2:00PM Water Cooler 3/22/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

American Robin (migratorius Group), Miguel Hidalgo, Ciudad de México, Mexico.

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) More Boeing shenanigans, as Barnett’s assassination is gradually memory-holed.

(2) Intermittent fasting decried.

(3) “We have the tools.


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

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Less than a year to go!

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Trump (R): “Why no one will lend to Trump” [Edward Luce, Financial Times]. Sorry for the extended quote, but there’s a lot here. “For Donald Trump, it would not be seven times a charm. His first six bankruptcies all took place before he went into politics. Most of these occurred in two phases: in the early 1990s after he had over-extended on a clutch of Atlantic City casinos, then on various properties before and after the 2008 crash. America’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection got him out of trouble. Since then, Trump has largely made money by licensing his brand name. But there is no easy way out from the $454mn that he owes in damages to the New York legal system. Unlike banks, the law does not take haircuts. There is nothing to stop Trump from being broke and winning the White House. He already had that history of bankruptcy when he won in 2016. But his financial woes create two novel headaches — one for him, and one for America. For Trump, it undermines his reputation for being rich, which he and his base value highly. Revisions to his net worth cut it from the $10bn he claimed in 2016 to $2.6bn on Forbes’ latest estimate. But these are educated guesses. As a private company, the Trump Organization does not disclose its liabilities. Even if that number proves correct, most of his wealth is locked up in illiquid assets, chiefly real estate such as his landmark towers in New York and the golf clubs. The prospect of bailiffs seizing all the bling they could find from Mar-a-Lago would give schadenfreude to millions. It would also deal a blow to Trump’s idea of himself. He was raised on the prosperity gospel that says your wealth is a measure of your moral worth. To the Maga base, Trump’s wealth is also a yardstick of his cunning. Trump is estimated to have inherited the equivalent today of $413mn from his father, Fred Trump. A quarter of a century after Trump Sr’s death, his son seems unable to cover roughly that amount. Some of Trump’s supporters are puzzled that he has not yet been bailed out by one of his wealthy donors. The answer is that he has a history of not paying what he owes. From the world’s biggest banks to America’s smallest contractors, Trump is expert at stiffing creditors. That is not to mention the class-action winners of those who paid exorbitant fees to study at Trump University, the dissolution of the Trump family’s charitable foundation for a ‘shocking pattern of illegality’, and the fact that roughly $50mn in Trump 2024 campaign funds has gone to pay his legal bills. Trump’s donors prefer his policies to those of Joe Biden, who has vowed a billionaire tax in his second term. In their personal dealings, however, they seem to validate the former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s view that with Trump he knows ‘a con when I see one.’ All of which makes Trump more of a liability to America. As every spy agency knows, the most at-risk employees are those who are heavily in debt. Presidential candidates are offered intelligence briefings during the election. Trump is facing a much-postponed trial for allegedly secreting troves of highly classified material at Mar-a-Lago. It does not take great deductive skill to see that Trump’s financial quandary poses a national security risk. If insurance companies and friendly billionaires think he is too big a credit risk, who might help him out instead? What sort of collateral could Trump offer in return? Even by America’s recent standards, this creates a new kind of headache.” • NC commenter DCBlogger told me, long ago, pre-2016, that the one thing that could take Trump down would be proof that he was not rich. And now it seems that Trump faces something akin to a capital strike, in addition to already facing a professional services strike. As for Luce’s psychological reading of the American electorate, I’m not so sure. (“Prosperity gospel” is preached by a particularly noxious American Protestant sect; Trump’s childhood minister was Norman Vincent Peale, also noxious but not a member of that sect.) “Trump was rich until crooked Democrats stole all his money” is one form of cope that might help, particularly for the aggrieved who feel that what they value has been taken by Democrats as well. “So what, if Trump is the one to most damage the system” is another.” We’ll see. 2024 is certainly not without interest or drama!

Trump (R): “Cannon’s jury instruction order could crush Jack Smith’s case” [MSNBC]. “[R]ecall that the judge’s latest move comes against the backdrop of Trump’s claim that, under the Presidential Records Act, he could have deemed whatever sensitive government records he wanted to as ‘personal’ and then taken them with him from the White House, precluding the government from prosecuting him over the retention. It’s a nonsensical position that Cannon could have rejected outright, but she chose to hold a hearing on it last week. And now, in an order Monday, she told the parties to submit proposed jury instructions related to the charges alleging that Trump unlawfully retained national defense information. (The order doesn’t address the obstruction-related counts.) The Presidential Records Act [PRA] shouldn’t factor into determining whether Trump’s conduct was criminal, but Cannon’s order nonetheless laid out two “competing scenarios” for the prosecution and the defense as they fashion their proposals.” • Unlikely as it may seem, and subject to correction by those who have actually mastered this material, MSNBC could be right. Since Trump is being charged under the Espionage Act (that comes with its own set of problems), it’s hard to see the relevance of the PRA. An explainer; the Act (whose definitions page includes “personal”).

Trump (R): “Turley: I Can’t See How You Can Decline To Charge Biden And Go Forward On Charges Against Trump On Classified Docs” [RealClearPolitics]. “[Special Prosecutor Hur] talked about how Biden told someone that he found classified documents in his basement, read from some of those documents to a third party; how evidence was destroyed by this ghostwriter in terms of an audiotape. How the White House intervened to try to get facts removed to frame the report in a series of contradictions of not just what Joe Biden has said in the past but what he said after the interview. And so you are left here thinking wow this was as good of a case I could imagine and Hur said look, I just don’t think given his diminished mental faculties that we could guarantee or have a certainty or likelihood of conviction. Now, one can accept that because I have got to tell you, Hur came off as incredibly credible and professional. The problem is the other disconnect with the Trump case. I can’t see how you could decline these charges and, yet, go forward on the classified documents charges against Trump. And, of course, you have two different special counsels. But, that contrast is more glaring today than it has ever been.” • Well, presumably, if you accept Hur’s logic, because Trump’s mental faculties are not diminished (even though some Democrats are now, copycat-style, claiming that they are).

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Biden (D): “Biden’s lawfare joke” [Washington Examiner]. “No criminal trial has begun, but the swarm of Democratic legal actions has already cost Trump dearly. Of course, that was the idea, or at least part of the idea. And it’s something that Biden himself indirectly acknowledged in a recent speech. It happened in Washington at the Gridiron Dinner, a fancy white-tie gathering of major media figures and the top politicians they cover. Biden delivered a speech that was part comedy routine and part inspirational talk to his media base. And this is a joke Biden told, according to news accounts: ‘Our big plan to cancel student debt doesn’t apply to everyone. Just yesterday, a defeated-looking man came up to me and said, ‘I’m being crushed by debt. I’m completely wiped out.’ And I said, ‘Sorry, Donald, I can’t help you.” Ha ha ha. The media audience, of course, laughed. With one joke, Biden acknowledged the work his party’s lawfare warriors have done in the Trump matter. And how could Biden not be grateful? He’s trailing Trump in the polls, is facing an electorate that largely believes he is too old for a second term, and is underwater in approval ratings for his handling of most issues. No doubt Biden’s joke about bankrupting Trump reflects his satisfaction that the lawfare effort is starting to work. But Biden wants more. In February, Politico reported that Biden has ‘grumbled to aides and advisers that had [Attorney General Merrick] Garland moved sooner in his investigation into former President Donald Trump’s election interference, a trial may already be underway or even have concluded.'” • The joke is actually pretty funny; but the lawfare is not a joke at all. Could we charactertize the Biden campaign as a “whole of government” approach? Thinking back to RussiaGate; it’s one thing to throw pork around in an election year; it’s quite another to get the organs of state security involved, not simply in guarding the candidates, but with stories planted or suppressed in the press, having them authenticate elections, and so forth (one very good reason for hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, is to get the spooks out of that business entirely. I mean, you can see it: “Nine of seventeen intelligence agencies assess [hate that word] that the Presidential election of 2024 was ____ in ___ states [insert swing states here].”)

Biden (D): “Tony Bobulinski: Joe Biden Was ‘the Brand'” [Wall Street Journal]. Written testimony of Tony Bobulinski before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee: “I want to be crystal clear: From my direct personal experience and what I have subsequently come to learn, it is clear to me that Joe Biden was ‘the Brand’; being sold by the Biden family. His family’s foreign influence peddling operation—from China to Ukraine and elsewhere—sold out to foreign actors who were seeking to gain influence and access to Joe Biden and the United States government. Joe Biden was more than a participant in and beneficiary of his family’s business; he was an active, aware enabler who met with business associates such as myself to further the business, despite being buffered by a complex scheme to maintain plausible deniability.” • My metaphor for how the Biden clan operates is as follows (and it’s very different from the “complex scheme” used by the Clinton’s. There is a “Biden River” with many many tributaries, large and small. If you “contribute” to a tributary, no matter how much or how little, or how far upstream or down, your contribution eventually flows into Biden Lake (having gone through a complex of locks and canals and dams (like lots and lots of bank accounts and business entities, and Biden family members making a lot of mysterious loans to each other). Even though your contribution to Biden River is mixed in with the flow of all the other contributions, nevertheless you will later be permitted to dip into Biden Lake (having passed some sort of inspection to determine the amount of your original contribution)

Biden (D): “Biden Has Massive Campaign Cash Lead Over Trump as General Election Begins” [Wall Street Journal]. “Trump has retained a slight advantage in polls in battleground states, where thin margins will likely decide who wins the presidency in November. Money also doesn’t necessarily equal guaranteed victory; Hillary Clinton bested Trump in the 2016 money race but still lost the White House. And Trump’s fundraising is likely to pick up now that he has replaced the leadership at the RNC and formed a joint-fundraising committee. Nonetheless, Biden’s fundraising advantage lays bare the risks that Trump has going into spring and summer, when he will accept his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention. His financial health might also reflect the segment of Republicans who say they will refuse to vote for Trump even if he were the nominee, according to surveys of GOP primary voters by AP VoteCast. While the Biden team reported adding $25 million to its total cash holdings in February, Trump’s cash—across the campaign account, the RNC and two PACs—increased by $9.2 million.” • Handy chart:

Biden (D): “Biden SHOULD be angry and anxious — his re-election prospects stink” [Rich Lowry, New York Post]. “[A] loss to Trump would instantly vaporize what was to be Biden’s most important legacy — stopping Trump and supposedly saving American democracy. On his terms, Biden can’t afford to go one-for-two in this endeavor. History isn’t usually kind to one-term presidents. A defeat would be particularly bad for Biden. It would expose his decision to run again for president at age 81, when he’s visibly in decline, as a historic blunder resulting from selfishness and an utter lack of realism. It’d become undeniable that his pick of Kamala Harris, which helped keep Democrats from pushing for him to step aside, was a terrible mistake, and Democrats would be willing to say so. In short, given the personal and political stakes for Biden and how daunting the landscape looks at the moment, Biden would be well-advised to be angry and anxious — very angry and anxious.” • I still maintain that given the incredibly weak Democrat bench, Biden was the best choice (and from the purely party perspective, a brokered convention would be an excellent outcome for grandees and apparatchiks, because their power (some of them, at least) would be enhanced, whether or not their candidate won. In some ways, that was the lesson of Clinton’s losing campaign in 2016; certainly key elements of the Clinton apparatus — press, spooks, party apparatchiks, newly class-conscious PMC — emerged from the debacle with powers enhanced, not diminished).

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Kennedy (I): “Who’s afraid of RFK?” [The Hill]. “[Kennedy is] polling at a steady 15 percent average nationally, and even better in some very important states. He’s performing particularly strong with key demographics like Black and Latino voters, as well as young voters — even beating both Biden and Trump in some polls in that category. ‘It seems clear that in any of these battleground states where the margins are going to be thin, the more candidates in the race, the worse for Biden,’ Tom Bevan, founder of RealClearPolitics, told me. ‘A point or two in the big six battleground states could make the difference, depending on where they make the ballot.’ (Trump edges Biden in the RCP average in a two-way race, but he performs even better when RFK is included.) ‘Making the ballot’ is a key element to this. Right now, Kennedy is officially on the ballot in only four states, and getting close in another 15 or so. But that’s not going to make the seismic impact he wants, or needs. So pay attention to what happens over the next two months. ‘Part of the reason he’s choosing a running mate now is that some states don’t allow a presidential candidate on the ballot without a running mate,’ Chris Stirewalt, host of ‘The Hill Sunday,’ told me. ‘With the Libertarian nomination, he would have the chance to focus on campaigning. Without it, he will be necessarily focused on ballot access more than anything else.'” • Not a bad thing, if in fact RFK organizes a mass signature-gathering effort (run by his own organization not outsourced to petition gatherers), a la “Clean for Gene” in 1968.

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Democrats en Déshabillé

“Why Democrats Are Losing Their Grip on Latino Voters” [Wall Street Journal]. “So long as Democrats were viewed as the party of the working class, they could bank on winning large Hispanic majorities. The problem Joe Biden and his party face this year is growing numbers of Hispanics and other nonwhite working-class voters view Democrats as out of touch. White voters without a college degree have been quitting the Democratic Party in earnest since the Obama presidency. Democrats didn’t expect to see Hispanics follow, but that’s what has happened. To the surprise of most political observers, the trend accelerated thanks to Donald Trump. Democrats carried the Hispanic vote by 38 points in 2016. By 2020 that margin had shrunk to 21 points, and among Hispanic men it was down to 17 points. ‘In 2020, Democrats assumed that they would easily win the Hispanic vote against a president with a history of vitriolic statements against Mexico and Mexican Americans and hostility toward illegal immigration,’ Mr. Judis and Mr. Teixeira write. Instead, Mr. Trump performed significantly better among Latinos than he had four years earlier. Few predict that the GOP will win a majority of the Latino vote this November, but these inroads have smart Democrats terrified.” • Of course, the Democrats could always do something like pass a 32-hour work week; but at best, they’ll manage not to pass it, due to a “revolving villain” (Manchin; Sinema); the filibuster; the Senate Parliamentarian; and, in all cases, those darn Republicans! But vote for us, because we’re “fighting for”!


“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

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Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC (wastewater); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

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“An intranasal combination vaccine induces systemic and mucosal immunity against COVID-19 and influenza” [Nature]. Since CDC threw Covid and the flu into the same bucket, the vaccine industry responded, which I’m fine with if it works. Mouse study. From the Abstract: “Despite prolonged surveillance and interventions, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and influenza viruses continue to pose a severe global health burden. Thus, we developed a chimpanzee adenovirus-based combination vaccine, AdC68-HATRBD, with dual specificity against SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus. When used as a standalone vaccine, intranasal immunization with AdC68-HATRBD induced comprehensive and potent immune responses consisting of immunoglobin (Ig) G, mucosal IgA, neutralizing antibodies, and memory T cells, which protected the mice from BA.5.2 and pandemic H1N1 infections. When used as a heterologous booster, AdC68-HATRBD markedly improved the protective immune response of the licensed SARS-CoV-2 or influenza vaccine. Therefore, whether administered intranasally as a standalone or booster vaccine, this combination vaccine is a valuable strategy to enhance the overall vaccine efficacy by inducing robust systemic and mucosal immune responses, thereby conferring dual lines of immunological defenses for these two viruses.”


No, Covid is not “over.” Biobot’s year-on-year chart:

(This is an alternative to the Biobot chart I use, “Total Results,” which I prefer because it gives the history of the pandemic at a glance. The data is the same.)

“Mild” symptoms:


“GoPros, gummies, reckless abandon: Why ski slopes are getting more dangerous” [Los Angeles Times]. “But former ski patrollers, emergency medical technicians and hospital staff in mountain towns confirmed they are seeing a rise in accidents — and place the blame on a few primary factors. One is a growing recklessness on the slopes that seems to have emerged post-pandemic, behavior often exacerbated by people ingesting pot gummies, magic mushrooms or copious amounts of alcohol before hitting the slopes.” • Loss of executive function.


“We Had the Tools” [The Guiness Pig Diaries]. From 2023, still germane, and worth reading in full. The character names (“like General Manager Tim”) are from a brilliant extended metaphor of a hardware store: “[A] government or health officials [will say we have the tools to deal with Covid-19. No we don’t. We had the tools. All we have now are the memories of those tools. We (and by we, I mean collectively, societally we) blew it. We threw the tools away. We traded them in for something we believed was so much better. Why? Because the very leaders we are supposed to trust to look out for our best interests, like General Manager Tim, told us to. They gave us permission. They told us it was more important to get back to normal than to rely on those tools. So many who heard that message took it and ran with it. Like Liz, they twisted it into something much more extreme to fit their own agendas. Not only are masks not required in public anymore, they’re now banned in some places because they remind people that Covid is still a threat, and that’s bad for the economy. Wearing one has become so stigmatized it can get you harassed or assaulted. And then there’s remote work. Not only is it discouraged, it is shamed. There are message campaigns circulating throughout the media about how remote work is bad for productivity, bad for teamwork, bad for the health of remote workers. Speaking of messaging, we don’t have ANY consistent, trustworthy messaging to inform our decisions about Covid anymore. We have ‘you do you.’ Which is essentially the ‘customer is always right’ mantra in the world of Covid. Believe whatever the fuck you want, do whatever the fuck you want, and regardless of the consequences for yourself or others, no one can hold you accountable. No one can tell you that you’re wrong. This is now a DIY pandemic. Good luck. When we discovered that there were consequences to sh*tting all over our tools and throwing them away, we wanted them back, like Josh. Covid patients who ended up fighting for their lives in the hospital would beg for the vaccine that they had loudly and proudly refused before they got sick. People who thought vaccines were all they needed to stay well refused to continue masking. Then they found themselves ill with Covid and begged for treatments like monoclonal antibodies, which stopped working a long time ago as variants evolved to escape them. We played dumb when reminded that experts had cautioned us this would happen. We insisted we did everything right. We pretended to be victims when we knew better. We can’t get a lot of those tools back now. It’s too late.”

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot March 18: Regional[2] Biobot March 18:
Variants[3] CDC March 16 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC March 16
New York[5] New York State, data March 21: National [6] CDC March 9:
National[7] Walgreens March 18: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic March 16:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC March 4: Variants[10] CDC March 4:
Weekly deaths New York Times March 9: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times March 9:


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) Our curve has now flattened out at the level of previous Trump peaks. Not a great victory. Note also the area “under the curve,” besides looking at peaks. That area is larger under Biden than under Trump, and it seems to be rising steadily if unevenly.

[2] (Biobot) Midwest ticks up.

[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) “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.”

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Looks like a very gradual leveling off to a non-zero baseline, to me.

[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) Leveling out.

[8] (Cleveland) Flattening.

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

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

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

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Manufacturing: “Barnett – First Amended Complaint 5-4-21_Redacted” [Scribd]. A random selection: “[The late Boeing whistleblower John] Barnett continually insisted on the proper procedures being followed. Barnett complained about countless instances where parts were being stolen from one airplane and installed on an incomplete airplane without any documentation, traceability or engineering review. In most cases, the mechanic would come to work to find that the parts s/he installed the day before were gone. Upper Management ignored the stolen parts problem and insisted that Barnett stop documenting them in e-mails and on CA’s (corrective action EPDs). All corrective action EPD’s for stolen parts were cancelled per Leadership direction without any investigation or corrective action. (Ethics hast he records).” • Uploaded by Live 5 News, and not the prize-winning local paper, the Post and Courier, which hasn’t run one single story on Barnett’s assassination death since the original story on March 13. No doubt their crack staff is waiting on the police report, but when the local paper maintains complete radio silence, that makes me worry the fix is in at the police department. I mean, couldn’t they at least have run a human interest story on Barnett’s family?

Manufacturing: “Alaska Airlines blowout passenger reveals terrifying moment his socks and shoes were ripped off and his body was ‘lifted up in the howling wind’ as he sues airline and Boeing along with seven others” [Daily Mail]. • Commentary:

Manufacturing: “Boeing Confirms Disappointing Update on 737 Max Engine Issue” [MSN]. “In the latest chapter of Boeing’s ongoing saga, the aerospace giant faces a significant setback with its 737 Max series. An engine issue will sideline the fleet for up to a year, further delaying the certification of the eagerly awaited 737 Max 7s and Max 10s models…. [A] glitch in the 737 Max’s anti-ice system, which poses a risk of overheating and damaging the engine. Despite the potential severity of the issue, the airplane manufacturing giant assures that it has never occurred in flight. However, the theoretical risk of components breaking off mid-air has prompted a swift and serious response…. The company’s previous estimates had set the repair timeframe at nine to twelve months. This repair work is not just a matter of replacing parts but involves a deeper understanding of the engine’s air intake dynamics and its broader implications on aircraft performance and safety…. The ramifications of the engine issue extend beyond technical repairs. Certification delays for the 737 Max 7s and Max 10s impact Boeing’s timeline and affect major airlines’ operational plans. For instance, Southwest Airlines, with its all-737 fleet, has had to revise its 2024 capacity projections and earnings forecasts in light of these delays.” • This is the issue where pilots had to remind themselves to turn off the anti-ice system in time with a sticky note on their instrument panel.

Manufacturing: “Boeing in ‘last chance saloon’, warns Emirates head” [Financial Times]. We already linked to this, but to reinforce: “[Emirates Airline President] Sir Tim Clark told the Financial Times he had seen a “progressive decline” in Boeing’s standards, which he put down to long-running management and governance mis-steps, including prioritising financial performance over engineering excellence….. Clark said Boeing’s previous management had made repeated mis-steps, including outsourcing parts of its manufacturing and moving parts of its 787 production to South Carolina to cut costs following battles with unions at its primary base north of Seattle, Washington. Boeing eventually moved all of its 787 production to South Carolina in 2021 but the site has struggled with manufacturing challenges. Clark said Boeing had lost ‘skills and competencies’ through the move.” • When the Emirates President says it’s union-busting….

Manufacturing: “Boeing’s big green disaster” [Heated]. “The 737-Max was not the plane Boeing originally intended to make. In 2011, the company announced it was planning to develop an entirely new plane to replace its aging and fuel-guzzling 737 fleet. This new, more fuel-efficient plane would cost billions of dollars and take nearly a decade to make. But Boeing’s then-CEO said it would be worth it. ‘It’s our judgment that our customers will wait for us,’ he said. Shortly after that announcement, however, Boeing’s CEO was proven wrong. The company’s exclusive customer, American Airlines, announced it was defecting to Boeing’s rival plane manufacturer, Airbus. And Airbus was not making new planes–it was putting new, more fuel-efficient engines on old planes. So in order to compete, Boeing quickly scrapped its plan. Instead, it too decided to put new engines on old planes. The 737 Max was born. From a sustainability perspective, Boeing’s change in direction was disappointing, said [Dan Rutherford, an aviation and sustainability expert with the International Council on Clean Transportation]. While the more fuel-efficient aircraft engines were better for the planet than the older ones, a new plane, he said, would have delivered far more benefits. ‘If you look at the technologies that can be used to improve the fuel efficiency and reduce emissions for aircraft, it’s basically three big buckets,; he said. Manufacturers could have made the airframe lighter by using lightweight materials, improved the aerodynamics of the plane to reduce drag, and added more advanced engines. That ‘clean-sheet design’, as it’s known by the industry, would have used less fuel and produced less emissions. A new plane would also have been safer, both in design and because pilots would have been required to train on the new aircraft. But a new design would have cost Boeing and the airlines far more money. So while the strategy may have been good for short-term profit, ultimately, ‘Boeing’s strategy was bad for the environment and for consumers,’ Rutherford said…. And once accidents and tragedies began to plague the 737 Max—in large part because the new engines compromised the aerodynamics of the plane [for which the disastrous MCAS system was a kludge]—the company’s sustainability marketing soared further.” • Because of course it did.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 72 Greed (previous close: 74 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 72 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 22 at 12:56:25 PM ET.

Holier than Thou

“Christian group is ‘luring’ students with free pizza at lunch, Clovis parents say” [Fresno Bee]. “Three parents with children attending Reyburn Intermediate and Clovis East High schools said their children were offered free pizza to go to the lecture hall in groups of three to five during their lunch period. Upon arrival, parents said a representative from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meets with students. After praying and hearing about Christianity, parents said students then receive their free pizza in yellow boxes. “I feel that they’re doing wrong,” one parent with a student at Clovis East told The Fresno Bee. “They’re basically luring in kids that are under 18, that are still trying to find themselves and are still trying to explore.” The parents who spoke to The Bee asked to remain anonymous, fearing retaliation against them or their children. They also said they were not notified via email, text, permission slip or asked for their consent for the FCA to approach their children.”

Groves of Academe

“Larry Summers was ousted as Harvard president. He has a lot to say about what’s wrong with the university now” [Boston Globe]. Hilarity ensues. “It is a highly unusual breach of protocol for a former college president to openly undercut his successors and denounce his longtime academic home. And observers note the irony of Summers lecturing university leaders on public diplomacy while he was forced to step down as president after alienating Black scholars and suggesting women are innately inferior at science and math.” Brain genius Summers also lost the endowment $1.8 billion. Let’s not forget that! More: “Known as a brilliant economist and a top economic adviser to the Clinton and Obama administrations whose guidance has been sought out by bankersMR SUBLIMINAL Scammers, hedge fund managersMR SUBLIMINAL Scammers, and more recently artificial intelligence pioneersMR SUBLIMINAL Scammers, Summers has never been shy about offering his opinion, whether publicly or behind the scenes, at Harvard and other organizations with which he’s involved.” Summers complaint: “We have stepped away from merit and excellence.” • I think that’s a fair complaint. What is not excellent about setting $1.8 billion on fire and throwing it up in the air?


“Intermittent fasting linked to 91% increase in risk of death from heart disease, study says” [Fortune (Furzy Mouse)]. “The safety of intermittent fasting, a popular strategy to lose weight by limiting food intake to certain times, was called into question by a surprise finding from research presented at a medical meeting. Limiting mealtimes to a period of just eight hours a day was linked to a 91% increase in risk of death from heart disease in the study, which was released on Monday in Chicago. The American Heart Association published only an abstract, leaving scientists speculating about details of the study protocol. The study was reviewed by other experts prior to its release, according to the AHA. Lifestyle interventions aimed at weight loss have come under scrutiny as a new generation of drugs help people shed pounds. Some doctors questioned the study’s findings, saying they could have been skewed by differences — such as underlying heart health — between the fasting patients and the comparison group, whose members consumed food over a daily period of 12 to 16 hours.” • I originally misread the headline to imply decrease, not increase, so I’m really running this in case that happens to anybody else. That said: Thumbs down on a story driven from a conference abstract. And thumbs up on the dreaded lifestyle change, as opposed to Big Pharma’s latest. At least in my experience, eating less — especially fewer sweets — really does cause weight loss, hence increased agility, general feeling of fitness. Readers may differ in their views. Endless are the arguments of dieticians!

Guillotine Watch

“Millionaire biohacker Bryan Johnson (who already has a cult-like following) plans to start his own NATION for anti-agers… where pizza, donuts and alcohol could be illegal” [Daily Mail]. • Can anybody get a passport? Could this be Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong?

Class Warfare

I don’t know what’s gotten into Stoller, but I’m here for it:

(“Evil” is strong language — and used correctly in this case.) NOTE Yeah, yeah, China. We’re none of us perfect.

News of the Wired

Derek Guy on men’s clothing is one of my guilty pleasures on the Twitter:

* * *

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 TH:

TH writes: “I’m not positive, but I believe this is a camelia. It, like so many of my recent submissions, lives at the Sherman Library and Gardens (Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach, California).”

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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. Lunker Walleye

    Just got this in mail. “Meet the AI-Censored? Naked Capitalism” by Matt Taibbi

      1. nippersmom

        Came here to post that; not surprised to see I was beaten to the punch by my better half, among others. Hope Taibbi’s article will bring greater attention not only to the censorship/demonetization issue, but to this most excellent site.

    1. MichaelC

      Good on Taibbi for using his clout to assist here.
      It’s a positive sign that things might be at a tipping point.
      If there was a human in the chain btw the AI generated alert and the final email, they would surely have known to stand down.
      Did they forget to train their model to check on the last failed attempt to blackball NC?
      Yves is a formidable foe when one is in the wrong.
      Google just poked the wrong hornets nest I think, and on such flimsy findings.
      Taibbi cited only a couple of her slap down successes. And they were just the big ones.
      See her book Econned for uncovering the key to the 2008 catastrophe, Magnetar (sadly usurped by ProPublica due to publication timetables) if you are in any doubt.

      Perversely, I’m glad those dumb asses chose to pick on her.
      They (or at least their training set) may think she’s a weak link they can bully, but she’s anything but.
      I have enormous respect for her tenacity in fighting the good fight.

  2. ChrisFromGA

    Tac Nukes Flyin’


    Vlad saw the look in Joe’s eyes
    And he knew better
    He’s crossed those thin red lines
    And it was now or never

    You’re gonna feel so rad …

    Oh, Whoa, Whoa, tac nukes flyin’
    Oh, Whoa, Whoa, tac nukes flyin’

    Now Slow-Joe wouldn’t take that lightly
    He needed re-election
    And so we said goodnight
    And now it’s up to natural selection

    They’re gonna send us a letter, yeah, yeah
    From a future species much more clever
    It says, “Chimpy, you shouldn’t have evolved through time”
    Should have known, what that tech would get ya

    Oh, whoa, whoa, tac nukes flyin’
    Oh, whoa, whoa, tac nukes flyin’

    Now we’ve had ELE’s before (ah, ah)
    And God knows just what they’re for (ah)
    They should clean the slate, close the door
    On failed experiments … whoo!

    They’re gonna send us a letter, yeah, yeah
    From a future species much more clever
    It says, “Chimpy, you shouldn’t evolve like that”
    Should have known, what that tech would get ya

    Oh, whoa, whoa, tac nukes flyin’
    Oh, whoa, whoa, tac nukes flyin’

    ELE = extinction level event

  3. Watt4Bob

    “We had the tools”

    Yes we did, and we had a populace that understood the wisdom of following the advice of Public Health officials.

    Now decades of privatization, and the worship of profit-taking have robbed us of both.

    1. Jeff H

      The great thing about this story is it applies over almost all areas of activity in our modern world. Since my love of working in the physical world is core the idea of not having my Grandpaps tools would have been too much even as a teenager.

  4. IM Doc

    The intermittent fasting paper linked above is a true and absolute embarrassment. The fact it even was published ( or at least trumpeted by the AHA – I am not sure what is the actual provenance ) is really amazing. Just another example of the loads of crap (misinformation, disinformation, whatever) being slopped up to the innocent American reader every day by the breathless news media.

    This one does not even bother to pass the smell test. As in prima facie. I am to assume that the authors and/or the AHA never have bothered to question the majority of retired patients about their eating habits. I can tell you for sure that more than half my elderly patients eat breakfast at 830 or so – a very light lunch at 12 or so – and a small dinner often at 430-5. Retirement has a way of doing this to people – it is a remarkably consistent pattern with a sizable minority eating a light breakfast and larger lunch. When you spend even a millisecond in a nursing home, the same pattern is obvious there as well but magnified further. Breakfast is served – then lunch and dinner all between 9 and 5. And so many times the plates for lunch and dinner are often almost completely untouched.

    By definition then, this cohort is intermittently fasting for up to 16-18 hours a day. And I promise, many of them will live to be 90-100 with a smile on their face and a skip in their step.

    This would be laugh out loud funny if not being told to the American people as the gospel truth.

    Lambert – you are exactly correct. Eat the most minimal amounts you can ( holidays excluded). Eat non-processed foods. Do everything to avoid processed carbs and starch and processed fats. Make almost all of your intake things that are made by the planet – not by machines. Do not be afraid of non-processed and lean meat and eggs. It really does not matter the hours of the day you eat or how much time passes between meals. If you are not hungry, do not eat. Avoid like the plague they are fast food and junk food.

    I will repeat again – diet and exercise and lifestyle issues are among the most difficult things in medicine to begin to deal with in research studies. The confounding issues are just gargantuan. It is sad to see this kind of paper being highlighted when it is obvious that from the very beginning of conception, no one had really bothered to think it through.

    1. Steve H.

      Taleb: Voila: tiny subsample. The data was presented as large but the subsample is tiny & we are not even sure of compliance.

    2. flora

      Let’s see. People who use intermittent fasting are in general trying to lose weight. yes? Maybe a lot of weight. There are drugs like Ozempic and Wegovi (sp?) that can be used for weight loss, but drugs used primarily for weight loss are not approved for that purpose on Medicare part D. Until now. Am I too cynical in thinking associating intermittent fasting with heart problems is a pharma PR push? See NPR story link.

      Medicare plans can now cover Wegovy for patients at risk of heart disease


      Am I too cynical?

      1. Objective Ace

        Could also be a food industry push. Less eating is bad for their bottom line as well

        1. tegnost

          Yeah, maybe the cereal guy was pumping cereal for dinner because people are not having bfast cereal anymore, or at least less of it.

          The food pyramid is a production schedule, not a guide to healthy eating…

      1. pjay

        Why so cynical Flora? They are just trying to help the needy. Why, just last week I saw NBC News spend a full five minutes on a heartbreaking story about people who wanted Wegovy but couldn’t get it because their Medicare or Medicaid wouldn’t cover it. Yes, our health care system is broken, NBC told me; people need their Wegovy and can’t get it! Maybe now there’s hope for us after all!

        Now if I was cynical I might wonder about the objectivity of this story about a product produced by one of NBC’s major sponsors. I think they also produce Ozempic, which has ads on NBC every night and has had at least two positive “news” stories that I remember. But I’m sure that’s all just a coincidence. And I’m sure the $1000/month cost per patient is completely warranted.

    3. chris

      It seems like regardless of topic area, people with a platform are pushing citizens to be less disciplined, less aware, less involved. “You should not deprive yourself, or work too hard, or try to stand out…just get along and don’t question the narrative. Drugs are your friend.”
      We’re in for some hard times I fear.

  5. t

    Intermittent fasting linked to 91% increase in risk of death from heart disease, study says

    Terrible news for me, if true. When people first started talking about this, I assumed they meant something like bot eating for two or three straight days, not what I would call normal eating patterns.

    Also bad news for millions of folks who follow religious practices.

    Full article indicates the abstract raises a lot of questions. And the data is mostly self-reported. By men.

  6. Matthew

    I have never fully understood why the Democrat bench is so weak. Why wouldn’t some governor or another be promoted to sufficient national prominence by the campaign itself? Are they really all that mediocre? Why? I really don’t get it.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Uniparty politicians are all of a type. Dark blue suit or pantsuit, perfectly coiffed, flag lapel pin or some other symbolic bling.

      They’re just actors, paid to play a role. No real person with any real convictions would ever sign up; there’s no constituency for the Democrats’ real agenda.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        add in ordinary Opposition research, magnified a quadrillion times by virality and other socmed things…as well as the various flavors of the neogotcha….from #metoo(after Tara, that suddenly vanished for some reason…)…to the myriad woke and cancel culture phenomena…
        who the hell wants to go through all that…especially(if you’re a Real Lefty) if its likely to be from your own erstwhile allies and party apparatus?
        20+ years ago, when i was locally vocal about politics(antiwar, antisurveillance, antitorture, anticorps(e), and a fundamentalist on the bill of rights) i was asked to run for various offices…from county chair, to even running against mike…(cant member his name, bush crimen familia’s consiglieri…US rep from texas’ 11th)…even though i would not win the latter, they needed people to run.
        i considered running for sheriff…as an independednt or libertarian…
        but in all of this, i looked around….at the time it was the goptea rabid lunatics that would dig up stuff and fling it into the world at large….and i’ve lived a rather wild and crazy life.(unknown if theres video out there,lol)
        now, it would be both major parties attempting to dig up dirt…and again, there is dirt…lots of it…but only if yer a prude and a law and order fanatic who thinks cops can do no wrong.
        or if yer one of those woke torquemadas who will cancel someone for one word taken out of context 20 years ago.
        the real reason such creatures would be opposed to me is that i am a real lefty…socialist, leaning anarchist, with a profound respect for civil liberties being universal.
        but theyd make it all about that orgy i attended, or being chased around by the law, back when.

        who wants to do all that?
        answer: likely sociopaths who long for power and wealth…which is why we have what we have.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I got your email and I think I butchered responding to it by marking it as spam (Yahoo threw a new UI at me). Yahoo didn’t even move it to the spam folder; they just nuked it.

          Can you resend from as many addresses as possible, and I will check my Spam folder and mark them as OK? Thank you, eesh.

    2. Ranger Rick

      The pipeline to the DNC collects from the same aspirational reservoir as the pipeline to other grandees — and those jobs pay way, way more.

    3. Feral Finster

      Because the median age of Congress is older than that of the Brezhnev-era Politburo.

    4. Jeff H

      I come from what was a solidly Democratic area and returned there when I quit working in 2002. The local and state parties were ghosts. Absolutely no presence or outreach until a month or two before elections. I’d say the change started in the late 60’s when they started to keep labor at arms length. Then there were the Reagan Dems. The local and state parties are closed clubs, starved of resources and only maintaining their inner sanctum. Just look at what happened in Nevada when DSA people won top party positions. The sent all the money off to Washington, the staff all quit and set up their shadow party.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        ive related this experience before in these pages…last time i was invited to a demparty function out here.
        literal hilltop manse…with a waterfall in the foyer, no less…and a prius in the garage…for Obama(holy) second inauguration.
        me and my MIL were the representative po folks, i guess.
        giant picture window that literally looked down upon the barrio(where i lived at the time).
        and we watched Obama’s speech, etc…and everybody partook of the horse divorse and fine likker(i brought keystone lite as a statement)….and then the county chair went around the room.
        for input,lol.
        host talked about running off to campaign for O in Ohio…others talked about money spent on various campaigns across the land….then she…obviously reluctantly…got to me…..sitting by that big picture window that was likely worth more than the shack i was living in, which i could see, just barely…
        well, joe, what are your thoughts?
        and me: welp…i think we should come down off this hill, go down there(pointing) into the barrio with a keg of beer and some cabrito and register a bunch of people to vote.
        nervous shuffling.
        then a rush back to where the likker and wine was.
        and no discussion, at all, about what i had said.
        i have never been invited to one of those, since.

    5. The Rev Kev

      Seems like the Democrats have no deep bench and as a guess, I would say that the present geriatrics in control undercut the generation rising behind them so that they did not have to worry about challengers to their positions. So for example, who is going to challenge Nancy Pelosi for her position. AOC? Give me a break.

      1. albrt

        Based on my experience with Dem party apparatus in a few different states, this is right but it’s not just the geriatrics. Dem party apparatchiks have a deep seated allergy to any potential power base they can’t control, and the elected officials are even worse–they are opposed to any power base other than themselves personally.

    6. Robert Gray

      re: Matthew

      > Why wouldn’t some governor or another be promoted to sufficient national prominence by the
      > campaign itself?

      (1) You mean like that obscure peanut farmer from GA and then the egocentric excrescence Billy Jeff? Expand the definition to a more general ‘some little-known hack or other’ and you could even include that WonderMan junior senator from Illinois.

      > Are they really all that mediocre?

      (2) See (1) above. (And, in fact, for two of the three I reference there, ‘mediocre’ would be a whitewash of their actual evil.)

    7. steppenwolf fetchit

      The Clintons spread their malignant metastatic clintonoma daughter cells throughout the Democratic Party. Malignant metastatic clintonoma daughter cells like Rahm Emmanuel who set up systems for persecuting and deleting good-quality Democrats out of the Party.

  7. Googoogajoob

    I’ve been watching Trump’s bond saga with a level of amusement here given my underwriting background. I can only imagine what the internal correspondence looks like with the markets declining to write the bond while getting white hot pushback from Trump’s reps.

    I think it does ring true that the penalty is likely excessive and meant to stick one on him but I don’t have much sympathy. He had a reputation of stiffing other parties prior to his mainstream political career (and still does – see his current SPAC maneuvering) so this may be a case where he actually will feel a real consequence. It’s terrible logic but he’s not a sympathetic character on any measure.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > not a sympathetic character

      No, I have no qualms about seeing karma play out in near-real times.

      However, lawfare is Third World stuff. It’s an absolute embarassment and a degradation that this is the level we have fallen to. Beat the dude on the merits, ffs. Is that so hard? Why would it be so hard?

      1. mrsyk

        I’m of a mind that Musk is next on the list. Twitter (“X” I guess. How obtuse a single letter can be) needs to be brought to the censorship curb.

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        exactly…but they cant run on any of that…because the donors and corps would have a sad.
        both of the frontrunners are extremely flawed individuals…and with histories that are wide open to the whole world(altho,i fondly remember getting kicked off of daily kos for linking to things like wapo in regards to the documented history of one hillary clinton)
        they should be very easy to dislodge…but theres giant thumbs on teh scale…and not much that us’n’s can do about it.
        i wont vote any more…ive given up on electoral politics…
        i see no daylight(or hope) there, given what we’ve seen in the last…well…really 30 years.
        i was wandering in twitter early this am…and came across yet another herd of people yammering about the $35 trillion dollar debt, and howling about “how we gon pay that back?!!”….and in my running around later(i cant get radio i like in the truck out here), i was ruminating about that…answer: we aint…and i, for one, will refuse to if asked or coerced…not my bill…send it to Heritage and Pnac and AEI and Brookings and so on.
        and raytheon, of course.
        i reckon i dont owe my gooberment jack shit…
        (i paid for my eventual hip replacement with a working life of paying the premiums, as well as almost seven frelling years of waiting on them to come through)

        1. Pat

          There are few others to add to your list of real creditors of the so-called national debt, but otherwise I am right there with you. Well with another caveat. I will still vote,but only to directly give the allowed choices the finger. (I think they are happy with people bowing out from the system as it is easy to ignore those numbers when claiming legitimacy.) But I do know it won’t change or correct anything.

          Even with too many of the wrong people backing RFK Jr, I am there with a third party getting a large enough vote to be noticed. Same with any version of no one on the ballot. Causing agita to the Beltway rulers and enablers with an action that takes relatively little effort will always appeal to me. (Which is why I will go vote for Williamson in under two weeks, since there is no version of no one on the ballot here.)

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            amen, brother.
            mom still goes there every morning…keeps sending me their “good news” roundup.
            i got banned from faceborg, too…for much the same reasons.
            and disqus…
            i also was on a no fly list, for…i guess…yelling(in emails) at the people who pretend to work for me for gross misrepresentation(!).
            being laid up for 6 1/2 years gives one ample time for extreme advocacy.
            i consider all of those badges of honor.
            (regarding healthcare, germane at the time…both for me, as well as the nation(Obamacare)…i emailed and yelled at all of them….500 and change at fedlevel, and all of texas lege…and repeatedly…mike conaway’s office(there, i remembered his name) and ted cruz’ eventually blocked my number, because i would call and bitch their flunkies out for working for whores and weasels)

            so when i say…up there^…that i have given up on fixing things, and instead waiting around for it to all fall down…thats the context.

      3. Pat

        I don’t think they really can. This is similar to the endless congressional hearings we get on subjects where there is a real issue that could be addressed but they have to ignore it to avoid upsetting bipartisan sponsors, projects, or corruption and focus on stupid things instead, Trump is and was not unique. His handling of classified documents, his inflation of assets, his fighting election results, his pay off of former mistresses, he’ll even his taxes and business bankruptcies are common to standard. The only real change is that he won an election he wasn’t supposed to win. He beat selected candidates. And that embarrassed the Beltway.
        If these weren’t exaggerated lawfare actions, a whole lot of people would be facing extended lawsuits and indictments, including the three presidents before him, the current president, most of the NY real estate industry, and a significant portion of the richest male moguls.

        I’m still waiting to see how they are going to get the suits for the rappers and Cuomo dismissed that got filed during the special No statute of limitations period for sexual misconduct that NY set up for Trump and nobodies.

        1. Belle

          “I’m still waiting to see how they are going to get the suits for the rappers and Cuomo dismissed that got filed during the special No statute of limitations period for sexual misconduct that NY set up for Trump and nobodies.”
          The idea that this was just set up for Trump is ludicrous. While the source may be a proponent of the bill, it is worth noting that thousands of suits have been filed, including multiple ones against major private institutions like Columbia University, government institutions like Riker’s Island, and countless others.
          It is worth noting that several other states have passed similar legislation. If any right-wing individuals or groups are targets, they would be institutions like the Roman Catholic Church or the Southern Baptist Convention.
          I am aware of how sexual assault allegations can be misused, but Trump is not Mark Ames, Julian Assange, or Alex Salmond. This bill is not the Defund ACORN Act or the Magnitsky Act.

          1. Pat

            I have enough of the idealist left in me to hope you are right and I am wrong. But this reminds me of when someone on another blog bet me I was wrong that the ACA was not going to eliminate medical bankruptcy (I was enough of a fair play advocate to adjust it to just stop medical debt from being the biggest reason for bankruptcy, but they were being mislead.)
            But this is New York, the little gets through the legislature that isn’t a special interest without a huge battle…which was where? But it was passed with little effort. There was always going to be a flurry of suits, and most of them will be fairly straightforward, because most defendants don’t matter to the state powerbrokers. But not all. This will be harder to check, yet there is no doubt in my mind that there will be very different standards in the court for plaintiffs and defendants and what they can and cannot present and do depending on who the defendant is. The wrong defendants, major donors and power brokers, won’t have a defense hamstrung in any manner (not the same type of case but look at the list of what the Trump defense is enjoined from using in the Daniels case.) And the plaintiffs will be hamstrung, will be drilled on every inconsistency, and sometimes have testimony entirely thrown out. And this is only if the plaintiffs aren’t convinced not to give up before a court date is set. And that is also important. Because unlike Carroll’s suit none will be rushed through a system that has yet to entirely clear the back up that resulted from the lockdown. And you know long delays and no donors funding the legal team means plaintiffs could run out of money before that.
            But it wasn’t about the guy who the AG just pursued and won a case with hundreds of millions of penalties against that had no complaining victims and no proven losers even. This as she, and the Governor, repeatedly stated in the presss that no other suits will be considered assuring people in the same business with the same issue they were safe and probably assuring themselves lots of campaign money as well.

      4. Googoogajoob

        >Why would it be so hard?

        My 40 yard viewing distance from Canukistan is that the American legal system is so outwardly and openly politicized and the increasing polarization is straining the legitimacy of it. Cant help but opine it is devolving into a tit for tat dynamic.

        At the risk of giving a notion that the American judicial system was better once upon a time, I’d argue that Bush v. Gore really uncorked the genie bottle with the ability for judges to issue judgements that amounted to “f-you, because I said so” with the most half assed justifications.

        And really, what’s stopping them from doing this? All you have now is to watch this stuff escalate more and more into the absurd.

        I do believe things could be done but it’d take real political courage that seems to not exist in this era. So all there’s left to do is watch the glow of the fire from afar and hope we don’t cooked.

        1. Carolinian

          Corruption including judicial has a long American pedigree. The 19th century railroad barons depended on it. And the machine politics of that day were nasty as well. Perhaps back then the malefactors weren’t quite so sanctimonious about their schemes.

        2. steppenwolf fetchit

          You might want to build a Big Beautiful Wall to prevent millions of American refugees from fleeing into Canada if the fire here gets hot enough.

    2. Ranger Rick

      I’m taking the whole saga as a form of propositional bet, a Roko’s Basilisk, if you will, against a future Trump administration. The financial geniuses are all throwing in with a potential Biden second term; Trump can make life very, very difficult for them if he wins.

        1. NYT_Memes

          Roko’s Basilisk: Late reply (I apologize for that), but isn’t this worth further discussion?

          Not quite the same, but didn’t Musk speculate we are actually living in a simulation. I might have tortured his words a bit, but I think the point is close enough. Technology overlords will destroy life as real humans. I am honestly quite concerned where we go as humans with AI in control.

          1. Ranger Rick

            It wasn’t in reference to AI so much as the “inevitable” Biden administration that may find some excuse to punish those who didn’t help out the campaign. The Roko’s Basilisk thought experiment is one of those silly games you can play with potential responsibility for the ultimate “can’t do anything about it”: the future.

            The Wikipedia article itself dryly remarks that committing to some course of action for fear of some imagined future (eternal) suffering is indistinguishable from religious thought. It’s a humorous elbow jab into the ribs of futurists.

    3. griffen

      This is just occurring to me, that many in the Biden camp have never actually “built” an organization from scratch so they would not know how many employees stand to lose in this particular instance. Putting my doubts about Trump himself aside for a moment, but do Democrats actually believe their own lie this is going to protect “our Democracy” somehow?

      I think the pollster Luntz is correct. Politicians don’t have a hand on, or a hand in running, a real life real time competent business outside of their own narrow lived experience. Outside of a few glaring examples these politicians can’t imagine meeting a payroll or incurring the wrath of CPA firms and attorneys. Trump may well emerge battered and bruised; but he helps some think about this in political terms and banana republic terms.

      The Reid Hoffman like mindset may reap what they have sowed. Payback as they say can be a real bitch! Careful what they hope to achieve. Two words I’ll add. Hunter Biden.

  8. Jonathan

    Hi I love the birdsong, thanks for posting. I am disabled and don’t get out much and forgot how nice it is to listen to birds singing.

  9. Feral Finster

    “It will be very, very easy for Trump to claim on the campaign trail that the System is taking away his property to punish him for being Donald Trump. Luntz is right: this will be an incredible boost to Trump’s campaign. And even if Trump should lose, Robb is also correct: this kind of thing undermines the legitimacy of American institutions, which are already under tremendous pressure.”


    What is up with this guy? People see the system as corrupt because it is corrupt. Similarly, Biden will get a pass on his mishandling of classified documents and Trump will not because the system uses any pretext to reward friends and punish enemies.

    What amazes me is that anyone still pretends otherwise.

      1. mrsyk

        re Rage Against the Machine the small print:
        Compromise, conformity
        Assimilation, submission
        Ignorance, hypocrisy
        Brutality, the elite
        All of which are American dreams

    1. Arthur Voorhees

      Donald Trump is a jerk, he’s a disaster for the environment, a braggart, his relatives are foreign agents and opportunists. However, we will gladly vote for him because Donald Trump is a human middle finger to the total assholes running our economy, our state and taxing us to death.Yheir smugness will be so wonderfully shattered when he wins.

      We were planning to finally buy new cars for our younger college age family members, and ourselves, but after watching the horror of Gaza and listening to the bald faced economic lies coming out of the White House, we refuse to help that charade in any way.

      Next year we hit the car showroom. Plenty of time to research purchases until then.
      Don’t forget Consumer Reports Magazine for solid advice.

  10. ChrisFromGA

    I’ve got a hypothesis that we’re witnessing the end of the GOP as an accomplice to the uniparty system.

    Today MTG filed a motion to vacate. It’s getting lost in all the other news, including Kate Middleton and a big attack on a Moscow concert hall.

    I believe this year may be it for the GOP. Another resignation hit today, taking the GOP House majority down to one, after April 19. The House will be in chaos after the Easter break, with Greene able to call a privileged vote to turf out Johnson at any moment.

    Over in the Senate, Mike Lee is going after the Mitchster:


    The combination of Boehner, McCarthy and now Johnson as failed speakers may be too much to overcome. It is evident that while the Freedom Caucus types just don’t have the numbers, the steady drumbeat of retirements shows that whatever remains outside of their firy spirit is a core of bland psuedo-Pelosis who function equivalently to her.

    THere is also a “flood gates opening” type of feel to all these announcements from the GOP.

    Here is another one:


    Under one-party rule, the Donkeys are better because they enjoy technocratic can-kicking. And they hand out the goodies better.

    So perhaps we are moving from de facto uniparty rule to de jure.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It is evident that while the Freedom Caucus types just don’t have the numbers

      Yep. They have the numbers to prevent others from governing, but not enough to govern themselves. Hey, remember “The Squad”? Suppose they had the stones that MTG has….

      1. Pat

        Chicken or egg? Does the squad lack stones or convictions? I recognize that the end result is the same regardless of the answer, but it would be nice to know if they are stupid and gutless, or if they are acting as much as the rotating villains are.

  11. kana

    James Lindsay has become a widely renowned speaker on the “dangers of identity politics” while theorizing its origin and purpose as Marxism. Which btw is not unique to him. But he also claims that Marxism and “wokeness” has its origin in “The Gnostic Heresy.” That is pretty unique to him. He has received criticism for that theorizing by people who say James Lindsay has stepped outside of his academic wheelhouse, and that he is promoting misconceptions about Gnosticism and the western esoteric traditions in general — which he expounds on in depth in books and his many online classes and recorded presentations. From Gnostic Gnonsense

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > James Lindsay has become a widely renowned speaker on the “dangers of identity politics” while theorizing its origin and purpose as Marxism.

      James Lindsay is a fool and a weasel who is adept at stringing knee-jerk inducing phrases together but knows nothing of Marxism (or scholarship, for that matter). He might begin by showing that Hegal was into Gnosticism. Does he?

    2. Belle

      I think his shift to Gnosticism is to get some of that Religious Right money. I am stuck knowing people who were influenced by him, via a neo-Confederate at the Abbeville Institute best known for sowing discord in the Southern Baptist Convention.

  12. Ghost in the Machine

    GoPros, gummies, reckless abandon: Why ski slopes are getting more dangerous” [Los Angeles Times].

    Interesting. I went skiing with my sons last weekend and a group had a bar set up on the tailgate of their truck in the morning before skiing. This does happen but usually on closing days or holidays and after skiing. At least after lunch. That day someone also cracked a beer on the lift. I have seen that sometimes to, but usually college kids and this guy looked 35-40.
    Pot as been pretty prevalent at ski resorts as long as I can remember.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      This sounds like more pearl clutching to me – as you noted, this isn’t new. And it isn’t just the skiers, it’s the employees.

      Decades ago when I worked in the industry, it was OK to smoke cigarettes so the lift ops would take one, remove all the tobacco, and refill the tube with weed to make it less obvious to any straight edge ski patrol who might sneak up. Of course the head of the ski patrol had only been recently reinstated himself after getting busted for cocaine use.

      I thought this was funny, from the article –

      “And The Times’ efforts to talk with their ski patrollers, who usually are the first responders to accidents on the slopes, were rebuffed.”

      They probably didn’t want to talk because they were too busy smoking dope. While some ski patrol might bust their fellow employees, others were more than happy to smoke them out.

      1. Milton

        Does anyone have a 200ml bottle of schnapps or apricot brandy packed in their coats anymore when they hit the slopes? That was my drink of choice in the late 70s, early 80s.

          1. Glen

            So one of the Navy bases I was stationed at had a ski club which had a yearly outing to one of the local resorts. After three years of what were regarded as stellar ski outings, the club could no longer find any bus chartering company willing to do business with the ski club. Lets just say the rides back to the base at the end of the day tended to get WAY out of control.

            I can remember one trip where one friend, Rick, finished his Bota bag of peppermint schnapps before we got to the resort. We’re standing in line to a lift that takes you to the top. The Campbell Basin was one of the ways down.

            High Campbell

            It had this sign posted on the lift shack:

            No Bozos!

            So we watch a skier go down the slope a bit, fall, slide fifty feet, then fall over about a twenty foot cliff band, slide another fifty feet, go over another twenty foot cliff band and finally come to a stop. The whole line goes quiet watching this, at the end this was the conversation in the lift line:

            “Was that Rick?”
            “Yeah, looks like Rick.”
            “Did he really drink his whole Bota bag on the way here?”
            “Well then he’s probably fine.”

            He was.

  13. Feral Finster

    I don’t suppose anyone has posted anything on a largeish scale terror attack on the Crocus Hall in Moscow Oblast?

    1. Feral Finster

      I also wonder this was the terrorist attack that the US Embassy in Moscow was warning about a couple of days ago.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the terrorist attack that the US Embassy in Moscow was warning about a couple of days ago.

        Got a link on that? Remarkable lack of discipline by State if so. I mean, since when are U.S. citizens not expendable?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Well there was Victoria Nuland talking about “nasty surprises” while in the Ukraine before she got the boot. Does that count as a longer term warning?

    2. JustTheFacts

      Well that was March 7th for 48 hours. So perhaps not. Russia just whacked Ukraine very heavily (no electricity, blown up railway lines, etc), so it could be a response. A Ukrainian van was found nearby, but that could be a van belonging to one of the many Ukrainian refugees who fled to Russia.

      Earlier today Russia transitioned from Special Military Operation to War because of Macron/NATO openly sending troops, so things are on edge.

      Currently the Russian emergency services are apparently reporting 140 deaths and the building is not just burning, but seems to be about to suffer a roof collapse.

      Medvedev said that if Ukraine is behind the attack, Ukrainian State officials will be eliminated as terrorists. “Death for death”.

      1. JustTheFacts

        Supposedly, people were phoning “112” (i.e. the emergency number like 911 in the US) giving them false information about attacks on shopping centers or schools to confuse them and give the terrorists more time. Some of the phone calls came from Ukrainian and spoofed numbers.

        Maria Zhakarova wants the US to tell Russia what they knew on March 7th.

        Come to think about it, I wonder what Nuland was talking about when she said Putin would face some nasty surprises. Time to extradite her?

      2. JustTheFacts

        I’m seeing contradictory reports — it’s either 40 or 140 deaths. Hopefully 40.

    3. Mikel

      Did read something about Moscow having questions for Washington.
      And noticed the announcement hit after the markets closed.
      Just sayin’….

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is not good. Not good at all:

      From NBC:

      Men in camouflage broke into a Moscow concert hall and opened fire, shooting an unknown number of people, Russia’s prosecutor general said.

      Russia officials said that more than 40 people are dead and more than 100 injured after the attack at Crocus City Hall.

      A fire also started inside Crocus City Hall, a large concert venue northwest of central Moscow.

      The tweet above is of the Crocus City Hall fire.

      Financial Times:

      At least 40 people died and more than 100 were injured after attackers opened fire at a large concert venue in Moscow late on Friday and a blaze took hold of the building.

      At least four men dressed in camouflage burst into the Crocus City Hall concert venue on the outskirts of Moscow, where a band called Picnic was due to perform, the Ria state news agency reported, citing one of its reporters, who was a witness.

      Since this happens immediately after Putin got his electoral mandate, I can only imagine that the goal of the perps is escalation (and anybody calling “false flag” gets 50 lashes with a wet noodle) in response to Russia’s response. Perhaps France could haul a few of its nukes into Odessa. To “protect” it. (This after the attacks on Russian refineries, too. FAFO….)

      UPDATE I have to say, ISIS wasn’t on my Bingo card:

      ISIS claims responsibility in deadly attack on Russia’s Crocus City Hall ABC. Though who knows what was really going on in the Syrian clusterf*ck in which ISIS was one player

      UPDATE Adding, I haven’t seen any images of Nazi patches worn by the shooters (from the several videos). And Nazis do love their regalia….

      UPDATE A helpful idea from Aaron Maté:

      1. LawnDart

        One of the videos on S.front shows 4-attackers, shooting and moving towards the concert hall.

        Pay attention to their movements and positioning, especially while firing.

        Russia will need to proceed both quickly and carefully, as this attack wasn’t carried out without thought as to how Russia would respond. Of course, chess is the national sport.

      2. Snailslime

        There were rumors of the US recruiting ISIS to fight Russia ever since 2022, including videos of supposed jihadis entering Ukraine.

        Dima mentioned it on his channel at the time, but since no conformation ever materialized….

        One of my first thoughts was actually some leftover chechen jihadis that the US had stashed away for Just such an operation.

        They’d love nothing more than to create a rift between Russians and Chechens or at least the illusiory appearance of such.

        The treacherous so called nationalists and liberals that Navalny used to associate with before apparently growing dis-illusioned with them would love that too, good opportunity to stoke Up anti muslim sentiments or so they and the West would calculate.

        Perhaps plant something to incriminate Saudi Arabia or other muslim countries with good relations with Moscow.

        I wouldn’t discount the possibility of the attackers being renegade Chechens with ISIS ties until further notice, though if they are not trying to stir up some troubles in Chechnyia (or again, some fear it might be so) they could attempt to do so in Syria.

        Perhaps in hopes of drawing some russian forces to a theater other than Ukraine, possibly to keep them occupied there, possibly calculating it might be easier to ambush them there.

        1. Belle

          Back in 2015, The Intercept reported how a lot of jihadis wanting to fight in Ukraine, be it to kill Russians, or to find a way westward, or to get some weapons to ship elsewhere.
          And while Navalny wasn’t a fan of Central Asians, it’s worth noting that Alexander Litvinenko (remember him?) was a supporter of the Chechen cause, converted to Islam not long before he died, and declared that Putin was behind the July 7 bombings in London.
          Finally, back in 2016, the “Intelligence Community Assessment” on Russia mentioned that one of Russia’s goals was an international coalition against Daesh…as though it was a bad thing.

      3. skippy

        Meh … some trying to goad Russia into doing something that the West can use to say they are a threat to everyone else as mad men … PR fodder …

          1. The Rev Kev

            This Muslim guy was saying that ISIS would attack and kill Muslims in Antarctica before attacking Israel.

      4. Daniil Adamov

        Just because ISIS claims to have done something, doesn’t mean they actually did it. Didn’t they take credit for some other terrorist attacks that had nothing to do with them before? It might just be an attempt to stay relevant. They always were big on PR.

    5. Skip Intro

      It seemed to come just after reports that French and other official foreign troops had arrived in Ukraine. I wonder of the attack was part of the immediate escalation drama for which those troops are the sacrificial offering. They arrive hours before Russia is goaded into what is bound to be significant retailiation. Ooops.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        My first reaction, too. I could be wrong; see above Link on ISIS (!) from ABC (though I must say it rather reminds me of a character that disappeared in the first act reappearing in the third, a “long lost” something-or-other…

        1. Skip Intro

          Sounds totally legit. If anyone knows what ISIS is up to it is the US.
          I’ve always suspected ISIS did NordStream too. Matches their M.O. amirite?

      2. Martin Oline

        I have watched some mainstream reporting and am struck by the immediate stories, Isis or Muslim terrorists, Putin’s incompetence, native fighters, not a word about Ukraine. The MSM always takes some time to get its’ story together, sometimes it takes days. The ready-made stories make me believe this was expected by certain people who write the scripts for the newsreaders. It looks as if this is not a good time to be part of a French expeditionary force, even if your president is doing a Rocky act for the cameras to inspire you.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Here’s Larry Johnson on Nima’s show – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4jjguZ-_5s

          He says the US released a statement that Ukraine was not in any way involved within an hour of the attack and wonders how they could possibly know that.

          Whoever did it, the fact that the US put out a statement so quickly sure makes it seem likely the US put them up to it.

            1. Polar Socialist

              FSB reports having caught all four suspects, less than 100 km from the Ukrainian border.

              But yes, escaping the crime scene and then getting caught alive hasn’t been the habit of any Islamist organization.

              On the other hand, apparently some “militants” of Idlib fame have been identified among the Free Russia (or whatever it is) troops attacking the Belgorod area.

              1. The Rev Kev

                This sounds like a Budanov operation and I would not be surprised if it was. One Ukrainian official had the gall to say that they had no involvement with the attack as they don’t do terrorist operations in other countries.

                1. Polar Socialist

                  I saw a short footage of the initial interrogation (appears to be immediately after the capture) of one of the suspects:
                  – What did you do at Crocus?
                  – I fired my gun…
                  – Shot at people?
                  – Yes…
                  – Why? Why did you do that?
                  – For money…

                  My translation may be a bit off, but not much. Take of it what you will. And yes, the man speaks Russian.

  14. LawnDart

    a growing recklessness on the slopes that seems to have emerged post-pandemic…

    Wuk should jump in here, but many years ago, drugs and alcohol were hugely present and prevalent on the slopes– weed and speed, coke and booze… a lot of other extracurriculars too but not relevent here. I suppose that there was a gap between now and then, when the sport became much more expensive and “family-friendly,” but I can tell you from personal experience that mulled red wine and moguls are probably not the best combination: sometime in the early afternoon I hit a mogul and launched… in a couple senses of the term. There was a long trail left from there that could have been made by someone who was decapitated and then tumbled down the slope, and it was still visible even late in the day after I had taken a nap and returned to the lodge to wash the taste out.

    I kinda felt like the gal in a cocktail dress at 8:30 in the morning, trying to flag-down a cab… a little ashamed, like everyone knew.

    Point is, I don’t think that they are pointing the finger for the rise in accidents entirelly in the right direction.

    1. Wukchumni

      We just finished our last run of the week and had beers apres ski, and I posed the question to our group of 8 that has nearly 400 years of skiing experience between us, as to whether recklessness was becoming an issue, and we all agreed we weren’t seeing it.

      Saw 1 ski patrol sled taking down somebody injured on the slopes in 5 days @ Vail, Beaver Creek & Breckenridge, that’s hardly in excess, nothing in the scheme of things.

      420 has always been a fixture @ ski resorts, but i’ve never heard of anybody doing magic mushrooms, I’d be weirded out doing 40-45 mph-its not the right thing for the conditions as far as i’m concerned.

      Skiers tend to be older and we kvetch about snowboarders, but the only time i’ve ever been run into was by a skier @ Alpine Meadows some years ago, that’s over 600 days on the slopes by your truly to give you an idea of how infrequent run-ins are among mostly competent partakers of the piste de la resistance.

      Our biggest issue is little kids who are frankly often unpredictable, and this week being spring break for many schools, there were plenty of little ones that we tend to try and avoid, and it isn’t so hard, really.

      The highlight of the week was seeing a moose @ Breckenridge in the trees, good golly are they giant creatures!

      1. skippy

        Good to hear the Codgers had a great time Wuk.

        Vale is the bomb when conditions are sweet, living close to it helps. That said its not the place you will see many sleds of shame, snowboarders get flack largely due to youth indiscretion, from day one, acerbated by newbies plowing snow off down slopes to the ice/cement layer, hence a skier hits the lip and then cuts on the increased down slope and the next thing you know your one of those monkey toys with chattering teeth …

        Kids on the slopes is fine, its at the lifts one should beware ….

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m cool with snowboarders now, and was living in Lake Tahoe in 1985-86 which was in the infancy of new icemen cometh, and back then we derisively called them ‘squeegee men’ because all they did was wreck the snow like so many dorks, but they have gotten really good and the only ones that are really ambitious with doing tricks on the slopes, skiers rarely leave their feet @ a resort in comparison.

          I’m of the opinion that snowboarders were a perfect fit with their ‘we aren’t skiers’ garb, clothes you can wear on the slopes or in the freezer at your job at the abattoir, plus similar to the hippies refrain of ‘don’t trust anybody over 30’ Snowboarders were all young, and mostly still are.

          And they’re handy to blame anything on…

  15. Amfortas the Hippie

    apparently, many of Tiaibbi’s commenters resent NC because they really really want to believe that the pandemic is behind us.
    i had missed Yves’ long post he linked to about this particular issue(hoeing baby native sunflowers, and then paying with my back for that action)
    hope my occasional advocacy for political cannibalism didnt contribute to the demonetisation.
    (ive backed away from cooking them all and feeding them to the poor…at the rate we’re going, i figger russia will cook them first)

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      But Taibbi clearly doesn’t resent NC his own self. He clearly likes it. And he also clearly reads the comments.

      He could be reading this very comment at this very moment.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        i learned that back in the day at LATOC…you dont know who is lurking…let alone who(hamfist, orgemother) you are speaking to.
        good to keep in mind…altho, at this late stage, i just go with my (beerfilled) gut and turn it loose.
        if people in power…or, a lesser concern…people who serve power, hear me…i say good.
        they need to frelling hear me.
        thats the whole problem, innit?
        they dont listen to Us, in “our democracy”?
        (waves to nsa gopherbots)

  16. William Beyer

    Regarding Larry Summers’ departure from Harvard. Lt. Col. Larry Wilkerson let slip the other day that Summers might have been let go because he INCREASED the Harvard endowment to the tune of $19 billion – some of the money stolen directly from the $11 billion in IMF loans arranged by Bill Clinton when to spooks tried to rape Russia. I wonder if anyone will ever actually know…

    1. griffen

      That’s a bit of fantasy. Summers was the big idea man and caused a spectacular problem when his best laid plans went sour, this not being anything unknown to those who followed. And..Summers is a first class a*hole who is never suffering for his best laid ideas coming to naught.

      Short version. Larry Summers presumed interest rates would soar high and they most certainly did not do so. Yes we do know it has been covered on this very site extensively.


  17. Amfortas the Hippie

    and trump’s woes:
    its called the Eighth Amendment…and forbids “excessive fines”, among other abuses.
    almost a half million bucks?
    seems rather excessive, to me….especially since what he’s been convicted of sure looks a lot like what NY real estate(and RE in general, as a rule, at the upper levels) does every day.
    i predict “people” like trammel-crowe(sp-2) will send amicus curies to Scotus when this inevitably comes before them.
    i have zero experience in real estate(save for learning as best i can how to protect this place)….but i watch the bigger players around here do all manner of shenanigans, at a smaller scale, all the time.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > its called the Eighth Amendment

      Haven’t seen any briefs to that effect, though. It may be — I’m hazy on this — that the path to an appeal is blocked.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        its my understanding that one always has a right to appeal…
        (given that we are a long ways from legitimate and functional governance, atm)
        Roberts prolly doesnt want anything to do with it(last i looked, he was somewhat overly concerned with the future historian’s view of his court)…but were i in trump’s shoes, i’d be heading thataway pronto.
        scotus would be pressured to expedite a hearing, too…and it would be all over Cspan…unless theyre part of the blob, too.
        this is ultimately very dangerous for the PTB…and i wonder if they know just how dangerous it is.
        ive never liked the man…but damn….to go to this extreme to undemocratically beat him in an election…after all the piles of BS that came before…
        lots of people i know around here are muttering about it.
        and my very unscientific and utterly random mentions of “8th Amendment, man”are polling well in the proverbial feed store parking lot.

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        and this wouldnt be an appeal, anyways…but a challenge on 8th amendment grounds…thats a whole other layer of law.
        i dont keep tabs on trumps travails, save at the headline level…and i dont even know the quality of his current legal team…but i do know, by necessity, given my history, my bill of frelling rights.
        back in the day, a well executed extemporaneous outburst regarding the finer points of constitutional law would curtail whatever crazy nonsense the kept kops in my hometown were about to do to me…mostly,lol.
        they feared such things back then, at least.
        and that was 35 or more years ago…pre-internet, pre-viral socmed, pre-linked camera in everyones pocket.
        thats his way out of this, right there.
        because if even i can see it…who wouldnt pee on the man if he was on fire…

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          and turley quoted in dreher:
          “And the fact is that the judge showed absolutely no sense of equity in any of this. His decision is the decision of a single jurist. And this party wants to have a review, but in order to do that, he has to pony up what is about a half a billion dollars. And that has a gross unfairness to it when you combine the use of the law and the size of his judgment and then this requirement for a deposit. He just simply brushed those aside and his tone almost bordered on the mocking.”

          and i said “half a million bucks”, above…when its half a billion.
          i can see that for…say…conagra or mr exxon….but for a petty and average real estate wheeler and dealer in NYC?
          that would be similar to requiring me to pay(does math in head, after homegrown) 50 grand or something to stay out of jail.
          its egregious, really.
          and i hate in my bones to be here now defending someone like donald frelling trump…but thats what true enlightenment liberalism requires.

          1. skippy

            I ponder the Trump factor ….

            I mean he was a card carrying Dem Liberal for yonks and benefited greatly from it, networks and all. Then out of the blue he flips hard, not just in running for Preznit, but rhetorically ginning up the wrongs sorts the Liberals hate with a undeniable passion for ages ….

            Crime of denying Hilary her ascension which would have cemented the Thirdway Dems dreams – for all – and solidify the base in excepting any policies she/them trotted out was Heretical.

            Yet I am amused at the whole thing, swamp dweller extraordinaire sells his base that he is going to drain the swamp, and then sets up the most absurd economic advisory panel to set policies of which he will claim success and deny any failure. Gets beat by some Old Dem Weekend at Bernie’s stiff land then cries foul as he never loses at anything – see megalomania.

            Its all like cheap Community Dinner Theater served with bacon and spinach salad flambe at your balcony table ….

      3. albrt

        I’ve never practiced in NY, but a quick google search suggests it is the same there as everywhere else – the purpose of an appeal bond is to stop the other party from enforcing the judgment while you appeal. You can still appeal without a bond, but a lot of harm can be done during the year or two it takes to appeal.

        In some situations your appeal can become moot due to enforcement of the judgment–this is particularly common in bankruptcy. A fraud case does not seem like it would become moot. Even if Trump Tower was seized and somehow irreversibly sold (like in bankruptcy), Trump would still have an interest in clearing his reputation.

  18. kareninca

    When I need plumbing repairs done to our condo I always hire guys from the place that has the competent jerks. And boy are they jerks. As I expected, last year the guy who came out gave me a hard time for wearing a mask, even though he is a veteran and my ancient father in law (who lives with us) is a veteran. He was placated by the fact that I’m not vaccinated, however, since he’s also opposed to the vax. When he showed up last week, I was expecting to be berated again for my mask but I wasn’t. He’s gotten over being annoyed. That was a relief. He did a stellar job of replacing a nearly 50 y.o. toilet that had a big ominous crack in the tank. Unfortunately he will be retiring soon since the traffic in Silicon Valley means that he spends most of his time sitting at a standstill in his truck.

  19. steppenwolf fetchit

    . . . ” “Intermittent fasting linked to 91% increase in risk of death from heart disease, study says” ” . . .

    If your personal risk of death from heart disease was 1 in a million, does a 91% increase in that risk of death mean that your risk is now 1.91 in a million?

    And is this meant to imply “death from heart disease in people who had zero heart disease of any sort before intermittent fasting” . . . or is this meant to imply “death from heart disease in people who already had pre-lethal heart disease when they started intermittent fasting”?

    Clearly more study is needed. Let’s write up a grant proposal.

    1. Thurl

      Assume many are fasting especially after the supposed pandemic. Study likely be cover for the heart problems the vax has been causing.

  20. steppenwolf fetchit

    About Bryan Johnson hoping to establish his zero-aging nation, perhaps the place to locate it physically would be somewhere out in the open ocean, in totally international waters. Build a great big Floating Fortress like the ones Orwell wrote about in 1984. Only it would be a great big Floating Health Spa Nation.

    Here is an article describing in some detail ( and with links for even more detail) about just what Bryan Johnson is doing to grow young again.

    Maybe he is a saint, to undergo all this inconvenience and self-denial in pursuit of an age-reversal goal for himself AND for others. Not all saints were recognized as such in their own lifetime. Maybe a long-suffering humanity will learn from his efforts. ( Maybe not me, though. I would rather live better even if it means living shorter).

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      hmmm…he looks tasty.
      does he give good sport?

      (quoting a Uruk-Hai in the film version of LOTR)
      remember that FDR sold the New Deal to his cohort as a preventative measure, lest they become food for those they had wronged.
      like it or not, we’re coming around to that politics, today…and by the same sort of blindness, writ so ever larger, on the part of those who have everything.
      what is it Lambert used to quote, regarding dems?
      “learned nothing, forgot nothing”?
      ive got recipes.

      1. The Rev Kev

        For what it’s worth, the quote was supposedly from Tallyrand who noted of the Bourbons that ‘the Bourbons learned nothing and forgot nothing.’

  21. Jason Boxman

    Wow, I skimmed We Had the Tools earlier from the Twitter and got bored. I guess I’m not an allegorical reader. I didn’t even notice that actual COVID stuff in it, just a lengthy story that proceeds for many many paragraphs. Those more literarily inclined will doubtless get more from it.

  22. Snailslime

    Seeing how the US would love to re-create Imperial Japan to have it fight China at the same time as it is systematically promoting the de-facto re-nazification of Germany (even though the new german fascism at the moment prefers green and perhaps soon black over brown) to have it fight Russia in addition to the miniature fourth reich they already have in eastern europe and now ISIS it increasingly looks like Washington building a sort of Legion of Doom or Injustice League consisting of all the major “Bad Guy” factions from the last hundred or even more years to sick on it’s targets.

    200 if we were to count the little Napoleon impersonator and obviously they have been thinking of the Mongol Horde even though they didn’t get far there (I’ll say though that not long ago there was something in my GMX newsfeed that pretty reliably brings me the newest western propaganda about what suspiciously sounded like the typical meddling deep state sponsored and controlled western “NGO” trying “strengthen ties” between peoples of mongolian heritage and Mongolia, encouraging the former to come to the later, quite possibly in hopes of indoctrinating them there against Russia and China).

  23. skippy

    Attention Lambert and IM Doc …

    Mark Steggles
    It’s clear – GPs are being replaced. NAO report.


    Taking a sledge hammer to the foundations of the NHS


    Dr Done
    2 Royal Colleges down

    RCOA: Call for pause in AA rollout ✅
    RCP: Call for pause in PA rollout ✅

    Who’s next?


    Seems to be a massive agenda of enshitification of the NHS on neoliberal ideological grounds e.g. take away the collective group power of ethical GP’s and others by diluting it with more malleable PA’s et al. Next thing you know and public health policy will just be reduced to a market place where consumers[tm] can meet[????] service providers based on price sensitivity or the lack therefore of funds for good service/s ….

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Who’s next?

      What I don’t get is how, if the NHS staff is fighting back (I don’t know) why it’s so ineffective. Here is a completely decadent ruling class, having butchered Brexit, Covid, and everything else, and yet it’s managing to dismantle a civilizational achievement. Should somebody check in on the UK?

      1. skippy

        The NHS is not fighting back mate, just the GP practitioners and assorted health staff that honor the code/oath they took. This always is proceeded by the “process” that admin sets and as you would well know is applied with ratchet like effect in the name of *** efficiencies***.

        Seemingly always having a tipping point which is front run by Austerity Polices under the auspices of endlessly shoring up the haves and not the have nots … self fulfilling prophecies … its all that matters …

      2. Daniil Adamov

        You can be good at self-aggrandisement and looting and bad at solving societal problems. It probably has a lot to do with priorities, though there may be something else to it as well. I’m reminded of Gorbachev and his amazing career, complete with a remarkably soft landing when the system he advanced through collapsed on his watch (yeah, he had that humiliating pizza ad, but he was still a rich man with multiple expensive properties and a stake in a major liberal newspaper; many other members of the Soviet elite ended up in a far worse position after losing their power and privileges).

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