2:00PM Water Cooler 3/27/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Red-winged Blackbird (California Bicolored) Moonglow Dairy (Fri-Sun only; closed Mon-Thur), Monterey, California, United States. “Chorus from some of a group of at least 20 birds in a small hedgerow adjacent to a feedlot.” Love the “Moonglow Dairy” (with hours). Have any readers visited?

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

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Less than a year to go!

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Trump (R) “Billionaires sought to help fund Trump bond in civil fraud case, sources say” [Reuters]. “Billionaire hedge fund founder John Paulson was involved in the behind-the-scenes effort by donors concerned about Trump’s legal woes and looking to help provide money toward the bond, two of the sources told Reuters. Oil and gas magnate Harold Hamm was also involved, one of those sources said… A fourth source, a Trump ally, said he had direct knowledge of one donor who offered more than $10 million toward the bond over the weekend, before being told it was not necessary. After Monday’s court decision allowing a smaller bond, Trump said he would now be able to pay…. Surety companies would have likely required Trump to post about $558 million in collateral for the original bond, or 120% of the judgment, according to Trump’s lawyers. Full details of the billionaires’ efforts to raise funds, such as how much each donor had potentially pledged, were not immediately available. One source said the group had pooled the full amount originally due Monday. It was not clear whether the mega-donors would offer to help fund the new bond.” • Musical interlude.

Trump (R): “Trump’s New York hush money case is set for trial April 15” [Associated Press]. “Judge Juan M. Merchan scoffed at the defense’s calls to delay the case longer or throw it out entirely because of a last-minute document dump that had bumped the first-ever trial of a former president from its scheduled Monday start. Trump vowed to appeal the ruling. Barring another delay, the presumptive Republican nominee will be on trial as a criminal defendant in just three weeks — an inauspicious homecoming in the city where he grew up, built a real estate empire and gained wealth and celebrity that propelled him to the White House. The trial, involving allegations related to hush money paid during Trump’s 2016 campaign to cover up marital infidelity claims, had been in limbo after his lawyers complained about a recent deluge of nearly 200,000 pages of evidence from a previous federal investigation into the matter.” 200,000 pages seems like rather a lot. But: “Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo said the number of relevant, usable, new documents in the recently provided evidence ‘is quite small’ — around 300 records or fewer. Trump’s lawyers contend thousands of pages are potentially important and require painstaking review. They argued the delayed disclosures warranted dismissing the case or at least pushing it off three months. ‘We are not doing our jobs if we don’t independently look at the new material,’ Blanche told the judge. ‘Every document is important.’ The DA’s office denied wrongdoing and blamed Trump’s lawyers for bringing the time crunch upon themselves by waiting until Jan. 18 to subpoena the records from the U.S. attorney’s office — a mere nine weeks before the trial was originally supposed to start.”

Trump (R): “Trump’s media company valued at almost $8 bln in strong Wall St debut” [Reuters]. “Shares of Donald Trump’s Trump Media & Technology Group surged as much as 59% on Tuesday in their Nasdaq debut, lifted by the former U.S. president’s supporters and providing him a potential windfall as he grapples with the costs of several legal cases.” • Handy chart:

Hard to see how that holds up.

Trump (R): “Trump is selling ‘God Bless the USA’ Bibles for $59.99 as he faces mounting legal bills” [Associated Press]. • Perhaps God already did, and we squandered it:

(This animated version is all I can find.)

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Trump (R): “Forensic psychiatrist on physical signs of Trump’s mental decline: “Changes in movement and gait” [Salon]. “Dr. John Gartner, a prominent psychologist and contributor to the bestselling book ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,’ has repeatedly warned in a series of conversations about Trump’s apparent challenges in cognition and communication that something seems to be very wrong with the ex-president… Dr. Gartner’s attempts to sound the alarm about Trump’s behavior have been joined by the hundreds of medical professionals who have signed his Change.org petition, ‘We diagnose Trump with probable dementia: A petition for licensed professionals only.’ To deny the obvious about Donald Trump’s evidently diseased mind is to deny reality and to ignore the real possibility that a man who is already morally and ethically corrupt and now appears to be experiencing problems with his thinking could be back in the White House with the awesome responsibility and power of the presidency – including the sole authority to order the use of America’s nuclear weapons. Trump’s mind and overall behavior and character are not just a national emergency but a global crisis as well. Because of a commitment to horserace journalism, fake objectivity and balance, self-interest and fear, the mainstream American news media – especially the elite agenda-setting news media – has largely ignored Donald Trump’s obvious struggles with communication and cognition.” • Two can play the armchair diagnosis game. I’m only surprised that the Democrats havnen’t done it for Kennedy already. This guy’s really churning it out–

Trump (R): “‘Hastening his deterioration’: Dr. John Gartner on impact of court trials on ‘Trump’s fragile brain'” [Salon]. • Note that if this is an explicit rationale for lawfare, it’s even more cynical than I would have imagined, and I do try.

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Biden (D): “Fighting for”:

I can’t be the only person who sees how dumb that trope is. But I guess it’s focus-grouped, so, oh well. (Meanwhile, why on earth isn’t Medicaid estate recovery on that list?)

Biden (D): “The Biden Campaign Is Quietly Preparing a Trump Ambush” [The Daily Beast] “‘It’s aggressive,’ a source within the Biden campaign said, requesting anonymity to speak candidly of the mood inside the re-election team. ‘There’s a lot of travel, there’s a lot of work. It’s all exciting. We’re heading into this final fundraiser of the month with the former presidents [Obama and Clinton], but it’s aggressive.’ Taking advantage of a substantial fundraising lead, the Biden campaign is focusing on two key areas: travel and organizing. Since his State of the Union, Biden has visited every major battleground state… Trump, on the other hand, has only done a rally in Ohio and another in the battleground state of Georgia since Super Tuesday… Second, the Biden campaign is going full steam ahead on hiring in the battleground states, approaching 100 field offices with more than 130 staffers spread across eight major battleground states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada, as well as North Carolina and New Hampshire… Chris LaCivita—a top Trump campaign adviser who is also the chief operating officer of the Republican National Committee—rejected the idea that the former president’s team should disclose its organizing plans. ‘By combining forces and operations, The Trump campaign and RNC are deploying operations that are fueled by passionate volunteers who care about saving America and firing Joe Biden. We do not feel obligated however to discuss the specifics of our strategy, timing and tactics with members of the News Media,’ LaCivita told The Daily Beast.” • LaCivita’s onto something there….

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Kennedy (I):

She certainly looks confident at the podium (I always look at people’s feet; she has a strong stance). And compare her to the competition. Harris? Shanahan looks pretty good. Whoever Trump’s considering these days, like Rubio? I must admit I was hoping for a real populist… But who’s on that short list?. We’ll have to see how she does on the trail. Quite the career change for a former patent attorney.

Kennedy (I): “Biden and Trump know Kennedy’s VP choice is a game changer” [The Hill]. “The 38-year-old Shanahan has a remarkable life story. She grew up on welfare, is Asian-American, a lawyer, the California-based founder and president of Bia-Echo Foundation — a nonprofit that issues grants for issues including reproductive rights, equality, criminal justice reform and the environment — is a single mother to a daughter with autism and is the former wife of Google cofounder Sergey Brin. Aside from her entrepreneurial background, high energy and intelligence, Shanahan immediately amplifies or outright fills multiple needs of the Kennedy campaign. She can speak directly to female voters, the high-tech community, young voters, minority voters, the working poor, the disenfranchised — and dissatisfied Democrats. Shanahan also immediately checks another critical box for Kennedy: Multiple states require an announced vice-presidential running mate to get on the ballot. With Shanahan now on the ticket, it will create both media attention and increased momentum within those states.”

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I’m here for it:

Finally, somebody asks for my vote (hat tip Martin Oline). Suggestions for Vice President? “Meteor Strike”?

Spook Country

The organs of state security speak:

Said every voyeur, hidden camera AirBnB host, and upskirt photographer ever. And every spook, of course.

The Wizard of Kalorama™

“Obama making regular calls to Biden’s chief of staff, fears Trump 2024 win: report” [FOX]. “Obama’s calls with Zients and top aides at Biden’s campaign reportedly center around election strategy and relaying advice from Obama’s team. A senior aide on Obama’s team told the Times that the former president has “always” been concerned about a Trump victory, and he is now working to bolster the Biden campaign any way he can…. The source added that Biden also has frequent discussions with former President Clinton, and he has aides follow up with both of the former leaders’ teams on a regular basis. [TIME Magazine] reported that Obama met personally with Biden on at least two recent occasions and expressed concern that he could lose the 2024 election. Obama reportedly advised Biden to become more aggressive and make the upcoming presidential race a referendum on Trump. During a private lunch, Obama told Biden his campaign was unstable, persuading unhappy voters would be a challenge and defeating Trump would be more difficult than 2020, according to a Democrat briefed on the discussion. A spokesperson for Obama’s office highlighted the team’s unity behind Biden in a statement to Fox News Digital last week, saying the Obama Alumni Association hosted an event for Biden’s re-election campaign, during which attendees chanted, ‘Fired up, ready to go,’ in support of the president.” • “Fired up, ready to go” I remember hearing — well, reading — that chant on Daily Kos back in 2008, and thinking how doomed we all were (this was after multiple experiences with Obots calling me a racist as only their second move when I expressed skepticism about Obama).

Realignment and Legitimacy

Republican realignment:

Interesting. Readers, thoughts?

A tragedy:

And I don’t mean “tragedy” ironically or lightly. “There remains, then, the character between these two extremes— that of a man who is not eminently good and just, yet whose misfortune is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty. He must be one who is highly renowned and prosperous—a personage like Oedipus, Thyestes, or other illustrious men of such families.”


“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!

ake effect by summer. The move by the Democratic administration angered board members, who called it a ‘last-minute stunt’ that undermines their regulatory process. It also sparked a protest by warehouse workers, who temporarily shut down the meeting as they waved signs declaring that ‘Heat Kills!’ and loudly chanted, ‘What do we want? Heat protection! When do we want it? Now!'” • Gavin Newsom, the worker’s friend.

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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“Is It Dangerous to Keep Getting COVID-19?” [Time]. From January 2024: “Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, studies Long COVID: a condition marked by health effects that linger after infection. ‘Reinfection remains consequential,’ he says. In a paper published in Nature Medicine in 2022, he found that people who had gotten COVID-19 at least twice experienced higher rates of short- and long-term health effects, including heart, lung, and brain issues, compared to those who were only infected once.” • Al-Aly was also prominent at the recent Senate Long Covid hearings. I am made somewhat more optimistic than readers might expect by seeing the press diverge from the conventional wisdom of denial and minimization so encouraged by the public health establishment. Note also the link to the complete, free article in Nature; the much maligned medical publishing industry deserves a lot of credit for open-sourcing so much of their Covid material; and here is Al-Aly’s article, doing the good work is was intended to do.


“BioTRUST Nutrition launches Eternal Mind for cognitive support” [Nutraceutical Business Review]. “The novel product features PLT’s Nutricog Cognitive Performance Complex, an ingredient that has been clinically demonstrated to provide significant improvements across multiple cognitive domains, including learning, memory, attention, focus and executive function.” • I am not endorsing this product [shudder]. I am wondering whether there is an upsurge in products like this, since it seems that would be a good proxy for people’s self-perceived loss of cognitive function, due to Covid infection. Can readers suggest a research strategy here?

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot March 25: Regional[2] Biobot March 25:
Variants[3] CDC March 16 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC March 23
New York[5] New York State, data March 26: National [6] CDC March 16:
National[7] Walgreens March 25: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic March 23:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC March 4: Variants[10] CDC March 4:
Weekly deaths New York Times March 16: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times March 16:


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) Backward revisions, I hate them.

[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: “Next Boeing CEO needs to be ‘1,000%’ on top of safety and culture: Buttigieg” [Washington Examiner]. “White House officials stated on March 15 that the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were ‘taking the action’ to ensure that Boeing airplanes are safe to fly on in the future. However, they did not clarify if President Joe Biden believes that Boeing planes are safe for consumers right now.” • Oh. Nice to see Petey taking point on the issue, though.

Manufacturing: “Media blackout of “suicide” of Boeing whistleblower John Barnett continues as company CEO David Calhoun steps down” [WSWS]. “That there is next to no mention of Barnett, his suit, or his death in the corporate media is by design. Boeing is already facing a public backlash from its near-catastrophes, as well as renewed focus on the deaths of 346 people on 737 Max 8 crashes in October 2018 and March 2019. Numerous memes have appeared on social media ridiculing the flight capabilities of the company’s aircraft, and options to exclude flights on Boeing planes are among the most popular options on travel websites…. To acknowledge that Boeing is so concretely exposed would further undermine its already precarious position. Boeing’s stock is down almost 26 percent from the beginning of the year, and the sole concern of those who own the major media outlets, many of whom have stock in Boeing, is pumping Boeing’s shares back up to their December heights and beyond… In other words, ‘the fix is in’ for Boeing’s current slate of issues. None of the multimillionaires who oversaw and drove the systematic violation of safety standards and procedures will be held accountable. As in the past, the Republicans, the Democrats and the regulatory agencies, all of which are proxies for the corporate oligarchy, will do their best to bury the truth, regardless of the danger to human life.”

Manufacturing: “The CEO of Ryanair says the airline would regularly find missing seat handles and tools under floorboards on Boeing planes” [Business Insider]. • And you kept buying their planes?

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68 Greed (previous close: 67 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 74 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 27 at 1:55:00 PM ET.

Zeitgeist Watch

“Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs faces sweeping sex-trafficking inquiry: What the feds have, need to prove” [Los Angeles Times]. “Law enforcement sources told The Times that Combs is the subject of a sweeping inquiry into sex-trafficking allegations that resulted in a federal raid Monday at his estates in Los Angeles and Miami. Authorities have declined to comment on the case, and Combs has not been charged with any crime. But the scene of dozens of Department of Homeland Security agents — guns drawn — searching Combs’ properties underscored the seriousness of the investigation.”

“Diddy and his private jet shrouded in mystery as both have vanished following raids on rapper’s homes” [New York Post]. “Diddy has seemingly disappeared — and so has his jet. Around the same time as raids on his houses in California and Florida on Monday, the rapper and record company mogul was spotted frantically talking on his phone at Opa Locka Airport in Miami. It has since emerged that one of Diddy’s employees, Brendon Paul, 25, had just been stopped at the airport and arrested on drug charges by Miami-Dade police.”

Holier than Thou

“Dallas megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes named in lawsuit against Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs” [Gazette Extra]. “In November 2022, Jakes attended Combs’ 53rd birthday party, a representative for Jakes confirmed to The Christian Post, and video of him at the party was criticized on social media. Derrick Williams, executive vice president of entertainment at T.D. Jakes Enterprises, told The Christian Post in December 2023 that he attended Combs’ birthday party with Jakes. ‘We both greeted the family, Bishop Jakes recorded a brief celebratory birthday video and left immediately to take our other scheduled meetings. Any accusation to the contrary is wholly unsubstantiated, unverified, and false.’ In 2021, Jakes partnered with Revolt Media, a cable TV network co-founded by Combs, for an ongoing sermon series called ‘Kingdom Culture with T.D. Jakes.’ Combs stepped down as chair of Revolt Media in November 2023 and reportedly sold his stake in the company this week.”

News of the Wired

“Two nights of broken sleep can make people feel years older, finds study” [Guardian]. “The researchers ran two studies. In the first, 429 people aged 18 to 70 answered questions about how old they felt and on how many nights, if any, they had slept badly in the past month. Their sleepiness was also rated according to a standard scale used in psychology research. For each day of poor sleep the volunteers felt on average three months older, the scientists found, while those who reported no bad nights in the preceding month felt on average nearly six years younger than their true age. It was unclear, however, whether bad sleep made people feel older or vice versa. In the second study, the researchers quizzed 186 volunteers aged 18 to 46 on how old they felt after two nights of plentiful sleep, in which they stayed in bed for nine hours each night, and two nights when they slept for only four hours a night. After two nights of restricted sleep, the participants felt on average 4.44 years older than when they had ample sleep. Feeling older was linked, unsurprisingly, to feeling sleepier. ‘If you want to feel young, the most important thing is to protect your sleep,’ Balter said. Writing in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the psychologists describe differences in people’s responses to sleep loss depending on whether they were a morning person, who woke and went to bed early, or an evening person who rose late and retired late. Evening types typically felt older than their true age even after plenty of sleep, but morning types were hit harder in how old they felt when their sleep was disrupted.” • Totally evening person here. And it is true that when I worked the night shift (“the lobster shift,” why?) it was a lot tougher. I’d walk home from the mill, stop for breakfast, and then go to sleep. It wasn’t easy.

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

lcm writes: “Seed heads of goldenrod.”

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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. griffen

    My opponent is unfit to serve and unfit to be elected as President, let alone he will be broke because of the law ( a convenient application of law, heh heh ). I myself, on the other hand am the most fit and mentally acute President in the history of American politics. Hey jack, politics ain’t beanbag and Honest Abe has nothing on Honest Joe from Scranton…\ Sarc

    Ugh…it’s only March 27 FFS. I’m not reading Salon anymore….just can’t do it after lunch at least. Armchair quarterbacks, it’s not just for NFL super fans who “know better” than a Bill Belichick or a Jimmy Johnson ever will.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      i dont know….i reckon mr else needs an experienced hand around(echoes of how we ended up with biden).
      i nominate that guy with a boot on his head.
      Willie Nelson is too old…but he’s been at the top of my list forever.

      1. Cassandra

        You mean Vermin Supreme? A perennial favorite of mine. I’ve been a bit concerned because I haven’t seen him poking his head up recently, and he’s no spring chicken, either. But as he is fond of saying, how could he do worse than what we are offered by the standard parties? Of course, Eugene Debs would also be a big improvement.

  2. FlyoverBoy

    Twitter car retailing insider Car Dealership Guy put out a graph that showed a sudden, dramatic doubling of new car defects starting in — wait for it — 2019. A YouTuber who covers car selling attributed it to new cars’ confusing tech, but infotainment tech wasn’t suddenly introduced in 2019. And those who write it off to 2020-21 chip shortages are rebutted by the fact that it basically stayed just as high in ’23. As Lambert would say, ’tis a mystery…

    1. Carolinian

      Consumer Reports is still around

      Cars, including sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons, remain the most reliable vehicle type, with an average reliability rating of 57 (on a scale of 0 to 100), followed by SUVs (50) and minivans (45). “Sedans have fallen out of favor with consumers, but as a class they are very reliable,” says Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. “They often have less of the latest technology and features that can cause problems before the bugs are worked out.” Pickup trucks come in last, with an average reliability rating of 41.

      Given that a truck, the Ford 150, is the most popular new vehicle perhaps that accounts for the plunge.


    2. cfraenkel

      Blaming it on Covid doesn’t work causally – the pandemic didn’t hit stride until middle of the following year, and many of the 2019s were built the previous year. (the same argument applies to the chip shortages as well…)

    1. Omicron

      I can’t speak to the origin question, but in my days as an ink-stained wretch of the press (early 60s, when hot-metal typesetting was all there was), the term for the time of day to which the least-experienced reporter was assigned, midnight to 8 a.m., was “lobster watch.” The idea was that if the city started to burn down in the wee small hours (the city in question was Providence, R.I., which had and still has lots of major fire possibilities and lots of arsonists) somebody was there to make the phone calls summoning the troops to cover the conflagration. Never did find out why the lobster, of all crustaceans, was the basis for the name….

  3. Carolinian

    re Salon–can’t remember the last time I typed ‘re Salon.’ It’s still around? I hear there’s an NBC cable channel too. Don’t get cable.

    But surely this rarely watched channel and website from the past are preaching to the converted. Whereas Biden’s very obvious deterioration is on view every day. What’s their point?

    In any case Trump was president for four years and didn’t blow up the world then, while also tweeting many off the wall remarks similar to the recent. With Biden the jury’s still very much out on the former. The body count of the one president versus the other says it all.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      late stepdad’s cousin, Cindy, rode with me in the Falcon to feed the orphaned lamb a bottle in the back pasture…then i took her on the full tour of my side of the place. while at the Wilderness Bar, picking up the goat osobucco(w/orzo and gremolata), she wanted a beer.
      we jawed about many things…how i will vote…and then on to Tam’s last days…and that led her (somehow) to a brief session of “have you let Jesus into your heart?”(sigh).
      i demurred, politely…explained that i’m more or less happy in my agnostic mystic druidry and philosopher state….and that was that…she didnt press.
      but ive been thinking about it ever since….while reading all these things about Team Blue and the PMC in aggregate….and how all that is much more akin to a Faith than any of them would ever admit to…or even consider for a minute.
      i think the difference, is that the former(xtian evange) isa mature faith…and comfortable with itself, and has more or less settled on what it believes.
      while the latter is still very much contingent…and shifts focus…seemingly at random, depending on the political needs of the day.
      Cousin did her duty to christ, and opened that door for me…and i said, thanks but no thanks…and we moved on.
      the true believer Dems/PMC arent comfortable enough for that….and in fact, i think that they question themselves incessantly in secret(dark brunch of the soul)…and that being unsure of what they believe…while being required to be full throated about the calamity du jure….is central to who they are at this stage.
      it takes work to keep up with what they’re supposed to be outraged about.
      and…i’m riffing, here…it occurs to me, that my involvement with the demparty was inversely proportional to how much they adhered, as a whole, to the various Universalisms of Old Tyme Enlightenment Liberalism.
      the more contingent and ad hoc they became, the more i didnt like them…on top of all the FDR stuff they kept abandoning by the side of the road, etc.

  4. Barbara Brown

    Other than emergency healthcare workers and essential utility workers, the average American has every reason to go on a general strike.
    Think of how our standard of living, our trust in institutions, our national sovereignty, public safety and infrastructure have eroded and then carry it forward another couple of years or a decade. Where will we be?

    The economy is a lie for many Americans. ‘For Lease’ is everywhere. If you can’t afford to stop working, then you can afford to stop spending to protest.
    Something must change.

  5. Lee

    Medicaid Estate Recovery

    I just looked it up for California and found the following:

    All real and personal property and other assets in which the deceased
    Medi-Cal member had any legal title or interest (to the extent of such
    interest) at the time of his or her death that is subject to probate…

    Repayment will be limited to the value of the assets in the
    deceased member’s estate subject to probate. The Department will
    not recover the value of a deceased Medi-Cal member’s property if
    it transfers to a different owner by survivorship, by trust, or by
    payment or transfer on death of the deceased Medi-Cal member.

    I have set up a revocable trust in which by home is the principal asset for the sole purpose of avoiding the considerable costs of probate when ownership passes to my family members. My reading of the above may be incorrect but it looks like I might also avoid the Medicaid clawback were I to end up in a nursing home and were rendered incapable of shooting myself first. The trust and other end of life measures, as well as powers of attorney if I am rendered incapable of handling my own affairs, cost me about three grand. It seems hardly fair that because I know a bit about this stuff and could afford an attorney that I might by filing some mumbo-jumbo documents avoid costs that others less informed or more income constrained cannot.

      1. herman_sampson

        My parents put their domicile in a Miller trust before they went on Medicaid (in Indiana) then to nursing homes before succumbing. We now live in said house; supposedly that type of trust no longer works that way (at least in Indiana). The fact Medicaid varies from state to state illustrates how we can’t have nice things.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      its worrisome.
      ive been on medicaid, stepdad had medicaid(in adition to VA), and wife had medicaid…
      my name aint on anything except my beat up truck.
      and, ever since mom and stepdad got rid of their enormous credit card debt via a home equity loan…some 20+ years ago…encumbering this place….ive been lobbying to put the entire property into a landed trust….with the added instruction that it be as close as the state will let us get to allodial title.
      (which doesnt exist anymore)
      i want it essentially off the market, forever.
      finally, thats what she did…we’re waiting for the final draft right now.
      once thats done, my Eldest Son is ceo(or whatever), and my Youngest, as well as my brother’s two daughters, are “on the board”.
      take a unanimous vote to do any thing at all…aside from what i’m doing all the time,managing and building infrastructure….and the barriers to using it as collateral are more than i could have hoped for.
      the Land will be a separate entity from all of us.
      i dont know the details, yet…but ill snatch the final document from mom to read if i have to.
      before i let her sign it.
      the one thing she and i agree on is keeping this place in the family.
      as i understand it, it will go into effect when she dies(having her name, alone, on the deed/title/whatever is part of the core of herself).
      ive already paid my own lawyer(the one recommended to me by the president of the texas property rights bunch, no less) $100 to be ready to review it…to make sure its according to hoyle.
      all of this activity is mostly about the fear of medicaid clawbacks…because i can never get a straight answer from authority regarding that(ive tried)….and there’s 3 avenues for them to potentially pursue that.
      but i also am rather hard core about keeping the place unencumbered in any way.
      (the thing Barncat linked yesterday, about the Great Taking, gels with everything ive learned about the western based global financial system, over the last 30 or so years…so i remain congenitally averse to debt)

  6. Dr. John Carpenter

    I mentioned last week, I’m starting to notice more and more “Trump’s deteriorating metal health” headline in the daily sampling my browser barfs up. It seems the switch has officially been flipped and that’s a thing they’re going to go with. The thing is, I seem to recall they’ve played this card before. Even when Trump was president, I remember snickers about his mental state. Didn’t exactly do much then, and we’re further into Biden’s sundowning now.

    Now, I think Trump and Biden are both way too old. Neither should be a serious candidate for anything other than a quiet room at the old folk’s home. But, unless the Dems have a steady drip of whatever they pumped Biden full for the State of the Union, and they’re sure his body can take it, I’m not so sure inviting a comparison between the two is such a wise idea.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I don’t think that tactic is going to fool anybody. I certainly have not sniffed every emanation from Trump’s posterior as some of the TDS-infected have, but he has always been a blowhard and continues to be one. I don’t see much of a difference in his behavior. So when he opines about magic magnets or whatever, it just comes across as logorrhea rather than dementia.

      Biden on the other hand does seem very diminished – even if you want to chalk up the verbal “gaffes” to a stutter (which is not the case), he has the old man shuffle and the old man rictus going now, and it’s quite an obvious difference from a few years ago. But gaslighting is all the Democrats have. Biden’s campaign slogan might as well be “I’m rubber, you’re glue” – a children’s taunt seems very a propos for him.

      Would be nice if we had just one candidate who hasn’t been collecting social security for several years, but even the 3rd party people are all over 70. Wish in one hand and [family blog] in the other and see which fills up first, I suppose.

      Oh, and I almost forgot – Let’s go Brandon!

      1. Acacia

        Yep. This is the Dem party trying to deflect questions about Biden with “I’m rubber, you’re glue.”

        Weak sauce, man.

  7. petal

    Rep. Annie Kuster says she will not seek reelection in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District

    Snip:”The six-term incumbent says she will leave Capitol Hill early next year at the end of the 118th Congress.

    Kuster told News 9 that it’s time for a new stage in her life.

    “I spent a lot of time with my family this winter, and we did a lot of skiing and traveling, and I’ve realized I have a life, and my husband Brad has been very patient,” she said. “I want to spend time with my sons as they’re heading into their married lives – and hopefully grandchildren on the way one day. And I really want to lean in on helping my colleagues and these fantastic candidates that we’ve recruited.”

    Kuster said she will also continue to lead the New Democrat Coalition, a centrist, pro-business caucus that has played an increasingly pivotal role in a narrowly divided Congress.”

    1. ambrit

      Hmmm… The New Democrat Coalition, “a centrist, pro-business caucus…”
      This sounds eerily similar to the beginnings of Bill Clinton’s era.
      Seriously now, the Democrat Party needs some more FDRs, as in people who are already wealthy and possess ‘noblesse oblige.’ There have to be some of those out there, somewhere. Right?

  8. Glen

    Bidenomics Anecdotal Report:

    Got homeless people living in their cars in the underground Safeway parking lot in our small PNW town. Never seen that before.

  9. Pat

    I don’t have a VP suggestion for Literally Anybody Else but I do want to suggest he resurrect The Rent’s Too High party here in NY. (I‘ll even bet the dude who ran for office in that party back in the day would happily change his name to anything Mr. Else would like for his VP running mate.)

    And as for my vote, his is the only name on my current shortlist for November. I think it says so much more than yet another vote for Jill Stein.

      1. flora

        Hillary’s stat is both shocking and also why T won in 2016, with his vow to stop the TPP and TPIP. / ;)

        Please tell us again, Hills, why the countryside – aka the states in toto – rejected you and your Wall St. GDP focused campaign. / meh

      2. Lena

        I just want her to go away. I can’t stand to see her or hear her. Doesn’t she have a book, a bottle and a woods she can disappear into forever? Please. We’ve suffered enough.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Didn’t she also claim to have won all the progressive cities? But ’twas a moral victory at best. At worst it was a humiliating rejection of everything that she stood for. Damn basket of deplorables.

      1. flora

        Hills never understood the American setup, federalism. Each state is an entity. And so she brushed off Michigan Dem operatives begging her to come to the state to campaign. Eh, who needs Michigan? Right? Except every Dem winning politician since forever who understands the federal US system. What a dingbat she was and is. / sheesh

        1. Pat

          Hills was so certain of her victory she felt no reason to campaign anywhere she didn’t want to go. I mean who was going to vote for Trump!?! Well except he had a much better sales pitch.
          She was tone deaf, arrogant and incompetent.

      2. Camelotkidd

        Iv’ve discovered the best explanation for why liberals lost their minds after Trump’s election–Cory Doctorow says that there’s a name for this phenomenon: “schismogenesis.” Or when one group of people define themselves in opposition to another: That’s when you decide how you feel about an issue based on who supports it. Doctorow says– “this notion grabbed me, because it explained so much about the changes in attitudes I’d seen among my (erstwhile?) friends and allies in the “progressive” world during the Trump years and through the covid pandemic. Specifically, it explained how people who considered themselves politically liberal or even leftist were transformed into defenders of voting machine companies and the pharmaceutical industry, and champions of the FBI.”

  10. Amfortas the Hippie

    re: Shanahan.
    well…she’s pretty…and doesnt have a voice that grates…so theres that.
    i dont hold becoming a billionairess via divorcing a billionaire against her, without other reasons to loathe her(see: Bezos’ ex-wife)
    but the righties on RFK,jr’s twitfeed are calling her “Far Left”…lol…whateverthehellthat means….
    i read the wiki on her, and nothing really leapt at me, besides, “Global Joy Officer”.
    a billionaire that seems to be actually trying to give it all away seems like a mark on the plus side.
    does she have an agenda?…not that i could find in a hurry…if she does, what is it?
    is she a thiel type silicon valleyist?
    or some other subspecies?
    until further actionable information becomes available, i’ll reserve my doom.
    (and anyways, RFKJR’s israel stance has already soured me on him—as of this moment, NO ONE has EARNED my vote)

    1. Bugs

      Funny how she’s called a patent attorney when she doesn’t have a BS and couldn’t have been admitted to the patent bar? I’m looked everywhere and she’s not able to practice patent law as far as the Internet says.

      1. Lena

        According to The State Bar of California website’s Attorney Search, Nicole Ann Shanahan graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law, was admitted to the California Bar in October, 2015 and is an Active member. She is a member of the California Law Association’s Sections in Business Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, Environmental Law and International Property Law. I don’t know if this means she is able to practice patent law (I’m not an attorney). Her place of residence is listed as Palo Alto.

        1. Lena

          Sorry, correction: Shanahan is a member of the “Intellectual” Property Law Section of the California Law Association, not “International”. I made a miskitty.

          I’m obviously not an attorney although I would play one on TV for the right price.

      2. Luckless Pedestrian

        JD here. Studied IP law. My understanding is that you can be a patent agent without a law degree, but you can’t be a patent agent without a BS. I have a BA and can’t be a patent agent because of the BA.

        I help the business I’m part of with trademark and patent matters, for sure. We use outside counsel for actual patent filing because 1) our attorney is excellent, and 2) I can’t

    2. flora

      Sad as I am to say it, this to me marks the RFKjr run as a vanity project. This is very sad. He has a great voice on many issues. But now he’ll be remember as a tech bro vote getter and money chaser, fairly or not, imo. Stand or fall on your convictions, or fall on you seeming no convictions to the wider public. Harsh, I know. Sorry. Politics ain’t beanbag. / my 2 cents.

      1. Brockhirst

        She graduated from Santa Clara, the same Jesuit law school as Gavin Newsom.
        That’s a red flag to me.

        Zero political experience, unknown agenda,
        ties to Google billions, no thank you.

  11. Matthew

    So much cope.

    “Forensic psychiatrist on physical signs of Trump’s mental decline: “Changes in movement and gait”

  12. Wukchumni

    “Next Boeing CEO needs to be ‘1,000%’ on top of safety and culture: Buttigieg”

    The expression “1000 percent” or “1000%” in a literal sense means one thousand in every hundred, and is used as a deliberate hyperbolism for effect. In American English it is used as a metaphor meaning very high emphasis, or enthusiastic support. It was used in the 1972 U.S. presidential election by presidential candidate George McGovern, who endorsed his running mate, Thomas Eagleton, “1000 percent” following a scandal, then soon after dropped him. Communication experts Judith Trent and Jimmy Trent agree with journalist Theodore H. White, who called it “possibly the most damaging single faux pas ever made by a presidential candidate”


  13. The Rev Kev

    “Two nights of broken sleep can make people feel years older, finds study”

    One night of broken sleep can wreck you the next day and sap your energy. By late afternoon you can find yourself drowsy and sometimes nodding off. Two nights is just as bad and lots of jobs you have to put on the back burner as you don’t have the energy. Hate that feeling.

  14. ProNewerDeal

    Where role does air filtration play in the Swiss Cheese model of Covid infection risk reduction in indoor public buildings? Afaik I have never been in an indoor public building with air filtration machines like a HEPA filter or Corsi-Rosenthal Box. I recall the NC article where 2 Covid-minimizer physicians hypocritically enroll their children in a rich suburban Boston school that does use air filtration machines.

    1 What is the effect on risk reduction that quality non-superexpensive air filtration machines can have on the overall risk? 50%?

    I assume that air filtration machines merely represent another “swiss cheese piece”, & that indoor public buildings a person should continue the other measures, including N95 masking.

    2 Is any nation or subregion in the world doing a Air Filtration New Deal currently with mass implementation of these air filtration machines?

    3 Should a tenant of an apartment or condo complex keep a Corsi-Rosenthal box by the frontdoor? Should a hotel guest tenant use a portable HEPA filter?

  15. bayoustjohndavid

    On realignment, Oren Cass is probably sincere, but no Republican pols are going to choose government programs over low taxes if it ever comes to it.* The Princeton Study about money & politics applies to both parties. Some Republicans are starting to talk a good talk, but Hawley’s economic nationalism speech that got attention a few years back gave no specifics. Tom Cotton said “We’re a country with an economy, not an economy with a country,” then gratuitously drrefended Paul Singer’s association with Supreme Court Judges. Of course, some rich people are starting to want some degree of economic nationalism, when they can benefit from it. So they might support some programs that will allow them to put on a pro-worker act.
    I’m almost positive that I saw a study several years back (possibly linked here) that the Democrats would be more progressive on economic issues and more conservative on social issues if both parties reflected their bases. Funny how that’s no longer assumed to be the Democratic base.

    *I’m a regular reader familiar with MMT, but see for instance the Philip Pilkington tweet in yesterday’s links.

  16. Pat

    Joe Lieberman, I really hate that the comments in the Daily Mail call him one of the last real Democrats. He never saw an opportunity to sell out labor and the New Deal he didn’t take, usually for some reason that fell apart if you looked at it. I also hate that he is being portrayed as someone of integrity. He was a major neoliberal asset before it was called that and a real illustration that it is just the other side of the neoconservative coin.
    Greatest Allies – John McCain and Lindsay Graham, all war mongers who never met a war they didn’t like and were also integral to all the black ops that have undermined populist growth in other countries.
    One of the best known villains in the Democratic Party not to be outdone until Joe Manchin. (Lieberman never thought to throw Harry Reid under the bus to get it done.)
    One of the founders of No Labels, was their favorite stalking horse possible Presidential candidate until the last two cycles.
    Favorite self outing moment – naming his faux party Connecticut For Lieberman when he ran as an independent after refusing to graciously accept the results of losing the Democratic nomination for Senate. Also love that the party was of so little importance after he unfortunately got elected that he let it drop only to have two guys take it over to embarrass him.
    There are too many not so fond memories of the hypocritical, self serving grifter. And I am not a nice person. considering how many families his actions and policies hurt and disadvantaged even devastated I don’t even much care what his family feels right now. He might not qualify for the same ring of hell as Kissinger and Albright or Cheney when the devil takes him, but his borders that one. May his time there be long and instructive.

    1. CA

      “Joe Lieberman, I really hate that the comments in the Daily Mail call him one of the last real Democrats. He never saw an opportunity to sell out labor and the New Deal he didn’t take, usually for some reason that fell apart if you looked at it. I also hate that he is being portrayed as someone of integrity. He was a major neoliberal asset before it was called that and a real illustration that it is just the other side of the neoconservative coin.”

      [ An excellent portrayal. ]

  17. Steve H.


    > Perhaps this is why Wang did not identify the “free action of the combined power of individuals” as the engine of 20th century American self-confidence. Wang argues that if the Americans he met believed they had the power to change the world it is because they had faith in the transformative power of science and technology.

    > Thus the “socially imposed loneliness” of American life creates a people prone to “dejection, loss, indecision, despondence, anxiety, and worry.” In contrast to Tocqueville’s Americans, who “perfected the art of pursuing in concert the aim of their desires,” Wang believes that social isolation has fostered “a sort of introverted and passive mentality” that makes it difficult for the Americans that Wang meets to work with strangers.

    > social atomization invites centralized administration

    1. Steve H.

      > Somewhere there are humans in control.
      > In Wang’s view, American faith in technical expertise and scientific knowledge masks this reality. It veils what decision makers are doing and why they are doing it—even, sometimes, from themselves.

      Compare, from The LLMentalist Effect: how chat-based Large Language Models replicate the mechanisms of a psychic’s con

      >> Remember what I wrote above about psychics frequently having conned themselves, that many of them aren’t even aware of their own scam?
      >> The field of AI research has a reputation for disregarding the value of other fields, so I’m certain that this reimplementation of a psychic’s con is entirely accidental. It’s likely that, being unaware of much of the research in psychology on cognitive biases or how a psychic’s con works, they stumbled into a mechanism and made chatbots that fooled many of the chatbot makers themselves.


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