2:00PM Water Cooler 2/9/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Evening Grosbeak (type 1), Coos, Oregon, United States. “Chatters, trills, dawn. Weather was misty. Habitat: Yard, Suburban.”

* * *


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

The Constitutional Order (Insurrection)

Lambert here: Patient readers, I would like to preen a little for (a) recognizing that the Section Three story was important and (b) covering it relentlessly (and from all sides). More, (c) I was skeptical of the case being made, (d) appropriately so, given the tenor of the Justices’ questioning (across the board, not just the conservatives. Of course, we don’t know what the ultimate outcome will be — and there are other case in the works — but I think you were well prepared for the explosion of coverage now that it has finally happened. (Hat tip to alert reader GH for sending me the amici briefs!)

“The Supreme Court seems poised to reject efforts to kick Trump off the ballot over the Capitol riot” [Associated Press]. “The Supreme Court seems poised to reject attempts to kick former President Donald Trump off the 2024 ballot, with conservative and liberal justices in apparent agreement in a case that puts them at the heart of a presidential election. A definitive ruling for Trump, the leading Republican candidate for president, would largely end efforts in Colorado, Maine and elsewhere to prevent his name from appearing on the ballot…. But on a Supreme Court that prefers to avoid cases in which it is the final arbiter of a political dispute, the justices appeared to be searching for a consensus ruling and the issue of congressional action seemed to draw the most support. Justice Elena Kagan was among several justices who wanted to know “why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States.'” But it’s unlikely that Congress would act. So where would that leave us? Finally: “In addition to the immunity issue, the court also will hear an appeal in April from one of the more than 1,200 people charged in the Capitol riot. The case could upend a charge prosecutors have brought against more than 300 people, including Trump.” • It’s going to be quite a year!

“The Five Minute Fix” [WaPo]. “The Supreme Court didn’t even have to hear the case. But the justices probably recognized the extraordinary public interest in whether a presidential candidate is an insurrectionist. Which suggests they could rule very soon, before more states have their primaries in March. They have three main options, ranked in order of least to most likely….. 1. They could decide Trump can’t be on all state ballots: This would be cataclysmic for Trump, and it’s the least likely option, based on how skeptical the judges sounded today about Colorado’s argument…. 2. They could decide Trump can be on all state ballots: This would keep the status quo. Trump could precede as a normal presidential candidate. 3. They could narrowly rule on just the Colorado case: This would be the most complicated outcome, according to secretaries of states The Washington Post has talked to. This decision would leave it up to state election officials, or even Congress, to decide what to do with Trump. But while that’s an unsatisfactory answer to the public, it might be the easiest decision for the justices, who never wanted this case in the first place, [aid Jessica Levinson, a legal analyst and law professor at Loyola Marymount University] said.” • Hmm. If that’s the most likely option, then “domestic tranquillity” looks a little shaky.

Our Famously Free Press

On Tucker Carlson’s Putin interview:

My guess is that if we read the transcript as if it were a speech delivered at the Valdai Discussion Club, there would be much to ponder. And even if Putin is simply repeating earlier positions, that’s interesting in and of itself. Putin is, after all, under no obligation to produce a scoop for Carlson.


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Trump (R): Trump has his best day of 2024” [CNN]. “Donald Trump had his best day of 2024 so far… The former president was handed a political gift. An independent special counsel poured kerosene on concerns about Joe Biden’s age with pointed language about the president’s poor memory after concluding Biden had willfully mishandled classified documents – and that his failing memory makes him impossible to convict. Biden was on defense at a hastily called White House news conference. “My memory is fine,” Biden said. He is on a glide path to the Republican nomination. Trump romped in the Nevada and US Virgin Island caucuses Thursday night, continuing his unbeaten streak and making Nikki Haley’s campaign feel futile. He appears poised for a win at the Supreme Court. Justices expressed deep skepticism that Colorado could declare him an insurrectionist and bar him from their election ballots. It’s a one-two-three combo that should have Trump feeling solid about his political future, at least for a moment.” • Lucky in his enemies….

Trump (R): “Trump wins Nevada GOP caucus” [The Hill]. 99.3% “Former President Trump is projected to win the Nevada GOP’s caucus, according to Decision Desk HQ, two days after fellow presidential candidate Nikki Haley lost in a primary there that didn’t count toward the nomination. The state GOP’s rules barred Haley from being in the caucus due to her participation in the primary, where she suffered an embarrassing defeat to ‘none of the above candidates.’ The state party said it would only award delegates for the Republican National Convention (RNC) to the winner of the caucus.”

* * *

Biden (D): “Report on the Investigation Into Unauthorized Removal, Retention, and Disclosure of Classified Documents Discovered at Locations Including the Penn Eiden Center and the Delaware Private Residence of President Joseph R. Eiden, Jr.” [Special Counsel Robert K. Hur, U.S. Department of Justice]. Here are the passages that are causing so much agita:

And it appears Biden’s memory has been problematic since at least 2017, that is before he was President:

(Note that an interview with a ghostwriter is not an official proceeding; people forget things in official proceedings all the time!) Since I came up during the Terry Schiavo debacle, when ridiculous and tendentious armchair diagnosis — much of it from doctors! — was rife, I’m careful on topics like this. Dementia has a lot of behavioral symptoms (and if Biden has been formally tested, the results are not available to us). Memory loss is one. Aggressive behavior is another, which is why I flagged Biden’s “rage” in links this morning. If the press really wants to go into pulling-the-wings-off-flies mode, they can ask Biden to count backwards from 100 by sevens in his next presser, if any. If there is a trustworthy, apartisan videopgrapher/editor in this world, they might consider making documenting Biden’s gait over time. Finally, it’s worth noting that Biden has had Covid twice, and that dementia has been a well-known Covid sequela since 2021. As I wrote back in seq: “A sociopathic elite is one thing, that we’re used to; but a sociopathic elite with brain damage is quite another.”

Biden (D): “Biden angrily pushes back at special counsel’s report that questioned his memory, handling of docs” [Associated Press]. “‘How in the hell dare he raise that?” Biden asked, about Hur’s comments regarding his son’s death, saying he didn’t believe it was any of Hur’s business. When asked about the report earlier Thursday in a private moment with a handful of House Democrats ahead of his speech at their suburban Virginia retreat, Biden responded angrily, according to two people familiar with his comments* , saying, ‘You think I would f—— forget the day my son died?’The people did not want to address the matter publicly and spoke of condition of anonymity. Biden pointedly noted that he had sat for five hours of in-person interviews in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s October attack on Israel, when ‘I was in the middle of handling an international crisis.'” • NOTE * Harris supporters?

Biden (D): “Joe Biden: Political grenade thrusts age into spotlight” [BBC]. “Other Biden allies have pushed back on Mr Hur’s impartiality, pointing out that he was appointed to a US attorney office by Donald Trump in 2017. It was Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland who selected Mr Hur as special counsel, however.” • Hur’s bio.

Biden (D): “Eight Words and a Verbal Slip Put Biden’s Age Back at the Center of 2024” [New York Times]. “[A] visibly angry Mr. Biden made the exact type of verbal flub that has kept Democrats so nervous for months, mistakenly referring to the president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as the ‘president of Mexico’ as he tried to address the latest developments in the war in Gaza…. The Trump operation has made plain its intent to use Mr. Biden’s stiffer gait [see above] and sometimes garbled speech to cast him as weak.”

Biden (D): “5 takeaways from special counsel report on Biden’s classified documents” [The Hill]. “While Hur’s comments about Biden’s age and memory will no doubt sting on the campaign trail, the special counsel’s rationale for not bringing charges rests both on the law and Biden’s ability to cast doubt on claims he intentionally kept the records. The Espionage Act prohibits ‘willful’ retention of national defense information, placing a burden on prosecutors to show violators kept documents intentionally. It’s a task made more difficult given that Biden alerted authorities to his possession of the documents. ‘His cooperation with our investigation, including by reporting to the government that the Afghanistan documents were in his Delaware garage, will likely convince some jurors that he made an innocent mistake, rather than acting willfully — that is, with intent to break the law — as the statute requires,’ Hur wrote. But there were also other factors that backed Biden’s stance that he was unaware the records were in his home. The Afghanistan documents were ‘in Mr. Biden’s Delaware garage — in a badly damaged box surrounded by household detritus,’ Hur said.” • Well, who doesn’t have a little “household detritus”? MR SUBLIMINAL Not you, Hunter! Seriously, though, if Trump had done this?

* * *

Biden (D): “Opinion: Age matters. Which is why Biden’s age is his superpower” [Bill McKibben, Los Angeles Times]. “There was never much question that Third Act, the progressive organizing group for people over 60 that I helped found, would end up endorsing President Biden for reelection… Individual policy decisions don’t explain why my organization’s members are drawn to Biden. It’s not that we reflexively like older politicians; we take seriously the need to pass the torch to a new generation. But we also don’t unthinkingly dismiss anyone just because they can collect Social Security. Obviously you lose a step physically as you age, but the presidency doesn’t require carrying sofas up the White House stairs. And science increasingly finds that aging brains make more connections, perhaps because they have more history to work with. It’s the specifics of that history that really draw us in….. Biden was socialized in an era when government took on big causes, and you can see it reflected in his first-term commitment to rebuilding infrastructure on a grand scale, boosting a new sustainable energy economy with billions of dollars for solar panels and battery factories, dramatically increasing the number of people with healthcare, and standing up for gun control, voting rights and reproductive rights.” By contrast: “When Obama, at the end of his time in office, was asked why even with 60 Democratic senators at his inauguration his policy achievements — Obamacare excepted — had been relatively modest, he cited a ‘residual willingness to accept the political constraints that we’d inherited from the post-Reagan era. … Probably there was an embrace of market solutions to a whole host of problems that wasn’t entirely justified.'” • That statement is such classic Obama. I’d love to accept McKibben’s argument; I’m an old codger, after all. But Biden’s commitment to big causes is highly selective — unless you consider whacking a million people with a “Let ‘er rip” pandemic policy a “big cause.”

“The Republican Fantasy that Democrats Will Replace Joe Biden” [Rich Lowry, Politico]. “[Given the alternatives], sitting tight with Biden, despite everything, and hoping the economy continues to grow and Trump gets convicted of something doesn’t seem so crazy…. Why is it so difficult to accept that this is the strategy? For three reasons. First, Biden does often look and sound so enfeebled it’s hard to believe that a political party would really be pinning all its hopes — including purportedly saving American democracy — on him…. Second, each side of the political divide tends to think the other is shrewder, more conniving and more in control than it is. The reality is that both left and right are buffeted by events and political forces beyond their mastery. But since the Democrats have a political establishment that has maintained more sway than its GOP counterpart, and the Democrats are more capable of coherent actions (getting Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg to quit the 2020 primary at the same time to back Biden is an example), Republicans attribute more power to Democratic string-pullers than they should. Finally, there’s always the psychological satisfaction of supposedly knowing what’s really going on beneath the surface, when usually the muddle of the surface — like being yoked to a flawed incumbent for the lack of realistic alternatives — is all that there is.”

* * *

Biden (D): Anything that makes Donald Trump, Jr. look like a winner:

Biden (D): “Clinton adviser Begala on Hur report: ‘This is terrible for Democrats'” [Politico]. “Democratic strategist and former Clinton advisor Paul Begala issued a warning to Democrats after the release of a special counsel report that questioned President Joe Biden’s memory…. ‘Look, I’m a Biden supporter. And I slept like a baby last night. I woke up every two hours and wet the bed. This is terrible for Democrats. And anybody with a functioning brain knows that,’ said Begala, who was a chief strategist to the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign and later served as an adviser to President Bill Clinton in the White House, in an appearance Friday on CNN…. ‘I want to see more Joe Biden, and the gaffes are built in. But instead of simply saying, ‘I’m OK’, he just simply, he needs to be on the attack 24/7 for the next 269 days,’ Begala said.” • I don’t know if Biden has that capability any more. In 2020, he campaigned from his basement. This is four years later….

Biden (D): “Obama AG Eric Holder blasts special counsel’s report” [Politico]. ‘Special Counsel Hur report on Biden classified documents issues contains way too many gratuitous remarks and is flatly inconsistent with long standing DOJ traditions,’ Holder said in a post on X early Friday morning. ‘Had this report been subject to a normal DOJ review these remarks would undoubtedly have been excised.'” • By the Norms Fairy, apparently, and not Aletheia, the goddess of Truth.

* * *

“What is the 25th Amendment? A simplified explanation of what it does, who can invoke it” [USA Today]. “The 25th Amendment cannot be executed by a single party. Instead, it takes a few steps of approval by multiple parties. The vice president is the primary starting point for invoking the 25th Amendment, specifically the fourth section. The vice president, in conjunction with either a majority of the executive Cabinet or a specific “body” designated by Congress, must invoke the Amendment in tandem. The vice president takes over once these parties submit a formal written declaration to Congress. If the president refutes this, they can return to power for four days, in which time the other parties can again submit a declaration invoking the president’s removal. If this happens, the VP takes over again and Congress must secure a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate within 21 days to permanently remove the president.” • So Kamala Harris pulls the trigger. Oh, good. I wonder if the flight-trackers show any movement from Willie Brown; she’d want to consult with her oldest, most trusted advisors. (My thought, which I don’t think I ever wrote up, was that the ideal time to defenestrate Biden would be — or would have been– a month or so before the Democratic National Convention starting August 19. That way, the Convention, which has plenary powers, could simply pick the candidate in a smoke-filled room, which is what the party grandees would like to do anyhow. February is much, much too early; it gives rivals time to start their own campaigns. It also opens up space for RFK Jr.)

“Republicans Call For Biden’s Removal By 25th Amendment After Hur Report: What It Is And Why That Won’t Happen” [Forbes]. “The calls for invoking the 25th Amendment are among mounting criticism from Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, about Biden’s mental well-being given the report’s findings. But the calls are unlikely to be more than partisan chatter as invoking the 25th Amendment would require the support of the vice president and of Biden’s Democratic cabinet. The group would have to agree he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” according to Section 4 of the 25th Amendment. From there it’s an even steeper uphill battle for Biden to be removed from office. Two-thirds majorities of both chambers would then have to vote and approve of stripping the president of his powers.” • I wonder what Mrs. Woodrow Wilson Jill Biden thinks….

* * *

Biden (D): “Could Taylor Swift Help Biden Win Re-Election? Yes, According to the Data” [Morning Consult]. “3% of U.S. voters say they are avid fans of Swift, along with 37% who consider themselves casual fans. Roughly 2 in 3 avid Swift fans who are registered to vote would like to see her endorse Biden’s re-election, compared with 30% of all voters who agree. Only 51% of Swift’s youngest fans who are eligible to vote (ages 18-34) said they’ll definitely participate in the November election, suggesting that a Swift advocacy effort could help Biden run up the score among this left-leaning group — especially if she can activate her casual followers. 64% of voters who identify as avid Swift fans say they’re supporting Biden for re-election this year.” • Does seem a little trivial, after the Hur report. But one carries on!

* * *

RFK, Jr. (D): “Democrats step up legal action against RFK Jr. allies — signaling worry over the independent candidate” [Politico]. “The Democratic National Committee is going after the push to get Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s name on the ballot in more than a dozen states by alleging his allies’ latest efforts violate federal election law — a sign that Democrats are worried about the presence of the independent candidate in the 2024 race. The DNC officially filed a complaint against Kennedy with the Federal Election Commission on Friday claiming that American Values 2024 — the PAC supporting Kennedy — is illegally coordinating with his campaign to get him on additional state ballots. They say the $15 million the PAC is putting into a signature-gathering effort amounts to an in-kind contribution… The complaint is unlikely to go anywhere — the commission is evenly divided among the two major parties and frequently deadlocks on enforcement questions — but it signals that national Democrats are dialing up their efforts to target Kennedy, the current leading non-major party presidential candidate, over fears that he may siphon votes away from President Joe Biden in this year’s election.”

* * *

The Wizard of Kalorama™

*** Crickets ***


“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!

* * *

Vaccination and Vaccines

“One Simple Change May Dramatically Boost The Effect of COVID-19 Vaccines” [Science Alert]. “Four weeks after the second jab, those who received shots in both arms had up to a four-fold increase in SARS-CoV-2-specific serum antibodies compared to those who got shots in just one arm. What’s more, this improved immune response lasted more than a year after the booster was administered. ‘It turned out to be one of the more significant things we’ve found, and it’s probably not limited to just COVID vaccines,’ [infectious disease specialist Marcel Curlin] hypothesizes. ‘We may be seeing an important immunologic function.’ Curlin and his colleagues are not yet sure what that special function is, or how it works, but they have an idea. When a vaccine is given in muscle, the antigens in the medicine are recognized by immune cells, which ‘handcuff’ the invaders and take them to the lymph nodes for further questioning. This then primes the immune system against this particular antigen by sort of sending out wanted signs of the invader. The thing is, different sides of the body drain to different lymph nodes, so by triggering an immune response on both sides, the body may be more on guard.”

Immune Dysregulation



“Temporal Association between COVID-19 Infection and Subsequent New-Onset Dementia in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” (preprint) [The Lancet]. Metastudy of 11 studies. “This review primarily aimed to investigate the potential role of COVID-19 in leading to [New Onset Dementia (NOD)] among older adults aged 60 years and older over various time intervals…. In subgroup analyses, NOD risk was significantly higher in the COVID-19 group compared to C2 at 12 months post-COVID… Cognitive impairment was nearly twice as likely in COVID-19 survivors compared to those uninfected.” • See above on Biden.

“Mass Disabling Event Denial” [Nate Bear, ¡Do Not Panic!]. “In 2022 scientists said covid was likely to be a mass disabling event. Mass media articles covered this forecast widely at the time…. Four years later, these forecasts are becoming our reality. The number of long-term sick in the UK was revised upwards this week to a record high of more than 2.8 million after falling consistently until 2020…. In the US the numbers are skyrocketing. On current trends the number of Americans registered as having a disability will top 10 million sometime next year. In Canada 27% of people now have a registered disability. The same thing is being seen in countries around the world. All since 2020. The mass disabling event we were warned of is here. But instead of headlines warning us that yes, indeed, those forecasts we wrote about are becoming reality, something strange is happening. The very same media and politicians who warned about the threat of covid as a mass disabling event are now blaming everything other than the virus for the mass disability.” • “It’s the lockdowns!” And people buy it. I’m baffled why they do….

The Jackpot

This is the story nobody is covering:

The most baffling part of the pandemic to me. Why is this happening?

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot February 5: Regional[2] Biobot February 5:
Variants[3] CDC February 3 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC February 3
New York[5] New York State, data February 7: National [6] CDC January 27:

National[7] Walgreens February 5: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic February 3:
Travelers Data
Positivity[8] CDC January 22: Variants[9] CDC January 22:
Weekly deaths New York Times January 27: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times January 27:


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] Yes, up, but we’ll want to wait until next week to see if there are backward revisions. I’d be more comfortable if some positivity figures were up, too, or the ER (UPDATE: It’s not). Verily data, FWIW, also suggests an increase:

[2] Biobot data suggests a rise in the Northeast. MRWA data does not suggest that:

I also tried Verily’s regional data and CDC’s mapm but I wasn’t confident I was seeing a signal in either.

[3] “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] 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.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections. And of course, we’re not even getting into the quality of the wastewater sites that we have as a proxy for Covid infection overall.

[5] Decrease for the city no longer aligns with wastewater data (if indeed Biobot’s spike is real).

[6] 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] 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] Lambert here: Percentage and absolute numbers down.

[9] Up, albeit in the rear view mirror.

Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States CPI seasonally adjusted” [Trading Economics]. “The seasonally-adjusted CPI in the United States increased by 0.2% month-over-month to 308.742 points in December 2023, the same pace as in November, revised data showed.” If only our paychecks were seasonally adjusted. And month-on-month: “US core consumer prices, which exclude volatile items such as food and energy, rose by 0.3% from the previous month in December 2023, the same as in November and in line with market expectations. Consumer prices eased for services excluding energy services (0.4% vs 0.5% in November), amid softer increases in transportation services (0.1% vs 1.1%). On the other hand, cost of shelter (0.5% vs 0.4%) and medical care services (0.7% vs 0.6%) advanced faster. Among goods, prices rebounded for apparel (0.1% vs -1.3%), new vehicles (0.3% vs -0.1%) and alcoholic beverages (0.3% vs -0.1%). Meanwhile, cost eased for used cars and trucks (0.5% vs 1.6% and fell for medical care commodities (-0.1% vs 0.5%) and tobacco and smoking products (-0.1% vs 1.1%).”

* * *

Tech: “Apple Is Lobbying Against Right to Repair Six Months After Supporting Right to Repair” [404 Media]. “An Apple executive lobbied against a strong right-to-repair bill in Oregon Thursday, which is the first time the company has had an employee actively outline its stance on right to repair at an open hearing. Apple’s position in Oregon shows that despite supporting a weaker right to repair law in California, it still intends to control its own repair ecosystem. It also sets up a highly interesting fight in the state because Google has come out in favor of the same legislation Apple is opposing.”

Manufacturing: “FAA says 737 Max operator discovered loose bolts in rudder control system on plane in December” [The Hill]. “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said an operator of a 737 Max plane discovered loose bolts in a rudder control system for the plane. The FAA said it received a report about a missing nut, washer and ‘migrated’ bolt in the system from an operator in December of last year. It said Boeing then inspected all 737 Max 8, 737 Max 8-200, and 737 Max 9 planes in production and turned up another ‘under-torqued nut at the same location.’ Boeing said in a statement to The Hill on Friday that operators have inspected more than 1,400 737 MAX airplanes since late December and no other airplane was found with the condition that initiated the inspection. Inspections on related jets have been completed, the company added. The FAA, meanwhile, said in a statement on Thursday that inspections recommended by Boeing in December had been completed by all U.S. airlines in early January. ‘The FAA carefully reviewed the inspection results, which found no missing or loose rudder bolts,’ the FAA said. An airworthiness directive from the FAA that will require ‘a one-time inspection’ of the system in which the loose bolts were discovered for certain Max airplanes is scheduled to be published Monday.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 78 Extreme Greed (previous close: 78 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 9 at 2:45:00 PM ET.

The Gallery

“A Case for the Preservation of Abandoned Places” [Atlas Obscura]. A photo this gorgeous makes the case for abandonment:

What could be more beautiful than an abandoned prison….

News of the Wired

“‘Reading is so sexy’: gen Z turns to physical books and libraries” [Guardian]. “Gerber isn’t alone. Last year in the UK 669m physical books were sold, the highest overall level ever recorded. Research from Nielsen BookData highlights that it is print books that gen Z favour, accounting for 80% of purchases from November 2021 to 2022. Libraries are also reporting an uptick in gen Z users who favour their quiet over noisy coffee shops. In the UK in-person visits are up 71%.” • Best news I’ve heard in a long time!

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi, lichen, and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From pfish:

pfish writes: “A few flowers not yet id’d.” Name that plant?

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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. NotTimothyGeithner

    NOTE * Harris supporters?

    Begala has emerged from the mudhole in a swamp he lives in normally, so I don’t think its Harris.

    She’s running.

    1. Pat

      She is always running. ALWAYS.
      If she can find a way she will run from the grave.

      And yes, I am betting Holder was trotted out by the Wizard. Not that his statement really helps as it essentially says he didn’t appreciate the special prosecutor justifying the only decision he was allowed to make by pointing out they were protecting a feeble old man who had no business being anywhere near classified material.

            1. Pat

              Other than slapping Garland that statement did nothing.

              But I think we all know in our bones that there is a lot going on behind the curtain.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > that statement did nothing

                Not at all. The content of the statement, as opposed to its form, is that Holder (<-Obama) agreed with Hur that Biden "elderly man with a poor memory" (that is, what Hur said was true but inappropriate to say). So Obama really did stick the shiv in. But on whose behalf is as yet unknown.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  If Biden’s failure is not age related, it’s another stain on the Obama legacy.

                  It’s better for Obama, the Influencer, to get Biden to spend more time with family than continue the trainwreck. Not denouncing the age related claims let’s Obama use that if Biden doesn’t see the light soon.

                2. Pat

                  True, I should have made that “did nothing to change the implication.” My bad for not being clearer.

            2. griffen

              Of all the snakes from the Obama years, that man is the absolute worst of the lot. And I think many here will know why that is.

              Can’t prosecute the bankers for breaking standard securities and investing documentation laws and regulations. Here Eric, hold this pitchfork with me and stand close.

    2. notabanker

      The longer they drag out getting rid of Biden, the easier it is to anoint the next chosen one. Maybe a week or two before the convention?

    3. Four More Wars! 3x

      Of course she’s running. That’s why I put a “RUN KAMALA, RUN!”
      sign on my car.

      On the front bumper.

  2. NotTimothyGeithner

    “And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate, that was once so important to him

    My bolding. C’mon man. Biden never cared about Afghanistan until he had to make decisions on it. He probably learned where it was for the first time just before he ordered the withdrawal.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      To be fair, it was Trump who scheduled the withdrawal for May of 2022. Biden then delayed it until September, and may not have withdrawn at all had not the Taliban become impatient and gone on the move, causing the US to cut and run before they were embarrassed in front of the whole world by a “bunch of guys living in caves wearing sandals”, as the US narrative about Afghans often goes.

  3. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added some immediate orts and scraps on the 25th Amendment; looks like a steep hill to climb (as it should be). The only way it would happen is if impetus came from inside the Biden clan (i.e., Jill, a.k.a.
    The Woman Who Keeps The Juice™)

  4. antidlc

    From the Harvard Crimson:

    Harvard Students Grapple With Rising Rates of Respiratory Illness on Campus

    As the spring semester kicks into high gear, Harvard students struggled to deal with a surge of respiratory illnesses on campus.

    HUHS Director Giang T. Nguyen, Senior Director for Student Mental Health Barbara Lewis, and Associate Provost for Student Affairs Robin Glover warned students about “high levels of respiratory illness including flu, COVID-19, and RSV” at Harvard in a Tuesday email.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Harvard students struggled to deal with a surge of respiratory illnesses on campus.

      I wonder why. ‘Tis a mystery!

      Thanks for this, I had it, couldn’t get to it.

    2. Lee

      “Harvard Students Grapple With Rising Rates of Respiratory Illness on Campus”

      From Reuters 2022: Nearly 90% of big US meat plants had COVID-19 cases in pandemic’s first year – data

      When what’s ailing the rest of us starts to have an impact on the health of the future best and brightest, someone in authority will surely take notice. Ever the giddy optimist, me.

  5. Carolinian

    Re Taylor Swift–sounds like a majority of her fans are inclined to vote Biden anyway so hard to see how she makes a difference. After all if her songs are about looking for Mr. Right then Trump is the opposite of that other than being rich.

    Plus an endorsement of ga ga Joe might offend the rest of her fans. What’s in it for her?

    But hey the idea of it has us talking about Taylor Swift. Maybe that’s the CT.

    1. Feral Finster

      Not to mention that the average frustrated Swiftie probably isn’t old enough to vote.

      Talk about grasping at straws, and I am not a Trump fan.

      1. ForFawkesSakes

        That’s not accurate. Taylor Swift’s concerts are not filled with children. She has a very broad appeal.

  6. sean higgins

    There are times early on in certain competitive events where it becomes obvious that one of the participants is going to lose no matter what they do. One instance of that was on display last night. While his main geopolitical adversary was flawlessly delivering a soliloquy on Russian history, Joe Biden attempted to take a victory lap because a Special Counsel had determined that Biden was innocent of any crimes regarding his improper handling of classified documents. One of the reasons given for not pursuing any charges was that Biden was an old man with significant memory problems. Biden then confirmed his condition by stumbling over some Catholic saint’s name. To add unnecessary insult to injury he decided to return to the podium and announce that that Egyptian President El-Sisi actually led the nation of Mexico. A betting man would double down on Trump.

    1. barefoot charley

      Yes, I thought that was his most damning brain-f@rt of all–“How dare him say I ferget my son’s death, every year we have a ceremony and put flowers there at Saint–” pauses, eventually waves his hand–“How *dare* they say I ferget!”

      1. Wukchumni

        I found it bizarre how Genocide Joe kept bringing up Beau in the last decade after his death, maybe it was on account of his only surviving son being such a wastrel?

      2. nippersdad

        Sounds like he nearly revealed some classified information. So my surmise is that Biden and the Pope made a deal for the canonization of Beau, by all (of Biden’s) accounts his son was a saint (athough only perhaps by comparison to Hunter), but when will it be announced?

        Will that be our October surprise?

          1. nippersdad

            Michael Ledeen says: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business,”

            Biden: “We need to find a war we can win.”

            Sullivan: “Vatican City?”

            Nuland: “I have a new cookie recipe.”

            The Pope: “How ’bout we make your son a saint?”

            Biden: “Did anyone else know that Sisi was not the president of Mexico?”

            The Pope: “We could make Beau the patron saint of lost brain cells.”

            Austin: “Yeah, let’s do that. We don’t have enough ammo to invade the Vatican anyway.”

            And that, my friends, is how the Pope saved Vatican City from the barbarians.


            Well, maybe only half in jest.

  7. Screwball

    My goodness what a sad day in PMC land. Tears are flowing like water over the falls. Why would the special council do this to Joe – the best and most progressive president in their life time. What about TRUMP!!!! How are we going to save our future from MAGA? Why did they do this – they are wrong – he’s just a little old and didn’t do anything wrong. OH MY GOD – what about Trump? Nothing Joe did was anywhere near what Trump did?

    Conclusion; they are now hoping he dies. That’s our only hope to save democracy, the country, and the world from MAGA, fascism, and the Kremlin. Not to worry, they will keep fighting (so they tell me).

    I almost feel sorry for people who have worked themselves into such a tizzy over a bunch of slime-ball politicians (on both sides) who are not worthy to be spit on IMO. I said almost. Maybe they should go look in a mirror and turn off the propaganda box.

    1. Feral Finster

      Except that if Doofus Joe tips over, his likely replacement on the ticket is one Kamala Harris, perhaps one of two people (the other being the eminently detestable HRC) in the entire nation who are less electable than Biden right now.

      Seriously, a monkeypox virus could run against Biden and sweep 45 states, no problem. Team D could kidnap some random woman waiting for her bus, put her in a suit, nominate her, coach her to parrot Team D talking points and slogans, and that random would do considerably better than Halfwit Joe and might well beat Trump.

    2. wol

      It would be worth it for me if Harris were the first female President for one day only, to watch HRC’s head explode.

  8. Feral Finster

    Eric Holder on the Special Counsel report – Holder’s problem seems to be not that the Special Counsel concluded that Biden is senile, but that he said it out loud.

    Not sure how one can spin away the conclusion that Biden is too clueless to willfully violate the law. Just the details of Biden’s obvious senility.

    1. britzklieg

      I wonder if Biden being too brain dead to willfully violate the law would serve as a defense against the charge of genocide…

      1. nippersdad

        Good point, non compos mentis beats mens rea every time. He is about to get off on a life of malicious behavior on a technicality.

  9. Samuel Conner

    > mistakenly referring to the president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as the ‘president of Mexico’ as he tried to address the latest developments in the war in Gaza

    I wonder whether it may be that JRB was confusing, conflating or blending two “border crises”, one at the Texas/Mexico border and the other at the Egypt/Gaza border. I imagine that both are on his mind (and both are potentially politically costly). This isn’t to paper over the verbal gaffe and it’s implications for JRB’s cognitive fitness, but perhaps it makes it a bit less gob-smacking.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Indeed. I actually thought people piled on a little too much about mistaking Macron for Mitterrand – it was the word salad right after that that really got my attention. And I don’t see any excuse for mixing up Egypt and Mexico – the man clearly ain’t right and it’s been going on for years.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The flaw in your argument is that biden has a mind for anything to be on.

        I don’t want to be overly cranky about this, but consider reading the post:

        Since I came up during the Terry Schiavo debacle, when ridiculous and tendentious armchair diagnosis — much of it from doctors! — was rife, I’m careful on topics like this. Dementia has a lot of behavioral symptoms (and if Biden has been formally tested, the results are not available to us). Memory loss is one. Aggressive behavior is another, which is why I flagged Biden’s “rage” in links this morning. If the press really wants to go into pulling-the-wings-off-flies mode, they can ask Biden to count backwards from 100 by sevens in his next presser, if any. If there is a trustworthy, apartisan videopgrapher/editor in this world, they might consider documenting Biden’s gait over time. Finally, it’s worth noting that Biden has had Covid twice, and that dementia has been a well-known Covid sequela since 2021. As I wrote back in seq: “A sociopathic elite is one thing, that we’re used to; but a sociopathic elite with brain damage is quite another.”

        I’ve knew “the man clearly ain’t right” since 2020, when I posted a video about a clearly challenged Biden being led down a flight of stairs by an aide in the Iowa primary. But really, that’s all we can know from a distance, and that’s certainly not enough to diagnose dementia, for which I provide various analytical tests in the post material quoted above. I don’t have much use for dogpiling, which is ubiquitous in this case. Let’s have some analysis and reporting ffs. For example, if no trustworthy video on Biden’s gait appears — or even an oppo-produced one! — I will be able to conclude that a professional looked into the matter and concluded there was nothing there. Similarly, wouldn’t you love it if a reporter challenged Biden to count backwards by sevens at a presser? Finally, the Covid theory is obvious, and yet astonishingly, or not, is never raised….

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I also don’t wish to be overly cranky, but…

          The vast majority of the population are not physicians, and the possibility that we will be presented with a clinical assessment of the amyloid plaques in biden’s brain (or counting backwards from 100 by 7s) for independent evaluation is less than nil.

          So, most of “us” are left with personal experience–having to compare biden’s behavior with that of friends and family who have received a definitive dementia diagnosis. Under those circumstances, the charge of “dogpiling” seems unwarranted.

          Dr. Marc Siegel, a Clinical Professor of Medicine and a practicing internist at NYU Langone Medical Center, regularly appeared as a guest on Tucker Carlson’s Fox show for years before Tucker was shitcanned. He routinely and specifically analyzed biden’s gait, as an indicator of neurological dysfunction, beginning with joe’s presidential candidacy. I don’t know if this meets the “apartisan” standard, but it has been done.

          It’s also worth noting that, in addition to two bouts of covid (as well as some number of covid “vaccines,”) biden had two brain aneurysms as a younger man. Lotta brain issues in his medical history. Just sayin’.

          I get the Terry Schiavo reference. All due respect, this is not that.

          1. lambert strether

            > not physicians

            Which is precisely why I gave two additional tests a layperson could do: A reporter asking him to count backwards, and a digital archivist collecting and archiving clips of his gait. I’ll look for Siegel (though NYU has issues as a hospital, no doubt the science is good).

            The concern is not dogpiling; I’ve been concerned since Iowa 2020. But naming the diagnosis without diagnosing most definitely is; and in that sense is a moral panic, exactly like Schiavo. I mean, it really is absurd to say that Biden has no mind, just as absurd was for Democrats to try to invoke the 25th Amendment on Trump.

            1. annie

              I am older by more than a tad than IMDOC’s great uncle but I recall that a few years ago IMDOC, or another Doc on NC, noted that Biden’s gait is typical of a stroke survivor’s.

  10. JBird4049

    “A Case for the Preservation of Abandoned Places”

    I don’t know. W should make a better effort to save what we have, but having been to Alcatraz a number of times, I would say it was more sad than anything else, being as it was a place made to entomb the still alive. Maybe that makes it worth saving. Other places like Bodie are worthy of saving, being a part of our history, but other places, not so much.

    1. wol

      Looks stylistically and thematically like the USA answer to German artist Anselm Kiefer., i.e. the national identity of the US reflected in its history of incarceration.

    1. barefoot charley

      Going back to Chicago for my dad say 10 years ago, I enjoyed a Midwestern art-photo movement at better summer art fairs: ruin photos. Detroit obviously led the genre, with theaters, factories, railyards and mysterious graffittied brick walls in full-Roman ruination. And rural artists mood-lit collapsing barns, houses and economies. It was actually very cool. Not so much in recent years, maybe we’re just used to it?

  11. JBird4049

    Immune Dysregulation


    Yeah, whatever. Going by memory, it was roughly half a decade, maybe more, after it was known people were dying in large numbers from AIDS before it was taking seriously by the mainstream. First, it was those people the gays, then drug users, hemophiliacs, surgery patients, finallyyoung, blue-eyed blondes before the political and social establishment took notice. Too many people thought of it as a joke when it was apparently just the deplorables of the time who were dying.

    Until those turkeys at the CDC and the President actually officially acknowledge this, it is just noise. Good noise, but still noise.

  12. flora

    re:RFK, Jr. (D): “Democrats step up legal action against RFK Jr. allies — signaling worry over the independent candidate” [Politico].

    riffing off the headline: my state just announced there will be a ‘presidential preference primary’ for both D & R candidates in early March with only the 2 parties’ pre-selected candidates to vote for. No write-ins allowed although ‘none-of-the-above’ will be on the ballot. The slates were clearly set before the NH primary. Other parties are free to hold their own primaries, but they won’t be listed on the upcoming ‘presidential primary ballot.’ It’s a neat trick to box out the No Labels and Libertarian and Green parties from being thought of as presidential contenders.

    The last time my state did this was in 1992 when Ross Perot’s party was making serious inroads against both the D’s and R’s. This makes me think both the D’s and R’s are equally alarmed by the increased interest in 3rd party and independent candidates this year, and were alarmed already by the start of this year’s primary season. D’s & R’s work together to head off challenges to their electoral monopolies.

    Notes from the field.

    1. IM Doc

      Maybe a reason why they are afraid.

      From my great-uncle’s email to the family this AM. My father’s side. An 82 year old FDR New Deal Dem ( just like his entire generation in our family and the one immediately below it – mine) in a swing state reliably going DEM the past few cycles – with a Dem victory in that state absolutely dependent on people like my family.

      After paragraphs of how things are going and family talk, etc,

      As for me and the Missus – this is very much on our mind and we do not take this lightly. For as long as I can remember, I have voted for the Democratic candidate for President. Well, as I have heard from many of you, those days are over. The current Democrats are doing nothing for the people. Nothing. If there is any brain in the Democrats, they better wake up quick. This is in order how we will be voting in November. I do not think there is anything that will change our mind. Please share with the whole family in response if you think there is anything we are overlooking.

      It goes like this –

      1) RFK Jr
      2) Donald Trump – we will not like it, but we will do it. When someone tells me he could make things a lot worse than we can imagine – I just look at them like they are a fool and laugh
      3) Write-in Candidate – Bozo the Clown
      4) Newsom – I will vote for the others before him because I do not want what he has done in California to happen here
      5) Harris – She was given the border as her job – why would we vote for her?
      6) Biden – we are the same age – and Uncle Tom is in the nursing home. Almost every patient there is more energized than this guy. What a disgrace. All those dear souls I knew died in WWII for freedom to have this fool laugh on their graves. I will not look all my great grandchildren in the eye and tell them I voted for a dementia patient for president.
      7) Michelle Obama – no. She and her husband along with the Clintons are the authors of this mess – she and Barack just need to go and enjoy their billions. They should look at Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter and weep for what they could have been in retirement.

      Yeah, I really am not seeing a viable exit strategy especially for the Dems. There is a very good reason why they are afraid of RFK. And people are very angry. The hypocrisy of this crowd is going to be their end. From the vaccine mandates, to lawfare, to sending hundreds of billions to Ukraine, Israel, to turning the people’s Armed Services into a complete joke in their estimation, to running around screaming about the excellent economy while the struggle is all so real for everyone around them —- it is all becoming too much. It is not just my family..I am seeing this same thing in my community and my patients. It is palpable.

      1. Pat

        I would be curious where Pritzker might land on your great uncle’s list. If I were going to make a futures bet, that is where I would land.

        NY is not a swing state, but I have lots of anecdotal evidence that Biden’s lead here has been cut into significantly. I would be surprised if that were not also the case in NJ. Maybe not for the same reason as your family, but the ongoing migrant situation, growing homeless population, outrageous rent increases and yes the unthinking support of genocide in Israel have all upset people who would generally be considered safe Democratic voters. One conversation I heard on the bus between a couple of older Village residents about the various legal actions taken against Trump was particularly mind blowing. They were quietly outraged. I don’t think they will be voting for Bragg either anytime soon. The Democrat will still win in November, but if my unofficial eavesdropping poll is correct it will be much closer than it has ever been. This will cut into the popular vote.
        It is not just that they are hypocrites, they have been that for a long while. It is that they took the idea that voters had no where else to go too seriously and overplayed the PR and fear mongering.

  13. LawnDart

    It’s the lockdowns!” And people buy it. I’m baffled why they do….

    Honestly, I am not trying to beat this horse to death, but we all need to look hard and become much more familiar with anosognosia, otherwise when we see it we’ll be baffled and not understand what it is that we are seeing. It is a part of covid-induced or accelerated dementia, and I’d be willing to bet that this condition is spreading like wildfire.

    “A person in denial rejects or avoids accepting reality because it’s unpleasant or distressing. A person with anosognosia can’t recognize a problem at all.” Anosognosia results from changes to the brain; it is not psychological, it is not a defense-mechanism such as denial.

    “It is common for people with anosognosia to rationalize or cover-up signs of health problems, which happens because their mind tries to fill in the gaps for what it can’t explain or understand.”

    I have five pages of notes going on this subject from a dozen or so articles– I’ll attempt to consolidate them into a lawyer-friendly summary after I get myself through some quick studies of Alzheimer’s, Aspberger’s, alcohol-induced dementia, and Frontotemporal dementia… lite-reading, for sure.

    1. annie

      I have marveled at what seems to me to be the radical change in Sen. Fetterman. Friend from Philly is convinced that he was not hiding or holding back this reactionary side but that the stroke acted on and changed his brain. She had campaigned for him and seen him up close often before his stroke. Anosognosia “can be associated with right hemisphere stroke patients,’ I just read in one of its online definitions. If the condition could be induced by covid as well, one might look too for this sort of radical belief change or conversion.

  14. kareninca

    A co-religionist of mine just retired from a middle level government job in waste management in a southern state. He is a kindly and sincere and very hardworking person, and he is very upset about homelessness. I told him several weeks ago that I had learned that a lot (maybe most) of the garbage around homeless encampments is not from the homeless people themselves; it is stuff that is dumped there by other people (individuals or businesses) in order to avoid trash fees and regulations, but the homeless people are blamed. The next week after (zoom) worship he excitedly told me that he had determined that that meant that there was a way that he could try to set up a program to pick up that garbage, because it fits into a special category (which hadn’t been considered before) for which there was money available.

    He had a meeting last week with a legislator in an attempt to convince her not to pass a particular law criminalizing homelessness. He and I see this as a religious imperative, and that his actions need to be taken by way of guidance of the movements of a divine spirit within him. I and my co-religionists are waiting in hope that his meeting has been successful.

  15. Tom Stone

    I believe all living ex Presidents and their spouses are invited to the swearing in of a new President.
    I’d really enjoy watching a tight shot of Hillary Clinton’s face as Kamala Harris is sworn in.
    HRC is still a big fan of the 1994 Crime Bill that gave us Mass incarceration, private for profit prisons and the “Prison Industrial Complex” AKA slavery.
    First that “Slick N@#&^%#” from Chicago stole the Nomination from her in ’08 and then the RUSSIANS!!! stole the election from her in 2016.
    Now another Woman is becoming the first Female President, and not only that A BLACK WOMAN.
    Which is twisting the knife.

  16. kareninca

    I now have two new covid signals. I have a fellow volunteer who is in his early 70s. He looks like hell, but then he has for quite a while, since he has been borderline homeless for the 20+ years I’ve known him. He is very well educated but not much interested in the pandemic; I would guess that he has had a few of the shots and that that was enough for him. Last night as we were both working (me in my N95) he told me that I had checked on several people he know from years and years ago, and they were all dead. This was surprising to him since they were from his college days and so he had reason to think their life expectancy would be better than that. He wondered if it might be something to do with environmental toxins. I told him I thought it was due to covid (and maybe partially the covid shots, too); he wasn’t thrilled to hear that.

    I have a relative in southern Indiana who has excellent health insurance due to her husband’s job; he was a air conditioner repair person for the public school system. She has loads and loads of health problems, partly due to eating at places like Cracker Barrel all the time, partly due to genes, partly due to the local pollution, partly due to blowing out her knees and hips through obesity and through working as a cook at both a school and a nursing home. Anyway, to my surprise, over the years, she has never had to wait any time at all for any of her countless surgeries and scans and procedures. As far as I could see the medical system in the area had figured out how to feast off of people like her, which of course has its pluses and minuses, but at least she did get good care. But six weeks ago she fell and hurt her thighs; it is an odd injury and the pain is odd. But it is taking her forever to get an appointment for a scan. I know that in some areas this would not be a surprise, but she was surprised; it was something entirely new. Oh, and her husband has long covid from his Thanksgiving time infection.

  17. Carolinian

    Latest Turley

    The Trump case exposed the erosion of legal coverage in the media. For millions of Americans, the cold reception of all of the justices to the novel theory under the 14th Amendment came as a surprise. Networks and newspapers have been featuring experts who assured the public that this theory was well-based and disqualification well-established. The only barrier, they insisted, was the blind partisanship of the six conservative justices on the Court.[…]

    Looking back at the coverage, most legacy media called upon the same legal experts who have previously endorsed virtually every claim made against Trump. They predictably declared Trump as clearly disqualified despite the fact that this theory has never been embraced by the federal courts.

    Figures like federal court Judge J. Michael Luttig who called these arguments against disqualification as “revealing, fatuous, and politically and constitutionally cynical.” Others insisted that the argument that the provision might not apply to presidents as “absurd.” That was the argument pushed by Justice Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson.

    Many of the media turned to Professor Laurence Tribe despite a long record of constitutional claims rejected by the Court, in some cases unanimously. Tribe assured the public that the theory was “unassailable” and also insisted that the theory (later voiced by Jackson) is “an absurd interpretation.”

    Hyperbole on the march.Of course we commenters may sometimes resort to it but we are mere peanut gallery, not “influencers.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > For millions of Americans, the cold reception of all of the justices to the novel theory under the 14th Amendment came as a surprise. Networks and newspapers have been featuring experts who assured the public that this theory was well-based and disqualification well-established.

      Not, however, Naked Capitalism readers [lambert preens once more].

      1. Pat

        The Naked Capitalism team and its top commenters should preen. They have been on the money for most of the major news items and controversial events during my time here. I say most because not all have played out, and your stellar record still might take an unlikely hit.
        Analysis is not a lost art here.

        1. chris

          That right there is the defining feature of the hosts on this website. They do not have topics and positions that can’t be discussed, so they’re free to think and evaluate different hypotheses. Whereas your average talking head is either handed a script or told “this is your lane and don’t you dare try to leave it!”

  18. Benny Profane

    “Putin is, after all, under no obligation to produce a scoop for Carlson.”

    Best guess is that this was like dropping cruise missiles and hypersonic missiles and drone swarms into various locations in western Ukraine, and studying the reaction and results. Patient man.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “FAA says 737 Max operator discovered loose bolts in rudder control system on plane in December”

    That’s the goddamn rudder that they are talking about! You lose a door plug and the plane goes on and if you are lucky, nobody gets sucked out of the hole. But you do not want to do dodgy work on the rudder. This is unbelievable.

    1. You're soaking in it!

      Think about your last sentence there; is it really?

      Kind of gives new meaning to the Boeing motto, “IBGYBG”, right?

  20. Jason Boxman

    I got a Nook 12 years ago for Christmas, and I still use it. But I do prefer physical books.

    1. Late Introvert

      Avoid them, they are non-sterilising and have dubious effects at best. Plus they lead people to think they are protected.

  21. Jay Ess

    “It’s the lockdowns!” And people buy it. I’m baffled why they do….

    Maybe because so many have personally spread the disease to others. Accepting involvement may be a burden that’s too much for some to bear.

  22. Tom Doak

    A relative on my wife’s side is in a nursing home, and has been recently diagnosed with dementia.

    It has been a traumatic few months for all involved; there have been a bunch of falls, which was the reason she couldn’t stay at home anymore even though she was insistent on it. Nobody wanted to be the bad guy to ask the doctors to make the call — especially not her children, and particularly not the child who is designated to be in charge of her affairs — they don’t want the responsibility.

    My own observation was that the patient wasn’t really that out of it at first, but living in the bubble of the nursing home was very disorienting for her, with everyone telling her things were okay and pretending she’d go home soon. She gradually lost track of time and place; within a year she was reporting on visits from her long-deceased husband, mistaking her granddaughters for daughters, and [true story] thinking the balding man at the next table was John McCain.

    None of this may be relevant to what’s going on in the White House, but parts of it seem awfully familiar. If Biden says anything about John McCain, I’m calling it.

  23. Carolinian

    Perhaps this should be with today’s earlier post but this is good.


    He agrees with me that movies need editing. And this

    In closing, I wish to share my impression of one dimension of the interview that surely few others will comment on: body language. Carlson was true to form, posing with a blank, puzzled face the whole time. However, there were flashes of Putin that we normally do not see, and they were not at all flattering. Perhaps it was barely contained annoyance with this pushy American, but Putin allowed himself to display arrogance that contradicted the modest composure we most commonly see. That will not win many friends for Russia.

    1. Brian Beijer

      “Putin allowed himself to display arrogance”

      I’ve watched the Tucker video twice now. When did Putin display flashes of arrogance? He certainly displayed flashes of annoyance at Tucker’s stupidity. It was easy to tell that Putin had difficulty maintaining his patience while dealing with an unimaginative, incurious dullard.

      Perhaps it’s a matter of perspective. Tucker’s fans might perceive Putin’s exasperation as being arrogant. Others might empathize with Putin’s reactions and see them as expressing understandable impatience and annoyance.

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