us, built in the mid 1950s, has at least 15 people living in it. The garage is a living unit with five different people using the door on the side of it to enter and exit other than those using the main door. The driveway is now a living unit with a decaying Dolphin camper parked on it. Power lines connect it to garage. Lawn is a parking lot as is the street up and down the block. No one pulls out until one of their friends is ready to pull in.
    Gave some toys to one of the little kids playing in the street who lives there. Asked her who mommy and daddy were. “Mi primos.” [cousins]

    1. JBird4049

      Sounds like the turn of the century with the Dot Com Boom. I lived next door to some apartment buildings that were like that. What fun.

    1. LaRuse

      Very interesting. I went to the Wiki (I know, sorry!) page on lablab and under medicinal use, it says:

      Taiwanese research found that a carbohydrate-binding protein (i.e. a legume lectin) from lablab beans effectively blocks the infections of influenza viruses and SARS-CoV-2.

      A gorgeous plant, and useful, too!

  3. Will Short

    FYI…Latest ‘”Harper’s” has side column with results of AI describing, in this example, “New Yorker” cartoons.
    Read and see for yourselves. Laugh away. Time to haul out old meme, “He [AI] never could tell a joke.”

  4. ChrisFromGA

    The House is adjourned until next week (28th) has 3 days to put together something like 7 appropriations bills before we get gub shutdown XXV (who’s counting?)

    Well the House is adjournin’ don’t bother yearning
    Well the House is adjournin’ don’t bother yearning
    Well the House is adjournin’ can’t bank your government cheese

    Kick off your shoes start losin’ the blues
    This old House it’s got nothin’ to move
    Might be shutdown all year, start spreadin’ the news
    There’s no bills on the floor, come on baby shake your fiscal caboose

    Well the House is adjournin’ don’t bother yearning
    Well the House is adjournin’ don’t bother yearning
    Well the House is adjournin’ can’t bank your government cheese

    Walkin’ down K-Street, you can hear the sound
    Of some war profiteers really layin’ it down
    They’ve been killing for years, and got nothin’ to lose
    So get out in the press, spin and wail ’til you shake Johnson loose

    Well the House is adjournin’ don’t bother yearning
    Well the House is adjournin’ don’t bother yearning
    Well the House is adjourning, can’t bank your government cheese
    I said the House is adjournin’ don’t bother beggin’ for Zee


  5. digi_owl

    “The mystery of the garage”

    Garages may well be overrated. It is just a convenient place to set up small scale production once all the other pieces are in place. Woz, working at HP, had what would become the Apple 1 as a paper project for years. The one thing he was missing was a CPU he could afford.

    Keep in mind Woz never intended it to be a product. That was Jobs’ “contribution” after seeing the reaction the computer club had when Woz showed off his original.

    Garages are just a convenient place to set up shop once the thinking and planning are done and the time for testing commence.

    1. Rory

      Medtronic, now world-wide and headquartered in Ireland (for tax reasons, I think), got its start in a garage in Minneapolis owned by the family of Palmer Hermundslie, co-founder Earl Bakken’s brother-in-law.

    2. Jeff V

      I’m currently reading Seeing Things, the autobiography of British Children’s TV legend Oliver Postgate (Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, Clangers and Bagpuss, among others).

      He did all his stop-animation film work in a converted cowshed. Maybe because garages weren’t as common in the 1950s / 60s.

      It’s a great book so far. My favourite bit is when he has a chat with a British trade union rep. They were famously militant in those days, and by doing his own construction, electrics, filming, sound etc. he was breaking numerous union rules.

      Trade Union Rep “Don’t worry about it. Nobody else would do what you’re doing, and we love the TV programs you put out. We’ve put you in your own category.”

      Postgate “What category is that?”

      Trade Union Rep “Madmen!”

  6. JBird4049

    >>>One vicious dog could be an unfortunate accident. Two, no. Major and Commander are vicious because the Bidens are vicious.

    Dogs and other animals do not attack others for the joy of it, but abused animals often do because of past experience, much like humans they can get extremely defensive. Also, dogs usually obey their owner as well especially if the man is angry. Of course, some dogs will attack someone if they perceive the victim is a threat to the owner, perhaps by the owner being mad as most dogs will defend their family or pack from danger. They can interpret that anger to mean a threat.

    My uninformed guess is that the dogs are being abused themselves, ignored, which is a form of abuse, or the Bidens have serious anger issues. But really, treat most any dog well, give a little training and guidance, and they will be fine. It hardly take anything, but a little time, learning how to communicate with the dog as they want to be good. There are a very few exceptions, but really not. I think that the Bidens just do not care. It meets my personal view of evil, actually.

    1. nycTerrierist

      good comment — also stunning, given the stakes, noone saw fit to hire a dog trainer/minder

      how irresponsible and cruel (to animals and bitees)

      the Bidens should not be trusted with dogs, or any other pets in the future

      1. JBird4049

        >>>the Bidens should not be trusted with dogs, or any other pets in the future

        But they are entrusted with us.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      My first thought is that the dogs attacked based on Bidens body language whenever people would come near him that Biden forgot he knew. Basically the dogs are picking up on stranger danger.

  7. Neutrino

    Now that King Charles has been spotted near that air device, next might we see a warrant to Dyson or some other manufacturer as a preferred purveyor to royals? That could turbocharge sales to the masses. ;)

    1. The Rev Kev

      What’s the bet that that photographer did not know what it was or even cared. Am surprised that the minders did not tell the photographer to hide that device behind Sunak sitting in his chair.

  8. antidlc

    Just released:

    Ziyad Al-Aly and Eric Topol
    Solving the puzzle of Long Covid
    Long Covid provides an opportunity to understand how acute infections cause chronic disease

    More than 4 years into the global COVID-19 pandemic, widespread infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) has left millions of people around the world with Long Covid, which describes the constellation of post-acute and long-term adverse health effects caused by the infection. Evidence generated by the scientific community—with formidable contributions from patient-led research teams—has provided a thorough understanding of the epidemiology and clinical manifestations of Long Covid. Understanding the biologic underpinnings of this disease is also improving, along with evidence that vaccination and antivirals can help prevent it. Yet despite this progress, prevention efforts have stalled, there is uncertainty about governments’ long-term commitment to address research needs in this area, and there has yet to be a treatment option validated with randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

  9. antidlc

    Long Covid Awareness Demonstration at Lincoln Memorial on March 15, 2024 Demands Action-


    People with Long Covid and Advocates Call on U.S. Government for Immediate Critical Changes in Preventing, Researching, and Treating Long Covid.

    Date & Location: March 15, 2024, Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. at 10:30 am

  10. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added orts and scraps, heavy on Covid today (since I gave so much attention to Trump’s travails). And that beat is metastasizing, as measles and who knows what else attack our collectively weakened (sabotaged?) immunity. I had maybe thirty tabs I just couldn’t get to, and that’s before campaign 2024….

  11. Skip Intro

    Wasn’t there a theory that the reason nomadic lifestyles fell out of favor was not agriculture per se, but the need to be settled long enough to produce alcoholic drinks? Presumably this happened a million or so years after the brains got big.

  12. Wilhemina

    About those Southern California floods and climate changed:

    Frankenweather~In their own words:
    Cloud Seeding Targeted Areas

    The pilot program was designed to be implemented in four distinct mountain regions in the watershed. These areas were selected based on their contribution to seasonal runoff. SAWPA has analyzed multiple storm events in the watershed over a number of winter seasons and compiled a detailed climatology of the Santa Ana River Watershed region. From this, SAWPA has developed an array of seeding sites for the watershed’s four target areas, which then would be seeded by the 15 ground seeding locations in the pilot program.


    So, who do flood victims sue? Or, should they just deduct damages from future property taxes to the sponsoring agencies?

  13. IM Doc

    That plant is a purple pea –
    Not sure exactly which kind –

    The pods are gorgeous – and the flowers in the spring look like orchids.

    1. CA


      February 22, 2024

      N.Y. Attorney General Urges Stricter Warnings for Asthma Drug
      The A.G., Letitia James, called on the F.D.A. to redouble efforts to alert doctors about potential side effects of Singulair and to consider discouraging use of the drug in children.
      By Christina Jewett and Benjamin Mueller

      The New York attorney general on Thursday urged the Food and Drug Administration to “take immediate action” and renew alerts to doctors and patients about the dangerous effects of Singulair for children, saying that the current warnings about the drug’s psychiatric side effects were not sufficient.

      In a letter, the attorney general, Letitia James, also called on the federal agency to consider discouraging the prescription of Singulair, an asthma and allergy drug, to children.

      Thousands of patients and parents have complained to the F.D.A. about symptoms of anxiety, rage, hallucinations and other psychiatric problems that they linked to the drug, which is also known in its generic form as montelukast. Those reports, combined with an emotional F.D.A. hearing in 2019 and cases cited in medical literature, led the F.D.A. in 2020 to order its most stringent warning on instructions for the drug’s usage.

      But an examination by The New York Times found that people continued to report that they were not aware of the possible side effects, which include suicide or suicide attempts, when they took the medication or gave it to their children….

  14. flora

    Turley on excessive fines and the NY law on appeal bonds.

    “Nothing Succeeds Like Excess”: New York’s Perverse Incentive in Pricing Trump Out of an Appeal


    From Turley’s article:

    “On ABC, New York Attorney General Letitia James declared “If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek judgment enforcement mechanisms in court, and we will ask the judge to seize his assets.” She added menacingly “yes, I look at 40 Wall Street each and every day.” It is a curious legal system where defendants can be priced out of appeals. “

    1. Ranger Rick

      There’s something vaguely due-process-denial about the whole thing. They pre-emptively prevented an appeal by legally restricting him from getting the money to do so? How is that even possible?

      1. albrt

        The appeal isn’t prevented, but they are allowed to seize his assets in the mean time. In theory the state would have to give everything back if he wins the appeal.

      2. griffen

        They threw everything and the proverbial kitchen sink. Hard to find the rationale to pin this outcome onto any real estate organization let alone the one with Trump in the headline.

        Asking for a friend…but what is the precedent set by the Holder AG tenure to pass excessive “fines” onto Wall Street firms for all manner of chicanery during and after the GFC era? You know, firms like a Citigroup continued as a going concern. And individuals were harmed then, by fraudulent actions and also inaction. Anyone recall the HAMP program?

        This AG James and the judge, well I wouldn’t trust them in the People’s Court. This may well be within the laws of New York but it just seems so very egregious. Welcome to our banana republic.

  15. Hepativore

    So, I take it that it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that Assange’s extradition is going to be approved? There is no way that the UK government would want to risk having a Five-Eyes relations falling-out over somebody like Assange. Also the US has already demonstrated several times over in Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere that it does not care what international law says, the world community thinks or even what its own citizens want, it will do what its elite class wants it to do regardless of the resulting outcry.

    So, is there really much difference between the US presidency and an elective monarchy at this point? The president cannot be recalled by the populace, and Congress might as well be a US version of the House of Lords for how little the welfare or opinions of the US citizenry matters to them.

    1. Vicky Cookies

      The Senate was intended to be a House of Lords. It was not popularly elected until 1913; explicit in sources like the Federalist papers wherein the first American ruling class is hammering out how to protect itself from the people it aspired to rule over are the reasons for this: can’t have poor people (the great unwashed, the masses, pick your epithet) having any influence over Our Democracy. A labyrinth of modern electoral and procedural tricks, along with the media circus, the version of politics projected on the curtain behind which policy is formed and carried out, are the current manifestations of this same belief in, essentially, a right to rule based on class, without interference from the subjects.

      If it could be done quietly, in a way which does not embarrass key people, Assange could be freed. Practically, it’s as simple as dropping the charges. Politically, who is it at the top of decision-making structures who hates him so much? Speculating here, but I think it’s Hillary. Then there are the unelected, the ‘deep state’ if you will, who probably feel affronted at the very suggestion that war crimes ought to be known about, or that the public in general should be allowed to see anything but the clown show.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Senate was meant to promote state house leaders who would have engaged in actual governing. A common criticism of direct elections was demagogues would get in versus people who had demonstrated fitness.

        1. Vicky Cookies

          Having the Senate appointed by the House, as it was for over a century, could be seen as promoting legislative competence, but I would ask: to whom, and for whom?

          I’ll admit to going back and forth between democratic and elitist/technocratic beliefs, because of engaging with the current electorate. But the inequality of ownership which leads to broad ignorance and incompetence, as well as the same features existing in those who were born with these privileges, sympathize me with efforts for democratization.

          What the hell is a demagogue, anyways? Who gets to decide who is using popular outrage at miserable conditions to gain power, instead of it being seen as a legitimate expression of that misery?

          1. eg

            To your last question I suppose the proof of the pudding is in the eating: a legitimate expression should result in policy and legislation addressing the miserable conditions; a demagogue couldn’t be ersed.

            But to your point it cannot be known in advance.

          2. Leftcoastindie

            If I remember correctly, Senators were appointed by the states governors not the House of Representatives.

            1. scott s.

              Governors could and can appoint Senators to vacancies pending an election. State laws varied on how the legislatures elected Senators. The XVIIth was ratified because state legislators came to see their election as a proxy for the party’s Senator candidate. Think back to Lincoln/Douglas debates that were nominally about electing state legislators to the fall state elections. Also note that 58 was a “deal” among IL Rs that Lyman Trumbull would get Lincoln’s votes in 1856 to ensure defeat of Shields and in turn Lincoln would be “the man” in 58. The key being the role played by “anti-Nebraska” democrats. (So internal state issues had little or no effect in 56).

  16. Phenix

    About measles

    Among cases reported in the U.S. between 1985 and 1992, death occurred in only 0.2% of cases. Per wikipedia

    Measles is not a dangerous virus. It is dangerous in severely malnourished children. Florida school children do not fall into this category. The unspoken issue with the measles is that kids must stay home and their caregiver must stay home with them. In today’s society that means mom or dad must miss work and that simply won’t work in our neo-liberal dystopian nightmare.

    They could also manufacturer a stand alone measles vaccine with out adjuvants like aluminum a known nuerol toxin.

    1. c_heale

      There are increasing numbers of malnourished children, due to both poor diets – fast food, and increasing poverty.

      Measles is a dangerous disease. I quote from Wikipedia –

      “In underdeveloped nations with high rates of malnutrition and poor healthcare, fatality rates have been as high as 28%”


      “Even in previously healthy children, measles can cause serious illness requiring hospitalization.”

    2. CA

      “Measles is not a dangerous virus…”

      This is a dangerously incorrect comment all through; dangerously incorrect.

    3. Vicky Cookies

      Yours and the comments replying to it supply valuable perspective. Yours mainly for pointing out the obvious function of dismissing a potential measles outbreak, as regards its economic consequences. Seems to me to underscore the folly of allowing public institutions, like schools, to become beholden to the heartless short term profit motive. The logic of capitalism ≠ the logic of public health; in fact they are in contradiction.

      As c_heale and CA have pointed out, measles is a dangerous disease. Not every child in Florida is properly nourished, not only because of inequality and the deep poverty which exists in the south, but also because of the food system being subject to that same profit-driven system. Terrifying to think that the ignorance and parochialism of the elite could bring about new outbreaks of diseases we had thought conquered in the ‘advanced’ societies.

      I will look up aluminum and measles; thanks for that thread to pull!

      A final comment: on this site today, we were given examples of how seriously the ruling class takes safety protocols, air quality, and so forth. As we’re talking about public health, it seems appropriate to bring up the old ‘socialism or barbarism’ choice we were faced with several generations ago. The form taken by the barbarism which our ruling class has chosen is social darwinism. Those to be ‘naturally selected’ are the rich and selfish. We will die, perhaps of measles, while they ascend to the moon, unless grounded.

    4. J.

      Death is not the only possible bad outcome from measles. Some children lose their hearing or suffer brain damage. As many as one in 20 children will get pneumonia. About 1 in 5 of unvaccinated persons has to be hospitalized for measles.


      AND measles will wipe your immune memory. That’s going to be interesting, considering we are still in the middle of a pandemic: two immune-suppressive viruses fighting it out in some poor unvaccinated kid.

      I hope I’m wrong, but I have the feeling measles + covid will be ugly. Maybe we’ll get lucky and one virus will interfere with the other.

    5. Cassandra

      A family of my acquaintance, upper middle class, had their baby contract measles at the end of the eighties. Not poor, not malnourished. Excellent healthcare back when real health insurance was a thing. He developed encephalitis and was left with major brain damage and intellectual impairment.

      The current vaccines provide very good sterilizing immunity against infection from the current virus but cannot be given to newborns. The current virus is about 9 times as transmissible as Covid. It is highly transmissible for up to four days before the rash, when it looks like “just a cold”. If there is a variant with immune escape that retains the transmissibility and anything like the severity of disease, hundreds of millions of people could catch it in weeks. If you think that the ERs are in trouble now with Covid, flu, and RSV, imagine a whole population without immunity to measles getting sick at once. Then imagine the survivors with their immune systems’ memory wiped at the 70% level.

      Talk about dystopia.

      1. LifelongLib

        Growing up in the 60s (before immunizations for them existed) I had chickenpox, measles, and mumps. I was told at the time that it was better to get them as a child since they were more dangerous for adults. I wasn’t told they could be dangerous for children too (not sure how well that was known). AFAIK most parents didn’t deliberately expose their kids to these diseases but they were taken for granted as a normal part of childhood.

        1. Cassandra

          Almost all of us back in the day had all the “childhood” diseases within the first few years of school, just like almost all of today’s children have had Covid. There was no alternative, and at least those infections gave lasting immunity. There was no resistance to the diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus immunization in the sixties because our parents were personally aware of those diseases; two of my grandparents lost younger siblings.

          Chickenpox “parties” really were a thing because it was thought to be a fairly minor illness for young children and serious for adults. People did not know about the connection with shingles later in life. The same did not happen for measles and mumps because they were recognized as more risky, but they swept through first and second grade classrooms anyway. Isolation of sick children was taken very seriously after diagnosis because of the risk to adults, especially pregnant women and for mumps, males past puberty. I didn’t learn to swim until I was a teenager because my parents feared the risk of polio at public swimming pools.

          There was a reason that the vaccines of the sixties and seventies were embraced. And hijacking the “safe and effective” reputation in order to sell mRNA shots is criminal.

  17. albrt

    I am an appeal lawyer, but my clients are small-time. For a normal person, it is not possible to get a civil appeal bond from an insurance company without paying 100 cents on the dollar plus fees up front. There is no civil equivalent of a bail bond company that will post your bond for 10% plus your car title, at least not in my part of the country. So all my clients either end up depositing the money with the court or else they can’t post a bond.

    The situation may be different for very rich people who have a “relationship” with an insurance-related finance company, but even then, losing a big judgment shifts you into a different risk category.

    Appeal bond laws vary greatly. In my state, punitive damages are excluded and there is a cap of $25 million.

  18. Tom Stone

    I must say that these are interesting times, during my lifetime I have witnessed the USA turn fro a high trust society to a low trust society ruled by murderous psychopaths (Eugenicists, if you prefer).
    All of the institutions of American Society ( Such as it is) require a high degree of trust to function, that trust has been pissed away.
    Luckily we deplorables are completely fungible, killing off the poors and their offspring won’t have any adverse effect on the people that matter…

  19. Wukchumni

    Johnson, a devout Christian, attempted to rally the group by discussing moral decline in America — focusing on declining political membership and the nation’s shrinking political identity, according to both people in the room.
    Changed around a few words…

  20. Em

    Thanks for the story about Biden’s dogs. I guess that’s why he couldn’t spare secret service protection for RFKJr. His dogs got them all!

    Would be interesting to learn if any other presidential family had such a poor record with their dogs. Are there any other presidential fail-sons who could match Hunter?

    1. Em

      I guess the closest is probably James Madison’s wastrel stepson. But at least John Payne Todd did not have modern movie making and computer technology to really get himself in real trouble.

    2. Wukchumni

      While not a son, Billy Carter was the only ne’er-do-well I remember of any President, and he wasn’t pitching art where there was only 1 buyer, merely hanky beer.

    3. Jeff V

      In the UK, the Royal Corgis bite people from time to time. There’s a section about it on the Royal Corgis wikipedia page (because of course the Royal Corgis have a page on wikipedia).

  21. Wukchumni

    Apparently Benedict Donald has set up a GoFunMe page, seeking party favors, in particular the whistles that blow out what looks to be a long tongue, any kind of noisemakers and/or clown shoes with exaggerated features, and kazoos.

  22. IM Doc

    FYI – fun times today in clinical medicine.

    I have no idea what is going on – the day started with the entire cell network down – including all of the remote telemetry for patients’ heart tests and heart monitoring. Any monitoring at all. All kinds of sleep apnea and oxygen equipment included. Patients having machines beep all day because they cannot connect to the mother ship. 2 old ladies whose systems completely shut down on their own and will not turn back on. We no longer have on/off switches – everything is done through the convenience of the internet. Still down this afternoon. No ability for the hospital nurses to contact on call docs. Good times. I do not recall an outage of this kind even remotely happening one time during all the years we did everything with paper. PROGRESS!!!!

    To add insult to injury, having nothing to do with cell networks, multiple pharmacy chains and 1 very large e-prescription vendor is completely down for the count since early this AM. Still ongoing today and no indication at all of any time when it will be up. We are unable to get any prescriptions done.

    No worries. It is like they have been saying – all these systems are completely safe and secure. Anyone who says otherwise is a moron. Don’t let them worry you at all – there in absolutely nothing about this that is a national security issue. This is all a big conspiracy theory.

    1. griffen

      AT&T…it’s like the machines won’t turn back on. Heard a few gripes today from colleagues online…their cell phone in “Emergency call” status only. First world problem with huge implications.

      Odd or not but Terminator 2 was on a cable channel this past Monday….

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        And that overwhelmed 911 call centers.

        I remember when you’d use the telephone to ask your neighbors if the power was out for them as well.

    2. flora

      Wow. That’s bad. I have no idea if the current solar maximum – eleven year cycle – has anything to do with your experience. Geomagnetic storms can play heck with delicate electrical systems … like satellites and the electrical grid for example. Offering this as one possible variable. (sorry about the NPR audio adds. Stick with it to get to the point they’re making. )


      On the other hand, this could be something as “simple” as automatic computer/digital updates colliding in unexpected ways and propagating errors.

      1. flora

        Or hackers. But this seems to cover a lot of discreet systems owned by various entities – hospitals, cell phones, pharmacy chains – and as far as I know hackers target single systems for ransomware demands.

    3. jax

      IM Doc, maybe I’m a bit of a Luddite, but I have been wondering why the full-throated support for the Internet since this began for us plebes in the early 90’s. I still can’t understand why something that could be taken out by a solar flare should be in the cockpit of airplanes or anywhere near medical facilities.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Another pandemic an ‘absolute certainty’, WHO chief warns on visit to Dublin’

    And it is going to be worse next time because the WHO wants to take control of every country’s response to the next pandemic. Considering the fact that the WHO has been such a cluster*** of an organization over Covid the past four years, with the next pandemic every nation will have to toe the WHO line and forget alternative (less lucrative?) treatments. God, I hope that it is not a Zombie virus or we will all end up moaning.

      1. The Rev Kev

        He must be talking about Queens and the Bronx. That is where Captain America and Spiderman came from.

  24. Wukchumni

    On pins & needles here, anxiously awaiting word on whether Jeff Koons will be the first artist to open a gallery on the Moon…

    1. albrt

      I think Biden has about an 80% chance of being replaced, and Trump has about a 40% chance of being replaced.

      If there is a candidate who is on the ballot in most states and not named Trump or Biden, I predict that candidate will win. Even if it is Kamala Harris.

      If Biden and Trump both get replaced then we might actually have an interesting election.

  25. Dessa

    “Did fermented foods fuel brain growth?”

    This is what I tell myself when I’m going for that 5th beer

  26. John k

    That trump judgement…
    I wonder… if a wealthy rep guaranteed it for trump, would trump feel in any way obligated? (Wanna be veep?) Or, say, Exxon etc?
    Wonder what the dems would think…

  27. SocalJimObjects

    Rishi and King Charles. I am not questioning the efficiency of HEPA air filters, rather the placement of the air filter in the photo which would not filter out anything Rishi was breathing out, those two were sitting quite close after all.

  28. skippy

    Ugh …. Trump is a drama because he is loud and proud about all the fraud and corruption he used and spread with his family networks. This is a huge issue with all the rest of that class as it rips off the illusion that there wealth is virtuous and a boon to the nation of its citizans.

    The idea that he would whip up support for the most questionable corners of the American sociopolitical landscape that drank the Dream Cool-Aid or worried it will be taken away is just too much for the certified liberals and even the Corporate GOP Sorts. Liberals because they dislike the visage, smell tackiness, GOP Corp sorts and Liberals both fear a hit to the stock market and equities in perpetuity never diminished … class dependent as it were …

    Yet as always … society is just a reflection of contracts both legal and social … Trump really screws with them both and why the mania about him … what contracts – ?????

  29. skippy

    “Agreed, except in reverse, and the reflection is a fun-house mirror…”

    Concur with the note its just the elite pit folding in on itself like history attests mate …

    1. Alice X

      What he means, I think, is the underscore symbol between names, as in Delilah_Jones. On my Mac keyboard it is shift -. For the space adverse computer logic.

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