2:00PM Water Cooler 4/9/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

American Goldfinch, Rocky Rill Farm; Black Walnut Grove, Whitfield, Georgia, United States.

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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!

RCP Poll Averages, April 5

Here is Friday’s RCP poll. Trump is still up in all the Swing States (more here), but still 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 statistical signficance to any of it, and state polls are bad anyhow!)

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Trump (R): “What I Saw Working at The National Enquirer During Donald Trump’s Rise” [New York Times]. Important (and also very funny). From a former editor: “At the center of the case is the accusation that Trump took part in a scheme to turn The National Enquirer and its sister publications into an arm of his 2016 presidential campaign. The documents detailed three “hush money” payments made to a series of individuals to guarantee their silence about potentially damaging stories in the months before the election. Because this was done with the goal of helping his election chances, the case implied, these payments amounted to a form of illegal, undisclosed campaign spending. And, Bragg argued, because Trump created paperwork to make the payments seem like regular legal expenses, that amounted to a criminal effort at a coverup. Trump has denied the charges against him.” And: “Then the Bragg indictment outlined, in plain and unafraid black and white, the schemes that felt so opaque and contentious and complex when I had to navigate my way through them in real time. But it was the 13-page statement of facts that brought me to tears. On Page 3, prosecutors outlined ‘The Catch and Kill Scheme to Suppress Negative Information,’ and it revealed to me that I had been managing a newsroom with improvised explosive devices planted everywhere. The secret deal that was made at Trump Tower, where Pecker told Cohen he would act as the campaign’s ‘eyes and ears.’ The hush-money payoffs. The plot to publish negative stories about Trump’s rivals. A scheme to influence the 2016 election. Everything finally fit into place. There were no more secrets, and I wasn’t alone anymore. Everyone now knew.” • If this story is correct, then framing Bragg’s theory of the case as “hush money” — see headline above — is wrong, and Trump becomes a sort of minor-League Berlusconi.

Trump (R): “Trump sues NY judge overseeing hush money case in effort to delay trial” [The Hill]. “Judge Juan Merchan’s gag order bars Trump from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and the judge’s family… Weeks later, the judge expanded his order to include attacks against his family and Bragg’s family following a series of posts Trump made about the judge’s daughter, who works at a progressive political consulting firm. Merchan’s daughter, Loren, is an executive at the digital agency Authentic, which boasts clients including prominent Democrats President Biden and Vice President Harris. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y) is a past client. Loren Merchan is also the subject of the former president’s efforts to recuse the judge from the case — an effort he has mounted twice. The most recent bid came Friday, when Trump asked the judge to recuse because his daughter has a ‘direct financial interest’ in the former president’s case, given the firm’s work for his 2024 presidential election opponents.”

Trump (R): “Appeals court judge denies Trump’s bid to delay next week’s hush money trial” [NBC]. “Justice Lizbeth González of the state Appellate Division issued the ruling after attorneys for the former president argued the trial needed to be halted because ‘an impartial jury cannot be selected right now based on prejudicial pretrial publicity.’ González rejected the request in a one-line ruling late Monday afternoon with no explanation.” Can’t blame a guy for trying! But: “González’s ruling affects only Trump’s request for a delay, not his underlying change-of-venue motion.”

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Trump (R): “Trump favorabilty among Latinos rising as Biden’s falls: Survey” [The Hill]. “The Axios/Ipsos survey shows Biden’s favorability among Latinos has fallen 6 points since last summer — 47 percent in June 2023 to 41 percent last month. Trump’s favorability among Latinos in the same time period rose from 29 percent to 32 percent.” • That’s a lot.

Trump (R): “Donald Trump crashes out of the Bloomberg rich list due to his meme stock nosediving” [Business Insider]. “Donald Trump has crashed out of the ranks of the world’s 500 wealthiest people after the value of his meme stock nosedived. The former president has fallen off the Bloomberg Billionaires Index as his net worth has dropped below the $5.8 billion required to make the cut. Forbes’ rich list pegs Trump’s total wealth at $4.8 billion, ranking him 659th in the world. Trump held a top 300 spot on Bloomberg’s index only a few days ago, ahead of the likes of George Soros, Mark Cuban, Giorgio Armani, Reed Hastings, and Bernie Marcus.” • ONly #659. “There are not very many of the Shing.” –Ursula LeGuin

Trump (R): “GOP senators, hopefuls fall in line with Trump’s abortion stance” [WaPo]. “GOP candidates running for Senate in swing states are largely embracing the states’ rights message on abortion that Donald Trump outlined yesterday. The former president tried to defang the issue by neither endorsing nor explicitly ruling out a 15-week federal abortion ban, instead saying in a video message that states should determine their own abortion laws. It’s the latest evolution of Republicans’ shifting position on abortion, as they have worked to find a message palatable for voters who have bucked Republican candidates’ antiabortion positions since Roe v. Wade was overturned nearly two years ago. Trump has adopted what the National Republican Senatorial Committee has been encouraging Republican candidates to do for months: avoid calling for a national abortion ban and support exceptions for rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk. That message has been received and adopted by most GOP Senate candidates who have softened previously strict antiabortion stances and moved away from backing a national ban.”

Trump (R): “Trump Moderating on Abortion Is Biden’s Worst Nightmare” [Newsweek]. “If Trump continues to position himself on the middle of this issue, he will find himself in a great place heading to the 2024 presidential election. With a less-than-ideal record on immigration, crime, and the economy, Democrats have been banking on abortion to attract independents and mobilize their base. The game is changing now. If Democrats don’t attempt to move to the middle, allowing Trump to be seen as the one who is willing to moderate, they will lose. Screaming “liar” is a bad strategy. For all of his troubles, one issue that Trump does not have is appearing disingenuous. His desire to move the Republican Party away from political fights on abortion is a real one. Denying can work to some extent, but when social conservative factions express their disgruntlement and Trump doubles down, it’s bad news for Biden’s strategy.”

Trump (R): “Trump’s “moderation” on abortion is a lie” [VOX]. “[Biden] enjoyed a double-digit advantage on only one issue: by 47 points to 35 points, voters said they trusted the president over Trump to handle abortion policy…. Trump’s presidency left relatively few lasting marks on American public policy. But as he has repeatedly boasted since the Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision, it was his judicial appointments that enabled the overturning of Roe v. Wade — and thus, the avalanche of abortion restrictions that followed its demise… Trump understands that all this is a major political liability… Taken as a whole, Trump’s statement constitutes a sound political gambit. Given the constraints imposed by his coalition and record, “I think abortion policy should be left up to the states, although rape victims should always be able to get an abortion, and newborn babies shouldn’t be executed” is about the most expedient stance that Trump could take…. Once in office, Trump will face no binding political constraints, as he will be ineligible to run for another term. In the event that Republicans find a way to get a federal abortion ban through Congress, there is every reason to believe Trump will reward the Christian right’s loyalty.” But: “Long rendered a dead-letter statute by Roe, Comstock bans the delivery of ‘every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion.’ Conservative legal scholar Jonathan F. Mitchell — who represented Trump before the Supreme Court last year — has suggested that Comstock bans not only the delivery of abortion pills, but of all the equipment required to conduct an abortion procedure. ‘We don’t need a federal ban when we have Comstock on the books,’ Mitchell told the Times. Mitchell went on to say that he hoped Trump ‘doesn’t know about the existence of Comstock, because I just don’t want him to shoot off his mouth. I think the pro-life groups should keep their mouths shut as much as possible until the election.'” • Well.

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Biden (D): “Boomers deliver surprise strength for Biden” [Axios]. “Baby boomers are on track to make President Biden the first Democrat to carry the senior vote since Al Gore in 2000.” And: “Old people vote at high rates. Younger ones don’t.”

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Kennedy (I): “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Qualifies for Nebraska Ballot” [KLIN]. “Nebraskans will be able to cast their vote for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as an Independent Candidate for President, as the Kennedy campaign announced they have collected the necessary 2,500 signatures needed to qualify for the 2024 November general election ballot. In fact, according to the Kennedy campaign, they have nearly double the required amount — collecting more than 4,800 signatures from Nebraska voters.” • Double the required amount of ballots is absolutely necessary, since Democrat lawyers will challenge every single one.

Kennedy (U): “RFK Jr. ballot consultant on Trump voters: Biden is our ‘mutual enemy'” [The Hill]. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaign is pushing back on comments made by one of their consultants, in which she said his supporters share with former President Trump’s supporters a ‘mutual enemy’ in President Biden. In a video, Rita Palma, who is working on ballot access strategies to get Kennedy on as many state ballots as possible as an independent, was giving a talk to non-Biden voters about Kennedy’s path…. Kennedy campaign director Amaryllis Fox moved to clarify the comments as they circulated on the internet. Fox said in a statement that while Palma was brought on recently as a ‘ballot access consultant,’ she emphasized that ‘she has no involvement in — or access to — electoral strategy, nationally or in New York.’ ‘The video circulating was not taken at a campaign event. Palma was speaking as a private citizen and her statements in no way reflect campaign strategy, the sole aim of which is to win the White House with votes from former Trump and Biden supporters alike,’ Fox said.” • Sounds like a “Kinsley gaffe” to me.

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“Colorado officials warn of new frontier in election denial as more Republicans refuse to certify vote totals” [Gazette Xtra]. “Since 2020, a small but growing number of county canvass boards have had Republican members refuse to sign off on vote tallies, according to state records. Those objections haven’t jeopardized the actual certification of elections, and Colorado’s system has additional processes in place to stop rogue canvass boards from preventing the finalizing of results. But it serves as an ill omen of potential efforts to sow distrust in voting heading into this year’s primary and general elections, several state and county election officials said in interviews with The Denver Post. The canvass, completed after each election by a bipartisan county board made up of the clerk and the appointees of the local Republican and Democratic party chairs, largely serves as a check that there weren’t more ballots counted than cast. Following the state’s March 5 presidential primaries, Republican board members in Boulder, El Paso and Jefferson counties along the Front Range refused to sign off on the canvass.” • The issue seems to be signature verification for mail-in ballots.

Our Famously Free Press

“Behind the Curtain: America’s reality distortion machine” [Axios]. “[T]here’s compelling evidence we’ve been trapped in a reality distortion bubble — social media, cable TV and tribal political wars — long enough to warp our view of the reality around us. Yes, deep divisions exist on some topics. But on almost every topic of monthly outrage, it’s a fringe view — or example — amplified by the loudest voices on social media and politicians driving it. No, most Christians aren’t white Christian nationalists who see Donald Trump as a God-like figure. Most are ignoring politics and wrestling with their faith. No, most college professors aren’t trying to silence conservatives or turn kids into liberal activists. Most are teaching math, or physics, or biology…. This new poll by the AP and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows a striking amount of agreement on some very big topics. Roughly 90% or more of Americans — Republicans and Democrats — agree the following rights and freedoms are extremely or very important to a functioning America:

And: “The acceptance of former President Trump’s language and tactics by so many Republicans can be partly explained by this reality distortion phenomenon. His base often feasts off edge-case outrages — wacky liberal professors saying wacky things, illegal immigrants committing brutal but isolated crimes, surges in shootings in specific cities.” • And the reverse, for different outrages, by Democrats. Meanwhile, most of the truly significant outrages — climate, Covid, dominance of finance capital — remain happily and silently bipartisan and not “divisive” at all. Although I must confess that poll is a massive political achievement. “Equal protection under he law” wasn’t even a shibboleth for most of human history.

Clinton Legacy

“Hillary Clinton to students on Gaza: Can we talk with, not shout at, each other?” [Boston Globe]. Clinton: “I feel strongly that I have a voice and I am going to keep using it.” • Swell.

Republican Funhouse

“The FISA Fight and What it Means for Johnson’s Speakership” [The American Conservative]. “Section 702 of FISA, which was originally intended to permit the foreign surveillance of foreign persons overseas, is the specific provision of FISA set to expire in just over a week’s time. House Speaker Mike Johnson, under immense pressure from the right of his conference given Georgia’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene already has a motion to vacate waiting in the hopper, will need to thread the needle between yet another divide between the House GOP to get this piece of legislation across the finish line. FISA has come under increasing scrutiny from the right wing of the GOP conference as it was an integral player in the Russiagate hoax and the Biden administration’s investigations into Americans at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Nevertheless, Section 702 still has its defenders among the House GOP ranks. The dynamic at play across the conference is well encapsulated by the two House committees warring over what a FISA reauthorization bill might entail. The House Intelligence Committee, led by Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio wants few reforms if any and has the backing of the intelligence and national security agencies. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee, headed by a different Ohioan, Rep. Jim Jordan, wants to seize the rare opportunity to reform FISA in its renewal.” And: “Johnson could either let FISA expire, which is highly unlikely, or bring a clean FISA reauthorization to the floor under suspension of the rules. Bringing a clean FISA reauthorization would likely pass, but conservatives like Davidson who are upset with the Speaker’s handling of FISA renewal might tell Greene it’s time to take the motion to vacate out of the hopper.”

“Notes on the State of Politics: March 28, 2024” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “Once Gallagher resigns on April 19, the Republican House edge will be just 217-213. And based on the sequencing above, Democrats will cut that to 217-214 assuming Kennedy wins on April 30. That will leave a period of a few weeks of that tiny GOP majority until the three other Safe Republican seats are filled from late May to late June. The danger for Republicans would be if there are several additional resignations between now and the end of April—if the House ever got to 214-213 Democratic. The current rules stipulate that a single member can force a vote to overthrow the speaker—the same tactic that resulted in McCarthy being deposed. If the House supported that motion, there would then be a subsequent speaker vote where Democrats, assuming full attendance and party unity, could elect a speaker. Republicans, assuming they got the majority back and were unified (a big assumption these days, although the prospect of a Democratic speaker taking over could spur unity), could take the speakership back once they themselves have the majority. Or, a split 214-214 House could fail to produce a speaker if a motion to vacate passed—we have already seen the majority party, the Republicans, have difficulty electing a speaker in both January and in October, and whenever the House does not have a speaker, the first order of business is electing a speaker (as we also saw last year). A newly-formed majority could also change the rules to make it harder to force a motion to vacate the speakership—although a new majority could change the rules again later on. As congressional expert Matt Glassman of the Government Affairs Institute reminded us as we bounced some of these scenarios off of him: ‘The House, after all, is a majoritarian institution. Nothing can stop a hellbent majority from getting its way.’ … The ‘what ifs’ here are almost endless, and that doesn’t even mention the possibility that there could be another revolt initiated by a Republican member against Speaker Mike Johnson (R, LA-4) even if Republicans remain in the majority—just last week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R, GA-14) filed a motion to vacate the speakership last week, although she is not following through on forcing a vote at the moment.” • Entertaining!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Left Cannot Make Use of the Gaza War” [Sublation Media]. “The American left has been drifting aimlessly since Bernie Sanders’ defeat in 2020. All the major issues of the 10s have dropped off the political agenda. There is no longer any serious talk of Medicare-For-All or Tuition-Free-College. Healthcare and higher education remain prohibitively expensive. And meanwhile, the housing market has become an absolute nightmare. The price of a typical home has increased more than twice as fast as inflation since the 1960s, and higher interest rates during the Biden years have pushed mortgages beyond the reach of millions. We are quickly approaching a breaking point, where a home will no longer be a plausible part of the American dream, even for many college-educated professionals. But the left has very little to say about any of this. Instead, it has a great deal to say about Gaza…. The American left is not in position to help the Gazans, and it is not in position to help the Gazans precisely because of the litany of strategic mistakes it has made over the past decade… The nation-state system is a contingent feature of a particular historical moment in capitalism. Increasingly, nation-states are unable to solve irreducibly global problems. They cannot manage flows of capital and people. They cannot sustain robust public services or strong consumer bases, because they constantly compete with one another on tax rates and wages. These problems will not be solved by returning to 20th century notions of national liberation. They will intensify and deepen, with grim consequences for people all around the world.”


“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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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!

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Immune Dysregulation

See also at “Stellate Ganglion” under “Treatment: Covid.”

Sequelae: Covid

It’s not normal for kids to be sick all the time (1):

It’s not normal for kids to be sick all the time (2):

I should probably go out on the Mommy blogs or on Reddit to check the pervasiveness of this “sick all the time” sentiment, but on the Twitter, it gets mentioned at a lot. Readers?

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“Plasma-based antigen persistence in the post-acute phase of COVID-19” (Correspondence) [The Lancet]. From the Abstract: “Persistent symptoms among some individuals who develop COVID-19 have led to the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 might, in some form or location, persist for long periods following acute infection…. To address these limitations, we evaluated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antigens in once-thawed plasma from a well characterised group of 171 adults… Compared with those not hospitalised, participants who required hospitalisation for acute COVID-19 were nearly twice as likely to have SARS-CoV-2 antigens detected… Among participants not hospitalised, those with worse self-reported health during acute COVID-19 had greater post-acute antigen detection … These findings suggest the influence of the acute phase of infection in establishing a persistent SARS-CoV-2 reservoir. Coupled with a 2024 study of replication-competent virus in blood during acute infection, our findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 might seed distal sites through the bloodstream and establish protected reservoirs in some sites. Alternatively, more severe acute infection could be a marker of higher inoculum in sites of primary infection, which then have a greater chance of evading immune clearance…. To mitigate concerns that vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 or recent reinfections could affect interpretation of positive results,1 we studied specimens largely collected before these occurrences. Most samples were collected before the emergence of the Delta and Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variants, when reinfections became common.” • I don’t much like the Disclosures, though.

Treatment: Covid

“Stellate Ganglion Block to Treat Long COVID-19 Syndrome, A 41 patient Retrospective Cohort Study” (preprint) [medRxiv (DG)]. N = 41. “Due to the evolving nature of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, treatment protocols for the illness are in a constant state of evolution. The early stage of long COVID-19 syndrome contributes to a dearth of treatment protocols based on empirical evidence, while the absence of a conclusive pathophysiological understanding further complicates the development of such protocols…. In this 41-patient cohort study from a chronic pain management practice, the use of either unilateral or bilateral stellate ganglion block (SGB) was explored to manage symptoms associated with long COVID-19 syndrome. Results indicated that a substantial proportion of patients (86%) experienced a reduction of their symptoms following SGB treatment.” And: “In the context of long COVID-19, an overactive sympathetic system combined with an underactive vagus nerve could disrupt the balance between these systems, possibly allowing unchecked inflammation to persist. This continued inflammation might be a central element in symptoms characteristic of long COVID-19, autonomic dysfunction with the chronic inflammation resulting in dysregulation of the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.” • Here is a press release on the same treatment restoring the sense of smell. (FWIW, the vagus nerve may be associated postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS), so this account has some narrative plausibility, at least.

Elite Maleficence

“The USDA Isn’t Inspiring Confidence With Its Bird Flu Response” [Newsweek]. “[T]he USDA said, “There continues to be no concern about the safety of the commercial milk supply because products are pasteurized before entering the market.” This is true sometimes—but not all the time. Standard industry practice is to pasteurize milk by heating it to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 seconds. But those standards were designed to kill known bacteria, and it can take much longer to kill viruses. Research into coronaviruses found that it took 3 minutes at temperatures above 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the virus on surfaces. It’s not safe to assume pasteurized milk is safe from H5N1and again, there is no mention by either the USDA or FDA that they are testing it to find out…. Furthermore, the USDA said, “Dairies are required to send only milk from healthy animals into processing for human consumption; milk from impacted animals is being diverted or destroyed.” Again, it appears that the USDA is expecting farms to comply with this voluntarily, with no additional inspections or oversight. … The USDA ends by saying farmers are “urged” to make changes to reduce the spread of disease. But as a longtime watchdog of the industry and a veterinary epidemiologist, we’ve seen time and again how large agricultural corporations sacrifice health, safety, and the humane treatment of animals in the pursuit of profit. There is no reason they’ll change now. But this time, the stakes are too high to ignore. The USDA needs to make it clear that they have a handle on this problem before it’s too late.” • Oh dear. Another Federal agency we’ll need to burn to the ground…..

“AABP Decides to Reference Cattle Disease as Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV)” [Bovine Veterinarian]. “On Sunday evening, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) [@AABP2015], released a letter to its media partners to update them on how the organization will reference the emerging cattle disease, currently confirmed in dairy herds in six states, moving forward. ‘Because this infection in cattle is not the same as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), after thoughtful consideration and discussion with many experts, the AABP will now refer to this as Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV), which more accurately depicts it,’ wrote Geni Wren, director of marketing and communications for the organization, in an email accompanying the letter… Gingrich and Capel are asking other organizations, state animal health officials, diagnostic labs, and state and federal agencies to use Bovine Influenza A Virus (BIAV) ‘so we can be consistent with our messaging and better distinguish the disease syndrome in cattle from the pathogenesis in birds. We believe it is important for the public to understand the difference to maintain confidence in the safety and accessibility of beef and dairy products for consumers,’ they wrote.” • Cool, cool, every time H5N1 jumps species we give it a different name. That should help us get a handle on the situation!

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot April 8: Regional[2] Biobot April 8:
Variants[3] CDC March 30 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC March 23
New York[5] New York State, data April 5: 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.

[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

Sentiment: “United States NFIB Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the US fell for a third consecutive month to 88.5 in March 2024, the lowest since December 2012 and well below forecasts of 90.2. “Business owners continue to manage numerous economic headwinds. Inflation has once again been reported as the top business problem on Main Street and the labor market has only eased slightly”, said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. Twenty-five percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business (higher input and labor costs), up two points from February. Also, the net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher decreased eight points from February to a net negative 18%. Furthermore, owners’ plans to fill open positions continue to slow.”

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Tech: “OpenAI prepares to fight for its life as legal troubles mount” [WaPo]. “As OpenAI’s top executives huddled with world leaders this past summer — touting the benefits of its ChatGPT with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron — comedian Sarah Silverman was preparing to take the company to court. Silverman’s suit, which alleged the company stole her work when it used her memoir, ‘The Bedwetter,’ to train its artificial intelligence products, was at the bleeding edge of a legal blitz that has exploded in recent months. OpenAI has been hit with more than a dozen high-profile lawsuits and government investigations since Silverman’s complaint. Top authors including Jodi Picoult and media companies including the New York Times have also alleged that the company violates copyright law by training the algorithms that power popular services like ChatGPT on their work. Billionaire Elon Musk sued OpenAI for diverging from its original nonprofit mission. And government agencies in the United States and Europe are investigating whether the company ran afoul of competition, securities and consumer protection laws in multiple regulatory probes….. Under siege, OpenAI is turning to some of the world’s top legal and political human minds. It has hired about two dozen in-house lawyers since March 2023 to work on issues including copyright, according to a Washington Post analysis of LinkedIn. The company has posted a job for an antitrust lawyer — with a salary of up to $300,000 — to handle the increasing scrutiny in the United States and Europe of its partnership with Microsoft. It has also retained some of the top U.S. law firms, including Cooley and Morrison Foerster, to represent it in key cases.” • That’s nice.

Tech: “Price of zero-day exploits rises as companies harden products against hackers” [TechCrunch]. “On Monday, startup Crowdfense published its updated price list for these hacking tools, which are commonly known as ‘zero-days’ because they rely on unpatched vulnerabilities in software that are unknown to the makers of that software. Companies like Crowdfense and one of its competitors, Zerodium, claim to acquire these zero-days with the goal of reselling them to other organizations, usually government agencies or government contractors, which claim they need the hacking tools to track or spy on criminals. Crowdfense is now offering between $5 million and $7 million for zero-days to break into iPhones; up to $5 million for zero-days to break into Android phones; up to $3 million and $3.5 million for Chrome and Safari zero-days, respectively; and $3 million to $5 million for WhatsApp and iMessage zero-days. In its previous price list, published in 2019, the highest payouts that Crowdfense was offering were $3 million for Android and iOS zero-days.mThe increase in prices comes as companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are making it harder to hack their devices and apps, which means their users are better protected.”

Transportation: “Norfolk Southern, victims reach $600M settlement for 2023 East Palestine train derailment” [Canton Repository]. “The lead attorneys representing the victims and Norfolk Southern announced on Tuesday that the two sides have reached an agreement in principle. The multi-million-dollar deal still needs to be approved by U.S. District Court Judge Benita Pearson in Youngstown…. [The lead attorneys for the victims] said the settlement agreement would provide payment to residents and businesses in East Palestine and the affected surrounding communities, pending court approval. It also includes a voluntary program to compensate individuals in a 10-mile radius for past, present and future personal injuries resulting from chemical exposure. The attorneys also said the settlement money would be in addition to any monies that Norfolk Southern has previously made available through community assistance and other payments…. If approved by Pearson, the settlement would resolve all plaintiff cases consolidated into the class-action lawsuit. It does not resolve separate lawsuits filed by state and federal agencies against Norfolk Southern for the environmental cleanup. Those are still pending.”

Transportation: “Norfolk Southern Agrees To Pay $600 Million In Settlement Over Ohio Train Derailment” [Associated Press]. “[R]esidents worry the money not only won’t go far enough to cover future health needs that could be tremendous but also won’t amount to much once divvied up. ‘It’s not nowhere near my needs, let alone what the health effects are going to be five or 10 years down the road,’ said Eric Cozza, who lived just three blocks from the derailment and had 47 family members living within a mile (1.61 kilometers)…. The settlement, which doesn’t include or constitute any admission of liability, wrongdoing or fault, represents only a small slice of the $3 billion in revenue Norfolk Southern generated just in the first three months of this year. East Palestine resident Krissy Ferguson called the settlement a ‘heart-wrenching day.’ ‘I just feel like we’ve been victimized over and over and over again,’ she said. ‘We fought and we’re still fighting. And contamination is still flowing down the creeks. People are still sick. And I think people that had the power to fight took an easy way out.’… Jami Wallace, too, worries about having a settlement without knowing the long-term impact of the derailment. ‘I would really like to see the numbers because in my opinion, taking a plea deal only is in the best interest of the attorneys,’ she said. ‘They’re all going to get their money. But we’re the residents that are still going to be left to suffer.’ Consider that Cozza said he spent about $8,000 to move out of town and that along with medical bills from tests and the cost of replacing all his contaminated belongings exhausted what little savings he had. And he can’t put a price on the 10-year relationship he lost or the way his extended family was scattered after the derailment.” And: “The NTSB’s full investigation into the cause of the derailment won’t be complete until June, but the agency has said that an overheating wheel bearing on one of the railcars, which wasn’t detected in time by a trackside sensor, likely caused the crash.” • On the bearing, I was correct; see here and here [lambert blushes modestly]. (It’s also interesting that the coverage from Canton (fifty miles away from East Palestine) basically consists of the reporter emptying his Rolodex of lawyers, while the AP talks to the locals. Discouraging, because on a story like this, I get so tired of reading The Hill, The Guardian, and the other approved sources, and try to track down local reporting. Oh well.)

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 57 Greed (previous close: 66 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 9 at 1:51:14 PM ET.

Zeitgeist Watch

“Anger is eliminated with the disposal of a paper written because of provocation” [Nature]. “Anger suppression is important in our daily life, as its failure can sometimes lead to the breaking down of relationships in families. Thus, effective strategies to suppress or neutralise anger have been examined. This study shows that physical disposal of a piece of paper containing one’s written thoughts on the cause of a provocative event neutralises anger, while holding the paper did not. In this study, participants wrote brief opinions about social problems and received a handwritten, insulting comment consisting of low evaluations about their composition from a confederate. Then, the participants wrote the cause and their thoughts about the provocative event. Half of the participants (disposal group) disposed of the paper in the trash can (Experiment 1) or in the shredder (Experiment 2), while the other half (retention group) kept it in a file on the desk. All the participants showed an increased subjective rating of anger after receiving the insulting feedback. However, the subjective anger for the disposal group decreased as low as the baseline period, while that of the retention group was still higher than that in the baseline period in both experiments. We propose this method as a powerful and simple way to eliminate anger.” • So turning anger into art isn’t an option?

“Zzzzzzz” [London Review of Books]. “Why​ do we sleep?The habit is pretty much universal among animals, though it takes a wide variety of forms…. Yet there is still no scientific consensus on exactly what function sleep fulfils, why it’s so universal, or why it’s important enough to outweigh the obvious evolutionary disadvantage of rendering animals temporarily defenceless against danger…. The most basic questions’ about sleep, [author Kenneth] Miller concludes, ‘still lack definite answers.’ As I have urged here! But concluding: “There is much more consensus on the question of why we don’t sleep. Modern life has mounted what Miller describes as ‘an ongoing, and ever escalating, assault on sleep’: our always-on work culture, with its shifts and double jobs, ubiquitous sound and light pollution, and the blue light from screens and digital devices which throws our circadian rhythms into confusion. The ever expanding market for sleep optimisation is a response to this ever escalating assault, but consumer and lifestyle remedies remain least available to those who need them most: working people, particularly those who are also parenting, in low-quality housing and noisy urban environments across the globe. It’s hard not to notice that all these modern anxieties and pressures are essentially no different from those that led to the birth of sleep science more than a hundred years ago, in the glare of the electric light.” • Worth a read for the potted history of sleep science.

News of the Wired


* * *

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TH writes: “Aconite is one of the first blooms of the season. A happy sight!”

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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. Mikel

    “The Left Cannot Make Use of the Gaza War” [Sublation Media].

    “…The nation-state system is a contingent feature of a particular historical moment in capitalism. Increasingly, nation-states are unable to solve irreducibly global problems. They cannot manage flows of capital and people. They cannot sustain robust public services or strong consumer bases, because they constantly compete with one another on tax rates and wages. These problems will not be solved by returning to 20th century notions of national liberation. They will intensify and deepen, with grim consequences for people all around the world.”

    The left also isn’t going to be able to make use of supranational organizations created under the spell of neoliberal economics.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Mikel: Thanks. All I could think of as I read Studebaker’s article is of a term paper. It’s all so meta. I had to read parts of it two and three times. Ontology? Ethnonationalism? The nation-state is a capitalist enterprise that has been superseded? And as you note–to be superseded by rickety/manipulated supranational organizations?

      Meanwhile, I guess, the U.S. left is supposed to hang the Palestinians out to dry, what with their whacky ideas about self-determination. Meanwhile, as we all know, the U.S left is supposed to consider the Russians a bunch of man-spreaders and orcs, infected with ethnonationalism, who never learned to love U.S. freedom-bombs.

      If Studebaker were serious, and he can’t be when he writes things like this, “When westerners validate the ethnonationalist ontology and pick sides in the conflict, they encourage the parties to continue conceptualizing themselves in a way that can only lead to more violence,” he’d be better off starting with American exceptionalism.”Westerners validate”: And I am the czar of all the Russias.

      I also note the use of the word “redeem,” which is never a good sign from an American.

      If Studebaker were serious, he’d write about solidarity. One has to feel solidarity for the Palestinians. One can feel solidarity for the Russians. One can experience solidarity with the Israelis and the Ukrainians.

      And then one calls for those obsolete “nation-states” to negotiate ceasefires and peace agreements. They are the only ones who control the borders these days. And peace is the only way in which average people can live and thrive.

      And we’ll deal with the uncontrolled flow of capital, which is one of the reasons for these wars.

      Executive summary: As bad a Catholic as I am, I am impressed at how well Pope Francesco has described the problem of war and proposed solutions that will be viable. Heck, he’s better than U.S. academics and their meta-fantasies.

    2. Skip Intro

      The ‘Left’ is conditioned to respond only to certain issues. Can you imagine the outrage if the destruction of the last clinic for transitioning teens in Gaza was publicized?

    3. Partyless poster

      I found that piece pretty disgusting.
      The erasure of any wrongdoing by Israel, just pick a side as if they are equal.
      He can’t seem to imagine people actually think mass murder is wrong.
      And reinforcing the duoply, oppose Biden and you help Trump.
      And from a so called leftist!

    4. chris

      If neoliberalism as practiced by the Democrats is a corpse that can’t bury itself, then the American Left is a child who refuses to walk. We’ll see how serious any Left aligned efforts are this election cycle. If they cave to pressure from Team Blue No Matter Who, again, then there is no Left. Just an assortment of people who throw tantrums until their parents pacify them with promises no one intends to keep.

      1. Carolinian

        But then given current struggles why would young people be committed to Biden? I think things are changing and it was the boomers who were blue no matter who. That doesn’t mean the young support Trump but I doubt they are nearly so rabid on the matter as the old.

        1. chris

          Given my recent experience with people under 30, I think what younger people are going to do this time out is not vote. From a decent number of conversations (n=51), I don’t think they see the point. Nothing they want ever happens and nothing people promise them ever comes to fruition. I may be wrong but I think the term “the Left” assumes some level of involvement and cohesion such that the people fitting that description have some commonality. In that case, the young people in the US aren’t Left. They’re not anything. Just beaten down and broke.

    5. steppenwolf fetchit

      I left a comment about this subject way down at the bottom of the thread. Shame on me for not having read all the comments first. I guess I was just “triggered” by that statement about what nation-state governments ” can’t ” do.

      If Mr. Studebaker’s statement about who is or is not “indigenous” to this or that place are indicative of what the Left in general thinks, then the Left is more hopeless and irrelevant that Mr. Studebaker thinks. Is he really going to tell the Indian Nations of Turtle Island that ” all humans are indigenous to this planet” and that therefore no Indian Nation is indigenous to the land it came into existence on? Really? Is he really going to tell them that? Is he really going to tell Basques that Basques are not functionally indigenous to the Basquelands? Or the Tibetans to Tibet? Really?

      Russell Means once gave a speech about the self-imputed relevance ( by Marxists) of Marxism to American Indians. And if the Left in general is as anti-national and anti-cultural as the Marxists that Means was referring to, then I suspect that Means’s ‘last word’ on the subject of Marxism and Marxists is probably the ‘last word’ on the subject of Leftism and Leftists in general.
      Here is the link.

      By the way, I wonder what Mr. Studebaker would say about “The Haudenosaunee Address To The Western World”? Would he dismiss it as being backwards and primitive because its presenters think they are a “Nation” which thinks it has an “International Treaty” with the United States Government? Would that be the Left Wing Thing to do?
      Here is the link.

      I am so glad that I am not part of The Left.

      1. JBird4049

        Well, I think that I am a leftist, but I think that I am not an anti-culture, anti-society,
        nihilistic, neoliberal shill of a leftist as the writer is. There has been a constant effort to make the Left neoliberal, therefore elite, friendly. What a tool.

      2. c_heale

        I think the Left is defined using Western cultural norms. Personally I am not left or right because I believe we are heading for a non-industrial age due to global warming, and we need to adapt a non-industrial mentality if humans are to have any chance of surviving.

        We will survive though (by we I mean life – since I do not distinguish myself from entireity of life on this planet).

  2. Terry Flynn

    I had a weird experience at the General Practitioner today. I was attending in my latest attempt to get a GP to pay attention to my dormant but post-2020 suddenly very active again heart condition. This time with a sibling who has “strange” heart issues.

    Sibling is no longer patient at this practice. Immediately commented on all the ongoing construction work and “what’s up with the lighting?” I looked up. The lighting has all been replaced. It feels like being in a sun bed. VERY “UV” like.

    I recall articles here about certain wavelength UV light to kill airborne viruses. Not asking NC authors to do work (against rules) but wondered if any members of the commentariat have noticed major changes in the lighting in a local healthcare setting. My general practice has gone from nought to 60 very very fast when it comes to COVID. Ventilation also being changed. I’m curious.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > t wondered if any members of the commentariat have noticed major changes in the lighting in a local healthcare setting.

      That would be very good data to have. Readers? (Also, can you be more specific on the ventilation?)

      1. Terry Flynn

        Re ventilation: windows now all open again and I *think* the ceiling has been lowered (to accommodate the new lights but also with as yet unfinished vents that now match position of the top (6″ tall opening windows).

        It’s very much work in progress and engineering is beyond my pay grade but it certainly looks like new ceiling level ventilation is being installed alongside the lights. The building is only 20ish years old and is definitely more amenable to retrofitting than a lot of older practices in the UK.

        I’ve been quite harsh about clinical standards at this practice but maybe they’ve been doing stuff in the background for a while which is only now coming to fruition.

      2. Lena

        My doctor’s office exam rooms have lighting straight out of the movie “Dark City” and the air is incredibly stifling. I don’t think it has ventilation. It has always been thus. I usually wait at least two hours in there, listening to the doctor outside the door, laughing it up with the nurses, ordering lunch delivered in, eating lunch, talking to his stock broker on his phone, blah, blah, blah. No staff are wearing masks. Then I see the doctor for five minutes, max, although most often I see the NP. It’s the typical Medicaid office visit. Just kill me now.

      3. Lee

        Whenever I go to my local clinic, a relatively recently built facility, I am reassured by the soft hissing sound emanating from the finely gridded ceiling. I assume it is ventilation and not simply an electronic white noise generator. I am even more reassured by never entering a building other than my home without wearing a respirator.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Talked to a young doctor recently who has been aggressive in representing his coworkers with the health org they work for (small enough that they listen). Better lighting and ventilation to mitigate the spread of disease sounds like one of his “demands.”

      The more doctors and nurses there are who take early retirement, the more leverage remaining healthcare practitioners have with employers. Now is a good time to lean on the decision-makers.

      1. Terry Flynn

        This resonates with me. I had booked today’s appt 3 weeks ago. Rang at 8am (earliest time to get a routine appt for 3 weeks’ time). I was “first in the queue”. Hooray! Yet when I got through I was told the GP appts were all booked and I could see a nurse.

        Complete BS. But I had to accept it. Then Thursday last week they rang and said the nurse is on sick leave and would be unavailable today (Tuesday). Hmmmm. My mind immediately goes to “COVID positive?” They wanted to bump me a week but I had had enough and told them I have a documented heart problem. I pulled rank bigtime. Lo and behold a GP appt was there! They KNOW I’m a whistle blower…. And I got pulled into a 2nd case when local teaching hospital got a GP here fired for malpractice concerning my care. NB I DID NOT INITIATE THIS – whistle blowing destroys your life so you never do it twice.

        Anyway the “pulling in” of a good GP today made me think that clinicians are “working to rule” – not doing extra sessions unless absolutely necessary. I’ve had distinct impression that the GPs are now looking out for their own life expectancy. Can’t blame them.

    3. LY

      I’m speculating, but could it be replacing the lighting with more energy efficient LED lighting that is cooler, which means that it is more blue and closer to daylight?

      1. Terry Flynn

        Understandable response. However they had modern LED lighting already so why switch to different type which might involve changing whole ceiling?

        Plus the “sunbed” comment was partly due to a whiff of ozone that us bad sun worshippers who risk melanoma know very well. Why on earth did we notice that all of a sudden?

    4. digi_owl

      As i understand it, anything UV that can kill airborne nasties are NOT good for human eyeballs etc.

      Naomi Wu was tweeting quite a bit about that until Beijing put a muzzle on her.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Don’t forget to take your sunglasses next time you go for a medical appointment. Only cool people get to wear sunglasses inside remember.

    5. Roger Blakely

      Yesterday Terry was commenting about long COVID and in not getting exposed through the eyes. Here is what I think about it. I think that the factors related to infection and long COVID include exposure and genetic susceptibility. SARS-CoV-2 loves ACE-2 receptors. Do I have more ACE-2 receptors in my eyes than do other people? SARS-CoV-2 beats up on me all over the place in addition to my eyes.

      I think that people make the mistake of thinking that SARS-CoV-2 isn’t there if it isn’t bothering them. This is what I tell people all of the time when they are wearing nothing and I am wearing an industrial respirator: “Just because SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t seem to be bothering you at the moment doesn’t mean that you aren’t constantly inhaling it or that it isn’t constantly landing on your eyeballs.”

      1. Terry Flynn

        Agreed. There are approx 200 conditions now identified as being indicators of Long COVID. 180 or so are not debilitating. I am very aware of these in others. Two family members have longstanding symptoms that scream “long covid” to me but they don’t seem impaired in their usual activities.

  3. Terry Flynn

    “no sun”. I assume the joke is that we really really wished Dr Crusher had no son….. Along with not being family blogged by a ghost in “Sub Rosa”.

    Being reminded of bad ST:TNG episodes is horrible and spoils my teenage years.

      1. Terry Flynn

        I still love that meme!

        I feel sorry for Wil Wheaton but his character was utterly awful. A Mary Sue long before certain YouTubers who claim to define the term yet love TNG.

        So he certainly served to expose a lot of blatant hypocrisy on YT.

        1. digi_owl

          The character may have been a self-insert of Roddenberry. And was basically put on the shuttle once he died.

          1. Terry Flynn

            Yeah I’ve seen and agreed with the Roddenberry self insert theory.

            The icky part is when you know the “less salubrious” stuff Roddenberry got up to…… There’s fighting for equality and there’s using women in very icky ways. How do you evaluate someone who did both ?

            1. ambrit

              I’m thinking that people like Roddenberry, and Heinlein, Hubbard, etc. made a false equivalence. They conflated “liberation” with “sexual promiscuity.”

            2. steppenwolf fetchit

              The art is not always the artist. I once remember reading that Picasso was a very nasty man at the personal level. But a Picasso is still a Picasso.

              1. Pat

                My contrarian nature compels me to say that part of the reason I am not a Picasso fan is that his work always read as the view from the nasty seats. For something like Guernica, it works, it enhances the piece. For much of the rest, not so much.

                1. steppenwolf fetchit

                  National Lampoon once did a parody of Guernica, called Guernixa, featuring all the watergate characters in Guernica poses and positions.
                  I wanted to bring it here, but the search prevention engines prevent me from being able to find it at all.

    1. ambrit

      Similar to having Halo described as a ‘Zero Sun Game.’
      I too unfondly remember seeing episodes of “Star Trek: The Space Opera” back in the Days of Yar.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Hoping I misinterpreted the “Yar” criticism….. The guys are my thing but Tasha was my “straight crush” ;-)

        I still think they should have kept “Yesterday’s Enterprise” in the drawer and used it as the first TNG movie rather than the atrocious Generations.

        1. digi_owl

          A character one wish could have been written out with more decorum, even if they later pulled some time shenanigans…

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I did not watch much ST:TNG but the “Inner Light” episode remains one of my favorite examinations of how life might be in the terminal Anthropocene.

  4. Carolinian

    In the event that Republicans find a way to get a federal abortion ban through Congress, there is every reason to believe Trump will reward the Christian right’s loyalty.

    How about just one reason? I’d say that if Trump wins in November he has no reason at all to reward the Christian right which has attached itself to him more than vice versa. He did deliver for them with the SC and that’s reward enough if you can call it that. Now they are an albatross.

    I read here that Trump is running smarter this time and he might govern that way as well. Banning abortion altogether would be terrible politics for the Repubs which is why it undoubtedly won’t happen and hasn’t happened in the past. The claim that they will is just more gaslighting.

    1. Feral Finster

      I suspect that Trump (who AFAICT, has no ideological loyalty to anyone, and certainly not to the Christian Right) has figured out what Bill Clinton figured out with regard to the economic left – “they will still vote for me have nowhere else to go.”

      And lord, did the economic left deliver, not to mention make excuse after excuse for their adored fat boy, even as it was obvious that Clinton had nothing but contempt for them. The Christian Right do much that same for Trump, even though none of them are going to get into Mar a Lago any time soon.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        The Christian Right may be playing for bigger stakes than getting into Mar a Lago. For example, the Rapturaniacs and the Armageddonites will expect a President Trump to give the kind of aid and support to the Likkud and Kahane-Kach and Goat Sacrificer commanders of Israel’s politics which will bring World War ThermoNuke closer in order to bring the day of Christ’s Return In Triumph and His establishment of His Thousand Year Reign Of Righteousness upon a long suffering earth.

        Plus many “Kent States” against many ” left wing student protesters” on many college campuses.

        So Trump still has a lot to offer his Godly people. And they will vote for Trump in order to get these good things.

        1. Carolinian

          So Trump is going to be more supportive of Israel than Biden is already being? How so?

          I think the difference between Trump and Biden is one of political instincts. Trump owed a big debt to the Adelsons who gave like 90 million dollars to his campaigns and the Abraham accords were their payback.

          But as with the Christian Nationalists an elected Trump will no longer need to be quite so grateful. If either evangelicals or the Zionism supporters don’t like what he is doing then what are they going to do, impeach him?

          Trump’s base is the working class and small business owners. Them he needs.

          1. steppenwolf fetchit

            Well . . . if Trump is re-elected we will get to watch and learn. I could imagine more bigger better weapons for one thing. I could imagine supporting the Kach-Kahane government in Gazafying the entire West Bank, for another.

            The reason Trump’s Rapturaniac and Armageddonite supporters would want that is in the hope that would lead to Egypt and Jordan dropping the peace treaties and invading Israel to try and stop the Trump-supported Gazafication of the West Bank. The Rapturegeddonites hope would be that this would lead to Israel using its little atom bombs, which would lead to China, Russia and America using their Big Atomic Bombs.
            Then Christ will return to rule for a Thousand Years from atop his Throne of Righteousness.

            That’s how Trump will be more supportive of Israel than Biden is already being.

            Of course there’s only one way to know, and that is to get Trump re-elected.

            F*ck around and find out, as the kids say.

  5. Verifyfirst

    Interesting that the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (aka the re-branders) claim “…this infection in cattle is not the same as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)”.

    Ya don’t say.

    USDA would like a word……..https://www.aphis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/hpai-dairy-faqs.pdf

    “Tests so far indicate that the HPAI detected in dairy cows is H5N1, Eurasian lineage goose/Guangdong clade This is the same strain and clade that has been affecting wild birds and commercial poultry flocks……”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Parse the words. They claim the “infection” is not the same (different species, after all). That doesn’t mean that the viruses that cause the infection aren’t the same.

      It’s appalling, and bodes ill for voluntary compliance (especially if APHIS adopts it). And if I were the worrying sort, I’d worry that the situation is already even worse than we know (since one effect of the obfuscation could be to postpone culling the herd. Of course, maybe they’re acting “out of an abundance of caution,” as we say.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        im watching my flock closely…and monitoring the wild bird movements.
        the latter has been almost exclusively my usual local yokel songbrds and such.
        small flock of those long legged whistling ducks passed overhead a week ago, but went straight to the pond way back there and didnt visit the geese like they usually do twice a year.
        theres no dairies…and no large fowl operations…for at least an hundred miles from me…but wild, migratory birds travel long distances.
        ive held off buying turkey or guinnea eggs from McMurray, or whomever…until this is over.

      2. Verifyfirst

        I’ve only been throwing cursory glances in this issues’ direction (hoping I won’t need to learn about it…), but the not culling the infected animals puzzles me. They supposedly are not trying to sell any of the milk from those cows–do they expect them to recover? If not, killing them asap would be the cheapest route, no?

  6. Lena

    I used to teach at a preschool for low income children. It is common for preschoolers to be sick a lot – common colds, stomach viruses, that kind of illness. Those “bugs” go round and round. We teachers would catch the same things. But for preschoolers to repeatedly get sick enough to be hospitalized, no, I don’t remember that ever happening when I was teaching.

    1. Objective Ace

      My initial reaction to the tweet was: What preschoolers are getting hospitalized? I’m sure its happened (and I’m reasonably sure its up pre covid). But I have serious doubts that its up more then other demographic groups.. say old folks. What exactly is this tweet suggesting.. other then the old “.. think about the children?” rhetoric

      1. Pat

        The hospitalization is only one item in a list of things that aren’t normal, and in fact the original tweet is about “constantly sick”. And while I agree if recurring hospitalizations were it there would be more data, kids always have low level infections would be more easily ignored in today’s society. Not parents, but with a system that wouldn’t allow for multiple doctors visits or even staying home from school it is easy for our willfully bling public health system to ignore it.
        I know this is another age, but as someone who got every major childhood disease including both types of measles, being constantly sick is not normal. You get sick you get better, you are good for months and then get sick again. This sounds like what we have is a lot of kids who never get rid of the cold, so they are always sniffly, and consistently run down rather than running around.
        I don’t know if it is true, but if it is then we are probably seeing Covid weakened immune systems resulting in near constant ongoing infections.

  7. Feral Finster

    “FISA has come under increasing scrutiny from the right wing of the GOP conference as it was an integral player in the Russiagate hoax and the Biden administration’s investigations into Americans at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

    I have always thought FISA to be flatly unconstitutional long before the russiagate conspiracy theory made it so useful to the spooks.

    Note how the spooks’ priorities are the Congress’ priorities. Funny that.

  8. Feral Finster

    “The Left Cannot Make Use of the Gaza War”: the left in any western country has long bee co-opted and neutered.

    Sanders in particular should just walk around in a cone collar and be done with it.

  9. flora

    The country was set up as a representative Republic, representatives chosen by democratic voting. It was/is not set up as a Democracy; if it was then the Bill of Rights for the individual could be voted away by majority vote. The Rights in the Constitution are not subject to a popular vote. (Yes, it’s complicated.) And slowly, following the logic of the Constitution itself, the rights once conferred only on white men of property – a minority of the country when the Constitution was ratified – those rights have extended to include formerly excluded citizens. The country has been slowing including instead of excluding citizens.

    1. Jason Boxman

      What does that franchise actually get you? We know from landmark research a few years ago, a decade now?, that politicians vote with their donors on major issues nearly 100% of the time, regardless of what a majority of voters might support. So we get election theater, but no true representation in the halls of power. Maybe at the local level this is less of an issue, but local developers sure do seem to get whatever they want in a not insignificant number of localities.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        The franchise got me state-legal marijuana in the State of Michigan. And that is a real thing.

        The franchise got us in general here in Michigan the repeal of our state’s Republican so-called ” Right To Work” law. And that repeal is a real repeal.

        1. Objective Ace

          The franchise got me state-legal marijuana in the State of Michigan.

          The only reason its a real thing was because that same franchise took it away from you/us in 1937. I would hardly call going 75 years without a relatively (at least compared to alcohol) harmless plant a victory

          1. steppenwolf fetchit

            ” The only reason its a real thing was because that same franchise took it away from you/us in 1937. ”

            That goes to show that the franchise is just an inanimate weapon and not a living thing.
            The franchise is a weapon in the hands of those who are ready to use it as a weapon.

            Going 75 years without a relatively ( at least compared to alcohol) harmless plant was certainly a victory. It was a victory for the cultural oppressors who hated marijuana and hated the people who wanted to use it, and also a victory for the Crime Groups who hoped to make money from the franchisefuly-outlawed status of marijuana.

            And just as that 75 years was a long running victory for the anticannabites, achieved by using their franchise weapon, the restoration of partial re-legalization of marijuana is a victory for the procannabists, using the franchise as a weapon.

            Electoral politics is the pursuit of civil war by other means, and the franchise is one of that pre-violent civil war’s weapons.

  10. upstater

    RE. Norfolk Southern… the possible class action settlement is one smaller thing regarding all US railroads. As we know the Rail Safety Act got watered down in Senate committee and never made it to a floor vote (paging Amtrak Joe and Mayo Pete). More significantly is the proxy vote to rid Norfolk Southern of the PSR-Lite executives and replace them with PSR Neanderthals led by Ancora:

    Ancora’s activist campaign gains support of Norfolk Southern investor (updated) Trains magazine

    Bad to worse…

  11. Feral Finster


    “Israel is ‘preparing to strike Iranian nuclear sites’ amid intense anticipation of a retaliatory attack and growing fears of a third world war – The Sun”

    Israel didn’t get the response it wanted, so it is going to keep attacking Iran until it does.

    Needless to say, the Biden Administration is entirely complicit.

    1. ambrit

      We might see just how effective the “upgraded” version of the Russian S-300 anti-air system is. Iran also has a similar system of their own build operational. The question is, from where will the Israeli aircraft launch their missiles from? This being probable, a Hezbolla strike against the Israeli military airports is not out of the question.

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          What is good for the goose . . . . is good for all the Palestinians on which the fallout released from such a strike would fall out on.

          Yes? No?

      1. Paradan

        The S-300(newest)/400 can detect an F-35 at a range of around 50-60 miles. This is based off of published radar cross sections and radar data. So take it with a grain of salt.

        An SDB II dropped from 35,000′ has about the same range.


        An IADS can get targets from any radar in the system, it can even use manual entries of a coordinate provided by a cell phone call(not ideal). If you can get the missile within 5-10 miles, it can turn on its own radar and send the data back to the command station for guidance instructions.

        I don’t have time right now to finish this post, but the F-35’s main feature isn’t it low RCS, the main “weapon” of an F-35 is the EW capabilities it’s claimed to have. The stealth part is just a supporting feature of its EW system.

  12. steppenwolf fetchit

    From ‘ the Left cannot make use of the Gaza war’ I spotted this particular sentence: ” They cannot manage flows of capital and people.” Didn’t President Mahathir Muhammad of Malaysia successfully manage capital flows into and out of Malaysia during some kind of financial crisis which happened in the past? I know that sounds like one little exception but . . .

    I think the “inability of the nation-state” to control those things listed as being increasingly beyond the nation-state’s control is not an inevitable force-of-nature fact. I believe it was a series of weaknesses and disabilities carefully engineered by the International Free Trade ( NeoLiberal) conspirators who took over many nation-state governments and deliberately legislated and “agreementized” these deliberately fostered inabilities into the laws of the nation-states. The repeal and abolition of all these laws and agreements would permit the reclamation and restoration of these abilities back to those nation-states which are able to liberate themselves from the Forcey FreeTrade Occupation Regimes which currently rule them.

    I wonder how far a political movement would get if it explicitly ran on the complete repeal and abolition of all Forcey FreeTrade Legislation and all Forcey FreeTrade Agreements and the resignation from all anti-national Forcey FreeTrade Organizations like the World Trade Organization.

    1. spud

      they are collapsing under their own absurdities and contradictions. yves’s piece really outlines it. yellen, the free trader, now is outraged at the results of her own policies.

      i wonder if the corrupt dim wit pelosi will stand up again in public and declare democrats are free traders to our bones.

  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘Anger suppression is important in our daily life, as its failure can sometimes lead to the breaking down of relationships in families. Thus, effective strategies to suppress or neutralise anger have been examined.’

    I wonder about the suppression of anger by others. So what I am thinking of here is people who are angry because their rights are being taken away, who are told to deny what their eyes are seeing such as a genocide or a pandemic, who are made to suffer injustices, etc….only to have some p**** come out of left field and say that they are not ‘entitled’ to their feelings about anger and that they are ‘wrong’ to have the feelings that they have, that they are ‘bad people’ for feeling this way and are only being ‘deplorable’ so who must be censored or repressed. That would ramp up the anger to full fury for most people.

    1. Lena

      There are so many reasons why vulnerable people in our society suppress their legitimate anger. For example, if I express even mild displeasure at being treated like a worthless piece of shit by my doctors or my landlord, do you know what happens? I end up with no doctors and no landlord. I end up being retaliated against for advocating for myself. Forget about actually getting angry. You damn well better not do that.

      This is what life is like for the poor and the powerless. It happens again and again and again until you are so beaten down you can’t fight back anymore. You wind up getting seriously ill, then you just wait to die. You hope it happens soon because life is not worth living.

      Maybe in my next life, I’ll have ‘rank’ and I’ll get to pull it. Yeah, right.

  14. steppenwolf fetchit

    If we burn down the USDA, we burn down all the non-profit sound science USDA/Land Grant supported researchers are still doing. In some of Gabe Brown’s videos we learn from Gabe Brown that he based a lot of his practice on knowledge developed by USDA scientists.

    “Burn down the USDA” because it doesn’t have enough people or funding to impose virus control against the Cattle Industrial Complex is like “burn down the IRS” because it doesn’t have enough people or funding to enforce tax collections against the Rich People Industrial Complex.

  15. Ap

    At my state health service job today we were doing a brainstorming for data analytics session. I Asked the room “this isn’t about data or our pipelines for ingesting data, but it’s on my mind and I can’t make it leave. Are we testing, or even thinking about testing hogs for avian flu? They’ve got avian flu receptors and mammalian receptors and are a vector. And we have a OneHealth charter.”

    Got a bunch of “nope we’re not monitoring that but maybe we could think about it one day.” It was kind of infuriating, and I doubt I’ll ever be able to get the ball swinging in that direction. But who knows.

  16. polar donkey

    I drove from Memphis to Batesville Arkansas yesterday for eclipse. Arkansas delta region is in rough economic shape. The number of homes made from dilapidated RVs and/or prefabricated sheds is shocking. 3rd world. And that’s coming from a Memphian. I didn’t see a Biden sign, even leftover 2020’s, but plenty of trump 2024. Maybe there’s some Arkansas Democrats in Little Rock and Fayetteville, maybe a couple in West Memphis, but there aren’t any anywhere else in that state.

  17. JTMcPhee

    On the persistence and effects of anger, words from William Blake:

    A Poison Tree
    I was angry with my friend;
    I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
    I was angry with my foe:
    I told it not, my wrath did grow.

    And I waterd it in fears,
    Night & morning with my tears:
    And I sunned it with smiles,
    And with soft deceitful wiles.

    And it grew both day and night.
    Till it bore an apple bright.
    And my foe beheld it shine,
    And he knew that it was mine.

    And into my garden stole,
    When the night had veild the pole;
    In the morning glad I see;
    My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

    Not sure how effective writing one’s Ted Kaczynski thoughts down and then tossing the paper would be, at scale.

  18. Willow

    > Trump (R): “Trump Moderating on Abortion

    Notice Trump moderating on Israel too.. not much but enough to emphasise difference with Biden.. and not spooking the Independents.

  19. Willow

    > Trekism (Roddenberryism) as a socialist and scientifically progressive alternative to Zionism

    Exploration of ethics of genocide: The Orville S3E9 – Domino

    1. Terry Flynn

      Thanks. Star Trek gives two very different takes on genocide. I grew up with TNG but eventually decided DS9 was superior. However TNG dealt with genocide better. Picard, despite PTSD, refused to commit genocide on the borg by utilising a devastating computer virus.

      In DS9 the Federation allowed its rogue organisation Section 31 to use an actual virus to kill all the Founders. Its security council (permanent members) then actively refused to give the cure over. The security Council of a planetary body would never be so despicable right? *cough cough*.

  20. ks

    NYT 2012

    The most frightening research was done by scientists at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, who sought to discover how likely it is that the “bird flu” virus, designated A(H5N1), might mutate from a form that seldom infects or spreads among humans into a form highly transmissible by coughing or sneezing.

    Working with ferrets, the animal that is most like humans in responding to influenza, the researchers found that a mere five genetic mutations allowed the virus to spread through the air from one ferret to another while maintaining its lethality.

    If H5N1 becomes highly transmissible to humans, I don’t think heaven or nature will have anything to do with it.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      Well, if heaven or nature invented the Spanish Flu to begin with, why couldn’t heaven or nature invent a super H5N1 BirdManPig flu?

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