2:00PM Water Cooler 4/12/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, various forms of administrivia kept interrupting my preparations for Water Cooler, so this is a bit scattered. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

American Goldfinch, Round Valley Recreation Area, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States.

* * *

In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Shanahan at the border.

(2) H5N1 testing needs improvement.

(3) Warrantless surveillance FTW.

(4) FDR’s fireside chats.


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

* * *


Less than a year to go!

RCP Poll Averages, April 5

Here this Friday’s RCP poll. Trump is still up in all the Swing States (more here), leading with one exception: PA. I’ve highlighted it again, (1) because BIden is now up there, and (2) it’s an outlier, has been for weeks. Why isn’t Trump doing well there? (I’ll work out a better way to do this, but for now: Blue dot = move toward Biden; red dot = move toward Trump. No dot = no change (presumably because state polls are not that numerous so far from election day).

* * *

Trump (R): “America is bored of Trump. He won’t win the election” [Isaac Schorr, The Telegraph]. ” Trump may have an advantage on substance, but it is a certainty that he lacks the discipline necessary to capitalise fully on that advantage and quite possible that he is lacking enough in that department to blow it entirely. Worst of all for the presumptive Republican nominee, he is not some new figure voters can project their hopes onto while hand-waving away the lunacy. His antics are no longer a bizarrely refreshing taste of something new, they’ve become a part of America’s stale political culture.” • I dunno. Trump can read a room and he’s highly adaptive. I say more Chick-Fil-A visits! (The East Palestine visit, let us remember, was not just good media, it signaled a turnaround. So what you will about Trump’s campaign team in 2016, he was out there, meeting people, practicing his riffs, doing his A/B testing. If Trump’s current professional team isn’t scheduling that kind of thing for him, it should.)

* * *

Kennedy (I): Shanahan visits the border (i.e., one of the items in Harris’s portfolio):

She’s not wearing Nina McLemor. On the other hand, she’s not wearing Nina McLemor.

Kennedy (I):

“Election spoiler? How President Biden’s allies hope to stop Robert F. Kennedy Jr.” [USA Today]. “Kennedy’s current double-digit standing is more than enough to swing outcomes in battleground states…. ‘If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden because he’s frankly more in line with Democrats,’ Trump said in a video released by his campaign Thursday. ‘I do believe that RFK Jr. will do very well, and I do believe he’s going to take a lot of votes away from crooked Joe Biden.'” • Hmm.

Kennedy (I): Hotez throws down the gauntlet:

* * *

Spook Country

“A Terrorist Warning From the FBI” [Wall Street Journal]. • What a surprise.

“House finally passes surveillance bill after three stumbles” [Politico]. “Another dramatic turn came just ahead of the bill’s final passage, with a proposal to require warrants when searching foreign data collected by the surveillance program for information related to Americans failed on 212-212 tie. The Biden administration and members of the Intelligence Committee waged an intense lobbying effort ahead of the vote; Attorney General Merrick Garland was calling members on Friday to urge their support, according to a person familiar with the conversations who was granted anonymity to speak candidly.” Always good to see liberal Democrats extend the right hand of good fellowship to Republicans when the object is gutting the Fouth Amendment. More: “In a bid to get his holdouts on board, Johnson shortened the reauthorization period for the program from five years to two years — which caused heartburn in some corners of the Biden administration and would put the next wiretapping fight in a potential second Trump term, if the GOP’s standard-bearer wins in November…. Johnson, a former member of the Judiciary Committee, has defended his switch, saying he’s had access to more intelligence information since becoming speaker late last year.” • Yeah, that’s how they suck you in.

Democrats en Déshabillé

I found this transcript of one of FDR’s “Fireside Chats” (i.e, radio, then a new mass medium). From September 6, 1936:

I have been on a journey of husbandry…. I saw drought devastation in nine states.

I talked with families who had lost their wheat crop, lost their corn crop, lost their livestock, lost the water in their well, lost their garden and come through to the end of the summer without one dollar of cash resources, facing a winter without feed or food—facing a planting season without seed to put in the ground.

I shall never forget the fields of wheat so blasted by heat that they cannot be harvested. I shall never forget field after field of corn stunted, earless and stripped of leaves, for what the sun left the grasshoppers took. I saw brown pastures which would not keep a cow on fifty acres.

But at the end he empowers his listeners:

In the drought area people are not afraid to use new methods to meet changes in Nature, and to correct mistakes of the past. If overgrazing has injured range lands, they are willing to reduce the grazing. If certain wheat lands should be returned to pasture they are willing to cooperate. If trees should be planted as windbreaks or to stop erosion they will work with us. If terracing or summer fallowing or crop rotation is called for, they will carry them out. They stand ready to fit, and not to fight, the ways of Nature.

This is so lucid, humane, and — dare I say — empathetic (with not a trace of schmaltz. He understands their situation). It’s hard to imagine a politician of ant party delivering a series of speeches like this today — and having people believe them; indeed, look forward to them, and listen avidly.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why No Labels Didn’t Stick” [Slate]. “No Labels was merely the latest iteration of a Beltway parlor trick that’s as old as time. In 2012 it was called Americans Elect, and in 2008 it was Unity08. The core is a kind of institutional McCainism: the idea that Democrats and Republicans are too extreme and that what the country needs is a third party that represents centrism, bipartisanship, and compromise. And on a certain level you can understand the thinking; Americans continue to express abstract support for bipartisanship even as the country has descended into elite-driven gridlock and resentment. … A long-running Gallup survey [shows] that the majority of Americans would prefer that politicians compromise rather than ‘sticking to their beliefs.’…. The trouble with these kinds of survey results is that they are extremely soft and often do not survive contact with real-world situations. Telling a pollster that you support compromise in the abstract is easy, but most voters don’t want it to be their own side doing the giving. The actual demand side of the equation for institutional bipartisanship is therefore pretty small. The other problem with the No Labels operation is that there already is a moderate, bipartisanship-minded political faction in the United States. It is called the Democratic Party. For better or for worse, that party continues to be the home of nearly all of the remaining ‘institutionalists’ in U.S. politics, and party leadership has repeatedly, over the past decade, passed up opportunities to engage in retaliatory procedural maneuvering in response to GOP constitutional hardball, preferring instead to stand up for a long-vanished consensus politics that has virtually no support on the other side of the aisle. President Joe Biden not only leads that institutionalist party, but he is also its most vocal and successful backer of bipartisanship as a governing and political philosophy.”


“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

* * *

Covid 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!

* * *

Airborne Transmission: Covid

“Ventilation during COVID-19 in a school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities” [PLOS One]. From the Abstract: “There was a statistically significant correlation between the total time of room CO2 concentrations ≥1,000 and SARS-CoV-2 cases in an IDD school. Merv-13 filters appear to decrease the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.” • Good to have CO2 concentration reinforced as a proxy for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 as well.

Testing and TrackingL H5N1

Hopefully the tests at least work:

From the same thread:

Since CDC hasn’t learned any lessons from Covid except how to evade responsibility and stonewall aerosol science, it would be unreasonable to expect APHIS to learn anything from them; after all HHS and USDA might as well be on different continents! Still, “sentinel surveillance” reminds me of airport testing, so obviously we should do it. Also, asymptomatic infection doens’t necessarily mean asymptomatic infection, but we should act as if it does. And yes, the USDA map is lousy.

Transmission: H5N1

Carrying fomite transmission a little too far:

Why chop trees down when you could just wash them?

“States begin to restrict cattle imports from those with influenza cases” [American Veterinary Medical Association]. “In an effort to prevent domestic cattle from being exposed to highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI, more specifically avian influenza Type A H5N1), 17 states have restricted cattle importations from states where the virus is known to have infected dairy cows: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will not be issuing federal quarantine orders at this time, nor is the agency recommending any state quarantines or official hold orders on cattle, the agency announced April 2. ‘However, we strongly recommend minimizing movement of cattle as much as possible, with special attention to evaluating risk and factoring that risk into movement decisions. Do not move sick or exposed animals.'”

“Is the Cattle Complex Ready to Move Past the Influenza A Scare?” [Progressive Farmer]. “Right when the market was in the middle of what seemed to be a strong early spring rally, fear and nervousness stole the cattle complex’s thunder even though no beef cattle have the illness, no dairy cows have died from being affected by the illness, and no dairy herds have been depopulated. … But, thankfully, given the market’s closes early this week, it seems as though traders are ready to put their fear regarding the flu behind them. I would hate to jinx our luck and see the market turn lower again this week, but it does seem as though the market has turned a new page and it’s ready to refocus on its fundamentals.”

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot April 8: Regional[2] Biobot April 8:
Variants[3] CDC April 13 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC March 23
New York[5] New York State, data April 11: National [6] CDC March 23:

National[7] Walgreens April 1: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic March 30:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC March 18: Variants[10] CDC March 18:
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 a level far above valleys under Trump. 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) No backward revisons….

[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) CDC seems to have killed this off, since the link is broken, I think in favor of this thing. I will try to confirm. UPDATE Yes, leave it to CDC to kill a page, and then announce it was archived a day later. And heaven forfend CDC should explain where to go to get equivalent data, if any. I liked the ER data, because it seemed really hard to game.

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Looks like a very gradual leveling off to a non-zero baseline, to me. I suppose to a tame epidemiologist it looks like “endemicity,” but to me it looks like another tranche of lethality.

[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.

[11] Looks like the Times isn’t reporting death data any more? Maybe I need to go back to The Economist….

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Tech: “Why I Lost Faith in Kagi” [d-shoot]. “Between the absolute blase attitude towards privacy, the 100% dedication to AI being the future of search, and the completely misguided use of the company’s limited funds, I honestly can’t see Kagi as something I could ever recommend to people. Is the search good? I mean…it’s not really much better than any other search, it heavily leverages Bing like DDG and the other indie search platforms do, the only real killer feature it has to me is the ability to block domains from your results, which I can currently only do in other search engines via a user script that doesn’t help me on mobile. But what good is filtering out all of the AI generated spamblogs on a search platform that wants to spit more AI generated bullshit at me directly?” • Quite a rant, but I can’t evaluate one way or the other. Readers?

Tech: “Google drafts search engine to ‘ground’ AI results in truth” [Axios]. “The tendency of large language models to hallucinate, or make things up, is a key hurdle to broader business adoption of generative AI.” Yeah, whoops, how come that wasn’t in the deck. More: “Google says that by integrating Google search into Vertex, its AI offering for businesses, it can give users access to more recent information and citations indicating the sources for key data.” • I don’t see how this works. How is the citation linked to the text? The LLM can’t do it, it’s got hullabaloocinations. But all search can do is bolt on a search result to the LLM’s output; it’s entirely parallel to what the LLM does. Anyhow, using a crapified tool to straighten out a bullshit machines hallucinations seems like a doomed endeavor.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 46 Neutral (previous close: 58 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 12 at 1:48:00 PM ET.

Our Famously Free Press

Their template got away from them!

This even happens to the great ones….

News of the Wired

“First languages of North America traced back to two very different language groups from Siberia” [PNAS]. “Nichols’ techniques involve the use of linguistic typology, a field that involves comparing languages and organizing them based on shared criteria. To learn more about early North American languages, she compiled lists of language characteristics and applied them to all known languages. She then scored each of the languages based on the revealed qualities. This allowed her to compare the languages as a way to find resemblances among them and spot patterns. Nichols found that she could trace the languages spoken in early North America back to just two lineages, both of which originated in Siberia. They came, she notes, with the people who made their way across land bridges during Ice Age glaciation events. Those two main groups she found evolved into different languages as people moved to different regions—she focused most specifically on 60 of them. She found that many of those languages were also impacted by multiple waves of Siberians arriving in North America. She concludes that some of the characteristics of the original languages have been retained through the years and are now in the current linguistic population.”

* * *

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: “This Bodhi tree lives at the Sherman Library and Gardens (Corona Del Mar/Newport Beach, California).”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for three or four days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated:

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

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. Lena

    Lambert, you are right about FDR and his ability to empathize with Dust Bowl families. One side of my family is from Oklahoma. They lived on a chicken farm the family used to say couldn’t grow dirt. Two of my great uncles were veterans of the infantry who fought in France during WWI. They came home to nothing. They ended up in California where FDR’s New Deal programs eventually helped them to build good lives for themselves and their families. They knew that FDR did much more than just say he was “fighting for” them. Listening to him on the radio was an event they looked forward to. When he died, they cried like a family member had been lost.

    1. playon

      If you look at photos from FDR’s funeral procession, it was obvious he was much loved by regular people. The Biden admin attempts to compare him to FDR were worse than absurd.

    2. CA

      This is what the Roosevelt’s represented:

      Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is a book with text by American writer James Agee and photographs by American photographer Walker Evans, first published in 1941 in the United States. The work documents the lives of impoverished tenant farmers during the Great Depression.

    3. Michaelmas

      From Saul Bellow’s essay, ‘In the Days of Mr. Roosevelt” —

      “A civilized man, FDR gave the U.S.A. a civilized government. I suppose he was what Alexander Hamilton would have called an ‘elective king,’ and if he was in some respects a demagogue, he was a demagogue without ideological violence … As an undergraduate I was fully armored in skepticism, for Roosevelt was very smooth and one couldn’t be careful enough. But under the armor I was nonetheless vulnerable. I can recall walking eastward on the Chicago Midway on a summer evening. The light held long after nine o’clock, and the ground was covered with clover, more than a mile of green between Cottage Grove and Stony Island. The blight hadn’t yet carried off the elms, and under them drivers had pulled over, parked bumper to bumper, and turned on their radios to hear Roosevelt. Everywhere the same voice, its odd Eastern accent, which in anyone else would have irritated Midwesterners. You could follow without missing a single word as you strolled by. You felt joined to these unknown drivers, men and women smoking their cigarettes in silence, not so much considering the President’s words as affirming the rightness of his tone and taking assurance from it. You had some sense of the weight of troubles that made them so attentive, and of the one ponderable fact, the one common element—Roosevelt—on which so many unknowns could agree.”

    4. rowlf

      Down the road from me is Warm Springs, GA, where the Little White House museum is. One of the exhibits is a convertible top car modified so FDR could drive it. There are a lot of photos and stories of Franklin and Eleanor driving in the local area stopping and talking with people.

  2. Phenix

    Kennedy (I): Hotez throws down the gauntlet:

    Hotez refused to debate RFK Jr on Joe Rogan’s podcast. He has refused to have a written debate with RFK Jr. Hotez is a smart man but he will not debate well read lay people or fellow scientists. He is like every other corporate vaccine proponent….you must TRUST the science. Any suggestions to explore the relationship between vaccines/adjuvants and autism are ignored.

    I am autistic. I was not vaccine injured. I am actually an Aspy but my cohort was rolled into the over all autism spectrum.

    I believe the mother’s and father’s who have witnessed a change in their children after vaccinations. The refusal to honor them and study this only underscores that there is something happening to our children. I do not know what it is but RFK Jr threw everything away to help people who thought that their children were hurt because corporations elevate their bottom lines above public health.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I believe the mother’s and father’s who have witnessed a change in their children after vaccinations.

      Hotez is one such. So clearly, so parents pulling rank has nothing to do with anything. I might (or might not) believe a parent’s analysis, but that’s because I’d believe the analysis, not the parent. My heuristic is that the parents are the last people whose views I would take on faith; way too invested.

      As for debating, so what?

      1. marku52

        Doesn’t that seem like he doesn’t think his data will stand up? I’m sick of “experts” that insist I take their pronouncements as gospel

        1. Objective Ace

          Some people aren’t good at “thinking on their feet”. Especially if they’re debating someone who is an expert at deploying rhetorical fallacies. I’m not saying thats what RFK is doing, I dont have enough expertise to know if what he is saying is relevent or not, but the other side (ie Hotez) claim that’s what he does.

          One thing that does give me pause, is Hotez’ unwillingness to refute RFKs claims in another venue. It’s one thing to not be a good debater, but you should be able to put together a written defense of your position and a point by point attack on the opponent if you are going to claim they are wrong. Maybe his book will do that?

          1. Christopher Smith

            Maybe he is not good at thinking on his feet, and maybe that’s not fair. So what? All I see is a prominent public figure inviting an expert who virtually nobody knows to make his case on a very popular platform, and the expert refusing to make his case.

            Granted, I am good at public speaking and have 20+ years of litigation experience, so maybe I am not taking Hotez’s possible lack of rhetorical skill seriously enough. But I know what looks weak to an audience, and he looks weak.

            1. britzklieg

              IIRC (and if some one knows differently please speak up) early in the pandemic Hotez was instrumental in developing a non-mRNA vaccine which showed great success (and no adverse effects) but got no traction or $ support from the government or Big Pharma to make it readily available. He publicly complained rather bitterly about it while expressing concern for the mRNA vaccines. But then he totally flipped and became a strong proponent of MRNA “vaccination” and I believe it is that flip-flop that may be central to his nervousness about debating. As someone who, from the beginning, has questioned the wisdom of mRNA technology, I was an early fan of Hotez’s vaccine and was unsettled by the switch in his public statements.

              And if I’m wrong about all that I stand corrected.

          2. IM Doc

            The problem is that I have been around long enough to know how things work in medicine. Or at least they used to.

            Debating, making arguments, scientific discussion were all part of the game. Especially when I was younger. Part of being a research scientist was being able to perform well in debates. Thinking on your feet is an aspect of this that is very important. Back in the day, when it was known that an argument was coming, all kinds of preparation would be done in private in the lab with your own colleagues. Absolutely no one in the position of Hotez would ever dream of sending any of his subordinates to debate without being thoroughly prepared. And certainly someone of his stature would be prepared to debate at any time. They had a very thorough knowledge of their material – and had all kinds of experience of being questioned by their own colleagues, fellows, etc.

            Furthermore, there was a complete understanding that the conference forum or the debate stage was the absolute best place to really exhibit if the other side was a clown show. Back in the day – they literally jumped at the chance to do this. It was not just in debates. This was done in conferences at the Q&A period at the end – a well-placed question and an awkward answer could at times be revelatory.

            This was absolutely aggressive – but it was also absolutely critical for learning, for further avenues of research, for questioning, and for understanding your own processes – how you got it right and how you got it wrong.

            We have really lost this thread in medicine. This hardly happens at all anymore – and when it does you can tell the majority of the audience are triggered. I get the idea this lack of vigorous discussion is commonplace throughout higher education. We are too busy making people feel warm and fuzzy.

            The fact that Hotez will not engage his opponent speaks volumes to me. And not in a good way. Indeed all of the leaders of medicine have made a critical mistake in this area the past 4 years. By not being front and center in active debates they have allowed all kinds of things to get amplified. This is made even worse when they only appear in media that is very obviously one-sided. It has truly been a valuable lesson in how NOT to do public health. The problem is – I do not think anyone is learning a thing.

            1. Screwball

              Thank you, and I agree.

              I’m not in medicine, but I teach. One of the first things I learned when I started teaching (after I retired) was I didn’t know as much about my craft as I thought I did. A student would ask me a question and I had no answer. Tough position to be in. That’s how the real world, and science (I teach a STEM class) works.

              I tell my students from day one; I want questions, I like questions, and I welcome them. There is also no such thing as a dumb question. It makes me better at my job, and the students learn more too. Win, win.

              Open and honest conversation is what makes things better for all of us. When do we start?

              1. JBird4049

                >>>Open and honest conversation is what makes things better for all of us. When do we start?

                By admitting and accepting without fear that anyone, including yourself, can be wrong or make mistakes, which appears to have become forbidden in our society.

            2. Phenix

              Thank you for responding.

              Hotez doesn’t need to change RFK Jr’s mind. He needed to convince Joe Rogan’s audience that Bobbie is wrong. Hotez’ refusal to debate him causes more people to question Hotez not RFK Jr.

              1. lyman alpha blob

                It’s possible Hotez is worried that too many people in Rogan’s audience are familiar with the video here. Heavily edited to be sure, but it does make a point, which Taibbi spells out.

        2. ron paul rEVOLution

          I don’t argue with my toddler, but it’s not because I’m afraid of his facts and logic

          1. Christopher Smith

            Not quite the same. RFK, Jr. is a significant presidential candidate whom most people have heard of. Everyone knows who Rogan is and that he has a popular interview show. Few people know who Hotez is outside of his field. (I only know the name because I read Naked Capitalism.) When you are a virtually unknown expert, who is invited to debate a well known politician on a very popular platform and you decline, you look weak. Strike that, you ARE weak. By not appearing, Hotez signals that he cannot win the argument and thus loses it – even if he is right.

            It’s one thing for Hotez to refuse to debate a toddler or some other nobody, but people with far more prestige invited him to debate, and he refused. That’s weak.

            Is it fair? Probably not, but that’s how it is.

            1. steppenwolf fetchit

              If I were a genuine expert on something and was invited to debate in public by a clever lawyer who knows all the tricks of verbal and philosophical deceit, I would also naturally hesitate. Just as I would hesitate to debate a master Gish
              Galloper in public.

              And if that hesitation were to lead to refusal to join such a “debate”, the invitation-offerer to such a “debate” would naturally paint it as an admission of weakness. That’s part of the charm and part of the trickery.

              So maybe genuine experts will have to learn how to deal with clever laywers and Gish Gallopers in a public debate setting. Here is a link where tips on handling a Gish Galloper are offered.

              1. Mark Gisleson

                An unknown can always engage in asymmetrical warfare especially when graced with “expert” credentials. In keeping with IM Doctor’s remarks, no one in Hotez’s position could possibly be unequipped to engage in such strategies (which when done well do not appear to be strategies at all, just a pep talk on how unfortunately everything is more complicated than we thought…).

                I’m not an expert on RFK Jr but he is a big fan of stepping back and providing greater context, imo, in a good way. Not a Gish Galloper, he’s the lawyer with his thumbs in his galluses sucking on his cheek and taking his time to make his points because he knows that simply to understand his wrecked voice you have to focus on him. Most people probably lip read him to an extent. Directly engaging with RFK Jr is to be at a much deeper disadvantage than simply scoring debate points. The Godfather whispered, Trump shouts (then winks). Good lawyers establish a rapport and then take up residency in your head.

                RFK Jr. is an honest man. At least he thinks is he is and he behaves accordingly. If your expertise is tainted, you do not want to engage, let alone debate, with such a man. Opposite end of the spectrum from Trump, but both armed with the same weapon: a willingess to speak truth to power. Their weaknesses are different but similar: you can’t attack either man without pointing to crimes that are widely committed by elites on “both” sides.

                Abbie Hoffman would have loved this election cycle.

          2. t

            Sounds like you’ve seen some of the debate challenges – like “we’ll have rules” – that RFK slithered away from in the 90s.

            I’d rather try to have a reasonable discussion with your toddler than any Debate Bro out there. (And not just because there’s a strong likelihood that a debate bro is also a men’s rights wacko which adds a whole other layer of why even bother.)

        3. Big River Bandido

          Don’t see why a scientist should give a politician a legitimate platform to air pseudoscientific views, especially since such a debate would have zero effect on real science. Scientific fact is not determined through political debate unless you’re talking about quackery.

          1. Christopher Smith

            Being right doesn’t mean squat if nobody believes you are right. It’s not fair, but show me where I am wrong.

            1. Big River Bandido

              That’s a perfect articulation of the pseudoscience position: science by referendum.

              It’s fraudulent and no respectable scientist would dignify such a position by sharing a platform with it.

      2. Christopher Smith

        I see his unwillingness to debate as intellectual cowardice; especially if he cannot win an argument against non-scientist. (The audience here not being RFK, Jr. but the Rogan audience.) If you are right and you have your evidence, then you go in and convince the audience.

        However, I do concede that RFK, Jr. may be more skilled at argumentation and Hotez may fear getting flim-flammed. My response to that however, is that Hotez and other scientists need to sharpen their rhetorical skills, because if they cannot defend their research to a lay audience, then flim-flam is going to win anyway. But by not going on and debating, Hotez not only lets the flim-flam go unchallenged, but also his unwillingness to debate (fairly or not) gives credibility to RFK, Jr. on the point.

        1. pjay

          I tend to agree with you on this issue. But conversely, Kennedy apparently will not debate Max Blumenthal (or other knowledgeable critics?) on Israel. And when he is challenged on this issue his rhetorical skills and ability to cite evidence collapses into a sputtering propaganda rant.

          That said, I am glad that Kennedy is running. He does challenge the Establishment narrative effectively on some other issues.

          1. Christopher Smith

            I think its cowardice on RFK. Jr. part not to engage in that debate, but also acknowledge that the circumstances of his father’s assassination has probably influenced his position on Palestine.

            1. nippersmom

              How can the circumstances of his father’s assassination possibly justify supporting genocide? How can anything justify supporting genocide?

              1. Christopher Smith

                Sirhan Sirhan, the person who assassinated RFK, Jr., was a Palestinian activist. So yeah, I can see in myself that I would not be too inclined to support a group if a member took my dad from me. My Croatian grandfather was not too fond of Germans or Russians given the events in the war. Is it right? No. Is it human? Yes. I apologize for recognizing nuance in the human condition.

                That said, yes, it is cowardice on his part not to defend his position on Israel, especially in the middle of a genocide. If RFK, Jr. really wants to be president, he needs to make his case and show that he can lead the country beyond any personal trauma or prejudices he may have.

                1. Nippermom

                  Holding an entire group of people — including infants— responsible for the alleged crime of one person decades later and supporting the genocide of that group is not reflective of a reasonable or rational human, your “nuance” notwithstanding. Do you use that same nuanced understanding of human nature to justify the actions and policies of Victoria Nuland and the death and misery that have resulted from them? And would your Croatian grandfather really have supported starving the entire populations of Russia and Germany to death, including infants?

          1. Phenix

            He debated Dave Smith on Gaza. Dave Smith is comedian and a major player in libertarian politics. He could not get RFK Jr to change his mind on the conflict and that cost Bobbie the libertarian ticket.

            Why would he debate Stein or West? The left is irrelevant. Woke identity politics killed the left. The Greens made themselves irrelevant prior to that.

            I really wanted to see RFK talk to Max again. RFJ Jr interviewed Max on the past which is why I was shocked when RFK Jr came out for Israel … But just follow the money. The Adelson clan is a major supporter of RFK Jr.

      3. Phenix

        IM Doc gives a better answer but Hotez is an expert in his field. Joe Rogan offered a no time limit debate with RFK Jr. The rules would be agreed upon and RFK Jr said he would send the papers he would discuss. Hotez refused.


        This is from 5 years ago. Hotez discusses that environmental factors can create autism like diagnoses..Depakote can cross the blood brain barrier.

        I do not think that the original small pox vaccine will cause autism. From what I understand, people are focused on adjuvants in vaccines. Adjuvants that can cross the blood brain barrier.

        A lot of people are labeled anti-vaxx or anti-science because they have basic safety questions. Are adjuvants safe? Is aluminum at any concentration safe? The usual response is that if course they are safe and effective. People ask for the long term studies and they do not get them because they do not exist.

    2. urdsama

      I feel the “debate bros” approach is one of the reasons we are in such a lousy place as a country and a culture.

      Facts and good science should be listened to, not modern debate spectacles.

  3. griffen

    I have it on the authority from recent social media acquaintances, mostly this being a well educated group of individuals that Russian disinformation is still a key concern for the American elections. And maga supporting Republicans in Congress are doing the deeds for the evil Putin.

    Make it stop …never ever! FFS \ sarc. When workday ends mercifully and quite soon, I plan on posting something from the original piece.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I have it on the authority from recent social media acquaintances, mostly this being a well educated group of individuals that Russian disinformation is still a key concern for the American elections. And maga supporting Republicans in Congress are doing the deeds for the evil Putin.

      I am coming round to the idea that solid Democrats PMC types actually believe this stuff; it’s not simply cynical manipulation, though it is that also.

      That means Democrats cannot possibly let Trump take office, and as a corollary, whatever — and I mean whatever — prevents Trump from doing so will be justified in their minds. I think a similar sense of “the stakes” pervades the Republicans as well. The issue here is that the Democrats control “the commanding heights” of our financialized economy — press, spooks, much of finance, much of Silicon Valley — and so are in a better position to act on their views. I mean, J6 didn’t come within a million miles of being a coup. No operational capability at all. The Democrats, however, have operational capability, One might wonder what the Democrats are gaming out, like they did in 2020. Not that I’m foily,

      1. JBird4049

        >>>I am coming round to the idea that solid Democrats PMC types actually believe this stuff; it’s not simply cynical manipulation, though it is that also.

        So, the Party members propagandized or conned themselves into believing their own lies?

        I can understand my aging boomer mom being brainwashed, which I loathe because of their betrayal of and injury to her, but the instigators?

        Is this like Turd Blossom’s (Karl Rove) fantasy of an empire creating and imposing its own reality on reality by verbal fiat? Not very judicious of them, but it would be a kind of just reward for their damned hubris.

      2. t

        In cleaning and purging last week, I reread the Trump chapter of The Laundromat . A whole chapter on Trump and Trump is pals with Putin and this is a worth an entire chapter in a book about the Panama papers that never mentions the Podesta Group lobbying for Russia Russia Russia’s Sberbank.

        1. The Rev Kev

          When the Panama Papers came out they often had an image of Putin in those newspaper accounts of them – the one man not listed in those papers at all.

      3. Feral Finster

        Most humans’ beliefs are tribal. If the tribe requires them to believe that black is white and cats are dogs, then that is what they will sincerely believe, as long as the tribe requires this.

      4. Benny Profane

        “I am coming round to the idea that solid Democrats PMC types actually believe this stuff; it’s not simply cynical manipulation, though it is that also.*

        Read the NYT comments. It’s depressing if you accept that these people are better educated and living better than most.

      5. griffen

        I may have to choose a different avenue to give the article I referenced above it’s proper due. I prefer to not direct traffic their way , especially based on such a small sampling of the work and writing. It is a substack based collection of their work.

        Some of these articles are quite likely above my pay grade …or perhaps a bit much of the inside baseball rhetoric when it comes to DC ongoings.

    2. playon

      This echoes my experience on Faceborg. People are all in on evil Putin the mastermind, and they really do believe it.

  4. Louis Fyne

    Video from Israeli social media re. latest round of drone attacks from Lebanon is wild (literally happening right now)

    the obvious step 1 before the real war: make your opponent use up all their missiles before you start using your own

    1. hemeantwell

      Thanks, Louis, do you have a link? In my search worry about an attack from Iran crowds out Hezbollah drones.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Most of the reports I’ve read on Hezbollah’s missile stockpiles make it sound like they’re the Russia of the Middle East. This has the potential to get extremely bad really fast.

  5. Lefty Godot

    Re: Trump up in all the swing states

    Here’s my question: which of the following should we be afraid would lead to a worst case outcome? And maybe what would be the runner-up?
    a. Trump wins, Republicans get control of both houses of Congress
    b. Trump wins, split Congress
    c. Trump wins, Democrats get control of both houses of Congress
    d. Biden wins, Democrats get control of both houses of Congress
    e. Biden wins, split Congress
    f. Biden wins, Republicans get control of both houses of Congress

    I have to confess, the prospect of Republican majorities in both houses of Congress worries me more than who wins the Presidency, but maybe I’m not sufficiently worried about the damage Trump or Biden could do no matter how Congress goes. (Plus I’m still not convinced either Trump or Biden will make it to Election Day.)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think it depends on how you think of “worst case.” If one is an accelerationist, the answer is different from the answer a meliorist would give,

      There’s also the faint but real possibility of the election being thrown into the House. I don’t think we can know what emerges from that; too much horse-trading and sausage-making.

      1. JBird4049

        Maybe the question is how competent or just how flexible the political leadership is. If the election went to the House… well, just how many people actually know about the possibility of this happening as it last occurred two centuries ago? I can see millions of people running to Wikipedia or lawyers pulling out their old dusty class texts frantically figuring what comes next a after the election.

      2. Tom Doak

        The rules set by the Constitution of “the election being thrown to the House” are worth re-reading. Each state gets ONE vote. So it would take horse-trading at the state delegation level to change the outcome.

      3. Lefty Godot

        The range of things that could end up in a worst case scenario is going to be different for each person, but I would include things like (in descending order) nuclear war, other large scale overseas war, economic collapse (probably with ruling class being the only ones bailed out to some extent), privatization of Medicare and Social Security, massive cuts in benefits for the poorest (e.g., Medicaid and SNAP), much worse inflation, abolition or gutting of good federal agencies (FTC, EPA, NLRB, Post Office, National Parks, IRS, etc.)…basically all the things that would hurt ordinary people outside the culture wars sphere.

        I know climate change is an existential threat that the wrong President could ruin our chances of getting under control, but I don’t see any of the candidates making good faith arguments that they can or are really willing to deal with that meaningfully.

        So if my vote for Jill Stein causes your favorite candidate to lose my state by 1 vote and that tips the Electoral College to the other candidate, how much disaster will I be responsible for causing?

        1. Michael Mck

          The threat of losing that vote making them change is the only power you have. The people who vote for a major party are those who should be ridiculed.

    2. EricFromGR

      As a non-US foreigner I do have an opinion what would be the best outcome for the majority of humanity. That would be the outcome, which accelerates the decline and implosion of the empire most. That would be outcome d. Give all the power to the PMC and “deep state” to self destruct faster and more efficiently.
      Maybe we (all of us) have a small chance to work together to mitigate the Jackpot this way. Just sayin…

      1. ashley

        the PMC / ‘deep state’ is going to get us all killed in a nuclear war while they hide in their bunkers. even if youre not in the US it doesnt matter, we are all connected via trade and its unlikely once nukes start flying that multiple countries will take advantage of the chaos to settle old scores.

        we have no viable options. biden is going to start ww3 since hes a pawn of israel and trump is a psychotic christofascist (well, conveniently ‘christian’ for the followers). and third parties arent capable of winning the electoral college which is what decides the presidency. wjat a ‘democracy’ we have!

    3. griffen

      I’m going to choose option d., only because I lean a little more historically to the conservative R of that team ( meaning more like a Bush 41st or Reagan but I was a mere kid in the 80s ). Plus with an option like this, it appears more likely that Joe does not see 2028 as a living person.

      Democrats do not understand inflation, for starters. They have yet to grasp what these inflationary trends are doing to an average American household & further their deflections are insincere. I know what Republicans are, a well understood evil. Democrats harbor some intent to place average people under a surveillance agenda, that’s my fear and it’s out of Orwell or a PK Dick novel that Silicon Valley just can’t wait to further deploy.

  6. notabanker

    Once again, the MSM trumpeters (I guess that is a Freudian metaphor there) really do not understand the level of vitriol out on the street for this current admin. It it goes way beyond just Biden the person, or the DNC for that matter. It is entirely symbolic of every single thing that is going wrong impacting day to day lives.

    To be clear, I am not speaking on behalf of ‘most’ Americans, or any particular class etc… just from my own experience and people that I have talked to over the last month or so. In just the last couple of days, 2 completely unsolicited comments: Someone I know very well was openly complaining about getting a letter from HR with zero bonus highlighting they “missed their numbers”. Of course they didn’t miss any stock price or profitability targets, nor stock buyback targets, nor increased dividend payment. And this person just happened to know off the top of their head that the CEO’s dividend payment for that quarter was bigger than their entire annual salary. I literally didn’t say a word, just had it all thrown straight at me. Second, another “I am not a Trump supporter and didn’t vote for him last time around, but he has got to get in there and fix this mess because this current admin is a disaster”.

    In the grocery store for the first time in a few weeks to pick up 3 things yesterday, omg prices keep going up and quality of fresh food in just downright shoddy. No one was buying produce. No one, I mean not a single person, buying meat of any kind. This used to be a high end store and it still in a fairly wealthy neighborhood.

    These are people that would rather being talking about their kids, or families, or vacations or whatever, never politics, but the boiling point is becoming clear here. If folks think Biden is just gonna be who it needs to be because not Trump, they are going to get destroyed if there is a genuine election where actual votes are counted.

    1. griffen

      The economy is strong and the US consumer just can’t help themselves, continuing to spend as the greenshoots abound everywhere one turns in this best of times …\Sarc

      CNBC commentary starting to sound too much like a Biden administration sounding board, in recent weeks it does seem. But as we all know Democracy (!) will fail to exist if Joe Biden is not elected to a second term as President. A voucher for a future $600 will go to every American who can forward that to a needy man in Ukraine. Billions for Zelensky!

    1. Screwball

      I would love to read the comments. Given it’s the paper of the PMC, and they are still blaming Putin for just about everything (plus he might be a Trumper), I’m guessing Vance got quite the ear full.

      1. Zar

        It’s a real eye-opener. Scanning the top fifty Reader & New Comments, I see just one person who agrees with J.D. Vance; and I think a word cloud made from the comments section would give the best real estate to “Neville Chamberlain.”

        1. Screwball

          Thanks. I’m not surprised. Like here, I really enjoy the comment sections because I “think” it gives me an idea of what the “pulse of the people” are thinking.

          I told these sort of people Ukraine wasn’t winning the war long ago, and I sure got an ear full, so I quit. They still think they are winning, but these very same people also tell me (a list);

          There is no genocide in Gaza
          Ukraine is winning the war
          Putin is controlling Trump and over half of the GOP
          Republicans are the only congress people who take bribes
          The Arizona SC decision on abortion is fascism by definition
          Joe Biden is the second coming of FDR
          Adam Schiff would be a great president
          Jan 6th was an insurrection
          Our democracy is in peril and will be gone if we don’t elect Biden
          Biden is in fine health and Donald Trump has dementia
          Keith Olbermann is a national treasure
          There is no such thing as Antifa
          Dems are trying to fix things but the GOP won’t let them
          Mayo Pete would be a great president
          Putin blew up the pipeline
          The safety issues with trains, planes, and ships are Trumps fault
          Hillary did great things for Haiti
          Greenwald, Taibbi, Aaron Mate, etc., are all on Putin,s payroll
          Rachael Maddow is a top notch journalist

          I could go on, and I’m forgetting many others. And these people think they are the mental giants of the world. I will give them one thing – they sure are entertaining.

          1. ashley

            The Arizona SC decision on abortion is fascism by definition

            Jan 6th was an insurrection
            Our democracy is in peril and will be gone if we don’t elect Biden
            Biden is in fine health and Donald Trump has dementia

            There is no such thing as Antifa

            the arizona SC decision is fascist and a sexist control of women as property, jan 6th was absolutely an insurrection only it was a failed one (kinda like that beer hall putsch), our democracy is absolutely in peril only biden nor trump cant fix it, both biden and trump are in bad health, and antifa isnt an organization but a belief: being against fascism. i and most of my friends are ‘antifa’. we dont hold meetings, we are not organized, but if fascism were to come to my state (luckily it has not, save for some wimpy patriot front stickers in the northern more populated parts of the state) you bet your behind we would be in the streets fighting it.

      2. Mangelwurtzel

        I read the disappointing comments section. It’s running 95% anti-Putin / Trump conflation diatribes, MSNBC-Cold War II-style breathless hysteria. Appeasement! Chamberlain! Little on the substance or history of the conflict, nor realistic assessment of the ongoing tragedy. Shows how much well-produced propaganda is worth, eh?

        1. Screwball

          Thank you.

          Shows how much well-produced propaganda is worth, eh?

          No doubt. Yet, those same people would tell us we are in a cult, are brainwashed, and are far too stupid to figure out the truth.

          Oh, and don’t ever tell them they live in an echo chamber bubble of information – they get really really mad (kind of fun to do though).

          What a world.

      3. Mark Gisleson

        I would love to see the NYTimes subscription numbers broken down by state.

        This is the kind of self-destruct button that anyone working in Circulation could push at any time. Another Berliner NPR moment as an insider reveals that the NYTimes hasn’t had a subscriber in Oklahoma since 2007, and has never been read by anyone in Idaho ever, at least not that they can prove.

        I sometimes console myself by remembering that all the facts and events that torture my psyche are equally if not better known to the people who lie to us about them. You cannot write or censor in opposition to something without understanding what it is that you oppose. I’m pretty sure we’re going to find that most of these folks have been taking the same meds the names of which will go on to become as well known as pervitin, the 7% solution* and/or eye of newt.

        *P.S. to Lambert, my favorite subplot in the Aubrey books is the eagerness with which everyone self-medicated themselves. Widely available vape pens would have shot chain through a full rigging of subplots. [No, I haven’t quite mastered the jargon yet and have a very Maturin-like opinion of sails]

    2. CA

      The New York Times comment section has become shockingly conservative * -intolerant over several years but especially through this administration.

      * “Conservative” whether Democrat or Republican

      1. ashley

        its also leftist intolerant. im far left and ive been banned from their comments section for being perceived as a ‘bot’. im just autistic and i type quick…

        theyre a neoliberal eco chamber that only accepts ‘mainstream’ liberal views. anything outside of that LEFT or right is banned.

        for what its worth, im also banned from the garbage rag the NYP, and reddit, and instagram, and i was in FB jail for a long time.

        the spooks HATE leftists. and they run the media.

  7. ChrisFromGA

    Market update:

    The great AI bubble is showing signs of leakage. The glorious run to SP 5500 appears to be momentarily off course; however, I have faith in greed to win the day.

    The credit markets are where the real action is. Ten-year treasury yields closed the week above 4.5% and it appears to be on a glorious run of its own to 5 percent. Turning whatever is left of rate-cut fantasies into absurdity, kind of like my adolescent “dream date with Shania Twain” musings.

    Meanwhile … channelling my best Howard Cosell voice:

    Down goes Powell!! Down goes Powell!!

    Not quite the “Thrilla in Manila” but the Manila Folder appears to be on the canvas and the ref is doing the mandatory countdown.


    1. Glen

      Remember what happen when Powell said he would raise rates under Trump?

      Trump attacks Fed Chair Powell’s ‘horrendous lack of vision,’ calls for huge rate cut

      Didn’t he threaten to fire Powell if the Fed raised rates? I wonder what he would have done if food prices had gone up along with corporate earns? Do you think he would have called out greedflation?

      But with Sec of Treasury Mnuchin (the foreclosure king), who knows what would have happen.

  8. steppenwolf fetchit

    . . . chopping down trees to stop Avian Flu . . . . on what theory? On the theory birds perch in trees so, no trees equals no birds equals no flu? What do they do about the ground dwelling birds when they discover that some birds are ground dwelling and don’t need trees?

  9. Tom Stone

    I have not yet been able to stop thinking that “No one could possibly be that stupid and irresponsible” despite the almost daily reminders from the CDC and FDA that they are that stupid and irresponsible.

  10. Feral Finster

    “A long-running Gallup survey [shows] that the majority of Americans would prefer that politicians compromise rather than ‘sticking to their beliefs.’”

    O please. Politicians compromise on their stated beliefs all the time, the better to sell us out.

  11. Benny Profane

    As per bored of Trump:

    “The East Palestine visit, let us remember, was not just good media, it signaled a turnaround.”

    And don’t forget the optics of the Biden, Obama, and Clinton 25 mil fundraiser at Radio City while Trump went to the wake of a recently shot NYC officer. Brilliant. No anti Israeli protesters on the sidewalk of that funeral home.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Bonus points for when Democrat NY Governor Kathleen Hochul was told to stay away from that funeral but she fronted up in her motorcade anyway, only to be forced away by the police there.

  12. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “House finally passes surveillance bill after three stumbles” article at-


    Johnson seems to have become quite that back-flip artist the past several weeks like with the $61 billion to the Ukraine and now FISA. The only thing that he will not back-flip on is Israel, the country he swore loyalty to just after becoming Speaker. Certainly Trump is not a fan of FISA as it was used – wrongly – to spy on his campaign in an attempt to wreck his Presidential run back in 2016 and for all we know, is has already been used again on Trump already this time around.

    1. Screwball

      I hope they vacate the seat to Johnson, and keep doing it until there are none left.

      535 random people out of a phone book would be an improvement over these people.

      I know that’s crazy talk but one can dream. Yea, dreams, like the American Dream. Carlin told us about that one.

    2. ChrisFromGA

      Johnson is blocked on the Ukraine aid because he knows that Madge will turf his ass out if he brings it to the floor

      He’s yammering and bloviating on maybe crafting a new package based on loans, or seized fentanyl shipments for Zee.

      You go, MTG. My vote for woman of the year.

  13. Jason Boxman

    LOL I just gave Kagi my credit card yesterday. It’s month to month, so I guess I can cancel. I have to use reader view to read that rant, because the author I guess didn’t bother with stylesheets so paragraphs are 1,000 miles long.

    For products this niche, I don’t think you can afford to be running multiple niche products at once. Your developers are going to be running far too ragged to keep them all going. Last I could find Kagi employs about 16 employees, half full time. Presumably not every single one of those 8 or so full timers are web devs. That’s not a lot of people to throw at this many things.

    I definitely worry about this. The Orion browser is a nice alternative to Chrome based browsers, but a browser is a heavy lift to implement even using an existing render, in this case, the one Safari uses.

    Did I mention that the t-shirts don’t even have the Kagi name on them? Just the Kagi dog mascot, who is at this point the only thing I like about Kagi, to the point where if I wasn’t worried people would try to talk to me about Kagi I’d opt for one of the shirts myself. Great artist, whoever did this. Terrible financial choice to start a whole t-shirt business to make 20,000 free t-shirts that do not even get your name out there.

    It is disturbing that they can’t manage funds though.

    Kagi was not paying sales tax for two years and they finally have to pay up. They just…didn’t do it. Didn’t think it was important? I have no idea why.

    When I signed up I saw this; They’re not collecting tax in at least some areas. Not for me.

    As it turns out, Kagi was founded originally as an AI company, who later pivoted to search.

    That sucks; I didn’t know that, they do have an AI search feature, including an AI summary feature as part of their browser plugin. I haven’t messed with this yet.

    They have “FastGPT”, where their focus is having a ChatGPT style service that is focused on being fast, not accurate. And boy, it sure isn’t, I messed around with this for a while and it very confidently gave me a lot of extremely inaccurate information about old sitcoms.

    Ugh, maybe I will cancel my subscription. Sigh. I almost gave them $150 to fund their browser because Vivaldi has had broken tab switching for over a year now in every released version, and the new Opera is garbage and owned by some bizarre Chinese billionaire, and that leaves me with slower Firefox, I guess, which also supports MRU.

    I hate technology. Stuff just gets worse every year. Apple is like a trillion dollar company and Swype is still garbage in 2024. In 2024!


    Thanks for posting that, I guess I give up on a Kagi then. Sounds kind of horrific, the founder is all in on AI. Ugh. And that means their Orion browser is probably gonna die eventually too. Ugh. I hate this world. Opera supported MRU tabs correctly forever, then bought by a company that violates your privacy, and Vivaldi can’t get it right and keeps adding more and more tab management features when the basic stuff doesn’t work right. Ugh. Sigh. Rage. The Internet is powered by rage.

  14. Benny Profane

    Watching the news tonight, it’s amazing how everyone in the MSM are pushing the Iran Will Attack Israel at any moment story. Even my local news, who I like for the weather, spent five minutes on it. BBC, maybe ten minutes. Of course, PBS News hour lead story. Who hands down these scripts? No doubt the Russians are counseling, patience, don’t fall victim to these traps. In due time.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      It’s awfully similar to how they just “knew” Russia was going to invade Ukraine back in ‘22.

      The Menendez brothers would like to get at least some recognition as pioneers of this sort of victimization strategy.

    2. Ben Panga

      Top story on The Guardian website is “Iranian attack on Israel expected ‘sooner rather than later’, says Joe Biden”.

      Not a story on The Guardian website is “Israel attacks on various states expected to continue without complaint from The West”.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Google drafts search engine to “ground” AI results in truth”

    I suppose that it is too much of a stretch to withdraw AI until it is capable of giving accurate answers and does not make up things as it goes along.

    1. Ben Panga

      I doubt it, as the tech giants are all racing each-other to get ahead in the AI game. Racing to where, and whether it’s a good idea, do not seem to be considerations.

  16. Wukchumni

    I sped up a little on Hwy 395 passing by Ridgecrest & Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake yesterday in making my ride a less tempting target for something wicked this way comes in a nuclear vein rain down upon me, it being the only nearby attack site on my semi-circular sojourn around the Sierra.

    I can’t believe I even gave it any thought, but my Spidey-Senses are on full tingle, a couple of theocracies* practically begging for an exchange, and how would the world react to the Pandoras Box being opened again almost right on time for the fourth turning?

    * Neither officially denying nor admitting to having nuclear weapons

Comments are closed.